Photo Credit: Jewish Press

Dear Dating Coach,

I am frum, but at this point in my life (mid-twenties), I have been meeting people through social and community events, rather than through a shadchan. I have met a couple of nice guys this way and dated them. While some of those dates have been us going to dinner or doing a fun activity together, a number of them have been “group” dates. Sometimes this means going to a sports game, or a class, or to a party “as his date” in larger group. While I am not averse to meeting his friends or doing things as a group, I just feel like these guys are content for there to be no “end game.” We can just “date” and see “how this goes.” I’m starting to feel foolish and maybe a bit naïve. I want to get married. I don’t want to be someone’s convenient “plus one” while they decide if I am good enough for the future. Is this just the way it goes? Please help.


Negative One


Dear Negative,

You know this has happened to you. You come to the airport ready to fly to your destination. You breeze through security and arrive at your gate. And then the announcement: “Flight 1234 is delayed 40 minutes – we appreciate your patience.” The plane has not yet arrived. Sure, you may be the epitome of patience (not me, I never passed that class), so you buy yourself a coffee and settle in to wait. Of course, you have heard this story before, and 40 minutes later the flight is delayed one more hour. The plane is at the gate but they are working on some “mechanical issues.” Now, you are two bags of pretzels, one bag of mixed nuts, and two coffees in, and you are getting antsy. You give yourself the “it’s the journey, not the destination even though if I miss this meeting I will get fired” pep-talk, (I agree, this motivational speech needs work) and you wait some more. An hour later, the captain and crew must be swapped out because they cannot work more than a certain number of hours and you sit back down to wait for another 2 hours. They finally bring a new captain and crew and you board the plane only to disembark after an unruly passenger starts arguing with a flight attendant over their seat assignment. “No, I didn’t pay for first class, but clearly I belong here!” You find yourself back in the terminal, where they finally cancel the flight because there is a storm somewhere over the rainbow. (Oops, wrong story.) This tale ends as they all do, with you at the gate, right where you started.


Boeing 747

You are in a difficult position. While I commend your commitment to meeting new people by attending events, the lack of a matchmaker seems to ultimately be slowing you down. A shadchan can often help a couple to stay on task; toward an engagement. Your connections all start positively, with you meeting someone you like and getting to know them. Somewhere along the way however, your progress stagnates and you find yourself becoming a “plus one” with a timeline that seems to have no end. You are not sure if this is to be expected or if you are on a journey riddled with weather and mechanical issues.


Cessna 172

It is vital that when you meet a potential match, you communicate from the beginning. In our world, we do not date just to date. We date to marry. As Wikipedia rightly explains, “dating is a form of human courtship consisting of social activities done by two persons with the aim of assessing each other’s suitability as a spouse.” We do not date so we don’t have to go to events alone. We do not date so we can hang out in groups. We date because every date brings us closer to deciding if we can create a successful future together. Establish a realistic timeline for you to at least broach the subject of commitment and engagement. Once that time arrives, if he is still unable to offer you a firm commitment, it is time to reevaluate the relationship. A guy that continuously pushes off a commitment because of any handful of reasons is definitely cause for concern. Yes Pep-Talk people, the journey does matter; but not without a destination in mind.


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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.