I am a 24-year-old girl. I come from a good family and have a good job, and I’m fun, pretty, and “with it.” So, baruch Hashem I haven’t really experienced the “shidduch crisis.” I am fortunate to live in a wonderful community where people are always looking out for me, and while there obviously have been guys who don’t want to go out with me, I do get dates often.
So what’s my problem? I honestly wish I knew. I have been in numerous relationships, some better than others. Recently, I went out with a guy who was such a mensch! He was respectful and fun, and he always had my best interest in mind. Yet I found myself constantly annoyed with him for no reason and could not go through with it. Time and time again I find myself in situations where I give the guy a chance (and he gives me a chance as well) but I just get so bored and agitated with the guy. I am an easygoing person and most things don’t bother me easily. There is never drama or a big fight, but I just lose interest.
I know that marriage is not all roses and butterflies, but there should still be an excitement to be with your husband. Is there something actually wrong or have I just not found the one?
By Baila Sebrow
Those who are appalled by the overwhelming number of unmarried people feel compelled to mechanically interpret this phenomenon as a “shidduch crisis.” When this term was initially introduced in frum society, it was intended for a specific demographic, yet with time it became a household term and the explanation for every single’s status. The reality is that whenever one is unable to achieve his or her life’s goals, it becomes that person’s personal crisis. And so, you have your own shidduch crisis.
Mending your crisis involves analyzing and identifying your quandary.
In addition to having a supportive family, you are lucky to belong to a community that looks out for you and is rooting for you to get married. And it appears from the way you talk about the guys you have dated that they are also of high quality. But are they of the quality you are seeking?
You describe yourself as picture-perfect: beauty, brains, money, and pedigree. So it is natural for people to assume that you need an equally perfect guy who possesses all that you do. It makes sense to match Miss Perfect with Mr. Perfect.
To your credit, you try very hard to make those relationships work. That is because you, too, believe that you need to marry a guy who is similar to yourself. So you date these guys and give them a chance, but it just does not work for you. Not only are you feeling that there might be something wrong with you, but I suspect that your family and friends are saying that it is your fault for not being married.
But deep down, you know that these guys do not have what it takes to be the spouse that you truly want. Thus you are not able to commit to marriage with any of those guys whom everyone else might believe you deserve to be married to. You might be feeling mentally suffocated by the so-called perfect guy. That is probably why you feel bored and agitated.
If, after some introspection, you ascertain that perhaps you really do require a different type of guy–someone of a different “rank” that people would otherwise never think to introduce you to–you will need to face that head-on. You must never feel embarrassed or afraid to be honest about what works for you in life, regardless of anyone else’s objections. Your life is yours to live.
I will also not leave out the possibility that having dated as much as you have, you might be experiencing commitment phobia. Those who suffer from commitment phobia feel scared to move out of the status quo towards the next level. This usually manifests as a feeling of being unsure whether the person you are dating is “the one.” And so, the single person will continue to date and date, each time trying hard to feel that he or she has finally found the right person to marry. But, as the relationship appears to intensify, an out-of-control feeling of fear sets in and causes the person to seek ways of getting out.
This condition is more common in guys, but nowadays, with so many girls lingering in the single status, being unmarried no longer carries a stigma. In years past, those girls whose friends got married, while they did not, frequently felt lonely. Now that is longer the case, as there’s a huge social circle amongst singles in most hashkafic settings.
Unmarried girls often go out together, travel, and still have fun even though a spouse is missing from their lives. In addition, frum girls today are much more financially stable than in the past, and so delaying marriage, while not pleasant, does not feel like the end of the world. Most importantly, society does not judge them negatively. On the contrary, the blame is placed exclusively on the dating system.
It also becomes a vicious circle. The longer someone remains single, the more “picky” (and I know I might get flak for saying this) they become. It is a natural reaction. The older people get, the more they grow intellectually, financially, and spiritually, and the more confident they become.
A girl who feels very accomplished tends to figure that since she’s waited this long to find someone, she will wait a little longer until she meets her dream guy.
The good news is that you are aware of your situation and ready to take responsibility if need be. Additionally, you are not waiting until you are much older to remedy your situation. At age 24, you are still young.
I do want to touch upon your question about feeling excitement in being with your husband. The short answer is yes: in a healthy marriage both spouses should be enthusiastic about being together. You are correct that the butterflies-and-roses feeling does not exist in a marriage. That is because when you are secure in your relationship, the churning in your stomach is no longer there. Still, the husband and wife should look forward to seeing each other–and do not let anyone convince you otherwise.
Finding your soul mate is like finding the missing piece in a puzzle set. The only piece that will fit is the one designated for the set. Be true to yourself and your needs. Accept that you have the potential of finding your bashert. More importantly, you need to believe that you deserve every bit of happiness you crave.
Baila Sebrow is president of Neshoma Advocates, communications and recruitment liaison for Sovri-Beth Israel, executive director of Teach Our Children, and a shadchanis. She can be reached at v
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