Rabbi Gil Student on Hirhurim has a great post on the tzniusdik nature (or lack thereof) of blogging. Check it out here.
The post got me thinking, since Rabbi Student specifically mentions the thorny issue of blogging about dating, which is indeed a subject of discussion here. I certainly hope I'm not being too forward with information, even though I do my best to keep everything anonymous, (and no one really knows who I'm dating anyway). I definitely abide by Rav Goldvicht's opinion that any and all direct discussion of dating is basically a bad idea, and I would also feel horrible knowing I've ever hurt anyone's feelings in this area - especially former dates. I prefer to avoid the specific details of my dating life anyway, and like to focus on more general ideas related to the dating world. Let's hope I can maintain this proper boundary of modesty.
In other news, the first YU Connects shidduch was a bit of a bust, which is fine. It was a good first experience for using the system, at least. I think I will better know how to understand if there is real hashkafic compatibility when I am suggested matches in the future (that was the main issue this time). I sort of knew that going into the shidduch, and I honestly wasn't expecting a yes, having just received a large number of rejections from the suggested girl when I had accepted on my end. So her acceptance caught me by surprise, and I figured I didn't have anything to lose, which I didn't. In the end, I simply met another great person who isn't for me...
That leads me into the topic I really wanted to write about... Davening for others also dating/in shidduchim.
I personally have a fairly long list of both guys and girls I know, friends from way back when, and more recent acquaintances, that I mention in every Shemonah Esrei. That they should all have bracha and hatzlacha in their dating, and that they should find their zivug at the appropriate time - all according to G-d's will. I can't describe in words how wonderful it is when I hear that one of the names on my lists needs to be taken off because they got engaged. Especially when it happens that I remove two names because they got engaged to one another (which usually happens when I know that they've been dating).
The boundless level of simcha is such a stark contrast to the unfortunate reality of sometimes having to stop davening for a specific name on a refuah shelayma list because that individual succumbed to his/her illness. I also sometimes forget that someone got engaged (usually within a few days of hearing the news) and I have to catch myself when I get to their name. I usually pause, smile to myself, and then continue with the other, less fortunate people who still need siyata d'shmaya finding their intended spouse.
I daven for myself too, of course, always at the end of everyone else. It's an idea mentioned in the gemara in Brachos (I can't remember the exact daf at the moment, it's late and my Brachos isn't in my room at YU...) that when you and a friend need the same thing, you should daven for them first, then yourself, and through some spiritual mechanism of sorts, you will get answered first. I'm not going to doubt the veracity of this gemara, but I have seen several friends on my list answered before me. Not that I'm complaining, mind you, I am always overjoyed at hearing the good news of friends finally finding the right one. Maybe I'm just not understanding the exact perameters of the "how-to" instructions provided there.
Anyway, the more specific issue I wanted to bring up was davening for those you've gone out with in the past and with whom the relationship didn't work out. Sure, there are lots of people who daven for shidduchim everyday, and have many of their friends in mind (as previously mentioned) - but do people daven for ex-dates?
I do, and I think it's an important thing that everyone should make room for in their otherwise me-oriented tefillah. It doesn't matter whether I ended the relationship, she did (and whether I was upset by that fact or not), or if it was a mutual decision. I think that everyone has a right to find true happiness with the proper person at the appropriate time. It may even be a bit of an ego-killer to employ this element in one's own davening, but I think that we could also use a bit of ego-deflation every now and then.
As I have mentioned in the past, every person that you go out with is a link in a greater chain of events that will eventually (hopefully sooner rather than later) lead you to the one. There is always something to be gained from each dating experience, so why not show some gratitude to that person, and the Ribono Shel Olam, by requesting they find success in their search? True, it can be painful to remember the names of certain previous dates, for one reason or another. However, I think the greater impact of putting real heart-felt kavana and good will that stems from the soul provides a measure of healing and self-improvement that everyone can benefit from.
Having said that, I haven't yet removed any of those names from my list, unfortunately. While it pains me to know that my friends are still having difficulty finding their spouses, it bothers me in a different, and sometimes more troublesome fashion, when I know that some really great girls out there are still single (if I may be haughty enough to presume that everyone I went out with is really great in her own way). I don't feel guilty for not being the answer to their prayers, because I know deep down that things wouldn't have worked out for whatever reason. But they do deserve menuchas hanefesh from their efforts to find a husband. I honestly do an occasional check on OnlySimchas (usually when I'm there when I do a confirmation about news I've heard regarding a friend - I'm not an OnlySimchas addict/stalker, mind you) to see if any of them have finally found the right one.
I wonder if any of them daven for me... hmmm.
This brings to mind the idea of helping set up ex-dates with other people you know, which is a pretty big chesed, in my view. I would very much like to be of service in that area, but I'm just not good at thinking of couplings, I guess. I wish I could help others out in this area...
So sadly, my list of ex-dates to daven for grows longer still, and my own journey continues onward. I hope that I can start removing those names one by one (along with the others on my lists, as the case may be), in the near future - ken yehi ratzon.