Anthony Buono

Anthony Buono

Anthony Buono is the founder of For thousands of Catholic singles, Anthony offers guidance, humor, understanding, and practical relationship advice.  Visit his blog at

Articles by Anthony Buono

Get over it!

Mar 6, 2013 / 00:00 am

Have you ever had someone tell you to get over it when you’re expressing the pain of a failed relationship?It’s not easy to get over it.  Whatever “it” is, you have been affected, and you can’t control your feelings or your memories. In your mind, you wonder how you are supposed to get over what happened to you, and how you can possibly get over the hurt.Just when you think you are making progress, something happens to trigger what happened, and you play it all over again in your mind, making it as fresh as the day it actually happened.Unfortunately, there are many people unequipped to be truly helpful at these times.  It doesn’t make sense to expect a person who is going through an emotionally painful experience to “get over it,” as if it’s a matter of decision.Have you ever noticed that the people who say “get over it” typically present that advice with frustration?  That’s because they don’t want to go through your pain with you.  They want you to be over it so they can be spared having to deal with your unhappy state. They want to help and do care, but they just want you to feel better quickly so things can move on.But what’s needed most is a friendship that allows for the painful emotions to be experienced without apology.Why should you “get over it”?  Is it wrong to feel what you feel?  No, it’s actually very important for you to get through it as you are able to, because it’s real to you.  Everybody’s emotions are unique to themselves.  It’s not for anyone else to judge.In fact, you are getting over it.  Just not at the pace those around you would like. You have to be honest with yourself.  If your emotional state tells you that you aren’t over it yet, then that’s fine.  Don’t be over it yet.It might be true that we should not allow certain things to affect us and our ability to function normally and happily in life.  But yet, we are affected, and it does affect our ability to function.This is to be expected.  St. Paul so beautifully expresses his own human complexity (which is true for all of us) in Romans, Chapter 7, when he shares that he does not do what he wants to do, but instead what he does not want to do.All us experience things that we don’t understand.  Nothing exemplifies this more than when we try to process and deal with negative things that happen to us.The brain does not provide human beings with the capability of a black and white approach to life.  There is nothing standard about processing things that come into the brain from the outside world.  Every person’s brain is different, because every person experiences life uniquely.It’s a mystery why two people can witness the same event and remember it differently, or why it’s possible to have no memory of certain details of an event.  This is very common in dating.  Two people remember their relationship very differently, even though they were both there together and experienced the same things.This does not excuse a person for behaving badly when something happens that they struggle to get over. The recovery process does not include causing more harm. The hurt person can be tempted to spread information about the experience that is skewed, misrepresented, or out of context. This can cause more damage.We see a lot of this in the dating world.  Two people break up, and the one who has been hurt (or has determined they are the victim) tells everyone around them how horrible the other is.  Often, the core problem was simply that they were not a good fit for each other.  Yet, hurt people can spin their experience in a way that makes the other look like someone all people should stay away from.You have a right to recover at your own pace, but you don’t have a right to judge what others did to “cause” it.  This is fundamentally because each person internally processes external information uniquely. It is extremely difficult to ever really know objective truth to situations.This is why relationships are so much more about communication than about sexual attraction, financial security, or any other thing people tend to focus on.  And by communication, I mean the ability to share thoughts and feelings openly, and provide a safe place for each other’s complexities.A person who is hurt can’t just “get over it” without people to help them do so on their own terms and in their own time.  The time period for moving on can often be shortened because of a good friend who helps you through or prolonged because there is no one to help you navigate outward expressions of that hurt in a healthy and productive way.Hurt people don’t get healthier by force.  They have to get there on their own, but cannot get there without others to help them.  Most of all, they will never be at peace with themselves without forgiveness.  To ultimately “get over it” is to have forgiveness for whomever hurt them, as well as forgiveness of self.Love is a light that navigates the way.  Jesus said He is the light of the world.  A true friend in your life shines that light of Christ while you’re in that pain so you never wander off toward the darkness.

Why marriage is the cure to selfishness

Jan 22, 2013 / 00:00 am

I read a recent article that started out by saying that “all marriages start off very selfishly.” He went on to say that people realize into the marriage that they can’t be so selfish and act accordingly.  It’s not quite that simple.Catholic teaching tells us that everyone born is selfish due to original sin that configured humanity to a condition of a self-serving nature. In Christ, through Baptism, original sin is removed, but its effects remain. Thus, we still have that strong tendency to serve ourselves as the priority in our lives.  Thanks be to God, Baptism also configures us to Jesus Christ and we share His divine nature, making grace available to us.Now let’s look at selfishness from a practical level as it applies to dating, love and marriage.Yes, it’s true that marriages start of very selfishly.  However, Christian marriage is a call to a selfless exchange of two people who become one in every way, and subsequently share that love with others.This is a tall order. More than half of all marriages fall short of this ideal. I would argue there are many that maintain their marriages but suffer tremendous strain due to unwillingness to address the weaknesses where love fails or is diminished, causing an environment that is contrary to the marriage ideal.It’s easy to accuse one or both persons of being too selfish. Is it selfish for a unhappy wife to want the affection of her husband when there is none? Is it selfish of an unhappy husband to expect the emotional support of his wife but not receive it?There is a place for selfishness. Some selfishness is better identified as our “needs.” Our needs are important and have an effect on how we love another. If no needs are met as were expected, then love can die. Should it die?  Probably not, if we only focus on loving as Jesus loved, which is a giving and self-donation without getting it in return.  But only God can live this kind of love.Human beings fall short of this kind of love. And it will always be this way.  Marital love is a tall order because it’s unnatural for human beings to accomplish. It’s impossible because we all have needs, and we all have expectations as to how those needs should be met.  It’s not for us to discount these needs. But it’s also not for us to excuse our behavior based on these needs.The key is to accept that we are selfish people throughout our whole lives, and that success in marriage between two human beings is in embracing each other’s humanness as the probability, while mutually striving to become more like that unnatural divine love that is God. We need to accept that 1) we are selfish and need to work on becoming less selfish, 2) only God can love us perfectly, and 3) any human being is going to fail at times in true love. This kind of acceptance goes a long way in how we approach our own needs as well as the needs of the person we love.There is still the matter of our valid needs that do have to be met, at least often enough to keep us afloat. No person can sustain providing love to another by meeting all their needs, while having no need of their own met.  That’s not marital love. Marital love requires both persons participating in the game. When one is down and lacks the ability at the time to give, the other needs to be the stronger one, and vice versa.In a word, successful marriage between two very non-perfect people is a sharing of love that embraces the other’s selfishness in their moments of selfish acts. When a selfish act is presented by one, it’s imperative that the other act selflessly in response in order to help rectify the situation and restore peace. If both act selfishly through actions and reactions, the course toward failed marriage is set.But I have already said that we are all selfish, and it’s unnatural to be selfless. Exactly! Christian marriage is impossible without God. More to the point, two human beings cannot sustain love for a lifetime without divine influence.In order find a genuine love that can make a marriage work, you have to be committed to working on your selfishness. It’s a ferocious passion not easily tamed. If unchecked, we shouldn’t be surprised when not only can we not meet another person’s needs, we can’t recognize a person capable of meeting our needs.We work on our selfishness primarily by selfless acts. We have to practice it in order to improve.  It’s called “character development.” A person of good character is not someone who is no longer selfish. Rather, it’s a person who recognizes that selfishness is behind the problems, and capable of seeing the good and positive qualities of another above any bad decisions, mistakes, or unattractive qualities.Marriage is the cure to selfishness because it forces a person to get out of themselves and tend to their spouse and children. However, marriage only works to cure selfishness as both people are permitted to have setbacks because of selfish moments, and grow in selflessness together by being interested in and attentive to each other’s needs as they struggle and grow.  That is love that cannot fail.

