Broken Engagements

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  • #590026

    young
    Member

    I am being red to a guy who had a broken engagement, how do you find out about why they broke it off? If he broke it off is there something to be concerned about?

    #954131

    oomis
    Participant

    Young, you have EVERY right to know basic details of the broken engagement 1) who broke it off (was there a shtar mechilah) 2) how soon after beginning dating did they become engaged and how long did the engagement last, 3)was there interference by his or her parents, and 4)what was the reason given for the breakup, if any?

    You may find some answers easier to come by than others, but you are fully entitled to know the basics, and then if you do go forward, he should talk frankly to you about it, and not sidestep the issue, or it will always be an elephant in the room. You are not looking for loshon hara, but you are looking for information that is relevant to your future.

    It could be something as simple as they rushed into something they were not ready for. It could be something more complex, like one or the other of them is controlling, or has a serious problem that was not nade known to the other party until after they became engaged. If it was due to parental influence and intererence, that,too, is extremely relevant.

    The fact of a broken engagement is not a reason to refrain from going forward. I know a perfectly wonderful young man (who is now happily married and has a child) whose first engagement was broken off by the girl very shortly after it was announced. He is wonderful, and she is a nice girl, too. They just were not right for each other. Much of this is discovered during the engagement period, which really IMO ought to be the COURTSHIP period, with more time alotted to it before getting engaged.

    In any case, hatzlacha rabba with this, and if this guy is right for you, all should go forward in the way that is best meant to be for your future happiness.

    #954132

    AZOI.IS
    Participant

    oomis1105, re:”Much of this is discovered during the engagement period, which really IMO ought to be the COURTSHIP period, with more time alotted to it before getting engaged.”

    Lav Davka, I heard of a case of a couple dating (and there are probably many others) where the boy just couldn’t commit, and went out on close to twenty lengthy dates, after which he finally did propose, only to break the engagement a week before the wedding.

    Are you suggesting some singles should date for many months, if they’re unsure?

    I say, if either side has to be coaxed more than the norm, that Shidduch shouldn’t hsppen ever, not months later either.

    #954133

    cantoresq
    Member

    Why not meet the young man, establish a rapport and trust with him, and when the right time comes, ask him about it? I would do that before speaking to anyone else.

    #954134

    SJSinNYC
    Member

    AZOI – my sister was dating a guy for about two months. He was ready to get married and she wasn’t quite ready to commit. (this was a shidduch date system) His Rav told him to break it off because “If she isn’t ready now, she will never be.” He broke up with her.

    After about a 2 month break, she contacted him to see if he wanted to give it another shot. B”H they are happily married for just about ten years (in August) with three wonderful children.

    This “one size fits all” dating philosophy is the worst thing. It almost destroyed a potential marriage.

    Young, I would ask the shadchan for some basic information. Then go out with him – if there is nothing between you two, then it doesnt matter. If you really like him, start asking him what happened.

    #954135

    oomis
    Participant

    Are you suggesting some singles should date for many months, if they’re unsure?

    I don’t think many months make much of a difference for people who are UNSURE. But it can make a lot of difference to people who THINK they are sure, and then either solidify the relationship even further OR discover something negative which they did not immediately notice, as they start to let their hair down a bit. When a young man who was dating a girl I know, started feeling he didn’t have to “put on a show,” for the girl anymore, she started to notice he had a temper (in traffic, with a waitress, with his family), things she would not have seen in the first two months. Generally, I am not in favor of very short dating periods. I think four months is a good amount of time before getting engaged. There is a world of difference between getting to know someone and being afraid to commit. What on earth is everyone’s rush? Do you have any idea how many marriages are breaking up within the first year (some after only a couple of months)? I am not saying there are NO couples who cannot make up their minds in a short time, and who cannot be happy, but if they are going to be happy in two months, they can wait another two months and also be happy. And if there is a fear they would not be, then maybe it is not as good a shidduch as people think. Just my opinion.

    #954136

    nameless
    Member

    Can someone please clarrify? Is it true that once you write Tenoyim during the engagement, one cannot break the shidduch and must wait till after marriage?

    Is that why Chassidim are makpid on Tenoyim?

