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People Who Wait For G-d’s Timing are Never Sorry They Did

22 Jul

Some people find chizuk from dating gurus– I found mine from a Devout Christian living in Southeast Asia:

Personally, I think I have the perfect wife, the best I could have ever found. My mother once told me I could have searched the world over and not found a better wife than Diane. When your mother talks like that you know you have found someone quite special. Obviously, I agree.

But is Diane the only woman I could have married who would have been a good choice for me? Am I the only man in the world who was “the choice” for her? If so, what would have happened if one of us had resisted God’s will to marry the other? Think about where that kind of reasoning leads you and you will soon realize that there must be a better way to understand the will of the Lord concerning the person we choose to marry…

 

 

To continue reading this incredibly insightful article by Mike Constantine, follow the link below. I know this piece has brought me, and continues to bring me, a sense of peace and trust in myself, in Hashem and in the possibility of finding “the best possible person” to be my husband and becoming the “best possible person” for him too. I hope by sharing it that others can find additional chizuk as well.

http://intermin.org/en/CFL/enCFL4.html

Quote for Thought: Gone is Gone

28 Dec

If you’re missing me, I want you to know that I am not missing you. Gone is gone. I never miss anything or anyone because it all becomes a lovely memory. I guard my memories and love them, but I don’t get in them and lie down. You can even make stories from yours but they don’t come back. Just think how awful it would be if they did. You don’t need me now. You’re…old enough to get busy at growing up to be the person you want to be.

— Ole Golly, Harriet the Spy

Isn’t it amazing how children’s literature has some of the best mind fodder out there? It amazes me. Why perilously pour over the complexities of Homer or the woefulness of Hawthorne if you can get solid, applicable advice from Harriet the Spy? Just saying.

And it is from Louise Fitzhugh’s Harriet the Spy that I bring to you an outstanding piece of chizuk. The above quote is what I think should be the experienced dater’s creed. For those of us who haven’t found the RD in the first, second, third (fourth, fifth…must I go on?) person we’ve dated, the whole experience can be a bit disheartening at times. It’s not even the one-and-dones that are bothersome, or even the two-and-dones. Some matches are just not meant to be. However, once you’ve gone out a few more times than that…you start to get to know the person, you let them get to know you and even have a few inside jokes…you start hoping for the best. And whether it’s you who ends it or them, there is disappointment involved. The broken-up-with is left hurt and the break-upper is left with the guilt of causing that hurt (and will always have to live with the knowledge that they ended the relationship). No one wins, my friends. Not in the short-term.

But in the long-term, you have to believe that you are a winner. You formed a relationship with that person for a reason. It may not be clear why right away, but you must believe that it started and ended for the best. In the above quote, Ole Golly, Harriet’s most trusted confidante and nanny since her birth, tells her the hardest thing a person could hear: I’m not missing you. Despite the numerous, incalculable days they spent together, their time is up. Those days are gone. Gone is gone. The relationship will never be the same and that is just the way it is.

The memories though…those remain. Ole Golly guards them and loves them but does not get in them and lie down. Memories of a past relationship can be remembered fondly. They can be retrieved with esteem and admiration, but they won’t bring the relationship back. The relationship is over for a reason, though you may not understand why. The bottom line is, that person realized that thy don’t need you now–and you don’t need them. Whether intentionally or not, they freed you to be the person you want to be, whom you will be able to be with your RD, please G-d.

So my fellow RD Searchers, do not fret. Don’t let lovely memories become catalysts of sorrow. Appreciate them for what they are. Take them out every once in a while, smile with them and then put them away. G-d gave you that experience for a certain amount of time because that is all you needed. Now He’s giving you the opportunity to learn from them, grow some more and make yourself ready for the next person. No one is perfect. No relationship is perfect, but bhsaa tova, Hashem will bring you to the person who will mutually feel that a life together is perfect in a way that the dictionary definition of perfection could never defend.

The Spark

26 Sep

All my life, I have had the felicitous impression of marriage thanks to my parents. I’ve heard the story of how they met, how it kind of just happened. They met through a friend, my father ‘just knew’ and a year down the line they were on their way to matrimonial happiness. Now, I know my parents didn’t live in a fairy tale world. Like other couples they had to put in quality/quantity time. I grew up knowing that their time together was important; that their relationship with each is important and is the reason I grew up in a home of shalom. But now that it’s my turn to go looking for my partner in life, I have to realize that not all people have their zivug pop into their lives one day. Some people have to go looking for their match. Some people don’t have the Spark instantaneously.