How is a relationship like a garage sale?

Dec 11, 2012 / 00:00 am

... from a distance it looks like it could be interesting, but up close, it’s just a ton of crap you don’t need.These are the words from something I found on Pinterest, minus the profanity (though you have to admit, it’s the right choice of word). I laughed, of course, at first because I can totally relate to the garage sale concept of spending a lot of time rummaging through stuff in hopes of finding something interesting, but typically ending up wasting time over stuff you really don’t need. What makes us laugh even more is the feeling behind this sentiment when it comes to dating. Who can’t relate to having the feeling of “I don’t need this in my life” or “Why should I put up with this crap?”Funny thing about garages sales, though. Every once in awhile, you come across a real treasure among that rubble. Something the owner decided was no value to them, but you’ve been searching for a long time. And the more garage sales you go to, the more likely your chances of finding something very valuable.We all want a good deal. We all want to discover something really special that no one else has. Many will tell you that finding a good deal and discovering something no one else has means making the effort and exhausting all possibilities to make it happen.Many feel this way about finding love and getting married; that it takes getting out there to a lot of garage sales and exhausting all your opportunities if it’s going to happen at all.I completely agree that men and women must make the effort to get out there. But finding a good deal and discovering love is so much more about God’s hand than it is our effort. I’ve said before: love is a mystery. It cannot be determined by us.Because God is love, finding someone special and falling in love is, in a very mysterious and intangible way, about two people moved by God Himself toward each other, sometimes without even realizing it or understanding why.We are not items at a garage sale that we notice and say “Ah ha! You are the love of my life. I’ve been looking for you at every garage sale imaginable, and now you’re mine.” It doesn’t work that way.For many couples, love happens, rather than it is found after searching. When we are hunting for love, very rarely do we find what we’re looking for. The treasures people discover at garage sales are the product of luck, not determination. God allowed them to find it for some unknown reason. Why they found it, rather than someone else, cannot be answered. It certainly cannot be attributed to determination or the will to find it.It’s like lottery tickets. Some people are so desperate to win that they spend hundreds of dollars on tickets because they believe it increases their chances. Then they find out someone who bought just one ticket for the heck of it wins the lottery, and they’re thrown into angry disbelief.The expression “lucky in love” is kind of good. Luck is where our efforts meet God’s generosity. You don’t get what God wants to give unless you make some effort. But effort, in this sense, is not determination to achieve. It’s simply a normal pursuit of living life to the fullest as the person we are created to be. God has a way of providing for our every need. That includes getting lucky in love.Love happens as we live life normally and without trying to force relationships or putting the pressure on ourselves and others to get married. Love happens when we least expect it because we are busy living a healthy, happy, productive life.Yes, we need to get into environments that make sense to meet quality single men and women so God is able to influence the people who enter into our life. We cannot just sit at home doing nothing, nor can we be loners and anti-social. We have to increase our social skills, if needed, and persevere in motivation and effort to be social.We cannot decide how God is to work in bring love into our lives. We must be open to however God wants it to happen, and be observant about the people who come along in our everyday life. You just never know when that person will come along.Whatever your approach, you’re not going to avoid dealing with things you’re rather not deal with. Love between two persons joyfully and willingly deals with the rough spots that can easily be interpreted as crap you don’t need. You might not need it, but the person you love needs you to work with them through it, just as you need them to work with you.

Does love mean never having to say you’re sorry?

