If there is one thing that people say to singles that makes me want to go hide under my bed for the rest of my life, it’s, “You may as well just go out for coffee with the guy. I mean, you never know and it’s just a cup of coffee.”
Haha, I know, such a strong reaction to such a small sentence which, all in all, is not totally untrue. We don’t ever know and I just wrote a blog post on blogmidrash about the fact that sometimes we imagine that nothing could ever work out with a certain person but in the end that isn’t necessarily true. So why the abhorrence?
Where to begin…
As some people – and now all of you – are privy to know (yeah, I know it’s not exactly privy once it’s on a blog but lets pretend this is intimate here), dating is very painful for me. (I am toning it down here since, honestly, I’m worried about scaring people off.)
Basically, saying to me, “What have you got to lose?” is like saying, “Just go smother yourself in tar and feathers. It’s only tar and feathers!” And who knows what wonders may come of it!
Please imagine… You want to get married. You’ve been trying to meet the right person for, say, 11 years. A lot of different things have happened in those 11 years but, bottom line, you’re still freakin’ single.
Now also imagine that you are a very sensitive person and you can’t help but hope, each time, that maybe this time it’ll be the right person. Maybe this time it’ll be the last first date you’ll ever have to go on.
It is emotionally exhausting! I speak to so many people who feel the same way. Where the hell we find the energy to keep trying, I don’t know. Well, I know. We want to meet the “one” and so we feel we need to take certain steps in order to try to make it happen. In general, we have very little control over this process. Whatever effort we make, we know it’s possible it still won’t lead to the result we hope for. But we feel the importance of doing whatever we have strength to do.
But just like it’s important for us to do what we can, it’s also equally as important not to push ourselves too hard. And when someone says to me, “What’s the big deal, it’s just a cup of coffee,” I feel hurt! Just a cup of coffee?
Me: “Hi. I’d like to order one cafe hafooch natool [decaf latte, in case you're wondering] and a side order of heart-break, please.”
Each of us must be very conscious of what we’re going through during this process. What do we have strength for, what don’t we have strength for. If someone calls you up and wants to set you up with someone, you should not feel like you have to say yes because otherwise the person will think badly of you. I always imagine the person offering the set-up thinking, “Well, no wonder she’s not married. She isn’t even willing to go out with this totally decent guy.”
That is unfair thinking. Other people’s job is to try to set the single person up. It is the single person’s job to decide for themselves what is good for them and what is not. There is an idea in Judaism that everything in life is a partnership between us and God. We need to do our hishtadlut (put in our effort) and then God does His part. One girl who just got engaged after also waiting so many years to meet the right person, just said to me that sometimes our hishtadlut is specifically saying “No.” This makes so much sense because, as she said, sometimes we do know that it’s not worth giving it a shot with a certain guy. And if we focus on something we know is wrong, meanwhile Mr. Right can’t get in the door.
So please people, both fellow singles and those who may remember once, long ago, being single, remember that dating when you don’t want to be dating is heart-breaking and extremely energy consuming. It ain’t just a cuppa coffee.
P.S. I need to say something very important here. My feelings about dating have very little to do with the guys themselves. When, last night, I told a guy that I don’t like dating, I prefaced it by saying, “No offense to you and your gender.”
Honestly, for the most part, once I’m actually on a date, I usually basically enjoy myself. I like talking to people so it’s OK. But it’s all the before and after and the thoughts within it that make it so difficult. So nervous leading up, so hopeful and then, afterwards, having to either tell the guy you don’t want to go out again (that KILLS me every time) or him having to tell you. And, maybe the worst, is the heartbreak you know you very possible will feel and you know the other person is very possibly going to feel as well.