Sunday, October 25, 2009

Dating - a dangerous game

Click here to read another gem of an article about what happens when dating becomes a mere form of recreation, men and women are forced to sell themselves cheaply, and marriage turns into a rather dangerous gambling game.

In an age when relationships are cheapened, it becomes increasingly important to seek out, and be one of, those people who will look deep into your soul and cherish you for who you are. Who look for a spouse not as a source of convenience, efficient household keeping, or regular sex, but as a lifelong best friend and partner in all ways life may turn.

"There can be a kind of promiscuity without physical contact. It occurs wherever people "get to know" one another without coming to care for one another."

The increased availability of social contacts in the global village era, the easiness with which we now meet people, is contributing to increased pickiness.

In one of the latest Shabbat leaflets, I read the story of a woman in her late twenties, who was beautiful and successful and seeing man after man, unable to settle down. When the matchmaker asked her what, in her opinion, is wrong with the young man she had been lately introduced to, the young lady said, "he flaps his arms when talking!" Did he have good qualities, apart from the flapping arms? Oh yes, he was kind and responsible and caring, and she really loved his eyes... the matchmaker suggested she should just ignore his arms and focus on the rest, and within two weeks, they got engaged.

11 comments:

Sarah Brodsky said...

I was not impressed with the article, which seemed to be mostly this woman blaming others for her own lack of perseverance. She gave up when she was thirty (and she wasn't seriously marriage-minded for many years before that). So she blames "the system," men for being too picky, her friends for not setting her up...

In some cases our patriarchs did not get married until they were quite old. Did they sit around saying, "The dating system is broken. Someone should marry me already"? I don't think so.

If she really thought casual dating was the culprit, she could begin looking for a relationship now, with this wisdom to guide her. There are matchmakers out there for Jewish singles (some of whom specialize in older adults)--it's not like anyone has to date casually because there's no other option. Yet she says she has given up. Even the most perfect system won't help someone who doesn't have the will to succeed.

Jess said...

Great timing, Thank you.

SBCE said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Rachel said...

I think the author nails it, Anna. It is something I know was lacking in my 'relationships', prior to meeting my husband (and honestly, the way I met/fell in love/married my husband, is so out-of-the-ordinary, it is obvious that Divine Providence was involved)...

I am hoping and trying to avoid setting my daughters (and sons) up for such relationships...

Anonymous said...

This woman's reason for rejecting a wonderful man seems utterly ridiculous to me. If I was blessed to find such a man, I would certainly not object to such a minor thing as his ARM MOVEMENTS.

Anonymous said...

I think that girls have become convinced that promiscuous behaviour or casual dating is empowering in some way. "you own your body so why not have fun with it?" and too many ignore the very very basic fact that men are much more likely to keep dating casual whereas a woman will find it hard not to rely emotionally on that affair. When the girl then starts thinking of marriage the guy will point out that's not what he signed up for and run.

I was never into the casual dating thing (live in UK but I'm from India) and think it's so so easy to tell from the amount of respect you get on the first date and things he says how serious a guy is willing to be about a relationship. I'm now engaged to the only one who got a second date and I'm not a psychic, I just had the bar high in areas that mattered (Does he treat me well? Does he respect his parents? Does he think family is a top priority?) and flexible in others.

Pendragon said...

I found dating (including premarital physical intimacy) to be a really enjoyable and valuable part of my life. But that's not to say I am a dating tyrant who believes everyone needs to do what I did.

However, I am skeptical that a courtship system is somehow less cruel than regular old dating. I think in ANY system, some people are going to be considered less desirable than others, and some people are going to get their hopes up only to have them dashed. After all, presumably, once the period of courtship is over, one party or the other can still say "No" to an engagement -- and in a courtship system, some people still wind up unmarried and regretting it. And courtship does not reduce the danger of finding yourself married to someone you wish you weren't married to.

I am not against courtship per se, though I do oppose certain values that often accompany it (such as the notion that women should not take the initiative, or that a woman's parents need to give consent). But I think that the mating game IS inherently cruel no matter what and people are always going to be hurt and have regrets by it regardless of whether it is done as dating, courtship, arranged marriages or what have you.

Pendragon said...

The more I think about it, the less comfortable I am with the advice to "settle" for a man who has flaws that bother you. I don't think it is ridiculous or wrong for a woman to hesitate to marry a man whose arm flapping mannerisms bother her. That kind of thing can be like a drip-drip-drip of a faucet -- relatively minor yet maddening and frustrating nonetheless.

Obviously, no one is perfect and therefore anyone who marries has to tolerate for some imperfection. But that is not the same as "settling." If you are enough in love with the person, the imperfection will not bother you so much. If it does bother you enough to make you hesitate, chances are you are not enough in love to marry.

I married young to a man who was virtually unmarriagable due to a physical deformity. He was also less educated than I and made frequent grammatical mistakes that I would have found terribly grating in anyone else. People even asked me, "Why are you marrying this person?" I certainly saw his flaws, and certainly knew that I was young enough and personable enough to marry someone else. But because I am "in love" with my husband, I see his body and his grammatical errors as fascinating and endearing. To me, they are wonderful because they were part of who he is

Does this make me somehow a better, more sensible person than the woman who hesitated about the flapping arms? No way. If I weren't in love, an annoying mannerism like flapping arms could render a so-so marriage intolerable.

I think men and women should listen to their gut when making these decisions, rather than settle. But it is a scary game. There is always a risk of ending up alone -- but that is a risk if you marry as well, and it is not necessarily the worst thing in the world. I know plenty of widows who are alone.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Pendragon on this one. Dating is cruel, whatever form it takes. It is a selection process. It doesn't mean the 'best' get the best partners; it means those who have good cards and know how to play the game have a higher chance of getting what they want than those who don't.

How is matchmaking done in the more traditional communities? A list of traits is made. Money, looks, height, family reputation...these are all included. The matchmaker will try to match suitable partners. It's a cruel, cold process. Your personality is far from the first thing to be judged. On paper, other things become more salient.


There are always criteria to the mating game. And I stand by my belief that so much is luck. It's sometimes hard to know whether to 'settle' or risk staying alone.

BTW, I also am not sure I could stay with a man whose flapping arms really annoyed me. And that's not to say my husband has no faults. It's just that I chose someone whose faults I could live with. If she finds a daily mannerism of his to be a real turn-off, it could be a problem.
Tammy

Mrs. Parunak said...

That was an excellent article! And so were many of the comments. Thank you for sharing it.

angela said...

Thank you writing about this. Although my husband and I made mistakes before meeting eachother we now believe dating is a set-up for divorce... We want our children to go through courtship with only someone they consider a suitable mate for marraige. AND THEN only when they are old enough for marraige. Here in the States people allow their children to "date" at 12/13 alone and then take them to abort the babies that come as a result of complete immaturity. It's a sad day we live in... Anyway, thanks for this post.