Is It Time To Break Off This Relationship?

Hello Rabbi Daniel and Susan,

I’m Vera from Nigeria. I met this guy on Twitter about 3 years ago. We developed friendship and affection for each other. A few months down the line, we stopped communicating — he never called or texted again, neither did I.

I recently got a random call from this same guy. It was shocking but I was excited to hear from him again and we spoke as casual friends reconnecting after a long time. We kept in touch then he asked me out on a date and that would be my first time seeing him. Everything went really smooth. It was a beautiful outing and he asked that we build an actual relationship. We’ve spoken and texted every day since then. I visited him once. We share our plans and goals. He cherishes me; He loves and respects me.

My eyes are beginning to pick up red flags. He doesn’t acknowledge faith and that has always been one very important guiding factor in my life. He has an unhealthy attitude towards money or wastage of it. He’s also not very tidy and that has always been a dealbreaker for me. He’s generally a good man with good morals, but is he good for me?

It bothers me that I could do better with my choice. My friend has advised that I give it/him more time; it could be stress or burnout from work playing with my emotions. However, every day I feel guilty about the growing disdain. I am no longer attracted to him. I’d appreciate your thoughts on this.

Regards, Vera

Dear Vera,

It is possible that we are missing some cultural context as you wrote that you hail from Nigeria, but from our perspective, we are having difficulty understanding why you are considering continuing with this relationship at all. The purpose of getting to know someone is to explore whether marriage is a possibility. Getting deeply involved by letting more time pass once you know that this won’t work is counterproductive. By speaking or communicating every day since the first time you met, we think you jumped much too quickly and too intensely into a relationship.

Frankly, we don’t think that either you or this young man behaved wisely. We would strongly suggest that you read some good books on marriage (we would suggest I Only Want to Get Married Once as a potential starting point) and spend time acquiring a more mature outlook on men and marriage.

You used the word ‘disdain’ in your letter. That is exactly the opposite of the respect and affection needed at the start of and during a marriage. You also noted several red flags that are serious issues. These are valid sticking points. We don’t understand why you would even think of continuing.

You mention a friend from whom you are getting advice. Here is something we do not know that perhaps your friend does. Is this a repeating pattern of yours? Have you spent a long time in relationships with different men and then soured on them? If that is so, then we suggest that you look for mentoring before beginning another relationship.

Vera, we must tell you that we do not believe in friendships between men and women. We would encourage you in the future not to have Twitter or other social media correspondence with men as you did in this case. Social media personae are usually far from real. Be very clear that a man who wishes to pursue you must do so in a serious, deliberate manner. This helps you to avoid building fantasies in your head about another person and it also lets either side break it off before emotions are too engaged and before too much time has been spent.

We encourage you to end this relationship and we also encourage you to review this relationship from start to finish and think about how you could and should have behaved differently. What are some questions you should have been asking yourself from the beginning?

For instance, did he ever explain to you why he ignored you for about two and a half years? You mention that he has an unhealthy attitude towards money but in actual numbers, has he accumulated savings, or does he have debts? Is he stingy and penny-pinching? You can learn a great deal about a man through his finances.

You tell us that he is a good man ‘with good morals’. How do you know this? We are a bit skeptical, and we hope you’ll pardon us but does a good man connect with a girl and then ignore her for a couple of years?

Being ‘not very tidy’ is a dealbreaker for you. It isn’t for us. But our slight tolerance for ‘untidy’ is utterly blown away by the fact that you are feeling increasing disdain for him and diminishing attraction.

We are happy you wrote to us because we would like to save you time and heartache if we possibly can. To that end, tell him that you’ve decided to end the relationship. Convey that firmly and briefly. You owe him no explanation. Let your friend(s) know that you have made up your mind and seek their support, not their attempts to change your mind.

Wishing you a good man into your life soon,

Rabbi Daniel & Susan Lapin

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