By Baila Sebrow

Question

There is an ongoing problem for older single women that I would like to bring to your attention, as you are a well-known matchmaker. The problem is about communication boundaries. I believe it is necessary to clarify and discuss this in a public way to see what you think. I apologize for my anger, but I am on the receiving end of nonstop disingenuous messaging. I feel put upon when men whom I’ve dated only once or twice have texting expectations and judgements.

I want to save older singles from wasting time in the nonstop merry-go-round from men. We don’t have the excess time to participate in fake dances leading to nothing. I spent many years engaging in messaging conversations leading absolutely nowhere; based on virtual communications, the man just bails out on a whim.

I just want to stop dating Jews all together, because it’s not reasonable to expect women to be 24/7 cheerleaders and give affection to nameless or faceless bored men. Men rob time this way.

Then there are men who date and say they are serious, only to bail thereafter. This keeps happening, and I am getting older. I just cannot do this anymore. I truly feel robbed, especially when they state that since I don’t do the texting thing they are not interested. I ask them to please understand my point, but many men do not respect that boundary. They often do not even pick up the phone because they are used to life being instant gratification—like a click on Amazon and it’s on your doorstep! I’m experiencing bitterness and anger, and it’s warranted.

Response

I feel your pain of your time having been wasted by men who were not serious, and you are correct in saying that your bitterness and anger are warranted. Thank you for bringing this matter into the public forum to bring heightened awareness to this issue, and also to validate women who feel demoralized, so that they will understand that the rejections they are experiencing are not always about them but perhaps the circumstances.

However, I must first address your comment about dating non-Jews. Dating outside your religion is not going to solve your problem. People are people, and regardless of their choice of worship, bad character traits exist amongst all religions. You would expect that if you date men who are Jewish and frum that they would live a life that is bound by the laws of the Torah. In a perfect world, that would be true, but, sadly, some demonstrate otherwise. From what you are saying, your issue is not with the Jewish religion. Your issue is with men who pretend they want to get married but are really just using women to help them pass the time when they are bored. So, please do not leave the fold of your heritage because of a few bad people. You are very much wanted in the Jewish legacy.

As a shadchan, my biggest challenge in assisting mature single men who reach out to me to be introduced to a woman is trying to ascertain who will potentially end up wasting a woman’s time and who is serious about marriage. In the interest of maintaining political correctness, lest men who read get offended, I will make a disclaimer that what I am about to write about men can also apply to women.

There are two types of time-wasters. The first is the man who is a serial dater. The serial dater enjoys going after women who are not so simple to get a date with. They find it exhilarating to chase them. But as soon as such a woman reciprocates interest to the point of a serious relationship, they quickly lose fascination, bail out, and move on to the next woman. Suggesting shidduchim to men who have a reputation for running from woman to woman requires a long intake. Experience has taught me that I don’t go by what they say, I focus on their history, whom have they dated, for how long, and why those relationships ended.

One might ask why a man who is not serious about marriage would reach out to a shadchan to find him dates. Even though, in many cases, they know that their intentions are the opposite of what they state, such men are vigilant about being seen with women who were vetted by reputable shadchanim. Moreover, they feel it enhances their image to be accepted by sincere marriage-minded women who are of high caliber. Such men are fraudulent by their intentional deceit of stealing precious time from unsuspecting women.

These men see nothing wrong with what they are doing. The pattern continues, as there is no shortage of women seeking dates, and even when eventually the reputation of these men catches up with them, they simply become focused on dating women who are new to the dating scene, such as the newly divorced, newly widowed, or even never-married women who may come from a different social circle.

I want to make it clear that just because a man dates a lot, it is not always symbolic that he is wasting women’s time. It could be that he is very picky, too. However, it is important to look at and examine behavioral patterns.

The other time-waster is the man who is not even interested in going out on a date. He prefers being kept company by texting. Such men will even text more than one woman at the same time. I have heard from women that the non-savvy men will respond to an ongoing text conversation meant for someone else. They cannot talk on the phone, because you cannot speak to two or more people at the same time, but you can text as many people as you want at the same time.

Bringing this out in the open is a good idea, as I mentioned, but that won’t change the facts. Men who have no interest in a normal, exclusive, permanent relationship with a woman are not going to change because of an article on the matter. For changes to happen, it must come from those who want to see changes.

So, let’s start with some tips on distinguishing the time-wasters from the men who are worthy of your time. Whether you are being suggested a man through a matchmaker or you meet him on your own, the man who is not genuinely sincere may still make a good impression on you. Statistics have shown that dishonest people can come across even more honorable than one who is corrupt. Behind their fake smile, whatever it is they do, it’s for their own personal gain.

Whether it is a man who is stringing you along or one who is just looking for a texting buddy to help pass his evening, he will make promises to you too early on after having met him. You might think that he is the jackpot of men. An important rule of thumb is that if somebody appears to be too good to be true, heavy caution must be heeded. Another tactic used by the time-waster is that he will make it seem he is so busy and always comes up with an excuse to cancel seeing you. You might have a date planned, but at the last minute he will apologize and tell you that he needs to reschedule. I am not referring to a once or twice instance or serious circumstance going on in his life. But it becomes out of control, as you implied. Look at it this way—a person who truly enjoys your company and wants to build a foundation with you will be excited to see you.

Another important tidbit is that you will find that whatever you share with that time-waster will somehow get back to you in the form of gossip. A frequent mistake that women make early on in a relationship is that they allow themselves to become vulnerable too quick, and the man who is using your time for his personal gain only will use anything you say against you, not always necessarily to hurt you but because he somehow benefits from disclosing something about you.

Keep in mind as well that there are people who will utilize electronics as a prelude to a date in order to establish compatibility. It could be a conversation by phone, text, or video chat. One party might feel that it went well, while the other person determines that you are not for each other. It can be hurtful to the one rejected, feeling as though an hour or two was wasted, but the fact may be that from the decliner’s perspective it just wasn’t the right fit in terms of whatever that person feels is important. I am telling you this because I want you to be very true to yourself and try to figure out whether you are consistently falling for time-wasters, or if you are interested in men who may feel that, as wonderful a young lady as you surely are, you are not well-suited to them.

In your letter, you stated more than once that you were robbed of time. That is not just an expression. Taking somebody’s time for personal gain is robbery. People do it even in non-dating relationships. Whether it’s calling someone on the phone and keeping them on the line with nonsense to help pass the time or in dating situations, those who commit this act, need to know that it’s against halachah and it is in the same category as stealing. Stealing somebody’s time or mind by misleading them is theft. The perpetrator, in such a circumstance, can never return a part of his victim’s life. And just as a person needs to guard against thieves who steal material assets, the same precautions are needed regarding time-wasters.

Your time is precious; do not give it freely. Make sure that the next person who comes into your life is worthy of your prized possession of time. Please filter who is real and who is not. Do your homework about him with as much diligence as you would use to study for the most important test of your life.

Baila Sebrow is president of Neshoma Advocates, communications and recruitment liaison for Sovri-Beth Israel, executive director of Teach Our Children, and a shadchanis and shidduch consultant. She can be reached at Bsebrow@aol.com. Questions and comments for the Dating Forum can be submitted to 5townsforum@gmail.com. Read more of Baila Sebrow’s articles at 5TJT.com.

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