JBlog®

Secret Admirer — HELP!

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

Hi Tamar,

Can you give me some insight into the Secret Admirer situation on JDate? I’ve only been on the site for a week, but this game already has me so off-keel that I’ve started blocking everyone whose profile shows up in these things because of the likelihood that one of these people is playing games and wasting my time (I read a blog post by another JBlogger saying that when he gets these Secret Admirer messages he says yes to everyone, regardless of whether he’s interested in them, just to find out who’s interested in him — if that’s the case, I’d rather not ever show up in that person’s list of potential Secret Admirers, so I block my profile from showing up in their search feed).

Is there a way to step back from this nuclear option before I block everyone? Even if I didn’t block the guys, but just ignore the messages, I’m potentially turning away people who might actually make a good match, or at least a fun date.

HELP!

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Dear Strung-Out on Secret Admirer:

You’ve blocked everyone who selects you as a match on Secret Admirer? Oy vey! First you need to start with un-blocking everyone. You have no idea which guys were possibly playing “the game” and which weren’t… and now you’ve systematically eliminated all of them!

Do some people treat Secret Admirer like a game? Sure. But, why is that so bad? If you take it seriously, then what is there to lose? If you don’t want to think about who is possibly playing the game and who isn’t, then just wait and let any matches email you first. Try not to let a simple algorithm get the best of you. Dating is frustrating enough without complicating things that are supposed to make it easier!


On Gratitude

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

Dating can be pretty emotionally draining. Let’s face it – regardless of your age or gender – there’s a good chance you’ve experienced a roller coaster of emotions, from the high of a hopeful new prospect to the low of rejection. Or the excitement of receiving a new message… then the disappointment of realizing the person looks nothing like their picture! With so much emotional whiplash, it’s tough to remain grounded, calm, and hopeful.

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“I am grateful for the sun, my dog, and coffee…”

 

To help focus on the positive and prevent freak-outs, I offer one suggestion (that I, myself, could really take to heart!): Practice gratitude.  To me, gratitude is more than just feeling grateful, although this is a big part of it. But, it also evokes qualities of humility, kindness, and empathy, which are generally attractive to everyone.  And it combats entitlement and unhappiness, which are definite turn-offs! Several studies have shown that practicing gratitude can improve emotional health, your mood, AND your relationships. So it really can’t hurt to try, can it?

 

Here are 3 simple ways to show gratitude:

  1. As Jews, prayer is a major way we can show appreciation. Speak to G-d in whatever language you prefer, from anywhere in the world.  Or go to a synagogue – I’m sure someone saying kaddish would love to have you help make a minyan.  It really doesn’t matter if you know how to daven or not – the point is to pause and appreciate the food on your plate, or the clothes on your back, or the fact that you woke up this morning!
  2. Gain perspective. You might be going through a rough patch, but notice what happens if you start to see the glass as half empty, not half full. Are you feeling jealous or jaded?  Try focusing on really appreciating your friends.  Lacking good friends? Be grateful you have a job. Don’t have a job? Appreciate your good health. In poor health?  Be grateful for being alive! No matter what’s going on, things could be worse.
  3. Appreciate others. Tell someone why you are grateful for his or her friendship. Give your date a specific compliment that’s not about her looks. Let your new boyfriend know specific reasons why you’re grateful for his company.  This might win you some new friends, but it will make you feel good about yourself, too.

 

If I were to read this post after just getting dumped, I’d probably roll my eyes and dump a bowl of ice cream on my head because it’s really hard to feel grateful when you’re in a bad mood.  But, that’s exactly the time when you need the benefits of gratitude the most.  If you practice gratitude all the time, it will become second nature and you’ll be able to more easily apply these strategies when you’re feeling down and out.  And no matter what you’re feeling, consistently expressing gratitude will help you to stay positive in the dating process, gain some perspective, and exude a positive, open vibe.


How Honest Should I Be in My Profile?

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

Hi Tamar,

I wanted to know if you could look at my profile and tell me how to improve it? Or if you see any issues. I really toned it down regarding my interests in green living/organic food and would love your opinion!

