Archive for the ‘Single Life’ Category

Make Yourself More Attractive

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

An awesome thread on Reddit titled What can you do that is NOT appearance based to make yourself more attractive?  brought some great answers that singles should take to heart, including:

  • Be passionate about something
  • Be decisive
  • Recognize your best qualities
  • Be a good listener/conversationalist
  • Have a sense of humor
  • Be confident

I’m going to boil this down for you: what are you good at in life? You should have a few items on that list whether it be a skill, hobby or character trait. Now, what makes you happy? Knowing both of those answers will help build your confidence because it creates self-awareness. You are going to be asked these types of questions on dates so it’s better to be prepared (NOT rehearsed) to answer them by thinking about it now.

 


Date to Win

by Rabbi Josh Yuter under Date Night,Online Dating,Relationships,Single Life
סוּר מֵרָע, וַעֲשֵׂה-טוֹב
“Turn from evil and do good” Psalms 34:15

 

I’ve long since forgotten how many dates I’ve been on, but I don’t have that many horrible stories. At worst, most of my dates have been forgettable or what I sometimes describe as, “painless but pointless.” Decent days or nights out with decent people, but either no chemistry or just pronounced feelings of “meh.”

Regardless of how much time one chooses to invest in any person – some people are always willing to give someone a second date, others bail quicker – when we aren’t interested in someone else, a popular confronting us is “what’s wrong with that person?” This is usually more common among matchmakers, some of whom I have encountered tend to take rejections personally (both before and after the date).

Asking “what’s wrong” can be constructive if it helps someone gain greater insight into their wants or needs, or to help friends and matchmakers refine their suggestions. From my own experience, people ask “what’s wrong” more like they ask “why aren’t you married yet?” – as an accusation meant to put others on the defensive for their life choices. The problem is that most of “what’s wrong” isn’t always apparent, in part because there may not be anything actually wrong at all.

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Is it the wine or does this just feel “right?”

Here’s where I think a common cliché may be useful. Looking for the absence of a negative would be what I call, “dating not to lose.” According to this attitude, the default status would be that you’d marry the first willing individual who you don’t find particularly objectionable. Depending on your priorities in life, this may be a perfectly valid option and precursor to a long and healthy marriage, provided of course that it’s your decision and not imposed by external (e.g. family, social, economic) pressures.

But for many others, this is wholly insufficient. I’d like to think that people don’t just want to “get married” as much as they want a happy and healthy marriage. While this is never guaranteed (even in the best scenarios), my sense is that the more optimistic people are in dating, the more hopeful they’ll be entering the marriage. This is more along the lines of what I’d call “dating to win,” where you’re not trying to avoid what could be wrong as much as finding someone with whom you feel “right.” In this regard, the mere absence of attraction or chemistry (however you choose to define it) is itself enough of a “flaw,” such that it’s not worth it to pursue it further.

“Dating not to lose” is a surefire way to get stuck in a long-term dissatisfying relationship, one of those where it’s not bad enough to leave… but not good enough to commit. This can certainly be comfortable in the short-term, and you might even convince yourself to get married, though I’d suspect there would be a greater chance for future remorse and resentment.

“Dating to win” is far more difficult. It requires a certain degree of confidence to be unattached rather than be in a relationship for the sake of being in a relationship, or even continuing to go on dates where you’re just not that into someone. But I’d also suggest that the potential rewards are far greater in the long run.


Big Bag Baggage

by Tamar Caspi under Date Night,Single Life

I admit it, I love a big bag. I like knowing I have everything I could ever need right at my fingertips, even if it means rifling through dozens of random contents until I find my needed item. But a date is not where a big bag belongs. A big bag translates into baggage when you’re on a date. No one needs all that “stuff,” whether literally or figuratively, on a date.

Ladies — you should carry no more than a clutch or small handbag on a date. What else do you need besides an ID, some cash, one credit card, lipstick, your cellphone and keys? Leave the rest of your junk at home along with your last relationship drama, your emotional scarring from your childhood, and the stress you have from work.

Dates are not impressed by your Louis Vuitton Neverful. In fact, you will probably be prematurely judged as being high maintenance and a JAP if you walk into a first date lugging a purse half your size. Leave it at home and don’t even think of introducing it on a date until you’re in a committed relationship!


