Friday, October 30, 2009

Shalva's not impressed with SOS

That's so tacky that he told you he met another social worker. In general, I'm finding that we met 2 very short times, and he seems to need to talk or text every second and isn't getting my signals to back off.

His mom broke her wrist and then got the flu, so we couldn't meet last week. So I drove him to the airport and called that a date. Who set you up?


I'm actually kind of disappointed that she doesn't like him, and that his trip to NYC didn't result in a great date. Not sure why.

mutual friend who was at university when both of us were (at different times, of course)... he wasn't overwhelming me with communication, so he must really like you

Maybe there's hope...
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

It's a VERY small dating world

Got an email from my friend Shalva:

Whatya know about SOS? Don't tell him I asked. Do you know his ex from Montreal and if he's a mench?

Small dating world. Aviva went out with him too. And talked about him at the dinner she and Shalva co-hosted last month. I wrote back:

So you're the other social worker he met... He and I were set up back in like July. Because of my Alaska cruise and his travel plans, we couldn't meet until after the chagim. I met someone else, he met you, and we never actually went out. (We were supposed to on Oct. 24, which is why he bought plane tix, but then he used them to see you instead.)

He seems like a mensh, but I never met him in person. Aviva did, she went out with him once. I don't know his ex. He's very smart and funny on the phone and email.


I left it at that. Whatever happens with JV, I guess I'm definitely never going out with SOS.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

Monday, October 26, 2009

Existential dilemma

I had a wonderful, romantic, rat-free weekend with JV. So why am I in such a terrible mood today?

Could be the changing season. It's definitely fall, I'm getting less sun. I started using my light box again today. The rats chewed through a lamp cord but didn't ruin my light box. I guess I was lucky. Unfortunately, I threw away the lamp before JV could tell me he knows how to rewire a lamp. I should have assumed he could. Russians are very handy.

And this one is definitely never going to be orthodox. Or conservadox. Or shomer shabbat. Or fully shomer kashrut. It's just not going to happen. I'm not going to be able to undo all the damage that his ex-wife and the frum community have wrought.

Or as JV puts it: "It infuriates me to see you sacrificing your life and your happiness on the altar of this bullshit."

How do I turn my back on 20 years of my life? And yet, I can't entirely disagree with him. I've suffered tremendously at the hands of numerous "frum" dates, boyfriends, roommates, business partners, and administrators. (The Bad Place is part of an allegedly orthodox institution. None of the evil professors were frum -- one wasn't even Jewish -- but the higher-ups at the institutional level are, and they failed to help me when I was being abused and harassed.)

A friend of mine posted the most depressing poll ever on Facebook:

I am looking to (unscientifically) collect data about young, single, Shabbat-observant Jews who eat Shabbat meals alone more than twice a month. Are you one of them? Also, please mention:

1. where you live (city, neighborhood, whatever)

2. whether you eat alone by circumstance (no one invited you and you didn't want to make food and invite others) or choice (you had a good book that you really wanted to read while curled up in your PJs and it's hard to do that with guests around)

Thanks and feel free to share with others! It's for something I'd like to write, and nobody's name will be used without their explicit permission. (I'm not planning on using names anyway, mostly just want to get a sense of whether there's a story here or not.)

I didn't want to admit that I'm usually alone on Shabbat these days. I just don't bother calling families anymore to shnorr for an invitation. And I didn't have to say it, because someone else said it for me:

There are so many singles that eat Shabbos meals alone, sad as it seems... I think the older one gets, the more likely it is to happen; many are embarrassed to be "that single" at a family's table, others can't find a peer group of singles who would make meals together, and many have just given up on the stress of finding a meal week after week...

I could have written that.

Why do I feel like a failure every weekend?

Why do I feel such antipathy when I see other frum Jews -- as if every one of them has judged and rejected me?

How can I abandon 20 years of practice -- and bad dates, and worse boyfriends, and awful roommates, and good friends -- for the chance to find love, respect, companionship, and possibly children?

If I don't, am I sacrificing my life and happiness on an altar of bullshit?

If I'm not orthodox, who am I?
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Existential dilemma

I had a wonderful, romantic, rat-free weekend with JV. So why am I in such a terrible mood today?

Could be the changing season. It's definitely fall, I'm getting less sun. I started using my light box again. The rats chewed through a lamp cord but didn't ruin my light box. I guess I was lucky. Unfortunately, I threw away the lamp before JV could tell me he knows how to rewire a lamp. I should have assumed he could. Russians are very handy.

