Dear Therapist:

Our daughter, who is shidduchim age, recently approached us that she would like to see someone regarding her indecisiveness. This is something that she has struggled with over the years.  It definitely seems like now would be a good time to address it. We are however, also concerned about her delaying shiddichum any longer, especially since we won't really be able to explain why we are holding off. I was hoping you could advise as to whether it is the type of thing that she can date while in therapy or is something that she would need to wait until she is "finished?" I was also wondering if you have any suggestions as to how to deal with shadchanim and friends who try and redt shidduchim and how we can explain that a girl like her isn't dating now?



You seem to be focusing on your daughter’s indecisiveness specifically with regard to dating. Even if this were the only area in which your daughter is indecisive, I don’t know whether she is indecisive about getting married in general, about getting married soon, about the type of person she might want to marry, or about something else related to dating and marriage.

If sounds, however, like your daughter is often indecisive in various areas. This speaks to a more general issue. It could relate to self-esteem, anxiety, trouble focusing, or another similar problem. Thus, her indecisiveness could be viewed as a symptom rather than the primary problem. The amount of time that it would take for your daughter to become more decisive depends on the issue (or issues), their longevity and progression, and many other factors.

I like the fact that you placed the word “finished” in quotation marks. This indicates that you likely recognize that we all have issues and that these are never fully resolved. Those of us who acknowledge our issues and work on them are involved in a lifelong process, the goal of which is to become continually happier and better adjusted.

How many people are truly ready for marriage? I could make the argument that someone who is introspective enough to acknowledge their issues—and feels that they are not ready for a major life change until these are better resolved—may be more ready to make major decisions than others. Of course, almost paradoxically, this tends to make them feel less ready. While this concept is not often highlighted, I believe that many shadchanim (and others in your lives) can readily understand and accept this.

Your daughter may not feel comfortable discussing such specifics with others. I wonder, however, to what extent your concerns over how to respond to others is based on actual experience. Are people asking about your daughter’s dating practices? If they are, do they follow up with questions about why she is not dating? Or are you projecting your feelings and fears onto others? Do you truly believe that your daughter is the only one who has fears and insecurities and has trouble making decisions (especially life-altering ones)? You may find that others are more understanding than you think.

-Yehuda Lieberman, LCSW

  psychotherapist in private practice

  Woodmere, NY

  adjunct professor at Touro College

  Graduate School of Social Work

  author of Self-Esteem: A Primer / 516-218-4200


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