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Dating with Direction

 My son has gone out with a girl ten times. The last four or so dates have seemed somewhat superfluous to me, as my son and the girl had a good rapport and everything had been moving smoothly, but the girl, we were told by the shadchan, needed more time. That was fine, as we understand that, often, a boy will be ahead of a girl and a girl needs time. My question is how much longer we are supposed to wait. My son, for the first time, expressed his frustration too. How many times is he supposed to go out until the girl is ready to commit? Is it appropriate at this point to say that a decision has to come after the next date or we will have to just move on?

Since you are stating only one side of the story, it is impossible to

accurately diagnose your situation. However, based on experience, I will allow myself to hypothesize. The circumstances that you describe are unfortunately all too common today, and usually occur for the same reasons. Giving a girl or boy a deadline in making a decision to get engaged or not, is the ultimate pressure added to an already pressured situation. Such action can only be counter productive and would probably lead to the demise of the shidduch. That is definitely

not the way to go. Did it ever occur to you WHY the girl can’t decide? Maybe there was something missing on those last few ‘superfluous’ dates which didn’t give her that emotional connection that she needs in order to have the assurance and confidence to commit? All too often boy and girl go out on several dates and boy sees everything to be right and would be ready to get engaged. The girl sees that everything is right too, however, she does not FEEL emotionally connected to the shidduch and therefore, does not have the comfort level to make it happen. That is a typical difference between the way boys and girls go about their decision process. Our young adults have to be more focused when they are dating to keep the pulse on the Shidduch and to know when to start more meaningful conversation in order to properly connect. Protocol has it that it is the boy’s responsibility to initiate this type of conversation. The source must be the Gemara in Kiddushin (2:2) which states, “Darko shel ish, l’chzor al eishah.” Although, most boys and some girls too, can get engaged without the emotional connection, there are many who cannot come to a final decision without it. Being that they are at this junction for the first time in their lives, more often than not, those who are dating are not even able to identify what is holding them back until it is clearly pointed out to them. The same goes with those who have problems finalizing a shidduch because of a fear to commit. Sometimes, even if two people dating form a good emotional connection, either one might be having a hard time making the final decision out of a fear to commit. Speaking to an experienced coach or mentor to guide him/her through the decision process can alleviate the fear and pressure and give him/her the comfort level he/she needs to slide comfortably into the Shidduch. There is lots more to be said on this topic and, therefore, I will not expand on it here. However, the fear of commitment at different levels is more common than not these days, and has to be dealt with before the girl (sometimes the boy) can comfortably slide into the shidduch. Being that some of our young adults have never been at this point in their lives before, they cannot identify that it is the fear-to-commit that is holding them back, unless it is proven to them. They will then come up with other meaningless excuses and unsubstantiated reasons why they have difficulty committing. The moment they gain awareness what is holding them back, those lame excuses suddenly fade away.

Your question is deeper and more complicated than you think. You,therefore, need advice from somebody experienced in these matters to speak preferably with both girl and boy and maybe even shadchan too, and figure out what is holding the girl back from making a decision either way. This process may require some more dates till complete clarity is obtained either way. Had this taken place after five or six dates you wouldn’t have found yourself on the endless highway of dating, missing the exit, and now being lost and not finding your destination. Your frustration is not necessarily due to the girl’s inability of not being able to decide her direction after ten dates. It may very well be coming from your son’s failure to initiate meaningful conversation in the right time resulting in a lack of emotional connection on the girl’s part which is disabling her to make a decision. That could have resulted in a fear to commit on her part, or she may also be fearful to commit for other reasons too. Again, since this is a one sided story, we can only hypothesize. I would strongly advise you not to be hasty and exercise patience in getting the right help and giving it enough time to gain clarity. In ver many cases, I can attest, that it certainly pays off at the end with a hearty Mazel Tov!

Signed, T. Rubinstein

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