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Chronicles Of Crises In Our Communities – 4/04/08

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We encourage women and men of all ages to send in their personal stories by e-mail to rachel@jewishpress.com or by mail to Rachel/Chronicles, c/o The Jewish Press, 338 Third Ave., Brooklyn, N.Y. 11215.

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Readers gently admonish and advise the husband who wrote about his heartache of being ‘in love’ with another woman (Chronicles 2-22)

The Grass is Not Greener On The Other Side…

Dear Fellow Jew,

I understand that it is important and one of the greatest feelings in the world to be with a woman, (if one is a man), or with a man (if one is a woman). This normal attraction began as far back as when G-d decided this. However, you made a commitment to marry your wife. Now you seem to be stuck on this woman you stopped seeing but still speak to.

Hopefully, you can think back to the reasons why you married your wife and will feel gratitude to G-d and to your wife − as well as to yourself for choosing her.

Rachel stated at the end of her article to make drastic changes. My advice is for you to occupy yourself by reading books or even embarking on a new career venture. Consider maybe becoming a gabbai of a shul or going for semichah (I do not know your level of observance) and helping people become frum.

You are not alone, even among the Orthodox. However, your emotions and thoughts must be channeled so that the yetzer tov (good inclination) wins out over your yetzer hara (evil inclination). This feeling of “first time my stomach feels like mush” can be very deceiving. The grass is not always greener on the other side.

You should have someone you can talk to. You may contact me for free and confidentially through Rachel, as one suggestion. There is definitely a solution, through learning Torah and occupying yourself with worthwhile causes and pastimes.

Keep the faith and turn to Hashem and you will definitely find the answer. One day you will even end up helping someone with your problem.

A caring fellow Jew

Better heartbreak than the painful consequences of following your heart

Dear Thanks,

I could have written your letter word for word. I am a woman in my 30′s who was also happily married with several children when I found myself in the position where I met a married man and found the “deep love” that I didn’t have before. I also sometimes feel that it is a punishment for my wrongdoings.

You asked for encouragement, so I will share with you some of the things that have worked for me.

1) Surround yourself with family and friends and allow yourself to get closer to them. Play games and do fun activities with your family. That will automatically make you happy and will help you appreciate what you have.

2) Be active and do things that you enjoy. Outdoor activities such as exercise and sports will help you think more clearly.

3) When you start to get sulky and think that it is not fair that you have this “punishment” of being in love with a woman you cannot have, just think of other people who have more things to complain about, such as having a child that it is ill, or older singles who are lonely and may not have had any relationship and do not have a spouse or children to come home to. Maybe these thoughts will put your feelings into perspective for a few minutes.

You are obviously not quite finished with your escapade, as you still maintain contact with this woman as “friends” and still have the hopes of being together one day. Let me tell you this: If you want to do the right thing, then G-d will help you do the right thing. If you are swaying and are in the mood to do the wrong thing, then G-d will put plenty of situations right in front of you to help you move in that direction.

While the pain of heartbreak can last a long time, you have to choose between that pain or chas v’shalom the pain of the consequences in this world and the next.

We learned our lesson the hard way. But I think that is the only way we really learn.

Someone who understands

You are the one in control

Dear Rachel,

I’d like to respond to people who “are in love” with someone else. I too have been in that situation. Many years ago I loved someone so dearly, I felt our neshamos (souls) spoke to each other.

However, it was not meant to be. He married someone else. But instead of wallowing in the loss and fantasizing of what could have been, etc., I came across a cognitive therapist. (I believe it was the hand of Hashem.)

This therapist helped me realize that we control the thoughts that occupy our minds, that our thoughts determine how we feel, and that we cannot have two thoughts at the same time. He taught me to say to myself “STOP!” every time the loving thought or the person’s name or image of the magic we shared came to me, and to replace it with another image.

It was an extremely difficult task to undertake, as I loved him so dearly. The cognitive therapist taught me many other skills and also told me to buy some books, do a lot of real homework, and that time will heal.

I really wanted to stop thinking of my lost love, to stop the pain that came with it and to enjoy real life again. I worked very hard. It took weeks and months, but I succeeded. I have loved and married someone else, have had children and have lived a really good life.

I could daydream all day long and night about that man and about the unique love we had, but I don’t let it happen. I send the thought away and instead plant another (pleasant) thought in my mind.

You can do something about it…

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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