Dear Jewish Fairy Godmother:
I converted to Judaism two years ago, after being in a very profound
relationship for two years. The first time I went to synagogue and
heard the music I was moved to tears. It was like I’d come home. The
music was like nothing I could have imagined and everything I ever
believed religion to be. I’d been a lapsed Catholic for decades. We
were together for another year but are now divorced and I have
moved. Some of her friends have asked to stay with me during a
shabbaton that a visiting rabbi is conducting at my synagogue. I like
them. I want to be nice, but I’m also afraid all my carefully healed hurt
places will burst wide open and I don’t want them reporting back to
my ex that I am a mess.
Room At the Inn, or Not?
Dear Room at the Inn:
The kind of scars you’re talking about might rip open even years from
now, depending on how much you loved your ex and how your life
develops from now on. You cannot insulate yourself from feelings, nor
should you. If she were asking to come stay with you, I’d give you
different counsel. But if the prospective guests are people you are
generally comfortable with, and you feel safe having them in your
home other than the aforementioned emotional issues, I think you
should do so. You should not have to dissemble about what shape
you’re in emotionally. If it really was a deep and long-lasting
relationship, still being emotionally vulnerable is a tribute to your ex.
But neither should you spill your guts to her friends, act desperate
about getting back together, or otherwise expect that their visit is a
backdoor conduit to a reconciliation.
Be joyous that you found Judaism through your ex. Among other
things, the shabbaton should give you a deeper sense of your
connection with your new life, and help solidify the motional resilience
you will need to move forward into your future. Heal and stay open.
There’s lots of wonderful single Jewish women who’d appreciate a
loving soul to connect with. But don’t rush into a relationship until you
are ready to consider the new person on her own merits. Anyone who
is constantly being compared to an ex will soon tire of it, and of you.