Archive for the ‘Relationships’ Category

Valentine’s Day — Why Wait?

by Tamar Caspi under Date Night,Online Dating,Relationships

Valentine’s Day… that Hallmark holiday where EVERYTHING is overpriced and the pressure behind doing something takes away from the effort put in. That said, you can’t NOT do something, right? But, why wait? Make your significant other feel special all the time, and then it won’t feel so forced on February 14th. Try these ideas for something to do!

In the meantime, if you are entering into a new relationship and V-Day is approaching far too quickly for the sentimentality… then talk about it to diffuse the pressure that is likely building between the two of you. Just simply say: “I know Valentine’s Day is coming up, and since we just recently started dating I would like to do something, but I also don’t want to make it into too big of a deal since it is so early on…” and then discuss some ideas together.

Once you’ve made plans together think of something small you each can do to surprise the other — whether that’s having flowers delivered to her office sometime next week or buying that new fitted ballcap from his favorite sports team. Put in a little extra effort to show the other person that they are appreciated and that you are excited to see what the future holds!


When Should You Tell Your Story?

by Tamar Caspi under Entertainment,Relationships,Single Life

A few weeks ago I wrote about telling “your story” and getting rid of the term “baggage.” And now I’m watching one of my guilty pleasures, The Bachelor, where one of the girls is proudly telling “her story.”

Chris and Kelsey

Chris and Kelsey from ABC’s The Bachelor

Kelsey is one of 11 women left on the show vying for farmer Chris’ love and attention. She also happens to have become a widow at the sad, young age of 26 when her husband died of heart failure. This is definitely a big part of who she is right now, just 18 months after the fact, but she technically doesn’t know Chris very well yet and, in fact, hadn’t even been on a 1-on-1 date yet. So, she sneaks away from the rest of the girls and goes to Chris’ room and tells him her story… then they embrace… and then they kiss for the first time… just seconds after she finishes discussing how the love of her life collapsed and died on a sidewalk a block from their home. Then she stares into a camera during an “ITM” (In The Moment) interview with Bachelor producers where she says: “Isn’t my story amazing? It’s tragic but amazing. I love my story.”

Nnnnnoooooooot exactly what I was referring to when I said to embrace your past and honor who it has made you today.

It was correct of Kelsey to tell Chris her story, however, how she did it was wrong. She was telling Chris her story to elicit pity from him and to draw him closer to her.

It is disrespectful to use your story for anything other than allowing someone to get to know you better, sharing about your journey, and explaining how it has made you who you are today. It’s also about timing. A first date isn’t the time to share your story; I’ve said it before but clearly it bears repeating. If you haven’t shared your story on a 2nd, 3rd, or even 4th date — and you can feel the date slipping away from you, then keep your story to yourself, it’s not your lifeline. You don’t want to engage a date by sharing your story, especially if it’s not going well.

But, if you’ve been on a few dates and things are going well, and you want to take it to the next level, then it’s time to open up. The only way to get closer and to bond is to let your walls down and share your story.

 


Friends with Ex-Boyfriends

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

Hi Tamar,

I was with my ex-boyfriend for four years. Since breaking up, we’ve been able to remain good friends. In fact, I’m still friends with most of my exes and I thought guys would see this as a good thing – that I’m known as a good person and clearly don’t attract drama. But, when I mentioned hanging out with an ex to my most recent dates, the guys were not cool with it at all. One even straight-up asked if I was still having sex with an ex! (We are not.) Why do the guys have a problem with this? Is it their problem or mine?

-Friendly Femme

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Dear Friendly Femme

Theoretically, a man who is secure with himself, and your relationship with him, shouldn’t have a problem with you having a friendship with another man. It does become more complicated when you had a romantic relationship with that man in the past. Most men assume that a “guy-friend” – particularly one you had sex with in the past – is really only hanging around for (more) eventual sex. Being around an ex can make a new guy feel intimidated.

My advice is this: in order to find the man you want to spend the rest of your life with, you may need to put some distance between yourself and your exes. I personally don’t see a reason to be friends with every single one, but I do understand that you spent a good chunk of your life with someone and don’t want to lose that piece of your life. You need to ask yourself what an ex – or any friend for that matter – is contributing to your life? If you haven’t realized this yet, you will eventually: friendships are about quality, not quantity.

I suggest not mentioning your guy friends on a date, or the fact that those guy friends are exes. If things get serious and you begin introducing your new beau to your friends, then you will need to give a history ahead of time. But, you may also find you no longer want to be friends with an ex as things get more serious with someone else. Certain people from your past should stay in your past — even if the break-up was cordial and you get along now.


Hand in Hand

by Tamar Caspi under Date Night,Relationships,Single Life

As my own nail polish chipped away this afternoon and I hid them embarrassed in the checkout line of the supermarket, it makes me think about what if I was single and had a date tonight? Well, if I couldn’t make it to the neighborhood salon for a manicure, or at the very least a polish change, then I would make sure to remove the remnants of the color I had left and go out bare fingered. In fact, I would make it a priority because unkempt hands are seen as a reflection of you — your health, your home, and your life.

