Not For Me!!

Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:

For years I worked with a guy and we became close friends, listening
to one another’s personal grief and supporting one another during
work stress. We know the ins and outs of each others psyches, and
what each other wants out of life, in his case a divorce and in mine a
new relationship, preferably one as seemingly great as his now six-
month old one. He invited me to a “very small Halloween party, come
in costume, and be prepared to drink some spicy brew!” So I did.
There were six of us there, a couple we both know, he and his
wonderful new sweetie, and someone he “wanted you to meet.” who
turns out to be a new hire at my old firm. The music and games were
all spooky scary get you to jump into one another’s arms, including a
visit to a haunted house followed by more shenanigans in their spooky
backyard. The fix-up was all grabbing hands and clutching. I made my
excuses early and avoided as much as I could. What do I say now?

Not For Me!!

Dear Not For Me:

You say Thanks, but No Thanks. It’s important to acknowledge that
your friend tried to give you what he thought was missing from your
life, what you may have asked for during your kvetching and bonding
sessions. But clearly his idea of how to fix what ails you and yours are
very very different. There are some people for whom a drunken hook-
up is a respite from loneliness. But for most folks of a given age, that
kind of behavior went out the window decades ago. What most people
want in courting behavior is not grabby hands and clutching. It is
being admired and appreciated, romanced, and pursued.

Sit down with your friend and ask what makes his new relationship
good and exciting. Encourage him to talk, even if it makes you a little
envious or sad. You need to balance those feelings against your future,
and they’ll help you know where to set the bar for dating. Ask him to
go back to the beginning and say what attracted him to his new
partner, and how they built what you think could be a very strong and
promising relationship. Listen. And then say, That’s my hope for
myself as well. I am happy to meet people you think are solid
possibles. But please don’t mistake my desire for relationship as
anything but that. If it’s not good enough for you, assume I won’t
want to play. Good on you for setting the bar where you want it to be
in your life. Don’t sell yourself short or cheaply.