Monday, March 26, 2012

Do I really have PTSD? or, Ayelet the Unfilial

Yesterday my mother ambushed me. Showed up at my apartment as I was just sitting down to finish my taxes, and said she wanted to take me to brunch. This could be because she sent me a book last week and I sent her this email in response:

Subject: Leave me alone
Don't send me books. It's too late to fix the life you and your idiot boyfriend ruined. As long as you're living with and supporting that degenerate pervert, you are dead to me. I wish you had died instead of Daddy. He never would have let anyone give pornography to his children. I hope you die alone and in pain, like I will.

And when she came to see me, I repeated those sentiments until she left. I wanted to hit her. I actually pushed her away from me, although not very hard. I screamed at her. I hissed at her. When she left, my heart was pounding.

Where do I go when I'm upset and alone? Facebook, of course.

11:01 am: My mother just came over unannounced to see if she could take me to brunch. I told her that as long as she gives the filthy pervert a comfortable retirement, I want nothing to do with her. Fuck. I was supposed to finish my taxes today, and now I'm all upset.

(I'll be sharing with you several friends' comments, and I am just going to use their initials to identify them, because I've run out of clever monikers.)
HR: do it anyway - or he's stolen yet another good/productive day from u!
Good point.
JDB: Isn't that why G-d invented accountants?
Ayelet: It's easy enough when you're not ambushed by your inconsiderate selfish mother.
I was furious, and I couldn't calm myself down. I couldn't focus on my taxes. I couldn't eat.

3/25/12, 11:19 am: How do you forgive the person who ruined your life and suffered no consequences for it?

I went to do some shopping, which wasn't very successful because I couldn't really concentrate.

5:14 pm: my heart is still THUMPING, hours after the confrontation with my mother. wonder if I'll develop hypertension.

Because I'm an optimist. I assume things will just keep looking up. Or going up.
JDB: No you won't. We still want our mothers even after what they put us through. Confrontation is hard. Have you heard from her since?
Ayelet: No, because I told her to leave me alone. She's supporting my abuser. I don't want her in my life.
JS: PTSD. You have to work through this.
Do I have post-traumatic stress disorder? I joked that I was traumatized by my last job -- before this job got around to traumatizing me. I haven't written about it because I still work there, but let's just say I'm stressed and unhappy, and not because, like most social workers, I have too much work and too little compensation.

Could I really have PTSD from my upbringing?

3/26/12, 11:45am: Ayelet Survivor is very very very very tired
JR: Of other people's crap?
Ayelet: yes, but exhausted physically as well... my heart is still pounding abnormally after yesterday's confrontation with my mother
JS: You experienced "Fight or Flight" adrenaline.
Ayelet: well, it must still be in my system because my heart is still pounding after every little thing
JS: Yes, it is still in your system. You are having a classic PTSD reaction.
LM: I am not following - I understand feeling anger and rejection, but where does the anxiety/pounding heart come from?
JS: Ayelet had an emotional and physical reaction as though the abuse was happening in that moment yesterday -- so, of course, today she is still reeling from the experience. She was confronted with a very real trauma yesterday, POST the initial trauma, but the feelings and the reaction were in real time yesterday.
JS: PTSD is a very serious disorder that painfully afflicts millions of people -- many 9/11 victims and their families, rape and incest survivors, child abuse survivors, and returning combat vets among them. The pounding heart, sleeplessness, and generalized anxiety are only part of it: over-eating, drug taking, risk-taking, and sexual risk-taking are also symptoms.
JS: Ayelet, you must get help specifically targeted to your PTSD so that you can manage the symptoms. You feel as though you just narrowly escaped (or failed to escape) abuse yesterday. But you were safe in your apartment with over 1,000 friends rooting for your safety. You are ok. You ARE safe.
Over-eating. That sounds about right. A friend emailed me privately:

I've got PTSD and panic disorder. This happens with me *all* the time. You're experiencing the residuals of a panic attack. You're gonna be fine. Rest it off, eat some good food if you can stomach it, and if you feel up to it, I'd recommend taking a walk to help get the adrenaline out of your system some (and also to help clear your mind a bit). If the pain and all is way too unbearable, though, call your doctor and be VERY clear that it's a panic attack. I agree with JS, you definitely need to see a psychiatrist and therapist for this (preferably a therapist who has experience with trauma and cognitive behavioral therapy). I'm in the same exact boat as you, so I've got your back!

I appreciate the support, but I'm not sure it's warranted.

The thing is, the sexual abuse I underwent was very subtle, not traumatizing. I was exposed to pornography and it warped my ability to relate to men in a healthy way. I wasn't molested or beaten. I don't know if I have PTSD. I just think I was so angry yesterday that it took me more than a day to calm down. But my work experiences have been very traumatizing, so I suppose it's possible.