And this one is definitely never going to be orthodox. Or conservadox. Or shomer shabbat. Or fully shomer kashrut. It's just not going to happen. I'm not going to be able to undo all the damage that his ex-wife and the frum community have wrought. Or as JV puts it: "It infuriates me to see you sacrificing your life and your happiness on the altar of this bullshit."

How do I turn my back on 20 years of my life? And yet, I can't entirely disagree with him. I've suffered tremendously at the hands of numerous "frum" dates, boyfriends, roommates, business partners, and administrators. The Bad Place is part of an allegedly orthodox institution. None of the evil professors were frum -- one wasn't even Jewish -- but the higher-ups at the institutional level are, and they failed to help me when I was being abused and harassed.

A friend of mine posted the most depressing poll ever on Facebook:

I am looking to (unscientifically) collect data about young, single, Shabbat-observant Jews who eat Shabbat meals alone more than twice a month. Are you one of them?

Also, please mention:

1. where you live (city, neighborhood, whatever)
2. whether you eat alone by circumstance (no one invited you and you didn't want to make food and invite others) or choice (you had a good book that you really wanted to read while curled up in your PJs and it's hard to do that with guests around)

Thanks and feel free to share with others!

It's for something I'd like to write, and nobody's name will be used without their explicit permission. (I'm not planning on using names anyway, mostly just want to get a sense of whether there's a story here or not.)

I didn't want to admit publicly that I'm usually alone on Shabbat these days. I just don't bother calling families anymore. And I didn't have to, because someone else said it for me:

There are so many singles that eat Shabbos meals alone, sad as it seems... I think the older one gets, the more likely it is to happen; many are embarrassed to be "that single" at a family's table, others can't find a peer group of singles who would make meals together, and many have just given up on the stress of finding a meal week after week...

I could have written that.

Why do I feel like a failure every weekend?

Why do I feel such antipathy when I see other frum Jews -- as if each one of them has judged and rejected me?

Am I sacrificing my life on an altar of bullshit?

Should I abandon 20 years of practice -- and loneliness, and awful dates, and some really good friends -- for love, respect, and the possibility of children?
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The rats are back

Yesterday the exterminator came into my apartment and left behind a can of foam sealant. Last night, as JV and I were hanging out, a rat scampered from behind my bookcase into the kitchen. I haven't had a chance to fully clean out my apartment, and now I'm going to be couch-surfing again for a while. At work I'm preparing myself and my clients for the move. I might not have a chance to blog for a while. Don't forget me while I'm gone...
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Don't mess this up, Ayelet

Well, the rats are finally out of my apartment, and now I desperately need to clean it up because the exterminator really tossed it. As bad as it looked before, it's horrible now.

S. offered to help. I met her in person for the first time today. She was living in Israel when we became Facebook friends; now she's living in Brooklyn, where I traveled today to get my hair cut. (Another friend with similarly thick and curly hair told me her stylist was amazing, so I went to her today. Not sure I'm happy with the results, but we'll see how I look in the morning.)

So S. and I met up for lunch after my haircut. It was really nice to meet her in person; she is as cool and funny IRL as she is online, although for some reason I thought her voice would be flutier. We talked about many things, but of course JV was front and center. Why? Because now that I like him, I'm terrified I'll drive him away as I've done with all the other guys I liked. And because we have all these religious issues and differences.

I'm trying to make sure I have my own life outside of JV. I spent Shabbat with my friend Miriam; she not only gave me shelter Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday nights but made a nice Friday night dinner and took me to her friends for Shabbos lunch. Then Miriam and I went to Brooklyn Saturday night (I'm spending a lot of time in Brooklyn this week) to go to a friend's birthday party. I called JV from the party, and he was tired, so we didn't really talk, and today he's exhausted because he threw a birthday party for his younger son, so we probably won't talk tonight either.

I should not interpret this as a sign that JV is losing interest in me -- especially since, after the rat infestation (which he helped me through), he's now my official boyfriend. At least he said he was, and I didn't contest it. I guess I'm kind of freaked because we had a weird conversation Thursday night.

