A Jewish Matchmaker Reveals the Cold, Hard Truth…

As a matchmaker, I have a birds-eye view of singles and the dating scene – from all angles: the male perspective, the female perspective, my own perspective…and the conclusion that I’ve reached? Relationships require effort.

Too simplistic? Seems obvious? After decades of watching people bob and weave through a myriad of dating sites, dating partners, and short-term relationships, I asked myself, ‘What gives?” Why are so many people seeking their “better half” yet so many people are single? It doesn’t seem to matter if you date a little or a lot – nothing (and no one) seems to “stick”, and none of these people are looking to play the field – they are all seeking a long-term, permanent relationship.

We come up with a lot of “reasons”: people are too picky, there are no “good ones” left, we have too many “options”, no one wants to deal with baggage, no one wants someone with kids – there are so many excuses, but all of these can be attributed to one simple fact – relationships require effort.

  • Effort is required of you when dating someone with children from a previous marriage. You will need to deal with the emotional residue of someone else’s divorce and the challenges of stepping in as a parental model to someone else’s children.

  • Effort is required of you when dating someone who has been hurt in previous relationships – maybe cheating was involved, or lying, or emotional/physical abuse. The fear of reliving past bad experiences will inevitable arise in a new relationship – this is natural and will affect any new relationship – period.

  • Effort is required of you to let go of your OWN baggage from previous hurts.

  • Effort is required of you to focus your time, energy, and affection on one person and stop viewing every other single who crosses your path as potentially “better” than the partner you have.

  • Effort is required of you to be everything that you expect your partner to be: loyal, honest, trustworthy, communicative, kind, forgiving, and loving. If you can’t embody those qualities, you’ll never attract a partner who does.

  • Effort is required of you to let go of the “small stuff” and stop expecting your partner to like everything you like, share the same opinions as you, and want to do everything you want to do.

Effort and commitment isn’t something that only comes later in a relationship when two people are certain that they want to build a future together; it’s not only required when you decide that this one is a “keeper” – it’s required at all stages of the game. Approach each date with a committed intent to focus on this other person, be curious about who they are – their passions, their fears, their dreams, their disappointments; put genuine effort into getting to know this person on a deep level. And commit yourself to an non-judgmental approach; don’t compare their qualities against your mental list of “must-have” traits- make the effort to get to know someone without comparisons. Then commit to treating this person with respect and consideration, and if you are not compatible, don’t resort to “ghosting”, put effort into ending things with openness, communication, and honesty.

If after a few dates things are going well, commit yourself to the investment of time and effort that is required to begin building a strong foundation. Yes, you will need to re-arrange your usual schedule to accommodate the schedule of someone else. Yes, you will need to keep an open mind as you are exposed to new ideas, new preferences, new ways of doing things. Yes, you will need to break out of your normal routine and comfort zone to allow someone else in. Yes, your life WILL be disrupted – especially if you’ve been single for a long time. 

Make the effort to create a warm and welcoming space in your life for this person and for all the “baggage” that may accompany him/her. But most of all, make he effort to STAY. Stay through the disagreements, the frustrations, the disappointments, the irritations, the challenges, the hurt feelings – all of it. THIS is commitment – and it takes EFFORT, and it’s the only way a relationship can go the distance.