Archive for the ‘Single Life’ Category

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.


Flirtation Confusion

by Tamar Caspi under Date Night,JDate,Single Life

My friend Brian is a friendly and outgoing guy, and as such, he often gets accused of flirting when he’s just being nice. The problem here is that he’s in a committed relationship, so things can get confusing when the women believe he is flirting with them and leading them on.

On JDate it’s clear when someone is interested because they will contact you, but in person, it can be less obvious. Someone who is chatting with you, asking questions about you, making you laugh, making eye contact, and smiling at you does not necessarily mean they are flirting with you.

So how can you tell when it’s more?

There will likely be some physical aspect when there’s romantic interest, such as touching your arm. There will also be questions about your relationship status, which you should reciprocate. Finally, the conversation will lead in the direction of a future — going on a date or at least exchanging numbers.

Not every conversation between two singles has to have romantic intent. Sometimes you’re just going to meet a nice person. Continue to be friendly and approachable and open regardless of who is standing across from you.


Attention Grabber

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

With all the holiday parties coming up, what should you do to stand out — and what tactics should you not employ?

The best way to attract others is to be happy, to enjoy yourself, and to laugh. Dress to impress — look good, feel good. Show your confidence and exert yourself. But don’t go overboard trying to get attention.

A woman I saw last night, who was being loud, had clearly been drinking too much, and was dressed provocatively, showing way too much skin. Unfortunately, she was only attracting the type of guys who were looking for a hookup. Her tamer girlfriends, meanwhile, were on the edge of the scene and enjoying the company of some great guys.

On the same note, a guy I noticed last night who was commanding the room with his lewd jokes, cussing a lot, and flirting with girls he clearly wasn’t interested in as a joke, was turning off all the women in the room. Even his guy friends were slowly putting distance between themselves because they wanted to meet quality women, and those women were not drawn to their friend’s spotlight.

Be respectful of yourself and others. Be positive, put out positive energy, and you will attract positive people — both friends and more.


Missing the Mitzvah of Marriage

by Rabbi Josh Yuter under Judaism,Relationships,Single Life,Weddings

Every now again I reserve the right to play the “Rabbi” card and interject some religion in my dating posts. Today, I’d like to talk about the religious pressures one faces in dating, particularly pertaining to marriage and family life, which has been on my mind since this past week in Daf Yomi, we actually covered some of the Rabbinic sources stressing the importance of the Jewish family, getting married and having children (B. Yevamot 61bB. Yevamot 64a). For two examples, “R. Tanhum stated in the name of R. Hanilai: Any man who has no wife lives without joy, without blessing, and without goodness. ‘Without joy,’ for it is written. And thou shalt rejoice, thou and thy house” (B. Yevamot 62b) and, “R. Eleazar said: Any man who has no wife is no proper man; for it is said, Male and female created He them, and called their name Adam” (B. Yevamot 63a). Later on in the same trachtate we find, “More than the man desires to marry does the woman desire to be taken in marriage” (B. Yevamot 113a) and “It is preferable to live in grief [in a bad marriage] than to dwell in widowhood” (B. Yevamot 118b).

On top of these sorts of homiletic statements, there’s a debate as to whether or not there is a mitzvah to get married (Rambam), or if marriage is only a prerequisite for properly performing the obligation of having procreation (Ramban) (See this class by R. Aharon Lichtenstein).

It’s bad enough when we have to deal with pressure from family and annoying friends, but how do we deal with letting down our Creator?

JBlog-Resize-Yuter

You… me… marriage?

One approach could be to simply get married to the first willing person, regardless of your feelings, but this is not always particularly healthy, and other Rabbinic teachings admonish those who marry people unsuitable for them. As an alternative, I’d like to suggest my own approach, with full awareness of my own bias as someone who has never been married.

