Archive for the ‘Relationships’ Category

Backing Up Your First Date Claims

by Tamar Caspi under Date Night,Relationships,Single Life

You know how it is… you’re on a first date and you are telling the person sitting across from you all the positive things going on in your life that will impress them, possibly even embellishing things. You make your job sound exciting with a promotion just around the corner, or you portray your family as tight-knit and easy-going, or mention all your best friends and your packed social life.

And your date is impressed by the idea that you have it together and so you get a second date, and a third, and then eventually you are meshing your date and your reality… which is a job you hate and a promotion you’ve been waiting for a year already, or a family that is just as drama-filled as every other family out there, and a few great friends but with most nights spent at home alone (which is perfectly fine).

None of these things are abnormal, but when you’ve presented yourself as something other than what you are, then you’re going to have a lot of ‘splaining to do, Lucy! All kidding aside, you are going to have to find a way to bridge the gap between what you portrayed your life as… and what the reality is.

Instead, mix the two together from the start. Everyone embellishes, just do so in a way that you won’t bite you in the tuchus later. For example: “I don’t love where I am with my career right now, but I’m excited that a promotion is coming soon” and “I love my family and we are always there for each other at a moment’s notice, but sometimes they make me want to beat my head against a wall!” and “I’ve learned that friendships are quantity or quality, and I truly adore my friends and their loyalty… and the trouble we get into together!”


Date in Reality, Not in Your Mind

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

I’ve been thinking about last week’s post, and today I’d like to piggyback on that same concept – specifically on the detriments of texting. Texting and emailing a new person (whom we haven’t met in person yet) is like inflating an imaginary balloon (stay with me here). But, instead of blowing in oxygen or helium, we tend to inflate it with all of our hopes, dreams, and visions of the future.

Here’s an illustration of what I mean: Let’s say you’ve been exchanging a few witty emails with a cute guy online and he asks for your number. Your conversation moves to text, and the banter continues. You’re feeling good about him, and you get excited and smile when you hear the beep of a new message. You know a lot about him – he’s cute in his picture, he has a good job, he uses grammar correctly and emoticons appropriately. You might even be able to tell that he’s smart, kind, and funny – after all, you two say that you like the same things, and his texts always make you laugh.  You start to wonder what your first date might be like – you’re sure he would pick you up and be such a gentleman while whisking you off to this really cool little Italian place you’ve never seen before. And you just know your family would love him. You both have younger brothers, and they would totally be friends, and oh, I wonder how many kids he wants? He would be the best dad… Congratulations! You’ve found yourself a nice, Jewish… pen pal. That’s it. You actually don’t know anything substantial about this guy with whom you are planning a life. So what happens when the day finally arrives when dream boy asks you out on a date (or wants to meet up, or whatever)? You’re ecstatic and can’t wait to have the last first date ever!  However…

The Italian restaurant in your dreams becomes a skate park in reality, his gentlemanly ways become surprisingly bro-ish, and he’s kind of impatient with other people, which you hate.  He plays with his phone while you’re talking and pops gum like a teenager. And poof – that balloon I was talking about just popped, sprinkling all your hopes over some dirty skateboard. He was supposed to be your prince in shining armor! What happened?

Unfortunately, this guy did nothing wrong (other than wait too long to take you out)!  The problem, I’m sorry to say – is you – or more specifically, your expectations.  Imagination is a good thing, but when you start to imagine certain scenarios, it’s really easy to get carried away and expect them to occur, especially when you get positive feedback from the object of your desires.  If you’re really hopeful that a relationship will bloom with someone, you’re more likely to make positive attributions to otherwise neutral occurrences.  So your mind turns “I like kids” into “I want to have kids with you!”

So what does all this have to do with texting? Well, the longer you text back and forth, the more opportunity your mind has to project good things onto a person you don’t really know.  Moral of the story: stop texting and meet already!  That, or totally manage your expectations. But, I think it’s easier and more fun to just go on a date and form a realistic opinion of someone without the use of emoticons.


