Life is a series of matchmaking experiences. We seek the right friends, job, community, shul, and, of course, the right spouse.
Meeting and finding the right shadchan (matchmaker) is a process, and not every shadchan you meet will be the right fit for you — and that’s OK. Just as we only marry (hopefully) one right person to the exclusion of all others, there will likely be one shadchan with whom you are compatible. However, it is important to be respectful even if the shadchan isn’t a match: As I always say, you don’t have to marry or date anyone you don’t like, but being a mensch is NOT optional.
With that said, never be afraid to say when something feels uncomfortable to you or to seek out a matchmaker who represents you more suitably. For example: “Mrs. X, I am uncomfortable with the way this is going. I have my own special and unique talents, abilities, and contributions. I feel like you are presenting me as property rather than a person! Can we please take a different approach, because I find this one degrading and hurtful.”
Here is the big secret: Shadchanim have lives too! They have husbands, jobs, kids, dinner, homework, Shabbos to cook, and guests to clean up from. I promise they don’t sit around thinking about how to torture you. If anything, they carve out significant time to help you get married. What they may need to work on is their finesse.
Their opinions are based on lots of experience, and while they want to be sensitive to your feelings, they also really want to help you get married. Sometimes, that means saying the needed yet unpopular thing. It may include reality checks about how you present. More often than not, it’s coming from the men themselves.
You see, men complain to the shadchan that a woman was too heavy, or had a boring personality, or didn’t wear makeup or high heels. He isn’t going to be inappropriate and say that to her. But he may also say to the shadchan that, “Except for one or two details, she was awesome,” so the shadchan will try to nicely share the feedback they get because they want things to work out for you. Again, if you are uncomfortable with that, you should voice it maturely with your shadchan or find a different one.
Nobody really enjoys the process of dating; it is a means to an end goal of marriage. Sometimes we need to work harder towards that goal than we thought we may have had to. If multiple shadchanim give the same feedback, you may want to stop and take notice of what is being suggested. I know it may be hard to hear, but it’s even harder to not have dates and be continuously turned down.
Hopefully, with G-d’s help, it will be the shortest distance to your longest relationship.
By Rachel Burnham, Dating Coach