I’m a fan, so I figured I’d ask you this question:
I’m dating someone. It’s going really well and you can imagine everything I’d write: He’s what I’m looking for, we match up hashkafically, etc. But I’ll skip all that. The other day, we were talking about past “relationships” we have had. I know that’s a topic that can lead to disaster, but we continued. I didn’t have much to share; I dated a guy for about a month and a half, but then we both felt like it was going nowhere. We called an end to it. Not much of a story, but Eli (fake name) had a story that shocked me, which is exactly why you’re not supposed to talk about past relationships until you are securely in another one (I think).
When we were redt to each other, I did my own checking. I found out that Eli was one of the good single guys still out there. We started dating and I feel like I know him pretty well. We talk about everything. But we had never spoken about previous relationships. Bad dates, yes, but not relationships. So now, he wanted to speak about relationships. As I wrote, I didn’t have an exciting story to tell. Not Eli. He told me how he dated a girl for close to a year. He said they were in a serious relationship and were even talking about getting engaged. Then the story got confusing. He said that she started picking on him for the smallest of things, things she never mentioned bothering her before. He tried ignoring it, but she kept it up and started arguments “out of nothing.” After a while of fighting about “nothing,” they broke up. I asked when this happened. He told me it was the girl before me. It happened a month before our first date! I was the first girl redt to him right after his breakup.
Eli was in a serious relationship not even a month before we met! I can’t help but think that I’m the rebound girl. A serious relationship ended, and he went for the next girl who came around. That sounds harsh, but that’s what rebound is, right? I asked him whether, if he had been redt to another girl with similar background and personality as me, did he think he’d still be dating her, or did he really like me for me? Of course, Eli thought I was being crazy and said that I wasn’t his rebound girl and it was me that he liked. I was expecting him to say that. What else would he say? Would he say, “Yeah, because I was down, and you were there. We became a couple because I didn’t want to be alone”? I really want to believe Eli. I’m thinking back to what the shadchan had told me about him and I don’t remember anything about “he just became available,” as shadchanim have said about other guys.
It’s never a good idea to speak about previous relationships, because you can always find out something you don’t want to hear. And that’s exactly what happened with me. Do you think that I’m Eli’s rebound girl?
Thank you for your email, Chaya.
You hit the nail on the head with your last few sentences: “It’s never a good idea to speak about previous relationships, because you can always find out something you don’t want to hear. And that’s exactly what happened with me.” True, you said that you don’t know how the conversation turned and got you there, but now you know what you know.
It was great that you asked Eli right then and there, while still in the midst of the discussion, if you were his “rebound girl.” Ugh! I hate that phrase! Had you asked him the question a day or two later, he would think (and probably be right) that you have been thinking and obsessing about what he said, making a mountain out of a molehill (that I don’t think is true). And yes, you are correct: Eli gave the expected answer.
I know how you feel. Every man and woman wants to be loved and liked by another for who they are. There must be a mutual attraction between the two people: attraction of the aesthetics and character/personality. We all want and deserve that. No one wants to be the person someone meets right after a serious relationship ends, because their emotions may not be “back to normal.” Strong feelings may still be floating around and, like a lifejacket in the ocean, you were latched onto because you were there. I’m not saying that this reflects your situation, only what someone does not want.
I shared a story with my readers of being the girl whom a fellow had dated, right after he got out of a serious relationship. After weeks of dating, he broke my heart by breaking things off. A few weeks later, I heard that he and the other girl got back together and were engaged. Great. He went out with me only to figure out he wanted her back and not me. I’m not saying that is the case with Eli, but I refer to it so you know that I can relate. But I was dumped. You are still very much in the game with Eli. The next step is yours.
Would you doubt any of Eli’s feelings for you if you didn’t find out about this relationship now? If a shadchan said, “I have a fellow and he just got out of something serious, but I really think you and he would hit it off” – would that have been better? Was it on purpose that the shadchan didn’t disclose that Eli just ended a relationship? Was it a slip of the mind or something thought unimportant? I don’t know, because unfortunately I know some shadchanim who would leave out that type of information just to get the shidduch moving.
All you can do is take Eli at his word. If I were you, I would put this “rebound” situation out of your head. It could only lead to trouble. You are in a relationship with Eli. You have gotten to know him pretty well, as you said. He hasn’t compared you, that you know of, to the previous girl. Do you remember when I went on a date with someone who was devastated that his kallah had called off the engagement a couple of weeks before our date? All through the night he compared me to his former kallah. It was horrible. But it was because he was not near ready to begin dating again, and he had not yet worked through all of his emotions regarding the broken engagement.
But Eli has never mentioned or hinted about the other girl. True, you may never had met Eli if he didn’t have a failed relationship, but you did. So many couples are together because of a situation that happened similar to you and Eli. Maybe you made him forget about the other girl and it could be that he likes/loves you for you? Think about it. I’m sure that option is definitely possible. If you want to ask him about this again, go ahead, but I can almost certainly tell you, he will think that it was a mistake to speak about that relationship in the first place, because it’s causing you to doubt his feelings and he will never discuss another past semi- relationship with you again. Maybe he wanted to lay his cards on the table with you and be transparent about his past. The fact is you now know. If you want to call the shadchan and ask why the information was never told to you, you can, but I don’t see the point, as it hasn’t been an issue in your relationship until now – until you begin making it an issue.
The social worker voice in my head keeps saying that the other woman may have been picking fights about nothing because she was afraid about taking the next step, and so she may have sabotaged the relationship. But that shouldn’t matter here. Her loss can be your gain.
You can think of it a different way: You can think that the two of you weren’t ready for each other any time before the two of you were redt. He dated someone else. Only when it was bashert, did you meet. Maybe her uncertainty led for the two of you to meet now. I’ve heard of crazier stories. Chaya, unless this is a serious sticking point for you, I say leave it alone. You asked him about it in a very straightforward way. He answered you with confidence and that should have reassured you. I can understand why you may have your doubts. But this is your time with him. Take advantage of it and see what can come out of this relationship, if you can give it a fair chance.
Hatzlachah to you all.