How to Woo a Jew

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

My book, “How to Woo a Jew: The Modern Jewish Guide to Dating and Mating,” is a step-by-step guide to JDate, including how to know if and when you’re ready for dating, how to figure out what your type is, how to use your Jew-dar, and so on. Yet, whenever I meet people on my book tour or get interviewed by the media, all they want to know is THE answer to how to actually do the Jew-wooing?

Well, there is no one answer. Every person and every prospect is different. Overall, I always suggest that people “be themselves” which sounds cliché, but is true. People typically are on their best behavior when dating, they are putting their best foot forward and are being the best version of themselves. But, why stop doing that… ever? And especially once you’re in a relationship? Don’t.

Use the opportunity to continue being the best you. Why would you revert to being the mediocre you?  Let the dating process help you evolve as a human being and as you continue being the best you, you will attract the Jews you want to woo. See how that works!?


Being Vulnerable

by Tamar Caspi under Date Night,Relationships,Single Life

Being vulnerable does not equal being weak or needy or desperate, it simply means that you are open to seeing where things could go, being open to falling in love, and being open to getting hurt.

Being vulnerable means saying yes to dates, saying sorry when you hurt someone’s feelings, saying you like someone when you’re not sure if the sentiment will be returned. Being vulnerable means sending a first email, asking someone out on a date, admitting you’re available on Saturday night… when it’s Thursday.

Being vulnerable is going in for the kiss after an awesome first date, calling the day after a great date to make plans, being honest when you don’t know something even if it mean losing out on a chance to impress someone. And of course, being vulnerable means admitting when you are wrong about something… but what you’ll find is that people respect the strength it takes to be vulnerable and to put yourself out there.


When Do You Reveal Something Major?

by Tamar Caspi under Date Night,Entertainment,Relationships,Single Life

Another episode of The Bachelor, and another post about dating. This time, a “final-three” contestant, Becca, waited until overnight dates to reveal that she’s a virgin. The Bachelor reacted in a respectful and classy way, and even kept her for the final two, but you could almost tell he did so because he didn’t want people to think he was a jerk for eliminating someone for their sexual experience (or lack thereof). Yet, the week before he eliminated the fourth-to-last contestant after she waited until he met her family to reveal that she had posed nude for Playboy.

The Bachelor

Chris and Becca on ABC’s The Bachelor

So, when is the right time to reveal something major? Is it anyone’s business if you’re a virgin, or posed nude, before you’re in a committed relationship? Yes.

You should give your prospect MAJOR information BEFORE you have “The Talk.” Would it suck if they used that information against you to decide not to want to be with you? Yes, but at least you know that now rather than later. You know what this major info is because you know there’s a chance you’ll get judged for it.

This is not the minor details about having dated someone you know they don’t like, or being one class short of earning your Bachelors even though you claim to have graduated, or having gotten hair plugs or a hair transplant, or anything that you wouldn’t really care about if roles were reversed.

But, if you have a latent yet permanent disease, or if you tested positive for the BRCA gene, or if you can’t have kids, or if you were previously married, then you should share this information after you’ve created momentum with several dates, but before you’re in a committed relationship.


Nature vs. Nurture

by Tamar Caspi under Relationships,Single Life

I studied “Nature vs. Nurture” a lot in college and debated what is biological, or not. One of the topics we never discussed, but I think about a lot lately, is if we are destined to become the same husbands and fathers, wives and mothers, that our own parents were. After all, they are generally the only role models we have as to what that looks like. If you are conscientious enough, then you may see a trait you didn’t like in your parent as a spouse or mother/father, and decide to try very hard not to become that way, or alternatively, admire a trait and choose to emulate it.

As singles who are dating and hoping to become someone’s partner, we have our own parents’ relationship as an example of a relationship dynamic… and even if we don’t agree with it, we will likely have a difficult time combatting it because it’s all we really know — that’s nature. Each relationship you yourself have can help you grow as a partner and shape you to become the husband or wife you want to be — that’s nurture. But nature still lingers.

