Posted in Dating, Life

I Still have the Old Maid Card

I’m at an age and live in a community where most people are married and have kids. That leaves me to be in the position, that when I go to my friend’s houses I am not able to just hang out with my friend, but I am also there to hang out with their kids and/or spouses. It means that our conversations are going to be broken up by screaming children. It means that there are conversations that will have to wait till after dark when the kids are asleep, and hopefully we are not asleep either.

I have friends who love being in this role, or at least they talk about it as if they love it. They go to kids plays and school open days. They bring presents and come over just to hang out with the kids. They take the child out to dinner or plays or something fun. They are the go-to babysitters. The surrogate parents- helping with feeding and changing, and sometimes even discipline.

I’ve been thinking about this quite a bit in the past two weeks. Starting with one of my friends who when she is having a hard time, she wants to hold babies and hang out with small children. And then I was at my best friend’s house- where really, I do have a very close relationship with her 5 year old. And then over Shavuot I was at someone’s house with three other “older” single women, who are part of this woman’s house hold of caretakers.

And to be honest- it makes me really sad. I never thought that I would be the old-maid aunty. That I would be the one that still has no husband or children of my own. I have to say that holding my friend’s kids makes me sad, because I don’t have my own. I feel like I am in the pity party, that they feel like they have to be nice to me because I’m just not there yet. I find myself talking to babies asking if I will ever have the chance to have my own, or will I only ever experience holding other people’s kids.

Will I always be that single one sitting at a table of couples who all talk about their completeness, or schools or camps or birth stories- and I have absolutely nothing to contribute to the conversation, because it is not part of my life? Will my parents hang out with other small kids at shul because I will never be able to give them grandchildren of their own? Will they get more birds because that is the best they will be able to get?

I would never change my relationship with my friend’s daughter- I really do love her and love hanging out with her. And will always laugh when she asks me if I would have different rules for her if I was her mom or when she jokes that she wants me to be her mom instead.

But at the same time, I am finding it harder and harder to be around kids and those with kids. It is the thing that hurts my heart. I don’t want to be the surrogate mom, I want to actually have kids. I don’t want to be the single aunt, who never has a date or a husband. I don’t want to be the old-maid that either has nothing to say in conversations or just makes things up to try and fit in.

Posted in Dating

Being a Significant Other

I just read an article called “Romantic Love is Killing Us: Who Takes Care of Us When We are Single?”

There were a lot of good points in this article, some that I have thought about (or maybe even have written about). Some were sad (some true in my life, some not so true in my life). It was the end that I really agreed with:

I don’t want to be loved. I want to be cared for and prioritized, and I want to build a world where romantic love is not a prerequisite for these investments—especially not under a current regime with such a limited potential for which bodies are lovable. Which bodies can be loved, cared for, and invested in.

It does not have to be this way. We can commit to keeping each other alive despite our sexual capital. We need to care for each other to keep each other alive. The myth of self-assurance is neoliberal victim-blaming in an attempt to obscure, neutralize and depoliticize our actions in the name of independent thoughts and actions and to skirt accountability.

Can we care for each other outside of love? Can we commit to keeping the unloved and unlovable alive? Is this a world that we have the potential to build?

And yes I agree! I want people to care for me, not only in the romantic way. I think that talking to my single friends, it is not only the romance that we want from a significant other. But rather it is the desire to feel significant in someone else’s life.

I know that I am lucky. That I do have certain friends who are there for me. But I need to reach out. I need to call them to tell them that I am sick or unwell. I need to call around to see if there is someone who wants to go out to do something or go to a show. I need to call around to see if people want to have a shabbat meal with me, so I will not be sitting along.

I wish there was someone just there. Someone to do things with. Someone to eat meals with. Someone that makes me feel significant and that I mean something.

I’ve been thinking about this quite a bit since getting back to the US.  I feel the loneliness.

I have to live with my parents. Now, on the one hand it is wonderful. I have a warm house to be living in. And I am so thankful that my parents are happy to have me and are taking care of me. And I know that it is temporary. But at the same I am sad. Here I am 31 years old. No boy friend or husband. No children. Sleeping in my parent’s two bedroom apartment, having my parents take me places.

My brother and sister-in-law are about to have a baby (please God any day now). And I am very excited. But at the same time, I am sad. I feel like I am a failure. That I should be married by now. I should be the one with at least one kid by now. And what does that mean that he is the first in this milestone, that in the orthodox world makes you a “real” adult”.

