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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 12/7/18: Red Flags on a Date, Should I Say Something?

Question:

I recently went out with a boy and noticed red flags in his middos to the extent that I felt I was being belittled and his manner was a bit threatening at one point. In addition, he put down a lot of my opinions in a bashing manner. I came out feeling that this is someone you don’t ever disagree with. 

None of this was relayed by the references and it is possible that they don’t know him in this manner.

My question is: Is it my responsibility to tell the shadchan anything? What makes it difficult is that the shadchan worked with the boy and is close to him and redds him a lot of shidduchim. I don’t want to ruin their relationship.

What am I to say?

Answer:

Before addressing your inquiry, I must commend you on the conscientious and considerate nature with which you are approaching this matter. After being subject to such a distressing experience, it would be easy for one to react by lashing out without care or concern for the repercussions their conduct might wreak on others. Furthermore, one could rightly obviate themselves of the responsibility to pursue this nuisance at all, leaving it for the young man to figure out on his own after a number of unsuccessful dates and summary rejections, or subsequent to the acquiring of an unfavorable reputation. That you are so clearly interested in proactively assisting this young man, and taking into account the feelings and relationships of all involved, even those who caused you pain, speaks volumes about your character.

Regarding this young man’s behavior, it seems to me that there are two most plausible explanations. One option is that he is overcompensating diffidence and sensations of dating nerves, tension, or anxiety with inadvertently forceful confidence. The other option is that he indeed is in need of a serious and comprehensive middos overhaul and refurbishment. In either case, if improvements are to be made at this incipient juncture – be they with respect to his poor dating skills or lack of refined temperament – this information must be delicately yet unambiguously conveyed.   

As far as who should be designated as the ambassador to communicate with this young man and support him in self-betterment, I do not believe that is a burden for the shadchan to bear. First, and as you astutely pointed out, it may, by extension, damage the extant relationship between this young man and the shadchan. Second, I find it more probable than not that the young man will brush aside any such hadracha coming from someone who is not a true authority figure in his life, as opposed to actually taking a deeper and introspective look at his entrenched, coarse attributes and mannerisms. And third, it is quite conceivable that the young man will connect the dots, gather from whence the dispatch originated, and engage in efforts to defend his actions and shift the blame, rather than acquiesce to internalizing the veracity and meaning of the message and making the mandatory modifications.

Consequently, and though you are certainly under no obligation to do so, I believe the prudent path to follow is to wait a few weeks in order to create some safe distance from the incident and further obscure you as the informant, and then have one of your parents speak with your family rav. Once the issue has been lucidly explained, and if he feels it appropriate, your rav may then in turn reach out to the rav of this young man or to a rebbi with whom he is close, without in any way revealing the source of the report, in order to aid to this fellow with his dating decorum and dismal disposition. All told, the essential goal here is to utilize the vehicle of wholly uninvolved parties in order to maintain focus on the problem and not the person who exposed it. 

 

At that point, I believe the matter is entirely out of your hands. You will have done all that can be done, and in a fashion that is both most likely to lead to positive changes on the part of this young man and least likely to come back to harm you or anyone else that was involved in the shidduch.   

May the Rotzeh B’Amo see that we are all able to recognize our flaws when they are brought to our attention, and take the necessary means and measures to develop and progress as we strive for continued and sustained personal growth.  

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