Friday, May 22, 2009

Baltimore Guy fallout

Ziva Kramer sent me an encouraging email:

Only you can know if you can handle it!
Take it easy. Relax.... if he doesn't want to keep shabbat you should not date him!
Stay strong. Shabbat Shalom.

Only time will tell whether she'll consider me worthy of a set-up or a kookster who should die alone and childless ;)

Not all of my friends have been as supportive. I shouldn't say they're not being supportive; they're just disagreeing with me. Which is fine -- I don't need a crowd of yes men, and it can help to get other perspectives on a situation. In this case, though, I'm not sure they're right.

Most of these friends are Facebook friends. They read my blog and my status updates, and we exchange emails and IMs. But they haven't met me in person. I don't know if that means I should discount their opinion in favor of people who have met me in real life.

One friend, Paul, wrote me:

I think you cry about Baltimore guy because something tells you that you should go out with him, and you are afraid.

I am not pushing you to get married - better to stay single than to make a horrible mistake by rushing into marriage for the sake of marriage. On the other hand, you are 30-something and you need to look at how a "frum" woman got to be that age without being married, and not always blame it on the shortcomings of others or their failure to make the cut.

Getting to the point: 1. You are worried about his frumkeit when he is willing to be shomer shabbat, etc. Yet, you are not so frum - you, for example are not shomer negiya. Don't you think you should be a little more forgiving and flexible? It's not like he said "Shabbos? You must be joking!"

2. Wicked step-mother? You're setting up a straw man there - there is no problem yet. You don't know them, and they aren't so young. You should first meet and see if the first date goes anywhere.

3. New city? Yes, that's a challenge, but if our ancestors could go through what they went through, from Exodus to leaving Russia etc. for the other side of the world, you can move to a nice city only a 3 hour drive away from your beloved New York. Neither one of them is Eretz Yisrael, where every shomer-mitzvot person should be. It's worth it for your happiness. And if it's not Baltimore, it might be Boston, or Toronto.

I responded:

To be honest, I could deal with one or two of the things that bother me, but not all of them. And I think the major reason I'm single is also the reason I'm not unhappily married or divorced. And it's the fact that his children aren't so young that worries me. Teenagers are hard enough to deal with when they're your own -- to take on two of them (and live with one, and another child) just seems very daunting.

My mother's family went from Poland to Russia to Uzbekistan to Germany to Detroit to Chicago by the time she was 15. I'm not saying I'm not adaptable. But I struggled tremendously when I moved to NYC -- it was a huge and extremely difficult adjustment. I don't know if I can do it again -- on top of all the other issues. Like I said, this guy seems nice but there are numerous problems, and I just don't think I can cope with all of them.

Paul's take?

I think you should do the date, asses whether and to what extent there are issues, rather than theorizing and hypothesizing. I think the main reason you're single is that you are afraid of being unhappily married or divorced. At some point you'll have to take a chance, or remain single.

That's a thinker.

Another friend, Cecilia, gave me her $.02 as well:

There is always something scary about a prospective partner, but this book you read is full of bad case scenarios!!! There are also a lot of incompetent mothers out there you know??? Why do you let fear get hold of you? When an opportunity knocks you must look at it for what it could turn out to be!! And not sabotage it before it even gets a chance. I think you should push negative thoughts out of the window.

I would certainly think about the teenagers, but knowing you a bit... Maybe just maybe God put you in their path to help. Can you imagine the joy, respect and recognition a man would give you for loving his daughters when their own mother was too busy for it! What I am trying to say is there is always another side to the coin... And all this I tell you because I want the best for you, and I do think you complicate things!

They make a lot of valid points. I've also wondered whether my fear of this shidduch was groundless, or the yetzer hora. But I just feel too uncomfortable about Baltimore Guy. I can't get over it. I've tried really hard, but I can't be happy about him. Even though he earned the Life Coach seal of approval. And I've gone on too many bad dates that led nowhere and were just a waste of time and energy.

Of course, you could say that those dates led nowhere because I wasn't really open to their possibilities -- a self-fulfilling prophecy. I don't think it will work out with this guy. Will you look at that? It didn't!

My head is pounding. I usually never get headaches. I went to sleep with a headache, woke up with a headache, and still have a headache. Either I'm somaticizing stress from my work situation, the Shimona debacle, and the Baltimore Guy situation, or my headband is too tight.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"


  1. FWIW, I think you can trust your gut, here. The crying and agonizing are coming from guilt - you don't want to reject this suggestion, because doesn't that mean you're being picky? Won't that make you look 'difficult' in the eyes of these shadchanim?

    It might. But your concerns are very valid, and your emotional well-being is more important than the perception of this shadchanit.

    The release of that stepmom book and all the concomitant articles was just bad timing. But it does validate your concerns. And when you add the Shabbat thing (which I don't consider such a huge deal) and the Baltimore thing (which could be a major upset for you, given your circumstance), it's worth looking for prospects that are closer to home.

    That said, I happen to like Baltimore.

    Have a great shabbos!

  2. I won't lie to you. It's not easy step parenting. That being said, I think when you thought it out rationally there are many reasons to say no to this guy, not just the step children.

    Let it go and let go of the guilt too!

    your favorite lubavitch step-mommy.

  3. thanks, both of you. I feel better.