    #954137

    SJSinNYC
    Member

    Most people I know do tenaim AT the wedding.

    #954138

    BasYisroel2
    Participant

    If i were you I would check into why did the boy break his engagment BEFORE i would agree to date him.This is because there may be emotional issues that you may not be aware of, and you do not want to be the rebound girl!

    Also once you start dating a person you become emotionally involved and if there really is an issue it’s going to be very hard for you to stop seing the person! That is why it’s best to find out whatever you can before the date!

    #954139

    mepal
    Member

    nameless, I think only chassidim do the tenayim at the vort. The litvish do it at the wedding (and the yekkish ;))

    #954140

    Joseph
    Participant

    SJS, it is dependant upon ones minhug. Some do the tnuyim before the wedding, while others do it at the wedding.

    #954141

    Bemused
    Participant

    I agree with BY2. I would give this advice to ALL daters, regardless of subsect or even religion.

    No one wants to be the rebound girl (or boy), and at least the surface basics of recent broken engagements and divorces are usually known to the dater in ALL circles.

    #954142

    smartcookie
    Member

    Not all chassdim sign tenoyim at the vort. In my chassidus we do sign at the wedding.

    But even after tenoyim is signed, its not that u CANT break the shidduch. I’ve heard of that already. Its just that a broken engagement is much worse than a divorce since it involves much more humiliation.

    (Please think twice before breaking a shidduch. Maybe it does pay to get married and try it out) please don’t attack me, I don’t know anyones situation but if possible, it is better to get married and divorce than break a shidduch.

    Hatzlacha rabbah to everyone

    #954143

    nameless
    Member

    I agree with smart cookie. Shidduchim are not disposable. People are literally desparate for shidduchim these days. If something suitable comes up, try to make it work!

    #954144

    jphone
    Member

    Why not ask the parties involved? I know someone who made a shidduch for a divorced man by calling his ex-wife to hear her perspective. Turns out that all those who heard all sorts of reasons for the divorce and who would have ruined a shidduch by spreading that information, were all wrong. The ex wife actually had very nice things to say about her ex husband and recommended him very highly to someone who shared the same hashka as he did. She “moved to the left” while he “grew to the right” and they could not live together and raise a family under those circumstances.

    #954145

    anon for this
    Participant

    smartcookie, you wrote, “Its just that a broken engagement is much worse than a divorce since it involves much more humiliation.

    (Please think twice before breaking a shidduch. Maybe it does pay to get married and try it out) please don’t attack me, I don’t know anyones situation but if possible, it is better to get married and divorce than break a shidduch”

    In what way is a broken engagement more humiliating than a marriage? Keep in mind, too, that someone with doubts who decides to “get married and try it out” may end up divorcing after having a child.

    #954146

    WolfishMusings
    Participant

    I agree with smart cookie. Shidduchim are not disposable. People are literally desparate for shidduchim these days. If something suitable comes up, try to make it work!

    I’m not sure that I agree with your point of view. I would think that a marriage is a lot less “disposable” than a shidduch — and so to suggest going ahead with a flawed shidduch may not be the best answer.

    In truth, shidduchim are a lot like marriages (to belabor the obvious point). There are some defects that can (and perhaps should) be worked through, but then there are some defects that should completely shut the shidduch down (i.e. if one party physically hits the other, etc.). In the end, each one has to be decided on a case-by-case basis. There is no “one size fits all” advice for this sort of thing.

    The Wolf

    #954147

    artchill
    Participant

    Nameless:

    Who cares how desperate people are for shidduchim. A shidduch is only meant for MARRIAGE. Engagement means “engaged to be married”. If one side of the shidduch has no intention on staying with the person, what kind of mushchas is he/she to go through with a marriage they don’t want? You have to toss out all the faulty statistics used to sew fear into the hearts of girls. It’s disgusting, manipulative, and destroying marriages.

    For the benefit of the original poster:

    There are a few categories of broken shidduchim:

    1] As a result of manipulative family intervention (i.e. they don’t like the girl weight, where couple will live, dress or hairstyles)unless the person is committed to grow their own wings, and cut the apron strings. STAY AWAY. Far, far, far away.

