Settling for Less

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    I’ve been married for about a year and am constantly feeling that I’ve settled for less. I’m really finding it tough to live with these feelings – day in, day out. Basically, there have been lots of ‘unpleasant surprises’ since I got married and I know I could have done better and that she isn’t really for me.

    I was wondering how common such feelings are in a marriage…

    Think first

    Kodesh- welcome to marriage, there’ isn’t someone who really knew their spouse until being married for a bit , look I’ll bet there were some surprises you brought to you spouse , and that the point , when you Mary someone your telling them I like you so much that I’m willing to accept any surprises that come my way and learn to love it. Look If you feel this way you should speak to a mentor a Rebbi someone who can guide you. Hatzlacha.

    Appreciate her for what she is.


    Oy, horrible thoughts.

    It all comes from the modern conception of everything having to be just perfect.

    While ‘perfect’ may apply to houses, cars, wine, or jewellery, it does NOT apply to human beings.

    You went looking for someone super-human, pretended to be someone superhuman yourself, found a girl who pretended to be superhuman, and now suddenly you discover she isn’t superhuman. What a shock!

    When I started shidduchim, my only demands were that she shouldn’t be ugly/fat and that she should speak at least some English. That’s all. Nothing else.

    You, I suspect, had a giant list of tens of criteria. Now you find out maybe she doesn’t match all of those criteria as well as you initially thought.

    So now, start looking at the FUTURE. I’d stop worrying and start thinking about how to make things work. Focus on the positive sides, not the negative sides.


    You’ll almost surely end up for settling for much less than you have know, if you divorce and remarry post-divorce.


    Ok #3 what are you talking about? You do not know the OP you don’t know why intentions or expectations he went into marriage with. I wil also say that bH I am married and I am a mother and I am 100% happy and content and satisfied. My husband is my best friend, he is a wonderful person he has amazing midos, we have a wonderful relationship that is honest and open. We laugh everyday. He is an amazing father. I think it wrong to basically say eh.. Marriage isn’t all it’s cracked up to be you just have to deal and move forward. Maybe I just misunderstood your tone and point, but that is no way to look at marriage. Also I know people that unfortunately got divorced but bH before kids and are remarried and so happy now and know without a doubt that they did the correct thing. Settling is not what Hashem wants, marriage is a beautiful thing sharing a family is what it is all about, settling for being on a so so relationship and being happy some of the time is not acceptable.


    Thanks for everyone’s replies.

    I just want to clarify that when I said ‘surprises’ – included in that means that things which I married her for are not really existent anymore ie. the things which ticked the main boxes when I dated do not tick the boxes anymore.

    It’s as if I have ‘made a mistake’. I keep thinking that if divorce wasn’t such a stigma (it beats me why it is so big) I’d be out of my marriage in a flash.

    I know the ‘taineh’ against today’s world; ”we’re living in a disposable society”, but at the end of the day, if one is not happy and quite certain that ‘he made a mistake’ – internalizing such thoughts about the 21st century’s society isn’t gonna help much.

    Am I not right?


    OP: Here is what I think.

    1. I don’t know whether you are thinking this way, but many people have a hard time after marriage, because they think that there is one perfect person out there for them–and discover that their spouse is not “perfect”. They think that when you find the one perfect person, then everything will be easy. This thinking is sometimes related to people’s notion of “bashert”.

    This is false, and if you think that way, it is likely why you are having problems.

    2. You should go to therapy. Not with your wife, just you. Figure out what is bothering you and why.

    jewish source

    do you have a child yet or …….?


    First of all, I am very sorry that you feel these feelings. It cannot be easy to give voice to them, especially on a public forum. I think that marriage is a series of pleasant AND unpleasant surprises, because until you live with someone you cannot possibly know much about them. Especially in the frum velt, it is getting harder and harder to know what you need to know.

    People get engaged very quickly, based on dating via resume, rather than simply meeting someone, liking him/her enough to want to date, dating for the express purpose of getting to know their personality (not relying on what some rebbie, morah, or neighbor has to say about them). If it looks good on paper, they think real life will look just as good. I am not saying that’s what you did or did not do, just that this is what I am seeing more and more.

