Jul 4, 2015
What Singles Need to Figure Out

"There's a common thread of unresolved issues running through the minds of older singles," says shaddchanis Rivkah Leah Bernath.

By Rivkah Leah Bernath

There seems to be a common thread of unresolved issues running through the minds of older singles. With more and more older singles really serious about marriage, its obvious to me that these unresolved issues are holding them back from getting married.

Let me illustrate one as an example, with the hopes of helping these singles: If a single has been very close to a divorced couple, whether that couple is a relative, neighbor or friend, the single will subconsciously have a negative attitude towards marriage.

A single person needs to be empowered with positive information about marriage. When I met such a person, I ask that him/her point out 3 things that may have led to their friend's divorce. Then they have to make a plan to circumvent those issues. That shift in consciousness can be the simple step that prepares the single for marriage.

Another issue may be the loss of a close relative when he/she is under 20 years of age. I believe that the single clearly understands intellectually that Hashem took their relative. Though it may be subconsciously a form of abandonment. These issues need to be dealt with by a professional therapist before they start dating.

Trauma is another issue that seems to be coming up a lot. A traumatic event that hasen't been resolved can block a single from moving on. I don't believe these are insurmountable. A small amount of time with a therapist would free them from the trauma.

But the largest area that effects the most singles is the lack of understanding of the way men and women process in the dating experience.

In my observations, the men seem to know if they are interested in the shidduch in a short amount of time. The women seem to need as many as 7 or 8 dates until they know. Generally, I see 3 types of situations:

Situation #1: The bochur is interested, the girl isn't feeling anything. The bochur has enough self-esteem to hang in there and wait often ending in engagement

Situation #2: The bochur is interested and the girl isn't feeling anything. The bochur ends the shidduch to protect his self-esteem.

Situation #3: The bochur is interested and the girl isn't feeling anything. The girl ends the shidduch (even though she sees good qualities in him) because she believes feelings should be in the shidduch quickly.

The solution lies in a Rebbe Rayatz's letter (Igros Kodesh vol xii,p.113) where he speaks about being too "miserly" with the dates.

The goal is to get the bochur to stay with the shidduch long enough for the girl to figure out her feelings. If the bochur gets some "positive feedback" with each date, he can stay in the shidduch. The girl can give him positive feedback or she can tell the shadchan to give him the positive feedback.

The bochur needs to know that the girl is in a different time-frame (emotionally) than him and nothing is wrong with the shidduch. The girl needs to understand "she is normal'. As long as she sees positive qualities in him, the shidduch should continue.

We are in an instant gratification generation, instant food, instant communication, instant travel, instant chemistry, so we want an instant shidduch. Shidduch takes time. Time to figure out ourselves and what is blocking us, time to figure out the person we are dating and time to take the person we are dating to engagement.

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well done!
finally! smart advice 4 singles on col.
girls, attraction can grow, don't expect it to be instant, give him a chance.
(7/4/2015 10:12:55 AM)
To the author:
Thank you for you're article. How can you be contacted please? Maybe a professional email address?
(7/4/2015 7:04:29 PM)
Too black and white
One can get married without having to see a therapist. Lots of people are very happily married even though they have been in the situations you mentioned. Only if a person feels that they have not processed what has happened to them and their mashpiah cannot help would a therapist need to come into the picture.
When the couple is dating there needs to be solid support for the girl and boy to help them understand what they are experiencing and make sense of their feelings. Without that solid support they will make hasty decisions which they might come to regret. Parents, shadchoniem and mashpiim need to do their job and many more happy couples will be the result.
(7/4/2015 7:20:33 PM)
Excellent post.
(7/4/2015 10:13:07 PM)
(7/4/2015 11:12:30 PM)
Need more Shadchonim like above
Wow amazing.
We need more people like above.
Who is going to deal with Shidduchim.
For OLDER singles, ages 23 and up.

