Dear Dr. Yael:
I love your column, but I’ve read enough about the husband who wants to daven vasikin and the in-laws who feel that their married children do not express hakaras hatov to them. What about addressing the singles who love to read your column and want to read something about relationships? But instead of complaining to you, I would like you to answer my question.
I am a single, attractive woman in her late 30s who is in a good profession. I want to get married and have children, but realize that my biological clock is ticking. While I go out with all different types of men, I find that as I get older the men who are suggested to me seem to be even older. Suddenly a 10-year, or greater, difference (with the man being older) does not seem to faze the shadchanim or anyone who knows me. This includes my married friends, family and others.
It appears to me that it is a man’s world. The men can get it all – especially if they are well off and have a good business or career. Only recently I heard that a 58-year-old man, who was never married, got married to a 40-year-old attractive woman. That is an 18-year difference!
Why do the men have it all? I have even heard of men who were married for almost forty years, had great marriages, experienced the passing of their wives – and then marry women much younger than them. I feel so lost in this single world, and look back at so many opportunities that I passed up because I thought the man was not good enough for me. They all seem to be happily married to other women – with families of their own.
People often blame the parents of the single person, but my wonderful, happily married parents have always loved and supported me. In fact, in my case most of the men I have dated do not seem to measure up to my amazing, financially successful father, who is also a ben Torah and great husband and who I love dearly.
Can someone be too picky because she or he has an incredible father, and parents who have a great marriage? Do you think I missed my zivug because I compared every man to my father and every relationship to my parents’ marriage? I know that, generally speaking, the reason people have problems getting married is because they had problems concerning their family of origin. However, in my situation I come from a loving home and all my siblings have excellent marriages.
I feel so alone, since I am the only one in my family who is not married. Please tell me if you think I missed my zivug.
Desperate Single Woman
Dear Desperate Single Woman:
I hear your pain, but do not have a simple answer to your complex situation. I will, however, attempt to answer your question as best I can.
I have witnessed situations where a woman or man from an amazing family compares her or his dates to their amazing father or mother, and as a result might often reject a potential shidduch. Since I have no ruach ha’Kadosh, I do not know if in fact you let go of your zivug. However, I would like you to now focus on finding your true zivug b’karov.
Perhaps you should change your list of requirements and look for what is most important in order for a marriage to work. Instead of looking for looks, money, power, career accomplishments, etc. in a husband, maybe you should look for middos and for someone who will be a loving husband and who will help you build a true bayis full of warmth and love. While you may see a man who is not so “cool” as a negative, this man may actually be a great person with solid middos, a humble man with no need to be the center of attention. A quiet, caring person may actually make a better husband than the witty guy (the one with the great jokes and good lines) who always needs to be the center of attention. It would be prudent for you to step outside the box and try to find someone who may not fit all of your criteria, but might possess the characteristics that would make him a great husband and father.
I therefore suggest that you redo your personal list of “musts” in a shidduch, and rethink what your true needs are. You should not make these decisions based on what looks good to your friends and family. Instead, you need to examine what is desired to make you happy and what it will take to build a home full of respect, warmth and love. If you feel that professional help is required to sort out these issues, seek that help. Don’t worry about whether it is a man’s world. You seem to have a lot going for you, so put your best foot forward and try your best to change your approach in finding your zivug. Hatzlachah in your journey, and I hope that you find your true zivug b’karov.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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