Archive for the ‘JBloggers’ Category

The Four Letter Word Every Single is Really Seeking. Hint: It’s Not “Love.”

by Rabbi Josh Yuter under JBloggers,Relationships,Single Life

In my introductory post I said that 1. people are too unique for any general theory or advice about dating to be universally applicable and 2. that I was going to break that rule immediately. I stand by both statements, though the rule breaking is more nuanced.

In one of the least-romantic descriptions of dating and marriage ever written, Nobel Laureate Gary Becker reduces the entire dating process to a simple cost/benefit analysis:

According to the economic approach, a person decides to marry when the utility expected from marriage exceeds that expected from remaining single or from additional search of a suitable mate. Similarly, a married person terminates his (or her) marriage when the utility anticipated from being single or marrying someone else exceeds the loss in utility from separation, including losses due to physical separation from one’s children, division of joint assets, legal fees, and so forth (Becker, 1976:10).

 

 

 

 

 

In plain English, Becker understands that people get married when there’s more to be gained by getting married than by staying single, and the same is true for divorce. This follows what some economists call the “rational choice theory,” in which every decision is based on someone deciding a course of action based on the “best” of all options. The problem of course is we have no idea how our decisions in the present will play out in the future. If anything, we’re heavily biased to project either our past experiences or our current emotional state onto the future such that our predictions are rarely accurate.

CRTV-1231-header

So what really drives us to make the Big Decisions?

In a word, “hope.”

More specifically, it’s the hope that our lives will be better if we decide on a certain course of action than any alternative.

Following Becker’s approach, I suggest that dating is no different. The one thing everyone is looking for in a relationship is that somehow life will be better with a particular person than without. Exactly how life will be better will not only depend on the individual, but on the specific circumstances of that person. Some may find hope in a life of stability, while others appreciate the excitement of constant adventure. Maybe the hope for a better life includes having many children, or perhaps the greater hope is found in the potential freedom to pursue one’s interests. It’s why abstract concepts like “love” or “connections” may be a higher priority for some over others, or why everyone’s definition will be different. Normally, these sorts of questions are framed in the context of “life goals” or “checklists,” but essentially everyone is just trying to improve their lives, hoping for the best, and the criteria for doing so is often subject to change.

I also think this approach explains why dating seems harder for some people. Assuming that all relationships take effort and involve some “cost” of time, money, freedom, and emotional energy, the more someone has adjusted to living alone, the more “hope” that person would need to disrupt the status quo. If the people you happen to meet aren’t “worth” the cost – that is, the prospect of putting in all those resources outweighs any benefits one hopes to receive out of the relationship – you’re probably going to be disinterested in pursuing a relationship with that person. I’d further suggest this is particularly applicable to older singles, especially the emotionally healthier ones who have acclimated and adjusted to living life on their own. It’s not that singles get more “selective” as they get older as much as they’ve learned to live a satisfying life on their terms. In which case, older singles require a proportionally greater “hope” for a better future with any given person. It’s much easier to hope when you’re young because you can still dream of possibilities, even if they might never come true, but the longer someone experiences life, the less such dreams of a better life seem plausible.

It’s possible that viewing relationships from the perspective of “hope” may be helpful in the dating process in that we can ask ourselves when we find ourselves attracted to someone what we hope life with this person will bring us (and the same is true when we’re disinterested). If we’re finding ourselves equivocating or wondering why we fall into the same bad habits, then perhaps focusing on what we’re hoping for, and why, might produce some interesting and helpful answers.


Hello JDate World

by Rabbi Josh Yuter under JBloggers,Rabbi,Relationships,Single Life
“Those who can, do. Those who can’t, blog.”

 

Hello JDate Blog readers! My name is Josh Yuter and I’m thrilled be your guest blogger for the next few months. You might know me from such websites as YUTOPIA or JewishGuitarChords.com, or from such synagogues as The Stanton St. Shul.

You might be wondering why I have any business writing about dating or relationships, especially considering that I’ve never been married. On the other hand, I never claimed to be an expert on dating either. (Not that being married itself makes someone an expert in dating. If anything, people who got married to the first person they dated actually know very little about dating, let alone the struggles that other people may have).

