Photo Credit: Jewish Press

Dear Dr. Yael,

I have been dating a guy on Zoom. We really like each other. He feels we should meet once on a backyard date with our parents and get engaged. I don’t feel comfortable marrying someone that I never met. I think that we need to meet in person. I worry if he is hiding something. I am scared to ruin things, but I also do not want to move forward with an engagement without dating face-to-face for at least a few weeks. What do you think? How can I insist on continuing to date in person while maintaining the positive relationship that we have?

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Anonymous

 

Dear Anonymous,

It is important to meet someone in person before agreeing to marry them. There are things that you can only really detect in a person such as the way a person takes care of themself, personal hygiene and grooming, body language, etc. Nonverbal communication cannot always be picked up on Zoom and sometimes people can put on a good show on Zoom, but nonverbal cues would show their true colors in person. I am not saying that there is anything wrong with this man; rather, I agree that you should have some backyard dates or face-to-face dates. There are many people who are designating their backyards for dating, allowing couples to date during these challenging times. Marriage is a lifetime commitment. You must feel comfortable and attracted to the person that you marry. That cannot always be picked up in a Zoom situation.

Zoom dating works for the first few dates or the first few weeks, but a real relationship generally grows from being with a person face-to-face. Perhaps this young man is just excited that he finally met someone he really cares about, but it is important that you explain, in a gentle manner, that your relationship is off to a great start, but that you feel it is necessary to meet up and date face-to-face before moving forward to an engagement. Perhaps you can say something like this, “I really enjoyed these past few weeks on Zoom and you are right that it is time to meet in person. I would like to date for a few more weeks in person before we move forward.” If this man is truly the one for you, he will not object and will be happy to move forward to in-person dating. It is also crucial that you research this person properly to ensure that he is who you think he is. If your suggestion of continuing to date in person is met with resistance then you can safely assume that something is not right. You will not ruin anything by insisting to meet in person for a while before moving towards an engagement because if this man does not want to do so, then you will know that he is not the one for you. Hatzlocha in your journey. Please let us know what happens.

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Dr. Yael Respler is a psychotherapist in private practice who provides marital, dating and family counseling. Dr. Respler also deals with problems relating to marital intimacy. Letters may be emailed to deardryael@aol.com. To schedule an appointment, please call 917-751-4887. Dr. Orit Respler-Herman, a child psychologist, co-authors this column and is now in private practice providing complete pychological evaluations as well as child and adolescent therapy. She can be reached at 917-679-1612. Previous columns can be viewed at www.jewishpress.com and archives of Dr. Respler’s radio shows can be found at www.dryaelrespler.com.