empty Dating Today

How Do I React?

Dear Goldy: I dated someone. We went out three times and things didn’t work out and we didn’t go...

Read more: How Do I React?

It’s true that sometimes there is a gap between generations. My nieces and nephews can’t understand how their mother and I would endure long car trips without iPod, DVD players, or phones to occupy our time. I often hear, “Your childhood was sad.” It wasn’t sad by any account – but with all the gadgets and gizmos that are now common for children of all ages to have, they can’t imagine life without them. So, too, there is a gap in understanding the way we go about dating in today’s world. In old movies and TV shows, dating would be depicted as sitting in a parlor with or without a chaperone to ensure that everything is above board and there isn’t any hanky-panky afloat. In today’s world, it’s very common to go out and have a fun-filled time on a date, depending on the venue you are at. We don’t have to sit all stiff in a living room or on a park bench making civilized conversation. We can go ice skating, to the movies, a baseball game, shoot pool, play miniature golf, painting… But alas some of the older generation can’t understand how two people can get to know each other if they aren’t always sitting face to face and talking.

As many parents of young children find themselves doing on the long summer Shabbasos, I too pray that it shouldn’t rain so that hours can be spent in the “Shabbos Park,” watching your child run from apparatus to apparatus in the hopes of them tiring themselves out and going to bed with minimum “tantrumming.” Like many parents, we compare our youngster to the Energizer Bunny. She keeps going and going. It was this past Shabbos, at one of the parks in which we were spending time, that I sat down on the bench when I overheard two women near me speaking. Before anyone starts judging me, I was not eavesdropping. They were standing near where I had chosen to sit and were speaking loudly. One woman was telling the other how her brother wasn’t seeing the girl he had been dating anymore and was very depressed about it. I don’t know if the fellow was actually “depressed,” but I’m sure the woman meant that her brother was down in the dumps about it. She told her friend that her brother did everything the girl wanted, and he made himself “m’shuga” so she’d like him, and now he can’t understand why the girl doesn’t want to see him anymore.

I once wrote that I used to listen to Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ on a Prayer” before attending a singles event. It would rev me up and put me in the mood to go out there and mix and mingle with men that I probably would not want to date (I was just being honest with myself, but still I was trying to get myself in the right mindset). Many athletes listen to music to get them psyched up before a game, a match, or a race. I remember watching the Summer Olympics and there was Michael Phelps sitting with his headphones on, getting “in the zone” just moments before he had to swim in a race. People listen to music in order to put themselves in the right mindset for whatever they have to do, and to focus. It’s no secret that music can set the mood or change someone’s mood.

A couple of years ago I wrote that a shadchan admonished me for not giving her my cell-phone number to pass along to the fellow whom she was setting me up with. I gave her my house number (back when we all had landlines). I had told her that I didn’t feel comfortable at that time giving a stranger my cell-phone number – even though that stranger was going to have my address, pick me up in his car, and take me out. I just had a strange experience with someone else I dated who still called me even though we were no longer seeing each other. I just didn’t want another “random person” to have my private number. I told the shadchan that I am the one who mostly answers the phone, so he’ll probably get me, and on the off chance that one of my parents answers, that parent is more than capable of telling me that I have a phone call and placing the call on hold. The shadchan wasn’t amused. She said it was immature and childish not to give out my cell-phone number. She tried her best to berate me and force my hand, but I held strong and didn’t give her my cell-phone number.

When I was single, I did my fair share of s’gulos in order to marry. If someone suggested, “Jump up on your right foot, but land on your left foot,” I did it. I would joke that I was doing the exact same thing that every single married person has ever done and it still wasn’t working for me. What was I doing? Breathing. All people who are married or have ever been married breathe, do they not? I didn’t know what else to answer, because I didn’t know if eating challah at a wedding or breaking a fast on wine or doing anything else that was suggested to me would work. All I knew was that I was waiting until Hashem sent me my bashert. I know of some who have moved to Eretz Yisrael in the hopes of finding their zivug. Did it work? For some yes, and for others not. Moving to Israel isn’t a guarantee that you will stand under the chupah within a year or even two. But if you do choose to move, you must be the one wanting it. You must make that decision for yourself. You shouldn’t be pushed into it. Below is a letter from a man who is trying to be persuaded to move to Israel to find a shidduch.

I received an email from someone who took me back in time five and a half years. This person quoted an article I had written after I had gotten married. She said that she, too, needed to change the way she was thinking about shidduchim. She said that after she recently made a decision about ending things with a fellow, she realized how wrong she was. She felt she was wrong in what she thought and what she did. I think all can learn from Leah. I’m not saying this because she read an article of mine, but because she reflected upon her actions and has now seen the light, as a matter of speaking.

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