The Matzav Shmoooze: A Single’s Perspective


shidduchimDear Editor,

As I sit here trying to gather my thoughts on the recent shidduchim article written by Reb Shlomo Yehuda Rechnitz, I can’t seem to get a resounding thought out of my head: “Once a girl reaches the age of 25, her chances of getting married are less than 15%”. As a 28 year old single girl in the yeshiva world, I shudder at the thought of this possible reality. While my initial reaction to this alarming statistic was fear and sadness, upon having some time to think and reflect, those feelings changed to a strong sense of frustration. While I can sincerely appreciate the fact that there are people out there trying to help and make a change, I think we have it all wrong. I am not saying I have the answers and I am not going to sit here and write an alternative solution, but I want to try and share some thoughts and insights from the perspective of an “older single” in shidduchim.

I have no older siblings, so when I entered the shidduch parsha at the age of 19, I felt both excited and hopeful. My two best friends married the first boy they went out with and I thought I would surely follow suit. I always wanted to get married young – it seemed like the “next step” after spending a year in seminary. My first date was a disaster and after coming home crying, it was my first “reality check” that this may not be as easy or painless as I anticipated. It’s been almost 9 years since that first date and boy have I learned a lot – both about myself and about being part of a society that “expects” girls to be married no later than age 22. Maybe you would consider me one of your “hopeless, helpless and wounded” girls in the parsha, but truth be told, I don’t see it that way. B”H I am smart, well-educated, have a good job, a great group of friends and a supportive family. I am attractive, healthy and feel that I have a lot to offer in a relationship. So, why is it, that if this is how I view myself, when it comes to the society as a whole the first thing they see is “SINGLE.”  I think this is where the problem lies.

When I think about what the biggest source of pain has been throughout this process, it is not “waiting for the phone to ring” or watching others move on. It is not the dating process, the singles events, meeting shadchanim, rejection, constantly needing to be “on”, sending out a picture to try and “convince” guys to go out with me or always having to look my best. It is not watching younger siblings or students married with babies. The greatest source of pain that I have felt is everybody else’s reaction to my “situation”. I have thought that perhaps I am just being ultra sensitive and had actually planned on waiting to write an article on the topic until I was married so I can be a little more objective. But after reading this article I felt compelled to write something and get the message out there. GIRLS DONT WANT TO BE PITIED; Nobody wants to be pitied.

I remember going to work (in a secular office) on my 25th birthday and crying at a team meeting. My supervisor came in the next day and said, “I hope I am not being disrespectful towards your culture, but when I came home I felt so angry. I felt angry that a society can make a person feel THAT bad about turning 25.” I thought about what she said, and I think she was right. Why is it that in the secular world, I am viewed as a young adult with my whole life ahead of me and the fact that I am single doesn’t even cross their minds? The secular world doesn’t pity me or think any less of me because I haven’t found the right guy and they think the age of 25 is YOUNG. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said about the frum, orthodox world. Unfortunately, in the frum world, with each passing birthday girls are left feeling more afraid, sad, rejected and undesirable. I don’t think this feeling comes from an inner sense of insecurity or lack of self-esteem. I think it comes from the way our society has “labeled” what it means to be an “older single”.

I strongly believe that the reason I am single has absolutely nothing to do with statistics, age gaps, lack of guys or anything else along those lines. And as long as we focus on that being the problem, we aren’t going to come up with a solution. As a good friend of mine likes to put it “this is not a shidduch crisis, it is an emunah crisis”. Everyone has to deal with different nisyonos in life. Being single is one of those nisyonos. Hashem doesn’t work based on numbers or statistics. If Hashem wants, he can send me my zivug today. But clearly, that is not where Hashem wants me to be right now. For reasons I don’t understand, I am meant to go through this painful process. If I truly believed that “less than 15% statistic” I would have a very hard time waking up in the morning and facing the world. Why would I daven so hard for something that seems so “unlikely” to happen? I don’t think Hashem is looking for us to find the reasons behind the challenges he sends us on both a personal level and on a klal level. I think Hashem wants us to take the experiences we go through and become better people. Hashem wants us to grow from these challenges and use them to help and support other people. For any single person reading this article – please don’t listen to the statistics.  We are not numbers, we are human beings. Bishvili nivra haolam.

