Archive for the ‘Relationships’ Category

Are You a Cat or a Dog Person?

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

You may think the question about “Pets” in the Lifestyle section is a throwaway, but — in fact — it’s important. Some people are hardcore pet people, while others are not. And within that category you have people who love or prefer one kind of animal but not another, or are allergic to some but not others.

I’m a dog person, but I don’t like their saliva on me or having their hair all over my clothes. I’m not a cat person, but as long as they leave me alone, we’re cool. That said, dogs love attention and cats love those who ignore them, so I often find myself with an animal by my feet whenever I visit friend’s with pets.

I was really turned off by a date’s three cats and the litter box in his bedroom, but I appreciated that he cared for them and took care of them. I found another boyfriend’s relationship with his playful dog to be a redeeming quality, until that boyfriend allowed the dog to sleep in the bed with us.

It’s important to know before getting into a relationship with someone if you have an aversion or allergy to an animal, but it’s not worthy of addressing in your profile or worrying about it until you’re on a date and he or she mentions it. The Lifestyle question doesn’t ask if you own those pets or simply like those pets, or possibly had one as a child or hope to have one later in life.

Don’t make assumptions. If someone is obsessed with their pet then it will be apparent either in their profile or on the first date and you will be able to politely discuss it then. Keyword is “politely” — don’t disrespect their chihuahua that they carry around in their purse (as obnoxious as that sounds) or insult their cat whose vet bills are higher than your own medical bills (as obnoxious as that sounds).


What is Love?

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

What is love? Well, it’s not an easy thing to define, that’s for sure! Feelings never are. Perhaps it’s easier to describe what it’s not. Love is not attraction, and it’s not sex. Love is not wanting what you can’t have or missing someone when they’re away. All those things belong in the camp of lust. Are attraction, sex and missing each other important? Yes. But, it’s not what love is.

Every relationship is different, but each has to have some basic fundamentals. Love comes from building a foundation of trust, friendship, compassion, and being partners in (and sometimes against) life. Without these key elements you may like someone, and you may love being with them or love certain things about them, but you don’t have enough to survive.

It takes time to build this foundation but it is integral to the process. This doesn’t mean to run away from what I described as lust; it just means not to confuse the two, and to give love time to develop. It can take time to solidify, so try to be patient as some people need more time to be certain those elements are deeply rooted. Falling in love feels so good, it gives us a euphoric high, but that feeling can also confuse us from seeing signs that the building blocks are missing or crumbling before our very eyes.

Finding love isn’t easy, but it’s why you are on JDate – to look for it – so don’t give up! It may be frustrating, but it’s better to stay single than to enter a loveless relationship just for the sake of being in one.


Crazy Is As Crazy Does

by Tamar Caspi under Online Dating,Relationships,Single Life

You gotta know how to treat me like a lady
Even when I’m acting crazy
Tell me everything’s alright
-from Meghan Trainor’s new single “Dear Future Husband”

Women (in general, it’s women) are often called the “c” word… get your mind out of the gutter, I’m talking about the word “crazy.” It gets thrown around pretty flippantly and it’s incredibly disrespectful. And, ironically enough, it is usually the action of the man (in general, it’s the man) that causes the woman to lose her cool and then to be called crazy by said man (again, this is a generalization). It’s enough to make your head spin.

Everyone acts crazy every once in a while. There’s a reason why so many love songs have the word “crazy” in them (Google it!). Love makes you do crazy things, feel crazy ways, and act crazy in love. Let’s remove using the word “crazy” as an insult from our vocabulary while dating… and continue the ban once you’re in a relationship. It’s not going to go anywhere good if you sling that word around!

Frankly, ‘crazy’ is also too broad of a description when you are describing a person’s reaction or an event. Let’s find other words in the dictionary to use, shall we? I don’t care if you have to pause and consult a thesaurus mid-argument, find other words that will likely better describe the situation. And then, when things really do get crazy — like the girl who got dumped and cracked open her ex-boyfriend’s patio door, slid the garden hose in, turned on the water, and left… or the guy who was cheated on and then poured milk under his ex-girlfriend’s driver seat (she didn’t even know what happened until weeks later, ewwwww!) — you can use the word “crazy” and not only will you actually mean it, but people will take you seriously.

And by the way, when we women use the word crazy to describe ourselves, we would appreciate you telling us that we are justified in our behavior! You will earn major points for that!


Save the Drama for Your Mama

by Tamar Caspi under Date Night,Relationships,Single Life

When you are newly dating someone it is NOT the time to discuss the drama in your life, nor is it the time to whine and complain about things in your life. I’m not saying to make everything sound wonderful and perfect, but don’t turn a date negative with your stories about how your friends are fighting, or your siblings aren’t speaking to each other, or your job sucks, or… or… or…

There’s the normal vent about your computer crashing before you had a chance to back it up one last time, but spend about a minute on things like that and move on. That type of vent is something everyone can relate to and empathize with — and may even have advice to help you. If the dating turns into a serious relationship then you will have plenty of time to be the sounding board for drama!


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.