Posted in Dating, Quotes

It’s Not You: 27 (Wrong) Reasons You’re Single

Over the weekend I read “It’s Not You: 27 (Wrong) Reasons You’re Single” by Sara Eckel. And throughout the entire book, all I could think was “YES, YES, YES…This is what happened to me too!!” I want to tell everyone who is dating, who is searching, and all those who are trying to set people up – they should all read this book! Everyone should learn ways to not internalize the stupid things that people say. I mean, more importantly, one should learn not to say stupid things – but being that we can only control ourselves, I figured I would start with not internalizing.

It didn’t try to tell me to be happy with being single. It didn’t try to tell me that I am perfect. It didn’t try to tell me that if I would change just this one thing, THEN, I would be able to find the man of my dreams.

It was so true. Yes, there are some great things that can happen when one isn’t tied down in a relationship. I recognize that I have been able to travel the world because I didn’t have a husband. Yes, I am still able to go out at night, because I don’t have children at home. Yes, I have learned to be my own support because, sometimes there is no one to come home to, and I still need to get through the bad day and get onto the next. Yes, I have been able to make my own name, please know me for me. Yes,  I am a strong, independent, intelligent woman. But at the same time – I’m also sad and lonely. I want to have a partner. I want to have someone to come home to. I want to snuggle with someone. It hurts when my father calls me to tell me that a random person from shul, many years younger than me, just had a child- and I’m barely getting a date. I do internalize the idea that because I am not getting asked out that there is something wrong with me, that I am not loveable. I crave that connection. I do look around me, and it seems like everyone else is able to find partnership so easily, so there must be something wrong with me.

And so being single and 32, with a very boring dating life (not because I am not trying) has both it’s ups and downs. And this was the first book, that I have read, that really showed that. (So go out and read it!!!)

So here are my 27 reflections on her chapters.

