Meeting on Your Own: High School

3 Mar

When it comes to hashkafot, I’ve dabbled in them all. I spent many a summer attending a Beis Yaakov camp, went to Chabad schools as well as Orthodox/ModOx schools and a summer immersed in the ra-ra Zionism fields of Bnei Akiva. There are very few turfs I have not explored yet (haven’t gotten around to New Sqaure). Some experiences were more enjoyable than others but from each place, I walked away with a better sense of my Hashkafa and the ability to admire at least one thing about each of these sects of Orthodoxy.

With that being said, I would like to speak about the various dating methods I have been exposed to and included in, the first one being Meeting on Your Own: High School.

This doesn’t refer to literally meeting in high school, rather, during that stage in life in which one attends high school. Teenagehood, I think they call it. Though many high school sweethearts don’t survive Freshman year of college (or Yeshiva/Sem), I have noticed that there is still a prominent enough number of couples who did meet in high school and have been together ever since. For the BY/Yeshivish crowd, this is basically unheard of, but the deeper into Modern Orthodoxy one ventures, the more common this route becomes.

The Bright Side

When I worked at a Bnei Akiva camp one summer, I was surprised to see just how many couples met (and in some cases married) in camp. I’m not sure if it’s a known yet unspoken rule of the Bnei Akiva circle, but it seems to be the way to go. I know couples who met when they were fifteen and have been going strong (with five kids and counting) ever since. I guess it makes sense. You all presumably attend such a camp because you all share the same passionate views on Judaism and Israel. I find that this is also a frequent occurrence with NCSY.  Young people+laid back environment + similar views= a great foundation to build on.

The Not So Bright Side

Unfortunately, I experienced the not-so-bright side of this coin. Having attended an all-girls high school, it would have been all too easy for me to focus on my school work and extra-curriculars. I had to take up yet another area of interest– boys. I wasn’t the type to chase just any boy. Noooo, I had standards. I wanted someone quiet yet funny, dorky yet socially comfortable. Of course, I fell head over heels for the loudest most-outgoing boy I came across.  To make a long, long, long story short, I didn’t end up living happily ever after with this boy. In addition to that, I cried enough to replenish the Kineret and spent countless nights wondering why my life was so complicated when in reality, it wasn’t. I was simply hung up on a boy who had no idea how to be in a relationship. And why should he have? He was a teenage boy. Nobody said this relationship stuff comes naturally. It’s not like I really knew how to be in a nurturing relationship either. All I knew is that we had to be shomer negiah. Other than that, I was lost.

That is why, if anyone were to ask my humble opinion, I would discourage the high school route. Unless, you’re ready to be committed to a long, hard road, you’re not going to make it. The reason I believe many Bnei Akiva/NCSY are able to succeed in this method is because they share a certain goal/philosophy in which they are both passionate about. However, for the rest of us who focused on religiously mastering Guitar Hero and the artistry of acting cute, being in a relationship was more about feeling good than actually being any good to anyone besides ourselves. In high school, it seems like it’ll be forever before you can start dating. But high school is over in a flash, and once you go to Israel (listen on ladies), good luck making it through the much adhered advice of his rebbeim. Good things take time. The “good thing” in this case is maturity. Being mature isn’t just about being responsible, it’s about having a genuine appreciation of life and it’s many gifts.


2 Responses to “Meeting on Your Own: High School”

  1. Shades of Grey March 9, 2010 at 8:22 pm #

    Great post! I can definitely empathize with the perspectives you describe here. The catalyst of why I didn’t pursue any dating relationship in high school (which is not to say I wasn’t plagued by several major crushes) was the realization that if you were serious about being religious, remaining shomer negiah, and not looking to get married right after graduation, what’s the point of declaring a boyfriend/girlfriend status?

    I also know of a few friends who have more recently (post Israel) married their high school sweethearts, but I definitely find them to be the exception rather than the rule when it comes to these things.


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