Nov 13, 2012 / 00:00 am

Dear Anthony,I have gotten very serious recently with a man I met on Ave Maria Singles. My only reservation so far is that I have never heard him say he is sorry for anything. I seem to be the only one who has to be sorry for things. If I try to tell him about things I think he should be sorry about, he gets defensive and upset and says I’m ungrateful. I’m starting to feel like I’m no good for him, and guilty for feeling a little bitter inside because he won’t ever say he’s sorry. What should I do?Perhaps your boyfriend has subscribed to the erroneous adage, “love means never having to say you’re sorry” coined by Erich Segal in the best selling book of the 1960s, “Love Story.”Of all the many terms and phrases used to define what love means, this is one of the worst, yet adapted by an entire culture. This line is voted #13 in the American Film Institute’s top 100 movie quotes.I would wager that you can’t find a single person who really believes that if they are hurt by someone they love, no apology is necessary. Yet, this line is was popularized, and repeated twice in the very overly schmaltzed (and truly unwatchable) film version.Is this another myth related to unconditional love? You can treat someone however you like and heartfelt apologies are unnecessary, because people are supposed to love you for better or worse, richer or poorer, sickness and health?How absurd! What a myth it is that you can find love with a person who will never hurt you. Those who require that better refrain from relationships with human beings and stay single, or enter religious life to focus on their relationship with Jesus Christ.This sentiment was not brand new in the 60’s. In the 1949 film She Wore A Yellow Ribbon, the John Wayne’s character says “Never apologize and never explain, it’s a sign of weakness.”Another absurdity. So if you say you’re sorry and try to explain yourself, you’re a weak person, as if you are giving the other person some kind of power over you. Sorry, John Wayne, this is the wrong message, especially to men.The truth is, it takes strength and love to apologize. Admitting our mistakes does not mean that we will no longer commit the same mistakes. In fact, never admitting mistakes means they will likely be repeated. Many people make the same mistakes over and over again. Saying sorry for the same mistakes fosters an inner consciousness that makes us more aware of those mistakes and strengthens our resolve to avoid them until we eventually no longer commit them. Much like going to confession for the same sins over and over again. We don’t avoid confessing the same sin because we are prone to commit them again. By confessing, we are working at lessening the degree and frequency, by God’s grace. It is the same attitude necessary to apologizing to those we love.I think John Lennon is much closer to the truth on this matter when he said “Love means having to say you’re sorry every fifteen minutes.” That’s an exaggeration, of course, but seems closer to the truth. In my view, the adage that makes the most sense is “love means accepting when someone says they’re sorry.” Or better yet, “love means never holding back from apologizing.”This is because it seems to me that the apology has become more complicated than it should be. People try to read too much into an apology. Was it sincere? Is the person really sorry, or just saying the word? Does the person truly realize what they’ve done? Is there going to more than just the apology?An apology should not be a quick way off the hook. Too many say they’re sorry only because they were caught and are only sorry because they got caught. But many others are sorry for doing things they did not realize would hurt the other. We should not be too quick to pass judgment on someone’s apology.The risk here is that the apology itself gets overlooked when there should be a general gladness that, at the very least, the person is apologizing. I think this is where your inner discontent about your boyfriend never apologizing stems from. To not apologize implies that your feelings have gone unnoticed or are of no concern. To not say apologize because you assume the other knows you’re sorry has the same negative affect. We have to find a way to get the words out. It matters because words are powerful. They represent what’s in our heart.In fact, the inability to say “I’m sorry” with sincerity and a sense of sorrow for something done is dangerous to a relationship, especially marital love. This inability to apologize, like you are experiencing, could be a red flag about things to come should you move forward into marriage with a person who will not say “I’m sorry.” It’s no minor thing that he won’t say he’s sorry. As far as you can tell, he does not believe he does anything wrong in your relationship. That’s pretty scary.Saying sorry is so simple, yet so difficult. Why? The answer is pride and selfishness. Two things that should never exist when love is true and real. Let’s face it, we all make mistakes – no one is perfect. Admitting this is a real challenge for most.There is always a risk in being a person vulnerable enough to say you’re sorry. Some people never satisfied and enjoy being miserable. They are the same people for whom an apology is not enough.Some people say their sorry to pacify the situation, even when they’re not sorry. These people are peace seekers and just want to see things move forward. They understand the power of “I’m sorry” to defuse an otherwise tense and unstable situation.Some people just cannot say they’re sorry out of fear of coming across like the weaker party in the relationship. These are the same people that have to make the other person feel bad regularly, so they can hold the power in the relationship.It sounds to me like you might be with someone like that. I highly recommend you explore this more closely. There are few things worse than being in a marriage with someone who cannot say they’re sorry. It implies much more than just the absence of the words.If couples never apologize to each other (and I mean both are able and willing to apologize when necessary), resentment builds and the relationship or marriage likely will end. Rare is the couple who bases their relationship on a mutual understanding that apologies are unnecessary. The majority of us get hurt very easily by the person we love. The more we love them, the harder we feel the hurt. An “I’m sorry” is just as necessary for all couples as “I love you.”

How well can you train a man?