I'm going to my GP for blood work on 4/5, so I'll talk to him then, and I see my psychiatrist on 4/17. I was able to function at work today, I was just conscious from time to time that my heart was beating harder and faster than usual. It's actually happened several times at this job, while dealing with the sociopathic manager at my previous clinic.

I started thinking. I've had nightmares about my last job. Several of them. That's a symptom of PTSD. According to the Mayo Clinic,

Post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms are generally grouped into three types: intrusive memories, avoidance and numbing, and increased anxiety or emotional arousal (hyperarousal).

Symptoms of intrusive memories may include:
  • Flashbacks, or reliving the traumatic event for minutes or even days at a time
  • Upsetting dreams about the traumatic event
I also have what's called an "exaggerated startle response." A patient opened a can of soda in my office when I was looking at the computer screen and not him, and I jumped like a scalded cat.

Symptoms of anxiety and increased emotional arousal may include:
  • Being easily startled or frightened
  • Irritability or anger
That sounds familiar...
  • Overwhelming guilt or shame
  • Self-destructive behavior, such as drinking too much
Or eating too much?
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Hearing or seeing things that aren't there
I'm happy to say I'm pretty sure I haven't been hallucinating. How do I score in the third category?

Symptoms of avoidance and emotional numbing may include:
  • Trying to avoid thinking or talking about the traumatic event
  • Feeling emotionally numb
  • Avoiding activities you once enjoyed
  • Hopelessness about the future
  • Memory problems
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Difficulty maintaining close relationships
Here's where it gets tricky. Because I don't feel numb. I love talking about the traumatic events. I've always had problems maintaining romantic relationships, but my friendships are more or less solid. Am I avoiding activities I once enjoyed? Only because I'm too exhausted from my schedule and my commute. Am I having problems with memory and concentration? Not really, and those are also symptoms of depression -- as are irritability/anger and engaging in self-destructive behaviors.

Am I hopeless about the future? 1000%. In fact, that was one of the accusations I hurled at my mother. "All I ever wanted was to get married and have babies," I raged. "I know," she said, helplessly. And then tried to make me feel like my life still has purpose and meaning, when all I ever wanted is probably never going to happen, and maybe it could have if I hadn't been perverted by the filthy degenerate she moved into our house.

I know, I know, Maybe, if, probably. Whatever. That doesn't change the fact that my heart was pounding steadily for more than a day after our confrontation. So the differential diagnosis is difficult. Am I traumatized, or just depressed?
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Pesach planning

In 2009, I went to one seder. and made plans to go to two lunches and another seder, but didn't go. I was fortunate enough to spend the rest of Pesach with Dov and Tova and their children in Israel, which was truly amazing.

In 2010, I made 2 sedarim. I thought I'd be making Pesach in 2011 and all the years to come. We took the malchicks to the Bronx Zoo, the Statue of Liberty/Ellis Island, the Empire State Building, and did other "family" things. I don't know if I'll ever have that again.

In 2011, I went to one seder and spent the rest of the holiday ruminating.

This year, I was invited by my sister to spend Pesach with her, the kids, cousins Yaffa and Yonina, and my mother. That's not happening. As long as my mother is providing the pervert with a comfortable retirement, I'm not having anything to do with her. I call, Skype and email my nieces and nephew frequently, but I'm not willing to spend more than a day with my sister.

Was also invited by Harriet, Shuli's friend, whom I've recently been getting to know a lot better. (It's funny, I've been spending so much time with Harriet and her family that I assumed I've been blogging about them, but I haven't.) She said I could come to any or all of her meals. She and her family are HUGE Ayelet fans, which is really nice. Old friends are fabulous, but new friends are a treat too. Also got another seder invite from friends in Manhattan. So I'll be spending the first days in Manhattan, one seder with Harriet and the other with the other family. Might go to friends in Brooklyn for the last days.

I don't think I'll be calling anyone to ask for first day lunches, though. If I feel like being social, I'll go to shul. But I think I'll need to rest.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Being strategic, not just right

One of my social work professional organizations -- PO -- is creating a new committee on substance abuse treatment. An announcement went out on the listserv:

PO Metropolitan Chapter announces a new committee is being formed: Committee on Substance Abuse

We are hoping to form a committee this Spring and hope to facilitate our first educational offering in the Fall.

Committee Chair: Narrow-Minded Twit, LCSW

We are pleased to announce the formation of a new committee on substance abuse. We will cover all addictions such as alcohol, cocaine, narcotics, food, debt, sex, as well as co dependents. The focus will be on integrating the recovery process in addiction in 12 Step Programs with the practice of psychotherapy as well as theories of psychodynamic psychotherapy such as ego psychology, object relations and attachment theories. In addition we will explore all avenues of recovery such as harm reduction.

We need members with an interest in serving on this committee. At this juncture, we are hoping to form a committee this Spring and hope to facilitate our first educational offering in the Fall. In addition to networking/educational offerings, we are interested in forming an ongoing study group.