(7/4/2015 11:14:41 PM)
Interesting article.
Interesting article. I believe that no matter who is planning on dating, they should see a therapist before and during the time they go out. I say this because both men and women who grow up with little contact between them and the other gender often find themselves with few references on how to have healthy interactions that lead to healthy relationships between them and their spouse. By seeing a professional therapist or dating coach (not an uneducated mashpiah) who can provide some clarity on what they are feeling and provide them with tools, we might see some healthier marriages that don't end in divorce (G-d forbid) or have marriages that lead to the children being brought up in dysfunctional households because the parents feel divorce is not for them.
(7/4/2015 11:18:42 PM)
very good
Keep up the advice
I was mistakenly told that you're not supposed to give feedback directly to the other side so they dont feel bad if they want to vreak it off. But the risk of not giving feedback seems even greater. Can we have advice on how much/how to give feedback/when?
(7/4/2015 11:22:05 PM)
very strongly opinionated
singles need to be respected for where they are in life, not "fixed". The biggest problem is the shidduch world are all the strong opinions.
(7/4/2015 11:40:11 PM)
Shadchan Crisis
We older singles are not married yet plain and simple cuz we are not just "looking to get married" like you older people are just living with your spouses. If we get married its bc we will want to marry this person! (In the mean time we will live our single lives! )Not for the same reason why most people did years ago.
(7/5/2015 12:17:09 AM)
to number 3
You mention that a therapist is needed only if a mashpia cant deal with it, what is the connection between a mashpia and a therapist that one continues where the other left off?
(7/5/2015 12:52:45 AM)
sounds too simplistic or immature
If all of married life is about growing together in spite of or because of inherent differences between male and female, perhaps these daters aren't ready yet to navigate that life. Bochurim and girls can be cued about this before they begin the shidduch process.
The rest is psychobabble.
(7/5/2015 12:53:28 AM)
Lighten up
Ever consider that they simply haven't found the right person? This does NOT mean that something is wrong with them or that they are going about it in the wrong way. Ever hear of a "needle in a haystack?"
(7/5/2015 1:45:31 AM)
Hey everyone,
I'm an older single and I'd like to request and recommend that people stop assuming that older singles can talk themselves into becoming married people
Everything the author writes is true
But it is still limited
Just like parnasah and health, finding ones zivug is entirely Hashems doing and is not linked to a specific reason in this world
One must try to get married and do what is in their power to get married but one cannot achieve it just through willpower
Hey you, all the advice givers, you must be sensitive realizing that after a certain point there is not much more that the older single can do besides for daven!!!!!!!!!
(7/5/2015 2:09:20 AM)
It there was a like button here I would rush to push it on comment 10.
(7/5/2015 2:20:15 AM)
older single
Why do people assume that older singles live in an imaginary world?
What if I just haven't met the one (maybe even BC the shidduch system makes it so easy for them to pass me over and decide not to meet me)?
(7/5/2015 3:47:39 AM)
Very opinionated
The real problem is the Shaddchanim. If the Shaddchanim spend 20% actually trying to work with difficult cases, the remaining 80% of the time is spent scheming how to expand their reputation and make the "good" shidduchs for the problem-free youth originating from well-established families.

As a 29 year old single, educated (professional degree) and debt-free (not including student loans) man, I get tons of (((insert negative term here))) from Shaddchanim, as does my mother. All the Shaddchanim (won't mention names) think I'm supposed to act like their indentured servant, desperate to get married or earn the approval of people who name-call my family behind our backs for not being frum enough.

I remain unmarried, because as a teenager, I saw my older siblings being treated like dirt, solely because we are from a Baal-Teshuva / Geir family with no extended family connections. Actually, it was the failed shidduch matches who contacted my family privately, to warn us of all the negative loshen-hara and criticism being spoken about my family behind our backs.

With Shaddchanim so unforgiving, and also certain privileged families very condescending to Baal Teshuvas / Geirim, it's no wonder that problems exist for so many singles, and that divorce rates are so high. I'd rather not get married at all then watch the loshen-hara brigade (mashpias included) pretend that their loshen-hara isn't the core reason that so many relationships are failing. I suppose the only good advise the article above is to go to a therapist.

