My wife and I have a wonderful daughter who, boruch Hashem, has all the qualities and attributes that a Bas Yisroel should possess. She comes from a home that has invested in her totally (as many other homes have invested in their children). My wife and I are both professionals. We are both products of the yeshiva system. So what is the issue? We have been in contact with numerous shadchanim (at last count 8), and besides no suggestions from some, we have not even been afforded the courtesy of a return phone call from others.
When our sons were in shidduchim, shadchanim were falling over themselves to redd them shidduchim. Now, once they find out that we are calling about our daughter, there is no one home. What is wrong here?
Though I sorely wish there were a softer way to say this, in the often harsh reality of our shidduch system, bachurim either are, or are perceived to be, a rare commodity, while their counterparts are unfortunately seen as quite the opposite. Meaning to say – and without delving into theories of why this is the case – almost every shadchan has exponentially more single women seeking their attention than they do single men. Accordingly, it naturally follows that bachurim and their families tend to receive swift, warm, and welcome replies to their entreaties (or are even proactively sought out by shadchanim who are looking for a way into their good graces), whereas young women and their families are typically not in receipt of such pleasantries. To be abundantly clear, these observations are not meant to condone such treatment in any way. They are merely offered as an attempt to explain the all-too-common episode which has been rather neatly and succinctly laid out in the question du-jour.
That said, and before going any further, I believe it is crucial for us all to be aware than most women do get married within a very reasonable window of time. It may not be as quickly as they would have hoped for, and a handful of years spent on an arduous journey is no one’s dream, but the vast majority of women do walk down to the chupah in a normative interval between start and finish. It may be through the work of a shadchan, a family member, a friend, an acquaintance from work or camp, or someone else entirely, but it does happen. However, and this is a pretty momentous kind of “however,” while the plight of younger single women does not even begin to touch that of older single women (a different topic for a different day), even if there is not ultimately a crisis of unachieved outcome within the not-too-distant future, there is a relatively severe and unisonous crisis of experience which countless single women of all ages endure.
And it is exactly that crisis of experience which has been so sorrowfully and accurately described in the narrative we find ourselves presented with. Each and every day, single women and their families are thrust out into the cold. They are told to make themselves almost unbearably vulnerable and reach out to as many shadchanim as possible, and more often than not, all they get for their toil is radio silence. Subsequent to that first disaster – and the unabated tempering of any erstwhile modicum of excitement they may have had with respect to dating, as a result of being flat-out ignored – when they finally do get that meeting which they may have spent weeks and months essentially begging for (if they get it at all), they are often demanded and demeaned into offering all manner of discomforting information about themselves. And finally, when they begin to follow up with the shadchanim they have actually met or spoken with – as they have correctly been directed to do – it is right back to radio silence.
This miasmic three-part cycle of distress has effectively overwhelmed countless women in the past, and is doing the same to countless precious Bnos Yisroel at this very moment. B’ezras Hashem, the marriages come for most of them soon enough, and I would urge and encourage everyone to be acutely conscious of that fact and to strengthen their bitachon as much as is humanly feasible. But until that time, the experience itself is frequently one of some degree of suffering from the sensation that no one cares about me, no one is interested in me, and no one is even bothering to acknowledge me. Is it any great wonder that those who spend any length of time in shidduchim become so jaded so fast?
At the same time, we must also remember that the vast majority of legitimate professional shadchanim are goodhearted, selfless, tireless, and compassionate individuals who diligently and dutifully devote untold hours assisting as many daters as they can, and who do so knowing full-well that most of their efforts will not generate one cent of income. And when they do seem to be falling over themselves to gobble up the recognition of any bachur in sight, that, too, is in the service of helping as many women as possible. After all, if they do not do everything in their power to amass and aggregate as many single men as they can into their databases, how will they be of help to the throngs of young women who are so dearly yearning for a date? Could many/most shadchanim be better and more timely communicators? 100% yes, they could. Do many/most simply lack the bandwidth to earnestly stay on top of their enormous and constantly growing pile of voicemails, emails, texts, and WhatsApp messages? Also yes. Being a shadchan does not accord much in the way of lucre, and abysmally few shadchanim can afford a secretary to aid with correspondence.
So now we are left with quite the challenging situation. On the one hand, the people who are so anxiously in need of help repeatedly feel utterly disregarded and mistreated, and that not a sliver of light can be seen through the pitch black tunnel they are slogging through. And on the other hand, those who are trying so desperately to help out feel that the charge they have been given is unmanageable, and that no matter how many people they do come through for, on the whole of it, they are not appreciated very much at all. What, then, can we do? Where is the solution to be found?
To be honest, I do not really know. But in the meantime, the more communicative shadchanim can be (even when the news to report seems downright discouraging and even if the response is limited to a friendly emoji); the more patient and understanding daters and their parents can be (even when the view appears mightily bleak and even if no opportunities are forthcoming); and the more emunaheach of us can infuse into the core of our being, the better equipped we all perhaps will be to weather any impending storms that may pass through the world of shidduchim.
May the Notzeir Emunim usher in bracha, hatzlacha, and yeshuah to all those who look toward Him.