Dear Rachel,

I really want to find someone that I can spend my life with, but time after time I seem to end up with guys that treat me like dirt. It as if I am a magnet to these kinds of guys. Then, finally, I met a guy who really did treat me like a queen but I just wasn’t attracted to him and things became very boring very quickly. Is there a way I can change my luck so that I can find someone who I like and who is nice?

Looking for a Mensch
Palm Beach, Fla.

Dear Looking for a Mensch,

It doesn’t seem, from what you describe, that your situation has anything to do with luck. It is not by chance that you are attracting the men that you are attracting, but rather it appears that you are seeking such people and personalities. Don’t get me wrong, I have no doubt that you do not want to be treated like dirt, but it does appear that there is something exciting, intriguing and attractive to you about these men, which is why you keep ending up in relationships with them.

The Torah explains that a relationship between a man and a woman is like a fire. There are fires that burn, with the flames destroying everything in their midst, and there are the fires that warm, that glow, that illuminate. Your relationships sound like they are pretty fiery. They probably start out very exciting, very intense, and yet quickly taper off. Whereas, when you had met someone that was nice, kind and warm, you found that you were bored. Perhaps the problem is that you are looking for an intense flame but not recognizing that often the intensity is not coming from the right place.

A fire burns its highest when there is a conflict, something working against it. When the wind blows, the fire grows, but only until it is extinguished. In order for the flame to remain constant and not die out, there can’t be wind, or water or anything working against it. This stability may appear to be “boring,” but it is exactly what is seemingly “boring” that makes for a long-term relationship. And when the flame is lower, it is that much less likely to be blown out by some wind if wind comes its way.

It is not just symbolic that the relationship of a man and woman is compared to that of fire. More so, in the words in Hebrew for man and woman, both contain the two letters of an aleph and a shin, which make the word aish in Hebrew, meaning “fire.” Yet each word also contains an additional letter, and that is a yud in the word for “man” and a hei in the word for “woman.” These two letters comprise one of the names for G‑d, meaning that fire alone is not enough for a relationship to flourish. It is when there is a Higher Power involved in the relationship that ensures that the fire is one that warms and not burn. This means that when both partners realize that the relationship is not just about them, but about the other, and with a holy purpose, then it has the ingredients necessary to last.

Before getting involved in another relationship, take your time to figure out if this is someone that you can see a future with. Do not try to figure out if this is someone you might like now, might be attracted to now. For now is temporary. What is essential is that you look for the component that will attract you to this person 50 years from now. And while “nice” may not be the most exciting quality, it is certainly one that you want in the person you are looking to spend your life with.

I wish you much luck in your search for your husband. May you find someone who recognizes who you are and treats you as you deserve.