Dating Deadlines

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

Since coining the phrase “poly-dating,” I have been asked the following question: isn’t that cheating? No. No, it is not. Until you are in a committed, monogamous relationship (whether you had ‘The Talk’ or you just know you both want to be pursue a future together), you do not need to explain yourself to anyone. You can date anyone you want. But, as soon as things start getting serious with one person, then you must break it off with the others. If you’re planning on having sex with one of your prospects then you need to break things off with the others beforehand, out of respect for all parties involved.

Once your new relationship is secure you can mention that there were others you were dating until they made you realize that no one else could measure up (may as well spread it on thick if you’re going to go there), but don’t volunteer the information if no one asks because it really doesn’t matter what you did before things got serious.

And, in general, there is no reason to continue having a friendship with any of the rejected prospects. You were dating to see if there was a future together; there wasn’t, and that relationship is now over. Your new significant other will not appreciate you having a friendship with someone you were dating at the same time.


From Dates to “Dating”

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

One of the more interesting things I’ve learned from people is that the words “date” and “dating” can mean drastically different things to different people. I’ve heard “dates” refer to a range of activities from meeting for coffee to spending the night. Of course, two people can go out for coffee with only one of them thinking it’s a “date” and the other thinking it’s something more casual.

“Dating” is a little bit clearer, but not by much. When people say they’re “dating,” there’s usually some form of implied commitment, but this too can vary from having some vague intention of exploring a possible relationship to focusing on one person exclusively.

What is certain is that at some undefined point or process, the relationship advances from going out on “dates” to “dating.” What is far less certain is exactly how this happens. The most common explanation I’ve heard from my friends is something along the lines of “it just happens.”

This is something with which I’ve struggled personally and most of the “advice” (often unsolicited) has been thoroughly unhelpful. Resorting to my “moving target” analogy that every situation is different may be accurate, but just as unhelpful as anything else.

So, not having any answers, I’m going to turn this one over to you. Just how do you get from “dates” to “dating?”

And no, “practice” does not count as an answer.


From Texting to Reality

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

An interesting new show called The Girlfriend’s Guide to Divorce aired an episode recently about the main character and a man she was crushing on who were flirting via text for a long time. When they finally went out on a date there was conversation, but the chemistry was not there. He spoke when she wanted him to stop (during sex) and she spoke when he needed quiet (immediately after waking up), plus their kissing didn’t align and the sex was bad.

Therein lies the reason I say NOT to text before dating. You don’t know enough about each other and you put pressure on the first date to be as great in person as it is via SMS. You are setting unrealistic expectations. People can be very witty when they have time to compose a response. People can be very flirty from behind a keyboard when no one can see them blushing.

My advice has always been and continues to be: once you meet (on JDate, in person, or some other way), make plans and go on your first date as soon as possible. Keep the momentum going without the use of text messaging — except to possibly say that you are looking forward to that evening, or that you are running two minutes behind.


Comparison Shopping

by Rabbi Josh Yuter under JDate,Relationships,Single Life

A friend was recently lamenting a double standard in dating where men genearlly have a greater selection of women than women do for men. One example is age range. Men are considered more “eligible” well into their fifties, whereas women have to contend with a biological clock. For whatever the reasons, men on the whole seem to have more options than women… and with more options comes greater selectivity.

I’m not interested in which gender has it easier – at the end of the day everyone’s experience is what’s important – but in what it means to be “selective.” Last week we spoke about checklists that people make before meeting, but what about the calculations we make after we meet people?

Options

Do you comparison shop?

I think there are two attitudes which are most common. The first is the “comparison shopping” model where people are evaluated against other people. This is particularly common in “scene” communities where new potential dates pop up every week, such that every person can be compared to everyone else. To some degree, there’s something natural in this approach, but the problem is obvious. For example, even if you find someone who is 85% of everything you’re looking for, you’ll always be able to find someone who is smarter, fitter, richer, or whatever-er, which makes it pretty tough to appreciate people for who they are. Essentially, people reject others under the assumption that someone “better” is just around the corner. This is, of course, specious reasoning since nothing is guarenteed, let alone the affections of unknown suitors.

