JBlog®

Two-Timing or Poly-Dating?

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

Here’s the scenario a JDater recently asked my advice about:

“I’ve been poly-dating as you recommend in your book, but I’m afraid I’ve let it get too serious with two guys at the same time! Now I feel like I’m two-timing. Each relationship is just progressing naturally and I haven’t had “The Talk” with either, but I feel like I’m betraying both of them because I like both of them. What do I do?”

In short, keep dating both of them unless you feel stronger about one, or until you have “The Talk” with one. People, particularly women, are not used to poly-dating and feel guilty. “Betrayal” is an accurate word for how people feel, but unless you are in a committed, monogamous relationship, then you are free to date whomever you want and you’re not betraying anyone. Poly-dating is not for everyone. But if you are finding yourself in a pattern where you fall for each new prospect too quickly and then get hurt, poly-dating may be something you ought to start practicing. It will keep you grounded and prevent you from falling too quickly for anyone… and it’s fun (just practice safe poly-dating and no one should get hurt!).


Breaking In

by Aaron under Judaism,Single Life

I recently wrote a piece on man-dating. Much of that post was about how to handle going out and reaching out to friends of friends or old friends, but one thing I didn’t cover was how to go about making friends any time you go out. I’ve covered it a little bit in the past, but with the new perspective of actually being new to a city and going through this challenge recently, I thought I’d share what I’ve learned in a month of living in New York.

For me, the challenge started when I went to a very popular young professional shul here. I had no idea where to start, aside from the one or two people I knew, and I found myself, for the first time in years, unable to work a room. I made a vow to myself to fix that though, so here’s what I did:

  • Don’t act like you know anything about the environment around you… I have a habit that can be both good and bad, and that is my ability to walk into a room and act like I own the place. While it can sometimes be charming, I’m sure it can also come off as arrogant. The greatest mistake I made when moving to New York was acting as if I’d been there forever and understood how things worked.
  • And yet, be observant… I’ve said it plenty on this blog, but observe things around you that make you curious. Ask someone if the crowd is normally this big, ask if they know a lot of the people, if they’re from the area, etc. Make comments about the food (food especially is a good common ground), the service, etc. Shared experiences are a basic building block of relationships, and reminding people through observing things that you’re sharing something helps a lot.
  • Lean on the fact that you’re new… Introduce yourself immediately as a new guy/gal. It makes you immediately vulnerable and gives people a reason to introduce you around. You can be fairly socially inept at first given the guise of being new. This one even works if you’re not new to town — you may just be new to a group, but even that works at breaking down barriers.

I realize none of these are groundbreaking, but they helped me to make friends at synagogue this last weekend, and maybe they can guide you a bit as well.


Dating & Politics

by Tamar Caspi under Date Night,Israel,News,Relationships,Single Life

In light of the attack on Israel, and all the conversations and debates going on, it seems as good a time as any to discuss how to deal with politics when you’re dating.

This is not typically a first-date topic, but skimming the surface is important if politics is one of your passions. Knowing if your date shares your stance on domestic and international issues can be imperative in deciding if there should be a second date. Getting into a full-on debate over dinner on your first date, however, is not a good idea. Having a healthy disagreement on a fourth date is awesome though as it will reveal your date’s views on current events, their level of interest in current events, and how well they listen and respect your opinion.

Obviously if you are a pro-Israel advocate, and your date is a Palestinian sympathizer, then you may have difficulties. Same goes for a staunch left-wing, card-carrying member of the NRA and a super-liberal, anti-corporation socialist. Probably won’t work. But never say never. Respect goes a long way!


The Power of Patience

by Haley Plotnik under Date Night,Relationships,Single Life

When you start dating someone who seems like a total catch, it is easy to want to know everything about them as soon as you can. It’s easy to build someone up to be something they’re not since it takes time to get a clear, accurate picture of who someone really is. However, discussion alone may not get you the answers you’re looking for, and prying too much too soon can prove disastrous.

Behavior is a great way to gauge how someone behaves in most situations (and for me it’s often a lot more indicative than their words). Maybe they think they’re a great dancer, but have no rhythm. Maybe you like that they’re really smart, but soon discover they don’t have a lot of common sense or tact. They can’t tell you those things. Or maybe you think they’re conscientious about how they treat others, but they don’t respect your opinion in making decisions. You just have to see those things for yourself.

If they aren’t as great as you built them up to be early on in the relationship, you are likely to be disappointed. Try to take what you see and hear at face value (or less). It’s easy when we’re excited to let our minds fill in unknown information, or to pry for lots of details to help fill our knowledge gaps about the person.

This is why we date: to figure out who someone is.

