Archive for the ‘Relationships’ Category

The Power of Patience

by Haley Plotnik under Date Night,Relationships,Single Life

When you start dating someone who seems like a total catch, it is easy to want to know everything about them as soon as you can. It’s easy to build someone up to be something they’re not since it takes time to get a clear, accurate picture of who someone really is. However, discussion alone may not get you the answers you’re looking for, and prying too much too soon can prove disastrous.

Behavior is a great way to gauge how someone behaves in most situations (and for me it’s often a lot more indicative than their words). Maybe they think they’re a great dancer, but have no rhythm. Maybe you like that they’re really smart, but soon discover they don’t have a lot of common sense or tact. They can’t tell you those things. Or maybe you think they’re conscientious about how they treat others, but they don’t respect your opinion in making decisions. You just have to see those things for yourself.

If they aren’t as great as you built them up to be early on in the relationship, you are likely to be disappointed. Try to take what you see and hear at face value (or less). It’s easy when we’re excited to let our minds fill in unknown information, or to pry for lots of details to help fill our knowledge gaps about the person.

This is why we date: to figure out who someone is.

It’s hard to wait sometimes, but try not to rush getting to know someone. If you’re right for each other, waiting three months to discover he or she is a clean freak probably won’t make a huge difference in the long run. Also, part of the fun of dating is getting to know someone better, and hopefully enjoying his or her company more and appreciating each other’s quirks more as time progresses. Sometimes you build someone up and on the third date you realize you don’t think he or she has the good character traits you were envisioning. Recently, I’ve been pleasantly surprised by learning more and more about a guy I’m seeing. I didn’t gather that he was very cultured from first meeting him, but when we went out and I learned how knowledgeable he was about many things I wouldn’t have expected, I was impressed. Instead of building him up and being let down by elevated notions of him, I went with the flow (for once), let him reveal himself over time, and was excited when he exceeded my expectations.

In summary:

  1. Don’t have sky-high expectations. They lead to a lot of unnecessary disappointments.
  2. Don’t rush getting to know someone because you’re worried they might not measure up. If they don’t measure up, you will certainly figure it out in time.
  3. Don’t build them up to be someone they’re not. They can’t live up to the fake version of themselves in your head.

Travel Tips

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

Way back when I was working in broadcast media I planned on moving to New York one day. So, every time I went to visit (which was often) I would change my JDate profile to show the zip code of the friend’s place where I was staying. I would then check out my NYC prospects and even set-up dates if there was someone interesting enough. I was honest and would add to my “About Me” paragraph that I was looking to move to New York.

If you’re just going somewhere new for a weekend and you don’t plan on ever going back to that place, then it’s not worth taking the time and making the effort to change your profile. If you do decide to go down that route, then don’t be surprised if it’s just a vacation fling.

I never did end up moving to New York, but knowing that there were impressive prospects there was exciting. If you are on the fence about moving somewhere, looking to see what — or rather who — is out there is a great way to help you make up your mind.


Don’t Let an Opportunity Pass You By

by Tamar Caspi under Date Night,Relationships,Single Life

We all have crazy schedules and many responsibilities. Everyone has a life outside of dating and relationships, and sometimes it is difficult to find time to see someone you like. That’s why you need to take opportunities when they arise.

If the school you teach at has early dismissal before a long weekend, then make a date for the afternoon rather than going home to catch up on sleep. If you can stretch out your lunch hour and sneak back into the office late, then go on a date in the middle of the day when you don’t have to cut it short and rush back. If you have a busy weekend with out of town family, then break away to have a brunch date or a coffee date, or even a walk around town.

Bottom line: If you want to see someone, then make the time to see them.


Half-Truths & Omissions

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

Call it what you want, but when you aren’t telling the truth — the whole truth, and nothing but the truth – then it’s lying.

Telling a date a half-truth now because it sounds better than the actual truth means that if the relationship progresses, the whole truth will eventually come out… and then your now boyfriend/girlfriend could be upset that you weren’t entirely honest from the get-go.

Omitting the truth is another form of lying. When the truth comes out, you will end up with more issues then you would if you just told the truth from date one. I’m not saying you have to be an open book and admit everything under the sun, but when the time comes to be clear on a topic, do so! Think about the repercussions before you decide how to answer – is it worth not being forthright?


How to Tell the Beaus from the Shmos

by Tamar Caspi under Date Night,Relationships,Single Life

It’s so easy to come off as the “perfect” prospect online, and on the phone, and even during the first few months of dating. This is when people are on their best behavior, they are charming, they only reveal the best parts of themselves. Well, that’s how it usually works. I’ve been hearing story after story of people showing their true colors on a first date.

From the guy who admitted to having a foot fetish while staring and salivating over his date’s feet five minutes after sitting down for dinner, to the guy who invited a woman over after a nice dinner only to have her find his bed covered with dozens of stuffed animals and him asking her if she liked “furries” (I couldn’t make this stuff up if I tried), to the gal who used the ingredients in her side salad to begin precociously exchanging sex stories with her date over entrees as he sat stunned.

