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Isn't it pretty?

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Perspectives on Dating

Last night in class, we were practicing counseling each other once again. We are starting to get more comfortable with each other, and really opening up, which actually makes it more interesting and realistic. It's hard to open up because we have the dual relationship of being classmates and trying to counsel each other, which wouldn't be the case if it was a traditional client-counselor relationship. But last night we really seemed to break some barriers down and discuss real issues. My group consists of four single women, all in our 20's. One other girl in my group is both my age and Jewish, though not religious. Of the other two women, one is Hispanic and one is Italian, both in their early 20's. It was interesting because as we started discussing real issues, the topic of relationships came up. I hear about the shidduch crisis so often and most of my friends are also Orthodox Jews, so I know all about the difficulties of dating in the frum world. But listening to these other women talk about dating, I actually felt lucky in many ways. The first thing that struck me was that these women have the same fears, frustrations and desires that I do. They spoke about wanting to be in a relationship, wanting to have a family and the fear of getting older and not being able to do so. They spoke about the pressure they get from friends and the envy they sometimes feel when they see happy families. The loneliness of being alone. The desire to find the right one while battling worried about being too picky or scared to make a committment. The things they expressed I certainly could relate to. The part where I actually felt lucky was in listening to the difficulties these women have when it comes to meeting men. I realized that I actually do have a lot more networking capabilities and better support systems in place when it comes to dating. I don't have to rely on randomly meeting a man in a bar or club - which is how these women said that they often meet dates. One of the women mentioned that she has a date coming up, but then she corrected it by saying that it wasn't an official date - it was two people "hanging out" but that was the same thing. At least I usually know if a date is a date or not. She also told me about a guy she had dated for four years who broke up with her via a typed letter on company letterhead sent to her home. What a jerk. Dating is frustrating no matter what, but last night did give me some perspective on the fact that in many ways, it could be much worse. I am actually grateful for the positive factors of Orthodox dating, and will try to remember that from now on.

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