  1. You Have Issues
    • Yes! How many times have I been told to read books or to talk to someone or the general comment of “You’re not going to find anyone until you get right with yourself”. Really? Are you going to tell me that every person in a relationship is 100% with themselves and was the day they met their significant other.  And, yes – I do read the books. And I have spoken to a therapist. And I do try to do cool and different things. I try to explore and learn and grow. But, y’know it doesn’t always do anything. As Sara writes “I had a lot of fun, made many friends, traveled to foreign countries – the whole happy-single-woman shebang. But my love life, when it existed at all, was a random assortment of tepid dates, weird make-out sessions, and two-month what-the-hell-was-thats.  Meanwhile, people all around me fell in love like there was nothing to it. They moved in together, got married, had babies – often without the benefit of a single yoga class! I didn’t get it. was the one reading all the books. was the one confronting my issues.” (pg. 4-5)
    • This is not to say that I am perfect or I don’t have my issues – of course I do. But at the same time, I do see myself as a fairly successful, independent adult woman.
    • “What if your only “issue” is the belief that you have them and that they’re keeping you from a relationship? What if you stopped defining yourself as someone who is afraid of intimacy or attracted to the wrong kind of man? What if you instead saw yourself as a flawed but basically lovable human being? What if the only reason you’re alone is you just haven’t met your partner yet?” (pg. 7)
  2. You Have Low Self-Esteem
    • Really?! Well, yes, there are times where my self esteem is low. And as she write, self esteem (as opposed to self compassion) many times is actually based on another person. So if you are constantly being showed that you “aren’t good enough…pretty enough…enough”, then no matter how many pep talks you are getting, it’s not really going to change anything. I have actually said this to close friends of mine – usually who are straight women – and said, yes, I do think that I am pretty, smart, interesting, etc , but it kinda means nothing when it’s not coming from those who I am desiring to attract. Women and old people can tell me these things till they turn blue, but at the end end of the day, I do want it to be a guy in my relative age bracket, who I am not repulsed by – so I can actually feel like there is truth.
    • This is not to say that I don’t have self-esteem. In my professional life (and I do get noticed for these things) I am actually really good at stuff. I am praised and acknowledged for my intellect, my compassion, my creativity – and so it feels great. When I start a new job or a new project, I do need to gather it in from my own being – but soon, there are new logs to the fire that help it burn. When it comes to relationships for myself, it is just my own pep talk after my own pep talk – and it makes me question if maybe, there is just something wrong with me, and I am trying to talk myself up to something that is false.
    • She write that self compassion is about seeing these things, noticing them, but then still finding love and compassion for yourself. “Instead of assigning blame, you simply take a moment and acknowledge the painful disappointment you’re feeling. You don’t try to talk yourself out of feeling bad – since feeling bad is a completly natural response to rejection. Instead, you channel that good friend: ‘Wow, I’m so sorry you’re going through this. I know it must be hard and confusing. I wish there was more I could do to make you feel better, but you know this feeling will pass. We all get rejected sometimes. No matter what happened with this guy, you deserve a great relationship.’ With self compassion, you don’t need to bolster yourself up or tear anyone else down. You don’t have to waste energy on the pep talk because you already know you’re just fine, regardless of what this or that dude thinks.” (pg. 14)
  3. You’re Too Negative
    • “Most of us have done the thought experiment where you’re instructed not to think of pink elephants, and then of course discover that trying to banish anything from your mind makes it more prevalent – trying not to think of pink elephants wildly ratchets up your awareness of pink elephants. This is why instructions to “think positively” don’t work. ‘A person who has resolved to ‘think positive’ must constantly scan his or her mind for negative thoughts – there’s no other way the mind could ever gauge its success at the operation – yet that scanning will draw attention to the presence of negative thought,’ wrote Burkeman.” (pg. 18)
    • In addition, sometimes there is what to be negative about. Again, if I am not seeing results no matter what I am doing, it is really hard to become positive again, and again…
  4. You’re Too Liberated
    • Really? And yes, I have heard this one. The fact that I want a job or that I am successful at what I do, makes it seem like I don’t want a man in my life. Or that people make the assumption (yup, they don’t even talk to me about it) that I am just too busy to date. Right now for example, I am a hospital chaplain. When people see me they say “oh wow, you are so busy”. NO I’M NOT – my job, most days of the week are just 9-5. Ok, I have class sometimes, but usually, I don’t bring work home with me. That means from 5pm through the next day, I am free!
    • Also, if I am not working (and yes there were times I had more than one job), who the heck is going to pay my bills? My parents aren’t. So yes, I do need to work, and sometimes more than one job, but so I can live. Single people have expenses too.
  5. You’re Too Inimidating
    • OH MY GOD, YES!! I hear this one ALL the time. I really don’t get it. There was a time that I would never ask for help for anything, and I have learned to do that. I have learned to reach out, when I need it. I have learned to let others in. But I WILL NOT play dumb or needy, just to play. That is stupid. If anyone has a problem with that, really, I don’t want to date you, because honestly, I don’t know how long I would be able to pull it off. I am not able to have a needy alter ego nor do I think I should need to have one. I pray that whoever my partner is, they will not be intimidated by me, and I will not feel like I need to dumb myself down just to appease their ego, I hope that we would be able to work together and fill in the places that need to be filled in for one another.
  6. You’re Too Desperate
    • Right, you are either not trying enough or you are trying too hard. Where is the that middle ground?!
    • “Marriage and family are eternally celebrated as one of the most important and cherished parts of life – for those who have it. But the single woman who says, ‘Yes, I’d like that too,’ is immediately dismissed as silly and sad. The fact that you want love is taken as evidence that you’re not ready for it.” (pg. 35)
