Last night I decided that I probably should start dating, or at least contact this dating service and see what they think. I thought that, if I want signs, then it probably counts for something that my parents and my rabbi mentor think I should be dating. And, while I have no real idea what God thinks, getting married and having children is a mitzvah (commandment), so I should probably be pursuing it. The more I thought about it, the more I felt that I have a certain calm when I thought I should be dating, albeit accompanied by anxiety. It didn’t seem particularly immoral to go on dates with my mental health issues; the worst that can happen is the women don’t want to see me again. Plus, I should do my hishtadlut (effort) if I want HaShem (God) to send my soulmate.
This morning the calm was gone. I felt very depressed again, albeit not particularly anxious (too depressed to be anxious. Anxiety requires a certain amount of energy, concentration and motivation). I felt that I’m too depressed and my self-esteem is too low to face multiple rejections again. I felt that I’m too weird and screwed up for anyone to be able to love me (the evidence from previous crushes/dates/girlfriends supports this thesis). I worried that I want sex more than I want love (given that I’m a celibate virgin, it is hard to judge how realistic this fear is) and wouldn’t be able to cope with a real relationship, for all that my ex-girlfriends felt that I was attentive to their emotional needs. It felt like dating in this state would just be misleading people (shadchan (matchmaker), dates) into thinking I’m a functioning human being when I’m blatantly not. I’m sceptical of whether shadchanim and dating sites really help (some evidence suggests they don’t); I don’t think there’s a science, or even an art, to matching people, it just seems like pot luck whether you get set up with someone compatible even if you’re ‘normal,’ let alone a freak like me. And it seems immature to think that someone else could solve my problems, or even help me to live with them better. It seems pretty inevitable that I’m going to be miserable and lonely all my life, simply because I’ve been miserable and lonely all my adult life so far. And if I’m going to be miserable anyway, I’m much better off being miserable by myself than making someone else miserable.
It just seems my life is to be one long stretch of misery and loneliness, occasionally punctuated by brief moments of hope, just to seem more painful when they are gone. It doesn’t seem a lot that I can do about this. Being single is only part of this, but it’s probably the least amenable to improvement (although the longer I’m unemployed, the more questionable that seems). I’m back to feeling I would rather die than be like this forever. My habit of seeing everything in life as an ethical question (“Is it morally right for me to date?”) rather than a pragmatic question (“Would dating make me happier/more energised/more motivated/less depressed?”) probably doesn’t help, as it makes the question too complicated. Although, to be honest, I’m not sure what the answer to the pragmatic question would be either. A lot would depend on how quickly I found someone right for me, or whether I would find someone at all.
Well, anyway, my rabbi mentor just got back to me while I was writing this and said I should continue dating “even though it is difficult at times.” I suppose that’s as near to the word of God as I’m going to get (although I trust my rabbi mentor because he’s a trained counsellor and the wisest person I know as much as because he’s a rabbi). I don’t know how I keep going with it despite disappointment. It’s like job applications, and I’m getting quite disenchanted with those, except that I find it easier to believe that someone could employ me than be in a relationship with me.
Speaking of job applications, I’m applying for a part-time job somewhere that sounds potentially good, if they could accommodate my need to leave early on winter Fridays, but writing the personal statement shows me that while I have some of the skills and experience they want, I don’t have all of them by any means.
A bookmark that came free with a book I purchased this week advises me that it’s better to be happy and odd than miserable and ordinary (the quote is apparently from Goodnight Mister Tom, which I’ve never read). I would agree, except that I seem to be both odd and miserable.
I feel apprehensive about getting through Shabbat (the Sabbath) and Shavuot (Pentecost), but there’s not a lot I can do about that now. See you on Tuesday (or possibly late on Monday night).