    Nobody is 100% happy 100% of the time. Unless your kallah has utterly misrepresented herself, it just sounds like the bloom is wearing off the rose. I think you should both get some counseling from a frum therapist and/or a rov who is sensitive and expert in marital issues (not every rov is, and many should NEVER be advising young couples on anything except whether or not the chicken is treif). Don’t just give up on your marriage. Sounds like you are going through a difficult adjustment. Realize that your kallah, too, may have tainos about things that unplesantly surprised her about you. No one but Hashem is perfect.

    You would be surprised at how many young people feel as you do. What did I get into? Was there someone better out there for me? Why did I get married so fast? You got into a partnership, and you both need to work to MAKE it work. If there are serious problems (i.e., she is hashkafically less frum than you were led to believe, she has a really bad temper that she kept hidden, etc.)then those issues need to be discussed between you, and intervention by a sensitive professional may be helpful. I repeat. Don’t give up on your marriage. Grow from it.


    Kodesh, I think many young couples may have similar thoughts. If you are committed to your marriage, and are not just in it to make your own life easier or better, and are willing to grow, you will be able to work things out. I agree with others who said that marriage counseling would help. Wishing you success.


    kodesh -“I was wondering how common such feelings are in a marriage…”

    I had the same feelings, but I stuck it out until she divorced me many years later.

    Better speak to a Rov who has Experience with Sholom Bayis or go to a Frum marriage therapist.

    Getting divorced earlier than later is better IMO!



    I remember being taught that while you date you should look out for all the negatives…Once you are married you should only look for the positive things about your spouse.

    That being said…if there is a real problem (not just a feeling that you settled for less) then it needs to be taken care of.

    Like everyone else said (oomis said it best) you should definitely see a marriage counselor, and the sooner the better.


    Jewish Source – no child yet.

    Others – I’ve been seeing a counselor for a while – havn’t really made any headway. There’s really 2 types of therapy; 1 type is speculating ulterior factors (just speculation), the other is ”Tachlis! Everyone has both positives and negatives, try and be tollerant”.

    Practically if the will isn’t there and regret is – both therapies are ineffective.


    MorahRach: you did indeed misunderstand me – what I meant to say is the same others said, such as PBA in his point 1.

    Also, I recommend the OP to find a marriage counselor urgently.

    🍫Syag Lchochma

    You are still being a bit vague. Is she not as pretty as she was, or is she not bentching when she finishes eating?

    Is she letting dishes sit in the sink, or is she forgetting to daven in the morning?

    You don’t have to answer but you should understand that there is a big difference between those two types of changes.


    Practically if the will isn’t there

    Therein is a problem. Muster up the will. It may be hard, but it is achievable.


    Do you think that you changed or did your wife change?


    Kodesh – “Others – I’ve been seeing a counselor for a while – havn’t really made any headway.”

    If you have been going for awhile and no progression -it might be time for a new therapist. Although it’s possible that the therapist is incompetent -it’s more likely that the therapist is Not suited to you. Some are more suited to certain types of personalities than others.


    Kodesh, do you know if your wife shares some of these feelings?


    You haven’t mentioned a word about how your wife feels about the marriage.

    From the little info. you gave, esp. if she has doubts as well, I would definitely recommend IF POSSIBLE you discuss birth control with her and your rabbi, if she’s not on b.c. yet. Sorry if I’m being too personal, but kids should not suffer for parents mistakes.

    Once that’s taken care of, I can only echo what other posters have said. Do your best to work on YOURSELF and your marriage.

    A marriage working out usually boils down to middos of both parties, so that’s something to bear in mind.

    Question to ponder (you don’t have to answer): are you a perfectionist by nature, or have you truly gotten the short end of the stick?

    And last but not least, and I might get yelled at for this, but since you mentioned not making headway in therapy, be aware that some therapists may design this so they can profit from more hours billed. So maybe change therapists or find a mentor (not a family member) or Rabbi that will counsel you at no charge. (you can always tip later if you feel he’s worth it, not necessarily based on the hours spent.)



