A series of remarks by commenter The Apple has inspired me to write a post about what I refer to as the “happiest break up” of my dating career.
I had been going out with this person for several months, and by all accounts things were going great. We matched well on paper, we matched well in person with regard to hashkafos and religious level, and we were getting along fine. However, there was one point of disconnect – and I mean that literally, a disconnection. We gradually found ourselves unable to continue conversation. It seemed as though we ran out of things to say.
We had definitely established a close connection and had shared enough experiences and information with one another to form well-developed opinions about the other person. I could easily see that she embodied most everything that I could want in a wife. But, it seemed like we had hit a wall. It simply felt as though no further progression was possible. This was a very perplexing feeling, to put it mildly.
One could theorize that there was an issue with the hotly debated, vague concept of “chemistry.” I know I definitely felt chemistry with this person, especially during the earlier part of the dating process. I always looked forward to the time we planned to spend together. There was no question of lack of attraction. Additionally, there were no major red flags about her personally, or her background/family. Everything seemed to fit so well.
So what was the issue?
As best as I can tell, we just weren’t meant for one another. At the end of our last date, she pulled me aside when we arrived back at her apartment before she went inside. It was time for a “where do we go from here” conversation. I’m not sure if it was out of courtesy, or because she could tell we were of like mind about the relationship, and wanted me, as the guy to say it. She posed the question and asked my opinion first. I mentioned all the things I wrote above; that in short, I thought we fit very well together, but for some intangible reason didn’t see us going any further. She then affirmed that she felt the same way as well. So we thanked each other for the experience, wished one another hatzlacha in future dating ventures, and I went on my merry way.
This was totally unlike a different in-person break up scenario where after several months the girl sprung her rejection on me the moment I arrived (having travelled all the way downtown) without giving any reasons. I was caught entirely off guard and had no idea what to say, and was a bit distraught for a few days following that final meeting. After much thought and speaking with a sgan mashgiach, I was able to figure out my feelings. I even called her in an attempted reconciliation of sorts, but she wouldn’t hear any of it. All in all, that was not the most pleasant experience, but a necessary and educational one. As Rav Goldvicht says, if she says no, it just means she doesn’t like you and that’s that.
In this case, I walked away humming a happy tune and smiling to myself. It was unfortunate that I wasn’t going to end up marrying such a great person. However, it also would have been equally unfortunate to force a relationship to trudge onward without a fruitful end in sight. I’ve never been in such a good mood post-break up before or since.
In fact, I modified my personal tefillah regarding the potential success of whatever ongoing shidduch I am involved with. The older version was something to the effect of: if she and I are truly meant for one another, can accept one another’s positive and negative points wholeheartedly, etc, that we should continue to grow closer and develop ourselves as a unit toward marriage; and if not, that we should go our separate ways and find our proper spouses, whomever they may be.
The updated version retains the first, positive half, but now the latter half goes something like this: if she and I are not meant for one another, we should still grow and benefit from this relationship (it wasn’t for naught that we went out after all), and when things end, we should part amicably and find success in meeting and marrying our true intended spouses.
Instead of finding the conclusion of that relationship as yet another “setback” in the ongoing journey to find my future wife, I was very inspired by the positive experience. She was also the first, and thus far, only ex-shidduch to ever suggest another person to me, and I still maintain a very high opinion of her.
We should all be zoche to have such happy break ups and recognize them for what they are – not as crushing events that depress us – but as one step closer to finding the real “right” person.