Sunday, October 02, 2005

Maybe soon

I have been seeing someone for almost a month! We do not get to see each other very much because it is a long-distance drive between us but we have met a few times and talk on the phone almost every day. He is so very good to me. I feel blessed to have found him.

A few days ago I told him that I have never been kissed. I had noticed that despite the fact that he is very religious otherwise we were engaging in quite a bit of accidentally (on purpose) touching. Nothing conscious really just light brushes against my hand or us bumping into each other a little when we walk next to each other. The type of thing that could be an accident but most of the frum men I have dated would immediately apologize and move further away from me so it would not happen again. He is otherwise very frum but when we accidentally touch he does not apologize and he does not move and that is OK with me! I guess this happens when there is really chemistry, right?

We had a long talk. I had never told any man about my history or non-history as the case is. So this was the first time I told a man I was dating that I have never even been kissed. I told him about how unlucky I have been in my dating life and how I used to be shomer negiah because I was very frum and then later I was shomer negiah by default, because I had no one I cared enough about to do anything with after being S.N. for so long.

At first he could not believe it. He has never dealt with a woman before who had never even been kissed. He kept asking me if I am OK with that and I told him no, I hate it, it is very hard, I have the same hormones as everyone else. But also I know that I have made my decisions and that I cannot change the past and that Hashem has reasons for making my life turn out the way it has. I have to believe it is for the best. I accept it because I have no choice.

I think he is bewildered by me. But why I am writing about it is that he keeps saying that the next time he sees me he is going to kiss me, that it is about time I had my first kiss.

I am excited but confused. First of all I do not know exactly what he means, you know? I think for a while he thought that I meant that I have never gotten any kind of kiss from anyone at all. I told him no, of course not, I have gotten kisses from my father, my uncles, my brothers, my nephews. I told him that I have sometimes gotten hugs at work though not often. But of course those are not the same thing. He said “oh, what you mean is that you have never gotten the kind of kiss that lasts for 15 minutes.” But he did not then say “well I will have to correct that.” I think he means to kiss me on the cheek or something.

That would be nice but it is not really what I am aiming for.

What I want is the 15 minute kiss! I want a kiss that makes me have to come up for air!

I wish I could say that the thought of doing this possibly on my very next date makes me feel guilty about breaking halacha. Especially because it is almost Rosh Hashanah and we are supposed to be atoning for our sins not planning to do new ones. But honestly I do not feel so guilty. I cannot explain why. I know I should say that no matter how old I am I should at least feel guilty about breaking halacha especially at this time of year.

But . . . well you have read my blog. You know what I have been through. You know how strong I have been for so long, and sometimes how weak. You know how I just cannot do it anymore.

I do not know for sure whether I will marry this man. I hope so. He is so very sweet to me. It would be nice to have found the right person. But even if not I do not think I will feel guilty retroactively about kissing him or more. (I told him emphaticly that there are certain things I will not do before I get married and he accepted that). I am 35 and my body has had enough of being alone. My soul too.

What I am though scared about is what if it is not what I dreamed it would be? I do after all have doubts about whether he wants to kiss me because he really wants to or because he feels sorry for me like I have a problem that needs correcting. It is not that I expect there to be fireworks. This is not the movies, I know that. What I mean is that when I kiss him I want to feel safe. I want to know that kissing me is important to him, not some kind of remedial project.

He is good to me. But a month ago I had never even met him.

I have not met him many times. Is it too soon?

On the other hand if not now, when?

I will have a lot to think about over Rosh Hashana that is for sure. How strong do I want to be? What does “being strong” mean now that I am 35 and have a chance at being kissed by a man who so far seems nice, and serious?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow,I can feel your nerves and excitement just by reading what you wrote. Firstly, because as a fellow human being i can emphasize with your pain and current excitement but also secondly, I am actually in a very similar situation. I am a few years younger than you, frum and have never been kissed! Im more shomer negiah by default than anything. I feel like Im asking you for advice because I have noone else to turn to but at the same time I feel like that isnt fair because I assume that you wrote this blog to release some of your anger and frustration and not necessarily to weigh yourself down with other people's problems. But if you have any words of advice or comfort or know of any good reading material i would really appreciate it. Shana Tova!

