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“I Have Something To Tell You…”

Michal Eisikowitz

You’re on the third date with someone you really like and you need to reveal classified information, be it a medical condition or a family secret. How to go about it? Those who have been there, share the right and wrong way to break the news, as well as personal stories of the agonizing process.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

lock and keyTiming it Right

In most cases, rabbanim recommend disclosing this sort of weighty info around the third or fourth date, or sometimes, just “when things start getting serious.” This, asserts well-known Lakewood shadchan, R’ Meir Levi, is a protective fence: Once the fifth date rolls around, both parties are usually way too emotionally involved to make unbiased judgments.

For Bracha, possible carrier of dyslexia, things got serious sooner than she’d expected. “At the end of the fourth date, my future husband asked if we could meet his parents. That was my cue — I thought Yikes! Better say something now!

Bracha spilled the beans — and then spent seven interminable days waiting, while her future husband consulted with neurologists and educational experts. “It was one of the hardest weeks of my life,” she remembers. “I couldn’t sleep; I could barely eat; I was sick from the tension.

“By nature, I’m very indecisive. I always assumed that choosing a life partner — a hugely momentous decision — would be incredibly hard. And, though this shidduch was going well, I hadn’t fully made up my mind yet. But suddenly, when I realized that I stood a good chance of losing him, it became crystal clear that this was the man I wanted to marry. The thought of the shidduch falling apart was agonizing.”

After a week, Bracha’s future husband finally got back to her with a “yes.” “When the shadchan called to say he was ready to continue, that was it,” she relates. “We were unofficially engaged that evening.”

In Kayla’s case, however, revealing her diabetic condition early on actually prevented needless anxiety. “I’d been told by my rav to tell before a real relationship developed,” she says. “I followed these guidelines, and so — even when my future husband was deliberating — I didn’t feel much angst, I wasn’t ready to get engaged yet, anyway. He was a nice boy, it looked positive, but that’s where it ended.”

 

Missed Opportunities

Jake was a successful 31-year-old Flatbush accountant, who had earned a reputation as a serious ben Torah. Impressed by a slew of reports and references, indefatigable Manhattan-based shadchan,Sandy, was determined to set him up with Tova, the accomplished older daughter of a close family friend.

Tens of phone calls and two years later, the date finally happened — and the couple hit it off instantly — finding numerous shared interests and beliefs. Three meetings later, however, Jake revealed that he’d had a seizure at age 25 (seizures can sometimes indicate personality disorders). He hadn’t had any symptoms since; the situation was under medical scrutiny, and he was a beloved, completely functioning member of his community. Tova discussed the issue with her parents and ultimately said, “No.”

“I was so disappointed,” recalls matchmaker Sandy. “And Jake? He was devastated. He called three months later and begged me: ‘Can you ask them to reconsider? I really liked her, and I know she liked me, too.’ ”

Sandy made tireless efforts over the next few months, tactfully suggesting that the family rethink the decision — but they were for naught. “Five years later, both Jake and Tova are still single,” she states sadly. “It’s a sorry story that hasn’t ended.”

 

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