Hi, I was just your typical 19 year old Seminary girl in South Jersey (if you don't know where I mean, you are probably on the wrong blog). We all have nisoynos, challenges, and experiences, both positive and negative. Here is where I have decided to share some of them.

Location: Lakewood, New Jersey, United States

Monday, October 31, 2005

Shidduch Pressure

I was drawing a blank on what to write about. But lately, I am receiving a lot of email about pressure and Shidduchim, not to mention my own current situation, so it got me thinking. The Girl's latest post clinched it.

It seems that whatever I do lately is my fault, according to my parents. Either I don’t dress ‘eidl’ , or too frumpy, too plain-looking, too flashy, etc.. My father is always telling me I have no Shidduchim, because, I am too lackadaisical and lazy about it. Yet, whenever I express a lot of interest, other people in the community perceive me as being over-aggressive or nebby . I am really not sure what to do anymore.

A friend of mine emailed me, that her father is pressuring her a lot to get married. However, whenever a name is suggested , the mother procrastinates until the boy moves on, and the father feels too awkward to take any action.

Another friend, waits a long time before a date is set up, and then is very indecisive. But, she desperately wants to get married with every fiber of her being.

Unfortunately, I have witnessed some very good girls crack under the intense pressure of Shidduchim. Recently, a close friend of my parents married their daughter off at the ripe old age of 21. Now, she is getting divorced, because they discovered that the boy is bi-polar, and prone to erratic mood swings. They tried for months to make it work. But, when he threw her into a wall in a fit of rage and threatened to hit her with a broom, that was the last straw.

Another girl, I knew was the last one in her class at Tomar Devora to get married at 18, an Alter Fro (old lady). She was very relieved to be out of the vice-grip, until he was raping and beating her. It took 3 years to obtain a Get, and her life was threatened several times.

The point of this post is not to tell horror stories (although it is Lhavdil, that day) . But rather, to realize that stress inflicted by well-meaning parents, and the extreme-pressure of a system that has gone insane, can and does traumatize girls, that results in depression and nervous breakdowns, or Chas-V-Shalom bad decisions you will regret for the rest of your life..


Blogger Elster said...

Yep - But you aren't telling us anything that we (and more importantly you) didn't already know. It's the way of the worlds we live in. The "frummies" need to get married as quickly as possible. Most of the time it works out, sometimes it doesn't. It's all a kick in the head, no?

I guess all you really can do is try and make sure it doesn't happen to you. As selfish as that sounds, finding your bashert/eizer kinegdo/soulmate is all about you. At the end of the day, your father or mother don't have to spend 12 hours a day with the guy or (pardon me) sleep with him. You do. keep that in mind. And if you aren't ready, then you aren't ready. (If you scroll back to my early early posts, you'll see a couple which deal with people who rush to get married.)

But you are a smart girl, you know all this. The problem is implementing. Good luck.

10/31/2005 4:35 PM  
Blogger YM said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10/31/2005 6:29 PM  
Blogger YM said...

This long article was in the NY Times yesterday: After reading this, I think that Elster's comments make the most sense.

10/31/2005 6:33 PM  
Blogger ms. shtark said...

no comment!:-)

10/31/2005 7:30 PM  
Blogger FireJew said...

Not surprising. I'm coming up on the ripe old age of 24, and unfortunately, I've been stigmatized (forget that I go to a secular law school, out of the tri-state area). I felt pressured and got engaged to someone, who was completely not for me (and seriously mentally disturbed, as I found out). Most of my friends are working on their second kid (and not working on anything else, besides the shver's business). Best of luck!!

10/31/2005 7:32 PM  
Blogger Halfnutcase said...

i think people really have forgoten, in their quest to out do every one else, about the realities of marrying someone off, and for better or for worse, they're forgetting that g-d makes his matches when and how he wants to. not to mention that this whole additude about secrecy in shidduchim is really undermining the system

to illustrate with a midrash:
there was once a wealthy roman matron who asked a rabbi what g-d spent his day doing, and the woman said: "making matches? that is not so difficult! i'll pair up all of my male and female slaves tonight and then to i will be like g-d!" so she went home and did so, and it was a day later that bedlam broke out and this wife was beating her husband with a pan, and this husband hit his wife with a club, and all the matches where failing misserably. she then went to the rabbi and conceeded that making matches was indeed a task for g-d.

the think i find scary is that the shadchanim and perents are acting like this very woman who, despite what where probably very good efforts (i dont think that she was truely stupid enough to think she could just pair them up!) she paired essentialy, hundreds of thuroughly innapropriate people together in her appearant haughtiness to make the matches.

i think that somehow the people doing this need to learn a bit of paitence and humility and stop dictating to g-d how to make his matches.

i have some other worthless points about the secrecy in shidduchim if anyone is interested. sorry for the rant in you're comments section.

10/31/2005 8:50 PM  
Blogger Moochy said...

Wait a minute...

So the chasidish way of (non)dating aint so bad after all??? com on give me a break, enjoy the hunt!!!!

10/31/2005 10:26 PM  
Blogger nuboy21 said...

SG,I totaly understand where you are coming from. I went to yeshiva in Lakewood(high school). I have plenty of freinds in lakewood that are going through the same thing. Fourtanley i got out of the lakewood thing before it was to late.Though i am gratefull for spending time there it did and still does help me in my life. The best advice i can give you, for whatever it is worth, is to just do your own thing dont worry about what evreyone else says. You sound like a great girl and the last thing anyone need to it have a 2month old marriege. feel free toemail me there is so much i can say about this topic. Unfortanatley sevral of my Lakewood freinds just broke off their engagments.

