JBlog®

Ode to JMoms

by Caryn Alper under JDate,Online Dating,Single Life

Happy belated Mother’s Day to all you mamas out there. For the rest of you, the holiday just happened this past weekend, so I can’t remind you to get a gift. But, this is your cue to start planning for next year. Also, you might be wondering what mothers have to do with a dating blog. In case you forgot, this is a Jewish dating blog, so… everything! In fact, I know of two Jewish moms who actually created JDate profiles so they could shop for potential sons-in law. Seriously. Or at least to check out the local prospects and competition for their kids. (My mom is NOT one of them!) Letting your mom take the reins for a day or two: fun and potentially helpful. Giving her full control to search and send messages on your behalf? Not so much. So yeah, for better or for worse, moms have certainly earned their place in this column.

When it comes to moms and dating, my perspective is that of a single daughter with a married mom. But JDaters come from all family structures… some are single moms, some don’t have moms, and some are dating at the same time as their kids! (Does anyone know of a mother-daughter [or father-son] duo on here? So cute. I would love to feature them in a future column.) So as strange as it might sound to have your mom checking out the site to recommend pre-vetted profiles, imagine how it must feel to have your daughter (or grand-daughter!) do the same.

Would you let your mom write your profile on your behalf? On one hand, I’m sure it would be very glowing: “Little Davey is a brilliant, lovely young man with a heart of gold from a good family. He has a stable job and is confident and handsome.” On the other hand, no one knows your shortcomings quite like mama: “He is looking for a good woman to laugh at his poorly timed jokes and fold his laundry because his, on the rare occasion that he decides to wash it, is always stuffed into drawers with no order. He wasn’t raised to live like such a savage.”

When you marry someone, you marry the family. Similarly, if you’re dating someone, you might date the family too. And no matter how embarrassing or nosy or annoying your mom, your daughter, or anyone in the mishpacha might be, remember that they all want one thing in common: your happiness!


We Made Plans, But No Phone Call, So What’s The Deal?

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

Dear Tamar,

I have been dating this guy for a month; nothing serious — we went out for lunch last Monday, on Tuesday we exchanged a few texts and kind of made plans for Saturday… but he never confirmed and now it’s Thursday and I still haven’t heard from him.

What’s the deal?

_____________________________________________________________________________________

Dear Plans Unconfirmed,

The simplest answer is that it’s likely he’s not into you anymore. I know that sucks to hear, but a guy who likes you is confirming plans, contacting you between dates and wanting to make sure he is on your mind.

That said, it’s only been two days and he could still call to confirm plans tonight. It’s not too late for him to call for a Saturday night date, but if you accept… do so with your guard up. Or, better yet, tell him you made other plans when you didn’t hear from him, but would love to schedule something for next week.

Be prepared to not hear from him again, and then get back on JDate and keep making connections.

P.S. If he texts or calls next week I strongly urge you to ignore it (unless you just want to hook up), it’s likely he is only making contact because he’s bored and wants to see if you’re still interested. Don’t expect his feelings towards you to suddenly have changed; you’ll only end up disappointed once again.


Extreme Profile Makeover: “Feeling Invisible”

by Tamar Caspi under JDate,Monday Makeover,Online Dating,Single Life

Dear Tamar,

What does it take to get noticed? I am pretty secure and confident. I know I have a lot to offer – how can I convey it?

-Feeling Invisible _________________________________________________________________________________

Dear Invisible,

Your profile does convey a secure and confident woman who has a lot to offer, so job well done! That said, there are a few things I can suggest to spice it up and get noticed.

  1. First, you need a better main profile picture. I love all of the photos of you traveling and that you captioned them, but your main photo is fuzzy, and the passion and joy I see in your other photos is not coming through.
  2. You reference visiting your son abroad, perhaps address your divorce and children in one sentence by answering it under “A Brief History of My Life.” You only answer four questions, which is fine, but you are missing some pertinent biographical information about how you came to be this secure, well-rounded woman.
  3. Finally, you leave a lot of questions unanswered along the right hand side of the profile, in the “Her Details” section. It’s easy enough to answer what color eyes and hair you have, as well as custody situation, if you keep kosher, if you drink, and how active you are. You should also answer what you studied or what area you worked in prior to retiring. Otherwise you come across as having a lot to hide, which is not what I think you are trying to do.

I think you’re pretty close to a truly great profile. By adding a great profile picture I think you will be well on your way to getting noticed!


