DADD: Dating Attention Deficit Disorder

by Samantha Hulkower

You can't pick up a Jewish publication without reading about the record number of singles. And every matchmaker, Rabbi, or yenta has their explanation for what is causing such an unprecedented number of young single people in the Jewish community. Shaya Ostrov, L.C.S.W. and relationship counselor, author of several relationship books and the new book, The Menuchah Principle in your Dating Relationships (see below for book giveaway), has his own insight into the source of the balagan that is dating in this day and age: Weapons of Mass Distraction. He writes:
"There is hardly a moment when we do not feel pulled in countless directions—by our iPhones, professional commitments, interests and hobbies, social networks, and the latest headlines.
While many of these commitments and concerns are legitimate aspects of our lives, the overall effect creates an ongoing sense of tension that can easily become impatience,  agitation, anxiety, worry and insecurity. Under these conditions we never really feel settled or peaceful within ourselves, yet we have come to consider this unsettled state of mind “normal.” We tend to worry about job security, Facebook friends, maintaining our workout schedule, the sense that life is slipping by if we don’t keep up, and countless other concerns that pervade our everyday thoughts and feelings. This becomes our default and many are unaware that life can be any different. 
How can we build meaningful relationships when we are in a continuous state of distraction and agitation? Imagine giving a child a valuable gift certificate and sending him into Toys R Us with the instruction “Just walk in, pick a toy and walk right out.” Who can fault our young consumer for being dazzled and confused, pulled in so many directions he is unable to make a decision?" 

While it may seem glib to compare searching for the right relationship to trying to choose between the latest Barbie or Hotwheels car, he has a point. How hard is it to get your friends to commit to a party you are trying to organize? The 'Maybe' button on facebook invites has been one of the fundamental instruments in facilitating the breakdown of commitment - to a one night event, let alone a long-term relationship!

According to Mr. Ostrov, the answer to our problems lies with Menuchat Hanefesh: it translates literally into 'tranquil soul', and is explained in the book as "a state of mind that empowers us to develop relationships that are deeply meaningful and fulfilling."

In theory, it seems to make intuitive sense - disarm the distractions that give us DADD in our lives, and we'll have more peace of mind and general clarity to take dating seriously and identify what is important to us. As he says, "We learn to calm our worries, soothe our agitation, slow down the racing heart and quiet the stomach in turmoil because we see what is really important."

Mr. Ostrov's book is filled with anecdotes of people who did, and didn't, follow his approach. It's not hard to find yourself in some of the stories and worth a read. Who knows, the next time you meet someone, you may finally have the peace of mind to pay attention and realize you may be talking to 'the one'.

The Menuchah Principle in your dating Relationships can conveniently be ordered online through Amazon or is available at your local Judaic book store for $24.95.


Aviva Blumstein said...

Interesting point about distraction and the tension that results from that as being a cause for relationship failure.

I'd add my own take on that - which is the challenge in realizing that all relationships have issues and that they require work and communication to work through those issues.

Either you have the reaction of: "Whoa! There's an issue! We must not be compatible!" and a break-off; or you have blindness to the issues until after marriage, when it becomes overwhelming and causes severe relationship issues: "Who on earth did I marry?!"

But a healthy perspective of: "let's see what issues this relationship is going to have and discuss if it's workable and how we could foresee dealing with it" - doesn't happen as much. That's what needs to happen in order to make healthy relationship decisions and have a smooth transition into deeper levels of the relationship.

Aviva Blumstein

Aviva Blumstein said...

Just liked your Facebook page as well, although I didn't see where this thread was started on the page.

EmunaDate said...

@ Aviva, Thanks for the great comment. I agree with you.
It looks like your "like" on Facebook did not take. Can you try again...
Regardless, you'll get an extra entry to the giveaway.

EmunaDate said...

Congratulations Aviva Blumstein and אַהֲרֹן שְׁלֹמֹה אֵדֶלְמָן! You are the lucky winners of Shaya Ostrov’s new book, The Menuchah Principle in your dating Relationships.

Yashar LaChayal

The majesty of the Western Wall

Nefesh B'Nefesh