10/31/2005 11:04 PM  
Blogger Semgirl said...


No need to apologize, vent all you want. Hope you are feeling better then you were last week on your blog.

10/31/2005 11:42 PM  
Blogger Halfnutcase said...

semgirl, one point about the mentioning the bi-polar husband is that, the problem there is not the pressure to get married, the problem in a thoroughly unhealthy additude about the mentaly ill so prevelant in the jewish world. i think that,
1 we need to be more upfront about these issues.
2 we need to be looking for the benifite of the children not for the perents
3 we very badly need to learn about what is best for these kinds of people and be honest about it.

these people deserve suitable matches also, but only if they are willing to commit wholy to their spouses and to fighting that desiese. which means they have to be doing what the doctor says. personaly my suggestion would be to pair them up with a girl who has a friend with a similar problem so she knows how to deal with it. (and longer engagements in case the other partner assessed it wrong

11/01/2005 7:29 AM  
Blogger Y.Y. said...

i was in the same situation as every shidduch that didnt happen my parents told me its my fault
but i clearly uncovered their BS finger pointing, by showing them how many shidduchem they threw awaw for big time nonsense.

11/01/2005 12:27 PM  
Blogger Michelle said...

This shidduch system is in dire need of repair. It sucks. I mean it. I hate it. The only good thing abuot it is that the Shadchan dumps the guy for you.

As for the people being bi-polar and such, it is so true and scary how many of these things are around nowadays. I had an experience that demonstrates this frightening phenomenon of marrying almost a complete stranger. One of the many things I got from that, including always having mental-illness awareness in the back of my mind, is at the risk of sounding like a Yenta, get as much info as you can. That's not a guarantee, but once in a while you'll come across someone honest who will tell you about this person's tendencies.

There was a girl in my class in HS who had a nervous breakdown in front of the whole school. When she got engaged, and I heard from someone who knows her and knows the Chosson well, that he has no idea about the nervous breakdown, I got nervous. But here she is married, and seemingly normal. Which makes me wonder, how can someone like her be married, and so many sane, good, smart, etc. people still be single well into their 20s and 30s?

I know everything happens for a reason, and that everything comes in the right time, but sometimes it's a lot harder to accept.

11/01/2005 3:56 PM  
Blogger Elster said...

Wow. WOW. Michelle that is way harsh. Do you honestly believe that because someone once had a nervous breakdown they are not "sane, good ,smart, etc."? That's madness.

It's one thing to worry upon someone's mental condition because there is ACTUAL reason to do so, but having a nervous breakdown makes someone insane? Wow.

As for your other issue: I think part of the dating/shidduch problem is that people get way too hung up on "getting info". What's the big deal? Go out with someone first. Most people really are "normal" (or at least with in three degrees of it). If you spend too much energy looking for issues, you will find them.

11/01/2005 4:21 PM  
Blogger Halfnutcase said...

i'm just guessing that majority is that certain types of people have no right to any shidduch due to external labels, regardless of how they are currently doing? thats what this seems to be pointing to.

one question: what would be said of someone who came out and told you he/she was bi-polar or schitzophrenic? but adding that it isn't severe, would you believe them, or drop it on the spot?

11/01/2005 6:37 PM  
Blogger Semgirl said...


That is precisely what happened in the case mentioned. While dating, he treated her like a queen. A few months after marriage suddenly his condition took a turn for the worse and he became very violent.

I would say ABSOLUTELY dont trust Shadchanim or Rabbis involved with the family. If you have no other options, or you are totally in love with him/her insist on a note from a very competent therapist, preferably someone outside the community who can be objective.

11/01/2005 6:45 PM  
Blogger Karl said...

I think we all know the shidduch "system" - just a bunch of yentas pulling names out the phone book and a very superficial society. I have found there is very little point of 'fnding out information' as people always only tell you the good things and conveniently don't know about anything else. Best thing to do is find someone who knows the two of you/family, who will see if its suitable.

People do change; so often a breakdown years beforehand (or any info from 'old' sources) often wont mean a thing or have any relavance to the current person.

11/01/2005 6:54 PM  
Blogger The Rabbi's Kid said...

go out with them long enough to get to know them properly - if they are right for you after two months they will be right after sixm, but at least u will have discovered much more about them

11/01/2005 7:09 PM  
Blogger Halfnutcase said...

if they still haven't given the get yet, then this site may be helpfull

if you have questions i can answer some, i have, R"L, personal expiriance in this area, so feel free to ask. i, many appologies feel a need to point this out if it might save an otherwise good match. if it doesn't help here mabye it will help someone else.

11/01/2005 9:35 PM  
Blogger Josh said...

Getting married isn't easy...on any system. It takes lots of emotional investment, and, surprise, time. The two most important things to a sane, successful hunt are: 1) Give people a chance, and 2) Give yourself a break. Take the time to be yourself and to let those you date reveal themselves.

11/01/2005 9:43 PM  
Blogger yingele said...

Karl said 'I think we all know the shidduch "system" - just a bunch of yentas pulling names out the phone book and a very superficial society. I have found there is very little point of 'fnding out information' as people always only tell you the good things and conveniently don't know about anything else. Best thing to do is find someone who knows the two of you/family, who will see if its suitable.'