The Kind of Love We Should Aspire To

by Tamar Caspi under News,Relationships,Success Stories

This is the post from Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook and author of Lean In, from Tuesday, the day she buried her husband, Dave Goldberg, after his sudden passing.

“I want to thank all of our friends and family for the outpouring of love over the past few days. It has been extraordinary – and each story you have shared will help keep Dave alive in our hearts and memories.

I met Dave nearly 20 years ago when I first moved to LA. He became my best friend. He showed me the internet for the first time, planned fun outings, took me to temple for the Jewish holidays, introduced me to much cooler music than I had ever heard.

We had 11 truly joyful years of the deepest love, happiest marriage, and truest partnership that I could imagine… He gave me the experience of being deeply understood, truly supported and completely and utterly loved – and I will carry that with me always. Most importantly, he gave me the two most amazing children in the world.

SS

Dave was my rock. When I got upset, he stayed calm. When I was worried, he said it would be ok. When I wasn’t sure what to do, he figured it out. He was completely dedicated to his children in every way – and their strength these past few days is the best sign I could have that Dave is still here with us in spirit.

Dave and I did not get nearly enough time together. But as heartbroken as I am today, I am equally grateful. Even in these last few days of completely unexpected hell – the darkest and saddest moments of my life – I know how lucky I have been. If the day I walked down that aisle with Dave someone had told me that this would happen – that he would be taken from us all in just 11 years – I would still have walked down that aisle. Because 11 years of being Dave Goldberg’s wife, and 10 years of being a parent with him is perhaps more luck and more happiness than I could have ever imagined. I am grateful for every minute we had.

As we put the love of my life to rest today, we buried only his body. His spirit, his soul, his amazing ability to give is still with it. It lives on in the stories people are sharing of how he touched their lives, in the love that is visible in the eyes of our family and friends, in the spirit and resilience of our children. Things will never be the same – but the world is better for the years my beloved husband lived.”

I read these words and am brought to tears by the raw, honest emotions. The kind of love Sheryl is describing is not a love you see every day, but it is the kind of love we should all aspire to have. There’s a reason people say not to settle — and this is why. You need a true partner, someone who believes in you and supports you unconditionally, a person who makes you feel like the luckiest person in the world, and who is also your best friend to top it all off.


Food, Mood & Attitude

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

Gluten-free, vegan, peanut allergy, lactose intolerant, plant-based, low carb, high carb, paleo, oreo, pescatarian, vegetarian… does anyone eat “normally” anymore? And what does this mean when you just want to take someone out to dinner without a list of food and health conditions to consider?

Eating habits are pretty personal, yet food plays such a big role in our social lives.  So it’s inevitable that the strictly kosher girl will be invited to a treyf BBQ joint by an unknowing suitor.  Or an otherwise awesome date leads to a stroll to the ice cream parlor, panicking the severely lactose intolerant guy.  These things happen. And normally it’s not a big deal – people are generally accommodating and understanding these days about special diets or food considerations. But, how these gastronomic road blocks are handled says a lot about both the special eater and the accommodator.

I hate to break it to you, but broadcasting your food preferences can sound picky and annoying. Spending 20 minutes to explain to a waitress how you don’t like your food to touch, that you want all of your sauces served on the side, and that you want 7 substitutions doesn’t look attractive on a date.

57019411Ok, these examples might sound silly, but what if you have a more common constraint, like you can’t eat anything with nuts, or you don’t like vegetables? You’ve agreed to meet someone for a first date, but you’re very aware of your unique diet – what do you do?  In this case, quietly inform your server of your needs or just order something that you like. Unless you have a serious health concern, there is no need to announce your special case to anyone who is not preparing your food, and certainly not to someone you’re hoping to impress. Not a big drinker? It’s ok to order a coke at the bar. It’s not ok to explain that you aren’t drinking because you were sick for 2 days after last weekend’s bender. Keep kosher? This is one situation where it makes sense to inform your date of your dietary needs in advance. Same for other restrictions where you may not be able to find what you need at a typical restaurant. But don’t make a fuss about it – suggest meeting for coffee or a non-food event for your first meeting.

On the other hand, what if you’re the one who eats everything in sight, but find yourself sitting across from a really cute, funny vegan? Same advice here: Don’t make a big deal about it, especially if the vegan doesn’t. Try not to judge. And don’t belittle someone else for having different eating habits than you. Unless they have realllly ridiculous demands – then you can roll your eyes. Just kidding. Sort of.

