20 Av 5781 / Thursday, July 29, 2021 | Torah Reading: Eikev
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Dating vs. Dating    

Dating vs. Dating

Serial dating becomes an experiment in trial and error, but almost always ends up as a failed experiment. Relationships end, hearts get broken, and the cycle repeats...


If your eyes are open, you can clearly see the many ways society tries to mold and evolve our social etiquette and morals. Most of us go with the flow of what is deemed acceptable behavior without questioning whether it is intrinsically right or wrong. Even the notion of right and wrong is a figment of society's fickle imagination, and it is portrayed as absolute truth- until “wrong” has sneakily evolved into “right” without us paying attention. One of the major areas in which this moral erosion has occurred is the area of romance and dating.
I would venture to say that the concept of dating didn't exist as a cornerstone of “singlehood” even as recently as 100 years ago. But, somehow, as society became more advanced technologically, its morals also suffered an Enlightenment of their own. I don't know who came up with this idea, but I know that it has been one of the greatest catastrophes to hit modern civilization. Here's why:
First, the concept that we need to be romantically interested in another has infiltrated its way into the precious, pure minds of our children. Kids even as young as 8 years old are taught that they are supposed to hate (by hate I mean like) peers of the opposite sex. Don't believe me? You obviously suffer from amnesia. But don't worry; I have a solution. (Don't I always?) Here's an experiment you can do: first, check out your kid's facebook page. Look at their friends and check out their conversation. Second, have you watched Disney TV lately? It's not nearly as innocent as you may think, and my article, “Mickey and Miley” explains why.
One logical consequence of being taught to have romantic feelings about each other leads to having secret fantasies about each other. Do you remember how many hours you spent daydreaming over your crush who sat two rows in front of you? Oh, right- that amnesia again. Sorry.
Anyhow, fantasizing is severely dangerous, to say the least. Why? Aside from the precious time they could be doing something productive with their afternoons, like playing sports or riding their bikes, they are entering into adult territory without the slightest understanding of what that means. What business does a child have to daydream and fantasize about another? Even worse, our boys learn about desecrating the brit, which is akin to murder, both of his soul and millions of other souls.
It is apparent that even before they are teenagers, our children have had their innocence stolen from them.
And we are to blame. 
The next step in the systematic sabotage and murder of our children's innocence is the serial dating. As soon as a parent gives permission, which can be as young as 12 years old, a child begins his life-long obsession with dating. Without even understanding anything of the complicated dynamics between a man and a woman, and without the slightest emotional maturity, a child begins to explore a world that should have remained off-limits to him.
The result is unimaginable damage done, not only to that child's soul, but to the souls of others that he has hurt along the way. We cannot begin to understand the spiritual ramifications of hurting another person. Is it fair that we allow our children to expose themselves to such complicated soul corrections and invoke severe judgments as a result?
As the child turns into a young adult, he continues to learn (or not learn) about how mind-bending opposite the opposite sex really is. (Everything stated applies to females as well.) Dating becomes an experiment in trial and error, but almost always ends up as a failed experiment. Relationships end, hearts get broken, hearts heal with time; and the cycle repeats itself again and again, like a broken record. Just ask Debbie Dater, the star of my article, “A Dead End.” She'll tell you all about the futility of serial dating.
Unfortunately, an increasingly common byproduct of broken relationships is the children that are born from these ill-fated relationships. They are born with an innate disadvantage, as they don't have a healthy family unit of united parents to be their support system as they grow. Many times, the single parents of such children still haven't learned their life lessons, and lack the emotional maturity and proper perspective that they need to raise emotionally healthy children. Thus, the parents unwittingly transfer all of their “unfinished business” onto their children.
And the cycle continues.
Eventually, the cycle may end when the young adult gets married. But we all know that for most young adults, marriage is not “happily ever after.” Most young couples are shocked to discover that the real work begins after marriage. Everything beforehand was not preparation, as they had thought. Living together before marriage doesn't prepare one for the challenges of living together after marriage. The pressures of real life responsibilities ends up being too much for many couples to bear, and they delude themselves into thinking that they married the wrong person. They could have, should have married better.
So they divorce, and it's back to square one. Literally.
Many divorcees act like they have regressed back to their college years. Many nights are filled with drinking and one night stands, as if they are entitled to let go a little from the burdens of their lives that resulted from too many bad decisions. The children suffer immensely from their parents' immature behavior, and their suffering is compounded when they become exposed to new potential mommies and daddies.
There is a fundamental problem with dating this way, and it has to do with our expectations of romance. Modern dating gives us no understanding of what to look for in a potential mate. You won't find any magazine telling a young, naïve girl to go for the guy with the good heart, especially if he doesn't have six-pack abs and a hot sports car. The focus is completely on physical attributes. What are we- gorillas? In the human species, bigger biceps don't mean better husband material.
Which leads me to the next fundamental problem with dating. Many people date just to date, and not with the intention of getting married. Yes, you might say that people do intend to marry, but that falls under the category of “eventually”, right along with death and taxes. Eventually, we all pay with our lives; whether through our spouse killing us with their nagging, death through over-taxation, or just plain death.
This could be why, subconsciously or consciously, people put off marriage as long as they can. It just isn't an attractive option when compared to the fun, carefree lifestyle they are leading.
Ultimately, by the time the child has married, he has been dating, breaking hearts, having his heart broken, been intimate with who knows how many people, created severe spiritual judgments for himself through wasting of seed and being with women who are niddah (same applies in reverse for women), and has potentially brought children of his own into the world.
What is the other type of dating? Well, it's what many religious people do. They date when they feel ready to take on the responsibility of marriage and family. The parents largely participate in finding a compatible mate for their child. Many people might think this is ridiculous and archaic, but think about this: who knows a child better than his parents? Many times, the parents know the child better than he knows himself! They know the child's likes, dislikes, quirks, and certainly what type of personality would be compatible for him. They also know that when their child gets married, both families also get married, and so they take into account how comfortable their child will feel as a part of his new family. Ultimately, it is the decision of the potential spouses if they wish to get married.
The greatest fundamental difference between this type of dating and serial dating is: Shidduchim (matches) are made successfully when two people agree to embark on a certain lifestyle and spiritual path together. They agree to be one unit that will grow together, compromise for each other, and raise their children with the same set of values- Torah values. They agree that they will do their best to be positive examples for their children, and to make their home a warm and loving oasis that their children can flourish in.
When we compare one type of dating with the other, we can clearly see the difference in the amount of heartache alone is astronomical!
The bottom line is that we must examine our motives for dating. If people are dating just so they won't be lonely, then they'll never end up in a stable, nurturing marriage that enables both spouses to grow and reach their potentials. If you're serious about getting married, skip the dating and use a shadchan- a matchmaker.
But before you do, you must have a clear list of what you're looking for in a spouse. You must also clarify what kind of spouse you want to be.
How can you keep your children from entering into the dating abyss? Well, you can say the most hated and repulsive word in a child's vocabulary- “NO.”
Here's the three-part formula you need to help you have a true soulmate marriage, filled with hearts and butterflies: Men - read The Garden of Peace and The Garden of Purity. Women - read Women's Wisdom. And the third part? Lots and lots of personal prayer!

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