Helping others

Giving a voice to the ‘unmatched’

'One thing I've learned over the years is – don't lose yourself, while looking for someone else'

All Sarah Lavane has ever wanted is to be seen, and to be understood. When she found herself ‘unmatched’ in an Orthodox community, she felt very misunderstood.

“Over the years, my single friends and I always felt that people who were not in our situation just did not get it,” Lavane wrote to The AJN from her home in the US. “Whether it was a relative who lectured us, a matchmaker who felt we were too picky, non-religious or non-Jewish people who were baffled that we weren’t inundated with dates, as well as others and all their assumptions.”

So, she wrote a book, to help others understand.

“I always felt the need to set the record straight for myself and all singles. I was tired of being misunderstood.”

Unmatched takes readers along Lavane’s journey, from rejection to fear, hope, struggle, pain, heartbreak, loss, faith and anger. Yet it’s written in a very realistic and modest way.

“For some it may be about what mistakes not to make. For others it may be messages of empathy, forgiveness, resilience, moving on from loss, faith, validation or whatever else speaks to them,” she explained.

But, she said, writing the book didn’t necessarily come easily to her.

“I didn’t know how to tackle this at all. I had written articles and poetry but never attempted a book before. In fact, in my Amazon orders, I found an order on a “how to write a memoir book” that goes back nearly 10 years ago! I took writing classes and bought how-to books and magazines but whenever I sat down to write, the perfect words would float off and disappear. After many attempts all I had to show for it was a pile of scribbled, crumpled paper. But the compulsion to share this story never left,” she recalled.

But then, a colleague challenged her to write 1500 words a day.

“He taught me to move forward and get words down instead of looking back to perfect page one again and again. With that lesson, the book that had lain dormant in my mind for years was jumpstarted – solid words, good and bad, finally appeared. With the torrent that followed, I quickly switched from pen to keyboard. Then I took that unwieldy mess of words and slowly crafted it into a book.”

Lavane explained that she felt extremely vulnerable putting the story into a book. While she’s not shy, she’s private and she was afraid of the judgement that putting herself out there would inevitably bring. Yet, the fear was worth it because of the beautiful feedback she has received, including the fact that many married people have more empathy for single people after reading it.

“I’ve had quite a few readers contact me either crying or thanking me, or saying how they can now forgive themselves or how they finally feel heard or understood,” she said. “I was terrified of putting myself out there, but now it feels very validating. It’s gratifying to see that the book is doing what I hoped it would.”

She prefaces things though by saying she doesn’t give advice.

“I’m certainly no expert on the matter and have gotten my fair share of unsolicited advice. But I do record so many of my own mistakes and lessons learned, that anyone can feel free to learn from those,” she said. “I’ve seen people who seem to go about dating all wrong and get lucky while there are others who apparently do everything right and fail. So I don’t have answers. I simply share my story. But one thing I’ve learned over the years is – don’t lose yourself, while looking for someone else.”

For those hoping to write a book, Lavane said while it’s cliché, the saying is true.

“Just write,” she said. “No amount of courses, magazines, books will do it for you.”

Unmatched is available on Amazon Australia, $27.98 rrp.
For reviews, excerpts and more information, please visit

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