    2] As a result of something that will significantly impact marriage which was only found out AFTER the engagement (i.e. hidden criminal background of close family member, serious illness, significant emotional/psychological issue, etc.) that should not be held against the boy/girl. GO FOR IT. They are the real victims in the whole situation. They were fooled and mistreated.

    3] Situation #2, but it was KNOWN AHEAD OF TIME, but went through with engagement anyhow. STAY AWAY, the boy/girl is likely to flip again.

    4] If it was due to hashkafic issues, INSIST on long dates, and long courtship period to allow all cards to be laid clean on the table.

    #954148

    just me
    Participant

    I am married over 30 years. Before I met my husband, I was engaged to some one else. We even had tenoyim. Many people didn’t want to go out with me because of this. Smart Cookie, it STILL isn’t a reason to go through with the marrige rather than breaking an engagement.

    Some one looking to go out with a person who was engaged once should ask if there was tenoyim because then you do need a shtar mechila. Otherwise you don’t. Understand that when you ask what went wrong, there are 3 stories: his, hers and the truth. Each party will have the story as seen through their eyes. Even if they broke of because one side was obnoxious and abusive, do you think that person will see it that way? I don’t think so.

    As with anything, you are entitle to ask questions as long as you don’t embarass or humiliate the person. After 30+ years, I still feel badly about a certain person who did his best to “pick me apart”. Have rachmanus.

    Hatzlacha raba.

    #954149

    kapusta
    Participant

    Wolf, I think nameless meant, a “dont be fooled by fooled by appearances” thing. Dont nix someone just because they were already engaged. (At the same time I understand the other side of the coin. What was there that was bad enough to cause one side to break it?)

    I’m not sure if this is a new thing or what. B”H, I dont know too much about broken engagements. There used to be a “thing,” when someone would ask why it was broken, they would say it was mutual. I heard, within the past three months of two engagements that were broken because the other side got “cold feet.” Is this supposed to sound more believable then “it was mutual” if it will become the accepted terminology?

    *kapusta*

    #954150

    nameless
    Member

    Ok, lets bear in mind one thing:

    People break engagements for the silliest reasons. Issues that they would NEVER consider divorcing for.

    Maybe the Chassidish way IS the better way. The fact that Choson Kallha dont see eachother very often during their engagement. This way, they dont have the possiblility to pick on trivial things which can be worked out during marriage.

    #954151

    bein_hasdorim
    Participant

    young: it is usually very hard to find out,

    one need a lot of Siyata Dishmaya & tefillah for this.

    I once heard that there are three side to the story.

    1)his side

    2)her side

    3)the truth

    Hatzlacha!

    #954152

    Jothar
    Member

    I once dated a girl who had a broken engagement. I was set up by the cousin of the guy who broke the engagement. His family made him break the engagement because the girl’s family was not of the “bessere mentchen”.

    #954153

    nameless
    Member

    Jothar,

    In what repsect were not from the ‘bessere mentchen’?

    #954154

    cantoresq
    Member

    There is an interesting story in my family about this. My grandfather was a student in the the yeshiva in Dej. By all accounts, he was a star student and the Dejer Rav took special interest in him. At the rav’s urging a shidduch was made with the daughter of the Rosh Hakahal and my grandfather; a fine match for a boy from considerably more humble a home. Shidduchim however were a business, and some shadchanim were less scrupulous than others. My grandfather was approached by one such shadchan who told him that in Sibiu, Romania (A relative tank town in terms of Jewish life) there was a very wealthy frum ba’albos who was desperate to find a suitable match for his 18 year old daughter. He was so desperate he paid shachanim a fee just to produce boys for his daughter to meet. If a match were to be made, there would be an additional fee paid. This shadchan told my grandfather than he was just the type of boy this man sought for his daughter and sugested that notwithstaning my grandfather’s engagement he should go to Sibiu for a weekend and the shadchan would split that “appearance fee” with him. Desperate for money, my grandfather agreed. Well you can guess what happened; it was love at first sight. My great grandfather fell in love with the boy the moment he saw him, and so did his daughter. My grandfather was smitten as well. Upon his return to Dej, my grandfather sought to break off the engagement. My great grandftaher, ever an honorable man, sent a letter offering to recompense the first girls father for all his expenses etc. After a short din Torah, an amount of damages was set and paid. M grandfther was then told to marry the first girl and divorce her the next day so as to preserve her honor. He refused one two grounds. First he said that since he has no intention of staying married, there is no gemirat da’at in the kinyan kiddushin and any assumed marriage would have the taint of beilat znut. Secondly, he saw no point in rendering his former fiance ineligible to marry a kohen. He could not be disuaded from this and flat out refused. As a result he left Dej with a black cloud hanging over his head, movd to Sibiu, married my grandmother and they had four children, one of them my mother. As a denoument, in the 1960’s in Paris, my grandfather happened to meet up with his former chavrusa from Dej, who told him that shortly after he left Des, the Rosh Hakahal’s daughter was redt to another boy, a kohen, and they had a wonderful life together.