In my opinion, this is the biggest problem. Reading an article like this doesn’t give me chizuk. Reading an article like this reaffirms all my fears – that age means too much in our society, that getting older means getting “less desired”. It is not this way in the secular world and it should not be this way in our world either. People need to stop stigmatizing girls based on age. Instead of pitying us, be supportive. Instead of thinking “oy, she’s still not married” think “wow, such a great girl, I am going to think if I know anyone for her”. Instead of labeling us based on age, label us based on our character. Instead of giving us looks of despair, give us looks of encouragement and support. I think taking away the strong stigma is a first step in alleviating some of the pain singles have to go through. If age wasn’t such a big deal, such a spoken about “issue”, guys would not be as hung up on it either. As a therapist, working with children who have anxiety, I teach them that the more they focus on their worries, the more their worries grow. The more we sit and focus on age, the more of a “problem” it becomes in the eyes of boys’ mothers and the boys themselves. We should help our society see past a number on a paper. Highlight some of the positives that “older singles” have to offer. While I would have loved to get married when I was younger, I feel that the growth I have experienced in these last 9 years has been enormous. Because of this, my relationship with my husband will be that much stronger imyH. Girls who are a little older when they get married are mature, have had life experience, don’t take it for granted when they find the right person, have some money saved up, have depth and insight, have had time to travel with friends and have a strong sensitivity to others who are going through a similar ordeal.

Instead of trying to find a solution to Hashem’s master plan, help promote singles and not make them feel bad for something that is not in their control. Write articles that give support and chizuk, not that highlight and focus on the negative things about hitting the “dreaded age” of 25.  We have to work on changing our perspectives. Learn to value us, not pity us. Make us feel accepted instead of rejected. We want to be treated as PEOPLE, not as statistics.

We shouldn’t have to dread going to social functions because we don’t want to deal with the “nebuch” looks and comments we are inevitably going to receive from others. We shouldn’t have to feel we have anything less to offer because Hashem didn’t send our zivug at age 20. We shouldn’t have to feel that with each passing birthday we become less desirable and our chances of getting married significantly decrease. We shouldn’t have to feel “inferior” because of our age.

There is one last point I would like to make, and I think it is an important one. One of the positives that has come out of reading this article is that it has strengthened my emunah and connection to Hashem. Let me explain. If I were to absorb and internalize all of the comments both in the article and in response to the article, it would lead me straight down a road of despair and depression. If I were to walk around feeling like a statistic, thinking “is this a life worth living” it would be extremely difficult for me to remain hopeful, positive and self-assured. It would be difficult for me to feel “worthy” of a great guy if these damaging thoughts pervaded my psyche. Instead, I read the article and looked over some of the responses and all I could think was “where is G-d in this equation?” If we had full bitachon, we wouldn’t be questioning “why”. We wouldn’t be blaming singles or casting them in a negative light. We wouldn’t be coming up with statistics or asking if this is a life worth living. We would be davening for each other, working on ourselves to be better and strengthening our connection with Hashem. By using this nisayon as an opportunity to grow and change for the better, while putting in our hishtadlus, hopefully Hashem will answer our tefillos and send the yeshuos we are all looking for.

It is my fervent hope, that with siyata dishmaya all the singles out there find their zivug and don’t have to go through any more pain. In the meantime, stay strong, don’t give up and keep your head held high because you ARE worthy and imyH some lucky guy will get to see that very very soon.

Please feel free to contact me at

A Single

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  1. Very well said. Everyone – especially mothers of single boys – should read this article. As I keep saying, the problem isn’t the boys, it’s the mothers, who feel they have to compete with each other to get a girl they can brag about, whether or not she’s right for their son.

    We should be trying to reach the mothers – not the shadchanim or the boys or the girls or the neighbors. Mothers are the gateway to solving the problem, because they _are_ the problem.

  2. The line in the article that once a girl reaches 25% her chances of getting married are less than 15% is 100% false.

    It was written without any supporting data or research. I would hope that some kind of retraction would be forthcoming.

    While the Shidduch situation is surely very serious, and the number of potentially unmatched girls is far far to high to accept, that statement is blatantly false.

    It is shocking how such a publication could publish such a immensely painful statement as fact when it is completely not true.

  3. The line in the article that “if a girl is singe at age 25 years her chances of getting married are less than 15%” is completely fabricated and not anywhere near the true reality.

    It was written without any supporting data or research. I would hope that some kind of retraction would be forthcoming.

    While the Shidduch situation is surely very serious, and the number of potentially unmatched girls is far far to high to accept, that statement is blatantly false.

    It is shocking how such a publication could publish such a immensely painful statement as fact when it is completely not true.

  4. You do make a good point that a girl can live a very productive and happy life while she is an older single. You are also rite that older girls should not be considered any worse than younger girls. Mr Rechnitz did not imply that they are any less desirable. His point is that because there is an age gap there are many more eligable single girls than single boys. The result of this is that the boys get married within 2 yesrs on average and many girls get older in the meanwhile. The final result is that there are many older singel girls with very few older singel boys. If we close the gap we would prevent any problems, these are the facts. Mr Rechnitz is not trying to cause people pain. Obviously this reality is very painful for you but if noone presents them than more and more people will suffer. I call what Mr, Rechnitz did a necassery evil. In terms of emunah everyone agrees that Hashem makes all situations that exist. However hashem also wants us to to try to change situations that are harmful to others. This is called the mitzvah of chesed. You wrote this article in otder to be michazek older girls. Why? didnt hashem send Mr rechnitz to cause those girls pain> why are you mishing in?