This does not only apply to women, men too need to take care of their hands. Make sure your nails aren’t ragged and that you don’t have jagged cuticles. Just like men, women see well-kept hands as a sign that you take care of yourself and that you are put together.

Now, I need to log off and go find my nail polish remover!


An Introvert’s Approach to Jewish Dating

by Rabbi Josh Yuter under Date Night,JDate,Online Dating,Rabbi,Relationships,Single Life

I’m going to get personal for this post, not because I think anyone really cares about my personal life, but because I don’t think my story is all that unique and maybe someone out there can find something useful.


Dating as Equals

by Tamar Caspi under Relationships,Single Life

Do you need to respect what a prospect does for a living in order to be with them? Does someone need to be at your same level career-wise for a relationship to work? Would you date someone in the service industry or retail industry if you’re a corporate attorney? What about someone who is a freelancer? Would you date a woman who dreams of becoming a stay-at-home mom?

In theory, none of these sound like an issue, but money is one of the top sources of distress in relationships… and when there is an income disparity, problems can arise. Unless, of course, you have respect. Do you respect your mate for working 40+ hours a week, even if they aren’t making as much as you or working at a job as high-powered as yours? Would you respect your mate and see them as an equal for staying home to take care of the kids and “not working?”

In the end, it really has nothing to do with how you spend your day or how much you earn, but if you have mutual respect and appreciation for each person’s contribution to the relationship as a whole.


Are You Mature?

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

Let’s discuss something that’s been on my mind lately.  I don’t want to scare anyone away, but I’m talking about the M word… and it’s not marriage or money – it’s maturity! In the “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Relationships” (which I just made up while writing this post), I’ve self-diagnosed several instances of what I’ll call Non-Syncing Maturity Levels (NSML).

More on NSML in a minute, but first, a few defining features of this unfortunate malady. When I say someone is mature, I mean he or she possesses a set of skills such as the ability to communicate effectively like an adult, to not be overly judgmental or heavily influenced by peer pressure, to use manners and common sense appropriately, and to see the world realistically and practically – basically, skills that teenagers tend to lack but are typically solidified in those with more experience.  In my opinion, maturity has very little to do with money, interests, looks, career, or personality – it’s more of a quality that you pick up on while getting to know someone.  A person can love comic books and laugh at the Three Stooges but be pretty mature (hey, Dad!).  Conversely, you can own a house, car, fancy clothes, nice job, have a great education, and still spend years texting girls “hey, wuts up” at 10pm.  Additionally, a person can be mature and also fun, spontaneous, and creative; similarly, one can be intelligent, reliable, and get drunk every night while refusing to learn how to pay bills.

Here’s my point:  I don’t care what level of maturity you have.  I’m not ascribing any qualitative judgment to any particular level on the maturity ladder. You could be in a committed, fulfilling relationship with someone who, by my definition, is pretty immature.  But, the problem of NSML occurs when you are on one rung of this metaphorical ladder and the person you are interested in, dating, or committed to is on another.

So, Caryn, you may ask, how can I avoid the frustration associated with NSML? Well, there are no guarantees, but it’s as simple as first figuring out where you are (or want to be) on the maturity ladder.  Then, seek out dating partners on the same or nearby rungs.  To identify your level, ask yourself questions like: “Do I frequently throw temper tantrums in public?” or “Am I capable of making everyday decisions without relying on the opinion of my Twitter followers?”  As far as I know, there is no current search function on JDate to narrow your matches by maturity; however, I think this is something that you can feel out in a few dates. So if you’re a 45-year old guy reliving his frat boy days, you may want to think twice about messaging the girl who loves Emily Post. However, if you find that girl who loves Tucker Max, well, I hope they serve beer at your wedding.


A Hot Woman vs. A Beautiful Woman

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

An interesting article ended with the following (edited for brevity) stanzas:

Hot is admired from afar; beauty is to be held.

Hot is perception; beauty is appreciation.

Hot is smokey-eyed; beautiful is bare-faced.

Hot is an appearance; beautiful is more than skin deep.

Hot is a strong appeal; beautiful is strong mind.

Hot is youthful; beautiful is ageless.

Hot is conventional; beauty is unique.

Hot is a state of being; beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Hot is a text message; beautiful is a love letter.

Hot is a facade; beautiful is a woman.

It sometimes is difficult to separate lust from love, but if you can describe what it is about a person that you are attracted to, and determine if it would land in the “hot” or “beautiful” column, then you may be closer to making the differentiation. The article is basically asking if you are looking at your date — in this case a woman — as a sexual object or with respect? Do you love how she looks more than who she is? Think about it.


Dating As An Older Adult: Finding a Companion

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

When you’re dating as an older adult, who you should be with now is not the same person you would have been with when you were younger, although maybe it should have been! Chances are you are not looking to procreate, although you may still have kids in the home and need to take co-parenting into account. When you’re an empty-nester and a grandparent, then you can really reassess your needs and wants in a mate.

This is the time that similar hobbies and interests, in addition to being a conversationalist, is even more important. You know now that it’s not all about appearances, but about having someone you can talk to about more than just the superficial things and enjoy spending quality time together.

