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Author Topic: When did you know you were ready to date?
hannahr

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Post When did you know you were ready to date?
on: July 8, 2013, 11:08 AM

I'm not currently dating (how I got on this site? Long story). I was thinking about starting now, but I'm just wondering- how did you guys know you were ready?
A bit of background:
I'm 20, starting my third year of college, majoring in molecular biology and doing premed prereqs, mostly in NY but not always. I didn't go to sem, which is one reason why my situation is so messed up. The reasons are complicated, and I don't really want to get into them, but it was definitely the best situation for me at the time. As I want to stay anonymous I don't want to say where I went to high school, but I don't really identify with its hashkafa so much anymore.
I talked about dating with my mom, and she gave me a lot of great tips- figure myself out, figure out what I want from a guy, chat with my engaged/married friends, etc. She says that as soon as I'm ready she'll start working on it for me, but I'm hesitant to take the plunge.
Just to get any ideas out of your head, the things that stopped me from going to sem had nothing to do with my family life- my parents are happily married and I'm reasonably confident that I can build a good home. I'm just not sure I'm ready.
I was talking to my cousin who got married about thirty seconds after she got off the plane and she said that she didn't really think about it- she just started dating because that's what was expected of her. Is that really how it works for people? If anyone made a conscious decision when to begin dating, how did you decide?
I also feel as though many of the girls who went to sem had more clarity in this regard- I'm not sure though whether that's actually it or just that starting dating was a natural progression from ending sem and those steps have just not been there for me.
Thanks!

iThink

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Post Re: When did you know you were ready to date?
on: July 8, 2013, 12:21 PM

Unfortunately, your cousin is not the exception; you are. At least from what I can tell. 

In answer to your question, I waited til I felt that I had the clarity and self awareness that's necessary in order to make that lifelong commitment.That includes knowing myself, my needs, my wants, my would-be-nice-to-haves, my most important goals and values in life. I also wanted to develop my spiritual side as much as possible. For me that meant rediscovering tefillah and my connection with Hashem and focusing on several areas of self improvement. And to this day, I never stop trying to become the kind of person that the man I daven for deserves. So yeah it was a conscious decision, and I think it should be for everyone.

patcha

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Post Re: When did you know you were ready to date?
on: July 8, 2013, 12:28 PM

Forget about clarity. There will never be a magical moment where rainbows are shining and a voice calls from the heavens, "Hannahr, your bashert is waiting!" Rather, look at your life realistically and see if you are ready to get married.

Are you physically, emotionally, and financially stable (or have a clear path to stability in those areas, within human ability to predict)?
Are you spiritually comfortable with where you are, or are you in a state of growth?
Do you have positive and realistic relationship role models?
Would your faults and flaws prevent you being a good wife and mother? If so, what can you fix before you start dating?
Will there be a significant change in your life in the next year? If so, you may wish to wait until afterwards to date.
Most importantly, do you want to get married?

If your answers are yes, you probably should start getting your name out there. It takes a while before things happen anyway, and it's good experience to write a resume, see shadchanim, and get a sense of the system, even if you're not quite ready to date. Don't let anyone rush you into it though - only start dating when you feel ready. But don't expect to magically feel ready one day, it will probably grow on you and when you really feel a lack in your life from not getting married, you will know you are in the right place.

patcha

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Post Re: When did you know you were ready to date?
on: July 8, 2013, 12:29 PM

Hannahr, I would never have guessed you were 20 btw. You seem younger.

iThink

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Post Re: When did you know you were ready to date?
on: July 8, 2013, 12:32 PM

Just want to add that the tricky thing about that was not answering these questions, but in figuring out whether my answers would change in one or two or three years from then.

chaykie

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Post Re: When did you know you were ready to date?
on: July 8, 2013, 12:38 PM

I will tell you my opinion, but remember it's only mine 🙂 no one has to agree with it, this is just from my experience, my life. nothing specific made me decide that i was ready or not, i cannot help you with that. But what i will tell you: Figuring yourself out is not easy. I'm about 4 years out of sem, and i just recently (within the past year) figured out what I think I really need vs what I want in a boy. You see, I went to a regular Bais Yaakov school, i'm a good girl, just when i went to sem, the inspiration lifted me so high, and it wasn't my regular self. It was me on a spiritual high. In a spiritual bubble, as they call it. And don't think it's only me, i know this happens to a lot of girls. Most of the time, the way girls are in sem is not the way they are at home. Now, i'm not chas v'shalom saying that that's a bad thing or that anyone changes for the worse- I'm still a good frum girl with solid hashkafos, i'm still very spiritual, but i'm definitely not the girl i was in sem. And once you get home, ur still in that sem bubble- it doesnt pop right away. So if i would have gone out then, I would have gotten something really different than what i need, because that was the "chaiky in a bubble" time. and it was temporary, so i'm glad i let my bubble pop (again, not in a bad way). Now, though, I've been out of sem long enough to have experience with dating, and with friends who have told me their dating stories (post engagement/marriage), so I know more of what I want/don't want, need/don't need. Also a good book that helps a lot is dating secrets/shidduch secrets (it's the same book with two diff names, and i don't know why). It's really thorough. Read that book, and also, talk to a mentor/older married friend/someone you look up to and trust. Ask them if they think you are ready to get married. Ask them which areas of your middos/personality you could work on in order to become a better person, to be really ready to be a wife and mother. If they have your best interests in mind, they will tell you the truth and be very willing to help you work on yourself. hope this helps a bit 🙂

hannahr

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Post Re: When did you know you were ready to date?
on: July 8, 2013, 2:31 PM