10/02/2005 07:46:00 AM  
Anonymous annabel lee said...

Shana tova, and congratulations on the new relationship. That's really wonderful news. It sounds like you've made a well-thought-out decision that being fully shomer negiah is no longer the path you need to follow -- and you made this decision over time, thinking rationally, and not in the heat of a passionate moment. The fact that you've put so much thought into that suggests that deep down, you don't really think that kissing is a sin. And that's fine, good, and healthy. So of course you don't feel guilty -- you've made a a conscious decision that this is something you're willing to do, for various reasons, because G-d doesn't intend for us to be alone or deprived. I hope this new gentleman gives you a 15-minute kiss -- probably not as your very first kiss, but hopefully as your 2nd or 3rd or 4th! And I hope things work out well. I've thought of you often during the past several months, and I'm delighted to see this post.

L'shana tova tikatevu, and may the coming year bring you blessings and love.

10/02/2005 10:13:00 AM  
Blogger Esther Kustanowitz said...

Hey NJG...wonderful that you've found someone worth a month of your life. (Did that sound cynical? Oops.)

Most important in any scenario is that you feel comfortable, and that's worth waiting for. If you're having doubts about someone (at least for you at this relatively inexperienced stage), it may be a sign that you're not quite ready.

My concern is that after waiting so long, you're undoubtedly aching for the contact, and while those "accidental brushes" may seem like a chemistry between two people thing, it might just be an "I'm dying for contact, with anyone" thing. To most people, it doesn't matter for something as elementary as a kiss, but there's nothing basic about a kiss for you.

Still, you must remember this: a kiss is just a kiss. It should mean something, but it doesn't have to mean everything.

And a word of unsolicited advice: those 15-minute (or hour-long)kisses can be amazing, but don't forget to breathe. I passed out once. (True story.)

10/02/2005 11:21:00 AM  
Blogger Esther Kustanowitz said...

And by the way, it's good that you don't expect fireworks from that first kiss. What you can expect is that the first kiss will to feel really weird. It's a sensation you won't be used to, and it may strike you as a strange thing to experience. Realistic expectations are helpful, but when you're there in that moment, look at the other person, and be there in that moment. When you're fully present in that moment with someone you have feelings for, that's the kind of kiss you've been waiting for. Good luck! And shanah (and neshikah) tovah...

10/02/2005 11:38:00 AM  
Anonymous The Hedyot said...

Good for you. I hope this relationship fulfills you in all the ways that you want it to, and if it can't be all of them, then at least some of them. You deserve it. It's good that you're not feeling bad about kissing him/being kissed, as having guilt feelings associated with the experience will only detract from it. There’s really nothing to feel bad about anyway. It’s not like you’re going to be ripping each other’s clothes off right after you’re done kissing, right?

One word of advice: Don't expect the first one to be that exhilarating 15 minutes kiss. You’ll have that some time in the course of your relationship, but the first one probably won’t be that. I don't think anyone's ever had that their first time. It will hopefully be special in it’s own way, but don’t expect to get too weak in the knees that first time. It’s hard to feel the magic when there’s also a lot of awkwardness, unfamiliarity, and undreamed of expectations. The magic will come when all that disappears.

May this year be the year that brings many sweet and passionate kisses into your life.

10/02/2005 12:50:00 PM  
Anonymous Jordan Hirsch said...

Don't force. If it happens, good, and if not, at least you know you are ready. But whatever you do, don't look back, neither with regret for the choices you have made until now, nor for the choices you may yet make.

10/02/2005 01:44:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

my very first kiss was amazing and i hope yours will be too.

10/02/2005 08:57:00 PM  
Blogger Lyss said...

