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Jessa Duggar allowed 'side-hugs,' not kisses with BF

The third Duggar daughter, Jessa, 20, has entered into a courtship with Ben Seewald, 18.
Posted By GABRIELLE LEVY, UPI.com   |   Sept. 17, 2013 at 5:35 PM  |  Updated Sept. 18, 2013 at 10:12 AM   |   Comments

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Sept. 17 (UPI) -- Jessa Duggar, the 20-year-old daughter of reality stars Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, has entered into a courtship with a boy she met at church.

Jessa Duggar, the third daughter of 19 siblings, met Ben Seewald, 18, and the two are "getting to know each other and are recommending sermons to one another," said Duggar patriarch Jim Bob, star of "19 Kids & Counting" on TLC.

The new couple asked Jessa's parents if they could correspond by text, keeping the adults looped into the conversation. Jim Bob Duggar said they mostly chatted about scripture and theology.

"Jessa has a very steady personality," said Michelle Duggar. "It has been interesting to watch their interactions because for her personality type, they share very similar beliefs. It has been fun to watch them and both of our phones are going off back and forth, ping, ping, ping."

Michelle Duggar said the courtship -- differentiated from dating by the emphasis on spending time together in groups and with families -- won't lead to a physical relationship between Ben and her daughter.

"Dad allowed them to do a side hug when they were officially courting," she explained. "Jessa and Ben have said that was the only contact they would have, when they initially greet each other, when he comes to visit for their first hello, 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."

Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar have 19 kids, ranging from 25-year-old Joshua down to 3-year-old Josie. Their show returns to TLC Tuesday at 9 p.m.

Follow @gabbilevy and @UPI on Twitter.
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