Archive for the ‘Relationships’ Category

To Get What You Want, Make a List

by Haley Plotnik under Online Dating,Relationships,Single Life

I love lists. They’re so handy! When it comes to dating, I have 4 lists I refer to, which are grouped under the heading: “What I Want in Another Human Being.” No need to be hetero-normative, right?

These 4 lists include various traits pertaining to human characteristics I like and dislike in other humans. The 4 lists are:

  1. Musts
  2. Wants
  3. Deal Breakers
  4. Price of Admission

If someone is missing a Must, I can’t accept a date with him in good conscience. He’s  missing something I consider fundamental.

If someone is missing a number of Wants, I may still accept a date, but he is already high on my red flag watch.

A Deal Breaker is just that. I don’t bother wasting my time when it’s clear someone possesses one or more of these traits.

The least obvious is the Price of Admission category. To discover these, you most likely will have to accept a date or two. They are personality quirks or lifestyle behaviors that you aren’t hugely attracted to, but that you’re willing to put up with on a case-by-case basis. Basically, if someone is awesome but has a random drawback that kind of rubs you the wrong way, you need to decide if it’s a Deal Breaker or a Price of Admission. If you think a movie looks like a winner, you pay the Price of Admission, right? If you think it doesn’t look so great, you may pass or wait until you can stream it for free.

How do you categorize your priorities? Mine are listed in an excel sheet. Go figure. Analytical Haley strikes again!


Be Vulnerable

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

I have some random TV show on in the background while I sit at my computer working, it’s called “UnDateable” and (so far) it’s unwatchable… but good enough for background TV. However, I glanced up a bit ago just in time to hear the words “be vulnerable,” and thought “YES!”

So many singles are NOT showing their vulnerable side, and then they wonder why they never go out on second dates. It’s okay to have a wall up, but only to a point. You have to show that you are open to love, which means being open to getting hurt. You can do this in one simple step: let the person sitting across from you (or next to you, depending upon how you’re sitting LOL) know why you want to be on this very date with him or her at this very moment.

Start there and see where it goes.


Guest Post: “Start Giving” by Ofir Tzoubari

by Aaron under Relationships,Success Stories

Last May, Mother’s Day was celebrated across the country. Families gathered to pay their respects to the woman who put so much of her time and energy into raising, feeding, and teaching her children. A mother’s life, we reflected, is truly dedicated to her children. A mother’s love for her offspring will always surpass the love of the child for his mother.

But why is this so? And why discuss this on a dating website? (And why, as an additional question, should we only recognize this on one day of the year? But this article won’t go there, at least not today…).

The answer to the above questions illuminates a profound truth about human nature, and about the nature of love. Often, we are told that the more we receive from someone else, the more we will love them. That seems to fly in the face of what we learn from our parents and the love they bestow on their children. Mothers and fathers give to their children since before their birth. Every minute of every day (particularly when in the child’s infancy) is dedicated to giving.

The reason for the love that develops as a result of the giving, is due to the investment the parents made into their children. They have put so much of their lives into the object of their giving and, as a result, the love grows. It is not a merely biological love; it goes much deeper. It must be the following: a parent will almost always love a child more than the child can love their parent because love grows from giving, and only from giving. And, the more selfless the giving, the more powerful the consequent love.

Anyone who has been truly in love can confirm this point. The love you feel for the other is made manifest by an overwhelming desire to give. One almost feels shame and annoyance, a besmirching of this great love, when one receives from their loved one in turn (which is unnecessary, to be sure, since another manifestation of the giving nature of the love is to permit your partner to give). Ideally, we should want only to give; the more you give, the greater the love becomes.

One of the reasons for this must be precisely the reason mentioned above for a parent’s love: the greater the investment of self that goes into the other person, the more you see yourself in that person. The natural human state is to love oneself; by extending this sense of self into the other by giving of yourself to him or her, that love expands outwards.

This can be seen quite clearly through our great affinity for things we have put so much time and effort into, such as our careers, building our homes (or even card-houses when we were children), or our music. The more time, energy, and money we put into a thing, the greater our love for that thing.

All the same, acknowledging this as truth today is unpopular today. In a relationship, we are told not to love as deeply as the other. Why? So we can walk away more easily, so that we will not be the one who leaves the relationship hurt. We must give the least and take the most.

The lesson we must learn from our parents teaches us the exact opposite: we must invest ourselves deeply into our beloved, to give as powerfully as possible, so that our love for them will grow. The paradox here is this: when you make the goal of the relationship the other person’s happiness, you in turn will find the greatest happiness of all. When the goal of the relationship is to be an altruistic giver, your relationship will last forever.


Buyer Beware: Made-Up & Over-Done

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

If you look like a completely different person when you wake-up versus when you go out (not to mention the photos in your JDate profile) then don’t be surprised when your date’s eyes bulge out of his head as he bolts for the door!