What I do have is years of first-hand experience dating and the uncensored stories and perspectives shared with me by friends. I also have a unique way of looking at the dating world, in part due to a general tendency to overthink, and in part due to my own exasperation being subjected to other people’s pontifications.

The first thing to remember is that dating is not, nor has it ever been, one size fits all. I’ve personally referred to dating as chasing a “moving target,” for the very simple reason that what one person finds attractive another finds repellant. To assume that all men or all women are the same, such that generalizations are meaningful, is to deny that yes, we are all individuals.(Spoiler: I’m going to break this rule in my next post).

I’m also well aware that I’m limited by my own perceptions, so I’d alove to hear if you’ve got your own ideas or questions you’d like to share. Just drop me a line using this form and, while I can’t guarantee I’ll be able to answer everyone personally, I might address some issues in this space while maintaining everyone’s confidentiality.

I don’t know who will be reading this column so it would be irresponsible for me to dispense any specific advice. The best I can do is share some of my experience and thoughts; you might find some of what I say helpful, or you might disagree based on your own experiences. At the end of the day it’s up to you to figure out what’s best for your own life. Whether or not you agree with anything I have to say, if I can get someone to think about the world just a little differently – even for a moment – I’m going to call that a “win.”


We’re Looking for NEW JBloggers!

by JDateAdministrator under JBloggers,JDate,Single Life

If selected, your very own blog will be published regularly right here on JBlog™ and you’ll receive a free JDate® subscription!

We’re looking for male and female writers with fun and fresh perspectives to share their exciting stories, tips and JDate experiences! If selected, in addition to a free subscription, you’ll get to regularly entertain hundreds of thousands of readers and receive a byline and exposure on JDate!

To become the next JBlogger, all you have to do is submit a 300-word writing sample about dating or a related topic, along with your name, JDate username, email address, phone number and member ID to jblog@jdate.com before September 15, 2014.


Accept the Worst

by Aaron under JBloggers,Relationships

I once thought being in a serious relationship would be the end of my worrying. I was wrong about that, to a degree, in the sense of my relationship. Sometimes I still send a text and worry, for example, but I’ve also never worried so much in all my life since this last month.Why? Because now I worry for two people’s future, not just my own.

What has been good about this though (and hopefully this helps you across areas of your own life), is that I have learned to accept the worst in everything. For example, I was worrying last month about having to take out debt for student loans and being jobless for a little while in New York. After much panicking, I accepted that I may have to take out a small loan, knowing that I will have a master’s in a few months. Now, I’m nearing getting a job, and even then I’m panicking again! It’s not a dream job at all, but it will support me and help me get the things I want for myself and my girlfriend going forward.

I was panicking a lot about the fact that the job may not make me happy for a good while as I started the interview process. It’s important, in my mind, to be happy with your job. Luckily, I have begun to accept that the “worst” in my eyes also means having a job, money and an MBA in a few months — which is really not that bad at all.

Sometimes we fear the irrational. We fear never finding someone, we fear not getting a job, we fear none of it will work out. But if you can learn to accept that it will never work out exactly as you imagined, chances are things will work themselves out just fine anyway. Facing our fears and our flaws is key, and while it’s been a scary month for me, I know only good things are ahead, for me and you.

Tags:

Ease of Life

by Aaron under JBloggers,Judaism

M’shana makom, m’shana mazel — this is the phrase people kept repeating to me as I decided between Dallas and New York. The phrase means change your place and change your fortunes. I was doing fine in Dallas, but I can tell you New York is a different world entirely, and I love it. There are more Jews to date here, more things to do on Shabbat (the Great Lawn in Central Park and touring the Upper West Side’s Kiddushes with my roommate have become my favorite activities each week), and best of all, more places to enjoy Kosher dining.

Jewish life in New York, to put it simply, is really easy. I tell my company it’s Shabbat on Friday nights and I get to be out in time every week. People on my block in Harlem know how to properly get a mezuzah affixed on a doorway. There’s a kosher section in my grocery store in an area where there are few Jews. And even in this (Jewishly) remote area of town (The middle of 150th street, where the nearest synagogue is a 30-minute walk), even the far walks of one hour to synagogues with numerous young people is closer than the two or so hours it would take me to walk to any shul in Dallas from my house (not to mention how easy it is to walk here).

