MAILBAG: Another Idea To Stop The Shidduch Crisis

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As someone observing the shidduchim “market” that seemingly becomes increasingly  challenging as boys and girls become older, I would like to offer a straightforward suggestion.

I know of one Rosh Hayeshiva that suggested this to his talmid, and I know others who have followed this suggestion and are today B”H married because of it, so perhaps it might be time to formalize it in the dating process. This will not cost any money – just commitments from the parents, boy, girl, and shadchan, plus a small dose of common sense and a lot of Siyata Dishmaya.

The suggestion is simple: If either the boy or the girl requests a second date, the other side should agree to it.

Anyone that has gone through the system knows it is very frustrating, even depressing, for the boy and the girl (and the parents) to have “a one and done.”

I am sure everyone understands that at some time, everybody has “one of those days;” a girl rushing home after a tough day from work, a boy traveling to meet a girl and getting jammed up in traffic, or either one of them just not feeling the greatest. Perhaps if (s)he took a step back and would give it the benefit of the doubt, then it would be understandable that this deserves another shot.

Just from a logical perspective, it isn’t reality-driven to throw away a potentially life-changing opportunity after meeting with someone for just and hour or two. Would you throw away a business or other opportunity so easily? Of course not. So why would you so easily discard of your potential bashert?

To implement this idea and move it from paper to practice, I believe the following steps must be taken:

1. Each person should ask their Rav, Mechaneches, advisor or whoever they discuss important issues with, their opinion on this.

2. Anybody that knows someone that put this concept into practice and is married because of it, please just comment on this article “I know someone that did this;” it will give encouragement for people to buy into this idea.

3. Anybody already doing this or willing to commit to this, just comment “I am or would be willing to do this.” This will give encouragement as well.

4. The Shadchanim should ask the boy and the girl (and their parents) before they suggest a shidduch if they agree to this idea, and tell each side beforehand if the other side agrees to it. (This will make it easier for shadchanim as well if they know there is a higher probability of a second date)

I would like to conclude with a story an acquaintance told me about his own parents’ shidduch. It happened many years ago, but the lesson in giving a second chance has always stuck with me.

His father, at the time a chassidishe bochur, picked up my friend’s to-be mother for their first date. His mother was so tired from working that day, she promptly fell asleep in the car. So, what does a frum chassidishe bochur do with a single Bas Yisroel sleeping in his car? He just drove around and around for several hours until she woke up. What an interesting first date. What would a boy or girl say today if the other person fell asleep?

Anonymous

NOTE: The views expressed here are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of YWN.

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39 COMMENTS

  1. Nothing will work to stop the crisis, as long as boys wait till 23 to start Shidduchim. Actual data from school charts show that by the time 800 boys become 23, 1000 girls become 19.The age gap is the problem. And that’s the only problem. The Gedoloim in EY, signed on this.School charts and Daas Torah can be seen on shiduchcrisis.com

  2. Solution to the Shidduch Crisis. Perhaps consider an analagous Shakespearean strategy proposed in Henry VI, Part 2, Act IV, Scene 2. as a solution to what was perceived as the proliferation of petty and contrived disputes across the kingdom. Stated otherwise, we wouldn’t have a “shidduch crisis” if there wasn’t a constant stream of ads, promotions, asifas, etc. placing added stress on young men and women.

  3. The point of the article makes good sense and should be adopted to give oneself and who you/they may be dating a second chance… I am just surprised that adults over the age of 20 already in shidduchim are thought of and referred to as “boys” (the boy) and “girls” (the girl).

    “Boys”and “Girls” should not get married…
    Ladies and Men should. If you’re still thinking of yourself as “boy” or “girl” and hanging at your parent’s aprin…. maybe “mature up” to think of yourself or son as a “man” or daughter as “lady/woman” before dating for marriage, entering the shidduchim chapter first????

    Just sayin’….

