Dear Dr. Yael:
Regarding your February 14 column, “The Frustrating Search For A Shidduch,” here are my observations of the frustrations of singles and their mothers. I hope this letter
serves as a catalyst to lessen the pain of single men, women and their families, as they continue to bravely search for the bashert that is satisfactory to all.
Having been in the shidduch parshah for over a decade before meeting my bashert, I can definitely relate to the many challenges and hardships singles experience.
Over the years my mother and I were the recipients of many hurtful comments. Some shadchanim feel they are experienced psychologists when relating to singles because they and their children were fortunate enough to get married. They offer unsolicited advice at the most inconvenient times based on their strong desire to “help.” But believe me, when I was at a relative’s bar mitzvah trying to enjoy the occasion, I did not feel that the shadchan who would approach me was being helpful.
She would first ask if I was ever involved in a serious relationship. That’s another way of asking if I was afraid of commitment. Then she’d proceed to “educate” me that all humans have imperfections and thus, when I date a woman who may be less than perfect, I need to “look away” because nobody is perfect. I wanted to respond by asking her to identify who had been kind enough to give her this advice before she got married. After all, since she is married I can assume someone had told this to her.
Then there are the many less-than-perfect shadchanim that singles must constantly deal with (i.e., tolerate). There are shadchanim who mention a hundred names to one person and others who mention one name to a hundred people. I guess if you throw enough darts at a target, you might eventually hit the bull’s eye. But they’re not as difficult as the light-bulb shadchanim. They think that their idea is so perfect that they feel the need to constantly badger you – which may lead to harassment. Often, a shadchan may not even know the person he or she is suggesting; yet that does not stop the pressure. These shadchanim assume that you lack the ability to identify what is good for you and/or you simply don’t want to get married as badly as the shadchan wants to make a shidduch. Then, if you are lucky enough to fend off their onslaught, they may tell everyone – behind your back – how picky and confused you are.
Being that the path to finding one’s bashert is challenging enough, there is no need for additional external pressures from shadchanim and gossipers who lack common sense and kavod habriyos. They also lack hakaras hatov, considering that they and/or their children were, baruch Hashem, fortunate enough to find their basherts. It is noteworthy that singles will not get too many hurtful comments leveled at them from people with children in the dating parshah. It’s usually right after their son or daughter gets engaged that they start asking you why it’s taking so long for you to find your bashert or suggesting that you shouldn’t be so picky (my personal favorite).
The lack of common sense and/or hakaras hatov exists among singles and shadchanim alike. This strengthens my point. This is not a “singles” issue or “shadchan” issue. It is a “people” issue because, unfortunately, there are those who lack common sense. I, for one, have dealt with so many wonderful professional and non-professional shadchanim who sincerely want to help singles get married without feeling the need to judge them. And I’m sure that shadchanim have dealt with appreciative and thoughtful singles as well.