Dear Goldy:

Let me break down the last five years of my life for you in terms of me and my boyfriend. I’ve been dating him for five years. For the first two years he didn’t introduce me to his family, because he wanted to wait until his divorce was final and he didn’t want his ex to find out about me. So, I was the secret girlfriend.

There was a time when I said, “a whole new world,” and it was while singing the song of the same name from Aladdin. Unfortunately – yes, I said unfortunately – I seem to be using the phrase more often, and it has nothing to do with the happy magical world of Disney. Everything that used to be “normal” or common place is now taboo to talk, write, or think about. But I only think of the phrase “a whole new world” in regard to dating in this column. I won’t bring politics or current events into these paragraphs that people read in order to take their mind off of the everyday.

Dear Goldy:

 Shadchanim have been asking me about my son since he was 16. I always heard, “Call me in a few years. I have a girl for him.” My son is good looking, tall, with a great personality – basically he’s the total package. So why has he been dating for three years? Every girl he gets set up with isn’t for him: too dull, too frum, not pretty enough.

I’ve written this type of article a few times over the years, usually after the yamim tovim. So, I kind of expected to receive emails on this topic. The topic: those who are careless with their words with single during the Holidays. I will publish this article because those who wrote in need to be heard, but I am writing my own disclaimer: I don’t think people intend to purposefully hurt others. Because we are a society that communicates through words and emotions, both of which are subjective, there are bound to be instances where people misunderstand each other or don’t say exactly what they mean, or we end up playing broken telephone.

As adults, whether we are parents, aunts, uncles, or friend, we want to protect the children in our lives. It may be uncomfortable, but it’s necessary to have the serious conversation with them about stranger danger. I’ve told my daughter, “No one lost a puppy and needs you to help look for it. No one has candy that they want to give away. I would never send a stranger to pick you up from school, a party, or the park – especially when you have over 13 aunts and uncles very willing to pick you up if Tatty or I can’t.” I also had the uncomfortable but necessary talk about “If someone touches you...” These conversations are very necessary and important to have, no matter how uncomfortable you may feel talking about these subjects. The running theme in these important discussions (and make it a discussion, don’t preach to your kids) is to trust your instinct, your gut. If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t, and do what you can to get out of that situation. So why aren’t adults having these conversations with other adults when they know someone may be put into such a situation – especially when it involves dating and another person can get hurt?

It is great to have one good friend, or a small group of close friends, who always supports you and has your back. Some refer to friends as their “Sisters from another mister” or for men, “Brothers from another mother.” They are as close as close can be. But sometimes a friend has to know his/her place. They may know you as well as they know themselves; they may love you, but they are not you. Even best of friends need to respect boundaries, no matter how good their intentions are.