Posted by Ilana Angel
My marriage started to unravel almost immediately after my son was born. It was a heartbreaking time for me but leaving was the best decision I ever made. When my son was only a few months old, I left and filed for divorce. That was over 14 years ago and I have never once regretted my choice.
My ex-husband has been remarried for years. I could write an entire blog about the relationship between me and his wife but it would undoubtedly result in a lawsuit so I will be quiet, and simply say that I am grateful she loves my child and know she is doing the best she can.
The relationship between me and them is very strained. We just can’t seem to get along and it’s a shame because I actually like them. My son looks exactly like his dad, and there are moments when he says something, or looks at me a certain way, and I could swear I was looking at his dad.
For the entire time that I have been blessed to be the mother of this delicious young man, his father has never told me I was a good mother, or thanked me for all I have done to raise this child. Not one time. Not one thank you. Not one acknowledgement that I am a good mother.
It is disappointing and hurtful. I used to wait for him to say something kind but gave up about ten years ago. Sadly, when I stopped waiting for him to acknowledge me, I became resentful and that resentment is what now fuels the fire that causes so many problems between us.
I provided my child with 10 years of a private Jewish Day School education with no financial help from his dad. I raised him with a solid Jewish identity on my own, even though his dad is Jewish. I sacrificed to give our son everything we agreed we wanted for him when we were married.
I think the issue is that I can remember a time when I loved him. I can look at my son and see all the good things about him in our child. He does not, or perhaps is not allowed, to remember a time when we loved each other. It’s a very sad thing for me, and more so for my son.
When I met the father of my child it was love at first sight. I thought he was really wonderful and unlike anyone I had ever dated. We fell fast, were engaged after a few months and married a year later. When I married him I thought we would grow old together and be married forever.
I look at him now and cannot imagine our being married. We have become different people and I’m not sure if that’s how it would have been for us, or if our being apart allowed for our differences to be more clear. The bottom line is that I loved him, and allow myself to remember.
My life would be so much easier if we got along. My son’s life would be infinitely better if we got along. My ex-husband might have more hair if we got along. While I don’t wait around for him to say something nice anymore, I am still hopeful that one day things will be better.
It’s heartbreaking that we are in this place. We have a child who is the perfect mix of him and I, and for reasons that I don’t understand, I am not acknowledged by my ex-husband, or his wife, as being anything more than a woman they tolerate, who takes care of a child they love.
When my ex-husband reads this, and I imagine it will get to him, I hope he not only reads it, but gets it. I want him to tell me that I have done a great job. I want him to thank me for all my hard work and sacrifices. I want him to realize that he and I should be doing this together.
We don’t need to be best friends, celebrate holidays together, or pretend to be something we’re not. What we are should do however, is parent our child together. Regardless of what is happening separate of each other, he and I, along with our boy, are a family.
I love my son more than I dislike his dad and stepmother. My goal is now, as it has always been, is to be a good mother, and I rock at it. My son is perfection and I take credit for it. I would love to turn a new page and try to fix a relationship that is broken.
I know that I don’t need validation from others to know that I am a good person or a good mother. The reality however, is that I am human and at the end of the day just a girl, who wants the man that she once loved to tell say thank you, and I am not going to apologize for that.
Life is complicated and there are a million things to worry about. I manage to get through each day with a smile on my face because I am blessed to be a mom of a great boy. Will there ever be a time when his dad and I can be friends and raise this child together? I’m keeping the faith.
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September 21, 2010 | 2:03 pm
Posted by Ilana Angel
If you don’t ask me what I think about what is happening in this country I won’t tell. The thing is, I have a blog and so I don’t need to wait for anyone to ask me what I think. I can say whatever I want, whenever I want. On this particular day, I want to say that I think the majority of our government is a pathetic group of Americans who have no clue.
We are a country at war. We are a country with enemies. We are a country that is losing brave men and women every single day who are working to protect us. It is disgraceful that people who are fighting to keep us free cannot be free themselves. The ban on gay Americans serving openly in the military is an embarrassment to the United States of America.
