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Dear Rachel,

I am recently out of a relationship with a man that I had set my heart on marrying. We had been together for a while and he just couldn’t come to a decision whether or not to marry me. He said he couldn’t find anything wrong with me that was bothering him and couldn’t understand why he was having such a hard time deciding. We got on amazingly well, understood each other completely and it felt just so right and so perfect when we were together. At the end he told me that he doesn’t want to marry me, and he has no deep feelings for me, and maybe he needs someone different than me. My question is now, how do I go out again and trust another man after this?


Dear Broken-Hearted,

It is so painful when things like this happen and when we thought we understood a situation and it turns out to be very different than what we had hoped.

However, the fact that someone misled you and did not respect or value your feelings in the way that he should have, cannot prevent you from giving again in a relationship. However, perhaps it can help you do so in a diffferent way.

For starters, Chassidus teaches us that a leaf doesn't even fall from a tree that does not have a very specific purpose. So much more so an experience of this magnitude. While it may not be clear to you now, hopefully at some point in the future you will come to understand why you spent the time and effort and feelings that you did in this relationship when in the end it didn’t work out.

If anything, it is a blessing that you had such a positive relationship in the first place. There are many who ask why they repeatedly find themselves in unhealthy or even abusive relationships and don't ever seem to find someone who treats them well. From what you describe, you were fortunate enough to spend time with someone that you connected to and enjoyed and shared a lot in common.

The question as to why he decided to leave and not follow through with marriage is obviously one I cannot answer. Perhaps he got scared, perhaps he didn't feel ready, perhaps he really didn't share the same feelings that you had. Perhaps. Ultimately, it doesn't really matter. If this is how he ended up treating you, it is clear that he is not your soul mate, and it is truly a blessing that he showed his true self now and not after a wedding. If he could treat you this way, this is clearly not someone you would want to marry.

My suggestion to you would be that in the future, that you make it clear from the beginning that you are interested in a relationship that will lead to marriage. And if the other person is not interested in getting married, don't even get started with the relationship. This is actually the beauty of shidduch dating (arranged dating) that is done traditionally with Jewish couples. Since it is clear that it is very hard to think rationally when emotions are involved, a couple does not even meet until they are sure intellectually that they are interested in one another. This way, if when they meet they are overcome with an emotional reaction, they have already screened the other to ensure that they are both looking for the same things in life and have the qualities, background and goals that the other also desires. What it boils down to is that one's head should always rule over one's heart (which is specifically why we were physically created this way) but it is a huge challenge because once the heart is working it often overtakes the head.

Therefore, before you begin dating, try to leave your emotions out of it until you determine that this is someone that you want to invest your feelings in. And every step of the way, try to determine that you are on the same page, heading in the same direction, and getting one step closer to your goal.

Ultimately, however, we cannot ever protect ourselves from getting hurt. If anything, sometimes it is part of the process of discovering more about ourselves and what we want out of a relationship. We are actually taught that each person we meet and even date is a part of the sifting process to make us that much more ready to meet and marry our soul mate. For some it is easy, but others require a more lengthy rectification and clarification process before they meet the one they marry.

You should not spend your time worrying why this relationship didn't work out, but rather spend your time focusing on what you learned from it so that you can try to ensure that the next relationship be with someone that you can trust and someone that deserves to be with you, and one that ultimately leads to marriage.

May you be blessed to meet your soul mate in an easy and clear way and with him build a beautiful Jewish home.

"Dear Rachel" is a bi-weekly column that is answered by a rotating group of experts. This question was answered by Sara Esther Crispe.

Sara Esther Crispe, a writer, inspirational speaker and mother of four, is the Co-Director of Interinclusion, a non-profit multi-layered educational initiative celebrating the convergence between contemporary arts and sciences and timeless Jewish wisdom. Prior to that she was the editor of and wrote the popular weekly blog, Musing for Meaning. To book Sara Esther for a speaking engagement, please click here.
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Amber Holt via February 17, 2017

Very true! It's easy to have an emotional or chemistry with someone. But, it's not as easy to know if they truly are on the same path of relationship goals as you or not. Very good article. Thank you! Reply

JDV via June 12, 2013

Brokenhearted The times we live in plays into this. men are allowed to get what they want without commitment so why should they commit at all? it is time for we women to take charge and not allow ourselves to give so much without the same amount being given back in return. I feel for the girl because when i was in my 20's, the same thing happened to me. By the grace of G-d I found someone better when i wasn't even looking because i did not lose hope. Reply