And for the rest, you will have to trust in God.

11/02/2005 3:29 AM  
Blogger powder said...

I dont think being pressured into marraige will automatically make you saddled with the community schizophrenic.
I DO think parents are blinded by Yichus, or money, or just the pressure to get their children married and will agree to anyone.
I think its a big problem when parents or Rabbis or friends or teachers hide certain facts and unfortunately marraiges are ended as a result.
Research is SOO important, one should call EVERYONE! More importantly, find out who ISNT his/her friend, and call them too.
Guys will know who had the tendency to get drunk every Motzei Shabbos, and girls will know who used to throw up in the bathroom after every lunch. I know people are worried about Lashon Harah when it comes to what to say when someone asks you about a potential shidduch, but this is a persons future you are dealing with!
I once was called and asked point blank about something I knew a girl in my high school had done, and her future mother in law was the one asking me. I had to ask a Rav how to proceed.
Anyway, Semgirl, I know this isnt what you posted about, and I dont know how old you are either, but please, dont worry. Making shidduchim are as hard as "Kriyas Yam Suf", and everyone finds their Beshert in their own time.
Sometimes your parents want you to marry someone you dont. Maybe you need to broaden your horizons and look into a different type of guy. Good luck!

11/02/2005 7:37 PM  
Blogger Elisheva said...

Gosh! Shidduchim! Like you can write for months and not cover anything of this topic!

Semgirl you touched on so much and like all the comments are sad and true and like maybe helpful in pointing out the major problems with the system. But like all this won't help. Somehow we have to stop talking and do things differently.

I know this sounds good but like so isn't happening. I just wish there was a clear direction and I think so many people, like us here, would be glad to do stuff differently.


11/03/2005 2:22 AM  
Blogger Pragmatician said...

Well said Semgirl!
Insane is the exact word.
I'm horrified by these stories, unfortunate much less shocked than I would’ve been a year ago.
I think online dating is giving boys and girls new avenue to work on Shidduchims without their parent's meddling and pressure.
Btw does anybody have a Shidduch for my wife's friend? She’s 19 and her parents are DESPERATE!!

11/03/2005 3:42 AM  
Blogger MC Aryeh said...

The pressure to marry young is enormous, but there is a reason for it: it is much more difficult to find someone once you reach your mid-20s to 30s - you are much more set in your ways and have already started on your life path - without someone else in it! If you marry at 18-19, you are growing into who you will become with your spouse. That said, much better to take the time to get to know someone and marry the right person than to jump into a marriage at 19 so as not to be an "old maid" at 22.

There is only so much checking a person can do beforehand. Time spent with each other in different situations over a period of time will give you a better sense of each other than any phone calls to rebbeim and rebbetzins will.

But if you do make those calls, it's important to ask the right questions. I have learned the hard way that you can often get a very different (and more accurate) answer if you ask point blank "are they emotionally stable"? rather than a generic "are they healthy with good middot?"...

Wow. That's way longer than I intended...

11/03/2005 6:58 AM  
Blogger Isaac Kaplan said...

I think the roots of many of these issues of our community result from the clash of the Hasidic/European template of shiduch/love/marriage with American society in 2005's template, as influenced by Hollywood, the media, etc.

1) The Hasidic approach says you can meet a guy/girl once, see them next by your wedding, and live a long and happy life. The parents will generally do research to check out the yichus and how much dough the potential michutunnim have, but the kids mostly go along with whoever they get set up with. The family reputation is a HUGE factor here, possibly the ONLY factor.

On the wedding day, do the guy and girl love each other? heck, they're lucky if they even KNOW each other! But for the most part (and I'm sure that community has its share of horror stories, too), the system works. Many people fall in love after the wedding, and live happy and content lives together.

2) But in the secular world 2005, if you don't love the guy/girl when you walk down the aisle, you're nuts! In all the movies, we see "love at first sight," or at least the extended development of a very long-term relationship between a single guy and girl. And of course, in the secular world these days, there's all sorts of physical contact (and beyond) before marriage.

And what the parents think, or who the machatonim are, that's just not a huge deal.

---- I'm not here to say which system is more kosher or practically better. But I will say that our community is screwed up because it's torn and confused between the two visions. There's an inordinate focus on family reputation. We have people seeing each other sporadically for maybe 2-3 months and then getting engaged. Has the guy seen the girl in all her moods, or just all perked up on a date? Does the girl really know what the guy's all about? Or is the most inportant thing that the parents are happy with their machatonim?

And do they really love each other, at that point? Sometimes, I'm sure they do. But oftentimes not. And can such people, in today's world, really wait till after the marriage to love one another? No way.

Our community has to recognize the fact that times have changed and that old approaches and their influences are passe, and as we've seen, sometimes dangerous. For example, if it means going out for longer before committing, and getting to really know and love someone before one commits, so be it. And if it means the parents not freaking out and saying "what do the neighbors think," so be it. Etc. Etc. Etc.

Wow, that was a long one. Sorry.

11/03/2005 9:11 AM  
Blogger Semgirl said...

Elisheva .. WELCOME BACK.. I was starting to get worried about you.
Hope all is well with you..

Consider this a virtual hug...

11/03/2005 1:34 PM  
Blogger Halfnutcase said...

HNC also welcomes elisheva back.

incidently i think the shidduch system would work a lot better if the two people who are making the shidduch (one representing each) know the couple extreemly well, and they discuss all the issues BEFORE they suggest the shidduch instead of suggesting it on a whim.

