Be wary of judging the shidduch by how much you enjoy the date

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The only realistic way to know whether you want to marry someone is to date them first. That means that there is a large one-size-fits-all situation, whereby all people are shoehorned into the same process, even though people are so different from each other. Until someone comes up with a better system, we are stuck with what we have. Still, it is important to be aware that someone could struggle during dating but be absolutely fine in marriage. The reality is that a date can be both difficult and successful – there is no inherent contradiction.

Ideally, you meet someone who is a great fit, you connect well with them, and are excited to have found someone with whom you can have a wonderful life. I wish this on everyone. 

However, a significant portion of people will find that with whoever they meet it is a struggle. This could be for some many different reasons, including a whole range of internal issues that may be getting in the way. Some people have more complex personalities, and there will always be some aspect of their character that does not fit easily. You need to understand that this is not uncommon; and if this applies to you, that is the reality. You need to live with it and deal with it. It is entirely your issue. Walking away from yet another date because it is not going easy will not solve anything.

During early dates

Dating is a highly artificial situation, whereby you are put in a position where you have to open up to a complete stranger about your own life. This is not something that you would do in any other situation. It should come as no surprise that not everyone is equally suited to the task. Many people take time to warm up and feel comfortable. It may take such a person several dates to hit their stride. This is completely irrelevant to their prospects of being a good spouse, as you will never have to repeat those early dates. Yes, it makes things a little more difficult at the outset. But, it is no indication of what life would be like with this person in the long-term.

You could find that your date is not as communicative as you would like. Perhaps it is important to you to marry someone with whom you could have lively conversations. So, you are obviously concerned. However, bear in mind that your date may be self-conscious and may take time until they can be themselves. Your date may be shy or nervous, and may require several dates to fully come out of their shell. No big deal. No one is holding a stopwatch. Clearly, if this persists or if you find out that this is how the person always is, then you have to decide if this is for you. The point here is that often it is a dating problem, not a real problem.

You may find that you are having a hard time opening up, and are questioning whether this is because you are uncomfortable with the person you are dating. It is certainly possible. But, here too, consider the possibility that dating is not really your thing. Many people are not really “dating people,” and find it hard to enjoy the experience regardless of who they are with. If the issue is with dating, and not the shidduch, this is going to continue to be an issue. So, you might as well come to terms with the fact you are not someone who enjoys the dating process, and treat it as a means to an end.

Later dates

As you go through the stages of dating, you find that you begin to struggle. In other words, it is possible that the first dates were a breeze, but then things jam up. It may be that the initial dates were simple for you, because you were sharing basic information. But now, you are expected to have several more dates “just talking” and you feel you don’t have a whole lot to talk about. Please understand that this too is normal. Some people find that without actually having a real-life relationship with someone, there aren’t that many things you want to discuss. You feel like you are forcing the conversation. Of course, you have to do the best you can to make the dates work, but it is okay if you are not “having the time of your life.”

And the same goes as you progress through the later dates. You may find the prospect of making a decision stressful. So long as you were just chatting, you felt calm and relaxed, but now that you feel it is “decision time,” you feel you are a ball of stress. There are a variety of reasons for this discussed in other articles, but it is not at all uncommon. It is important that you get clarity as to where the anxiety is coming from, to help you make a decision about marriage. But, it is also important that you understand that how relaxed or excited you feel is not the main indicator of the suitability of the shidduch. For a variety of reasons, you could feel quite uptight, even though your chances of having a happy and successful marriage are super high.

In summation: When judging the suitability of a shidduch, focus on the level of compatibility, how much you like the person, whether you share a common vision for life, and whether you can agree on things and resolve differences. Do not overstate the importance of every stage of the dating process being easy or enjoyable. That is not even close to the most important factor when evaluating your chances of a happy life with this person.

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