Confessions of a Shidduch Dumper

16 Mar

Standards are good to have. They keep us from making drastically wrong decisions, but there is a fine line between using standards as a reference and using standards as a checklist. This is a story, my story, of how I let my standards make a decision before I did:

I’ve always been proud of my intuitive knowledge of relationships. It is a bracha from Hashem that much of the knowledge people go to teacher’s, shrinks and magazines for, I have in my head. I don’t credit myself, it’s all from Hashem (having been forced to listen to Dr. Laura during long car trips probably helped too), and that is why I see this blog as a way of using this gift He gave me. Still, I am human. I make mistakes and errors in judgement.

One of these errors was my emphasis on standards. I’d always tell my friends that they should have standards. Don’t waste time on the people who are a waste of your time, also known as duds. You deserve more, girlfriend (and guy friend)! Don’t put up it wit’ no trash! I got this attitude from my low tolerance level for shtus. I don’t do shtus. It’s a waste of time, thought and life force. Feeling that I had the beacon of truth, I made sure to share it with my friends and anyone who came for advice. They liked hearing that they didn’t have to put up wit’ no trash. They liked hearing that they deserved the best, and I liked making people feel good about themselves.

But life is full of shtush. Stuff happens, people are imperfect and as a result, feelings are hurt. Communication sometimes falters. People misunderstand each other and shtush must be worked through. I forgot to relay this bit of information. Well, I didn’t forget; I didn’t know. I was so wrapped up in standards that I forgot that a solid, meaningful relationship means working through the shtush; seeing if you can get through it together or if indeed, it is not shayach. Missing this information led me to be a Shidduch Dumper and being a Shidduch Dumper led me to being quizzically frustrated.

Sure, he was everything I wanted. I knew he wasn’t perfect, but none of his flaws interfered with my standards until his imperfectness went too far. It isn’t relevant as to what the imperfections were. Think of whatever character flaw peeves you (aside from anger). I consulted a few people about this flaw and they all agreed with me– let him go. Keeping to standards and maintaining my dignity was of the utmost importance. It didn’t matter that I had a great kesher with him, it didn’t matter that we were emotionally attached. Standards rule all.

So I broke up with him. I gave him a silly excuse as to what bothered me and that was it. No room for explanations or serious discussion, just game over. He took it pretty well. Looking back, I don’t know how he did it. I don’t know how I did it; how I gave up on something I had worked so hard for, for so long. I didn’t truly know why I was breaking up with him. I was frustrated and scared. I was so entranced by my standards and expectations, that I couldn’t slow down to say, “hey, I have something real here. Why don’t I give it my best shot and try to work through the shtus.

I was wrong. For months now, I’ve been itching to say these three words. I don’t know that I was wrong in the grand scheme of things, but I know I broke things off too quickly. I didn’t even give him the chance to explain. I didn’t even give him the option of saying, “I’m so sorry I hurt you, it’s something I’m working on. Maybe you can help me work on it.” Maybe he wouldn’t have said that. Maybe how would’ve said, “Sorry cookie, this is who I am,” but at least I would have known.

Now when I date and when I give advice, I think before I talk about standards and expectations. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still in favor of having standards. Without standards you can end up with a noncommittal, cold, selfish and lazy partner. Don’t settle for a schmo, but realize, no one is perfect. Don’t just realize it, internalize it. Remember just how flawed you are. Humble yourself a bit. You’re not perfect. Well, I know I am far from it. That is why I now make sure to give each date a chance (unless he’s not respectful of me/my hashkafot). I do it for piece of mind, because even if he is a bit of a dud, at least I gave it my best shot. A not well-known way of seeing how dependable a person will be in a relationship is seeing how they respond after making a mistake which hurt you. Give them a chance to be sorry. If the relationship is getting serious, then have a discussion about what’s bothering you. Don’t give up so quickly. Don’t be so rash. Because at the end of the day if you are such a stickler for standards, then that’s all you’ll have.

You and your standards.

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18 Responses to “Confessions of a Shidduch Dumper”

  1. Bored Jewish Guy March 16, 2010 at 10:45 am #

    Interesting post, I also was forced to listen to Dr. Laura on long car rides 😦
    How do you know that the guy took it well? When I got broken up with, I went out of my way to make it look like I was ok. Even though she broke up with me through a third party, I sent her a text message thanking her for traveling to my town and apologizing for things not going better. To tell you the truth, I was trying to make her feel guilty, I don’t think I did a good job though.

    If you know you were wrong, what did you or are you going to do about it?

    BTW, it’s good to see that you got the “recent posts” up, now all you need to do is take the wordpress stuff out of your blogroll and put in “bored jewish guy” 😉

  2. Princess Lea March 16, 2010 at 10:56 am #

    It is true, your point. So many have shrunk with their so-called standards. One can have them; but have them written on an etch-and-sketch, not in stone. My sister married a guy that was not remotely what she had been looking for.

    I feel frustrated with you. As a ruminator myself, I constantly rehash previous experiences, thinking what I could have done better. It’s a horrible position to be in. Although, I’m not sure if I would be able to sit down with potential RD and analyze his personality. Who knows what he would say about you?

