Heart Broken

Written by Rachel Burnham on . Posted in Advice Columns

Marriage is a special and unique union with ONE and only one person. By definition, that means you will say YES to one individual, and NO to every other option on the planet. This thought should calm you down when you find yourself saying NO to many. You will be saying NO to all people, accept the ONE you marry. With all these turned down relationships, there is bound to be some heartache and heart break in the mix. Let’s discuss how we can minimize this to protect ourselves, protect others, and more quickly find our forever relationship.

Whether you chose to meet people through a shadchan (matchmaker) is a matter of preference. Let’s discuss the benefits. A shadchan is often more aware of guys and girls that would be of the appropriate age range, hashkafic level, family background, and of suitable personality for you to meet. This system is in no way perfect. I’m the first to admit it.


The secular alternative is to hope that you’ll be lucky enough to meet Mr. or Mrs. Right at school, work, socially, or through a mutual friend. This system is clearly imperfect as well, and many singles are having significant trouble finding their other half. One thing is for sure, that other half is most often not the person you happened to sit next to yesterday in class or last night at a bar.

A shadchan is there to not only set you up with likely prospects, they are ALSO there to help protect and guide you through awkward first few dates and break ups. Throughout the process, a good shadchan will help you understand the other persons’ perspective and navigate what is the complex and sometimes dramatic world of male/female communication.

Whether or not you are working with a shadchan, it’s critical to provide your dating partner with a timely response. No matter what stage in the game, nobody likes to be left hanging. Waiting for a response from a great guy/girl who you are just crazy about can be as unnerving as waiting for serious medical results; every day is potentially torturous and painful. Be upfront and let the other person know where you stand.

If you’re the one waiting on a response and the response you get is YES, that’s great! If the answer is NO, just move on! You don’t want to be with anyone who doesn’t want the wonderful qualities that you have to offer.

When working with a shadchan, breaking up is relatively simple. If you went out and didn’t have a good time or didn’t see potential with this dating partner, you tell the Shadchan and they relay the message. The shadchan spares everyone the “awkward phone call” and the frustration of waiting by the phone to hear back.

After an initial few dates, once you have moved past the shadchan, breaking up is your responsibility. Let’s discuss the 4 key points to keep in mind when breaking up with someone, whether or not you decide to use a Shadchan.

Always be Gracious, Courteous and Kind

You don’t have to date anyone you don’t want, you don’t have to marry anyone you don’t want, but mentschlachkeit is NOT, and I say NOT, optional! There is never any benefit in being hurtful, rude, or denigrating to the other party. There is nothing to gain from listing every annoyance you had when dating this person, even though it could be tempting. It is below your dignity and flat out not nice. Additionally, your reputation is just not worth it. You never know who your spouse’s roommate might be ;)

There are men that until this day I will not set up due to the rude way in which they broke up with me. I never want to subject someone for whom I care to their poor character.


It’s not always necessary to give the exact and most specific reason why you are breaking up with the person. Here’s one of the all-time worst breakup explanations I’ve heard “What I’m really looking for is your neshama in a different guf.” Is that really what the other person needs to hear? Will that ever change anything between the two of you? It only causes pain and insecurity, NOTHING is gained.


If asked for feedback, it’s best to provide only limited feedback in one or two areas which the other person has the ability to change. Hint, not “I just don’t go for your personality” or “I need a girl from a more religious family” or “I just don’t find you intelligent enough for me.” None of these are helpful or can ever be changed. They only cause pain.

“It would have been great if you made yourself a bit more available for dating, I felt like I was not a priority in your life” or “I wish you would have waited to date till after school was over so you were not always busy studying.” Those are areas on which a person could work and change in the future.

Always Stress the Positive

It’s much easier to palate a hard break up when the breakup is layered with compliments. Every person has good qualities on which you can focus. It only helps to point out the other person’s wonderful qualities, even as you make it clear that you don’t believe a long term relationship between the two of you is ideal.

Do not become their therapist and tell them how they can work on their “stuff” – it is not your place. Don’t suggest a neighbor, friend or roommate with whom you want to set them up – this is not the time.

In conclusion, whether through a shadchan or otherwise, never leave anyone hanging after a date – it’s no fun! Always be mentschlach in dealing with others – the way you would want to be treated. If someone doesn’t want you, hold your head up high and MOVE ON……the right one is nearby and the longer you hold onto a relationship that will never happen, the harder it is for you to be emotionally available for the ONE relationship that holds the key to your happiness!

Rachel Burnham earned both her BA in psychology and MA in occupational therapy in New York City. While OT may be her profession, her deepest passion lies in Jewish outreach, which she’s been active in her entire adult life. Rachel also coaches Jewish singles to successful marriages, giving them clarity and peace of mind as they navigate the path to love, connection and life long companionship. You can find her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.