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    Wandering Jew
    Participant

    Dating Saga:
    Hello everyone.
    I have an interesting question/situation for the forum, but before I ask it, I would like to give some background.

    About 3 years ago (24), I dated someone very seriously.
    During that time, I was emotionally immature, and struggled with setting boundaries.

    I believe that she too had a similar struggle, but that was more about vulnerability; she didn’t let anyone in.

    After my gentle coaxing and much patience, she was able to open up to me. I was briefly able to be vulnerable with her, and she truly accepted me for who I was.

    At a certain point, even though I was not drawn to her personality, I gave her my heart, for she emotionally embraced a certain part of me.

    After that, there was a big bump which shook the relationship, and it never really recovered.

    At that time, I unintentionally said the words “I am not feeling it”, due to all the stress that was going on beneath the surface; college, parnassa, personal stuff, etcetera. It all overwhelmed me.

    She took that as a rejection, but stuck with me nonetheless, for she felt that I was worth the risk.

    Even after that, she believed in me and always was willing to take the next step, if I would ask her to; she even dropped hints that she wanted me to.

    Towards the end of the summer, there was too much going on for me to commit to her.

    As the years went on, I never really gave up on her; she always had my heart. I felt as if I always had hers.
    I truly knew how to make her happy.

    Recently, she got engaged. I feel as if she walked away with a piece of me, that I can never get back.

    Now as an older guy (27), I feel as if no one will see me as she did, and as if I have less of me to give away to someone else to make them feel special.  It is as if I lost part of myself to her.

     

    For example:

    (I commissioned a piece of costume jewelry for my elder (single) sister’s birthday. After I made it, I was struck by how the girl I dated would have loved it; it would have matched her favorite blouse. I felt sad that I could not give it to her.)

    Especially as an older guy in the frum world, my prospects of marriage don’t look good, for I feel like leftovers/2nd class to younger guys.

    Has anyone been in a similar place and found comfort?
    What does “the jury” say?

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    alwaysworried
    Participant

    hey, i can hear your pain and sadness in this post and yuck i know how awful these feelings feel. What i can say is this- these feelings will pass eventually, although it might take a while. It is still very raw so allow yourself to feel them but have confidence that you won’t feel this way forever.

    Also, i don’t know if you’re blaming yourself but it sounds like you feel guilty for not tying the knot sooner etc.

    whatever it is- cut it out. You acted in the best way you knew how then and made the best decisions for yourself in those moments. And ultimately it is the best thing for you but I will stay away from the religious piece not because i don’t believe in it god  forbid, (i absolutely do!) just because i know you can get that from a rabbi and or books and i’m neither of those things.

    What i see, is that Now all you can do is look back and say what can i learn from this experience to take along with me in the future. It sounds like you matured in these 3 years and thats something that will serve you and your lucky partner really well. Maybe you learned that not making a definite decision is also a decision and it comes with positive or negative consequences. I know for me, i many times let things ride and stay stuck without realizing that even if you don’t choose one way sometimes life circumstances choose for us and we’re not so happy with the results. So…

    1. Try to continue being an active player in your life.

    2. Know that heartbreak exists among frum jews as well and you’re not alone. You’re feelings and longing is normal…

    3. Try not to allow society and social pressure dictate how you should feel at what age. You are not old or second class or bottom barrel because your 27. You’re more mature, successful, wise, and lived at 27.

    I promise i need to take a sip of the cocktail i just wrote daily. But thats the beauty of this forum i suppose, that we’re forced to dig deep while we try to help others. Best of luck!

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    Chavy
    Participant

    This is a very painful experience and you feel rightfully so to your emotions.  I would say to try and sit with your feelings and to be mindful (aware) of them. Let yourself grieve and then try to slowly let them go. These are all normal emotions. And, as hard as it is, it will pass. Gam Zeh Ya’avor. We each have our Zivugim waiting for us. You will get through this and come out a lot stronger!

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    Banana
    Participant

    Diddo to everything above. If I can bring in the religious aspect being that you mentioned you’re a Frum Jew – I believe you can find a lot of peace in telling yourself that it must be HaShem has a better partner out there for you if He didn’t let this work out.

