In college I dated someone for a few months (in my circles, people usually get engaged after a few months). We considered getting married. We felt very connected and there was a lot of chemistry. We were S.N. the whole time purely for halacha. I was very attracted to him. We were both very frum. It was hard but neither of us even considered being not-SN. We were young and very frum. Being S.N. did not feel like a burden. It felt religious and spiritual and like an interesting challenge. However there was a lifestyle change he wanted me to make that I did not want to commit to and we broke up. If I knew then what I know now I would have married him (he is now married with five children). He was a good man and I should have compromised more. 14 years later the lifestyle change he wanted me to make is something I would not mind but when I was younger I thought it would make me feel trapped. I did not know then what I know now. I was very young.
Then I had a boyfriend whose commitment to being S.N. was probably not so strong but he never pressured me which was very nice of him. I was very attracted to him but managed to stay strong. It was harder because being S.N. was more important to me than to him but still it felt like the religious and right thing to do. There were some problems in our relationship but I thought they were minor and that we could work them out. I guess he did not think so though because he broke up with me on the basis of those problems. If we had stayed together even two more weeks I probably would have offered to be not-S.N. anymore but he broke up with me before I made that decision.
When I was 24 I dated an Orthodox rabbi for about two months (which for me and an Orthdox rabbi is a long time). It was very intense. We spent a lot of time together. I certainly would have liked a physical relationship with him but of course it was out of the question. We hardly mentioned it but of course I fantasized about him. After two months he broke up with me without being able to tell me why. I was very confused and hurt. It was another eight years though until he got married so maybe he just was not ready.
In my mid-twenties I developed a medical condition which is not obvious to dates and does not effect my dating directly but one of the results of it is that I gained enough weight that it was noticable. I am not obese just not as slender as my friends. I am dealing with it as well as I can. Still as you will see I have had boyfriends even after I was no longer my previous slender self. I still like my body usually and am comfortable with it as you can see from other things I have written on this blog, and I think that self-awareness comes through for men who are in tune to it which most Orthodox men are not. I think baalei teshuva sense it more.
But anyway on with the story. When I was 26 I dated a man for three months who I think wanted to marry me very much. By then I knew how precious it was to have a man who treats me so well (I do not mean that in a material way I mean that he was attentive and caring which most men were not) because most of my dates were real duds and also I was noticing a difference in how many dates I got with a man even when I liked him, maybe because of my weight and maybe because I was getting older (my friends had a similar experience and they are slender so it is hard to tell). He was very good to me and I appreciated that and so I stayed with him for three months even though I was not attracted to him at all. I do not know whether he was S.N. himself or whether he was being S.N. to be considerate to me. The question of breaking halacha with him never occured to me because there was no physical chemistry at all. But he was a nice man so I gave it a college try and hoped that I would become attracted to him as I got to know him better. If anyone accuses me of being too picky and not trying to make things work I will kill them! But after three months I knew I could never love him so I broke it off.
In my late twenties I dated someone for a couple of months which again for someone as frum as me is a pretty respectable amount of time. I was very attracted to him. We were both very frum but by then we were older and I was starting to feel that I would be willing to be not-S.N. much earlier in a relationship. He had a wonderful sense of humor and was very attentive to me but of course I wanted to wait a little while just to be sure that there was really a connection between us. The first month we were together was again very intense and after just 3 or 4 weeks I probably would have broached the subject of being not-S.N. except for one problem. I was starting to suspect that he had a hidden problem. There were things he did and said that were very strange. I started paying more attention and asking questions and discovered that he was a little overfond of gambling. Because I liked him so much I stayed with him for a month after that but was more guarded and careful and spoke with rabbis and psychologists about what this issue might mean in the future. Finally I broke up with him because maybe I have never been kissed but I am not stupid.
I know that you will tell me that if I lose weight I will increase my chances but if you think that being Shomer Negiah is hard I could write a whole other blog about my efforts to lose weight. Please do not give me advice about that because I have heard it all before. It is between me and my doctors.
My friends who are still as skinny as I used to be also have trouble finding men to date and they tell me that the shadchanim tell them also that there are not enough men and they are also miserable so I know it is not just me but I think that my weight puts me at the bottom of the list now. One shadchan told me that she will only set me up with men who are also overweight because if she sets up overweight women with men who are fit then the men do not come back to her (I stopped using her services after that. Is it just me or is she perpetuating a problem?) It is very frustrating because if only the shadchanim and the men knew how sexual I am then maybe my being “a little more to hold” would bother them less but I cannot tell a man “I may not be a size four but it is worthwhile to marry me because I will make sure the sex is fantastic.” That is not something you can say on a shidduch date and if they will not give me a chance for a relationship then how are they supposed to find out that if they marry me I would enthusiastically do whatever they want me to do to them? I cannot say that on a shidduch date.
I know I am not perfect and I have my issues and have made my mistakes but there is not anything so bad about me that I do not deserve to be married. Also there is no logical reason for my single friends to be still single. They are beautiful, slender, smart, generous and will make excellent wives and mothers. I do not understand what is happening.