However most of the commenters seem to be nice people who are trying to help me but are missing the mark so I will explain something. Many of you have suggested that I find a middle ground between being S.N. and having sex. If I understand you correctly you are suggesting that I stop being S.N. and get hugs and cuddles from my next boyfriend so that at least I will have some physical contact with another person.
That is a nice suggestion but it supposes that soon I will have a man in my life with whom that is an option. Perhaps you do not understand what it means to be 34 and a single Orthodox woman. It is like applying for a good job and you find out that there are 25 other applicants just as qualified as you are. Everywhere I look are wonderful Orthodox women, and not enough men. The shadchanim say not just to me but also to my friends “I will put you on my list but there are not enough men so it may be a long time before I set you up.” My married friends say “I am sorry, ________, but I cannot think of anyone for you nor for any of our other single woman friends.” Sometimes they say that they know a few men but the men are too picky or do not seem interested in a meaningful relationship and also there is the problem that my friends and I are socially adapted and sometimes the men are not. The local shidduch club announced that they no longer accept profiles of women, only men. I go to singles events and the men are outnumbered 2 to 1 or 3 to 1. The men on dating websites who are my age want a younger woman who will be able to have more children, and the men 10 years older than I am also want a younger woman who will be able to have more children. At least that is what some of them tell me in their responses to my emails if they respond at all. The ones who write to me first usually are in their fifties.
Still I persevere. For the last few years I had about 2 or 3 new dates per year. Usually after one or two dates with a man if he is anywhere close to what I am looking for I am willing to continue dating even if there are many differences between us because I am willing to try to make something work - but always the men move on to the next person on their list. The last time I had what could be called a boyfriend was when I was 27. More about my previous boyfriends in a later post perhaps.
To be happy I need a way I think to explain my life to myself so that I can feel shalem (whole) about it. Yes I might get married or at least have a nice relationship for a while but I cannot count on it. I need to find a way to say “Even if I die a virgin, the story of my life is still a happy story.” At the moment I do not feel that. When I look ahead at a lifetime of being alone, I wonder why God put me here, and why He would be so cruel as to put me in a community that values marital sex so much when He knew I might never have it.
My other option I think is to start dating men who are not Orthodox at all and have no plans to be. The idea scares me a little bit because of course they would expect physical contact right away and I am not used to that. I do not know how I would tell them that I want to wait at least a few dates before touching, and I want to wait until I get married to have sex. I suppose if the man were sensitive enough I would be able to tell him and maybe he would walk away or maybe not. The bigger issue is that I want to have a Shomer Shabbos home. I want to raise my children if I ever have any to believe that Torah and mitzvos are important. I do not want to be married to someone who does not really believe in Torah. I do not need a man who is exactly religiously like me but being Orthodox is a very big lifestyle commitment. How could I be with someone who does not share it at least in some minimal way? How can a Shomer Negiah girl date someone who is not even Orthodox? Even if I decided to try I am not sure how I would go about doing such a thing.