11/03/2005 6:52 PM  
Blogger Me said...

I agree with HNC. From my experience, a shidduch is only worthwhile setting up if the shadchan knows both people extremely well and knows they will be suited to each other.

The other shadchan alternative - suggesting random boys for random girls - is exactly that - RANDOM. It's a hit or miss affair. Sometimes it works. Sometimes it doesn't.

It's like putting together the perfect outfit. You see a certain dress in one store, and a certain pair of shoes in another. You could guess that they would go well together, but unless you "know" the pieces individually very well, it may not match. If you had both the dress and shoes already in your wardrobe, you would know straight away whether or not they would go properly.

Except marriage is a whole lot more serious and risky than choosing an outfit...

11/03/2005 10:34 PM  
Blogger nuboy21 said...

I hate to sound so cold and callous, but they i look at the whole shidduch thins is like a bussniess deal.The truth is, it is a huge decision and should only be about you. You cant let other people hijack your life. I forget all about what everone else says and try to see if there is anything in it for me if not move on. I know this sounds real bad but in todays world with all the other pressure thats how i deal. I dont think it will work in Lakewood but i may be wrong.

11/04/2005 12:51 AM  
Blogger Halfnutcase said...

appearantly the statistic is that the people who married and stayed married for a long time had dated less than twelve people

thats an increadible testiment to just how much hand in it g-d has. and its also a word to the wise, if you have rejected more than 12 reasonable shidduchim, you are probably too picky (and by reasonable i dont mean people you would not date if you didn't have to in retrospect)

11/04/2005 8:14 AM  
Blogger Semgirl said...

Me: on the other hand I have stuff in my closet for years that just doesn't fit or go well with anything.

Yet, I can go to Macys or Filenes, or occasionally Nordstroms and something catches my eye and it just feels right.

Take my parents for example. My mother was set up with a number of guys by her best friend who knew her intimately, and her family knew the boy for years and nothing came of it. Then some Rebbe in a yeshiva told my father, just call this girl out of the blue. All he did was look thru a pile of index cards and see who he didn't get a date for in a very long time and felt bad for.Long story short, 22 years later they are very happy.

11/04/2005 12:04 PM  
Blogger ClooJew said...

While everyone is criticizing the Shidduch system and highlighting all the horror stories, stop for a second and answer, lulei demistafina, the following questions:

1) Do you believe that the secular "system" of dating--bars, parties, etc.--is a successful way for people to meet "naturally"?

2) Do you have many secular friends, Jews or Gentiles, who are trying to get married (as opposed to simply having fun) and claim that dating is a fun and enjoyable process? Do you believe they have fewer horror stories than you do?

3) Do you believe that the horror stories outweigh the positive ones? Do you believe that the shidduch "system" has created more unhappy marriages than happy ones?

4) Do you believe that secular people who date for several years before getting married have, on the whole, better marriages and fewer divorces?

5) Do you accept at face value somebody's claim that an ex-spouse or ex-fiance was "mentally disturbed" without having met the person in question? Do you believe you have the wisdom and/or training to know when someone is "mentally disturbed"?

6) Do you believe that being bipolar is more prevalent or less prevalent than having cancer? Do you believe that being bipolar is more shameful or less shameful than having cancer?

11/04/2005 1:09 PM  
Blogger FrumGirl said...

Cloo... since you asked me what I thought and I think SemGirl did a great job in her post, I will respond to your questions:

1. I do not believe the secular way of meeting people is more natural. I think the best way to meet people is through mutual friends who know both parties well.

2. I don't believe anyone in the secular world thinks serious dating is a fun time. It's a difficult thing and there are lots of expectations that lead to disillusionment.

3. The horror stories are different of course. They cannot be compared.... As for shidduch system... WHAT system is that? It's a joke!

4. Those who date for years and even live together before marriage have no guarrantee at all... in fact I believe a study shows that those living together first have a HIGHER rate of divorce....

5.&6. There is a stigma in our society where if any mental illness is mentioned that person is treated like a pariah. It is just a fact. Yes it is considered shameful... there is nothing shameful about cancer....

11/04/2005 3:32 PM  
Blogger Needsabetterjob said...

The main problems are caused by the parents. You know, no one is good enough. This you always had. To add to this, you have more issues and materialism in the frum world, so parents take it upon themselved to protect their 'naive' children. This causes friction and delays as was mentioned.
Personally, I am already pretty concerned about this for my children, being that one of them is very ultra frum, the others less so. I am quite concerned that based on material considerations, most of the boys might not even go through w/ the date when they look at our house, even tho, thank G-d, she is extremely attractive. (I say this not bec. I am her father but I have seen males stare after her when we walk, lol). So this whole idea of Bitachon, is hard for me to accept, when I see what the society has become. At that point, it would be logical to lower her frumness standards and date people who are not as hung up on the material side. But years can go by before someone makes this leap. I try to get her to go to some of these co-ed youth groups but she won't. I only think it is important to look out for yourself for the future, because knowing alot of people is a good way to meet someone, as opposed to the Shadchan way, of sitting back and waiting for the phone to ring.

11/06/2005 12:21 AM  
Blogger Semgirl said...


As her father you dont mind that they stare. My father isnt so easygoing.
Dont kid yourself the "less" frum circles are just as much into material things, if not more so.

