Photo Credit: Jewish Press

Dear Dating Coach,

I am dating a great guy. We were set up by mutual friends and frankly, I’m surprised it took them this long to put us together. I feel like I have known him forever, and we have so much in common. Except for one thing, that is. Family. I am extremely close to my family and he is not close with his family at all. He still talks to them (sometimes) and attends their simchas, but that’s about it. My family by comparison, feels so tight knit, and I am worried that this means something I should be more focused on. Maybe he is unable to form close relationships or maybe he has a tendency to create conflict? I have seen zero evidence of this, but I am still unsure. Should I explore this more? I would appreciate your opinion.


Close Connection


Dear Close,

I do not like to fly with luggage. You have to check it in for your flight, get delayed, then finally fly; only to wait at the unmoving carousel for a bag that may or may not arrive. I love a carry-on. No waiting, and your bag is always ready to go. But a carry-on is only as big as it is, and sometimes it can be a challenge to fit everything you need inside. So, I fold and refold, I choose and discard, and I origami my clothing so that everything fits. I sit on that bag, and then I stand on it, and then I beg everyone in the house to help me zip it up. “It’s not going to fit!” they tell me. But I am undeterred. I will get my extra (fourth) pair of shoes in! “Push!” I yell. “Pull! I shout. But the bag won’t close. I finally collapse in defeat. I guess it’s true, “You can’t put people in a box.” “Phew!” my friend sighs, “it was stuffy in there.”



Congratulations on meeting someone that feels so special to you. Your friends clearly know you both well and have connected you so beautifully. You appreciate so much about him, but are concerned about his lack of closeness with his family. You are not sure if this is something that speaks to his character or for your long-term success as a couple. You don’t want to negate the bracha in your hand, but you still want to be smart and clear-thinking. Does his absence of family connection mean that he is somehow lacking?



Without more information, it is impossible to give you a clear answer. It is possible that there is something you are missing when it comes to his family, and it is equally probable that whatever has caused their disconnect will assure you of his commitment to an emotional connection and his stability. Without more detail, we will not be able to answer this clearly. So, I strongly suggest that you have an honest conversation without judgment or accusation. Ask about his family relationships and then listen to his answers. If a better understanding is enough to allay any concerns, then we wish you only the best. If, however, you feel like you need more reassurance, ask him if he would be open to discussing this with a dating coach, a rav or rebbetzin, or a counselor who specializes in pre-marital counseling. Don’t dismiss the gift you have been given, but having your eyes wide open will help you to have a full and happy heart.



There is another piece to this that bears addressing. We are often quick to put people into little tiny boxes that we assign to them. We label and write off, we dismiss and we malign, quick to “close a box” with our preconceived notions. Instead, I encourage all our readers to date with an open mind and an open heart. Don’t discount a potential match without due diligence and be honest with yourself about your tendency to rely on “boxes” and branding. Open the boxes you have discarded and you might be surprised by the gift you find inside.

Share this article on WhatsApp:

Previous articleTorah Shorts: Parshat Bechukotai: Messianic Predictions
Next articleDon’t Fund the Police, Fill the Prisons
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 [email protected] to schedule a phone session.