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Website sponsored by Mr. & Mrs. Malkiel Goldberger in honor of their precious children
info@shidduchcenter.org | 443.955.9887

Yated Shidduch Forum 12/1/17: Feeling Like Nobody Cares

Question:

I’m a divorced father in my thirties with a few young children. I am, boruch Hashem, healthy and have means to support my family. I would really like to get married again soon and move on with life. 

For some reason, I feel that as much as I try dealing with shadchanim, they never get back to me or redd me shidduchim, and my friends, as well, don’t ever try to help and think of shidduchim for me. Why is that?

Sometimes, I feel that if only some people actually cared about me and my situation, I would have a much better chance of getting remarried. 

I am being realistic with my situation and am ready to date as long as the person fits the basic criteria of a quality Bais Yaakov girl. I appeal to anyone who may know of others in a similar situation to be considerate and just try. Don’t worry about the “nos.” That’s for us to deal with. Give us a chance and the chizuk to know that others care about us and are trying to help.

Thank you.

Answer:

First off, I would like to wish you hatzlacha in the venture of remarriage, and I commend you on your forward-moving attitude as you search for a wife and endeavor to rebuild your family.

As I do not personally know you or your friends, or which shadchanim you have reached out to, or in what manner you did so, it remains challenging to provide a direct and definitive answer to your question. Nonetheless, there are a few points I would like to share with you, and, b’ezras Hashem, you will find them substantive.

In my experience with shidduchim, I have found that it is generally a mistaken belief when daters express a sentiment that shadchanim are not trying, and friends and family do not actually care.

On the shadchan side, the vast majority will not just throw two people together and wait to see what happens. Shadchanim are well aware of how discouraging and frustrating it is when those they set up on a date are completely incompatible and can’t begin to comprehend why the suggestion was even made. As a result of this recognition, most shadchanim are quite circumspect with the ideas they present. No shadchan wants to be the cause of further pain or disappointment to the men and women they are striving to assist; and furthermore, no shadchan wants to sever the trust or relationship they have established with a dater by sending them off on an abysmal date.

While we can surely appreciate why it is that many daters who are distressing over quiescence in the form of dating activity, and an absence of call-backs from shadchanim, often feel that they are all but forgotten, that feeling is not always an accurate reflection of reality.

It is certainly possible, and likely probable, that as hard as shadchanim are working on one’s behalf, they simply don’t have any sensible suggestions to offer at the moment. For good reason, shadchanim are not in the practice of calling people only to tell them, “I have nothing for you”.

Moreover, redding shidduchim for daters 30 and above is a very different umnus than is redding shidduchim for those in their early 20’s. Similarly, redding shidduchim for a divorcee, widow, or widower is different than is redding shidduchim for first marriages, and additionally, not every shadchan knows or works with daters across all age ranges, hashkafos, and future life plans.

Consequently, it should be readily understandable why a shadchan dealing almost exclusively with daters in their mid to early 20’s and expecting to start marriage as a kollel family is probably not going to respond with very many ideas to daters in their 30’s and who are working. And this would likewise be the case if a 22-year-old, never-before-married dater contacted a shadchan who specifically works on second marriages. As such, it is crucial for daters to ascertain the niche and nature of shadchanim, in order to maintain realistic outlooks in terms of responsiveness.

All said, it is imperative for daters to be mindful of the shadchan’s side of the situation, and not presume that lack of calls means lack of efforts.

As far as friends are concerned, once again, we must be cognizant of how the equation looks on their side. Redding shidduchim is difficult, time-consuming, requires that a person knows both single men and women, and above all, has a reasonable belief that a good match can be made between two of them.

As much as friends may want to help, or even be wracking their brains daily for ideas, they may be coming up empty. They may also be afraid to redd a shidduch, having never done so before, or may worry that their suggestion will be found absolutely not nogaya and a waste of everyone’s time and energy, resulting only in greater anguish to those they care deeply about.

Given these considerations, rather than falling into despair, and concluding that one’s chances of remarriage are solely tied to how much other people care about their situation, it would be far preferable to devise proactive strategies that may hasten the process.

This may mean tightening up the list of shadchanim one is working with, and sending them a polite email or text reminder every few weeks in the hope that ideas will turn up. It may also mean contacting friends and family and reminding them of one’s desire to remarry, along with a description of what one is looking for in a spouse, and an assurance that any ideas will be received favorably and with gratitude, regardless of how nogaya they may prove to be. Essentially, one needs to do everything possible to endear oneself to those in their network and to encourage people to lend meaningful succor and present potential dating prospects.

In short, most shadchanim, friends, and family do care; frequency of dating opportunities are not inextricably tied to how much people care; and the chances of remarriage are just as dependent on one’s approach and attitude as they are anything else.

As a final thought, in your narrative, the phraseology used to describe the type of woman being sought was, “a quality Bais Yaakov girl”. I do not know if that is a phrase being shared with shadchanim, but if so, I would strongly recommend altering that term, for the following reason.

By and large, the words “quality Bais Yaakov girl” connote someone very recently coming out of school and seminary, and looking to start a new family. Such a picture is likely inconsistent with the image of a grown working man in his 30’s with young children in tow, and may be confusing to those being entreated.

Perhaps a better way to state it would be, “a woman who is grounded in her Torah, mitzvos, and avodas Hashem, is open to marrying a divorcee, and would be kind and caring towards his children”.

Although I am sure the intent with this commonly used and seemingly innocent aphorism is merely meant to convey a depiction of a woman strong in her commitment to Yiddishkeit, the way that intent is expressed can make all the difference in the world when it comes to how one is perceived and how others react to what they are hearing.

May the true M’zaveig Zivugim see that the duration of your search is fleeting, and its outcome fruitful and enduring.

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