Oct 30, 2012 / 00:00 am

Dear Anthony,I’m frustrated. I have dated several women now that I really hit it off with and then they end up wanting the upper hand in the relationship. I’m all for making a woman happy, but I don’t like feeling like I’m expected to know my place, if you know what I mean. Is there any hope of meeting a woman who doesn’t feel they have to train me?First, I want to applaud you for being bold enough to reach out and ask a question like this. There are so many men who feel the way you do, but are either too scared to bring it up or prefer to quietly deal with it and just pull away from the woman. What’s even worse are those who accept that this is the way it should be and allow themselves to be trained.To the credit of women, they typically don’t know they’re doing this. Many modern women have been raised to be strong and independent. There are many positive and attractive things about a strong and independent woman. Too many men find such a woman intimidating and believe that’s not the kind of woman they want. That’s unfortunate.The strong, independent woman can take life by storm and be in control of her destiny in many ways. Unfortunately, often they try to control people as well, especially the man in their life. The fight they develop tends to be hard to turn off when it comes to their dating relationships.But it’s not just this type of woman who has a need for control. Many not-so-strong and not-so-independent types also have the desire to control a man. All men and women have manipulation capabilities. Some people have no idea they are this way. Others are aware of this ability and make a conscious effort to work on it or use it for good (yes, there are many good uses of manipulation).What we are talking about here is a disturbing amount of women who consciously and strategically talk about “training” a man. It’s a tactic that stems from the assumption that the man will want to do anything for her because of this love for her. She does not realize that she is using the man as an object in order to get what she wants.That sounds very calculating and cruel. Some women, sad to say, are that calculating. But I believe most don’t realize there is any harm in it. Women light-heartedly talk about training their man, and it’s all kind of tongue in cheek that gets those who hear it to laugh in a way that says “I know exactly what you mean.” But they’re dead serious about it. Again, not because it’s wrong, but because they believe it’s normal.It’s a very fine line between being encouraging and being controlling. There is a subtly of women to “train” a man to be what she wants him to be. What’s primarily underlying the joke is a woman’s fundamental, and understandable, need to protect herself. Protect herself from what? Well, from being hurt by a man.What’s implicit in this need to protect herself is that men are likely to hurt a woman; emotionally, psychologically, financially, etc. They want intimacy with a man, but are petrified to get too close and take such a huge risk. Yet, women need men, so what’s a girl to do?Sadly, one of the first things many women do is compromise their femininity. If she is too dainty, meek, quiet, weak, incapable of taking care of herself, and all the other attributes that are considered (falsely, I might add) traditional regarding the helpless woman who needs a man to take care of her persona, then a man will take advantage of her. She can’t let that happen, so a little alteration of her femininity will go a long way to better defend herself from the beastly men who would seek to dominate her.With every compromise of femininity, a masculine trait is permitted to surface which actually diminishes her, and compromises her personhood as well as womanhood. She might now be able to stand up to the man-beast, that’s true, but she has put her womanly defenses down, exposing the man to a side of her he is not likely to respond favorably to.Men typically take the path of least resistance. A man will retreat inside himself rather than fight back. He will adjust to his hostile surroundings rather than be a sitting duck for more punishment if he resists. The truth is, most men really want to make a woman happy. But when they sense they are not making her happy, and that maybe that he’s actually the cause of her unhappiness, he is deflated and pulls back.The biggest problem with this situation is that neither camp considers this destructive possibility before it’s too late. There are too many other things that could be causing it, and men and women tend to focus on those things. So the root problem tends to pass unnoticed.The result is many men have been trained to accept that if you cross a woman, you’ll be sorry. Men don’t want to rock the boat. They don’t want their woman upset at them. They want peace, even at all costs.And women have been conditioned to believe that to love a man, she must show him how she is to be loved, not by being who he is, but by being what she needs him to be.The problem with this position is that her needs change. Therefore, how he needs to be must change with it. The result is often a confused man who would believes that his love for her is closely tied to how he accepts what she needs him to be and do; that her happiness is closely tied to his ability to follow her lead.Role reversals are in place. The woman is less feminine, and the man emasculated. He is successfully domesticated, therefore no longer a threat to hurt her. So she thinks.But in fact, women are hurting themselves, while men are becoming less what she really needs him to be. As she works to avoid the original fear, another hurtful situation arises in it’s place.Whenever femininity is surrendered, there is a diminishing of the woman and a distortion created to the male/female relationship. Controlling a person is not love.Perhaps I’m making too much of this. But maybe not. I believe we have a hard time believing such notions as I present here because we get conditioned to see it differently, not as it is. We’re used to it, so it must be natural.Men don’t need to be “trained” any more than women need to be dominated. They don’t need to be treated like a child. They need to be trusted to be mature and confident in that leadership role and make her feel safe and protected. He needs to be the unique, wonderful person you were attracted to in the first place, and supported in his natural role as a man in the male/female love relationship. As she takes that away from him, she loses respect for him. Quite the paradox.As women are feminine and men are masculine, love between them can be that of mutual respect, friendship, and devotion that seeks to accept each other for who they are and build up each other in a shared life together. The alternative is distorted and confused persons losing the capability to love and be loved.I know you feel like women are trying to train you. Perhaps they are. But maybe it’s better if you try to talk to them about it in a respectable way, and with good humor, rather than build defenses and eventually end the relationship. If they are purposely like this, then you’re right to turn and run. But working through it through good communication could result in an incredible find and tremendous mutual love.

