Thursday, April 05, 2007

Dr. Yael in the JP

I don't mean disrespect. Well, not too much, anyway. She looks pretty nice and sincere in that headshot.

I won't bother discussing her idea about Chassidim and Litvish people intermarrying to solve the Shidduch Crisis. Nuff said.

Did you notice, by the way, how she tells everyone to go see a shrink?

Anyway, this week's JP features a creepy letter from a young man married less than a year, and he has found that his wife has serious anger issues. He doesn't know when she'll explode or what will set her off. Only after they were married was he exposed to this manner of behavior, and the same behavior from her family. He had no idea before. He was begging Dr. Yael to help him.

She gave the usual formulaic "see a shrink, it's not your fault, it's hers..." response, and I'm sure wished him Hatzlacha at the end.

But I think she neglected something very important in her response. What can those who are still dating learn from this experience? Is there something we should watch out for? Are there signs that perhaps this young man unfortunately missed?

People are good liars and good actors. And the scary thing is, the ones who act best are the ones who need to. Those are the ones with the most to hide.


At 4/06/2007 9:29 AM, Anonymous gavi said...

Don't date in a social vacuum... Does the person have friends? Do you like them?

How about stressful times - what happens when the item they wanted on the menu isn't available (to give a simple example)?

How about discussing how a normal Friday afternoon happens in their house?

When you attend a meal with the family, do they appear relaxed? Stressed? How do they treat their family? Friends?

I could go on, but I think most of these are common-sense points.

Moadim Lesimcha.

At 4/06/2007 12:20 PM, Blogger Michelle said...

I thought so too, but as I hear more similar stories,I wonder if there are more blind idiots, or closeted psychos out there?

Thanks for your input tho

At 4/06/2007 2:30 PM, Anonymous Gavi said...

Unfortunately, I think that most people make themselves blind to disagreeable characteristics in a potential shidduch... My wife puts it very well: "You can't expect to change your spouse. You have to like them the way they are, and be able to put up with their attributes that are annoying to you."

At 4/06/2007 3:32 PM, Anonymous Xvi said...

I suppose there are always ways to try to gauge if someone is acting or even straight-up lying about a personal flaw, but providing tips on how to spot these issues is removing the symptoms, not curing the disease.

The unfortunate truth is, that people shidduch date to get married. What I mean by that is, that they are not dating to meet someone nice who they hope turns out to be someone they want to marry. They are simply aiming at the marriage as the ultimate goal. This clearly, psychologically, puts a skewed view on what our priorities are supposed to be when we meet someone. If its just business, then all business rules apply. Namely, that means that you strive for the goal by any means necessary.

The real solution would be to completely get rid of our current shidduch system and switch to a more reasonable and pragmatic system. We shouldnt be focusing on how to detect the cheats.

At 4/07/2007 7:29 PM, Blogger Michelle said...

Xvi--excellent point, but I think you're being unrealistic. You try eliminating the Shidduch system around here! You'd be stoned.

And one thing that's better in the shidduch system is that when it comes to dumping people, someone else does the dirty work most of the time.

When I write against the Shidduch System, I inevitably receive comments that show me that the system is, yes, faulty, but has one or two advantages.

And Gavi= re: your first comment--here's the problem-when you ask if we like the person's friends--in the Shidduch system, you meet them after you're engaged already. Because before that it's all a secret, remember? jeez, this is so laughable.

But thanks for your input, and I agree with your wife as well.

At 4/07/2007 10:23 PM, Anonymous a junior said...

OMggggggg i have so much loshon hara to say abt that women!!! but i wont. which is loshon hara in itself but i just cant hold it in anymore. every peice of advice she um wonderful ok i cant do this it's too mean and like public

At 4/08/2007 6:41 AM, Blogger Jacob Da Jew said...

"She gave the usual formulaic "see a shrink, it's not your fault, it's hers..." response, and I'm sure wished him Hatzlacha at the end."

So true. Her article is basically an ad for her practice.

At 4/08/2007 6:57 AM, Blogger Jacob Da Jew said...

Speaking as a married man, IMHJO, unless you actually live with the person, it is hard (maybe impossible) to really know the other person.

At 4/08/2007 12:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You just have to keep your eyes and ears open and not rush into anything. Many times after one's been duped, he/she is able to look back and point to a bunch of things that were terrible about the person.

