Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Southern United States
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My fourteen year old daughter has often asked “Why can’t I have a boyfriend?” Her definition of boyfriend is someone from the opposite sex that she would trust and open up to. She has no problem accepting the Holy Bible teaching, that no sex is allowed before marriage; but at the same time, nothing is mentioned in the Holy Bible for, or against, having a boy friend. What is Your Grace's comment on that?

The question that we need to address here is not, "why can't I have a boyfriend?" but, "why do I need one?". What is the difference between having a friend of the same sex versus one from the opposite sex?

When making friends with someone, as a Christian, you should ask yourself: is Jesus Christ the center of this relationship? In other words, is He blessing it? Am I growing in grace and faith within it?

The significant difference between a friend and a "boy friend is the fact that the relationship involving the opposite gender is not broad and open, but by nature turns into intimacy and seclusion from others, private talks and discussion of secrets, and sharing things that you would not normally share with anyone else. This is the step when opposite gender friendship loses the true meaning of the word and is taken to a different level that cannot be recognized as simple friendship any longer.

The danger of having such a relationship between two of the opposite gender is that by the very nature of sin itself, one can easily be tempted knowingly and unknowingly. Within opposite gender relationships, one could readily find themselves in the position of submitting to this temptation, finding it hard to resist the desires and the lusts of our weak nature. With same- gender spiritually- enriching relationships this is not a possibility.

Your daughters understanding of a boyfriend as someone she would open up to is not quite clear. Does this mean, at 14 years of age, she will tell him about herself and her life more than she would tell any girl her own age? Will he be able to give her advice that no other person from her same gender can give? This certainly does not support her request to have a "boyfriend".

Try to be your daughter's best friend and always keep the line of communication between you and her open. Ask her if she has a certain person that, in her opinion, would qualify to be "her boyfriend". Then discuss with her why she thinks that particular person is any different than the others and what attracts her to him. Then direct her to realize that this attraction, if nurtured, could lead to impurity of thoughts and to sin especially since she is so young and not at all the age of marriage.
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