In these instances it was easy to bid adieu to these shmos, but most times people hide their vices better… and for longer. Hopefully your dates’ vices are no more than just being mildly OCD or quoting Friends and Seinfeld every other sentence. Beaus do exist, but no one is perfect — just know there will always be something you don’t like about everyone.


New Experiment

by Haley Plotnik under Date Night,Judaism,Relationships

In the last year, I’ve learned a lot about modesty in Orthodox Judaism. While I don’t follow it, I am finding that I like a lot of the principles behind it. About a month ago, I started covering my body more on a first dates.

Why, you ask? Dating is supposed to be fun, maybe a little bit flirty if you feel chemistry. But first dates in the long run are also about looking for a life partner. I evaluate men based on character, manners, values, and other traits that typically require having an engaging conversation.

Looking presentable and being hygienic are important in that they show effort, but they’re not everything. “Presentable” for women, especially in the summer, doesn’t have to mean “mostly naked.” I am generally more comfortable in my skin when it’s not all on display.

With this in mind, I’ve begun a new experiment. I try to look fashionable, but without showing my thighs, knees, shoulders, or any cleavage. Some guys are more receptive to this than others, but I think it’s become an easier way to dodge a bullet. If a guy seems bored or distracted by me, or he checks out scantily clad women while on a date with me, I can cut my losses and move on. I’ve been in situations before where I was keenly aware that a guy was only interested in me in a physical way. While it can be flattering, it’s not good for my self-esteem in the long-term. I like to be appreciated for my internal qualities, which can easily be overlooked on first dates.

I don’t have any data to prove it, but I think I now get more compliments related to qualities other than my looks on dates. I found them to be a rarity prior to my experiment. I’m also finding it easier to connect with people on a more personal level, and I think I’m going to stick to my new plan indefinitely.


What Does a Happy Life Look Like?

by Haley Plotnik under Relationships,Single Life

As a Jewish adult, I’ve felt a lot of pressure to be successful. However, I don’t think the same emphasis is placed on being happy. Going into the working world after engineering school can feel like a nice change of pace for many recent graduates. However, the working world has its own stresses. Recently, people have been asking me what I want to do after graduation this December. Truth be told: I don’t exactly know! Many of my peers don’t know what we want our lives to look like.

The real question I’ve been asking myself is, “What does a happy life look like?” To be honest, I was in a deep rut midway through college, and I struggled to enjoy anything for a while. Now that the clouds have parted, I’m trying to emerge a stronger, happier, richer, and more compassionate person for the experience.

I sometimes still have dark days, but on the whole, things are looking up. Still, I can’t quite envision what my happy life looks like. Right now, it mostly consists of vague wants that are fairly universal. I’m trying to compile a who, what, where, when, and why of happy.

  • Who: Do you need to live near your parents or a sibling?
  • What: What are you going to spend the majority of your life doing?
  • Where: Does geography matter? Does the “Who” category trump the “Where” category?
  • When: When do you want these things to happen (if at all)? Not everyone wants children, for example.
  • Why: Why do we want certain things? What do they say about us as a person? The “Why” category is the hardest for me, but I think if I could figure it out more concretely, I would have an easier time answering in the other four questions.

Even though happiness is a mindset, having concrete goals makes it easier for me to document progress and create a sense of accomplishment along the way. What does your happy life look like, and how are you working toward making it a reality?


Compare & Contrast

by Tamar Caspi under Date Night,Relationships,Single Life

Everyone has that one ex-lover to whom they compare everyone they ever go on to date. No matter how long ago it ended, or why it ended, or even how long the relationship lasted, everyone has their measuring stick (pardon the pun). Everyone also has that one ex-lover to whom they hope everyone thereafter will shine in contrast to because of how terrible they were treated. Sometimes both of these scenarios are the same person. Actually, oftentimes it’s the same person.

It’s perfectly acceptable and natural to experience this. The point is to make sure you are being realistic and have the right perspective. Don’t use an ex to trivial a new prospect, give each individual the respect to earn or lose your adulation. And just because a new prospect doesn’t measure up to all of your ex’s positives, that doesn’t mean he or she should be ruled out — perhaps they don’t have any of your ex’s negatives either!


He’s Just Not That Into You

by Tamar Caspi under Online Dating,Relationships,Single Life

It appears that some people — both men and women — have forgotten some of the signals of what someone who isn’t interested in you looks like. When he (or she) is just not that into you, he/she:

  • doesn’t call you
  • doesn’t ask you out on dates
  • doesn’t kiss you
  • doesn’t flatter you
  • doesn’t remember you
  • doesn’t think about you
  • doesn’t text you
  • doesn’t respond to your texts or add to any continuity of a conversation

If you find yourself making all the moves, trying to create opportunities for your crush to notice you, and continuosly reaching out to someone who doesn’t engage, then it’s time to recognize that he or she is just not that into you. You can’t take it personally. If you are practicing poly-dating, which I address in my book How to Woo a Jew: The Modern Jewish Guide to Dating and Mating, then you should have other prospects in rotation and one so-called “rejection” shouldn’t make you skip a beat. Plenty of other people will be into you, don’t worry about the few who aren’t. You will never receive a satisfactory explanation as to their disinterest so don’t even bother asking.


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.