And maybe the thing that was the cherry on the sundae, was A asking me advice on how to sleep with his current girlfriend. I really don’t think it was so much the question, as the idea that she is in NY, while he is still in Israel. What is wrong with me that he did not want to even try with me being away? He and I never even discussed having sex, at least not in practical terms. And even more so, he wants to see me next week, and I have nothing to show for myself, other than my work. I went on two dates with two different guys…he has had multiple relationships. What if my pattern continues and I don’t date another person for another year and a half? What if no one wants me ever?

And so I sit in NY/NJ alone. Away from my friends. Away from the people who were there to take care of me when I was sick and not doing well (even though I would have to call first). And all I can think about is how backwards I have gone, which then makes me feel small and isolated, and a great failure.

I ask the same questions as the author:  Can we care for each other outside of love? Can we commit to keeping the unloved and unlovable alive? Is this a world that we have the potential to build? And I’ll add one more, when will I become significant to one other person?

 

Posted in Dating, Rabbinical School

On Being Single & Almost a Rabbi

I got a really difficult email the other day from a good friend of mine. She too is studying to be a rabbi. She is 35 and not yet married (old in our world). She is studying to be a reform rabbi, but she too feels the pressure to be married by the time she is ordained, which for her is only in a couple of weeks. She is currently seeing someone, that she really like, and makes her happy- the problem is that he is VERY secular, to the point of being anti- religious  – even reform is too much. She wrote to me because she doesn’t know what to do. She wants to be with him, but at the same time she feels like she can’t fully be herself. She is debating about changing what she would say at her ordination, so as not to frighten him. She is worried that her dreams will make her never find someone, and feels like she doesn’t know who she is any more.

The job openings have started to arrive. But so far, the two that I have seen are in small communities, that are very family oriented. Even though one of them, I think I would apply to, part of me doesn’t want to apply because if I am single I would be alone. I think about my job her in Australia. Professionally, I am very happy. I am doing everything that I want to be doing. The community is really sweet and war. I have opportunities not only to be in the shul, but also to go to embassies and national events. Really it is great.

But then I am alone. Shabbat comes, and I have to try to find people who want to come to my house- because if I don’t have any guests, it is just me. I do have desire to be with another person, but there isn’t another person to be with. There is not a single person to even consider dating, which means that I am just alone.

In some ways there is something really open about being single and not knowing what happens next. I can go anywhere. I don’t need to worry about someone else being able to find a job or work. I don’t need to worry about how crazy relocation can be for another person, who might be relocated just for me. The world is my oyster.

But mostly, I think that this is really hard. It is something we don’t talk about very often, because well, it goes against part of the feminist ideal. There are so many articles telling women that it is ok to be single, you don’t need a partner in your life.3d8c28bc418840ed198b661d82cc9849 You can be and should be independent. Don’t let that stop you from doing what you want to do. If you look up quotes on being single, it is all about how you don’t need a person.

But let’s face it – it is something that might stop me from doing what I want to do, because as much as I want to do this, I also want to have a partner. Yes, I am strong enough to do things on my own, I have been doing that all my life. But I WANT someone else there. I want to have someone there – both emotionally and physically.  My marital status makes me (and I know also jobs I apply to) think twice- is it a place that I can meet someone? Is it a place that is only families so I am just going to always feel like an outsider and even more alone?

My friend mentioned that becoming a rabbi is something that she has always dreamed of and she is so close (like two weeks away), and now she is potentially considering putting it aside so she can have a partner. Yes, in some ways I want to tell her, if he really is “the right one” he will accept her for who she is. But let’s be honest, that isn’t true. When you are a woman studying to be a rabbi, at a certain point there is a feeling that you have to take what you can get. If every other aspect of him is great, then maybe I do need to change a bit of who I am.

I know that some of this is rambling, but it has been sitting in my head for two days. I did answer her, but it made me think of myself. In only 4 weeks I will be moving back to the US (for real this time). I am starting to apply for jobs for after June, and I have no clue where I will be. But I do know that my being alone will be something that affects my decision.

I hope for myself, my friend, and well anyone else out there that is in a similar boat (I don’t think this applies only to rabbis, I would say anyone with a communal job, but others too), please let us not have to lose ourselves just to find partnership.

Posted in Dating

Married at First Sight

I have found some interesting TV shows here in Australia, some are good some are less than.

One show that I don’t think is very good, but is very intriguing is “Married at First Sight”. The idea is that a couple meets at the altar and then gets married. So far it is just the wedding reception and a bit after that has been shown (apparently next week we see the honeymoons where things good badly….)