Seven types of false love

Sep 12, 2012 / 00:00 am

There is nothing quite like being in love and sharing a loving relationship. You often hear about finding “true love,” but we seldom stop to think about what that means.To consider this properly, you need to know a little something about true love. What makes it true? There is much to say about true love, and there are so many various opinions as to what makes love true. True love is a mystery; almost impossible to put into words.But we do have a guideline for what makes for true love:Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.Love never ends.Single people hope to find the kind of love others have found. Is it possible that singles have not found true love because the love they have to give is false?I have seven kinds of false love for you to consider. These are seven approaches to love that many people are inclined to take, typically without even knowing it, which have disastrous consequences.1. The Critical ApproachThis is someone who does not believe true love is possible, and criticizes any person they attempt to find love with. True love is impossible to the critical person because they don’t love themselves. Yet, they don’t dare criticize themselves, so they have to find faults in another in order to maintain a superiority. Their love is something the other should feel grateful to have and spend their life showing that gratitude.They are quick to criticize the person they claim to love, deep down never believing this person could actually love them. The “beloved” is never good enough. The critical person lives as someone who can just as well make due without the beloved.2. The Scrupulous ApproachThis person is very careful about showing too much devotion to a person, fearing that God will somehow be made number two. They feel guilty for wanting and needing a person, since they believe they should only need God. They hold back expressing love and affection in order to prove to themselves (and sometimes to the other person) that they have control of their passions and desires.Guilt plagues the scrupulous person, because as much as they believe that love shared between two person is unexplainably special and wonderful, they can’t admit it in principle.Ultimately, they view love not as a gift of God or a blessing, just a necessary evil. They allow their beloved to feel like they are an obstacle to God, instead of a vehicle toward God.3. The External ApproachThis person is only concerned with outward experiences of love. Their love is not giving, but taking. They are anxious if there are not constant external proofs of love. They say “I love you” and need “I love you” said to them endlessly. They believe sharing love is about quantity, not quality. Lots of romance, lots of sex, lots of gifts, lots of flattering words.A certainty about love in quiet, unspoken moments is foreign to them. If there is no emotional high being experienced, they are afraid love is fading.4. The Presumptuous ApproachThis person is completely fine with their lousy behavior while presuming the beloved will understand and accept them. Their love for the beloved presumes the unconditional love they will receive, regardless of their actions. Their own passions and needs are the priority.They are at peace with their bad habits and feel no need to work on their faults. They hide things like their impurity, injustice, anger, foul manners and speech, rudeness, detraction and gossip, while making themselves out to be worthy to be loved by the beloved. They presume forgiveness and second chances.5. The Inconstant ApproachThis person is wishy washy when it comes to love. Sometimes they seem really into you and will do anything for you. Then they can seem distant and uninterested, like they’re a different person. They are willing to invest initially in winning your heart, only to back off after they have won it. They easily change, whether in mind or mood or with the latest difficulty in the relationship.They willingly make promises and take on more than they can handle in showing their love, and leave you disappointed when it was just empty words and promises. Their love is unreliable. They will only express love as they’re ready to.6. The Hypocritical ApproachThis person has high expectations and strict requirements when it comes to the love received from another, while they do not submit themselves to the same standard. They love with a double standard that sets the beloved up as always being the guilty party for all problems, while they are always justified in what they do.They display a consistent intent of deception in their love by passing as a good person committed to loving another while not really caring to live it out. They are trying to be someone they are not. Their efforts and actions in love are things they think the other wants in order to win their affection and approval, not things that spring naturally from the heart as part of who they are.7. The Interested ApproachThis person sees love for another as a utility for their purposes, not as a giving of self and respect of a person. They have recourse to you only when they need something, otherwise they have no interest. They love you whenever they can obtain something from you when they want it. They lose patience and show signs of wanting out at even the slightest degree of not getting what they want out of typical relationship experiences (such as discussions, problems, or decisions that have to be made). Their tolerance of you is proportional to the satisfaction of their wants.All of us can find ourselves in one or more of these. This is because none of us can escape selfishness (the very definition of pride). The more selfish we are, the more prone we are to false love, and the more difficult it is to live out true love.What is your approach to love? In which of these false approaches do you see yourself? No matter which ones apply to you, it’s never too late to change. Recognizing it is half the battle. But it’s a grace to recognize. We often don’t want to accept when we have a problem, therefore we purposely keep ourselves blind.Praying for God’s grace to recognize your approaches to false love is a necessity to making progress. Take time before the Blessed Sacrament asking Jesus to open your eyes so you can be observant of false love tendencies and He will surely enlighten you.

Would you date you?

Aug 23, 2012 / 00:00 am

Would the type of person you are praying to meet and fall in love with find you attractive? When and if it should happen that you meet someone special, fall in love, and get married, the process starts with you. This is the premise of my first book, “Would You Date You?” I appeared on “The Catholic Guy” show last week to talk about my new book. Lino Rulli and Fr. Rob were in rare form as they attempted to figure out just what the title was supposed to mean. And we must have spent fifteen minutes talking about the Forward. Why, you ask? Well, Lino wrote the Forward, and he is very proud of it. Finally, I shouted, “Hey, enough with the Forward! What about the book?” He shouted back at me, then Fr. Rob had to break it up. In the end, Lino asked me to sign his copy on the air, which I did. It read “To my friend, Lino. No, I would not date you, if I were you. Anthony.”  Seriously, it was a great show. But I was thinking to myself, I bet I could have interviewed myself better than Lino did. Then I thought to myself, why not? So the following is an interview with Anthony Buono, interviewed by Anthony Buono, about his new book, “Would You Date You?” Anthony, congratulations on your new book. Why did you decide to write it? Thank you. I was actually approached by Franciscan Media last July to write a book. 'What kind of book?' I asked. Something for single Catholics. Okay, anything specific? Whatever you want. But we need an outline in August. They approved the outline and we agreed on a finished manuscript by the end of January of this year. One distraction after another, and it was January. No finished chapters. My publisher emails: “Happy New Year! So how’s the book coming?” Oh yeah, the book. Oh boy. Um….” It’s coming along swimmingly. About half way there.” So I commit completely to working on the book, and by mid-February, they had a finished manuscript. I felt like I was back in college when I wrote term papers the week before they were due at the end of the semester. Who do you think should read this book? I think the answer is pretty obvious, Anthony, but all right. From my experience, many people who want to be married believe that they’re a prize catch, and that any problems in relationships are the fault of the other person. It’s great to be confident, but problems are always a two way street. We can always find something we could have done better. No one is beyond self-examination and self-improvement. This book provides consideration on qualities everyone should be working on, helping you become a better person, and become more attractive. Did I answer your question? I guess I’ll just say everyone should read this book. What is the most surprising advice in your book? I don’t want to give it away. But I’ll give you a hint. Knowing if the person has this quality is more important than if the person is Catholic or not (and there are those who say they’re Catholic who don’t have this quality). But that’s not very fair of me, is it? A piece of advice in the book that might also be very surprising is why it’s good to be cautious and protective when it comes to kissing, because kissing is the gateway to all sexual promiscuity. I think once you understand that, you have some real power to go into your dating relationships and make a real difference in the chastity department. What’s the best piece of advice in this book? That you would not, in fact, date you, because there is not another you out there. Just kidding! I don’t say that in the book. Well, not exactly. I do believe it is futile to get too caught up in trying to find someone like yourself. The mystery of love doesn’t work that way. Those who try to find someone like themselves usually end up attracted to someone very different. Better preparation for the dating process (and for love) is to discover and know who you are. Being comfortable with yourself and having a working knowledge of what needs improvement makes you much more attractive to the person you want to meet, and allows you to bring a real person to the relationship. Humility about your true self as a whole helps you become willing to accept an imperfect person you’ll actually date, not the perfect person you’ll never meet. Hey, that was pretty good. Can you tweet that for me, Anthony? Anyway, people get caught up in what they want and don’t develop as an individual. So really, the best advice in this book is the overall message: work on knowing yourself. Do you think this book will help people take action for the sake of their vocation to marriage? Gosh, I hope so. If they do nothing else, I hope they will at least try out putting the last chapter into practice. The questions to consider while kneeling before the crucifix are focused on examining the conscience of people who want to be married. I wanted the book to inspire people to take accountability for their own life, have the humility to admit their own faults, and have the courage to do something about it. But not take themselves too seriously, or become easily discouraged. The book is about becoming, and we are all always in the process of becoming. Even in marriage, that process continues, so we don’t wait to marry someone who has arrived, but someone who is suitable to share the journey with you. What is the worst thing about this book? Having to suffer through interviews (no offense to you, Anthony). Actually, to be serious, the worst thing about this book is that it was written too fast (that’s what I get for procrastinating). As I read it, I’m like “Oh gosh, I wish I wrote this instead of that”, and wish I had more time to revisit the chapters.  But my publisher tells me that the worst part about this book is that it’s too short. Well, I did a pretty good job of interviewing myself. But to my credit, I’m easy to talk to, especially to myself. But here’s what I learned about myself as I conducted this interview. That I rarely actually answer an interview question because I’m so tangential. Now it makes sense why Lino changes the subject on me so often. I guess that’s why he gets the big bucks. To get a copy of "Would You Date You?", click here. And please send me your feedback, positive or negative :-)

