Monday, December 7, 2009

I've Got a Secret

If I know your community structure and your yeshiva or seminary and I know your geographic location and the time of year, I can plot with almost 100% certainty where you will be going on date #1, #2 etc. Dating has in most cases for the frum community boiled itself down to a formula.

A different blog, one with perhaps a "frummier" orientation then mine, actually set out all the required dates, where to go, how long in hours and minutes each date should last and the "correct" interval between the dates. Also included were the topics of conversations appropriate to each date and what personal information is appropriate to volunteer at different points in the "dating system." Feh, yuck!

This from that blog: "it is inappropriate and could respresent a personal danger to volunteer personal information that is not generally known before it is clear that a shidduch is about to be made. Discussion of family or personal problems HAS NO BEARING ON THE DATING PROCESS."

Let me just say that my generation was and is far from perfect. Yes, there were some problems that occasionally arose in the dating process. But a canvas of members of the Boomer generation brought to light that it was the truly rare occurrence that a shidduch, once it became a shidduch, was broken off. Not so today. Can any of you say that you have never heard of a shidduch "going back," maybe more than one? And I'll venture a guess that at least one of the reasons for those shidduchim breaking off is because of information that first comes out after the shidduch becomes official. And sometimes that information doesn't come out until after the marriage has taken place. Can you spell DIVORCE anyone?

Just among people I know there have been three--count 'em, three--marriages that dissolved because it wasn't considered important to reveal that the girl/boy were on long term medications for psychological issues. Now yes, the people involved were perfectly normal during the dating process and getting married process. None of us as observers could see a thing wrong. And the parents of those children, and others who knew, did not reveal this information. After all, everything was fine so what's the big deal about taking a pill every day. As it turns out, the medications being taken were contraindicated for use if you were trying to conceive a child. They could affect the father and/or the mother. So the three young people stopped taking their medications because they wanted to become parents. And the excrement and the fan collided.

Do you need to reveal that your father's uncle's son in law washed his hands 3560 times a day on average? I think most people would say no. Both my husband and I each had an aunt whose personalities were less than scintillating and could be downright abrasive, but knowledge of this had no bearing on our getting married--everyone has some strange family members. But there's a difference between a dust mote in the closet and a skeleton. We're placing so much emphasis on keeping everying private, keeping everything a secret, that we are creating problems where they shouldn't exist. An educated consumer can make a wise choice. If nine out of ten of the things that consumer wants are present he/she will probably say "Fine, I can live with/without X." But if X turns out to be something that wasn't disclosed beforehand, if X turns out to be the deal breaker, that "product" is being returned to the store post haste.

Maybe we should stop listening to the "shidduch experts" out there and start applying some common sense to shidduchim. Maybe we should remember that "I've Got a Secret" was a television show, and it ran for a while and then got cancelled due to lack of interest.


NonymousG said...

Can you post a link ProfK? A search for the quote only gives your blog as a result...

ProfK said...

I tried posting the link when I put up the post but I'm getting a broken link notification. I'll see if I can find a different way around to the site.

Anonymous said...

I had one of those broken engagements because someone kept a secret. Everyone was being very protective of the family and of the girl so no one thought to mention that the girl's two brothers had 4 divorces between them, and her sister was divorced also. And why? Because the parents were just plain nuts! We didn't even make it to a vort because my parents and I saw what was going on and said no way. Not fair to the girl? Sorry, but there are two people involved in a marriage and her family was going to be a big issue for me. Just by the way she has been married and divorced already. Don't tell me that there isn't something strange there that anyone dating in the family should know right up front.

Orthonomics said...

I'd like the link too. Seems we are both stuck in the talking about shidduchim rut.

Wow Anon--That is quite a story.