I have been dating an awesome girl, “Batya,” for a few months, and am very happy with her. We have been part of a local group of Jewish singles that hangs out and attends a lot of Jewish social events. We also attend singles events such as the American Friends of Lubavitch shabbatons for young professionals in the greater Washington, D.C., area.
Here’s where it gets sticky. Recently, Batya told me that she thinks it’s inappropriate for us to continue to attend these gatherings together, since they are really meant for singles looking for their bashert. I am a very social person and I really enjoy these kinds of shabbatons and other similar events. I assure her I am obviously not looking for someone else to date when we go, as we are a couple, but she doesn’t seem happy that I’m reluctant to give up this habit. I really like this girl.
What do you suggest?
Oh, dear. When I got this question, I did a quick survey around the dinner table, and here were the results:
“Survey says: BZZZZZ!!!”
If you are too young to get this reference, it is from the 1970s game show “Family Feud.” When a contestant got the wrong answer, a very loud noise occurred, and boy did you know they were wrong.
Anyway, Kalman, everyone in Rivkie’s house sided with Batya.
To preface what comes next, I just want to say that we are assuming that you are dating for marriage and not just “for fun” here, and this answer is based on that underlying assumption.
When we are dating someone, a process is in place so we can really get to know that person. Do we share the same basic belief system? Do we want the same sort of family life? Do we have fun together? Do we like each other’s families? (That last one is not a requirement, but it’s awfully nice.) You get the idea. It is difficult to get real answers to all the questions when you are still going to singles events.
A bigger issue is that when you attend these singles events, you are sending off a signal to other girls that you are available. It’s likely that not everyone in the room will know that you and Batya are an item, and someone may approach you, looking to meet you as a prospective single, and then what? Without meaning to, you could cause a girl a lot of embarrassment, which we know is a major no-no, not to mention an aveira (sin).
Think about it. You are at a singles event, you approach a girl to introduce yourself, and then she says, “Sorry, I’m here with my boyfriend.”
I mean, ouch. No, sir! Talk about false advertising.
Dating is also about learning how to compromise when you and your significant other don’t agree. Sometimes, it’s about what to watch on Netflix, while at other times, it’s something bigger, like, “Should I quit my steady job and start a new business?”
So, how about a compromise?
You love to be social, right? You’re a real people person. Why don’t you use that gift to make your own, not-exclusively singles shabbaton right where you are? Could you and Batya organize a fun event or outing with young professionals and be in charge? When you do a project together, that can tell you a lot about the other person, how they interact with people, and what their strengths and weaknesses are.
It sounds like your heart is in the right place, Kalman, and I’m sure you don’t want to do anything to hurt Batya. Look at it as a win that you aren’t at these singles events anymore. Make your own fun with Batya and try to help other young Yidden find their bashert. Just because you are paired up doesn’t mean you can’t socialize anymore. You just have to tweak it a bit. Boundaries change and you must prioritize Batya’s feelings.
And don’t forget, Rivkie loves to attend weddings. Wishing you all the luck and happiness!
All the best,