Friday, February 24, 2012

The Second-Time Single Trend

I didn't know there was a name or a category for what I am, but someone sent over a Tablet article today that gives me one of those fancy ways to describe myself: "Second-Time Single."

Now, I know that I'm not technically single because I'm currently in a very happy relationship with Taylor, but for the greater Jewish and Orthodox world, what I'm doing isn't dating, it isn't serious, it isn't real in a sense. "She'll come around!" they say. "She's divorced and acting out!" they say. "Let us know when you're ready to date a Jew again!" they say.

At any rate, the article is quite interesting. I don't know that if any of these kinds of Second-Time Singles events would have "saved" me from my current situation as I don't think I was ready to date when I met Taylor. Sometimes, life just happens. I am glad, I will say, that the Jewish community is attempting to do something for the demographic of 20s, 30s, and 40s who are divorced or widowed -- it's a lonely, confusing road.

Statistics about the number of Orthodox second-time singles are hard to come by. Dr. David Pelcovitz, professor of psychology and education at Yeshiva University, said that while there is no “reliable, solid, empirical source” for such information, “there’s a sense that there are more divorces. It’s incredibly unscientific but, for example, when I give talks at rabbinical conferences, I ask, ‘How many of you have experienced a divorce in your community in the past few years?’ You get more people raising their hands. When I ask the people who are doing work in Jewish divorce courts, they tell me that they seem to be busier.”
I think a lot of people fall into bad relationships after divorces just to continue fitting the mold of their community. It's as if there's a conveyor belt of spouses ready to go just so everyone can fit that perfect get married, move to a newly marrieds community, have a baby, buy a house, move to a family community kind of plan. I worry about a lot of people I know who get back into it too quickly.

Also, I have to say -- not unpredictably I might add -- that (in the article) the shadchanim (matchmakers) that set up Second-Time Singles often set them up with other Second-Time Singles, and that grates my cheese. I think it's one thing that will never fade in the Orthodox community: Once you get divorced, you're damaged goods so you get married off to another divorced individual or an older individual. It's the same with converts, as matchmakers often try to pair them with other converts. I understand the sentiment -- oh, we've been through something similar, right? -- but no two people go through an experience and come out on the other side the same, so why try making that connection?

Maybe I'm just grumpy today. Anyway, let me know what you think about the article.