  5. Agree completely with 3. On what possible basis could such a statistic be based. Which khillos keep stats? Or is it the “da’as sh’dukhim”?

    Do they also keep stats on divorces, and “scientifically” explain the probable causes?

    Dear, Wonderful Single:
    The right, mature man with middos and ma’alos akin to yours will, will bless the opportunity. You’re doing all the right things, especially by being grateful for what you have.

    Lapidot seems to be described as a shlemiel (“candlemaker”)– actually a metaphor for his incredible future. He was Barak, who fought and won Dvora’s wars.

  6. Anyone who goes by statistics is in reality denying that Hashem runs the world and non else. Statistically the am yisrael should not be here either. B”H we are way above such statements. With emunah and simcha we daven for Hashems chesed

  7. The number of divorces probably is quite high. The number who are trapped in bad marriages is also high. These two together by far outnumber the singles.

    It is far far better to have stayed single and been wise enough not to allow oneself to be pressured into a bad marriage.

    The singles are not to be pitied, rather save the pity for those fell for the pressure when wisdom said otherwise.

  8. The Frum girls above age 25’s behavior towards shadchanim and potential boys alike make the 15% statistics a plausible reality. Does not mean that they face a 85 % chance of remaining single across the board, but it does mean is that based on how they tend to behave in shidduchim and what they begin to demand , yes, it puts them in a perfect situation for remaining single for life.

  9. If every married couple would designate one sheva brochos for shidduchim (with their single friends they’ve invited to the wedding and for single children of the invitees), it would get easier.
    Their mitzva would be to encourage meeting each other then. The couple would be the shadchanim.

  10. While there does seem to be more single girls than boys, there are still tonnes of single guys!
    Firstly need to get a way for all the older single guys to marry! That would solve 90% of singles issue.

  11. Will the “shidduch crisis” really be a bother? Sometimes a child does not marry at all or not until late in life. What does it take to make the child trust in Hashem’s plan? Clearly the ignorant think that the constitution enables them to have a dinner and a guest in all their years. Think again! Torah can design your future. Hold on and pray!

  12. Let’s say it as it is. This woman is right and she and other girls are getting short-ended by shidduchim process. There is no reason for the girls to date at early ages. The girls are being forced into this position only because boys must start dating early. Why must boys start early – so that their strong physical urges do not lead them astray.

  13. It is a miserable feeling of indifference about the inability to find a shidduch.

    There is no one to advise on this matter.

    Ones whole life is taken from before him.

    I have tried various methods to deal with this matter however they have not been successful. There is also the extremely unfriendly neighborhood in which I reside.

