How people get engaged to the ‘wrong person’
by Devora Krasnianski, founder of Adai Ad Institute
Of course, everything happens for a reason. Broken engagements and divorces, R”L, are all part of Hashem’s plan. Let’s try to understand how some mismatched people commit to marriage. That awareness can be helpful in avoiding that for yourself. Here we share several common enough relationship traps. Not to scare you… just something to think about.
Enjoy each other’s company, but didn’t look at the relationship as a marriage relationship. Marriage is much more than enjoying each other’s jokes and sharing some interests. The two people should discuss important topics to be sure that they are compatible for marriage and sharing a life together.
Infatuation, not love or respect. They are ‘in love’. And they are not thinking with their heads, but relying too much on their hearts. Real love is more about how I can show I care for the other person. Infatuation is more about how the other person makes ME feel. Real love is based on really knowing the other person. Infatuation focuses on the physical qualities and impressions about the other person.
Not sharing the important points and they come out later. Sometimes, people try to cover up important human flaws that can really impact a marriage. This can cause all sorts of problems – ranging from trust issues to the other person having to deal with something much larger than s/he can handle.
Ignore gut instincts. Going for her because so many things add up, even though his gut says otherwise. On paper, the shiduch makes sense. There are so many wonderful qualities that he admires. Yet, he ignores or disregards the thoughts and concerns that are niggling in the back of his mind.
Personal biases/ commonalities. She ‘reminds me of me’, she has similar history or passions and then honing in on only those qualities and feeling comfortable with that person, and ignoring other aspects.
Insecurities. She can bring something to my life that I don’t know that anyone else can. And then he focuses on that and misses cues about other aspects.
Love the profile. She is a great catch – great family, great job, did impressive things, good looks, etc. and that colors your perspective. Marrying ‘up’. Being so excited that ‘someone so wonderful’ is interested in me. And then always feeling that you can’t keep up. S/he might realize it sooner or later and feel stuck with someone who really can’t keep up.
Being flattered. She knows just what to say to get you to like him.
Time pressure/ Desperation/ Sick of dating. Want to get dating over with. He’s been dating so long, and she is good enough. (There is a huge difference between ‘changing priorities’ and ‘settling’ because of desperation.)
Pressure from other people Others are saying that it is a good match. Or that you don’t need any more time to think about it. “You know enough about each other already, the rest you’ll find out when you are married.” Or, “Your mother really wants to see you married already.”
Been told getting engaged young or to the first person is such a bracha. Yes, it might be simpler for all if you do marry the first person you met. But it is not a special omen for anything.
Shared so much personal and afraid s/he will share This is not a reason to marry anyone!
You have to be comfortable with the decision to marry – from your head and your heart. Talk out your decision with a trusted unbiased mashpia or coach. Perhaps someone not so connected to you, someone who can see the relationship a bit more objectively.