    #954155

    mepal
    Member

    Now didn’t that make you feel good, Jothar? Not good enough for them, but for you? eh, it’ll be fine.

    #954156

    I acutally have a cousin that broke an engagement right after l’chaim… Found out minute too late something about the girl.. He’s waiting over a year now for shidduchim… People are scared to even consider going out with him… He is great boy- all mallus- big masmud, great middos…

    I wonder how I can know if you’re going out with him… if so- no doubts at all…

    #954157

    nameless
    Member

    Well I heard a story lately which I found quite interesting;

    A couple were on their way to BP from Flatbush for the ‘l’chaim of their son. As they got into the car, they noticed an elderly couple waitng at the bus stop. After requesting a ride to BP, the young couple obliged.

    As they got into BP it started to drizzle and was getting dark. The younger man was gettinga little nervous that he might be late for his son’s Lchaim. Without even asking where the elderly couple has to be, he suggested that he would have to leave them off at the corner of New Utrecht expaling that he was ina rush to get somewhere.

    The elderly couple left the car and the younger couple continued to their destination.

    As they arrive to their new Mechutonim’s house, they anxiously greeted the soon-to-be young pair, and were welcomed by their new in laws. Just then the door bell rang, and in walked this elderly couple who were their passengers a few minutes earlier.

    The older man , a little startled to see this young man again, approached him and asked’ who are you?’

    ‘I am the Choson’s fahter’, was the reply, ‘and you are??’

    ‘I am the Kallah’s Zeida, and if you are disrespectful enough, to leave two older people on the street to walk alone without even inquiring wher they have to be, then your standards of Chesed DO NOT meet ours, we are breaking the shidduch right here and now’

    So the l’chaim went from a potential simcha to a broken engagement.

    Well, at least both x Choson and Kallha can ‘drink’ to the fact that they are on the market once again:-)

    #954158

    Joseph
    Participant

    nameless, I’ve heard other iterations of your maaisele. 🙂

    #954160

    nameless
    Member

    I said I ‘heard’ it. Didnt say I was there. But how do you know its just a ‘maaseleh’? How do you know its not true?? People have broken up for stupider reasons.

    #954161

    tzippi
    Member

    To cantoresq: interesting – and fortuitous – that they hadn’t made tanaiim at the engagement.

    #954162

    Joseph
    Participant

    nameless, I heard the story taking place in E. Yisroel, with the chosson as the driver.

    #954163

    cantoresq
    Member

    Qctually tzippi there were t’naim, thus the din Torah.

    #954164

    AZOI.IS
    Participant

    What would make a person break an engagement, other than (these are reasons I’ve heard of in the past)

    1- finding out about physical or emotional problems, or

    2- noticing a change in behavior, post-engagement, of the boy, girl or parent, or

    3- having been coerced in the first place, and wanting out?

    #954165

    jphone
    Member

    I heard he left the girl in the rain.

    #954166

    young
    Member

    thanks for all ur advice sooo i checked into it there wasn’t anything wrong its just that they dated for very, very short time and it was way too quick and they broke it off. I guess ppl should date longer and be focused but also allow time to really get to know each other in a more chilled way,so you see them as a person, not as an interview!

    #954167

    mepal
    Member

    Good luck to you, young! Hope it all goes well!