  14. As a regular good frum BY girl who had been in Shidduchim for about 5 years now I feel a lot of it has to do with the demands the mothers or parents of the boys have as opposed to the what the boys themselves really want. I truly feel that if boys would even be given a chance to look over my resume or to look into me as a person they would hear excellent information and would be interested in meeting me in person and at least give me a chance. The problem is that many mothers believe that since a good boy has the upper hand anyway in the system and they claim they have lists of top quality girls- (their words not mine) they feel that why should they have to “settle” on a girl like me who’s a bit older…whose parents simply cannot afford to offer full support..not a “perfect” choshuva family..etc. even though I was considered a “top” girl or at least I considered myself one 5 years ago- I don’t know what to think about myself anymore. The truth is that its definitely a most humbling experience for someone who was always full of confidence and proud of who I was. It’s hard to remain positive all the time when all my friends have moved on in life. I can’t even relate to my closest friends anymore- our lives have nothing in common! This may in fact be the hardest part for me to deal with right now- I was always a very social person with a lot of good friends and a big social life and it meant a lot to me. Now all my friends have moved out – (as I don’t live in Lakewood). I want to add that I went to top schools, a top seminary, had a lot of friends my whole life, am well-liked, bright, capable, mature, responsible, talented, etc. and my résumé at least appears to be as good as everyone else’s so really I should at least sound good enough- on paper- and even for the better than average boy. I chose a good career so that i can support my husband’s learning for as long as possible. That was my dream but now i don’t know what to think. Is it still even realistic? So why is it that I hardly ever have dates and that months go by ( close to up to six months at times) without a Shadchan even calling my house with a yes from a boy?! Most boys I go out with like me when they meet me and want to go out again. They usually appreciate my personality and what I have to say and the qualities that I have to offer in a marriage. The problem is getting the mothers of the boys to even consider me in the first place. I know this is the case because of the many people who try redting me Shidduchim usually to no avail- the family is simply not interested either because of money…or for some other similar reason of why my family is not tzsugapas enough for them. It’s hard not to grow frustrated with the system and not to cast blame on different people that may be perhaps responsible for this nesayon. But the truth is that i wouldn’t trade my life and my community for anything else in the world. Every society has flaws and this is something that we have to work together as a klal and for that alone I’m glad that Mr. Rechnitz brought out this problem and fostered this whole discussion in the first place. I commend and admire his tireless efforts to attempt to rectify the current situation. The one thing I have to say is that I am kind of stuck in the middle of all this because I’m not old enough for people to earn money for making my shidduch but I do not want to have to wait until I reach that point for people to be motivated to make my shidduch. I too was discouraged at first by the astonishing and astounding statistics for single girls once they reach the age of 24. But its definitely well worth publicizing if it means a chance that things might change for the better even if it means confronting and living every day with this harsh reality. Basically, according to the statistics and ??? ??? ????, I have less than 2 years to go before I have a 15% chance of ever getting married. That’s not very encouraging when you think about it. Does my future career mean anything to me if it means never having a chance to have and raise the family I’ve always dreamed of having which is the only reason why I chose it to begin with? Does it mean throwing out everything that I ever learned in seminary and high school and all that I build myself up to be because it may now all be basically irrelevant? And secondly, even if over 22 is only considered “older” in the more yeshivish circles- if this is the path I chose for myself and the way I want to live my life does it mean choosing something else if it means I will have a higher chance of getting married? I never dreamed that I would have to even contemplate such factors in order to help build my future. Also, it’s not comfortable to realize that younger girls are embarrassed to meet me and talk to me because I’m considered “old” in their eyes. I have kept my opinions on the matter to myself for some time now and i have never shared anything publicly before but after reading the article first in the Mishpacha and reading all the comments I was very tempted to write in as other single girls did but I didn’t have the courage to speak out as I didn’t feel it would accomplish much in the long run. However, I decided to share them just in case anything good can come out of it and even if it means preventing other people from having to go through what I’m experiencing if it cant help me and other girls already “stuck” in this predicament. I’ve experienced other nisyonos in my life and upon entering Shidduchim I convinced myself that hopefully I would at least be spared in this category- that I wouldn’t have be challenged in the parsha of Shidduchim as well because of what I had been through in the past. But Hashem in His infinite kindness and wisdom as always has other plans from what we intend for ourselves. Let us all fervently hope that Hashem has rachmanus on all the singles and all the other fellow Yidden that are suffering whatever the reason and that He bring the forth the Geula shleima bekarov ????? ???????? ??
    ???? ?? ???? ??? ?? ????..
    ?????? ????!

  15. When I read that I felt like screaming “25 is not old!” I was so upset to see an age put on what makes an older single. My sister got married at 34, I cannot imagine the pain of the girls that are already suffering being told that they have such a slight chance of getting married, and I don’t believe it.
    I agree, I did not start dating until I was 20. What for? I was so much more mature than I was 2 years before when I got home from Seminary. Instead of rushing the boys, let the girls take time to figure out who they are before they start dating. You can still close the age gap and everyone will be more mature and hopefully have happier, more fulfilling marriages.
    Keep going, keep growing, HaShem is in charge and He will send you your zivug when the time is right.

  16. The person to blame is the boy that doesn`t want to listen to shidduchim until 23 and his parents. Every 100 boys that start shidduchim only @ 23 are “guilty” of causing at least 10 Bnos Yisroel to stay single. Please don`t blame Rechnitz. Blame those that don’t follow Halacha and morality.

  17. As the publicity of the shidduch crisis grows we are hearing from more and more girls that are suffering. Why are we so blind? How can we continue to see people suffer without adressing the problem? We know the cause its the age gap. It is beyond me that so many people are seeing this go on and no change is not happening. There are people in position to create real change and they should give serious thought about the outcome of their being passive during this heartrenching situation.

  18. Even Ezer 1;3 A boy must be in shidduchim @ 18 to 20. Only a person that has the following “3” conditions is allowed to delay after 20 A-)one that is immersed in learning (Rav Shach states going to sleep with a Torah question & getting up with the answer) B-)He is afraid he will not have “food”, C-)His Yaitzer is not Misgaber on him. (the chozon ish said in his times “Who can say that on himself?) In our times A-) Who learns as described above? B-)Between parents, wife, and programs no one has a problem with “food”. and C-)Anyone that says that his Yaitzer is not Misgaber on him needs to see a psychiatrist, his father that thinks his son is that way needs a psychologist, and his mother must have a lot of Achzorius in her that she does not care about causing a classmate of her future daughter in law to become an Aguna. Please accept the Truth.