Busted Halo

Most dating and relationships books, columns and shows won’t go near issues of faith. Author, professor and speaker Dr. Christine B. Whelan assumes faith has some role, and tackles even the toughest questions.

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August 30th, 2010
Are we texting our way out of potential relationships?

The phone call is dead, say tech-savvy social commentators. With the increasing popularity of text messaging, who needs to actually talk… to someone anymore?
While text messaging may be an immediate and direct form of communication, good for flirty messages and quick hellos, I’m wondering if those instant, impersonal communiqués are hurting our dating lives and hindering our relationship formation.
Let’s be clear: I send and receive text messages. In fact, just as I typed that last sentence, a text pinged in from my husband to let me know that he’d be home in 20 minutes. That’s fine. I’m not anti-text, but I think it’s time to think critically about the pros and cons of

August 16th, 2010
Hispanic-American singles discuss shifting gender roles

The Bible may advocate the idea that the man is the head of the household, but how does this generation of Hispanic-American singles view this concept? Where does this leave women who make more money than their husbands? Are we mistaking typical Latin “machismo” for church teaching? My Cuban mother once told me it would be my duty to iron my husband’s shirts, if and when I got married. Really? My “duty”?
In a fast-paced world where even Brooks Brothers — one of the oldest American clothing institutions — has responded by manufacturing non-iron shirts, should we adapt as well? And more importantly, how does upholding these gender roles help or hurt us?
To answer these…

August 2nd, 2010
How to listen to the voice inside that’s telling you not to go down the aisle

Within three months of dating a guy, I could always tell why the relationship should end. But most of the time, I’d keep dating him anyway. We were having fun. I thought he might change. I didn’t want to be alone. Some of these relationships lasted for years, but finally that voice deep inside of me started screaming. The gut feeling in the pit of my stomach turned into queasiness that I couldn’t deny. Mind you, these were all wonderful, loving guys. They just weren’t the one I was supposed to spend the rest of my life with.
When I met my husband, Peter, I checked in with my gut at three months. I was sort of wondering if it had gone on vacation, because I wasn’t hearing any complaints. I remember going into a church…

July 18th, 2010
The perils of being single, Latina and over 30

Nathalia Ortiza and her friend Lisa Fernandez discuss the perils of being single, Latina and over 30.
If you’re over 30 and you’re single, Catholic and female, there’s only one more ingredient that could make for a combustible “cosmo-mojito” cocktail: being Latina. I was born and raised in the U.S. but when it comes to dating, the fact that I’m technically American means nothing to my very Cuban aunt. Up until a few years ago she and several of the women in my Hispanic family hypothetically shopped for the dresses they would wear to my hypothetical wedding. Whether I had a boyfriend or not didn’t matter, because to my traditional family, romantic life is like the setting on your Facebook account: You’re…

June 27th, 2010
A discussion with the co-founder of The King's Men

In the July/August issue of The Atlantic, Hanna Rosin asks if “The End of Men” is upon us. She argues women — with increasingly greater levels of education and more resilient jobs in this economic recession — are going to take charge, making men the second sex. Our quest for gender equality has led to women zooming ahead, leaving men in the dust. Is that true?
I’ve blogged about my thoughts on this article — and various other pieces that encourage misandry and diminish the role of men — but back in April, I met Damian Wargo, co-founder and director of The King’s Men, a men’s ministry group based in Philadelphia, who is an expert on these issues.
He and I met in…

June 14th, 2010
Our Pure Sex, Pure Love columnist on her new blog

Vice and sin are sexy.
Character and virtue… not so much.
But where’s the line between them? What exactly is a virtue? Can it be taught? Are good, and bad, behavior hard-wired in us?
Loyal Busted Halo readers know me as the author of the Pure Sex, Pure Love dating and relationships column. And while researching trends in mate preferences and marriage is still a big focus of me, I’ve always had another academic love: self-improvement, character and the quest for a virtuous, fulfilled life.
And would you believe… there’s a big, venerable foundation devoted to the study of just those things? The John Templeton Foundation is devoted to studying “big questions” of human…

June 4th, 2010
Dr. Christine Whelan and Nathalia Ortiz discuss SATC's success

When Sex and the City 2 arrived in theaters last Friday, women across the country were eagerly anticipating its release with all the excitement of a Harry Potter-phile awaiting a Daniel Radcliffe appearance. So why does the Sex and the City franchise continue to appeal to people (mostly women), six television seasons and two movies later? The answer may, ironically, have nothing to do with the sex or the city, and more to do with its very real representation of the feelings, conversations and experiences women have, juxtaposed with the exaggerated characters and lives that don’t reflect most women’s reality at all.

