- Family and Society
Hello Rabbi, I hope all is well. I had a question regarding double-dating. Is there anything halachically problematic with going out with more than one girl at the same time? I speak specifically about a situation where one is in the beginning stages of a relationship with one girl, and is not sure if it will work out long term, and would therefore like to briefly explore one or two other options simultaneously before deciding to commit to one specific girl? Assuming this is not the best practice, would it be justified in a situation where if one does not double-date, he could lose out on a prospective match in the interim? If you could provide an answer, I would greatly appreciate it. Thank you!
Shalom, Thank you for your question. While there are no clear halachic guidelines of double-dating – there certainly are social norms that are expected of someone who is a “mench” (a “good guy”). These practices are part of “derech eretz” (correct behavior) that precedes Torah [law]. You can already tell from my tone that this is not a good idea. From the perspective of the young lady involved, there are certainly issues of deceit, lack of faith, hiding the truth and non-commitment. All these issues are not just problematic for her – but for yourself also. I have seen a very good reply to a similar question by Rabbi Moss (at Chabad.org), let me quote it for you – “I understand your logic. If you were looking to buy a car, it would be silly to jump at the first model that catches your eye. You would compare prices and test drive a range of different makes before buying. So, shouldn’t you do some comparative shopping before settling on a life partner? In fact, you may feel it is even more important to shop around for love than it is for a car. A car you can trade in if you’re not satisfied, but a wife . . . While this line of thinking may sound reasonable, there is a major flaw in the logic. There is a world of difference between a car and a potential wife. For one, cars don’t like jewelry. But more importantly, cars don’t have feelings. Your partner does, and so do you. Once feelings are part of the picture, a whole new dynamic is introduced: emotional connection. Because emotions are involved, seeing two people at once is not the way to go. It won’t work for you, for your partner, or for the possible third party. 1) For the third party: it’s unethical. Would you tell someone that you are entering a relationship with them only to test if another relationship is real or not? If you would, you’re mad. If you wouldn’t, is that fair to them? There’s nothing wrong with a used car, but people have feelings, and don’t like to be used. 2) For you: you can’t be objective. When you drive a car, it doesn’t change you. You can walk away and test drive another car, and you will be able to objectively analyze and compare the two. I have never heard of someone who needs time to “get over” a car before they can try another one. But with a human being, it’s different. A relationship is an emotional investment. You have shared a part of yourself with another. While in the midst of one relationship, you are simply not available to anyone else. You cannot be truly objective. The way you will look at the second person will be colored by your feelings for the first. So, what will you have achieved by seeing someone else? 3) For your partner: people can’t be evaluated. When buying a car, we want the best one on the market. If we can afford a better, newer model, we would not settle for less. But a life partner, a human being, can’t be given a market value. Relationships cannot be compared. Each one is a universe unto itself. The question, “Could I do better?” can apply only to objects. But with real people, the only questions you need to ask are, “Is this person a good person? Do I want to be in this person’s universe? Can we grow together?” If yes, stay there. If not, move on. Don’t spend your lifetime wondering if someone better is around the corner. Rather, find someone who wants to be the best person in the world for you. And be the best person in the world for her. If together you make that pledge, and work hard to keep to it, you’ll be on the road to true happiness, no matter what model car you drive.” I hope this is of some help, Blessings.