7 Common Dating Myths
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7 Common Dating Myths

7 Common Dating Myths

For starters: there’s no such thing as bashert.

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1) Every person has one special someone.  Actually, everyone has many more than just one person with whom he/she can marry and establish a loving, happy and enduring relationship. The mentality that in a world of more than seven billion people there is only one person wandering about that is meant for me – my twin, my soul mate – who, if found, will provide me eternal happiness and who, if not found, will doom me to despair and misfortune for the rest of my life, is a dangerous illusion. There is a gigantic field of hundreds, and maybe even more, of appropriate and worthwhile mates. A successful marriage depends less on the identity of the person chosen and more on one’s ability to conduct himself/herself in that marriage on a daily basis. Therefore, the task before you is not to decide “is this the one?” but rather to choose a person with whom you feel you can build a home together that is filled with love. This transforms the quest of choosing a spouse into something that is much more logical and attainable.

Many years ago, I heard Rav Ahron Soloveichik zt”l explain that bashert guarantees only one thing: God arranges that you encounter that person. Bashert does not guarantee that you will marry that person, or that the marriage will be a happy and fulfilling one; those depend on our free choice and good character traits. And even what we do after that initial encounter – pursue that person or ignore him/her; look for the good or obsess over flaws – also depends on our free choice. As such, it is probably best to remove the bashert issue from our calculations, as it obfuscates instead of clarifies. It should remain in the realm of divine secrets to which we have no access, and which plays no role in our deliberations.

2) When it is the right time, it will happen. This statement is somewhat true but also conditional – the condition being that you don’t interfere with what should happen. From G-d’s perspective, He has long desired to see many of his sons and daughters standing joyously under the chupah (marriage canopy). He is even prepared to assist in this process. But the problem is that there are those who, with their own hands, sabotage the process. How? Through their patterns of analysis, their manner of searching for a spouse and their conduct while dating. The central question becomes: is what stands between you and the chupah a lack of information or options? Do you need more and more advice, and more and more recommendations – or is a change in approach and a removal of [self-imposed] obstacles most desirable? If the latter, then a proper match is already available and waiting.

3) I simply haven’t met the right one. How do you know? Maybe you have and you told her/him “no!” Maybe the right one is in your vicinity – even a meter away – but you ignore her because you are focused – obsessed – on some model who is unattainable [or on an ideal that is a fantasy] and therefore you are uncertain if the person you are with is the right one. Maybe you are looking in one direction, and he/she is standing in the complete opposite one?

4) Without you, I am half a person; without you, I am nothing. A single is not a “half-person.” A single person is not a broken vessel or a worthless wretch. A single is a complete personality, productive and generous. Sometimes people forget that singles have lives outside of dating, and that they have other objectives in life aside from finding a spouse. Thus, aside from the questions that sound general and interesting but actually imply something else, like “Nu, what’s new with you?” and the encouraging but ultimately tormenting words “soon, by you,” it is permissible to ask a single, “How’s work?” or, “How do you like your new car?” or, “How about meeting for coffee tomorrow night?” or, say “That new blouse is stunning!”

Before you are a “single,” you are a human being. If everything in life hinges on dating, then perhaps it is time for some soul-searching. There are other substantive things in life – study, work, family, service of God, hobbies, etc. And God-willing a relationship will also be part of that life.

5) Men disqualify women based on superficialities like appearance. But this is true not only of men but also of women. It doesn’t happen all the time but it does occur too frequently. What does this say about us – the culture of the “pose” and the “show” in which we live? What does it say about us that visions of fashion models dance in our heads, drawn from the mass media, movies and advertisements, which clutter our minds and complicate our choices and the process of choosing? These are good questions for which each person must find an individualized answer. (Note: Be careful what pictures you post on Facebook. You have no idea how many potential dates are lost because of this.)

6) When it is “the one,” then you will know. It is clear that you have watched too many romantic dramas, but…real life does not work like that. Most couples arrive at this most momentous decision when something in their heart trembles, when everything does not seem perfect. Moreover, if everything seems perfect, check again. Maybe you have been blinded and are overlooking something important. In relation to other significant choices in life (where to attend school, where to work, etc.) the matters are complicated and there are pros and cons for each side. One has to have confidence and faith in the person with whom you wish to take the next step – but one who expects to hear a “divine echo,” or to feel butterflies in the stomach, or the sensation of burning love in his/her fingertips, will keep waiting and waiting.