    I also think that what is really hurtful to you is that deep down you may have felt that she was waiting for you and you feel deceived that all along she was going out with other guys and you were replaceable. As was mentioned above, it can be very helpful to be mindful (practice meditation – there are apps for it like HeadSpace and 10% Happier). Give yourself a moment to mourn this relationship and then go ahead and do something to find the right one (dating site, call a matchmaker). Remember that you’re not defined by your age. The right girl will see beyond your age. It sounds like you’re in touch with your feelings and that any girl that gets you will be lucky! I think that when you find the right one, you’ll no longer have questions. Good luck!

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    alwaysworried
    Participant

    I like that point that banana shared about perhaps feeling deceived. But i don’t think you were. i think she was trying to move on and you were also trying to move on. Of course, its normal to have a reaction to her having engaged someone else. From what you shared it doesn’t sound like the communication was that you’re waiting for her or she’s waiting for you. Unless i misunderstood?

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    Wandering Jew
    Participant
    Topic Author

    @alwaysworried I think we ended it well, but I had the impression that she always “held her heart open to me”.

    [Example:

    As life goes, her close cousin got married to my 2nd cousin. I don’t habe any cousins fromy father’s side, so we are much closer than usual to our 2nd cousins.

    About a year ago they had a baby boy, so my family was invited to the bris.

    I went, fully knowing that she would be there.  After the bris, we all sat down to have the seudah.

    As I had the seudah, I saw a friend in the distance, standing in middle of the ballroom.

    We proceeded to speak, and had a great time. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw her standing by herself, looking at me, pining for me.

    Seeing her there and in pain shot daggers through my heart.

    ]

    I was confused about the relationship, and my feelings towards her. A part of me was definitely holding on to her,  and felt that she would reciprocate it.

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    DDD
    Participant

    Wandering Jew,

    Reading between the lines it is clear that there is raw pain probably coupled with a lack of closure that has been lingering for a while but only coming to the surface with this new reality. In a weird way, her engagement can be a great stepping stone for you in this sense. While you always had feeling for her, I’d bet you didn’t give other girls you dated a fair chance and perhaps held yourself back from being vulnerable as she was always somewhere in the back of your mind. Although it is natural to feel this way now that she is engaged, please don’t forget there was definitely something that made you hesitate to propose then and hesitate to reconsider rekindling the relationship since; while you remember all the feelings and times you enjoyed together, it is likely that your memories are tainted by the fact that you can’t have her anymore; while you were dating, it really was not as perfect as your memory is deceiving you to feel. Please allow yourself some time to accept this reality; but also accept the gift in closure, you can finally go on a date and give the girl your full attention. Although it may be hard to feel like you can have feelings for anyone else or to be vulnerable again, please believe you can! Once you have this closure I think it is just time that will heal the wounds. There are so many wonderful girls out there who have so much to offer… the next girl will surely have different attributes than the previous girl but believe me you can definitely have feelings again toward someone else.

    And a last note– 27 is really not old!! It’s actually a fantastic age to be dating and get married!

     

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    Wandering Jew
    Participant
    Topic Author

    Wandering Jew, Reading between the lines it is clear that there is raw pain probably coupled with a lack of closure that has been lingering for a while but only coming to the surface with this new reality. In a weird way, her engagement can be a great stepping stone for you in this sense. While you always had feeling for her, I’d bet you didn’t give other girls you dated a fair chance and perhaps held yourself back from being vulnerable as she was always somewhere in the back of your mind. Although it is natural to feel this way now that she is engaged, please don’t forget there was definitely something that made you hesitate to propose then and hesitate to reconsider rekindling the relationship since; while you remember all the feelings and times you enjoyed together, it is likely that your memories are tainted by the fact that you can’t have her anymore; while you were dating, it really was not as perfect as your memory is deceiving you to feel. Please allow yourself some time to accept this reality; but also accept the gift in closure, you can finally go on a date and give the girl your full attention. Although it may be hard to feel like you can have feelings for anyone else or to be vulnerable again, please believe you can! Once you have this closure I think it is just time that will heal the wounds. There are so many wonderful girls out there who have so much to offer… the next girl will surely have different attributes than the previous girl but believe me you can definitely have feelings again toward someone else. And a last note– 27 is really not old!! It’s actually a fantastic age to be dating and get married!

    —————————-

    @DDD thank you very much for your kind words; they provide much needed solace.

    The wise advice regarding viewing the past and moving on to the future is also appreciated.

