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Hand in Hand

by Tamar Caspi under Date Night,Relationships,Single Life

As my own nail polish chipped away this afternoon and I hid them embarrassed in the checkout line of the supermarket, it makes me think about what if I was single and had a date tonight? Well, if I couldn’t make it to the neighborhood salon for a manicure, or at the very least a polish change, then I would make sure to remove the remnants of the color I had left and go out bare fingered. In fact, I would make it a priority because unkempt hands are seen as a reflection of you — your health, your home, and your life.

This does not only apply to women, men too need to take care of their hands. Make sure your nails aren’t ragged and that you don’t have jagged cuticles. Just like men, women see well-kept hands as a sign that you take care of yourself and that you are put together.

Now, I need to log off and go find my nail polish remover!


An Introvert’s Approach to Jewish Dating

by Rabbi Josh Yuter under Date Night,JDate,Online Dating,Rabbi,Relationships,Single Life

I’m going to get personal for this post, not because I think anyone really cares about my personal life, but because I don’t think my story is all that unique and maybe someone out there can find something useful.


Dating as Equals

by Tamar Caspi under Relationships,Single Life

Do you need to respect what a prospect does for a living in order to be with them? Does someone need to be at your same level career-wise for a relationship to work? Would you date someone in the service industry or retail industry if you’re a corporate attorney? What about someone who is a freelancer? Would you date a woman who dreams of becoming a stay-at-home mom?

In theory, none of these sound like an issue, but money is one of the top sources of distress in relationships… and when there is an income disparity, problems can arise. Unless, of course, you have respect. Do you respect your mate for working 40+ hours a week, even if they aren’t making as much as you or working at a job as high-powered as yours? Would you respect your mate and see them as an equal for staying home to take care of the kids and “not working?”

In the end, it really has nothing to do with how you spend your day or how much you earn, but if you have mutual respect and appreciation for each person’s contribution to the relationship as a whole.


Are You Mature?

by Caryn Alper under Date Night,JDate,Online Dating,Relationships,Single Life

Let’s discuss something that’s been on my mind lately.  I don’t want to scare anyone away, but I’m talking about the M word… and it’s not marriage or money – it’s maturity! In the “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Relationships” (which I just made up while writing this post), I’ve self-diagnosed several instances of what I’ll call Non-Syncing Maturity Levels (NSML).

More on NSML in a minute, but first, a few defining features of this unfortunate malady. When I say someone is mature, I mean he or she possesses a set of skills such as the ability to communicate effectively like an adult, to not be overly judgmental or heavily influenced by peer pressure, to use manners and common sense appropriately, and to see the world realistically and practically – basically, skills that teenagers tend to lack but are typically solidified in those with more experience.  In my opinion, maturity has very little to do with money, interests, looks, career, or personality – it’s more of a quality that you pick up on while getting to know someone.  A person can love comic books and laugh at the Three Stooges but be pretty mature (hey, Dad!).  Conversely, you can own a house, car, fancy clothes, nice job, have a great education, and still spend years texting girls “hey, wuts up” at 10pm.  Additionally, a person can be mature and also fun, spontaneous, and creative; similarly, one can be intelligent, reliable, and get drunk every night while refusing to learn how to pay bills.

Here’s my point:  I don’t care what level of maturity you have.  I’m not ascribing any qualitative judgment to any particular level on the maturity ladder. You could be in a committed, fulfilling relationship with someone who, by my definition, is pretty immature.  But, the problem of NSML occurs when you are on one rung of this metaphorical ladder and the person you are interested in, dating, or committed to is on another.

So, Caryn, you may ask, how can I avoid the frustration associated with NSML? Well, there are no guarantees, but it’s as simple as first figuring out where you are (or want to be) on the maturity ladder.  Then, seek out dating partners on the same or nearby rungs.  To identify your level, ask yourself questions like: “Do I frequently throw temper tantrums in public?” or “Am I capable of making everyday decisions without relying on the opinion of my Twitter followers?”  As far as I know, there is no current search function on JDate to narrow your matches by maturity; however, I think this is something that you can feel out in a few dates. So if you’re a 45-year old guy reliving his frat boy days, you may want to think twice about messaging the girl who loves Emily Post. However, if you find that girl who loves Tucker Max, well, I hope they serve beer at your wedding.


A Hot Woman vs. A Beautiful Woman

by Tamar Caspi under Date Night,Online Dating,Relationships,Single Life

An interesting article ended with the following (edited for brevity) stanzas:

Hot is admired from afar; beauty is to be held.

Hot is perception; beauty is appreciation.

Hot is smokey-eyed; beautiful is bare-faced.

Hot is an appearance; beautiful is more than skin deep.

Hot is a strong appeal; beautiful is strong mind.

Hot is youthful; beautiful is ageless.

Hot is conventional; beauty is unique.

Hot is a state of being; beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Hot is a text message; beautiful is a love letter.

Hot is a facade; beautiful is a woman.

