Good morning, Rabbi Daniel and Mrs. Daniel,
I hope you are doing well!
Listening to your podcast is not only educational, but truly enriching. I am not Jewish, but I deeply appreciate the wisdom of the Jewish faith, and also of your values on marriage, etc. I share those as well. You serve many as mentors- thank you.
To be brief- I heard an amazing sermon yesterday on decision making, a bit on marriage, and the grief of not emotionally detaching oneself (in a healthy way) from your parents, and by not doing so, one’s emotional health atrophies. Regardless to say, that hit home for me. Wish I heard this earlier.
So, with all that said, I work full time, and I need to get out of my parent’s house. But I am scared that I won’t do it well. It’s difficult to put into words, I am concerned that when I move out, it will be similar to the last time I did for a bit. Which was difficult.
I know in my heart that this is the path God wants of me. I have much to learn, but He wants me to make a change, and I am hesitant. Would you please help me? Thank you!
Your letter makes us wish we could sit down with each of our Ask the Rabbi letter writers and have a long chat. Since we can’t, our answer may hit some marks and miss others. We hope that it, at least, serves some usefulness.
In theory, we appreciate children living at home until marriage. We don’t automatically see a benefit in having your own apartment and living independently. Having said that, the theory often falls flat. There are many reasons why leaving home can be a good thing.
You mention working full-time, but not how else you prioritize your time. It sounds like you don’t see your home as the healthiest place for your emotional and psychological growth. Have you sought out mentors who model more of the type of home you hope to establish? Are you part of a church or social group with like-minded friends? You mention that you did move out previously but it was unsuccessful. Did you have supportive friends or was part of the problem that you were isolated? We would certainly recommend setting up as much of a ‘community’ as you can in advance of moving out. Part of that might be finding a roommate rather than living by yourself. That provides both an opportunity for a great situation and the potential for difficulties, so it does need to be approached carefully.
You must try to operate with two somewhat conflicting ideas in your head at the same time. One is that you hope to get married. For that goal, you don’t want to become too independent and inflexible. Your second goal is to become the best woman you can be. For that goal, it is necessary to know who you are, what you value, and to develop your talents. Living at home seems to be hindering that second goal.
We don’t necessarily agree that not detaching from parents produces grief. We think it very much depends on the kind of people your parents are and on the nature of your relationship with them. For many people in their own circumstances, living with parents until marriage works out just fine. In Genesis 2:24 we see a man only leaving his mother and father once he is ready to be married, and certainly so for a woman as well. But as we said above, there certainly can be reasons for seeking independent living arrangements.
Change is scary. It is also absolutely necessary. Set up whatever financial and social structures that you can to help you move forward. Strategize on how best to let your parents know that you are moving out and that you want their love and blessing. Expect there to be rough days and make plans in advance for how you will get through them.
We hope this is the first step on an exciting and fulfilling future,
Rabbi Daniel and Susan Lapin
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