Anonymous February 5, 2013

picking up my broken pieces im jane, i broke up with my bf recently and it still kills me inside until now i cant move on . first time of my life that i love someone except from my family and i gave it all . now im hurting . it kills me more knowing he already have a new gf . weve been together for 1 year Reply

Anonymous NY, NY November 1, 2012

the same thing happened to me recently.. the man who i and everyone around me thought was the perfect match said he could never see himself getting married. to hear that from a 40 year old man who has never been married is disturbing. we got along well and were not only partners, but good friends and confidants. but due to fear and low self-esteem, and some other past issues, he was unsuccessful professionally and personally and was afraid to move ahead in life. it's a huge shock to all, because we brought out the best in each other. what upsets me is that he thinks if he ignores a problem, it will go away on its own. that's not how life works. it's such a shame he threw away a wonderful relationship for no reason. everyone thinks he's made a huge mistake, but he doesn't see it.. they also agree that no other woman will ever be as good to him as i was. it hurts so much. i spent 2.5 years with him and now i feel a huge void and am filled with grief. Reply

Anonymous somerset , nj March 17, 2012

broken eharted im so sorry this happened to you but dat happend to me to Reply

Tess Los Angeles, CA via April 19, 2011

To love again When we are in love, to get somebody off your mind for a day is so difficult to do. Almost impossible to do. To live the next days without that person is unthinkable. But it can be done. Yes, you can love again. Good luck. Reply

zeltika mexico, mexico February 14, 2011

Broken-Hearted What I learned about Broken-Hearted it´s to be thankful with the person that finished with the relationship.
That person is giving us the chance to find a real person that can love us in real way.
Is giving us the freedom to find a person that can give us the things we need.
It´s not selfish to finish with the relation, it´s an honesty act. That wonderful that they give us a honesty act where our whole life is committed.
I am thankful to that it gave the freedom me and that did not want to tie to me when it knew that it was not what I looked for or that was not the person who I needed Reply

Shoshanah November 22, 2010

to brokenhearted from summerfield Get on a plane go to Israel get far away as possible. Don't let this guy take advantage of you and ruin your life. Five years is a long time to waste. He doesn't sound like a decent person either. You think he doen't realize that you are an emotilonal wreck? Of course he does. and he couldn't care less . And this is what you fall deeply in love with? Take my advice. Get up and leave right away. Don't tell him where you are, don't tell anyone who might tell him. Get him out of your sight and out of your mind and out of your life. Reply

Anonymous summerfield, fl/USA October 3, 2010

Broken Hearted I was married to the most wonderful man in the universe until I lost him in 2004. Since, I've met a man who I fell deeply in love with. He has been quite unreliable in his promises, inflexible, unreasonable. I understand these are 'red flags' and I should not be broken hearted; however, it is realistic to say he has a definite 'hold on' me for 5 yrs now and I just am unable to 'let go'. I keep hoping that this man will turn around and appreciate, value and desire me. I'm an emotional wreck! Reply

Miss Aysel Agayeva August 3, 2010

broken brain not heart I think that in this situation no one is to blame. Do not forget that only G-d can make us forget someone or something. You have spent a good time with your solemate and you must thank him for those days because no one again would be able to give you the very feelings. I want to remind you that not everyone can love and be loved, it is G-d's blessing to us so we must appreciate it. Try not brake your heart, life is going on and who knows maybe he will come back. They say: Let your love go-if he comes back he will be for ever yours but if he goes away it means that he never really was yours... Reply

Ms. emotional Batangas city, philippines April 10, 2010

broken hearted! At this point and time, I am experiencing that feelings,,, being broken
My boy friend left me and go to Dubai. I never thought that he can't afford to call me or text me.. He forgot me in 2weeks time Reply

Anonymous January 6, 2009

Much sympathy I hope that by the time you read this, your life has become much happier. I really sympathize - I am going through something less intense, but with achingly similar themes. It's hard to realize that the one who seemed to similar to us has all along been like a stranger.

