Archive for the ‘Online Dating’ Category

Why Not Now?

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

At the beginning of the summer, I set my mind on becoming well read. Six books later, I’m feeling proud of sticking to that goal, and I’m even happier that it did not require me to drop any of my other ongoing goals. If you want to play a new instrument or learn to surf, I say go for it. Reaching for something reasonably within grasp and meeting a goal is a huge confidence booster.

If your goals are interpersonal, it’s a bit harder to just jump in, but it’s equally important to have measurable successes. Maybe you want to start going on more dates after a long dry spell. I always like to make goals quantifiable, but that’s just the engineer in me talking. Maybe you want to make more friends or go to temple more regularly. Goals are great, but they’re not as helpful tucked away on a shelf for later.

Someone who I’m close to (who hates unsolicited advice) mentioned they think they are going to “be alone forever.” How is she supposed to make progress toward her goal of having better relationships if she’s so negative from the get go? She hasn’t even tried to date since her relationship ended nearly three years ago.

Two small things I want to tell her:

  1. Attitude is HUGE! It’s maybe the most pivotal component to success.
  2. Why not now? Why not today? Your happiness may depend on it.

It doesn’t have to be a relationship. I’m sure she has other aspirations. You probably do too. Building your skills or trying something new may give you a funny new story to tell on a date, or may even make you a richer, happier person. There’s no harm in trying, in or out of the dating arena. You have nothing to lose, and only something to gain when you go for it.


Poly-dating Dilemma

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

Recently, a friend called me with a question and gave me permission to share his story:

“Ryan” is poly-dating (as I recommend) and is in the early stages of dating “Rebecca,” whom he met on JDate, and also communicating with “Rachel,” a woman he recently connected with on JDate as well. Ryan and Rachel have been trading instant messages, emails, texts, and chatting on the phone — all before their first date. Ryan and Rebecca, on the other hand, have spent time in person, talking until the wee hours of the morning and sharing a few kisses on a few occasions now.

Ryan knows that poly-dating is a smart idea so he doesn’t get too serious about any girl too quickly… but things with Rebecca are progressing naturally and he already really likes her. Now he feels guilty about his upcoming date with Rachel, and he also likes Rachel and feels guilty that he’s spent so much time getting to know her and building up expectations. Should he go out with her?

Interestingly, in this case, I said no, he shouldn’t. He has already spent time with Rebecca and likes her, and wouldn’t be giving Rachel a fair shake because he would be distracted by feeling he’s betraying Rebecca. As unfair as it is to Rachel, his communicating with her while dating Rebecca was the poly-dating that kept a good pace for their relationship to unfold. Now he can commit to dating only Rebecca and see where it leads. Meanwhile, he should be honest with Rachel and let her know that he met someone else and wants to see where it goes out of respect for her and his new relationship. He should end the conversation with a compliment, of course, noting how great he thinks she is since it was only timing that prevented them from exploring more, and nothing personal about her.

Side note: this is another example of why too much communicating before a first date is not beneficial and, in fact, is detrimental by creating unrealistic expectations.


Why Your Choices Matter

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

Every choice we make in life makes a ripple in our life pond. Sometimes an external force throws a stone (or a boulder) into our life pond, making unexpected waves. I am reminded often of how little control I have over my life. But that’s not exactly true either. Yes, I had to get into schools out of state to leave California. And yes, I had to do a lot of sweet-talking to get my parents on board. I didn’t just end up in the Midwest by happenstance. I chose to change the trajectory of my life. I wanted a different experience. I could have easily spent my entire life in Southern California.

You can’t effect external forces, but when you have a chance to have the say in a matter, choose to make a decision. You can’t control if someone else likes you or not, but you do have the opportunity to take a chance and put yourself out there. Not doing anything is a choice of its own, in a way. And if you don’t make a choice, someone else will act for you. Good example: a friend of mine, “Alex,” was pining away over “Mallory.” Alex couldn’t ask her out because he wasn’t sure that Mallory liked him. Well guess what? Neither was the guy who asked her out… but now he’s her boyfriend. But he went for it. While Alex waited and waited for more signs, someone else went in and swooped her up.

Next time you really like someone and are afraid to ask them out, go for it. The worst that happens is you get a no. If you never go for it, you may end up wondering what if? for the foreseeable future. I know I would be wondering what my life would be like if I didn’t go out and forge my own path in the Midwest.