America is supposed to be the land of opportunity, and some argue that it is the greatest country in the world. Perhaps that was once the case, but look around people, it is no longer true. To be clear, I am not bashing America. I am simply saying that we all need to take a good hard look at what is happening here. We are not as great as some of you think we are.
I am both angry and sad by today’s vote in the Senate. Angry that I live in a country where intolerance is so strong against our own, and sad that when given an opportunity to make change and move us forward, a bunch of old farts who have no idea about what is best for this country decided to continue to live in the dark ages and not consider what is best for our future.
I will get emails today about how un-American I am, and some will go so far as to say I am an idiot and my opinion does not matter because I am after all, a filthy Jew. I will take comfort in knowing that the people who spew hate at me today are the same morons who think being gay is contagious and used to think that blacks and whites should not go to school together.
There is a small window of opportunity where we can once again be the greatest country in the world. The fear is that if we wait too long we won’t remember what we once were, and will therefore no longer strive to get back to that place. Today is a very sad day for our country and with each decision like this one, it becomes just a little harder to keep the faith.
September 20, 2010 | 10:58 pm
Posted by Ilana Angel
I am so excited this show is back. It is a guilty pleasure that is a blast to watch. There is nothing bad to say about this show. By nothing bad to say about this show of course I mean there is so much bad stuff to say about the contestants. Great cast, great fun, great television.
Audrina Patridge: Could this girl be any more boring? She has a ridiculous body and no apparent talent. I’m not even sure why she is on the show. I want very much for her to be the first to go. Bye-bye celebrity wannabe. Back to the hills you go sweetie and eat a sandwich when you get there.
Kurt Warner: I don’t follow football and have no idea who this guy is but I totally dug him. I thought he was handsome, charming and did a really good job. The QB has got some good moves and comes across as very likeable. He will be around for a while and will clearly get better with time.
Kyle Massey: I love this kid. My son grew up watching him so I know who he is, although a lot of America may not. He is fabulous, a good dancer, a role model to young men and I hope he does well. I thought it was adorable when he got caught staring at Lacey’s boobs during rehearsal.
Rick Fox: Can he dance? I have absolutely no idea. This man could not possibly be more attractive. He is beautiful and when he smiled at the camera I was certain he was looking right at me and professing his undying love for me. I love you Rick Fox. We can talk about your dancing next week.
Margaret Cho: I like her and always have. I think she did a disservice to herself by trying to make it funny because she was a really good dancer and could have pulled it off. She is popular in the gay community so I hope their votes can keep her around until she trusts herself because we will love her.
Brandy Norwood: Didn’t like her. I was turned off by her introduction video and didn’t care about her dancing. I think she has a bad attitude and needs to hope her personality, or lack of one, does not get in her way. She’s going to need to win me back because I thought she was gross.
Bristol Palin: For reasons I cannot explain, because I don’t understand them myself, I loved her. I feel for this kid and I think she did a good job. She looked beautiful, was mature enough to poke a little fun at her mom, and held her own. I think she is the dark horse of the bunch and will surprise us and her momma. Dance Bristol Dance!
Florence Henderson: Marcia, Marcia, Marcia, your mom rocks! At 76 years old, this woman was phenomenal. She is prettier now than she was in the 70’s when we all fell in love with her and wanted her to be our mom. She was really cute and a pleasure. I hope she gets to stay for a little while.
Michael Bolton: There was nothing really memorable about his performance and I think he will be an early casualty. The best part was when they were asking people to vote and he made the motion for people to call, he “dialed” the phone instead if pressing the buttons. Classic. Go home old man.
Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino: He is a whore, a pig, a Guido, and is famous for no reason. Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, I love him. I thought he did good for only having five days practice and I want him to stay at least until he takes his shirt off. I think he will catch up.
Jennifer Grey: She was the best dancer of the night and also performed the best fake cry. She milked the whole Patrick Swayze thing, but whatever, we knew she would. I loved her performance, loved her dress, and loved seeing her again. I want her to make it to the finals.
David Hasselhoff: I have one word for his dance tonight: painful. More than being bad it was creepy. He had a perverted vibe to him that was uncomfortable to watch. Such a shame. He will stay for a bit because of the sentimental votes, but he’s heading out early and I’m cool with it.
