Sunday, April 03, 2005

More on My Fault?

In response to people who asked: No I have never had any major psychological trauma at least not any worse than most people. To be more specific my parents are still happily (most of the time) married to each other and I have never been physically or sexually abused. Sexually deprived but not abused! My family has their issues but so does everyone. I have issues and some baggage obviously but I am at least as well-adjusted as most of the married people I know or at least I was until recently. It is only recently that I have become this bitter and hopeless about my situation. For most of my dating years I was more psychologically healthy about it. Like I said I have been on anti-depressants for a long time now though but it is hard to say whether I am alone because I am depressed or whether I got depressed because I have been alone and sexually deprived for so long.

What is my problem? My weight? That I am not immediately exciting enough? I promise that on dates I smile, ask the man questions about himself and listen to the answers, and when he askes me questions I answer fully but not forever. I avoid talking about unpleasant topics and although it takes me a little while to “open up” I am a pretty decent person in a conversation. I have hobbies and a pretty interesting job and things I do in the community and so I have some interesting things to talk about though I must admit I cannot regale my dates with tales of bungee jumping or hiking in the Himalayas. I do not wear perfume but I promise I shower and put on deoderant and some makeup before dates (but not too much makeup). I wear clothes that are modest but tailored and look nice on me.

I do not know. I try to be myself but for most men it is not good enough. They want some sort of instant feeling that I am the One without spending time to build a real relationship. The worst is when a man who is overweight and short and bald does not want a second date with me because I am not thin enough. I do not even know what to say to that. I do not know what they think they will find out there.

16 Comments:

Blogger The Rabbi's Kid said...

NJG,

Your comments reflect a sickness prevalent today amongst males. Please remember that they are bombarded by sexual imagery, every advertisement contains a skinny, tall, blonde beauty, though I'm not justifying their actions in the slightest and it is something the religious society has to deal with and fast. I think you ultimately are better off without someone as shallow as that.

TRK

4/03/2005 01:35:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ditto.

4/03/2005 01:46:00 AM  
Blogger Malka said...

My motto is: Some Will, Some Won't, So What, Move On! There will always be people who won't like you because you're too "this" and not enough "that". These are the kind of people you don't want. You can't please everyone all of the time. Somewhere out there is someone who will accept you and like you for YOU, regardless that you are a waif or that there is more of you to love. I agree with the rabbi's kid that the situation single women such as you and I are in today is symptomatic of a larger social problem - the only thing we can do is remain true to ourselves and never stop believing that the person for us is out there somewhere.

4/03/2005 09:35:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You have a good writting style, and have connected with many readers. Why not try some on-line dating, where you can get to know the person first?

4/03/2005 11:57:00 AM  
Blogger Daphna said...

Aside from the shomer negiah part, I can completely identify with virtually everything you say about the dating scene and the guys who expect to fall madly in love on date one. Aaacckk!

I wish that there were something I could do to help but I know there really is nothing.

Listen, I am sure that probably 50 gazillion people have suggested this by now and I feel stupid, but just in case I recently heard of the concept of picking up a dating coach. I prefer the term mentor. Find someone, maybe an older woman, and preferably one who just had a knack with men. Have her coach you. Listen to what she says. Don't argue. Don't tell her, no, I can't do that, blahblahblah. Listen and let whatever she says just sit and stew for a few days. You may find she makes sense. By chance, I happened to meet someone like that recently and really feel like I gained from a short conversation from her. The most important thing is that she should be completely, brutally honest.

Another idea, take a look at your wardrobe, your hair and your overall look. I know that, for me, it becomes very easy to let things go when I am depressed, but that is not good. Regarding weight, I am also on the heavier side (in my case because I eat too much and work out too little). Put simply, it is simply not as easy for us. On the other hand, skinny girls have far less to fill out clothes. :) In my case, at least, a bad skirt will make me look lumpy and dumpy, and a good skirt makes me look like an hourglass--not necessarily a bad thing. And as I learned from my now happily married, obese, bad-hair'ed, actually quite ugly, ex-roommate--it ain't what you got, it is how you carry it. Walk around like you think you are attractive, and people will believe you. Granted, it has not worked for me, but it sure does beat walking around like you are deficient.

