Busted Halo
Features : Sex & Relationships
 
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October 11th, 2012
Sorting out what faith means to your relationship

Question: My boyfriend is a “lapsed” Catholic and not that connected to organized religion. I have a more active and practicing faith. Should I be worried about our religious compatibility?
Answer: There are lots of details to consider, so let’s look at some questions that can help you discern if you need to be worried about your religious compatibility…

September 26th, 2012
Navigating today's dating world and the question of dating more than one person at a time

Question: Is it OK to date more than one person at a time?
Answer:… The straightforward answer is you are free to date more than one person until you commit to being exclusive with one person. The whole point of dating is to figure out what you eventually want in a spouse. Dating allows you to discover what you can’t live with, or without, and to learn more about your own values. Dating around can be a fun stage of being single!
If you are starting to get the sense that one or more of your dates would be hurt to find out you are dating other people, then that may be a sign that dating more than one person may no longer be appropriate. Let’s start by defining what you mean by “dating.” If dating means a couple

September 17th, 2012

I’ve been thoroughly frustrated lately with our culture’s view of marriage and how the whole thing is supposed to work — namely, the lead up to day one. Despite society’s desire to step away from a “traditional” definition of marriage we tend to cling to traditions that reinforce stereotypical gender roles, or most concerningly, take away the significance of marriage. Some of these traditions are rooted in religion and patriarchal histories yet have imbued the secular world as “musts” in any wedding story.
Guy meets girl…
Many of my friends are getting engaged or married so I’ve been hearing a lot about how the proposal happened or what the plans are for the wedding day. What’s come…

September 5th, 2012
Examining the realities of living together before marriage

Question: My apartment lease is about to expire and my girlfriend and I are talking about moving in together. How do we know if it’s the right time in our relationship to start living together?
Answer:… This is a question that comes up frequently in many different forms when a life transition triggers a discussion about living together. There are actually two parts to this question: should we live together, and if so when is the right timing? Living together likely seems like a good idea. You can spend more time together as a couple and split expenses. You already spend several nights a week at each other’s house, so is it really such a big move?
Before we examine the religious or spiritual implications of

July 23rd, 2012
A Q/A about the right point in a relationship to discuss marriage

Dear Michele,
When is it the right point of a relationship to start talking about marriage?
Signed,
When to Discuss Marriage

Dear When to Discuss Marriage,
Simply explaining you are interested in getting married to someone, some day, is a normal part of getting to know someone and can occur as early as the first few dates. My husband told me the first week we were dating he was ready to move forward with the “second part of his life,” letting me know that playing the field was something he wanted to put in his past. But a discussion about marriage between two people who are dating exclusively is a different story. A serious conversation about marriage can create a significant shift in your relationship,…

March 9th, 2012

Do you ever wish that you knew then what you know now? Ah — the beauty and magnificence of hindsight, especially in marriage. Mine has certainly been an adventure. My husband and I ended up doing all the things you aren’t supposed to do in the first year of marriage, including changing jobs, buying a house, and having a baby. Our biggest test to date was seeing our youngest daughter through cancer, but we did; together!
We are still the people we were on our wedding day, only a little wiser and a lot more understanding. In honor of our 10th anniversary on May 4, I’ve written a letter to my newlywed self in the hopes that it will keep me accountable to what worked for the 10 years to come.
Dear Tiger Lady,
You have it …

February 8th, 2012

The night before I traveled to my brother’s wedding I was putting the finishing touches on his wedding gift: a hand-crocheted tablecloth. After four years in the making, it was wonderful to finally work on the last part — blocking it. This task was the most tedious. Stretching the tablecloth and pinning it at every small point on the edge would ensure its beauty — otherwise it would look like a crumpled up, tired mass of string.
This was time consuming, and I didn’t have much time left. So I asked the two other sisters living with me if they would help me. Both of them agreed. As we were kneeling on the floor, backs bent over the tedious work at hand, I told them what I had learned while crocheting the tablecloth.…

August 30th, 2011

Facebook and I are not friends at the moment. We’ve been good acquaintances for years, overall no major qualms. If I had to classify us on Facebook, I’d say we’re “In an open relationship.” I don’t want any kind of serious or committed relationship with it lest I become a serious addict.
Earlier this year Facebook viciously turned on me, throwing me into an incredibly awkward situation. I have this friend, let’s call him Boy Z. We were flirtatious co-workers with the worst of timing. He had a girlfriend. Then I moved to Germany for nine months. Then he decided to major in computer science and never see the light of day. But senior year fates swung in our favor. Both back in the same country, both newly single,…

April 7th, 2011
Struggling to show affection through being

If you asked my husband, I think he’d say that my most irritating quality is my desire to just do “one more thing” before bed, trying to squeeze in one more errand into an already packed day and generally just being resistant to all unstructured downtime. I’m a go-go-go kind of gal. Sitting and “relaxing” isn’t my strong suit. If you asked me what his most irritating quality is, I’d say it’s that he does so much sitting and relaxing… while I’m all about doing.
And yet, I’m slowly learning that there’s something to be said for his way of doing things: To have a successful relationship — with your significant other, and with…

March 18th, 2011
The road of return to the Catholic faith

I went to Mass every Sunday with my father throughout my childhood, and even said evening prayers with him until I was a teenager. Then I went to college, and promptly stopped all of it. Sure, when I was home I’d attend regularly but, on my own, my faith — which had never really matured past childhood — was pushed to the side. By the time I arrived at graduate school, I was Catholic in name only.
My early- and mid-20s were a challenge for any glimmer of my remaining faith. In the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks, where my father — who worked in 2 World Trade Center — was lucky to survive, I felt overwhelmed and fell into a depression. Then, two of my close friends attempted suicide and…

March 3rd, 2011
Why Understanding Your Values Is the First Step to Success

What are your values? And do you live them every day? These may seem like simple questions, but some honest introspection can lead to big changes in your day-to-day choices about work, volunteering, money and relationships.

