Vancouver Jewish Book Fair: A literary quickie

Transcript: Read the full text of my speech below:

So the seeds for my book "Learning to Commit" were planted in this building, right around the corner in the art gallery.  Now I’d imagine some of you are thinking: The JCC might be a nice place for a shvitz, but what does that have to do a book on commitment-phobia and marriage

Well, throughout my 20s and 30s I struggled with a profound fear of intimacy. And according to many relationship experts,  people like me were beyond repair. 

But even though the news was grim, I desperately wanted to have children, to experience fatherhood. 

In 1999, I turned 30, and was still very single, and decided it was time for major life change. And where do Montrealers go when they want to reinvent themselves? They move… to Vancouver.

As soon as I arrived, I went to hear a talk on relationships by the late Dr. David Freeman - who some of you might know. That talk took place right here, in the art gallery. David suggested that all of our relationship problems are opportunities to work through unfinished family business. But  he cautioned… if we ignore this opportunity, this unfinished business gets passed down to the next generation.

Thinking about my own family, I found this to be true. But what does any of this have to do with fear of commitment? At the end of the talk, I asked David for further reading material. A few people in the audience suggested books by Dr. David Schnarch, Harriette Lerner and others. I purchased and read them all. 

Unfortunately every one of these books were geared towards couples teetering towards divorce. They didn’t speak to me - single, and anxious about commitment. So I made a promise to myself: Should I ever meet someone, and discover that these ideas actually work, well, I will write the missing book - a manual on how to use your anxiety to do better in all of your relationships.

Almost a year after hearing Dr. Freeman speak, I would meet my wife on frumster.com. A few years after that, we stood under a chupah in the JCC art gallery, where all of this began. Clearly, it was time make good on my promise, and start writing my book. 

In 2008, I opened a private practice and asked David to be my supervisor. He agreed. During our sessions he would encourage me to write this book. Tragically, David died before Learning to Commit was written. My book is dedicated to my wife, my parents and to the late Dr. David Freeman.