Be proud of her, for not wanting to go to Coed events. You dont have to only wait for the Shadchan's phone to ring. You and your wife should also actively and aggressively be networking with friends, neighbors, relatives, ppl at shul, etc..

Even, is a better alternative, to singles events where my very limited experience has been that there are just a lot boys (and I mean literally boys, as opposed to mature men), that are just looking to act very inappropriately, and be very disrespectul to the girls.

11/06/2005 9:55 AM  
Blogger ClooJew said...


I put "system" in quotes because I don't beleive that the shidduch system is, lulei demistafina, a system.

11/06/2005 12:29 PM  
Blogger Lost said...

There are lots of scary stories, however there are two sides to e/ coin .. and shidduchim work out well for a lot of pp. Personally, I dont think it would work for me, cuz i want to know as much as i can about the person bfore i decide to spend the rest of my life with them; and i dnt think that aspect is 'covered' in the shidduch system. A lot of wat pp find out is heresay which can lead to the bipolar issue etc. But in necase, g'luck with the search... right prson, right x. -lost

11/07/2005 12:28 AM  
Blogger fsgsf said...

Pretty scary stuff!


Nj from NJ

11/07/2005 10:38 AM  

you all need to masturbate more and figure it out youselves

11/07/2005 11:26 AM  
Blogger nuboy21 said...

Wow thats random

11/07/2005 3:19 PM  
Blogger Lost said...

Oh and re the whole "Nervous Breakdown" thing, I would have to agree with Elster. I honestly don't think that any of us are qualified to recognize a Nervous breakdown. A girl had one of these breakdowns in front of her whole school...basically the whole school she was nuts, turns out it was a panic attack. due to anxiety. but of course, girls made it out to be a nervous breakdown.

These girls who have panic, anxiety, nervous breakdowns.. WTVR, can be just as normal as a/o else. And a lot of times, these girls who seem to be "normal", sane individuals, are more screwed up than the former. Never judge when it comes to these things. You know waaay less than youd like to think. If youre a mental health professional, its a diff story.

11/07/2005 5:03 PM  
Blogger Elster said...

Cloo - The issue may not be shiduch "system" vs modern system.

Overall, I think the so called "system" (Which you say isn't really a system at all, but I digress) works just fine. Perhpas the issue is when you take the BOY and GIRL out ofthe equation of do TOO MUCH RESEARCH or BELIEVE ANYTHING YOU ARE TOLD ABOUT SOMEONE.

Let's examine:

- The girl and boy need to be involved in the process. How can your frigging MOTHER know if someone is good for you if you are not even consulted?

- Look too much and you will find something bad. It's natural. Sometimes it's better to just freaking go out. At worst it'sa a date - a few hours of your time and some money out of your wallet./

- There are 2 sides to every story. If you choose to only hear one...

11/07/2005 6:13 PM  
Blogger Patt said...

dads are mad i know ive been one for donkeys years .Just distract him by pointing the other way and by the time hes turned aroun he will have forgot what he was talking about.goodluck with this.

11/08/2005 11:04 AM  
Blogger Josh said...

I'm with Elster (and probably the rest of the group too)- it all comes down to moderation (*gasp*). It's good to do someresearch, it's good to have someparental involvement, it's good to have somepickiness.

NABJ - Parents have a strong role in Shidduchim. I consider them "Chief Officer of Not Messing Anything Up." That is all. A Shidduch is not a marionette. You've spent 20 years training your child, let them make their own decisions and let yourself play a supporting role.

At the same time, dropping everything and running the opposite direction doesn't help anything. Take the "System" as it works for you. Think you need to date more than 2 months - go for it. Think his Hashkafa might be different - ask him about it. The point of the "System" is not to make matches before two people ever meet. All you need is enough information to make sure you're playing the same game- and then decide if you'd be good teammates.

11/08/2005 9:51 PM  
Blogger chuck said...

semgirl please dont be hard on your dad, he really want what best for you
your parents really want you to be happy more than you know
i mean do ya think they want you back home, divorced with a kid?
i promise that, b'ezras hashem, when you find yourself in this position in life, you and your hubby will be just as nervous as your parents are now!!
just remeber what it's like and dont take it out on your kid OK?

shadchanim mostly do this for the moola
get your (extended) family & friends to find someone they actually know like your brother chavrusa's downstairs neighbor who was so nice and helped with the succah etc
after all it IS a small world

11/10/2005 1:50 PM  
Blogger Y.Y. said...

Our father avraham was searching a shidduch for his son yitzchok he sent his slave to find a nice girl and he indeed found and brought rivka then it says in the verse there “and yitzchok married her and then he loved her”
So we see that the heimishe shadchan shidduch system can work fine as we see that there is no problem having a successful marriage if you marry a stranger and then you get to know each other and then you fall in love there is nothing wrong falling in love after marriage what is gained if you fall in love before marriage? One thing you got to lose is that the dating system that you fall in love and you propose out of that love what happens is that the marriage came to be only because of that love if the love should disappear then the marriage is over but the heimishe shidduch system where you married not out of love the marriage could still stay valid even though love is gone for a short time as it can always come back
(Im not here to advocate one way or another I just wanted to make some points)

11/10/2005 6:54 PM  
Blogger Mata Hari said...

What's your suggestion Semgirl?

11/11/2005 6:59 AM  
Blogger R.x said...

So many comments - so many thoughts. I can't respond to all of them so I'll settle for sharing my personal perspective on this.

