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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 12/29/17: Have Single Women Become Complacent in Shidduchim?

Question:

I am a single bochur in his thirties and I’ve been meaning to write this question for a while.

There have been wonderful efforts to help those in shidduchim, especially girls. The focus of much of the publicity of the shidduch crisis has been on the girls, and perhaps rightfully so. However, I have witnessed how this has negatively impacted some boys, like myself. 

The campaign to help girls has stressed that older girls should be pursued equally and are, in some cases, more qualified and better candidates that their younger counterparts. What this has done, however, is brought a certain level of comfortability among girls, who seem less desperate as they search for their zivug. I know this might sound surprising to you, but it is true. I’ve seen it personally after receiving “no’s” from ten straight girls – because my parents are divorced. At least that’s the reason they have given. 

Speaking to shadchanim, I have explained that being the one taking care of my own shidduchim, all I wish is to be able to meet the girl in question. But the girls I have said yes to won’t even go out when they hear that the boy is in his thirties and his parents aren’t together. I believe that, perhaps inadvertently, the efforts to help older girls have subliminally influenced them to lower their level of desperateness, causing them to be pickier than ever.

What are your feelings about this painful observation?

Answer:

As a general rule, it is my belief that categorical declarations meant to definitively teitch-up why people do the things they do, leave much to be desired when examining any one specific situation, as they tend to fail in addressing the nuances of the individual. Being that there are such all-encompassing assertions in this narrative, I would like to examine them one at at time.

Firstly, there is the notion that the majority of the public eye is focused on single women, particularly “older” single women, and not much attention is given to the plight of the single man. This is actually a statement I would endorse. Though it is indeed rightful that attention is focused in that direction, as that is the greater Klal issue – at least when considering the overall numbers – I do feel it is rather unfortunate that so little attention is payed to the single men in need of hadracha, chizuk, and opportunity. This alone is a topic worthy of a full response, and perhaps it will be revisited here in a future edition.

As far as the conception that single women have become complacent, and subliminally infused with a noticeable degree of entitlement – owing to the global campaigns that promote their value – I am afraid I must strongly disagree with that point of view, and I would refrain from adding such terminologies to our lexicon when speaking of single women. While it may be true for any one person, and though there are surely single women of all ages who either are, or have become, overly selective – to their own detriment more than anyone else’s – I do not believe this to be indicative of single women in shidduchim, as a whole.

There are countless single women whom I have found more than willing to say yes to prospects that they feel, for good reason, are less than ideal, and who are open to the possibility that their original inclinations when looking into a shidduch were erroneous. Such actions are not ordinarily undertaken by a collective living with nonchalance, or by those holding onto sentiments that they have nothing to worry about in shidduchim and may be as choosy as they please.

Although this may not do much in the way of explicating why you have experienced so many successive rejections, I would not be comfortable stating that the reason for those “no’s” was a result of single women not being desperate enough.

And as a bit of an aside, I don’t think anyone should approach shidduchim from a place of desperation, as it rarely leads to positive outcomes. We can appreciate feelings of hurt, anguish, fear, and uncertainty – all of which are feelings that are normal, justifiable, and understandable for those who spend significant time in shidduchim – but to make one’s final determinations from a place of desperation is an ill-advised endeavor, in my estimation.

With respect to the request of simply being able to meet the women first, before they make any conclusive decisions, I think there is merit to such an approach, and it is quite plausible that many daters would gain a great deal from agreeing to a quick meet-and-greet for starters. Nonetheless, in today’s shidduch world, that is essentially what we call a first date.

Accordingly, the request likely comes off sounding like this: “I understand that you are saying no to a date, but can we first go on a really quick date just to test the waters?” In a certain sense, it’s actually not a bad idea, but in reality, it’s not an offer that most people will be comfortable with, or even necessarily be able to wrap their heads around.

As far as this refrain from single women, expressing indifference towards dating a man whose parents are divorced, far be it from me to put your personal experience into question, but it does seem somewhat anomalous. In speaking with many single women, over the duration of a number of years, I am yet to have heard of any universal resistance to dating men from divorced homes. And I have to wonder, then, if these rejoinders being proffered to you are merely surface-level fallback replies.

All things considered, it does not appear to me that the observation itself is what’s painful, as I do not think it a germane one, but rather, that some of the beliefs you seem to have developed are causing you pain.

Consequently, it would be my recommendation that you seek out an experienced mentor who can walk you through these somewhat myopic and etiolated ideations related to the nature of single women in shidduchim, and help you reach a place of peace.

Additionally, it may prove worthwhile for you to touch base again with the shadchanim who had relayed the refusals you received, asking if they would mind digging a little deeper and more firmly establish whether or not the more salient explanations to the no’s you received were left unspoken. If that should be the case, you will have then been provided with invaluable information that may aid you in addressing the real concerns of those women who had passed on dating you, and ultimately, the capacity to prevent these issues from continuing to hinder your forward progress in shidduchim.

May the Melech Someich Noflim uplift you from your place of dissatisfaction, and help you to see things more optimistically, as you continue in the search for your zivug.

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