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Dear Dr. Yael,

I am a 26-year-old smart and attractive woman who has still not found my bashert. I know that in some circles I would not be considered “old,” but after dating for seven years, I am beginning to feel frustrated and worried. I go out with some good guys, but most of the time it does not work out. Some of my dates are completely off, but other times I just do not feel that “spark” or the guy does not want to continue dating.

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Sometimes I feel that I will never find my bashert. Sometimes I worry that I will grow old alone and never have a family of my own. I keep up a good front and try to have fun while I’m waiting, but when I’m alone, the fears surface and even though I would never admit it, I’m terrified that I will never find “the one.” Some of my friends and family tell me I’m “too picky,” but I’m not sure what that means. Should I marry someone that I do not connect with? How am I supposed to marry someone that I do not feel that I can love? Sometimes I get scared and tell myself I’m just going to have an open mind and try to marry the next boy I go out with who is normal. But then I go out with that guy, and find I can’t marry someone I don’t connect with.

I don’t know what to do anymore. I want to move forward with my life, but I don’t know how.

An “Older” Single Woman

 

Dear “Older” Single Woman,

People keep talking about a shidduch crisis, but no one seems to have a solution. I have my own theories, but I’ll leave that for another column. Today, I’d like to focus on your specific question and see if maybe my ideas can be helpful for you.

While I am very hopeful that you will find the right person very soon, when someone feels the way you do and has been dating for a while without success, I generally suggest that they try to see a competent psychologist or licensed therapist for a few sessions. Often when someone is having a hard time with shidduchim, it helps them to try and understand if there is something blocking them from connecting with someone or to just help them clarify what it is they really want. Sometimes it’s a self-esteem issue (usually a small one that can be worked on in just a few sessions) that needs to be addressed.

I am not recommending long-term therapy nor am I saying that there’s anything wrong; rather I’m suggesting that you might need to bolster yourself up a bit so you can put your best foot forward on dates. Dating without success can be taxing; singles may lose their confidence or believe something is wrong with them.

I try not to suggest “seeking professional help” as my only answer for most questions because I do not think that this is a helpful response; nevertheless, I feel strongly that in this area I believe it can be very productive. In my experience, just a few sessions can make a world of difference. Many times, family members feel the same way, they just hesitate to bring it up.

On a separate note, to those of you who are not in the parsha, please stop telling singles to “stop being so picky” or that “you just need to make more of an effort.”

Instead, we should be helping them. Empathize rather than criticize. Encourage them by pointing out their strengths and remind them that they are good at facing challenges. It will help them feel better about themselves.

Lastly being confident is probably the most important ingredient in finding your bashert. It’s harder to find the “right one” or to “connect” with someone if you’re feeling insecure. Perhaps you always needed to work on your confidence or maybe you were once very confident, but this trying dating process has eroded it. Maybe this isn’t your issue at all; nevertheless, being confident on dates will help you tremendously. The other person can feel it when you’re anxious and it usually backfires. Being confident on dates will send out a vibe that shows the other person you’re happy to meet them and you’d like to see where this goes. This “cool, calm and collected” vibe is usually intriguing and much more attractive than a “needy, self-conscious vibe.”

Keep us posted and hatzlacha.

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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 deardryael@aol.com. 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.