Narrow-Minded Twit, LCSW will head up the substance abuse group. NMT is in private practice and is Supervisor and Senior Clinician at A Very Psychoanalytic Counseling Center. She has published professional articles and book chapters on the topic of integrating 12 Step programs with psychotherapy and has taught and facilitated dozens of workshops throughout the metropolitan area.

If you'd like to join in this new committee, please contact NMT, LCSW at nmtluvsfreud@aol.com 

I wanted to join, and this is what happened:

I emailed Narrow-Minded Twit expressing interest in the committee and we spoke very briefly on the phone. She told me the committee will focus on treatment that first addresses the trauma substance abusers inflict on their already-traumatized selves by abusing substances, using an attachment/object relations perspective and connecting this work to the 12 steps. 

After I told her that my orientation is primarily CBT / motivational interviewing, she said she'd heard from a number of interested clinicians and didn't really have time to talk to me about it right then, but she didn't think I'd feel "comfortable" on the committee. 

I am very disappointed that a new committee would only include people with skills and experience in one modality and orientation, rather than trying to attract an eclectic mix of practitioners. Furthermore, substance abuse is rampant among those who suffer from severe and persistent mental illness, and many in that population cannot afford analysis and aren't comfortable in AA or NA because they can't always tolerate a long meeting and they're often criticized for "depending" on psychiatric medications. (I don't think NA criticizes diabetics for taking insulin.) 

At my last job, I worked at a forensic substance abuse non-intensive outpatient program, with the majority of our referrals coming from parole, probation, and drug treatment courts. Those stakeholders will not refer patients to psychoanalysis, group or individual. Do these patients not deserve caring, ethical treatment? 

The committee is effectively overlooking a significant proportion of potential clients -- the kind of underserved, disenfranchised clients that social workers have traditionally most wanted to help. Furthermore, the committee leader is actively discouraging certain clinicians who would be interested in participating. I'm quite disappointed at this narrow, exclusionary focus. Is there no room in PO for non-psychoanalysts?

That is the text of what I thought was a listserv post  to all the members. Instead, it went directly to one of the PO Metropolitan chapter officers. Not sure exactly what her role is. She originally posted the announcement. Anyway, she wrote back:

Ayelet, I'm sorry to hear that your experience was less than welcoming. I'll forward your email to our Board and see what comes of it. Then I'll get back to you. 

There are many programs that are not particularly analytical--our recent conference with [a prominent psychiatrist] was neuro-biological perspectives on breathing exercises and experiential. And there are others.

Thanks for your sincere and thoughtful letter. I'll keep you posted.

I was wondering why my post hadn't hit the listserv. I wrote back:

I'm so sorry -- I meant to post this on the listserv. I appreciate your response, and if you would prefer that I not post it publicly, I will respect that. 

In my heart of hearts I was hoping she'd tell me to go ahead and post it openly. No such luck.

Yes, I think it better not to post it on the listserv. Let us see what can be cleared up, back-channel. Good mistake. :)

Now, I enjoys me a good public flamewar, like the one I had with Doofus on the Nefesh listserv. But I'm trying to use more strategery in my professional life these days. If one of the officers of the organization is going to make inquiries on my behalf, I'm not going to defy her. Smart, huh?

Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Jwed update

After I asked whether he'd be willing to have more children, Monsieur Restauranteur wrote back to me:

If there is love I will be ready for everything
And God wants to be a child then also 

Okay, fine. Before I could respond, he sent another email:

Hi
My name is MR and I very much would like to get to know you.
I am a partner and a manager at a restaurant in Manhattan 
I am a simple person looking for one serious woman.
I dont like nor have the time to write emails so here is my phone number 917-xxx-xxxx.
I would be very happy to hear from you or if you'd like then you're very welcomed to stop by my restaurant for breakfast or just for a coffee.
Thank you

Hmmm. So I called today, and we chatted for a bit ... and I'm a little concerned.

First of all, it's not a kosher restaurant. I'm not sure why that bothers me. I doubt he'd try to force me to eat the cured ham/mascarpone sandwich on his menu; on his profile, I read:

I am Shomer Shabat pray 3 times a day, keeps Kosher and fully observe all Jewish Holidays.

But it's still a little weird. (For the record, I checked out some customer reviews of his restaurant, and the consensus seems to be great food/lousy service. Also not great.)

Second, he said he's very lonely. "I don't have a family, I don't have a friend -- I have like one or two friends," he said.

"How long have you lived in the US?" I asked. (He's from Israel. Another red flag, kinda.)

"Three years. Everybody is busy, everybody is working, everybody have a family... It's not easy for me to connect with Americans. Only in the work, people I know in the work."

So... he's lonely, he has no friends, his children live in Israel... no wonder he wants to fall in love with someone. I can't blame him -- I'm lonely too -- but I'm still concerned. Yes, I've been in New York longer than three years, but I have more than two friends.

He also didn't ask me out. He kind of made me ask him out. I didn't want to spend a lot of time on the phone before we met; I've learned through experience that it's not a good use of my time. So I said I needed to get going....

