I have a predicament which I’m sure you can help me with. I grew up frum, fairly yeshivish by some standards and then during my year in Israel I decided to go off the derech. I have since become frum and have started in shidduchim and am having trouble telling shadchanim and friends exactly who I am. As you know, your back round and your label or category are the most important things that folks in the shidduch world use to set you up. No girl in her right mind would date someone who cannot say if they are FFB or BT and I have no idea what I should call myself.
Confused about BT or FFB,
In a world where labels are everything, you have posed one of the most difficult questions in a long time. I am hesitant to call you a baal teshuva because you know certain things that no BT could ever know. You understand social norms, body language and have the ability to play real Jewish geography which all discredit your BT status. Then again, you have experienced a love of Hashem and Torah like any normal BT which should really entitle you to a true BT status. Now you understand a bit more of the conundrum.
In all honesty, I wouldn’t call you a baal teshuva, even though in reality you are the true baal teshuva. You grew up with the restrictions were able to leave and experience shrimp, 3 day weekends and period sex and still return to not having drip coffee on shabbos, crappy horn filled rock music and sex abuse cover ups – much harder for someone who’s doing it knowing exactly what he’s getting into rather than the full on BT who has an Aish enhanced romantic version of beautiful shabbos meals and inspiring davening.
If I were you I would be up front with shadchanim about your back round. While being a BT has its pluses (you are more likely to be set up with sexually experienced girls who have an education) being an FFB is far more esteemed because if you’re older than 24 you will enjoy the same perks as BT’s and still have your pick of all the yichusdicke girls.
You are in a fairly unique situation and so you can judge each shadchan accordingly, Brooklyn yentas are best kept to FFB status, but if you plan on dating out of town you can switch it up a bit.
Find out more about Baal Teshuva dating on 4torah.com