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Dear Emuna: Bashert Seeking
Dear Emuna

Dear Emuna: Bashert Seeking

I really like him but I'm looking for someone to spend the rest of my life with and he's happy with casual.


Dear Emuna,

I have been dating a nice guy, "David," for about a month and a half. We've gone out once a week, and he's always been a gentleman. Last night, we spent time together and he brought up the "where are we and where are we going" talk. This is fine since I'd wanted to bring that up too.

He told me that he was in a relationship that ended in the summer, and that he's still kind of feeling his way. He said that he really enjoys spending time with me, but that at the moment he doesn't feel like he can be committed or make our relationship exclusive. I was surprised, though glad that he told me straight out. We sort of left it that we can continue to spend time together, but....

Emuna, I really like this man. We seem to be on the same wavelength on many things, big and small, and we have the same values. I'm just not sure where to go from here. I'm about to turn 31, and a part of me panics thinking that I can't waste time with someone who might not want something real. I am looking for someone to spend the rest of my life with, not a casual anything.

Serious About Commitment

Dear Serious,

Even though you say that you seem to be on the same wavelength and have the same values, my sense is that is not quite true – in one crucially important area. He doesn’t want to make your relationship exclusive and you do. He’s not prepared to make a serious commitment and you are.

Don’t fool yourself into thinking he doesn’t really mean it. He does.

If I were Dr. Laura, I’d say “Cut your losses and get out – quick.” Since I’m not, I’ll probably try to say the same thing; just slightly more diplomatically. He is being honest with you and telling you “straight out” that he doesn’t want what you want right now. As all the pop relationship books (Like “He's Just Not That Into You: The No-Excuses Truth to Understanding Guys”) say, “When a guy tells you something, believe him.” Don’t fool yourself into thinking he doesn’t really mean it. He does. Or that he’ll change. He won’t.

So if you can be happy with a non-exclusive relationship, waiting to see where it will lead while he dates other women, stick it out. But if you’re like most of us and you can’t, then I think Dr. Laura’s advice (as I imagine it to be) is correct.

Related Article: Ten Ways to Marry the Wrong Person

Dear Emuna,

I am very confused and in pain. I met the man I believe is my 'bashert' and we have been getting to know each other over the past two months. He is working overseas right now and the natural process of bonding, engagement, and marriage has been severely interrupted.

We both feel very strongly for each other and have matching goals, ideals and interests. We have also both been married before.

The problem is, I feel very insecure. My moods swing wildly from elation to sheer terror. Part of me wants to run away from him, shut the door and feel safe again, and the other part thanks God that I have found someone so special.

How can I regain my balance and sanity without closing off the chances of this relationship leading to a great marriage? I feel extremely uncomfortable a lot of the time, and I don't know whether that will change when he comes back, or whether this is plainly just a wrong match. It is very stressful relating to someone electronically.

Please help.

Yours sincerely,


Dear Troubled,

Let’s try to separate your anxiety and insecurity from the reality of the situation. In order to accomplish that, you have to do me a favor and take the word ‘bashert’ out of the equation. You don’t know if he’s your bashert, (soul mate) he doesn’t know if he’s your bashert, and I certainly don’t know if he’s your bashert. Bashert is the Almighty’s domain. Your job is to figure out if has what it takes to make a good marriage – with you.

You say that you have shared goals, ideals and interests. That’s a really important place to start. Many couples make the mistake of not exploring that question.

Since that fundamental piece is in place, we just need to know about the two c’s – character and chemistry. I’m going to assume that chemistry (enjoying each other’s personality, feeling physically attracted) is not a problem.

You haven’t mentioned his personal qualities. Is he loyal? Kind? Trustworthy? Reliable? Does he have most (no one has all) of the traits you are looking for, particularly the more significant ones?

If he does, then I still can’t take away your anxiety. But I can tell you that it’s completely normal and not reflective of problems in the relationship.

Have a glass of wine (!), spend time with your girlfriends and ask the Almighty to help you achieve peace of mind (we could all use that, whatever our situation!), and try to keep strong until he returns. And start using Skype if you haven't already!

Dear Emuna,

I have two children who are very close emotionally; a 15-year-old girl and a seven-year-old boy. There seems to be too much fighting between the two of them where my daughter will resort to name calling and my son will then attack physically. How do I impress on my daughter that name calling is abusive and forbidden?

Torn Between Two Children

Dear Torn,

First, stop and be grateful that your children are close. That is a blessing not given to every family and every set of siblings. Next, recognize that fighting is normal. It happens in every family (even the "best" ones). However, I am a little puzzled by your question. Do you only want to change your daughter’s behavior? What about your son’s physical attacks? Are you happy with those?