I hope Hashem brings you a soulmate to love and cherish you as you deserve. Reply

ariana shira September 30, 2008

dear anonymous you comment you are attrractive, warm, loving and yet have had your heart broken time after time. when i look back on the strange, true, sad saga of my schizophrenic husband, my true soulmate, 20 years older than i, and dying unexpectedly less than 2 months after discovering stomach cancer... the only thing that gives me hope is our tradition and study of gilgulim (reincarnation).

it is POSSIBLE that your soulmate is indeed not incarnated at this time. it is POSSIBLE that you will meet him only in the life to come. one thing for sure you do not want to do is meet him whilst he shares the body that also holds someone else's soul -- which is what i honestly have come to realize schizophrenia is.

the medical profession thinks everything must be explained away by microscopes and what we see. there are some things of the soul that remain unseeable, physically.

trust in the plan. this life seems so long. but learn. you may be alone this life but perhaps to LEARN - to be blessed next life. Reply

Julien Orlando, FL via August 11, 2008

You can't allow an event to paralyze you forever. He may had spared you the hassle of a costly divorce in the long run. No matter how much you love this person you have to carry forward for yourself. I always thought of love as power but it's important to also love yourself first. What he did was shady and he should had been honest rather than assume you knew as if by process of osmosis. You'll go through the phases (we all do) the anger the sorrow the feeling of abandonment- all natural but you will heal and you will find the srength within yourself to love again. Been there done that. You're not alone in this. It takes more courage and love to open up yourself again than to stay closed. Best of luck. Reply

Leah December 18, 2007

Dear Broken Hearted I am so sorry this happened to you but in the long run you are extremely lucky. I got married to someone who didn't have the guts to tell me he didn't want to get married. It lasted three years. Three years of pure heartbreak . Thank G-d you were spared. Enjoy your life, and you will in time meet the right person, the one meant for you, and you only. Hashem (G-d) is way ahead of us, out of my nightmare something positive came out, and out of your terrible ordeal something will too, if it hasn't already. Be glad this happened to you before the engagement or worse before the wedding.

Anonymous December 11, 2007

Broken Hearted I think we've all been there. After 3 years of dating, I was in the middle of planning a wedding to a great guy (or so I thought). He called and said we needed to talk. When I met him, he told me that he was moving out of state. The wedding was off. He told me he never actually loved me and he thought I knew. He left and I never heard from him again. It took a long time to get through. It still hurts to remember. I am now involved with a wonderful man and am grateful every day that the wedding never took place. You never know what will happen next. Take life one day at a time and you'll get through it. Reply

Anonymous Los Angeles, CA, United States of America October 11, 2007

Broken Hearted Dear Broken Hearted,
I consider you to be fortunate that this man decided to call it quits when he did. How I would have wanted that for me. I married a man who left me for his ex-wife. They both had 3 years to discuss a reconciliation while we were dating. It wasn't until we got married, that she decided that she wanted him back in her life. She confessed to me right before he left me that she told him that he would regret marrying me. And he did and now I am back with my parents. I am humiliated and ashamed. But G-d has been taking care of me. I have grown stronger in my walk because of this and just like Psalm 23 says, "Yeah, though I walk THROUGH the valley of the shadow of death. I will fear no evil; for thou art with me". I had two choices, I could loose myself in the ways of this world, or I could chose to follow Him. I chose to follow Him. One day (if you haven't already) you will look back and be glad things worked out the way they did. Reply

Anonymous October 5, 2007

Dear Broken-Hearted,
While you are probably now well on your way to being over your ex, and possibly even in a new relationship, I'm so glad you shared your story. I was supposed to be married three weeks ago to a man I thought was my soul mate, and he called the wedding off suddenly right beforehand. It was devastating and shocking, but I am so glad he did me the favor because now that I've had some time to reflect I realize that this experience and break up needed to happen. It has given me the opportunity to see that I almost married the wrong guy, someone who was not healthy or stable, and now I know what I really want, and what I really wasn't getting. It does take two to Tango, so take some time to to work on yourself so that you can get the kind of love you deserve. He did you a favor, and saved you a lot of time and money by not proposing only to leave you down the road. Take it from someone who had the ring, the dress, and everything in between... You are the lucky one!!! Reply

Anonymous May 18, 2007

I agree with everything above, but where is the guarantee that each person will meet his or her soulmate and will find someone who truly loves them? I believe that G-d has a hand in everything - absolutely - but time and again I have had my heart broken and my hopes dashed. I'm considered attractive, I'm kind, generous, sensitive, smart, intelligent, warm, and fun to be with. So is there really someone out there for everyone? Reply

Anonymous April 1, 2007

Broken-hearted Lisa from RI is SOOOO very right, please listen to her... sometimes women are so focused on "getting married" that they neglect the quality of the relationship... I've always felt the same way, that I wouldn't WANT a man who wasn't 100% sure about me. In fact, I've never wasted my time with a man who was busy looking for inperfections. That's so unfair to you.... you deserve the very best, but as with all things in life, we have to demand good treatment early on, or we will not receive it... keep your head up and remember that you are a treasure more precious than pearls.... if a man can't see that immediately, don't waste your time or emotions on him... Reply

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