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.