The Spark.

That gosh-forsaken-trouble-making-twinkle-in-your-eye-for-a-mere-second Spark.

You can have everything in the world in common with the person sipping a Caramel Macchiato  across from you. You can jive well and be going in the same direction and laugh at each others jokes…but the spark aint there. Is that a reason to amiably part ways or does it pay to keep going out?

On the other hand, there are times when the Spark is there immediately. You feel like you’ve met the last person you’ll ever have to date; you’re sailing through the effervescence of silly little love songs. There’s no slowing you down…until you do. Wait, s/he wears Velcro shoes? Outside? S/he could care less about the effects of Obamacare? Suddenly you’re not so sure anymore. Spark shmark. It would’ve been nice to have known each other on a more casual level before lallygagging into Disney World together.

So you see, I don’t know how I feel about the spark. Is it something caused by our preconceived notions of what is best for us or is it something inexplicably real? Is it something to be trusted or something that should be considered a sweet bonus if found?

 

The Summer of Almost-Dates

2 Sep

Each summer comes with its own theme. Well, at least in my life they do. This happened to be a particularly eventful one, as I split it between New York City and various cities in Israel. My overall theme would definitely have to be adventure. Every day brought something I did not expect, from bumping into my all-time favorite rebbi, Rabbi Aaron Rakeffet (!!!!) to watching a shooting star fly across the heavens…no wait, that was the Israeli air force…same difference 🙂

And under that main theme of adventure falls the sub-theme of the almost-date. I experienced this awkward yet entertaining phenomenon more times than I thought possible. This is because I was Divinely put into the most unique of situations, all of which I proceeded with as casually as possible. Was I hoping to get at least one standard, traditional date over the summer? Sort of. With a schedule as hectic as mine was, I understood that dating would likely take a two month hiatus, but I always keep my mind open. Look, if Mr. Right wants to make his grand appearance as I’m heaving a 5-gallon jerrican up the side of a mountain, that’s not my judgement to make. He can come whenever he darn well feels like it as long as he realizes that he might find me  footloose and fancy free, lip syncing to a Miley Cyrus song. It’s better that he knows what he’s getting himself into from the get-go anyway.

I thought I had been exposed to every kind of date there was, but that sure did change this summer. I experienced, and witnessed some unconventional tete-a-tetes which I will now officially categorize as Almost-Dates. If an outsider were to see this happening, they very well could surmise, “they’re on a date,” but in reality that is not the case.

For example:

The Ambiguous Hangout Date: What is this exactly? I don’t know. I’m pretty sure it is when neither party is 100% sure of the other person’s motive, but they are almost sure they know. But not quite sure.  For example, Guy asks Girl out on a whim. They’ve known each other for a while but never really spoke much. Now, Girl isn’t sure if he is really asking her out because he’s leaving for a semester abroad in Singapore the next day. Guy also never showed a particular interest in her and not because he doesn’t socialize with girls or is cripplingly shy. Neither is true, so Girl does not know what his intentions are. He brought food for them to share but he didn’t give the traditional date gesture of offering to buy a coffee. She excitedly accepted his offer to spend the afternoon together, but she didn’t seem too enthused when he played her favorite song on the Big Piano at FAO Schwarz.  The day could have been the start of something new, but both their hesitancy to ask, “what exactly is this” kinda left everything sort of  hazy. Whoops.

The Backwards Date: It starts out in the most ordinary of ways. A family friend has a marvelous idea to set up the children of two of her most beloved friends. The hashkafas match up, the goals in life are aligned and let’s face it, they’re both drop dead gorgeous. So the match is rhedt right away! Ah, yes! Girls is so excited! Finally a boy who sounds like an actual mensch. He learns Torah and does mitzvos, and attends Princeton Law School in between. Beautiful. There is just one little detail that makes this scenario radically different from the typical date– Girl has to meet the entire family first. It’s wonderful. They wine her and dine her, and the amazing bachur-of-her-dreams is sitting right across from her–but so is Mom, Dad and his three sisters. Look, if that is what it takes these days to get a good guy from a good family, I won’t object. I mean, think of the positive. You get the nerve wracking meet-the-family part out of the way, right away. There is no wondering if you’ll get along with your mother-in-law. You’ll already be BFFs by the time you get engaged. Really, it’s not as strange as it sounds…but it doesn’t quite qualify as a date.

