1 Adar 5764
Dating Guys with Family Issues
I have been dating this boy for a little while, and things are going nicely. He is kind, thoughtful, respectful, and treats me extremely well. He also has many other qualities that I have been looking for. The problem is that he has some family issues. His parents are divorced and he and his siblings don’t speak to their father. He was not a good father to them and none of them like or respect him. The father apparently has some psychological problems. Everyone else in his family is very close though. I think that this boy has certain qualities and strengths because of what he went through.
I am confused as to what I should do. I like him, but I’m scared that he may have undergone emotional issues that will surface in the future. My parents are also hesitant about the whole situation. Any advice would be great.
Name and seminary withheld upon request
***** ***** ***** ***** ***** ***** *****
Dear Jemsem Reader,
Seldom does a person find a storybook situation to marry into. There is always something in one area or another – a skeleton here, an issue there.
The things that you need to do are as follows:
1) Do more checking about the situation. Ask about it from all angles. The Rabbanim who have been involved with the family, the divorce, the father and his problems, and friends and people in the community who truly know them and what is going on.
Check specifically with this boy’s Rabbaim that he is close to. Find out more emotional history about the boy and if they feel the boy is emotionally stable. Ask them if they see any manifestations of deeper issues going on with the boy.
2) Speak to a Rav that knows you well and get eitzah from him.
3) Speak this whole situation over with someone whom you trust that is older than you and married. Let them be a good sounding board for you and listen to what they have to say.
4) THINK!!!! You have to try and figure out if you feel you can handle a situation like this. Think into the future – Shabbosos, Yom Tov, not having married in-laws, being able to be supportive for your husband concerning all this. For some, this would not be what they want, however others could make peace with it. Perhaps you will be able to reframe that ‘fairy tale’ image that you conjured up all these years, and decide that this will be fine for you, or perhaps you will feel that this is just not what you want to be part of. Be honest with yourself. This is your life.
Of course, one of the most important things is the boy himself and your relationship with him. If he is stable etc., and you and he have a great relationship and can communicate and you respect him and, yes, like you said, he may even be more special because of the nisyonos he has been through…. well all this can count a lot in the positive direction. To find a gem of a boy with the qualities, middos, and hashkafa that you are looking for is truly a superb thing, and not to be taken lightly. Like I said, everybody has got something, no one is perfect, it is just a matter of figuring out which battles we want to fight, what we are capable of dealing with, or what we want to deal with.
With Warmest Wishes,
Mrs. Chana Silver