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Dear Dr. Respler,

I am a twenty-five year old single frum girl. My twenty-two-year-old sister just got engaged. I love my sister and I am very happy for her. This letter is about the inappropriateness of other people. You cannot imagine some of the things people said to me at her vort. From the “Im yirtzeh Hashem by you” in a pitiful voice as if I am the biggest nebach case around to the se who say to me “so anything new? Wink wink…”

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Believe me, I will be the first one to tell everyone when there’s good news!

However, the worst thing that people say to me is, “Oh, you are just too picky. If you were less picky you’d definitely be married by now.” How do they know what I am going through and who I am meeting to make such an evaluation of my situation?! I desperately want to be married and have children. Please tell people to be more sensitive when they speak to single people.

A Sensitive Single

 

Dear S.S.,

Frum singles in our community suffer from the manner in which the community handles their situation. I have had patients (men as well as women) who share that they have no status in our community when they are single. One man who got married later in life shared with me that he is so overjoyed to be married because now he is an accepted and active member on his shul board. Before his marriage, not only was he unable to become a member of the board, he felt like he had no status in his community. This may be an extreme case, yet many singles do feel that they are constantly being evaluated and judged and not seen as complete “adults.” Of course, other singles in other communities do not feel this way.

Our role as community members is to be sensitive and supportive. When you see a single person at a simcha or event, just smile and offer a simple “Mazal tov.” It will be more appreciated then, “We know you are next.” Do feel free to ask about their jobs and any projects you know they are involved in. They will be happy to share information about other aspects of their lives.

Another group that suffers in our community are couples who struggle with infertility. They similarly share with me the insensitivity they experience in our community. They often get asked, “So…what’s new?” and some rude people even expect a full update on the progress of their medical treatment!

I am pleading with our community to listen to you for the sake of all our singles and couples who struggle with any type of problem. We must be sensitive to others. I hope that your letter will make some people think before they begin speaking. Chazal say that making a shidduch is even harder than the miracle of crossing the Yam Suf. If this is so, than how much more stringent is our obligation to help do our part to help create this miracle. Hatzlocha!

***

Dear Dr. Respler,

I am a married woman who has wonderful parents. However, I have an older sister who made my life miserable. Please tell parents that they must be careful not to let siblings destroy each other’s self-esteem. My sister criticized me so much that I feel very insecure as an adult.

T.B.

 

Dear T.B.,

I think that your message is very important. As parents, our job is not only to build our children’s self-esteem, it is of paramount importance that we insure that our children don’t destroy each others self-esteem. We to do this by not comparing our children, so that we do not foster jealousy between them which only increases sibling rivalry and criticism. Loving each child for what he or she is and reinforcing positive behavior between siblings will help to encourage loving relationships in our families.

If one child is constantly criticizing a sibling and ruining that child’s self esteem, it’s the parents obligation to talk to the critical child and explain the importance of complimenting instead of criticizing. Parents don’t always realize the influence or destruction that one sibling can have on another, especially when the older sibling is being critical. That younger child is not only loosing out on a mentor but the pain that he experiences from the older siblings criticism can have indelible consequences.

In your specific situation, I would think that seeing a professional may help you overcome your insecurities. Hatzlocha in dealing with your own life and feelings!

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Dr. Yael Respler is a psychotherapist in private practice who provides marital, dating and family counseling. Dr. Respler also deals with problems relating to marital intimacy. Letters may be emailed to deardryael@aol.com. To schedule an appointment, please call 917-751-4887. Dr. Orit Respler-Herman, a child psychologist, co-authors this column and is now in private practice providing complete pychological evaluations as well as child and adolescent therapy. She can be reached at 917-679-1612. Previous columns can be viewed at www.jewishpress.com and archives of Dr. Respler’s radio shows can be found at www.dryaelrespler.com.