    #954168

    gourmet
    Member

    All I can say is better to break up before the marriage than after. My parents divorced when I was very young, and although I am b’h happily married today, the scars of my childhood run deep, and the ache never goes away. That is the price of breaking up a marriage, and that is what you avoid if you don’t marry the person in the first place.

    I have a close friend who noticed serious problems during her engagement but decided to go through with the wedding. She actually said, and I quote: “I would rather be married and divorced than not married at all”. Sure enough, she married the guy, got pregnant right away, the problems persisted, and they were divorced shortly after the baby was born, 1 month shy of their first anniversary. She says knowing what she knows now, she would have absolutely broken the engagement. She now finds herself in a very difficult situation: a single mother with limited shidduch prospects due to the divorce, the child, and the fact that kohanim are out.

    #954169

    kapusta
    Participant

    mepal, how about, “hope everything goes with mazel, whichever way.”?

    I’m not into reforming the way other people talk, this just bothered me a little. 🙂

    *kapusta*

    #954170

    BasYisroel2
    Participant

    AZOI.IS

    I have heard of people breaking off engagment for money reasons-it’s preety sad!

    #954171

    Joseph
    Participant

    gourmet,

    I fail to understand your point.

    If your parents had taken your advice, you would not be here to tell us it.

    #954172

    Three of my mother’s siblings had broken engagements before the first wedding in the family. It must have been devastating, but all four of my mother’s siblings are happily married now, as was my mother until my father died. Sometimes, it’s just not right, and I think some people tend to get starry-eyed about a match and then freak out when it suddenly becomes real and official.

    My cousin, who is now very happily married and expecting his first child, also had a broken engagement. I met the girl briefly and thought she was wonderful, but during the engagement period, my family and her family were quibbling over trivialities of the wedding. The couple wasn’t strong enough to handle all the disagreements. No one who knows my cousin would ever have guessed that he would end a relationship because of wedding planning problems. He is a very practical person and very in tune with the fact that it is the marriage, not the wedding, that really matters. However, there are always going to be disagreements between the two families, and if a couple can’t successfully act as a bridge and remind everyone what’s really important, that’s a clear sign that the partnership just isn’t right.

    #954173

    just me
    Participant

    Azolis, there are many good reasons to break an engagement. In my case, I found out that he was controling and secretive. He was working under another name. I found out (too late) that he never went to the yeshiva that he claimed to have. He grew up in EY and it was difficult to check.

    Some one I know found out after the engagment that he was really very sick. No one told her before this.

    Some one I know found out that his father beat his mother and he didn’t think it was wrong.

    Someone my sister know forgot to check with Dor Yeshurun until waaaay into the engagment. They decided to break the engagment rather than take the risks.

    There are many very, very good reasons break and engagment. Dont be judgmental.

    #954174

    gourmet
    Member

    Joseph- of course we could get into the what-ifs, and no, I don’t wish I had never been born. My parents were married for 7 years, so it’s possible that there was nothing fundamentally wrong from the start, and the marriage just fell apart with time because they didn’t work at it. I guess I just wanted to say that divorce hurts everyone involved, and if there are serious red flags popping up before the wedding, pay attention and do what has to be done, even if it means calling off the wedding. A broken engagement is embarrassing, but a broken marriage is a thousand times more devastating, especially when there are kids.

    #954175

    oomis
    Participant

    A) I once heard that there are three side to the story.

    1)his side

    2)her side

    3)the truth

    There is a fourth side as well. THE REAL TRUTH.

    B)They decided to break the engagment rather than take the risks.

    They could STILL have checked with Dor Yesharim – what if everything was ok with their DNA – they could always break it off a few weeks later, if they so desired. I think that was a precipitous action to just break up without knowing for sure.

    Here’s a question, though. I was always under the impression that to break tenoim was the equivalent of giving a GET, and that the girl could not marry a Kohein after that. Is it true that she must be qiven some type of “GET?” This is (so I was told) why tenoim are done generally only just before the chuppah, in most circles. In any case, a broken egagement is FAR,FAR,FAR better than a broken marriage. It may not always be easy to find new shidduchim after an angagement was broken, but it is still easier than redding shidduchim to women who were married and divorced, and who possibly have a child or two as part of the deal. When they are in their early twenties, most age appropriate guys will not want this situation, unless they, too are divorced and possibly have a child.