I don't remember what we said too clearly. We were supposed to go out to dinner, but first we went to my apartment to see if the exterminator had gotten rid of the rats. Since he hadn't -- I spent some more time screaming, and JV spent some more time calming me down -- we went out to dinner before I went back to Miriam's. I had a few glasses of wine, which also contributes to my faulty memory, but one thing stands out clear: JV cannot say that he loves me right now. Instead, there's a turbulent mass of feelings that confuse him.

This is perfectly normal, fair, and understandable. It's been 20 years, and even though it took JV a long time to get over me, apparently he did accomplish that. And there's no reason to believe JV definitely won't fall in love with me again. I just wish he would already, so I could feel safe again with him. Before, as much as he annoyed me or didn't seem to be what I needed, I always knew he adored me and thought I was the most beautiful woman in the world. Right now he's playing his cards much closer to the vest, and I feel insecure.

Of course, this is vastly unfair to JV. He has more at stake right now than I do -- he has children. And he's worried about being able to take care of them and cope with me as well, because, let's face it, I am pretty high-maintenance. I'm trying to be less so -- less demanding, less needy, less clingy. It's not easy.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Ayelet sees a rat

For once, it wasn't sitting across from me at Darna. It was a gray sewer rat in my kitchen. Last night I thought I heard things running around and knocking stuff over, but I hoped it was a restless upstairs neighbor. Today, I saw the actual rat, climbing the wall like a squirrel.

The exterminator is coming tomorrow, but how am I going to sleep tonight? With the lights on.

Times like these I really feel single. I'd call JV, but he's got his children tonight.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

A lot less guilty

After SOS asked me last Friday to set him up immediately with my single friends, I was so annoyed that I didn't write back until Monday:

ha ha... seriously?

I didn't hear from him until this afternoon:

Of course! and if you were in my shoes, you'd feel the same way! :-) After all, it's not like i LIVE in NY City. I only get there a few times a year...

As it turns out, I just met an awesome social-worker -- who lives in NY City, but grew up in the Midwest, and was back here visiting family for Yom Tov. (Amazingly, she's also in her late 30's -- i can't escape these older women). ;-) So, we're going out again on 10/24/09.

How're things going with the (somewhat) new man in your life? regards, SOS

I suppose I should be glad things worked out for SOS -- he won't be eating his airfare -- but I still think he was pretty rude. I decided to let it go, though, and just wrote back:

Fine, thank you. Good luck to you.

I guess now I can go out with JV that Saturday night as well as Sunday -- I wanted to go shopping for new glasses for him; he wants to go look at foliage. If we go to Jersey, we might be able to do both.

I'm also starting to feel less guilty about stomping on JV's heart and mashing that sucker flat 20 years ago.

"I told Dima that you and I met up again," JV said. Dima is short for Dmitry, JV's best college friend and roommate, who apparently listened to JV complain about me, every night, for years after we broke up.

"He must hate me," I said.

"Actually, he doesn't," said JV. "I asked him what he remembered from the time you and I were going out, and he said, 'You were happy.' I was happy, Ayelet. I never regretted going out with you, even when my heart was broken."

So at the very least, I made JV very happy for a little while. Hopefully I can accomplish that again without being as imperious and demanding as I was at age 19.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

Monday, October 12, 2009

Better, I guess

I wasn't hit by any cars this Simchat Torah. By default, the year's going better so far. I didn't spend much time in shul, but I did spend a fair amount of time with Miriam and her guests, which was a lot of fun. And a lot of time missing JV. Out of habit I scoped the unfamiliar male faces, but nobody really attracted me.

I found myself experiencing a great deal of antipathy, though, toward the "frum community." It started Thursday night, when I was shopping for kugels to bring to Miriam -- I didn't feel up to cooking. The kosher grocery store was crowded with unfamiliar faces and heads in yarmulkes. And I felt alienated. I don't know why. I just didn't like all the people I saw and wanted to get home as soon as possible.

Friday night, dinner with Miriam and 8 of her closest friends. Some of them I liked, some I didn't. Walking to and from her apartment, seeing all the unfamiliar MOT strangers, I felt annoyed and disconnected. Except when I saw Eric being dragged home by his energetic 4-year-old son. I like Eric and Ahuva; I respect them. I don't know if JV would.

Saturday night I went to a big oneg at a local synagogue. Saw more friends, and plenty of men I've dated and/or slept with. Some people whom I like, more whom I don't. Met up with Miriam & co. From there we went to another big party, where a group of men passed around shots of Scotch and toasted their divorces. Pathetic? Creepy? I don't know anymore.