Change Your Profile Picture NOW!

by Tamar Caspi under JDate,Online Dating,Single Life

Perusing JDate yesterday for a newly single girlfriend, I searched for profile pictures of men who fit my preferences for her (rather than her narrow preferences for herself, I was trying to see if there was anyone who hadn’t made her cut but was still a great prospect), except, honestly, there was nothing to see! Why? Because I couldn’t actually SEE what any of the men looked like!

One profile after another showed a man from far away, or wearing sunglasses, or wearing a hat, or sharing the space with another person (or featuring an awkward cropping out of another person), or not looking at the camera, or it wasn’t a clear photo, or the person was doing an activity, or (and this may be the worst) it was a selfie! When someone’s corporate headshot is the best photo of the bunch, then we have problems.

Your main profile photo needs to show YOU… and only YOU. This means the top of your shoulders to the top of your head with your handsome, smiling, eyes open, bright face filling the box. Have a friend take photos of you in a relaxed position when you’re in a great mood and carry on a conversation that will make you smile naturally and then snap away. Make sure the photos are in focus, with good lighting, and do not add a filter.

I clicked on very few profiles due to the terrible first impressions. One time I liked a guy’s statistics for my friend, and even though he had a bad profile photo, I clicked out of curiosity and found a great looking guy! But not everyone clicks on every profile or reads the stats first. That is not superficial, it’s the reality of online dating. You need to catch someone’s eye, and quickly, which means you need to have an awesome profile photo (and a unique profile name and eloquent, witty About Me paragraph)!

Read more about creating an effective JDate profile in “How to Woo a Jew: The Modern Jewish Guide to Dating and Mating” in bookstores and online now!


Autocorrect Embarrassment

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

I am not a fan of texting while dating, but I know you’re all guilty of it. So what happens when you have a texting fail and autocorrect changes something… and you hit send before realizing it? For the most part, whether the typ0 changes it to something obscene or absurd, you should immediately text back with the following:

“SORRY! DARN AUTOCORRECT! I meant to type…”

And then pick up the phone, call the person, and have a laugh over the hilarity of it all. Maybe you can even make a pact to not text as much to avoid any further misunderstanding.


Pipe Dream Soul Mate

by Haley Plotnik under Online Dating,Relationships,Single Life

When I was in high school, I once had a very interesting experience with a guy I’ll call “Greg.” Greg and I weren’t close friends, but we were in the same friendship circles. Sophomore year, Greg was eating lunch near me and was talking about what type of girl he wanted. He was saying he wanted her to be around 5’7”, blond, tan, blue-eyed, and toned with a slight bit of curve. Notice every trait is physical. That aside, Greg wasn’t willing to compromise on more than a few perfectly nice, smart, attractive girls because they didn’t meet his criteria.

Fast forward to the next school year. We had an Italian exchange student, “Veti,” come to our high school. She was sweet, adorable, and nice. Physically, Veti met every single one of his requirements. She was breathtaking. I came home and told my mom about the new exchange student. My mom and I were taking a long walk around town, and we ran into Veti. She smiled dazzlingly at us and waved. “Oh my gosh,” my mom said. “I thought you were exaggerating. She really is amazing. She’s physically perfect!”

Loads of guys at my school had the reaction my mom had. What’s more, this Veti didn’t even know how amazingly spectacular she looked and was a very humble person.

I nudged Greg and said, “She’s the girl you’ve been looking for! Why don’t you ask her out?” Greg looked at me, stunned. “I can’t ask Veti out! She’s perfect,” he protested.

While Greg’s list is all physical traits, and yours may not be, I think his plight is something a lot of us struggle with. Sometimes we have an idea in our head of our pipe dream soul mate: who we want to be with if we could order it up on a platter. But we don’t anticipate that a real person can fulfill all of those requirements. When our pipe dream soul mate comes walking down the street, it’s hard to know what to do. It’s intimidating and scary and overwhelming.

If you aren’t all about looks like Greg, it may take a bit more investigating to identify your pipe dream soul mate. When this is the case, you can take your time and actually get to know the person.  They may not be who you cooked up in your mind, but you may be pleasantly surprised by the real person you’re getting to know.


Call Me

by Aaron under JDate,Judaism,Online Dating,Relationships,Single Life

Initially, the last car wreck I was in seemed awful (no one was hurt, just my car). It was an accident, obviously, but I felt terrible. It was completely my fault and I had to get my car repaired using money I was saving at the time for grad school. My rental car, required while I had my car repaired, made me feel slightly better about the accident — it was a sleek version of my car, but newer and full of little perks like Bluetooth connectivity.

