As I started to write this post, I began by doing a “control-f” across the word document where I keep my blog entries. I was searching for the phrase “negativity” and it came up with zero results. I was pleased to see I’d never used it… until now.
This would be an easy week for me to be somewhat negative. I’m out of a job at the moment, I don’t know what my apartment situation is for the next month, and life just seems to be coming at me quickly. Add in Robin Williams’ death and the growing crisis in the Middle East, plus our rainy weather in the northeast this week, and life can seem pretty daunting.
That being said, I couldn’t be happier. I’ve found what I was looking for in New York: an amazing girlfriend, a job I loved throughout the summer (and hope to be going back to once a position is ready), and a great life in the city where I’ve always wanted to live. It’s so easy to get swept up in the details, or to worry about the little things, but I have two beliefs that keep me from worrying:
- One is my belief that with enough action and little enough worry, things tend to work themselves out. For example, I applied to two hundred different companies in New York. After three months, the very first company I applied to wrote me and I received the interview invitation after my favorite “no-worry-time-Shabbat.” Life definitely warrants concerning yourself over things, but action without panic has been an approach that has helped me breathe easier.
- The second trick to my happiness (which is not always constant, don’t get me wrong) is having a vision of the future that keeps me secure. I’ve become very close with my girlfriend in terms of how often we see each other, and it worried me a bit that we’ll be spending a good chunk of the next two weeks apart, but it helps me to think about reuniting in two weeks and how happy I’ll be then. An eye on the future, without losing your enjoyment of the present, is very important.
Sometimes it can all look rough. And I may even be writing this to avoid more job application work from a Dunkin’ Donuts window seat. But, you never know what’s going to happen next — and that’s the beautiful thing about life. So good luck this week, I hope your dating life surprises you!
A couple of my friends have recently asked my opinion about their respective relationships, which are all in the same general phase: things were moving along smoothly for several months but both my friends felt they should be emotionally further along than they are. They wonder if they should break-up with their significant other because something is perhaps missing, or if they should continue seeing each other and hope it progresses?
Is there a timeline for when you should be in love?
For one of my friends I supported her decision to break-up with the guy. He already had incredibly strong feelings for her and she was only finding reasons not to fall in love with him. It would be inconsiderate of her to continue dating him because she would be basically leading him on since she didn’t have anywhere near the same feelings.
For my other friend, I supported his decision to stay with his girlfriend and give it more time. Although she felt stronger towards him, she was also aware that he wasn’t in the same place yet. He likes her just fine and is having fun and doesn’t want to put pressure on the relationship to move any faster, and she says she is okay with that. I told him to make sure she wasn’t saying that to him just to placate him because she is hoping he will fall in love with how easygoing she is.
There’s no right time for when you should have the feelings of love, but you do need to know the difference between love and lust, and understand when someone is unfairly feeling far more into you. Don’t waste your time or someone else’s, especially when feelings are involved.
Today I had a chat with a coworker who lives in my apartment complex. He dropped by my place unannounced and started talking about random things. I had a feeling there was something more on his mind.
I know he’s been thinking about this girl he likes, one of our mutual friends I’ll call “Megan,” but it took him a while to get around to talking about her. “I wish Megan was Christian,” he said eventually. “She’s Catholic, and I just don’t know if I can deal with that.”
I’ve always found it funny when Protestants don’t consider Catholics to be Christians. I consider Catholics and Protestants to be under the same umbrella of Christianity. I asked him how he felt about religions that were not Christ-centric (Since he doesn’t consider Catholics to be Christians, I figured I had to be more general). He replied that he didn’t think that it would be a good idea. However, he seemed to think it was a good idea for me to be open to dating Christians… What an interesting turn of events! Maybe I’ll chalk it up to the proselytizing nature of Christianity that doesn’t really exist in Judaism. What are your thoughts on this?
Each of us has our threshold when it comes to what we are willing to put up with in a relationship. Some people use the “three strikes and you’re out” approach, others are willing to put up with some crazy behavior because everything else in the relationship is going really great. What pushes you to the edge is going to be different for someone else.
Not receiving compliments may not bother someone else but may irk you to no end. Not making plans until the last minute may be your style, but for someone else, it could translate to their date not being interested. And it’s usually not just one thing, but a combination of a few things that make you look up and say “this relationship isn’t working… I’m done.”
Of course you have to factor in how long you’ve been dating or have been in a committed, monogamous relationship. Don’t live with traits, habits or behaviors you don’t like because you’re afraid you won’t find someone else. And keep in mind that when a relationship works it’s because you are both willing to overlook and compromise on things about the other person.
When you’re dating, you will likely make pronouncements about how you feel about various topics, whether that be parenting, where you want to live, what you want to do with your life, how religious you are or want to be, what side of politics you lean towards, and so on and so forth.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t change your mind one day.
And if you’re in a relationship, that doesn’t mean your partner will have to agree or support your change of heart. Oftentimes you won’t realize how you feel about a certain topic until you’re in the moment when said topic presents itself. You are allowed to change your mind, but if it’s something pretty huge (like deciding you no longer want kids, want to move halfway around the world, or want to become an Orthodox Jew), then you can’t expect a significant other to instantly decide to change their life along with you. Follow your heart’s desire of course, and don’t decide not to change because you’re afraid your partner won’t approve or will break up with you. At the end of the day you have to be true to yourself.
