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Old 10-15-2012, 01:56 AM   #1
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Dating / Courtship

I have a few questions about dating / courtship.

My exboyfriend and I are Baha'i. I am very new to the Baha'i faith and am a little confused about the dating process. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

Recently my boyfriend broke up with me saying he just wants to be friends so he can get to know my character. He thinks things were moving very fast between us. He says he wants to make no commitment or say we are dating or in a relationship of any kind other than friendship. He wants to save any form of commitment until marriage. He says he wants to "get to know others characters too." At the same time he tells me he is interested in getting to know me to decide if I am the one he wants to marry. He also tells me he prefers if I don't see anyone else because he'll be jealous.

My question is, is there something in Baha'i faith that says no commitment should be made until marriage? What does the process of "dating" look like and how does friendship come into play and what does that look like?

I get the sense this is all crazy. I feel very confused.

Thank you for any clarifications.
 
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Old 10-15-2012, 02:14 AM   #2
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Lol, oh boy...

I laugh only because it's amazing what some people will do for sex. Look, I don't know your ex-boyfriend or anything, but here is how this sounds:

"Hey, I don't think we should date anymore, until I really get to know your...uhm... 'character'. But I also want to get to know other people's... 'character' too. Oh and I would appreciate it if you didn't date anyone else because that's not cool."

Wow, is he serious? Don't even bother with this guy. It sounds like he just wants to hit up some other people, and in the meantime, he just wants you to sit around and wait for him to get back from his little escapades. As far as I see, there is no scriptural evidence for this. And even if there was, I would suggest you ignore it. In Islam it's typical to get to know multiple people, but NEVER in a dating situation and it's always rather formal. Right when I saw that he wanted you to stay single, I knew this guy was a joke.

He sounds like an alpha-male. Tell him that you're going to go check out other people's "character" too, and if he doesn't like it that's his damn own fault for letting you go. He doesn't own you. Find someone who will really care about YOU. Someone that won't make ridiculous excuses in order to get around town, and then ever-so-politely ask you to sit around at home waiting for his return like a loyal slave girl. What kind of marriage would that be?

Good thing he showed his true colors before you got in a serious commitment! Time to move on. Good luck!

Last edited by Zhang; 10-15-2012 at 02:36 AM.
 
Old 10-15-2012, 04:08 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MayYouBeHappy View Post
He says he wants to "get to know others characters too."
That's okay.

Quote:
He also tells me he prefers if I don't see anyone else because he'll be jealous.
That's strange, considering he wants to get to know others' characters too.
 
Old 10-15-2012, 09:16 AM   #4
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Zang, Thank you for your response. I agree with you that this looks like a joke and yet I am madly in love with this man. There is no way I am going to wait around for him but I am trying to decide if to remain friends at all. We are going to the feast tomorrow together, then he asked me to join a Ruhi class with him starting soon and go to the Birth of the Bab celebration with him. I get the sense he is very insecure and maybe there is something more to all of this.

I am really wanting to know what the writings say about the process of "getting to know" someone. I want to build a strong foundation leading to marriage and honestly I'm not sure I know what this looks like.

Ahanu: Please say more about it being ok for him to want to get to know other characters too.

I don't want this to become a game.. I adore this man and could see a future together. I just don't want to wait around for him forever. Maybe I am being naive and blind. I want to investigate further.
 
Old 10-15-2012, 11:15 AM   #5
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Hi MayYouBeHappy,

Trying to read between lines, it sounds as though there was some degree of physical display of affection (you don't have to say anything in this regard, but why else would he want to break up and be 'friends'), -and that maybe he feels a bit guilty about it, and/or that he is unsure about how he feels about you, or both. It is obvious he is attracted to you though, hence the jealousy.

Zhang, I'm not sure why you would assume he's trying to get sex though.. I don't see that from this post.. She says he broke up and wants to be friends.

By him saying he wants to save commitment for marriage, maybe he is saying that he wants to save kinds of physical display of affection and a declaration of commitment for marriage.

"My question is, is there something in Baha'i faith that says no commitment should be made until marriage? "

I am sure two people can make a personal commitment before marriage. Commitment might usually be expressed in engagement, but there would be circumstances in which people might feel that they cannot marry until a later date but still be committed.