It’s hard to wait sometimes, but try not to rush getting to know someone. If you’re right for each other, waiting three months to discover he or she is a clean freak probably won’t make a huge difference in the long run. Also, part of the fun of dating is getting to know someone better, and hopefully enjoying his or her company more and appreciating each other’s quirks more as time progresses. Sometimes you build someone up and on the third date you realize you don’t think he or she has the good character traits you were envisioning. Recently, I’ve been pleasantly surprised by learning more and more about a guy I’m seeing. I didn’t gather that he was very cultured from first meeting him, but when we went out and I learned how knowledgeable he was about many things I wouldn’t have expected, I was impressed. Instead of building him up and being let down by elevated notions of him, I went with the flow (for once), let him reveal himself over time, and was excited when he exceeded my expectations.

In summary:

  1. Don’t have sky-high expectations. They lead to a lot of unnecessary disappointments.
  2. Don’t rush getting to know someone because you’re worried they might not measure up. If they don’t measure up, you will certainly figure it out in time.
  3. Don’t build them up to be someone they’re not. They can’t live up to the fake version of themselves in your head.

Travel Tips

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

Way back when I was working in broadcast media I planned on moving to New York one day. So, every time I went to visit (which was often) I would change my JDate profile to show the zip code of the friend’s place where I was staying. I would then check out my NYC prospects and even set-up dates if there was someone interesting enough. I was honest and would add to my “About Me” paragraph that I was looking to move to New York.

If you’re just going somewhere new for a weekend and you don’t plan on ever going back to that place, then it’s not worth taking the time and making the effort to change your profile. If you do decide to go down that route, then don’t be surprised if it’s just a vacation fling.

I never did end up moving to New York, but knowing that there were impressive prospects there was exciting. If you are on the fence about moving somewhere, looking to see what — or rather who — is out there is a great way to help you make up your mind.


Don’t Let an Opportunity Pass You By

by Tamar Caspi under Date Night,Relationships,Single Life

We all have crazy schedules and many responsibilities. Everyone has a life outside of dating and relationships, and sometimes it is difficult to find time to see someone you like. That’s why you need to take opportunities when they arise.

If the school you teach at has early dismissal before a long weekend, then make a date for the afternoon rather than going home to catch up on sleep. If you can stretch out your lunch hour and sneak back into the office late, then go on a date in the middle of the day when you don’t have to cut it short and rush back. If you have a busy weekend with out of town family, then break away to have a brunch date or a coffee date, or even a walk around town.

Bottom line: If you want to see someone, then make the time to see them.


What You Do on a First Date is as Important as Who It’s With

by Haley Plotnik under Date Night,Single Life

Recently, I went on a very formal first date. I was flabbergasted when he showed up with a giant bouquet of flowers. I’m rarely speechless, but I think the flowers overwhelmed me from the start. While I appreciated them, I had no idea how to interpret the gesture, and was a bit freaked out. They’re still brightening up my apartment though, and now I can breathe easier knowing that they aren’t a declaration of love by someone who I’ve known for less than two months.

We went to a symphony and dinner, ate dessert, and sipped wine. I felt a bit out of my element; I’m more accustomed to starting out with a low-key first date. Being wined and dined isn’t something I expect on a first date. I just like to talk, laugh, and get to know each other in a casual setting. I decided, after a lot of confusion and conflicted feelings, to give this guy a second shot to wow me… in a way I am used to and comfortable with. So we went to a casual dinner, walked around a park, and had ice cream.

After the formal date:

  1. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go back out with him and felt bad about myself
  2. I was exhausted trying to interpret what had happened on our date
  3. I didn’t think he was able to read my signals and vice versa

After a candid discussion and a good dose of humor, he asked if he could try again in my style. No red carpets, no flowers.

 After the casual date:

  1. I felt at ease and able to talk more freely
  2. I thought we had much more in common and walked away feeling good about myself
  3. I had no problem sending or receiving his signals

When planning a date, make sure to think about who you’re dealing with. Not everyone likes the same kind of first date. Starting out with daytime coffee is a great go-to if you’ve never met. If it goes well, you can extend the date. If not, you only waste 45 minutes to two hours of your life. It’s not super creative, but it’s tried and true. If you have met before, try to match the date to their preferences. Some people might love skydiving as a first date, while others might have a panic attack. I am in the latter camp. I would avoid trying to sweep someone off their feet on a first date. There’s plenty of time for that later on in the relationship, and you may end up accidentally sweeping them out of your life.


Play Date

by Aaron under Date Night,Entertainment,Judaism,Single Life

When I was little (okay, sixteen), nothing was cooler to me than action figures. I would manipulate Shredder from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles into teaming up with Spider-Man and Wolverine to take on the evil likes of Magneto and other villains. It gave me such a feeling of joy to sit and play with my toys and create new stories.

