Dear Dating Coach,
I am an older single that has made new adult friends as my childhood friends are all married with children. I cherish the new single friends that I’ve made because they are navigating this same difficult, and complicated journey toward finding our bashert. We meet after work, we travel together, and we support one another. Recently, my closest new friend got engaged. She now wants me to take part in every aspect of her engagement and wedding process, and I am appalled! After, all those years of commiserating, does she not realize how painful this is for me?! How insensitive and hurtful she is being by expecting me to laugh and smile with her as she prepares to walk down the aisle?! How do I tell her to back off?!
My niece is learning to walk now. Please don’t tell my sister, but to me nothing is funnier than watching a toddler learn to walk. They lurch from left to right, drunk on their newly discovered talent. One step, and down, they plop to the floor, flabbergasted at their inability to master this skill with ease. Adults hunch down, cheering them on toward the Olympic gold, yelling madly with joy when one step turns into two. The gamely pull themselves up again, every step monumental, a moment frozen in time. Sometimes, they don’t take a third step for days, sometimes they learn to run that same week, and sometimes, it takes months for them to master walking. But I have never seen a toddler, any toddler- cross their arms, close their eyes, and refuse to take one more step ever again.
The Only Way…
Mazel Tov on your friend’s engagement. While you are certainly hurting now, I am sure that some part of her engagement must register as hope for you and other singles that you will find the right person for you. Her engagement validates that there is a light at the end of tunnel, a purpose to failed dates, and encourages you to forge ahead with positivity even as you get older. I know that you must have initially celebrated with you friend and expressed your joy for her mazel. Soon however, that quickly turned to resentment and even anger as she tried to include you in the wedding process. You believe she is being insensitive to you, still single, when she invites you to gown fittings, sheitel appointments, and asks your opinion on wedding venues. You are shocked that she can be so cruel as to expect you to participate in the planning when she understands how difficult it is to be the single left behind.
To Have a Friend…
Make no mistake. It can be brutal to date as an older single. If can be heartbreaking to watch younger siblings, friends, and acquaintances find their ‘happily ever after’ while you are still struggling to find a date that you can connect with. I will never minimize the strength and determination it takes to get dressed up, to put on a happy face, and to portray positivity and enthusiasm when you have been dating for so many years. That being said, it may be time to take a long look at your attitude and your approach to friendship. It may be time to gauge your reaction to the blessings of others, as you search for your own. It is certainly time, to reevaluate the close connection you have made with this special friend and how valuable the friendship has been to you.
Is To Be One
You friend met her bashert, a goal you both once shared. She is so happy with her new partner, but rather than forgetting about you, her dear friend, she is careful to include you at every turn. She invites you to each special moment that she is experiencing, because she remembers how painful it feels to be left behind. She involves you and embraces you through her engagement, because she values your friendship so much. This is her sensitivity to you that you refuse to see, and her kindness that you stubbornly refuse to accept. She is not hurting you with her invitations, she is loving you.
You are in pain and it is often difficult to accept kindness when you are hurting. But she is a true friend and she is reminding you at every turn how much you mean to her. If you need a break, and choose to opt out of an appointment or two, then of course, take a moment to regroup. If one event feels like it’s too much, sit that one out. But I urge you to channel the love that you have for your friend and find your ‘inner toddler’. Take that next step with her. Let one step become two. You will only be validating your friendship, and honoring the special connection that you have with one another.