To Shadchan or Not
Okay, just to be clear, this post is my thoughts on using an intermediary when dating. It is completely independent of my thoughts about using someone to set two people up (I have plenty of thoughts on that topic also, but that is for another post). Here is my take on whether it is necessary for two people to have someone in the middle of the dating process. I was recently approached with a shidduch suggestion. A friend of mine had a neighbor who knew a guy who they thought would be good for me. Follow that? They wanted to set the two of us up. My friend told me what she knew about the guy, and I asked some other people who knew him about him. He sounded interesting, I figured it was worth exploring a bit further. I told my friend to tell the guy to look up my Frumster profile. It is something that I worked pretty hard on, that I feel reflects who I am and what is important to me, and that will give a person a first-hand look at the kind of person I am, rather than a second-hand reflection from someone else who doesn't know me that well. After looking at my profile, I told my friend to have the guy e-mail me. I figured we could e-mail back and forth a bit, see if we are on the same page, and take it from there. My friend had issues with that. She wanted us to use herself and her neighbor as a go-between after dates. I told her that I didn't see the necessity in doing that. I am an adult, and so is the guy who was suggested for me. We are both dating for the purpose of marriage, and it is my understanding that if that is the case, then we should be mature enough to be in a marriage. She agreed with me about this point, but said that some people don't want to hurt another person by telling them they don't want to go out again. My argument against having a go-between is this. Being married requires the ability to communicate with another person, sometimes about things that are not incredibly easy to deal with. Learning sensitivity, tactfulness, honesty and forthrightness (without being rude) are all characteristics that will greatly help a person in marriage. They are also attributes that one will fail to adequately develop if all interactions with members of the opposite sex are facilitated by an intermediary. Using a shadchan is like depending on a crutch that you never plan on pushing aside. It cripples a person, and causes them to not be able to actualize their potential for growth. Personally, at my age and at the ages of the majority of my dates, if a person does not know how to handle themselves in a awkward or difficult situation, I want to know that about them before I agree to marry them. And I don't want to marry someone who can't deal with a rough or possibly disappointing situation in a mature manner. Because I don't want to be in a marriage with someone who can't communicate when the going gets tough. Life is hard. All situations are not easy. But learning to deal with these things proves to be character building, maturing and an incredible investment for the future. To demand the use of a shadchan is to admit openly that you are not mature, or ready to deal with the situations that you are going to be faced with in marriage. And that to me, is an incredible shame and a sad statement about those individuals who are "dating for marriage." I would like to see more individuals step up to the plate, and make the statement (by not using shadchanim) that they are mature adults who can handle the curveballs that they will have to face when developing mature relationships with others.