"What does the process of "dating" look like and how does friendship come into play and what does that look like?"

Dating I would say is just spending time with someone in order to get to know them better. Some of this would be just the two of you and some of that time could be spent in a group situation.
We are to strive to be pure in our dealings with others too. And it sure is easier to do that when both people have the same beliefs about chastity.

It doesn't sound like a good sign to me that he wants to get to know other people to investigate them. I'd want my boyfriend to be happy with, and excited about me and not feel the need to scout around looking for someone he might feel more for.


I am a little worried though that he might feel unduly guilty for a kiss of a hug. There is a Pilgrim's note that says a couple who aren't married shouldn't kiss or embrace, unless they're about to be married. And the House of Justice has said that we should strive to achieve this exalted standard.
But that is not 'law' in a sense.
Still that is a very high standard, and I don't know how many achieve it.
I think the main thing is that we should strive to be pure.

I think the key is to immerse yourself in the Writings, and put all your dependence on God, and by that I mean to recite the passages and prayers given to us by Baha'u'llah about finding sufficiency in God.
As we depend more on God we become more self-sufficient and are less needful of others.

I think you need to show him that you have respect for yourself and who you are.
Him wanting to date other people, but have you not date others is a double-standard and is not fair or just. And jealousy is not mature. He should want for the best for you, and for you to be happy, whatever that may mean even if you find it with another young man.

You could be candid with him and let him know that you care for and like him, but remember that you don't need him.

And say this every day. (as a suggestion )

17. O SON OF MAN!
Be thou content with Me and seek no other helper. For none but Me can ever suffice thee.

(Baha'u'llah, The Arabic Hidden Words)

Last edited by Rani; 10-15-2012 at 03:59 PM.
 
Old 10-15-2012, 12:07 PM   #6
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wow
he wants to "get to know other characters", but you don't get to because he is jealous?

just wow, good luck with that, i would have none of it.
 
Old 10-15-2012, 12:32 PM   #7
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^ Essence of God hit the nail on the head.

Rani, i'm sorry if you don't see this, but if he just said that he wants to see other people, okay fine, whatever. But the minute that he said, "but you should stay single"...just no.
 
Old 10-15-2012, 04:03 PM   #8
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Sure, I understand that..I just didn't see how it meant he wanted to be going exploring sex with people. I thought that might have been what you were implying in your previous post. Sorry if I got it wrong..

But anywayz.. I agree for him to want to consider something with others, but want her to stay available, there is something very not right there. That is not acceptable.

Last edited by Rani; 10-15-2012 at 04:09 PM.
 
Old 10-15-2012, 07:57 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zhang View Post
^ Essence of God hit the nail on the head.

Rani, i'm sorry if you don't see this, but if he just said that he wants to see other people, okay fine, whatever. But the minute that he said, "but you should stay single"...just no.
I was thinking the same thing you were on reading he wanted to spend time with other people but would prefer she didn't.

There may be a nicer take on it, but I would have none of it either.

To be really, really direct about situations like this, when I've been in them I don't want to hurt the other person (obviously), but I am not responsible for figuring out their insecurity problems for them. If they're so insecure they think I deserve a double standard uh they can seek professional help.

Women make a lot of mistakes trying to "fix" men and their problems. I prefer to keep looking for one that doesn't need fixing it just makes more sense to me.

My $0.02 anyway.

P.S. I can't have done too badly I've been married 27 years now. *shrug*

Last edited by Emilia; 10-15-2012 at 08:03 PM.
 
