So Many Options! Just Choose One.

beak up with five technologies]


Don’t get me wrong. Breaking up via text message is a little bit cowardly. But it’s better than breaking up via absenteeism.

Gentlemen, I’m curious: has a woman ever broken up with you simply by not returning you calls? That seems like the closest equivalent to break-up via non-calling, but I somehow can’t imagine it actually happening. Am I wrong?

I was recently charmed to be witness to the following: Girl went out with Guy. Guy never called back. After a week of waiting, Girl decides he’s not calling. Spends a month being peeved at him, gets over it.

Girl and Guy wind up at a Shabbos table together. Girl is charming (as usual). Guy shoots her a text after Shabbos trying to get back together again.

Girl: “Why now?”

Guy: “I guess you were just more pretty and fun than you were on the date.”

Girl: “Well the way you ‘broke up’ with me told me something about you, and I’m no longer interested.”


No, not her comment. I mean the bridge. There is a reason why human beings strive to retain harmonious relationships with the people around them. It just makes life so much more pleasant. Also, you never know when you might decide to ask one of them out. Again.


So Distracted… By Work

I love my job! I can’t imagine how society functioned before everyone had jobs. One day, I shall have to pull out a few Jane Austen novels and peruse them just to find out: what excuse do you come up with for letting a relationship tail off when you haven’t got a job?

I’m thinking of the guy with whom I had a great pre-date telephone conversation. Or at least, I thought it was great, and pre-date.
“I’d love to drive in for a date,” the guy said at the end of the call. “But I’m really busy with work these days. Let me be in touch when I find the time to come in.”

Odd thing, that. The shadchan had assured me he was unemployed. I guess he was busy hunting for a job? I should mention that this happened two months ago. I haven’t heard from him since. Phew! Unemployment sure does swallow your time!

And what about the guy who was everything (in theory) that a Dater could want? Granted, she wasn’t especially attracted to him, but that could come with time. She wasn’t going to throw out a great guy like this on a technicality. He was steady, he was sensible, he had a good job he loved, he was responsible…

Darnit about the job! Turns out he loved that job more than he loved her. They went out a few times, spoke on the phone, exchanged a few emails, and then…

“Sorry this was so short. I’m really busy with work. I’ll email you something longer when I have more time.”

That was the last she heard of him.

Sometimes, late at night, she wonders if she should have done something when he disappeared. Called the cops and reported a missing beau, probably buried under a toppled pile of documents in the back of a government office… What with the sequester, they might have cut the cleaning crew, and nobody would ever find his body now until they cut the A/C in the fall and it started smelling.

When someone starts using work as an excuse for falling out of touch, it means the relationship is dead—they just haven’t acknowledged the body yet. They’re like the girlfriend who propped her dead BF in his lazyboy, turned the TV to NASCAR, and placed a beer in his hand. Unable to admit that they’d crossed the point where gravity was exerting an inexorable tug on their bond, they waffle along until they drift so far apart they don’t even realize they’ve broken up.

I’ve done it. I’ve even used work as an excuse. And I hate that lack of closure. I guess it’s closure enough that neither of us pursued closure. But if I could go back, I’d ditch the cowardice, be a (wo)man, step up to the plate, and say, “Let’s break up.”

That’s what a friend of mine had to do.

Things were thrumming along between the two of them—they went out twice a week, texted several times a day, and spoke almost every night. Until Pesach.

“sry,” he texted after their week apart. “been bsy w/wrk.”

A few days later she called to ask if they were “okay.”

“Yes, of course we’re okay,” he said, a little distracted. They spoke about the weather for a half-hour and hung up. Two days later he texted that maybe they needed some time apart to think about “things.” Unwilling to watch their relationship die, slowly, writhing on the hot pavement, she did what he should have done. She talked him though a breakup. Via text message.

Then she sat down on her living room floor and cried for two weeks straight.

Quote: Of Gentlemen and Cowards

“Why did your guy break up with you over the phone after one date, but I just got dumped via text after three months by a guy who’s been logging into Frumster for a week already?”

Granted, it is much harder to break up after three months versus one date. One could even argue that after one date it isn’t really “breaking up.” But still.


