This issue can apply to anything really, but since the email writer wrote about it for dating, that is how I will address it. But it can be applied to “Do as I say, not as I do” or “That outfit looks great on you, but I’d never wear it.” I’m sure you can all think of similar situations.
I’m an older single and I’ve stopped going to events and shadchanim. I’m now relying almost entirely on friends, family, and people in my network to set me up with someone they actually know. I’m too old to just “Go and try it once.” I’m too burned out for that. But I still go out. I try to return the favor to others. If I date someone who isn’t for me, I’d call a single with whom I’m friends or friendly and try to redt it – or if I feel a date may be better for a friend of mine, I will go ahead and start playing shadchan.
There’s another older single woman with whom I am “friends.” You know the type: We’re friends in certain situations, but not so much in others. She has called me a few times in the last month trying to set me up with single or divorced guys. I haven’t heard from her this much this often in ever. The guys aren’t right for me, and I haven’t agreed to go out with anyone she has suggested. The last time we spoke, she told me that I had to be less picky because at my age I should be thankful to still be getting redt shidduchim to “quality men.” Quality men?! I won’t go into detail why I didn’t want to go out with any she has recently suggested. But my reasons were valid. I told her she was wrong to say, and if these guys were “quality,” why didn’t she go out with any of them? Whenever I asked how she knows any of the guys, she said, “my divorced new neighbor” or “my friend’s brother.” Or something like that. Can’t she go out with a neighbor? I was very offended in how she responded. She said, “Oh, they aren’t quality for me. But for you.” I said that was insulting and does she mean that she deserves better than who she suggests to me? She told me I was being sensitive, and if I don’t want to go out with whom she sets me up with, she will stop thinking of me.
She’s in the same position I’m in. I think she may be a little older than me. She knows what it’s like out there. I felt like she was insulting me when she said that these guys weren’t for her as if she deserves better and I don’t. And then to add on that she won’t think of me anymore. Is that right to say? Would she want someone to say that to her? I’m sure she says no to shidduchim. So why am I not allowed to?
Thanks for your email, Leah.
I will refer to the other single woman as Peninah, instead of “other single woman.”
I hear exactly what you’re saying. Basically, Peninah is saying that these men aren’t good enough for her, but they are for you, and you better begin saying yes to someone she tries to redt because she will stop trying altogether. But how can she be so nasty when she is in the same position as you are in? She knows exactly how those words can sting.
What can I say? Sometimes people are stupid and say stupid things. That’s the best I have. But let’s address some of what you wrote.
You are not the only “older single” whom I have recently heard of who doesn’t go to events or shadchanim anymore. They haven’t given up on getting married either; but like you, they are burned out, and because they have been doing that for decades. They want to trust people within their inner circle to set them up. I don’t know how old you or Peninah are when you refer to being “older singles,” but the “older singles I am referring to are in their mid-40s. The word “older” is subjective.
It doesn’t matter how old or young anyone is; they are allowed to refuse a date for whatever reason they want to. They can say no if they don’t like the sound of the person’s name, “Amelia Bedelia?! That’s a horrible name. She must be ugly. No. I’m not going out.” Or “He’s a rocket scientist. Can you spell N-E-R-D? No, thank you.” I happen to think those reasons are moronic for not dating someone, but I have heard others on the same level, which is why I wrote them (Remember the girl who refused a second date because “He pronounces the ‘l’ in salmon”? Lol!) I’m sure at your age you have gone out with every type and even some types that you wondered about. Fact is, you gave it the college try, but you are far from college and don’t want to try it out anymore. I am sure that you made that choice wisely and based on concrete things you have heard about the men you have refused from Peninah or anyone else.
It’s wrong to make someone feel bad about any decision that she has made for herself. The decision affects her, not anyone else. A “caring person who’s only looking out for you” should understand that and not try to change your mind or even make you feel bad about what you decided for yourself. That is exactly what someone who is not trying to help and not looking out for you would do, because she wants you to follow her narrative, not yours.
You can tell Peninah what I have told more than a couple of shadchanim in my single days: “You haven’t set me up that often or even with men that were my type, so bullying me into going out with someone, or you will stop calling me altogether, won’t really affect my life like you think it is. It only reflects the type of person you are.” I can’t blame anyone for thinking that she deserves better than anyone else because that’s the truth about how people think – outside and to others they smile and are nice and have a friendly word, but inside they didn’t think that person or what he was wearing was really that nice, and you deserve someone better than the shlub she picked for you. I am not saying any of these men are schlubs, but you yourself said that your reasons for not going out with any of them were valid. If they are valid enough for you, that’s enough.
Leah, you may have to cut Peninah out of your life. Do you really want to associate or be “sort of friends” with someone who will come out and say what she said, almost as if she has no filter? If she says this to you, what else will she say to you or about you? I’m not saying she’s a mean person, but obviously her words hurt you, and when you told her that, she didn’t apologize. That states what type of person she is.
To all my readers I say: Say yes or say no to anyone you want to, and be confident enough to not let someone make you feel bad about your decision (regarding dating or anything else!). And only surround yourself with people who make you happy. There is enough negative energy in the world; there is no need to keep it right near you, especially if you aren’t particularly friendly with the person to begin with.
Hatzlachah to you all!