Old 10-15-2012, 09:54 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MayYouBeHappy View Post
I have a few questions about dating / courtship

My question is, is there something in Baha'i faith that says no commitment should be made until marriage? What does the process of "dating" look like and how does friendship come into play and what does that look like?
I believe I remember something about the "no commitment until marriage", but forget where I read it this year.
I DO feel Baha'i dating IS different from the non-Baha'i culture I grew up in. As young schoolkids especially, kids tended to 'go steady" with a different partner each week. I think to some degree Baha'is are encouraged to not go steady, at least unless they are very seriously considering engagement and marriage. Otherwise, you get serious, and maybe too physical, with one person and are not leaving yourself open to the "right' or best person for you. It encourages "settling" too soon, as soon as you are somewhat interested in someone.
It does sound like your boyfriend was realizing he was getting either too interested physically or too carried away emotionally too, letting his feelings for you take away important objectivity about his present and future. If he is trying to behave especially, and desires to keep your interest, then I would not worry too much that he is not ready for commitment, as I don't think we owe that to anyone until engagement. You DO deserve however whatever freedoms he has, definitely! Don't be vengeful, but don't limit your thoughts more than your partner does. If he truly plans to just get to know others platonically, hands-off, then there is no problem anyway.
I find that these days an adult woman at least can usually not expect to be able to date without being willing to kiss a man, so if one is not willing to go that far, an actual date might not be possible, with most people these days. Getting to know others in group situations, remotely, or with very clear set limits, is the main way these days to come to know others, without getting too involved.
I think sometimes a couple gets to point where they are no longer interested in others, and at that point they will not want to date others, but until an actual engagement occurs, you can't require other to "be true" or say they even cheated by dating someone, unless they were hiding or lying about it. That emotionally intimate period I'm talking about can involve desire for commitment, but should probably usually only be considered temporary trial-period of such feelings until an engagement is actually chosen.
Good luck! Treasure your connection, openly communicate, but be fair to yourself too. Be patient, taking one day at a time. There need be no rush into changing your life by making a permanent commitment. If neither of you is 100% ready, then there is no reason to cut off other options. Follow your hearts. Keep check with your minds and principles too though.
I wish you well, much happiness and ease on your journey. And do remember that friendships, giving to others, and prayer are always available to help fill in our emotional holes/needs too. Never rely on one individual to meet all your needs, though love can be quite wonderfully transcendent at times.

Last edited by wendybird9; 10-15-2012 at 10:15 PM.
 
Old 10-15-2012, 11:24 PM   #11
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i agree this guy sounds egotistical. True I dont know him. But he should set teh same standards for you as he sets for himself. If he allowed to check out other women you should be allowed to check out other men. Not a good place to start a relationship- with double standards. Those things should be warning signs..
 
Old 10-15-2012, 11:29 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Rani View Post
It doesn't sound like a good sign to me that he wants to get to know other people to investigate them. I'd want my boyfriend to be happy with, and excited about me and not feel the need to scout around looking for someone he might feel more for.
Yes exactly you are a genious!!!
 
Old 10-16-2012, 08:46 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rani View Post
Trying to read between lines, it sounds as though there was some degree of physical display of affection (you don't have to say anything in this regard, but why else would he want to break up and be 'friends'), -and that maybe he feels a bit guilty about it, and/or that he is unsure about how he feels about you, or both. It is obvious he is attracted to you though, hence the jealousy.
First, thank you so much Rani for your response. Everything you wrote lines up perfectally. Yes, there was a degree of physical affection and now he feels guilty about it. The funny thing is he can't help himself but to do small acts of physical affection even after we have broken up. He says it's hard for him because he's so attracted to me. I have been very kind and loving while helping support in what he says he wants (which is ONLY friendship)

He has mentioned about no kissing and hugging before and I'm not sure he knows that is not a "law" I think however he just feels some guilt for the affection he has shown.

I feel the same that I would hope that my "boyfriend" would be happy enough with me to not feel the need to "investigate" others. He is NOT wanting to sleep with others.. I feel pretty confident about that.. but just the idea that he has stopped telling me how much he loves and cares about me makes me sad.

I told him that in order for us to be even friends he still has to be nice to me and treat me with compassion. Sometimes he can be very cold, which I would not accept from any friend of mine.

Deep down I know what a great match we are. I usually have excellent intuition. I am torn between just relaxing about it and being purely friends with him and continue taking Ruhi classes with him and serving the community. As long as there is no commitment, I will continue to date others too.
The other part of me, feels very frustrated and upset about the situation and thinks it might be better for me to cut things off with him completely and go my own way to heal. It is very difficult being around the man I love when he won't as much as touch me.