Message to Author: Thank you for facilitating dialogue. The truth is is that there are many singles who are giving up on finding a frum marriage partner, because some of the best and brightest singles from Baal-Teshuva / Geirim families are going off the derech for no good reason other than being the subject of defamation and ridicule.
(7/5/2015 8:38:52 AM)
Sitation 1 2 3
I've seen many mamy times cases that the girl is ready after 3 dates and its the bochur that needs more time.
Can u elaborate on that?
(7/5/2015 8:56:49 AM)
Phone number
Any phone number or email to contact you¿
(7/5/2015 10:45:12 AM)
Rivkah Bernath knows
She has been making shidduchim for nearly 10 years and speaks around the country on shidduchim. She is very experienced as a shadchan coach as well. She is probably the expert in this right now.
She has even successfully married off two of her own special needs children. Her agenda is to get everyone married, so if she says these are the roadblocks, take them seriously.
(7/5/2015 10:46:16 AM)
fellow shadchan
Although I agree with some of the observations, I think there are a host of additional factors. In addition to requirements that their dates should be goal-oriented, "funny," and someone who they can respect, girls are often looking for husbands who can relate to them emotionally. (an oxymoran?) And many of the guys have requirements that would make for great listings in an hr department.

But above all, many have the inability to trust enough so that dates can to move forward. I can't blame someone who has been dating for several years and has been subjected to countless disappointments.
(7/5/2015 12:00:02 PM)
One more thing
Especially if the "older" individuals are baalei teshuvah (but maybe for all): There must be a stop to the pressure to make a decision after only a few shidduch meetings between two prospective spouses.

Some people can hold themselves together to keep that best foot forward for several dates, but if the couple were to not be so pressured to make a quick decision, they could get to the point that each person in the couple finally let's down their guard a bit and stops playing with party manners. It's important to see a range of emotions in a prospective spouse, but with the pressure to decide so fast, there is a very limited range of what we really see in the other person before making that all-important decision.

I almost think the shidduch period should include that each person should on purpose do or say something that would deliberately annoy or even upset the other, just to really see how that person behaves in such a situation. It's not a great idea to marry someone about whom you do not know how they handle upset or angry feelings.

Why do I say this is especially important for the baalei teshuvah? Because there is a greater likelyhood that, growing up in the velt, the individual will have witnessed (and had as role models) people who are not influenced by Torah values in how to handle disagreement, or negative feelings in general, in a marriage. (Not to say that choshuve and/or any FFB families are all idyllic Torah-true at every minute, but the influence of growing up in a Torah environment is a distinct advantage over growing up in the velt.)
(7/5/2015 12:30:45 PM)
to #17
you sound like a good catch. You are a stable and grounded person with a career. Don't let people push you around. You need to ask friends to introduce you to their friends or their wife's friends.
(7/5/2015 1:37:32 PM)
To number #22
It is my opinion that you are a bit naive to believe that a baalei teshuva will have been raised with less manners and not do as well with their emotions. There are countless disfunctional ffb people out there. Dysfunction in fact is more pronounced in the frum community. But it's sweet that you have such innocent misconceptions.
(7/5/2015 10:28:14 PM)
how do we get in contact with u?
(7/5/2015 10:44:39 PM)
father of some children yet to marry
two comments:
1) one needs to have a feeling towards the other, but feeling is something that grows. as you live together you become more and more together. it isn't noticeable necessarily til you miss it for some reason.
2) even though we don't necessarily run our lives on sachel, is there not a 'check list' that each person has of qualities hey hope the other side will have? as we grow older is it possible that we can have happy and enriched lives with someone whom like me, is not perfect but wants to make a home and family?
Marriage really takes a lot of work and self sacrifice. you have to give away everything to your spouse, your children.
written by a father of several older unmarried children. girls and boys.
(7/5/2015 10:57:21 PM)
hamshachas halev...
Ya gotta feel that "it's it!"
And sometimes, you can just tell very early on that it's never gonna be there.
(7/6/2015 12:17:39 AM)
Set us up with normal guys and then we'll talk. Oh wait, no normal older guys, they're all sour lamos waiting for Cinderella Barbie to appear. Yea, no thanks. I think the window of normal older guys has been closed for a while now.....if they are remotely normal they are extremely picky and impossible to go out with. Thus, making them just as lame. No solutions from me. Just complaining;)
(7/6/2015 1:01:02 AM)
It's complicated
No 14 has expressed the situation very well indeed. Yes, a lot of people do think a successful match and subsequent marriage is just a matter of willpower. Life teaches that it doesn't happen like clockwork for a significant proportion of people.
(7/6/2015 6:00:18 AM)
Great points. Totally agree. (Obviously there's more).
(7/6/2015 7:27:16 AM)
Married late
As a BT married at 37, happy together more than 15 years, i must agree with the author. But I would add one precious pearl I learned. When dating, keep going until you come upon an insurmountable problem even if you don't have feelings yet.
(7/6/2015 8:06:51 AM)
Our world is far more complex than it was 100 years ago. Back then, people got married so they could have more Yiddishe children and they knew that the Cossacks (or whoever) could come at any time and r"l massacre the community. In other words, they were not very picky because they knew their lives were hanging by a thin thread.