It makes me wonder though — is life more meaningful when it’s difficult? Wasn’t there more meaning to the fact that in Dallas I was still attempting to keep Kosher, I still kept Shabbat every week (although by staying at different homes every week), and I still only dated Jewish despite a small dating pool? Life was definitely not tough, luckily, but there were some strange challenges. People thought I was nuts when I told them I dated long-distance to have a bigger dating pool, and the first time I told a group I’d not be able to meet during Shabbat got some weird reactions. Did my continued efforts despite people’s lack of understanding mean anything more came out of it?

In some ways, yes. I gained a great deal of confidence by standing up for my decisions that a lot of people didn’t understand, and my efforts in keeping Kosher, keeping Shabbat, and dating Jewish, no matter what it took, led me to great places that have made living in New York more exciting and meaningful than if I’d just waited to do those things here. But to call New York “easy” is still relative — the truth is, those things are still difficult here. Sure, there are 2 million Jews, but 10 million people overall here, it’d be much easier to date a non-Jew. There are tons of Kosher restaurants, but there are also hundreds more non-Kosher restaurants, many with great smells and sights in their windows. It’s not a rare occurrence for me to drool over the smell of Subway or the sight of a chicken and cheese sandwich. And while Shabbat is easy because of the number of people in my life who keep it, there are definitely moments where I don’t want to take a walk or read a book and instead just pop open my laptop to goof around.

Judaism, and life in general, is full of challenges and tests. Some are easier than others. But just because things are made easier doesn’t make them any less of tests, and any less special when we stick to our guns. I felt guilty when I got here and it seemed like everything was so much easier, I thought life needed to be more difficult. But I think it’s just become relatively easier, and new challenges have started to show — prepping my own home for Shabbat every week or finding the budget to keep kosher. The only bad thing, really, would be for me not to keep pushing myself to grow and find new challenges around me. Whether it’s Judaism for you, or a new place, or whatever the thing in your life, don’t hesitate to try and make it easier. New York has been a great experience, and even better, I’m sure it will bring me many more challenging experiences to help me grow in ways that wouldn’t have been possible when the now-easy parts of my life were difficult.


The Sounds of Silence

by Aaron under Date Night,JBloggers,Relationships

As I attempted to come up with a topic this week, I was drawing blanks. I wanted to write about my trip to Europe, my life in New York so far, how my dating life is going, any number of things that have been on my mind. But every time I started writing something, it was worthless. I drew a blank.

When you’re not being asked to write a blog for an awesome organization every week, silence can actually be a great thing.  It’s not always that I can’t write about things, but sometimes I feel like I’m writing just to write.

Interestingly, in the last year, some of my best dating moments have involved silence. From long car rides to Memphis where I’m just taking in scenery to the beauty of Central Park, sometimes there’s more happening in life than just trying to get to know someone. Sharing an experience is such a beautiful thing, and I think sometimes we feel an overwhelming need to talk through things as we’re getting to know someone. But in my opinion, nothing compares to just sharing a moment in silence.

So that’s my very simple blog this week. I’ve been around the world in the last month, and I’ve seen some great sights. I know the best is only to come, but the finest moments since my last real writing time (early May) have been the moments of taking in life in silence with another person. Overlooking the beach in Barcelona, looking out over New York from the 102nd floor of the Empire State Building, or even just listening to strangers talk about Grindr while I was sitting on a park bench while cuddling up with someone special. These have been the best moments of my last month, and they didn’t involve me feeling the need to say a single word.


Just How Jewish Are You? And Not Feeling Jewish Enough…

by Haley Plotnik under JBloggers,Judaism

I’ve spent too much of my life feeling like an inferior Jew. First of all, it’s hard enough to define one’s Judaism. When I was asked what type of Jew I was in the past, I’d answer “I was raised Reform,” or “I’m culturally Jewish.” Now I sometimes say I’m “Con-form” or “Refervative.” The only reason I won’t commit to Conservative is because I want to join a synagogue that acknowledges the importance of gender equity.