Each day I pray and and I am thankful to know I will be ok no matter what happens. The hardest part is for the first time in my entire 29 years on the planet I don't feel afraid or scared to marry and fully commit myself to someone.

Thank you Rani!
 
Old 10-16-2012, 08:55 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Emilia View Post
To be really, really direct about situations like this, when I've been in them I don't want to hurt the other person (obviously), but I am not responsible for figuring out their insecurity problems for them. If they're so insecure they think I deserve a double standard uh they can seek professional help.

Women make a lot of mistakes trying to "fix" men and their problems. I prefer to keep looking for one that doesn't need fixing it just makes more sense to me.
Hi Emilia,
Thank you for your comments. When reading your post it really hit me. I do feel like I can help my ex become more secure (he is quite insecure) He is going for professional help but I honestly think it's making things worse. I don't think the psyc sees the reality of things and how he really acts when he's not sitting in the office of the psyc.

Slowly I am seeing how I might be very stupid for wanting a relationship with this man so badly. I am trying to investigate why I feel so much with / for him. I want to be honest with myself and not be interested in him for the wrong reasons. I don't want to fix anyone.. however I know myself and I am a nurturer at heart and can't help myself sometimes.

27 years of marriage is wonderful!!! I know it's possible and I love hearing examples of this. My parents just had their 36th anniversary.
 
Old 10-16-2012, 09:15 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wendybird9 View Post
I believe I remember something about the "no commitment until marriage", but forget where I read it this year.
Wow... I feel a weight taken off my shoulders after reading your full post! Everything you write is exactly what my ex says.


Quote:
Originally Posted by wendybird9 View Post
I think to some degree Baha'is are encouraged to not go steady, at least unless they are very seriously considering engagement and marriage. Otherwise, you get serious, and maybe too physical, with one person and are not leaving yourself open to the "right' or best person for you.
This is exactly what my ex says. He tells me he doesn't even want to date anyone because even that is too much commitment. He just wants to get to know characters. This is the first time he is seriously trying to follow this and I think he doesn't exactly know how to handle himself. Therefor sometimes he comes off as mean, or cold. Or he creates these double standards.
When I asked if he wanted me to date others and he clearly said NO.. I first thought that meant he was only interested in me.. the next day I asked some clarification questions and he said the only reason he said that is because he would be jealous if I was seeing others, however he said I'm free to do so. When I said I would.. he reallllly didn't like that. C'est la vie.


Quote:
Originally Posted by wendybird9 View Post
It does sound like your boyfriend was realizing he was getting either too interested physically or too carried away emotionally too, letting his feelings for you take away important objectivity about his present and future. If he is trying to behave especially, and desires to keep your interest, then I would not worry too much that he is not ready for commitment, as I don't think we owe that to anyone until engagement.
Yes, for the first 2 months of our relationship we spent almost every day together. Things got very serious very fast and he later told me this was to much for him and it wasn't working. He eluded to it was because he was unhappy with his actions.

Wendybird, this is something I don't feel knowledgeable about.. do some couples really just stay friends for a while and then one day one partner decides they want to be engaged? Does this really happen? I'm sure it must, but it's such a new concept for me!
I feel scared and reluctant to just take a breath, relax and trust in this process.


Your message was exactly the perspective I was wanting to hear, since it's the one that I feel I know nothing about and feel very confused about.
Thinking more and more about it, I need to investigate if this is the path I want for myself in life. I am wanting to marry and start a family one day and worry if I just wait around not knowing if the other person is moving in the same direction too with me towards marriage then I could just be waiting around for a while. Especially if we are truly ONLY friends.

I have a lot to meditate on now. Thank you.
 
Old 10-16-2012, 09:18 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LordOfGoblins View Post
i agree this guy sounds egotistical. True I dont know him. But he should set teh same standards for you as he sets for himself. If he allowed to check out other women you should be allowed to check out other men. Not a good place to start a relationship- with double standards. Those things should be warning signs..
Yes, this guy is a bit egotistical. Well, more than a bit actually. I need to look at things with a very clear picture. Is this really the man I want to be married to? Several very big red flags.
I am confused and torn.
 