This show has me thinking. Now it could be because it is almost my birthday, or because I am just feeling lonely in a new city, or I just miss being in a relationship with someone who cares about me…but I think that I would want to do such a thing. I mean, I don’t want to be on reality TV because I think that in general they ruin good things to make it more entertaining for the audience. But I wonder, would it work out if I worked with professionals, and then just got to the chuppah and got married to the person under there (ok, so halachically it wouldn’t really be able to work…so at the bedekin….)

Part of me thinks that it is crazy. That I want the dream of finding someone and falling in love and realizing that I can spend the rest of my life with them. But the other part of me is the realist. It hasn’t happened yet, I’m not getting younger, I find it really hard to meet people, arranged marriages worked for years and year- so why not.

I do feel a lot of pressure to get married, and I do feel like I am lacking something because I am not yet married. I know I can do things on my own and in some ways it is easier to take these adventures on my own- but at the same time it is lonely. If I have nothing planned, as I am just meeting people, I am sitting at home alone watching TV. I feel younger than people around me who are married and with a kid- even though I know that being married and having kids is not what makes you older, and I am an accomplished person.

I want to have that security. I want to have someone with me and not always be the single one. I want to sit at a table and have a partner instead of being the only one without one. I want to have someone to hold me. I want to be seen in my community as an adult. I want to have kids. I want to not feel like a social failure.

When I told a friend about the show, he asked me if I would do it. My answer is that it would most likely be my best bet, but I won’t go on it yet. I am not yet that desperate, and I still have a bit of hope that I will find someone who I want to be with and he wants to be with me. Maybe in year 31….

Posted in Daily Prompt, Dating

Companion

I think that it is fitting, at least for my life, that companion is the word of the day.

For some reason all I can think about today is A. Everything reminded me of him, and I started to miss him, which made me realize that we really did break up. It is clear that we actually broke up. Even though he tells me that he thinks that he made a mistake, he hasn’t tried to get back together with me.

He asked me the other day if I thought he was an idiot for breaking up with me and not trying to do a long distance relationship. Before that he said something about us still talking throughout the year, and just getting back together when I get back- but I brought up the idea of if we are not together than we both need to be ok with the other person dating other people. I told him that I am not going to wait around and I don’t expect him to do so either.  If he wants to be in a relationship, and is ok with just waiting around, then we should just have a long distance relationship, even though it is not ideal.

So, I didn’t give him an answer about if he is an idiot or not. I didn’t think that I could answer that. But thinking about it today (which could be why I am sad) I do think that he is. I think that he talks about wanting to be married, wanting to be in a relationship, wanting true compainionship- saying that he feels all those things for me, but because I am far away he isn’t going to follow through. That even though he thinks that he made a mistake, he won’t try something because of a previous bad relationship- that he constantly tells me this is nothing like. That what we had he hasn’t felt in a very long time…Why would you give up on something that makes you feel good and is exactly what you say you want?!

Part of me still desires him. I miss talking to him. I miss hanging out with him. I miss touching/being touched by him. I miss having someone who just was there because he wanted to be…

But I am now just getting annoyed with him. I am annoyed that he didn’t think that I was worth trying for. I am annoyed that he still talks to me to tell me he thinks he made a mistake, but won’t do anything about it. Even though a week ago I would have said yes if he asked me out again, now I kinda want to say no. Why would I want to go out with someone who doesn’t really want to be with me, even if he says he does? Why would I want to be with someone who at times it feels like he is playing me like a yo-yo (which wasn’t the case when we were dating..)?

Now I can’t tell if I actually feel these things or if I am making myself feel them because the separation hurts….

I’ve been wanting to have a partner,to have compainionship…I had it, and lost it…and I miss it…

Now I need to figure out what to do to have it again. I know I just need to put myself out there again, but the idea makes me even sadder. I really can’t imagine going on a date or meeting someone who would make me feel the way he made me feel.

I guess I just need to hope that it will…if it happened once, it could happen again?

Posted in Daily Prompt, Dating

Connected…Or Not Anymore

We used to be connected. It was something I have never felt before. There was something strange, but nice about it.

There were other times that I was timid. That I was unsure of what to do or say. I was scared of what it would mean if we were more physical or shared more or if I asked you to come to the US with me. I had much less experience than you- in really everything- and that scared me. I didn’t want you to think that I was stupid or not good enough. I didn’t want you to think of me as a little girl.

I know it took me some time to get used to it. There were also times that it felt like we had known each other forever. That I could just be myself. That I could just be there, and not really worry. I was able to actually say what I was thinking and feeling (that was the big one). I was able to look into your eyes and feel the intense connection- feel you looking into my soul, and looking back at you.

