It's like so: I'm not naturally attracted to people who are good for me.
This directly stems from my personality. People with certain personalities are more prone to have certain good qualities and similarly, certain bad tendencies. As I've often mentioned, I'm an Enneagram Type 4. While this assures me certain special qualities that help me in many ways, such as my creativity, it also means that a major part of my life stems from how I feel. What this means is that I like to exist at very high or very low points because either of these means that I am at the height of my ability to feel and I feel most alive when I am emotionally invested. Obviously, I am attracted to feeling alive.
The problem is that invariably the people who make me feel the most alive are also those who switch from high points to low points quickly- people who are similar to me. There's lots of fireworks, excitement, passion and drama but little stability. Two people of my temperament in a marriage would doubtless lead to a rather explosive relationship with the good times being wonderful and the bad times reflecting nightmares. Yet even though I may have known this somewhere in the back of my mind, that doesn't mean I would have acted on the knowledge.
At some point during our friendship, Heshy lent me the book 'Awareness' by Miriam Adahan which focuses on the Enneagram through the prism of Orthodox Judaism. There was an interesting part there regarding my personality type:
- AVOID ROMANTIC RESCUE FANTASIES: All normal people want to love and be loved. But you have an especially intense hunger for love. You dream of the Grand Love- the person who can match the intensity of your passion and understand the depth of your poetic soul! However, if you look for excitement, you are likely to be drawn to someone who is volatile or abusive.
It is better to seek an "average" marriage with someone who is stable and caring. Your challenge is not to chafe at your partner's lack of inspiration and profundity, not to see him or her as mediocre and boring, not to complain that, "She says the stupidest things"; "He can't possibly understand me"; "It's so unromantic to talk about mundane matters."
After marriage, it is important not to blame your spouse when you are depressed. Your bad mood conveys the message to your spouse, "You've failed to make me happy! You've let me down." This attitude isolates you. Unless your spouse is truly abusive, withdraw until this mood passes. Afterwards, show constant appreciation to him/ her for the good traits which s/he does have.
I was thinking that the yeshivish dating system lends itself to creating a trap for young women like me. If they must determine within two or three dates whether to proceed onward and they're not naturally attracted to the man because their personality craves fireworks, excitement and volatile explosions, they'll dismiss him. And that cycle could potentially continue for a long while. It's difficult to realize that what one naturally craves and the person who actually can be your helpmate and lover may be two different things.
I don't think that people should make wholly intellectual decisions regarding whom to marry, just "bite the bullet" as it were without there being any love or affection between them. I do think the key to determining whom to marry lies in self-knowledge. Knowing oneself, one's flaws, weaknesses, strengths, talents and that which you are naturally drawn to, may allow you to question certain assumptions you may have. If you know you have a predilection or preference for certain people who may not actually be ideal for you, it's something you can keep in mind when you date lest you dismiss the person too hastily. Maybe in your case friendship before marriage is an absolute necessity.
Let me also add a caveat. I don't think that people who are single at certain ages are single because they are too particular, picky or are otherwise flawed. I think that approach is largely condescending and unhelpful. Rather, embarking on a journey to know and find out who you are and your natural inclinations may make you aware of issues that you need to focus on carefully, both in your own life and during the dating process, which can only be to the good.