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Is He the Right Guy for Me?

Is He the Right Guy for Me?

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Question:

Rabbi, do you give romance guidance?

I am in a serious relationship with a great guy. We have been together for a while now and I have very strong feelings for him. He is ready to get married, and is getting a bit impatient with me. But I'm just not sure. Something is holding me back, and I can't put my finger on it. Sometimes I think, if he's my soul-mate, why do I have doubts? I don't want to hurt him but I just don't know what to do. Any advice?

Answer:

Finding your soul-mate is almost as hard as finding your soul. Seeking advice is vital, whether it be from a counselor, a rabbi or a mentor. Not that I can tell you if he is your soul-mate; I know of no magical test to find that out. But G‑d knows, and I suggest that you pray for guidance. All I can do is try to help you reach some clarity, so you can find an answer on your own.

Something is holding you back. The question you should be asking yourself is this: Is the problem in me, in him or in us (i.e.. the relationship)?

Maybe he is indeed your soul-mate, and there is something within you that is making you hesitate. Are you scared of commitment? Have you been scarred by past relationships? Did you grow up without good role models to know what a healthy marriage looks like? If so, what is holding you back is fear. It could be that he is the one for you, but you are paralyzed by fear which makes you unable to see it. But remember - fear never introduces itself by its own name. Fear disguises itself in all types of very reasonable statements - "I'm not ready to get married", "He isn't the type of guy I dreamed of", "I want to establish my career first" - when the real issue is simple: you're scared. If that's the only issue, then you have to work on opening yourself up to a real commitment.

Maybe the problem is him. Nobody's perfect, so there must be things about him that you don't really like, but over time you have learnt to overlook them. What are they? Are they minor issues, like the way he cuts his toenails or that he can't play tennis? Then you should forgive him. Or are they bigger ones, like his temper or the way he treats people? In marriage we come to overlook (and sometimes even love) the flaws in our spouse. But we will probably never change them. When married, turning a blind eye to imperfections is great. When dating, it's dangerous. If you are overlooking parts of his personality that you will not be able to live with, then the problem is him and you should get out of there.

On the other hand, perhaps he is a great guy, and his flaws are minor. Perhaps the problem is not him, and not you, but "us" - the two of you together. You are two fantastic people, but the relationship is not so fantastic. Do you communicate well? Does he understand you when you share with him your feelings? Do you share similar values and beliefs? Do you respect him? Are you heading in similar directions in life? Is he willing to put your needs in front of his? Would you do that for him?

If you are not connecting, then maybe you are two lovely individuals that have some things in common, but are just not on the same page. Or maybe the relationship needs more work. This means not only learning how to communicate better, but also knowing what each other's values and priorities are. I have seen couples that have been together for years but never actually discussed values. It may not be very romantic, but ask yourself: If I would ask my partner, "What are the five most important things in life?", do I know what his answer would be? Am I comfortable with that answer?

Perhaps you need more time. Perhaps there are a combination of issues that are complicating things. But if you can ascertain where the main issue lies, you will have an answer.

If it's him - there are things about him that won't change and you can't live with - move on.

If it's us - you are not connecting - then the relationship needs some attention to see if it can flourish.

But if the problem is not in him, and not in your relationship, but in you - your fears and past experiences - then you need to liberate yourself from them. It may take a leap of faith, but you will feel light, you will be free to love, and most of all, you will find your soul-mate. And maybe your soul too.

Aron Moss is rabbi of the Nefesh Community in Sydney, Australia, and is a frequent contributor to Chabad.org.
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22 Comments
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Mlk Brockton Ma September 2, 2016

Finding a soul mate For me this was not a problem . I met my husband for the first time when I was working he came to pick up something for his mother . My mind told me that's the man I am going to marry . It was that simple for me . Reply

Anonymous January 2, 2016

I believe sometimes we use the word "change" loosely. People are not always expecting "change" but are expecting growth. As you age and experience your life and decisions do change, but that is growing and learning how to become better and educated. If you did not "change" over your lifetime who would you be today? Reply

Anonymous nederland June 4, 2015

Hello, I can give you advice ask God, pray that He brings the right woman on your path. He knows who you are and what you need don't search for your self it doesn't work. Why? Because you look with your eyes, God looks in your heart and knows who is the right person for you, than you will be a happy person. Have patience maybe she is not ready to meet you. Greetings Reply

Anonymous New york July 2, 2014

Wow. This is a great article. I've read so many books on dating and this is really clear and eye opening. Thank you.

And yes, praying for clarity is crucial. Reply

Jeff February 27, 2014

Attraction is a feeling, love is a promise The most common source of problems in marriages is that the couple misinterpreted their mutual feelings of attraction as love. This normally results in the couple trying to keep up appearances after about 5 years, and wondering where the love went.

