Dear Dating Coach,
I dated someone for a while, and I thought we were progressing toward an engagement. We had discussed the future and seemed to connect perfectly, and I was beginning to dream of wedding planning. Last week, after a great date, he called the shadchan and broke things off. He said that he had hoped he would feel differently, but he ultimately can’t imagine a future with me. I am crushed. But more so, my self-esteem has really taken a hit. Now I have been second-guessing every date and the connection I thought we had. I feel like I can’t trust my own feelings anymore! Mostly, I’m worried that if I wasn’t enough for someone I was so happy with, how will I ever be enough for anyone?
Growing up, in my house we kept all of our plastic and glass containers in a lower corner cabinet with a lazy susan inside. Without fail, after a successful Shabbos meal, someone would want to save a bit of this or that salad for later and would need the perfect container to put it in. I always ended up being the designated “searcher,” and the requests would immediately come in: The container needed to be from a certain brand, a specific size, and meet various other requirements. “Glass, please – not plastic!” “Not the one that has been used before, please, and only one that we bought in that fancy container store.” “No cracks allowed!”
Then, once a container was located, I would go searching for the right lid. Sometimes, the lid would miraculously appear within seconds – a perfect easy fit. More often, though, I would begin my search in earnest, only to pull out lid after lid that simply would not fit. Slowly, the requester’s requirements would change: “A bigger size is fine.” “OK, I’ll take the less expensive brand container.” “I know we once used that one for gefilte fish, but I can make it work.” The requests would become less rigid, allowing me to expand my search for that elusive lid. Making that match always brought a cheer to our kitchen: “Mission accomplished!”
Of course, now I know that there really and truly is “a lid for every pot.”
Sometimes the Hardest Part of The Journey…
I’m so sorry to hear that you are hurting. It is painful when your vision and understanding differ from those of someone you dated. You believed that you had met your future, and he did not share that view. Now, you worry about your grasp on feelings that you relied on, and if you will indeed meet someone who will relate to you exactly as you relate to him. You believed that your emotions mirrored your date’s, and now question how you can ever trust the tenuous bridge of connection when meeting someone new.
…Is Believing That…
First, please know this: You are a gift to the spouse whom you will eventually marry and he is a gift to you. You never want someone to feel compelled to marry you because a certain number of dates have passed and he feels bad, or to move toward marriage if he does not feel thrilled to be doing so. You deserve to be cherished, admired, and loved, and you have been blessed with the opportunity to meet someone who understands this. Settling for someone who doesn’t believe that he is lucky to marry you is never the right thing, and ultimately you will know this to be true.
Your feelings were still valid. You felt a stronger connection than he did – and that’s OK. Our feelings don’t have magical powers that make those we date feel exactly as we do. It wasn’t wrong that you felt so much. Vulnerability and a willingness to “feel” are only strengths in dating, not detriments.
…You Are Worth the Trip!
Take care of yourself. Spend time with those who care about you, who support you, and who remind you that you are loved. Take the time to regroup, to rest, and to reassure yourself that it is good to know that you can feel strongly about someone. When those feelings are reciprocated, it will only reinforce an emotional connection and cement a true lasting relationship. You never, however, want to force a lid to fit the wrong container – that’s never a secure connection. Trust me, or at the very least, trust The Container Store.