Archive for the ‘Date Night’ Category

Date to Win

by Rabbi Josh Yuter under Date Night,Online Dating,Relationships,Single Life
סוּר מֵרָע, וַעֲשֵׂה-טוֹב
“Turn from evil and do good” Psalms 34:15

 

I’ve long since forgotten how many dates I’ve been on, but I don’t have that many horrible stories. At worst, most of my dates have been forgettable or what I sometimes describe as, “painless but pointless.” Decent days or nights out with decent people, but either no chemistry or just pronounced feelings of “meh.”

Regardless of how much time one chooses to invest in any person – some people are always willing to give someone a second date, others bail quicker – when we aren’t interested in someone else, a popular confronting us is “what’s wrong with that person?” This is usually more common among matchmakers, some of whom I have encountered tend to take rejections personally (both before and after the date).

Asking “what’s wrong” can be constructive if it helps someone gain greater insight into their wants or needs, or to help friends and matchmakers refine their suggestions. From my own experience, people ask “what’s wrong” more like they ask “why aren’t you married yet?” – as an accusation meant to put others on the defensive for their life choices. The problem is that most of “what’s wrong” isn’t always apparent, in part because there may not be anything actually wrong at all.

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Is it the wine or does this just feel “right?”

Here’s where I think a common cliché may be useful. Looking for the absence of a negative would be what I call, “dating not to lose.” According to this attitude, the default status would be that you’d marry the first willing individual who you don’t find particularly objectionable. Depending on your priorities in life, this may be a perfectly valid option and precursor to a long and healthy marriage, provided of course that it’s your decision and not imposed by external (e.g. family, social, economic) pressures.

But for many others, this is wholly insufficient. I’d like to think that people don’t just want to “get married” as much as they want a happy and healthy marriage. While this is never guaranteed (even in the best scenarios), my sense is that the more optimistic people are in dating, the more hopeful they’ll be entering the marriage. This is more along the lines of what I’d call “dating to win,” where you’re not trying to avoid what could be wrong as much as finding someone with whom you feel “right.” In this regard, the mere absence of attraction or chemistry (however you choose to define it) is itself enough of a “flaw,” such that it’s not worth it to pursue it further.

“Dating not to lose” is a surefire way to get stuck in a long-term dissatisfying relationship, one of those where it’s not bad enough to leave… but not good enough to commit. This can certainly be comfortable in the short-term, and you might even convince yourself to get married, though I’d suspect there would be a greater chance for future remorse and resentment.

“Dating to win” is far more difficult. It requires a certain degree of confidence to be unattached rather than be in a relationship for the sake of being in a relationship, or even continuing to go on dates where you’re just not that into someone. But I’d also suggest that the potential rewards are far greater in the long run.


Big Bag Baggage

by Tamar Caspi under Date Night,Single Life

I admit it, I love a big bag. I like knowing I have everything I could ever need right at my fingertips, even if it means rifling through dozens of random contents until I find my needed item. But a date is not where a big bag belongs. A big bag translates into baggage when you’re on a date. No one needs all that “stuff,” whether literally or figuratively, on a date.

Ladies — you should carry no more than a clutch or small handbag on a date. What else do you need besides an ID, some cash, one credit card, lipstick, your cellphone and keys? Leave the rest of your junk at home along with your last relationship drama, your emotional scarring from your childhood, and the stress you have from work.

Dates are not impressed by your Louis Vuitton Neverful. In fact, you will probably be prematurely judged as being high maintenance and a JAP if you walk into a first date lugging a purse half your size. Leave it at home and don’t even think of introducing it on a date until you’re in a committed relationship!


From Dates to “Dating”

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

One of the more interesting things I’ve learned from people is that the words “date” and “dating” can mean drastically different things to different people. I’ve heard “dates” refer to a range of activities from meeting for coffee to spending the night. Of course, two people can go out for coffee with only one of them thinking it’s a “date” and the other thinking it’s something more casual.

