Dating Advice

When you are looking for a shidduch (a suitable match) it is often confusing. Many doubts may enter a person’s mind. This is not necessarily a negative thing.  The Lubavitcher Rebbe’s father, Reb Levi Yitzchak the kabbalist, wrote a letter to the Rebbe when he got engaged explaining that doubts and engagement go hand in hand. The union of soulmates is so high that the mind cannot grasp it. when something is higher than our intellect and beyond our understanding there is always an element of doubt.  Such doubt is a positive thing, recognizing the miracle of finding your soul mate and acknowledging that it is a wonder that logic cannot process.
Doubts such as how can I know for sure this is my bashert? Will I really be happy my whole life? maybe there is someone better out there? these are normal doubts that generally disappear quickly after marriage. 
Doubts based on personality issues, or problems you notice in the behavior , speech or yirat shomayim of the  other person are things you should not ignore. You need to notice warning signals before marriage and check things out. Speak to your parents, and if necessary to a Rav or mentor to see how to proceed and if those things are really something to be concerned about .
 
Many times when dating, young people complain they don’t feel anything. Somehow the chemistry is not there.  Well, it is very important to have what the Rebbe calls “hamshochas halev”: a pulling of the hearts. It is difficult to describe but basically it is a feeling that you are drawn to each other. There needs to be some physical attraction, some type of chemistry that you just click with each other and feel very connected on some level.  But these feelings may not manifest on the first date or even the second date.  Don’t discard the shidduch without giving things a bit more of a chance. If after a bit of dating you still feel nothing special, the Rebbe suggested that people should date next to water or fire, as those things arouse emotions. And if nothing works, then the shidduch is most likely not meant to be.
You need to marry someone that you feel excited to be around, that you look up to and feel happy to be with. If you come home after a date and do not look forward to the next date, that is not a positive sign. If you don’t miss each other when apart, that is also not a positive thing. As you date the right person you should feel more and more excited, happy, and looking forward to seeing the person and spending more time together.

Some people describe finding their bashert as a feeling that they knew this person from before: they feel comfortable together, as if they recognize each other on some level. (Most probably they were married in a past life as well, hence the element of recognition in the sol).

Some people recognize their bashert immediately. Some do not. But even if its more hidden from a person, it does not mean the connection is not there. With time and enough dating you will start to feel that connection and that attraction, if it is the right person. 
 
Choosing a marriage partner is one of the most important decisions of your life: date until you feel sure one way or the other.
But realize you will not find perfection in anyone. Be ready to compromise on things that are not so important for you. But do not compromise on issues of major importance.
Your spouse to be may not be on the same spiritual level you are, but as long as the person is committed to keeping the basics and is looking to grow, that is a good sign.Realize that love will grow: you dont have to feel head over heels in love before marriage. Love grows over time. You will eventually feel like one and cannot imagine life without the other. That is how the Lubavitcher Rebbe once described love. The infatuation many people feel before marriage is simply that : infatuation. Nevertheless it may serve the purpose of bringing two people together and being the push that makes you agree to marry. But it is not unusal to feel very little in the way of love before you marry. That is okay as long as you feel happy and secure and excited to marry this person. 

If you cannot handle an angry person and the person you are dating has anger issues, you need to know if you can deal with that or it will be too much for you to live with. Be honest to yourself. Better to find out before marriage than after. 
And very important: talk about everything. Do not ignore things or hide concerns. Discuss your concerns seriously. And ask a lot of questions. Do not waste time discussing the weather. Talk about tachlis! Discuss things that are relevant to your married life, your future, you children to be etc.

If a man does not have a set parnassa yet and is unsure about how he will make an adequate living, you need to discuss possible practical solutions. In other words, does he say he will work a few jobs to make ends meet if he has to? Does he say he wants to work in a particular field and will do what it takes to accomplish that? in general, the girl wants to ascertain if her future husband is a responsible person with at least some concept of what type of parnassa he would like to go into. It dos not matter if he is wealthy but it is important to discuss together what they  both expect in terms of managing expenses of life. If a bochur expects his wife to definitely work to help bring in money, it may not be realistic once children come along. All these matters should be discussed in advance so each knows what the other expects and wants.

Realize that often with time and dating more you will develop the feelings and appreciation you are looking for….give yourself that opportunity. Do not reject too fast unless you are sure the person is not for you.  It is always advisable to date at least two times to give each other a fair open minded chance. After only one date it is hard to figure out who the other person is , particularly since many people are nervous on their first date and may not make the best impression. 
And keep in mind that even if a shidduch does not work out, it either is not the right shidduch, or not the right time and it will come around later at the proper timing.
There are many cases of women who got married older because their husbands were not religious yet or were not matured enough etc. There are cases of women who married much older because their husbands had to first get divorced before meeting them. We cannot see the whole picture so we cannot understand why things take time. But do not give up. Hashem has a soul mate for everyone.
But do not make yourself so picky that you reject everyone who is suggested based on silly reasons. Realize that many things will not be an issue after marriage. The yetzer hara tries to discourage shidduchim and will come up with many silly things that you may be obsessed about....and after marriage those issues simply will disappear. So you need to be able to separate what is really a problem or an issue for you, and what is perhaps imagination , anxiety or simply foolishness. 
Be realistic, honest, sincere and pray a lot. With Hashem’s help you will find the one intended for you in this lifetime. May it be with good mazal and bracha!