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?

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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.

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?