  4. I like this idea a lot.
    When I was in shidduchim I was told that the first date should just be an ice-breaker.
    So it should be relatively short-1 or 2 hours max- and then plan on the second date.
    Having already seen each other for a short time, the second date is when they could start assessing each other.

  5. I definitely know someone like this.

    After the first date the girl said “no way” to her parents, who wisely encouraged her to give him another chance. Fast forward twenty years and they now BH have an amazingly beautiful marriage and wonderful children. BH!

  6. Hi,
    What a beautiful letter. I appreciate that in the plan outlined within, the first step is to consult with daas torah. How often is this overlooked in today’s age!
    I would like to point out that in the more “yeshivish” circles this has been implemented for a while. For example, my Rosh Yeshiva will (almost) never allow me to end a shidduch without giving it a second chance. (Obviously exceptions apply.) I have personally experienced the wisdom in this multiple times. As far as I am aware, this is de riguer by most bachurim in shidduchim.
    My one issue with the way this was presented here is that it doesn’t really allow for exceptions. There are certain times that a shidduch is absolutely finished (for various reasons; and certified by a moreh derech), and it is simply unfair (and possibly halachically problematic) to require a boy to travel from Lakewood to Brooklyn, Monsey, or Far Rockaway (a trip of 9-11 hours door-to-door including the date!), missing second seder, work, etc. simply because the “system” requires it.
    Regardless, the point is certainly true! Everyone should give others a fair chance!
    יה”ר שכשם שבקעת הים ביציאתנו ממצרים, כן תבקע הים לרווקי ישראל במהרהת אכיה”ר

  7. I should add that I wrote the above from a boy’s point of view. However, I do not mean to trivialize a girl’s time either. It would certainly be a waste of a girl’s emotional resources and time to insist she go on a second date simply because the “system” required it if she felt, (again, certified by a moreh derech) that the shidduch simply had no chance.

  8. A blanket policy like this makes no sense, in fact it just exasperates the problem.
    First, you need to distinguish between a hard and soft no. A hard no from one party can run the gamut from not liking the looks to seeing middos issues to a whole range of other issues. No one should second guess a hard no. No person should have to “ask a shayla” on a hard no. No person should be subjected to go out again with someone they do not like.

    Personally, I said a soft no to my wife, and because it was a soft no I allowed myself to be convinced by the shadchan to go out again and the rest is history. And that brings me to the next point. It already is the job of the shadchan to distinguish between hard and soft and push on a soft. And since we believe in hashgacha, the shidduchim Hashem wants to happen will see hatzlocho on turning a no into a yes. So what is the point of a blanket policy?

  9. i am in my 40’s and medium chassidish as a chosson; one time on my thursday night phone call i lied down and dozed off , my kallah realised and stayed on the line , because if she would hang up , the phone would start making a loud “beeping noise” and wake me up ..in the end my sister noticed gave me a kick and i said ” i wasnt sleeping” kallah said ah gute nacht & gut shabbos

  10. It is considered very bad form to say no after one date. A second date is so qualitatively different from a first that it is truly not fair not to give a second chance to a shidduch idea, especially after all the info collecting that goes into it. I am sure most shadchanim push for a second date.

  11. My own story

    First date lasted 4+ hours. First 3 almost nothing to talk about. (Was back in the day when a date wasn’t in a lounge or such.) We drove for an hour in almost complete silence into the city and went to a comedy club (No questions, just a fact) almost no conversation over drinks.
    Some reason I asked if she was hungry after and for some reason, she agreed to go get a bite to eat. Thats when the conversation started. Now 30+ years later BH we have a large family. What would have happened had we decided not to go and eat?

