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A Bad Match

A Bad Match

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Dear Rachel,

My best friend has been dating a guy for a few months now, and she really seems to like him. The problem is that no one else does. There is nothing necessarily wrong with him, it is just that everyone who knows her feels she can do so much better. They are not compatible and they don't share the same values or goals. Being that in the past year a number of us got married, we are concerned that she is with him just in order to be with someone. But while she is with him, she obviously isn't meeting anyone else. How do we convince her that she deserves so much more?

C.L.
San Diego, CA

Dear C.L.,

It sounds like your friend is in a relationship that is most likely going nowhere. The problem is that she is going to have a hard time hearing advice from friends who are recently married and happy, as it is easy to tell her to leave a relationship, but that also leaves her alone while her friends now have their husbands. If your group of friends feels this way about this guy, speak to one of the single women who might have the best chance at influencing her. If a single friend is giving the advice, it takes away any feelings of resentment or jealousy that perhaps she is having for her newly married friends.

There is no question that it is hard being one of the last of a group to get married, and along with that is often insecurity and fear. She might be wondering if she will ever meet anyone or how come she hasn't already. If that is the case, she might very well be dating this man simply because he is interested in her and she fears if she passes on this one there might not be anyone else. One very important thing to do would be to make a great effort to spend time with her, without your husband around. Rather than simply inviting her to outings or events where there are many couples, make an effort to have a girl's night out as often as you can or to go out to lunch with her or get your nails done or something that involves just her and her friends so that she doesn't need to feel so dependent on this guy.

The more you or your friends are able to spend quality time with her, the more likely she will open up about this guy and what she is feeling and thinking about the relationship. Chances are she will want your approval and will want you to be supportive of her. There is the possibility that perhaps he really is a great guy and she is with him for the right reasons. But if that is the case, only when she is able to really speak with you, will she be able to share that. If your instincts are correct, however, and he is really not the right guy for her, hopefully with time she will start to see that for herself. And if she doesn't, you will want to gently ask what she sees in him or what she feels they have in common and why they are really together.

Sometimes people feel that their relationship is harmless and that even if it doesn't have a future, it is good for "now." Yet that is a very detrimental way of thinking. For starters, there is no such thing as a harmless relationship. If she is involved, her emotions are as well. And whenever it ends, it will be painful as endings are rarely without someone getting hurt, and often very hurt. If she doesn't really see a future with this guy, question why she is wasting her time with him now. If her attitude is that it is good for now, try to emphasize that it is really not the case. For every day she is spending with him, she is losing an opportunity of possibly meeting the man she will see a future with and will want to spend her life with.

Torah teaches us that we are constantly moving. We never stay the same. To be alive means to move. So if we are moving, the question is always if we are moving up or if we are moving down. Are we moving towards our goals in life? Are we bettering ourselves as human beings? Are we growing and developing? Or are we doing the opposite? We do not walk in place. So we either walk in the direction we want to head or we walk away from where we should be going. It sounds like your friend is walking in the wrong direction and needs her friends to turn her around. But she needs her friends. The more support she has, the more likely she will be able to do this.

And while I wouldn't necessarily suggest introducing her to someone while she is dating this guy, as she may find that offensive, I would definitely start brainstorming and thinking of people you do think she would be compatible with. It is very easy to assure someone that you know she will find a great guy, and something very different to have those suggestions for her.

Most important is to be her friend and make her know and feel that she is not alone and people love and care about her. And for those of you who are married and are more limited in your free time, speak to those of you who are not about inviting her out and going to events and places where they are meeting people. And whenever you can, show her the person you know her to be. When she sees that wonderful woman who you think so highly of, she will hopefully make the changes in her life to ensure that she is living the life she deserves!

Much luck!

Rachel

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

Sara Esther Crispe, a writer, inspirational speaker and mother of four, is the Co-Director of Interinclusion, a non-profit multi-layered educational initiative celebrating the convergence between contemporary arts and sciences and timeless Jewish wisdom. Prior to that she was the editor of TheJewishWoman.org and wrote the popular weekly blog, Musing for Meaning. To book Sara Esther for a speaking engagement, please click here.
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Shulamit Melbourne, Australia September 12, 2012

Don't interfere! How do you know this man is not good enough for your friend? She is not a child! She is old enough to manage her own life! If this guy is abusive or has a drinking problem,your concern would be understandable. But if he is a good Jewish man and your friend is happy with him,then butt out and mind your own business!!!Don't give advice unless you're asked. So many people suffer because of this kind of meddling! Reply

David Aharon Lindzon Toronto, ON Canada February 15, 2012

re Bad Match It is possible to say that G-d designed this challenge for the purpose of both of partners growing to greater spirituality ... and maybe both partners see the good in each other , and are willing to work on creating peace in the home ... No match that leads to a solid marriage does not have struggle in order to achieve this... men are different from women ... so for her friends who see things differently if she takes their advice she may not reach the self sacrifice level intended for her to reach.

