Dear Rabbi and Shira
I am so frustrated with the shidduch system . Why are the guy’s moms in charge of who I marry? Every time I am redt to someone, it always has to go through the guy’s mother. The mothers are constantly saying no. Either I’m not frum enough, even though the guy is modern but mom still wants a certain type of girl, I’m not pretty enough even though the guy is not great looking, or I’m not rich enough even though they are not made of money either. I am a human being with strengths and flaws like everyone else. No one is perfect . When are these mothers going to realize that, that their boys aren’t perfect either and let the boys decide who they want to date.
Flawed in Flatbush
Thanks for writing in.
This definitely sounds like a frustrating problem. It sounds like you are experiencing unrealistic expectations on the part of people's mothers. Of course everyone wants the best for their children. They want them to avoid the pitfalls and missteps which they experienced and have the benefit of their gained knowledge of life. They also are subject to pressures within the community, (aka keeping up with the Goldbergs or the Dwecks.) Unfortunately, the problem is that they can very easily conflate an ideal match with what’s real.
Parents should have realistic conversations with their children about both of their expectations, and hopes in future spouses. While parents play a large part, it is ultimately their children’s decisions. A mother should understand that she has not set her child on a path for happiness by setting him up with the girl of her dreams! A dater’s perspectives of what they are looking for will change and evolve as they date. It is not just a search for your laundry list of “Maalos”, it is a process of self exploration for both of the daters.
In your situation, here are a number of recommendations.
If these guys really seem like they could be a good match, try to have your “people” push a little harder. Oftentimes, in shidduchim, like in business, it’s not what you know, but who you know. Find a shadchan, a friend, or your mother who can push your name a little harder, to get your profile through. You can try to meet with a shadchan who is close to their family and try that approach instead.
Another approach can be acceptance. If the mothers are that unreasonable, count it as a blessing, because maybe you wouldn’t want them as a mother in law, either. Unrealistic standards don’t always confine themselves to one aspect of a person’s life. It could be with time, they will have to evaluate their way of screening profiles. Or maybe you’ll find an easier going family that isn’t scrutinizing profiles like they’re hiring for the CIA.
Finally, try dating via websites or singles events, which don’t have the same type of parental screening, and you’ll find people who are making the choices for themselves.
Hatzlacha Rabba, and please write back if we can be of further assistance,
Rabbi Reuven and Shira Boshnack