I have a beautiful 23-year-old daughter who sits home without getting any dates. It was not always like that. From the time my daughter was in the 12th grade, shadchanim would stop me on the street to tell me how beautiful she is and to let her start going out. When she came home from seminary, my daughter was on the top of every boy’s list. The problem was that my husband and I did not want her to settle for just any guy.
My daughter has an exotic look, is talented, and has beautiful middos, and we felt that she should not just jump into any shidduch. So we kept saying no to suggestions, or we didn’t let her marry any of the ones she did go out with.
We felt that we made some mistakes with our older daughters by letting them marry the first few boys that wanted them. My older daughters are also beautiful, but our youngest is something special. She is known to be the beauty of our community.
My husband and I recently realized that she is not being redt shidduchim anymore. So I contacted the shadchanim to complain. It did not help, because they are not giving us what they used to. They redt her boys that are not for her. Some of these boys are much older. One shadchan even had the chutzpah to redt her to a divorced guy in his thirties!
My older daughters feel that this is our fault, and that the shadchanim are now getting back at us for refusing earlier shidduchim. I admit, maybe my husband and I were a little too picky. But why should such a beautiful girl suffer? We can’t eat or sleep, from worrying so much. What do think we should do?
By Baila Sebrow
In pursuit of finding the best future husband for your daughter, you and your husband did not realize that you were overplaying your hands a bit. It sounds like early on in her dating career you liberally rejected guys, possibly even of good quality. Did you hope or expect that someone better existed who would come along to sweep your beautiful daughter off her feet? I understand how you and your husband are in distress, but I receive daily e-mails and calls from desperate parents whose beautiful and talented young daughters never received even one offer for a date.
I understand where you are coming from, and that there is a genuine foundation for the way you and your husband conducted yourselves when shidduchim were originally being redt to your daughter. I believe that you were projecting the mistakes you feel you might have made with your older daughters upon your younger one.
Unless your older daughters are unhappily married, do not assume that you could have found them better husbands. The grass is not greener on the other side, and certainly less so when it comes to marriage.
Your situation is not uncommon, though. There are many parents who, having been lucky to marry off their older children trouble-free, decide to set new rules and place boundaries when it comes to their youngest child. The human mind is conditioned to think that most good things in life come with hardship. And when things come easily, people often take for granted that luck has been on their side. Parents therefore take on a highly selective stance with shidduchim. This happens with parents trying to make a shidduch for their sons, too.
You made it clear to everyone that your daughter is better than anyone else. There is nothing wrong with being of the opinion that your daughter is the most beautiful, talented, etc. Your daughter’s self-esteem is probably quite high as a result. The problem is that you imposed your opinions on the shadchanim. There is no question that by doing so, you successfully turned off those very shadchanim who were trying to help you.
However, I am not ready to agree that the shadchanim are deliberately withholding good shidduchim from you. True, they are probably wary of your seriousness about shidduchim, based on your history. They are concerned that they might be wasting their time on your daughter when they have other girls who will readily agree to their suggestions. But at the end of the day, a shadchan wants to make a shidduch. So, if they feel that your daughter is compatible with any particular guy they might have in mind, I am confident that they will redt your daughter to them.
I believe that there is a root cause as to why your daughter is now experiencing such distress. Your daughter’s current dateless status, and that she gets redt inappropriate shidduchim, in my opinion, is that guys—just like the girls—talk amongst each other. While you were busy proving that your daughter is the top girl on the market, the guys may not have shared your views. Worse, disappointment that they were rejected, on what they believed to be baseless grounds, might have prompted some of them to say negative things about her or her parents. I think that it is possible that the guys, not the shadchanim, may be accountable for your daughter’s existing problem.
Do not lose hope. Your daughter is still young, and I am sure she still possesses the same qualities as before. With her increased maturity, all that she had going for herself when she was younger has, I am certain, now increased.
There are two ways to go about solving this problem and for your daughter to find her happiness. You can continue to seek the same type of guys as previously, but get the word out that now you are less picky and more realistic about the type of guy that your daughter should marry. Arrange for a well-known person, be it a rav, rebbetzin, or shadchan, to advocate on your daughter’s behalf.
The other option, and one that I believe will yield quicker results, is for your daughter to establish a new shidduch persona. I am not suggesting for her to pretend to be someone she is not. But she should be a little more broadminded while keeping within her hashkafic level. For example, if she was looking for a learning boy exclusively, this time the focus can be on a boy who is a learner/earner. Or vice versa. Whatever you were originally seeking for her, change it up a little. The idea at this point is to look outside your arena.
Those that have not been friends with anyone who had previously been rejected by your daughter will now consider her as someone new to their circle of shidduchim. If you and your husband agree to go with this option, reach out to a shadchan from a different community than your own. Make sure that he or she does not deal with the type of shidduchim that you have previously dealt with.
I urge you and your husband to not get caught up in your daughter’s impeccable qualities, nor compare her to other girls. What she is blessed with comes from Hashem, and is meant for her to utilize her individuality in positive ways. Another piece of advice I am taking the liberty in sharing with you is that when your daughter will, with Hashem’s help, find her bashert, please do not tell the guy that she is a better girl than all others. May you and your husband be zocheh to walk your daughter to the chuppah in the very near future, and enjoy the nachas that all parents deserve.
Baila Sebrow is president of Neshoma Advocates, communications and recruitment liaison for Sovri-Beth Israel, executive director of Teach Our Children, and a shadchanis. She can be reached at Bsebrow@aol.com. v
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