My 27-year-old single daughter can often wait for weeks before any suitable shidduchim are suggested. Three weeks ago, she got three yeses in one day. After spending much time investigating the suggestions and then giving our yes to one of them, the shadchan notified us that the boy would not be able to meet our daughter until after Lag Ba’omer. Why were we not told of this restriction at the outset? Is that right? Would it have been right for us to rescind our commitment and go ahead with one of the other suggestions, where the bochur was ready to meet our daughter?
Utilizing a bit of ratiocination, unless I am misjudging the timeline, I strongly suspect that the sole basis for delay on the part of this young man is but a pragmatic complication eventuated of poor timing, not a presage of disinterest, procrastination, or unpreparedness.
Bearing in mind that we are presently in the midst of Sefiras Ha’omer, given that significant time was admittedly taken to survey all three candidates, it is probable that this young man has since grown a “sefirah-beard” and is in grave need of a haircut, and now feels uneasy dating someone new in this somewhat disheveled state. Hence, the notification that he will not be actively dating until after Lag Ba’omer.
Conversely, had a green light been extended within a few days of the tendering of his original yes, it is plausible that he would have been able to stay kempt long enough for three or four dates to occur (certainly so, if he keeps the “second-half” of Sefirah). This would have allowed sufficient time to establish the rapport and comfort level needed to continue dating, even after the commencement of any slightly unsightly and scruffy tufts.
Consequently, the presumable cause for his constraint not being charted from the outset is owed to irrelevance, as the young man most likely – and rightly – had not anticipated there would be any need to postpone. Incidentally, if this is, in fact, the cause for deferment, it is imaginable that the same appeal may have been delivered by all three bachurim, given the circumstances.
All told, then, the source for suspending the start of the shidduch boils down to a young man who approaches the dating process sedulously, and who possesses a corresponding respect for both himself and the woman he is to be dating. Thus, he endeavors to ensure that he is afforded every opportunity to make a sterling first impression.
Alternatively, it is possible that a personal mater has arisen, imposing the interruption. Whatever the case, it is not an unreasonably lengthy period of time he is asking for, and being that his need to hold off was communicated as soon as he was supplied with a yes, I do not believe he has acted untowardly.
That said, and notwithstanding the potential veracity of the aforementioned practical issue at hand, I believe it conceivable that there are a few much more salient, ideational issues playing out here, which are well worth our attention.
1. There appear to be allusions of parental over-involvement with regard to the decision-making process of this single woman. Namely, the prominent mention of “us,” “our,” and “we,” which suggest that the single woman being spoken of is either very much sharing the driver’s seat of her shidduchim, or absent from it entirely.
Moreover, in this specific case, I am not hearing that the young woman herself is expressing any dissatisfaction in having to pause prior to proceeding. What are her thoughts? Is she troubled by this new development, or is she completely fine with it? If she is bothered, why are we hearing about “we” and not “she”? And if she is fine with it, the entire grievance is essentially immaterial. The point being, whether or not this gripe is valid, it is not a household subject. It is a matter for the young women herself to reflect upon, and I do not detect her being represented here even as her own entity – let alone as the primary entity – but rather, only as a secondary unit which has been absorbed by familial amalgamation.
By the time one has reached their mid-2o’s and beyond, it is my opinion that they should be largely in control of their dating lives. Of course, parents should remain involved; in particular, bearing a large portion of the researching of suggestions, as the task of making such calls is often an unpleasant one for the daters themselves. However, past that point, all the material gathered should be aggregated, collated, and disseminated to the dater so that he or she may make the final determinations, of their own volition and based on their interpretation of the information.
2. There seems to be a not-so-insignificant degree of cognitive dissonance displayed in the chronicling of this narrative.
To elaborate, and at least as I understand it, we have a 27-year-old single woman who frequently goes weeks without receiving a pleasing shidduch proposal, and has now found herself with not one, but three yeses obtained in a single day! And subsequently, after considerable time was expended deciding which, if any, of these suitors were acceptable, there is dolorous protestation against the young man who has been chosen for asserting that he is now unable to get started just yet.
Would it really make sense to put someone on ice for a substantial period, and then repine when that person requests a bit of additional time of their own? Not to mention, at least he has submitted a yes, so there is no uncertainty stemming from his end, merely a relatively small holding phase – as opposed to the utter ambiguity which the bachur was subjected to, having committed to the shidduch, and then left completely in the lurch as to whether or not his yes would be reciprocated.
3. The notion that extensive time may be exhausted before responding to a yes is, simply stated, erroneous. An appropriate response time would be a day or two, and maybe up to a maximum of a week, if there were some dire need to probe deeper into the idea after receiving a notably disconcerting report which necessitated corroboration. Especially so for a single of this age, and who is not unfamiliar with dry spells.
Honestly, if as much time was taken as I am understanding to have been, I am somewhat surprised that the young man didn’t back out himself, due to the prolonged radio silence. And I wouldn’t have blamed him for it. To me, that he waited it out without voicing any remonstration speaks of great perseverance and fortitude, and is deserving of commendation.
Parenthetically, going back to the first issue, it would be crucial to know whether it was the single woman herself who was protractedly indecisive, or was she ready much earlier, but forced to linger before being permitted by her parents to give a yes in return? If the latter, the concern of parental interloping seems even more poignant than before.
Accordingly, all things considered, I would posit that a) this bachur is justified indeed in asking for a short recess, so that he can present himself in the best possible light; b) it would be terribly egregious to back out and leave him in the dust… again; and c) not a second thought should be given to the topic of his required adjournment.
May the Tzur Tamim Poalo see that we are able to make opportune decisions, appreciate the needs of others, and treat all those with whom we interact with a level dignity equal to that which we expect for ourselves.