Thursday, September 07, 2006


What to Do about Going out With the Opposite Sex After You are Married

After you are married, what about "dates" with the opposite sex?

To begin with, business relationships often involve social relationships. The principal of the school takes the girl who is applying for a teaching position out to lunch. He feels that he can evaluate her better in an informal setting. The boss takes his secretary to dinner, partly to give her last minute instructions before he leaves, and partly to pay for the extra responsibility which she will have while he is away. Business men entertain buyers. Persons who have similar interests have dinner together as a further opportunity for continuing their discussions. Yet these associations are often more than mere "business." They are also ways of having social relationships with interesting and attractive members of the opposite sex.

Then, there are the dates in the "old friends" category. Sally runs into Jim, who lived across the street from her when they were children. They are genuinely delighted to see each other and go to lunch. There they talk eagerly of "old times," ask and tell about the friends whom they knew when they were in high school together, who is married, who has a baby, and "didn't you know that poor old Mrs. Blinker was killed in an auto accident." Or Mr. Brown finds that the daughter of an old friend is coming through town. His family is away, so he takes her to dinner, a good show, and then puts her on the train for Omaha. Such "dates" are usually single occasions. Any further meeting will also be an isolated event, and the relationship is not continued after the occasion.

Our usual standards permit frankly social dates, only if at least one, and preferably both of the other married partners are present. The married woman who likes a particular man, invites his wife and him to her home as guests of her and her husband. If his wife is away or he is unmarried, she may still invite him, provided her husband is present. This custom has much to commend it. If a couple can share their friends, their own relationship will often be enriched. But what if her husband and his wife are both out of town at the same time? That is when both of them may feel most in need of company. Should it be permissible for him to take her to dinner and to a show?
A somewhat minor question concerns the expression of affection. In some circles the kiss is restricted to relatives. In other situations, married people freely kiss all those of whom they have become fond, and sometimes are even freer with their caresses. What will be your practice in this matter, and does the other understand and accept it?

We shall not attempt here to answer such questions for you. We seek merely to indicate the kind of questions which you should face and decide for yourselves, and some of the problems involved in deciding one way or the other. Take, for example, this matter of the harmless date with the wife of another, when both other parties are out of town. Husbands and wives vary all the way from being insanely jealous at even imaginary digressions, to a rather complete indifference. Of course, even if one or both of the others is jealous, you may proceed on the assumption that they will never find out about your date. But concealment is often unsuccessful.

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