If a man was raised in home where his parents had stereotypical gender roles, even if he wants a modern woman, he may have a difficult time adjusting his expectations. If a woman was raised in a female-centric home where Mom ruled the roost, then she may have a difficult time sharing power, even if she wants an egalitarian household.

But, it’s not impossible to combine the two. Ensuring you have a solid foundation will help as you grow together as a couple; and truly trusting each other will allow you to communicate openly without feeling criticized for traits you may have not even known you had or had not realized were undesirable.


Differing Expectations

by Caryn Alper under Date Night,JDate,Online Dating,Relationships

I once read that there is a small but noticeable spike in breakups shortly following Valentine’s Day.  Initially, I thought perhaps people were waiting until after Feb. 14 to break things off so they wouldn’t have to be alone on the “holiday.”  But, then I wondered if the timing of these breakups occurred because of residual disappointment. Maybe he forgot to acknowledge the day, but you really wanted him to send you flowers at work. Or maybe he made reservations at an expensive restaurant, but you’re much more comfortable cooking at home.  Particularly in the very early stages of dating, these non-reciprocal expectations (NRE, as the professionals – or really just I – call it) can destroy budding relationships!

Valentine’s Day might be a relatively insignificant example of how non-reciprocal expectations can result in disappointment… or worse.  I’m sure we have all fallen victim to other examples of an NRE-scenario in some way or another:  you paid for dinner and expected a kiss, but she gave you a cold hand shake; you thought he would meet your parents on his day off, but he expected to go out of town, etc.  It sure is disappointing! But why does this happen? Where do expectations come from?

Well, not to get all Freudian, but we form a lot of these expectations in childhood.  Our family of origin, the environment we live in, our own personal experiences – all of these start forming our outlook on the world from a young age, and through trial and error, we learn to harbor certain beliefs and expectations in certain situations.

Because we learn how to develop expectations from a pretty deeply rooted and personal place, it can be jarring to manage your expectations to mesh with someone else’s.  This is true in any relationship, but especially in romantic relationships, which focus on pleasing the other person.  Say you start sending messages back and forth with a seemingly normal guy. You expect that he should ask you out after four messages. You then grow disappointed when he doesn’t do just that. Or, say after several good dates with someone, you expect that she should remove her profile from JDate… but she hasn’t, and you’re concerned.  So what’s a JDater to do?

Other than erasing all expectations from your brain and entering every new situation with a completely blank mental slate, there’s a relatively simple way to identify someone else’s expectations before it’s too late. I’m talking about a radical solution here… you could communicate! You know, like actually talk to the other person and explain what you’re thinking.  I am not saying you should present a list of demands, nor am I suggesting that you remove all spontaneity from your dating life.  And do not verbalize that you expect mediocre conversation and a tentative goodnight kiss. However, do communicate your hopes and intentions!

To help our aforementioned friends in the example above, a simple, “Hey, I think we seem to get along pretty well… want to meet up in person?” or “You know, I enjoy dating you and am not interested in meeting other people – how do you feel?” A simple question or two should do the trick.  Put your expectations and thoughts out there… in the open!  The worst that can happen is that the other person has an incompatible or unreasonable expectation with which you can’t compromise, and you reach an impasse.  But if that’s the case, I expect that relationship to fail, anyway.

 


Your Preference Setting Your “Preferences”

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

A lot of people ask me how to use “Preferences” and “My Ideal Match” on JDate. Should they answer the questions as broad as possible and then narrow it down from there based on level of importance? Or, should they answer as strict and narrow as possible — in essence creating their idealized, perfect (unrealistic?) match — and then broaden the areas of least importance?

