Something tragic happens to you and the entire Jewish community knows about it, so how do you date after personal disaster? Tom Selleck’s character on “Friends” perfected the sympathetic head tilt “how are you?” when he was poking fun at how people were handling him with kid gloves following his divorce. The gossip mill is busy, and you’re the topic: divorce, death, illness, rejection, whatever. But you’re still single and you still want to meet your Beshert, so how do you rise above it?
You don’t owe anyone details, but don’t shy away from the fact of the matter either. Be prepared to address it and do so calmly, gently, and succinctly. If you don’t want to be a victim, then don’t feed into it. Let your dates know that there’s so much more to you than whatever the tragedy was you experienced. The Jewish community is great about coming together and supporting their befallen – and you should allow them to help you until you heal – but when you’re ready to move on, let people know. Don’t make people feel uncomfortable for showing concern, accept it and change the subject.
Drama does not define you. But make sure you are truly healed from whatever it is before even attempt to date seriously.
Some people attract drama into their lives like a magnet, while some people deflect it like a tinfoil sunshade and others try to avoid it like the plague.
I had a boyfriend who had an ex-girlfriend who wasn’t out of the picture. She purposely tried to cause drama to try and break us up. I could have fed into the drama by telling my boyfriend to stop talking to his ex and cut her off, but I chose to take a different path. I ignored it. Drama is like a fire: It needs oxygen to make it grow, but if you don’t feed it then it dies. My boyfriend respected me for being the better person and saw the ex for what she was and cut her off on his own. Needless to say, as soon as we broke-up the ex swooped back in on her prey, but during the relationship I was able to dispel the drama by rising above it.
If there’s drama early on, it may be a red flag. If one or both of you gets sucked in to the drama, it may be a red flag. If you don’t agree about what is drama or how to deal with it, it may also be a red flag. These are not red flags to ignore. Not only that, but you need be aware of these red flags so that you don’t consciously or subconsciously overlook them because of hope for the relationship. It doesn’t mean the relationship is necessarily doomed, but it does mean that you need to have a talk. People that are drama magnets and thrive off of it probably won’t mesh well with a person who avoids it and doesn’t flame the fire.
People create drama or put themselves in the midst of drama usually because they’re either bored, immature or both. Hopefully, a healthy and exciting romantic relationship will be enough to quell the urge for hullabaloo. Eventually, sitting at home with your significant other watching television on the couch while cuddling will be much more enjoyable and productive than spending your time on the phone instigating drama, arguing about nonsense and ignoring your mate.
In your August 23rd column entitled “What’s TMI?” you advocate withholding information – such as being divorced – from one’s profile or introductory email, as it is “too much information” (TMI) and you seem to suggest waiting until you’re already making plans to meet to mention it for the first time.
While I think I understand your rationale and agree that it is unnecessary to ‘tell all’ at the outset, it nonetheless smacks distinctly of being dishonest, or at least less than candid – which is hardly the right way to kick off a potential relationship. I’m specifically speaking to divorce. Can you clarify?
Dear TMI Clarify,
I appreciate your response. I’m not telling anyone to lie. In fact, people who lie in their JDate profiles abhor me because they’re going to be found out eventually. In the specific letter you are referring to, the woman was recovering from a major surgery and in that specific case I didn’t feel it was necessary for her to use her “About Me” paragraph to talk about it, though I did advise her to tell her dates on the phone prior to meeting.
As for divorcees: If you’re divorced, separated or widowed, you most definitely need to be honest and check the appropriate box. My advice is simply not to get into all the gory details about your previous marriage — or even about previous relationships if you’ve never been married — in your “About Me” paragraph until after having been on a few dates. And as I said in “What’s TMI?” this rule goes for anything pertaining to drama in your life. For those previously married you should absolutely not lie as it is a part of your life and forever will be. But spending two hours talking about your divorce and how the children are handling it is simply not romantic nor does it allow your date to get to know YOU. I hope I’ve cleared things up!
A lot of things, unexpected, complicated, fragile, fleeting, tough, fun, mysterious, serendipitous, comical… a friend passed last week unexpectedly. Sadly, in our busy lives it often takes a tragedy to make you stop and reassess things. Your priorities. What matters most. How irrelevant some things are. How drama is a ridiculous waste of energy and how relationships really are what life is about. All the financial security in the world means nothing without someone to make your good times great and bad times bearable. Okay, I’ll get off of my soapbox. I guess such moments just make you realize you can search for that perfect fit all you want or you can choose to build a relationship and it may grow into what you had hoped for all along. I’m excited about that choice and retiring from the merry-go-round of dating.