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I had written to vent my frustration (Chronicles 12-14) with all those well-intentioned people who would suggest a shidduch and then not follow through with it, leaving the single in limbo. I pointed out that it’s not enough to come up with an idea, that the pain and frustration to the single is horrific.
The responses from several readers (Chronicles 2-1) was comforting, especially the one from the single who pointed out that the “shadchan” may not realize that singles wait on tip-toe to hear from the shadchan about what the dates’ impressions were or whether there will even be a date after weeks of looking into a person.
My daughter presently in her mid-20s has been dating for several years and is all but burnt out from this process. Let me tell you that she is a very social, well-groomed and accomplished young lady, but that she is fed up with all the protocol and shtick involved in the dating scene. The really sad part about this is that she has all but shut me out (as well as her father and siblings) and won’t even tell us when she has a date coming up.
I admit that perhaps we have all questioned her a bit too much about dates that she has been on. However, I think that we have basically just tried to be supportive and helpful. The pain in her eyes every time she hears of another engagement is more than I can bear.
I would like to appeal once again to all friends, families, neighbors and even acquaintances of any singles: Please try and get involved. Everybody knows somebody from the block, shul, workplace, etc. Please make that call if you think you might have an idea for a shidduch, and of course follow up on it in its entirety. It takes five minutes to make a call while you are relaxing in the evening, or even on line at the supermarket. (I can’t tell you how many calls I make for people while grocery shopping.)
The singles that you know are experts at looking nonchalant and pretending that they don’t care. Believe me, behind closed doors it is a very different picture.
I invite other mothers or shadchanim to write and comment on this and maybe motivate others to open their hearts a little more to the singles situation.
More from a Frustrated Mother
Dear Frustrated Mother,
Naturally you hurt when you perceive your children’s pain. You vehemently protest against the callous indifference some shadchanim display once a shidduch is proposed, not to mention the lack of concern on the part of the general public that doesn’t bother getting involved at all.
From my vantage point of “observer,” I gather that your daughter has not only her own frustration to deal with but carries the burden of her mother’s pain as well.
It becomes apparent that this is one of the reasons your daughter has shut you out. Your obvious disappointment makes your daughter’s more acute. Even when she might be fine with a proposed shidduch coming to naught, your letdown becomes her emotional burden. Though you mean well, your outlook and your reactions can be oppressive; your daughter needs to deal with her situation in her own way, unhindered by heavy interference from family members.
Your daughters are adults who need space, as in privacy and breathing room. In your own words, you admit to questioning her “a bit too much”, albeit out of a desire to be “supportive and helpful”. But your utterances of frustration only serve to drag your children down with you.
Your daughter’s nonchalance is a façade to some extent but is far preferable over giving the impression of being a bitter, worn-out single (which she may not be, even if you imagine that she is). Place your trust in Hashem and let emunah calm your jangled nerves. Optimism is catchy, not to mention healthy.
While I am aware that making and taking (cell) calls just about anytime anywhere has become common practice, attending to your personal matters while “on line at the supermarket” or “grocery shopping” is inappropriate, Confidential exchanges within hearing range of other shoppers may leave you feeling accomplished, but your satisfaction is achieved at the expense of others who have the right to expect not to be distracted, disturbed, or forced to listen in on you personal goings-on.
I am writing regarding the mother of single daughters who had written to complain about the attitudes of shadchanim. As a layperson (just looking to do my part to help in this area), I must state my grievance at the attitude of singles.
Not only do they not return calls for weeks after saying they will “sleep on it” and get back in touch, they act like they are doing us the biggest favor by listening to begin with. The ridiculous excuses of “it doesn’t sound right” or “I don’t get good vibes about it” may demonstrate why these older singles are older and still single.
How can a single in good conscience pass on a 50/50 chance at finding her bashert?
The singles thus inclined also seem to have no appreciation of the emotional investment that often goes into the matchmaker’s effort.
I recently overheard an eligible “older” male remark to a shadchan that he had no desire to be set up with girls 30 and up because of their lack of enthusiasm and attitude of just “wanting to get the date over with.”
Wake up, singles!
Please do not lose the faith. If you succeed in effectuating just one match, it will all have been worth every bit of your input!
Let’s not forget that Krias Yam Suf occurred not a moment sooner or later than was predetermined by Hashem − a profound lesson in bashert and faith in a Higher Power that orchestrates how, when and where.
Wishing all readers an uplifting and inspirational Pesach holiday!
(Please note that the next Chronicles column will appear May 2.)