The Shomer Negiah Conversation as an Orthodox Single Jew
(Written by a 30-Something Single Orthodox Jew in the City)
Some Orthodox Jewish Singles may not keep the Shomer Negiah halacha. This is something some orthodox Jews feel quite embarrassed to discuss with other Orthodox more observant individuals, so we decided to write about it here.
Hashem adding the sex drive to a human body with a halacha that does not allow for such sexual acts to take place while dating, truly pushes the agenda of being married sooner than later. It is our responsibility to create boundaries that do not feed into such temptations, yet dating alone does just that.
Many orthodox couples do not hold hands, as that already creates such a bond that materializes physical sexual thoughts and behaviors potentially. The halakhot that create Shomer Negiah allow for Man and Woman to date and not feel as tempted to go down the path of physicality to figure out if one is meant for the other.
Physical relationships will always add a layer, where even if there is no personal connection, a sexual or physical attraction so strong can form a connection. Then whether both parties are meant to be, sex is now another factor that drives the relationship potentially.
As age and time goes on, it is quite hard to truly understand what is right to be written in an article on an orthodox Jewish dating site, but at the end of the day, I think here are some ideas around Shomer Negiah.
The first thing is, talk early about comfortability with how your relationship should be based on your halachic situation. Some are Shomer Negiah, Shomer Kosher and Shomer Shabbat and others may follow halakhot across a spectrum from all three Shomers (Kosher, Negiah, Shabbat) of what they are comfortable with.
Never judge a relationship early on because one chooses to be more religious in any spectrum of any Shomer and still wants to date you. Dive in and figure out if everything else lines up, as someone a bit more religious can actually be helpful and quite easily put you into a tad more of comfortable relationship than you could ever imagine.
Shomer Negiah is a very healthy, comfortable thing that many dismiss or many actually hold dear to. This is something everyone should respect, no matter the background you personally hold. Holding onto any of the Shomers, but especially Shomer Negiah, is something that is extremely well respected and it will allow both individuals time to truly understand if you both are compatible beyond physicality, and find that deep spiritual and conversational, almost dear friendship level we are all looking for in a future partner in life.
If you decide not to hold onto the halacha of Shomer Negiah in the relationship, remember to take physical touch at a pace that is comfortable, conservative & safe in the minds of both individuals. Be respectful around other Orthodox Jews when together in a Jewish community as going to excessive levels of public affection to prove the point of rebellion in Shomer Negiah is quite uncomfortable for those that believe in modesty, and everyone should respect that lifestyle as well. So when couples are invited to Shabbos lunches or dinners, please respect that at those homes, Shomer Negiah is something most will try to achieve in the home around the children, and honoring that concept, means a lot to those that are hosting you and the one you’re dating.
At the end of the day, respect is crucial. Friends, those that could be potential spouses, Hashem and yourself all deserve respect and it starts with respecting one’s body. From mental, physical to spiritual health, everyone is responsible to treat themselves with a high level of care, wouldn’t you agree? So if an individual decides a Shomer-anything lifestyle, please respect it and learn more, but do not judge against that potential date so quickly.