Match #: 3333 & 3334
At the ripe old age of nineteen I decided I was ready to begin a new and exciting life for myself. I was newly graduated from seminary, had just begun my path towards a college degree and just felt it was time. The world was at my fingertips. Anything was possible if you just dreamed. It was time to embark on one of the bumpiest trails known to any orthodox single…the shidduch scene. At the time I naively thought, how hard can this be? I am a good person with solid values, have a good family established in my community, considered myself to be attractive, have a bubbly and outgoing personality and have many friends who would vouch for all of my positive attributes. The calls began coming through as soon as word got out that I was “on the market.” Intimidating at first but incredibly exhilarating at the prospect of what may come about from each potential match.
Weeks became months and months became years. I graduated from college and landed a great job at a well-known institution. I knew it was a matter of time…I’m officially settled. I thought, that must be why I haven’t found until now…I needed to first graduate. Over the years I came up with many “logical” reasons why I must still be single. It gave me a sense of comfort, even if short-lived.
A piece of that dream crumbled after my dad passed away when I turned twenty three…the image of both my parents walking me down the aisle no longer possible. I felt that I had let him down. I then decided I needed to take matters into my own hands and signed up to what was then “JWed.” I told myself that for sure this would be the ticket to finding my bashert. There were so many potential matches with just the click of a mouse. With time I began to think there must be something about me that’s holding me back. My friends and family reassured me that it’s all just timing and that I’m doing everything possible to do my hishtadlus. By my mid-thirties I began doubting their words. How could I still be single at this point? I had already met with numerous matchmakers, gone to different singles events and was open to dating guys of varying ages, hashkafic backgrounds and professions. When you first start dating, you have a laundry list of qualities for your “perfect” man. With time, however, I began to consolidate that list and choose the things that are most important to me. I knew I needed a man with a big heart, had a good sense of humor, was not the judgmental type and matched me in four religious areas: shomer Shabbas, kashrus, taharas hamishpachah and covering my hair. I felt everything else would fall into place. To me it was not settling. It was being realistic and not falling trap into the fake Hollywood dream of what falling in love and marriage is all about, which unfortunately so many singles do. I knew I wanted to be happy and married with my best friend and soul mate and decided to compromise and focus on what I needed most.
Being an older single is a HUGE nisayon. I’m sure every single over the age of thirty will agree. People who believe have the best of intentions will candidly tell you that you’re just being “too picky,” and that you “need to get out there more.” Others will speak behind your back and discuss what a shame it is that you’re still single. They would question if you really want to get married. For me the hardest part of being an older single was the looks of pity that people had when they saw me and thought they were doing such a great job hiding it. I was especially inundated with such looks as my nieces and nephews began to get married. I was the “nebach older single aunt.” I cried over my status too many times to count. I went through my share of heartbreak. Each time I was ready to throw in the towel.
By the age of thirty seven I resigned myself to the fact that I probably would never get married, as agonizing a thought as that was. Many of my friends already had children in their upper teens. At one point, I even considered doing what so many women are doing today and freezing my eggs or perhaps adopting a child on my own. Despite all of my blessings and accomplishments I felt hollow. There was a huge hole that weighed down on me like a ten ton boulder. There was nothing I could do to alleviate the intense frustration and pain; not even spending hours at the gym.
Although I had removed myself from most dating websites, I remained a basic member on Frumster which was now called “JWed.” I thought at least I was still doing some hishtadlus, although I had little to no expectations of meeting on there at that point. I knew I could pay to be a primary member at any time if a potential match came along. Each week JWed sent me an email with five or six featured members. These were members that met the basic criteria I had entered when I first signed up to the site. I usually ignored and deleted these emails. On one December evening in 2014 I received another batch of featured members. I hesitantly opened the email. My eyes immediately went to a picture of a member I had never seen before. I noticed that he was listed as “Shomer Mitzvot,” a hashkafic category I never considered throughout the years on the site. I generally browsed profiles of members who were listed as either “Modern Orthodox Machmir,” “Modern Orthodox Liberal” or “Modern Yeshivish.” There was something about this particular member, though. I knew I needed to click on his profile and find out more about him. I noticed he was the same age as I am. From my experience guys did not want women their own age. I took a leap of faith and sent him an email. To my astonishment he wrote me back a short while later and within one week we were on our first date. From the second I laid eyes on him in the back of a crowded Starbucks I knew there was something different about him. He was real! I felt that I had known him for years after an hour of talking. We had so much in common. After our date my mom had asked me how it went. I remember telling her, “If I end up with this guy I will consider myself a very lucky person.” I always said I needed at least three months before getting engaged. Well, after six weeks we became unofficially engaged, and were married B”H four months later on June 14, 2015. We don't always know the reason (s) why it had to take so long and the journey to get there so frustrating and hard but G-d has a plan. It is up to us to daven and ask for His help and put in our hishtadlus. Never give up because your bashert is out there. Thank you JWed for being the shaliach that we needed to finally find each other.