Dear Dating Coach,
I have been home now for almost three months post-seminary and my year in Israel. At first, I thought I wanted to take this year for myself; for schooling, travel, and fun with friends. But in the past few weeks, three of my good friends got engaged and now I’m rethinking my “no dating this year” rule. On the one hand, I feel like I should have a financial plan before getting married, and have the chance to travel with my friends and enjoy the single life. Yet, seeing my friends happily engaged is giving me pause – am I making a mistake?
Brace yourself. I am about to bring up a polarizing topic. Roller coasters. I know. Deep breath. We can discuss this calmly. I think. There are those who love them and those who despise them. Not so much middle ground there. Except, you guessed it, me. I believe that I love roller coasters. I can wax poetic about the rush, the sensation of flying, and the wind blowing through my hair. (Fine. Wig. Whatever, fact checkers.) That feeling you get while the ride races through the track fills your body with adrenaline and excitement. Amazing. However. A big however. When the ride begins with that ascent and that clack, click, clack, click up the track, I start to immediately question my life’s choices. “I’m not ready!” my body protests, checking the restraints over and over again. “Stop the ride!” I want to shout; I’m not prepared for this ride. Then, there is this moment, right at the top of the track when the world becomes quiet, and clarity reigns. “You’ve got this,” my heart reminds me, and suddenly I am flying through the track, smiling and happy, clutching my seat partner’s hand, and my hair (let it go, we know it’s a wig) in the other.
When Opportunity Knocks…
Thank you for reaching out. You thought you had made a decision to wait for a year before dating after seminary in Israel. You are young and still unsure about points in your future; career, financial stability, and your ability to maintain your own household. You want to take the time to travel with friends without responsibility and you just didn’t feel “ready.” Now that your friends have met their matches however, you are questioning this decision. Do they know something you don’t, you wonder and perhaps you are feeling left behind.
Don’t Complain About…
Dating is not a race and certainly not a competition sport (although it can sometimes feel like that). Still, your friends can be a wake-up call when you have been happily on “snooze.” Dating is not magic. We cannot snap our fingers and find the person we are meant to marry. Dating can take time. Even for those who find their zivug quickly, it still takes time. If you are emotionally and physically healthy, there is no reason to delay your future. It can take years to secure financial stability (through going to school, starting a business, or working your way up the corporate ladder). This is something you can work on together with a partner.
Singles will often use the “travel excuse” to delay dating. I would argue that finding your bashert trumps “sightseeing” and as far as I am aware, couples are still allowed on planes, not just singles. Youth is on your side. You are courageous, adaptable, and filled with opportunity and possibility. Don’t push off mazel. Instead ask for it, encourage it, and work toward it. There is a lifetime of growth that a committed couple will embrace together. Open your heart to the future; you’ve got this.