by Devora Krasnianski, founder of Adai Ad Institute
“Yossi, this is not easy for me to say, and perhaps it won’t be easy for you hear. We’ve had some great conversations and I really enjoy your company. Despite each of our strengths and interests, I simply think we don’t match well enough for long term marriage. You’re a great guy; I hope you know the many great qualities you have. I am looking for someone who matches up with my own unique self.
“You are good person and I wish nothing but the best for you. And I assure you that anything that you have shared with me, I will not share; I very much live by the principle that it is your story and not mine to share.”
Leah really thought about how to word this talk to minimize the pain that Yossi will inevitably feel. She tried to see it from his perspective.
She kept it short and didn’t share any details about how she came to that decision. And her words were respectful, leaving Yossi with his dignity. And she allayed a common fear; she assured him that she will always respect his privacy and never share anything he shared.
Granted, delivering this short talk is not be easy for Leah, or anyone. But if that is how she feels, the truth definitely must be told. If it is said in a straight and dignified context, Yossi will receive it much easier.
The truth sets one free. As hard as it is to be the receiver of such a message, it is really a blessing. If Leah withholds the truth, then Yossi will most likely make inaccurate assumptions and predictions. And he might make some decisions based on those faulty assumptions. And then when the truth does come out, it is more hurtful. Telling the truth liberates both people to deal effectively with that truth.
Negative news cannot really be painless. Most likely, Yossi will be in pain – for a while. Firstly, Leah should recognize that yes it will painful, but it must be done. For both of their sakes.
Think of it this way: Short term pain now, or long term pain later? If Leah is intent on avoiding that pain and so she doesn’t express her thoughts, then she and Yossi might end up marrying. The pain later will be even greater. And there might even be children involved at that point.
So just knowing that it will be painful but it must be done might make it just a bit easier to make that decision.
Yossi wants the truth – right now – even if it is not easy to handle. (And so would Leah if it was Yossi’s decision.)
** For a separate discussion: Should this message be delivered in person or through a shadchen?