Archive for February, 2014

Tic-Tock the Dating Clock

by Tamar Caspi under Relationships

My girlfriend recently called me asking for advice. She has been in a relationship for two years and they are really happy, but there has been no talk about the future. In fact, her boyfriend told her he is a “commitment-phobe” because his parents divorced when he was young. He is committed to her and they have traveled internationally with both their families and friends — yet he hasn’t made any movement to take the next step. Both of them are in their thirties, and although she isn’t feeling her biological clock ticking, she is wondering when their relationship will move forward.

I suggested she speak with him about it in a no-pressure tone, with non-aggressive wording, a laid-back posture, and without making him feel like it’s a test. I told her to put it on him by asking him where he sees their relationship going and then letting him take the lead in the conversation. It may seem somewhat passive of her, but people who claim to be commitment-phobic will run when not approached the right way.

My friend needed to realize that her needs are important, and that she shouldn’t accept less from him when she wanted more. She wasn’t being unrealistic, it had been two years after all, but she needed to assert herself. Therefore, I also counseled her on what to do after hearing his response — whether it was what she wanted to hear or not, she needed to let him know what she wants and they can hopefully move forward from there, together, to the next stage.


Seeing Multiples

by Aaron under Judaism

“Look, just to be clear, this has been great. And I want to see you again. But I also need you to understand I’m seeing other people,” I said. This was never an easy conversation. “I just want you to understand, I want to learn Torah with you, but you have to understand I study with other rabbis, too,” I told my newest rabbi.

Since graduating college, I’ve studied with multiple rabbis, sometimes at the same time. A lot of people might warn you that getting multiple opinions can be misleading, allowing you to get too many answers and basically play Choose Your Own Adventure with Judaism. I would not like to think of myself as one of those people.

Back in my senior year of college, my friend Rebecca and I began what we deemed our “Shabbat Tour of 2011,” where we went to a different shul every week and experienced services. I was much less religious at the time, but really enjoyed checking out different shuls and styles of services. Three years later, after becoming Shomer Shabbos, I now spend Shabbat at various shuls every week, on yet another tour. And I would have to say, these last six months of “touring” again have been the most enriching of my entire life. New friends, new lessons, and new ways to connect those two things always make my weeks better.

This was especially clear to me this past Shabbat, one that I spent with the rabbi from my childhood day camp. He is a man I credit with getting me involved deeply with Judaism, and spending the Shabbat with him (and my family, who live close by) was such a lively experience. I saw how things had changed since I was a kid at a shul from my childhood, and also realized how much I still have to learn (people of great wisdom have a way of making you see that).

A lot of my blogs try to tie other issues into dating subjects. Not this week. Quite the opposite, actually. A lot of people can see multiple people comfortably from a dating perspective. I am not one of those people. But when it comes to making myself happier, I can think of no better way than by learning with multiple rabbis (or multiple spiritual techniques in general) and learning what clicks for me. This Valentine’s Day, a lot of people are going to be wishing they had someone, and hopefully you’re checking out JDate. In the meantime however, I encourage you to try some variety in your spiritual life, too, and hope you can find some of the joy I’ve found in seeing multiple rabbis.


Read this Before Your Next Date

by Tamar Caspi under Relationships

I just read a checklist of things to learn to have a lasting relationship by Tim Hoch and it is brilliant. There are 50 items, but each is short and sweet. Here’s a selection of my favorites — the ones you need to remember while you’re looking for prospects, on a date, in a relationship and beyond.

1. Burn your Blueprint

Rid yourself of whatever fantasies you harbor about the bliss of coupled life. They’re not helping. There is no script, so don’t be disappointed when your fairytale gets hijacked.

5. Grow

If you still have the same desires, opinions and beliefs at age 50 that you did at age 25, that’s your own damn fault. You will not, and should not, be the same person you were then.

10. Develop Your Own Interests

It seems counter-intuitive, but you will enhance your relationship when you pursue your separate interests.

12. Don’t Keep Score

I know a couple who keeps track of the number of times each partner completes a household chore. Don’t do this. It’s exhausting. And childish.

15. Admit When You’re Wrong (Even, On Occasion, When You Aren’t)

This is both the easiest and hardest thing to do on this list. But this simple gesture will pay immeasurable dividends; it will help you grow and it’s just the right thing to do.

32. Know You Are Equals

It doesn’t matter which one of you makes the most money. It doesn’t matter which one of you has the better REO Speedwagon vinyl collection. It doesn’t matter which one of you has the best nickname. It doesn’t even matter which one of you has the coolest food allergy.