Sunday, big meal at Ozer's. Included a guy I dated back in 1993 and his wife and four kids, two of whom are 8 months old. I got to hold the babies a fair amount -- to the point where if other women demanded a turn, the baby would cry and reach for me. Always nice to be the babies' favorite. Had a nice chat with the guy. Wondered what would have happened if I'd given him more of a chance back then, since he seems to be a pretty good husband and father. Ah well, regrets are pointless.

Sunday night, out to dinner with JV. Who's still mad at the way I've been treated by the frum community, and the frum men I've dated.

"I hate to say it, but it reminded me of a dog that's been kicked, and kicked again, and instead of biting tries to lick the boot that's kicking it," he said. Russians have such a flair for metaphor.

And engineers love statistics. He thinks the chances of me finding happiness in the frum community -- i.e., a husband and children -- are quite low. And he wants me to be happy.

"Before we reconnected on Facebook, I always hoped you'd found someone," JV said.

"What did you feel when you realized I was still single?" I asked.

"Sorrow," he said. "Surprise. And part, 'I'm single, you're single....'"

I should probably just marry him and give up on being frum. Except he might not even be in a marrying frame of mind. He's been divorced three years, but maybe for him that's not enough. I just don't know. I just. Don't. Know.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

Friday, October 09, 2009

How honesty is rewarded

I had mentioned to SOS that if he's not right for me, I have cute, single, modern orthodox girlfriends I might be able to set him up wtih. Got an email from him at 8:56 a.m.

I have an idea: You can have one -- or more -- of your cute, single Modern Orthodox friends join us for coffee on 10/24/09! I mean, why wait -- right? We've spent an hour on the phone, and you know what I look like -- so you can judiciously choose whom to invite. ;-)

Not sure how to respond to this. I did not offer to be his pimp. I almost don't want to meet him at all. Given how annoyed I feel, I'm going to write back after Simchat Torah.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

Balancing act

My dinner date with JV got postponed from Tuesday to Wednesday, then canceled when JV got sick. But he came over kinda late last night, feeling better, just to hang out a little. So when SOS called, per my request to discuss things, I had to take the phone into the bathroom.

SOS was in a chatty mood, so I listened to him talk about some improvements he's making to his kitchen and the new project he's tackling at work. I talked to him about the changes at my job and how I'm handling them.

Then I said, "I need to tell you something.

"A little while back, I ran into an old college boyfriend on Facebook. Hadn't seen him in years. After we broke up, he got married, had a couple of kids, and got divorced. We've been spending some time together. I thought it was just going to be a friendship... but it seems there's something more there. I don't know where it's going to go, because there are a lot of issues, but I wanted to be upfront with you before you got here."

There was a pause.

"It would be pretentious of me to assume you wouldn't meet anyone else while waiting for me to visit," SOS finally said. "And I appreciate your honesty."

"I still think we should have a cup of coffee," I said. "I like you; you seem like a fun person and a nice guy. But I thought you deserved to know about the other guy. I'm not into games."

"Does this mean I don't have to pay for your coffee?" SOS joked. I told him about HealthNut; SOS was appalled.

"Someone needs to talk to guys like that," SOS said after he stopped laughing. "A rav, a rebbetsin, a normal person..."

"Not me," I said. "I fix broken men all day. I'm not doing it in my free time."

JV, if you're reading this -- it might be time for you to stop reading this.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

I need help with SOS

It's only been about a week since JV admitted his feelings for me and I realized that he looks pretty darn good with his new haircut. But I kinda don't want to date anyone else right now. Which is a problem, because SOS has bought his plane ticket and made plans to date me October 24 (and possibly October 25).

I wasn't sure what to do. On the one hand, is it fair to SOS to go out with him when my affections are somewhat engaged elsewhere? On the other, I don't know if he can get out of the plane ticket. Also, I don't know how things are going to go with JV -- should I at least meet with SOS to see if there's compatibility, and then back-burner him while the JV scenario plays out? I'm not sure I'm comfortable with that.

One solution would be to set SOS up with my friend Miriam, who is 31, fabulous, pretty, smart, and not dating any Russian engineers at the moment. But I wasn't sure about the etiquette of just offering SOS a trade-in.

