I have lately noticed questions and responses that discuss “revisiting” a shidduch idea that has been shelved either before or after meeting. I am surprised by the simplicity with which the concept is dealt with in the responses. You would think that it is a straightforward and easily doable process. However, both in my personal experience, before getting married and in dealing with my children’s’ shidduchim, as well as instances where I have attempted to be the shadchan, it is very complicated, painful and often futile to try. Generally, a rejected shidduch is accompanied by much hurt and hard feelings, hardly auspicious for the prospect.
That is not to say it doesn’t happen. Sometimes, for different reasons of timing, a shidduch isn’t bashert to happen until a later time when it is revisited. That can be because maturity, new information or, on the other hand, diminished prospects are taken into account and previously “dumped” dates seem suddenly so much more attractive.
Maybe it isn’t advisable to suggest that individuals can or should say no, counting on the idea being raised again at some point in the future. Wouldn’t it be better to date till you feel confidently positive or negative, rather than saying something along the lines of “We’ll come back and get that pair of shoes/dress/suit if we don’t find something better at a different store?”
Given the level of lucidity and perspicacity with which you have stated your position (perhaps you should join the panel!), I feel there is little left for me to add other than to concur with your conclusion, and elaborate a bit on the concepts that have been so neatly laid out.
With regard to the complexity of revisiting a shidduch that was either declined or dropped, it is quite true that significant emotional processing is often required before a young man or woman is able to entertain the notion of reentering such a shidduch. Be it for the one who vetoed the shidduch, or the one who was rejected, the thought of reengaging – and possibly having to disappoint that same person again, or be spurned a second time by the very same person – can loom ominously large.
This is not to say, as you astutely noted, that past proposals should never be reexamined. On the contrary, any and all salient shidduch suggestions should be measured in earnest, and there is no shortage of instances where a previously departed path was re-embarked upon, and the result was a beautiful bayis ne’eman b’Yisroel. Nonetheless, we must be aware of what this request asks of a single man and woman – cognitively and emotionally – above and beyond what goes into the consideration of a brand new idea. We must be sensitive when apprehension is expressed, and respect any hesitation or disinterest communicated in returning to a suggestion that was unsuccessful. And we mustn’t view a dater’s refusal as contumacious, or expect that simply due to someone’s sustained state of singlehood they should rush into an idea merely to escape their predicament, regardless of how outstanding we may perceive the prospect to be.
And finally, in an effort to reinforce the prudency of your closing message, it is absolutely crucial that shidduchim which still hold promise are not prematurely discarded, with the expectation that they can simply be resumed later on down the road, should one so choose. To borrow your analogy, detaching from another human being carries consequences far greater than does passing on a new pair of shoes, and going back isn’t nearly as straightforward as ascertaining that the person is still single, and then sauntering off to the check-out lane that is the aisle to the chupah.
Shidduchim should neither be played like a game, nor treated like an exercise in shopping for a spouse, and as such, the mindset should never be one of, “This idea is nice, but I think I can find a nicer one, so I’ll just set this one aside and return to it, if necessary, and when it best suits me.” Rather, whether one is assessing a suggestion before its commencement, or standing at the juncture of either continuing or concluding a shidduch one is in the midst of, it is vital that the proposition be judged solely on its own merits.
If it appears that there is nothing there, so be it; and the proper course of action would be to pass on the idea or end the shidduch. However, if one feels that potential remains, an appraisal should be made as to the degree of that potential, and whether or not it should be explored, entirely in the here and now – not as juxtaposed with what the future may or may not hold. If one feels and believes that the person they have been redt to, or are currently dating, may be the person they will marry, it is most often unnecessary to set that person aside and return years later before coming to a decision. Now is usually as good a time as any to figure it out as definitively as possible.
May the Yoideiah Bin Shaos grant us all the ability to make opportune assessments, and to direct our full attention towards the value of that with which we are presented at any given moment in time.