At 4/08/2007 1:36 PM, Anonymous Xvi said...

Saying that a good idea is unrealistic and impracticable is not a condemnation of the idea, its a condemnation of the people in focus. It only further strengthens my point that most people date to get married, and NOT to meet someone who they would like to marry. As long as thats the goal, then you cant complain about any of the inadequacies of the system. If thats not the goal though, if your more interested in the relationship than the wedding, then you shouldnt even be using the system (as is). That was my point and Im sticking with it.

At 4/10/2007 9:08 PM, Anonymous The Cat said...

Something really important to check for is a history of mental illness in the family. My mom is a great person, and most of the time life's great, but she has bipolar disorder and makes life h*ll for my father and. He says there was something special about her when they married and I can't deny they love each other. I don't know about other peoples marriages, but this one sure is a roller coaster. I'm a high school girl, and personally, I'm freaked out about marriage myself. You can never tell how people are going to change, or if you said "I do" to your future worst enemy.

At 4/11/2007 7:33 AM, Blogger Michelle said...

Xvi-well put
The Cat brings an excellent point as well, but unfortunately people lie. If you ask the people directly involved, they'll probably lie as well, and think you're crazy.

However, when a reference called me about a friend and asked if there was illness in the family, I thought, "This is a much better question than 'does the mother wear a robe to the shabbos table' but at the same time I was glad I didn't know of any, because if i would, and i would tell everyone who asked, what kind of hope would this kid have of getting married?"

So it's just a tough situation all around.

a junior--although i'd LOVE to read what you have to say, you know you did the right thing ;-)

Jacob-ya think it's an ad for her practice? I mean, that whole italicized portion before the question, which by the way, has gotten increasingly longer, is certainly an ad. Do you think her practice deals with all issues that are written about? Aren't most fields more specialized nowadays? But I'm sure she wouldn't mind the extra business ;)

At 4/11/2007 9:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i suggest not using an unknown shadchan. friends are know you best and probably know who they're setting you up with. they're not just stapling together two shidduch resumes. stick to people you know, and listen carefully on dates. If the guy avoids questions about his family, there may be something wrong. (don't always jump to conclusions, though, there may be something wrong that he means to tell you after he knows you better.)

also, it doesn't hurt to spend time with the family before you're engaged. it's not traditional, but you can ask to meet the family when you feel you might get engaged. If you meet the family and make sure to relax and be yourself, they will probably be more comfortable with being themselves.

another thing: it's a relatively small world. a friend of yours probably knows his next door neighbor. have the friend call the neighbor. and dating does not have to be a huge secret. it may be uncomfortable, but let yourself be seen on a date. someone may call you with extra info.

At 4/11/2007 4:36 PM, Anonymous gavi said...

I agree with anon 4/11/2007 9:49 AM. Dating for the purpose of marriage is a perfectly allowed and laudable pursuit, as long as the people behave within the confines of halacha (which is a lot less difficult than some "community elements" would have us believe).

I think that many yeshiva/beis ya'acov graduates have to deprogram themselves somewhat. The truth is that dating before you are of marriageable age is not a wise thing, which means that friendships between members of the opposite gender need to be kept at a certain non-intimate level during the teenage years... My personal recommendation is to never hang out alone with a person of the opposite gender until you are ready to date to marry.

But once a person decides that they are ready to get married, there is no reason to feel that dating is wrong, evil, not tznius, etc. It is simply a fact of life, and when done properly, should lead to a wonderful zivug.

At 4/11/2007 9:33 PM, Anonymous xvi said...

wow gavi...

I hate to be blunt, but Ive never heard something so rediculous in the IMHJO forum.

But thats my humble opinion.

At 4/12/2007 2:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

another problem is that there is such a huge time pressure for the whole thing (well, on this side of the pond anyway). after a few dates, there's pressure to get engaged and once engaged over here the marriage ususally takes place about 12 weeks later. It would be so much better if there could be a longer engagement period when the couple could really get to know each other better in all types of situations. Whilst I know this might lead to more broken engagements, in the long run this might save a lot of future heartbreak. But this would never be allowed because everyone's so scared if they don't get the couple married within a few weeks of meeting, they'll jump into bed with each other.


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