This is a topic that I know a little bit about: dating someone who has just gotten out of a long relationship – or whatever is considered long in the shidduch world.
I’m a fan, so I figured I’d ask you this question:
I’ve been dating someone for a while. It’s going really well and you can imagine everything I’d write: He’s what I’m looking for, we match up hashkafically, etc.” But I’m skipping all that. The other day while we were talking – I don’t even know how it came up in conversation – we started to talk about people from our past whom we dated more than just a few times. I dated one guy for about a month and a half, but then we both felt like it was going nowhere. After a while of nothing really happening we both called an end to it. Not much of a story, but Eli (fake name) had a story that really came out of left field that I wasn’t expecting.
I will let you know that when we were redt to each other, I did some checking of my own. I found out that Eli was one of the good single guys still out there. We started dating and I feel like I know him pretty well. We talk about everything. But we had never spoken about previous relationships. Previous dates, yes, but not relationships. With this conversation, Eli told me how he dated a girl for close to a year. He said that they were in a very serious relationship and were talking about getting engaged, but then the girl picked a fight out of “thin air” – that’s what Eli said – and after a couple of days of fighting about “nothing,” they broke up. I asked when this had happened. He told me it was right before we went out! His mother spoke with him a little more than a couple of weeks after he broke up about a shadchan who wanted to set him up now that he was single. I was the first girl redt to him right after his breakup. This happened about three weeks before we went out. Eli was in a serious relationship not even a month before we met. I can’t help but think that I’m the rebound girl. A serious relationship ended, and he went for the next girl who came around. That sounds harsh, but that’s what rebound is, right? I asked him: If he had been redt to another girl with similar background and personality as me, did he think he’d still be dating her or did he really like me for me?
Of course, Eli thought I was being crazy and said that I wasn’t his rebound girl and it was me whom he liked. I was expecting him to say that. What else would he say? “Yeah, because I was down and you were there. We became a couple because I didn’t want to be alone”? I really want to believe Eli. I’m thinking back to what the shadchan had told me about him and I don’t remember anything about “he just became available” or “he stopped seeing someone,” as shadchanim have said about others I’ve dated.
It’s never a good idea to speak about previous relationships because you can always find out something you don’t want to hear. And that’s exactly what happened with me. Do you think that I’m Eli’s rebound girl?
Thank you for your email, Chaya.
You hit the nail on the head with your last few sentences: “It’s never a good idea to speak about previous relationships because you can always find out something you don’t want to hear. And that’s exactly what happened with me.” True, you said that you don’t know how the conversation turned and got you there, but now you know what you know.
It was great that you asked Eli right then and there while still in the midst of the discussion if you were his “rebound girl.” Uggh! I hate that phrase! Had you asked him the question a day or two later, he would think (and probably be right) that you have been thinking and obsessing about what he said, making a mountain out of a molehill (that I don’t think is true). And yes, you are correct: Eli gave the expected answer.
I know how you feel. All men and women want to be loved and liked by another for who they are. There must be a mutual attraction between the two people: attraction of the aesthetics and of the character and personality. We all want and deserve that.
I shared a story with my readers a couple of times of being the girl whom a fellow had dated, right after he got out of a serious relationship. After six weeks of dating, he broke my heart by breaking things off. A few weeks later, I heard that he and the other girl got back together and were engaged. Great. He went out with me only to figure out that he wanted her back and not me. I’m not saying that is the case with Eli, but I refer to it so you know that I can relate. But I was dumped. You are still very much in the game.
Would you doubt any of Eli’s feelings for you if you didn’t find out about this relationship now? If a shadchan said, “I have a fellow and he just got out of something serious, but I really think you and he would hit it off,” would that have been better? If what you wrote is true, Eli’s mother told him that a shadchan wanted to set him up with you because he was now “single,” this tells me that the shadchan didn’t disclose all the information to you. Was it on purpose, was it a slip of the mind or something thought unimportant? I don’t know.
All you can do is take Eli at his word. If I were you, I would put this “rebound” situation out of your head. It could only lead to trouble. You are in a relationship with Eli. You have gotten to know him pretty well, as you said. He hasn’t compared you, that you know of, to the previous girl. Remember when I went on a date with someone who was devastated that his kallah had called off the engagement a couple of weeks before our date? All through the night, he compared me to his former kallah. It was horrible. But it was because he was not near ready to begin dating again and he had not yet worked through all of his emotions regarding the broken engagement. But Eli has never mentioned or hinted about the other girl. True, you may never have met Eli if he didn’t have a failed relationship, but you did. Maybe you made him forget about the other girl and it could be that he likes or loves you for you? Think about it. I’m sure that option is definitely possible. If you want to ask him about this again, go ahead, but I can almost certainly tell you, he will think that it was a mistake to speak about that relationship, because it’s causing you to doubt his feelings and he will never discuss another past semi-relationship with you again. If you want to call the shadchan and ask why the information was never related to you, you can; but I don’t see the point, as it hasn’t been an issue in your relationship until now – until you begin making it an issue.
You can think of it a different way: You can think that the two of you weren’t ready for each other any time before the two of you were redt. He dated someone else. Only when it was bashert, did you meet. He did mention that he and the previous woman fought about “nothing.” Maybe that happened so you two could meet at the right time.
Hatzlachah to you all.