Photo Credit: Jewish Press

Dear Dating Coach,

I am new to dating, but I’m pretty sure that I am considered to be a catch. I went to the right schools, I have a family that is really well-respected in our community, and I have a great group of friends. I take care with my appearance, I’m tall and slim, and have always been a good learner. I value time and energy – and I don’t want to date girls who don’t have absolutely everything I am looking for. I want someone smart but not too smart, beautiful but modest, kind but not sappy, fun but not silly, and tall but not taller than me. I feel like some may feel like I am being picky or unreasonable, but I believe I am being self-aware and practical. Why waste time, right? Please tell me that you agree.


Laser Focused


Dear Focused,

My preschooler recently informed me that her favorite animal is a unicorn. Now, don’t get me wrong. I totally get the wonder that is the unicorn. That majestic horn, the glorious mane, and it flies! Later, my daughter was appalled that the unicorn was so glaringly missing from her prized animal book. There were some questions, some soul-searching, and fact-checking of course. Fake news! Unicorns do exist, she declared! Hence, there are currently six stuffed unicorns resting peacefully on her bed. Perhaps you believe that it’s time for us to offer her a reality check and remove them. Go ahead, I dare you. Unicorns may live in fantasy, but the wrath of a preschooler wronged is very, very real.


And Will You Succeed?

It is very exciting to start the dating process. Especially when you are blessed with self-confidence and a sense of security. You have taken stock of your gifts and background and feel strongly that you represent well. With that knowledge, you have high expectations for your future spouse. You are cognizant of what you “bring to the table,” and don’t want to waste time going out with girls who don’t have characteristics that you believe mirror and bolster you.


Yes! You Will Indeed…

Are there girls who have everything? Are there girls that are smart, beautiful, kind, fun, and the “perfect” height? Sure! Of course, that list is subjective to every individual and their perceptions, personal views and upbringing. The tiny box that you have created to house your must-haves, compounded by your own set of beliefs and sensitivities, will inevitably narrow your search to fantasy. Looking for a spouse through a lens so rose-colored will only cloud your vision, obscuring the plethora of wonderful girls in your circle.


(98 and ¾ Percent Guaranteed!)

This is less about hoping for someone who has “it all” and more about an inability to see how your criteria are merely smoke and mirrors; a fictional and illusory approach to finding your right match. When we face the shidduch process with positivity and optimism, our expectations, though high, are still rooted in reality. But if we date with narrow-minded focus, a measuring tape, and a magical script only we have written, we may find ourselves waiting for a unicorn that may or may not exist.


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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.