"Okay," he said. "You can call me anytime. To make plans, or just to talk...."

I have dozens of people I can call or IM "just to talk." I'm not going to waste time doing that with someone I barely know.

"Why don't we make plans now?" I asked. So we did. He let me choose the time and place, and we're having dinner Tuesday night.

I don't have high hopes. But I also don't have anything else going on. Julius and Geoffrey, whom I emailed off the site because their profiles are suspended, didn't get back to me. Neither did any of the guys I emailed on Jwed. I sent a nice "no thank you" to UK Bloke. 

On March 6 on another dating site -- a free site -- I heard from a 49-year-old without a profile photo:

i agree ur cute. i can offer you coffee, and let u make the conversation (joking).

Not impressive, but I thought I'd give him a chance:

Funny ;) Do you have a picture?

Of course he doesn't. And it took him 12 days to answer me. Today he wrote:

i don't have anything recent. is that big white guy in your pic a previous boy friend? i see why you broke up with him.

Not wasting any more time on him.

The "big white guy" in the picture is a stuffed polar bear (not a real one -- just a life-size toy) that I posed with in Ketchikan, Alaska during my cruise in 2009. I'm thinking of going back this summer with some different friends. Alaska is incredibly gorgeous, cruises are incredibly decadent, and if I don't hook up with any charming cads, it could be a really wonderful vacation.

And right now I need something to look forward to. My commute is horrific, my job has become 99% paperwork (which won't help me get my LCSW), and I'm constantly exhausted and miserable. The only good thing is saving lots of money, because I'm too exhausted to go out during the week (even on weekends I'm usually recuperating) and I'm not interested in buying clothes or jewelry, since I'm not wearing a tenth of what I already own. (No time to accessorize at 5:20am.)

I'm so busy running to doctors (saw my psychiatrist who wants me to go to my GP for blood work, saw my knee specialist who wants me to go twice a week for physical therapy -- AS IF I HAVE TIME TO FIND A GOOD THERAPY PRACTICE CLOSE TO HOME and energy to plan, need to go to the dentist) that I don't have the cognitive ability to plan anything that isn't absolutely necessary, not even some nice pampering experiences, like a massage or a facial. I'm too shredded.

So why not go on another fabulous vacation? I deserve it.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Back on Jwed -- for now. I need a love life.

Haven't been a paying Jwed member in 9 months. Rejoined today, because they had a sale and because my romantic life is absolutely moribund. In the interim, I received a ton of messages I couldn't delete. Although there was one that I forced Jwed to delete for me. As I wrote to their Help department:

To: support@jwed.com
Subject: Technical: Delete a message from a disgusting old pervert 

A man 20 years older than I am sent me a message. I do not want to see it in my mailbox. Can you delete it? It is the most recent message.

When an elderly person with no photo and nothing written in his profile contacts me, I don't like it. And I didn't want a persistent reminder of him.

Hi Ayelet --I have requested that the tech department remove this message and that request should be completed shortly. I apologize for this negative experience. Best, Jwed support

Sometimes they actually pay attention. Recently the site introduced an "age blocker" feature. If you activate it, people 20 years older (or younger, I suppose) can't contact you. Another of the myriad ways Ayelet makes the world so much better.

Better -- but not good enough.

To: support@jwed.com

Subject: Age filter

I am glad you finally instituted an age filter, but I believe we should be allowed to set our own parameters. Being contacted or viewed by a man who is 16 or 18 years older than I am is almost as disgusting as being contacted by a man who is 20+ years older than I am. Thank you!

This time I guess I'll have to try harder:

Hi Ayelet, thanks for your feedback. We’re still in the early stages of this filter, so it’s good to hear how our members feel about it. We are continuously making changes to the site in order to improve it, so I will certainly pass along your comments to management. However, it might also be a good idea for you to log this suggestion in our Collaboration Center (found under the “Community” page). That way, other members can view this suggestion and voice their support for it. Best, Jwed support

Mulling that one over.

Anyway, today I went into my mailbox and finally read through 9 months' worth of emails. Most were from wholly repugnant men -- otherwise I would have rejoined sooner -- but a few seemed more or less palatable. Or are they?

Geoffrey sent me two emails:

11/22/2011: Ayelet, You are so beautiful! well I must let you know that your profile on here is well placed. I am single and I am looking for a date that would lead to long term relationship. I have a caring and loving heart and am ready to love and be in love. I enjoy playing board games, I am fun to be with, kind and optimistic. I enjoy Cooking and sports. I am interested in getting to know you more and have a better understanding of you. If you don't mind, I will like to communicate with you and relocation to me means nothing. Do you know, true love knows no boundaries even though it crosses many and Where there is true Love, there are always miracles. My desire for you is and always shall be as pure as the tears of lovers in thrall. Because, love is when two people join together and make each other better people for having the other in their life and when there is true love, there are no regrets of the past. Thank you for reading and taking time to check my profile once again. To communicate with you further you can leave me a private email place and I promise to write back to you as quickly as possible, once I am less busy with home duties. Your new found friend, Geoffrey.