Unless you’re in a complicated love triangle the real “choice” isn’t between one person or another, but rather between a relationship with this person or no relationship. According to this approach, the comparison is not selecting one person over another, but in comparing how one feels with or without a given person. Even if it’s possible that the person you’re seeing now is the last best chance you’ll have for a relationship, that doesn’t mean the relationship is healthy for you or that it will ultimately lead you to the happy life you deserve.

Of course, no one can ever know for certain how their decisions will pan out down the road. All we can do is make the best decisions we can with whatever information we have in the present. Even if we don’t know if anyone else awaits us, we hopefully know how to properly value ourselves.


Seal It With A Kiss

by Tamar Caspi under Date Night,Single Life

For some reason there’s this new trend of not kissing at the end of a great first date. Why? I have no clue! Perhaps it’s to leave them wanting more, or to be perceived as demure — either way it make no sense.

If you’ve enjoyed the date then seal it with a kiss. Let them know that you are interested in them, and in seeing them again. And, of course, to see if there’s any chemistry. I’m not saying you need to engage in a full-blown make-out session; a sweet lingering kiss goodnight will suffice!


Make a List, But Check it Twice

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

Ah, the checklist. That necessary evil of dating where you’re forced to reduce the totality of the human experience into artificial and contrived parameters. Anyone who has ever been asked, “so what are you looking for?” has had to have their list memorized to deliver an elevator-pitch like succinct response. Dating sites like JDate force you to literally check off boxes to describe yourself and search for others. Naturally, people resist being placed into such boxes to the point where saying you “don’t fit in a box” is such a cliché that JDate could probably add that option to their profiles.

CRTV-1337-thumb-RJYThe trouble of course is that while websites, singles, and even shadchanim recognize both the utility and limitations of checklists, few people consider what these checklists really mean. Take the popular example of a checklist gone wrong is the “white tablecloth” requirement, where potential mates are rejected based on the content of their linen closet. I’d like to give the benefit of the doubt and assume that the absurdity correlating tablecloths with maintaining a successful relationship, and instead suggest that the tablecloth symbolizes a personally important religious aesthetic. Anyone who could appreciate someone saying that Hannukah just isn’t Hannukah without Bubbe’s Famous Latkes can understand the value of religious sentimentality.

Remember what I wrote a few weeks ago about dating and hope I think what applies there also applies to checklists. Every item represents a possibility, or based on one’s experience, probability. A PhD usually indicates a person is reasonably intelligent or values knowledge, which yeshivot one attended can be indicative of religious upbringing, etc. It doesn’t matter if any of these sorts of assumptions are true, or if they’re relevant to the essence of the person in the present. What matters isn’t even what people think about the checkboxes, but how they imagine what the relationship would be.

Unless you automatically accept every single dating possibility which comes your way, you’re going to have some standards about the people you date. And if you’re in any way serious about having a relationship, you’re going to want to maximize the potential of the date being “good” however you want to define it. Checklists aren’t about separating the naughty from the nice (it might be, but since this is a Jewish dating website, we’re keeping things clean), but playing the odds to have the best chance of having a decent date.

The question is less about the checklists, but how much of them are dogmatic deal breakers. If you happened to hit it off with someone who didn’t have the right box checked, would you call it off or would you give it a shot? Obviously this is up to you, but every now and again, it’s worth checking in on our checklists.


Wine and Whiskey

by Tamar Caspi under Relationships,Single Life

What do wine and whiskey have in common? They both get better with age… and so should you.

There is no time in life when you should stop trying to evolve and improve. Some people call it “change,” which has a negative connotation (“you changed!” or “why won’t you change for me?” or “I’m never going to change.”), but finding something — or things — you don’t like about yourself and working to fix them is not a bad thing in the slightest.

Therapy is a great tool to work with a professional to talk things out. They will make you think about things in ways you never would. Allowing near-and-dear family members or friends to be brutally honest is also a great way to learn how you’re perceived. And if you find yourself going after the same type of prospects and never getting past a certain point in a relationship, then it might be time for you to take a look at yourself and see why you are pursuing those who aren’t the right fit.