I’m concerned that you are establishing or perpetuating a dynamic where only the older child is responsible (“she should know better”) and the younger gets off scot-free.

This is NOT a healthy situation. For anyone.

So let’s start with your son. He needs to be taught that, however frustrated or hurt he may feel, physical attacks are not the appropriate or only response. He needs to learn self-control (seven is certainly not too young!) and healthier means of responding, including the option of just walking away. Not every situation has to turn into a fight; not every fight is worth participating in. His sister will not be the only person in his life to ever speak rudely to him and he needs appropriate coping tools. You are doing him a disservice if you don’t provide them and only indulge his complaints.

Try to give her lots of positive attention and love, and hopefully she will be less compelled to act out.

Now, your daughter. Yes, she is older, but younger children can be annoying and provocative. Maybe you don’t notice how your son starts up. This is something to watch out for; I see it all the time. But even if he doesn’t, you have to remember you’re dealing with an adolescent girl, someone who is likely to fly off the handle at the drop of a hat. Find a quiet time to discuss the issue. Make your feelings and position clear but don’t threaten punishment or engage in a power struggle. You will not be happy with the resulting atmosphere.

Try to give her lots of positive attention and love, and hopefully she will be less compelled to act out. She needs to know that her name calling is unacceptable but you don’t want your whole relationship with her to revolve around that issue.

Adolescence can be rough. Go out for a drink with writer #2 and also ask for Divine assistance to help you make it through!

January 9, 2011

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Visitor Comments: 11

(10) Anonymous, March 7, 2011 6:50 PM

My situation exactly

Thank you so much, I have been searching for a long time for an answer or how to deal with your perfect person as they are overseas. We get along on all levels, but I am having such anxiety as he is planning on going away for a year or so. And pointing out if he mathces the character traits that I am looking for truly helped me. Thank you so much!

(9) Anonymous, January 26, 2011 9:05 PM

I'm writing to say how happy I am to receive an answer from Emuna to my troubling question. Thank you so much for this, and for all the chesed that you do in shining knowledge and light into our lives, B'H. Shalom uveracha,

(8) Anonymous, January 13, 2011 8:37 PM

i need emuna and bitachon

Im young. Im only 20. I shouldnt be feeling like I NEED to get married. truth is i WANT to get married. but society around me tells me I NEED to and tht just adds presure to me finding my bashert. I've been set up. Ive gone on dates. the first guy i didnt like personality wise, the second guy i didnt feel a physical attraction and the third guy there was both chemestry and attraction but no same religious goals. It gets frustruating. I know its all in the hands of Hakadosh Baruch Hu. I KNOW. but I dont necesarilly know it with my heart. So i still get upset when i really shouldnt be getting upset bc i know hashem runs the world. and i know that if it wasnt this guy its because its not meant to be. But i want to feel that. not just know it. please give me some words on how i can get to really feel Hashem's orchestrating my life. thank you for your time

emma, March 21, 2011 10:12 PM

re: i need emuna and bitachon

you sound like you're in one of those orthodox jewish worlds where everyone is told the purpose of life is to get married, get married, get married, and that by 22 or 23 you are over the hill. it's nice to get married, but you are more than your marital status. and 20 is very, very, very young. when you're only a few years older, you'll see that. what you should do is this: live your life. live a full, wonderful, productive life. you are a full, wonderful, productive human being. being married or not married is one tiny component of of life. to worry about getting married or to think that marriage is your end goal just diminishes who you are as a complete person and makes you someone who doesn't seem to fully believe in g-d, someone who doesn't fully believe that g-d knows what is best for you. worrying that at age 20 you are not (yet?) married makes you into the kind of empty, boring, worrisome, g-d-denying person who would not make a great wife or mother. so get out of this mindset. it will only bring good. you must believe in g-d and believe that g-d has a plan for you--maybe a very young marriage, maybe a marriage at age 35 or 28 or 67 or 42, maybe none at all--and you must believe that whatever g-d does for you is for the best. believe in yourself, and know that you have to live every day to the fullest--if as a wife, then as a wife; if as an individual, charting her own course, doing great every day, then as that individual. i wish you the best.

(7) Judy, January 13, 2011 2:30 PM

Mom is absent

I'll bet these kids didn't start fighting yesterday. A friend of mine says people think they are finished raising their kids once the kids are potty-trained. Get involved in the day-to-day interactions of your kids and find out what is going on before it comes to blows. You were there when they learned numbers and there when the learn respect, fairness, and impulse control. Teach them how to manage their emotions in a positive way, and explain to them that this is the work of every soul on this planet. Even Mom and Dad. After the fight starts you have few options. Spend more time before the fight, see how they begin, and you'll have a chance to talk about something besides after-the-fact punishment. The housework can wait; little souls can't.

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