Hmmmmm.

11/27/2011: Hey! well I must let you know that your profile on here is well placed. I am single and I am looking for a date that would lead to long term relationship. I have a caring and loving heart and am ready to love and be in love. I enjoy playing board games, I am fun to be with, kind and optimistic. I enjoy Cooking and sports. I am interested in getting to know you more and have a better understanding of you. If you don't mind, I will like to communicate with you and relocation to me means nothing. Do you know, true love knows no boundaries even though it crosses many and Where there is true Love, there are always miracles. My desire for you is and always shall be as pure as the tears of lovers in thrall. Because, love is when two people join together and make each other better people for having the other in their life and when there is true love, there are no regrets of the past. Thank you for reading and taking time to check my profile once again. To communicate with you further you can leave me a private email place here is mine -----@yahoo.com do write me and I promise to write back to you as quickly as possible, once I am less busy with home duties. Your new found friend, Geoffrey

What his "home duties" are I couldn't tell you -- I don't remember what he wrote about himself on his profile, and he has since suspended it. But he left me his email. Judging from the messages he sent me, should I ignore him or reach out?

I heard from another gentleman who has since suspended his Jwed profile -- let's call him Julius.

Beautiful smile you have got.

I'm Julius. I like what I read on your profile and i think we do have a lot in common, and that's a good thing. It is very challenging to capture the interest of another just via words. There's one rule I live by and that's just being me, which I tried to capture in my profile.

Anyway, I won't waste your time with basics about me that you have read on my profile. I'd love to start a conversation, maybe we could chat a little, get to know each other and hopefully meet sometime. Here is my personal e mail address -----@gmail.com

Waiting to hear from you, and if not that you find someone cool.

Have a nice evening, Julius

I don't know the basics. He suspended his profile. Still, that's a remarkably eloquent and persuasive email. I think I'll send him something like:

Hey Julius -- remember Ayelet from Jwed? You wrote me a beautiful note back in August 2011 and included your email. I hope I'm not out of line contacting you now. If you're still available, I'd love to get to know you better -- and since you suspended your profile, I'd love to hear the basics ;)

If Jwed allowed us to read messages when we're not premium members, I think I would have rejoined and contacted Julius. Unfortunately, there are a few men who didn't leave me an email address and have since suspended their membership, so I can't contact them. Like this fellow:

i love the way you narrate everything about you... will really appreciate it if you can check out my profile for us to get to know more about each other

He likes my writing. A man of discernment and taste. Alas. Not in this lifetime, darling.

There are several guys who wrote me a while back and are still paying members, so I sent them responses. One wrote back to me less than 15 minutes later, but we're not really saying much. He says he owns a restaurant, so I'll call him Monsieur Restauranteur, or MR.

hi
love kids, so if you have children, that's a plus
good reason

That's all he wrote. I was confused.

Good reason for... ?


He clarified 20 minutes later:

I loved you noted that you love children
My name is MR and I'm looking for love 

Well, he certainly gets right to the point. I'm not sure how interested I am. He didn't go to college. But he appears to be gainfully employed, in good shape, and has children. And he's very interested, at least so far.

Are you also willing to have another child? I don't know if I'm able to have a baby, but I definitely want to try. 

If he can be blunt and to the point, so can I. We'll see what ensues.

I nicely declined another guy, who lives in Florida, doesn't keep kosher or observe any rituals, and just didn't seem like a good fit. I wrote back to two others, who haven't responded yet. And then there was a new guy, who just wrote me this evening:

i saw your profile and my eyebrows raised higher than a tower block... anyway i just wanted you to know that you look huggable from 60,000 miles away.. Hows your week been?

Let's call him UK Bloke, since he lives across the pond. I must say that he's visually very perceptive, as I am extremely huggable, but I'm not sure that's appropriate to trumpet in an intro email. Here is his self-description.

Highly creative and caring would sum me up. I design guitars in my spare time between which help bring in money on top of my day job. I have very creative roots. I love composing relaxing music too that gives me great pleasure. I gives life meaning. I'd like to exend my spare time with someone special in my life to be something special to the love I hope to find in my next partner - a meaningful relationship. There is a good heart here for the right lady. You know I am a doing sort of fella, which means I follow through with conviction. I enjoy social things, love squash and playing once a week, and now planning on toaning up more in the gym. I love BBQ's, enjoy laughter creating music, comedy the arts. I take the view "honesty is the best policy". I am flowing my thoughts to you, without a heap of emotional baggage. I am seeking to find a lady I can have quality time with and not just a TEXT only  [...]relationship. So... say hello and I will inspire you with something if your looking for the real anytime soon.