    PS on date #3 she fell asleep in the car too. LOL

  12. The idea of always giving a second date should be insisted on by shadchanim.
    Your suggestion that a rav or rebbetzin is consulted is unnecessary. This is basic mentshlichkeit and doesn’t require extended discussion.
    The ease with which young men and women dismiss a prospective shidduch is a result of nothing more or less than gaava and entitlement. Our privileged youngsters feel they can discard a human being that doesn’t perfectly line up with everything they imagined the way they send back an imperfect steak in a restaurant. Instead they need to look at themselves with a good mirror. I’m not suggesting they marry just anybody, but in a society that allows dating they must give the other party a decent chance to present themselves.
    As someone who tries to redt shidduchim this is something I find frustrating. While it’s hurtful to the person rejected after one date, it’s ultimately much more harmful to the serial rejectors who often end up on the lists of older singles we daven for.
    As for the bachur driving around with a girl sleeping in his car, it would have been much more appropriate to wake her with some music, politely suggest he take her home as she’s obviously had a rough day, and reschedule their date.

  13. One bochur in my yeshiva was demolished when the young lady kept looking at her wristwatch during their first meeting. It turned out, after questioning from the shadchanes, that she wasn’t bored at all. She was merely nervous, and her nervousness manifested itself in using her wristwatch as a calming distraction.

  14. IMHO, this idea is barking up the wrong tree. The problem is the sheer ordeal and tircha imposed on bochurim (and to a lesser extent the girls) simply to go on a first date.

    Take a Monsey bochur, for example. Most of his dates will be in Brooklyn, because that’s where most of the girls are. So what is he expected to do for a first date. He has to obtain a car, make sure it’s spotlessly clean, shlep to Brooklyn (typically during evening rush hour), meet the parents, then drive to a makom (not too close to her house), speak with her for 2 hours, drive her back, drive back to Monsey, and catch Maariv somewhere along the way. All this has to somehow fit in with his already busy schedule. A bochur who doesn’t have the good mazel to get married right away may have to repeat this ordeal dozens of times in his dating career (and often it’s the girl who says no). Is it any surprise singles are becoming picky and quick to say no?

    May I propose a silly thought: How about we borrow an idea from our Chassidishe friends and replace the first two dates, just the first two dates, with a one-hour sit-down at her parents house. There would be much less tircha for both parties, and neither would have to endure the prolonged company of someone they find unattractive. I have a feeling that in such a scenario singles would be much more amenable to the idea proposed in this article and more willing to give their dates a second chance.

  15. 1) This is a great advise, we as parents have experienced it, in real life. By the time, a shidduch gets to the point of boy and girl are meeting, there has been a lot of hours and effort invested by the 2 sides. Therefore it does make a lot of sense to give it a second chance , unless the issues in doubt can be verified again and reconfirmed by reliable information.
    2) In addition, my suggestion from real life experience, to be more agreeable to the initial first meeting of boy and girl. Because, by a meeting in person, many issues would be clearified, to the point were the shidduch would be completed in HAPPINESS.

  16. Of course this should happen -it’s the basis of bein odom lechaveyro! True story: My daughter went out with a boy and she realised he was clearly not for her after one date. However she told the shadchan to arrange a second date- purely so the boy wouldn’t be broken and think he was obnocxious since he was being turned down after one date. She went on the second date and then officially rejected the shidduch.
    The Shadchan was so impressed by her behaviour -she found someone for her who had middos and sensitivity just like her- and B’H’ they got married. The shadchan even told us she only suggested it because of the middos she saw in my daughter….
    Even more so a girl will be broken if she is not asked by the boy to meet again!

  17. Why not just forget the cherem of Rabbeinu Gershom, which probably already lapsed anyway? There’s already such abominable perversions that have been normal throughout the world, polygamy seems hardly objectionable…

  18. The story in the letter doesn’t ring true because a Chassidishe bochur wouldn’t pick up a girl in a car. They would have a bashow

  19. This article presents a nice idea
    But does not attack the true issues singles are facing

    1)guys are factoring in divorce risk and other financial issues into thier decisions.
    2)tution and family prices are skyrocketing and the services recieved are not good. From my experience most schools operate as a pyramid scheme where the service providers are underpaid while administration is overpaid.
    3)the seminaries in particular are an extra expense and force parents into pay before attendence plans. This allows them to throw out students with no fear of financial repercussions. Once the check clears your kid is fair game for expulsion.
    4) there is 0 trust between current members of the shidduch system and rabbis. We do not feel we can handle the immense social, and financial obligations that the current culture is puashing.