I take it he has not been shomer negiah?

I am glad you have found someone you deem worthy of this.
Good luck.

10/02/2005 09:03:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I see how everyone is reassuring you that your decision to be kissed is logical and well-thought out. However, I'm still kinda stuck at the beginning, wondering what prompted you to tell him that you've never been kissed in the first place. What were you intending to accomplish by giving him that information? What were you expecting would be his reaction?

Once you answer those questions, I think you'll have a better idea as to how to proceed if, for example, he moves to kiss you when you meet in person again; or if, once you're kissing, you feel the desire for more (and different) forms of physical intimacy. I have worked with a number of frum singles who end up getting caught in that tangled web of reconciling their desire for physical closeness and their desire to follow halacha. It becomes even more complicated when you're dealing with another person's feelings and needs in addition to your own, all while trying to determine if this is the relationship you ultimately want.

I suggest that you discuss on the phone what each of you want to do the next time you meet in person. Plan it out together so that neither of you is surprised or disappointed -- i.e., you're waiting for him to kiss you and he doesn't, or he goes to kiss you (fully expecting that you'd be receptive) and you refuse. The last thing I want is to be a downer for you, NJG. You have been so brave and strong viz this subject for so long, I just want you to be sure that this is something you're sure you want. And if so, that you get it just the way you want (and need) it.

Dr. Janice

10/02/2005 09:04:00 PM  
Blogger ClooJew said...

"I wish I could say that the thought of doing this possibly on my very next date makes me feel guilty about breaking halacha. Especially because it is almost Rosh Hashanah and we are supposed to be atoning for our sins not planning to do new ones. But honestly I do not feel so guilty. I cannot explain why."--NJG

Not feeling guilty is as useless as feeling guilty. Feelings aren't the issue; actions are.

Had you written that you had kissed him and you felt awful (or not so awful) about it and wondered if G-d was going to forgive you, I'd be the first to jump in and reassure you that He will.

But PLANNING to sin is, lulei demistafina, far worse than sinning under duress. It is a more active rebellion against G-d.

Annabel Lee describes it perfectly: "It sounds like you've made a well-thought-out decision that being fully shomer negiah is no longer the path you need to follow -- and you made this decision over time, thinking rationally."

Do you believe she accurately describes your beliefs? Many of your commenters here are rooting for you to "go for it" and prove once and for all that being shomer negiah is excessive, unhealthy, and ultimately, stupid. Do you agree? What does that say about all the stands you took in the past?

I don't mean to sound preachy. It's your life. But is this how you really want to lead it?

10/02/2005 10:42:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It seems that if you go to the mikvah first, then there is no Halachic problem with kissing him (assuming that a kiss is just a kiss). As to how a single woman goes to the mikvah, and if there are bedieved alternatives, there are people you can contact online. One drawback would be that it will tempt you to go further and make sure and get your money's worth.

10/03/2005 12:57:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

while i'm married i can say that i've had kisses with my wife that had fireworks. it isn't just in the movies.

10/03/2005 09:47:00 AM  
Anonymous siobhan said...

What a lovely and optimistic post NJG! I can't tell you how delighted I am for you - that you've finally found a man you want to talk to, someone you want to discuss these complex issues with, someone who cares for you!

I hope he kisses you next time you meet. I think you've considered all the options fully and it's time to let go of this thing that's caused you so much anguish and pain.

I'm not Jewish, but I believe that your God, my God, ANY God is a God of love and tolerance and forgiveness, so please don't be hard on yourself. Just remember to take things at your own pace - and DONT force the issue. It will be all the more wonderful for that.

I wish you much joy NJG.

10/03/2005 01:52:00 PM  
Blogger ClooJew said...

Siobhan: "It's time to let go of this thing that's caused you so much anguish and pain."

This "thing"--aka, Halachah--which you have devoted your whole life to, is being belittled. Do you believe your actions thusfar, your commitment to SN, is a small, worthless "thing"?

