A couple of weeks ago I published a question that I received from a young woman named Sara who is relatively new to the shidduch world. She asked for some advice. That was it. She had a simple request. I believe that I honored it by telling her to trust in herself and her instincts. I received more feedback from that article and my response than even I would have thought. Here are some examples:
The advice you gave your reader who wrote asking for dating advice – to trust herself and not to ask everyone’s opinion while dating – I could not agree with you more. When I was dating, I made the mistake of telling friends. Everyone had an opinion, and when I politely asked them not to comment because they were making me dizzy with, “What does he mean by...” and “I would have slammed the door on his face if he did that to me.” I told them that I was the one dating this person, and while I thanked them for unsolicited advice, I was going to trust myself because I would be the one having to live with him if we ended up married, not them. We broke up a few months later.
Men and women need to know that they have to put on their adult pants and make this decision based on what is in their heart and what their brain tells them, too.
As a Bubby of, bli ayin ha’ra, 13, and great-grandmother of two, I took offense when you wrote that Bubbys aren’t always the ones to go to for relationship advice. I have been married almost 50 years. My husband and I have weathered many storms together and celebrated many simchos together through the years. I’m not only good for the kugel recipe or for my kokosh cake recipe. I have lessons I would love to pass on to my grandchildren in the parshah, now looking for their zivug.
But I hear what you are saying: If people ask everyone’s advice, then they are not listening to what their seichel tells them. Many people can tell someone what to do, but it is a different story when you are the one dealing with the situation. People have to use their common sense and make decisions that will affect their lives. They do it when they choose a career path and an apartment; they have to do so in order to live where they want, and certainly when choosing a life partner.
But Bubby is always hear to lend an ear. It’s hard to let go of the bicycle when the young ones are learning to ride, but they have to take some bumps in order to find their balance.
That’s sound advice.
It is as if you took the words out of my own mouth when you advised someone to trust herself and her instincts when dating. I’m not even referring to the instincts that tell her she is in a bad situation with a bad guy, because bad guys do exist but they are never spoken of.
Not too long ago, my son was dating a girl. He had questions and he ended up asking a few too many people: a rav, a friend, me and my husband, his married sister, etc. You are right: Too many cooks spoiled the stew. My son ended up getting very frustrated because everyone had a different take on his situation and advised differently. He told me that he should have kept his mouth shut and he ended up doing what he thought was best in the end.
It all brought me back to my dating days, when everyone had two cents to offer about whom I should marry and all that goes along with it. But I ignored the unsolicited advice. I trusted myself and the decisions I had made up until that point in life. Of course, I sometimes used my mother as a sounding board, but even she knew that these were decisions I would have to make, because this would affect my entire life. I was going to have to decide whom I was going to sleep with in the bed that I was making – from the expression, “You made your bed; now sleep in it.”
I think it’s great advice.
I want to thank all of you who wrote to me. The theme of all the letters was the same: Trust yourself. It sounds basic and simple, but sometimes the most important lessons in life are those that don’t seem important when you learn them, such as always wearing clean underwear when you go out, buy what you can afford, and don’t go into debt. These seem like no-brainers, but people are wishing they listened when they had a chance and are now thousands of dollars in debt – and caught with dirty underwear (don’t ask).
If anyone has any dating advice that can be generalized to those in the parshah: the young, the mature, men, women, divorced people, older singles, etc., feel free to write to me and it may end up being included in an article.
Hatzlachah to you all.