He is seeking:

A person who is currently single without too much emotional baggage. Someone who isn't agist or selfish. Comes over as honest as their profile. Seeking someone with a warm heart like me. I do not mind if you are shy or a little forward, it's good intention that i really value. Someone to connect with, share feelings, and build relationships with others as you will find me calm and decent even in the midst of conflict. Thanks for reading my profile, now it's time to get in touch with me if you think we click ;-) 

I really don't know what to make of UKB. Why is he so worried about "agist" women? Is he stalking 20somethings? Not sure if I'll respond to him.

Speaking of 20somethings, I got a message from 29yo Chad669 at 2:03am today, mere hours before I rejoined:

Hey, What's doing??

yes, i know i may be a little bit too young, but... I saw your profile and you sound interesting and you look REALLY GOOD!
Want to chat?
Where do u live in the city?????

Good night, Chad

I didn't take him too seriously.

I live in Manhattan. I'm flattered you think I sound interesting and look REALLY GOOD (you sweet talker, you!), but are we looking for the same things? I want to get married and have a baby.

Best, Ayelet

Apparently we aren't:

Hey Ayelet, good morning,

You wake up early... :)

and... regarding ur question... the truth is, i am not sure (Same things), but we still can meet, just for the fun... :)

any chance?

have a good day, Chad

No chance. I'll give him the response that message deserves. Silence.

So far there seems to be some activity crack-a-lackin'. I just wonder if this is Charlie Brown and the football all over again. I've been on Frumster/Jwed since its inception in 2000, and I'm still single. Am I just throwing good money after bad?
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Blast from the past: Brooklyn Lawyuh


I got an email on FB from someone I dated long ago -- the Brooklyn Lawyuh, who thought I was exotic.

Hello Ayelet,

Please pardon the intrusion, but were you at Sharon's weekend at Teaneck this past Shabbat? BL

This past weekend there was another singles shabbaton. I had decided not to go and then got very sick, so it was a smart move on my part.

BL and I only have 3 Facebook friends in common, none of them really close. I have no idea where this email came from. He might have seen me in the Facebook group and thought I looked familiar. At first I thought I'd remind him that we went out in 2007 (Jeez... I have been single a very, very long time), but finally I just sent:

No -- I wasn't there.

Was curious to see how he would respond.

Thank you for responding Ayelet. Should you wish to connect on Facebook, I would be happy to hear from you. All the best, BL

Totally sounds like a lawyer. I sent him a friend request and wrote back:

Happy to connect. How did you find me?

Wondering if he knew who I was.

I was looking for someone that was at the event on Sharon's friend network. For whatever reason I did not have the opportunity to connect with this girl there. Your little pic looked a bit like her. So I thought maybe it was you and figured I have nothing to lose by taking a shot. Have a great day!  BL

Hmph. No idea who I am. But I guess we know that zaftig brunettes catch his eye.

So you don't remember that we went out several years ago?

It was five years ago; I guess all us brunettes start looking alike after a while.

No I don't. I'm sorry. Would you care to refresh my memory?

Delighted to.

We went to Darna. I think we were set up by Rochel and another matchmaker. You thought I looked "exotic."

Cued recall is easier than free recall. But I guess I didn't cue him hard enough.  

Hi Ayelet,

I'm so sorry, but I really don't remember. Do you remember what happened? May I ask, I'm trying to think of what I meant by exotic, could you describe yourself a bit? Hair color, eyes, height, thin or curvy, etc. Now that you broughit up, you've piqued my curiosity. 

Looking forward to hearing from you. Regards, BL

I'm pretty sure I'd remember any guy I went out with if he friended me on Facebook. Especially someone I went out with less than a decade ago. If I had anything else going on, I'd probably let it go. Since I don't...

Hi BL,

I'm not sure what I can say to help you remember. You said I looked Sephardic, and I told you I was Polish-German. I have long dark hair, very thick, dark eyes, fair skin, and I'm short and curvy. We didn't talk much about it, you just noted that I looked exotic when I got into your car (I think). I remember Rochel worked with your matchmaker to set up the date, but I don't remember her name. I live on the Upper West Side. At the time I was in social work school. I'm a social worker now. I think we talked about some mystical experience you had in relation to your late father but don't remember exactly what it was.

Ayelet


No response, but it's Purim. Wonder what he'll say. If anything. And not sure why I care. He wasn't anything special.

You may have noticed that I took some blog posts down. I'm not saying I was actually threatened with exposure unless I did so, but I took them down to prevent that from happening.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Ayelet amnesia

Here I think I'm so unique and memorable, and Brooklyn Lawyuh has no idea who I am. He has complete Ayelet amnesia.

Hi Ayelet,

I'm so sorry, but I really don't remember. Do you remember what happened? May I ask, I'm trying to think of what I meant by exotic, could you describe yourself a bit? Hair color, eyes, height, thin or curvy, etc. Now that you broughit up, you've piqued my curiosity.

