I’ve often written of a friend of mine throughout the years. I met him when a friend of mine and I were on a Shabbos Nachamu Shabbaton. We met by happenstance and kept in touch for the last ten years. Every few months, one of us calls or texts the other to catch up on life. My friend is a wonderful man. I have nothing bad to say about him; he’s charismatic, good looking, fun to be with, definitely has an outgoing personality, he wears his heart on his sleeve. But yet, he hasn’t met his bashert yet. I will refer to him as Eli. Eli is a gentleman – and I mean that in every sense of the word, in his mid-50s. He has been out with hundreds, I kid you not, hundreds of women; and because he does wear his heart on his sleeve, he’s had his heart broken more than a few times. He has told me the different stories over the years, and there is nothing to do other than to offer an ear and give support. Eli has come close to being a chasan a few times, but ultimately it wasn’t meant to be.

When two people are in a relationship, it’s best that they feel comfortable around each other, that they can act and be their true selves. So, too, the names we tend to call our loved ones have to feel natural and true. I was once walking in a flea market many, many years ago and heard a woman refer to her husband/boyfriend as “Poo Bear.” This man stood over six feet tall, had several tattoos and a face that apparently only his mother and this woman could love. He looked nothing like a “Poo Bear,” but that was what she called him, and that’s the name he answered to. For whatever reason, she felt that that particular name suited him. But what if you don’t know what to call your significant other?

 In my opinion, if you date someone, meaning if you are old enough to be in a relationship, whether you are shidduch dating or in an actual relationship, there has to be a maturity level that you need to possess. You are now caring and possibly making decisions that affect another person’s life, and you have to understand that that is a responsibility. It may be fun, too, but it is a responsibility. It should not be treated as if this is real life, not as if reading a novel or watching a rom-com. Even if you think that it’s only you and your significant other in the relationship, what happens in the relationship has a ricochet effect, and it affects others: your friends, your family, etc. When the relationship is going well, you are happy and may be pleasant to deal with. If the relationship is on rocky ground, you may be irritated and not so pleasant to deal with. But the fact remains, this is real life and there are no cameras following you to capture all the drama.

 I have often said that I should have been an accountant, because numbers always add up. One plus one always equals two, but when you start dealing with people, nothing seems to add up. Numbers are objective; people tend to be subjective. Everyone has different opinions – from art to politics – and their likes and dislikes may differ, as well, even among identical twins. They both may not love the taste of everything they eat or have the same opinion of everyone they meet. The phrase, “One man’s junk is another man’s garbage,” comes to mind and explains this perfectly.

 I have often said and written, “Mi k’amcha Yisrael?” It is always said out of love and gratitude. I truly believe that we Jews are a people that are taught from birth to love another like you love yourself. It’s not enough to take care of ourselves and our family, but our neighbors and even those in other neighborhoods, and countries that we don’t even know.