On September 29, I wrote to Mottel, who introduced us:

After many delays, SOS and I are set to meet on October 24. He calls it "the most anticipated first date in history!" I'll definitely keep you posted.

Six days later, I wrote:

Hey Mottel, hope you're having a good Succot.

I have a dilemma. I have started seeing someone, and I guess I'm not comfortable "double dating." I feel very bad because SOS already got his tickets, so I don't know what to do. I do have a WONDERFUL friend who is 31, very smart, funny, cute, the whole package, but I don't know if I should just tell SOS I can't see him or try to simultaneously sell him on a newer model. Or if SOS and I should just meet for coffee anyway, because who knows, who knows?

I hope I hear back from him soon.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

Monday, October 05, 2009

Why indeed

A new article in Newsweek charges psychologists with ignoring evidence-based practice -- i.e., treatment that has been demonstrated effective -- in favor of "chaotic meditation therapy, facilitated communication, dolphin-assisted therapy, eye-movement desensitization" and more than 1,000 therapies that have not been demonstrated effective. The article goes on to state:

When confronted with evidence that treatments they offer are not supported by science, clinicians argue that they know better than some study what works. In surveys, they admit they value personal experience over research evidence, and a 2006 Presidential Task Force of the American Psychological Association—the 150,000-strong group dominated by clinicians—gave equal weight to the personal experiences of the clinician and to scientific evidence, a stance they defend as a way to avoid "cookbook medicine."

My social work program rigorously trained us in evidence-based practice; in addition, I participated in a statewide mental health education project. We did not study dolphins. We did learn how to apply proven techniques to unique individuals -- what the abovementioned clinicians deride as "cookbook medicine."
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

Where should we go for dinner?

My sister is a pain in the neck. Literally. I realized that every time I visit, I have a flareup of some kind of chronic pain. Partly to blame was my niece Malka, who likes me to sleep in her room.

In her bed, actually. She has a double bed, but she's a bed hog. I woke up the first morning curled up on one tiny portion of the mattress, and with a crick in my shoulder; during the day the muscle spasms just kept moving south until my lower back ached as well. (My lower back hasn't hurt since I slipped and fell in the cruise ship shower.) I felt better if I kept walking, but then my knees would start hurting.

"Why do you get sick every time you come here, Aunt Ayelet?" Malka asked. "Do we wear you out?" It broke my heart. I didn't want to tell her that being around Jerusha is extremely stressful for me. Because nothing I do is good enough for her, and everything I do or say she finds annoying or silly.

Although I finally realized that Jerusha is depressed, and maybe has been for a long time. Possibly her entire life. Usually women experience depression with internalizing symptoms, like guilt and sadness. Men, in contrast, usually externalize -- lashing out with anger and bitterness at those around them. Sound familiar?

I've been taking ibuprofin around the clock. It's not helping much. I'm hoping going back to work will at least distract me from the discomfort. I am almost out of prescription muscle relaxants, and I don't want to take one now or I'll never be able to wake up. So... I'm blogging.

JV and I spoke on the phone and made plans to have dinner Tuesday night.

"I want you to pick the restaurant," I said. "You don't like kosher restaurants. You resent paying $15 for a plate of pasta in a dairy restaurant. I don't want to feel like you're being cheated or whatever. I want you to pick a restaurant you'll be happy with."

"I'll be happy no matter where we go," said JV. "Don't worry about any of that. We can go to Prime Grill if you want." Proving he really has read the whole blog.

So, dear readers, where should he take me for dinner Tuesday night? (Anywhere but Prime Grill.)
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

Friday, October 02, 2009

I think I made the right call

I recently saw that the following person had viewed my Frumster profile and sent me an email saying his photo was under review:

49, Male
Divorced with a get, with more than one child
Shomer Mitzvot

Grew up in: NEW YORK
Consider relocation? Maybe
Wishing to make aliyah to Israel? Maybe
Jewish Education: reading
Secular Education: Law degree
Languages Spoken: English, Yiddish
Political Beliefs: right wing

About me...I'm a 49 years young man. Baal Tshuva for 10 years. Recentlly divorced (second time). have 3 children ages 25 (married) 4 and 2.5.Born in former USSR, came to the states in Oct. of 1978. Running my own business. Still fighting for the custody of my two little girls (physical custody. TOTALLY REFUSE TO GO BACK TO MY OLD LIFE STYLE LIKE MY X BETTER HALF.