I should say that I come from a very different (much less observant, for one thing) perspective. But I did marry young, in my frummer days, and it didn't work out. So, now you have my shidduch and divorce credentials, here's my take:

1. The communal/family pressure put on people to marry young makes many many young people very unhappy. Either because they rush into miserable marriages that they are unable to leave, or because they are considered 'on the shelf' by the age of 22. This has to be addressed by communal leaders and by young people themselves. The rise of online dating shows that young people are addressing this far more positively and successfully than communal leaders.

2. Higher rates of divorce among those who live together first do not indicate that marrying young is necessarily going to be more successful. We merely have a situation where divorce brings such stigma and social exclusion (I know this from first hand experience and, to the shame of the whole community, so does my young son) that people only contemplate divorce when there is physical abuse (and often, not even then). Our apparantly happy marriages often hide very unhappy people behind closed doors. I don't advocate 'my right to happiness above everyone else'. But there are many people who are spending years of their lives in misery, inches away from severe depression.

3. Being happily married is wonderful (so I believe!). But being unhappily married is more lonely than being single. And we have to impress upon young people that being in a bad relationship is never preferable to being in no relationship at all. Being single isn't a disease, a sign of failure or a stigma. In fact, it's a little like drowning. A fabulously exciting experience, once you learn to stop struggling to avoid it...

11/11/2005 8:40 AM  
Blogger Mata Hari said...

r.x -
practically speaking...the men in our community tend to get married young, therefore, if a girl wants the "best selection", she needs to get married young as well. if she waits until she's 22, 23, 24 (which i really think is a better age, given that you're old enough to have traveled, worked a bit,had some exposure to the world before settling down) - often the guys in the right age range are already married and there's less of a choice. that's just the reality.

11/11/2005 10:47 AM  
Blogger Jew Speak said...

Semgirl, I agree with you that the shidduch scene is not easy! Mishpacha magazine and horizons printed some good articles on the subject. Although our system may not be perfect it sure is doing better than the secular system. They are suffering a close to 60% divorce rate. Not to mention
35.7% of all births in the country are out of wedlock
! I can testify to this because my High School campus had a nursery school on campus!

For us frum dating Jews I think the more settled we are as individuals the easier it will be for us to get married. Like if we are really clear on who we are and what we want it will be easier to find the one.

I wish you hatzlach in finding your husband soon!

11/12/2005 2:48 PM  
Blogger JewishBiFemm said...

I met lots of boys! when my husband entered the room for the first time My heart beat was way to fast,I felt a click right at that moment that didn't happen with the others!

Love grows you live and learn to love respect no egos invloved and no my mom, my dad, your dad, your mom don't ever discuss parents! ever! later on maybe lol....

I wish you lots of hatzlacha! trust me you will feel when the right moment comes!

11/13/2005 9:13 PM  
Blogger Halfnutcase said...

sometimes things "feel" right before they "are" right. we're actualy learning about that kind of intuitive thinking now.

i can't help but wonder if arranged marraiges work better simply because the adolescent can only consider someone who has allready been filtered through at all levels, hence if it feels right, it's ok because those practicalities the adolescent is just not thinking of (most kids getting married aren't thinking much at all) has hopefully allready been thought of.

(not saying that people are thinking enough about them but anyways)

11/14/2005 8:25 PM  
Blogger BarbaraFromCalifornia said...

Thank you for honestly your views. As a mother of a 22 year old son, and a 20 year old daughter, it is good to hear the 'other side.'

Thank you as well for your kind wishes and thoughts about my daughter. This has been a painful and difficulttime for our family.

11/15/2005 9:42 AM  
Blogger David_on_the_Lake said...

Goodness I feel lucky. I didn't realize what a nightmare this was (scared for my kids). I married the first girl I dated.

11/15/2005 2:04 PM  
Blogger SS said...

I think that often the parents - yes, because they are nervous and scared and want the best for their kids - want more control. When I got engaged (after dating for exactly 4 weeks 6000 miles away from my parents), my parents tried to convince me that my then fiance wasn't what I had wanted. It simply wasn't true. I looked at my "list" and he met all the criteria. And I just knew it instinctively - I hadn't consulted the list once during those four weeks. But that was just a tangent because I like to share.

In short, we were set up by close friends who know both of us well, we didn't do a lot of checking out (if any; most of it was just for my parents to feel more confident), we didn't date for long, we shared everything we could think of, and we're reasonably happy most of the time. Love can be there when you marry, but whether it is or not, in a successful marriage, it grows with time.

11/15/2005 6:32 PM  
Blogger Dr. Dreykup said...

Hey SG - When a person feels they are ready to get married they have to ultimately have the final word on who they tie the knot with. Parents definitely try and do have influence but they're not the ones who have to kiss him goodnight every night the rest of their life - it's the most important decision of youre life and YOU have to make it. You can meet your bashert through friends, family, shadchan, or just bump into him on the street - there are success stories and bad endings with all of these alternatives - it's not how you meet him - deciding that hes the one which is what YOU have to be in charge of. Id love to hear what you think of the solution of my last post that I wrote on my blog!

11/15/2005 9:28 PM  
Blogger Josh said...

Ah, parents. Mine know their role (in my dating life). If somebody comes up to them and offers them a shidduch on my behalf, they know that I won't entertain it- unless the shadchan comes straight to me.

When the time comes, I'm sure I'll ask my parents for some advice. But the ball will be in my court.

11/16/2005 9:55 PM  
Blogger AbleVaybel said...

