Dating Games: Stuck in a funk

What am I going to do about my friend Julie, who’s s-i-n-g-l-e and desperate not to be?

By TAMAR CASPI
March 26, 2010 16:25

I feel bad for my friend Julie, and I’m having a hard time with it. Since my relationship with “S” is going so great, I feel like she’s been left out in the cold.

She’s not just single, she’s s-i-n-g-l-e. She is stuck in a funk. She let her J*Date account expire, she’s too tired to go out, she’s not in the mood to be set up and she wants so badly to be in a relationship that she can’t even wrap her brain around the conundrum anymore.

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“S” and I always invite her to join us in whatever we do, and we try really hard to make sure she doesn’t feel like the third wheel. Sometimes she’ll join us and have a good time, but other times she would rather stay at home and do nothing rather than come out with us and bear witness to our love (even though we purposely tone down the affection).

Julie had a birthday last month, and she became pretty darn depressed. She didn’t want to celebrate or go out, or even answer the phone. She is literally the last one of her girlfriends to be only “on her way” to marriage, and happy as she is for all of us, it’s finally got to her.

It’s sad. She tries so hard to be excited for everyone as they meet their beshert and get engaged, get married, get pregnant and so on, but eventually it exhausts her. I’ve been trying to make sure the conversation doesn’t always center around weddings and babies, but I know it still bums her out.

Julie’s allowed herself to get totally immersed in her career, working 14+ hours a day in a thankless job so that she doesn’t have the time or energy to go out after work. She spends her weekends recouping, sleeping and catching up on her recorded TV shows.

I try to get her out for a girls’ night, and still she hems and haws until I guilt-trip her into submission. When I try to discuss dating with her, a sense of defeat washes over her face and her body. It’s difficult for me to empathize because when I was single, I put myself out there, I went to all the singles and networking events, and I was on J*Date. I kept myself busy too, but in social ways in addition to work, exercise and family.



As Gandhi said, Julie needs “to be the change [she] wants to see in this world” – or rather, in her world. She needs to make some changes to swing luck her way. Luckily, her offer on a condo was finally accepted and now she’ll be moving out of her parents’ house and into her own place.

She also needs to start up a new J*Date account with new photos, a new screen name and a new sense of hope. I believe this will shift her paradigm and start moving things in her favor.

If the economy weren’t so bad, I would also persuade her to quit her job and find something that makes her happy, but I know that is not realistic right now. Julie needs to head to the gym for a workout that will not only tone her tummy but release endorphins that will make her feel happy.

I know it’s easier said than done, and I know it’s easy for me to give advice since I’m in a relationship, but I was there not too long ago, and I do remember how tough it was. And I know it will only get tougher for Julie if she continues to let being single get the best of her; if she continues not to go out and meet new people.

In the meantime, I will continue to be her friend, her sounding board, her support system and I will send every quality, Jewish single man who crosses my path in her direction.

Men and women – in general – handle dating depression differently. Women sulk, men sip a drink while they are out on the town with the boys. Women get upset, men get active. Women retreat, men rebound. Women deal with their feelings, men bury their emotions. Neither sex has the right answer when it comes to dealing with being stuck in a funk.

“S” has a friend named Eyal, who deals with dating depression by going out with hoards of women who are not his type at all. They fawn over him, give him an ego boost and since he knows he would never get serious with any of them, he is relaxed and has a lot of fun and gets out of his own mind.

For a while, we all thought Eyal was nuts hanging out with ladies who were the opposite of what he was looking for (not Jewish, or too young, or what have you) but then we realized this was his way of taking a break from serious dating while still putting himself out there.

Problems do tend to arise when the ladies fall for Eyal, and he has to explain that he was just using them to benefit his warped mental state (not in those words, of course).

It’s unfortunate that in our society we let our love lives affect the rest of our lives. Julie is so special and so deserving and has so many other things going for her – but she is letting her single status bring her down. Eyal, meanwhile, is also special and deserving, but purposely wastes time with women he wouldn’t marry.

Some people can rise above being alone and lonely, but most people feel that void in everything they do and everywhere they go. There’s no simple solution to this; but taking a break from dating and putting it on the back shelf for even a short period of time may help you meet someone once you get happy from other things besides having a mate.


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