Dear Mrs. Bluth,
I am sitting here rethinking where I might have gone wrong or how I could have missed signs that could have prevented the miserable predicament I find myself in. I know all the warning signs a young woman should look out for when dating and understand that it could take some times for the signs to surface. I took precautions not to grab the first guy redt to me or that my parents wanted, because I was so sure I was doing everything right. So I waited until the boy I grew up with, and who I knew better than anyone besides myself, would come back from his 3rd year in Eretz Yisroel.
When I say we grew up together I mean almost from infancy. Chezky and I lived next door each other. We shared the same playpen, went to the same playgroup and nursery school, and played with each other every day until he started yeshiva. We saw each other in shul on Shabbos and played board games in the afternoon along with other siblings. When he and I were six years old, he gave me a toy ring and said that when we grew up we would get married – and I never questioned that. Not even when his family moved and we lost physical contact with each other. Somehow I considered my future fixed and taken care of, that I would marry Chezky when the right time came.
I graduated high school and began dating just to satisfy my parents. I started wearing make up so I would look good for the shidduchim that came, and from a plain, chunky girl, I turned into a slightly chubby but beautiful swan. Although I enjoyed some of the bochrim I went out with and my confidence grew each time one of them wanted to go out a second time, I always said “No” to a second date. In truth, I knew my future was with Chezky. I counted down the days to his homecoming and then waited for his call. When I heard he had come back, I waited. Three months went by and nothing. Then I couldn’t wait anymore and called him.
Our conversation was awkward, but I attributed this to the years we hadn’t spoken to each other. I also understood that we had become adults and our childhood was a thing of the past. But what I found odd was that while I was so excited to finally hear his voice, he sounded so distant and less than elated to hear from me. I asked him when he was going to ask me out and reminded him about the toy ring he had given me all those years ago.
There was a long and deafening pause. To break the silence, I asked him if something was wrong or that maybe he had been planning on surprising me.
What came next crashed my entire world.
While I was patiently waiting for him, dreaming about the day when he would fulfill his promise to me, he was busy dreaming of other things. He said he had heard from some of his friends that I was going out with others and that I had taken to wearing make up and flashy clothes. He, on the other hand, had become far more serious about being a ben Torah and was looking for a girl who would compliment this life. He also told me that he was about to get engaged to his Rosh Yeshiva’s daughter and that he hoped I would understand and begin to seek out a life partner of my own. He was sorry I held on to childhood ramblings and that he was very flattered and truly touched that I had done so. He wished me well and a life of joy and happiness, as he had found.
I sat for an endless amount of time holding the silent phone in disbelief, and then the anger and the hate set in. While he was off putting the puzzle pieces of his life together, my piece of the puzzle suddenly didn’t fit into his picture. I had been a fool letting some great prospects slip away waiting for him.
And now, Mrs. Bluth, I can’t bring myself to even think of dating another guy, much less trusting any of them. My parents can’t understand what’s come over me, but I can’t speak to anyone about this.
Mrs. Bluth, are all men liars, cheaters and heartless? What is the point of wanting to get married to a man if he cannot be trusted? I just want to be alone right now, not to be involved with that species of human being that can so hurt and deceive another. Please explain this to me so that maybe I can find some shred of comfort and logic that will enable me to reframe my life.
Okay, let’s take a few long, deep breaths and walk through this clinically and objectively. You are very young and have gone through major trauma due to what you perceived was written in stone. First, thank G-d, no one died! Second, life happened. You both grew to adulthood, but your thought process in this particular area remained stunted. And thirdly, life, by the grace of Hakodosh Boruch Hu, goes on with new promise every day. So we’re off to a good start here, with many things to look forward to.
Children, especially little ones, say many things without really thinking them through. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve asked a six year old what he wants to be when he grows up. On one day he wants to be an astronaut, a day later a policeman and in late afternoon he’s aiming to be a dragon-slayer who wears cowboy boots and flies a plane. That’s imagination, not a life commitment written in blood!
And then you grow up, changing those dreams to match your changing interests. Somehow yours did not. You spent your entire period of maturation holding onto a child’s momentary word and whim (Chezky’s) and built your dreams based on them. Bad bet. But all is not lost and no one’s to blame.
Stop feeling you’ve been wronged by the entire male gender because you based your entire dream factory on what Chezky told you when you both were six or seven. Did he really promise that he would marry you? Does a child really understand what marriage and commitment are at that age? Absolutely not!
What’s left to do is get rid of the anger, and certainly the hate, at yourself, at Chezky and certainly at the entire male community. Upgrade your dreams to meet your “today” needs. I truly believe you have yet to meet you zivug. What you need to do is recognize that Chezky was not it and cleans your heart and your mind of him, making room for the young man who is really meant for you.
There is a lifetime of love and happiness waiting for you if you are grown up enough to give up childish disillusionment and make room for all the joy that awaits you. But don’t throw the memory of childish dreams away; they will bring you nostalgic pleasure in quiet moments of later years. The best of luck to you.