As the years went on, I started to grow out of my toys and into dating. As an adult, dating became one of my favorite pastimes. However, while Shredder and Spider-Man have yet to show up on any date I’ve been on, one of my favorite traits about the dates I’ve been on has been the imagination and effort put into them. Sometimes I’m the one with a brilliant idea, or sometimes the girl comes up with something fun, and sometimes it’s a combination of the two.

Regardless of who takes credit, it’s always fun to do something different. I always wanted to explore Dallas more before I left, but even my last dates there were still very basic: bowling, dinners, etc. I explored things on my own, such as two-stepping and indie concerts, but never had such fun dates.

And yet, when I was away, I became a master of fun dates. I guess it started with a date in Arkansas that stretched all the way to Memphis, but since moving to New York I’ve discovered the beauty of exploring a city with fresh eyes. Some people might groan at the touristy things to do in a city, but sometimes tourists go places for a reason. Though Times Square would still mostly be a no-no in my eyes, there are a lot of great options in the Big Apple and elsewhere.

My dates have been as simple as a Shabbat walk in Central Park or watching the sun set on the Hudson, or extravagant as trips to Coney Island and the Empire State Building. Being in New York has allowed me to see things with a fresh eye and excitement, and I think that fresh way of thinking has really enhanced the dates I’ve been on recently.

We all want to see the world from fresh eyes and be whisked away on an adventure, and you don’t have to be new to a city to do it. Try to take some time to go to that touristy place around you where no locals ever go — from Graceland to the Fort Worth Stockyards to the World of Coke to the Sears Tower. Sometimes things can be pricey, but they can also provide a new adventure, and definitely something different (and also probably more worth paying for than a dinner date). I don’t see myself playing with action figures any time soon, but in a sense the world is the greatest play set I’ve ever had, and I love trying new combinations of characters and places in it.


Is That Your Nephew or Your Son?

by Tamar Caspi under JDate,Online Dating,Single Life

After taking the cutest picture with your nephew (or niece), you decide to upload the photo as your main JDate profile pic because you look great, it’s current, and you want prospects to know that you’re a family person.

There’s only one problem: all anyone will see is a kid with you in your photo, and they won’t bother looking at your profile essays to find out who the kid is.

After taking the cutest picture with your son (or daughter), you decide to upload the photo as your last JDate photo of 12 pictures because you look great, it’s current, and you want prospects to know that you’re a family person.

Problem? Your prospects may not notice that one last photo buried amongst the rest, and are surprised when they find out you’re a parent.

Whether you’re the aunt, uncle, mom, or dad, there is a right way to post a photo of you with a child on JDate. A photo with family should be the fourth of your half dozen or so photos after face, full body, and a fun pic. Use the space to describe who is with you in the photo, and then talk about it again in your “About Me” paragraph. If it’s not your kid, then simply make note of who the cute kid is and how much you love family. If it is your kid, then succinctly describe the situation without getting into too much detail and without going into any drama, and make sure you mark the places that ask if you have a child!

Including photos with a cute kid is a good idea when executed correctly. Follow the above instructions to avoid any confusion.


Safety First

by Haley Plotnik under Date Night,Online Dating,Single Life

I date a lot of guys, and I like to think that I do a pretty good job vetting the guys and assessing their character. However, I’m still pretty wary of first dates. Safety tends to be compromised when people get complacent. If it’s a first date, I meet in daylight and in public. I never let them see where I live: not the neighborhood, street, or building. If I can safely take public transit, I do. If not, I don’t typically go directly home from the date unless it’s more than a 15-minute drive. Call me paranoid, but I know that sexual assault and rape unfortunately happen.

Rewind to last year. I went on a date with a guy who I’ve known since I was 16. I thought him to be an upstanding person. He had just moved into a new house a few hours north of mine. After spending a day together, his mom made us a healthy dinner that we ate with his family. The whole thing seemed very sweet and wholesome. He then took me down a hallway to his new room. I sat on his bed to take off my shoes. My feet were tired and swollen after a long day of walking. Next thing I knew, he had one hand down my pants and the other was reaching into my bra. Since things escalated very quickly, I had to fight him off a bit. He was being very aggressive and his eyes looked mean in a way I’d never seen before. Luckily I nipped things in the bud very quickly, but I was taken aback by what happened. I was heartbroken that someone I had trusted – and someone I had known for years – turned out to be so shady.

My good female friend always says, “If you’re only friends, you have to ask before you stick your hands where the sun doesn’t shine.” Clearly my date didn’t know that. Of the nearly 30 dates I’ve been on, only one has taken a scary turn. However, one is enough. One is too much. And not everyone escapes as lucky as I did. Maybe you spare yourself that one date by being slightly more careful. I think it’s well worth the trouble.

Click here for a full list of safety tips from JDate.