By all means inquire from a trusted friend whether there is room for growth. so it boils down to this do you want to be challenged to make this match into an everlasting one or are you going to look for the easy way out.

and friends please do not offer advice unless she asks you for it. Of course if the person has a bad character and it is well known then telll the other party ... Reply

Lisa Providence, RI January 11, 2011

A Bad Match This sounds like the past generation: "You're incomplete without a man! "

Is it REALLY true she's only with this man to avoid being alone? If so, it sounds like your friend has self-esteem issues, thinking no one else will love her.

Even though her life is her decision, did you ask her if she's truly happy with a man she's not compatible with? Did you ask her if she wants a man who doesn't share her values and goals?

I hope she's smart enough to consider your questions and break up with him ASAP! Reply

Anonymous Montreal, Quebec July 28, 2009

Leave her decide! Has it Ever Occured to anyone That Your friend is Actually Happy with this person, so who are you to decide that he is not for her??? Everyone feels he is not for her, Wait back here is everyone marrying him or is the one who is in Love the one who matters most! Why should you come in the way of ones happiniess no matter what you think is right for your friend, you might be making a big mistake in breaking them up just becasue you and everyone feels he is not the one for her! Reply

Bill Evanston, Il via jewishbucktown.com April 1, 2009

Meddling Did it ever occur to her "well meaning friends" that she is happy with this person and that they should mind there own business. I somewhat fit into this description. My "well meaning friends" contributed to our breakup by encouraging her to have an affair. I can handle this, the divorce, and am moving on with my life. The problem is how this is affecting our children age 5 & 2 who cry and don't and never will understand why their family broke up. "Well meaing friends" aren't either. My experience growing up in Highland Park, Il and going to the U of I and living and working on Chicago's north shore has convinced me that the meddling and status seeking of "well meaning friends" speaks more about their own lives then the well being of those who they pretend to care about. It truly speaks to me about the emptiness in their own lives. Reply

Julien Orlando, FL via jewishorlando.com August 11, 2008

I find the writer's suggestion and encouragement to have the friend double (maybe even triple) booked while she is involved with another person sneaky and downright low. Obviously this friend of yours cares about your friendship despite your obvious distate for her choice because she continues to hang around you regardless of your opinions. Yes maybe she can do better as you say but can she do worse? The opposite I'm sure can hold true as well. In the end it is HER CHOICE not yours try backing up her play for a change and see if reverse psychology works on her. Merely a suggestion. Reply

Anonymous July 22, 2008

I think its very condescending that "obviously" her friends know what is right for her. Maybe they don't actually know the man as well as they think. There could be a multitude of different circumstances.

Maybe she has different sorts of standards in judging what is right for her. An example: the friends, lets say, could value financial success very highly, where as she could value kindness and how he treats the people around him as much more critical than financial success. To them looking at a man who doesn't have a large earning career must be "below her level"...

The friends don't have to marry him, theyre already married...

Yes maybe she is more successfull, intelligent, whatever than him (they didn't really specify), if he is a good person (good does not necessarily mean exactly like her friends' husbands), there shouldn't be an issue. She should be allowed to make this decisions. Reply

Sarah Masha West Bloomfield, MI USA via baischabad.com July 22, 2008

the next to last paragraph Dear Rachel and CL,

Dating two people at one time is called two-timing. It is viewed as extraordinarlly unethical in every social circle. CL should absolutly not "aid, abet, or foster" this occurring. It is thoroughly unfair to both of the people being dated.

However, if people can truthfully mention that they know "someone who would be great for her, but she is busy right now....." Truthfully means you really have to have at least one specific available person who meets this definition. To say there are plenty of fish in the ocean is one thing. To say "I have a fish in the barrel." is quite another.

CL said there is nothing really wrong with the man her friend is with. He is different from all the others she and her friends have dated. Maybe the friend is right to see if she needs this different person. He may be different AND every bit as "good" as the husbands the other women in this group married. Different is just different, not necessarily bad. Reply

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