Second Date

From: Marcella

Dear Rabbi,

I am involved in shidduch dating. I met a guy who seemed like he would be compatible, but after the first date I wasn’t so excited. I guess he’s more or less what I’m looking for, but the feeling I was hoping for isn’t there. The person who set us up is urging me to meet him again, but I don’t see what advantage there is to a second date. Maybe she’s just interested in making the shidduch. What is your opinion?

Dear Marcella,

You really need to seek guidance from a person who knows you well and with whom you can discuss all aspects of the shidduch personally and in detail. But I’ll try to address your question in a general way which I hope will be beneficial to you and others in your situation.

Once you have responsibly and thoroughly researched a prospective candidate to the point that you are willing to meet him, which is an indication that you consider him to be basically compatible with most of the various things you’re looking for, as long as there are no great let-downs, you shouldn’t expect to feel “love at first sight” from the first date.

I’m not denying that many people do feel a certain “click” at some point in the process, but most don’t feel it immediately on the first date.

That’s why, as long as there’s nothing repulsive, just a lack of emotional excitement, it’s advisable to try another meeting.

As with you, people often wonder what a second date will do that the first didn’t. They think if they didn’t feel it at the first meeting, the potential must not be there. This is a mistake for several reasons.

First of all, we all have changing moods which vary with what we’ve done that day, or what happened to us. This can definitely affect the dynamic on either side of a first meeting. Similarly, the place, time of day and even the weather has an effect on people’s moods and therefore also affects the interaction. When things are generally compatible but that feeling doesn’t come, it’s worth meeting again under different circumstances in order to give it another chance.

However, more importantly, a major difference between the first date and the second is that while during the first date neither side really knows whether the other is actually interested in what he or she has found, a second date makes the very strong statement that each is actually interested in the other.

This means that while on the first date many people will naturally feel unnatural and guarded and therefore not give a complete impression of themselves and their feelings, by the second date, after being deemed desirable by the other, most people will be much more at ease and confident and their hearts will therefore be much more open to each other.

Accordingly, there are many reasons why Mr. and Mrs. Right might not recognize each other on the first date but will do so on the second, or later date.

I once worked with a guy on shidduchim who, after a particular first date, had doubts if he wanted to continue. I asked him to enumerate the points of compatibility and then to tell me his points of doubt. The first list included many wonderful strengths, while the latter boiled down to her being just attractive but not beautiful and having a slight chip in her tooth. I asked him whether he considered himself to be especially handsome. He admitted he was no model. I then reminded him that his very own tooth was also chipped, which had forgotten!

In short, after I impressed upon him that even the points in which he thought they were incompatible they were in fact compatible, he agreed to a second date. After the date, he came back with the beaming reply, “She’s the one”. Of course all the wonderful things that he originally saw remained, but when I asked how he felt about her appearance and chip, he said that she was actually quite attractive. And regarding the chip – as with his, so with hers – he didn’t even notice it!

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