I am an independent shadchan in Flatbush and recently have been getting complaints from older single boys who have been getting pushed into dating older single girls. The girls are clamoring to get a date with these boys, but once they get the date going, usually after the second or third date, they are the ones dropping the shidduch.
One older single suggested the possibility of telling these girls, before the boy agrees to date them, that they – the girls – have the responsibility of arranging and possibly paying for the second date. He felt that if the girl puts in effort and invests in the date, it won’t be cheap in her eyes and she won’t just dump the shidduch so fast. What are your opinions?
Straying away from the specifics of the inquiry, and knowing full well that I am about to tread on the thinnest of thin ice, I would like to offer an observation based on many meetings and conversations with both single men and single women, who are, for lack of a better term, considered to be “older.”
Though there are certainly exceptions to the following, by and large, I have found that the single men belonging to this demographic commonly express a notion that if not for the fact that the women they date were so set in their ways and inflexible at every turn, they would surely be married. And similarly, I have heard time and again from the single women of this demographic that it is such a shame that all the men they date are so emotionally underdeveloped and professionally under-accomplished, and if only these gentlemen could get their lives and emotions in order, surely they would be married.
Is there any truth to these assertions? Perhaps yes, and perhaps no. But regardless of the veracity of the claims, such attitudes do little to nothing in terms of generating positive momentum for either set of daters, and as Reb Shraga Neuberger succinctly summed it up in a recent shiur, “Everyone is a mumcheh when it comes to the problems of other people.” Assessing the incompetence and missteps of our counterparts is easy (and let’s be honest, sometimes it is fun and cathartic). Self-exanimation, however, is a tall order even for the greatest among us. This is true of marriage, sibling dynamics, parental relationships, friendships, and of course, dating. It holds true for every possible type of human interaction that asks for two different people to maintain a close association with one another.
Thus, and as was discussed not too long ago in this very column, it would be my recommendation that we veer far, far away from mass generalizations, and from instituting broad sweeping rules for either gender to universally abide by, in the hopes of “improving” upon the recurring errors of one’s counterpart. Rather, we would all be best served by doing a lot more introspection, unearthing avenues of personal growth, and discovering means to make concessions and compromises of our own, because that is what real life and real relationships require.
Oseh shalom bimromav, Hu yaaseh shalom aleinu, v’al kol Yisroel.