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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February 14th, 2007
Cupid takes aim for later marriage

When I was 16, I memorized the sheet music to Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You” and gave my crush a Valentine’s Day concert. At 23, I baked heart-shaped brownies for my man of the moment—which he enjoyed, but asked why they were shaped funny.
Otherwise, I’ve spent most Feb. 14s by myself. It doesn’t feel terrific. And I know on that score, I am not alone.
But those of you who are moping around this Valentine’s Day, jealously eyeing happy couples, should relax. The sappy pink-and-red hearts in all the drug store windows may make you lose hope that you’ll ever find a partner, but the facts tell a different story: Cupid is still alive and well, no matter…

February 12th, 2007
Happy Valentine's Day! Is Love Dead?

You can feel it in the air—the mad rush on Tiffany’s, restaurants booked-up for prix fixe dinners, store shelves cleared of teddy bears, chocolate and flowers. (And if you’re waiting until now to pick up any of these, good luck.)
Valentine’s Day—”Lovers’ Day,” as it’s called in the Romance languages—is right around the corner. It’s been celebrated for centuries, but these days, for my generation, I can’t help but wonder sometimes what February 14th means to us… and what it doesn’t.
Not-So-Inner
My inner amateur sociologist has long maintained a particular curiosity about relationships, partly because mine…

February 5th, 2007
When the one you love doesn't feel the same

It’s the subject of great literature from Don Quixote to The Great Gatsby. It’s the emotions behind ballads from the Eagles to Coldplay. Unrequited love is a love that isn’t reciprocated—and it’s something that most of us have experienced.
According to a recent BustedHalo online poll, more than 90% of respondents said that they have either had romantic feelings that have gone unreciprocated, or that they have had a friend who has had feelings for them that they did not share. It’s a torturous emotion: You just can’t get the object of your affection and desire to see you in the same way, or you feel deeply guilty about not wanting to be romantically involved with someone…

January 29th, 2007
...leaving the road less traveled behind

March 18, 2007, a day I’ll fondly remember for the rest of my life. I will be marrying a woman I’m madly in love with, and she will be my first, and hopefully last, lover. It is the day when I cease to be a virgin and become…uhhh, not a virgin? There isn’t really a title I suppose for people who have had sex, maybe “normal” or perhaps “not a freak,” currently, however, I am a 27-year-old virgin. Not quite stirring enough for a movie, but considering the fact that in my lifetime I have had both a mullet and glasses thick enough to see Pluto, I’m surprised I’m actually going to have sex at all during my days on earth.
This is not to say I haven’t had opportunities…

January 23rd, 2007
Meditations for Finding Peace by Nicole Sotelo

“Your faith has made you well,” Jesus says to a woman who seeks out his healing presence. “Go in peace, and be healed…” (Mark 5:34). Many people who have suffered as a result of disease, divorce, death or other tragedies speak to faith’s capacity to heal and comfort. In her first book, Women Healing from Abuse: Meditations for Finding Peace, Nicole Sotelo highlights resources from the Christian tradition with the hope that they may provide spiritual healing to women who have suffered from different forms of abuse, whether they be economic, emotional, physical, and/or sexual.
Sotelo—who also serves as a contributing editor for BustedHalo.com— reports…

January 22nd, 2007
What women and men look for in a spouse has changed drastically in the last 60 years

Since the 1930s, researchers have been asking men and women what they want in a spouse. And my, how times have changed. Here’s a round-up of national preferences. Where do you stand?
What Men Want
While today’s young man ranks love and attraction as most important, a few generations ago it didn’t even make the top three. A dependable, sweet lady who had skills in the kitchen was the prized catch in the 1930s; these days, guys are looking for brains, beauty—and a sizeable paycheck seems to sweeten the deal.
Then…
Men who were in their 20s in the 1930s—the grandfathers or great-grandfathers of today’s young-adults—reported that, first and foremost, they were…

January 8th, 2007
10 New Years Tips for Meeting that Special Someone in 2007

You’ve made your New Year’s Resolution list. Perhaps you’ve resolved to go to the gym more often or to call your parents and grandparents regularly. Maybe you’ve decided this is the year that you are going to switch jobs or apply to grad school. We all want to improve something about ourselves, and we love the chance to start afresh to make it happen. But as I’ve spoken with young-adults about their New Year’s Resolutions list, I noticed something interesting:
Very few of us will say explicitly that we hope this is the year that we meet our life partners, that this is the year that God brings that special person into our lives. Yet to meet the right person and begin to build a life…

