Tips for Jewish Singles: How to Maximize your Shidduchim and Find Your Bashert More Easily – Part 2December 15th, 2015
By Michelle Mond
See for Yourself
I know a girl who called a relative in the same yeshiva as a boy she had heard of. This relative made it seem as though the boy was extremely introverted and quiet. The girl knew that this was not what she wanted in a personality and did not pursue the shidduch. A year later, she saw a boy at a simcha – a lively, leibedik boy who really made an impression on her. She went out of her way to find out who this boy was. She rushed around asking all her friends but nobody knew. Finally she asked somebody who knew him and sure enough, it was the same boy whose name had been mentioned to her a year before! Seeing him in person, she was shocked that this was the same person who she was told was so quiet. In reality he was so lively, outgoing, and fun and always had been! It turns out her relative did not know the boy well at all and had the wrong perception, and decided to relay his perception.
Fortunately, he was still available. The girl got a shadchan to redt her to this boy and they have now been happily married for many years, b”H. This story should show how personality is not something that can be merely read off a resume, or heard from others. Truly the only way to know if you will click is by going out and giving it a fair shot. This story also shows that sometimes people really don’t know a boy, and when you hear certain details, you need to take them with a grain of salt. If you go back to the basic principles of what makes a marriage work, and what traits should be important in a match, and all those things are lined up – it’s always worth giving it a date.
After the First Date
After a first or second date, your reaction may be, “Wow, he was a really nice guy, but….” Think about the reasons you want to say no. Are they legitimate reasons? Are they important enough to not give it another date? Committing to a second date is not committing to a marriage; it is simply giving the shidduch time to play itself out. Think about your best friend. Did she become your best friend at your first encounter? In those first three hours of knowing her did you decide she was best friend material? I’m sure you have many good friends who were completely different and gave off a totally different picture the first time you met them. It is similar in a match. The myth of love-at-first-sight/chemistry at first glance is indeed a myth. If you ask married acquaintances if they hit it off the first, or even the first few times they met their spouse, you’d be surprised to hear that usually it was not all perfection and fireworks.
Things were not necessarily ideal or perfect, but there were enough positive traits to give it more dates. As the dates progress, you get to see more and more about the person and can make a clearer decision. Many singles reject a shidduch after a first or second date because they feel that their personalities didn’t “click.” But it is very important to give a person some time to show you their true personality or to merely get used to their personality. On early dates, singles can be slow to open up, and be more quiet or even too outgoing or talkative, because they may want to avoid awkward silences. There are many reasons why things won’t be perfect after the first, or the first few dates, so always think about your reason before giving a no and make sure it’s really legitimate.
A Good Dating Mentor
I cannot stress enough the importance of having a dating mentor who is older and more experienced to help guide you through your dating journey. It is easy to just say no and end a shidduch, but what if a person is pushing away his or her bashert simply because they did not give it enough time? Or what if they’re pushing away a shidduch even before a first date because it doesn’t look 100 percent ideal on the resume, so they don’t even go out? This is where a good dating mentor comes in handy. It is crucial to have someone to talk to and ask advice from, especially when it comes to dating. I try to take on this role as a matchmaker, and coach my singles through their dating. Even more important than having a dating mentor is having an older and experienced dating mentor. For such a sensitive and intricate topic such as your future bashert, you should be getting advice for your particular situation from either parents whom you trust, a Rav or Rebbetzin you’re close with, or someone else who is older and has experience and daas torah. Furthermore, if you have anxiety in general with decision making, what makes you think that it will be an easy shmeezy decision when it comes to finding the right one for you? Is it because all the movies and books you’ve seen project love as this instant moment of clarity? Maybe. What I’m trying to say is that if you do have anxiety and decision making is really hard for you generally, don’t be surprised if you find yourself finding it hard to settle down. You may blame it on this or that, which makes yourself feel validated. However the root of the issue might possibly be a commitment phobia or anxiety issue that you never dealt with. If this might be the case, finding a good therapist to help you through your dating is crucial.
Getting More Dates
Imagine you’re a CPA living in New York City. You’re about to start your job hunt, and everyone you ask has another lead to firms looking for a CPA. Then someone tells you about a great job – an ideal job – in an out of town community, what would you do?
Most people who are from NY, whose entire lives are in NY, would look for a job in NY before traveling to find a job, especially if they have so many promising opportunities where they are. The same goes for dating. A guy living and working or in school/yeshiva in the tri-state area who is getting suggested to many New York and New Jersey girls, will usually go for those ideas first. As we all know, the tri-state area is not a small place, and many options exist there for guys. It might be wise for girls and their parents to put aside the mindset that the boy should always travel to the girl first. While this is true, and in an ideal world, and if he can, the boy should be the one to travel out-of-town for the first date, realistically, a boy may not have a reason to come all the way into Baltimore, even if the shadchan says it’s an “incredible” idea. No doubt five other shadchanim described New York girls as incredible as well. If girls can be flexible about going to New York for a first date or over a weekend and things go super well, it is likely that the boy will make time to continue coming to their town for further dates, or at least the two can switch off traveling. I’ve learned that we just have to be practical about situations, even if reality goes against our preconceived ideas of chivalry. I have an amazing couple who just got engaged, the boy was super busy with work and didn’t have time to travel for dating, and told me to only set him up with girls in the tri-state-area. I happened to find an out of town girl for him, however she was super relaxed and understanding about traveling to him due to his schedule. B’H because of her openness they met, and hit it off, they are now engaged.
(Please note that I am not encouraging boys to stay where they are and not travel, but what I am saying is that if you’re a girl and don’t have many prospects, being open to traveling will open up your options tremendously.)
What if an excellent idea is suggested, but they young man is far away and has an extremely busy schedule? Perhaps he is in an intense master’s program and can’t possibly get out for dating until a scheduled break in the school year. Should this be a reason to nix the idea?
Fortunately, there is hope for such a shidduch to work out. It is an alternative that has proven very successful in bringing two busy people who are geographically far from each other (more than a four-hour car drive) together. Over the past few months I know of at least two mainstream frum couples who have gotten engaged after starting their dating by speaking over Skype. After a few Skype conversations, where things seemed to be going well, the less-busy one of the two traveled to the other. It’s all a matter of being flexible and open. Realize that not every situation is the same, and no person is the same. You may have heard of boys who pick up and travel anywhere they need to go to date girls. Perhaps those boys have a very light schedule. Or maybe they work from their computer, so they can take their work wherever they go. Try not to compare your friends situations, because every situation and person is very different.
Taking the step to engagement: realize it’s okay if you have differences
It is said that bringing two people together is as difficult as kriyas Yam Suf. What does this mean? Just as Hashem had to go against His nature to split the Yam Suf, so, too, a boy and a girl from different backgrounds, with preconceived notions of what their ideal match will be, need to go against their nature and come together despite the inevitable differences and prior expectations. So many people see differences and run away. Those who keep running away may just be escaping commitment, and the one Hashem is sending them. What is crucial to remember is that the decision is supposed to be difficult, especially if you battle anxiety with decisions as it is. The decision is as difficult as splitting the sea. You are two separate souls who have grown up in different places, who have different expectations, and maybe even a different picture of what you always thought you wanted in a spouse. It is when we differentiate our wants from our true needs that we really can become more open-minded, and allow the shidduch to flourish. By doing this, we are in essence allowing the sea to split, leading to our ultimate goal of marriage.
Author Biography: Michelle Mond from Baltimore, MD is a licensed Esthetician by profession, and is currently working as a busy wife and mother. In her extra time she works as a shadchan for young men and women all over the US, in addition to writing about shidduch-related topics for local papers.