I was sitting outside at a Starbucks just a week or two ago, when I started talking to a young Orthodox woman whose son was near my daughter’s age. People tell me that “Oh the Orthodox don’t talk to outsiders” and while that does seem to true, modern orthodox are a bit different, in my opinion and besides, I can get anyone to talk to me. What she told me however, was not what I was expecting.
Somehow, she had gotten around to mentioning that “dad” wasn’t around so much. She was divorced. Divorced at 26 and with only one child.
For me, for someone who is not orthodox, that would be a hopeful scenario. Young and one kid with the hopes of having more…life is short, and so I would feel optimistic.
“I’m old to have just one kid…and being divorced is not common in my community.”
We went on to talk about how she doesn’t have many female friends to spend time with because they’re all busy with a whole bunch of kids. Having one kid at 26 AND being orthodox is well, unorthodox to say the least. So not only does she struggle with the idea of being divorced as an orthodox woman, but now she has to struggle through it…with relatively little friend support, the one and sometimes only thing that has saved me for many bad days.
“You look so young,” she told me, and indeed in my thirties I suppose I stand somewhat of a chance of meeting someone who appreciates me, wants to spend time with me, enjoys conversation/intellectual activity and sex sure…but in my head I’m thinking, “It was hard enough to meet this one…now after a kid and 8 years invested– my heart and soul because I am a loving dedicated partner, how could I possibly connect with anyone?
Yet my situation seems at ease next to her. When I shared my situation, I felt almost as if it just weren’t as crucial as hers was. I wanted to run out and get her a new husband like… today. Right then. In general, the world around me doesn’t shun me for going through this heartbreaking experience. It may not love the broken family, but it doesn’t chastise it. For her, she will enter support groups (not a bad idea for anyone) in order to meet similar people and make friends…she will see matchmaker…(which she says sometimes they basically, suck) and hope for the best.
I told her she was young (despite community beliefs) and would go on to meet someone and have more kids. I would have hugged her but I didn’t. I could tell I lightened her load a little bit and made her feel somewhat better.
As she walked away she said, “If you see anyone good, let me know,” and so orthodox fellas, I am looking at you.
One of the things that struck me was that despite going through this and having an ex who isn’t such a great dad, her devotion to G-d and religion has not faltered.
I certainly hope a good Jewish boy falls out of the sky for her.
Being alone is great, but not for life.
With Challah and Hugs,