Nishmat's Women’s Health and HalachaIn memory of Chaya Mirel bat R' Avraham

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Physical affection while dating

30 November, 2015

Question:

I recently got divorced from my husband. We were married for 17 years. I have since met a man who also divorced after a long marriage. Are we allowed to hold hands and kiss, if we make an absolute committment to stop there? He is being strong. I am finding it very difficult.


Answer:

We appreciate the sensitive nature of your question.  

It can be particularly difficult for someone who has been married to observe the halachot that apply to male-female relationships.  The prohibition of seclusion between a man and woman (yichud) applies fully here.  Additionally, touch is prohibited when a woman is niddah.  (Halacha does not permit single women to immerse in the mikveh, in order to discourage immersion for extramarital purposes.) Touch of an affectionate, romantic nature such as you described is prohibited; absolute commitments to stop there can be very difficult to keep.

We understand that this is not easy.  We hope that this relationship can blossom into a lifelong commitment for the two of you and that, if it does, absolute commitment to halacha will be a part of it.  If the relationship is not meant to last, you may well be grateful that it did not become physical on any level.

 


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