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Nov 2, 2011


I think every break-up I've experienced since I've started shidduch dating has boiled down to that one word.

One time it was Hashkafah, different values. One time it was different attitudes. One time it was different feelings. One time it was differences in perspectives and orientation on life.

Sometimes I wonder if we think the word "bashert" means "similar" or "the same." Same goals, same values, same perspectives, same orientation, same feelings. Same thoughts and actions. Same background and culture. Just sameness -in humor and intelligence, in expectations and desires, in how we approach and what we want out of life.   


  1. you need to have similar views in dont have to be same but u do have to be compatible..if there are too many differences that it wont work

    men and women are different enough as a we try to avoid as many extraneous differences as possible.

  2. That is, often, the reasoning behind it. It makes a lot of sense, especially nowadays. But, in some ways, that logic also implies that we can't handle the differences, or that they lead to problems (problems that are too serious or that we can't deal with).

    I don't necessarily agree. I think it's how we handle differences -both the basic gender ones as well as the multitude of other differences inherent in being with another person -that makes or breaks a relationship. After all, the greatest predictor of success and happiness in relationships is conflict management, not how similar two people are.

    The things that make us fit or work well with each other are not simply our similarities, though so many people seem to think so.

  3. Sameness = boring.

    I have learned to combat the tendency that I find in myself to test people to see if they agree with me, share my basic opinions, even interests. While it is fun to be part of the same 'cool club' what I really want is someone who challenges me to see outside of my box.

    That said, I do believe that at a certain level shared principles are required for a happy relationship. You need to want the same thing out of life... Where is the line? Still working on that one.

  4. you are never going to find someone who is exactly the same as you..which is what i think Ish was referring to as the problem. People are never going to find someone who grew up the same way as us, has our minhagim, davens like us, has the same sense of humor, likes the same foods..

    like yael said, same is boring. variety is the spice of life. and to quote the dance group "diversity": our similarities make us strong our differences make us stronger!

    that being said, we need to have enough common ground to be able to even get to the point of celebrating our differences.

  5. The thing about "common ground" is that having a basic respect for others and an open mind allows us to find commonality. As humans we share so many aspects of life experience, it's often right there if we take the time and care to explore it. People can celebrate differences when they can appreciate others and feel fulfilled in themselves, instead of expecting them to be "just like me." I also agree with Yael that the line is nebulous and confusing at best.

    One way to look at it is that people obsessing over similarity and dumping the differences are really communicating that they can't celebrate or appreciate the differences. They can't -or are refusing to -deal with differences, with making change, being flexible, learning and relating to another person differently. The number of times I've heard the phrase: "I just need to be able to be myself without having to think about the other person" is shocking to me. In a relationship, it's all about considering the other person and how they experience/relate to the world!

    Not wanting to put in that work or deciding I should just be able to do it my way and have the other person naturally perfectly fit into it is a fairy-tale. Some people just seem like they have to have things "my own way" and thus must find someone who will just be like they are, or conform to it. That kind of inflexibility is a growing problem, IMHO, one that may come from a place of self-service ("my bashert absolutely must be like me!") rather than a place of learning, growing, giving, understanding and celebrating. In an extreme form, it can boil down to supreme self-centeredness and self-absorption bordering on narcissism. I think part of the attitude exists because we live in a highly individualistic society, but I don't see it as a Torah value.

    Clearly there is some middle ground between extreme inflexibility and brain-spillage open-mindedness, and people draw the line in many different places. Personally and in my own experience, I'm a tad more towards the side of flexibility, because it reveals a lot of strength to me. Especially in terms of handling conflict, when our differences have practical consequences -which they will no matter who I end up with. Dealing with differences is a skill on a continuum; people who can handle it can work through everything together. For those who can't, the smallest differences may create very large problems. Seeing how someone manages differences gives a world of insight into how they will respond to them in the long run.