    • Yes, there is a “shidduch crisis” and all the married people can talk about how people need to get married. Every so often there are articles about single women standing up in front of the shul begging people to think of her, and that is how she finds a match. But that woman is seen as sad and pathetic – she is begging in front of the entire congregation. I’m fairly certain that woman asked her friends and her friend’s friends to the think of her. She probably went on some of the websites, went to the Shabbat dinners, speed dating, singles events – you name it. It was done in an act of desperation, because only then will she be heard. But no one really wants to hear that I am single and looking for someone. If I say it, it sounds sad. They start to feel bad for me. They start to tell me that there is so much more in life than a husband. But yet there is a sidduch crisis, but I shouldn’t want it too much.
  7. You Need to Be Happy Alone
    • “…women from across the county wrote me confessing their secret shame: Although they told friends and family they loved their solo life, in truth they were lonely. It’s curious: People talk openly about their alcoholism, depression, eating disorders, and sex addictions. But who besides widows of long and happy marriages admits to being lonely? It’s the ultimate shame.” (pg. 42)
    • Being alone hurts. It is hard to see everyone else together. Yes, I am capable of doing things on my own, and many times I have a great time. But at the same time, it would be so nice to have someone else there. Someone that will go to a weird Irish thing, and at least you have someone to laugh with when it is an event for small children. Someone to sit and have Shabbat dinner with when you can’t find an invitation or people to invite. Someone to wipe away your tears. Someone to sit with you at a dinner party, just so you are not the odd one out. Yes, I can do all these things on my own, I am totally capable, but it doesn’t make it any less lonely.
  8. You’re Too Picky
    • Another topic I have written about. Sara writes that when we are vague we are told we “don’t know what we are looking for” and then if we give them the list, then we are “too picky”. So true. I also think that I deserve to be attracted to someone. If I find him gross to look at or I am just bored for the entire time I am sitting with him or he just doesn’t seem right – I should be allowed to say no. Remember, I am not supposed to be desperate…
  9. You’re Too Available
    • Again with the double standard. You are supposed to not be too busy, but you are also not supposed to be too free. Wanting to love someone, being willing to date, being willing to actually (maybe) fall in love – well, you can’t show that you are “too” into it, that is also scary.
  10. You Don’t Know How to Play the Game
    • This one might be true, I don’t know how to play the game – but I don’t want to play a game. I want to go on a date. I want to be honest and clear with the person. I shouldn’t have to think if texting him when I want to, will sound “weird”. I don’t want to be kept guessing if he wants to go out again or not. It isn’t fun.
  11. You Need to Grow Up
    • Right… so what does this mean? Does it mean that I need to know how to call handy people to fix broken things? Pay my taxes? Fill out governmental forms? But appliances? Have a job? Be financially independent?Cook? Clean? Do the grocery shopping?  I mean if that is the case, then how the hell am I not “grown up”? It’s not like I have someone else in my life that is doing all these things for me. Am I still going out at night? Well, yes, because I can. I take care of my responsibilities, and so I am able to go out at night, go to a bar, go dancing. I’m not staying up at all hours of the night, because, well I’m just tired, but that doesn’t mean I need to just stay at home and knit.
  12. You’re Too Selfish
    • Who do you think takes on extra shifts? Or is expected to go to an event? According to this book, it is actually single people that volunteer most often. It is also single people that go out most often – ie. helping the economy. Do I need to take care of myself, alone? Sure. Does that make me selfish? I really hope not (I mean, if I don’t who will…) But because I don’t have kids, I will go over to a friends house when they are sick and bring them what they need; or watch my friend’s kids so they can rest or go out; or make phone calls checking up on people.
  13. You Need to Put it Out In the Universe
    • While obviously not being too desperate…
  14. You Need an Action Plan
    • “…the classic Buddhist definition of suffering: craving something you can’t have…. You’re looking outside of yourself for happiness. You’re not okay with the present reality. The path out of suffering is to accept things as they are and to allow whatever pain those circumstances cause you – loneliness, frustration, even self-loathing – to simply be there without judging them. When you start to see these feelings as simple sensations, sensations that will pass, you realize they’re manageable. It’s the thoughts around them that get us in trouble: What am I doing in this place where no one looks old enough to drive? Where did I go wrong? That’s the salt that we invariably put in the wound.” (pg. 86)
    • Sara continues to write that you just have to do the things you are doing, and do them without shame or disgust. So swipe away, go on lots of coffee dates, go have fun dancing. If somethings happens great. If something doesn’t happen also great. Just notice the feelings, accept them, and go on (yes, that is totally easier said than done, I am SO not there yet).
  15. You’re Too Fabulous to Settle Down
    • People don’t want to hear that I am sad and lonely. They want to hear the cool adventures that I get to go on. They want to live vicariously though me – how awesome it is that I can just pick up and go somewhere. They don’t want to hear about how hard it is to find friends. Or that going into public spaces scare me, and I just have to suck it up and pray for the best, because the other option is to stay home alone. Dating on TV looks like fun…dating in real life- eh. And just because I am single doesn’t mean I have a disposable income, if anything it means I have less – whatever I make is all that there is. Nothing else. And I think about that too, the money thing. When I look at singles events in NY (at least in the Jewish community) they each cost at least $36, but usually more. As a single person we are just expected to spend lots of money, but where do they think all this money is coming from…
  16. You’re Too Sad
    • Well, from what I am learning, sad is an emotion. And well, as a human, there are times I am sad. There are times that being alone makes me feel sad. There are times that seeing the world the way it is makes me feel sad. But again, there are times that I am happy and excited and angry and overwhelmed. Mostly because I am human…