-Green Guy

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Hi Green Guy,

After reading your profile it seems that you eliminated nearly all mentions of green living and organic food, and if that is important to you then you need to make that clear. Someone who doesn’t care about their carbon footprint and prefers junk food is not going to be a good match for you and you need to make that clear so you don’t waste either of your time. You don’t have to go into it too much, simply mention in you ‘About Me’ that you are passionate about those two things and would love to meet someone else who is as well.

While you’re at it, here’s a few more tips:

  • Add more photos! You only have three — and just the first one shows your face clearly, yet your head is covered and it’s in black and white. Add more pictures of your face! Have a confidant help you out, or email me some options for my feedback!
  • Add what you do for a living (you don’t need to add your income level though). By skipping this question your profile comes off as kind of sketchy.
  • Tighten your age range. You are 32, you should not be open to dating both 18 and 35-year-olds. 24-35 would be a good age range for you.
  • Read over your ‘In My Own Words’ answers and correct any grammar and formatting issues. Prospects can get lost trying to read sentences that don’t flow and it can give off the impression that you are not educated or are inarticulate. The tip here is to go back and proofread your paragraphs after the JDate approves them; sometimes changes happen during that process. You should also have someone else proofread your paragraphs to make sure you didn’t skim over anything.

Happy JDating!


Hand in Hand

by Tamar Caspi under Date Night,Relationships,Single Life

As my own nail polish chipped away this afternoon and I hid them embarrassed in the checkout line of the supermarket, it makes me think about what if I was single and had a date tonight? Well, if I couldn’t make it to the neighborhood salon for a manicure, or at the very least a polish change, then I would make sure to remove the remnants of the color I had left and go out bare fingered. In fact, I would make it a priority because unkempt hands are seen as a reflection of you — your health, your home, and your life.

This does not only apply to women, men too need to take care of their hands. Make sure your nails aren’t ragged and that you don’t have jagged cuticles. Just like men, women see well-kept hands as a sign that you take care of yourself and that you are put together.

Now, I need to log off and go find my nail polish remover!


An Introvert’s Approach to Jewish Dating

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

I’m going to get personal for this post, not because I think anyone really cares about my personal life, but because I don’t think my story is all that unique and maybe someone out there can find something useful.


Dating as Equals

by Tamar Caspi under Relationships,Single Life

Do you need to respect what a prospect does for a living in order to be with them? Does someone need to be at your same level career-wise for a relationship to work? Would you date someone in the service industry or retail industry if you’re a corporate attorney? What about someone who is a freelancer? Would you date a woman who dreams of becoming a stay-at-home mom?

In theory, none of these sound like an issue, but money is one of the top sources of distress in relationships… and when there is an income disparity, problems can arise. Unless, of course, you have respect. Do you respect your mate for working 40+ hours a week, even if they aren’t making as much as you or working at a job as high-powered as yours? Would you respect your mate and see them as an equal for staying home to take care of the kids and “not working?”

In the end, it really has nothing to do with how you spend your day or how much you earn, but if you have mutual respect and appreciation for each person’s contribution to the relationship as a whole.


Are You Mature?

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

Let’s discuss something that’s been on my mind lately.  I don’t want to scare anyone away, but I’m talking about the M word… and it’s not marriage or money – it’s maturity! In the “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Relationships” (which I just made up while writing this post), I’ve self-diagnosed several instances of what I’ll call Non-Syncing Maturity Levels (NSML).

More on NSML in a minute, but first, a few defining features of this unfortunate malady. When I say someone is mature, I mean he or she possesses a set of skills such as the ability to communicate effectively like an adult, to not be overly judgmental or heavily influenced by peer pressure, to use manners and common sense appropriately, and to see the world realistically and practically – basically, skills that teenagers tend to lack but are typically solidified in those with more experience.  In my opinion, maturity has very little to do with money, interests, looks, career, or personality – it’s more of a quality that you pick up on while getting to know someone.  A person can love comic books and laugh at the Three Stooges but be pretty mature (hey, Dad!).  Conversely, you can own a house, car, fancy clothes, nice job, have a great education, and still spend years texting girls “hey, wuts up” at 10pm.  Additionally, a person can be mature and also fun, spontaneous, and creative; similarly, one can be intelligent, reliable, and get drunk every night while refusing to learn how to pay bills.

