I don’t know what’s left for me to do for my daughter. I won’t praise her in this forum, because I don’t want you to think that it’s because she’s so wonderful that no one is good enough for her. People who know her see for themselves the ma’alos that she has. And yet we can’t find her a decent shidduch!
I’ll give you an example, which just happened. A shadchan was after us to give a yes to a boy who gave a yes to her. We weren’t even allowed to check this boy out. The shadchan said there is nothing to investigate — he’s a good boy and what she’s looking for, and she should go out with him. I pushed her to go out, even though she saw something on the internet about him she didn’t like.
They spoke on the phone and made a date. He wanted her to travel to where he lives. My daughter, after a long day at work and school, came home, quickly changed her clothes, did not even have time to eat, and rushed to travel close to two hours on the train to meet him.
This boy is in school, but doesn’t work yet, so his day is not as hectic as hers, and he didn’t even suggest they meet halfway. Anyway, she gets to the place where they meet, and he takes her for a soda.
Now, please believe me. My daughter is not high maintenance at all. She does not expect to be treated to dinner on a date. But c’mon. After a long day and traveling to meet this boy without having the chance to eat something, shouldn’t he at least offer her food?
And it gets worse. He sent her home by train alone late at night. She came back around midnight, exhausted and hungry. She ended up going to bed without eating.
The next day the shadchan told us that the boy said no to another date. He didn’t feel that she was right for him because she didn’t make the impression on him that he expected!
I know that there is nothing to feel bad about here. This boy is bad news to begin with. But this is what we deal with. Girls have to go out with boys in order not to offend the shadchan. Girls are expected to date boys who are not right for them. They take all kinds of garbage just to show they are open-minded and that they are doing hishtadlus. And it’s not fair. Where does a girl draw the line?
The first rule of thumb in any type of association, shidduch or otherwise, is that no one should ever have to accept “garbage” type of behavior from any person. Furthermore, no shadchan should ever place pressure on anyone to go on a date with someone they suggest. They may encourage the idea, but making the girl feel that she is obligated to accept the suggestion is all about the shadchan’s ego. And hishtadlus to get married does not include feeding anyone’s ego. Please remember that.
Shidduch dating has evolved over the years. It used to be that the guy would travel to wherever the girl lived, at least in the beginning. And as the relationship progressed, it would be expected that the girl would make a similar effort. For the most part, those days are gone, especially if the guy is from any of the tristate communities. In present times it is the female who usually does the traveling for dates, regardless of how long it will take her to get there. In fact, there are some guys who will not even travel one hour. If it’s not a short distance, they won’t do it. However, if the guy is a mensch he will at least offer to meet halfway, but even that is rare. What is so bizarre about this practice is that guys don’t think there is anything wrong with what they are doing. When people don’t see the error of their ways, they cannot and will not correct it.
The same can be said regarding offering food. It takes a mensch to realize that since his date rushed home from work and then traveled to meet him, that she most likely did not have the chance to eat anything. She’s feeling hungry and fatigued from a full day while he is feeling somewhat refreshed, and he didn’t get why she didn’t make the impression he expected? Then he said no to a second date, denying her another chance to make an impression under different circumstances; you see exactly what type of person he is. So, yes, I agree that this boy was bad news!
Marriage and relationships are not one-sided deals. It can never work if decisions and actions are always inequitable. Compromises have to be made by both the husband and wife for it to work in the long run. That also includes being tolerant and considerate of the other person. When one party in a relationship is demonstrating the inability or desire to do so, then it is best to end it before it even begins. I won’t even comment about that disturbing piece that he sent her home alone on the train at midnight, except to say that he did your daughter a major favor by not wanting to go out with her again.
I agree that girls are having a difficult time meeting guys who are chivalrous. We can blame society and say that since women want to be treated as men’s equals, it applies to all aspects of life. My feelings are that it really comes down to a case-by-case situation. When dealing with a kind and considerate person, he will know where to compromise. Offering food to someone who traveled after a full day is in the same category as greeting a person who walks into your home as a guest. Would you not offer food to someone you invite into your home, especially if he or she traveled a distance? Perhaps this guy wasn’t raised properly and he does not know any better.
I want to make something very clear. I am not insinuating that a man needs to treat every date to dinner. But, based on the circumstances that you have illustrated, there is no doubt in my mind that this guy was not behaving with consideration towards your daughter. I also want to point out that although she had this experience and other disappointing experiences, it does not represent the entire gender of men.
It must be extremely disheartening for your daughter to have gone through that dating experience. So, since we are not going to change shidduch dating styles, for the future there is some manner in which she can negotiate a time to meet someone for a date. Instead of rushing after work and school, if she’s off on weekends, why not schedule dates on those days? At least she won’t be exhausted and hungry when she gets there. There is also nothing wrong with her suggesting to the next guy she gets a yes from that they meet halfway. And if he refuses, then, unless there is a very good reason for him to do so, she should feel confident enough to turn such a person down.
I assure female singles that it is OK to say no to a guy who says yes to her if it does not feel right to her. You indicate that your daughter found something on the internet about him that bothered her. And I understand that the shadchan put you and her on a guilt trip to get her on a date with him.
This is not the first time I have heard that even when a shadchan was not involved, young girls and their parents are scared to turn down a date, even when something does not feel right to them. That mindset needs to stop. Guys are not endangered species such that if a girl declines one or two or more, no one else will come along. Going out with every guy who gives her a yes will leave her not only burned-out but possibly jaded. And that is a very dangerous spot to find oneself in.
Your daughter should continue seeking the type of shidduch that is most compatible with her. There is no reason for her to compromise on important issues, especially those involving character traits. She sounds like a fine young lady eager to devote her life to make her future husband happy. Her beautiful qualities will iy’H serve her well for a man deserving of her who is also willing to reciprocate!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.