By Baila Sebrow
I am being stalked by a girl whom everyone tells me I should marry. We dated for just a few months, and I realized that we are not a good match. I called her and told her that it’s over. She seemed to take it well, because she said she felt the same way. I thought, “Great, at least I didn’t break her heart.” And then I heard from a bunch of my friends that she tells people that I broke her heart.
I offered to introduce her to some of my guy friends, because she is really a nice girl. She said she doesn’t want or need my help. Meanwhile, she goes around asking people to get us back together. And everyone agrees with her! She shows up everywhere she knows I will be. She spends Shabbos in my neighborhood so that she’ll see me in shul. She hangs out at places she knows my friends and I go to.
When I complain to people about what’s going on, they all say that I should give it another chance, and that she is showing a romantic side of herself, which most frum girls don’t express. Am I crazy here? Do you think I should actually date her again?
The big problem is that no one wants to set me up with anyone, because word on the street is that we are together. There are a couple of girls I am interested in going out with, and they are being told that this girl and I are an item! What should I do?
You ask if you are the crazy person here? If the way you tell your tale is accurate, then the answer is no, you are not crazy. You are being manipulated and have become a victim. The crazy ones are those who believe this girl is acting out of romantic notions. There is a name for what she is doing to you, and it’s called stalking. There is nothing romantic about being relentlessly pursued by someone you refuse to have in your life. The people who find stalking to be romantic have probably read too many romance novels where the pursuer finally succeeds in winning the heart of the pursued. Real life rarely works that way. And if not immediately nipped in the bud, it can even turn dangerous.
You dated this girl, and you felt that she was not a good match for you. That’s how dating works. Each party has the right to determine that the relationship needs to be terminated. She, too, could have done that. In fact, she told you that she agrees with you. Whether she really felt that way or just said so to appear unhurt makes no difference.
As painful as a breakup can be, it sometimes needs to happen for the ultimate benefit of both parties involved. From time to time the breakup is indeed mutual, and when that is the case, there is relief on both sides. However, in many situations it is one-sided. Emotionally stable individuals will grieve for what they lost, and perhaps what may be unrequited love, but they move on. They move on not necessarily for the sake of the person who broke up with them, but for their own good.
This girl is unable to get on with her life, and that is a very serious issue. To make matters worse, she is surrounded by those who, rather than assist her in getting over her relationship with you, instead encourage her destructive behavior of dwelling on a nonviable union.
Not only does this place you in an uncomfortable spot, but people are placing extra pressure on you to date her again. These people are completely out of line and are being unfair to you. If you are 100 percent certain that you will not consider dating this girl again, you need to make that very clear to those who are trying to persuade you to do so. Tell them that no matter how much they try, you will never change your mind. It might be helpful if you state your reasons (if there are any that you can articulate) for breaking up with her in the first place, and why you will never cave in to dating her again. Stress that you find their interference to be intrusive and offensive. I would hope that those who are able to be objective will begin to recognize that their well-meaning efforts are futile.
Up till now, this lovelorn girl was being validated and encouraged by do-gooders who feel that by pushing you to go out again it will help enable her wish to come true. Hopefully, as soon as she sees that no one else will back her chase of you, she may weaken in her pursuit. At that point you will have to deal only with her.
My question is how you ended your relationship with her. Did you leave her hanging with the hope that perhaps in the future you would pick up where you left off? Oftentimes those who break up with someone are so ineffective that it works against them. Just as it is important to know how to make a relationship work, there is an art to breaking up with someone in a sensitive yet firm manner.
If you have established some sort of relationship with the person—meaning you dated for a while—then terminating that relationship is best done in person. You say that you called her to tell her that it’s over. So when you say that you thought she took it well, how would you know? The phone is fine if you are calling to cancel a date with the intention of rescheduling, but not for ending a monthslong relationship. Without seeing your face, she might have missed the cues that you were definite in your decision. She may be assuming there is a tiny sliver of hope that there is still a future with you, and maybe she conveyed that to those who are trying to convince you to give her another chance.
I believe that at this point, it would be in the best interests of both of you to have a heart-to-heart talk with her. But not just the two of you alone. From the way you are relaying the evolvement of the story, things have gone too far, which is why you need to find a third party to join the conversation. Ask that person to contact her and arrange a meeting.
If this meeting does take place, that will not be the time to bring up her recent bad behavior. Tell her that you want to set things right, and that you feel she may not have completely understood you the last time you spoke on the phone. Be kind and sincere by complimenting her positive attributes, and follow up by explaining why you feel that the two of you will not be a good match. Stress that you gave it much thought, and you still feel very strongly about it even after all this time.
She needs to understand that following you around and showing up at your favorite places will not be a good thing. You will also need to emphasize that you feel it would be best to avoid one another as much as possible—not just for your sake, but for hers, too.
The advice I am giving you is just a suggestion that might work if she is emotionally stable and accepting of what you say. She might still stick to her delusions, but at least there will be another person to witness the truth of the situation. And if her disturbing behavior continues or worsens, you will need to reach out to higher authorities for assistance.
You have every right to get on with your life and meet other girls. If the people you associate with have an allegiance to that girl in particular, there are plenty of other individuals who are either professional shadchanim or enjoy introducing singles to one another. You are by no means stuck in this situation. Please disassociate yourself from those who have any close connections to that girl.
Baila Sebrow is president of Neshoma Advocates, communications and recruitment liaison for Sovri-Beth Israel, executive director of Teach Our Children, and a shadchanis. She can be reached at Bsebrow@aol.com. Questions and comments for the Dating Forum can be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org.