Dear Dating Coach,
I was recently set up with a terrific guy. On paper, we are the perfect match and he is everything I wanted! He is smart, interesting, kind, and we share the same values and hashkafa. We have gone out seven times and while I really like him, I feel absolutely no connection to him. He has such great qualities and middos and I am so torn! Do I continue to date him and forget about feelings?
My grandmother is the dessert queen. Chocolate, coconut, banana, and coffee are only a small taste of the cake flavors that she can whip up with only a bowl and her magic wand. In our house however, we pine (no, that is not dramatic – we actually pine) for her strudel. While she lives far from us, she is kind enough to send a strudel our way whenever she can (hint, hint!). A cousin of mine recently decided to replicate this famous family dessert and called my grandmother for the recipe. Bubby carefully explained every step and ingredient, offering encouragement and advice. The strudel was an epic fail. The dough was all wrong; the texture was completely off, leaving it dry and unappealing. My cousin was dismayed and assured my grandmother that she followed the recipe exactly as she was told. “It’s all about the dough,” my grandmother explained. “The individual ingredients need to come together in a certain way to make that perfect consistency.” And that my friends, is why she is the “queen.”
Positively speaking, it should be affirming that you have been matched with such a wonderful person. This says that you are a girl that people respect and value. At the same time, I hear your frustration and confusion. You are dating someone that is everything you logically hoped to find in a future spouse, and your pesky feelings seem to be pulling a Sleeping Beauty. I’m sure that with every date, you feel tremendous pressure to feel something (anything!) to give you some indication that this process is leading you in the right direction.
Sometimes, a connection takes time. We all develop feelings at a different pace, and “ten dates and engaged” to one couple, might be “20 dates and working on it” to another. At the same time, chemistry, while a complicated subject at school, is pretty simple when you are dating. Chemistry is a connection that makes you feel both comfortable and excited about another person all at once. It’s a link between two people that allows you to be yourself, and even better than yourself because there is someone that seems to really “get you.” Chemistry is a link that holds couples together and encourages each partner to express themselves fully. Chemistry can certainly build over time – but when it doesn’t exist at all, feelings can be difficult to develop.
This invisible pull between two people doesn’t care about facts and figures and checked boxes neatly aligned. Sometimes, even when qualities and hashkafa seem to match, the connection is still not there. This is the beauty and difficulty of finding your bashert, of connecting to someone who will allow you to be you – fully and without reservation. While the recipe for finding a spouse certainly starts and ends with careful research and the statistics of complimenting family values and mutual commonalities, data and details are not enough to make a successful match. Chemistry is that magic spice that ultimately connects couples to make that perfect strudel.