1 Iyar 5764
Asking Mechila from Guy Friends: Revisited
Dear JemSem Readers,
In response to feedback from last month’s letter, I would like to clarify the situation. [Please see the column for Nissan] In brief -a girl had written me about the fact that she had stopped all her ‘guy friend’ relationships when she was in seminary and now several years later when she is in shidduchim and well past that whole era, she found out that 1or 2 othe guys that she was really close with were very hurt. She mentioned that this did bother her alot even though it was very much in her past. I advised her to write an impersonal letter to them explaining that she did it for her own growth, and to apologize because she did not mean to hurt them. The idea of the letter was certainly not to open up any communication between them nor to expect a response. It was simply to clear the air and her conscience.
In most situations a girl [or a guy for that matter] will have taken care of it and ended the relationship at the time either in person, on the phone, or in a letter. In general, no more need be done. It is over and finished, you handled it in the most mentchlach way and that’s it. Obviously with these things there will be some hurt involved on the othe side because that is the nature of boy /girl relationships. That is to be expected. You are under no obligation to do anything else, not even in the future.
If you have what you think is a more specific or complicated situation either at the time you are making the break or later on, you should seek out the advise of your Rebbe, teacher or mentor as to how to proceed.
This is exactly what that girl did. In this specific case, she mentioned that she had been very close with these 1 or 2 guys and that the fact that they were quite upset did bother her alot. In her situation I felt that it would be appropriate for her to write the letter. The answer that I gave is absolutely not a carte blanche statement, that wheneven a question of old guy friends comes up, you should always write a letter to them if you find out they were hurt etc.
ps. If you want to write a letter, you need to explore where this is really coming from within you and what exact purpose it would serve, and still ask aitzah about what you should do. Any guy/girl thing is complicated at best even if you were somehow under the impression that it might have been platonic, though that probably wasn’t the case anyway. So always seek out the advise of those key people who help you in your life and don’t trust yourself with this stuff.
An additional and related thought that I would like to add. In the dating world, after a good few weeks or months of going out with someone and the relationship doesn’t work, I have heard that because many people do feel so close to the other party, they still keep in touch or send emails to each other or call the person directly with other shidduch ideas. All of this is not appropriate and shouldn’t be done. When dating for marriage it’ll either work or not. If it does – great! You’ve got a terrific mate! If not, so then move past it. There is no reason to keep up any sort of relationship on any level. If you have a superb shidduch idea for the guy, [many shidduchim are in fact made this way] call a married friend and give it over to them to take care of. As I have said in a previous column, if the match works, you and the couple can split the shadchanus! But, there is no need whatsoever for you to deal with it.
So if you have any ‘loose ends’ or ‘hanging relationships’ make sure you finish with them totally and forge ahead!
I hope that this letter clarifies these important issues.
With Warmest Wishes,