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Dating Advice #133 - Internet Two-Timer?
Dating Advice 133

Dating Advice #133 - Internet Two-Timer?

Something looks very suspicious. Should he break the engagement?

by

Dear Rosie & Sherry,

I am a 30-year-old Jewish male in a long-distance courtship. I was recently online and discovered that my fiancee has posted her profile on a Jewish personals site. I wanted to investigate, so I set up a false identity and emailed her, to which I received a reply with her phone number and times to call. This is someone who sometimes has no time to talk to me because she is so busy with school and work.

She has also cancelled trips to see me, and cancelled my visits to her. I always believed she was honest when she told me how busy she was. Now who knows what the real reasons are.

On the outside, the loving words she says make me believe she'll be a great wife. But this Internet thing seems like a bad dream, like a Jekyl and Hyde character. I am so hurt and trying hard not to take the blame on myself. I hope we can straighten things out, but my friends think I'm crazy and tell me to just end it all now.

What's your advice?

Scott

Dear Scott,

Our question is, if you are engaged to be married, why were you browsing a singles' website? Were you simply curious? Maybe she was, too. Take a good look at your own motives before you decide to confront your fiancée.

There's a concept in Judaism called "dan l'chaf zechut" -- giving others the benefit of the doubt. There may be an honest and understandable reason why your fiancée answered your e-mail. Curiosity. An error in judgment. Second thoughts. (Second thoughts are normal, so don't hold them against her. Marriage is a big step and it is not unusual for a person to sometimes get cold feet during engagement. Having doubts is not a betrayal.)

Judaism does not expect us to turn a blind eye to something that looks suspicious.

On the other hand, Judaism does not expect us to turn a blind eye to something that looks suspicious. One possibility is that your fiancee is simply not ready for the commitment that marriage entails. If so, it is fortuitous that you discovered this now, rather than after the wedding!

Either way, you are right to ignore the advice of your friends, who probably have never been engaged themselves and don't realize that even engaged people sometimes do not-so-smart things. What you have to do is talk about this, face-to-face, with you approaching the subject in a non-confrontational way.

Before you do so, think about the reasons why you visited this website, and sort out your overall feelings about your fiancée and your upcoming marriage. You might want to read our book, "In The Beginning," to gain some insight into how to assess the quality of the relationship with the person you plan to marry, as well as the kinds of issues that can crop up during an engagement and how to best deal with them.

Once you clarify your own feelings, you can discuss them with your fiancée. You can explain why you browsed the site, and how you felt when you saw her listing. Explain why you contacted her and how you felt when you received a response. Before asking her the big, "Why," we suggest telling her you have done a lot of thinking about your relationship. Tell her all the positive qualities you see, and why you believe the two of you will have a good life together.

Before asking her the big, "Why," tell her the positive qualities you see.

Instead of asking her to immediately come up with an answer to the question, "Why," suggest that she do some thinking on her own. It may take some introspection for her to figure out why she posted her profile on the website and why she answered your inquiry. What is more important, however, is how she feels about the quality of your relationship and about your upcoming marriage. She's entitled to engage in the same thinking process that we've encouraged you to perform before the two of you talk and try to clear the air.

We recommend that you do this sooner, rather than later. Hopefully, by thinking your feelings through beforehand and following it with a sincere, face-to-face dialogue, you will both be honest and clear the air. In a positive sense, this incident can enable you to value each other and look forward to your upcoming marriage even more than you had in the past. Or, it could be that the two of you will realize that one (or both) of you is not ready to make a marriage commitment.

The engagement period can be an emotional minefield. We hope that you can take our advice and navigate it successfully with some deep thinking, followed by some deep conversation.

Rosie & Sherry

Published: August 2, 2003

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Visitor Comments: 9

(9) Aniya, December 18, 2012 6:24 PM

have you think that maybe someone might as well is using her picture? you haven't said that the number he gave you is her real number. anyways if its the real one better be clear, talk and straighten things out if its still possible. if not, then move on, don't settle for less you deserve someone who is honest and deserving for your love.

