A Disastrous Dating Mistake

By Rabbi Dov Heller 

Being aware of your feelings and having the courage to be emotionally honest with another is essential to dating, and something many people aren’t very good at.

The inability to be emotionally honest is a major reason why many dating relationships break down. Emotional honesty is a significant aspect of being vulnerable. It’s about telling your partner the truth, and that can often be scary and dangerous.

Kathy and Jordan have been dating for eight months. Kathy sees many good things about their relationship but feels a lack of closeness with Jordan. Friends and her dating coach tell her he’s a great guy yet she feels conflicted about marrying him. She has concluded that he doesn’t seem to be a very emotionally deep person and has been trying to accept him the way he is by telling herself, “Everyone has limitations.” This strategy has worked pretty well, but lately she has begun to long for more closeness with him. Recently, she has begun fantasizing about how it might be better with another guy. She decided to get another perspective.

When she came to me, I suggested that she had to find the courage to tell Jordan the truth that she feels distant from him and wants to feel closer.

She hesitated and then blurted out, “He’ll be shocked. He thinks I’m happy. I don’t think he can take it.”

“That might be,” I replied, “but if you don’t take a risk you’ll never know if he’s capable of a deeper connection with you and your unhappiness will most probably get worse.”