Opening night was great and I’m hooked. There are some I don’t care about, some I don’t know, some I love, and some I will actually vote for. It promises to be a great season and the only thing better than watching will be blogging. Audrina is my pick to go so I’ll watch tomorrow and keep the faith.
September 20, 2010 | 8:12 am
Posted by Ilana Angel
- I had an interesting weekend. It was Yom Kipper and a lot of my time was spent in Temple. I prayed, repented, let it all go, and embraced a new year. I am always searching for Jewish knowledge. I enjoy my faith, would like to learn more, and the older I get the more important it becomes to me.
A couple of years ago I was introduced to a new temple by a friend. I have reconnected to Judaism at this temple and found my way back to God after many years of searching for faith, but not really connecting. The Rabbi at this temple gives great sermons and I could relate to what he was saying.
Over the high holidays however, I became a little disconnected. It turns out that while the temple is fabulous, it is no longer where I belong. I will continue to support this very special place, but it’s time for me to find a new spiritual home. I need to find a place where I can relate.
If you live in the Los Angeles area and love your temple and Rabbi, I would like to hear from you. I’m on a search and I look forward to finding my way home. I don’t want to feel that I don’t understand what is being said, and I don’t want to feel that I am being judged for not being Jewish enough. It will be a place where everyone is welcome, regardless of their level of observance.
- I’ve done a lot of blogging lately about my personal search for love. It’s my favorite thing to write about because I love the comments I get. Last week I wrote about looking for love and I got an interesting email from a gentleman I’ll call “Jeff” who’s opinions have been fascinating. His emails were so enlightening that I agreed to meet him for lunch to learn more.
To hear his stories of online dating were very interesting, and truth be told, rather scary. Jeff let me know I’m not an average female online dater. There are women in my age group who have sex with men they meet online on their first date! I assume they are sexually aware and open, but to men they are desperate middle-aged women searching for love.
For me, if I write to a man online, he has three days to write back. According to Jeff, if a man has not written back in 24 hours, he’s not interested and if he does write after 24 hours, he’s a game player and I should stay away. I can’t wait to play the online dating game with the help of Jeff. I wonder how it will change when my actions are guided by what a man thinks.
I’m going to let him be my dating coach and see if it makes a difference. He is 50, divorced, nice looking, and searching for something himself. The main difference between us is that I am very clear on my goal while he is unsure of what he wants. In the end I might be able to help him too. I think men are also looking or love, they are just not able to admit it.
- On Sunday afternoon I went to my favorite singles hang out, Whole Foods. As I was walking around getting my staples, I noticed there was an A-List celebrity doing his shopping. He was smaller than what I imagined him to be, and looked like he needed to wash his hair, but it was him. I looked for a second and went on my way to the sushi bar.
At the prepared food counter, a kid who was about eleven years old walked over, at the encouragement of his mom, and asked for his autograph. The celebrity responded by saying he was shopping, not working, and could not sign. The kid was clearly disappointed and the mother was sad for her kid. She hugged him, and they walked away.
I found a business card, which lists my blog address, and handed the card to the celebrity, and told him to read today as I would be talking about him. I really hope he is reading. I imagine his ego is big enough to make him look so here we go: The only reason you have a career is because of kids like that. He helped buy your house you selfish pig.
How dare you not give this little boy an autograph? Who the hell do you think you are? If you don’t want to talk to your fans then send your assistant to buy your food. I can understand if you were eating, or with your own family, but you were on your own and this was just a kid. Next time a little boy approaches you, talk to him for 30 seconds, sign a piece of paper and make his day.
Instead of him going to school today saying what a hero you are, he will tell people you are a douchelord and you deserve it. As a single mom, spending money on entertainment is an extravagance. I have spent a small fortune taking my son to the movies when he was little, and even more now as he goes to the movies every weekend with his friends.
You need to stop and think about that actor man. I support your work by giving my kid $20 to go see your movies. If you are not going to appreciate my hard earned money, then I won’t waste it on my kid going to see your movies. You hurt a little kid for no reason. You need to check yourself. A little gratitude and humility would be good for you.
