In today’s pluralistic world, many non-Catholics find themselves dating a catholic and wondering where the relationship might go. Explore the basics of Church teachings on intimate relationships, questions to ask your Catholic date, and more in this guide to dating a Catholic for the first time.

See Past Catholic Stereotypes in Dating a Catholic

Many non-Catholics have opinions of Catholics formed from family, religion, or the media. Be certain to see your Catholic date for who he is, without letting any personal stereotypes of Catholicism get in the way.

When most non-Catholics think Catholic Church today, the latest headline about pro-life or clergy abuse may spring to mind. Most modern people aren’t used to an institution like the Catholic Church that mandates believers’ behavior in all aspects of life, including relationships. From a Catholic standpoint, the Church cares for all her believers and wants them to live lives holy and close to God by obeying Church doctrine, or teaching, in all aspects of life.

Related: Signs of True Love: Times She Needs Your Support

As a person dating a Catholic, you too may be affected by the Church’s teachings and culture. How much the Church is a part of your life will depend upon how serious you are about your Catholic hottie and how serious he is about his faith.

What Does Dating a Catholic Mean

If your date mentions that “I’m a Catholic” on date one or two, it can mean of one of several things:

• I’m culturally a Catholic because of my family, but I don’t practice;

• I’m a practicing Catholic and want you to know because faith affects my relationship choices.

If your Catholic date is culturally a Catholic but not practicing. His faith might not even be an issue unless the two of you become serious. If your Catholic date is a practicing Catholic and takes her faith very seriously, be prepared for Catholic teachings shaping your relationship.

Dating a Catholic: What Catholicism May Mean for Your Relationship

Only you can find out how much your Catholic love interest values the teachings of her faith. The following questions after date one may help gauge your date’s stance on Church teaching:

Related: 8 Ways to Prevent Your Husband From Feeling Insecure

• How often do you go to Mass (gauging whether your date is practicing or not)?

• Are you a liberal Catholic or a conservative Catholic ?

• Do you see yourself getting married in the Catholic Church (meaning the potential partner would become Catholic as well)?

These questions will begin a conversation about the role of Catholicism in your date’s life and help you better understand your date’s Catholic beliefs and how they may affect a possible relationship between the two of you.

Catholic Church Teachings on Love and Relationships

According to Church teachings all faithful Catholics must uphold the following in their intimate relationships:

• Marriage between a man and a woman (practicing homosexuality and homosexual marriages are taboo);
• Sex between spouses gift from God that upholds sanctity of marriage (no sex before marriage);
• Sex in a marriage regulated by Natural Family Planning. The rhythm method, as the only endorsed form of birth control.
• Any form of contraception or abortion by any means other than Natural Family Planning is forbidden as it is believed to violate the sanctity of life.
• Marriage is only recognized between two Catholics or a baptized Christian and a Catholic with special permission. The church highly encourages the non-Catholic partner to become a Catholic before marriage and that any children be Catholics, too.

In a casual dating relationship, the basic Catholic teachings on sex and marriage may never even come up. As you become more serious and contemplate engagement or marriage. However, the Church may play a bigger role in your relationship.

Sex in Dating a Catholic

In a dating relationship, sexual attraction and compatibility are at the top of most people’s lists. Church teaching forbids sex before marriage and sex with modern contraceptives. Such as condoms, IUD’s, and most definitely the morning after pill, considered an abortion by the Church.

Though all Catholics are supposed to follow Church teaching, some do not. Only a conversation with your Catholic date will unravel whether he’s willing to have sex outside of marriage and use modern contraceptives.

Your Catholic date is the best source of information about how the Catholic faith affects her life and her expectations in a relationship. Ask questions, be informed. And remember, your date is a person who happens to be Catholic and not just a stereotype.