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    DDD
    Participant

    I’m happy I was able to give some chizzuk 🙂

    Reading your story again, although it is not spelled out and I may be wrong there seems to be something deeper here. It sounds like you never really thought this girl was a match for you nor were you attracted to her personality. It does sound like you shared something with her that very few people know about you; something you may have thought would turn her away, yet she saw past that and stayed with you. It sounds like that is what kept you together and kept you feeling this way for so long. Additionally, you may be afraid of opening up again with someone else and you may be afraid of whether the next girl will accept you for who you are, and are afraid of rejection and hurt. Naturally, these feelings are normal and opening up to someone, anyone, creates a certain level of emotional connection and attachment. However, with what is most important, you were not looking for a friend, you were looking for a spouse and that was not the right address based on your clear gut feelings at the time. (Ultimately, although you had feelings for her all along, it seems like you were the one who ended it– based on a gut feeling.) Moreover, the relationship being mainly based on her accepting your flaws does not sound like a recipe for a very healthy relationship in the long run.

    I hope that this closure time will allow you to find the courage to keep dating and open up again in the future to someone who you truly are attracted to and feel like you can have a healthy relationship with.

    Bare in mind, everyone has their package and no one is perfect.

    Hatzlacha in this difficult parshah!

    Profile Photo
    Wandering Jew
    Participant
    Topic Author

    Thank you to everyone for your wonderful answers and advice. I have felt supported, understood, and comforted.

    It has been a wonderful experience for me.

    Thank you so much for sharing.

     

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    Wandering Jew
    Participant
    Topic Author

    It is like a community/support group, which I am grateful to have come upon, and fortunate to be a part of.

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    alwaysworried
    Participant

    yes ditto to that wandering jew! I think ddd hit so much on the nose. Clearly, it was not for you for there was something very strong holding you back from her back then, even though she was so accepting. I also like the point ddd made regarding looking back and remembering the fond times and not the confusion and reasons for not pursuing the relationship. Our memories do us a disservice in this way many times especially when we can’t get back what we think we lost. ex. a recovering addict remembers the fond memories of drinking no matter how distant it is from the multiple horror episodes drugs or drinking led him/her into, a recovering anorexic idealizes restricting food  and a thinner appearance over the memories of the pain restriction and starvation caused him/her to experience. My point is, Don’t let the thoughts and feelings and memories control you, my point is not to liken this to addiction or an eating disorder, only in the concept of memory and how it plays with our psyche.

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    AsherL
    Participant

    Wow.  So much good support and good advice.  I just want to add my reaction to wandering jew’s post.

    I found the description of feeling that she took a piece of your heart, to be a powerful image and it touched a place in my heart.  The thing is that we all go through experiences of loss and when it is a loss of love, or the potential of love, it is called “heartbreaking.”

    Maybe the reason love is associated with heart is because I think loss and sadness can actually be felt in the body as the heart slowing down or when shocked, feeling like it stopped for a second.  I don’t know, but it seems like all the Valentine’s Day cards have hearts on them.

    The good news:  Let’s imagine this girl did actually take a piece of your heart.  Hearts also mend.  They kind  of grow back.  They often grow back bigger and stronger.  You will certainly have more heart to share with your true bashert, whom Hashem should help you should find very soon.

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    Wandering Jew
    Participant
    Topic Author

    Hey!


    @asherL
    welcome to the forum!

    I never thought another guy would join. (Lol)

    Thanks for your support; I appreciate your unique insight.

    Profile Photo
    Chany
    Participant

    Wow. So much good support and good advice. I just want to add my reaction to wandering jew’s post. I found the description of feeling that she took a piece of your heart, to be a powerful image and it touched a place in my heart. The thing is that we all go through experiences of loss and when it is a loss of love, or the potential of love, it is called “heartbreaking.” Maybe the reason love is associated with heart is because I think loss and sadness can actually be felt in the body as the heart slowing down or when shocked, feeling like it stopped for a second. I don’t know, but it seems like all the Valentine’s Day cards have hearts on them. The good news: Let’s imagine this girl did actually take a piece of your heart. Hearts also mend. They kind of grow back. They often grow back bigger and stronger. You will certainly have more heart to share with your true bashert, whom Hashem should help you should find very soon.

    @aherL welcome! I absolutely love your spin on this saga. I never heard that concept that hearts grow back stronger and i actually love it and whole heartedly (pun intended as an afterthought) buy into it.

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