Jewish Journal

Breaking All the Rules

by Tamara Shayne Kagel

March 26, 2011 | 1:50 pm

Today, I’ve given my blog entry over to a very special guest, my sister Jenna Kagel.  I thought you might enjoy hearing from someone completely out of the scene and in a happy relationship for a change.

I remember being in college and hearing a story of a family friend who had moved across country to stay with her boyfriend. She left her job, her apartment, her friends, and her family on the whim that her relationship would work out if she did so. And I still remember being so horrified at the idea - the idea of sacrificing yourself and your entire life to be with a boyfriend. And I might add, a boyfriend with no commitment or promise of marriage and/or a definite future.

From that moment on, without even thinking about the future of my family friend, I vowed to never move for a boyfriend. I could move for a husband or a family member, but NOT a boyfriend. I think, that while commitment is important, a woman’s personal life and her own personal goals are just as important. That relationships are successful because both partners have a life as a couple and an individual life.

So about six years after this family friend moved and eventually was dumped, I broke my cardinal rule. I moved over 6000 miles away from my life, family, friends, and potential career. Initially, I moved for the arena of love. But as the relationship progressed and I moved out of the arena, I stayed for the potential future that awaited us.

One of easiest things in life is to make rules for yourself relating to dating. Like my rule to never move countries or states for a boyfriend. It is so simple to state clearly what you do not want in a partner, in a relationship, in yourself, or even in a dilemma. But there is also some truth to the saying that when life hits you in the face, you shouldn’t just stand there, you should run with it.
When I met my current boyfriend of two years, I bluntly stated how I would never stay in Argentina for him and that my life awaits me in the states. I also stated how I thought that monogamy was against nature’s laws as we live too long for monogamy to actually seem plausible. I also said that I would never be that housewife who just sits at home and cooks and cleans. And I definitely said that I was not looking for love - I was backpacking South America for peat’s sake! I was looking for FUN!

But as it turns out, I left all my rules behind to actually be in the relationship that was hitting me in the face. I ran with it. And I think that that is the point. We all tend to make these generalized statements that we think define whom we are. Truthfully, in those moments, those statements are defining us, but just in that moment. As we speak about our opinions or our “rules,” we forget how life actually works. Life happens and many times, we leave our words behind.

So I do not know what my future holds with my current relationship. There are no definite commitments. There is talk of the future, but we are not married. So in a way, I am always on rocky waters - living illegally in a foreign country without my family. But I also had to take the chance to be here, to break my rule. I mean, I was always a rule-breaker anyway.

Jenna Kagel is a graduate of New York University and currently living in Argentina, very happily with her boyfriend, Manuel.

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Tamara Shayne Kagel is a twenty-something fixture on the Los Angeles scene currently living in Santa Monica.  Currently, Tamara is a successful freelance writer (just ask her...

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