In this “Thinking Out Loud,” Dr. Christine Whelan and I compare thoughts on SATC and how it relates to our own adventures in dating, friendship, married life and even our faith lives.

June 1st, 2010
Some social scientists argue that it is

Today, the median age of marriage is 26 for women and 28 for men. Is that too old?
An increasingly vocal group of social commentators are concerned that by delaying marriage until our mid-to-late-20s or early 30s, we’re encouraging behaviors like premarital sex and cohabitation that are undermining the success of our unions. In a provocative piece in the September issue of U.S. Catholic, John Van Epp, PhD, president of LoveThinks, LLC, and author of How to Avoid Falling for a Jerk…, argues that young adults should stop delaying — and start searching for a spouse sooner rather than later.
In principle, I agree. Being proactive about the search for a spouse is a good thing. I’m thrilled to celebrate

May 17th, 2010
What exactly is it? What is the perception of the frequency? What is the reality?

What is a hook up?
As a not-that-old, not-that-out-of-touch college professor who teaches classes on the sociology of marriage, family and gender, this is one of my favorite questions to ask a class of undergraduates for three reasons: It wakes ‘em up; everyone is interested in the answer; and it stirs up quite a debate.
But in the three years I’ve been asking this question, there’s never been a class consensus. Some students tell me it’s sexual intercourse, with a zero-to-sex pick-up speed, within hours (and many beers) of a first meeting. Others tell me hooking up means making out or kissing, and might not happen until two people have hung out together in a group of friends for a while.…

May 3rd, 2010
More on deciphering the meaning of who pays on dates

If a woman insists on paying for her $3 coffee when she’s on a first date with a guy, does that mean she’s probably not that into him? Longtime Busted Halo reader, Phil, wrote in with that question a few weeks back — read the original piece here — and you replied with some great comments:
“The reciprocity heuristic is pretty hard-wired into most people… [and] for a dating female, the stakes are higher,” counsels Karen. “I pay my own way, and find ways to get to know you to see how I like you. By the way, I work to stay even on a gesture-for-gesture basis, not strictly dollar-for-dollar. So: you get the movie tickets, I’ll get the popcorn and soda. Please, please do not be…

April 19th, 2010
Women aren't the only ones wondering whether their date is really "into" them

I recently received this note from long-time Pure Sex, Pure Love reader, Phil, a 26-year-old in Iowa. In a previous column, I’d suggested to readers that simple body language is a good way to tell if someone is interested in you. Phil took that test to the next level and asked: If a woman refuses to let me pay for her coffee on a first date, is she sending me a signal that she’s not interested?
Hi Dr. Whelan,
I think that I have found a variant of the salt shaker test. As you have written in your column, that is when you are on a first date and you put a salt shaker (or something like that) on your date’s side of the table. From what I recall, how they react is suppose to indicate whether they are into you.
If they…

April 5th, 2010
A reader asks whether she should become Catholic for her boyfriend

A few weeks back, a reader wrote in with a powerful question: She had been drawn to the Catholic Church because of her boyfriend. Should she convert without a promise of marriage?
Rakti has been dating her boyfriend for five years, since she was 19 and he was 21. Rakti is Hindu, and her boyfriend, Mark, is Catholic. While Rakti was in college, she began to question elements of her Hindu faith. “After a lot of reading, research, investigation and time I knew in my heart that what I had been raised in wasn’t the truth,” she writes.
From the start of their relationship, Rakti and Mark had discussed religion at length. She even started attending Mass with him, but after a certain point, both she and Mark…

March 22nd, 2010
A new social history says that the women were given the burden for making 20th century marriages work. Whose responsibility is it today?

If I told you that “relationships take work,” you’d roll your eyes. That’s so obvious to all of us in 2010 that it barely counts as advice.
Right?
With thousands of relationship self-help guides in print, daytime talk shows featuring advice on achieving better sex, compatibility and romance, and government funding for marriage preparation and education initiatives, the belief that relationships take work is firmly embedded in the modern consciousness.
The “relationship expert” — be it Dr. Phil McGraw with his televised tough-love guidance for couples on the rocks, or specially trained marriage and family psychologists — holds a central place in the…

March 9th, 2010
The Princess, The Priest and the War for the Perfect Wedding Episode 13

