I do not live in New York, but I come in quite often since I have started looking for a shidduch. Where I live there are not too many frum guys available, and people have suggested to my parents that New York would be the right place for me.
What I discovered is that people in your state really don’t want to marry out-of-towners. Guys make a big deal out of checking references. They say that they can’t find anyone reliable enough to talk to about me! The problem is that most of the people in my town are barely frum. Also, the shadchanim I talk to make no attempt to go out of their way to help a single girl looking for a shidduch. For example, I always give the shadchan a heads-up before I will be in New York. All I ask for is a couple of dates to be arranged so I can make the most of my time.
Instead of going out of their way to help me, they are rarely available to talk and when they are, they tell me they can’t get guys for the days I will be in New York. Meanwhile, my friends who live in New York get dates all the time, some even with the guys I would like to go out with.
If a shadchan does not want to help a girl who lives out of town, they should just say so from the beginning. How can I go about finding a guy to date in New York?
By Baila Sebrow
I agree with all that you are complaining about and will even add to your grievances by saying that oftentimes singles who live in New York will make little, if any, attempt to drive or fly to the out-of-town person they may be dating or considering. In your case, that does not seem to be the issue, as you seem to be quite resourceful in finding your own way here. In addition, you appear to be well connected with regard to locating and reaching out to shadchanim.
Your frustration is understandable and shared by those who do not live in New York. Let me reassure you that dating is not all that rosy for the local singles who were born and bred in New York either. Though their tales of woe in dating might be slightly different than yours, we have plenty of unmarried guys and girls right here in what out-of-towners might consider the “land of plenty” for shidduchim.
With the population of frum people being greater in New York than in some other cities, it is therefore to be expected that there will be more shadchanim available for those seeking a shidduch. However, there is one caveat; regardless of the volume of shadchanim, most who practice, and especially the popular ones, will, in most cases, have the same clients. So, if you or anyone else is seeking a specific type of shidduch, there is an almost guarantee that you will be redt to the same guys.
There is no excuse for a shadchan not to get back to you at all, or rarely. Such conduct should be not be condoned. I am assuming that you are treating them respectfully and calling at reasonable hours. Oftentimes, and I am not saying that you are doing this, but there is an assumption that when someone fulfills a free mission of chesed, they can be reached at all hours. That line of thinking is natural, as one would be wary of calling or contacting a professional who charges a fee for fear that each correspondence will be costly to their account.
You are conveying a responsible persona by calling the shachanim well in advance of your expected arrival and especially by being accurate regarding the actual days that you will be here. There are those who are not as considerate, and instead call the shadchan on a Thursday or Friday expecting dates to be lined up for them for the weekend. However, your kind consideration still cannot guarantee that the shadchan will be able to accommodate you. The problem is that it is also up to the guy’s—or guys’—availability for that particular period.
I agree that a guy should offer first priority in dating the girl who is in town only for a short while. But, unfortunately, guys and girls who live here do not necessarily see it that way. They go by who seems most interesting or shayach to them. And yes, they insist on checking out the person with whom they will be going out. If references are not easily accessible, the singles and their parents will automatically reject an otherwise seemingly good potential shidduch.
As I am sure you know, there are those who prefer to date people specifically from their own town. This is not necessarily a New York thing, but I have also heard the same sentiments expressed by those who live in other cities. Shadchanim also receive calls from singles and their parents far and wide asking if they have connections to singles in the area they are from.
It is usually, as in your case, when local shidduchim are not available to them that they seek elsewhere. The same is also the case for singles who live in New York. Believe it or not, there are many singles in the metropolitan area who have exhausted their search for their bashert. They are either advised or decide on their own to broaden their horizons. It is therefore not uncommon for singles to not only reach out to shadchanim in various states, but some will even seek options in foreign countries.
Where does all this leave you, and how can you go about finding your bashert? You need to make peace with the fact that you can only make changes within yourself, rather than altering the viewpoints or behaviors of others.
Despite the fact that New York is popularly regarded as the “go-to” place when someone is looking for a shidduch, there are also other areas you might want to look into. When you meet with a shadchan, whether it is in New York or somewhere else, you need to be upfront about what has bothered you previously. Ask them if they are comfortable or have the time to deal with out-of-towners. You would be surprised to find out that when you articulate your needs, you will get an honest answer and will help to weed out those who cannot assist you. There is nothing wrong with mentioning the names of guys your friends have dated and that you were interested in. You might even gain some perspective as to what it was about those guys that did not work in your favor.
References have become a big deal in shidduchim within all circles. People want to know not just about the single guy or girl, but the family as well. Your situation is such that because you come from an area with few frum people, finding out whatever it is that that someone may want to know becomes almost impossible.
Enlist the assistance of a rav, rebbetzin, or teacher. You have not disclosed any information with regard to your background and if you have always been frum or it is something that has happened in the last few years. Either way, there must be a mentor in your life who understands you and your needs. This person should not only advise and guide you with issues pertaining to shidduchim, but should also be there to advocate on your behalf. It appears that you have been going about this on your own, and that only makes the process more painful. No man is an island; everyone needs assistance. Please understand that there are people out there who are accessible to those in situations such as yours.
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.
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