Jessa Duggar, 20, has a boyfriend, and they are allowed to 'side-hug'
Well, maybe he's more like a close church pal. But 18-year-old Ben Seewald, from Hot Springs, Ark., is the closest thing 20-year-old Jessa Duggar, the daughter of Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, has ever had to a boyfriend.
The young couple met in church, according to a chat People had with Jessa's parents ahead of Tuesday's season premiere of "19 Kids and Counting." They reportedly asked their parents' permission to communicate via text, got the green light and proceeded with one hitch: Mom and dad "were kept in the conversation as the couple texted each other," People reports, adding that the subject of the messages tended to be theological in nature.
"It has been fun to watch them and both of our phones are going off, back and forth, ping, ping, ping," said Michelle. "Courtship is not just about having fun. You are really considering if this person could be your life partner – you pray about it and see what happens."
Jim Bob added that while other guys have asked to communicate with Jessa, Ben is the first one he's approved. Did we mention she's 20?
As for the physical nature of their relationship, well, there basically isn't one. "Dad allowed them to do a side hug when they were officially courting," said Michelle. "Jessa and Ben have said that was the only contact they would have: When they initially greet each other ... they have a quick 30 second or less side hug and a goodbye side hug and they agreed that would be the only contact they should have. … They want to wait on the physical relationship until later. If there is an engagement that comes about, they will work together on their goals and standards for that."