Also, profiles exist for a reason – check them for clues! Before picking out a restaurant or place to meet, scan your date’s profile to get a feel for his level of kashrut or her favorite cuisine.  When it doubt, ask.

Remember, differences of any kind involve a dance of accommodation, moderation, and compromise, and food is no exception.  Eating habits may not initially seem like a huge deal in a budding relationship, but when you think about it, we all eat multiple times a day (except for fast days – but those are probably bad days for a date anyway).


Older Adults: An Uncertain Certainty?

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

Dear Tamar,

I see you are in your thirties, I mention this because — as a woman — you are at a different point in your life than the ladies I am interested in, whose age range is from 50-61. So, I think your perspective will be somewhat different from what I am looking for. In any case, I get the feeling from most of the women I have met that they all claim to know what it is they seek. However, there is a considerable amount of uncertainty that comes along with it, irrespective of what they are saying.

_________________________________________________________________________________________

Dear Uncertain Certainty,

Irrespective of my age, I do think I can shed some light on what you’re experiencing. As anyone gets older, they become more set in their ways and more opinionated about what they do and don’t like. That’s normal. And as they experience life — whether that means many years of dating, or a divorce, or being widowed — people tend to think they know what they are seeking in a partner. Yet, there’s always an insecurity that you may be wrong or could be proven wrong. A woman may believe she could never date or marry a guy who owns a cat, but she doesn’t want to eliminate the possibility that a guy is perfect for her, even with said cat (substitute “cat” for just about anything). So, although the women you date may claim they know what they seek, they want to leave the door open for possibilities.


What Gives?

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

Dear Tamar,

I am not receiving any interest from men on JDate.  I sent out 8 e-cards and not one response.  My friend suggested that I change my age on the website and perhaps men would be less reluctant to reach out to me. I am determined to leave my correct age because I wouldn’t want to meet someone that opposed to my age without knowing me.  I am pretty, bright, own a business, and happy with my life.  What gives?

______________________________________________________________________________

Dear What Gives,

I agree with your friend about keeping your true age on your profile. You would be better off having your friend critique your photos and profile answers or sending me your profile name for me to give you an Extreme Profile Makeover. In the meantime, make sure you talk about being “young at heart” or “looking and feeling younger than [your] age” in your profile to combat the age issue and concern about reluctance from men.

Then, try some other techniques instead of relying on e-cards. Make sure you are viewing your prospects regularly so that they know you are interested, add them to your Favorites list, and then possibly initiate an email conversation. Again, you may not get a response but it may not be personal — it could be that the person is not a paid member and can’t read their messages. The only way to combat this is by playing the numbers game, meaning the more prospects you have the better the chance you will receive emails and responses.


Do You Expect Respect or Demand It?

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

I was chatting with an ex-boyfriend recently, just catching up on where life has taken us since we last spoke 10 years ago, when he mentioned that our timing was bad when we had dated way back when. My recollection was way different. He was a total jerk who stomped on my heart. Forgive and forget, sure, but I don’t ever really forget.

Interestingly, I am able to take responsibility for a part of it 10 years later. Why? Because I allowed him — and other boyfriends or guys I dated — to treat me disrespectfully. What does that mean? It means I didn’t put my foot down or even run the other way when I didn’t like how they were treating me — not calling when they said they would, canceling on dates, not being totally forthright, not giving me the commitment I desired, etc., — therefore I allowed it. I can see now that many of the experiences I had could have been prevented had I demanded respect. Sure, I expected respect, but clearly not enough. It must be demanded and in this case, actions (walking away from the situation for good) speak louder than words (saying “you’re being disrespectful,” but not leaving, and therefore allowing it).

Perhaps it was an age thing; I was in my 20s. Or perhaps it’s a gender thing. Or maybe it was the type of guy I was going for and the hope that I could tame a bad boy. Likely it was a combination of all of the above. Many young women are so afraid of being dumped, or being alone, or not having the guy come running after you as you walk out the door, or we place our value in who we are dating, that we don’t say anything. We hope it was a fluke, or a one-off, or that they will grow to respect you more.

The truth is that we need to respect ourselves — men and women of all ages — more, and value our worth more, in order to understand why certain behavior is not acceptable and to walk away. Keep walking away until someone comes along who respects you, values you and believes you are worthy.


What, Me Worry?

by Caryn Alper under Date Night,JDate,Single Life

Confession: I’m kind of a nervous person. I worry about stuff. I think a lot. And I also tend to internalize my thoughts and worries. This results in uncomfortable physical manifestations of worrying, which sounds like the subtitle to a new Woody Allen movie, but it could also pass for my own personal summary statement.  Add this feeling to a high-pressure date with emotions fueled by either alcohol or too much caffeine – and you’ve got all the ingredients for a stomachache or panic attack!