- It was a very interesting weekend. I’m ready to start the New Year with a clear mind and a hopeful heart. I am searching for peace, faith, enlightenment, and joy. I think this year is going to get me closer to all of it. It’s time for all the pieces to come together and I believe they will if I focus on keeping the faith.
September 17, 2010 | 7:17 am
Posted by Ilana Angel
G’Mar Hatimah Tova
“As God puts His final seal on you, may it be for good!”
May you have an easy fast.
I wish you all a healthy and happy year of blessings.
September 16, 2010 | 2:22 am
Posted by Ilana Angel
I wrote a blog a couple of weeks ago called “Who Are Forty Year Old Women Supposed To Have Sex With?” You can view it by going to the bottom of this blog and clicking onto recent comments. Yesterday I received this comment on that blog by a writer named Pini:
“Just a comment about the numbers of available women vs. available men. Women in their forties are at the tail end of the baby boom, if they’ve married, it’s often been to an older male boomer. Males of their same age (forties) are often still married to younger women and males of younger ages are part of a much smaller “baby bust” cohort, so there aren’t as many around.
Demographers call this a “marriage squeeze” that females experience. Its not only experienced by Jewish women, but by all women in their forties and fifties in the general population. Probably the most acute marriage squeeze is experienced by African American women because of the low survival rates of their men.
I wish I could be more optimistic. Other societies deal with this issue through polygamy, or when there is a shortage of women through polyandry. Some modern adaptation might come about if women decided to cooperate with each other rather than compete with each other for a scarce supply of desirable males. This may be actually happening as rates of marriage decline and cohabitation increases as indicated by increasing rates of out-of-wedlock births, especially in Europe.
I’m just not sure how this would fit into American Jewish life and community, though even the Orthodox would consider the kids Jewish. But then, we were discussing obtaining a satisfying male sex partner. Does the male sex partner need to be exclusive?
Do long-term sexual relationships need to be based only on two people? Is serial monogamy the only way to have a fulfilling life? What would happen, if rather than waiting for Mr. Right a woman partners with Ms. Right as Ms. Left with a carefully chosen long-term Mr. Middle.”?
Well Pini, first of all, thank you for the thought provoking comment. I am fascinated by what you wrote and my reaction, after the shock wore off and I was able to speak again, was to gasp for air, poor myself a drink, and scream Oh. My. God.
I had never heard of a “marriage squeeze” and it’s so interesting to me. It all makes perfect sense and it’s shocking. Your comment makes me want to get another cat and call it a day. I can spend the time I now spend dating, embroidering pictures of my cats onto sweaters and just give up on love.
Do you think that for women in their forties, in America, the goal is marriage? For me it’s certainly what I would like for myself, but that said, I’ve been married and I’ve been alone, and if my options were to get married and hope it works out, or live with someone and get my happily ever after, then marriage does not need to happen.
I would happily live with someone and build a life together but polygamy is never going to be an option. I don’t get it. I’m far too selfish to share a man with anyone and by selfish of course I mean insecure and by insecure of course I mean selfish. I could not bear it to have my man go off to his other life with his other woman. It would break my heart and make me sick.
There is nothing appealing about sharing a lover to me. I have been cheated on and it’s debilitating. No matter how great you know you are, there is a moment when the crushing blow to your heart and ego is almost unbearable. It takes so much strength to overcome the pain that if sharing were my only option, I will die alone with my 18 cats waiting for my grandchildren to visit.
If you calculate how many Jews there are in the world, take out the ones that are not a match in terms of age or religious observance, then take out all the women, the chances of my getting hit by lightning, twice, are greater than my ever meeting a nice Jewish man to marry.
I have already been married so the menschy thing for me to do would be to simply take myself out of the running and allow a fellow Jewish sister who has never been married have at it. I will be fine. I can keep busy by collecting all the cat hair from around my home and weaving it into a blanket.
Dear God please let this not be my fate. I wonder if my chances for a great love affair would increase, based on your theory, if I dated women. Sometimes I really wish chicks did it for me. It would certainly increase my odds and amount of shoes I have access to.
Well Pini, you’ve managed to suck the joy out of my search for love. Thank you for that. Luckily it will be a temporary set back. At the end of the day I have faith. Faith that he is out there, that I will find him, that he will be completely satisfied by only me and that he will not be a she.
