Archive for the ‘Relationships’ Category

Tell Me What You Really (Don’t) Want

by Tamar Caspi under Online Dating,Relationships,Single Life

JDate has a lot of multiple choice, fill in the blank, and essay questions asking you what you want, but what about what you DON’T want? I’m sure we can all make a list a mile long of things we would prefer a partner not to have, but try to whittle that list down to just a couple of things.

These are not your preferences, but rather the “I know for a fact that I can’t live with someone who…” (smokes, is not pro-choice, owns a gun, doesn’t read books, dresses up to reenact the Civil War, doesn’t want kids, whatever it is). It’s okay to be upfront and straightforward about specific traits that you have an aversion to. That said, you need to be open in other areas if you’re going to state one or two things that is an absolute dealbreaker.

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Don’t Worry, Be Happy

by Tamar Caspi under Online Dating,Relationships,Single Life

It’s not just a Bobby McFerrin song, it’s a lifestyle. Being happy is a decision you make about how you want to live and you get to make this decision each and every day. Being happy is attractive and will attract other happy people — and that includes singles attracting prospects.

Being happy in your life right now, being happy being alone and being single (not the same thing), is attractive. People who let their current situation get the best of them can come across as pessimistic, bitter, and negative on a date which is obviously a huge turn-off. People like this seem to depend on finding on a mate in order to make them happy, but your happiness should not be dependent upon someone else. It sounds logical reading it, but for some reason people don’t always identify as one these people or understand how to change it.

You want to be someone who has made the best of their situation by enjoying their life as-is. You’re single? So what! Find joy in all of the amazing things you have going on in your life, not what you’re missing. That said, make sure you do leave room for that special someone!

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First Date Fashion

by Caryn Alper under Relationships

OK, you’ve nailed down a date. Nice work! Now, time to panic: what should you wear?  Selecting an outfit can be stressful – especially when you are meeting someone for the first time and want to make a good impression.  To start picking out a date look, ask yourself a few questions:

  • What is my personal style? What types of things do I typically wear?  A first date is not necessarily the best time to try out a denim jumpsuit to see if you like it.
  • Who is my date? A grad student?  A lawyer? A single dad? This doesn’t necessarily determine your date’s style, but it can provide a hint as to his level of formality.
  • Where are we going? If you aren’t familiar with the place, do a little research.  Websites usually have photos and reviews where you can get a good idea of the vibe.

As much as we like to think that a date is only evaluating your personality, that’s just not realistic.   The truth is that your date is 78% more likely to ask you on a second date if he likes the way you look.  OK, I made up that statistic, but your appearance IS a very important factor in determining whether or not you will get another chance.  If you and your date are evaluating each other as potential soulmates, mutual attraction is one of the first things you’ll both notice.

A few general Dos and Don’ts about what to wear:

Do express your personal style but don’t dress in an extreme way.  Especially if you have never met before in person, you don’t want to embarrass your date by sporting something generally considered odd, like a tutu over jeans, or coat and scarf when it’s 90 degrees outside.  Also be weary of something super cool and trendy that may not be well understood by the opposite sex (harem pants, anyone?).

Do err on the side of being overdressed rather than underdressed.  You want your date to know that you value the time you are spending together and that put effort into getting ready!

Don’t wear anything too revealing. Yes, it’s a date, and yes, you want to look good, but don’t display all your goods. Keep things in proportion by highlighting one body part – so if you wear a short dress, pair it with long sleeves or a high neck, and sleeveless tops work well with longer and bottoms.

Guys – you aren’t off the hook here.  A first impression might even be MORE important for you, as girls (whether we like to admit it or not) tend to be more judgmental.  Although there aren’t as many rules for men, it’s important to look polished!  At a minimum, you should shower, shave, and comb your hair.  No one is impressed that you came straight from the gym.  Most date attire for men boils down to the skill of picking a combination of a shirt (polo/button down/sweater), pants (jeans or khakis), and shoes (no tennis shoes) that don’t horribly clash.  If you want bonus points, tuck in your shirt. Avoid cargo pants, and make sure your socks match your shoes.

Readers – what do you think?

PS – special thanks to JA, my sister/aspiring stylist for her help with this post!

Read Part II of this Post Here >>


Will Your Relationship Last?

by Tamar Caspi under Relationships

John and Julie Gottman are considered the foremost experts in couples therapy and being able to predict if a relationship will last, or not. Rather than discuss the signs of what they call a “disaster” I want to relay what they found to be a predominant precursor to what they term a “master” — a successful relationship.

In the simplest terms, the Gottmans said that couples who respond to each other’s “bids” for connection. Basically, being interested in what the other person is saying. The Gottman’s research showed that 87% of successful couples responded correctly to their partner’s bids. This begins with being a good listener and extends to selflessness. If you are busy scrolling through Facebook when your significant other asks you a question, do you put down your phone/tablet/laptop and turn toward your partner to engage, or do you not even flinch and answer half-heartedly?