On Breaking Up

Sometimes I wonder.

Maybe it’s better if a guy/gal breaks up badly. Then, in the coming weeks while you mourn the loss of your relationship, you can keep telling yourself how lucky you are to find out what a huge jerk (s)he really is, before it was too late.

But is that really better?

For me,  no. Because there are really two basic ways to react to a breakup. You can feel sorry for yourself, or you can feel angry at the other person. Personally, I can’t feel sorry for myself for more than a week or two. It just feels stupid and self-indulgent. Tearing up in public, losing my appetite, flopping on the couch doing nothing all evening… Surely my life isn’t that damaged by this guy’s exit from it? Am I really sad for the loss of him, or am I indulging in some self-pity? That is a path I fear to tread so much it can shake me out of sadness.

But being resentful? That, I’m sorry to say, lasts somewhat longer. As Congreve says, “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.”

So, for me at least, it’s better for a fellow to break up like a gentleman, with a prepared telephone speech about how it’s not me it’s him, and he’s really enjoyed all our time together, or whatever other true-but-still-trite platitudes he chooses to apply to our situation. Because in a week I’ll be wishing him well, albeit regretfully. Whereas the alternative is that in a month I’ll still be stewing over how obnoxious he was and how could he say that?

Dear Bad4: What’s Progress?

I’m not a dating guru. If I knew so much about dating, I’d probably be married by now.

Which is not to say that married people know lots about dating. Some of them seem to just fall into it accidentally. Going out with three people and getting married does not, actually, qualify you to give dating advice. Then again, neither does going out 100 times and never getting past the first “where do we stand” conversation. In fact, the only person I’d trust to give me dating advice is someone who’s been married multiple times. And obviously, they’re doing something wrong too.

Still, we all need dating advice at times, and really, who else is there to turn to except our fellow daters? So I’m going to crowdsource this one. Here’s the question – tell me your answers. I’ll save mine for whenever I get the chance to write it.

Dear Bad4,

I just broke up with a guy I really liked. In a long, late-night conversation he said he wasn’t sure where he stood in life and where he wanted to go and he just didn’t think we were making progress. What does that mean? Because all the guys I break up with say the same thing. We go out for months and then they say that we’re just not making progress. What kind of progress are we supposed to be making when we can’t progress to second base?


Golden Gal


Just So You Know

To the guy I guess I’m not dating anymore:

After our last date, I started wondering how to break up with you. Text? Email? Telephone? In person? I decided we’d gone out enough times and you seemed a decent enough guy that you deserved the telephone.

I guess I was wrong.

Your complete failure to contact me since we last met suggests a level of cowardice I hadn’t guessed at. One of the things I liked about you was your confidence. I guess it was just swagger. Guys I would describe as timid have been able to make the phone call. Why couldn’t you?

So I just wanted you to know: I dumped you first. And thank you for removing any possibly regrets I might have had on that consideration.

SAT Question: Shadchanim Help More People Get Engaged Faster

It’s been a while since I wrote a 5-paragraph essay, so excuse me if it comes out klunky. But my response to Thinking Jewish Girl’s post sounded so much like a response to an SAT essay prompt that it seemed the natural form for this post to take. Since fat paragraphs weary the online reader, I have taken the liberty of breaking up my 5 paragraphs into smaller, bite-sized chunks. But the droning style remains. 


Orthodox Jewish singles generally do not ask each other out on dates directly. Instead, they communicate through a shadchan—a matchmaker—whose involvement ranges from introducing the couple to setting up the time and location for their dates and communicating any concerns or reservations after the date.

Thinking Jewish Girl states that the shadchan is an important assistant in expediting a couple’s engagement and marriage because if the couple had to speak about their reservations directly with each other they would have disagreements and break up over minor differences. I disagree. I think the shadchan actually increases the likelihood of a couple breaking up over minor differences by preventing both parties from having to discuss their reservations with each other.