Looking forward to hearing from you. Regards, BL

I can't tell if I'm bored enough to bother responding. I'm pretty sure I'd remember any guy I went out with if he friended me on Facebook. Especially someone I went out with less than a decade ago.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

DWK and Brooklyn Lawyuh, continued

I reported back to the shadchaniot last night:

So the upshot is: we went to dinner, we had a nice time, I don't know if DWK wants to go out again. I would go on another date.

The shadchaniot are happy. 

Chavah   :) glad it was a pleasant experience ;)
Chavie   awesome
Suzy   gr8. Glad you enjoyed yourself and got to meet him.

We had some interesting conversations. DWK managed to work in the concept that a spouse should be available as a sounding board for the other spouse, so that they can talk through difficult decisions. Even if the other spouse doesn't contribute any ideas but just listens -- kind of like his therapist a lot of the time. (He's been in therapy for a while and is a fan.) 

I agreed. "One of the worst things about being single is having to make big decisions on my own, and wrestling with that," I said.

As for the rest... well, I wasn't annoyed or repulsed, so I guess I'd go out with him again, but I wasn't particularly attracted to him. He definitely looks his age and then some, and he alluded delicately to the fact that he's no longer making as much money as he used to. But he's intelligent and seems nice.

We didn't talk about him being done with kids. He asked me if I was considering private practice. I said it would be an attractive option if I weren't dependent on a regular income while I build up a practice. Not to mention health insurance, although I don't think I did.

"If I had small children, it would be great to work part-time," I said. "Private practice could be very convenient." Because he should know I'm not ruling out having children just because I'm on one date with him. Not sure how he took it, because so far he hasn't contacted me or any of the shadchaniot.

What of Brooklyn Lawyuh? I told him I wasn't at the weekend.

Thank you for responding Ayelet. Should you wish to connect on Facebook, I would be happy to hear from you. All the best, BL

Totally sounds like a lawyer. I sent him a friend request and wrote back:

Happy to connect. How did you find me?

Wondering if he knew who I was.

I was looking for someone that was at the event on Sharon's friend network. For whatever reason I did not have the opportunity to connect with this girl there. Your little pic looked a bit like her. So I thought maybe it was you and figured I have nothing to lose by taking a shot. Have a great day!  BL

Hmph. No idea who I am. But I guess we know that zaftig brunettes catch his eye.

So you don't remember that we went out several years ago?

It was five years ago; I guess all us brunettes start looking alike after a while.

No I don't. I'm sorry. Would you care to refresh my memory?

Happy to.

We went to Darna. I think we were set up by Rochel and another matchmaker. You thought I looked "exotic."

Wonder if he'll remember me now. Possibly -- cued recall is easier than free recall.  
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

Monday, March 05, 2012

Too many matchmakers

It has taken three matchmakers -- Chavah, Chavie, and Suzy -- to set me up with one particular gentleman. He is 47, divorced with five children, and done with kids (DWK). Actually, it wasn't entirely clear to me that he was DWK from our brief phone conversations. But I've been getting copious emails from all of the matchmakers, so by now it's very clear.

Suzy introduced me to DWK in an email:

He's 47 and divorced about 2 yrs. He has 5 kids and owns some really amazing properties. he joined this group for a short time and then quit. Look in the intro thread

I'm not used to dating men who own multiple properties. So I looked him up online. I'm still not 100% sure what he does, but he seems to earn quite a bit. He's been sued several times and still drives a Lexus. So the guy's got money, and I won't lie, that's not unattractive. But I'm not exactly trophy wife material. As EG pointed out on our second date, most of the rich men he knows have wives whose dress sizes are in the low single digits.

I asked Suzy:

Is he open to having more children? I'd go out with him.

Her response wasn't encouraging.

He is very nice and very in demand. Try to friend him.

I don't need competition. I'm not about to audition for "The Divorced Middle-Aged Bachelor" and hope for a rose. And I'm not going to Friend him. That's completely against The Rules. I should have given up there, but I don't exactly have anything else going on.

if he's very in demand, I don't want to be just another girl running after him ;) is he on your friends list? can you suggest that he friend me?

Suzy couldn't.

Don't know how to do that. I can say something to him this Shabbos if you want. Another thing is that I don't think he is ready to remarry because he's having such a good time.. He found some1 in FL that he went out with for several months and his kids liked her and he wasn't ready to marry.

She and he were in Florida for a divorced singles weekend. But I'm not about to go fall in love again with someone else's kids.

Then don't bother ;) I don't have time to waste.

I thought that would be the end of it. Enter Chavah. She called me and cajoled me into meeting the guy. "He's a good person for you to know," she said. "And he has nice friends." She also wasn't as sure as Suzy that he didn't want to have more children. So I guess I let possibilities dance into my head. I gave her my number, she gave it to DWK; he called me a week ago, still in Florida, and we agreed to go out.