  17. You Are the Constant
    • Well, you are the one that keeps on not being asked out, so obviously there must be something wrong with you. “Gradually, you paste together all these snapshots and start to create a story. Depending on your mood, the story can be good or bad. There’s the one about how brae and independent you are, how unlike some wimps you could mention you refuse to settle – go you! Except that you want to find someone and, truth be told, actually hate being alone, so then the story becomes about why you’re repulsive to prospective partners. Even if you don’t diagnose yourself with any of the aforementioned pathologies, it’s the story of something lacking. Other people must have that special something, some secret skill, some dog whistle that makes a substantial portion of the dating pool perk up their ears to her siren song.” (pg. 102).
    • Yea, it sucks. Yes, I am the first to say that there is something wrong with me. But then again – that then leads to sadness and desperation. And no one wants to hear that.
  18. You Have to Keep Trying
    • Sometimes I feel like I do give up. And then there are times that I feel like I am doing everything. I’m on different sites. I am going to all the singles events. I tell people I want to be set up. I say yes to EVERYONE, no matter if I find them interesting/attractive or not. I go to non singles events, just to have fun. I become fun, I’m not just sitting at home reading or watching TV…but then still nothing…
    • “This isn’t about giving up. It’s about lightening up. By all means, continue to make your life as rich and interesting as possible. Learn to speak Mandarin, become a Big Sister, take that solo trip to Peru. But do them for their own sake, not as a means of polishing your life resume or reassuring yourself or the world of your worthiness. You’re already worthy. There’s nothing to prove.” (pg. 110) [Now, how do I etch that into my heart…]
  19. You’re Stuck
    • Ruminating is bad…ie. over thinking is bad…ie. the think I do the most often. And honestly, I know that. Honestly, that is why I write. I try to get it out of my head, hoping that it won’t take over my being. Hoping that if I write it, I will work it out. Hoping that sharing, I will find someone, somewhere who will just make me feel heard, and help me not judge myself.
  20. You Should Have Married That Guy
    • Of course there are people from my past that I think about, well what if we dated or I just stayed in the relationship. In my head, it might seem like a bad idea that we ever broke up. But every time I have thought this and then seen the guy again, I am reminded why it would never have worked out. I did make the right choice. I did not settle just to have a man by my side. My intuition is not totally off.
  21. You Don’t Really Want a Relationship
    • Because obviously relationships are a goal, and if you do x and y, then z will follow….haha. I do want a relationship, but relationships have two people. I need to find someone who wants to be in a relationship with ME, and the real me, not some fake me that I put out thinking that I will attract more people that way.
  22. You Need Practice
    • Dating is not what allows you to learn how to live with the person – living with the person does. Or living with roommates does. I know what it means to share a living space. And split the bills. And be considerate to others. And handle rejection. And hold myself when I have a bad day. Ok, so maybe I need to get used to having someone there all the time. Or get used to touch and touching. Or living with a man. But all the basics, that I know how to do pretty well.
  23. You’re Too Old
    • Well, yes, if you say one can marry old. Will my age effect the way I can receive and give love? I really hope not. Will age effect my ability to have children? Quite possibly. And yes, I do think about it. But I can’t really imagine having a child alone and I don’t have the money to freeze my eggs. And so it is just something that I am going to have to deal with. That there is a reality that I might never have children. But I don’t think that marriage is just about baby making.
  24. You Don’t Know Love
    • Yup, those who were closer to marriage (or even married before) know love more than me. They had the thing that is at the end of the tunnel, and so if someone was able to love them once then they should be able to find love again. It is a proven fact. The love that I might show (and receive) to my friends, my family, my coworkers, somehow that is fake.
  25. You Suck
    • It is really easy to be angry and mean to others when you are angry and sad and jealous. The mean things just come out so easily, because maybe if they feel bad I won’t feel as bad. But usually that is wrong. I know usually for myself, I just feel guilty after (yay more negative emotions). It isn’t easy to show love to everyone at all times. But I agree with Sara, that we should try – it will make the world a much better place.
  26. You Need to Figure out “Why”
    • “No one ever asks ‘Why are you married?’ even though the question is just as valid as ‘Why are you single?’ After all, people marry for many reasons other than pure love – fear of being alone, a desire for biological children, economic security, social status, health insurance.” (pg. 158)
    • I hate this question. I usually answer in a joking way, just to make it light. But really I want to say, I HAVE NO IDEA, F#($ You! DON’T YOU THINK IF I KNEW THEN I’D DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT. But instead, I smile and joke…
  27. You’ll Spend the Rest of Your Life Alone
    • And that is my greatest fear.
    • “One of the most challenging things about being a single childless adult is that time seems more fluid and undelineated – months, years, and even decades can bleed into one another. There is less a sense of a road with distinct mileage markers – it’s more wide-open field. In this untethered state, it’s easy to feel as if you might float away if you don’t at least get some two-hundred-dollar frying pans in the cupboard.” (pg. 165)
    • This is also the most true chapter. I need to just live my life for right now. There might not be a time that I am married. If I want professional success I need to do that. If I want to live somewhere I need to go do that too. I don’t (and never have wanted) to just sit around waiting, putting my life on hold, for something that might or might not happen. It doesn’t make me happy to be single. It doesn’t make me feel less sad, hurt, or alone. But at the least, there are parts of my life that do bring me great joy. I know that I have accomplished quite a bit, and I am proud of those accomplishments. And I hope to be able to continue to accomplish and to grow (and to find a partner).
Posted in Dating

