Writers Detail Relationship Challenges

Writers Detail Relationship Challenges

Our anonymous columnists, Andrew Singleman and Ellen Mazelman, are reading Dr. Janet Page’s “Get Married This Year” and following the steps on their dating journey. It’s been three months, and we have good progress on both fronts.

The Simple Arithmetic of Romance


Maybe it’s the computer programmer in me, but when I boil it all down, I see life as all about simple arithmetic. We’re either trying to add or trying to subtract things from our life, and the solutions to problems seem to be a function of this addition and subtraction.

romanceHow do I get more free time in my day? Having more disposable income is a function of subtracting or decreasing expenses, increasing income, or both. And of course, there’s the ever-present “I want to lose weight” mantra – which is a matter of subtracting unhealthy foods from my diet, adding the healthy ones and adding an exercise regimen.

Naturally, my relationship with Rachel (and relationships in general) are also subject to this concept. I’ll start with the subtractions. Following Dr. Page’s principles, if you want to have love in your life, you’ve got to first identify, then remove (“subtract”) your “love blocks.”

Love blocks are those habits, beliefs and/or attitudes that are blocking love from being in your life. Are you wasting time in a bad relationship? Are you overly negative, a perfectionist, a hoper as opposed to a doer, or keeping old baggage and emotional clutter? These are just a few of the love blocks that need to be addressed.

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In my case, there was some baggage and a bad habit or two that needed to be addressed. This column isn’t the forum to discuss those, suffice it to say, I identified an area or two for improvement and went to work on it.

While it was easier said than done – some days were more successful than others – my efforts were, in general, successful and have helped.

Then, there are the additions: the things of which we want more. In Dr. Page’s exact words from “Get Married This Year”:

It’s important to not just give what you think you should give, or give one big thing here or there, but [instead] to learn what your significant other likes, wants, and needs on a daily basis.

As part of this project, I am fortunate enough to meet with Dr. Page once a month. During one of our more recent sessions, she advised me that Rachel and I should take the “5 Love Languages” test.

This was a great idea! If I wanted to communicate to someone just how I felt about them, the best thing to do was to learn what actions they would respond to the most. What’s the point of buying someone gifts if what they really want are verbal affirmations or physical contact?

Rachel and I already have a lot in common and have been doing very well together, and the results of the test underscored that. We both have the same primary “Love Language.” What is most important to us and what we seek the most in a relationship is spending quality time together.

So my addition has been to spend more time with the woman I already enjoy being with and want to spend time with. Lucky me!

With the arrival of spring, we’ve decided to get together at least twice a week to walk outside, agreeing we could both use the exercise. In addition, we’re looking into taking a mini-vacation or two together this summer. I’d say it all sounds like time well spent.

So the simple math in my life is to decrease the negative interactions and increase the positive ones. Hopefully I’ll earn a Ph. D. in simple math sooner rather than later.


Flight of Faith


How ironic that my article this month would end up in the “Simchas” issue. Don’t get too excited, it hasn’t happened that fast; but maybe it is a sign of good karma and what is yet to come.

As I write my fourth installation, I’m listening to Bruno Mars’s “Marry You.” Music just breathes life into your home and makes everything flow better and feel happier. And by the way, if you haven’t seen the flash-mob marriage proposal on YouTube, (Issac’s Live Lip Dub Proposal to the aforementioned tune) make sure you tune in; a little over-the-top, but very fun, and it just breathes love!

Speaking of which, since my last article, I have made great personal strides to share with you. Not necessarily about getting married, but personal conquests just the same. Of course, I haven’t read Dr. Page’s book yet and haven’t updated my JDate or Match profile (I promise, both by the next article!), but I did take some other very important steps.

I attended Dr. Page’s workshop and took some friends along for the ride. And the most incredible, complimentary and endearing thing happened: A woman at the workshop, not knowing who I was or that I was in the room, said she was there because she read my last article. Maybe I really have become the 50-year-old Carrie Bradshaw!

My editor said the only thing that would have made it better is if this person had been tall, dark and handsome and wanted to take me out. Honestly, that didn’t matter to me; I was just so flattered and felt very celebrity-ish!

Also in the last few weeks, I went on a trip to Europe to visit my son, who is studying there for six months. Now, to say that I am not a good flyer would be an understatement, and the thought of an eight-and-a-half hour flight across the pond (and then another coming back) seemed, well…unfathomable!

But I did it! And not only did I accomplish that, but I had a magical time. Spent wonderful time both by myself and with my son.

But let’s get to the crux of things. In my last article, I talked about being fair to someone in my life who cared for me more than I cared for him; coming to him with honesty and handling the situation as best I could. It was something new to me after 20 years of not being in the dating world.

The exhilaration I felt making that trip to Europe and the personal conquest of the air travel made me realize that I can do anything. It gave me my voice and the courage to end a relationship that I knew wasn’t working. Both were liberating; I know that is was hurting another person that I did care about, but in the end, I know I did the right thing for him and me.

I have since also made a pact with my single girlfriends to get out and put ourselves out there. Even when we would rather stay home and put on our pajamas or just go for sushi, we instead go someplace where we might meet people, as Dr. Page suggests.

In fact, we were out this past Friday night. We attended Shabbat on the Rocks, an event put on by the JCC for Jewish singles at The City Club of Buckhead. It was surprisingly enjoyable: new people, nice people, wonderful rabbi and lovely service. It does pay to go out of your comfort zone!

I also went out the rest of the weekend, once again being friendly and outgoing. I must say, I’m feeling lighter and more confident in my step these days. Hopefully this means good things are on the horizon!

In summation: Thank you to my son for a priceless trip and to my friends for the pact. Both of these two events have helped me in my quest to find my voice and make positive changes for the future.

Until Next Month,

Your Fiftysomething Carrie Bradshaw

And remember, if you know me, it’s between you and me.


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