Dear Rachel,

I’m going on 40, and I’m afraid I’m never going to get married. It’s not like I don’t want to get married; I do!Everyone seems to be grappling with an availability issue But all the men I meet are either commitment-phobes or unavailable. I found out that the last guy I was dating didn’t even have his get, his Jewish divorce (when he told me he was already divorced), and had no idea when he would. The guy before was an older man who’d never been married, but assured me he was ready to take the plunge. Then he decided to go to India for six months. There are the guys with whom I don’t hit it off, but the ones I do all seem to have some sort of commitment or availability issue. Please don’t tell me I’m like them! I want to get married.


Dear Committed,

I’m sure there are similarly aged men out there who want to marry as well. The challenge is how and where to go about meeting them.

You haven’t told me anything about yourself or about where you meet these men. The Jewish shidduch (matchmaking) system that’s been around since biblical times assures that the basics are in place before the couple meet. If you meet a guy on your own in a bar, for instance, you have no choice but to believe what he tells you. If someone you know well (a friend, colleague, mentor, matchmaker) sets you up, you can at least be sure that the man is truly available, and that his personal details jibe with what he says. Also, someone who sets you up will know something about both of you and have some reasons for suggesting the match in the first place.

As a general rule, people aren’t committed in one area of their lives and not others. Does the guy you’re going out with have a steady job? Does he keep in contact with his family and friends? If he’s divorced, does he see his children and make regular alimony payments? Does he have his own place? Does he have a pet? DoesDoes he talk about the future and his plans? he make plans in advance or tell you that he wants to do things spontaneously? Does he talk about the future and his plans? Does he volunteer anywhere regularly? Is he member of a synagogue? Does he have a men’s night out or some other regular weekly social commitment? All these things are indicative of someone who is committed and ready to commit further.

What about you? Maybe you are committed in your heart, but how do you answer the questions above? I suggest that you evaluate your own life and find places where you can insert a few commitments. That will put your feelings into action, and your personal energy will broadcast that you are a committed individual.

Sometimes, women find men fun on dates—interesting and charismatic, but not marriage material. I know it sounds like a cliché, but if you want a nice guy—a dependable guy who is husband and father material—you shouldn’t be dating the photojournalist going to Africa for a safari shoot, the pilot who only lands in town every few weeks or the aspiring actor who will be out rehearsing every night. These kind of men aren’t conducive to domesticity. OK, I know that dependable, regular guys aren’t as exciting as others you might date, but they are indeed the marrying kind. I’m not saying all marriageable men are boring. But maybe give a chance to a guy who might not sweep you off your feet at first.

Judaism has the concept of a bashert—the one person destined for you. But you have to make yourself open to meeting him. And you have to talk to G‑d and tell Him how much you want to meet this guy already.

To sum up:

  • Ask people to set you up, sign up with a matchmaker and don’t be shy asking for a reference when you happen to meet a guy you like to make sure that everything is on the up and up, and he is truly available and looking for a commitment.
  • Evaluate your life for how you express your sense of commitment and see if you could make some changes in that regard.
  • Try dating a different type of man than you’re used to. Give a chance to a type that might be less intriguing, but more emotionally available.
  • Don’t forget to pray and ask G‑d for a husband who will help you build a loving and stable Jewish home.

Praying you have a mazal tov soon!