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Chronicles Of Crises In Our Communities – 11/14/08

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Dear Rachel,

I have a very serious question I would like to ask you. I am a 21-year-old single girl going through the so called “shidduch crisis.” Although I know that my bashert is on his way, I have a hard time not knowing when it will be.

I am a typical Bais Yaakov type, am from a frum, solid home and never got into trouble. My shidduch dates are only with boys who are learning. I am interested in getting married to someone who appreciates Torah and has yiras shamayim.

About two months ago I came in contact with someone from my neighborhood, via the web. He is 17 and would be classified a “bum.” I can’t reveal more about him for confidential reasons. Anyhow, we became chatting buddies on the web and I didn’t think anything was wrong with helping someone out.

To make a long story short, we fell in love. This love is a unique relationship only known to him and me. It started out with us meeting occasionally but has unfortunately led to a relationship where shomer negiah (for the first time in my life, not his) is not kept. WHAT SHOULD I DO?!

I am completely head over heels for a guy who is obviously not for me. He is obsessed with me and I never experienced such love in my lifetime. I know that this has got to end because I am 100% definitely not marrying him.

My parents would never allow such a husband for me. He has some maturing to do, and yiras shamyayim is quite slim in his books. But how can I break his heart (though I’ve told him a million times that this is going to end eventually because of technicalities). My heart cannot handle such a blow, and I know that his can’t either.

We both have been working on becoming closer to Hashem because of this. He has started to go to minyan three times a day and learns more. He calls me every day to remind me to daven minchah and we talk about G-d very often. We both are from very frum solid homes so we know that by touching each other we are doing a horrible sin, but we cannot control ourselves.

I have read your columns in the past and have found them very inspiring. Please, Rachel, help me begin the long journey of heartbreak after finding what feels like a soul mate. I await your response as I continue to meet with him (even during the days of repentance).

Hopelessly entangled…

Dear Hopeless,

It may not be easy to do the right thing, but by no means is your situation a hopeless one. In order to sort out your muddle of emotions and to differentiate between reality and fantasy, you must first come back down from the clouds. For lack of column space, let’s cut to the quick.

When you state at the outset that you are “interested in marrying someone who appreciates Torah and has yiras shamayim” and that you are “100% definitely not marrying him,” your mind prevails over your heart. You are furthermore cognizant of his lack of maturity and express your belief that your bashert is on the way, even while admitting to being somewhat frustrated in not knowing when exactly he will show.

Then, with a sudden about-face, your heart gains the upper hand. “We both have been working on becoming closer to Hashem…. He has started to go to minyan three times a day and learns more. He calls me every day to remind me to daven minchah and we talk about G-d very often.”

My dear young lady, you have fallen under the spell of a guileful 17-year- old – even as you set out to help him, he has liberally helped himself to you. If you don’t put an immediate stop to the fooling around, you may find yourselves in real trouble.

You revel in his adulation and attentiveness and are captivated by his sweet talk. (If not for human nature being what it is, there would be no shomer negiah to abide by.) Your friend is playing the strings of your heart and arousing all your senses. The high you are experiencing (which you interpret as “love”) becomes harder and harder to resist.

In your current circumstance, you are unable to think clearly and rationally. However, one aspect cannot possibly escape your awareness: A boy at 17 is way too young to make a lifetime commitment.

If you have a decent relationship with your mother, take her into your confidence. No need to divulge intimate details – she will get the drift and advise you with candor and wisdom. In any case, your best course is to get out of town for a while, to stay perhaps with long-distance relatives. If your “guy” is truly serious about his feelings for you, he will understand the need for a timeout. Should he fail to understand, there is even greater urgency for you to pack your bags.

Your letter contains a glimmer of light: “We both are from very frum solid homes…” His background can work to your advantage down the line. For now, you have but one option: to give each other time and space. This will allow him to prove his sincerity about you and about his religious observance. If your “love” for one another survives the test of time, all may not be lost. A four-year gap in age – despite his being the younger – is not unheard of.

At present, however, his very young age and the conditions you found him and find yourself in make this association a risky one, to say the least. A note of caution: Feeling sorry for somebody is a lousy reason for hanging on and can only lead to regret and unhappiness.

“If you love it, set it free. If it comes back, it is yours. If it doesn’t, it never was.”

About the Author: We encourage women and men of all ages to send in their personal stories via email to rachel@jewishpress.com or by mail to Rachel/Chronicles, c/o The Jewish Press, 4915 16th Ave., Brooklyn, N.Y. 11204. If you wish to make a contribution and help agunot, your tax-deductible donation should be sent to The Jewish Press Foundation. Please make sure to specify that it is to help agunot, as the foundation supports many worthwhile causes.


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