Jan 23, 2020, The Times of Israel
I was sent the following question from a single in her thirties who had dated many people without finding the right one, and she asked for advice. As I feel my response pertains to numerous people, and the usual responses to this question are misleading and harmful, I am sharing it here as well.
Far be it from me, or for anyone, to tell you why you are not married — and based on so little information, no less! That would be the height of arrogance and irresponsibility.
It is so easy and tempting for people to give off-the-cuff advice to struggling singles. It is not so easy to remind oneself that no one really knows why some people have it easier and others have it more difficult, not only in dating, but in any aspect of life. It takes humility for an “expert” to acknowledge that they don’t really have the answer why you or anyone else isn’t married, and the best they can do is offer support and help you avoid obvious self-sabotage. The rest is up to Hashem.
But if they tell you the truth, that they don’t know, that they CAN’T know, how will they sell their services? What dating coach or therapist will ever tell you that you’re doing things just fine, you’re perfectly marriageable just the way you are, just stay the course and hope for the best? There are rumors about one in the entire course of human history, and he quickly went out of business.
Lost in that conundrum is the very real danger of giving someone bad advice, just for the sake of giving advice. We’re dealing with perhaps the most personal aspect of people’s lives, and the stakes couldn’t be higher. Shouldn’t all those armchair quarterbacks, paid or volunteer, be a little more careful before lecturing you about why you supposedly aren’t married?
From the little you wrote, I would say that if you dated 50 guys and you’re sure you didn’t meet the right one, go out with guy 51 ready to put your heart and soul into it and be prepared to repeat if necessary. I do not believe there is a magic number of people that one needs to date before it can be considered “proof” that they are doing something wrong or there is something wrong with them. It’s certainly possible, but there is no way to know, and it’s unfair to assume that you need “help” just because you went out on “x” number of dates without getting married.
If a shadchan fixes up 50 dates and none of them leads to marriage, no one will urge the shadchan to go for help, counseling, therapy, or examine their ways. If a shidduch works out, the shadchan gets credit for “making a match”, but if it doesn’t work out, it’s always the fault of the singles. Funny how that works.
It may be that you made some mistakes in your dating history, and if that is the case I hope you are able to identify them and learn from them. At the same time, it is almost impossible for anyone to date without making some mistakes along the way, and it is not necessary to pitch a perfect game to get married. As long as you are really going about it with your head and heart in the right place, and trying to find ways to make it work when there is potential instead of looking for reasons to say no, then you are doing well enough to get married. All it takes is for Hashem to put the right person in your life who is doing the same and shares the important things in common with you. You don’t have to be perfect, and you don’t have to find problems with yourself (or pay others to do so) just to have a “reason” why you are still single.
I’ve said this many times, and I’ll say it again. If things were a little different, many people who are married today — and who think they figured it all out — would still be single, and many people who are single would be married. I wish for you to find the right one very soon and that it will be worth all the wait.