I have a question about dating. I am a old fashioned kind of guy in a modern world. I am a millennial, but I like the old fashioned way of doing things. I am at conflict a lot in relationships because of this.
One of the more recent conflicts involves whether or not me and my girlfriend should be at each others places, alone. We each live alone, and could visit each other whenever, but I wonder if that is a good idea, or if we should keep the dating in the public space, as that might be more appropriate for Christian dating. I need to know what is proper, and what might be overdoing it on my part and being too restrictive. I appreciate your help.
Thank you for being an old-fashioned guy; we don’t see ‘old-fashioned’ as pejorative. Au contraire it is a tribute and our daughters along with countless Godly young women also see it this way. This country needs more old fashioned gentlemen.
By proactively thinking about how you and your girlfriend should behave now, you are setting the foundation for a successful relationship in the future, or alternatively for ending a relationship without unnecessary hardship and regrets. Either of these are satisfactory outcomes.
Ancient Jewish wisdom includes a timeless truth known as yichud. That Hebrew word derives from the root of togetherness. Yichud stipulates that men and women who aren’t immediate family members should not be secluded together.
Because our society is so clueless when it comes to male/female relationships, we published Gila Manolson’s book on the topic. She makes the point in Hands Off: This May Be Love! that there are many psychological and physiological benefits to understanding the power of touch and confining touch to marriage. One point she makes, convincingly in our opinion, is that training oneself to desexualize attraction has its own dangers. Yet, what else can a couple do if they commit to not sleeping together but put themselves in isolated circumstances where that would be a natural urge? You are training your beings not to react to one another—hardly a good idea. That is exactly what you and your girlfriend would be doing by visiting each other’s apartments. You would lose if you betray your standards, but you also lose by living up to them. In other words, we think that your concern is extremely valid and believe that you are showing intuitive wisdom.
On behalf of all old-fashioned gentleman,
Rabbi Daniel and Susan Lapin