A girl can dream. She can believe in the impossible, place a bet on the long shot, and cross her fingers that it will all work out. I believe in God, I believe in myself, I believe in Beshert and I believe I will get to the Promised Land with my fabulous Jewish man if I remember to keep the faith.
September 15, 2010 | 10:28 am
Posted by Ilana Angel
For the past few days I have been writing about my love life, or lack of one as it were. There have been some interesting comments that have led to an enlightening discussion about relationships. If you are actively looking for love, and not afraid to say it out loud, does that mean you are desperate?
I have never thought my desire to be in a relationship translated into desperation. There is a difference between wanting and needing. I want a relationship and I am looking for one. When you need one, that is when desperation can rear its ugly head and make you unattractive.
I have no biological clock ticking. I had a big wedding and have my delicious son with no desire for another wedding or child. I would love to have another marriage, but it’s not a deal breaker. I would love to be with a man who has kids, but having another one myself is not an option.
I do feel pressure from the perspective of time. My son will go to university in four years and it would be nice to be in a loving relationship when he goes. In fact, my son wants to go to NYU for college and has informed me if I am not in a relationship by the time he is ready to go, he will go to a local school to be closer to home and not leave me alone.
It warms my heart that he would consider staying here so as to not leave me. He is a mensch and I am proud of him. That said, over my dead body will this child sacrifice his dreams for me. He is going to NYC and if I need to fake a love affair with the mailman to get him to go, I will.
There is a difference in perception between men and woman. Why is it women are often labeled desperate but men never are? If a woman has never been married and is over thirty, the assumption is she is desperate and needs to settle for anyone rather than hold out for the one.
Here are some comments I received when talking about looking for love:
(You can see their full comments at the end of yesterday’s blog.)
LC wrote: I found my partner after I was comfortable with myself and more important for me, OK with being alone. I think for me it took being comfortable with myself to be a true partner to another but that is me. The greater truth is that you still have to risk opening your heart.
Nell wrote: I had just turned 35 when I ended a long term relationship of six years. I wanted to be married and the clock was ticking. I swarmed dating sites and participated in every social activity that would allow me to meet men. My life was full, I had a full time job and great friends.
But, I was desperate and men could smell it. I swear there is a pheromone or something that woman give off that signals that they are desperate to have a man in their lives. Men sense it, they don’t like it and they will avoid you when you send out the signal.
PRyan wrote: Perhaps, instead of saying looking for love, maybe we should say being open to love. Or maybe we should say we are looking for new experiences and meeting new people and that love will find us along the way. “Stop looking and love will find you” most likely won’t work.
Tonic wrote: I have been in love several times. It seems like when I was ready, they weren’t or when they were ready, I wasn’t. I have also been in some very unhealthy and abusive relationships because men saw that I was vulnerable. I still yearn for the “love of my life”.
It feels like an empty hole inside of me. The thought of starting over again or dating scares the hell out of me. So here I am trying to make the best of it. So, all I can tell you is to listen to your heart and follow it. You have to do what is right for you. We all deserve to be loved.
John wrote: What I found online was that women, in their 40’s and 50’s are so afraid of ending up alone, they are less discriminating. Now, you would think that this applied to the “less attractive” or the “heavier” woman but no. This phenomenon was ubiquitous with the most beautiful women.
I was delighted at the differences (sexually) between women in there 20’s vs. those in their 40’s. The 40-somethings were much less inhibited, often “hungry” from non-fulfilling marriages or relationships, and were far more apt to be “experimental”. The freedom they felt was obvious.
It’s interesting how women view themselves and fascinating how men view women. I think it’s sad that as women we are so quick to think we are desperate. I don’t believe that we are desperate, but rather that men perceive us as being desperate.
Is it not possible that the women John met online were simply comfortable with their sexuality and therefore able to have an open sex life? Why does sex have to partner with desperation? There is a freedom that comes with being a grown up and maybe that is what he saw.
Men and women are always going to see things differently. The real challenge is for women to not start thinking like men when it comes to defining who they are. You can search for love, and have sex, without it having to be about being desperate.
