Dec 28, 2011
I'm Finding My Own Shidduch
Shidduchim SOS: "I've lived in Crown Heights for seven years, and was set up once a year with another mismatched shidduch, by people who barely knew me."
By Tzippy N.
I've lived in Crown Heights for seven years, during which time I was set up with six different guys. None were potentially for me. The first had his life all mapped out and just needed a wife to complete his picture; a woman who knew both of us just vaguely suggested the shidduch.
The second had a vision of marriage that was completely opposite what I was looking for; he saw me frequent the shop where he works and his cousin who vaguely knew me pushed for the shidduch to happen.
I dated about one guy a year, since moving to Crown Heights, all suggested by well-intentioned people who barely knew me. The last straw was the sixth guy. A shidduch made between two women, the guy’s sister and a woman who knew me vaguely, and they knew each other only vaguely. Worst date ever. He didn't care about Yiddishkeit and he had a visible disability. Both were issues my mother had specifically asked his friends about, at my request. And both issues, we were told, were non-existent. I came home and burst into tears. The disability isn't what threw me. What threw me was that I'd been duped into going out with this guy. I felt tricked. As far as I was concerned, from that moment forward I was only doing phone-call first-dates or non-committal-coffee first-dates. I was fed up with being set up by people who hardly knew me.
Boruch Hashem, I have some very special, good friends. But even my close friends and friendlies haven’t had much luck at setting me up. Over the years, they dabbled in the matchmaking, but the guys were all busy at the time or their families said "no thanks" and that was it. Few suggestions were brought forward. Shadchanim almost never called me back. And my mother wasn’t having any success either.
It was time for me to take things into my own hands. I started attending events and Shabbatons for 25+ aged singles. The events were fun for the most part, but it was also disappointing to be in that category. I had tons of friends, but in this department I felt like I was going it alone.
I started keeping an eye out for good guys and then looking into them on my own. It never got very far. Two friends each suggested someone, but it didn’t go anywhere. When I would shyly ask if they had any ideas, people would tell me, "You're always on my mind, I just don't know anyone for you." I didn’t expect my friends to spend time helping me find a shidduch; understandably, they have very busy lives.
So one day I took matters into my hands even further. I met Daniel*, a divorced, frum 30-year-old Lubavitcher, at a work thing and we started chatting. Thinking that perhaps he had enjoyed our conversation as much as I had, I gave my number to a mutual acquaintance and asked him to pass it along so that Daniel could call me if he wanted to.
And he did. He called, and we talked and talked and talked...for hours, until we couldn't keep our eyes open any longer. The following day we went for coffee and then rode the elevator to our respective offices together. We took the train home together after work that day.
The next day, Daniel called and officially asked me out. I have to tell you that when I decided to give him my number, I didn't know any of the things typically listed on our "shidduch profiles." I knew that our personalities jived and that we enjoyed each other's company. I didn't have high expectations; I just didn't want the usual run-around that I was used to by using the conventional, frum methods.
I had a lot of thinking to do. After panicking and thinking everything through bit by bit for many hours, I made my decision. Daniel isn't exactly the type of "shidduch profile" anyone would have set me up with—friend, friendly, or vague acquaintance. He is divorced and barely made it through school. He smokes. On paper, our criteria don't match. And frankly, if we eventually decide to tie the knot and people hear about the engagement, there will be shock and disbelief. But that doesn't matter to me. What matters to me is that Hashem has been orchestrating my entire life all this time. None of the previous guys I dated were right for me because, perhaps, Daniel is right for me. My parents won't be thrilled at first, but when they meet him they will see what I see in him—a genuine person who is so close to the Aibishter, who cares deeply for the people in his life, and is an honest and confident man.
I am making a resolution right now. My resolution is that I will not let a single week go by without spending at least 20 minutes trying to find matches for my friends and the people I know. As wrapped up in my life as I may become, I will not forget what it's like to fend for myself. I will always keep my friends in mind and go out of my way to help them.
I've thought about the things that don't match up so perfectly on paper about Daniel and me. And I've decided that hashgacha pratis brought us to where we are right now. Hashem is leading the way, so there is nothing for me to be afraid of. Instead, I am committing to giving my all to our first date and every date afterward, if G-d chooses it to be so.
Here's to wishing and blessing every married Jew with shalom bayis and everything necessary to be happy and healthy in this world. And here's to wishing and blessing every single Jew with the confidence, clarity, and emunas Hashem to navigate the uncertain and emotionally tolling dating process.
*Names have been changed to protect identities