Ahalan. Zahava here. Due to an exhausting break-up, I am suffering from a lack of koyach (as my Yiddishe ancestors in the shtetl would put it) and am therefore departing from my normally cheery opening paragraph. I apologize in advance for being a Debbie Downer/Zahava Za’azua.
Let’s get straight to the point, shall we?
One of my best friends here, an experienced olah who has dwelled in this medina for around 15 years, never tires of warning me that I should not be dating Israelis. She patiently listens (each time) as I scandalize her with my saga of the moment, stands by as I agree with her (each time) that I need to be dating guys that understand my culture (e.g. Anglos), and watches how in the span of a few days (each time), I proceed to date yet another Israeli who doesn’t understand my culture.
And so it happened again. I met a seemingly sweet, adorable and harmless Sabra, got really close to him over a month’s time and started seeing him almost every day. Pretty soon, he revealed himself to be a drama queen with very little comprehension of where I was coming from and where I want to go. (That’s not to say every Israeli is this way, but I just do not mesh well with them. Two strong personalities do not make one right.)
I was very dissatisfied. No, extremely dissatisfied. Sample conversation (picture a constant switch between English and Hebrew):
Difficult Dude (DD): Hi
DD: Shalom (imitating my Anglo accent)
DD: What’s the matter?
Me: Oh, nothing…
DD: Why do you get so stressed about everything??
Me (stressed): I’m not stressed!!! ARGH!!
Clearly, this wasn’t working. So how did I respond? I smartly continued to see him. The entire time, the wise voice in my head was screeching “NO NO NO!” And while I agreed with it, and started feeling almost physically ill about the whole thing, I just couldn’t get myself to move in a positive direction and end it.
Normally, I am the first person to walk away from something that is not working. That’s not to say I take relationships lightly, but I’m, resolutely, very honest with myself. In this case I knew what was up as usual, but I was, pashut, stuck in the mire. It was like I was on a train destined to be a wreck (or let’s face it, already was wrecked) and I just couldn’t get off. It made no sense, and as a person not prone to dramatics and/or histrionics (har), I can describe the feeling as:
Being surrounded by a storm cloud of weakness, which kept raining down on me every day, as something bizarre and clearly annoying kept propelling me toward this gever.
It got pretty bad. I couldn’t seem to make time for anything other than Difficult Dude. I was late for ulpan almost every day, made no progress in my job search, was not keeping in touch with my family and friends in chutz l’aretz and basically abandoned the gym. Objectively, one could say the relationship came along at the same time that I began my major “Post-Aliyah Blues,” but I was in no position to be objective.
The breaking point was when a good friend came to visit me on special trip from chul and so disliked my bothersome boyfriend that she told him to his face that he was a smug know-it-all. Normally I wouldn’t be cool with a friend interfering in this way, but I knew she was right. It was very uncomfortable, to say the least.
At this point, I was so disgusted that I was finally prepared to act. What finally caused the shift within? Perhaps it was my family chiding me for not keeping in touch. Maybe it was the fact that my ulpan classmates were shocked when I actually showed up on time one day. It could have been the weary tone in my friends’ voices that was becoming familiar every time I mentioned Difficult Dude.
The whole fiasco culminated in my going to a meal at his parent’s house this past Shabbos. I knew I HAD to end it, but it was too late to back out from the little Friday night tête-à-tête in Kiryat Yovel. Plus, his mom was supposedly a wicked Sephardic cook, and I felt I deserved to partake of my just desserts (and appetizers and entrees).
And so it went. I charmed his family over (suitably delicious) chicken with rice and peas, and he embarrassed me at the table by asking everyone what they thought of his new “merchandise.”
Finally, finally, I was pushed to the breaking point. I ‘carpe diem’ed’ and ended things (not at the table). A tear fell from his eye. My stomach churned. He drove me home. I devoured a vanilla pudding.
Things feel, happily, somewhat back to normal. Oh, I’m in a bad mood today, but it will pass.
And I am strong in my conviction that I will not be falling back into the Black Hole of Israeli Dating. In fact, I am convinced that I need to take some time to focus on myself and just acclimate. I’ve been so caught up in a frenzy that I really haven’t allowed myself time to get used to this entirely different society. Gym, friends and job search are going to be the best medicine. (Oh and food. Food. Food.)
In the meantime, the Israeli is trying to win me back, which makes for good comedy. Enjoy the following conversation, which just took place over instant message:
Difficult Dude: Hi
DD: I miss you so so much. Kisses.
Me: I miss your mom’s cooking.
DD: My mom’s cooking misses you.