This article is an example of what I’m talking about. You need to look vaguely like your profile photos when you’re not wearing any makeup. Most men will say they prefer a woman in their natural state or closely related. If you take an hour to apply your contouring makeup to give off the impression of a thin nose, high cheekbones, and a rounded chin, then you may want to take a makeup course in how to tone it down while still feeling good about how you look.

It’s fun to get all ferputzed once in a while, just be careful if you pack on the product when you’re dating. The more you see your new flame (which would be a good thing!), the harder it will be to keep up your makeup routine 24/7.


Everything I Do, I Do It For You

by Tamar Caspi under Relationships,Single Life

Every so often you’ll meet someone who is willing to change their lives for you.

This past weekend a girlfriend of mine married the love of her life — a man who converted to Judaism to marry her. A few weeks ago another friend married the love of his life — a woman who uprooted her life to move cities to be with him. Sometimes these selfless acts are seen as the ultimate show of true love (as these cases seem to be), and sometimes these sacrifices can be seen as desperate (“you’re willing to give up your religion or your life to be with me?”).

You do want someone who is willing to walk to the ends of the earth for you, but only if you are willing to do the same for them. One-sided sacrifices don’t work. You never want someone to be able to hold something like that over your head. Make sure whatever it is they are doing for you is thoroughly thought out.


Playing Cat & Mouse

by Haley Plotnik under Date Night,JDate,Judaism,Online Dating,Relationships,Single Life

There are some profiles on JDate I’ve viewed five or more times. It’s not because I’m in love with the profile, or even that it’s more remarkable than all others. It also doesn’t necessarily mean I am romantically interested in the person. I have a predicament I call “profile overexposure.”

Here’s how “profile overexposure” works: At some point, I view someone’s profile. The person views me back. Then… nothing. Sometimes I will re-click on their profile, forgetting I’d already looked a month back. I call this “playing cat and mouse.” There are so many profiles out there and so much to look at. How can anyone possibly remember the important details without having a spreadsheet or taking notes? I sometimes consider devising a system for this issue, but I then convince myself it isn’t worth my time.

My frustration with this “Cat and Mouse” phenomenon sometimes leads me to accept dates with non-Jewish men. Non-Jewish men take more interest in me than Jewish men for reasons I cannot fathom. Perhaps it’s because I don’t look “that Jewish” (according to many of my peers). Regardless, I accepted a date with a guy I’ll call “Chris.” Chris and I had a great initial interaction. No major butterflies, but we’re both engineers, and we had a lot to chat about… until he asked me what I had done earlier in my weekend. I mentioned I had been to synagogue for Friday night services. He knew I was Jewish when he accepted the date, but it appears he found me to be too Jewish. If you’ve seen my previous post on not being Jewish enough, you can imagine my delight when someone found me to be “too Jewish!”

The conversation took an odd turn when he realized I partake in Judaism, rather than just wearing it as a cultural badge of honor. He then admitted he “didn’t really like Jewish food,” and I could see him sizing me up against stereotypical Jewish “boxes.” He outwardly compared me to some of the most typical ones: nose, hair texture, and athletic ability.

People ask me why I go on so many first dates. To be truthful, it can get very tiresome. Chris said he was “nonreligious,” but when push came to shove, I sensed his discomfort and misunderstanding of Judaism. He tentatively asked, “Isn’t every child born to a Jewish woman automatically Jewish?” He was clearly not okay having a Jewish child. At that, I was ready for another round of “Cat and Mouse” on JDate.


Searching Systematically

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

Dear Tamar,

What is the best, systematic way to create a profile and search successfully on JDate?

___________________________________________________________________________

Dear Systematic Searcher,

The easy answer? Buy my book, How to Woo a Jew, The Modern Jewish Guide to Dating and Mating.

The more complicated answer? Be honest about your stats (age, education level, height/weight, religious level) first and foremost. Next, choose your preferences in a mate. Start off by selecting your “perfect prospect,” and then broaden the preferences from there.

If you don’t have at least 100 prospects to check out, then your preferences are too narrow, and you need to compromise somewhere regarding what, exactly, you’re looking for. You aren’t going to find someone who encompasses everything, but you can find most things by giving in, bit by bit. Here are a few helpful questions to ask yourself to make sure you aren’t being too strict in any certain area:

  1. How wide is your age range?
  2. Just because you have a PhD does it mean your mate has to as well?
  3. If someone lives within a 25 mile radius, then what’s another 25 miles?

The Uglier Side of Jewish Setups

by Haley Plotnik under Date Night,JDate,Relationships,Single Life

The other day, my mother met a Jewish woman I’ll call “Nancy.” Nancy saw that my mother’s luggage tag had a logo from my college and introduced herself. After a brief chat, this woman realized one of her sons is around my age and is moving to the same area. My mom told me about this interaction with utter disbelief. The other woman said her handsome son needed a “back-up girlfriend” while his non-Jewish girlfriend was in Europe. I started to laugh. A back-up girlfriend?! Me?! Never. I have a backbone.

