Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Fake Relationships - Real Relationships

I recently stumbled upon a frum website [in Hebrew] where people write in to professionals for advice on various emotional and spiritual problems they are experiencing. The questioners and responders are all anonymous so people speak from the heart and aren't embarrassed. 

There was a letter written by a young woman who was in tremendous distress because she was in love - with a married man she had met on line [there were a number of letters with similar themes]. On one hand she wanted to be a good religious girl and stay away. On the other hand she was completely smitten and felt tremendous sadness at the thought of not being with him. She asked if it was permitted to daven that this man get divorced so that she can have him to herself. The responder of course [after expressing empathy] encouraged her to drop the idea completely. Daven to destroy someone's home??? Not the Torah way...

I wanted to add the following: People are very often in love with imaginary people. They have an image of who a person is and marry that image without realizing that their image exists - but only in their imagination. The truth is that we ALL [almost all?] married a certain image which didn't prove itself authentic after we married. That is why so many people are frustrated and unhappy in their marriages. The real person they married is not the image they had invented in their minds. Why are chosson and kallah so happy on their wedding day? A cynical answer - because they don't really know the person they are marrying. Have you ever seen a person beaming and radiating and when you asked what happened the person answers "I got married". You ask "But you got married 24 years ago". "Yes - but I am still sooooo excited about it". 

Not usually. So part of the excitement is that it is new and people LOVE new things. But part of it is that they have this image of the person and what life with this person will be like that has little to do with reality. 

It is the same thing with pets. People LOVE their dogs and imagine that their dogs love them back in the same way. I have news - they DON'T. Dogs, although I have never interviewed one to find out, don't process information or experience feelings as humans do. So when a person is feeling all lovey dovey to his dog - he should know that the feelings are not mutual. 

Back to our story. When people meet on the Internet and "fall in love" they are CERTAINLY creating a non-existent person in their mind and falling in love with that imaginary being. It is like watching a movie. There is a beautiful actress on the screen. She is also soooooo filled with personality and wonderful qualities. But she is just making it all up. All that is true is that she really looks that way and even that is altered by makeup and other means modern technology has of changing the way people look. [My daughter is a graphic artist. If she feels like it she can take a picture of me turn my face into half Hilary Clinton half Donald Trump]. Their personalities are all the figment of the imagination of the writers and directors. 

One thing I have seen over the years time and again - when you see the true faces of people you realize that you were ALLLL wrong. You THOUGHT that they were a certain type of person but you were mistaken. 

When a married man has an affair [even if it is just emotional] over the Internet he is a morally despicable person [especially if he is religious and should know better].  And just like he did it to his wife, he will just as easily do it the next time around. I can never understand women who marry men they had affairs with when the man was previously married. Don't they understand that after the excitement wears off he will do it again??! They obviously don't because in their minds the man truly loves them. But he doesn't. He IS truly in love - with himself. Or at least he seems to be but since he does self-destructive things he doesn't truly love himself either. 

So remember - never make a final judgment on a person until you know that person for many years - and even then כולי האי ואולי. You never really know. When you "fall" for someone, remember that the day will come soon when you "get up" and feel and view things differently. Relationships take a tremendous amount of work and investment of time, energy and resources. The initial spark is just Hashem's way of getting us to marry someone we don't really know. So make sure that you [or people who listen to you] enter into relationships with people with whom it is likely to build a lasting bond. Be wary of any Internet relationship. You can't get more fake than that.

This woman who was "love-sick" is really "sick" to fall in love and she thinks that her illness will be cured by this man. She couldn't be more mistaken. His wife was also smitten with him at one point and couldn't imagine living without him. If she would have known what he would do behind her back, she never would have fallen for him. There are many adjectives in the English language used to describe such people and none of them have a pleasant connotation. 

In summation - create real lasting relationships with real people. Invest in these relationships. And if you are ever let down or disappointed by someone - it happens all the time. You are not alone. All you can do is be the best, most caring friend possible. If others aren't as committed or kind-hearted as you are then that is their loss.