    But also consider. My brother was telling me how a friend of his was complaining about his wife, about this certain quality she has. I told him, “I’m guessing that it was that quality that attracted him in the first place.”

    Qualities change their appeal over time. Like certain products, they can increase or weaken. Did this flaw have the potential to become REALLY annoying ten years down the line?

  3. SIS March 16, 2010 at 1:27 pm #

    You are so right, coralcap. I can relate to this…I also have standards…and pride…and dignity…but too much. I am so amazed that you are able to say those three words, even to an anonymous blogging public. Because it’s not about saying them to us, it’s about saying them to yourself, and that’s much, much harder.

    I also was a Dr. Laura listener back in high school 🙂 If anything, though, wouldn’t she make you less empathic?

  4. coralcap March 16, 2010 at 6:09 pm #

    BJG: After all the years of being forced to listen to her, I listen to her voluntarily. She’s good.

    What I meant by “he took it well” is that he didn’t show any signs of being crushed. Not at first. I guess that’s normal though b/c it takes time for the shock to set in. I just know that if the shoe was on the other foot, I’d have no problem telling the dumper how sad he just made me.

    Your guilt probably made her feel guilty but guilt doesn’t always move people to say/do something about it.

    If you know you were wrong, what did you or are you going to do about it?

    I was wrong in not giving “us” time. I was wrong in writing him off quickly rather than saying, “You being (fill in the blank)really makes me doubt that we can have a healthy relationship.We really need to talk about it.” Also, the timing was horrible. This took place two weeks after I got back from seminary so I wasn’t exactly in a sturdy place. What will I do now? I don’t know. Part of me just wants to tell him I was wrong, but I know if I do that, then the possibility of “us” could arise. It’s good to have chemistry and a deep sense of understanding, but if I don’t sense that I can rely on him, how am I supposed to trust him? I want to tell him that I made a mistake, but I don’t know if he’s grown enough for us to be a real possibility. I don’t want to put myself in a position where I might have to dump him again.

    Princess Lea: People can have ridiculous standards. It always perplexed me that there are petite, short girls that demand they have a tall guy. I wish I was short enough to have any guy I choose! It’s not a good idea to rehash past mistakes–though I’ve done it myself. What I do after having a “learning experience” is write down the mistakes I made and what I should do in the future if the situation arises again. It makes me feel like I get something positive out of a bad experience.

    SIS: Thanks for your encouragement. The truth is, it’s not so hard to say it to myself, it’s figuring out what to do with the information. Pride, dignity and standards are all good in appropriate doses. When I know what the precise doses are, I’ll let you know 😉

    I don’t think listening to Dr. Laura makes me less empathetic, I think she helps people understand where empathy is appropriate and where it is damaging. She’s all about being responsible for one’s choices– “now go do the right thing.” I like that line 🙂

    • Bored Jewish Guy March 16, 2010 at 9:41 pm #

      I haven’t listened to Dr. Laura in years, I actually found her show pretty entertaining when I listened, “Dr. Laura, I have a dilemma” LOL.

      I guess if she would have broken up with me in person, it would have been obvious that I was upset about it, although it did take some time for it to really sink in.

      I would agree with you, even if you were wrong and want to tell him you made a mistake, it might not be a good idea, you seem to know what you’re talking about 🙂

      As to your response to princess lea, I know this is kind of unrelated but do you think it’s normal for a girl who’s 5’6″ to not want to go out with anyone shorter than 5’8″?

      • coralcap March 16, 2010 at 9:58 pm #

        If by “normal” you mean common, then I would say yes. Is it right? I don’t know…everyone has their own preferences. I can’t flat-out say “it’s wrong” b/c I know there are certain physical aspects I have to like in a guy to be attracted to him. However, should this keep a girl of 5’6″ from meeting a guy shorter than her preferred height? No. Why? Because there are guys who are worth giving up heels for. Maybe this shorter guy will be one of them, maybe not, but a girl will never know unless she gives him a chance.

    • yuda March 20, 2011 at 11:24 pm #

      Hi let me get in to this situation you have. Although I didn’t see any details exactly on why you broke up with him besides that something about trust issues. Ok so here is what I think first of all your first mistake comes from always thinking that you are the one that is going to male decisions on a date weather he is for you or not. Sorry to tell youbthat but here is your main confusion. Here is where all yourbtrouble starts in life. Being able to find the right match can’t come from only one way of yours. The way outbound here is like a boss interviewing recruiters for a very special job. Well it is special job but guess what you are not the boss. Every date u go out you have to look at it as two sides to the job of course if you are the loss and being picky with your “standards” you will have a hard time finding someone relevant. Very simple its all about you you you. You have the cards so any small tiny thing that you won’t appreciate you’ll say No. Well here is what you need to do. You must start looking at this dating game as only one side and that he hast make also a decision. Once you get to look at it in this way you will have a different way of view and feeling that actually ypubcan miss out. And yes you should tell him that u made a mistake. Heredity comes again. It’s all about you making decisions. That’s why u can’t confront him. A lot of ego here. Sorry for being so rude but this is the fact. Heyy u might be missing here something. Remember after all its not we that control this world. And it is up to us to make our shidduch run away and just miss the train or getting in to something bad. Wish u all the best

  5. SIS March 16, 2010 at 7:58 pm #

    Is there a way to check into him (without him knowing) to see where he’s holding today? Most people grow up eventually.

