I live in a community that encourages a committed family lifestyle. It's a great place, but it can be a very painful one for someone who isn't married and raising a family. It seems like one is not a real person unless they have a ring on their finger. People are shocked that I know how to cook. Amazed that I have people stay over in my home and entertain, as if once you walk out from under the chuppah you magically know how to cook, clean, host, enjoy company and do a myriad of other things.
That's part of why breaking up gets harder to do. Each time gets more painful and disappointing. I didn't think I would survive my last failed relationship an emotionally healthy person. Finally after dating so many people, someone came along that I could see myself being with.
I felt like I could be coming home at the end of the day to a place that is not just for one, but a home that's filled with love, maybe children and a sense of future, not just an expensive storage place with a bed. Someone to share the day with, and live out dreams and hopes with. Building a Jewish home. Being able to introduce someone to friends and family. Have them look at you with complete pleasure and happiness instead of the usual smile with a hint of sadness and pity. Oh, she is still alone.
All of the dreams over the years started looking like they could really become a reality. But here I am again, after one of the more disappointing break ups, wondering if I'll ever have those things, trying to understand what it is that God wants from me.
Before I really lose my mind, "treat me week" comes into play.
I have my very own five-step program I go through each time. The first few days after a break up I'm almost numb. I don't want to talk to anyone or talk about "what happened." I just want to crawl into my bed and think about what went wrong this time.
Then I get emotional. Why again? Why me? What does God really want from me? If He wants me to be a sane person, why do I have to keep going through this. Why should I? Why is it so important to be with someone? I was not put on this earth to be married, but to have a relationship with God, to be productive in His world. So why must I go through this over and over again?!
With the anger comes the "I will never go out again. Why should I? It's like watching a bad TV show -- I know how it will end, so why keep watching?"
Before I really lose my mind, "treat me week" comes into play. I can buy anything or pamper myself with anything I want for a week. Ice cream on a random Tuesday? Done. Manicure? Sure. A new purse or extravagant pair of shoes? No problem. I know things are getting out of control when I want to go out and buy a new car. "Treat me week" only goes so far.
I realized that if I want to keep being "normal" I have to get out of it, life has to go on. I know that I have to grow from the pain and keep going with newfound strength. The most incredible people that I know have all experienced hardships in their lives. There comes a time that we have to decide, "Am I going to let this kill me, or strengthen me?" My worst fear is becoming an older, bitter single. Someone who is so bitter and selfish he or she just doesn't want to give anymore. After this last break up I just wanted to get a dog -- at least someone would love me. And I hate dogs.
I took a hard fall, but if I didn't get up I was going to be stuck in the same place forever.
I took a hard fall, but if I didn't get up I was going to be stuck in the same place forever. Nobody else can pick me up. I forced myself to start learning again. Listening to a class in my car, opening a book with inspiring stories. I also looked at other people that are going through far worse difficulties. My friend with three small children is undergoing treatment which knocks her out for months at a time, another who has been trying to have children for years and cannot conceive. I know families that are so poor they can't put food on the table. So much pain! And I am complaining that God sees in me so much potential for growth that He keeps sending me these bad relationships to test me. I should be happy!
I am certainly ready to pass this test, and admit that a number of times I've asked God just to mark my test with an F and let me move on. Everyone is given pain in doses that they can handle, in ways that are tailored fit for them, and I don't wish to trade mine in, but seeing others hurt makes my pain seem so much less significant.
When Yaakov waited seven years to marry Rachel, the Torah says that those years were "K'yamim achadim" usually translated as "a few days." A more literal translation would be "single days." Yaakov tolerated his wait by doing it one day at a time. My wait for my beshert must be one day at a time, focusing on using those days on growth and not on pain.
I have to make the life I do have matter, even though I feel something huge is missing. There is so much that I can do. I was not put on this planet solely to be married, but to have a relationship with God. And I am working on that relationship. Trying to let Him love me and show me the way. I want to focus on all the good He does for me every minute of every day.
Once I am out of the pit, it's clearer. I can even see myself going on another date. If the next one is not my beshert, maybe he'll be for someone else I know that's trying to get married.