My husband and I have four children in shidduchim! Everyone else seems to be able to marry off at least one of their children, but we are struggling with all of them big-time. My son is in his thirties, and the other three are girls in their twenties. As the mother of a son I will be the first to admit that boys are causing the biggest problems in shidduchim with their pickiness.
I see what my son is doing when he is redt a shidduch. He looks at the picture, then he checks them out on Facebook, and then he asks his friends what they think. He does that much less now than when he was younger. But when he was younger I didn’t care so much. I figured that he would mature and start acting more normal about dating girls. I know he is doing the same thing as everyone else, because why else are there so many single girls his age? Some are even girls he said no to years ago. Now these girls probably wouldn’t go out with him. I hear that girls who were rejected by boys will never go out with them later on. I think that’s stupid, but I know my daughters don’t agree. They would never date a boy who said no to them before.
Our daughters are amazing. They are beautiful, smart, slim, have good jobs, and they take care of themselves. And would you believe that they don’t get any dates? And when they do get dates, the boys say no after one or two dates. Just like my son does. They have already given up hope about getting married. So, tell me, how can I get my children married already?
You and your husband are challenged from different perspectives with four children in shidduchim. As painful as your circumstances certainly are, you at least have an understanding of the imperfections within the dating system nowadays. It may not solve your problems, however you are in a different position than the parent who questions why is this happening, and how can I fix it? You get the why this is happening to your children. So, it’s the how you can assist your children aspect that you need some guidance on.
Let’s start with your son and the girls he rejected. I surmise that you agree that he didn’t give most of them a fair chance. Rather, he relied, not only on the picture they produced along with their résumé, but he further searched for photos on Facebook. And then he went even further to the extreme by asking his friends to help him decide if he should nix them. I know you didn’t use those words. But, from what you are describing it sounds like each time he did not find something negative, he went searching to see if he could in fact find cause for anything negative. He did that in order to state a reason for declining each young lady. Such an attitude depicts the person who is not serious about marriage.
You are correct that once someone is declined for a date, they are not going to excitedly jump up and down with joy because the person changed their mind. That goes for both genders. But, since you brought that up with regards to your son, I agree that in many cases women will say no to a man who says yes to dating them because he previously declined her. Call it pride, if you will; but who can blame them? Sometimes it’s not about getting even with the man who declined them, but they might be in a different place emotionally and intellectually, so the guy whom they may have been interested in a few years earlier does not feel like a suitable match as time goes on.
The problem also goes back to how shidduchim are suggested. I want to be fair and say that oftentimes men of all ages are declining the women because they should never have been suggested to them in the first place. There are shadchanim who are so inundated with the many requests for a shidduch from females as opposed to males, that as soon as they have an available man, they send him several résumés of women. The results are that most are off-target suggestions. It is possible that when your son was younger, some of the girls he rejected probably should not have been suggested to him in the first place.
Frum girls on average start dating at around 19 when they return from seminary. Outside of the chassidishe circles, most boys don’t start dating till their early twenties. There are those who, if they are studying for certain professions, will even wait till their mid-twenties to date. Without doubt, every shadchan will agree that there is a strong imbalance between the younger genders.
The pickiness as you call it is without a doubt an issue, too. But you must also realize that because some men are being given so many options it can start to feel overwhelming, like a kid in a candy store unsure of which candy to choose when he can only have one. Not only that, but if you believe that you are a desired commodity, it is natural to feel overly confident. If a guy has so many quality girls who are available to date them, the fear that there might be someone even better out there holds quite a few back from committing to someone. Thus, you have the rejections girls endure after one or two dates. And as you know from your son, that attitude backfires. People in shidduchim sometimes do overplay their hand with destiny.
Your daughters are on the other side of the fence. They are as accomplished as many of their contemporaries. And with all that they have to offer, yes many do receive declines, and it just makes no sense to the parents who watch that happen. I hope that your daughters will not allow pride to stand in the way of giving a guy who previously declined them another chance, unless they really feel that the match is presently wrong. I’m of the school of thought that in the long run it does not pay to play tit for tat just to prove a point.
From the way you are writing I think your son is probably ready more so now than in earlier years to take the plunge into marriage. He does need to be realistic, though. He must also realize that as females mature in age, they advance themselves academically, financially, or both. That said, the types that he dated a few years earlier may presently not be suitable for him.
You say that your daughters are in their twenties. As much as you want to see them married, they are still young. When you look around the various frum communities, you will see that there are young ladies much older than your daughter who would very much love to be married. Experiencing rejections is not a reason for anyone to give up hope. You might want to tell your daughters that a rejection can be beneficial as it’s a natural filtering system. There are many stories told of people who were sad that they were declined by a person, where it later proved to be a blessing.
Other than describing your daughters, you do not mention what types of men they are looking for. They too, as everyone else in shidduchim, need to take stock of their qualifications versus their requirements. Additionally, are they being sensible, or are they stuck on a specific category of men? It is advisable to those who are serious about getting married to be flexible to the point of looking outside one’s own circles. No one knows where their mazel may be. When someone is looking to purchase a home, they have ideas in their head about location and type of house. But, if what they want is not on the market or available in the price range they can afford, and they need to make a purchase soon, they are typically advised by their realtor to consider either another neighborhood or different style of house. Most importantly is that loss of hope should never ever be an option in your household.
Please try to keep the mood in your home cheerful and optimistic while encouraging your children to be proactive and persistent about achieving the end goal of finding their bashert. Their optimism will be conveyed in their attitude, which will have an effect on the impression they make on dates.
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.