39. Take Pride in Your Appearance

Your marriage license doesn’t give you a free pass to always wear sweat pants and T-shirts.

44. Don’t Be Petty

So I forgot to stop at the store to get your prescription. Did you have to throw away my ceramic cactus shot glass holder?

50. Adapting Beats Abandoning

There will be moments when you want to quit, walk out, or give up. You can do that. But you will probably be doing so without giving due consideration to the new life that awaits you. Will you be better off in six months? Will you be better off in 10 years?

For the complete list, click here.

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The Paradox of Choice

by Tamar Caspi under JDate,Online Dating,Single Life

At the launch of my book, How to Woo a Jew, I was asked by a man if JDate was more of a hindrance to his dating life because of The Paradox of Choice. The Paradox of Choice is a book written by Barry Schwartz; it states that having too many options heightens anxiety and that having less choices will help your chances of achieving success and, therefore, happiness. The man who asked the question wondered if people don’t look at the great prospect in front of them because they think there might be someone better around the corner. Could there be too many fish in the sea?

My answer? No. People should poly-date in order to make sure they are not falling for someone too quickly, and they can make sure they aren’t settling by having options to compare. It’s easy to overlook faults when you don’t have anyone else to consider. It’s easy to convince yourself to accept less when you’re feeling desperate.

A little competition is good, it’s healthy, it keeps people on their game. But you also need to really know what you want — by having your short list of priorities — so that when you do find it, you aren’t doubting yourself and wondering if you could meet someone who meets some items from your longer, more nit-picky, less realistic list.


Love at First JDate: How to Survive Valentine’s Day (If You’re Single)

by JenG under Date Night,Single Life

I’m 25 now and being single on Valentine’s Day is getting harder to ignore. Social media, married friends, and having a CVS on every single corner have become constant reminders that I’ll most likely be spending the day shoving Hershey’s Kisses in my mouth and watching the new season of House of Cards, on my couch, alone.

Here are 10 ways to get through the dreaded holiday:

1. Do something to pamper yourself. Something you wouldn’t do any other day of the year.
2. Combine three of your favorite things and do them all in one night.
3. Valentine’s Day is NOT just about romance. Appreciate the ones you love to love.
4. Treat yourself to the giant chocolate hearts from CVS.
5. Take yourself out on a “you” date.
6. Gather the troops together.
7. Use your off buttons.
8. Surround yourself with other singles.
9. Give back to others.
10. Remind someone of how much you love them.


The Dating Olympics

by Tamar Caspi under JDate,Online Dating,Single Life

If dating were a sport and you were an Olympic athlete, then would be your competition? The U.S. seems to usually have the highest medal count with Russia and China not far behind, so if you’re going for gold who is in your way?

Oddly enough, this season of The Bachelor on ABC got me thinking about this metaphor. There are always group dates on the show, and contestants have to do things to make themselves stand out from the pack. As awful as it sounds, they have to compete for the Bachelor’s — or Bachelorette’s — attention. Some contestants receive negative attention by drinking too much and soon get disqualified. Others make sure to always sit next to the Bachelor or Bachelorette, touching the star of the show discreetly on their arm or leg, smiling and making eye contact, and ultimately creating opportunities to get one-on-one time. These contestants are playing the game masterfully, particularly when it all comes across naturally.

This is a lesson one must learn for both the screen — on JDate — as well as in person — at a mixer or a bar. What are you going to do to stand out and to retain the attention of your prospect while still maintaining self-respect? Confidence is the overlying theme, whether you’re an Olympic athlete or a single who is ready to mingle. Either way, you need to exude confidence in your main profile photo, your About Me paragraph, and when meeting someone in person. It doesn’t matter what you look like, it matters how you carry yourself.


Losing (Or Gaining?) My Religion

by Aaron under Judaism,Relationships,Single Life

After writing a blog about taking a hi-datus a few months back, there were obviously protests from women all over the world. But in terms of things that actually happened, one of my rabbis contacted me and said I was flat out wrong. “Being single,” he said, “is not how one grows in Judaism. True growth is done by growing together.”

As friends and readers may know, much of my life has been spent single, and I’ve grown Jewishly quite a bit in the years since college. There are definitely a lot of things I wonder about, such as whether I would’ve grown more or less with a steady partner in my life. So I did the logical thing and took to Facebook to question other friends on their religious growth — with or without relationships. Here’s what I found:

  • One friend started keeping Shabbat after dating her boyfriend.
  • Another married couple I’m close with now spends every Shabbat together, though the woman in the relationship did not grow up keeping it.
  • Some of my friends found that being alone, whether from moving or just being single and diving within themselves, made them feel more religious.
  • Other friends found their experiences to fluctuate more than they’d like when they are in relationships, both positively or negatively.