Thinking Jewish Girl is right that a very involved shadchan can smooth over many differences. If a girl is distressed because her beau didn’t wear a tie, for example, or tip the waiter generously, the shadchan can relay to the boy that these things are important to her. This works for larger differences as well. If the boy is worried that the girl is too career oriented to spend time at home with her children, but doesn’t feel comfortable challenging the girl about it, the shadchan can tip off the girl, who can then make a point of expounding upon her maternal persuasions on the next date. Thus, it is true that a shadchan can help two young and shy people smooth over many differences.


However, a shadchan does not always have a clear picture of what occurs on the date, and one of the daters can easily leave out important information or simply refuse to pass it along. A young man may not feel comfortable telling an older woman that he found his date’s eating habits unattractive, or a young woman may not want to say that the guy gave her a creepy vibe or scrapes and stacks. In many cases, all the shadchan hears is a brief summary and a “yes, I’d like to go out again” or the reverse, “no, I don’t think she’s for me.”

And there are many reasons why a shadchan may be unable or unwilling to press for details. As a result of this dynamic, it is easy for one of the daters to turn down another date without providing sufficient reason to the shadchan. This essentially stonewalls the shadchan, preventing him/her from filling that essential role TJG assumes in her statement.


If daters could not break up through a shadchan, they would have to break up in person, meaning by communicating directly with their partner. In many cases, a simple “not for me” would not be sufficient. Some sort of reasoning would be required. Faced with wide eyes and silence, most people will strive to fill the silence, often with excuses or explanations. This would force a dialogue between the couple, wherein they examine their differences and decide, together, if it is worth breaking up over. Breaking up is simply much more difficult. Couples who have to break up in person using ‘State of the Union’ conversations are more likely to date for longer before breaking up than couples able to break up through a shadchan.


Therefore, I believe, that while shadchanim perform an important service in connecting young people who might otherwise be too shy to ask each other out directly, they also do some harm, by permitting those people to be just as shy about breaking up, and do it more easily, sooner, and with less provocation by doing it indirectly.

I’ll Tell You Why… Or Maybe Not.

In the name of preserving feelings we usually don’t give completely honest reasons for saying no to a further date. The parsimonious phrases we provide the shadchan do not really do justice to our feelings, and often mask more interesting issues than our word choice makes apparent. Some reasons I’ve chosen not to date further:

Not the same wavelength – We just didn’t seem to understand each other. He took my jokes seriously and I didn’t recognize a single one of his cultural references. I don’t need a guy who understands what I mean if I answer “how are you” with “my circadian rhythm needs adjusting.” But I do need a guy who can tell that I’m kidding when I bring up my chulent-flavored popsicle business plan.

No chemistry – I just don’t… I just can’t see… eugh. Just not interested in taking it further, okay?

Not my type – Yes, there are types. We’re not the same type. And I know that opposites attract, so I guess we weren’t opposites either. If types can be arranged in a circle, maybe we’re at 65-degree angles. Or 130 degrees. Some awkward angles that just don’t complement each other. Like trying to connect cheetahs and lions. Yeah they’re both cats, and yeah we’re both nerds, but very different types. Forget it. Not happening.

It just didn’t go well – Read: Boring. Maybe conversation flowed, but I don’t remember it. My eyes were glazing over – wait, was it about his thesis exploring the scientific potential for Star Trek-inspired technology? He’s a nice guy, but not for me. Except at bedtime. Then he’d probably be handy.

Not for me – Meaning, he’s a jerk. If that was his best behavior I’d hate to see him on a bad day. Not amusing, though I’m sure he intended it that way. Or maybe he didn’t. Maybe he quite solemnly ignores his dates, mocks strangers, and torments the busboy as a matter of course. Which is even scarier.

Not for me – He’s wonderful. He knows it. Yuck.

Not what I’m looking for – Listen, a girl has some needs in a marriage. I don’t want a guy I can walk all over. I don’t think it would be good for either of us. And I don’t want a guy who is too much like me – I think one of us is more than enough in a couple. And not somebody who I can’t respect – yeah, sorry, but I thought that other one was a waste of space. A charming waste of space, but a waste nonetheless. He should offer to pay for his oxygen. Maybe this is all very vague, but I can tell that this guy is just not going to work long term. But thanks for thinking of me.

I just don’t see it – What the heck were you thinking?!?!?