Before reading this post, I encourage you to please take a minute to read my initial post on marriage advice, as it provides a clear introduction to my point of view and an advanced apology if I offend anyone with my statements. With regard to singles and dating advice, I’m sure you have all heard and read the same information from numerous different sources. Try to look past exteriors and focus on one’s inner qualities, make sure you share the same hashkafah (outlook), always do your research and carefully check the references, etc…….. All these points are true and helpful pieces of advice. However, I am going to offer you some tips you probably haven’t heard that often. Instead of making a list of pieces of advice for singles to follow during the dating process, I have used my personal observations to create several character sketches of typical unsuccessful daters, and provided an explanation about where they are going wrong. If you find yourself on a date with one of these characters, be extra cautious about how serious you get with this person and consider seeking out help from a mentor. If one (or more) of these character descriptions sounds like it may be YOU, you may want to consider going to speak to a counselor or life coach about how you can overcome your blocks to success and improve your dating career.
The Unsuccessful Daters
The Picky Missy (or Mr.)
Some singles have a list of criteria as long as a trip to Kalamazoo and back. These people are either looking for perfection, (which does not exist) or are not really serious about getting married and cannot admit it to themselves. Everyone has their preferences, but if your list contains criteria which outline your picture-perfect spouse and you are not willing to compromise, or if you repeatedly eliminate dates based on clothing style or other insignificant factors, you may want to consider rewriting your list of criteria. An excellent suggestion which my husband frequently offers singles is, instead of writing a list of positive criteria which you are looking for in a spouse, write a list of a few factors you absolutely CANNOT live with. By extracting your few deal breakers, you can outline your top priorities more easily and clearly.
We all know who I am referring to here. How many top quality, nice-looking, polite, successful older singles have you met who are constantly dating but never marrying? Many view these older singles as complete mysteries. How can a top quality guy/girl like that still be single? Is it really possible that they just haven’t yet met the “Right One?” In some cases, yes, but those are few. Most of these top-quality older singles are still single for the same reason – fear of commitment. Sometimes, this fear comes from having had your heart broken in the past, causing you to put up walls in relationships. Other times, it may come from growing up in a divorced home where you never had a positive view of married life to model yourself after. Whatever the case, if you or someone you are dating suffers from commitment phobia, this probably needs to be worked out with a professional before expecting to get engaged or married.
The Control Freak
This particular character sketch does not solely apply to single people. There are many married people who suffer from control issues and, most often; this becomes a huge issue in their marriages. The need to control circumstances and others around you is a tremendous factor in sabotaging relationships with others because it makes your date (or spouse) feel like her/she is never good enough. The control freak can never have whatever it is that makes him/her happy unless it fits into a perfect little controlled world. Learning to let minute details go is a huge factor in improving control issues and will help with your dating career and future marriage.
The Lost Puppy
People who do not make the effort to truly get to know themselves, never figure out what they really want in life. Often, they end up lost in a number of different ways and never become settled or happy. Many Lost Puppies have a hard time figuring out what their hashkafic outlooks are in Judaism or what career path they want to take. As a result, Lost Puppies don’t really know themselves or what they want out of a spouse and subsequently have a very hard time selecting a spouse. Lost Puppies who do get married while they are still lost, often end up with extremely challenging marriages which can lead to divorce. The moral of the story is, get to know yourself before you attempt to get to know someone else.
The Yes (Wo)Man
Some people get to a point where they want nothing more in life than to just get married. Sometimes they have dated so many people that they reach a breaking point and become desperate. Other times, they are young, but have decided that only marriage will bring them the true happiness they are looking for and will do whatever it takes to achieve it. These individuals will do just about anything to get someone to marry them, including not being completely honest with their date or with themselves. Beware of singles who agree to almost everything their date says or suggests. Although the Yes (Wo)Man can sometimes marry easily, after the honeymoon, reality sets in and true colours come out, revealing a very challenging situation.
The Cradle Robber
At the risk of sounding sexist, this character sketch applies 99% to men. In order to discourage letters from disgruntled older gentlemen or younger wives, let me first make the disclaimer that there are situations where an older man marries a younger woman and they are extremely happy. This paragraph is not a blanket denunciation of all May/December relationships. That said, the classic Cradle Robber usually falls into one of the descriptions listed above or below and is close to aging out at 40 or older. For whatever reason, the Cradle Robber never got married, and is now starting panic. The Cradle Robber still thinks that regardless of how old he is or looks, he still deserves to be with a 25-year–old and continues to chase the young girls. He fails to realize that not only does he have very little in common with a 25-year-old; but the vast majority of 25-year-old girls will not give him more than 30 seconds of their time, let alone agree to a date. What are these guys thinking? Many will say that they want to marry a young girl so they can have lots of children, however, the longer they stick to this idea, the older they get and the less likely the young girls will pay attention to them. Yet, they still hold out for this idea of the perfect, pretty 25-year-old who will provide them with a large family. My advice to the Cradle Robber: If you want to have a lot of children, get married.
The Perpetual Dater
The Perpetual Dater is most-often found in New York and the greater New York area and sometimes in Israel. The reason for this is because New York and Israel appear to be a sea of never-ending Jewish singles, providing each other the possibility of a new date every weekend for just about as long as they live. The Perpetual Dater loves the idea of potential; each date could be better than next, so why settle? It is very hard for the Perpetual Dater to get serious with anyone because there is always the thought looming in the back of his/her mind that there may be an even better opportunity with the next date on the list. The moral of the story is nobody is perfect. If your goal is to get married, keep your list of deal-breakers handy and try to see the potential in each individual you go out with.