Hang in there, Semgirl! Dress as you are comfortable - wear becoming colors and styles, make sure your hair looks good, but don't worry about looking like a fashion plate. I don't think a lot of guys like too much make-up.

My husband and I met through mutual friends, and he knew I was his basherte from the first time we met - after having courted by mail for months. I thought he was full of American BS bravado - having been used to more reserved Europeans. But he was right, I was wrong and baruch HaShem we've been married for coming up on 10 years.

11/17/2005 11:29 AM  
Blogger Elchonon said...

Well i dont think there there is anything greater in judaism, Then creating a bayis ne'emen b'yisrael... Its so holy that one may leave eretz yisrael to find a shiduch. I personaly do not want to get married for another few years. I dont think i'm ready for it. My ability to save up money is not very great. I'm good at earning it and spending it.
Now me and my roomates have been broke for 2 monthes its a awsome expirience! Can you imagine NOT buying pizza or going to burgers bar for 2 whole monthes ?!?!

Baked potatos, Corn, and fish IS a good dinner!!

Yes i can ask my parents for money, Yes i can use credit card...

But what good will that do me at 40 with 10 kids ke'h ?

The creation of a shiduch is so great that its greater then childbirth. Hashem has to unite 2 complete opposites! Its greater then krias yam suf where hashem alterd the course of the water, and not only created a yesh m'ayin (something from nothing)
but hashem completely changed the nature of the water.

The lesson is, That yea we are all diffrent but hashem brings us together, But we have to change as well.

Your shiduch is out there! If only you knew the combination that defines me you would admit there there is a type of guy for every girl.

11/17/2005 9:13 PM  
Blogger CornyPorny said...

Poor you. such pressure!

11/20/2005 10:12 AM  
Blogger Semgirl said...

SS: IY"H by me..

Dr: Couldnt agree with you more.

Able: Thanks for your input and words of encouragement.

Elchonon: You are hilarious, though I hope you aren't over 30, and still feel like that..

11/20/2005 1:07 PM  
Blogger Elchonon said...

actually i'm 20 and feel like i'm 30! its bad enough that i supported myself since i was 15 (my choice, my parents wouldent pay for my smokes) i moved to israel at 17. i started a ebay business that makes decent money, i run a blog, i am active all day with political garbage plus runing to demonstrations and THEN my father tells me i should get a degree in political science... that is to say i went to yeshivas and took no english classes and i have no clue about algebra, calculus and any of that junk.

11/20/2005 7:21 PM  
Blogger turquoiseblue said...

Personally I think that every girl and boy in the shidduch stage, has to make a list of "Must haves", and the flexible points - the "Want to haves" and "Would be nice to have".

Making sure that "Must haves" are the absolute bare minimum, but of course, important stuff that matter. Like - "Good heart, similar hashkafa etc."

And then perhaps bounce it off someone they trust to see if they're being realistic.

Be open-minded when listening to potentials - and if you have very unreasonable parents - either screening their "potentials" - or going quietly to a trusted mentor/married friend on your own - asking to "read" shidduchim closer to what you want.

But no one in the shidduch stage, should EVER fool themselves into thinking, that they will really "know" the person they will be marrying - before they actually do. And live with him/her. With or without overbearing parents.

So in my humble opinion, it don't matter that you date 2 times, 3 times, 100 times, or 10 years - you will NEVER know all the potential pitfalls about this person. Neither will it help if you are at a more "mature" or "ripe" age than 18....

It's about good research, and to a certain extent RISK, but ultimately it's emunah and bitachon, that if you did yours... Hashem will help this be "the one" = your zivug.

Sometimes all the research in the world will not turn up that key personality defect, that may ruin a marriage.

And sometimes all the dating in the world - will not expose problems either.

It's about doing your part, by knowing your (reasonable) priorities, and ready to be flexible on the rest. And taking the plunge.

AND THEN - letting go of all the EXPECTATIONS on your list.

Actually - I had a little note taped onto my mirror during my engagement saying: Unhappiness is the gap between expectations and reality. And I really internalized it. And I also said to myself: Just like I aint perfect, I gotta accept my hubby the way he is. Cuz of course, I want him to accept me as is too. (It works!)

Believe it or not, we can LEARN to be flexible on MANY MANY things we thought we would NOT be able to.

But hang on to the REAL priorities that COUNT.

If he/she fits that basic profile - go for it.

You'll never get that "perfect someone". Because PERFECT doesn't exist.

Actually this reminds me of this woman - looking for a shidduch for her son saying "I'm looking for someone as pretty as my first daughter, as talented as my second, as smart as my third." And someone turning around to her and saying "HELLO, you yourself don't have all this in one girl - why do you expect your future daughter-in-law to be ALL THAT?

Actually - the point of my comment responding to the original post - got buried somewhere in between.

So I'll reiterate that: IF a girl/boy wants to get married - and the parents are keeping them back - for WHATEVER Reason (be they from chassidish, litvish, yeshivish, MO background or otherwise) you've got to build up some guts and do it yourself! Whether through a married friend/mentor etc... tell THEM what you really want/need - and ask for their help to find him/her.

And for those feeling "pressured" into marriage - and they absolutely, positively do NOT feel ready for it - well duh, JUST SAY NO! But then again, I never related to those that "needed more time"...

11/20/2005 10:29 PM  
Blogger Littleredridinghoodie said...

