Dear Dr. Respler:
I disagree with the January 27 letter writer, Desperate Single Woman, who wrote that the frum, older singles scene is easier on the men. Well, I am a man who desperately wants to get married and start a family. However, I, like some of my single, older male friends (we are in our 40s), feel that the older singles crisis is the women’s fault. Here’s what I mean:
The men are willing to give relationships a chance, but it’s the women who have the lists and who generally say no to the men.
The female writer cites a 58-year-old wealthy man who married a 40-year-old woman. It may be true that the wealthy and very successful men have many options. However, most of us regular, average-looking men with normal jobs just do not seem to be enough of a catch for these “professional, successful women” who are waiting for Prince Charming to come riding in on a white horse.
This letter was sent to you with the support of many of my friends, who are nice guys but are not so witty or super-confident – guys who make a normal but not-amazing salary. Is it so hard to believe that an average-looking guy who is a nice, caring person would make someone a great husband?
We all loved your answer. Yes, Dr. Respler, she should get her priorities straight. We could not agree with you more! Give the regular, nice guy a chance. He may actually end up being a great, loyal, and devoted husband who will love you and your children.
There are generally a few “superstar” guys who seem to get all the girls and never stick with just one. These guys are good looking, well dressed, witty, and usually are in great professions or have great businesses – and are rich. That is what these women are looking for.
Is this what they need to make them happy? I loved your answer about her need to reexamine her shidduch list and think about whether “Mr. Witty” who needs to be center stage will actually be a great husband. In my experiences, these guys usually do not want to get married and are enjoying playing the field. So the ladies should listen to you and stop looking for “Mr. Rich and Mr. Gorgeous with all the great lines.” Ladies should please give the normal, regular guys a chance – and maybe they will end up with a very happy marriage.
I particularly appreciated your answer to this woman’s complaint that maybe she missed her zivug. Perhaps if she listens to your astute advice, she will not miss the last train and will marry a normal man, have children, and have a great life.
I completely fully agree with you that when a person goes home with a spouse, it is the caring, sweet person who will make him or her happy. Once again, ladies should listen to you; they may be surprised that the regular, nice guy will turn out to be a great husband.
Thank you for your inspiring column. I hope my letter will influence in a positive way the serious singles crisis that I, as a man, believe is the fault of the older frumwomen!
A Man Desperate To Get Married
Dear Desperate: I appreciate your kind words about my column, and hope that your letter may influence people to think out of the box. You are not the first man to express these feelings in regards to this issue.
I have heard your ideas from prominent shadchanim who are desperately trying to alleviate our older, frum singles crisis. They often find that women are focused on meeting a man who has all the external qualities on their list and agree with you that the women are a large part of this crisis.
But to be fair to both men and women, there are many factors that affect the current frum, older shidduch crisis.
These factors are related to issues that effect both genders. Often, the feeling that both waited so long to get married creates a situation whereby they feel that they must impress others with their chosen spouses. They therefore feel that they better marry someone exceptionally good looking, rich, educated, etc. so that all the people around them will say, “Well, she [or he] was worth waiting for.”
In actuality everyone is so immersed in his or her own life and problems that married people will simply be happy that the single person finally decided to get married and settle down. The need to impress others is generally in the older single’s mind, and not really in the minds of those who truly care about the person.
Most married people know that being married is not so simple, and that it can be challenging for all of us. All any caring person or couple wants is to help those they love navigate the single world, find a great match and settle down – with the goal of building a family and a bayis ne’eman b’Yisrael.
Although I hear your anger toward the women in the frum, older singles scene, believe me when I say that the women would have plenty of complaints about the single, older frum men. They would complain that those men want to marry women 10-20 years younger than them and still create large families.
Finally, here’s the same advice that I gave the young woman who wrote the original letter two weeks ago: reexamine your own shidduch list as a man looking for a wife. Perhaps if you look for a kind, caring woman who may not meet all the “must” requirements on your list, you will end up in a happy marriage with your needs met.
Hatzlachah in finding your zivug, and thank you for writing a letter that I am confident will help frum, older single women and men!Dr. Yael Respler
About the Author: 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.
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