In order:
iThink: Unfortunately, I know very well that I'm the odd one out here- that's kind of my point, because I don't have a precedent here, unlike the girls who do the "normal" thing and go to sem. I'm trying to figure myself out- I'm not sure if I'm exactly there yet. My mom told me to make one of those "five-and-five" lists- I haven't gotten it down to five yet, but I have it at about seven or eight each. It is giving me some clarity.
patcha: I'm not expecting complete clarity- if I were, I'd be hiding under the sofa and not expecting to be ready til I'm thirty. I'm just trying to figure out if I'm close enough.
I'm not going to be financially stable until I'm graduated medical school in six years, if that's really what I decide to do (it's very likely at this point). The only major thing I think this year will be the MCATS, but I'm not sure that counts- something major happens all the time, and I don't want to put life on hold indefinitely. I'm pretty comfortable with myself spiritually, and I think I know what I'd want in a husband spiritually. I try to work on my flaws, and while I can't say I'm perfect (who is?) I think that I'm taking positive steps.
And yes, I do think that I want to get married.
To be honest, that's one of the things that makes the decision so uncertain- because it's a big leap from what I've already come to think of as "regular life," and that's what I think puts me at a disadvantage. Sem girls are first "high school girls" then "sem girls" then "working and dating girls"- if I'm getting this wrong feel free to correct me- and the time to switch categories is pretty much pre-ordained, or if you decide to wait a bit you know what you're sort of "supposed to " be doing. I never really had a pre-set divide like that, so it's kind of like jumping into the ocean randomly.
Maybe that means I'm not ready. I can totally see that. I've been pushing off for a reason, after all.
And yeah, I've been told that I seem younger than I am in emails, blog posts, etc.- I'm not sure if that's immaturity or just my writing style :). Or maybe my writing style is indicative of my maturity? No clue. If it is immaturity then that's probably another good reason to wait.
chaykie: I can't relate to a lot of what you said because I didn't go to sem, but sometimes I do wonder if maybe I'm missing something because I didn't go. Everyone says that all I missed was the chavayah :), which of course would've been nice, but sometimes I wonder if there was more. I try to go to shiurim and keep myself up but I wonder if maybe other girls are prepared more. My cousin actually recommended that book to me and I need to remember to get over to her house to borrow it. She said it's amazing.
I usually talk to one of my best friends- she's a few years older than me and just got married, and she usually has really good insight as far as my issues, what I can do to improve, etc. I've talked to her about this, but to be honest, this thread came about kind of randomly when I hadn't been thinking about it for a couple weeks, so I haven't talked to her recently- will do.
From all of this, I'm getting the impression that I'm really not there yet. I just feel like I never will be, or that I'll be twenty-seven and first starting to date. I think what I need right now is to really figure myself out, inside and out. Talk to mentors, my mom, etc. Read that book and maybe others. Refine for myself what I really want. I'll probably ask my mom to get my name out there, but I'm definitely going to travel slowly from here.
If anyone else has tips then feel free, but I think this is my conclusion so far and I need time to work through all this.
Thank you guys so much! You're amazing :).
Just a thought- my friend suggested that if I felt like I was really lacking something spiritually, I could try night sem. Would that be strange? Does that seem necessary, even?

chaykie

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Post Re: When did you know you were ready to date?
on: July 8, 2013, 3:43 PM

doesn't sound weird at all. or you could do maybe a half year program in Eretz Yisroel, if that's at all a possibility for you- quite a few half yr programs have opened up within the past few yrs i think

life123

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Post Re: When did you know you were ready to date?
on: July 8, 2013, 3:46 PM

I think you're ready, after you have those conversations/read those books you have in mind. Dating is a growing experience - and I know I'll get some flack for saying this - but when you date you see what different boys are like and what you really want, more than you could just from decided or talking to other people. Seems to me you are pretty well grounded... and I doubt you'd get more out of night sem than out of shiurim. I think you sound younger because you said in the beginning that you aren't ready to date and you're very open - so people get a picture in their heads. Waiting won't do anything for you, probably, and I think dating will. If you speak to a boy and decide you aren't interested in him because of x, you may come to realize what you really want and why.

daysfan24

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Post Re: When did you know you were ready to date?
on: July 8, 2013, 4:40 PM

I agree with life123, I think experience will come from after dating. I know what I wanted then was completely different from what I want now. You can even try one date with someone and see if this is something your ready for, or maybe nows just not the time for you to date. Books help tremendously with preparing yourself, so either way you should grab a book. But, I think it's hard to really decipher sometimes if you are or not and by giving it a try you can tell one way or another. I know I wasn't sure myself when I first began dating, but I think once I started and continued I saw myself grow and B"H obviously it wasn't the right time anyways, so I think when the right time happens for you, Hashem will send him at that designated time.

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