I'm looking for G-d fearing, caring, honest, good sense of humor, good with kids, generous, open, giving, not overweight professional woman.. NOT A JAP! 35-45 years of age, although, I'm flexible in that respect...meaning, she could be my age.SHOLOM BIAS IMPORTANT TO ME THE MOST!

Twice divorced -- and not amicably the second time, apparently. Thinks he's flexible because he's willing to date women his own age. Ten years my senior. (I hate it when people refer to themselves as "x years young" rather than "x years old." It's beyond corny.)

I think I'm going to pass. I'll look at his photo, but I think I'm going to pass.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

Thursday, October 01, 2009

"Have you not read about yourself on my blog?"

I got an email on Facebook from "Bruce Wayne" -- one of the freaks I dated in common with my ex-friend Shimona.

BW: Question: Do u know my cousin: eye of the survivor?

What the -- ?

A: I don't understand your question. Is there someone who blogs as "eye of the survivor"?

BW: Is ur last name really survivor?

Who would even ask such a question?

A: no, it's a pseudonym

I.e., "Duh." Let's see if he knows what that means.

BW: Like ur profile pic?

Technically, no. A pseudonym is a pen name. My profile pic is Frida Kahlo's self-portrait. But I suppose it could be considered analogous.

A: yes, it's a disguise

BW: I can tell

Because you're so smart.

A: it's pretty obvious

BW: Any reason for the secrecy?

Um, yeah.

A: have you read my blog?

Including the post about you?

BW: No. Never heard of it. I don't read blogs

A: I created this identity to promote my blog.

Not a word since. Once again -- small world.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

A couple of surprises

"Please come into my office, Ayelet; I need to talk to you," said my boss.

"What did I do?" I thought frantically. "I've been back less than a day!" I called in sick Tuesday, after Yom Kippur, because I'd been feeling lousy for about five days. (I went to the doctor, who called yesterday with my blood work results. I don't have strep, mono, or swine flu, but my white blood cell count is low so I have to take antibiotics.)

It turns out that it actually wasn't my fault. My agency, which has several locations in NYC, is moving the dual diagnosis recovery program to another location. I face a choice: stay where I am and go back to being a regular drug counselor, or move with the program (and the majority of my clients) to the other location and continue to coordinate it.

It's not really much of a choice. I have to go with my clients if that's reasonably possible; that's the ethical thing to do, since most of them are attached to me. There are a few who have never been officially diagnosed with a psychiatric illness but need to continue working with me. I don't say this out of vanity -- it can be difficult to establish a new therapeutic bond, and some of them have huge issues we're only starting to delve into. It would be better clinically for these clients not to have to start all over with another therapist. My boss and I will have to get a little DSM-creative about finding diagnoses for them so they can transfer with me.

But I'll miss most of the people at my current location, and I'll sort of be starting over again. And it's my first job out of social work school. It will be a wrench.

"I'm surprised -- and touched -- that you're so ambivalent about leaving," said my boss.

"I like the people here," I said. And I do. Most of them.

The bigger surprise came from Jurassic Vassilievitch, who is a very convincing liar via email. Without getting into detail (I know, I'm usually all about the detail, but this concerns someone who actually cares about his privacy), he still has a lot of feelings for me, most of them very positive. Before, he said,

As I told you when we spoke, I loved the girl I knew 20 years ago. On some level, I will always care about you, but I can't go beyond that.

More like, when he looks at me now, he sees that girl and feels that love again. (Did I mention he's now a lot cuter with his new haircut? Also, he seems to have grown a spine since I knew him, which makes him a lot more interesting and less annoying, because he doesn't always give in to me. Apparently Russian fathers are very strict, and now that he's a Russian father, so is he.)

However, JV is dealing with one nightmarish ex-wife, and he's understandably wary about getting involved with someone who has a history of bipolar disorder, psychiatric hospitalization, and all my other baggage. Honestly, I can't blame him. It all sounds pretty frying pan-fire scary, especially if you've read my entire blog within the space of a few months. (Engineers. So thorough.) Also, he's not frum, and doesn't want to be. He keeps kosher, he observes Shabbat, but he does some things I currently don't.

I guess all I can do is spend more time with him, to see if we can find workable compromises to our differences, and bring him to an appointment with Dr. R, to allay some of JV's concerns about my stability. And get him some new glasses, because his current frames aren't helping him any.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"