My leaving the country was something that was always part of our relationship. It was that thing in the back corner, that we tried to keep pushing away. We knew that I was leaving, and yet, we couldn’t bear to say goodbye to each other, and so we continued to go out. We spoke about the idea of breaking up, but didn’t want to. We felt a strong connection. I felt like saying goodbye was cutting something from me.

It was actually easier to say goodbye than to break up with you. Breaking up with you hurt. After saying it, all I could feel was sad. I was not ready to cut myself off from you. And so we met up again…and broke up another 2 times.

And then I moved. The day we knew would come. And even though you said you were anti-long distance, you still spoke to me. There was something that was still connecting us to one another. We found ways and time to talk to each other. But then we had the idea of not talking for two weeks…

Maybe I should have said no. Maybe I should have disrespected your wishes. But those two weeks are what broke our connection. I felt you pulling away. I knew that you were leaving me- I could feel it. I broke the promise and spoke to you a day early to tell you that I missed you, and I didn’t want to lose you. But the disconnect was already there.

You accepted that I was gone, and it was too much for you to try to stay connected. That isn’t to say that it would have been easy for me. I know that it is hard. It is hard for me not to see you or hold you or be held by you. The time difference is awful, and it would mean waking up early or staying up late or using up my free time just to talk to you. It would mean that any vacation I have would be seeing you somehow. Our connection would have been different, but at least it would still be there.

But now it is cut off. I knew what our conversation would be before we had it today. I could tell that you were cutting yourself off even more. Our conversations were shorter. Trying to talk on the phone took almost a week and a half. I couldn’t feel our connection any more.

I’m sorry it had to happen this way. I’m sorry that I wasn’t stronger to figure out a way to make it work. I’m not mad at you, but I am mad that we couldn’t figure out another way. I am sad that you didn’t feel it great enough to put the effort in. You talk about wanted to be married and how special this was, so it confuses me that you wouldn’t try harder- although I understand why you wouldn’t move half way across the world to be with a girl that you dated for a month, especially when she thought you were crazy for bringing up the idea of marriage already.

.You were really something special, and that I will always remember. And I know that you feel the same way too, even though right now those are not really words of comfort, rather words of pain.  I hope that we are both able to heal after this disconnect. I hope for both of us that either we reconnect or that we are able to find a connection this strong again.

 

 

Posted in Dating, Life

If I Could Talk to You Right Now #2

Hi,

How are you? What have you been thinking about over the past two weeks?

I want to say mazal tov on your new practice and getting a second audition. How was the show that you had? How was your trip on Lag Ba’omer?

Part of me feels that you have left me. It feels like our month together was ages ago. I feel like we haven’t spoken to each other in months,not weeks. I have almost convinced myself that you have moved on, and maybe I should as well.

On the other hand, I still miss you. When I close my eyes I can see you staring into my eyes. I can see us together looking out over the hill, sitting in the park, lying around in my room, being in the hotel in Tel Aviv. I still have the desire to call you and tell you what happening in my day, and to see what happened in yours.

It is crazy to think that this all happened in only a month. I agree with you, that we were not “cooked” enough to maybe make this work.  I know that I was afraid to tell you that I love you or to accept that you wanted to be there for me. But I have to say, that now not having you, I am having a hard time going back to who I was.

I used to be really good at cutting people out emotionally. I had an easy time moving on to the next thing when I needed to. But you changed me. You got close to me and had me get close to you- both emotionally and physically- and as much as I am doing to try to forget you, block you out, do what I normally do, I just can’t. You keep on popping into my head. I trained myself well to not desire, not to fall into something, not to be vulnerable…but that all changed because of you, and then I had to leave.

I’m sorry that it had to happen. I’m even sorrier that I tried to push you away, and for once in my life I hope that I did a really bad job.

Part of me is still afraid. I am afraid that I am making up the good parts in my head. I am afraid that maybe I am just settling. I am afraid of what it means to be leading with my emotions instead of my brain. But then I think about it, and I know that I am trying to psych myself out, for what I fear will come.

I am afraid that you won’t speak to me at all comes Monday. I’m afraid that you are going to tell me that you want nothing to do with me, that is going to be too hard to be long distance. I am afraid that you haven’t been thinking about me at all in the past two weeks. I am afraid that I am the one who cares more, and is being so unrealistic about why wants.

I know that it will be more difficult if we decide to be in a long distance relationship. I know that it is not your ideal (and in reality not mine either, I like seeing and being with you too). But I feel like my heart is still tied up with you, and I don’t want that break…

Well, I guess it is only two more days.

Here’s to waiting and being patient….

Miss you & Love you.