That said, if you’re engaged, married or have children, altering your life drastically may be more of an issue, and it’s important to make major decisions like this as a couple.
Earlier I mentioned that sometimes being “released” by another person is actually a blessing in disguise. I was released a couple of weeks ago, although I’ve bounced back rather quickly. The guy mentioned he “wasn’t feeling it,” but he and I still run in similar circles for the time being, and I still have to see him sometimes. I knew logically that we had some “fit” issues before we stopped seeing each other. But over the past few days, it’s really dawned on me that there are better-suited guys for me on my horizon.
I’m not for him, but more importantly, he’s not for me. I’m not heartbroken. I feel 100% free and ready to embrace what’s out there. It’s a good feeling to be liberated from the past and have a blank slate ahead. That moment when you realize you’re better off as is, than with someone who doesn’t appreciate you, is oddly empowering. Being single feels so much better than being stuck with someone who doesn’t care.
under Date Night
I am not a fan of texting while dating, but I know you’re all guilty of it. So what happens when you have a texting fail and autocorrect changes something… and you hit send before realizing it? For the most part, whether the typ0 changes it to something obscene or absurd, you should immediately text back with the following:
“SORRY! DARN AUTOCORRECT! I meant to type…”
And then pick up the phone, call the person, and have a laugh over the hilarity of it all. Maybe you can even make a pact to not text as much to avoid any further misunderstanding.
under Date Night
I have a policy for when a date wants to know why I’m politely declining a second meet-up. Here’s the ugly truth: very rarely is the answer helpful or constructive. In fact, it’s highly likely to hurt their feelings, or make them hate me. The reason is often something the guy can’t change.
So, here’s a tip: If someone doesn’t want to see you again, don’t hate him or her. Be grateful that he or she had the decency not to waste your time and didn’t just disappear without a trace. They’re doing you a favor; you want the feelings to be mutual. If they aren’t that jazzed about you, you will likely find someone else who is.
Recently, I was dumped for the first time, and I found myself eager to know why. Then I remembered being on the other end, and I didn’t ask. And when I really thought about it, I sort of knew the answer anyway.
under Date Night
A long time ago, I wrote a blog that I never ended up posting about Damon Lindelof, the creator of the television show Lost. While that post wasn’t my greatest, and hence not one I chose to post, I constantly find myself thinking about Lost. Sometimes it’s because of the mysteries the show left unsolved — were we supposed to learn more about that giant foot? What happened in the mental hospital? Did Hurley actually eat the entire tub of ranch?
But really, my mind always comes back to Lost in a different sense, usually one that relates to dating. Every week Lost would end and there was a vague teaser of the next episode. That little bit had you glued to the TV most of the time, especially as the seasons got shorter and every episode started to leave viewers with more questions than answers. You had to know what happened next.
There is another example of this in romance. In One Thousand and One Nights, the king in the story framing the narrative kills every new wife after bedding them once. However, the narrator, Scheherazade, knows this before marrying the king and decides to keep herself alive by telling him part of a story on their wedding night. She doesn’t finish the story, leaving him curious, and he keeps her alive as she does this night after night.
Most of us are not trying to stop our deaths after being romantic with one another. However, I have found in my time that nothing sets up a great romance quite like planting seeds of what’s coming next. This was especially helpful in the year I spent largely beginning my relationships over Skype. Whether it was getting excited for the party we’d go to, the trip to Texas they’d make, or even just a simple dream of spending the day on Coney Island or a mystery date, it gave us an experience to look forward to together. And when those dates were done, I’d already planted the seeds for the next one, only to leave us craving more good times.
This can be a little dangerous — how do you keep building that momentum after so long? But at the same time, I believe the bigger danger is planting nothing, and letting a relationship fizzle as you question what to ask the person to do next. At a certain point it’s less necessary, but nothing begins a good relationship like exciting adventures that you pine for right after the last one.
under Date Night
My friend Jackie’s birthday is next week and she’s been dating a new guy that she met on JDate for about three weeks now. She’s mentioned it’s her birthday, and he mentioned celebrating it, but she called me to ask what to do next: should she mention it again and see if he asks her out for her birthday? Or should she make plans and let him take the initiative to ask her out later that week? And if he does ask her out to celebrate on her birthday, should she accept?
Birthdays are a precarious subject… on one hand, you want to be with the person you’re dating. On the other hand, is it too soon to expect that? And what if you break-up next week? Are you going to be pissed that you “wasted” a birthday celebration? Or will you appreciate it for what it was?
My take: unless you’re in a serious, committed relationship, just make plans with your family and friends and save another night to celebrate with your date. It doesn’t have to be anything over-the-top, a candle stuck in the dessert with a quick rendition of “Happy Birthday to You” should suffice if it’s early on in a relationship. No present is expected or necessary, aside from having your date pick up the check.
And if you’re poly-dating, and each date wants to celebrate your birthday, well then lucky you — your birthday just turned into a week-long celebration!