No Need For Attraction – At Least Not You

You don’t need to be attracted, you just need to go on a date.

Attraction will grow as you get to know him.

Don’t you know bodies change, so why base things on his they look.

Just don’t think so much.

You’ll get used to them.

Once you know them, you’ll know they are very sweet, and will always be honest with you.

It really doesn’t matter what they look like, how they hold themselves, how they dress.

Yes, others might not find them attractive, but you don’t mind, your really nice.

You aren’t one of those that judge someone on their looks or how much they earn or even if they have a job, you are just so caring.

We all have to go through that.

Married people think the only way to happiness is being married, so they just chose a guy to go with a girl – they aren’t trying to offend you.

You shouldn’t feel so bad about it. They are trying their best.

Sometimes you need to go through bad dates to find the right one. You never know.

Well, I am sick and tired of this. I am tired of not feeling attractive or desirable. I am tired of being set up with nebbish and sad guys, with the expectation that I will just ignore that fact about them. I am tired of being told by people that I am attractive and desirable, and there just aren’t great guys out there. I am tired of being told by people that this is just how it is.

I WANT TO BE ATTRACTED TO A GUY IF I AM DATING HIM. I WANT TO BE ABLE TO SAY, “NO, I DON’T WANT TO GO OUT WITH HIM BECAUSE I DON’T FIND HIM ATTRACTIVE”. Why should I have to give that up?Why should I not want to feel attraction to a person I’m touching or who is touching me? Why does it feel like if I want to be with another person, I just have to accept any person regardless of my feelings and desires?

Posted in Dating

People are Having Babies & I Still Can’t Even Get a Date

Sorry about this rant, but it has to happen somewhere outside of my head.

This past weekend, I think 3-4 of my friends just had babies. Now, don’t get me wrong, I am actually really happy for them. I am happy that they and their child are healthy and doing well. I actually have no hard feelings towards them.

But then I think about myself, and I literally can’t even get a date. There is no way for me to think about babies yet. The guy I wrote about last week, well, he came to my house for Shabbat dinner. We spoke during and after dinner, and that’s it. No reaching out before I did, and still hasn’t said anything to me yet since then. So once again, it might seem like someone is into me, but really they are not.

JSwipe is not giving me anything. Jdate isn’t either. At this point I feel embarrassed telling people over and over that I want to be dating, because I still can’t figure out how to do it. I’m going to shul every shabbat, specifically the shul that has lots of young single people, and yes I have some nice conversations, but nothing more than that. I even went to a singles dinner – and nothing from that either. This week the plan is to go to a few Chanukah parties, but well, I am quite pessimistic.