December 18th, 2006
Home for the Holidays... Seven Survival Tips for Couples

“Hi, I’m Christine,” I said, nervously announcing the obvious as I stepped into my fiancé’s aunt’s living room for Thanksgiving last month. Peter and I had gotten engaged over the summer and I was on center stage in this first meeting with his aunts, uncles and cousins. Was I dressed correctly? Should I hug or shake hands? Were there topics I shouldn’t talk about? Would they like me?
Joining to your significant other’s family can be fraught with all sorts of dramas. Here are some tips that I’ve compiled through my research and interviews—use it as a guide to navigating the pitfalls of the “home for the holidays” season.
1. Will you…

December 4th, 2006
The Bad News About Unwed Mothers

Keisha Castle-Hughes, the 16-year-old unmarried actress who plays the Virgin Mary in the new movie, The Nativity Story, is pregnant by her 19-year-old boyfriend. Last week CNN could talk about nothing else: Amazing the coincidence, the announcers said, of this woman getting pregnant when she was playing the role of the most famous unmarried mother in history. And would you believe, the commentators crooned, her boyfriend is even a carpenter, just like Joseph.
Listen. It takes a lot of anti-Catholic sentiment to rile me these days, but after two days of hearing about the “miracle” and “wondrous news” of this young actress’s pregnancy while playing the role of the Blessed Virgin;…

November 9th, 2006
Catholic NO-It-Alls

I don’t often show it, but I’m a bit of a political animal.
In college, I majored in political science with a primary concentration in American politics alongside an independent study of the internal machinery of the church. For a long time, campaign season meant high-gear; I worked on races at all levels and on both sides of the aisle, ending up as a mix of strategist, spokesman or campaign manager on a smattering of local contests.
But somewhere along the way, something changed. I became frustrated with the guts of the process: the wordy statements that really said nothing, the ceaseless clawing of fund-raising and, most of all, the hollow superficiality, depraved tactics and poisonous polarization…

November 8th, 2006
Pure Sex, Pure Love

I’ve been really busy recently. I’ve been dashing into church 10 minutes late because I had to send “just one more email.” During Mass, I’ve been thinking about work rather than paying attention to the homilies. And back home in the evenings, I haven’t been writing in my journal—my most precious form of prayer—because I’m working up until the last possible moment when I have to finally go to sleep.
With good things happening in my career and personal life, this is one of the most exciting and successful times I’ve ever experienced. Yet I feel very far away from God.
Do prayer, meditation and conversation with God fall by the wayside as we go-go-go…

October 27th, 2006
Love is in the Air

The save-the-date cards are rolling in with a frequency usually reserved for bills (this weekend, I’ll be at the third family wedding of the year). Many of my friends are excitedly hinting at engagements and the rest of them have something to show for their many nights spent out on the “scouting tour.” A priest-friend of mine in the missions just presided at his parish’s first wedding since the early 1930s and, closer to home, BustedHalo’s own Dr. Christine Whelan has hit it big in the States with her new book, Why Smart Men Marry Smart Women.
As the saying goes, love is in the air.
But if that’s true then I must be either hermetically sealed off from it or on an oxygen tank.
Embedded…

October 24th, 2006
Slicing the pie too thin?: How important is shared faith for high-achievers searching for love?

Shiena is an East Indian anesthesiology resident in New York City. Her parents want her to marry an Indian man for cultural and religious reasons. Instead, she’s been dating an Italian Catholic bodybuilder for the last two years. But since he’s not Hindu, she hasn’t yet told her parents about the relationship, even though the pair is practically inseparable. “Every slice narrows the pie. Education, race, religion—it’s a small pool,” she said.
For SWANS (Strong Women Achievers, No Spouse) finding a partner who shares their religious tradition sometimes seems like an unnecessary burden. There are so many other qualities to match up, successful men and women…

September 25th, 2006
Why Smart Men Marry Smart Women

Note to BustedHalo readers from Christine:
In February 2005 I wrote an article for BustedHalo under the title, “Overqualified for Love?” where I asked readers to share their thoughts on a pressing question for young-adults: Are smart, successful women at a disadvantage when looking for a spouse?

