I'm sitting cross-legged on my therapist's couch 4 months after my husband's announcement that he wants a divorce when my therapist informs me that he thinks I should start dating again.
I had told myself and others that I was going to take time off to concentrate on myself for once. Between a husband and three boys, I didn't know who I was anymore. I just wanted to hang out with my girlfriends, drink martinis like a fish, and let the hair grow long on my legs if I wanted. I had even gone so far as to announce to my friends that I was going to take a full year off from any kind of relationship.
Read more here.
A while back I wrote about how the fact that I hadn’t done anything to update my house since my divorce seemed to be a clear indication that I was still emotionally stuck. Well, I can happily say that in the past few months I have changed some of that. It started with a new shower curtain and new/used couch. My mom sent a new comforter and sheet set to update my bedroom. And, tuned or not, I downloaded some sheet music from Musicnotes.com and started playing my piano again. Little by little, I’ve been getting rid of old stuff and moving on.
In the process of purging the ex’s things from my home, however, I realized there was another ex lurking. (Hey, it happens. You don’t get to be 40-something without a few skeletons in your closet.)
I still had the engagement ring I had given a fiancé over 15 years ago. He proposed to me with a sapphire and diamond ring much like Princess Diana’s (only much smaller.) Several months later, I purchased a similar ring for him that contained an oval sapphire and two diamonds. His birthday was in September and mine is in April. At the time, rings with our birthstones seemed like a cool idea for our wedding rings.
Anyway, after a five year engagement, we never married. It’s complicated and involves an overbearing Italian mother who didn’t like me very much, her passive son, and the cow giving the milk away for free. To make a long story short, I eventually got tired of waiting, and when we broke up, I got his ring back. He took mine.
Don’t ask how that even makes any sense. I don’t really remember how it happened that I got his ring, but I vaguely recall that his ring was more valuable than mine and I suggested that we switch. Yes, I would do that. (If you haven’t been paying attention, go back and read the posts where I confess to using single-ply toilet paper, wait until happy hour starts so I can get my sangria at $5 instead of $7.50, and break down the cost per date on Match.com and refuse to renew my subscription.)
And that’s how I came to own a man’s ring that I couldn’t wear for the past ten years, through a marriage, and through two household moves. It was simple. There was more gold in his ring than in mine.
Have you seen the price of gold lately?
Anyway, a couple of years ago, I took my ex’s ring to a jeweler in Seattle to see if I could sell it or have it made into something new. That jeweler basically made the process of melting the metals down and creating something new sound too complicated, and she basically told me that jewelers won’t pay anything for old jewelry. Jewelers get asked all the time to buy old wedding sets after couples divorce, and basically, they’ll only pay the scrap metal price. It’s insulting. So, I continued to hang on to my ex’s engagement ring…
…until recently when I started purging and updating my home post divorce. I started looking in earnest for a way to sell my ex’s ring, and happened upon Eragem, an online jewelry store that does online jewelry consignment. The other bonus was that they are not far from Seattle, in Bellevue. I worked with the guys at EraGem, and I was happy to find out that, with the current price of gold, by consigning my ring I could get my money back out of the piece.
So, that’s what I’ve decided to do. I’ll admit even after fifteen years selling the ex’s engagement ring was a little difficult, but this is all part of the process of moving on after a relationship ends, right? There’s no sense in hanging on to old baggage.
Have I mentioned how much I love my readers? I especially love your comments, even when I don’t agree, because they provide me with feedback and give me an opportunity to see areas where my writing might be lacking something. Sometimes, like after my “I’m Not Cheap” post, they provide me with ammo for a big, “I told you so.” Thank you, Ditto Ditto.
For months I have been resisting writing about meeting a Jewish man. It’s not that I have anything against dating a Jewish man; I just never liked the idea of writing about it. The idea never came from me. The idea first appeared when my Jewish therapist told me I needed to meet a Jewish doctor. Even though I took his other advice to date 100 men before getting serious with anyone, I did not limit my search to trying to meet Jewish men.
Over the summer, I received an unsolicited recommendation to go on JDate. This input was again from a someone who was Jewish. Finally, a couple of months ago, my, again, Jewish friend, Sarah, suggested that I should try to meet a Jewish man and recommended JDate. The conversations with her that I wrote about previously are almost word-for-word as they occurred, and yet I resisted.