Opposites attract, but can they go the distance?

Jul 25, 2012 / 00:00 am

Dear Anthony,I’ve recently started dating a girl who everyone says is wrong for me. They don’t like that I broke up with a girl who seemed perfect for me in order to date this girl I’m seeing now. I keep telling people opposites attract just to get them off my back. But honestly, I have no idea why I’m interested in her. I can understand why my family think she’s wrong for me. I just can’t help it.  Did I make a huge mistake I’m going to regret?Did you make a mistake because the other girl was a better suitable marriage partner for you? Maybe. But that’s not going to be easy to answer. For more reasons, I’m sure, than what may be obvious to others, and maybe even yourself, you want to see this new girl instead of continuing the relationship with your ex-girlfriend.I’m not sure the question is, “did I make a mistake?” You might want to ask yourself why you broke up with the one and are dating the other. Being honest with yourself will help you learn more about why you make the choices you do.Worrying about what others think can be a distraction. Appreciate the advice and feedback of those you love, and do consider it (often loved ones can see things we can’t), but don’t let it make you feel guilty or second guess yourself.I find your situation interesting. You broke up with someone whom your loved ones think is best for you. Now you’re dating someone who seems to make no sense to these loved ones. But, it makes no sense to you, either. You’re right in telling them that opposites attract, and that might be your situation.We hear an awful lot about compatibility today. Marriage experts emphasis it, dating sites program algorithms to match your compatibility while searching members, and in general, people talk about wanting to meet someone with whom they have much in common.Yet there’s still the reality that opposites attract. Despite all the emphasis on finding someone who is similar to you, many people are attracted to (and often marry) someone who is their opposite.Often, it’s a completely unconscious happening, but maybe even despite your mind acknowledging that this is someone wrong for you, you can’t help the attraction. What is it about someone who is our opposite that can be so appealing?One obvious answer is intrigue. This person is not your type. There’s something about them that puzzles you. You have to learn more. You might even detest how different they are, yet you’re drawn to them like some kind of magnet.Intrigue is a powerful lure when it comes to attraction. When something is different than what we are used to, it’s hard to resist acting on curiosity. From that curiosity comes interest, and from interest comes attachment.The most intriguing thing about the person is how interested they are in you, despite you realizing there is nothing about you and your life that makes sense as to why they are interested.So two different worlds collide. The result is an experience of each other’s worlds blending together.  The time you spend is interesting and exciting because just about everything you share is new to both of you, or something you would have never thought to do and would probably never enjoy doing.The question is, how long will the intrigue last before the questions of practical life for the future begin playing a role? And will what started out as intrigue successfully find a way to become a fusion of two lives becoming one life that both are happy living?Sometimes, what a person initially loved about the other because it was different later becomes something annoying or tiresome because it’s something that deep down bothers you or you don’t like, but you’ve tried to like it or accept it.Opposites are also tricky in the area of how things are done in everyday life. For example, if you are very conscientious about spending money and like to save, and you might be attracted to someone who has a care-free approach to spending. This leads to doing all kinds of things while you’re dating that you wouldn’t have done normally. In marriage, you might later be frustrated at this person because they have caused your family to have serious credit card debt.Plenty of marriages take place between two opposites. The successful ones are two people who truly loved the other for who they are in all their opposite-ness, and find a way to incorporate these differences into everyday life as a team effort. The unsuccessful ones are two people who stopped seeing the differences as delightful, are sick of them, and now want the other to change.It’s the one of the most natural things in the world to want to share your life with someone who understands you and approaches life as you do. It does make things easier. For marriage, the more you are on the same page, the better for all the practical things that make up daily family life, as well as for the path to eternal life.What you need to be most attracted to are the qualities and abilities the other has that render them able to love, serve as a spouse and parent, and seek the highest good in all situations with God as the author and center of truth, navigating the journey of this world toward the next.