    #954176

    just me
    Participant

    Oomis, I guess I wasn’t clear. The couple did check with Dor Yesharun but after the engagment. They were both carriers.

    I also know that although that I had my reasons for breaking the engagement, I’m sure he told a different story. There are deffinatally 3 sides to a story.

    I don’t know if a girl can’t marry a Cohen after tenoiyim. We did sign a shtar mechila but it wasn’t in front of a rav like a get would have been. It was drawn up by my grandfather. He showed it to the Satmar Dayan who OKed it. No one, not the Dayan or my grandfather (who was a big talmud chacham) said anything about cohanim so I don’t know. My husband isn’t a cohen so it never came up. My in-laws and my sister-in-law grilled me about the engagement. I guess I passed muster.

    #954177

    oomis
    Participant

    “Oomis, I guess I wasn’t clear. The couple did check with Dor Yesharun but after the engagment. They were both carriers”

    Perhaps I just did not understand what you posted. I am so sorry for the parties involved. That is so sad. they should both have much simcha and nachas in the coming years. As to the shtar mechilah, this is something I have only heard about in the last two years. It is apparently given by the aggrieved party in the breakup to the one who called it off, to show there are no hard feelings, I guess. It has nothing to do with tenoim, though, from my understanding. My friend’s son never had tenoim until the wedding took place, but he gave his ex-kallah a shtar mechillah when her family called off the wedding. He is happily married with a child now, so it shows what is bashert is bashert.

    I am sure you MORE than pass muster! 🙂

    #954178

    just me
    Participant

    Oomis, you are sweet. I am married 32 years k”h (tu! spit ont the floor!)

    I thought if there wasn’t tenoyim you just breat it and that’s it. I didn’t know the l’chaim had any religious standing. Interesting.

    It’s always sad when people get hurt but definatally better before a wedding.

    #954179

    onlyemes
    Member

    There seems to be some misunderstanding about tenaim, I’ll try to explain it a bit.

    In Europe, especially 18th and 19th century,but also before and after, many shidduchim were made without the man and woman having met. Life was tough, between pogroms, limitations on travel, death from disease and many other factors, it was not possible to “hang out in a hotel lounge and see what comes of the match”. There was alot of trust put into whoever suggested the match, and often large sums of money. The Chassam Sofer was often asked to arbiter the percentage of the dowry that the Rav receives for performing the marriage. The community also recieved a percentage from one or both parties. The terms of the marriage were negotiated and quibbled over, often as if it were a high-end business deal.

    If one of the parties pulled out, there was major embarrasment and often serious financial loss. It was not to be taken lightly. There were penalties that were spelled out in the contract for whomever backed out and they were stringently enforced. These penalties were not only financial , but spiritual in the way of curses and ominous consequences for the future. Sometimes these penalties were so overwhelming and the conditions so stringent that it was decided to go ahead with the wedding anyway. This is why sometimes it was said that a divorce is better than breaking the tenaim. It also explains a shtar mechila for the party that was harmed.

    Nowadays, these severe conditions are rare . Agreements are made, but not necessarily in stone. The tenaim is often a formality at the wedding that simply states that the conditions were met and everybody is ok with it. It is done for traditional purposes and not for contractual purposes.

    There are probably still circles, mostly chassiddish, who take their tenaim very seriously and maybe even append penalties to them. In that case, yes, it can be a serious matter to break them. Since all these minhagim are community and rabbinically administered, each one goes by their own rov and posek and lives with the decision.

    #954180

    oomis
    Participant

    “I am married 32 years k”h (tu! spit ont the floor!) “

    Me, too!

    I have never heard that the l’chaim has a religious standing exactly, though certainly a culturally significant one. If tenoim are signed, it is the “erusin” part of the wedding, and the kedushin take place when the chosson says the harei aht. Because there is a fear that an engagement may break off, most people nowadays have the tenoim/erusin at the actual wedding. I was always told that to break actual tenoim (more serious than a broken engagement) is akin to a divorce, because when the kallah is m’uresses (which is a change of status much more serious than merely “engaged”), she is forbidden to another man, just as if she were already an eishes ish. Learned men out there, am I misspeaking about this???

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