When I started dating, anyone who drank coffee was off the list, I was a make-up artist / personal trainer and I did not want coffee in my home. LOL My first fiance was a Rabbi's son closet drug addict, the second one I bough a coffee maker (espresso) for his house warming gift when he bough his new condo and the third had me eating red meat every night. All three were great guys all three were different, needless to say my list has not changed but there is no guy to this day that meets the # 11 criteria of "finished messing up and ready to settle down" in my life and I am not the sweet girl I was at 18 (It's almost 12 years later)

11/22/2005 4:58 PM  
Blogger Semgirl said...

That is so sad, Red. Iy"h, your odyssey should end soon, and you should meet the man of your dreams, who is hopefully also your Bashert..

11/22/2005 5:23 PM  
Blogger turquoiseblue said...

little red... how about tweaking it a bit.. something like: Ready to settle down, (and finished messing up - MOSTLY...)

Because life is a JOURNEY. And we all keep on messing up - to some extent... and fixin' the mess...

The fun part is to have someone cheering you on the side, sometimes advising, sometimes chiding...

It's worth compromising your "list" for a NICE GUY. And then enjoying the heck out of the relationship - focusing on all the good stuff.

Ya know, I just read something on AOL - about "emotional IQ" and how that is the BIGGEST factor in a great and lasting relationship... not how intelligent, successful, or rich one or both are... but how both care about each other and interact/react to each other - during fun times, sad times, happy times, trying times etc. Those are the successful relationships.

SO I say, we can all basically throw away "the list" - if the basics are there... and there's good "emotional IQ"...

And you know what, it's something that needs constant work. It's not like "achieve a high emotional IQ" and it's guaranteed. It's constantly tweaking it, and using it...

Alright. Getting off my soapbox now.

11/22/2005 7:22 PM  
Blogger Rebecca said...

I think it is really sad how crazy the shidduch process has gotten. I know background information is important but sometimes we go a little to far. Also, the pressure is crazy. I know someone who is just not ready but because of the pressure is convinced she is. It is really a bad situation

11/23/2005 9:34 AM  
Blogger Elchonon said...

its not that way in israel, crazy background stuff etc... I drink a few cops of coffe a day lol

i'm very open about my pro's and con's

i can get very sidetracted and lose track of time, i can be lazy... i smoke, hmmm i dunno what else

11/24/2005 10:32 AM  
Blogger turquoiseblue said...

Just in case you need some prompting... (Waiting for the next post!)

11/30/2005 9:22 PM  
Blogger Dave J. said...

so is this seminary in semgirl a pretty new sem (in its second year)

12/01/2005 6:00 PM  
Blogger Halfnutcase said...

so are the rest of us.

12/01/2005 6:32 PM  
Blogger Tanisha said...

Wow Semgirl I did not know it was that bad in many orthodox circles. The one I am in no one is pressured into marriage. THey take the time to find their beshert. I am sorry to hear about your friends. And believe me I have heard of such situation but mostly ones where they were looking for their beshert through Jdate or Frumsters and ended up getting something altogether different.. I believe this is the purpose of the community. TO keep THAT and not gossip from happening. I wish much success in finding your beshert and don't give into the pressure. It is not like your parents would disown you.. Remember that..

12/04/2005 9:32 AM  
Blogger my bald sheitel said...

i am so sad to hear these stories. i wish you the best of luck in negotiating this seeming minefield of shidduchim. it always sounded to me like the prescreening was strong enough to weed out scary cases like the ones you mentioned, but the more i learn about the process, the less i believe it.

12/08/2005 5:47 PM  
Blogger Halfnutcase said...

it happens that way i think because it seems to me mabye they are just not as afraid to lie/missrepresent things

12/08/2005 6:25 PM  
Blogger turquoiseblue said...

Alright SG, if you won't write then I will! (Just teasing, and also to let you know I'm beginning to write a blog of my own, so come on over to visit...)

12/08/2005 8:57 PM  
Blogger Eshet Chayil said...

Thanks Sem for the link. I was wondering what the hype was...
Commenting also on your post, I know what you're going through. I'm 20 and an old maid. I've been told if I don't get married soon, no one will even want to marry me. I think it's a chance I've been willing to take. But at times I'm not so sure.

12/09/2005 10:37 AM  
Blogger Esther Kustanowitz said...

You are 19. You should not be under this kind of pressure from either parents or community. But maybe that's why I'm not a part of that community.

12/23/2005 9:50 AM  
Blogger sol said...


First of all, I am really glad that you Jewish ladies and gents are having a discussion about people with mental illness and the positive and negative aspects of being married to a person with a mental illness. It is really difficult to find a Shidduch with a Jewish male or female once they know that you have a mental health issue. There is a large stigma attached to this.
But some of us, look and appear completely normal, we take medication, drive cars, make a living, are caring, responsible people. But we are labelled with this. Young people are more open and free-thinking and you should judge the person individually on their own merit. Every person has problems, some people get upset stomachs, some are more sensitive than others, suffering is suffering, it all hurts, of course there is the good too. A person with a mental health issue, if they are being responsible,(if they have come to that stage) than there is a great insight that a mental healthy person can get from being with them. I suggest you find out more and check out on the net what schizophrenia, depression, bipolar, anorexia, bulemia, body-dismorfic disorder, agoraphobia, anxiety disorder, panic attacks, etc. are.

Thank you for having the courage, sensitivity, and honesty to discuss this issue.

1/20/2009 5:37 AM  

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