The other day I was called to a floor, as a woman both lost her baby at 21 weeks and had to have an emergency hysterectomy. When I brought this up with my supervisor during supervision (the time I need to talk about my feelings out loud…still getting the hang of that), he was like, yes it is sad and terrifying, but what does that have to do with your life and your current childlessness. When talking to him, I was really resistant – it seems so different than my situation. For me there is still a potential to bear a child, where as for her she no longer has that ability, and it was taken away without her consent.

But the more I think about it, maybe there is room for that connection, although that connection scares me (although I am not saying that it is at all comparable, it is a horrible situation to go through, and if I was her I would be devastated). There are things that she has that I am desiring, and can’t seem to get — mainly companionship, physical intimacy and sex, at least she has those. What if dating is not in my control, and it was decided from above that I am just meant to be alone – do I need to mourn the idea that something I want so badly is just not going to happen. What if I too am always unable to have a child, not because of some medical issue but because I am never able to find someone to have one with (yes I am aware I don’t really need a person, but I don’t want to have a child alone)? Is my singleness going to be like this horrible thing that happened to this woman?


Posted in Dating

What Should I Do Next: Dating Edition — Please Help

Ok, so I met a guy the other week at my friend’s shabbos table. He seemed really nice and funny. We spoke a bit, but not for too long.

Then two weeks ago, I saw him in shul in Kiddush. We started talking, but then we were talking the entirety of kiddush, like until they were cleaning up, and then walked out together still talking. During this time, he didn’t try to speak to other people – like when other people came by he was nice to them, but didn’t engage in conversation.

Then this past Shabbat, I saw him at this big dinner at shul – it was a singles event. I mean really a singles event – like they make sure to have equal numbers of men and women, and had assigned seating so it would be equal at the tables. Well, I saw him during the cocktail hour, and we started talking. And once again, even though people were coming over, he seemed uninterested in talking to them. At one point some guy started talking business, and my friend came by and we went to get a drink. She asked if I was enjoying my conversation and I said yes, so I went back, and his response was “welcome back”, and so we were talking until we went to sit down (we were at different tables).

At the end of the night we refound each other, and I sat and was talking to him and another woman, until they we actually moving tables.

Then the next day at shul, again I saw him at Kiddush, and once again we were talking till they were clearing out the room. I was going to go to a dance thing that night and he was going to a birthday party, that I was also invited to, and so we said we would maybe see each other later.

So then last night I went to the birthday party after the dance performance. There were SO many people there. I was talking to some people and then saw him, and decided to go over. As soon as I was there he started talking to me, and left the few other people that were there. And so for the next 2 hours we stood there talking and joking. And we left, he even looked back to make sure I was there (I wanted to leave, it was already 12:30 and I have work today). And so we walked, and as soon as we got to his place he was like “ok, this is my place”, and we just said goodbye. That’s it.

So my question to internet land is what do I do next? There are articles I want to send him based on things we spoke about, but I don’t want to seem clingy or desperate or I don’t know, some other negative word. I do like speaking to him, I find him smart and pleasant and kind, I do find him attractive…

So I guess the real question is how do I get him to ask me out on a date? (Yes, I know in theory I could do the asking, but I have been told that I am intimidating enough, that doing so only makes me more so).

So, any advice out there?

Posted in Dating

The Pain of Singlehood

Last Shabbat I sat around a table with 6 women. Two were in relationships and the rest of us were single. All of us are accomplished women. All of us have jobs, are healthy, seem stable and are doing things in the world. And all of us felt the pain of being single and in our late 20’s and early 30’s.

The topic of the holidays came up and everyone spoke about the pain that it was to go home. Of the looks that they would get in shul because once again they are still single. Or all the other people their age in shul are married or have kids with them. Or the conversation with people would be filled with looks of pity, because even though they are accomplished women, they are still not really accomplished because they don’t have a ring on their finger.

There was the pain that goes on when they go home. One woman saying that she has to give her bedroom up to her younger married sister- because she is married. That her parents refuse to buy another big bed, and that the other rooms in the house are ok for all the guest, including grandparents, but when her sister comes to the house she must get her room. She has tried talking to her parents and even to her sister and they don’t listen. They think she is over reacting. They think that it is a crazy idea to buy other big beds or to rotate space in the house. They think that only her sister and her husband need privacy, because why would a 32 year old single woman need any privacy.

