Dear parents, you mean well, but …

as shared with Adai Ad

To my dear loving parents –

I know you want to see me settled in a happy marriage, and that is why you are working so diligently for a shiduch for me.  I too want to get married. Very much so.  But here’s the thing- I am getting so tired and dragged down by all the judgment that comes from this shidduch dating.

Really, I am not so picky. I am obviously dating bochurim who are not quite right for me. One has a shlichus lined up for him in a third-world country; and I’m not ready for that type of move. Another one was entirely too reserved for me to have a proper conversation with him. Yet another was a chauvinist who loved to share racist and sexist jokes.

All this dating is emotionally draining on its own, but what is even more draining and painful are the judgments and well meaning comments I get from my family, friends, and ‘wise’ fellow  community members.

“Why are you so picky?” “Why don’t you give it one more chance?” “Height isn’t everything.” “Wouldn’t you rather live in Timbuktu than stay single forever?”

No, I actually wouldn’t. (gasp).

I know everyone is coming from a place of love and concern, they just care to see me happy. But what they don’t realize is that such comments are not conducive to such happiness. They just make me more anxious.

Just recently, you set me up with someone, because, as you say it, “I can’t figure out what you are looking for, so what’s the big deal to just meet. You never know.”  So I met him-  because you thought it is a good idea- and even though after meeting with him I am positive that he is not for me, you prodded and urged me to meet him again and again. Is my judgment not good enough?

I also figured out that you created a situation where I would be at the same Shabbos table as someone I told you I did not want to meet – because you still thought it was a worthwhile shiduch idea.

These little anecdotes make me feel belittled, like my opinion is really not important.  It is straining our relationship, something I desperately don’t want, especially at this delicate stage of life. A stage where I so desperately need to be supported, encouraged, entrusted. Not questioned, judged, and reprimanded.

There are times when we talk about shiduchim, I feel a knot in my stomach, my shoulders stiffen and I feel pounding in my head. I feel anxious about our relationship, and about what you will say this time. Will you minimize my concerns and dismiss by reservations? And worse, will you blame me for being so picky?  Will you make me doubt myself?  Will you try to convince me that something that bothers me isn’t all that important in the scheme of life?

I dread these conversations, because they all go the same way. You getting frustrated at me, and I feeling more confused than before.  I need to feel that we are in this together.  Both of us working in tandem, in sync – as friends.  I want to feel supported and empowered during this trying stage of my life. Actually, I need that. I need you to validate my concerns, trust my gut, and build my self esteem. All done in the way that I feel supported, not in the way that you think I ought to feel that you are supporting me (ala ‘Five Love Languages’).

Let’s remember that I didn’t put myself in this situation. It’s the cards Hashem dealt me, and I’m now left with the decision on how to play them. Let’s play them with happiness. Let’s recognize Who’s really making my shidduch.

And please recognize that I can be happily single, until Hashem decides to make me happily married.

We both want what’s best for me.  We’re in this together. But sometimes I feel that we are on opposite sides.

I love you, I truly appreciate your intent, but the way you are going about it isn’t working for me. Please, please let’s have a conversation about how to move forward from here.

3 thoughts on “Dear parents, you mean well, but …”

  1. I agree with you. I have a daughter of marriageable age. I refuse to push her. I am open to suggestions. I want her to be happy. There is no stress about this topic. Hashem has a plan. We have to show support and love. Because I know that at times it can be hard for her, I am more compassionate and cool about it.
    Davening helps. May we hear good news for everyone

  2. I was that girl 18 years ago! I was picky and said no to most of the offers that came my way. My parents who were concerned asked the rebbe what they should do, and the rebbe answered ‏ ‏כהגשת ליבה…. “as her heart feels”.

    I assumed I had carte blanche to take my time and choose the person that would be perfect for me with all the checkmarks on my list Neatly checked off.

    That doesn’t work either. When I realized that our job as girls, in making an effort to find our Other half, is to sharpen our pencil and look at the most important qualities that are necessary in a partner for life.

    I was coasting along, working and volunteering, traveling, all the while smug and happy that one day my prince charming would show up, and would clearly impress me. That thought carried me for a while until I read what the Rebbe had written about finding your partner. He said to search for it as if you lost your most precious item. I had an awakening. I had done very little to find him thinking he would show up without any effort on my part. For five years I was asked to go out with my future husband. I said no for superficial reasons. ( age difference and a few other items …)

    Once I read what the Rebbe had written about the importance of making a diligent effort To find your partner in life, as if one lost their most precious posssession, I understood that my effort would be to overlook the insignificant items on the list and focus on the key issues. Is he good and kind? Is he close to his family members? Etc. etc. I finally said yes and at 34 got married to my wonderful husband and now have five kids BH!
    In order to make a diligent effort, I understood that my effort would be to overlook the insignificant items on the list and focus on the key issues. Is he good and kind and charitable? Is he close to his family members? Does he have a sincere relationship with hashem?? Etc. etc.

    I finally said yes and a 34 got married to my wonderful husband and now have five kids B”h!

    I find that a lot of our youth has so many options to travel and to learn and to have fun, many are postponing the idea of marriage unless everything is clearly “magical”. That is also unrealistic and children do Need parental insight, involvement advise in this proces.

    Sometimes we may rush to judge another person prematurely. Some people don’t date well and take time to get comfortable. A parent’s suggestion to try it again Might be just advice needed…

    May hashem help our youth find their partners, and their purpose in life with ease!

    1. Response to Tamar Pewzner

      1. the commenter right away labels the writer as picky.
      how can you judge so quicklly!? you never even met the person maybe she really is picky, maybe she just didnt find the right one yet, i have no way of knowing, it’s definitely not right in any way to judge on the spot.

      2. i think was the Rebbe was on point. כהגשת ליבה…. “as her heart feels”. because that’s really how shidduchim work. each person has to work things through according to her pesonal thoughts and feelings. after all, it is her life.

      3. who said anyone has lists? i personally threw lists in the garbage a year or so ago , and all my friends did too.

      4.I am a 24 year girl in shidduchim with a wide circle of friends my age, as well as younger and older than me, ranging all types in terms of personality, chassidishkeit, etc. and i do not know anyone who is pushing off marriage becasue she is waiting for something magical. what is something “magical”? true, many of my friends like to travel, but that has nothing to do with shidduchim. its just something they like to do. and at the same time they would love to get married. I really dont like that people that just becuase girls are doing things with their lives, or doing things they enjoy, it automatically means they dont want to get married or theyre waiting for prince charming. its absoulutely not true! we’re all happy to right the right one, and in the meantime we’re happy to contribute what we can to the world as single girls! if we are not married yet its a clear sign that Hashem needs us to do something as singles now, and so we’d like to pack it while we can.

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