10/03/2005 03:41:00 PM  
Anonymous siobhan said...

I in no way meant to belittle the way NJG has lived her life thus far. Indeed, I am full of admiration for her commitment and her will. However, I see no purpose in denying oneself some small measure of happiness - and no shame, or lack of respect in allowing oneself to be kissed by someone who cares.

Abstainance is all very well, but how can it be right if one is slowly dying through lack of nourishment?

10/03/2005 04:38:00 PM  
Blogger Alan said...

Despite what ClooJew said, being shomer neghi'ah is only halakhah insofar as one is not allowed to touch one who is in niddah. By immersing in a miqwah you would eliminate the prohibition against kissing this man, assuming that you were in a state of purity at the time.

I know that this situation has pitted your desire to follow halakhah against your emotions and needs, and that this impacts upon your view of halakhah as a whole, and your religious commitment. But it seems to me that, as important as those issues are, you do not want to violate halakhah without cause, and there is no cause for violation here.

Shanah tobhah.

10/03/2005 05:53:00 PM  
Blogger ClooJew said...

"I am full of admiration for her commitment and her will. However, I see no purpose in denying oneself some small measure of happiness"--slobhan.

See, that there, is, lulei demistafina, the problem: you don't see the inherent contradiction in what you wrote. If you see "no purpose" in her embrace of halachah, then how can you admire her "commitment"? Commitment to what? Foolishness? If halachah is gibberish, none of us should follow it; if it is, as I and NJG believe, the word of G-d it has a purpose, despite the enormous difficulties.

You want to have it both ways. And you can't.

10/05/2005 11:10:00 PM  
Anonymous siobhan said...

cloojew - this is not my blog. I fail to see why you are making this about me. I can't debate the finer points of Judaism with you, only the human side, but I will try to address your points.

NJG has been committed to being Shomer Negiah all her adult life. I admire that. But I also admire the honesty and bravery she shows through this blog. She appears to have become extremely unhappy over time and her particular beliefs seem have contributed greatly to this state of mind. I fully realise the huge step she is considering taking but I firmly believe that if religious beliefs is causing great pain or anguish in ones life it benefits no-one. I don't believe one can glorify God through unhappiness or bitterness, only through joy and hope and love.

10/06/2005 06:42:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

ClooJew, get a clue. NJG is not looking for your approval. For you to in any way imply that she hasn't given this decision a LOT of thought is belittling and insulting. She must do what she thinks is right for herself. If you are offended, then walk away. But don't insult her by implying that she hasn't given this enough thought.

10/06/2005 01:05:00 PM  
Anonymous Nice Jewish Girl said...

Please be nice to ClooJew. He is not offending me at all.

It seems that most of the commenters who are urging me to go ahead with a physical relationship are not Orthodox. It is hard to explain to someone who is not Orthodox why it is that ClooJew is not offending me. He might be offending you but he is not offending me. I understand where he is coming from and sense that his comments come from really caring about me. He does not want me to wake up a few months from now, after I have broken up with this man (which may happen after all, nothing is guaranteed) and wish that I had waited to save my first kiss for someone who will be with me forever. After I have waited so long ClooJew does not want to see me "waste" all that effort by caving in to something not worthwhile.

There is also the halachik question. I have been seeing comments here and on other blogs to the effect that "Judaism does not expect us to live without sex." That is not true. If you are not married, Judaism does indeed expect you to live without sex. (And kissing etc)

If you are not Orthodox then that is not important to you. But it is important to me and to ClooJew and ClooJew wants it to keep on being important to me.

I think there are maybe people who read this blog and want me to represent the halachic lifestyle. They want me to wait until I get married before kissing because they want to believe that it can be done, by someone. They would like to believe that someone in the world is holy enough to keep this halacha even for years and years because knowing that would inspire them to try a little harder with their own halachik tests.