Here’s my point:  I don’t care what level of maturity you have.  I’m not ascribing any qualitative judgment to any particular level on the maturity ladder. You could be in a committed, fulfilling relationship with someone who, by my definition, is pretty immature.  But, the problem of NSML occurs when you are on one rung of this metaphorical ladder and the person you are interested in, dating, or committed to is on another.

So, Caryn, you may ask, how can I avoid the frustration associated with NSML? Well, there are no guarantees, but it’s as simple as first figuring out where you are (or want to be) on the maturity ladder.  Then, seek out dating partners on the same or nearby rungs.  To identify your level, ask yourself questions like: “Do I frequently throw temper tantrums in public?” or “Am I capable of making everyday decisions without relying on the opinion of my Twitter followers?”  As far as I know, there is no current search function on JDate to narrow your matches by maturity; however, I think this is something that you can feel out in a few dates. So if you’re a 45-year old guy reliving his frat boy days, you may want to think twice about messaging the girl who loves Emily Post. However, if you find that girl who loves Tucker Max, well, I hope they serve beer at your wedding.


A Hot Woman vs. A Beautiful Woman

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

An interesting article ended with the following (edited for brevity) stanzas:

Hot is admired from afar; beauty is to be held.

Hot is perception; beauty is appreciation.

Hot is smokey-eyed; beautiful is bare-faced.

Hot is an appearance; beautiful is more than skin deep.

Hot is a strong appeal; beautiful is strong mind.

Hot is youthful; beautiful is ageless.

Hot is conventional; beauty is unique.

Hot is a state of being; beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Hot is a text message; beautiful is a love letter.

Hot is a facade; beautiful is a woman.

It sometimes is difficult to separate lust from love, but if you can describe what it is about a person that you are attracted to, and determine if it would land in the “hot” or “beautiful” column, then you may be closer to making the differentiation. The article is basically asking if you are looking at your date — in this case a woman — as a sexual object or with respect? Do you love how she looks more than who she is? Think about it.


Dating As An Older Adult: Finding a Companion

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

When you’re dating as an older adult, who you should be with now is not the same person you would have been with when you were younger, although maybe it should have been! Chances are you are not looking to procreate, although you may still have kids in the home and need to take co-parenting into account. When you’re an empty-nester and a grandparent, then you can really reassess your needs and wants in a mate.

This is the time that similar hobbies and interests, in addition to being a conversationalist, is even more important. You know now that it’s not all about appearances, but about having someone you can talk to about more than just the superficial things and enjoy spending quality time together.

Do you want to travel a lot? Or do you plan on working way past retirement? Those two people will likely not be a good match. Do you enjoy giving back and attending every function and volunteering and being involved? Or would you prefer to spend your time relaxing and being with a small group of close friends enjoying good television, movies, and plays? Again, these two types will probably not be a good match. How do you want to spend the next 10, 20, or 30 years? And what kind of companion do you want?

Figuring out how you want to live the rest of your life, and thus figuring out the type of partner you want to share that with, will help you create your preferences and easily narrow down your prospects.


She Blinded Me With Social Science

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

She Blinded Me With Social Science: Deconstructing that NY Times “To Fall in Love with Anyone” Article

I was in the middle of drafting this week’s post when I noticed several friends of mine sharing a recent New York Times article titled, “To Fall in Love with Anyone, Do This.” It’s easy to dismiss such a tantalizing headline as mere clickbait, but the article is based on an actual published psychology experiment in which participants felt “closer” to each other after answering a series of 36 personal questions — and the author herself says she fell in love with her partner because of it.

