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    Dating and Relationship Advice

    Dear Rabbi and Shira,

    I am dating Mr. Popular. He is gregarious, funny, giving and very attentive to everyone’s needs. He is the type of guy that will go out of his way to help anyone. One time, when someone’s car broke down, not only did he pull over to help, but he offered to pick up water and snacks while they were waiting in the hot sun for AAA to arrive. That is how thoughtful he is. The problem is that recently I am starting to see another side of him. Now that our relationship is more serious, he seems to think that we need to spend every day together. I am a girl that needs my space and getting together more than twice a week is too much for me. When I tell him that, he is very hurt and offended by my words, so I end up pushing myself to see him as much as possible. He also gets upset if I do not text him back immediately. In my defense, I am busy taking online pre -med courses and working part time. I do not always have the time to text him back. When I answer him later on in the day, he ignores me and won’t answer my calls for the rest of the day. In general, he is not happy that I am going for pre- med. Before we started dating, he knew that this was an important for me but he agreed to go out with me anyways. Now he is having second thoughts about my career plans. Even though he knows it has been my dream since I was a little girl, he passionately believes that I should be at home once we have kids since nothing can replace a mother’s attention, love and care. He argues that Baruch Hashem he makes a very good living and will take over his father’s business one day. He feels that there is no need for me to kill myself for the next 10 years in school. He believes it would be a “better use of my time”, to stay home and raise our family. I feel like when I have children, I will not want to be at home all day and will actually need space to be a more productive wife and parent. And honestly, I also really want to be a doctor. Although things are getting serious and we are talking about engagement, I am starting to think that maybe he is not the right one. -Too Much in the Five Towns.

    Dear Too Much in the Five Towns,

    It sounds like the two of you have quite different ideas of what your dating life and married life should look like. You say he is very attentive to everyone’s needs, but what about your needs? He does not seem to consider them very much, at least that is how you are portraying him in this letter.

    It sounds like you have tried to communicate your needs with him, and he is not responsive. If you are the only one compromising, if only his needs are the important ones, then this does not sound like a healthy relationship.

    We often tell our students about the relationship bill of rights. Both of you are entitled to a healthy relationship and both of you have rights/ needs that should be met.

    Please read your relationship bill of rights very carefully.

    I have the right to be treated with dignity and respect.

    I have a right to follow my own values and standards.

    I have the right to say no and not feel guilty.

    I have the right to experience and express my feelings.

    I have the right to feel safe. I have the right to take time for myself.

    I have the right to change my mind. I have the right to ask for what I want.

    I have the right to ask for information.

    I have the right to make mistakes.

    I have the right to do less than I am humanly capable of doing. I have the right to be me and feel good about myself.

    I have the right to leave conversations with people who make me feel put down or humiliated.

    I have the right to act only in ways that will promote my dignity and self-respect.

    I have the right to feel scared and say “I’m afraid”.

    I have the right to end the relationship. I have the right not to be responsible for others’ behavior, actions, feelings, or problems.

    I have the right to expect honesty from others.

    I have the right to all of my feelings.

    I have the right to make decisions based on my feelings, my judgments, or any reason that I choose. I have the right to change and grow.

    I have the right to be happy.

    I have the right to make friends and be myself around people.

    I have the right to be angry at someone I love. I have the right to both experience and let go of fear, guilt, and shame.

    If you are getting a pit in your stomach while you read this or you feel that your rights are not being met, please seek professional counselling. A relationship works two ways, and if its only one way, it’s not for you.

    -Rabbi Reuven and Shira Boshnack