It sometimes is difficult to separate lust from love, but if you can describe what it is about a person that you are attracted to, and determine if it would land in the “hot” or “beautiful” column, then you may be closer to making the differentiation. The article is basically asking if you are looking at your date — in this case a woman — as a sexual object or with respect? Do you love how she looks more than who she is? Think about it.


Dating As An Older Adult: Finding a Companion

by Tamar Caspi under Date Night,JDate,Online Dating,Relationships,Single Life

When you’re dating as an older adult, who you should be with now is not the same person you would have been with when you were younger, although maybe it should have been! Chances are you are not looking to procreate, although you may still have kids in the home and need to take co-parenting into account. When you’re an empty-nester and a grandparent, then you can really reassess your needs and wants in a mate.

This is the time that similar hobbies and interests, in addition to being a conversationalist, is even more important. You know now that it’s not all about appearances, but about having someone you can talk to about more than just the superficial things and enjoy spending quality time together.

Do you want to travel a lot? Or do you plan on working way past retirement? Those two people will likely not be a good match. Do you enjoy giving back and attending every function and volunteering and being involved? Or would you prefer to spend your time relaxing and being with a small group of close friends enjoying good television, movies, and plays? Again, these two types will probably not be a good match. How do you want to spend the next 10, 20, or 30 years? And what kind of companion do you want?

Figuring out how you want to live the rest of your life, and thus figuring out the type of partner you want to share that with, will help you create your preferences and easily narrow down your prospects.


She Blinded Me With Social Science

by Rabbi Josh Yuter under Date Night,JDate,News,Online Dating,Relationships,Single Life

She Blinded Me With Social Science: Deconstructing that NY Times “To Fall in Love with Anyone” Article

I was in the middle of drafting this week’s post when I noticed several friends of mine sharing a recent New York Times article titled, “To Fall in Love with Anyone, Do This.” It’s easy to dismiss such a tantalizing headline as mere clickbait, but the article is based on an actual published psychology experiment in which participants felt “closer” to each other after answering a series of 36 personal questions — and the author herself says she fell in love with her partner because of it.

For the people who gave this article a superficial read, it would appear that true love could be yours if you just performed a simple exercise. And if this sounds too good to be true, rest assured, it most certainly is.

Because I’m me, I downloaded and read the original scholarly article (it’s since been pulled from the web), published in 1997 in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin (23:4) with the decidedly less enticing title, “The Experimental Generation of Interpersonal Closeness: A Procedure and Some Preliminary Findings.” When discussing any study, the first thing to consider is what exactly is the study trying to measure. To wit:

             We should also emphasize that the goal of our procedure was to develop a temporary feeling of closeness,not an actual ongoing relationship (364)

So right off the bat we’re not talking about how to establish a meaningful relationship, but rather to create fleeting moments of connectedness. How do we accomplish this?

             Indeed, Aron et al. (1992) found that various measures of closeness have two latent dimensions of behaving close and feeling close (364). [Emphasis original]

Following this logic, the study decided to measure if acting in a way to achieve “closeness” would, in fact, generate the feelings of closeness.

            One key pattern associated with the development of a close relationship among peers is sustained, escalating, reciprocal, personalistic self-disclosure…Whereas behaving close in this sense could not really arise outside of a long-term ongoing relationship, it seemed to us that the subjective feeling of closeness, which is our focus, might well arise at least temporarily in a short-term interaction (364).

It turns out that putting in the effort of feeling close to someone else through personal sharing can even overcome or override some of the factors people normally assume do lead to connectedness.

            Overall, these data suggest that matching in terms of not disagreeing on important attitudes or leading subjects to believe that they and their partners will like each other probably has little impact on the overall closeness subjects achieve through this procedure, or even on their mutual attraction (367).

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If you can find a partner for this exercise, can you actually find true love?

To summarize, one way two people can feel closer to each other is by actively sharing intimate personal aspects about themselves, with reciprocity from their partner. This can certainly be useful information for people who are trying to make a go out of a relationship, either dating or even after marriage. But, before you start printing out the questionnaire for your next date, keep in mind there are some crucial caveats which come with the research.

The experiment was done in a controlled environment where the participants knew each other to some degree as classmates, or otherwise the pool was not completely randomized. There was also no expectation of commitment or consequences attached, which could have lead participants to give more freely. Perhaps most importantly is that the participants were willing to participate. That is to say, two people made the conscious decision to try to open up to one specific person, at least for a short period.

Dating usually doesn’t work like this. If you’re meeting someone online or from a setup you’re effectively meeting a random stranger. Even if you ask out someone whom you know, you still need to get past the willingness aspect. It’s not just that people are incapable of opening up to someone else (though many are), but they may not want to open up – or at least not to this particular individual. Even the NY Times author admits, “I see now that one neither suggests nor agrees to try an experiment designed to create romantic love if one isn’t open to this happening,” which is of course an obstacle many of us can’t even get past.

And let’s say we do find a partner to undertake this exercise, do we actually wind up finding True Love? The authors of the study address this question and have some bad news.