ClooJew, I really appreciate that you are my Jewish cheerleader! But I cannot promise to be a poster child for Shomer Negiah. I do not think I am strong enough. I am sorry. Very sorry. I just do not have it in me anymore. For so long I have been valiant but now I think it is time for someone else to be the poster child because I am not strong enough right now.

10/06/2005 02:49:00 PM  
Blogger ClooJew said...

Siobhan, it's not about you. It's all about NJG. She is getting tremendous support from people who don't share her beliefs and therefore have no problem encouraging her to violate them. I'm simply here, lulei demistafina, to keep the conversation on an even keel.

Anon, you too have missed the point. NJG knows that she has my respect and admiration, and she knows that I think of her as a thoughtful person--otherwise I wouldn't waste my time reading her blog.

What is "belittling and insulting" are the comments by people who don't share her belief in and commitment to Halachic Judaism. Siobhan's position, and that of many others, is that unhappiness is a good reason to abandon one's faith and system of observance. That position belittles all the effort and pain that NJG has gone through all these years.

I'm here to support and admire NJG for her faith, her past, her toil, and her standing tall in the face of adversity.

10/06/2005 03:00:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe I am a bit late in the game, but I just wanted to add some thoughts on this matter. I don't think anyone has expressed that when these halachot came about noone was single for very long. I believe the expression is "eighteen to the chupah"(sounds better in Hebrew). So this was not really an issue. Nobody ever intended people to be celibate ad infinitum. In fact, Judiasm is very much anti-celibacy (note how we have no celibate clergy). God (and the rabbis) never intended that people should suffer in this way.

10/06/2005 03:07:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have been married eleven years, I have three children, I never touched my husband until we were in the yichud room, and I hate sex and I hate kissing even more. I have always hated it, ever since I had my first teenage rebel-without-a-cause kiss at 13. I actually wrote a blog about it that was inspired by this blog, but I never sent anyone the link and never told anyone, and then I took the blog down because it was too humiliating, even to just myself. I don't know why I'm writing this here, maybe just reading this post and all the comments has reminded me of the horror and letdown I felt my first time, and most of the times after that, and hoping that doesn't happen to you, NJG, whenever and wherever that first time may be. I'm sorry, I didn't mean to use your comments option as a confessional for myself. Maybe I just feel guilty for not enjoying what I have when there are people like you who are in so much pain. I hope the new year brings brachos and besoros tovos for you in all areas of your life.

10/06/2005 07:33:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't mean to sound cruel or get off the topic, but anonymous, how can you be in a marriage and hate the kissing and the sex? See, that's the practical problem with not having sex or at least kissing before marriage. How do you know you have chemistry? What if you don't? Should you be married and hate it every time your husband touches you? I'm Jewish and I love Judaism to bits, but this is why I'm not Orthodox.

10/07/2005 03:13:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Why do you blame Orthodoxy for someone's personal problems? Based on this woman's words, it would seem that her intimacy issues have nothing to do with her husband and certainly nothing to do with religion.

Silly comment.

10/07/2005 03:27:00 PM  
Blogger ClooJew said...

I agree with the above comment, lulei demistafina.

To the woman in question I think you should find a therapist to talk to--if your problems with kissing have been from a young age then there may be deeper issues.

There are plenty of frum people to talk to and see what's what. I could reccommend some names. Feel free to email me.

10/07/2005 03:29:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am frum, and also a guy. I would wait. You dont KNOW that this man likes you for who you really are, and not just horny and would love to kiss a girl.
If you kiss him, you should KNOW that he wants to be with you wether you kiss him or not. No matter how frum we are, as a guy we get "excited" by the thought of a woman who is basically begging us to kiss them. Its our basic nature.

Id tell him kissing is OUT of the question. Then if things progress the way you want, you can always kiss HIM knowing he would want it.

