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November 23, 2014 / 1 Kislev, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘Ob Gyn’

‘I Wasted My Life’ (Part One)

Wednesday, August 11th, 2010

A few weeks ago I published a letter from a 45-year old single professional woman who expressed regret at having placed career before marriage. She bemoaned the years wasted and the opportunities lost for bringing children into the world and establishing a true Jewish home. In my response, I told her that it’s never too late – that rather than agonizing over the past, she should concentrate on the here and now. I told her to bear in mind the many miraculous happenings of our past as well as the amazing stories of today of all the singles who, through the many mercies of Hashem and modern medicine, do marry and have children later in life.

As a result of these letters, I received a great deal of mail, most of it from eligible men who were anxious to meet her. I am happy to share with you that today, she is seriously seeing one of them, and please G-d, I hope that it will turn out to be a shidduch.

Among the many letters that reached my desk was one from a divorced gentleman who took umbrage at the word “loser” used by the woman to describe some of the unacceptable shidduch candidates that had been recommended to her in the past. He also faulted me for not commenting on this remark.

Frankly speaking, I read her letter differently…I read it as an expression of sorrow at having failed to marry in time and never even noticed the phrase that he found so objectionable. To do justice to his plaint however, I forwarded his e-mail to the woman and asked her if she would be willing to respond to his criticism. She agreed and, B’Ezrat Hashem, I will publish her response in next week’s column. The following is his letter:

Dear Rebbetzin Jungreis:

I have always greatly admired your work with Hineni and I frequently read your column in The Jewish Press. The letter written by the female Ob/Gyn who lamented her single state and expressed regret at the many years that she had focused on a career rather than on marriage and a family touched a sensitive chord in my heart. While I certainly sympathize with her situation, I find her labeling some shidduch candidates “losers” disconcerting and offensive.

I am a 52-year old man and have been divorced for the past four years. As I am sure you are aware, divorce almost always presents financial hardships for the parties involved. I had been married for 25 years and, Baruch Hashem, the business that I had inherited from my father provided a parnassah, which although nothing spectacular, was enough to pay the bills. I was always grateful for that.

Only a few short months after my divorce, the recession began to hit my business really hard. I am in an industry, which is sensitive to changes in the rest of the economy, meaning that as soon as things begin to slow down in other areas, my business feels it almost immediately. The past three years have been extremely rough. I don’t know if my company will be able to survive this downturn.

The small house that I had bought for myself (which I combined with my workplace to make it manageable financially) is now in foreclosure as I have been unable to pay my mortgage. I will almost certainly need to declare personal bankruptcy. My number one priority has always been my children, but it has become increasingly difficult to make child support payments and pay half of their yeshiva tuition costs. I lose many nights of sleep worrying about these issues, but I am resolved to meet my commitments one way or another.

Your letter-writer states, “If they are not successful (potential shidduch candidates), it is difficult to respect them. I just cannot marry a loser.”

I was so dismayed that you chose not to address that particular comment. With all due modesty, I can tell you that I have a sterling reputation in my neighborhood (and indeed, amongst all who know me) as being a Yarei Shamayim, a ba’al middos, an honest, caring and devoted friend and an excellent father to my children who adore me. Even my ex-wife has acknowledged that (in her own words) I am a “good guy.”

I have met women, on dating sites, with whom I have easily developed relationships. In many cases, as soon as I mentioned problems with my business, I was history. I have no issue with that coming from divorced women who have struggled with financial issues. I totally can understand a woman who, after going through a difficult time in her life would now like to be able to rest easier and not have to worry about paying the bills.

But this is not the case here. This woman is a success. At 45 and in an Ob/Gyn practice for a number of years, I have to believe that finances are not an issue for her. But to her, I am a loser. Never mind the fact that I can be a terrific husband, and that I would treat the right woman like a queen. The woman I marry will be proud to be seen with me, and I am trustworthy, reliable, and have a lot of love to offer. No, this is all unimportant because HaKadosh Baruch Hu chose to make my life financially difficult for now. I would understand a woman not wanting a man who is lazy and, therefore, unsuccessful. But I have always worked hard to support my family, even working in the evenings to earn some extra money.

In your answer you inform the woman that many men have written to you about possibly dating this woman. Though I can possibly benefit from getting into a relationship with a woman who is financially secure, I could never date a woman who considers me a “loser.” Once again, I am disappointed that you didn’t set this woman straight as to what are the most important qualities to look for in a shidduch.

I Wasted My Years (Part One)

Wednesday, July 21st, 2010

Dear Rebbetzin Jungreis:

I just finished reading your book, The Committed Marriage. How I wish I had discovered this wonderful book years ago. How different my life could have been.

