Seeing the Forest, Not the Clearing

Conversation with non-Jewish gentleman.

Him: “…so, do you want a family?”

Me: surprised “Of course.” I mean, who wouldn’t? Oh wait, the woman who told me yesterday that she prefers dogs because you can put them in the yard when they get annoying. “But first I need to find a guy.”

Him: surprised “Well there must be plenty of orthodox Jewish men around, aren’t there? I mean, that’s what you want, right?”

Me: “Yes, of course, but…” But what? To him, you just made it sound like you’re looking for water in a desert. “But I still need to find the right one.”

Him: Still looks bemused. And no wonder. I’m a young woman with a large community of men to meet who sounds like she’s practically given up on finding a mate after a prolonged and arduous search that hasn’t turned up any results. Am I not being a little pathetic? I’ve gone out with a significant but still relatively small number of men compared to the amount of potentials out there. I’m in a forest of guys, and I feel, act, and speak as if I’m in a desert.

Zoom out. Refocus. Whoa, what a view.


13 thoughts on “Seeing the Forest, Not the Clearing

  1. Having these conversations can feel pitiful! I had a similar conversation 4 years ago during a 3 month summer internship in a different city. It was a good community and long enough period to go on dates and, hopefully, start a relationship that could lead to marriage in the next year (so I hoped!), so I was taking full advantage. At an after-work event, I mentioned that I was being picked up by a gentleman. My conversation partner found it curious that I was even dating in a city hours away from where I lived, much less thinking about marriage. After that, they said things to me about dating that felt slightly mocking, and I just felt silly.

  2. And I stopped socializing much with the folks from work because after that I just felt a bit like an outcast. That feeling was probably my imagination, but it taught me to attempt never to discuss “internal” cultural subjects like that because no one understands the references. Maybe it’s also unprofessional for a woman to say how eager she is to get married. I would discuss it with another religious person — a Mormon or an evangelical or a Muslim — because they have a shidduch crisis too, but most secular people view marriage as something that happens after an enormously long process.

  3. Bad4:
    There is certainly a message here – that perhaps the essence of the ‘shidduch crisis’ is that in trying to control so much of the key preliminary elements of the process, well-meaning parties (such as parents, shadchanim etc) are actually raising the barriers so high that meetings/dates between potentially appropriate singles are that much less likely to happen.
    B’hatzlacha rabba – your bashert is out there…

  4. I had that epiphany yesterday. We think alike – we should totally be friends! When’s the next ice cream meet? ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. throw away everything you know about a shidduch crisis. Look in your own back yard (so to speak). I met my wife in the park on a shabbos afternoon in a group of jewish singles. we went out for two and a half weeks and got married a year ago. when you start worrying about not finding someone you paralyze yourself with fear.

  6. I found that sometimes, well-meaning non-Jewish colleagues would try to set me up with frum men of their acquaintance purely because we were both frum, as though that was a sufficient basis for a relationship. I had the sense that they vaguely thought that any single Orthodox man would do.

  7. I absolutely love your style of writing and thinking. It is a rare person amongst the few people that I know about who thinks and sees the world the way that you do.

  8. And I wish I could write ๐Ÿ™‚ Last sentence should have the s’s in thinks and sees removed.

  9. It doesn’t end until you end it. I also had a hard time answering the questions my highly professional colleagues would ask like when will I stop having kids. The culture barriers are hopefully very large, so I too stopped socializing too much with them.

  10. There’re tons of goyim that are looking to get married but haven’t found the right one yet. And yet there’re billions of other goyim…
    it’s not like it’s simple for any dynamic!

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