Hint: the former is good, the latter is not. What do you do?

If you’re interested in learning more about the Gottmans, start with this article.

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Marriage Material

by Tamar Caspi under Online Dating,Relationships,Single Life

One of the weirdest things about dating is that we often date — and even stay in a relationship with — someone whom we can’t even imagine marrying or spending the rest of our lives with. We fight to make these relationships work and are upset when the other half of the equation sees the writing on the wall first.

Some of this is pride. We want to make it work with someone just so that we aren’t alone. Or to make it work with someone who is good on paper, or someone we think (or others think) we should be with. And we fight to make these relationships work because we don’t want to go through another breakup. And we are sad if the other person ends it first because it’s a bruise to our ego.

So here’s my straightforward, no bullshit advice: YOU KNOW this is not someone you want to or could spend the rest of your life with, so why bother spending one more day on this person when you could be spending that time finding someone better-suited? If you are looking conscientiously, then you know who you are and what you want in a mate and who you want to be in a relationship, so don’t settle or waste any more time once you figure out that person isn’t it.

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Vanity Fair and the “Dating Apocalypse”

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

Vanity Fair’s article about how dating apps have changed — and possibly eradicated — dating was filled with shock value. People who use Tinder and other similar apps (think: swipe right) know that it can be used just for hooking up, but there are also plenty of couples who met via those apps. You wouldn’t know that by the article as it was all about how many hook-ups occurred, how often, how quickly, and how easily.

That was probably the worst part… a consistent theme throughout the article had to do with the ease of the hook-ups, and how it was more often than not the men that dictated the extent of the hook-up: one-time, a continuing thing, or a relationship. And the women have to go along with this hoping that maybe they can change a guy’s mind and make him want more than a hook-up. But, the catch-22 is that most of these men don’t want a relationship with the type of girl who will hook-up after few (if any) interactions, after being matched on one of these apps.

So here’s the deal: if you just want to have fun, then go ahead with the apps. But if you’re looking for a relationship, then you need to stick to a site like JDate where people take more time and effort to create profiles and select prospects. Do you want to be somebody’s priority or somebody’s option?

The swipe right apps have so many participants that it can give you a false sense of how many eligible prospects actually meet even a minimum of your criteria, which leads to a false sense of thinking you can do better than the awesome person in front of you. These dating apps are addictive because they are quick and easy, and there are seemingly always new singles to swipe. Don’t get caught up and have unrealistic expectations of who you can meet on an app where the goal is just hooking up.

 

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When Being Truthful is Too Honest

by Tamar Caspi under Date Night,Relationships,Single Life

Last night I was at a bar with my sister and brother-in-law and I had forgotten to put my ring and other jewelry on after a day at the beach. So there I was, a third wheel, being hit on! Obviously it was good for the ego, but it was also good for the blog.

My first observation was how many more men were likely hitting on me because I wasn’t putting off an “available” vibe and wasn’t at the bar to meet men. So go out and have fun with your friends, and don’t worry about who’s around and who’s available. Sure you might be there to meet prospects, but you’re also likely at a bar with friends, maybe celebrating something, or just going out to have fun — and you should be doing that rather than focusing on who else is there.

My second observation had to do with one guy in particular, let’s call him Rider, who was honest to the point of awkward. After introducing himself, my brother-in-law began chatting with Rider about his career as an X-Games athlete. That’s when Rider told us that he is a former heroin and cocaine addict. Um… whoa! That’s a lot of information to absorb about someone we had just met 30 seconds earlier. I congratulated him on his recovery and quickly excused myself to find the waitress.

It got me thinking about what is appropriate to divulge when you first meet someone, or even later on a date. There’s nothing that Rider had to be ashamed about, but I’m not sure I needed to know that information quite yet. Even when you’re not dating but simply meeting someone, you don’t need to bare your soul. I’ve always recommended being upfront about your history without going into too much detail until you’re further along in a relationship, be it friendship or romantic.

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A Contradiction in Terms

by Caryn Alper under Date Night,Online Dating,Relationships,Single Life

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Have you ever realized how many famous adages or proverbs actually contradict one another? Within the last two blog posts, I advised you to be less picky when dating, yet not settle. Don’t discount people too quickly, I said, yet don’t force a connection if it’s not there.  All of this sounds like reasonable advice. But, which is it?  You can’t have it both ways, right? I guess the good news with conflicting information is that you really can’t go wrong either way, since someone says it’s right. This got me thinking about other instances of paradoxical advice – they are more common than you might realize! Which of the examples below is your favorite?

