So Close Yet So Far


Photo Credit: Jewish Press

Dear Dating Coach,

I grew up out-of-town in a warm community where my family has always had great friends. Now that I am ready to date, I am really interested in the daughter of one of my parents’ friends. Over time I’ve noticed how kind she is and how smart she is – not to mention that she is gorgeous. My parents made discreet inquiries to find out if she would be interested in dating me, and she said absolutely not! I am frum, a mentch, well-liked, hardworking, and an overall great guy. How can I get her to say yes?


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Neighborly No

Dear No,

When I was dating my husband, he casually mentioned that he disliked lamb. No big deal, I remember thinking – there are lots of foods I don’t care for: chocolate, cilantro, black licorice. (An eclectic list, I know.) I was sure that we would never speak of lamb again, notwithstanding the occasional fancy wedding appetizer or a trip to the petting zoo.

Fast forward to today, and we seem to be surrounded by a lamb-obsessed crew who beg for chops at every special occasion and Yom Tov meal. They love the taste, the smell, and the texture. Yet regardless of spice rub, sauce, or new preparation we try, my husband still recoils when he sees lamb, unable to pretend that he would enjoy it, and always happy to reach for the chicken instead.

It’s a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

It must feel like kismet to be living so close to a girl that you so admire. Your families already love each other, with built-in happy memories of shared Shabbosim, community gatherings, and mutual acquaintances. You’ve noticed her, you’ve admired her, and you’ve watched to see if she has the qualities that you have hoped for in a future spouse.

In every respect, she seems to fit the bill and more so – not to mention that she lives around the corner! You can already envision easy Pesach commutes from her parents to yours, and you can completely disregard that difficult getting-to-know-you process that so many new couples must navigate with their mechutanim.

You did the right thing by sharing your feelings with your parents so that they could find out if she was similarly interested, and you were shocked when she said that she wasn’t. Doesn’t she see what you see? How well-matched you are, and how easy it would all be?!

Won’t You Be Mine?

We are all unique – in our tastes, in our opinions, and in our feelings. Two people can sit side by side on a park bench and watch the same puppy frolicking in the grass. One may automatically catalog the nearest exits to escape from the fierce “beast” and its hidden fangs, while the other only notices how adorable the creature is and how soft its fur must feel.

Sometimes we change our minds and suddenly like something that we did not like previously, and sometimes we hold onto a belief forever. Since this girl has known you for the same amount of time that you have known her, you have to assume that she has made her decision with careful thought and deliberation. She understands how seamless it would be to mesh your families and to bring joy to your community, but she is entitled to her feelings, and she has made them clear with a definitive “no.”

Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

I encourage you to take the time you need to process that the picture that was so clear to you is not meant to be. At the very least, you deserve someone who feels the same way about you that you feel about her. You want someone who will love you and cherish you – someone who will feel like the luckiest girl to be married to you. Not someone who agrees to a block-merger for the sake of simplicity and proximity.

When you are ready, tell your parents that it is time to call shadchanim and to let their friends and relatives know that you are ready to find your bashert so that they can help look for the right girl for you. You will meet your perfect match – and whether she grew up next door or across the country won’t matter, because in the end you will be building one home and one life together


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