Photo Credit: Jewish Press

Dear Dating Coach,

I’m engaged! He is wonderful and kind and I am sure we will make a happy life together. I know how this is going to sound, so I hesitate to write, but I really don’t know what to do. My chosson’s family is very wealthy. While I understand that this can be a bracha for me as well, I am just so uncomfortable around them! I grew up very simply and they live so differently from what I am used to. I am forever feeling like a country bumpkin, afraid I am going to dress or behave the wrong way, showcasing my lack of sophistication. Any advice on how I can fit in better or maybe just stand out less?

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Sore Thumb

 

Dear Sore,

Before you start reading this, ladies and gents, run to the back of your closet and pull out your most glamorous gowns and at-the-ready tuxedos. (You only have a bathrobe? Close enough!) This is going to be a fancy paragraph and we need to look the part. Topic: Wine Connoisseurs. (Yes, I did have to Google how to spell that.) I am always impressed by a true wine aficionado. You know your reds from your reds, you can detect a woodsy note from a fruity one, and you make spitting look classy. You have elegant items like decanters, aerators, and Rabbits on your Shabbos tables, and always two sets of glasses! I consider myself a bit of a wine connoisseur as well (or the opposite of that. Whatever.) My favorite wine is grape juice, a 2022 Kedem sourced from my local kosher store. It’s amazing. You can trust me.

 

Wine Is…

Mazel tov to you! You met someone that makes you so happy and you want to build a future together. You know you have been given a big bracha with your chosson and you also understand that his family’s financial mazel may offer you a stability other young couples don’t have. At the same time, you can’t help but feel out of place with them. You grew up on coupons, hand-me-downs, and vacations to your backyard, while your chosson’s family are accustomed to a lifestyle you could not even imagine. So, you feel awkward and worried about their judgment.

 

Just Juice…

Time to reframe. You are completely focused on the disparities of your parents’ income and theirs. You can only see the simple dinners you ate on glass dishes versus the veal served on Spode. You see Spirit versus private jet, and gemach dresses versus couture. Of course, you are intimated and overwhelmed. The more focused you become on their bottom line, the more bargain basement you will feel.

Consider that the judgment you worry about may in fact be one-sided.

 

With More Life Experience.

Try instead to focus on his family simply as new people – as human beings that you hope to get to know. They have personalities, interests and unique character traits. They might be funny, smart or quirky. They may love reading, nature or cooking. Let yourself lean into who the people in his family are, and less into the stuff that they have. Perhaps then you will see that they view you not for what your parents don’t own, but for the special girl that you are. Then you can refocus on just being your fabulous Kedem self, living happily in a Castel Grand Vin.

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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 hennihalberstam@gmail.com to schedule a phone session.