“Dating” is a little bit clearer, but not by much. When people say they’re “dating,” there’s usually some form of implied commitment, but this too can vary from having some vague intention of exploring a possible relationship to focusing on one person exclusively.

What is certain is that at some undefined point or process, the relationship advances from going out on “dates” to “dating.” What is far less certain is exactly how this happens. The most common explanation I’ve heard from my friends is something along the lines of “it just happens.”

This is something with which I’ve struggled personally and most of the “advice” (often unsolicited) has been thoroughly unhelpful. Resorting to my “moving target” analogy that every situation is different may be accurate, but just as unhelpful as anything else.

So, not having any answers, I’m going to turn this one over to you. Just how do you get from “dates” to “dating?”

And no, “practice” does not count as an answer.


Out With the Old, In With the New

by Tamar Caspi under Date Night,JDate,Monday Makeover,Online Dating,Relationships

As we welcome 2015 let’s leave the crummy parts of 2014 behind and look forward with great excitement for everything that is to come in the New Year!

  • Instead of continuing to hold on to grudges of those who rejected or dumped you, realize they were not meant for you and that you deserve better, and will soon find it.
  • Instead of being depressed about being single another year, realize that you are waiting for the person who will make you see the world differently, in a great way!
  • Instead of mourning the loss of people who you loved, take the best traits of those people and try to be more like them in their memory.

While you’re at it, clean out your closet and your Facebook friends list, and then revamp your JDate profile with some of the advice I’ve given you. Happy New Year (and hopefully New Love!)


From Texting to Reality

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

An interesting new show called The Girlfriend’s Guide to Divorce aired an episode recently about the main character and a man she was crushing on who were flirting via text for a long time. When they finally went out on a date there was conversation, but the chemistry was not there. He spoke when she wanted him to stop (during sex) and she spoke when he needed quiet (immediately after waking up), plus their kissing didn’t align and the sex was bad.

Therein lies the reason I say NOT to text before dating. You don’t know enough about each other and you put pressure on the first date to be as great in person as it is via SMS. You are setting unrealistic expectations. People can be very witty when they have time to compose a response. People can be very flirty from behind a keyboard when no one can see them blushing.

My advice has always been and continues to be: once you meet (on JDate, in person, or some other way), make plans and go on your first date as soon as possible. Keep the momentum going without the use of text messaging — except to possibly say that you are looking forward to that evening, or that you are running two minutes behind.


Musically Inclined

by Tamar Caspi under Date Night,Entertainment,Relationships

Music plays a huge part in most of our lives. Most people can name songs from different times of their lives and reminisce about a personal moment when specific songs play on the radio.

So what does it mean when you have completely different tastes in music than your date? For starters, you have to take age into context. If you were born in different decades then there’s a chance that the soundtrack of your life will vary and you will prefer a different radio station. Overall, having different taste in music — or almost anything for that matter — is not a make or break. However, you do need other commonalities to keep you connected.

As long as you respect the other person’s taste in music and even try to learn more about it (and maybe even like it), then that should be enough. Try to divide the ride by allowing whomever is driving to choose the station. Same goes for at-home date nights — whomever arranges the romance can choose the tunes.

A fan of Top 40 and a fan of Classical and a fan of Rap and a fan of Motown and a fan of Hard Rock can not only coexist… but be madly and deeply in love.


Game Day

by Tamar Caspi under Date Night,Entertainment,Relationships

Are you a major sports fan? Do you watch every football game on Saturdays AND Sunday? Are you obsessed with a basketball team and watch EVERY single game? Does your life revolve around going to games and watching them on TV and catching an episode of SportsCenter before going to sleep? Or are you dating someone who fits this description?

Unless it is your career, your life should not hinge upon any sports team’s wins and losses. Rooting for a team is good fun, but allowing it take over your life is not — at least for the other people in your life, particularly a lover. If you both love a team then it’s fun to throw a party to watch the game or tailgate together, but there’s a healthy limit.

