After a talk I once gave, a young woman approached me to ask this question. She was a YMT (Youth Mission Team) missionary, travelling Australia in a van with two other girls and three guys. She shared that the guys were very virtuous, prayerful and passionate about their faith. She was beginning to worry that she was being impure because she was attracted to all three men.
I need to be careful here.
It is not a bad thing that a young woman finds three men who are virtuous, prayerful and passionate about their faith attractive. When I use the word attracted, I mean much more than simply finding their exterior appearance pleasing. She is attracted to the whole person. They had been treating her with respect, and she was understandably wowed by the feeling of being loved and served by these men.
It is natural and understandable that this girl would be drawn to all of them. However, there is a big difference between finding the goodness in several people of the opposite sex attractive and thinking it is okay to pursue all of them romantically.
Here are a few things I would urge this young woman to consider in order to keep this situation pure.
- Do not Romanticise the Friendships in your Mind
The virtue of chastity does not pertain only to the physical body but also to the emotions we experience in our hearts. Emotional unchastity is especially a temptation for women, who often struggle to guard their hearts against using men emotionally to make themselves feel loved.
How does emotional chastity play out? She might begin to imagine all three of these men asking her out, holding her hand, hugging her and going on a romantic date with her. This is emotional use. She is forming a powerful emotional bond with all of them, because she is experiencing a false intimacy with them in her mind. This will begin to create confusion and pain in her because she will deep down begin to see them all in a romantic sense, and long for her imagination to become reality.
- Don’t be Flirtatious
There can be a real temptation for a woman to flirt with multiple men at once, even if she is not romantically interested in them, because she likes the feeling of being loved. We all thrive a little too much on knowing someone else is drawn to us, even if we are not drawn to them. Flirting with multiple men at once will create confusion for the guys, as they will constantly be confused by how she is treating them compared to the guy next to him.
- Become a Disinterested Friend
She should treat them all with warmth, kindness and sincerity. No doubt, there will be a particular man in the group she is drawn to more or less than the others. A real test of her femininity will be whether she can be just as respectful to the men she is drawn to the least as the one she is drawn to the most.
- If You Can Date all of Them, Date None of Them
This young woman may be tempted to think that because they are all good men, if any of them asked her out, she should say yes. I would argue no.
She should not date them just because they are good men, and have expressed interest. She should only respond to an invitation to a date with the man that stands out from the rest, so much so, that she thinks God could be calling them to discern marriage together. I am sure that the men in this van are virtuous, but that is very different from feeling called to discern marriage with them.
I would also urge her not to initiate asking the man she feels most drawn to out on a date but surrender him to the Lord and hope that he will feel drawn to initiate the relationship with her. No woman wants to ask the guy out, but you are worth being asked out. If he doesn’t desire you enough to ask you out, he likely won’t desire you enough to pursue you throughout your relationship either
If you are interested in learning more about this topic, enquire about booking Simon to speak at your parish or event on the topic of, How to Date with Passion and Purpose.