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Tammuz 5765 – Maintaining Friendships With Ex-Dates

7 Tammuz 5765
Maintaining Friendships with Ex-Dates

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FIRSTLY, I WOULD OFFICIALLY LIKE TO WELCOME ALL OF THE GIRLS WHO JUST RETURNED FROM THEIR YEAR OR TWO IN ERETZ YISROEL!
WELCOME TO JEMSEM!

WE ARE HAPPY TO HAVE YOU ON BOARD! PLEASE MAKE SURE TO SIGN UP TO GET JEMSEM ON EMAIL. ALSO, ALL OF YOU WILL BE INTERESTED TO SPEND SOME TIME LOOKING UP THE ‘ARCHIVES’ SECTION IN EACH OF OUR COLUMNS. THERE ARE IMPORTANT IDEAS AND PERTINENT INFORMATION FOR YOU LURKING THERE! COMING BACK CAN BE DISORIENTING AT BEST AND SO MANY OF THE QUESTIONS THAT YOU HAVE AND THE THINGS THAT YOU ARE DEALING WITH HAVE BEEN DISCUSSED. AFTER ALL, THIS IS A POST – SEMINARY WEBSITE – GEARED FOR YOU AND YOUR NEEDS. SO ENJOY THE SITE, KEEP BEING M’CHAZEIK YOURSELVES AND BE B’SIMCHA IN YOUR AVODAS HASHEM AS YOU CONTINUE TO TAP INTO THE AMAZING PEOPLE THAT HASHEM HAS MADE YOU!

LOVE,
CHANA

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Dear Chana,

I came across your column while stumbling upon the Jemsem website, which impressed me. I attended a Bais Yaacov Seminary in Israel a few years ago. [which I prefer not to name] After a few years of dating via shidduchim, I am left to wonder if one can maintain a friendship with a boy one has dated if things haven’t worked out between them. I have girlfriends who do have male friends, some whom they dated and some whom they just know. I personally grew up with a different mentality [in the Bais Yaacov system] – but it does seem so natural. Is it right or not?

Please respond to this letter, as I would highly regard your opinion.

Thank You!
Name and Seminary withheld upon request

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Dear Jemsem Reader,

Thanks for bringing up an important issue. This is definitely something that many girls grapple with. What I find sad and interesting at the same time is that though you yourself did not grow up in the boy/girl framework, you are actually wondering if it is ok – because you see it happening around you. Also, I imagine it has been difficult and frustrating to still be dating several years after seminary. Perhaps this is where your question is really coming from. Loneliness is such a hard thing to deal with. Maybe you should put some thought into that.

You may want to look back on the site at the archives in my column from Iyar 5764, where I address this topic a bit.
No, it is not appropriate to have any sort of a relationship with a boy other than the one you are dating for marriage. If it doesn’t work out, it’s over, finished.The reason it seems so ‘natural’ is because Hashem has made the world with a healthy attraction to the opposite sex. But as everything in Judaism needs its balance, structure, and discipline, these strong feelings need to come out within the framework of marriage and nowhere else. The concept of a ‘friendship’ with someone of the opposite sex has been discussed many times in many places at length. There are so many sources which deal with the amount of distance and gedarim that need to be between the sexes. The idea of it being platonic on both of your parts is practically non existent. In the frum dating world there is really no room for it.

I have heard people say many times when a relationship doesn’t work out “In another life, we could have been best friends, but as far as marriage goes, we aren’t for each other.” This idea is very true. Obviously, when a couple is dating and it is getting serious, there are many things shared between them, ‘walls’ are broken down, and affection is formed. These emotions are real and truly there. Perhaps he isn’t your marriage partner, but you sure have alot of things in common and things that you liked about each other.

What are you supposed to do? Where do these emotions go? You have to give yourself some time and space to get through it. Acknowledge the pain and disappointment, admit to yourself the fear of never finding the right one. Realize that Hashem has tailored just exactly for you the people that you date. There is a reason for every single thing that happens, as well as every single person that you date. You are supposed to learn things about yourself and about the kind of person that will be mashlim you.
There is meaning in the fact that you went out with this or that boy, it is to help bring you to your goals, but there can be nisayon with this as well.

Because we aren’t robots, but very human emotional beings it is often times quite hard to just turn off the fondness and kinship that we felt for the guy. Knowing that this sort of friendship is wrong will go a long way in separating from it. Torah always gives us the guidelines, focus, and direction we need to go in, getting there is quite an effort. But, as always, l’fum tza’ara agra, according to the difficulty is the reward. You need to take lessons from what happened, analyze it, and perhaps look for similar qualities that you really liked, but to continue the relationship only mildly or at arms length does not fit in hashkafically or halachikly.

Another point to think about practically: How will a future guy you date or your husband feel about the fact that you are friendly and close to other guys? I can’t imagine that this would go over too well on any level!

I hope you find your one and only z’man b’karov!!

With Warmest Wishes,
Chana