Deja vu Date: The reason it feels like this date happened before is because it did. Yup, Guy and Girl who once went out end up spending  X amount of time together for no other reason than because. Because? Yes, just because. G-d runs this world and there is no way of knowing who you will run into and how many times. It’s not a date but it can sure make Guy and Girl wonder if they should be one one.

You know what I’ve learned this summer? That there are many, many ways to find one’s RD. G-d is the Ultimate shadchan. He’s the one Who calls the shots. Very rarely does He send a list of people to a shidduch-searching Yid and tell him, “pssst! It’s one of these ones!!!” No, for many of us, it comes through subtle heavenly hints and trusting one’s gut. Not knowing who your RD is can be frustrating, but as you continue on the search, just remember the lesson of the Almost-Date: sometimes Hashem brings the most precious gifts into our lives when we least expect them.

How to be Single

31 Aug

There seems to be a very distinct issue in the Orthodox community with being single. I get it. I too want to have a home of my own according to Torah and Halacha, but right now I don’t have that. I don’t have a husband, I don’t have a boyfriend, heck, I don’t have a date for Labor Day Weekend. At this moment none of that is part of my reality. Tomorrow may very well hold a different reality, or the next day or the next…but until that day, I have to keep living my life as a single person. There are two ways I can do this:

1) Be happy with myself and my life

2) or not.

There is no question that many, if not all of us in search of the Real Deal, are taking every measure possible to find that special someone. Whether it be networking, making the time to date or seriously considering whether the person across the table is someone we can build a home with, each of us are taking the steps to get married. However, for those of us who do not have someone yet, there is no reason to be down in the dumps. Is it okay to get frustrated from time to time? Yes. There is no doubt that this can be a frustrating experience at times. But in the mean time, recognize the gifts of singlehood. G-d gives us each stage of life with a reason. Being single has its perks! And though you may long to have the comfort of having a full-time side kick and partner-in-life, enjoy being yourself as an individual. If you don’t enjoy yourself as an individual, it will be that much more difficult for someone to enjoy your company.  So…

A) Pursue Your Interests: Be ambitious. Don’t be afraid to do something with your life because it might get in the way of marriage. If you don’t have the need to achieve, that’s okay. Not everyone has the desire to be the most competitive, top-notch contender in their field. But choose something you like; something that you find meaningful. People like people who are passionate about life. One of the most intriguing people I ever met was an insurance agent. Why? Because he spoke about his job with excitement, humor and a sense of importance. Which leads me to…

B) Be Jessica: And by that I mean be excited about what you have. If the mirror thing is too much for you then mention a few ‘thank you’s to Hashem before ending Shmona Esrei or make yourself a list. Personally, I find myself quite entertaining. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qR3rK0kZFkg

C) Be Confidant: Let’s break this down into very simple concepts. You only live once. You only get to be yourself. One day, please G-d after 120, you will kick the bucket and be dead. So enjoy being yourself. Know your beliefs and live them with conviction. No one wants a wimpy neb who doesn’t see the good in themselves. So if you keep complaining about being single, chances are you will give off the above impression. Learn to love yourself and others will love you naturally.

D) Eat Ice Cream: Not because you are depressed, but because you can still afford it! Once you get married you have to start being economic, you know, for the sake of paying rent, car/commuting costs, health insurance, college loan payments, food bills…all very good things but things that put “weekly run to Baskin Robbins” at the very bottom of the list.

E) Have Sleepovers with your Galpals: I think that is what I will miss the most when I get married. No one understands the thrill of watching Newsies like my girls do.

F) Stay Off of Facebook: The overwhelming and most common message that people extract from Facebook is that everyone else is having more fun than you. This is true. They are out living their lives and you are watching them live their lives. I am not against Facebook. It can be a handy tool, especially for those of us involved in outreach, but don’t let it be more than that. Have sincere, genuine conversations with other people. Remember what it’s like to dial the phone and hear a voice on the other line. Strike up a conversation with the person next to you in the elevator. Put your social efforts outwards into the world rather than inward toward your smartphones and iPads.

