Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter



20/20 Shidduch Vision

Barbara Bensoussan

How do you achieve that much-vaunted clarity in the artificial light of the traditional shidduch date? How do you move the relationship along, tease out what’s negotiable from what is unacceptable? Nowadays, many befuddled singles seek the perspective of dating mentors or coaches whose broader life experience and insight help them navigate the fog. The common issues that threaten to stifle shidduchim are often fixable and, with the right mentor, the dater can achieve a happy white-lace conclusion.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

The first date is nearly always a little intimidating. Despite all the background checking, you never know who is on the other side of the front door. But whatever your first impression, it’s generally wise to reserve judgment until you know your date a little better. “First impressions aren’t enough — people react to superficial characteristics in both positive and negative ways, but you need more time to appreciate someone fully,” says Aleeza Ben Shalom, a Philadelphia-based dating mentor. Unfortunately, due to the influence of secular media, too many people mistakenly believe they’ll feel an immediate attraction to the “right one.” “Give yourself time to see who someone really is,” Aleeza warns. The initial meeting is also too soon to ask yourself if your date is someone you think you could marry. There’s enough tension on first dates without trying to figure out if he’s really Mr. Right. “That’s not a question for the first date,” emphasizes Rachel Burnham, a kiruv rebbetzin and dating coach in Maryland. “All you have to decide is whether you like the person enough to go out a second time.” Aleeza finds herself dispensing that same advice regularly. “The question ‘Is this my soul mate?’ should never be asked so early. It adds so much anxiety and pressure!” she says. Instead, she counsels, “Ask yourself, ‘Am I present in the moment?’ ” Focus on the interaction, and save the evaluating for later. Making conversation with a complete stranger is another first-date hurdle. For smoother flow, Aleeza suggests asking open-ended questions that can’t be answered with just one word. For instance, instead of, “Where did you move from?” ask, “Why did you decide to move?” This prompts your date to open up about his personal choices. Similarly, asking, “When did you start your job?” offers less of a lead than “How is your new job different from your old job?” If your date asks you a closed question, open up the topic by elaborating on your response and turning the question back to your date. Even if that first date feels stiff and awkward, or your date seems jaded or closed, Aleeza believes in giving it another chance. Singles who have suffered many disappointments become wary of warming up on the first date, she notes. “When in doubt, go out. Most people relax over time.”

To read the rest of this story, please buy this issue of Mishpacha or sign up for a weekly subscription

Share this page with a friend. Fill in the information below, and we'll email your friend a link to this page on your behalf.

Your name
Your email address
You friend's name
Your friend's email address
Please type the characters you see in the image into the box provided.
CAPTCHA
Message


MM217
 
What’s in a Name?
Shoshana Friedman “What does Writer X have to say this week?”
Atonement — Fake and Real
Yonoson Rosenblum White confessionals and faux rituals
Four Walls Coming Full Circle
Eytan Kobre All the while, there’s been a relationship in the offing...
And Yet We Smile
Yisroel Besser We are the nation that toils to be happy at all costs
Out of This World
Rabbi Henoch Plotnick Dirshu Hashem b’himatzo — we are in Hashem’s company now...
Steven and Jonathan Litton
Rachel Bachrach The co-owners of Litton Sukkah, based in Lawrence, NY
Tali Messing
Moe Mernick Tali Messing, engineering manager at Facebook Tel Aviv
Sick Note
Jacob L. Freedman “Of course, Dr. Freedman. Machul, machul, machul”
Avoiding Health Columns Can Be Good for You
Rabbi Emanuel Feldman Only one reliable guide for good health: our Torah
Endnote: Side Notes
Riki Goldstein Most Jewish music industry entertainers have side profes...
Me, Myself, and Why
Faigy Peritzman Where there’s no heart and no love, there’s no point
Can’t Do It Without You
Sarah Chana Radcliffe When you step up to the plate, you build your home team
Eternal Joy
Mrs. Elana Moskowitz The joy of Succos is the fruit of spiritual victory
The Appraiser: Part III
D. Himy, M.S. CCC-SLP and Zivia Reischer Make sure your child knows his strengths
Hidden Special Needs
Rena Shechter You won’t see his special needs, but don’t deny them
Dear Wealthy Friend
Anonymous There’s no need for guilt. I am truly happy for you