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The Smart Girl’s Guide To Shidduchim

Lisa Twerski, LCSW

You’re finally set up with a boy you like. But there are a few red flags. No one’s perfect, you think, but still — how can you tell what’s a real problem and what’s not? A seasoned therapist offers a refreshingly smart way to interpret and investigate those dating concerns

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

 Have you ever wondered why putting a shidduch together is compared to the difficulty of splitting the Red Sea apart?

Perhaps it’s because, when dating, finding the right one is also about splitting up from (or saying “no” to) those who aren’t a good fit. Yet sizing up a shidduch is not always a simple, clear-cut process, as I’ve learned while working as a therapist for more than twenty years. There’s a real art to distinguishing between a good shidduch and someone who merely looks like a suitable match.

When I meet with clients who are in unhappy marriages, they often admit that they spotted the first signs of trouble back when they were dating their soon-to-be spouse.

Bracha,* for instance, witnessed her husband’s fiery temper on their fourth date. “We were at a hotel lobby and when the waitress did something he didn’t like, he started yelling at her. I remember being so uncomfortable,” Bracha told me. “But I had heard so many positive things about him and everything else between us seemed to add up. The person I spoke with about this incident said that the information on his character was sterling from everyone she had spoken to. I was so confused about whether the outburst was significant or a minor occurrence. So I let myself be convinced that it was the latter, and just moved forward.”

I’ve seen far too many people in miserable marriages because they didn’t know how to interpret red flags or investigate question marks during the shidduch process. Years later, they’re left with regrets, wishing they had done things differently. My hope is that no one else has to end up in the same situation — that by learning how to date smarter, singles can avoid heartache … and find real happiness.

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