    5) women initiate 90%of divorce

    6) women initiate divorce when they dont feel financially secure, emotionally satified and a host of other reasons.

    7)as these burdens have multiplied on men to be an earner -learner-calorie burner(thats current parlance). More men are deciding to walk away or really assess thier personal risk/reward before getting in a long term relationships.

    8)men get crushed in family court and women have gotten more litigious and have more domains to start divorce proceedinga due to the complexity of the current culture.

    This has led to later start dates for mens dating lives, longer dating horizons, more evaluations
    Less marriage and more single girls not getting dates..

    When the current leadership attacks these issues then things will change.

    Dont say its a numbers game.
    Its not.
    the context behind these numbers is whats important.,
    TPaine.

  20. Well, in many cases, this is in fact being done to a certain extent. When a girl (or boy) flies in from out of town, the expectation is that there will be two dates, because there was significantly more trouble involved.
    However, this expectation does not stop people from being jerks. A boy said no to a girl from out of town after the first date and refused to give a reason. She was upset, and rightfully so! Here she had taken off 3+ unpaid days from work, paid for an expensive last-minute ticket and car service, she was being rejected after the first date, and he was not even giving a compelling reason that he said no.
    With this idea as well, it may be nice in theory, but jerks will be jerks in every system. People will just end up being hurt by this.

  21. As long as American Rosh Yeshivas insist on sending their talmidim to Eretz Yisroel at the age of 22 and them only coming back a year or two later to start shidduchim, the crisis will only continue to worsen. Europe does not have this crisis because the boys date at 21 and they dont pick and choose like Americans do. Most European boys get engaged to the first girl they meet.

  22. What a wonderful idea !!!!
    “Bdidi hava ivde”.
    Returning from first date – I wanted her but knew I was a no. (As she later told me I was the classic “a nice boy but nothing for me”. ).
    I put her on the spot and asked for a second date while parked in front of parents home. She politely while inwardly furious acquiesced.
    Many grandchildren later – BH.
    Comments
    FIRST You are not giving the other side a chance that’s condescending a bit. You are really giving yourself a chance also. Don’t you want to get married. He/She was good enough for a first date. Have some humility.
    SECOND. TO CHANINA. Your hypothetical Monsey bochur is a spoiled brat and perhaps not ready to be giving enough to get married.
    THIRD. ARIZONA. Just a joke but perhaps that’s why Biden keeps looking at his watch.
    FOURTH. Sugya 25 – Yes !
    FIFTH Mentch1. Hard no/soft no sorry sounds obnoxious to me. The only hard no is if your Rov said so for a specific reason. That’s the whole point say yes to the hard no. ALSO of course Shidduch needs little histadlus but the one area it it needs is not to say no to something Hashem sent you.
    SIXTH. EM EM C Of course.
    FINALLY to the Rebitizin golden Thanks for the laugh. I needed it.
    Good shabbos to all

  23. @”Libbi”, I understand that some feel very strongly about the mathematics theory to solve the shidduch crises. But it’s essential to take a step back and double-check that it actually makes sense. It’s important to realize that no specific person established the ‘customary’ 19-23 ages. In addition, if the perception that a girl is more likely to give a “no” would be statistically correct, it would be virtually impossible mathematically not to end up with more unmarried girls than boys… I personally watched you give a presentation with the 2 sticks in a Lakewood Shul explaining that the crisis is solved when Bachurim start dating earlier, apparently not even realizing that you were speaking to a room full of mostly 25+-year-old Bachurim…
    As far as everyone who thinks a second date is always warranted no matter the situation, I know someone actually has had trouble getting married because he always agreed to a second date, so it isn’t at all that simple. You need to be able to know that you can say no to be able to try every possibility in the first place.