10/08/2005 03:14:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a halakhic (but decidedly non-orthodox, I'm gender-egalitarian) Jew- and as far as I can tell, the halakhic basis of shmirat negiah is pretty sketchy. Either it picks out one aspect of a purity system to be absolutely obsessive about when it feels no remorse about the rest of it falling by the wayside until the reinstitution of the Temple, (including the rest of the menstrual purity laws, including those regarding sitting on the same couch, etc), or it is effectively halakhically baseless. It has all sorts of reasons given why shmirat negiah is a "good idea" but none are halakhic reasons.

10/08/2005 08:39:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

NJG, I'm sorry again for going off-topic, but I want to say (and I'm the anonymous who hates kissing and sex) that I'm fairly confident it has nothing to do with religion or religious restrictions. There are definitely personal issues at play and therapy is in the works, so to speak. As to hating whenever my husband touches me, I don't hate it, at all. I just hate kissing, and I have hated kissing all 6 boys (because they weren't men when we were teenagers, LOL) and men that I have kissed, not only with my husband. And I think sex is stupid and boring, and it pretty much does nothing for me. As far as wwaiting being a bad idea because you may not have chemistry, that's stupid. We have plenty of chemistry. I just have plenty of problems. More than that, I don't want to elaborate on here on someone else's blog, but maybe I'll put my deleted blog back up again, if I can get past the humiliation. I feel like it may even encourage me to go to therapy, because so far I've been too humiliated to do that as well.

Sorry again, NJG, and I'm thinking of you and hoping things are going well for you.

10/09/2005 01:08:00 AM  
Blogger Judith said...

Different people like different things in kissing: more or less tongue or saliva, etc. You can give him feedback about what kind of kissing turns you on or off and you can explore it together. Also kissing different parts of the face and neck can be just as exciting as mouth to mouth. I love having my neck kissed and a tongue in my ear! And you can do all that without taking any clothes off.

So learn and explore and enjoy!

10/09/2005 10:56:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi. I'm the anonymous who made the comment about the other anonymous who wrote about hating kissing.

Even though this has nothing to do with "chemistry," wouldn't it be better to deal with a problem like this--an aversion to kissing and thinking sex is stupid--BEFORE marriage, and not AFTER you are married? I'm not trying to pin this woman's problems on Orthodoxy per se, just trying to make the point that because Orthodoxy forces you to wait until marriage to have sex, you can't know before marriage what sex will be like with your husband. And if you wind up not liking it after you are married, and you can't get a divorce because your religion forbids you, where does that leave you? Now if you don't see sex as important to marriage, I guess it's not such a big thing. But most of us see it as an important part of marriage. Being sexually attracted to your partner is one of the most important factors in deciding whether to marry him. (Of course there are others, but it is a biggee. Without sexual attraction, you are just friends.) If you don't know whether you are sexually attracted to him or not, how can you go along with the marriage? In my opinion, there are a lot of practical problems with avoiding premarital sex or at the very least, contact. NJG's entire blog is proof of this. She was suicidally depressed because she was never kissed. It's honorable if someone can follow Orthodoxy's rules but I don't think all of us have the will to do it. And we shouldn't be made to feel guilty if we don't. We are human.

Congratulations NJG! I don't care what anybody else says about you not doing the right thing. You waited long enough and I know you won't do something stupid like have sex with this guy on the second date or something.

And my comment isn't silly, anonymous. I'm just making a relevant point and I have as much of a right to make it as you have to make yours.

10/11/2005 12:13:00 AM  
Blogger Lyss said...

I hope you don't dismiss my comment because I'm not Orthodox. I went to Yeshiva, I just have my own issues with that 'classification' of my religion.
In a related sense I think that you, NJG, should not be made to feel as though you have to be a poster person for SG. That's not fair to you as a person.
You are the only one who can decide what is right for you and in your own heart. We can make 100 comments and all think that we are right but all that matters at the end of the day is how YOU feel about your choices.

I wish you luck in that. No one ever said that choices and changes are easy.

10/11/2005 08:37:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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11/01/2005 02:11:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How can you hate sex? It is part and parcel of being married.

9/06/2011 07:45:00 AM  

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