Thursday, May 13, 2010

Saying "NO," Now Available Without Artificial Sweetener

An anonymous female reader submitted a letter to that discusses her recent experiences with being led on by her dates, who gave off the impression that they were having a good time and wanted to continue going out, but then proceeded to give her "the talk" then dumped her, or just dropped her via the shadchan.

I am very much against the idea of giving false impressions of continued interest, building up a person's hopes and then dropping a bomb on them that shatters their expectations. It's not nice, it hurts, and people who do that need to develop a greater sense of being considerate of the feelings of others.

However, I also wrote about making sure the girl always has a good time, which created some discussion in the comments with points similar to this girl's letter on Matzav. I think the author of the letter is correct that a guy has no right to play with a girl's emotions on any level, especially if he is falsely projecting a positive, "I see this going somewhere" aura.

If you're going to go on a date, regardless of which number the date is, both guy and girl must be open minded about the possibility about continuing, but realizing that there may not be a future either. Going on a date with a foregone negative conclusion in mind is just wrong. It's a waste of time and energy. It drags on the emotions and really serves no constructive purpose whatsoever.

One of the most tenuous things about shidduch dating is that until you've had The State of The Union Address, the ongoing relationship is very "touch-and-go" and could literally end after that evening's date. It's a part of the system that is both good and bad. Good, because it shows you're dating l'toeles with the goal of marriage in mind, and not just to have fun with someone of the opposite gender. Bad, because this can be a bit nerve-wracking, given that there is no real guarantee of a future in the relationship until you've had that serious talk about where "we" are going. At that point, instead of simply thinking about your own perspective and perhaps discussing your feelings with the shadchan or a dating mentor there is a real "couple" of sorts that has potential. That's when the barriers begin to really break down, and the concept of "us" is even tangible.

However, as I wrote in that post, even a positive outcome from that conversation doesn't mean that this is it. Nothing is certain until he gives her an engagement ring, and even then, as many people are unfortunately/painfully aware, engagements can be broken (I won't go further and mention how divorce is always a possibility, because no one ever wants to experience that - better a broken engagement than a get).

Life is filled with uncertainties of all sorts, but we should all make an effort to lesson the anxiety that is often part and parcel of the dating process. True, a lot is on the line when it comes to shidduchim, but that doesn't mean we have to be uptight about every aspect. Nor should we go to the other extreme and make believe that things are always so amazingly positive that we can give off a false impression to the other person. As Rambam is often quoted as saying, the shvil zahav, or golden mean is the objective means to properly conduct a successful shidduch campaign, causing as little hurt as possible (though no doubt any rejection causes pain) and G-d willing you too will come out at the end of the journey with a travel buddy for life.


  1. After reading the letter on Matzav, I only have one reaction: There is no good way to dump someone. Having been on both sides of the coin (being the dumper and the one being dumped) all you can do is try your best and hope that you're not leading the person on or dropping a bomb out of nowhere.

    Maybe the first guy wasn't trying to sugar coat it, but he was trying not to hurt her. And maybe the other guy didn't want to show that he wasn't interested because he was afraid of being rude. All you can do is try your best not to hurt the other person.

    Like you said, it is a shvil zahav, and hard to find the middle road.

  2. It definitely is hard to find the middle road. Though it really stinks to sense that someone isn't interested in you when you might be, it is better to know how they feel rather than think you have a chance and then find out you never did. At least I prefer knowing where I stand rather than believing something false. There is a way to be nice and courteous without giving the "interest" vibe. It's a hard call though, b/c some people enjoy getting to know other bichlal.

  3. Agav, I saw in many places that there was/is a prevailing attitude that it is better to give a get than break an engagement.

  4. Feivel ben Mishael - it's not as "agav" as you might think. In some circles (like Chassidic) the tana'im are so darn serious that it is much less costly to go through with the wedding and give a get than to break the engagement. It's a sign that in today's day and age the practice of tana'im really needs to be seriously reconsidered. I definitely think breaking an engagement cause a lot less emotional, psychological and even physical trauma than being forced to consummate a marriage and seriously harm a woman's image and reputation for her future marriage opportunities just for monetary concerns.


Comments are welcome, and greatly encouraged! I certainly want to foster open discussion, so if you have something to say about anything I've written, don't hesitate! I also greatly enjoy comments/critiques of my stories. But please, no spam.