We couldn't talk long, though, because I had to go to sleep and he was out with friends, so he said he'd call again to set up a date. When he called yesterday, I had about given up on him. I'd been battling a major virus all week, though, and had been feeling exceedingly lethargic. So when he asked if I was available today, I agreed -- forgetting that my social work mentoring group meets the first Monday of the month.

Drat. And if that weren't bad enough, I came home from work today to a long email from Chavie.

Hi gorgeous Ayelet, how are you?

I hope you don't mind if I bring this to your attention. I was speaking with my friend DWK, whom I believe you know. He is very much interested in meeting you, and he has brought up one of his concerns. He tells me that at this point in his life, he feels he's done in the children department, having already had 5 children of his own. He has debated whether he should bring it up after meeting you, or if it's something you should know beforehand, as he doesn't wish for you to go on thinking you had the right to know this before.

I offered to contact you, as a shadchan would do, since his experience once before is that a woman he dated didn't appreciate not knowing before hand.

We discussed it briefly, and it's not that he's 100% closed to the possibility in the future, but at this point, he truly feels he's done.

It's entirely up to you if you wish to share with me how you feel, or if you want to contact him directly, or tell him when you meet him. But definitely, it can be an issue, and every person is different. My father also once didn't want more kids, and he told that to his new wife at the time, but later, since she never had kids, he said "you take care of it, and I'll financially support it," and the day my brother was born, he fell head over heels in love and has stood by that boy, now 18 years old through thick and thin.

Again, some men actually flip out when 2 years down the line the wife decides they've changed their minds and want to have a last chance at a baby once more, and remind them that they knew the score from the start. This is something to definitely discuss. How would he react if in a year or two, you suddenly changed your mind? Would he be supportive ,or destroy the whole marriage because you want this so much, you can't breath without it.....

In any case, I hope you are not offended if I have stuck my nose in, often, in chassidic circles, a shadchan or a go-between person usually checks out these things before setting up the date, and it really helps to iron stuff out. With all good intentions, I've dated lots of guys before that I wish the shadchan would have checked certain things out before wasting anyone's time, or putting them in an awkward situation for no good reason.

Just let me know if I can assist this in anyway, or if you want to discuss it with him personally. I appreciate about him that he's strong enough to decide what he wants, and was concerned with your feelings on how to approach the subject.

All the best, Chavi

Good Lord.  I was starting to feel very micro-managed -- and then I checked my phone messages. Chavah had left urgent messages on my cell and land lines. I wasn't sure if she was calling to cancel the date on DWK's behalf, which would have really pissed me off (although there's a pre-Purim party I could go to, all dressed and made up as I am). But no, she just really wanted me to know that DWK is Not. Having. Any. More. Children.

This is what I emailed Chavie:

I'm okay -- I hope you and yours are well. I'm not offended by you contacting me. [So far there are 3 shadchaniot involved in this match, which I am choosing to see as a good omen ] I knew children would be a significant difference between DWK and me -- Suzy mentioned he might be "done," so I'm not surprised to hear that.

I'm not sure if I can have a child, since I'm almost 42 and have never been pregnant. But I would like to at least try to have a baby. That's been my dream since I was five years old, or younger. I don't know if just getting married would be enough for me. Although just being married and not having children would be a lot better than being single and not having children.

The short answer is I don't know. He would have to be a really spectacular guy -- and would need to allow me a substantial role as stepmother -- for me to consider him worth giving up my dreams of motherhood. I know that I could make any man happy as a good wife. I don't know if having a husband but not a child -- and not even trying for a child -- would make me happy. I'd like to think that after a few years of marriage I'd have the same outlook that I had going in to the marriage, but of course there are no guarantees.

Thank you for your support and input. I've been very on the fence about even meeting DWK. Part of me thinks he's too recently divorced to be on the same wavelength as I am. I definitely want to get married and don't want to spend forever waiting for someone else to make up his mind whether he's ready. That was my last relationship, which cost me about a year. At this age I don't have any more years to spare. Also, with this many shadchaniot involved, I'll probably get a good "exit interview" if he's not interested in having a second date

Besoros tovos, Ayelet

Right now DWK is about 30 minutes late, but he called from the road to say he'd hit traffic, so I'm not angry. I am, however, kind of worn out already. I've already put in a ton of work into this relationship, and it might not go any further than tonight.

I also got an email from someone I dated long ago -- the Brooklyn Lawyuh, who thought I was exotic.

Hello Ayelet,

Please pardon the intrusion, but were you at Sharon's weekend at Teaneck this past Shabbat? BL

This past weekend there was another singles shabbaton. I had decided not to go and then got very sick, so it was a smart move on my part.

BL and I only have 3 Facebook friends in common, none of them really close. I have no idea where this email came from. He might have seen me in the Facebook group and thought I looked familiar. At first I thought I'd remind him that we went out in 2007 (Jeez... I have been single a very, very long time), but finally I just sent:

No -- I wasn't there.

Curious to see how or if he responds.   
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