Finding a good Catholic restaurant

Jul 11, 2012 / 00:00 am

“I know a great little place where we can get some good, authentic Catholic cuisine.” How would you react if your date made that statement? If you’re being honest, wouldn’t you silently stare at that person with a blank look on your face, and think to yourself “Um…I think I’ll go home now?”I have never actually heard of anyone experiencing this, but I’m starting to believe that it’s probably coming soon. More and more I hear of Catholics trying to find the “Catholic” version of everything in life.It’s not good enough to have good rock music; it has to be Christian rock. The musician might be Catholic, but if he or she is not outwardly obvious about their Catholicism, then they are not Catholic enough.Or it’s not good enough that a Catholic goes to Bermuda on vacation, better that they go on pilgrimage (and I’m not knocking pilgrimages, after all, I’m going on one in October!)It’s not good enough that a Catholic couple go out dancing, better that they attend a Theology of the Body talk. Or an engaged couple feels like they should give their business to Catholic businesses rather than seek out the best price or (more importantly), quality service.There’s nothing wrong with doing explicitly “Catholic” types of things, or considering the Catholic person for your business over someone who is not Catholic. But there is everything wrong with over-thinking this, or purposely excluding the explicitly non-Catholic things or people of our culture.I recently heard about a parish announcing that a new Boy Scout troop was being started because they want to make Boy Scouting more “Catholic.” Boy Scouts is an American institution, and millions of Catholic boys have been Boy Scouts and become fine young men of character. To presume to make Boy Scouts more “Catholic” is to attempt to exclude non-Catholics, which is a very non-Catholic attitude.I’m all for being mindful of how careful people need to be in the culture of death we dwell within, but there is such a thing as going too far, distorting the facts, and frankly getting it all wrong. This hyper-sensitive concern for what is “Catholic” risks individuals living in true freedom and losing the person.Though there are destructive things in our culture, we are not to fear it. There is much more about culture that is good, and these things are gifts from God meant for us to enjoy, and relax as we partake in them.Catholics seeking to meet a quality person who is a practicing Catholic have it hard enough. Setting the bar so high that a Catholic must think, speak, live, breath all things explicitly “Catholic” is a grave mistake.To me, this is a red flag that you are dealing with someone who is likely a fundamentalist Catholic, one with little tolerance for mistakes in others. Often the intensely religious are harsh, cruel, controlling people.It’s an interesting modern phenomenon to consider something or someone as having credibility or value because of the label of “Catholic.”A Catholic store makes sense because it sells products that are for Catholic devotion and spiritual enrichment. A Catholic church makes sense because it is a house of good centered on Catholic worship.But can you imagine if we started having things like a Catholic baseball team, or a Catholic supermarket? What is the message we are saying to the world? It says, “we exclude you.” Isn’t that the Protestant notion?What is so beautiful about authentic Catholic culture historically is that Catholics are involved with the culture, and transform it by example and living their life; they embrace the cultural things, not escape them. They don’t bully the culture with the hammer of “Catholic,” nor behave condescendingly to all cultural things, only embracing it if it becomes labeled “Catholic.” There was no need to re-label the things of culture, just live as individuals within it, and perhaps simply transform the spirit of it.Catholic dating tends to have this labeling mentality in a lot of ways. I did it myself just now. I called it “Catholic dating.” Dating, love and marriage are already implicitly “Catholic.” Unfortunately, we need the label of “Catholic dating” because dating in general has departed so far from a traditional moral structure, becoming quite reckless, hedonistic, and irresponsible. It’s just not what it used to be, and we need to make sure people have a way to know right away if they are on the same page.But all dating and courtship is about love, and love is all about God, and is God. The extraction of God from modern love, dating and courtship is technically anti-Catholic. So I am in favor of some aspects of labeling in order to help people have some initial perspective.But we go too far when we feel we have to distrust anything that we cannot outwardly define as “Catholic.”We should not be imposing on the mystery of love an intense and rigid approach to culture in the dating process. Too many single Catholics get caught up in what might be the “Catholic” places to go or things to do, or the “Catholic” things to wear. Worse, they get caught up in determining if the person they are dating is “Catholic” enough for them, when it is a sinner that they will love and commit to in marriage.We are becoming a culture of judgmental people with excessively high standards for the Catholics we date and choose to love, and a large part of this is because we cannot accept that we are culturally influenced people. Our Catholicism can be the most important part of us, and lived in every aspect of life, but is not the culture.People make up the culture from God’s creation all around us. Creation itself is implicitly “Catholic.” We don’t need to put labels to everything in order to appreciate it or partake in it. A good cup of coffee is culture. A Catholic cup of coffee is redundant. The quality, delicious coffee already is “catholic” because it’s God’s creation coupled by man’s invention and industry.We need to relax. Just because your date does not talk about Catholicism 24/7 does not mean they aren’t a good catch. In fact, they’re a much better catch than the person who feels they have to dominate all topics of conversation with religion.So go out on your dates and have a delicious meal of the multiplicity of ethnic food choices, walking in a beautiful park with the delightful breeze of the night air, enjoying the talents of others at a theatrical performance or at a museum, or any of the endless cultural opportunities that your area has to offer.None of it has to have the word “Catholic” associated with it, but the enjoyment of  all of it together, drawing you subtly closer in heart, is as Catholic as it gets.

Tired of being alone, or, the singles trap

Jun 27, 2012 / 00:00 am

“Dear Anthony,I’m absolutely fed up! I’m done! I’m tired of the singles trap and everyone telling me it’s just not my turn yet! Why isn’t it my turn? Why must it take so long? I’m tired of being alone! I’m tired of having no one to share my life with! I’m trying not to be upset with God, but seriously, enough is enough! And if you tell me it will happen in God’s time, I’m done with you too. I don’t mean any disrespect, but I can’t handle hearing anymore pious mumbo jumbo.” That’s a lot of exclamation points, indicating a lot of frustration. I can’t blame you, especially about not wanting to hear the same “pious mumbo jumbo” anymore. Of course, it’s not mumbo jumbo at all, but I will admit that many of us advisor types tend to take the easy way out by saying, “it’s all in God’s time” or “when it’s meant to happen to you, it will” or “I’ll pray for you.”

Marriage of the Lamb

Jun 6, 2012 / 00:00 am

No matter how many times I attend Mass, I still rarely attend with the presence of mind to realize I am attending a marriage ceremony.  The most central and important aspect of my Christian life, and it just doesn’t occur to me that this is a wedding taking place.

The Vow: a story of true love

May 9, 2012 / 00:00 am

About a month ago, I went to see the movie “The Vow” fully prepared for it to be an overall disappointment.  It certainly delivered, except for one scene that actually makes the movie worth seeing. The mother tells her upset daughter that she stayed with her husband after learning of his lengthy affair because she decided she was not going to punish him for his one mistake. She stayed with him because of all the things he did right, not the one thing he did wrong.