It is important to know that attraction is an emotional feeling that may fade, while love is a promise that has little to do with attraction. If you are thinking of getting married, then please read “Attraction is a feeling. Love is a promise.” by Grenville Phillips. Reply

Anonymous India April 22, 2013

Looks / appearance I need an advice. I will shortly be looking for my 2nd marriage. I believe that good nature and good looks are both important for a successful marriage for both boy and girl. I have met a girl a few times who is good natured and has a good heart. She loves me very much. While I value her good nature, my dilemma is that she is just average looking girl, not cute or attractive. Good looks are equally important so that a man looks forward to being in his wife's company. I am not able to know whether I will be happy after marrying her due to her looks / appearance. Your advise will be appreciated. Reply

Anonymous October 7, 2012

choosing partner it is life time issue, never take emotional decision. Reply

Clare toronto June 25, 2012

acceptance I feel it is absolutely important to accept someone for who they are. But I agree that before you are married, you should never turn a blind eye..In a past relationship,.I had ended up forgiving him so much that should not have been forgiven and supported his choices and actions against my values (as he had pressured me to)...do not under any circumstances go against who YOU are. You know what is right. DO NOT forgive someone if their values are just wrong...and please dont let anyone convince you that they are right and you are crazy. You in your heart know what is right and wrong. Women be careful of men that pressure and criticize you. Someone who loves you should not make you feel like a bad person. we are all people of God. Reply

Yvette UK December 27, 2011

maturity Don't expect him to mature otherwise you could be setting your self up for deep disappointment. I would advise you to get counselling for yourself to see how you really feel about him and his behaviour. I think you have to go into marriage with a "what you see is what you get" attitude. People can change but only if they want to change and many times they don't want to change. May you be guided to the truth and to what is best for you. Reply

Anonymous Sydney, Australia December 26, 2011

Immature. It's a minor issues in a great guy? We love each other, I feel great with him (he 33 and I'm 30). However at times when he acts immature I can't stand it, and I'm scared I will walk out on him in the future. Will he mature? Please help. Reply

lisa from okc okc, ok December 22, 2011

is he right for u? That's what I ask myself and no he is not... but I am still with him. Reply

Anonymous ghana, kumasi January 13, 2011

i now know This is an advice you will never get anywhere but from a rabbi. Thanks soo much. I know my relationship will work out. Reply

Miranda Sparta, WI June 10, 2010

LOVE I think this was an awesome story to write about, I just wish the guy I liked liked me too. I'm miserable. Reply

Jonathan Sydney, Australia February 9, 2010

is he the right guy for me? It could have been entitled 'Is she the right girl for me'?

Very very sound advice. I am not married but when I get close to that date I will seek your wisdom.
There are many so called marriage counselors or advice experts available who are really full of BS, but you Rabbi are spot on! Reply

Leah Halifax, Canada September 7, 2008

So helpful - thank you Thank you very much Rabbi. Your advice is so very appreciated. I've hearc the phrase "there are three people in every relationship - you, me, and us" and your advice rings true to that. I;ve had some recent and overwhelming relationship doubts and I'm so glad that I read this before making what, in retrospect, would have been a rash decison. I think the Rabbi was an my angel today:) Reply

yamille Anaheim Hills, CA/USA via campsgi.com July 4, 2008

is he the right guy for me? Hi! I'm almost11 in 6th grade and this is what I think you should do to work things out.Sometimes you have disagreements. But, if you are fighting all day about something, you need to take a deep breath and ask him what's wrong.Hope it works out! Reply

Yvette December 10, 2007

flaws I loved what you said about flaws because that is so true for me. I am so forgiving of other people's flaws and find it easy to excuse them. So easy that I have been in abusive relationships ignoring the warning signs beforehand and then been badly hurt. I hope I am learning to listen to my own warning signals of when a man's flaws are unacceptable and a sign that they are not a good person. Reply

Anonymous Safed, Isarel September 11, 2007

Great Advice As a therapist I want to thank the rabbi for his care, concern and so much good sense...I bless him and those he tries with G-d's help to give counseling to .. Happy New Year Reply

Anonymous September 10, 2007

Wonderful answer Yashar Koach the answer is great. Reply

Avi FV, US September 10, 2007

universal energy field We are all the same:
Lisa knows about the voice of grace within us, that is 100% correct.

Diversity:
There are emotions that we feel the moment we observe the motions of another person: voice, geometry, the curves of a person, the way a person moves, how a person uses language, etc.
2 souls together are esp. good @ Reply

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