    Oh yeah, definitely good. I wouldn’t give up on any of the three 🙂 But let me know when you figure it out. 😉

    Oh okay, it’s been probably ten years since I listened to her. She’s still playing?

  6. coralcap March 16, 2010 at 9:27 pm #

    There are ways for me to check into him, but I don’t think it’s such a good idea. If it ultimately is shayach, then now is not the time. I am a big believer in “timing is everything” and it has been proven to me time and time again in this circumstance. Still, I’m not banking on this relationship and we have both continued to look for our RD’s in other people.

    She is still playing but not in the lower NY state/ NJ area. She was dropped for being too conservative (aka people don’t like to hear that they have to be responsible for their lives), but in the other states she’s still going strong.

  7. SIS March 16, 2010 at 9:33 pm #

    Absolutely. I don’t know the chronology here (like how much past seminary you are; after all, you can’t buy alcohol 🙂 ), but you seem to be doing the right thing.

    Really…very interesting. But of course, why take responsibility for your life if the Dems will take it for you?

  8. SIS March 16, 2010 at 10:41 pm #

    BJG: It’s normal because a 5’6″ girl looks the same height as a 5’8″ guy. And most guys’ heights are exaggerated by an inch.

  9. Shades of Grey March 16, 2010 at 10:50 pm #

    Standards can definitely be a hindrance, as necessary as they are. It’s great that you learned this lesson (though the heartbreak/upset that led to learning this point wasn’t great), since a lot of people still cling to their holier-than-thou, tip-top-perfect vision of what their spouse has to be, and they get labelled as being entirely too picky.

    The idea of talking things over once a relationship has become more official (I just wrote a post that talks about how that happens) is definitely important.

    I was once dumped by someone who I had gone out with for two months right at the start of a date, and she couldn’t/wouldn’t give me a reason. I figured it out a day later, called her, explained that I knew where the issue was, and that I was willing to work on it if she gave us another chance. She thought about it for another day or two and replied that regardless of my willingness to try and work on things, she still remained firm in her decision. Ah, well, talking things over doesn’t always work, unfortunately.

    • coralcap March 23, 2010 at 12:16 am #

      You’re very, very right. Talking doesn’t always work, but it’s always nice to know that you tried your hardest. Besides for knowing you did everything you could, you also know that you are willing to be patient and flexible in order to make a relationship work. Not everyone gets to that stage unfortunately, but bH, you aren’t one of those people.

  10. Bored Jewish Guy March 17, 2010 at 1:23 am #

    Interesting. I got a text message from my sister a few days ago asking me how tall I am (she’s only my sister how should she know), I answered her that I’m close to 5’10” with my shoes on but I don’t know exactly so I’d say around 5’9″ to be safe. She heard about a girl who was 5’6″ and only wanted a tall guy so she had to make sure I was taller than 5’8″. It kind of made me nervous though, what if my measurements were off by 3/4 of an inch, is the girl going to be mad at me? I’m probably overreacting, chances are the girl just said that she didn’t want someone too short and someone else decided 5’8″ is the cutoff, it just seemed odd to me. Also if girls assume guys exaggerate their height by an inch, does that mean I have to, otherwise she’ll think I’m an inch too short?

  11. Princess Lea March 17, 2010 at 10:48 am #

    Considering how I’ve always been honest with my height (very tall), guys are usually the ones who cross-examine me about my height, even when I’m shorter than him.

  12. SIS March 17, 2010 at 10:55 am #

    I wouldn’t be nervous if I were you, you are what you are. She’s not going to hold it against you if you’re off by a little, she just might dump you if you’re too short for her 🙂 Could be she decided it’s the cutoff, based on going out and seeing what she likes. Disregard what I said about exaggerating; that’s a cynical thing for me to say, and it’s probably not true. It’s not that the guy ever lies I don’t think, just other people don’t estimate well. Tell the truth, you’re always better off that way.

    • Bored Jewish Guy March 17, 2010 at 1:03 pm #

      It’s not so cynical, I mentioned this to my mother and she told me to say I was 5’10”, b/c I would be if I stood up straight. Mothers 🙂

      I guess I should come up with a better way to measure myself, than balancing a book on my head and holding up a tape measure 😉

      • SIS March 17, 2010 at 1:22 pm #

        🙂 If you’re in between the two numbers, you can go for the higher one. After all, you always (on a date) wear shoes, right? Or you can play it safe and say 5’9″-5’10”. What really matters is not the exact number but the appearance. Some people project a shorter or taller appearance (based on build, weight, etc.) than they really are, and that’s what the girl will come away with. You probably know which way you lean.

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