Old 10-16-2012, 03:02 PM   #17
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Insha'Allah you will find the answers you seek Keep in mind that we often have the answers to our questions, we just don't usually like the answers!
 
Old 10-16-2012, 07:01 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MayYouBeHappy View Post
Yes, this guy is a bit egotistical. Well, more than a bit actually. I need to look at things with a very clear picture. Is this really the man I want to be married to? Several very big red flags.
I am confused and torn.
some men have huge comittment issues. I witnessed one of my best friends pass up all these great opportunities at different women cos hed find tiny things in them he didnt like. At the time i was depressed and couldnt date anyone but i remember thinking if i wasnt id never let all the nice women go that he had had a chance with.
I dont understand it but i think its just immaturity.
 
Old 10-16-2012, 08:57 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MayYouBeHappy View Post
...do some couples really just stay friends for a while and then one day one partner decides they want to be engaged?...I am wanting to marry and start a family one day and worry if I just wait around not knowing if the other person is moving in the same direction too with me towards marriage then I could just be waiting around for a while.
People tend to eventually get to a point where they know what they want, whether they've been dating or learning about many people or just one.
If you are open with each other and can see each each other in many different situations/conditions, and you are both at a point in your life where you are ready for a relationship, then it seems like you should not have to wait real long time for you both to decide whether you have something great together. Follow your heart plenty, but let your mind watch out for you. MANY guys/people will keep you hanging on when they are not too serious about being serious. Give things a reasonable amount of time, whatever you feel that is.
We learn and have special memories from each relationship, but don't stay overtime, as our moments are precious...
 
Old 10-16-2012, 09:20 PM   #20
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Also have faith that your whole journey through life, and all your interactions/relationships, has special value though. Marriage might not be more satisfying than dating. Enjoy the moment, open your heart to all of life, be happy ALL along your way. Otherwise we expect too much from one relationship, and miss all the rest life has to offer. This lets a guy off the hook of having to be such a superman. We just want a partner, one no better, or less maybe, than ourselves: a human with whom to love, share, trust, and grow - one we can depend on to some degree, but who our love allows to overlook their faults, as they do ours.
 
Old 09-21-2017, 04:35 PM   #21
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Clearly, emotional attachment has developed between you two. You have spent much time together in the early stages of your relationship, and there has been some degree of physical affection.

He is not wrong to seek detachment and to want to get to know more people.

It would not be just for him to expect you not to get to know anyone else. However, consider the difference between getting to know other people and becoming affectionate with them as you have with him. Perhaps he hopes that you will strive to maintain a similar state of detachment. This would be a positive thing for you, and he should not be faulted for it. Indeed, we have been divinely advised not to do anything more than hold hands until just before marriage, as Rani pointed out.
 
Old 09-22-2017, 02:47 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MayYouBeHappy View Post
He says he wants to "get to know others characters too." At the same time he tells me he is interested in getting to know me to decide if I am the one he wants to marry. He also tells me he prefers if I don't see anyone else because he'll be jealous.
Is this guy serious about what he's saying? There is something lacking in his logic. Maybe a wee bit of self-criticism. He seems to give himself the right to shop around, whereas you are supposed to wait for him.

Think about that for a while. Draw your own conclusions.

Best,

from

gnat
 
Old 09-22-2017, 03:17 AM   #23
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Indeed, we have been divinely advised not to do anything more than hold hands until just before marriage, as Rani pointed out.
Rani did not say this. He pointed out that the House of Justice commented on a - non-authoritative - pilgrim's note by stating that it contains the "very spirit on the teachings on chastity". That does not say that it should be taken literally. There are different cultures around the world who define "affection" between partners differently. Some never kiss, even inside marriage and inside their own house. Some show affection through hugging and kissing in public without finding anything obscene about it. I don't do either. Of course some kinds of kissing or "hugging" clearly overstep the boundaries. Sometimes I meet couples passionately french kissing while simultaneously grabbing the other's crotch. That is clearly not included within the Bahá'í standard of chastity - but other forms may be seen in the light of different cultural mores.
 
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