Photo Credit: Jewish Press

Dear Dating Coach,

I just went through a terrible breakup. We dated for a long time, got engaged, and started planning a wedding. A month before our wedding was supposed to take place, my chosson told me that he couldn’t marry me. We went to a Rav, a marriage counselor, and had painful talks with our parents, and he could still not get back to a place where he was comfortable marrying me. Even as I write this, I cry from the pain, the shame, and the toll this has taken on my self-esteem, my heart, and my life as a whole. Well-meaning people remind me to practice “self-care” so that I can “heal” and I think I am going to throw something at the next person who says this. A bubble bath and a manicure are not going to fix this! How do I tell people to back off and take their advice with them?




Dear Hearted,

Self-care is a popular term that encourages us to take the time to self-assess and then nurture and comfort in a way that might be healing. It is not uncommon for people to suggest this to someone who has gone through a difficult time as they hope that a bit of love and care might alleviate some of that person’s suffering. Even without a specific struggle, self-care is a tool suggested to those who are busy, overworked, or those who have a tendency to neglect their own needs.

I hear your frustration loud and clear. A manicure will not magically repair your broken heart, a bubble bath will not drain away the sadness; and you feel as if these suggestions minimize the pain you are feeling. Perhaps the well-meaning people in your life are incorrect in their suggestions of self-care, but the concept really does have merit. Even now, when you are hurting so deeply.

May I suggest other forms of self-care that are less “spa day” and more practical?



Exercising is a great way to relieve stress and increase endorphins. It can be a time to fight through the difficult thoughts and emotions you continue to experience and releases stress and tension. Sweat the anger and the shame away. Run, punch, bike, or stretch, to refocus your mind and reduce the physical symptoms that emotional turmoil can incur.



There are those that excel at this. (Full disclosure, I do not. I tend to plan my grocery lists…) However, if you can fully take the time to simply focus on your breathing, and emptying your mind, you will find that you feel calmer and more centered. At the very least, take a few minutes every day to sit quietly, to intentionally relax your muscles and to release the stress and knots that have certainly taken root under your skin. This is something even the “meditation-challenged” can do.



Everyone scoffs at sleep. “I’m too busy,” or “I am a night owl.” Too many people don’t sleep enough, which affects decision making, moods, and the ability to be fully productive. Take a minute to check on your sleep routine. Go to sleep at the same time every night and wake up at the same time every morning. Un-glue your cell phone from your hand at least a half an hour before you go to sleep and allow yourself to naturally fall asleep rather than allowing some random person’s Instagram feed to lull you into dreamland. Create a sleep schedule and you will see a change in many aspects of your life.

So, perhaps a manicure is not what you need right now, but a deeper look at self-care and how it can work for you might be helpful. Consider exercise, meditation, and better sleep. Wishing you continued healing. We all look forward to your future with someone who cannot imagine a life without you. Take care.


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Henni Halberstam is a Dating and Marriage Coach whose expert advice will help you navigate dating and relationships in order to ensure a successful marriage. You can contact her at [email protected] to schedule a phone session.