  • Absence makes the heart grow fonder vs. Out of sight, out of mind
    • Favorite sayings of long-distance romances everywhere, these two basically provide opposing advice. There have been different times in my life when both of these have been true in different situations, but you might as well focus on whichever you want to be true, because they cancel each other out.
  • Love yourself as you are vs. Always strive to improve
    • The essence of this contradiction is often found in women’s magazines – the messages “love your body!” and “you’re beautiful the way you are!” sound great until they are sandwiched between articles on how to lose 10 pounds in a month and how to get guys to like you by changing your hair and makeup. But these are not mutually exclusive – it’s possible to love yourself and want to improve, both internally and externally.
  • Play hard to get vs. Don’t play games
    • Ah, the classic debate – do you try to play it cool by calculating how often and how long to wait before responding to someone, or do you just do and say whatever you feel like doing and saying? Opinions vary and often conflict, as does conventional wisdom. Looks like the jury’s still out on this one.
  • Birds of a feather flock together vs. Opposites attract
    • I hear both of these sayings all the time – could it be that they are both true, to some degree? Maybe we tend to flock together with people who have similar interests, goals, background, and values. But an opposite temperament or personality brings a little spice to life.

The moral of the story is that no dating advice is ALWAYS true in ALL situations. So be judicious when taking well-intended dating advice from people who don’t know your particular situation. But also remember that wise men think alike… but fools seldom differ.


The Feminine Mystique

by Tamar Caspi under Relationships

A 21st century woman has been raised to be strong and independent, to have opinions as well as a voice, and to want a career in addition to a family. So how does that translate into a woman men are attracted to and want to marry? Men typically say they want this type of woman, but they also — and likely more so — want a woman who is feminine and nurturing, and is willing to put him and his needs first.

How do you balance it? Can you have it all? Something may have to give eventually… but the best way to check off all the boxes is to be the aggressor at work and the giver at home.

This doesn’t just apply to women though, men should also try to leave their alpha-male at the office and let their sensitive side shine in their personal life. Singles are so used to taking care of themselves that it’s difficult to give up the independent lifestyle and mindset. Both people need to put their relationship first, nurture their connection and time together, and forget about the idea of always putting yourself and your needs first.

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A Brief Defense of Pickiness

by Caryn Alper under Date Night,Relationships,Single Life

Last week, I talked a bit about how you should give more matches a chance. Just because you’ve seen and ignored the same tired profiles over and over again in your zip code doesn’t mean that they aren’t a good match for you!  This is true. However, I tend to play devil’s advocate quite a bit (with myself) and was thinking: why date people you aren’t interested in just because they are available?  I might only find a dozen young men in my area who are my age, but what if I don’t want to date any of them? Should everyone in the same zip code just pair off with another person they find the least intolerable? Is that how marriage works?

I’ve come to the conclusion recently that some people are just naturally more picky, or, excuse me, selectively-inclined, than others. And this is fine. If we all dated like Jerry Seinfeld, no one would ever get married, family structure could break down entirely, and we’d all end up alone eating lots of cereal. But if everyone were forced to just “pick someone,” many people, though not necessarily all, would be miserable. If someone has found a happy medium between these extremes, please inform me what it looks like.

How do you know if you’re too picky? I’ve definitely been accused of having an overly healthy degree of selectivity. There are likely several reasons for this, none of which I’ll describe here, because honestly, I’m not sure what they are. But am I being too picky when I reject an offer to be set up with the cousin of someone’s neighbor who is 20 years my senior, lives in another country, and just finalized his divorce?  I say no. Mrs. Goldberg at shul might say otherwise. But I’m holding my ground. I mean, you see how picky I am about my shoes, and they only go on my feet.

In my opinion, there’s no need to go out with someone out of pity, convenience, spite, revenge, or obligation. If you aren’t interested or don’t see the possibility of potential, it’s okay to pass. If you’re feeling that resistant toward meeting someone, it’s much more likely that you’ll feel resentful or act rudely than feel surprisingly delighted after meeting him or her. Feeling neutral is one thing – if you don’t know someone or feel on the fence, by all means – it’s just a date – go! But feeling repulsed by a photo, getting in an email argument over opposing views of the world, or even a strong negative gut feeling – these all warrant some selectivity.

Those examples might be pretty straightforward, but what if you don’t want to date someone because one of her nostrils is a little bigger than the other, or because he won’t let his food touch on the plate? Or because she didn’t go to an Ivy League school, or his glasses are out of style? This is where pickiness gets interesting. There can be a fine line between appropriate selectivity and self-sabotage, so give people the benefit of the doubt, but trust your gut.  There’s a lot more to say about this topic — stay tuned for a future related post. In the meantime, in honor of the 20th anniversary of Clueless this month, I’m Audi!