“Pressure-Cooker” Shidduch Time
by Devora Krasnianski, founder of Adai Ad Institute
Yossi and Leah
Yossi had summer plans that he was very excited about. First, he would spend 5 weeks as head counselor in a Gan Yisroel and then a few weeks of traveling to help Shluchim in some farflung, exotic destinations. He had worked out all the details months ago.
He found himself in a dilemma. He was in middle of dating Leah and there were only 13 days until his flight to camp. Things were going well enough. But it just didn’t seem that they would be ready to get engaged within the week or so, with enough time for him to go to camp. Leah had a few things that she wanted to figure out.
Of course, normally Yossi would have given her as much time as she needed. But he had these amazing summer plans and he had the responsibility to the camp. He did start dating Leah more than 6 weeks before the first day of camp; that should have given him more than enough time to get engaged and be ready for camp. But here it was less than two weeks until camp, and ….
The shadchan understood the problem too. If Yossi and Leah didn’t figure this out quickly, they would either have to continue dating long distance (which makes everything more difficult), hold it off for two months, or … So she decided that Leah needed a little pressure. After all, this was a perfect shiduch.
And so she called Leah directly. And put on the pressure. “You know, it’s almost summer; you both have summer plans. What’s taking so long? You already met for five weeks. By now you should know yes or no. You have to figure it out in the next days or so.”
So after an agonizing night, Leah just called it off. She couldn’t make such a life decision with that kind of pressure. BH for her, her parents and family were supportive of her decision, and didn’t try to push her in either direction.
Both Yossi and Leah each had a miserable summer. Yossi couldn’t understand what went wrong, they got along so well, they had similar values and life vision. Leah felt bad for hurting him. And she kept second guessing herself.
So how does Leah and Yossi’s story end? After many months of not dating anyone else, Leah finally got up enough nerve to ask another shadchan to approach Yossi again. And now they are married. Nice ending!
Mendel and Sara
Another story – same beginning, but different ending. Mendel and Sara, both wonderfully accomplished, capable, well balanced young people from good homes, were dating for a just a short time in June. Summer plans loomed closely and they got engaged, even though they weren’t 100% sure. Their parents and/ or mashpiim told them that nerves are common and nothing to really concern themselves with.
They each went onto their summer plans. With their very busy schedules and being in two different parts of the world, they barely had any time to really speak to each other. After the summer, Sara busied herself with wedding and apartment preparations and again they barely had time to talk.
So how does their story end? Not so well. There were many challenges. Two good people – but not compatible. Put it this way, their initial apprehensions were based on real issues.
Dating needs a clear head
During dating, each party needs to be able to feel his and her thoughts and emotions. There is enough pressure in a normal dating experience; there is a lot to think about, a lot to process. Not only are they considering if this is a good match, they are also wrapping their head around the upcoming changes in their lives. And they need the space to begin that emotional connection with each other.
External pressures, such as summer plans or ‘extended family is coming in for Gimel Tamuz so it is a good time for a lchaim’ (or any number of other things), make it just that much more complicated. And too often – even once is too often – they make decisions just to shirk that pressure, to make others happy. And oftentimes, it is not for their best. And they pay for that pressure for the rest of their lives.
Every Shiduch plays out differently; and each one needs the head space to make good decisions.