Bring your luggage, don’t lug your baggage

Apr 18, 2012 / 00:00 am

If you haven’t yet seen the film "October Baby" yet, find the time to do so. I can’t recommend it strongly enough. It’s one of the best films I’ve ever seen.

Meditation on the Crucifix

Apr 4, 2012 / 00:00 am

“We become what we love and who we love shapes what we become. If we love things, we become a thing. If we love nothing, we become nothing. Imitation is not a literal mimicking of Christ, rather it means becoming the image of the beloved, an image disclosed through transformation. This means we are to become vessels of God´s compassionate love for others."

I only have eyes for you

Mar 28, 2012 / 00:00 am

In 1959, The Flamingos sang the romantic song, “I Only Have Eyes For You,” telling of love’s blindness to surroundings while eyes are fixed on the beloved.

'Sorry' seems to be the hardest word

Mar 21, 2012 / 00:00 am

The association to being a Christian and a Catholic comes with a great personal responsibility. It is no doubt an expectation of those who know us to be a Christian that we act like one. This is a natural expectation.People seem to lose the focus about what they expect from a Christian when it comes to forgiveness and mercy.  It’s more important that the Christian is expected to show mercy rather than they not commit sin.  To sin is human, but to forgive is Godly.  Jesus clearly prioritizes forgiveness in the Lord’s prayer: “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us”.Forgive me, but only in the measure that I forgive.  That is what Jesus taught us to pray.Rather than focus here on the forgiver, I want to focus on the forgivee; the person who is seeking the forgiveness of Christ through the person they have offended. It’s a terrible thing for a person to “assume” they will be forgiven just because the person you’ve offended is a Christian. It may very well be that a Christian is expected to forgive, but YOU are expected to be truly sorry for what you have done.As we continue in Lent and the spirit of fasting, it would be nice if we could see many people fasting from the empty apologies, or for those who find it hard to ask forgiveness to fast from the pride that keeps them from saying “I’m sorry” when it is called for.First, there are those who constantly say they’re sorry. Perhaps they continue to do the same thing over and over, expecting the person they’ve repeatedly offended be there with, “That’s okay” after saying “sorry.” They have developed a way of life where doing things that upset someone is normal, and the forgiveness by that person expected. There is no end to this cycle of offenses because the person forgiving wants to forgive and move on, but the offender is not truly sorry.When we’ve hurt someone, we need to be repair that damage. We need to feel sorrow and feel determined not to repeat our mistake.  We then need to confess what we’ve done, and make up for it. The fundamental penance is to change and make things better than they were.In order for someone to take you seriously about your apology, the words must be backed up with action.This is how we raise our children. You hit your brother? Say you’re sorry and give him a hug.Perhaps the constant saying of “I’m sorry” is by one who finds the word “sorry” to be meaningless by also saying it for every little thing that happens that has no need of an apology. This is the overly polite sorrow.  You grab for the salt at the same time someone else goes for it and you say “Oh, I’m sorry, go ahead.” You come out of the mall with a friend toward your car and it’s raining and you say “Gosh, I’m sorry about this.”You’re sorry.  Are you really sorry? For reaching for the salt? For making your friend walk to the car in the rain?  This is an abuse of the word sorry. I realize every one of us do it. But it is worth taking the time to observe ourselves and realize just how often we say “I’m sorry,” when there is nothing at all to be sorry for. It’s important because you want to be a person who when you say “I’m sorry,” you mean it.Then there is the person who doesn’t say “I’m sorry.” As many times as they do something that warrants an apology, they will not. Whether they are purposely not saying it or have just developed the habit of not saying it, the result of refraining from saying “I’m sorry” has the same affect.  Even if you ARE sorry and act accordingly, it’s very important to work on saying the words.  It matters.It’s better to have someone who takes action to repent but not apologize than someone who says they’re sorry but never makes the necessary changes.  But if you are a person who does not say the words, then you have to get in the habit of doing so.  It matters to the person you have offended to experience both the words “I’m sorry” and the actions to repent. Sincere apologies are an important vehicle for building trust.Start now, today, examining your life in the “I’m sorry” department. How often or little do you say it?  When you do say it, do you mean it?  What is your track record of proving your sorrow after telling someone you are sorry?  How can someone know you are sorry?This has to with sincerity.  Are you a sincere person?  Can your “I’m sorry” be trusted?  Ponder this and how this applies to your own life.Sincere apologies, an effort toward reparation, and sincere forgiveness builds trust. Trust creates the foundation of true love.Trust in relationships is not about an absolute arrival at trustworthiness, is about the building and rebuilding of trust via humility and acts of forgiveness. No one is perfect, and becoming a truly sincere person of sorrow takes time and practice.We must always work on maintaining our trustworthiness. Apologizing with true contrition and a spirit of reparation is a gesture of restoring or proving how trustworthy we are.

Fasting that can help your love life

Mar 7, 2012 / 00:00 am

Lent is a time when we make an attempt to address things about our corporeal and spiritual lives that need addressing.

Attachment in human love

Feb 28, 2012 / 00:00 am

Love between a man and a woman is one of the most beautiful things in the world. But what happens when the love with that person becomes the most important thing in your life? There is nothing more natural than wanting to be loved. We need it. We need it from our parents and family as we grow up, and we need it as we interact socially as adults.

Just give me a hug

Feb 15, 2012 / 00:00 am

If you don’t know the power of a hug, then you are probably not having much success in your relationships.

The silent treatment

Feb 8, 2012 / 00:00 am

Have you ever given or received the silent treatment? Chances are good that most of you have. I think this AT&T commercial about the silent treatment is very clever and will give you a good laugh. Like most jokes, there is an element of truth to it. In particular, the angst that accompanies the silent treatment, as portrayed by the girl in this commercial.