When I was much younger, my parents found out that I would not be able to have children. When I reached the age of shidduchim, my parents kept this quiet and looked for a boy who has physical problems. They felt that if a shidduch leads to marriage, then after the wedding they could reveal what is really going on with me. They figured that if the boy has problems, he won’t mind my problem. But those types of boys always turned me off.
For many years I stopped dating. I am much older now, and I decided that I will get back into the scene. I am willing to marry a man with a lot of children who does not want to have more.
But I don’t want the guy to know about my issues. Would it be so terrible if I marry a guy and I never tell him especially if he does not want more children?
By Baila Sebrow
Deception, regardless of the circumstances and intentions, is still deception. A lie is still a lie, no matter how you dress it up. Personally, I cannot condone that. I am vehemently against withholding important information—especially when it involves marriage. This is not just a matter of ethics and unfairness to the guy, but you will ultimately hurt yourself in the long run. And my concern is for your ultimate happiness and peace of mind.
You are not the first, nor will you be the last, person to withhold medical or other pertinent information from a potential spouse. But just about every girl or guy who tried to pull that off suffered unfortunate repercussions. No one lives happily ever after following the potential discovery of a lie or deception. And worse—no one walks away from such a relationship unscathed. In such situations, both the deceived and the deceiver suffer long-term scars that damage any future relationship these people may have.
Respect and trust are the glue of a marriage. When the glue thins, the relationship comes toppling down. There are many homes and families that have been broken up because one of the spouses decided to hold back something about himself or herself.
When your parents arranged for you to date guys who have physical problems, it was so that they would have little to complain about when they discovered the truth. But you know what? They would have had plenty to gripe about. These guys were upfront about their challenges, unlike you. Fortunately, they were saved from trickery by your lack of attraction to them.
And now, using a slightly different version than your parents, you also seek to deceive an innocent man. You are intentionally looking to date a guy who already has a number of children so that he will not mind that you unfortunately cannot have your own. This new initiative would be fine if not for the fact that you deliberately plan to withhold this personal information from him.
There is no limit to the amount and types of schemes singles and parents of shidduch-aged children will concoct in order to mislead a particular person into marriage. What I find even more baffling is how such people justify their actions. I have spoken to many parents whose children got divorced after the nature of their deception was revealed. In none of those cases did the parents accept blame for what they had done. On the contrary, they blamed the spouse who walked out on their son or daughter! They actually cannot understand what the big deal is all about.
In our frum society, challenges of any nature are sadly regarded as shameful. When it comes to shidduchim, one who is slightly lacking in any area deemed important will automatically become known as a defective prospect. Whether it involves health, financial, or family issues, every shidduch candidate wants to appear better than the next, to the point of perfection. And most people are looking to marry perfection. However, as we know, no one is perfect. So what does a nice family who has a challenge in life feel compelled to do? They deny, withhold pertinent details, or even fabricate stories that are not factual just to get the shidduch they aim for.
What I find amazing, time after time, is that people justify their actions. Even after the deception backfires, the cycle of lies will still continue, as in your case. Do you really believe that just because the guy may not want more kids while dating you, there isn’t the possibility that he could change his mind? What will you do then? Add another lie? Before you know it, you will have started a chain of lies. I hope you realize that when the guy finds out the truth after marriage, even if you tell him gently, he will become mighty upset.
Your answer after being discovered will likely be similar to what your parents initially set out to do. You will probably tell the guy that the reason you did not tell him the truth while dating was because you thought he would not mind, since he already has children. But that will only serve to infuriate him even more. Whether or not a guy wants more children, if a woman who marries him knows for certain that she is challenged in that area, it is her obligation to tell him.
There are authorities who advise singles who have deficits not to say anything until a certain amount of dates have passed. I can respect that. There are also authorities who have recommended that medical issues which are no longer relevant not be revealed. I know of a few such situations where the spouse found out about an issue the husband or wife may have had in the past, but which is no longer an issue. Even in those cases, the consequences were sadly negative.
Please understand—I do not think you should go around advertising your situation. Under no circumstances should you reveal this to anyone—not even a shadchan. You have every right to maintain your confidentiality. But if you are at the brink of a serious relationship where you feel that there is the potential for an engagement, why not share this with the guy? If he is good enough to become your partner in life, then he should be good enough to know the truth about you.
The fact that you are specifically seeking a guy who already has children is a wise idea, which is why I see no reason for you to be so afraid or ashamed that you want to withhold your information from him. The chances of the guy backing out of the relationship are slim. Not to say anything to him about it is dangerous. When he finds out after the wedding—and he might—the trust aspect of your relationship will have been lost. It is difficult to trust a person who has previously lied. I am sure that is not how you want to live your life with your husband.
There are people who have a misconception about marriage. They feel that they need to do whatever it takes to get married, and that somehow everything will just fall into place afterward. Those who are mature know that is not true. After the wedding, when the couple settles down to real life, the things that may not have seemed important suddenly are. Love does not conquer all.
I am appealing to you, for your own sake; please do not withhold your information from the guy you will hopefully soon meet for marriage. You have much to gain and little to lose. When it comes to matrimonial happiness, “honesty is the best policy.”
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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