So what happened? Well, I caved to peer pressure and, as I had predicted, it is an idea not worth pursuing for all of the reasons Ditto Ditto provided in her comment.
First, men who are on JDate are there to meet Jewish women. Duh! There have been many times since I started this blog when my friends have made recommendations. It is actually quite rare that I follow them. As much as I love my friends, most of them are not writers and shouldn’t try to be. This is never more apparent than when I ask a friend what they would like their pseudonym to be. Inevitably, they will come up with some completely ridiculous and unbelievable name like Christian Grey or Anastasia Steele. After turning down about three or four of their suggestions, I will simply say, “what’s your sister’s middle name?”
Believe me; it’s easier.
As I mentioned before, my friend, Sam, and others have also suggested I create a profile on Christian Mingle, which would very likely be just as tragic as if I tried to go on JDate. Not a good idea at all. When my friends make suggestions like this, I don’t think they wish me ill will. They probably think this would make for an interesting storyline, and some hilarious dates. They’re probably completely missing the point that I am the one who actually has to go on these dates, and if I’m going to be dating, I might as well be trying to meet a man with whom I might actually have something in common. So, to Ditto Ditto’s point, for me to go on JDate would likely be a big waste of time and money, because Jews on JDate are trying to meet other Jews.
Now, to Ditto Ditto’s second point, which is that just because a man is Jewish does not make him better at anything than his non-Jewish counterparts. (I’m paraphrasing here.) Plus, to assume or indicate that it somehow does is prejudicial and wrong. Again, I agree. To tell you the truth, this is where I’m really kicking myself, because I fucking know better.
For many of my friends, if you ask them, I am one of the most culturally aware people they know. I’ll be the first person to call someone on the carpet about a social justice issue, and I’ll typically fight for the minority or the underdog even if it’s not a position I completely agree with just so I can make someone aware of the opposing perspective.
I knew in my gut that I didn’t want to go on JDate and write about trying to find a Jewish man, but I was feeling a lot of pressure to do so. That’s not a cop-out, just the truth. I have dated the rainbow. Ultimately, I care more about how a man treats me than what religion he is or what color his skin is. In fact, my two eldest sons are African-American. My ex was Colombian. In the course of writing this blog, I have had dates with men who were white, black, Asian, Latino, Middle Eastern, Catholic, Islamic, Atheist, and as timing would have it, Man #40 happened to be Jewish. The irony is that for almost a year now, I have been very purposeful about not revealing the race or religion of my dates, because I didn’t want readers to conclude things like, “well, of course he turned out to be an asshole. He’s _________.” I figure that most people in their small windowed worlds will assume that since I’m white I must be dating white men, but we all know what happens when you assume. As you can see then, this idea of going on JDate and trying to meet a Jewish man goes against everything I had been trying to do. Believe me; no one is more disappointed in me than me.
Ditto Ditto’s third point was that I would be doing myself a disservice if I limited myself to dating Jewish men, a minority, and that it’s better to focus on the qualities I want in a man rather that on a specific religion. Again, I agree. In fact, I have always been annoyed by white women who say they will only date black men (or anyone who limits themselves to one race or religion.) This viewpoint of only dating one specific type of person based on race or religion is offensive, and I know better. It also focuses more on the race or religion of a person and less on what really matters, which is the qualities they possess that make them a good partner.
Finally, interfaith relationships come with special challenges. Yes, they most certainly do. I remember how freaked out my ex was when I told him I wanted to be compostable when I die. (Did you know that cemeteries can be classified as brownfields?) After many discussions and arguments, I figured in the end it wouldn’t matter to me what he did with my body. I was willing to box him up and make sure he was facing east so he was ready for The Rapture, but I knew he would never honor my wishes. He could do whatever made him most comfortable. This was a fundamental difference based on religion, and it was one of the more overt differences out of many. The point is that embarking on an interfaith or inter-racial relationship is not something to be taken lightly or tongue in cheek.
So, where does that leave us? Well, we are going to nix this whole meeting a Jewish man storyline. If it happens accidentally in the course of my dating adventures, then it happens. I don’t care if every one of my Jewish readers comes forward and begs for me to continue (and I know you’re out there), I don’t feel it’s appropriate for me to continue with it. It goes against who I really am. So there.
Oh, and to my friends who pushed me to write about it in the first place…I told you so.
Thanks, Ditto Ditto.