G) Be Social: Now is the time to meet new people, go new places, visit various communities. Unless you are marrying the traveling rabbi type, you ain’t gonna have time for this later. Working, planning and socializing with new people might give you a new perspective on who you are and what you want to do with your life. Enjoy their company and presence. Enjoy being a smiley, happy, flirty-face if that’s the way you roll. Whoever you are, just be yourself, your best self because marriage isn’t the magic wand that makes you happy– you are.

Back From Hiatus

23 May

I know, you’ve been wondering where I’ve been. How could I let an ENTIRE month go by without a word? What a despicable blogger this Coral character is! Some people live for this stuff. Clearly!

So what happened to me? Let’s make it multiple choice:

A) I was summoned by the United States government to trail Carmen Sandiego on her latest villainous excursion.  Their logic was that red hats think alike, and hey, we do. We both like visiting internationally acclaimed monuments. Only difference is that she likes to steal them. (I prefer the gift shop).

B) I fell into an alternate universe where girls are hard to come by and males are a dime a dozen. They didn’t want to let me go, but alas, I belong here.

C) I was raising funds in order to run for president in 2012. Then I realized I could buy Disney World with the same amount of money.

D) Three words: I’ve. Been. Busy.

>>>>>>>>>>>>LOOK

>>>>>>>>>>>>DOWN

>>>>>>>>>>>>DOWNER

>>>>>>>>>>>>THERE YA GO

If you guessed “D” then you are correct! I have been busy, just not in the way that you’re thinking. School can be a time absorber, ya know? Papers, exams, presentations…lots of circles to fill in with Number Two pencils. Hoo boy, those can get intense.Throw two part time jobs into the mix and I’ve got about 2 1/2 seconds to think.  But the good news is, I’m free (from school) until next Tuesday! Yup, Baruch Hasehm I have time to blog to my heart’s desire. Are there any topics y’all would like me to yap about? Just post down below or send me an e-mail.

Some topics to look forward to in the coming season:

A) Boston Boys: Why Every Single Girl Should Make it Their Business to Look Out-of-Town

B) The Yeshiva Boys’ Code of Shadchanus

C) The Library Dance

D) I Like Him But He’s Short vs. He’s Short But I Like Him

Heartbreak Eraser

13 Apr

 

There are some instances in our lives that we just want to forget, but would you voluntarily wipe them from you memory?

According to  neuroscience  professor and savant, Andre Fenton, there is a good chance that this will be possible in the future. He and a team of neuroscientists at SUNY Downstate  have been conducting research on this topic for several years, involving rats, shocking them, erasing that specific memory with a drug called ZIP and then seeing if the rats would remember how to avoid being shocked.

I really don’t want to be a rat in my next lifetime.

But here lies the question: are memories, as bad as some might be, worth erasing? In the case of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder,  in which specific memories cause debilitating anxiety, it might not be such a bad idea. However, is having such a drug available to society en masse a  good prospect?

I’m going to take this a step further. Below are two individuals who are “in the parsha.” Both have had a less than optimal experience in the dating field and are coping with it as best they can . However…with ZIP on the market, maybe their problems could simply erased. All it takes in one dose and poof…goodbye bad memories.

 Rafi: Like most singles, Rafi endured more awkward first dates and disappointing breakups than he cares to remember, but unlike all singles, he also experienced the searing devastation of a broken engagement. His former kallah broke the wedding off a mere three weeks before the Big Day. It’s taken time to accept that his dream of building a life with her will never be, but he no longer fights reality. He’s even gone out a few times. Still, he struggles to make a solid connection with any of the women he courts. He feels like he did this already and doesn’t have the ability to do it again. In short, he feels like his lost his one chance. If only he could forget about his former kallah, maybe he wouldn’t struggle.

Frayda:  Faced with the challenge of dating as a young divorcee, Frayda has it particularly challenging. At the age of 22, she is back in the position she thought left at the chupa a year and a half ago. Moving on has been extremely hard for her now that she is automatically excluded from marrying certain men (i.e. a Kohen). Though the marriage ended on account of viable reasons, she misses the safety and security she felt while being married. When class gets boring or work becomes slow, she drifts back to the memories of a relationship lost. She sighs over the memory of packing his lunches and the tenderness in his eyes when he brought her flowers for shabbat. There were good aspects…but they couldn’t overcome the differences. She needs medication to sleep through the night; to forget the anxieties she has since accumulated.

What would you tell these people in a society that has access to take ZIP? Would you be in favor of giving them the drug or would you persuade them not to?