For the people who gave this article a superficial read, it would appear that true love could be yours if you just performed a simple exercise. And if this sounds too good to be true, rest assured, it most certainly is.

Because I’m me, I downloaded and read the original scholarly article (it’s since been pulled from the web), published in 1997 in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin (23:4) with the decidedly less enticing title, “The Experimental Generation of Interpersonal Closeness: A Procedure and Some Preliminary Findings.” When discussing any study, the first thing to consider is what exactly is the study trying to measure. To wit:

             We should also emphasize that the goal of our procedure was to develop a temporary feeling of closeness,not an actual ongoing relationship (364)

So right off the bat we’re not talking about how to establish a meaningful relationship, but rather to create fleeting moments of connectedness. How do we accomplish this?

             Indeed, Aron et al. (1992) found that various measures of closeness have two latent dimensions of behaving close and feeling close (364). [Emphasis original]

Following this logic, the study decided to measure if acting in a way to achieve “closeness” would, in fact, generate the feelings of closeness.

            One key pattern associated with the development of a close relationship among peers is sustained, escalating, reciprocal, personalistic self-disclosure…Whereas behaving close in this sense could not really arise outside of a long-term ongoing relationship, it seemed to us that the subjective feeling of closeness, which is our focus, might well arise at least temporarily in a short-term interaction (364).

It turns out that putting in the effort of feeling close to someone else through personal sharing can even overcome or override some of the factors people normally assume do lead to connectedness.

            Overall, these data suggest that matching in terms of not disagreeing on important attitudes or leading subjects to believe that they and their partners will like each other probably has little impact on the overall closeness subjects achieve through this procedure, or even on their mutual attraction (367).

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If you can find a partner for this exercise, can you actually find true love?

To summarize, one way two people can feel closer to each other is by actively sharing intimate personal aspects about themselves, with reciprocity from their partner. This can certainly be useful information for people who are trying to make a go out of a relationship, either dating or even after marriage. But, before you start printing out the questionnaire for your next date, keep in mind there are some crucial caveats which come with the research.

The experiment was done in a controlled environment where the participants knew each other to some degree as classmates, or otherwise the pool was not completely randomized. There was also no expectation of commitment or consequences attached, which could have lead participants to give more freely. Perhaps most importantly is that the participants were willing to participate. That is to say, two people made the conscious decision to try to open up to one specific person, at least for a short period.

Dating usually doesn’t work like this. If you’re meeting someone online or from a setup you’re effectively meeting a random stranger. Even if you ask out someone whom you know, you still need to get past the willingness aspect. It’s not just that people are incapable of opening up to someone else (though many are), but they may not want to open up – or at least not to this particular individual. Even the NY Times author admits, “I see now that one neither suggests nor agrees to try an experiment designed to create romantic love if one isn’t open to this happening,” which is of course an obstacle many of us can’t even get past.

And let’s say we do find a partner to undertake this exercise, do we actually wind up finding True Love? The authors of the study address this question and have some bad news.

                 So are we producing real closeness? Yes and no. We think that the closeness produced in these studies is experienced as similar in many important ways to felt closeness in naturally occurring relationships that develop over time. On the other hand, it seems unlikely that the procedure produces loyalty, dependence, commitment, or other relationship aspects that might take longer to develop…Thus the procedure is like other experimental paradigms such as mood induction procedures, the minimal group paradigm, or methods for temporarily lowering self-esteem: It is useful as a means of creating a similar although not completely identical state, but under controlled conditions permitting experimental tests of causal hypotheses and theoretical issues (371-372)

Practically speaking what we really have here is a strategy and mechanism for two people who are open to the possibility of getting close to each other to at least try to develop feelings of closeness. As the NY Times author stated, his could in fact indicate that love is indeed more “pliable” than we’d otherwise have thought, in which case we have more control to determine our own happiness than we’ve imagined.

Even if you find solace or encouragement in this empowerment, keep in mind you still need to work at the relationship, but more importantly you need to find that willing partner.

But then again, that’s why there’s JDate, isn’t it?