It looks like this:

Scenario #1 — The Broad Answer (ie. casting a wide net)

  • location: with 100 miles
  • age range: 5 years younger, 10 years older
  • marital status: single or divorced
  • kids: has/wants/any
  • education: BA and above
  • religion: all except Orthodox options
  • smoking: no
  • drinking: yes
  • height: 5’10+
  • body style: any
  • activity level: any
  • kosher: no or to some extent
  • willing to relocate: maybe

Scenario #2 — The Strict Answer (ie. your perfect vision)

  • location: within 25 miles
  • age range: 1 year younger, 4 years older
  • marital status: single
  • kids: wants
  • education: MA/JD/PhD
  • religion: Conservative
  • smoking: no
  • drinking: socially
  • height: 6’+
  • body style: athletic/fit
  • activity level: active and above
  • kosher: no
  • willing to relocate: no

In the 1st scenario you would get a huge return with possibly 100s of prospects to sift through. In the 2nd scenario you may get just one pageful, which is maybe a dozen prospects to choose from (if any). In order to eliminate the ones in scenario #1 you would begin narrowing down location to 50 miles, then age to a 10-year range, then being more specific about activity level and/or body type. In order to see more options in scenario #2 you would broaden the mileage to 50 miles, expand the age range to a 10-year spread, include those who have a college degree (even if it’s not higher education), and be open to someone with a few extra pounds to lose.

Is there a right way or a wrong way? No, not necessarily. In fact, I think you should try both ways. First make your own list of what your ideal is and then what you would compromise on. Does someone truly need to be 6′ tall or would 5’11 suffice? If you keep kosher then that would probably not be one that you would be willing to negotiate on. Once you’ve made your two lists, plug one in first, then the other, and see what your results are. Based on which appeals to you more, use that approach and then start your narrowing or broadening. Remember, relationships are a lot about compromise so this is good practice for later!


Express Yourself

by Tamar Caspi under Date Night,News,Relationships,Single Life

Your body language communicates more than your actual words… by A LOT! 55% vs 7% to be exact, with the remaining 38% of communication coming from your tone of voice. (When people say that more than 90% of communication is nonverbal, that could be referring to the math of 55+38=93%.)  So, what does this mean when you’re dating? It means you need to be cognizant of how you’re sitting or standing, your facial expression and what kinds of looks you’re giving, as well as how you’re saying what you’re saying.

If you don’t want the person you’re speaking with to automatically go on the defensive when you say something that could be perceived as offensive, or something that could easily be taken the wrong way, then make sure your arms aren’t crossed across your chest or placed on your hips. Make eye contact and smile so that your eyes give off warmth. Take a few deep breaths before you start speaking and relax your shoulders.

And while you’re at it — think twice about what you’re saying, does it even need to be said? By the way, these tips are also good for giving off an approachable vibe when you’re looking to attract others!


Ode to Love Poems

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

Shakespearean sonnets, sad country songs, even the clichéd wisdom of a Hallmark card… the written word of Valentine’s Day is alive and well as we count down to the dreaded date. As a dating blogger, I feel the pressure to give serious advice intended to land you a date for February 14, or how to survive the day as a single person, or how to acknowledge the day if you just started seeing someone.  But instead, I’m inviting you, the readers of JBlog, to be my Valentine.  Unfortunately, I can’t shower you with flowers and candy through the internet, but I can write you some poems to mark the occasion.  Who doesn’t love celebratory limericks and haikus?

 

He’s just not that into you

If he doesn’t call after date number two.

Don’t send him a text;

Just go on to the next

And log on to find your next Jew!

 

Had a great first date

Valentine’s Day is this week

Too soon for flowers?

__

A new message arrived just for me,

Looks like my dream man – could it be?

He’s tall and he’s funny,

He makes lots of money!

Oh wait, he’s not even 23!

__

Single on V-Day?

Don’t want to go to the bars?

Stay home with Netflix!

___

Why is it always so

That we tend to like those we don’t know?

But when seen up close

The unknown becomes gross!

So enjoy whom you’re with, head to toe.