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I Am Not Attracted to My Date

I Am Not Attracted to My Date

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Dear Rachel,

I was just set up on a date with a wonderful young woman. I enjoyed her company and spending time together. Unfortunately, I just wasn’t attracted to her. I don’t think it makes sense for us to go out again if I already know there is no future. I certainly don’t want to lead her on, but I have absolutely no reason to stop seeing her other than the lack of attraction. What should I do?

Unattracted

Dear Unattracted,

I agree 100% that it is important to be attracted to one’s partner. But there are some truths I have learnt through my involvement with matchmaking.

The attitude of Judaism, contrary to pop culture, is that most attraction comes from knowing a person and appreciating his or her inner beauty. As the verse in Psalms (45:14) reads, Kol kevudah bat melech pnimah, “The beauty of a princess lies within her.”

The attitude of Judaism, contrary to pop culture, is that most attraction comes from knowing a person and appreciating his or her inner beauty. It is important to get to know someone, and without making quick a judgments based on images or expectations one may have in one’s mind.

Unfortunately we live in an “airbrushed” society, where secular attitudes towards beauty are ingrained in us through advertising, movies and music. These images are often not realistic, and they certainly do no service to the person seeking a life partner.

As two people get to know each other, and if they get along, they come to value the wonderful qualities in the other that complement their own. How they look is beautiful because of who they are. When a person thinks of their partner, the beautiful image that comes up is a reminder of all they are attracted to in that person.

On the other hand, a person who appears to be extremely good-looking can turn ugly very quickly if they open their mouth and speak in an unkind or vulgar manner.

When a person is busy with a full and productive life, they learn to value being understood, respected and cared for, and that becomes the greatest attraction.

I unfortunately know many young men and women who spend years dating, unable to get past this idea. I also know young men and women who have slowly learnt this truth and have found beautiful partners by looking within.

One handsome young man I know struggled with this issue, dating many women over many years. He eventually met a woman who was a wonderful, sensitive and caring individual. She did not match up to the images he had in his mind. Nevertheless, he realized that she was the person he wanted as his wife and the mother of his children. Today they are very happy together! He feels blessed to have such a beautiful wife whom he loves dearly, and realizes how trapped and programmed he was by society’s preconceived notions of beauty.

I have also seen men who have met their picture-perfect woman and prioritized her physical attributes over other qualities. That is a personal choice one has to make. It sometimes takes years to fully appreciate this truth, and it has to be a reality for you.

Ultimately, it is up to the individual to soul-search and determine who they are truly seeking. The Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, of righteous memory, calls this hamshachat halev. It translates as “drawing of the heart.” A deep feeling, from within one person, of desire and appreciation for the other.

I am telling you this because I feel it is unfair to expect a man to seek a life partner without giving him a Jewish perspective on what he is seeking. In every other area of life, there is Jewish law; here too, there is a Jewish approach. There are many Jewish books on this subject, and I think it would be helpful to peruse some.

Just as it takes time to learn how to keep Sabbath and kosher dietary laws, I appreciate that a person cannot change the way they think overnight. I just hope that with some of these ideas in mind, it will be easier for you to decide what you should do.

Rachel

"Dear Rachel" is a bi-weekly column that is answered by a rotating group of experts. This question was answered by Elka Feldman.

Elka Feldman is a full time mother. She and her husband Rabbi Eli Feldman are directors of Young Adult Chabad, a center that caters for students and young professionals in Sydney, Australia.
© Copyright, all rights reserved. If you enjoyed this article, we encourage you to distribute it further, provided that you comply with Chabad.org's copyright policy.
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Lisa Providence, RI February 15, 2014

Not Attracted to Date Attraction isn't everything. Did this woman have ANY qualities you wanted for a future wife and mother to your children?

Wonderful women come in all kinds of packages Reply

Anonymous kansas city, Kansas-usa May 17, 2012

package like at the store, a fancy package, is selling something,you would not normally get.. Reply

Devora Mathless Albany, NY - New York May 3, 2012

Well done Elka. Reply

Anonymous Setauket, NY via chabadsb.com July 28, 2011

physical beauty is only skin deep The idea Rachel wrote about in this article, is one that I have always believed, albeit not from the "Jewish" perspective. I have met many women, who at first glance, do not live up to social standards of beauty. However, after meeting them, learning about them in depth, the "attraction" grew. True beauty is not skin deep. It goes all the way to the soul, and encompasses everything about the individual - kindness, intelligence, interests and, in my opinion, the capacity to enrich someone else's life. If asked my advice for "Unattracted," I would tell him to continue to see this woman and see where it leads. He may find that love may not work, but he will have forged a strong friendship. Or he may find that as he learns about her, and she gets to know him, he will see her true and total beauty. Reply

Jack Midland Park July 18, 2011

Physical appearance The French have a saying:
A good looking man has a two week advantage over a plain looking man. Reply

Anonymous San Francisco, CA July 14, 2011

Looks don't count ultimately I have been happily married for 3 years, and insanely in love with my husband. In fact, I am crazier about him now then I was the day I got married to him. To be sure, he is attractive, but what sparks my passion for him is his incredible soul and character. I've never met anyone so loving, compassionate and with so much self-awareness. Even as the years pass, and he loses more hair and starts showing more wrinkles on his face, he will never stop taking my breath away. I love him so dearly! True beauty lies within. Reply

anon July 10, 2011

thanks women and men may not realize what a man has to deal with here: when he signs that ketuba...he's promising to take care of, provide for,etc, this woman for the rest of his life.
this is very serious, especially if finances are a concern.
your article is very helpful, thank you for posting it. and the comments are helpful too. Reply

Dina Jerusalem, Israel July 7, 2011

re: If you treat each other with respect and look past your respective egos, you will both become more physically attractive to each other and to everyone else around you. Knowledge from experience. Reply

Jack Midland Park July 5, 2011

"Not what I'm looking for" article Between college and marriage, I dated over 80 women. Many of them had wonderful qualities. However, when I met my future wife on a blind date, I found that she had many qualities. When we had dates, we spent many hours together learning about each other.. Over a year after our first meeting, we became married. We have been married for several decades. It is hard to believe we have been togther for so many years.
My suggestion to those who are looking for someone special, be patient and do not expect perfection. Reply

Sheri Modell Somerset, NJ July 1, 2011

Meeting one's bashert I met my husband on a blind date. On first glance I thought "Never, he looks like a bear." We spent an afternoon together and quickly realized we were meant for each other.
Physical attraction is key but it can be ephemeral. If she is an absolute turnoff, don't see her again. If not, maybe it's worth a second look. Reply

Anonymous Brooklyn, NY June 28, 2011

you may be surprised My fiance and I met in a class. We both disliked each other in the beginning. We did not know anything about each other but the way he looked was "not my type" - in fact was quite the oppsosite, the type I did not like. He did not like the way I looked either. We both laugh today at how I thought he was a homeless musician, who did not eat for days and I was a stuck up snob in his eyes. But during the class we got to know each other and found a lot in common: goals, alues, interests. I also have learned that he had a kind heart and gentle soul. The miracle has happened to me and now when I look in his eyes, when I see his face, I cannot imagine a more handsome man. He also showers me with compliments, which make me feel like a queen and I see real attraction between us, the classic Hollywood "spark", which others also notice. But it is not superficial in our case. I think that our minds started looking for attraction to justfy our hearts' choices. Mind is flexible, it will adjust. Reply



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