When Is it Time To Love Again?

As a matchmaker, I tell others, don’t date seriously until you’ve healed from your divorce. You can’t dive into one hole while you’re still climbing out of another one.

But I recently broke my own rules — and broke someone else’s heart while doing it.

Out of the blue, an amazing Jewish guy in another state sent me an email saying, “my wife of 30 years just left me, I always thought of you as someone I’d go out with (if I wasn’t married), I’d love the chance to re-connect.”

We started chatting and imagined an incredible, traditional Jewish life together in the United States and Israel. I was already dancing at our wedding!

In the past I would have jumped on a plane and landed in his bed. This time, I knew I would crash and burn, so I asked to slow it down. I told him I wasn’t ready — I was going through my own journey to self-love. I had put off the work to heal after a traumatic divorce for far too long.

To ask for time in the most authentic, romantic way, I sent him a love letter. I cried and shook as I wrote it. I worried I would lose him.

Here’s the “Time to Love” note I gave him 19 days after he first reached out:

It’s time.

It’s time to love.

Not time to seek love outside ourselves in each other’s arms to blunt the love we lost, or never had.

Before we bond in love, it’s time to fall in love with ourselves.

I believe the reason why I’ve never allowed my heart to be so vulnerable is I’ve never turned inward and taken the time to see my own beauty. I’ve relied on the external validation of others telling me I’m wonderful and believing them. Anyone who’s not me must know myself better than me.

After I got married, I was a good wife and raised three menchy boys in a Jewish home for 18 years — but the divorce scattered my identity into a million pieces.

For the last six years, I’ve been chasing after the sparkly, shining pieces of myself reflecting back through other’s eyes. I’ve been in constant motion. Doing, moving, serving, learning. Changing careers, changing homes, trying to find my worth by helping others find theirs.

But as I’ve uprooted myself and my children for the sixth time in six years to another home, I finally want to stop chasing to find peace and make time to love myself. I want to trust and believe I’m loveable. Especially when I’m alone.

I feel as if I’ve begun to collect all the scattered pieces of my soul, and finally I can stop, ground myself and fuse the pieces back together. Like the glass a Jewish man steps on under the marital Chuppah — think of all the hundreds of pieces fused back together to now form the shape of a heart. The heart is made of hundreds of shards, but its beauty lies in its imperfect shape.

How will I create my own fused heart that will be ready to love? To love you?

First, I need to stop moving, ground myself and allow myself time to heal.

So, before you reached out to me, I started to heal my heart. I started therapy. I filled my home with the life force of plants. I kept my bed intentionally empty.

I feel like the pieces of my heart and soul are gathered again, but the glue of time needs more time to set.

The pieces of my heart and soul are gathered again, but the glue of time needs more time to set.

(ChuppahGlassArt — Etsy — Heart Beat in Blue by Eva Edery)

I’m drawn to you, to know you, to laugh with you, to learn with you, to cook with you, to travel with you, to give tzedakah with you, to entertain guests with you, to observe Shabbat with you and to get lost in each other’s bodies, exploring and learning how to pleasure each other. To live a life of loving each other.

But right now, my yearning for you, to discover us, is a distraction that will scatter my sticky but not strong pieces of my heart. 

After my divorce, I never gave myself this time to slow down, pause and learn to love myself in loneliness.

These past six months of being single are the first time in six years I have not sought comfort in the wrong person’s arms. Every night, as I lie alone in my King bed without my King, I talk to G-d. I pray he brings me my beshert. I forgot to say, “G-d — bring him when I’m ready.”

You got here early! I’m still getting ready! 

My friend, we’re both not ready. For the last six years, I’ve been running from my pain. You have only begun to know yours.

Divorce is like the death of a loved one, death of the idea of forever, dancing together at our children’s and our grandchildren’s wedding.

You must mourn that death.

So must I.

We can mourn together at the same time — but physically apart. 

Right now, I want to be your friend and your love, but I know if we don’t allow ourselves time to mourn and love ourselves, our union will be created on the scattered shards of our souls.

But sweetheart, you and I are so damn lucky. We know that at the end of our journey of pain and discovery of self-love, we are there waiting for each other. 

It’s almost not fair. Most people mourn the loss of divorce and begin the journey of self-love not knowing if they’ll ever find love again.

We are so aligned in all our values of family, friends, Torah and Israel, and we’re playful and adventurous. I’m so excited to fall in love with you.

You reaching out to me gives me faith that that love is possible. You exist. “We” are possible.

But I am willing to wait to manifest “us” into reality.

I want to be there for you as you journey through time, but in order to protect myself and my fragile soul, I have a few requests…

Let’s not discuss your “dating” adventures. If you need to be pleasured, I understand, but I won’t be able to hear about it. Already, I belong to you. I cannot imagine anyone touching me but you.

Again, I want to express that we not be together until you’ve given your wife a Get, filed for divorce and experienced a cycle of holidays with your children without a partner. It’s so hard and sad, my love, but you must know that pain, and your children must see how hard it is for you in order for them to accept your desire to remarry.

When we come together, I know I won’t want to be apart. So my first gift to you is time to mourn and heal.

Once we become an “us,” I want to be a loving presence and partner in your life. We’ll support our kids, take care of our parents and family, encourage each other in our business and together create our own home of “Love and Prayer,” open to all hungry souls.

It’s time to love, but to get there first, we need time.

For you, my love, I have all the time in the world.

– – – – –

Gosh, how we all pray to find the perfect love at the perfect time.

What I wrote projected on him that he needs time to heal in order to love.

Maybe he doesn’t. But I do.

I led him on, thinking I’d be ready soon and I could be his friend during his divorce. I thought I could keep the dream alive while shielding him from his pain.

But I couldn’t. His pain triggered mine.

I tried to be an impartial divorce coach, but when I listened and gave advice, my shoulders tightened, my neck seized up, my head throbbed and my heart raced. I couldn’t sleep; I had nightmares about my marriage ending. I realized I couldn’t be his divorce coach first and his beshert later.

I shut down. I went dark. My silence killed his trust in “us” and crushed our dream.

Sadly, this love affair ended before it ever began.

So, three months later, we parted ways and continued on different paths. He continues to look for the next wife to live a Jewish life. And I’ll continue on my solo journey to self-love.

Maybe our paths will cross again. Or maybe not.

Hopefully, we both end up finding love.


Audrey Jacobs is a financial adviser and has three sons. 

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