I write this letter with a heavy heart. From the outset, I want to make it quite clear that I am not writing with the anticipation of a solution to my problem. I am writing with the request that you publish my letter (anonymously, of course), so that others might learn from my mistakes. It is for this reason that I decided to write although this is probably the most painful letter I have ever written.

I grew up in a typically secular Jewish home. Once a year we went to the local temple in our neighborhood for the High Holy Days. On Chanukah, we lit a menorah, and on Passover we had a Seder (only the first night). All these rituals were carried out perfunctorily, without meaning or content. They were superficial acknowledgments of being Jewish. Our home was not kosher, our Sabbaths were just Saturdays, taken up with shopping, sports, or other activities.

When I was 14 my parents divorced. It was a bitter separation. Without going into too many details, there were many ugly accusations and recriminations. In any event, my father left, remarried and started a new family. My mother, on the other hand, dated and had many relationships, but never quite made it to marriage. We had always enjoyed a comfortable lifestyle, but once the divorce took place, everything changed. The final settlement did not allow us luxuries, and suddenly, we found ourselves on a very tight budget.

My mom, who was never too calm, became temperamental, and would lose her cool at the drop of a hat. The divorce settlement forced us to visit with our father, and those meetings were very painful. I resented his new wife and her taking my mom’s place. I resented her for disrupting our family and I am certain that she also resented me.

I was under tremendous pressure from my mom to do well in school so that I might be eligible for a college scholarship. She kept insisting that before I even consider marriage, I must have a career. “It’s important that you be independent and capable of supporting yourself,” she always said.

Throughout my high school years I worked very hard, although it wasn’t easy. I was in therapy for quite some time, but I never worked out my problems. I never adjusted to the new dynamic of our family. I had no choice but to accept the new reality and try to make the best of it. I had to be tolerant of my mom’s boyfriends and relationships, be privy to all the ups-and-downs, which punctuated her private life, and then, accept my father’s “new family.”

It was more than any teenager should have to deal with. My two brothers were equally impacted by the trauma, and they chose the destructive path of alcohol and drugs. They hung out with girls until the early hours of the morning. My mother would scream and yell, but they paid no heed and continued their self-destructive path. I couldn’t wait to graduate and escape the madness in my home. I was anxious to go to a university as far away from my parents as possible. I worked very hard with one goal in mind – escape! When I was graduated, I received a scholarship to a good university.

I had many relationships in college, but marriage was never even considered an option. My goal was to finish my education, find a good position, travel, enjoy life, and in time, marry and settle down.

When I finished college, I went on to graduate school, all the time bearing in mind my mother’s admonition, “Make a career for yourself! Become independent!”

I decided to go into medicine because I felt that would be the most secure and lucrative profession I could undertake. It was a long haul and a lot of hard work, but it was a worthwhile investment. I specialized in Ob/Gyn, thinking that it is one field for which there is always a demand. I worked very hard and did my residency in New York, and was elated to be accepted as a fellow in a prestigious Manhattan hospital. I was so overwhelmed with work during that period that I didn’t have time to even consider a serious relationship.

After completing my fellowship, I joined a highly successful practice. Once again, I was consumed by work with very little time left for socializing and a personal life. This, more or less, sums up my background. I share it with you so that you may better understand the conflicts and regrets that haunt me now.

Today, I am 45-years-old. I don’t know where the years went, but I can’t deny them, although people tell me that I can easily pass for 35. But I am 45 years old and the best years of my life have passed me by. I bring babies into the world, and it breaks my heart that I don’t have a baby of my own.

My biological clock has ticked away without my realizing it. So here I am – 45 and all alone. Yes, I have savings… a good profession – but so what? I don’t have a family. I don’t even have nieces and nephews. My brothers never married…. they’re all messed up. My mother, in her old age, has become more temperamental and demanding. I find it very difficult to communicate with her because every visit ends up in conflict with tension and shouting. My father has his own life, his own family.

Yes, I have no lack of dates, but the men I meet all seek relationships rather than the stability of marriage. So why am I writing this letter to you? Because I know that you have a wide readership and people respect your opinion. So, I would like to tell all the women out there who have bought into our culture’s value system: “Don’t sacrifice marriage and children for a career. No profession, no amount of money is worth it!”

Yes, I continue to date, but there is nothing much out there. I have discovered that the men in my age bracket who are successful want young women, and they get them. And if they are not successful, it is difficult to respect them. I do need someone to look up to – I just can’t marry a loser. I wish that I had found your book, The Committed Marriage earlier in life. How different everything would have been for me -but I do hope that you will print my letter. If I know that people will learn from my mistakes, it will give me a measure of comfort. No answer is required.

A Brokenhearted Successful Woman

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/judaism/rebbetzins-viewpointrebbetzin-jungreis/i-wasted-my-years-2/2010/07/21/

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