Miriam Zeitlin examines the shidduch crisis

The Shidduch Crisis, A Deeper Look

Everywhere you turn, there’s talk of the shidduch crisis.  Numerous organizations help singles get married, there are different initiatives to get boys to start dating younger, and shadchanim are offered monetary compensation to get girls on dates. No doubt these practical solutions to the shidduch crisis are all beautiful and important work, but what is the real cost of it all? Miriam Zeitlin, New York-based shidduch dating coach and kallah teacher uncovers: What is the true shidduch crisis, and how to resolve it?

The Shidduch Crisis Explained

Some people say that there are just more girls than boys born. That may be true. Others simply ascribe the shidduch crisis to the age gap between the young men and women entering ‘the Parshah’. This could also be true.

In past generations, there was no shidduch crisis because women did not have the luxury of marrying for love. They married for financial security, and men were able to marry multiple women, so for the most part, no woman was left behind.

Today, we marry for love. Long gone is the attitude of marrying anyone kind and who will provide. Nowadays, feelings and connection are vital.

Whether from their parents, friends, or society at large, today’s singles face tremendous pressure to get married at a young age. Most singles genuinely want and are ready for marriage, but what happens to the young men and women who, for whatever reason, don’t feel ready but are pressured into dating, engagement, and marriage anyway? While it’s very easy to persuade people to get married, knowing when to back off is crucial.

Why Is There A Shidduch Crisis?

As a frum dating and relationship coach, I have met too many singles who tell me they are being pushed to date when they don’t feel ready. I’ve met singles dating someone they have issues with while being strongly encouraged to continue regardless of their unease. I met with a young woman who shared with me how firmly she was pressured to continue dating and get engaged, even when it didn’t feel right to her. The pain on all their faces is so difficult to see. After meetings like these, where two singles can marry but don’t really want to, I start to wonder, ‘Is the shidduch crisis real’?

How To Solve The Shidduch Crisis

Before your son or daughter enters the “shidduch parshah” make sure they are ready for dating and marriage. Never pressure them into it because you are worried that they will be labeled as “old” when they do eventually feel ready.

If the single says they need time off from dating, no matter how much time they need, say, “No problem”. Don’t push their feelings away.

If your child has concerns, listen to them. Many serious questions in a relationship don’t present as glaring red flags. Often, they are more subtle yet just as important to deal with. Have them speak with a competent marriage and relationship therapist or dating coach to see whether these issues are normal dating anxieties or something more.

Miriam Zeitlin outlines the Shidduch Crisis as she sees it

How We Further Enable The Shidduch Crisis

There is a risk that in our rush to avoid allowing any single to join the shidduch crisis statistics, we may be pushing them into unhappy marriages or quick divorce statistics instead.

Comments I Hear Often from Well-meaning Parents or Shadchanim:

  • “The feelings will grow after marriage”

While fireworks and Hollywood’s love at first sight are not so realistic, some feelings need to initially exist for them to grow. A plant without roots can’t possibly grow into a strong, beautiful tree. After marriage, the feelings that were there before will only get deeper, but you do need to have feelings to build on.

  • “Everyone has to compromise on something”

This is true. No human or relationship is perfect. There are, however, certain things that a person should not have to sacrifice for the sake of marriage. The singles themselves know what they can live with or without. Pushing them into a situation they don’t feel comfortable with can have negative consequences.

  • “They are being too picky”

There is a difference between being picky and being selective. A person should never compromise on their goals, values, and the things that make them unique. In a relationship, no one should feel stifled or that their individuality was stripped away.

  • “At that age, they are lucky to even get a date”

So, because they are older, they should settle and marry someone who is not the least bit compatible with them? Not at all. Singles deserve a wonderful marriage at every age.

Comments I Hear Often from Singles:

  • “I am afraid of disappointing my parents”

This, to me, is one of the more difficult statements that I hear. So often singles tell me about the person they’re dating. “My parents really like them, but I am not so sure.” Remember that you are the only one who will have to live with this decision for the rest of your life. No one else has to like them but you. If you are a parent, remember this! The person that your son or daughter is dating may be good for your image, they may be the exact version of the fantasy you envisioned for your child, and you may really like them. But at the end of the day, you won’t be living the rest of your life with them, your child will.

  • “My parents and I are not on the same page”

A person really needs to be careful not to project their own wants or desires onto their children. Each human being is unique, and parents should have a conversation with their son or daughter before they start navigating the shidduch process together to make sure they truly understand who their child is and what their needs are.

  • “But on paper, they are perfect”

He/she may have a very effective Shidduch resume and check off all the boxes, but do they make you happy? Do you enjoy spending time with them? Sometimes it is better not to have everything on your list checked off but rather be with someone you look forward to seeing and with whom you feel relaxed and comfortable.


  • “I need more time”

Why does shidduch dating have to be governed by so many rules? All relationships develop differently, and each person is ready at a different pace. Never compare one couple’s journey with another’s. If someone says they need more time, let them have more time! Do not pressure them to decide on their biggest life choice before they are ready to do so.

  • “All my friends are dating. Is something wrong with me because I am not ready yet?”

Dating is not a race or a competition. People should date and get married only when they feel 100% ready to do so. Every person develops at a different pace when they are babies. So too, not everyone is ready for the commitment of marriage at the same time.

Discover the real Shidduch crisis, laid out by Miriam Zeitlin

Could It Be There Is No Shidduch Crisis?

As parents, shadchanim, and the community at large, we want the best for our singles. But what is truly the best? We are so fearful of them becoming “older singles” that we lose sight of what is really important. Marriage is not the end goal – staying married is!

Are we pressuring too many of our young men and women to date when they are not ready?

Should we pushing singles to continue dating even when they are expressing doubts?

Are we encouraging engagement before the singles feel confident in their decision? 

Could we be replacing one crisis with another crisis?

In my experience, we have decided that there is a shidduch crisis by the numbers of singles we are unhappy for. Perhaps, if we alter our expectations to allow each of our children to succeed in their own lives, without requiring them to progress at a ‘communally expected rate’, the shidduch crisis will disappear.

If you or a loved one are seeking support at any stage of the shidduch journey, reach out to Miriam Zeitlin for experienced guidance and coaching.

Subscribe to our Email List

Stay in the loop! Get our top-notch dating and relationship advice straight to your inbox.