When I was a growing up, I played with Barbie dolls and Thomas the Tank engine play sets. My engineering school has a male-heavy environment, and I’ve faced a lot of disrespectful comments and gender discrimination during my engineering education and various internships in engineering roles. From “You must be my new secretary!” to words too offensive to post online, I face gender-based discrimination more often than anyone should have to. Sometimes I wonder how Orthodox women do it. I had jobs that required wearing pants, and I wonder what would happen if I were strictly following Halakha. Which brings me back to the topic of not being Jewish enough.

The following things make me feel like I’ve missed out on a lot of aspects of Judaism that a lot of young Jews share:

  1. Going to Jewish sleep away camps (Too old now).
  2. Going to synagogue every week (Not quite ready for this yet).
  3. Having weekly family Shabbat Dinners (Why not start? I may have to find a makeshift family of other rogue Jews).
  4. Going to Jewish day schools (Too old now).
  5. Reading the Torah start to finish (I’m reading Exodus at the moment).
  6. Belonging to a youth group (They have groups for young professionals)!

Maybe I’ve missed out on a lot of Jewish activities, but that doesn’t have any bearing on my future. I was raised in a primarily secular household, but I think I still picked up a lot of core Jewish values. Missing out in my childhood just makes me more motivated to participate as an adult.

Last summer, I lived in one of the least Jewish areas in the United States. When I went to the only Reform synagogue in reasonable driving distance, I met people who felt like family to me from day one. They hugged me when I told them I was coming to say Kaddish for my beloved grandfather; and when I told them I was 2000 miles from any family, they jumped at the opportunity to make me feel welcome.

It can be scary to reach out, especially in a new city, or if you feel like you don’t know much about Judaism. Through my recent exploration, I’ve realized:

  1. I know more about Judaism than I give myself credit for, and you probably do too.
  2. I’ll never feel like I am knowledgeable about Judaism if I don’t put in the effort to learn.
  3. There is always more to learn, regardless of how knowledgeable you think you are.

10 Quirky Facts: A Crash Course on Haley, JDate’s Newest JBlogger

by Haley Plotnik under JBloggers,Relationships,Single Life

Hello JDaters! My name is Haley, and I am excited to share my experiences as a young, single, Jewish woman navigating the dating scene with you. As a lover of lists, I’ll dive right in.

  1. I’m about to finish my B.S. in chemical engineering. It is NOT an easy major, but I like a challenge.
  2. I love cooking myself a healthy dinner every night. I’m a big fan of veggies, and I’m a little bit obsessed with experimental Crock Pot cooking.
  3. I’m a cardio enthusiast. I started running 5Ks in November 2013.
  4. I really want a pet (once I stop moving every 3 to 9 months and I can afford vet bills).
  5. My Bat Mitzvah was just under 10 years ago. This my subtle way of telling you how old I am.
  6. I am a practical person and a minimalist. There are 0 articles of clothing on my floor, and I’m currently packing up to move.
  7. I am trying to live in as many places as possible before I pick a place to live permanently.
  8. I live 2000 miles away from my nuclear family.
  9. I am the youngest in my family, but I am by NO means spoiled.
  10. I’ve been single for over a year. I’m a relationship type of girl, but I’m not wallowing in my singleness by any means. For me, being single is a time to reflect on what is important to me.  I think a lot about how I can move forward into more successful future endeavors. I try to continually improve myself, and I think it is important that my match has a similar mentality (or I may drive them crazy). Through my dating and relationship experiences over the last few years, I’ve learned a lot about the type of person I want to end up with. My friends keep trying to set me up with “fixer uppers,” but my resolve to only date “marriage-quality” men is strong enough that a 6-pack no longer speaks to me the same way it did when I was 19. Even though marriage is far off for me, I am often reminded that I’m not getting any younger. I appreciate the encouragement, but I am patient. I have several friends tying the knot in the next few months, but I am a firm believer in the “compare and despair” philosophy. Who knows? Maybe my feminist Jewish boyfriend is just around the corner. And maybe he’ll even want to be a stay-at-home dad in the future. A girl can dream, right?