(8) Victor, October 30, 2008 11:48 AM

Problems, problems, but good to know now problems

Scott is long past this relationship now and is probably married with two children at the time of this writing. However, I don't equally fault him as others have here. There is a huge difference between being engaged, posting a profile on an internet singles site, and answering replies when compared to browing an internet singles site while engaged. One is very premeditated and is essentially putting themself on the market. She answered Scott's fake message, and she has probably answered many others. Who knows how deep her betrayal has gone. Scott's actions can simply be explained by curiousity. Just because you are committed in a relationship doesn't mean that you may not be interested in seeing who in your community is still single (that you know) or just what's out there. I don't see it so differently than looking at a group of girls walking down the street: while one involves more effort, both can be indications of curiousity. His fiance was actually dating other people behind his back. He never betrayed her to my knowledge - looking is a lot different than doing. I couldn't say the same thing for her. Finally, his ruse is not something that seems so grossly unfair as others have expressed. Is it also wrong to hire a private investigator to find out if your partner is cheating on you? Both involve some sneakyness, but he wasn't trying to lie and betray to her. He was just trying to find out if she was betraying him, which she was. Obviously, this girl was bad news and probably conversations about her actions (cancelling visits, etc.) should have been brought earlier. There are/were a lot of red flags here in hindsight. I understand how they may not seem so clear while you're going through it. These are big problems for sure, but consider yourself lucky. Perhaps your fiance could have not found anyone else, married you, and then where would you be? With all these problems now, be assured you would have serious problems with her once married. You lucked out on this one. I know it was painful, but you dodged a bullet.

(7) Anonymous, August 9, 2003 12:00 AM

is this for real?

You're engaged to a woman who you're not going to see and she is not coming to see you? Why do you simply accept her cancelling your visits? How exactly are you communicating then? The fact that you don't know each other well enough to talk about this is telling. Why are you even engaged? Do you even have a wedding date? I once went out with a guy who suddenly became to busy to see me and while I was away had time to go to a singles event. He claimed he just went for fun. I believed him but I broke up with him anyway because if he doesn't have time to see me but does have time to go to a party he is sending a clear message. He did not want a relationship. It sounds like you and she have a fantasy going on there not a relationship.

(6) Olga, August 8, 2003 12:00 AM

unacceptable

I am very surprised that people assume it is fine to do Internet dating as one is engaged. No one who is happy in a relationship would do it. There is onbviously something wrong and missing in that relationship to begin with. No way anyone should stay in a relationship and get married under this circumstances. Totally unacceptable.I still am not getting it why people would consider it ss "acceptable curiousity" Yikkes...

(5) Devora, August 5, 2003 12:00 AM

Be wary, and not just about your fiance - Food for thought

With all due respect to you, as much as you might want to be wary of your intended, which would be appropriate, what about your own part in this?
It seems a bit odd that you are willing to throw out accusations at your bride-to-be about her being on a singles website, while you yourself must have been hunting on said site to find that profile. Trust and loyalty must go both ways. It is 100% true that it is wrong and quite disloyal of her to have created that profile and to be emailing someone with her contact information if she and you are committed to each other. However, just as she is committed to you, you are to her as well. You're hardly a trustworthy groom-to-be yourself, what with searching a profile and making up a phony email and contact etc. That involves more than a bit of deception and is actually called "entrapment." You wanted her to get caught in a web of lies which ironically began when you weren't too faithful yourself.
As much as you and your committed one need to have a face to face talk to discuss her desire for commitment and her own deeds, yours should be discussed as well. Your own feelings about the relationship might have brought out your own curiosity and distrust in your search, as much as her feelings about you did the same.
Do the two of you each truly want to be in a committed relationship with one another and do either of you truly trust the other? Maybe it's time to re-evaluate.....

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