I like to think I’m not a picky person when it comes to dating. I have my boundaries and limits, and I do have certain established requirements that I feel are required in a partner.
But on the whole I like to think that I am flexible (to varying sensical degrees) with most of my criteria for who I am willing to date or not date. I’m willing to accept my future partner is not the girl I may currently envision and that this imaginary girl I am looking for may be vastly different then the reality when comparing her to the image I have painted in my mind.
Even though I’ve heard the craziest stories from friends and their experiences, I truly had the hardest time believing there were individuals with the most unrealistic expectations of their future spouse. That is until I went out with one.
It actually took the 3rd or 4th date for the girl to show her true self. The first two or three dates were really great. We were having fun (at least she seemed to be having fun), and I found she was pretty, intelligent, and overall an amazing positive person! I was really into this girl and we had very similar views and hashkafas. She was a few months older than me though, but I don’t think that really mattered much.
We’re on this 3rd or 4th date and we’re sitting down sipping our Starbucks after coming back from some activity we did earlier that evening. Winding down a somewhat successful night, (Wasn’t without its hitches but overall I was happy with the way things had gone) and we began talking a bit more seriously about things.
So I had asked if there were any issues that she would like to seriously discuss. I had flown into NYC to date her, and I was leaving the next day. She says, “yeah, actually I do. You mentioned you don’t care to learn more than once a week”.
At some point I had off handedly mentioned that I have this internal feeling for myself (call it a craving or gut feeling if you must) to learn at least once a week. This is my personal minimum that I think I require to feel good about myself and feel good about my personal growth and development progress. If I don’t get at least that minimum amount in, I get this voice in the back of my head that bugs me to better myself.
Before I forget, let me just mention that I at that point in my life I was learning for a bit more than an hour each day from 6a.m. as part of this morning learning program I joined. Now by no means am I a learner, nor even a good one at that. In fact my Talmud translation skills are horrible, and I am really just not all that advanced. But I do have a love for Torah and knowledge and I was working part-time and taking school and so I figured I could hack an early morning schedule.
Here is where the crazy started. She then goes on to say that what I had said bothered her. She felt her future spouse will be the type of guy who wants to learn minimally twice a week and nothing less (she wouldn’t settle with a guy who learnt less than)…
Now I hadn’t exactly clarified what a “minimum once a week” meant to me. Could be an hour, could be 2 hours. Heck it could be 10 minutes! the point being that I need to do something each week to keep my spiritual development going. That doesn’t mean to say I will always learn each week. I hate to say it girls, to all of you who are reading this… I’m the type of guy who may not learn at all should I not get the chance. (I probably just killed my shidduch potential in the eyes of all the shadchanum).
The way I figure it, one day should I be fortunate and have kids. If my wife comes up to me and asks me to handle the baby so she can get some relief. I’m not going to dump the baby back and say, “Na uh, I’m out honey I’m off to learning! sorry I can’t watch the kid right now. I must get my learning quota in for the week!”.
I know there will be times in my life where other issues will become higher priority than learning. There may be times when I have to work late every day and can’t get out to learn. Maybe there will be times when my kids need devoted attention more than I need my learning. I recognize the virtues of learning but I am not the type of guy that can just drop everything to fill some imaginary quota.
Anyhow, knowing all to well that this was the gong that chimed the end of the developing relationship I felt compelled to amuse myself and figure out what exactly her twice a week minimum entailed. After all there must be some logic to her thinking, right?
So I asked, “Did that mean 1 hour today and 1 hour tomorrow, or could he if busy just pile it all in 2 hours today and none tomorrow (for his weekly quota)… Or what about, could he just do 15 minutes today and 15 minutes tomorrow.. I think that’s considered twice right?!…”
and that was the last date with that girl… not bad considering it was a 3rd or 4th date.