It may or may not help you get a guy, but sometimes spoiling yourself a bit and looking after yourself will help your outlook. You are going through a horribly, brutally tough time right now. You need to use every last tool at your disposal to get yourself through this.

4/03/2005 12:38:00 PM  
Anonymous "Gilda" said...

I have just discovered this blog and am pleased that the topic is being discussed, though it sends your head spinning with all the different arguments and counter-arguments.

As a woman of similar age and situation to NJG I have the following to add:

1) The Halacha of SN was paskened at a time when people were marrying at 18 or younger and it was not only doable, but postiive. But did Chazal ever dream of the current situation of numerous older singles? What would they have said? They weren't sadists. They were sexual people.

2) Things tend not to be all bad or all good. SN has its virtues and its problems. I know of people who are not SN except in intimate relationships, and people who are SN except in intimate relationships. And people who consider themselves SN except that they break it every so often... (me - sort of)
SN appears to be something to be used wisely and perhaps selectively in a balance between health and kedusha. No, I know this is not an absolutely halachic perspective but one that maintains a dialogue with what the halacha is trying to preserve, while also trying to maintain mental health.

As such, I take every situation differently. I have broken SN mildly on a very few occasions for the sake of my mental health and self-image and to get over the fears mentioned in NJG's blogs (starting at age 28). With men who I wasn't even in a committed relationship with, because, like NJG, i also haven;t had a boyfriend for a good while. They were attractive, they offered, I agreed.

However i have also resisted on other occasions, when it appeared that it would impinge on a sense of holiness or dignity. I trust my own sense of what will work.

I know several religious people (all over thirty) who are in this situation who work within these parameters (not without guilt and struggle, but working nonetheless). A man I was with told me "I cannot allow myself to come to orgasm with a woman - my body knows what is holy and what is not." He is also less scared now, after his experiences, of his own body.

I used to be miserable in this situation, embarassed, depressed, locked inside myself and my body. Now I feel functional and fulfilled within the limits of my single life, and when I am lonely, frustrated, I don;t go to despair, I accept these feelings and let them run their course. They are not the core of me; just by-products of my situation.
What has helped me MOST is to begin to rely on my *own* judgment and not other people's - well-meaning shadchanim, friends or even the halacha itself.
Once I looked inside myself I found that what I really wanted was...to stop going out with all these dull guys (frum guys are often pretty dull) and to stop giving them another chance when I knew inside they bored me to tears.
To become MORE picky! Yes! Unbelievable! To only do in my life what feels fun, strong, me; to experience myself acting from choice and not desperation or fear or guilt (in the realms where i have choice, of course - some realms are beyond what i can control) and thus to reclaim myself from all the shadchanim and rabbis and voices in my head.

I all of a sudden realized that while i did not choose to be single and am not happy about it- there are things about it i like, and the *poor me* act of the past years has been partly a lie to myself and others.

some might say this is bad advice - all i can say is for me it has changed my life around. Being a victim of circumstance is never good.
Good luck to everyone out there!

"Gilda"

4/03/2005 01:07:00 PM  
Anonymous eli said...

what a great blog. found it by chance. i'm an orthodox convert I'm 33, and have lived on the "other side" of life as a secular non-jew with no S.N. in sight. It's been a radical concept to embrace, and a huge relief for me to let go of having to "give it up" for "love". I've never had a problem meeting guys, but I've always wanted to meet one that is on the same page as me in terms of G-d, values, marriage and life choices. This is one of the "same page" attributes that S.N. implies and affirms. Believe me, sex is only truly awesome when it's with the right person. Otherwise it's kinda like eating cold pizza, sort of good in the moment but always regettable, leaves you hungry (empty) again in about a half hour, and doesn't really do anything good for you, inside or out.

I can totally hear what you are saying about being frustrated, especially at our age, when it seems the window may be closing. I can readily assure you however it is not. It seems to me ( which I'm sure you already know ) that it's not so much being S.N. that is your frustration, but not meeting someone who is right for you.