  24. Wonderful idea and wholeheartedly agree but ABSOLUTELY nothing to do with the crisis. The crisis is a result of mismatched ages and therefore the ONLY solution will be adjusting that. All the shadchonim, money, patience etc.. will and can do nothing to solve this particular issue. THere is only one problem and only one solution al pi derech hatevah.

  25. “Take a Monsey bochur, for example. Most of his dates will be in Brooklyn, because that’s where most of the girls are….”

    So in Monsey they only make baby boys and like China the baby girls just “disappear”?? Are you saying all the Monsey girls get married right away and there are a lot more rejected singles left over in Willy, BP and Crown Heights??? Otherwise, makes no sense.

  26. I agree with @schmendrik. Seeing that noone in the litvish community will take the real cause (the age gap) seriously, the only eitza is 2 wives .

  27. The “shidduch crisis” has been going on for at least 30 years. How long can something continue and still be considered a “crisis”? If rabbanim and other powers that be really wanted to, they could solve the problems. They choose not to because they have other priorities. The root of the shidduch problem goes far deeper than lack of willingness to have a second date. It’s about these two main things in my opinion:

    1. Overscreening – especially of young women, that prevents possibly compatible couples from even meeting in the first place. How many young women are ruled out by a mother in law who insists that her son should only date a “size 2” when that’s not even a priority for her son at all? Resumes are for jobs, not marriage. As long as a person has a compatible hashkafah, let the couple meet and decide the rest for themselves!

    2. Excessive gender separation – In frum society the genders are kept so separate that couples have almost no chance of meeting without being set up by others. Yes, there is a time and place. But would it really be so bad if there was a singles table at weddings (not during dancing obviously) where singles could get to know each other? They would be literally surrounded by the community with absolutely no chance of impropriety. There’s a reason HASC has produced so many successful shidduchim without even trying.

  28. I agree 1000% with the idea and would highly recommend it in all circles, [not just in circles that suffer form the shidduch cirisis], but it does not suffice – the main cause is the age gap….

    BTW, it would be a good idea for new chavrusos to adopt this too… Mashgichim take note!

  29. They should implement this into this dating system to counter all the other taboos that the system has { no dating around where the girl lives spending to little taking her to awkward places etc }geared for rejection by the girl. Once a boy takes a girl out only God knows how many things will peeve the other side. I say more that the first date should be a sit in so each one knows who they are dealing with before the guy takes a strange lady into his car.
    P.S Who knows how many more shidduchim would have been made if this was policy instead of suggestion
    Of course if they both say no there is no reason to retry

  30. Why is the letter writer hung up on the second date. My wife reds a lot of shidduchim. So many boys and girls don’t want to even go on a first date. I’m obviously talking when its a good match, but one thing doesn’t check off on the resume. It hurts even more when the boy or girl is 25+. Just give it one date and see if what you think bothers you still bothers you.

  31. I would also add to my last comment. When I was going out I made up my mind that I will try not to be the one to say no. Too many boys and girls say no because the date sneezed the wrong way. Personally, I think the biggest problem to the shidduch crises is that many boys and especially girls who are in the workplace have no morah derech to ask a simple question to if something is bothering them. One girl I went out with wasn’t “good looking” I spoke to my mashgiach about it. He told me give it a second date and imagine as if you are sitting across from her at the breakfast table. if it bothers you its not for you. My point is without a guide most would say no to this after the first date.

  32. The age gap theory has already been disproven. According to the New Jersey State Health Assessment Data website there were 2276 boys born in Lakewood in 2018 to white non-Hispanic mothers and only 2155 girls in 2020.