July 22, 2024
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July 22, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Orthodox Dating On Line The Online Profile and Fitting into Drop-down Menus

Teaneck—Married 14 years and deciding to divorce was the most difficult, yet the best, decision I ever made. After picking up the frag­mented pieces of myself, I begin to put myself out there, hopeful, optimistic, and excited for the good I believe is heading my way. I couldn’t wait to sign up for online dating. Complete­ly unfamiliar with the process because pre-marriage, personal computers, if you had one, had a DOS prompt and a dial-up connection, not lightning-fast data upload speeds or us­er-friendly interfaces connecting you through words and images to your long-lost soul mate!

As I moved forward, I discovered the sign­up process intimidated me. Defining who I am and what I’m looking for was only the begin­ning. Just five minutes ago I was fragmented and broken. I managed to work through some of my identity and psycho/emotional baggage with pen and paper and a lot of crossing out, but I wasn’t quite ready to upload and post the anecdotal tell-all. Navigating back to the drop-down boxes, I stopped and admitted to myself that this is also not so easy; I realized don’t fit neatly into the choices they provide in drop-down menus. I am not always so black and white. People need to explain themselves; I certainly do.

Let me be clear, I do know how tall I am and how many children I have, but hashkafah, ob­servance? I am Modern Orthodox but enjoy Chabad philosophy. I am machmir on some things but liberal on others. Am I taking this too seriously? Perhaps.

I uploaded three photos and answered ba­sic pull-down menu questions but no profile questions at all. I found my comfort zone with the personality insight questions. How long should you date before getting married? What is chemistry? When upset what do you want from the other person? How committed are you to your Judaism?

I answered tons of these questions be­cause they embraced the gray areas. Then I clicked submit and up went my profile live, sans profile.

The next day I get an email from Simcha (not his real name). He wrote an entire para­graph (later I discover no one writes that much the first time). It was very expressive and filled with gaping spaces and serious grammati­cal and punctuation errors. Rabbi Schneerson wrote that overlooking personal obstacles to a shidduch is necessary if the primary attributes are in place. Okay, so he can’t write. We spoke on the phone a number of times; he was very forthcoming, very engaged, and it was very exciting! By the time our date rolled around a week and a few days later, I was comfortable; we had already shared so much on the phone. As I reached for the door handle of the restau­rant a voice from behind me spoke and I turned and looked into the eyes of a handsome, but fully grey-haired man. Who is this? Nooo, my thoughts tick back to the online image stored in my brain and this was not the Simcha I knew. Ok, it wasn’t a matter of 150 pounds; it was just gray hair, and at 56 at least he had hair, so I ta­bled the complaint. Moments af­ter we were seated he said some­thing even stranger, “I want you to give us a chance. Don’t date any­one else.”

What?!? We hadn’t even or­dered beverages yet! We contin­ued to date for a few months and I thought maybe time for the next level, meet the kids. He quickly stated he wasn’t ready for that step claiming he enjoyed me so much, he cherished our time alone and was content with that for now. Huh? Weeks had already turned to months and months, chas v’ shalom could turn into years. Who is he kidding? Not me. Be­lieve it or not he was fooling himself, and for a while he fooled me too. This ambivalent man did care for me, but not in a healthy way. He used his profile to attract me, but did not deliv­er on any of the core attributes or stated goals that appealed to me in the first place.

I made all the concessions; he made none. Lesson: You can’t control someone else’s intensions or integrity but you can de­mand it of and for yourself. With great pain I sifted through the light and dark parts of myself, asked myself the tough questions to determine who I am and what I’m look­ing for. My pitch is me, authentic and true.

The jury is still out for me. Online dating is great in theory but in practice it is strange. I have lots of stories. Histatdlut, personal effort, is required for success. In spite of my impuls­es to pull my profile down, it’s still up because I believe in the partnership with Hashem. I have to do my part, be willing, be open, be available; He’ll do the rest.

Disheartening how cavalier others can be with their profiles. At least it seems that way to me. No photos (deal breaker)—who are you supposed to connect to? Witty re­sponses to serious questions, silly jokes, and the profile names! I just can’t take a man seriously when his handle is Under­dunn or Sincerity4keeps. You can create an online identity and become anyone you want, except perhaps who you really are.

I do want to remarry but with an hon­est person, who is willing to work through his “stuff,” like I do. For all those still seek­ing our bashert, soul mate, may Hashem guide that search leading us on the path truly best for us.

By Elisheva

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