As I drove home on my first Shabbat with that rental car, I wanted to try every feature (yep, playing around while driving — probably why I wrecked my car in the first place). Specifically, that Bluetooth was fun, and I used it to start making calls. It was Friday afternoon and I had to drive home from Wylie, Texas back to my little town of Plano, a 45-minute commute on a good day, but an hour or more on this Friday afternoon. It started, as it now does every week, with a call to my Zeyde, who at the time was an hour ahead of me in Miami. Then my grandparents, and then a friend or two… I just went on and on, calling friends and seeing how their week’s went, even if it’d been a while since we kept in touch.

The list changes frequently; I’ll forget someone or substitute someone in that I haven’t seen in a while for someone I just saw. In the age of texting, Facebook, and email, I was connecting to friends at a larger scale than ever had before. My network didn’t lose touch with me as easily (relegated to liking goofy Facebook posts occasionally); if I had their number, they got a call.

Nowadays in New York, my roommates know Friday afternoons before Shabbat are for calls. They’re a little different now though. I call my mom, my dad and my brother, in addition to all of those old friends and family I don’t see as often. I call friends from home and friends in New York, keeping some friendships stable and growing others.

But most helpful was the way it grew my relationship with my current girlfriend. I always worry about keeping a relationship in this age of texting. We have to be on our game so often early on in relationships (i.e. Am I saying the right thing? Did I wait long enough? etc.) But Shabbos calls were different. My girlfriend and I still do it every week, she’s usually my last call before my phone goes off for Shabbat, and we typically finalize our Shabbat plans together.

The habit is very much so in the spirit of Shabbat: just a simple call saying you’re thinking of someone. For me it was Friday afternoons, but whatever you do, using the phone is a great way to build relationships, platonic or romantic, and I think you’ll be surprised by how grateful people are for that little call.


Married at First Sight

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

The groundbreaking TV show Married at First Sight (airing on the newly rebranded fyi, network) brings together professionals and experts who set up three couples to get married the first time they see each other. It’s a social experiment to see if testing for compatibility does a better job at matchmaking than we do for ourselves. There’s definitely something to this, as research from Brandeis University shows that arranged marriages have more success than those that begin based on lust.

This is why you need to see past the profile photos on JDate and actually read the profiles to determine if there’s a possibility of a match before moving on.

Trust the process.


Revealing Your Backstory

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

Not everyone has a backstory, but lots of people do. Positive or negative, when to reveal that story after you begin dating someone you really like is a normal worry — especially when you have something important to divulge.

I’ve written previously about being honest and addressing a physical disability from the beginning; and I’ve written about how to discuss a divorce and/or having children in a minimal way in your profile and on a first date; but how about a backstory that isn’t visible? Are you a cancer survivor or do you suffer from depression or were you abused or were you adopted or any other background that made you who you are… but no one would necessarily know unless you told them?

This type of backstory is not one to include in your JDate profile, or even to bring up on a first date, but you do need to open up relatively early on. If the story is too much for your date to handle, then let them leave — clearly it’s not the right person for you and that’s why you need to reveal your story sooner rather than later. Unless it’s relevant to a conversation you are having on a first date, then save your confession for your second or third date. This does not mean that you are ashamed of your backstory, just that you want to have prospects get to know you for you, and not your story, particularly if it is a sob story.


Take a Chance, Open Up!

by Haley Plotnik under JDate,Online Dating

I have a close friend who recently moved to a new city for graduate school. She’s looking to meet a Jewish guy, but isn’t sure how to navigate the Internet dating scene. I am usually shy about advertising that I date online. It’s not something I feel most people need to know about me, and I feel nervous about being judged as “desperate” or “weird.” However, online dating has fundamentally changed how I approach men (in a good way).

When I finally admitted to my friend that I’ve online dated, she replied, “Oh my gosh. Once I move to graduate school, I totally want to try!” I had been so worried about her judging me that I forgot how many of us out are curious about the online dating world. She wanted to pick my brain about it before choosing to ultimately join in on the online dating rollercoaster. It’s something that has now bonded us. My friend asks my advice about messaging guys, if she should reply, etc. And in a way, it’s strengthened our friendship. So, while I don’t wear a sign around my neck that says, “I Love JDate,” I’m more open to telling close friends about dating on the web!