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    Dating and Relationship Advice

    Dear Shira and Rabbi,

    When I graduated high school I said to myself and my parents that I did not want to date right away. I wanted to wait until I got my bachelors and start dating when I have a steady income to support myself and not have to rely on someone. Then I met someone my first week in college! It’s almost 2 years and we’re still dating. We know we want to get married but we’re both still in college, don’t have jobs, and don’t have parents who could afford to support us. What do we do in this situation? Do we throw caution to the wind and get married anyway? What are the do’s and don’ts in a situation like this?

    -Sincerely, Long-Term Dater

    Dear Long Term Dater,
    Hi, thank you for sharing. It is so nice that you met your future husband easily while in college, but with comes its challenges.
    Sometimes life doesn’t go according to your plans and we need to change our plans. This flexibility is something which will serve you well in life into the future. Think about your expectations about you would date, get engaged and then get married? How does what you are experiencing differ? How is it the same? Ask yourself, if this young man really the one you’d want to face the challenges and take the opportunities that life has to offer?
    Only the two of you can decide what the correct answer is for the both of you.
    We’d like you to consider the following options. What are your financial expectations? What are his expectations? Discuss how much money you need to make it work. What are the other things you think you’ll need after you get married that you did not have to worry about before? For example, rent, groceries, electricity bills.

    Who is supporting you now? Is it possible they can at least give you that amount of money per month? Although you both don’t work now, is it possible that you both can get part time jobs? Many college students work part during the school year and during the summer time take on full time jobs. We have found many job opportunities open up during the summers that continue during the year. Considering the fact that you only have two years left of school, we’re pretty sure that if you pool all your resources together you can get married while you are in college. It will be challenging. You won’t be eating gourmet, nor will having exotic vacations, but you be together.

    Another aspect to consider is the effects long term dating can have on your relationship. From a religious perspective, it is very hard to keep the laws of negiah and yichud while dating for a long period of time. You will also run the risk of stagnation and boredom in this relationship, as will seem not to be progressing. We do not advocate that you get engaged and married after you graduate. Two years is a long time away. If you feel you have no choice, for the aforementioned reasons, we recommend seeing each other once a week until you decide to get married.

    Another option, though not as desirable, is to break up for now and reconnect when you are closer to graduating.
    Whichever option you choose, we wish you hatzlacha in everything,