I think how to find your beshert is one of the hardest questions/journeys a person can set out on. I met mine recently, and it took years of constantly clarifying within myself questions that helped me to understand what I was really looking for, what resistances I had to being close, being happy and being loved, and continuing to make my image of who i wanted to be and be with in a relationship. plus davening a lot for help.

i know someone who made a list of how they want their life to be in one year, and that worked for them. i know another that made a "deal" with Hashem and that worked for them. you are obviously a creative person, writing this blog and putting it out there takes searching for a creative solution. you're putting out some awesome questions and your honesty is such a pleasure. i had to convert to find what i was looking for, that was thinking outside the box for me. maybe within your own obviously unique creativity lies the answer for you too. anyways, i hope this doesn't seem condescending, it seems like you also probably know a lot of what i'm saying. i was just moved by your writing, and wanted to offer maybe a miniscule sentiment of my own experience for what it's worth. G-d willing you should find your Beshert very soon. whoever he is will be incredible if he even begins to match your ability to communicate and elicit response and relationship. keep going fellow seeker, the better you get, the better he'll be!

4/03/2005 01:36:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Gilda,
I really think you've made a gross mistake.

4/03/2005 04:03:00 PM  
Anonymous Gilda said...

Maybe... but at least I don't feel any more like a desperate shmatta who has to go out with anything in tzitzis.

See - if I'm both single AND a shmatta I lose out both ways.

So I change the one I can change... while continuing to pay attention to the other and hoping that God helps those who help themselves.

4/04/2005 06:56:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

gilda,
Your forgetting something important (among other things), and to tie it in with my thoughts on your last comment:
Rashi, on the pasuk "lo sikrivu...", says the following comment: Hashem is faithful to pay back those who keep his mitzvos.

or, in other words, there are more ways to lose out (in particular, one VERY BIG LOSS) besides for being single and feeling like a shmatta.

Enough said.

(oy! Hashem, Rachem!)

4/04/2005 07:09:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

oh, and while one can't generally (effectively) argue with with emotions, I'd humbly suggest that fooling around with strangers and compromising halacha is a much more valid reason to "feel like a shmata".

Good luck to you as well in finding your mate (and I'm not being sarcastic or cynical. I really mean it).

4/04/2005 07:32:00 AM  
Anonymous Nice Jewish Girl said...

Leave Gilda alone. She said that she felt like a "desperate shmatta" before. If she were your daughter would you want her to go through life feeling like that? A DESPERATE SHMATTA????? I also think the way she is handling it is unhealthy but not necessarily any more unhealthy than the way I handled it which was allowing myself to get depressed and almost suicidal. Again, if it were your daughter what would you do?

I agree that Gilda may come to regret this decision. Will she regret it more than I regret all the years I have been both emotionally and physically alone? Who knows.

Gilda I wish you luck and hope that you find a man who offers both physical and emotional closeness because I think that is what you really want, right?

4/07/2005 05:54:00 AM  
Anonymous b,h,&e said...

I would hope that if she were my daughter that I'd instruct her to persevere and do what's right, even if it means a deprived life.

and I didn't intend for my post to be nasty (if that's the way it sounded).

I truly feel bad for her. I really do. Since beginning to read this blog and the comments on it, I've become much more cognizant of the pain which singles go through. However, I can't nod in agreement when people are saying things which are wrong, nor can I stay silent when people plan to make bad choices. Though it would be much easier for me to be apathetic, I can't (I'm not even allowed!). Though it hurts, I feel obligated to present the other side of the coin, if you will.

I didn't (don't) mean to offend anyone. And I hope that all of our people's sorrows will be healed soon.

4/07/2005 10:19:00 AM  
Anonymous Eesh Aish said...

Most men do not care how skinny the female is, just that she is attractive w/ what she has. Of course you should go on a weight training regimen, this is your Hishtadlus. This includes a diet based on Vegetables, salads, oats, etc... You should also join Weight watchers bec. there is alot of power in being part of a group that has the same goals.

4/08/2005 08:32:00 AM  
Anonymous Perfume said...

Why don't you wear perfume on dates? if you smell nicer you feel better about yourself, every little advantage helps...

4/17/2005 09:07:00 PM  
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