Don’t let games dictate your dates. Don’t ruin quality time by turning on the TV. Don’t spend all of your time discussing sports. Hopefully you will fill the time left with lots of love and never even realize what you’re missing!


Seal It With A Kiss

by Tamar Caspi under Date Night,Single Life

For some reason there’s this new trend of not kissing at the end of a great first date. Why? I have no clue! Perhaps it’s to leave them wanting more, or to be perceived as demure — either way it make no sense.

If you’ve enjoyed the date then seal it with a kiss. Let them know that you are interested in them, and in seeing them again. And, of course, to see if there’s any chemistry. I’m not saying you need to engage in a full-blown make-out session; a sweet lingering kiss goodnight will suffice!


Make a List, But Check it Twice

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

Ah, the checklist. That necessary evil of dating where you’re forced to reduce the totality of the human experience into artificial and contrived parameters. Anyone who has ever been asked, “so what are you looking for?” has had to have their list memorized to deliver an elevator-pitch like succinct response. Dating sites like JDate force you to literally check off boxes to describe yourself and search for others. Naturally, people resist being placed into such boxes to the point where saying you “don’t fit in a box” is such a cliché that JDate could probably add that option to their profiles.

CRTV-1337-thumb-RJYThe trouble of course is that while websites, singles, and even shadchanim recognize both the utility and limitations of checklists, few people consider what these checklists really mean. Take the popular example of a checklist gone wrong is the “white tablecloth” requirement, where potential mates are rejected based on the content of their linen closet. I’d like to give the benefit of the doubt and assume that the absurdity correlating tablecloths with maintaining a successful relationship, and instead suggest that the tablecloth symbolizes a personally important religious aesthetic. Anyone who could appreciate someone saying that Hannukah just isn’t Hannukah without Bubbe’s Famous Latkes can understand the value of religious sentimentality.

Remember what I wrote a few weeks ago about dating and hope I think what applies there also applies to checklists. Every item represents a possibility, or based on one’s experience, probability. A PhD usually indicates a person is reasonably intelligent or values knowledge, which yeshivot one attended can be indicative of religious upbringing, etc. It doesn’t matter if any of these sorts of assumptions are true, or if they’re relevant to the essence of the person in the present. What matters isn’t even what people think about the checkboxes, but how they imagine what the relationship would be.

Unless you automatically accept every single dating possibility which comes your way, you’re going to have some standards about the people you date. And if you’re in any way serious about having a relationship, you’re going to want to maximize the potential of the date being “good” however you want to define it. Checklists aren’t about separating the naughty from the nice (it might be, but since this is a Jewish dating website, we’re keeping things clean), but playing the odds to have the best chance of having a decent date.

The question is less about the checklists, but how much of them are dogmatic deal breakers. If you happened to hit it off with someone who didn’t have the right box checked, would you call it off or would you give it a shot? Obviously this is up to you, but every now and again, it’s worth checking in on our checklists.


Flirtation Confusion

by Tamar Caspi under Date Night,JDate,Single Life

My friend Brian is a friendly and outgoing guy, and as such, he often gets accused of flirting when he’s just being nice. The problem here is that he’s in a committed relationship, so things can get confusing when the women believe he is flirting with them and leading them on.

On JDate it’s clear when someone is interested because they will contact you, but in person, it can be less obvious. Someone who is chatting with you, asking questions about you, making you laugh, making eye contact, and smiling at you does not necessarily mean they are flirting with you.

So how can you tell when it’s more?

There will likely be some physical aspect when there’s romantic interest, such as touching your arm. There will also be questions about your relationship status, which you should reciprocate. Finally, the conversation will lead in the direction of a future — going on a date or at least exchanging numbers.

Not every conversation between two singles has to have romantic intent. Sometimes you’re just going to meet a nice person. Continue to be friendly and approachable and open regardless of who is standing across from you.