Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Southern United States
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I'm confused, hurt, and lost. Since marriage was the path I chose, I had several people propose from different states with various degrees, life, personalities, and so on. The only thing so far I found in common is the idea of pursing affectionate love with sweet words, small talks, and of course touching within the first weeks of courtship. Why don't they last? Because of my strong personality, I set boundaries and rules that these things are not allowed till marriage. I try to explain that the one that God will choose for me will have whatever he wants, as St. Paul best explains it, that neither the man nor the woman have authority over their bodies, but their significant other. That seems to scare them away, thinking if I did not hug them, flirt with them, or say sweet talks now, that I would not be able to do it later. I'm not talking about a period of engagement when couples are sure that God wants them to be together, but rather the first few weeks when you talk to someone who shows interest. Am I wrong in setting those boundaries? Isn't this what the Church has been always teaching us? Is flirting, holding hands, or playing games to make the other vulnerable the way to find the person God wants you to be with and if not why do Coptic men expect these things within the first outings even before meeting the parents?

There is no reason to doubt yourself. It is important that you have clear boundaries. People who do not share the same values should not have a prominent place in your life, and no one should have a sense of entitlement over you. Do not give in to temporary emotions based on attractions or infatuations, but maintain friendly and cordial demeanor with your peers of the opposite gender just as friends. Some young men may have impure motives and cause you to sin. It is better to be a little bit lonely now, than sorry later. Your genuine and clear value system will be attractive to people with similar values and attitudes.

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