7) Meeting on the Internet is for the pathetic and the desperate. Friend, you are passé. Even if there might have been something to this in the past, those days are long gone. Today, it is possible to find on the relationship websites many pious and exceptional individuals who understand that it is mistaken to categorically reject any option that God has afforded us in order to achieve our destiny. Of course, one has to exercise caution before an actual meeting takes place, but it would be a shame to discount any avenue to the sacred goal.

A debunking of many, if not all, of the aforementioned myths will lead to a healthier dating process and more satisfying marriages.

Based on a Hebrew article by Rabbi Yoni Lavi that originally appeared in Zomet. A slightly revised version of this article originally appeared on ou.org.

Published: June 8, 2013


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Visitor Comments: 20

(17) Barry Shisgal, July 2, 2013 12:27 AM

About Bashert

About Bashert: Rav Yehuda in Tract. Sota B. teaches us that "40 days before a boy is conceived, a voice from heaven announces whose daughter (בת פלוני) he is going to marry." Kabalah expands on that by saying that we each have 18 "basherts" (source anyone?). Kabbalah also addresses a husband and wife as “plag nishmasa – half souls”. And Nachmanides explains in his Emunah U’Bitachon (Chapter 24) that G-d takes the soul whose time has come for it to enter into this world, and separates it into two halves, placing one half in the male and one half in the female. And when these two halves meet again in matrimony, their original connection and love bond comes back. Talmud in Mo’ed Katan 18b states: “Rav said in the name of Rabbi Reuven ben Itztroboli: We can prove from verses in the Torah, the Prophets, and the Writings, that the marriage of a man to his wife is predestined by G-d. From the Torah, [When Eliezer came to get Rebecca as a wife for Isaac,] “Then Laban and Bethuel answered and said, ‘The matter stemmed from G-d’” (Genesis 24:50). From the Prophets, [When Samson wanted to marry a Philistine woman,] “His father and mother did not know that it was from G-d” (Judges 14:4). And from the Writings, “A house and wealth are an inheritance from fathers, but an intelligent woman comes from G-d” (Proverbs 19:14).” Kabbalah teaches that, if we merit it, we will get to share life together with our soulmate not just in this temporal world – but for all eternity. See http://www.torchweb.org/torah_detail.php?id=129

(16) Lisa, June 16, 2013 2:55 PM

Great Timing

As a psychologist and relationship specialist, I find myself in the single arena, again. I ask myself what this is about? My path has been filled with wonderful and not so terrific situations and two marriages. I have wonderful children and thank G-d they are healthy and happy. My life is blessed and I am not any less a human; being a single. This is time to grow again. We look at stages of development for babies and children - adults and olders, have them too. As we grow and evolve in to brighter, more compassionate people we gravitate toward our likeness - opposites do not attract. Singles are whole and sometimes we grow with our partners (what a blessing) sometimes they die, divorce, abandon, and a plethora of other scenarios of loss. We all must remember - we do have free will to travel where we chose, keeping our eyes wide open as we never know where we might see or meet someone special on our journey. For me I have learned to keep my heart open, eyes wide with compassion and awareness strong. I know the love I make, is equal to the love I take.

(15) Martin, June 14, 2013 5:11 PM

Time and Place

So many of life's joys are predicated on luck and timing as we travel life's path that it becomes a case of being
at the right place at the right moment and then let chemistry create the right formuler to meld a relationship
of trust, fascination, and compassion. These are the ingredients that create the flames of love that sustain the energy of two people joining together for a life of
mutual passion that we all strive for as we morph lust into love and makes our "blood boil"..

(14) Gila Manolson, June 14, 2013 9:52 AM

good for you!

This was by far the most intelligent and right-on article on relationships I have seen on your site. Kudos to the author!

Yosef, August 5, 2013 12:59 PM

Dislike

Hi Rebbetzin! do you really agree with all that has been said here? Could you please comment on Barry Shisgal's questions posted above? I read your book inside/outside and a similar idea about how is not 2 halves or twon nothings that come together but two complete beings, how does not contradict scripture? Abraham is nothing without Sara, and the same is true for every patriarch, king, prophet, raabi, etc (from what i've heard) I really didn't like this article, i would disagree with everypoint except number 7, and number 5 is not a myth although the title of the article is "7 common dating myths"... and the author provides no sources of what he's saying. Dislike

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