I wrote the article because I was concerned—both personally and professionally. I’d just finished my Ph.D., I was single, and I’d been reading about two studies that had been getting a lot of attention in the media, online and among my friends:
A University of Michigan study reported that college-educated men would prefer to marry a woman whom they considered subordinate—for…

August 28th, 2006
Bridezilla is Born : How fine china and fluffy towels turned me into a monster

Among the first pieces of advice for the newly engaged couple is to set up a wedding registry as soon as possible. If you don’t, you’ll get six toasters and some terrible ceramic statuettes, the guidebooks warn. There are a lot of decisions to be made—and all the gender-neutral terminology in the world can’t hide the fact that this is clearly intended to be woman’s work. Some stores (like Bloomingdale’s) are honest: They call it the Bridal Registry. It’s shopping, it’s girly, and while the man can hold the official Bridal Registry bar code zapper gun, it’s the woman who is supposed to make the big decisions.
If you think “big decisions” should…

August 4th, 2006
Do I have to go to confession for attending Madonna's Confessions tour?

When Madonna’s Confession’s Tour came to New York City last week, I was one of the screaming fans in a jam-packed Madison Square Garden. I’ve wanted to go to Madonna concert since 1994 when my father forbid me to attend her Bedtime Stories tour. Now I feel like it’s time for me to make some confessions.
Papa Does Preach
“My money isn’t going to support a Catholic-hater,” Dad said as he refused to give permission to attend the concert with my friends. I was 17 and thought my parents were Draconian in their rules and regulations.
I was going to pay for it with my allowance money, I argued. No dice: It was still our family money going to support a woman who the Pope had accused of…

August 4th, 2006
Do's and Don'ts: How to Avoid Jealousy in your "Opposite Sex" Friendships

Perhaps it was because I went to an all girls’ school, but when I got to college, most of my closest friends were guys. I’ve got great photos of me being held up by six boys from our school newspaper and of formals and parties with me as the only woman among a sea of tuxedos. Yet as we’ve gotten older, our friendships have changed. We’re less likely to hang out a deux; we’re more likely to turn events into double dates or group parties. There’s a fine line that men and women tread when they want to preserve opposite-sex friendships-and keep significant other’s from getting jealous.
According to our recent survey, 79% of BustedHalo respondents said they have gotten jealous…

July 30th, 2006
Can a guy and a girl be 'just friends'?

Opposite-sex friendships are great, and can be completely uncomplicated. Or they can get you into a whole heap of trouble.
Sometimes a movie hits a chord in the collective conscience of a generation: The 1989 movie When Harry Met Sally did just that.
Harry: You realize of course that we could never be friends.
Sally: Why not?
Harry: What I’m saying is – and this is not a come-on in any way, shape or form – is that men and women can’t be friends because the sex part always gets in the way.
Sally: That’s not true. I have a number of men friends and there is no sex involved.
Harry: No you don’t.
Sally: Yes I do…
Harry: You only think you do.
As young adults attend co-ed colleges and…

July 15th, 2006
The Handbag Problem A.K.A. Advice on How To Be a Great "Date"

John was attending a work cocktail party with his girlfriend Angie when they had a fight. Angie attends receptions for her job all the time, but this was the first time she’d been to a business function of John’s. He introduced her to his colleagues as “my date” or “my girlfriend”—but she felt like people were looking right past her. “I was a decorative accessory or an unnecessary appendage,” she said.
After a few drinks to compensate for the awkwardness, she started to introduce herself to people as “John’s handbag”—the accessory. People laughed nervously. By the third time she’d told one of John’s colleagues…

July 4th, 2006
Rules of Engagement: Hitching a ride on the Wedding Train

In March of last year, I met a handsome, witty man named Peter at a black-tie charity benefit in New York City and we talked until the wee hours of the morning. From the start, I knew this was a special relationship. It was simple. We communicated well. He made me laugh and treated me with love and respect. He was a talker—and a great listener. And after about six months, I was pretty sure this was it: Peter and I were in love, and I hoped someday we might get married.
Around this time I received a piece of great advice: Think about what being married means—and think about it now, while you are calm and thoughtful—because once you get engaged, the Wedding Train rolls out of the station and can become a runaway…

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