Lose it dating
Sarah Bateman, a licensed social worker who is the liaison to the Jewish community for the Renfrew Center, one of the oldest eating disorder treatment institutions in the country, tells SELF that her professional interests stemmed from what she witnessed at her own Orthodox school.“I was in high school and noticed so many of my friends were suffering,” she says.Based on a widespread belief that there are too many single women (whether that's true or not) single men are treated as the high-demand prize.“There is undeniably a certain amount of pressure in some circles where…the women have to prove themselves and have this pressure to find a man and get married,” Bateman says.Many Orthodox families still rely on (Yiddish for matchmakers) to formally introduce men and women to each other.“There are people whose parents encouraged them to get liposuction or other plastic surgery to conform to a certain body, to [increase] their chances of getting married."Bateman agrees: “I hear from matchmakers over and over that the number one question men are asking is, ' What size is she? '” And, according to Weiss-Greenberg, not only is the weight of the prospective date of interest, but “people ask the weight of the mother because [they] want to know what [their] future wife will look like.” Ironically, this focus on women's shapes and sizes proliferates even though Orthodox dating itself doesn't allow for physical contact between the sexes. I do believe most women are trying to lose weight in response, [though].”“In the times of the Talmud, there's an example from thousands of years ago that women would wear choker necklaces…to accentuate the fat on their neck, so that they would look healthier, heavier, more affluent, and more attractive,” Devorah Levinson, a referral specialist and the director of eating disorders at Relief Resources, which helps Orthodox Jews find culturally and religiously sensitive mental health services, tells SELF.Currently, Sara is in the thick of the Orthodox matchmaking world. “If we fast-forward to post-World War II, to be thin was to be sick, so [mothers] wanted their Jewish daughters to look heavier.Typically, victims will make their first transfer of money to the fraudster within a month of contact.The average victim of dating fraud loses £10,000 according to the findings released ahead of Valentine's Day on Tuesday.
“I can't think of anyone who doesn't know numerous people [that suffer from disordered eating].”While Orthodox men are not immune to suffering from eating disorders (just as they aren't in the secular world), the pressure to woo the opposite sex often falls on women because of what's known within the Orthodox community as the “ (matchmaking) crisis,” or the perceived courtship imbalance caused by an excess of available single women.Even if you're not thinking about dating when you're a five year old, there's an immense amount of pressure to think about your size for [future] dating,” she says.“[They think] if you're chubby when you're five, it will be hard to grow out of it, and you're going to be a fat 18 year old.”According to the Pew Research Center, 68 percent of Orthodox Jews and 75 percent of Haredi (the most traditionally observant) Jews in America marry at the age of 24 or younger, compared to 33 percent of the overall population of Jewish Americans.’”Shelli says she told her now-husband when they were dating, and, though surprised, he was very supportive.For years after their marriage, though, she did not disclose her long bout with bulimia to his family.“Being Orthodox and struggling with this or any kind of mental illness in general is a very scary thing, because you think you're going to be excluded from the community and that people are going to judge you—and sometimes, people do.”Shelli has started sharing her experiences not only with her family, but as a volunteer speaker for various eating disorder groups.
However, she says that she still keeps a “low profile” within her own community, admitting that some of her good friends don’t even know about the eating disorder in her past.“It's a huge struggle, and it's not just about ' I want to be skinny,' ” Shelli says.