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Dating Advice #148 - Intimate Conclusions
Dating Advice 148

Dating Advice #148 - Intimate Conclusions

The search for a match who has refrained from physical intimacy before marriage.


Dear Rosie & Sherry,

I am a 24-year-old woman looking for a relationship that will lead to marriage. However, it is difficult to find someone who meets my standards. One important criteria that I am looking for is a man who has not been physically intimate with another person. I feel strongly that physical intimacy should be saved for marriage.

I have discussed this issue with my family and friends and they think I am being unrealistic. Is it unreasonable to expect that I can find a man my age who has refrained from physical intimacy before marriage?


Dear Hillary,

We share your belief that it is important to save physical intimacy for marriage. Our view is guided by Jewish law, as well as by our sentiments that a physical relationship is most rewarding when it develops within a committed, loving union.

At the same time, throughout our years of working with singles, we have come to learn that the person who is best suited to be one's spouse may not have all of the criteria their future partner is looking for. Many times, these "missing" criteria do not have much to do with the quality of a relationship between two people, or the likelihood that they will have a good marriage. We've seen many men and women who have difficulty finding the right person because they refuse to relax standards that may not be critical to the success of their future marriage.

We fully understand the concerns you have. By no means do we endorse physical relationships outside of marriage!

As Rabbi Noah Weinberg writes:

Judaism defines marriage as "finding your other half." Through marriage, two people become bound together into a single entity, bringing completeness to each other. The longing for intimacy is really an expression of the longing to be joined together with our "other half." Through the relationship, we express this oneness.

Outside of marriage, intimacy is ultimately frustrating because oneness can never be fully achieved. Without the commitment of marriage, you always keep open the option of leaving the relationship. As a result, the degree of connectedness reaches a barrier. Eventually, frustration sets in, and the relationship erodes at its foundation.

Yet there is something we would like you to consider. There's a growing trend for people who have chosen, later in their lives, to "wait for marriage." They've chosen to do this because experience taught them that a physical relationship without emotional commitment is not fulfilling for them. Others adopt this practice as part of becoming more religiously observant. We don't believe that someone who has come to share your own outlook should be any less "worthy" than someone who has held it all along. In fact, the whole idea of teshuva -- change for the better -- is predicated on looking at an individual for who s/he is now, rather than what s/he did in the past.

Our advice to you is to clarify those character qualities that will be genuinely important for your future husband to possess, and to concentrate on looking for them.

We hope this has been helpful, and wish you the best of success,

Rosie & Sherry

January 31, 2004

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Visitor Comments: 18

(18) Nathan, October 22, 2006 3:06 PM

God knows what you want

If you can trust one to remain pure for their whole wait to find the right person, you can trust them your whole life. I believe God values what you wish to find in someone. Continue to look. There are people, myself included, who value purity; just so you know I am a guy writing this. God knows your desires and fears, why would the Great Creator of the universe give you a stone when you ask for bread.

(17) Esther, August 31, 2006 7:46 PM

Look at the whole personality

I think the main thing is to look at the entire personality of the person. I always read about people who lived extremely "wild" lives, and trying out other religions, and then became BT. That's a nice story, but there are also a lot of us who didn't party, were maybe a bit shy and/or involved in a lot of interests and/or just were more straight-laced and just naturally fell into the Torah lifestyle when we found it matched our personality. I would imagine the real issue shouldn't just be whether the person one time had a relationship but what kind of lifestyle they were involved in - not to judge them, but to really see if it's going to be a good match. I greatly suspect that the BT's who were "wild" before they were fum generally marry each other and the ones who were always more reserved generally marry each other. On the other hand, maybe the person one time was involved with someone physically - this shouldn't necessarily keep you from at least considering whether to go on a date with them.

(16) Anonymous, November 2, 2005 12:00 AM

Check your motive!

Virginity is a nice factor but don't put it out of proportion. Be careful of 'black-listing' someone for making a mistake, not only is it not nice and possibly against the Torah (e.g. Love your neighbour and), but also it really means you would have to black-list everyone, yourself included. As far as I'm aware the person who hasn't made a mistake hasn't yet been born and never will; for one of the purposes of this world is to make mistakes, learn from them and grow through overcoming them.

Best wishes with your dating.

(15) ariel weisz, February 24, 2004 12:00 AM

teshuva is sincere

I have to sharply disagree with one of the comments where one of the visitors here says that if the woman mentioned above refrained from intimate relations, she still has the right to demand a virgin. Negative. That is how you spell, not just double standard, but hypocrisy. The visitor then downgrades teshuvah and condescendingly calls it great. It is a mitzvah, d'oraysah (biblical command) to judge another Jew favorably. Now, in marriage (or business) you'd better keep both eyes open and guard yourself. But where no negative signs or indications of past, negative behaviour exist, one is REQUIRED to assume that the Jew has done proper t'shuvah. Remember that Yehoshuah bin Nun (Joshuah), Moshe Rebbeinu(Moses)'s successor, married Rachav, the ex-madam (prostitute)of Jericho whose beauty was renowned over great distances and fetched quite a fee; only nobles and heads of state could usually "visit" her. She converted. She did t'shuvah. She became an eishas chayil, a woman of valor, to the leader and prophet of the entire Jewish people. T'shuvah counts for everything, if true and sincere.

(14) Michael, February 22, 2004 12:00 AM

Good on you.

Shalom. I am a 24 year old man with the same ideals - namely I am holding out for marriage. I understand that it is easy to become cynical though, in this day and age. Best wishes to you!

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