Today, B"H we don't have those worries. Therefore, "survival" is no longer an issue, so people tend to look deeper and with more complexity at a prospective shidduch. I believe that is one reason why people aren't getting married at such a young age. But the advice given in this article is still sound; and the idea that you should keep going out with a prospective shidduch until one or the other feels it's not the right match, is a good one.
(7/6/2015 4:17:04 PM)
Therapy is a must ...pchycologist must be a habit like brushing teeth
Our new generation want everything right away , that include feeling , money, etc ....that's a problem 1;
Second we too concern about ourself benefits that dating couple forget that they need to contribute something to the relationship .....

After speaking to many older girls 24 plus , I understand that they have a "Cinderella disorder " they do wait for a prince to come and pick them up from the crowd .... But older guys are looking more and more for girls 18+ and not interested in older girls around their age at all .....
I also believe that divorces in our community have negative impact on singles , because they don't see the period of "fixing marriage " but the divorce as a solution to happy life ..... Rabonim /shadhonim /parents need to speak about the divorce more openly to the youth and teach them how to manage /fix problems before the last solution ....
(7/6/2015 5:52:25 PM)
To #17
...hang in there, have Bitachon and be happy. The Baal Teshuva is more precious to Hashem than the most FFB Tzadik. You will find your shidduch.
(7/7/2015 5:41:53 PM)
Age and Maturity
The author presented several concerns of the older "crowd" very well. One thing bothers me, though--not just with this author, but with all shadchanim: the use of the words "boy" and "girl" to describe their "targets." Anyone who believes s/he is mature enough to be married and is seeking a partner is a "man" or a "woman." These terms, indicative of maturity, should not be limited to married couples. Marriage itself does NOT make one mature: being willing and able to take on responsibility for one's life while fulfilling the mitzvoth that Hashem assigned to that individual does. If shadchanim thought of the members of the potential couple as mature individuals, perhaps they would consider important issues--eg, interests, personal goals, personality, attitude toward finance/family life, etc.-- in addition to just age and hashkafah.
(7/12/2015 9:57:35 PM)
marriage-based maturity
Why do we continue to refer to marriage-age individuals as "boys" and "girls"? This suggests that we think of unmarried individuals as children! We all understand the influence of language on thought patterns. If shadchanim continue to think of non-married individuals as being immature, they'll never give them the type of support they need to form a meaningful relationship. A change in attitude is critical, especially when considering a match between "older" singles.
(5/5/2016 12:14:38 PM)
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