Success

by Aaron under JBloggers,JDate,Judaism,Single Life,Success Stories

Failure, inherently, is a gigantic part of life. As your life goes on and opens up new opportunities, you are bound to fail at some point. But more rewarding than anything are those moments when you seem so on the brink of failure, and success somehow comes crashing toward you anyway.

In particular, I can remember two times in the last year where failure that I couldn’t begin to fathom came crashing on me. The first was a long-distance date with a Jewish girl from New York I’d been chatting with on JDate. As I planned to fly out to New York from Dallas, the greatest ice storm we’d seen in years began to take over the city. I had the foresight to move my flight to a day earlier, but even then, the ice piled on and basically froze all of Dallas in fear. I witnessed a truck crash on my way to the airport and was almost late for the flight. When I got to the airport, panic struck as I was told I’d miss my connector no matter what. At the last second, things changed, and they let me race through security for a long weekend in New York that, while a one time event, was still a good time.

As I sat in the baggage check-in line that day, I felt a dread I never knew before — here we are, having Skyped for two months, our big meeting finally at hand. We were so excited and the prospect of waiting any number of weeks more seemed awful. There is a certain power of getting to know someone, even over video, and it was devastating to not be able to be happy with that person in person… even for a weekend.

But as things often do, it worked itself out.

I had a similar experience again this last week. I had been trying and trying to get to New York for the summer, becoming so good at long distance networking that I started my own company to help people do it (TheSocialCustodian.com, though the site is not totally complete yet). As the one company I’d made it far with in New York was reaching a final decision, it was down to crunch time. They told me they’d let me know by a certain time, and I heard nothing.

And yet, I didn’t stop. I took my phone and called, and sure enough they were getting ready to offer me the job as I called. It was a moment that changed my life essentially, and will change the rest of my year by its very nature.

Yeah, that’s great, my life is awesome. How does it affect you? Life will bring on big challenges, and again on the theme of the beginning of the new year, don’t let that fear freeze you. The world offers great things to those who are ready for failure in pursuit of success, as I was when I made the call and tried to make the flight, and it rewards those ready to fall on their faces. Let this be the year you try to make a sketchy flight, make a new call, or just say hello to someone unexpected. Sure, you’ll probably fail at some point, but success is the greatest feeling in the world. See you in New York, JDaters.


Why the Underwear Matches

by Aaron under JBloggers,Judaism,Single Life

In what will henceforth be deemed my “women-ssance” of 2013, I began to develop a new pattern. I started matching my underwear color to an item of clothing I was wearing. From shirts to sweaters to socks, what was underneath always matched something visible.

I didn’t know at first why I started doing this. It was just fun and made choosing outfits in the morning an exciting endeavor. But a year later, I think it finally makes sense in other ways. All it took was me wearing a yarmulke (that also matches my clothing, typically) to make me understand.

For a good while, I’ve been Shomer Shabbos, and I keep Kosher for the most part (I’ll still eat dairy or pareve outside of my home), but I felt like until I was the best Jew ever, I couldn’t wear a yarmulke regularly. I found a loophole of sorts (I wear a hat when eating treif to avoid the guilt I believe I’d otherwise feel with a yarmulke), and suddenly I feel comfortable wearing a yarmulke everywhere. The first day of class with it was a little weird (classmates are still asking me what holiday it is since it’s so new for them to see), but it has since helped in making me more comfortable in my own skin.

What I think it does best is it puts all of my cards on the table in a lot of situations. What you see with me is totally what you get — I wear a yarmulke, and it shouldn’t surprise you if I can’t do something on Shabbat or eat certain foods. It makes it easier to turn down interviews on Shabbat or to keep myself dating Jewish exclusively. It comes down to the basic idea of both the yarmulke and my boxers: what’s beneath should match what we see.

This applies online and in real life. Your dating profile and messages should be authentically you — don’t try to cast a wide net; you want to find someone for the long game. And in real life, people should be able to tell what they’re getting into, whether it’s in what you’re wearing, or just the actions you take and the words you say. This is really just a spin of something that’s been said to death, but nothing is sexier than when your external attitudes are true to your internal self, or in my terms, your clothing matches your underwear.