    “And last but not least, and I might get yelled at for this, but since you mentioned not making headway in therapy, be aware that some therapists may design this so they can profit from more hours billed”

    Are you a therapist? No? Then don’t insult us all by making such an assumption. Our hours are long, the pay is terrible. Most of us are in the profession to help as many people as we can, even if it’s just one person’s life. By saying what you did you have undermined one of the most selfless careers out there.


    Are you sure you are right about “could have done better”? How could you know? Things are what they are. Maybe you imagine you could have done better.

    Remember: The grass aint greener, the wine aint sweet, either side of the hill. ~ Gershon Garciawitz.


    BTGuy – +1


    Sorry NOMTW, but I was told this a long time ago by somebody that used to counsel lshem mitzvah. And I was referring to the fact that he wasn’t making progress, that it may sometimes be the case, not about the whole profession. If something isn’t working it’s better to consider all possible reasons, not throw in the towel and assume you’re hopeless. Although in his case it’s more likely a lack of willpower to make it work, so maybe I shouldn’t have opened this can of worms.

    In any case, if it’s more of a hashkafah issue (as he said the will isn’t there but regret is) a rabbi might be a better fit “to make him see the light” or if necessary give him the green light to consider divorce if that’s the right approach al pi Torah.

    a mamin

    Everyone is making alot of assumptions with very little info. from the op. Maybe you can enlighten us a bit more, what are the real issues??? People don’t get divorced just because they seem to get something else then they thought……


    agittayid – it’s not that anyone changed, it’s just that she’s not like I thought she was, and that some things that may have been evident beforehand but didn’t bother me, bother me SO SO much now!

    MorahRach – obviously she’s not happy too. She feels unloved. I don’t blame her.

    Mammele – I guess I am more of a ‘perfectionist’ – but can’t it ALSO happen that a perfectionist truly gets the short end of the stick?

    Syag Lchochma – can u elaborate – I’m not getting you…


    ohr chodesh

    kodesh: I don’t know if you’ll ever be happy with any wife.


    Is the nature of the problem middos oriented, or is this an issue of loss of feelings or attraction, or is this more of an issue of outer circumstances-such as she hasn’t mastered certain skills yet that can be learned (Such as cooking or laundry). “What did you think she was?”


    @Kodesh: Your predicament is very common with newly married, especially in the Orthodox world. How long did you “date” your wife before you proposed? Was there much pressure for both of you to marry? Did you EVEN know what questions to ask? How old were you when you married?

    I really don’t have have an answer for you, but I wish you much hatzlacha and take care of this/these issue(s) before they snowball.


    I may be alone in my thinking, and ofcourse one should not just jump on the divorce bandwagon but.. There are gets for a reason, divorce is an option for a reason. I definitely agree that talking to a Rabbi that you trust, or even one you don’t know who can be completely impartial. If not just to vent! Sometimes a person needs to vent before they can get some perspective. After all that if you are still utterly unhappy, there are things you can do

    About it. Everyone deserves to feel loved, and everyone deserves happiness you should not settle for less. You don’t have kids yet, maybe that’s Hashems way of giving you a second chance. Just a thought.


    Please don’t consider divorce further until you’ve read and implemented the book Garden of Peace by Rav Shalom Arush. I think a lot of people fail to realize that what a spouse is like, even basic personality characteristics, can be completely different depending on how the other spouse is acting. So it’s likely that if you implement the teachings of this book, you will see a change for the better in whatever’s bothering you. Many people, myself included, have been amazed at how useful the book’s teachings are. May you both be blessed with happiness and true shalom bayis!

    Be Happy

    Don’t let the Yetzer Horo get the better of you. You have to work hard on a marriage. Find some good things in your wife to be grateful for


    Technically being a perfectionist and getting the short end of the stick are not mutually exclusive. However being that you actually chose your wife (despite Walton’s criticism of our dating system) and this wasn’t a random lottery; and if I’m inferring correctly you are being annoyed by stuff which was there all along, but when you were dating you didn’t have to actually LIVE with (and some of the excitement has worn off) it’s most likely not the case here.

    Also bear in mind that most behaviour can be changed with proper counseling and commitment from both of you, but if you feel she’s not smart enough, tall enough, talented enough etc. it’s much trickier to work with, although your perceptions can also be worked on.