By tradition, Jewish law has 613 commandments, 248 of which are “positive” commandments which we must perform, and innumerable Rabbinic laws and enactments on top of those. The reality is that not everyone will be able to perform all of those commandments, sometimes not by their own choice. For example, not every Jew lives in Israel or makes aliyah, which I should note may affect dating prospects. I know few people who have the skill to write a Torah scroll, and fewer who have actually done so (Deut. 31:19).

Not everyone has the same opportunity to perform the same commandments, and the Talmud also teaches that one is religiously exempt when forced into a situation (B. Avoda Zara 54a). Unless someone’s parents pre-arranged their marriage, we’re born into this world single… and single we stay until we find a willing partner with whom we can change our status. This is not always a matter of our choice, but even if it were, I do not believe that one ought to get married to someone inappropriate just for the sake of checking off a religious achievement. After all, the Torah also commands that when a man wishes to divorce his wife, he must give her a get; and we do not encourage men to find fault with their spouses just so that they can fulfill this religious obligation.

I would frequently tell my congregation that I’m just a Rabbi, I’m not the Judge. I’m only qualified to teach what I think Jewish law dictates and what civil penalties there may be for violations. What I cannot do is tell you with any certainty what “spiritual consequences” your actions may have or how God will judge your actions against any mitigating factors (I would also suggest ignoring anyone who claims to do so).

As Jews we have obligations which we must fulfill. Though we can try our best, we’re never going to be perfect (Ecc. 7:20). Maybe God is a vengeful deity who will smite you for your indolence,l or maybe God is a forgiving one who understands your collective experience. There’s enough uncertainty in dating and marriage, we don’t need to add theological questions to our anxieties.


Who’s Off Limits?

by Tamar Caspi under Date Night,JDate,Judaism,Relationships,Single Life

Jewish Geography can become an issue when you’re single and seemingly connected to nearly every other single Jew that you know in some way — either you hooked up with their friend, or your friend dated them seriously, or your cousin broke their friend’s heart — and suddenly you feel like there’s no one left to date! But really, very few single Jews are truly “off-limits,” and even then, someone can usually become fair game with a simple conversation.

Ex-spouses of your friends are off-limits… unless it’s been years and they’re now friendly and your friend, in fact, set you two up. If it’s an acquaintance’s ex-spouse then it’s perhaps a good idea to run the idea past your acquaintance before pursuing a relationship. For example: my fiance and I were set-up by a mutual friend who is also good friends with his ex-wife. Our shadchan asked the ex-wife’s permission before making the shidduch.

If one of your friends has never recovered from getting dumped by someone, then that person is probably off-limits. If one of your friends contracted an STD from someone, then that person is, well, need I say more? But if your friend simply casually dated the person, then a simple phone call asking for your friend’s blessing should suffice. And if there was no drama and yet your friend won’t give you permission, then perhaps you need to take a deeper look at both the prospect as well as the friendship.


Writing the Right Words

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

The “About Me” paragraph in your JDate profile is crucial. You could have the best photos, but if you write the wrong thing, you’re going to attract the wrong prospects. Sure, you’ll likely still get lots of attention, but it may be for the wrong (ie. superficial) reasons.

Writing the right words is not easy. First and foremost you want to sound like an educated, coherent, charming, trustworthy person. That doesn’t mean you say that you “are educated, coherent, charming, and trustworthy.” The key word in that sentence was to “sound” like all those things, not just say that you are them. That also doesn’t mean that you write multiple paragraphs explaining why you are all of these things in detail either. Rather, make sure that you proofread, be consistent throughout your profile, don’t be too serious or too flippant about the process, and allow your personality to shine through.

Secondly, you don’t want to spend all the space talking about what you have to offer or what you are looking for. Talk about who you are and what’s important to you in life and you will attract the right type of people. Don’t get into your relationship history except to briefly state if you are divorced, widowed, and/or a single parent.

Don’t forget: your online dating profile is already providing a lot of typical first-date conversation information, so don’t over-share any more than you have to and keep some interesting tidbits about yourself for the date itself!