I think we’ve all been nervous before or during a date – it’s a pretty common occurrence.  I know one friend who can’t eat on dates because she feels nervous; another occasionally gets sick right before due to nerves! And I’m sure we can all relate to that sinking feeling in your stomach when you find out an ex got engaged, or you catch someone cheating, or in some cases, just see an old crush. Or what if your skipped lunch in an effort to squeeze into your dress, followed by the two glasses of wine you downed while waiting to meet your date, produces gastrointestinal distress requiring a quick trip to the bathroom in the middle of shared appetizers? What if the girl you’re meeting doesn’t like you? Or worse – what if she DOES and becomes a crazy clinger? What if he looks nothing like his picture? What if she is 20 years older than she said? This shirt is uncomfortable – what if I have a wardrobe malfunction over dinner? Did I remember my wallet? Aackk, it’s no wonder the stress of dating can make even a normally calm person feel nervous.  I love being part of the chosen people, but sometimes I wonder if we were also chosen for specializing in anxious neuroticism!

Unfortunately, for lots of people, nerves are just part of the territory when it comes to dating.  But, they don’t have to be.  Allow me to suggest breathing techniques to help you achieve total zen, or at least make it through your next date without sweating through your shirt.

Seriously, practice breathing.  Make it a part of your routine each day to take 10 long, slow breaths. Inhale through your nose and out through your mouth. And try to inhale from your belly more so than your chest.  Keep your eyes open or closed – you can even do this at work or on the train – and just let thoughts pass in and out of your awareness. Practicing this on a regular basis will help you more easily be able to achieve the same calm when you need it. That’s kind of how meditation works – you learn to train your mind to achieve a relaxed state. But you can always use your breath as an extra boost of peace right before a date. Remember that your body can’t panic if you are slowing down your breath.  If you wish to practice a longer relaxation session, try progressive muscle relaxation where you continue to breathe deeply while tensing and then relaxing different muscle groups.  Or add yoga moves or mindfulness techniques to your breathing to optimize your relaxation.  This isn’t some new-agey weirdness – in fact, it’s a very old, tried and true method, and it works! I’ve been practicing while I’m typing this, and wow, does it work – I’m starting to experience a  relaxed state so powerful that at any moment now I could just drift int…


Extreme Profile Makeover — “Shari”

by Tamar Caspi under JDate,Monday Makeover,Online Dating,Single Life

Today Tamar is giving a few profile tips for JDater Shari:

Hi Shari,

I really love everything you wrote in your profile. It flows well, you didn’t over-share, there were no typos, and it read as a very complete profile in a very attractive way. Bravo to you!

Your pictures are another story. You don’t need 12 photos and it is really easy for me to eliminate and reorder, but I want to teach you why. I’ve made a few notes for each of your photos in the following list; the number in parenthesis is how I would order them.

1. MAIN PROFILE PHOTO
Between 2 people, in red blouse, nice photo! (2)

2. Super close-up, TOO close-up! DELETE

3. Headshot, red top, great makeup! MAKE PROFILE PHOTO! (1)

4. On a boat, in sweats and sunglasses, not necessary — DELETE

5. Selfie in full length mirror — DELETE, no selfies!

6. In a tank top, cuddling a doggie, super cute! (3)

7. Selfie in bathroom mirror — DELETE, no selfies!

8. With your cousin, cute — COULD KEEP OR DELETE (6)

9. Black dress with bridge behind — COULD KEEP OR DELETE (5)

10. Green top with unidentified person — COULD KEEP OR DELETE, BUT YOU NEED A CAPTION (7)

11. Black outfit on TV show set, cool pic! (4)

12. Repeat of #1 — DELETE

I don’t know if 8, 9, OR 10 are keepers because your hair looks different than the first few pics. It’s also different in 11, but it’s not a close-up so it’s not as obvious. If your hair is super curly but you wear it straight sometimes, then you may want to caption photo 9 (which is becoming #5) and say “I’ve actually got super cute ringlets and love the versatility of wearing my hair au natural or straight.” Jewish girls get ribbed a lot for their stereotypical curly hair so it’s cute to just be open about the fact that your hair is not always going to be straight and own it!

To learn more about choosing the right photos for your JDate profile, check out www.HowToWooAJew.com.