What, exactly, entitles someone to two significant others? Or rather, who has the time and energy to double dip? I classify having two girlfriends as cheating, and I thought such practices were generally frowned upon.

To be frank, I’m quite tired of people trying to sell me on their son, nephew, grandson, or cousin. My mother says, “You are a catch on your own right and deserve to find someone suitable to your own tastes.” I appreciate this because…

  1. I am not desperate
  2. I don’t feel as though having a significant other defines me, or makes me any more or less of a person.
  3. I have never been set up as a back-up girlfriend. The mere suggestion sent me over the edge.

There’s a woman at my hometown temple who is subtly hostile toward my mom the majority of the time. I’ll call her “Sally.” My mom was surprised when Sally warmly greeted her at the grocery store. Apparently, Sally is trying to marry off her sons and is worried there are no grandchildren in her future. Sally suggested that she and my mom should set their kids (both around 25) up. My mom and sister cracked up. “Of all the people I don’t want to be related to,” my mom joked.

I feel as though this set-up culture is much more prominent among my Jewish friends. To make matters more comic, both my sister and I know the boys on the other end of the setup. In my case, the feelings are mutually, “No way!” I think parents mean well, and they try to find someone who looks good on paper (or via word of mouth). Truth be told, everyone’s mom thinks their son or daughter is amazing and fabulous. However, these good-intending mothers, grandmas, aunts, and friends, don’t necessarily know what goes on among the twenty-something crowd. I want to do my own bidding, and I am lucky that my parents know that and respect me for it. I don’t always get lucky on JDates, but at least I get to pick my dates for myself!


Why I Cried During The Zombie Movie

by Aaron under Judaism,Online Dating,Relationships,Single Life

Before I was on this blog as a narcissistic storyteller every week, I was struggling with my dating life quite a bit. Break-ups were especially hard for me when they hit; I had a tendency to over-invest in relationships that were probably less real than I thought them to be.

One such afternoon comes to mind, and that is when I popped in a DVD I’d rented from Netflix called Warm Bodies. Now, this movie is literally a movie about a braindead zombie following a guy around for 80 minutes. That’s the entire movie. Somehow, in my shaken up state, I began to see parts of my life over the last few months reflected in the movie: “Wow, the way she stares at him and can’t say anything was just like our romance!” or “The way he shoots a gun at some other zombie for her is just like how we do things here in our Texas romances!”

Some of that is exaggerated, but it actually took me two days to finish this very mundane movie for the fact that I couldn’t keep my mind clear. All I could think about was the girl who had just broken things off with me. And then something changed.

You see, I found the secret to getting over a lot of issues in life, and that is by creating a routine only I have control over. It’s easy (and a little dangerous) for the world to dictate where you go from day to day, whether it’s your job or an overcommitment to someone of the opposite sex. So as I waited for grad school to start and had a month of funemployment last summer (and was freshly back on the dating market), I started doing things. I started taking more of an active interest in my Judaism by learning Talmud, putting on tefillin every day, and keeping Shabbat as to have a pattern in my life that kept me calm. That’s not necessarily for everyone, but it worked for me. Similarly, I spent the last five months learning improv a few times a week, and that calmed me like nothing else. It’s all about finding something that works for you.

There’s obviously a balance between living a life out of The Truman Show where you’re saying, “Good morning, and in case I don’t see ya, good afternoon, good evening, and good night!” every single day, and uncontrollably weeping during teen movies. But if you’re struggling with finding yourself, take some time to do things that are distinctly for you. What started with tefillin and Shabbat has now become much more (though those are both still present), from writing these blogs to just learning new talents or having dinner every week with a few friends. There’s no easy way to make yourself invulnerable to being hurt, and you really shouldn’t, as vulnerability is a powerful thing in itself. However, you can definitely live a stronger dating life by giving yourself a little consistency. After the zombie incident, the next break-up was a lot easier, and I went right back to wrapping tefillin the next morning.


How to Live Happily Ever After

by Tamar Caspi under Relationships

A great article in The Week titled “How to Live Happily Ever After, According to Science,” written by Eric Barker, the author of Barking Up the Wrong Tree, gave one amazing piece of advice all couples should remember — whether they are new couples or veteran couples: rather than trying to fix the bad, instead try to increase the good.

The point here is that couples can argue about the same topic for years and never come to an agreement because neither one thinks they are wrong. Neither of you is going to change. Instead, accept that you disagree, and then focus on finding things you agree upon and things you have fun doing together.

Barker also says you can increase the excitement in your relationship by pretending you’re on your first date. Why? Because we were still making an effort to try and impress each other on that first date. Try it!