Dating / Courtship

Oct 2012
6
Vancouver
#1
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.
 
Aug 2012
295
USA
#2
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!
 
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Oct 2012
6
Vancouver
#4
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.
 
May 2011
507
Australia
#5
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)
 
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Nov 2010
334
EARTH
#6
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.
 
Aug 2012
295
USA
#7
^ 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.
 
May 2011
507
Australia
#8
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.
 
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Dec 2010
111
ATL
#9
^ 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*
 
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#10
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.
 
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