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Dating Advice #202 - The Exclusive Step
Dating Advice 202

Dating Advice #202 - The Exclusive Step

What's the best way to find out if things are headed toward marriage, and not a dead end?


Dear Rosie & Sherry,

I am in my 40s, divorced for a long time, and would love to meet the right one and get married again. I have been dating a man for nearly a year. We actually dated each other a few years ago, but stopped for various reasons. We met again, started to talk, and decided to begin dating again.

We haven't been "exclusive" during our courtship, but I am at the point where I would like us to only date each other and see where this is going. How do I get him to be "exclusive"?

I am tired of dating men and getting nowhere with them. What's the best plan of action?


Dear Amy,

The answer is very simple. You have been dating this man almost a year and you have no idea of what direction the two of your are headed. It sounds like you are spinning your wheels. You think that by getting this man to be exclusive, and going out with each other for a longer period of time, this courtship will lead to marriage.

However, it doesn't work that way (unless the people involved are very young, and moving from being not yet ready for marriage to being ready for marriage). Today, people either date with the goal of getting married, or they date for socializing and companionship. They don't change their orientation in the midst of a courtship, no matter how much they like their dating partner.

We always advise people who would like to meet and marry the right person to clarify the reason they are dating from the outset -- that they would like to find a marriage partner.

That time has long passed for you in this situation, but it is not too late for the two of you to discuss where this is al heading. But you have to do this now, not in a month or two.

You can tell him: "I am dating for marriage and I would like to see things move forward in that direction. I'd like us to learn more about each other to see if we are right for each other. If you do not have a similar goal, then we should stop seeing each other."

You are not going to change his mind. It just doesn't happen.

If he is not interested in marriage, then you have to move on. You are not going to change his mind as time goes on. It just doesn't happen.

If this courtship does not work out for you, you need to change your approach with future dating partners. If someone seems to have potential, we suggest that by the second or third date, you tell him, "Even though it is too early for us to know where this will lead, I want you to know that I am dating to find the right person to marry. If this has promise, I would like to develop it in that direction. I'd like to know the reason you are dating." If a man doesn't share your goal of marriage, or changes the subject, or says something vague about wanting to get married "some day," that means that he is not for you.

Don't worry about scaring a date away. You are not telling him he's "the one" -- you are leaving that open. And besides, if he does not want to get married, let him run -- you shouldn't be dating him. On the other hand, if he has a goal of getting married, he will tell you -- and you will be in a far better position.

We hope this helps you navigate the dating maze.

Rosie & Sherry

April 1, 2006

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Visitor Comments: 5

(5) Beit, May 17, 2006 12:00 AM

Why Be Exclusive?

There is very little incentive for men to be "exclusive" as they age. Not only do demographics favor single men in the dating world - but the feminist/sexual revolution has allowed men to have all the comforts of marriage without having to commit to anything. Furthermore - Jewish men are peceived as superious dating and marriage material by the outside Jewish community, so competition for Jewish men is intense. Jewish women - who were in the vanguard of the sexual/feminist revolution, and many who dismissed Jewish men as sexist nebbishes have only themselves to thank/blame for the single predicament they find themselves in

(4) Michael, April 28, 2006 12:00 AM

Interesting article but....

Living in a country with a small Jewish community a lot of the Jewish women spend their dating existance looking for 'Mr Right', or as it seems 'Mr Perfect'. It takes many of them well in to their 30's (when their fertility has considerably declined) to discover that their wish list was an unrealistic pipe dream. In my experience, while many non-Jewish women do have the similar ideologies, it doesn't seem to be as prevelant - however at my age (mid/late 20's) I am at the ideal marriage age/stage and I will say upfront that I am not holding out for the sake of a "Jewish marriage".

(3) Anonymous, April 6, 2006 12:00 AM

changing to committed

The authors say that "They don't change their orientation in the midst of a courtship, no matter how much they like their dating partner." - but I'm questioning if that's the case. Why isn't it possible that someone can start out liking the other person as a friend or for companionship and become attached to them along the way, so that they decide they do want to marry this person? Hasn't that ever happened? I remember learning once in a psych class that often people marry out of propinquity. Shouldn't spending time with a person lead to thoughts of commitment?

(2) Shaul, April 5, 2006 12:00 AM

To commit or not to commit....


I'm 54 and looking for my second Zivvug , and am amazed how many people in their 40’s are still ambivalent about marriage

The excuses I get from women who decline me are endless. One was honest to admit that she’s not actively looking for marriage. Another didn’t feel attracted and saw me too different from “ordinary” men. Another was worried that I was only 6 months divorced. Others say that they are not quiet as I am. Another needed a man who will encourage her more in her academic career. Still another said she wants a man who will listen to her the way she needs (we only met once). Another said she was sensitive and afraid of getting hurt, while another nobly professed that I need a woman who can give me more than she can.

More than one woman has advised me to look only for someone who has already been married, for the reason that women still single in their 30’s and up will find it too difficult to make the adjustments necessary in married life.

Perhaps they are right. Recently I met a very attractive, accomplished single professional girl aged 43 who asked me right off why I wanted to get married. When I answered “to put some order into my life”, she snapped back “but sometimes the wife makes a mess of out it”. I wasn’t surprised when she said later over the telephone that we weren’t right.

So much for the women. As for the men, while I can’t speak for all of them, I can repeat the conventional wisdom that many of them are already wedded to their jobs.

Then there are the men who just aren’t grown up. I was like that myself well into my 40’s. I remember going for counselling and being told that I lack emotional maturity. I was so insulted that I just didn’t go back…

It unfortunately seems that in our “me” generation it is getting harder and harder for us to make commitments and admit another person permanently and intimately into our lives. Not so the Jewish ethic, which sees marriage as the opportunity, par excellence, to fulfill the Golden Rule “love your neighbor as yourself” with one’s life partner every single day.

Thus the noted Rebbetzin Esther Greenberg A”H emphasized in her lectures, published in the Artscroll book “Woman To Woman” that the most important thing for a woman in her marriage is her husband. Men are similarly instructed by Rabbi Jose telling us in the Talmud that he never called his wife other than his “house”.

In summary, the faster we all get rid of our selfish hangups about commitments, emotional intimacy and vulnerability and the like, the easier it will be for us to assume the yoke of marriage.

(1) Art Haykin, April 2, 2006 12:00 AM

Not seeing the "big picture," and certainly not facing it.

Even at 40, and dating a man you dated and broke of with before, I think you are still suffering from the 3 D's" Denial, Dismissiveness, and Devaluing yourself. The man is "saying something" by his actions, and you are in denial. You are too ready to dismiss reality in hopes of finding an ideal thus devaluing yourself, at least in my view. At 40, and I assume he's about your age, the die is pretty much cast, and change doesn't come easily, if at all in many cases. Why did you break off the first time, and why did you resume dating? One of our greatest gifts as humans is the ability to communicate
in a spoken language, yet so many of us simply cannot or will not do so in situations like this. My mantra has always been: Be for yourself, tell the truth, and always come from love.
Works every time.

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