Photo Credit: Jewish Press

Dear Dating Coach,

Last night I went to a neighbor’s wedding. I am invited to a wedding at least twice per month. But at 32 years old, weddings have become extremely painful. Well-meaning people come up to me and say, “you’re next!” and I’m forced to smile and say thank you when I feel like crying. Family friends and strangers pat me on the back, squeeze my shoulders, and look at me with pity. I know they are well-meaning, but these weddings are really starting to feel unbearable. Any ideas on how I can make them easier on myself?


Party Guest


Dear Party,

“IY”H by you!” A seemingly innocuous statement that can be both exciting and painful. To a young dater, this sentence inspires images of white lace and joyful dancing. To an older single however, the same words can be depressing and hurtful. “But I mean well!” you say. We know that you do, so I’ve got your back. May I suggest some variations should you encounter an older single at your next simcha –

“You look amazing tonight!” “I love running into you!” “It’s always so great to see you!”

I know that we have always used “the sentence” freely, but perhaps it’s time to reevaluate its shelf-life. No older single ever believes that when you see them, you are thinking, “G-d willing, I hope that they DON’T get married!” I think singles everywhere can safely assume that when we encounter them, we are all truly hoping and praying that they meet their right match soon. So perhaps we can offer them a different sentence – a compliment, or a joyful remark instead. Of course, if you know the older single well, you can offer a variation of “the sentence.” You can acknowledge that while you are both at a simcha now, you hope to soon celebrate at the simcha of your single friend. Coming from someone close to the single, this might feel appreciated. For the rest of us though, there is no need to remark on her single status – simply offer a compliment instead.


JOMO – The Joy of Missing Out

To you dear single – you are hoping for tips and tricks to help you through the myriad of weddings you are invited to. You find them in your words, “extremely painful.” Instead of a coping technique, might I offer another solution? Give yourself permission to skip the weddings that are not necessities. Sure, you need to go to your niece’s wedding (however difficult that may feel) and to your first cousin’s as well. But there are a host of weddings that you can simply opt out of. There is no need to attend if they cause you so much pain. Allow yourself the gift of a night out with friends instead, or even a cozy night in. If your presence is not absolutely required, stay home and save your energy and smiles for the new dates you go on, or the other smaller events you want to attend. Practice self-care and give yourself a pass on painful experiences that you can avoid. Then use that renewed energy and peace of mind to focus on meeting your right match with joy and enthusiasm.

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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.