Photo Credit: Jewish Press

Dear Dating Coach,

I am being pushed to expand my dating criteria as a single man in my late 30’s. I am not sure how to proceed as I speak to shadchanim and others who might set me up. I have said that I am ok with women who have previously been married (but not those with children), those under a certain age, and with a willingness to relocate to my city. Are these parameters fair, or must I expand them further allowing for one more concession or two? Please advise.


Sincerely Stumped


Dear Stumped,

My mother is convinced that math is not her subject. Discouraged by an uncompromising teacher at a young age, my mom believes that she would be picked last for the Math Leagues. (I think that’s a real thing.) In fact, I am certain that my would-be Mensa Mama excels at math. Put her into any store, regardless of type, and she can calculate percentages and long-term value versus cost faster than you can say “Pythagoras.” Nobody can figure out the sale price quicker, or convince you that plus or minus the square root of your closet, it will never achieve a full 360 degrees of completion of acute angles without the sum of your purchase.


The Whole is Greater…

I appreciate your willingness to examine and develop your previous criteria as you look for your future wife. It’s not easy being told that your vision might not be feasible and that you must now adapt and change. It can be hard to modify the picture that you had in your head when you originally thought about your future. It feels like you are letting go of a piece of a dream and if that upsets you, it makes perfect sense.


Than the Sum…

You wonder about a checklist of choices and items that can be listed in an orderly way. You hesitate to navigate standards that can change and yardsticks that can be measured so they can be explained to shadchanim. Only you, however, can gauge your comfort level with every measure and condition. There isn’t a guide put out that offers a standardized model as you progress through the shidduch process. You are a person with your own unique feelings and understanding, and only you can fully explain what you may or may not be comfortable with.


Of Its Parts.

With that said, I would encourage you to not allow yourself to become bogged down by the minutiae. This is not about a mathematical equation or numbers adding up. This is not Sudoku where only the right numbers offer you the winning combination. These are real people, real possibilities, who should not be whittled down to facts and perceived negative components that have led them to your door. These women are the sum of the lives that they have fought though and fought for – until this moment. Look and listen carefully, so that you don’t discount your winning figure.


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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 to schedule a phone session.