                 So are we producing real closeness? Yes and no. We think that the closeness produced in these studies is experienced as similar in many important ways to felt closeness in naturally occurring relationships that develop over time. On the other hand, it seems unlikely that the procedure produces loyalty, dependence, commitment, or other relationship aspects that might take longer to develop…Thus the procedure is like other experimental paradigms such as mood induction procedures, the minimal group paradigm, or methods for temporarily lowering self-esteem: It is useful as a means of creating a similar although not completely identical state, but under controlled conditions permitting experimental tests of causal hypotheses and theoretical issues (371-372)

Practically speaking what we really have here is a strategy and mechanism for two people who are open to the possibility of getting close to each other to at least try to develop feelings of closeness. As the NY Times author stated, his could in fact indicate that love is indeed more “pliable” than we’d otherwise have thought, in which case we have more control to determine our own happiness than we’ve imagined.

Even if you find solace or encouragement in this empowerment, keep in mind you still need to work at the relationship, but more importantly you need to find that willing partner.

But then again, that’s why there’s JDate, isn’t it?


What’s Your Story?

by Tamar Caspi under Date Night,Online Dating,Relationships,Single Life

As I said in Monday’s post, let’s forget about the negative connotation of “baggage” and call it “your story” instead. But, how do you turn it from negative to positive?

You need to get to a place from within where your story becomes that amazing thing called life that has made you who you are. You get there by accepting your past and your current situation, and then embracing it. Then you need to figure out how to spin it so that it adds confidence and character. By spinning it, I don’t mean lying or manipulating the truth, but seeing the silver lining in all of your life experiences — what you learned from them, or who it brought into your life, or how it changed your life for the better.

You cannot change the past, but you can change your attitude about it moving forward. You do not want a date to feel pity for you with a sob story, so get to the point where you realize that you are the amazing person you are today because of your story, and then tell your story as an adventure. It’s called life. You can live it or let it happen to you.


The Power of One

by Caryn Alper under JDate,Online Dating,Single Life

Because my first blog post was more of an introductory foray into JBlogging, I’ll use this one as my first “official” substantive post.  Enter: the obligatory New Year/new you/dating resolutions/fresh start motivational advice piece on how to snag a guy by simply being more positive, going to more events, and always looking your best.  If only it were that easy, right?  Instead, I offer to you a new mantra for the New Year: It only takes one. Dating is pretty much a numbers game, and I’ll talk about this more in a future post. But for now, I want to focus on the power of one.

According to my rigorous research (Google), online dating membership and activity peaks between January 1 and Valentine’s Day, and JDate is no exception.  This membership surge makes sense – people are resolving to look for love in the New Year, no one wants spend cold nights binge watching Netflix  alone, and maybe others were not-so-subtly gifted a JDate subscription from their mom for Hanukkah.  Whether you’re a long time online dater or new to the site, and whatever your reason for being here, take advantage of the post-holiday season because the numbers are currently in your favor!

So, how does this all tie together?  I’ll explain: With new members showing up in your search, it’s easy to scroll through new faces in pursuit of your perfect guy or girl. But this year, resolve to search for the person that is perfect for YOU, not perfect on paper, and not perfect for your friend.  Try something different this January – change one thing about your search criteria. It can be something as small as increasing your preferred age range by a couple years in either direction, or expanding your mileage, especially if you’re in a smaller city, or opening yourself up to a few more categories of religiosity.  I’m not asking you to buy a new wardrobe or dye your hair or even to revamp your profile for the New Year.  Just try out a more tailored, refined search in an effort to to increase the chances of finding your best match.

So what if expanding your age range or mileage gets you only one new match? Great! That’s another person in your personal numbers game, and who knows – he or she could be YOUR one. Remember, there might be hundreds of new people joining JDate, but for your purposes, it only takes one!


Are You An “Older” or “Mature” Single Adult?

by Tamar Caspi under JDate,Online Dating,Relationships,Single Life

It doesn’t matter if you are labeled a “mature adult” or an “older adult” — because many dating problems remain the same, regardless of age. In some ways it’s easier, but in some ways it’s more difficult.

Instead of having nosy Jewish mothers bugging you for grandchildren, you may have nosy Jewish children bugging you to find someone to keep you busy so you leave them alone.

Instead of a bad break-up that felt like the end of the world after a mere three months, you may have 30 years worth of memories that only came to an end because your spouse passed away.

Instead of a drama-filled relationship that ends where you’re able to avoid that person at all costs, you may have three children with your ex-spouse whom you will be connected to for all eternity and have to deal with in some capacity on a near daily basis.

Instead of feeling like your life is over because you’re single on your 30th birthday, you may have instead embraced your independence and yet still hope to find someone to enjoy the rest of your life with.

These comparisons are the differences in your baggage as an adult dating after 40-ish. Everyone has baggage, whether you want to admit it or not. Baggage has a negative connotation, so let’s just call it – “your story.” Everyone has a story. There’s no way you can get through life without making one. What’s yours?