I refuse to believe that I am desperate in my search for a partner. I am also a smart cookie and realize that a man will see things differently, and I need to do the dance with him in order to show him otherwise. It’s about learning to dance, not playing a game or following the rules.
I hate it when people reference love as having rules or being a game. What love is, is a dance. We need to learn the steps, listen to the music, know when to allow the man to lead, and when to hold on a little tighter and take control. I’d much rather dance with a man than play games.
I am 44 years old. I have been in love, and had my heard broken into a million places. I have been in relationships that were filled with joy, and others that made me question what the hell I was doing there. I have learned from each one and try to remember the good things.
I am seriously looking for a relationship and I am not ashamed to admit it. I am ready for love and am willing to dedicate the time needed to find a man that I want to have him my life. I am not desperate, but completely open to learning some new dance moves to make it happen.
I love the comments my last few blogs have gotten. It’s always interesting to see how other women view things, and I think we can learn from each other. If we pay attention to what each of us has gone through, we can help save each other from making the same mistakes.
Maybe a woman will read what we’ve said and be stronger. Maybe a man will read it and see that just because a woman in her 40’s sleeps with you, it does not mean she desperate, only that she is a grown up and wants to simply be with you for a moment, not forever.
There are no guarantees when it comes to love. I am going to try to increase my odds of finding my Beshert by continuing to search. If I find him it will be a blessing. If not, I will be just fine. With or without a happily ever after, I’m putting on my dancing shoes and keeping the faith.
September 13, 2010 | 11:48 pm
Posted by Ilana Angel
Whenever I write a blog about a bad date, I get emails from readers telling me I am fabulous and as soon as I stop looking I will meet the man of my dreams. First of all, I love my readers and appreciate you all for following my blog and giving me encouragement. It is from a place of love and respect that I feel comfortable telling you that I simply do not agree.
To be clear, I agree with the part about me being fabulous, I don’t agree however, with the stop looking part. I have come to “know” a lot of my readers. You read every day, comment often, and share your stories and wisdom. While we have never met, you are an important part of my search for love and I value your input and opinions very, very much.
I have a very full life. I work, raise my son, have friends and family, along with writing every day for The Jewish Journal. I am rarely alone which is lovely, but the older I get, and more importantly the older my child gets, the more I realize that I am lonely. I do not want to spend the second half of my life without a partner. Don’t want to, shouldn’t have to, and won’t.
So I search for love. I go online, I get set up, and I troll around Whole Foods. Whatever it takes. Although it sometimes feels like it, and my blog would occasionally imply it, searching for love is not my full time job. It is however a part of my life now, and will continue to be until I find the man I am looking for. To stop looking just does not make sense. Why give up on something that is so important to me?
I never understood the idea that if you stop looking it will find you. When you need a certain ingredient for a recipe and your market does not have it, do you abandon your plans to cook? Do you buy an ingredient that is close to what you need and fake it? Or do you keep looking, keeping the missing ingredient in the back of your mind, knowing one day you will find it?
I won’t stop looking. If people who were searching for things stopped looking, where would the world be? I don’t need to be with a man to feel happy or complete. I want to be with a man. I want a relationship. I want a witness to my life. I want to hold someone when I sleep. I want someone to tell me he loves me. I want him and will only stop looking when I find him.
I get discouraged, frustrated, bored, and occasionally bitter. Sometimes I lose my patience, my will, my interest and my focus. What I never lose however, is my faith. I have faith in myself that I will not let the dream go, and faith in him that he will keep looking for me. There is nothing that will change my faith in love and belief that my Beshert is out there for me.
I am a hopeless romantic. Some people think I’m silly and unrealistic in my views about love. It’s okay. I believe the love I am looking for can be found. If you have ever read a love letter from Ronald Reagan to his beloved Nancy, then you know it is real and available to anyone who believes. I love how he loved her and know that one day I will have that too.
I love writing this blog and I love getting comments from readers. You make me laugh, cry, think and scream. While my search for love is certainly personal, it is not private. You are all on the journey with me and for that I will be forever grateful. Thank you for holding my hand, giving me a nudge when I slow down, and embracing my goal of always keeping the faith.