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:

 I know very well that I’m opinionated and jaded regarding many topics. Dating is one of them. So when I received the email below, I had to ask myself how I would want the question answered if I asked it. Here we have a “wet-behind-the-ears” young woman who has entered the shidduch parshah. She’s asking for advice. Do I begin to tell her what to be on the lookout for and how to avoid certain situations with shadchanim as well as with fellows? Do I just give general advice that can help anyone entering the shidduch parshah without frightening them away? I decided that if she wrote to me, she must either read my column (so she knows where I stand on most shidduch topics), or someone who knows her and my column told her to email me. Either way, I chose to be the bigger person and to give general advice that can be applied to life in general, not just the shidduch parshah.

 A few weeks ago, some of you may remember a letter I published from Nechama (fake name). She had been dating Avi (fake name, as well) for a while and then things hit the skids – as in: stopped. Nechama had thought it was because of a medical condition she and some of her immediate and extended family members have: spherocytosis. I was right about the diagnosis! Nechama revealed her identity to me the week the article was published. She said that she had no idea that I knew what it was, and now she felt as though she can speak freely about it because of my family history with it. Not that there is anything to hide or be ashamed of with spherocytosis, but I never guessed Nechama or her family had a history of it.

Dear Goldy:

You actually know who I am, so I am not going to reveal too much about myself, because I don’t need you or the whole world knowing that this is me and that nothing is wrong with me. I know this is a very weird way to start, but you’ll see as you read – and feel free to publish if you want.

 While walking around carnivals or amusement parks, you can spot a boyfriend/husband playing a carnival game in the hopes of winning a stuffed animal for his girlfriend/wife. The two lovebirds then walk, arm in arm, to another game, ride, or concession. When I was single, I would look at such couples and think, “Awwww, that’s sweet.” I’m not embarrassed to admit that I wished I had someone in my life to win an oversized or undersized stuffed animal for me that looked softer and “plushier” than it actually was. Yet, many years later, when a date did in fact win a prize for me, I didn’t want to accept it from him. I knew that the doll wasn’t an engagement ring, but I felt that by taking the doll that it would cement the relationship, and I wasn’t prepared for that. For some reason, that doll represented everything I didn’t want at that moment. For that moment, the cute little doll with the cute nose had some contagious disease that I didn’t want to contract. I didn’t want to touch it, much less hold it.

 I have said from the very beginning that real married life is nothing like dating life. You don’t go out to dinners at expensive restaurants or cute cafés once or twice a week, no long walks in the park or maybe a carriage ride in Central Park, no going miniature golfing, no going to axe-throwing locations (it’s a thing now). Now you have work, errands, and responsibilities. Not that the romance is over, but now real life starts and you have to fit the romance into real life – which can be hard.