It’s wonderful when others do their best to help singles by redting shidduchim or by including them in their families when the single doesn’t have any local family to go to for meals or yamim tovim. When I was a teenager, I remember four single men who used to come for Shabbos and Yom Tov meals. They became part of the family. They felt comfortable coming to our home and we felt comfortable having them. They were over very often, many calling my parents on a Thursday night saying they didn’t have any plans for Shabbos, asking if they can join us. My parents always welcomed them and said they were invited whenever they wanted and never had to wait for an invitation. Most of those men are now married. My parents can’t take credit for setting them up with their wives, but my parents did redt them each several shidduchim over the years. We felt like a member of the family got engaged when we heard the wonderful news when one became a chasan. My parents used to joke that it was a s’gulah for a single man to have a Shabbos meal in our home because he would soon became a chasan. (Unfortunately, the s’gulah did not work for me, because I ate every Shabbos meal at the same Shabbos table, and it took me a looooong while to become a kallah!)
Recently, I received an email from a fellow who was feeling hurt by the actions of people he considered family. He, like the single men who ate at my house, is very close with a particular family. The family treated him as one of their own, but once the eldest son entered into the shidduch parshah, he felt pushed aside. They no longer assisted him or tried to redt him shidduchim as they had before, but now, according to the writer, solely focused on getting their son married.
I live in New York but grew up in another state, in a small city with not many opportunities to date. I moved to the New York area about six years ago for the dual purpose of finding a good job and dating. Thankfully, relatively soon after I moved I found a job that I love. Unfortunately, finding a wife and dating has been harder.
I’m a friendly, sociable guy. I’m the fun uncle to my nephews and nieces. I don’t have an issue speaking with people. So when I moved, I didn’t think twice about speaking and meeting new people. I started to speak with men I saw at minyanim, and soon they began inviting me to their house for Shabbos meals or trying to redt me a shidduch. There is one particular family that took a liking to me and I to them. More often than not, I would eat one if not both Shabbos meals with them. The wife would even pack leftovers for me to take home so I had a decent meal to eat during the week. I was invited to a few basketball games with the husband and sons. It really felt good to have this connection to the family. They would also try to redt me shidduchim. The wife asked me for my shidduch resume years ago, and I know that she would go to shidduch meetings on my behalf. She would also tell me or email me when she would hear about a singles event that she thought I may be interested in.
All seems fine, right? Six months ago things started to change. At first it was subtle and I had to tell myself I was imagining it, but now I know it’s not my imagination. I used to be a ben bayis and really felt like one of the family. But ever since their eldest son started to date, it’s like they’ve almost forgotten about me. Now, while I still get invited for Shabbos meals, the last time I received a call or was spoken to in regards to a shidduch was months ago, and I know that they are now doing for their son what they did for me. It’s understandable, but I just can’t understand why I was dropped like a hot potato. It’s hurtful. I’m more than a few years older than their son. We aren’t even looking for the same type of girl. It’s not like we are after the same thing. Why can’t they help both of us at the same time?
Thank you for your letter, Yaakov.
I think it’s wonderful that you took initiative and control of your life. Picking up and moving to a new city is hard – even if you are an extrovert. You seemed to know what you wanted and you went after it. I like that.
This family reminds me of what my parents did for the single men who graced our Shabbos table. They took you in and made you one of the family. I used to joke with one of the singles that he was my “big brother.” This family became your family away from home. It’s a big chesed. But now you are feeling like the red-headed step child.
It may be cruel to hear, but this family is under no obligation to redt shidduchim or to attend a shidduch meeting for you. Yes, it is wonderful that they had been doing so for years, but redting shidduchim is very time-consuming and now their own child needs their assistance as well. They are still including you in the family. You mentioned that you were still getting invited for Shabbos and Yom Tov meals, but one major part of the relationship has started to wane.
This is something that deeply hurts you. You said it yourself. You can always bring it up in conversation, but make it lighthearted, not confrontational. If you get an opportunity, you can say, “Been a while since I went out with someone I really like. Know anyone?” Don’t come right out and ask them why they haven’t been redting shidduchim to you. Chances are, they probably aren’t even aware that they haven’t redt you a shidduch in months. They are also probably unaware of how hurt you are by this.
Yaakov, you didn’t mention this in your letter but are you doing your hishtadlus in the area of shidduchim? Are you going to singles events, meeting with shadchanim, or are you just relying on this family for help? No one is a better advocate or salesperson for someone than he himself is! Get out there, talk to people, and be seen by others. Yes, it’s hard, but it’s gotta get done if you want to meet and date new people and become a chasan. You moved away from your hometown for business and shidduch reasons. Maybe you got used to this family helping you, but now you have to help yourself! Yes, it’s hurtful that they seem to be solely concentrating on their son now, but you have to concentrate and do for yourself now, as well.
Hatzlachah to you all!