Do you want to travel a lot? Or do you plan on working way past retirement? Those two people will likely not be a good match. Do you enjoy giving back and attending every function and volunteering and being involved? Or would you prefer to spend your time relaxing and being with a small group of close friends enjoying good television, movies, and plays? Again, these two types will probably not be a good match. How do you want to spend the next 10, 20, or 30 years? And what kind of companion do you want?

Figuring out how you want to live the rest of your life, and thus figuring out the type of partner you want to share that with, will help you create your preferences and easily narrow down your prospects.


She Blinded Me With Social Science

by Rabbi Josh Yuter under Date Night,JDate,News,Online Dating,Relationships,Single Life

She Blinded Me With Social Science: Deconstructing that NY Times “To Fall in Love with Anyone” Article

I was in the middle of drafting this week’s post when I noticed several friends of mine sharing a recent New York Times article titled, “To Fall in Love with Anyone, Do This.” It’s easy to dismiss such a tantalizing headline as mere clickbait, but the article is based on an actual published psychology experiment in which participants felt “closer” to each other after answering a series of 36 personal questions — and the author herself says she fell in love with her partner because of it.

For the people who gave this article a superficial read, it would appear that true love could be yours if you just performed a simple exercise. And if this sounds too good to be true, rest assured, it most certainly is.

Because I’m me, I downloaded and read the original scholarly article (it’s since been pulled from the web), published in 1997 in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin (23:4) with the decidedly less enticing title, “The Experimental Generation of Interpersonal Closeness: A Procedure and Some Preliminary Findings.” When discussing any study, the first thing to consider is what exactly is the study trying to measure. To wit:

             We should also emphasize that the goal of our procedure was to develop a temporary feeling of closeness,not an actual ongoing relationship (364)

So right off the bat we’re not talking about how to establish a meaningful relationship, but rather to create fleeting moments of connectedness. How do we accomplish this?

             Indeed, Aron et al. (1992) found that various measures of closeness have two latent dimensions of behaving close and feeling close (364). [Emphasis original]

Following this logic, the study decided to measure if acting in a way to achieve “closeness” would, in fact, generate the feelings of closeness.

            One key pattern associated with the development of a close relationship among peers is sustained, escalating, reciprocal, personalistic self-disclosure…Whereas behaving close in this sense could not really arise outside of a long-term ongoing relationship, it seemed to us that the subjective feeling of closeness, which is our focus, might well arise at least temporarily in a short-term interaction (364).

It turns out that putting in the effort of feeling close to someone else through personal sharing can even overcome or override some of the factors people normally assume do lead to connectedness.

            Overall, these data suggest that matching in terms of not disagreeing on important attitudes or leading subjects to believe that they and their partners will like each other probably has little impact on the overall closeness subjects achieve through this procedure, or even on their mutual attraction (367).

CRTV-1385-300x250-JY

If you can find a partner for this exercise, can you actually find true love?

To summarize, one way two people can feel closer to each other is by actively sharing intimate personal aspects about themselves, with reciprocity from their partner. This can certainly be useful information for people who are trying to make a go out of a relationship, either dating or even after marriage. But, before you start printing out the questionnaire for your next date, keep in mind there are some crucial caveats which come with the research.

The experiment was done in a controlled environment where the participants knew each other to some degree as classmates, or otherwise the pool was not completely randomized. There was also no expectation of commitment or consequences attached, which could have lead participants to give more freely. Perhaps most importantly is that the participants were willing to participate. That is to say, two people made the conscious decision to try to open up to one specific person, at least for a short period.

Dating usually doesn’t work like this. If you’re meeting someone online or from a setup you’re effectively meeting a random stranger. Even if you ask out someone whom you know, you still need to get past the willingness aspect. It’s not just that people are incapable of opening up to someone else (though many are), but they may not want to open up – or at least not to this particular individual. Even the NY Times author admits, “I see now that one neither suggests nor agrees to try an experiment designed to create romantic love if one isn’t open to this happening,” which is of course an obstacle many of us can’t even get past.

And let’s say we do find a partner to undertake this exercise, do we actually wind up finding True Love? The authors of the study address this question and have some bad news.

                 So are we producing real closeness? Yes and no. We think that the closeness produced in these studies is experienced as similar in many important ways to felt closeness in naturally occurring relationships that develop over time. On the other hand, it seems unlikely that the procedure produces loyalty, dependence, commitment, or other relationship aspects that might take longer to develop…Thus the procedure is like other experimental paradigms such as mood induction procedures, the minimal group paradigm, or methods for temporarily lowering self-esteem: It is useful as a means of creating a similar although not completely identical state, but under controlled conditions permitting experimental tests of causal hypotheses and theoretical issues (371-372)

Practically speaking what we really have here is a strategy and mechanism for two people who are open to the possibility of getting close to each other to at least try to develop feelings of closeness. As the NY Times author stated, his could in fact indicate that love is indeed more “pliable” than we’d otherwise have thought, in which case we have more control to determine our own happiness than we’ve imagined.

Even if you find solace or encouragement in this empowerment, keep in mind you still need to work at the relationship, but more importantly you need to find that willing partner.

But then again, that’s why there’s JDate, isn’t it?