Photo Credit: Jewish Press

Dear Dating Coach,

I am dating a great guy and we seem to connect on many levels. We share the same hashkafa, he is kind, and he seems to really “get me.” But I am having trouble with his physical appearance. There is nothing wrong with how he looks per se, he just doesn’t fit the image I guess I subconsciously envisioned. My brothers are tall, and he isn’t. Our family is dark, and he is light. I don’t want to let this go because I feel so positively about him, but it’s definitely on my mind. How much credence can I put on looks?




Dear Looks,

We painted our front door. This would not normally be noteworthy, except “the painting” took four days. The first day it was painted the wrong color. The second day, the color was too pale. The third day, the color didn’t have the right sheen. Finally, on day four, the job was complete. We stood outside admiring our masterpiece, patting ourselves on the back. Neighbors strolled by congratulating us on a color well picked and we nodded our heads in agreement. After a while, we decided it was time to head back inside – only to discover that we forgot our keys.


Natural Beauty…

It is always a blessing to find someone that you connect with. But in the often-complicated world of shidduchim, your psyche has thrown a wrench at your potential future together. You like him, and he likes you. You share the same mindset and views and you feel understood when you are with him. Yet, you cannot ignore the doubt you feel over his appearance. You are “used to” a specific look perhaps and he doesn’t fit that mold. Or maybe you simply are not sure that his looks appeal to you. This is making you second guess your potential together and preventing you from making a commitment.


Can Be Off Kilter…

Of course looks matter. We can pretend they don’t. We can tell ourselves that they shouldn’t, and we can minimize their importance. However, our features, our coloring, and how we present is a part of who we are. We are made up of our own unique characteristics, a specific personality, thoughts and opinions, and of course an outer exterior. All of these are components of a complete person and to ignore any of them is to dismiss a part of who we are. It is important to work on all the parts of ourselves in shidduchim, including a pleasing appearance.


Without Two Hours…

Still, beauty is subjective and looks appeal differently to many. But even more so, we have all experienced that beauty is only skin-deep moment where a deficit in someone’s character overshadowed and minimized their conventional outer beauty. This means of course that goodness, kindness, mentchlichkeit, and other positive traits can enhance our appearance as well. A sense of humor, smarts, and wit can suddenly make someone better looking, and a nasty barb can distort perfectly symmetrical features. When we focus on looking for good, on making a real connection, we notice good and the connection is enhanced. When we nitpick specific details, we discourage growth in the relationship.


And a Filter!

The “key” to moving forward is to honor and nurture the connection that you feel. Focus and refocus on a wonderful personality, a kind heart, and good middos. Foster and water the bond that you are creating so that you can refocus on outward positives as well. See if your new perspective changes how you feel about his appearance. A different look than you envisioned may now appeal with a connection that fits so seamlessly. A beautiful door is great and it’s the first thing we see when we arriv somewhere new. But a door without a key is useless to building a happy and successful home.


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Henni Halberstam is a Dating and Marriage Coach whose expert advice will help you navigate dating and relationships in order to ensure a successful marriage. You can contact her at to schedule a phone session.