Diva suggested that to really understand where I am, I need to make a sincere attempt to sustain an actual relationship with an Israeli man. So the next time I had the opportunity, I didn’t run away screaming or make the usual paranoid accusations while laughing in his face.
I promised him that I wouldn’t write about him, but I didn’t promise that I wouldn’t write about myself. From mid February until early May, I was in an a sort of a relationship with an Israeli “man” from a “good family”…
I made a few mistakes, some that I myself have preached against, but I have learned some new lessons.
First new lesson: Do an underground background check.
Here in Haifa, you can’t spit on the ground without 50 people knowing about it. Almost everyone of any note has that friend who knows everything about everybody, or could find out. I have a few of those. If I had spoken to them before agreeing to a commitment with this guy, I’d have done a non paranoid laugh in his face. I can’t say why, but let’s just say I would have been much more forthcoming about certain details of my life, that would have prevented someone like him from viewing me as a target.
Second new lesson: The Female Expat Disclaimer
There is something every female expat or up to second generation newcomer to Israel should say on the second date. That is,
“I have no assets in my name, and I do not plan to return to the U.S.”
Until you’re really old, the worry is not necessarily that an Israeli guy will be with you just for the money and nothing else. It’s just that they don’t see “loving” you as a reason not to exploit you for whatever they can. It is very common here for middle class and above men to behave like “trifling niggers” from the ghetto. It doesn’t matter how much money they have or make. Somehow, if they can, they will con you into burning through your resources while theirs are hidden or being used for obscured purposes.
Many are drowning in unbelievable levels of debt, and don’t know how to manage their money. They’re the definition of $30,000 millionaires, and don’t usually calm down about that until their mid 30’s when half to 2/3 of their paycheck is going to credit card and loan bills for things that have long since passed.
So it is very common here for a guy to try to convince you to go in halfsies on an apartment, or to move into your apartment promising to pay half of the living expenses. Do NOT do this. He will find a way to get out of some or all of his half, like suddenly losing his job or deciding to go to South America or India to “find himself” a month after you move in. Understanding this is what saved my ass. I come from a family of men and women who know that a relationship is 100%-100%, not 50%-50%. When an Israeli guy starts talking half, tell him that’s like having the divorce before the wedding.
Even if he backs down, that he said anything like this at all means that you should make him sign a written contract before moving in with him, and make sure the lease makes it clear that each of you is responsible separately for half of the rent. Never do joint anything with anyone who has ever said “half” to you or anyone you have heard of in this context.
So lesson 2.1 is: If you can’t afford a lawyer, you can’t afford an Israeli man.
And before you make any assumptions in this, many young, hot girls have fallen into the trap thinking that because the guy must really love them, the guys would never screw them financially. This is not about the real sexual market value or media framed value of the girl. This is about the fact that most men here under 50 don’t generally have self respect. They simply don’t see anything wrong with exploiting a woman who loves them.
Some men here also try to take advantage of cohabitant rights to get ahold of a woman’s assets here and abroad, or halve their debts when they leave. You can get stuck with a pile of debt the guy accumulated before he even knew you, after you break up. So before you consider a relationship here, get lawyered up.
Saved my ass.
Third new lesson: Never trust a person who says, “Trust me.”
I already knew this, but it is extremely important to remember this here. If a guy threatens to break up with you because you don’t extend trust to him that he hasn’t earned, then let him go. Someone who demands that you trust him unconditionally ALWAYS has something to hide.
Fourth new lesson: Don’t trust the family.
Families here are so desperate to get their young ones married and settled, that they will hide important things from you until after papers are signed. This is especially true if their kids are still dependent on them financially, or are at risk of this, or if they are cosigners to any of his expenses or debts.
They want to get rid of an expense or potential expense, and whoever comes along to lighten their burden is a saint. They will do their best to assure you that the failings of their wonderful child are all excusable, if they will admit to any of them at all.
Sometimes though, there are clues. Wait until a subject comes up that is really stressful, and the more honest parent will crack a little. Become that parent’s ally in the dispute. Then thereafter, listen very carefully to how things are worded.
Now to the old lessons, or re-adjusted lessons…
First lesson: Don’t be too nice.
I pretty much marked myself as a doormat by cooking for him, washing dishes at his place, and buying small things here and there. I tried to balance it by asking for a token amount for the groceries I was using, but this was useless. I was expending way too much effort and time.
Speaking of time, I let him sleep at my place way too often, and much to my inconvenience. My work schedule had to change because I couldn’t do readings or make any noise or burn any incense in the room while he was here. I made adjustments that I shouldn’t have, and it cost me.
Second lesson: Listen to your male friends (who don’t want to shag you).
If your male friends are unanimously telling you that someone is a loser, beneath you, prone to low behavior, etc. then take heed. Don’t judge them for being non objective. They don’t need to be objective. They’re your friends and they love you. Listen to them.
That is not to say that you should dump a guy on the word of your friends. Just take their counsel, and be ready for the things they said would happen, to happen. Then when they do, you won’t be caught by surprise and end up in a bad financial or legal situation.
Third lesson: Legal threats are a deal breaker.
If a guy starts proactively threatening you with legal action or police reporting, or similar things, he should never see you again. Period. End of story.
I accounted this sort of thing to a cultural difference, but I have been informed that this is a dealbreaker even for the most litigious and sue-happy of Israelis. At that point, all contact with that person should cease.
Fourth lesson: Vinegar pie…
I saw a movie once, a long time ago, in which a man convinced his girlfriend to go along with some sort of criminal activity he was in. He would abuse her and then flatter her, and she wasn’t sure if she could trust him. She wanted to know for certain, so she made a vinegar pie and brought it to him to eat.
She knew it was horrible, but she served it to him. He ate it and told her it was the best pie he ever ate. Then she knew he was a liar.
You can tell a lot about a man by how he treats the food you serve him. How he treats your food is how he regards you.
Fifth lesson: No backtracking.
The first time a guy dumps you should be the last time. If you go back to him, no matter how much he begs and pleads, he will think you are a sucker he can repeatedly hurt and then pull back in. No second chances.
At the end of all this, I am not sure I want to get into another relationship with an Israeli under 50 who grew up here. I am sure that there are many exceptions, but an exceptional guy should understand my hesitance to get too close to someone I don’t know well enough to say whether or not they’re an exception.
Now, things that used to squick me a little, that I might pass off as cultural differences are utterly disgusting. That swimming in sewage feeling I would get after something blew up or turned bad, I now get as soon as any overly passive, passive aggressive, blame gaming, or other childishness starts. I just can’t continue with them, and don’t feel any need to explain why. I just get lost.
If there’s even a hint of it I tell guys in the nicest way possible that I am not a Lesbian, so I’m not looking for a pussy.
After the breakup, since I gave my word that I wouldn’t write about him in my blog (a promise I never should have made), I had nowhere to let the poison out but towards him. So I did. So everything’s resolved as far as the past. Just the future is in question.
I thought what I wanted was a relationship, but if this is what having relationships here is like…constantly worried about someone not just dumping you or fighting with you about something stupid, but suing you for something stupid, or having you arrested for something stupid…I can do without that.
So from now on, I don’t blink unless someone buys me a ring.