February 17th, 2011
Wise, tenacious, and fearless self-help

How do I stop procrastinating?
Where do I find a meaningful relationship?
How do I ace a job interview?
What do I do with a roommate who hates me?
And what am I really working toward in my life — what’s my purpose?

If you are between the ages of 18 and 25, then chances are you’ve asked yourself these questions. The last few years have been pretty tough for young adults: The economic downtown means that jobs are harder to find after graduation and all these life-skills and personal questions have become a lot more important.

Should I work at a job I hate just because it pays more than the career I really love?
Is this all there is in life?

Sound familiar? If so, you’re a member of Generation WTF…

February 3rd, 2011
Money talks in relationships

Relationships experts often tell young couples that as things get “serious” it’s important to have some conversations about money. But what exactly should you talk about during that conversation? Are you going to lay down your W-2s and 1099s to compare numbers? Are you going to have amorphous discussions about money that are really more about who’s the power broker in the relationship? Fights about money are rarely about the dollars and cents themselves and typically more reflective of some other disconnect in your relationship. So I’d like to offer a new spin on this “money talk” advice: Before you start talking numbers, take a moment to look inward and figure…

January 20th, 2011
Readers respond to the Church's definition of "single as a vocation"

Is being single a vocation within the Catholic Church? Can one be called to a single life — not the Sacrament of Marriage, not the Sacrament of Holy Orders — as a vocation in and of itself? Last month I wrote a piece asking and answering these questions, and Busted Halo readers had a lot to say.
Click here to read the original piece, but in short, according to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, being single is a state in life, not a vocation. Being single can be support for your vocation to follow God’s call to you to help others, to do good works, etc., but it is not a vocation in and of itself.
That blunt answer stung a lot of singles, and perhaps rightly so.
“‘Singleness’…

January 2nd, 2011
How to know if it's time to walk down the aisle or go your separate ways

Matt, 29, and his girlfriend, Kelly, 28, have been dating for four years and living together for two. They were both raised Catholic, attend Church occasionally, and joke about “living in sin” and being “semi-married.” Kelly told me she was OK moving in with Matt because she just assumed that this was a step in the right direction — toward real marriage. But in the last few months, each time she’s brought up the future in some oblique way, Matt has dodged the issue. “I talk to his parents all the time. We spend most holidays together,” she said. “But I’m just not sure where this is going right now, and I’m beginning to get worried.”
Sound

December 20th, 2010
How sincere are you when winning friends and influencing people?

Is being polite honest? Young adults aren’t quite sure. And as Christmas and New Year’s parties abound this time of year, there are lots of opportunities to ponder this question as you smile and glad-hand your way through the holidays.
We young folks are a generation raised in the therapeutic culture, readily turning inward to analyze our emotions. But we are also a generation known for blunt communication styles and a lack of fidelity to social conventions. Indeed, for many of the college students I teach, being too polite or conscious of the feelings of others is a concerning sign that you are out of touch with your core self.
Case in point: Ask a college student to define honesty and the response invariably…

December 6th, 2010
Is there such thing as a vocation to be single in the Church?

Recently, Jill, 29, a long-time Busted Halo reader finishing up her medical school residency, emailed me to ask if there is such a thing as a vocation to be single in the Catholic Church. She’s open to a relationship — indeed, she longs to meet the right man and marry — but because she is busy with work, and struggles with her weight, she’s resigned to being single for a while. As she mused over her situation, she wondered whether God might actually be calling… her to be single. She writes:
I sorta-sincerely considered being a nun earlier in my life and felt that wasn’t right for me. I’ve never even remotely considered being single (I’ve considered the possibility I may find

November 8th, 2010
How the American dream of marriage and family is increasingly out of reach for the less educated

There’s a widening gap between the haves and have-nots in America — and this time the fault line is marriage. Educated young adults are marrying and thriving in their unions, while those with less education are more likely to cohabit, less likely to ever marry, and more likely to divorce if they do wed. The latest data to support this argument comes from the Pew Research Center’s Social and Demographic Trends project analysis of sixty years of Census data, which finds that college-educated young adults are slightly more likely to marry by age 30 and significantly more likely to marry by age 40.
In my last column, I wrote about how the good news for educated Americans abounds: While men and women…

October 12th, 2010
New research proves that successful women aren't overqualified for love

While it’s probably not very Christian to say “I told you so” and do a little victory jig, I kinda can’t resist: New research came out this week that proves my demographic predictions about education and marriage from 2006 correct. In addition to some good-news data for college-educated young adults, there’s also a lesson to learn — one that you haven’t seen in the newspaper articles of the last few days. Here’s the story:
For years, newspapers and magazines have run stories about the so-called plight of the educated woman. The conventional wisdom was that women with a college or graduate degree were overqualified for love and unattractive to men. Social…

September 20th, 2010
An academic researcher asks you to share your opinions on religion, sex and online communication

Is it always wrong for unmarried people to have sex? Do you think sex toys are acceptable for use within marriage? Is it ever OK to use contraception?
Do I have your attention now?
For more than five years the Pure Sex, Pure Love column has asked Busted Halo readers for opinions about the intersection between faith and decisions about love and sex. When I met Kelsy Burke, a graduate student at the University of Pittsburgh who is writing her doctoral dissertation on Christians, the internet and discussions of sex, I was thrilled that someone in the academy was taking these conversations of faith and sexuality as seriously as I do. I immediately began thinking about how she and I could team up to share her research with…

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