Dating and religion

But the choice to date someone may have unexpected implications—especially if that person does not share your religion, Summer says. Bhaskarabhatla ’09, who is Hindu, says he thinks “a relationship shouldn’t focus on a person’s religious tradition and background but mainly on personal characteristics and compatibility.” His parents would not agree.

Faced with these complexities, many students say they will not date members of other religions, and those who say they are willing to do so admit it isn’t always easy. Interfaith dating forces many students to make a difficult choice: conceal their relationship from their parents, or face fighting with them about it, Bhaskarabhatla says.

“That makes the idea of sex so much more sacred.”Different views of gender roles can also complicate a relationship, Summer says.

Summer says she disagrees with her boyfriend’s belief that he is responsible for supporting her when she begins law school in the fall and he enters the work force.“I think it’s my financial responsibility,” she says.

“[An interfaith relationship] might create more dialogue between you and God,” Skoda says.

She says that such a relationship would inspire questions such as “How is it that I see this and my boyfriend or girlfriend can’t or doesn’t want to see it at all?

Skoda says the phrase negatively connotes one person setting out in a relationship in order to convert the other person, and she says she thinks that this happens infrequently, if at all.Whether or not religious students choose to date outside their faiths, most say they usually plan to marry someone of their own faith.“I think a couple should decide to have one religion, to transmit one to their children, otherwise [the children will] feel divided, and it won’t be easy for them to form an identity,” says Jonathan Hernandez ’09, who is Catholic.Catholic Students Association Chaplain Faye Darnall agrees that children brought up with two conflicting religious traditions may not feel truly connected to either of them.But Darnall says that choosing the faith of one parent can pose its own difficulties.“It’s a loss to not raise your children in your own tradition, if you choose to raise them in your partner’s tradition ...

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Summer ’06 always assumed that she would raise her children Jewish.

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