Photo Credit: Jewish Press

Dear Dating Coach,

I’m smart, I’ve always done really well in school, and I am currently studying for my degree in college. I’m sure this sounds snobbish, but I only want to date doctors, lawyers, or MBAs who already have degrees or are on their way to getting one. I feel like a degree showcases their smarts and their commitment to learning and study. My family says I am being too picky, but if I am smart why can’t I hold out for what I want?


The Brain


Dear Brain,

I am loath to bring up all the men we know who are famous for tremendous smarts and success without ever achieving college degrees (Larry Ellison, Bill Gates, Jack Dorsey, Mark Zuckerberg, etc.). I am even more hesitant to argue the merits of a degree over hard work and grit. I applaud doctors, lawyers, and the like for their commitment to a career that they are passionate about. We need them, we rely on them, and most are certainly very clever. I also admire plumbers, electricians, and the sanitation workers who pass by my house two times a week. So, I refuse to debate or weigh the individual brain power of white collar versus blue collar workers. Moreover, we can all attest that a degree is not a guarantee that you are not daft.

And I respect your commitment to your schooling and commend you for furthering your education toward a career that you will love. I even understand your faulty reasoning and the math equation that you have created to prove that a guy with a degree is smarter than one without. The problem your family sees, however, is not that they don’t want you to marry someone smart. Instead, they worry that the tiny box you have created to calculate brainpower will restrict your choices. This doesn’t mean that you cannot date guys who are in college or those who have graduated. But in shidduchim, you don’t want to limit your dating pool with such strict parameters.

What about a guy with a startup, an entrepreneur, or a tech guy who has created a business on his own? So many are achieving great success, their smarts undisputed, but you will have discounted them because they don’t fit your mold. What about a guy who joined a family company because he was desperately needed, enhancing the business with his fresh ideas and determination? He would also be eliminated from your potential matches. Instead of only focusing on an imaginary IQ test, expand your horizons to include all smart guys who also have good middos, and a kind disposition.

Please also be aware that there is no room for arrogance in shidduchim. Humility and self-reflection are key as you present yourself through this time. Conceit and pretentiousness have no place in dating.

No matter how brilliant, beautiful, and fabulous you are, always remember that there will be someone who is more brilliant, more beautiful and more fabulous. This does not mean that we must mask our self-confidence, our accomplishments, or our achievements. Just that we must remember to remain humble above all else, as we consider our shidduch options. Give every suggestion the consideration it deserves, be grateful for every match recommended, and shelve your pride, until you’re lucky enough to walk down the aisle.


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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 [email protected] to schedule a phone session.