In going through my journey as an older single, I’ve realized a few hard-core truths that I would like to emphasize in hopes of helping others do the same.
Firstly, it’s super important to involve an outside person, either a coach, mashpia, or therapist. I know the older one gets, the more we feel we know everything because we’ve experienced life. Still, the reality is that it’s hugely important to have a reliable person to go to with your questions and even feelings and to gain a different perspective often. It allows you someone who can help guide you and not control your decisions.
Often in Shidduchim, we are quick to make decisions on a whim without the ability to think things through. That’s why having an outside ear is so important. The right person can help ground you; they can help you sometimes be more objective and hopefully prevent unnecessary hurt for you and the other person.
Secondly, it’s important to make yourself ready for another person. While it’s not easy to do, and often you aren’t a hundred percent ready, one has to not just jump into dating cuz “I’m getting older” or “my friends are doing it.” If you were going on a long car ride, you wouldn’t jump in. Rather, you’d put in gas, check the mechanical system and make sure the tires have their air. The same is true in Shidduchim; you need a full body workup. Ensure you are mentally prepared or at least mentally and physically ready to date and work through the process. You may hit bumps in the road, but then you must decide if you will go straight or veer off into another path.
Unfortunately, if you don’t prepare yourself to date, you will likely hurt someone else. So while the preparation is for you, it also impacts someone else. So put yourself into the process, don’t play distant or “too busy,” and if you aren’t available and put in the effort, then be respectful and a mentch and don’t date.
Excuses are just that. It clearly indicates that you aren’t ready to date and aren’t interested in desirable results. Effort is important, and knowing where to put it shows your desire to date.
“Effort is important, but knowing where to make an effort in your life and relationship with others makes all the difference.” – Marilyn Atkinson. The journey of Shidduchim is hard enough that you don’t need to hurt someone over it; give it your all.
Last, but certainly not the least, use the time to focus on you and your Emunah. One might think it’s easier said than done, but we all face life’s challenges. Some may seem more difficult than others, but at the end of the day, Hashem runs the works, and ultimately it’s for the good. When things don’t work, it’s a reminder that Hashem has something better for you, and you just need to wait a bit longer.
Dating is an opportunity for growth but hopefully a healthy growth. It teaches you proper communication skills, how to become aware and sensitive to others’ feelings, and if all else fails, it teaches you what you truly need in a mate.
Take your time and invest in yourself. Each situation you go through and each date you meet is to bring yourself closer to the ultimate goal of finding your partner in life, finding your Bashert. And for those looking, may it happen very soon, with Hashem’s help.