We spoke about the pain of once again being in shul and praying that we would be able to get married. That we should be able to find happiness in ourselves but at the same time we also want someone else there. That we are tired of being treated as little kids, just because we don’t have a ring on our finger – and how even though we know we are not little kids, but we hear it enough, so maybe it is true, and maybe we fall into those pattern.

This past Friday night I was at my friend’s house. I was away for chag and for the most part it was great. Yes, I did not choose to go home for the holiday. A bit because three days with my parents would be hard. But a really large part is that I feel very uncomfortable in their shul – it is clear that I am the older single. That people don’t know how to interact with me. That most of the members are younger than me and are running after their children.

So there I was sitting on my friend’s couch talking about life, and the topic of singlehood came up. I tried to explain the great pain that it causes me. The pain of feeling unwanted. The pain of feeling that I am able to accomplish so many great things and unexpected things in my professional life, but when it comes to my personal life I can’t even get a date. The pain of desire that can’t be filled. The pain of wanting just to be held, not even marriage, but even that I can’t find. The pain that comes with the vulnerability to tell everyone I know that I am single and looking, and for people just to tell me ok or that I am special.

My friend was no helpful to me. She told me that I was exaggerating and that “it will all happen at the right time.” I am told on the one hand that I need to make sure to be in the place where there are lots of singles (I have been- and haven’t dated). And that I need to do what my heart tells me to do, and it will be there that I will find someone (also hasn’t happened yet). She told me that she knows what it is like to be single and “older”- she got married at 26- I told her that she doesn’t know what it is like to be single at 32. She tried to tell me that it can still happen – but she just doesn’t know guys (also something I hear often, ‘I just don’t know any good guys’).

And then tonight I sat with my friend as she cried because being home was fighting to be seen and heard. Because there are only so many times you can be asked if you are dating anyone and for the answer to have to be no. Because there are only so many people you can see with partner and children before you start to feel like that only one that is single, and so there must be something wrong with you.

I wish there was a real way to explain how painful being single is. I also wish that I was strong enough for it not to be painful- that I can take to heart that I don’t need a man to “complete me” or that I can find full happiness in myself or that I am able to stand up to social pressures and do the best I can do in the world even though I don’t have a partner…

But the pain is there not only because of social pressure. I do know that I am capable of great things and  I am not letting it stop me. The pain is there because it hurts. Because it feels lonely. Because people treat you poorly. Because it is something that I desire but feels unattainable.

Posted in Dating, Life

Just Lying There Being Held

It has been about a year since I have been held. A year since someone wanted to be that close to me and just lay there. I know that I missed it, but I didn’t realize how much.

I am not someone who dates often, even though I want to. I’m not someone who gets asked out often. I’m not someone who notices being hit on or people checking me out.

When a friend approached me and asked if I would sleep with him- not have sex- to actually just sleep in a bed with him, at first I laughed. I thought he was being funny, both in the request and the fact that he asked me. His reasoning was that he was lonely and he missed touching people. I also secretly wished that I had the guts to say that was what I was missing, and to just go ask someone I was close with to fulfill that need.

Even though at first I laughed and said no, slowly we have begun just being there for one another. A few weeks ago we had a Shabbat meal that was just the two of us, and the next day he came to my house and spent the whole afternoon with me, in my bed. It was weird at first that he was there- but then in some ways even weirder when he left. The apartment was quiet again. I didn’t have someone holding me.

July 4th the two of us went to the East River to see the Fireworks. We walked all the way down to the river and stood there, close but not touching, watching the fireworks with thousands of other people. We didn’t talk or touch, but I knew that he was there.

And then there was this Shabbat, where he was at my house again all afternoon. Once again we were laying in my bed, this time instead of just laying side by side, he put his arm around me. Weirdly it was something I wanted to happen, and so I didn’t even squirm when it happened. I had been thinking about him for the past few weeks. I don’t think I am attracted to him, although I am very much not repulsed by him. We have both been clear that we don’t want to date each other, but neither of us have anything else going for us, and there is a level of trust. It weirdly felt normal.

And so,  I just laid there savoring the feeling of being touched.  Feeling the heat of another person. The pull that feels like someone wants you just where you are. The light touches that remind you that you have a body and someone else is also interested in it.

via Daily Prompt: Savor

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.