Why has politics been allowed to enter shidduchim? Why does it matter that I’m a Republican? Why does it matter that I was in DC on January 6 during the Capitol attack? I didn’t do anything bad by being there. It’s bad enough that I lost my job but that it should hurt me in shidduchim is not right. Besides, this happened so long ago!
Instead of looking for the good in a person, people look for the bad that is not even there. If there’s the littlest thing that does not sound right, the person is automatically nixed. People also take the opinions of other people to decide if a match is right. Who are these people to say that a person is not right for someone when they don’t even know them? I’m sorry if I sound like I’m rambling, but something has to be done. I keep hearing that people need to get involved with helping singles, but nobody talks about what I’m complaining about.
In answer to your first question, shidduchim has become quite a politicized subject on its own merit, without the need for anyone to state that they belong to any political party. That’s why there are so many articles and books written on this topic. Moreover, everyone has an opinion and that sometimes becomes the new trend for as long as it lasts. Not only that, but it has also become acceptable that rather than looking for a reason to say yes to a shidduch, the new-wave technique is to look for a reason to say no. I will say that in recent years, singles do decline one another because of a political party someone belongs to or policies someone agrees with.
You are correct that there is much done with regard to encouraging community members, and especially shadchanim, to assist singles with finding their bashert, though there is not enough being discussed in a public forum about unfairly ruining someone’s chances for finding a shidduch by disparagement. The topic is occasionally brought up under the subject matter of lashon ha’ra, and subsequently shidduchim is one of the issues that are mentioned, sometimes even at great length. The Dating Forum column has also addressed this problem when it comes up as a question to a dilemma.
The challenge is that there is a Catch-22 with regard to giving references about someone. If a person has directly witnessed or experienced negative behavior about an individual, and as a result it has harmed someone, then not disclosing that information would be akin to the prohibition of “placing a stumbling block before a blind person.” And even in such a case, much care must be taken that whatever is being disclosed is not being done as revenge, but rather to protect an innocent person from becoming a future victim. In other words, the tale bearer has to be certain that he or she has pure intentions.
The problem that shadchanim are dealing with on a consistent basis is that oftentimes there are good people who are victim to false bad rumors being spoken about them, usually due to jealousy or because whatever was heard came from a non-reliable third-party source. These informers, while they assume they are doing good, are not much more that gossip mongers. Then there is the other side of the coin, where there are those who will swear up and down and vouch for somebody who has done actual bad things to others.
There are so many cases where a bad person married a good person because the good person heard good things about him or her, and after the couple divorces, those who spoke nicely about the bad person commonly end up apologizing for giving misleading information. That is why I always urge people in shidduchim to verify any report they hear. It doesn’t matter if they heard it from what they consider a reliable authority or layperson. Get references on the references. I have had cases where an abusive person had good friends that not only said nice things about them but had the audacity to redd shidduchim for such individuals. That is what I mean when I talk about a catch-22.
How can someone do the right thing by stating what they know to be true, yet not hurt anyone in the process? Where does anyone draw the line? By answering the actual question and not offering personal remarks or sentiments. One thing that is totally unforgivable is when a person nixes someone’s chances for a shidduch suggestion by saying the common phrase, “I don’t see it.” Who are these people to determine whether they see such a shidduch coming to fruition or not? In most cases, they don’t know one or both parties well at all. That is the number-one reason why singles miss out on the opportunity to meet one another. People should answer only the questions they know beyond a shadow of doubt, only with full accuracy and honorable intentions, and only if they are very well-acquainted with both parties.
I gather that you are being turned down for a shidduch because you were in DC during the January 6 Capitol attack. I imagine the fact that you lost your job over it is why people know so much about your whereabouts on that day. I don’t know what rumors are circulating about you, or what you have shared with others that is being used against you in shidduchim. However, the mere fact that you were there and you publicly talk about your political party might portray you as an aggressive or outspoken type of individual that might not fit together well with a more docile kind of person.
If you take the time to comment and express strong viewpoints that may be in opposition to an article in any publication or social media platform, people will automatically peg you as an opinionated individual. Though you might come across as intelligent and correct about everything you state, nevertheless, there are those people who do not feel compatible with dating and marrying someone possessing such characteristics. If you are being rejected because of who you really are as a person, in essence, that’s a huge favor, as your time is not being wasted on an incompatible match.
The problem is if you are being depicted as a belligerent and combative person for no logical reason when in fact that does not represent who you are in real life and as a future spouse. Your writing this letter is enough for me to believe that you are likely being unfairly portrayed, and even though you did nothing wrong, you were in a particular place at the wrong time. That your intentions were not dishonorable seems to make no difference to the people you associate with, and certainly not to your employer who unfortunately let you go for the same reason you are receiving rejections in shidduchim.
You cannot change the past; however, you can reinvent yourself. If you are an outspoken person about political matters, for the time being, I advise you to keep a low profile on any issues relating to politics. Regardless of which side you are on, there will always be people who are on the other side, and they will therefore be confrontational about your views—enough to express resistance. Consequently, you will feel the need to respond to their comments, and the image of you may further cast doubts about who you really are.
Use your strong assets of verbal persuasion to join or start a new initiative. There are so many causes in this world that could use more help. There are also many issues of human interest that are being overlooked and are in dire need of a foundation to support and benefit them. When you do that, allow it to identify you, as you will become completely immersed in that project.
Speak to leaders of organizations you respect, and ask them for advice to either join them, become a sister organization to their cause, or create something new that you have always wished would exist. Anything people do for the greater good brands them and brings recognition. Take an example from what happened in your life. Unfortunately, it backfired on you, though you had positive and purposeful objectives.
I will caution you not to waste time on anyone who thinks badly about you and disparages you. You will never convince them otherwise, and if you attempt any sort of peace with them, such people can turn it around and spin an even worse narrative. Completely distancing yourself from them will speak volumes that you have no interaction with them, and so their input or whatever they say about you will ultimately have no impact on your life.
Whatever you have been doing thus far with regard to finding a shidduch, find a new method. Any shadchan you have dealt with who does not believe in you and does not advocate for you is not in your corner to help you find a shidduch. Once you have established yourself as the person you really are, make sure that you have people of leadership who can vouch for you as good person with impeccable middos. Ask them, and rabbanim you relate to, for a shadchan they can privately endorse as being open-minded and fair. Form new alliances with people who can introduce you to others, and join social circles that are compatible with the type of people you would date for marriage.
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. Baila also hosts The Definitive Rap podcast for vinnews.com, Israel News Talk Radio, WVIP 93.5 FM HD2, and talklinenetwork.com. Questions and comments for the Dating Forum can be submitted to email@example.com. Read more of Baila Sebrow’s articles at 5TJT.com.