That Thing, you’ve probably guessed by now, was a date, or a series of dates with one woman (I am not very good at keeping secrets. George Smiley I am not). We just broke up, if it was even a relationship. For a while things seemed to be going well and then today they just unravelled. I feel pretty normal for post-breakup, i.e. lonely and miserable.
The late Israeli President, Shimon Peres, was once asked if he could see a light at the end of the tunnel of the Arab-Israeli Conflict. He replied, “I can see the light, the problem is, there’s no tunnel” which I take to mean that the final resolution of the conflict is known, but there is no clear way to get to it. Similarly, I know the type of woman I’m looking for, I just don’t know how to find her. I guess I’m looking for someone like me, someone in her early thirties, very frum with a Modern Orthodox outlook, quiet, intelligent, thoughtful, gentle, caring. Someone who puts family ahead of career, is focused on personal growth and who has a strong sense of integrity. Someone who shares a few common interests with me, preferably Doctor Who or at least science fiction. Someone who can accept my mental health issues, probably because she’s had challenges of her own that she’s overcome, not necessarily the same as mine (I don’t think I’d have much in common with someone who had never had any issues, considering how my life has been defined by my mental health).
The problem – the missing tunnel – is that I can’t seem to meet women like this. Most of the women I’ve dated haven’t been like this at all, and most of them have got rid of me pretty quickly. The only one who came close to meeting a significant number of these criteria was my ex, although there was also one woman I didn’t date who met most of them, but we realized before even going out that there was a major life choice that we had different views about that would prevent a relationship. With all the other women I dated, I was assuming that I would never meet the right woman, the woman who met most of my criteria, so I should just date women who are vaguely right in the hope that we could bridge the gap. As my sister says, my interests are “niche”; I’m beginning to suspect my personality and values are niche too. I mean, who lists “integrity” as something that they want in a partner? Who says that “integrity” is their greatest virtue? It is hardly a “sexy” virtue like kindness, compassion or generosity.
We singles, particularly in the frum world, where 26 is on the shelf and mid-thirties (where I am) is ancient, are told to “settle” which seems to mean accepting the first person who comes along who doesn’t seem to be a serial killer. A (very frum) book I read suggested that two people should compare their values on paper before meeting; if there are no significant mismatches, they should meet and if they feel comfortable with each other, they should marry and not worry about meeting lists of criteria. Unfortunately, trying to settle and meet someone I just feel comfortable with really hasn’t worked out for me at all and I don’t know what to do. It seems selfish and picky to hold out for someone who meets most of my criteria, particularly at my age as the dating pool shrinks further and further, but I just know that anyone else is not going to be interested in me long-term.
Sooner or later, I will probably sign up for a professional matchmaker. I’ve been set up on blind dates before, but never by a professional matchmaker. Hopefully s/he can find someone on his/her database who has at least got some things in common with me. I should probably wait a bit for the emotional aftermath of this relationship to die down before doing anything. I’m torn between striking while the iron is hot or waiting a few months. Currently I feel lonely which gives me the impetus to date, especially as once we get to August people will be away and then afterwards there is coping with my extended hours at work and then the autumn chaggim (festivals). On the other hand, maybe it would be better to wait a few months until after the chaggim or at least after I have started working longer hours, to see how I am coping with that. The problem is, I get lonely, doubly so with constant wedding talk from my sister and parents (I was hoping to have a plus one to take with, which now seems unlikely). I want to meet someone soon and it is hard to wait after having been single and lonely for so long.
Post-dating bad habits have reasserted themselves tonight, especially as I don’t have work tomorrow, my usual bad habits when lonely and depressed. It is late and I have not eaten yet or even made dinner. I will probably let myself go to bed very late and watch Doctor Who – unfortunately my regimented trip through the series in order for the book I am writing has currently left me in The Time Monster, probably the silliest story of the seventies (Greek gods, Atlantis, the Master seducing the queen of Atlantis, a minotaur played by Darth Vader, UNIT being ineffective, the inevitable comic yokel, a TARDIS landing inside a TARDIS, time distortions, a pile of junk jamming complex scientific equipment, psychedelia… Doctor Who is its own crack fic). But it beats sitting around feeling that no one could ever love me.
Anyway, if by any chance anyone reading this knows someone who meets my criteria, do let me know. And please do post questions on my “Ask me anything” post so that I can actually have some to answer!