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Is He the Right Guy for Me?

Is He the Right Guy for Me?

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Question:

Rabbi, do you give romance guidance?

I am in a serious relationship with a great guy. We have been together for a while now and I have very strong feelings for him. He is ready to get married, and is getting a bit impatient with me. But I'm just not sure. Something is holding me back, and I can't put my finger on it. Sometimes I think, if he's my soul-mate, why do I have doubts? I don't want to hurt him but I just don't know what to do. Any advice?

Answer:

Finding your soul-mate is almost as hard as finding your soul. Seeking advice is vital, whether it be from a counselor, a rabbi or a mentor. Not that I can tell you if he is your soul-mate; I know of no magical test to find that out. But G-d knows, and I suggest that you pray for guidance. All I can do is try to help you reach some clarity, so you can find an answer on your own.

Something is holding you back. The question you should be asking yourself is this: Is the problem in me, in him or in us (i.e.. the relationship)?

Maybe he is indeed your soul-mate, and there is something within you that is making you hesitate. Are you scared of commitment? Have you been scarred by past relationships? Did you grow up without good role models to know what a healthy marriage looks like? If so, what is holding you back is fear. It could be that he is the one for you, but you are paralyzed by fear which makes you unable to see it. But remember - fear never introduces itself by its own name. Fear disguises itself in all types of very reasonable statements - "I'm not ready to get married", "He isn't the type of guy I dreamed of", "I want to establish my career first" - when the real issue is simple: you're scared. If that's the only issue, then you have to work on opening yourself up to a real commitment.

Maybe the problem is him. Nobody's perfect, so there must be things about him that you don't really like, but over time you have learnt to overlook them. What are they? Are they minor issues, like the way he cuts his toenails or that he can't play tennis? Then you should forgive him. Or are they bigger ones, like his temper or the way he treats people? In marriage we come to overlook (and sometimes even love) the flaws in our spouse. But we will probably never change them. When married, turning a blind eye to imperfections is great. When dating, it's dangerous. If you are overlooking parts of his personality that you will not be able to live with, then the problem is him and you should get out of there.

On the other hand, perhaps he is a great guy, and his flaws are minor. Perhaps the problem is not him, and not you, but "us" - the two of you together. You are two fantastic people, but the relationship is not so fantastic. Do you communicate well? Does he understand you when you share with him your feelings? Do you share similar values and beliefs? Do you respect him? Are you heading in similar directions in life? Is he willing to put your needs in front of his? Would you do that for him?

If you are not connecting, then maybe you are two lovely individuals that have some things in common, but are just not on the same page. Or maybe the relationship needs more work. This means not only learning how to communicate better, but also knowing what each other's values and priorities are. I have seen couples that have been together for years but never actually discussed values. It may not be very romantic, but ask yourself: If I would ask my partner, "What are the five most important things in life?", do I know what his answer would be? Am I comfortable with that answer?

Perhaps you need more time. Perhaps there are a combination of issues that are complicating things. But if you can ascertain where the main issue lies, you will have an answer.

If it's him - there are things about him that won't change and you can't live with - move on.

If it's us - you are not connecting - then the relationship needs some attention to see if it can flourish.

But if the problem is not in him, and not in your relationship, but in you - your fears and past experiences - then you need to liberate yourself from them. It may take a leap of faith, but you will feel light, you will be free to love, and most of all, you will find your soul-mate. And maybe your soul too.

Aron Moss is rabbi of the Nefesh Community in Sydney, Australia, and is a frequent contributor to Chabad.org.
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Discussion (19)
July 2, 2014
Wow. This is a great article. I've read so many books on dating and this is really clear and eye opening. Thank you.

And yes, praying for clarity is crucial.
Anonymous
New york
February 27, 2014
Attraction is a feeling, love is a promise
The most common source of problems in marriages is that the couple misinterpreted their mutual feelings of attraction as love. This normally results in the couple trying to keep up appearances after about 5 years, and wondering where the love went.

It is important to know that attraction is an emotional feeling that may fade, while love is a promise that has little to do with attraction. If you are thinking of getting married, then please read “Attraction is a feeling. Love is a promise.” by Grenville Phillips.
Jeff
April 22, 2013
Looks / appearance
I need an advice. I will shortly be looking for my 2nd marriage. I believe that good nature and good looks are both important for a successful marriage for both boy and girl. I have met a girl a few times who is good natured and has a good heart. She loves me very much. While I value her good nature, my dilemma is that she is just average looking girl, not cute or attractive. Good looks are equally important so that a man looks forward to being in his wife's company. I am not able to know whether I will be happy after marrying her due to her looks / appearance. Your advise will be appreciated.
Anonymous
India
October 7, 2012
choosing partner
it is life time issue, never take emotional decision.
Anonymous
June 25, 2012
acceptance
I feel it is absolutely important to accept someone for who they are. But I agree that before you are married, you should never turn a blind eye..In a past relationship,.I had ended up forgiving him so much that should not have been forgiven and supported his choices and actions against my values (as he had pressured me to)...do not under any circumstances go against who YOU are. You know what is right. DO NOT forgive someone if their values are just wrong...and please dont let anyone convince you that they are right and you are crazy. You in your heart know what is right and wrong. Women be careful of men that pressure and criticize you. Someone who loves you should not make you feel like a bad person. we are all people of God.
Clare
toronto
December 27, 2011
maturity
Don't expect him to mature otherwise you could be setting your self up for deep disappointment. I would advise you to get counselling for yourself to see how you really feel about him and his behaviour. I think you have to go into marriage with a "what you see is what you get" attitude. People can change but only if they want to change and many times they don't want to change. May you be guided to the truth and to what is best for you.
Yvette
UK
December 26, 2011
Immature. It's a minor issues in a great guy?
We love each other, I feel great with him (he 33 and I'm 30). However at times when he acts immature I can't stand it, and I'm scared I will walk out on him in the future. Will he mature? Please help.
Anonymous
Sydney, Australia
December 22, 2011
is he right for u?
That's what I ask myself and no he is not... but I am still with him.
lisa from okc
okc, ok
January 13, 2011
i now know
This is an advice you will never get anywhere but from a rabbi. Thanks soo much. I know my relationship will work out.
Anonymous
ghana, kumasi
June 10, 2010
LOVE
I think this was an awesome story to write about, I just wish the guy I liked liked me too. I'm miserable.
Miranda
Sparta, WI
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