    Good luck!


    Such feelings are common but if you harp on them you will only be digging a pit for yourself and your probably blameless spouse. You do not mention what these unpleasant surprises are so we are left to assume they are of the sort that practically everyone encounters including your spouse. She may not be so discouraged by her surprises because either she had less expectations or is just more able to be sameach bechelka. I must assume she has positive things about her and that she didn’t intentionally fool you about important issues. Romance is illusory and usually dims after marriage. Any girl or boy is usually on their best behavior when dating and especially girls doing their utmost to enhance their appearance, a level that rarely is maintained after marriage. The day to day grind of life is natural and the focus should be on building a amicable home life with as few waves as possible not a lot of fun and good times. Sometimes a souse spends too much time with old friends or their family which might create resentment. There are issues of all sorts that could be ironed out or just accepted and not turn into reasons to ruin such an important commitment and mar another human beings life or hurt their feelings because they are not quite what you expected. Rarely, if ever, is another human being being quite what one expects. Is the other person at fault or our expectations? This requires fair and mature consideration. Focus on the good aspects of your spouse – is she healthy and more or less agreeable as a person. It is unjust because you may not have entered this commitment with a realistic attitude to consider that it is not such a big deal in today’s even Orthodox society to divorce. This should be the furthest thing from your mind. Be fair and considerate and you may be able to turn around your attitude and judge your mate more kindly and considerately. HATZLACHA RABBAH TO YOU BOTH…


    You sound (disappointed), bored and irritated.

    The beginning of marriage can be difficult because we often go from a time of tremendous excitement and mystery (like wih a gift) to opening it, getting used to it, becoming bored with it, and then finding it’s flaws (and wishing we had another). Trading it in should only be an option if there’s something seriously defective with it that cannot be fixed with a reasonable amount of effort and help.

    Maturity is learning to accept what you have, appreciate it, and maximize it’s purpose.

    Being unhappy doesn’t make her flaws egregious.

    Maybe what would help isn’t so much therapy, but speaking with older people who have been married longer, successfully, and asking them to help you have perspective. Very often people who have Weathered the difficulties of marital adjustment can give you perspective regarding the true severity of your own concerns.

    I also do think therapy would help with the right person.


    Thank you Health. This is an historic day. lol


    BTguy -Don’t push it.


    shtarkzich -“You do not mention what these unpleasant surprises are so we are left to assume they are of the sort that practically everyone encounters including your spouse.”

    You have a pretty decent post except for the above. Do Not assume that there aren’t major problems. Some people are afraid to post everything on a public website due to the fact that they are scared s/o might figure out their identity, even though they post anon.

    This is why I strongly suggest going to another therapist because he/she might be able to get to the bottom of this. If there is a major issue going on he/she might suggest divorce. IMO, if he/she says this – listen – because in the long run it will be better for both of you. Trust me, there will be many people telling you not to, not limited to – Rabbonim, Rosh Yeshivos, your family members, her family members, your friends, her friends and many more.


    BTGuy: If you ask me, – +1, equals to zero…


    mommamia22, nice post.

    I once heard a speaker say – You want your spouse to be perfect, are you perfect? NO. So then if your spouse was perfect why would he/she want to marry you?


    Health has a point

    The issues you’re encountering and the accompanying feelings may be severe enough to merit real action.

    It’s impossible for anyone to say if what you’re experiencing is normal in marriage because you really haven’t shared any information about your concerns.

    Sounds like you need to speak to a really qualified professional to gain perspective.


    Health…”unpleasant surprises ” could easily have been substituted by “major issues” without revealing anything. The tone of everyone’s responses would have probably been different. But most revealing is the initial title of the post “Settling for less”.


    shtarkzich – You could be right. OTOH, you could be wrong. Maybe he figures if he says “major issues” people will start giving him the third degree. “What problems”?, etc. Maybe it’s Tzinus issues and so on and so forth -that he doesn’t want to get into.

    My suggestion to see another therapist basically covers all bases.

    Do you have a problem with this?

    I said your post made sense, but for actual practical advice he needs to see a professional.

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