The responses I liked the most though, and fittingly enough for JDate, were the ones that held the idea that the relationship needed that religious foundation to exist in the first place. Very few people who claim religion is a dating dealbreaker will message outside of their religious affiliation, according to a study from Wired.com (special shout out to my friend Rachel for the link). One the most profound responses came from a Catholic friend; she said religion was an important part of her marriage, and something she could share with her husband. Additionally, other friends saw this shared religion as a model they wanted to base their future relationships on, even if they didn’t exist yet.

So does one grow more while single or in a relationship? It’s difficult to say, but what seems certain to me is that there is no point to stopping the growth. It’s worthwhile to explore what’s important to you when you’re single, and even better to find someone to share you passions and growth.


Confirming Your Date

by Tamar Caspi under Date Night,JDate,Online Dating

You got matched up on JDate, exchanged a few emails, had a 10-minute phone call to make plans, and then, as the day approaches, what do you do? You need to confirm your date!

I am no fan of texting, but you should send a text at the very least to simply say, “Looking forward to seeing you tonight!” You should also send that text at least six hours prior to the date. If you need to exchange any more information than that — as in the time or place — then, call. Pick up the phone at least six hours in advance, if not the night before, to solidify the plans. Some people will have to make arrangements for childcare, or getting primped, and it is a show of common courtesy to assure them the date is on and to let them in on the plans.

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Just Do It

by Aaron under Online Dating,Relationships,Single Life

*This is a guest blog written by Jeff, a friend of JBlogger Aaron

As a result of the constant procrastinating and constant internal topic struggle in my head, I thought no better a topic than taking action. I told Aaron I was interested in writing a guest blog several months ago, but had produced bubkiss.  I’m willing to go out on a limb and take a chance generally, but I was not always this way, and in dating it can cost you plenty. I’d like a minute to talk about quitting, quitting coming up with excuses for not being more social (romantically or otherwise) and just taking a chance. If you can’t tell by now, I’m not a writer; but I am half-Jewish and an effective dater. If this does not impress you, feel free to stop reading now, but my point is to say “Yes” to more things.

I justified the whole process of failing to date; it was only years later that I realized it was irrational fear that was preventing me from asking out a girl I liked, or making a move when the time was right. What was I afraid of? I might have been rejected, or G-d forbid embarrassed. Growing up is progressively understanding yourself by trial and error. I know who I am and am not shaken by women not reciprocating my romantic interests.

Some meaningful relationships of mine have begun with someone I had my doubts about. It was through these relationships that I realized the kind of qualities I was looking for and what to avoid (in a partner and a relationship). After all, most of us are looking for love, and like other men who date a lot, I get lumped in as a “player,” when in reality I’m just looking to stop looking.

I don’t recommend putting on blinders completely, but reconsider the situation where you were on the fence. What is important, is stepping out of your comfort zone — if nothing more than to understand where your comfort zone really ends. A wise friend would tell anyone with a problem (be it alcoholism, mental illness or a something petty) to simply “Stop It!” So if you are lonely and single, stop it! If you want to get different results, you need to do something different.


Updating Your Profile

by Tamar Caspi under JDate,Online Dating

While perusing various JDate profiles, I have found a few update tips that are good lessons for all JDaters® to learn.

  1. Don’t be time specific. If you say “I’m moving to [city] in November,” except now it’s December, you will eventually just have to go back and update it. Better to say “I’m new to [city]” — even if you aren’t moving until next week. Same goes for discussing your 5-year-old kid/niece/dog, because in 12 months that kid/niece/dog will be a year older and you’ll have to update. No need to state the age at all!
  2. Try to avoid cliches. Or at least poke fun at yourself for using them before elaborating to make your point.
  3. Don’t overdo the photos. Having 12 photo options doesn’t mean you need to use them all, especially if you’re not using them smartly. Edit. Eliminate repetitive photos of yourself wearing sunglasses, holding a wine glass, or posing with your dog.
  4. Don’t “Select All.” Narrow down your preferences in the Ideal Match section. You’re not fooling anyone when you select that you’re looking for “a friend” — you’re on JDate after all! And it’s not realistic to choose that you’re looking for both a Non-Practicing Jew and an Orthodox Jew.

Whether you edit often or haven’t touched your profile since you created it, follow the above tips to make sure your profile isn’t dated and is always doing a fair job of representing you.

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