Want to see more? Watch other episodes of “The Princess, The Priest and the War for the Perfect Wedding”.
Send us your questions!
We encourage you to email us questions, or record a short video with your question and send it to us. If we use your video in a future episode, we will give you a $25 Amazon gift certificate. Send in your questions to weddings@bustedhalo.com and hear Dr. Christine Whelan, author of the Pure Sex, Pure Love… column go head to head with Father Eric Andrews, a Paulist priest with more than 15 years of wedding experience as they debate your questions: Why can’t you get married on the beach? Why is the priest being such a jerk? Why do we have to talk about sex during pre-Cana? And many

March 8th, 2010
Shattering some age-old myths in under a minute

If you scanned the bookshelves in my office, you’d think I have a lot of problems: I’ve got books on how to find a date, have a good relationship and save a failing marriage. I’ve got guides to losing weight, overcoming anger, learning how to pray and finding one’s inner child. There are manuals for self-control, motivation, happiness and overcoming grief. In my own defense, though, I have a good excuse: I wrote my doctoral dissertation on the increasing popularity of self-help books, and in the years since then, I’ve been both a vocal critic and supporter of the $11 billion personal improvement industry.
So when a respected psychologist and myth-busting author comes out with…

February 24th, 2010
The Princess, The Priest and the War for the Perfect Wedding Episode 12

Want to see more? Watch other episodes of “The Princess, The Priest and the War for the Perfect Wedding”.
Send us your questions!
We encourage you to email us questions, or record a short video with your question and send it to us. If we use your video in a future episode, we will give you a $25 Amazon gift certificate. Send in your questions to weddings@bustedhalo.com and hear Dr. Christine Whelan, author of the Pure Sex, Pure Love… column go head to head with Father Eric Andrews, a Paulist priest with more than 15 years of wedding experience as they debate your questions: Why can’t you get married on the beach? Why is the priest being such a jerk? Why do we have to talk about sex during pre-Cana? And many

February 22nd, 2010
On its 5th anniversary, Christine Whelan discusses the purpose of Pure Sex, Pure Love

Two weeks ago I wrote a column based on the book A Little Bit Married…, a guide for couples in long-term relationships. In it, I hoped to offer some practical real-world advice for spiritual seekers who have been dating for years, and those who are living together or considering cohabitation as a trial run for marriage. Since we all know someone who fits this description, I thought it was a useful book full of research-based advice — and I was eager to hear how young-adult Catholics, and seekers of all faiths, might respond to my spin on the book: Living together isn’t the solution to a happy, long-lasting relationship… but honest communication is.
All of us know the “rules” about no sex before

January 25th, 2010
The Princess, The Priest and the War for the Perfect Wedding Episode 11

Want to see more? Watch other episodes of “The Princess, The Priest and the War for the Perfect Wedding”.
Send us your questions!
We encourage you to email us questions, or record a short video with your question and send it to us. If we use your video in a future episode, we will give you a $25 Amazon gift certificate. Send in your questions to weddings@bustedhalo.com and hear Dr. Christine Whelan, author of the Pure Sex, Pure Love… column go head to head with Father Eric Andrews, a Paulist priest with more than 15 years of wedding experience as they debate your questions: Why can’t you get married on the beach? Why is the priest being such a jerk? Why do we have to talk about sex during pre-Cana? And many

December 28th, 2009
You're not alone. Some strategies and ideas for change.

A new CatholicMatch.com poll has given us some data to prove what we already know: The holidays are a tough time to be single. Among more than 3,700 online CatholicMatch users polled in the December survey, 40% said that Christmas was the roughest time of the year to be unhitched… with New Year’s Eve a close second with 32% putting it in the number one “ugh” slot.
“I think all holidays are bad without someone special to share them with, but I have my family for most of them,” reported Michelle-407188. “I would have to say the worst is New Years. New Years is for being with close friends! It is way more fun to share it with someone special than alone!”
Women were slightly more likely to vote their solo New Year’s…

December 18th, 2009
The Princess, The Priest and the War for the Perfect Wedding Episode 10

Want to see more? Watch other episodes of “The Princess, The Priest and the War for the Perfect Wedding”.
Send us your questions!
We encourage you to email us questions, or record a short video with your question and send it to us. If we use your video in a future episode, we will give you a $25 Amazon gift certificate. Send in your questions to weddings@bustedhalo.com and hear Dr. Christine Whelan, author of the Pure Sex, Pure Love… column go head to head with Father Eric Andrews, a Paulist priest with more than 15 years of wedding experience as they debate your questions: Why can’t you get married on the beach? Why is the priest being such a jerk? Why do we have to talk about sex during pre-Cana? And many

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