Respect is one of the most important factors of a successful relationship. When you respect someone, it means you are being honest, it means you are being kind, and it means you are communicating effectively.
Respecting your partner means caring about their feelings and taking their opinions into consideration. Respect is speaking to the person you love with love, it means using tone and vocabulary that is rooted in the fact that at the end of the day — even if you are delivering a criticism — that you want to come out of the tete-a-tete a closer couple because you are engaging respectfully. Respect also means accepting your partner for who they are and not trying to change them, rather, helping them discover how you both can evolve together. When you find someone who you can respect to that degree, and receive that same level of respect in return, then you have found something truly special and with a higher likelihood of success.
This past weekend I had the privilege of being “On the Couch” with Dr. Dorree Lynn for a lengthy radio interview to both promote my book How to Woo a Jew and to discuss matchmaking. Eventually, the conversation turned to sex, as such chats tend to do with a psychologist and sexpert for the post-50 crowd, and Dr. Dorree mentioned the increasing rate of sexually transmitted diseases for the older crowd.
STD rates are on the rise for the 50+ age group because people tend to think that condoms are only for preventing pregnancy, which they no longer need to think about. But apparently many of these mature adults are fun, frisky and, inadvertently, passing around diseases. I chuckle, not because this isn’t a very serious topic (because it is!), but rather I laugh because it makes me so happy to hear about grandparents getting it on! Keep your sex lives active! It’s healthy for your mind, spirit and body… when you add condoms to the equation.
I’m also encouraged by the sheer number of singles in the second half of their lives on JDate! Life is not over at 50, or if you’re widowed, or if you’re divorced after many years! Get on JDate, meet other singles, and have lots of SAFE sex!
under Date Night
Often times when I go on first dates, I’m asking myself (prematurely) if I can see myself having a future with this person. But not just a future in the sense of multiple dates… but in the sense of marrying them and spending the next 60 years with them. And did I mention this is all happening after chatting for just one or two hours? All that pressure sometimes ruins my initial perception of a person and instead of having a good time on a date, I find myself having these internal battles with myself.
Here’s what you should do instead:
- Do: Dates 1-3 should be measured based on how well you get along with a person and, of course, how much fun you have with them. Do they interest you? Do you want to see them again next week? Make your judgments based off those questions.
- Don’t: Start picturing your wedding or your old-age days with this person. They will see this internal battle on your face, in your gestures, and in your responses. It’ll make you seem and feel disinterested in someone who could potentially be a great match.
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Ahhhhh… The Bachelor finale aired live and we all squirmed as Nikki — the “winner” — once again professed her love to Juan Pablo, only to have him repeatedly avoid answering the question of whether he loved her as well.
So, what do you do when you are in a relationship, are in love, and your partner isn’t there yet? How long do you wait for your significant other to start feeling as deeply as you do? At what point does your self-respect begin to take a beating?
There is… there is no right answer. You have to do what feels right, but you also may want to reassess the balance of power in the relationship. Are all your family members and friends warning you about your relationship? Does your partner ever use the difference in emotions to make you feel bad? Be honest with yourself and don’t let your ego get in your way of making the best decision for your heart, and your future.
As we enter March, so much begins to happen. This year, we’ve got Purim, basketball, and a sequel to 300. Madness is everywhere.
As for me, I’m missing all of it (yes, even that 300 sequel). And I couldn’t be more excited. I’m heading to Israel with the Jewish National Fund and helping to irrigate the Negev desert a little bit.
While I can’t wait to help Israel, what’s more exciting to me is the opportunity to just take some time away (not to mention being in Israel for Purim). It’s good to look away from the madness a bit — to not worry about a bracket, about what you’re going to wear to a party, or how to be part of the next big cultural thing.
I think one thing I’ve heard in common from a lot of people I’ve helped in trying to find someone in Dallas (including myself), is that sometimes an escape is vital. I love watching a city disappear from my sight as I fly away, and I like getting to start fresh somewhere, I think most people do. So it’s been a while since I last mentioned it, but be sure to make March a time to take a look at things and decide what you really want out of your time on JDate and your dating. Take a break from your normal life and see what you can change — Purim especially is a time of joy and finding new things, so if you haven’t been involved in Jewish life, now is a great time.
And if you have been involved? Maybe there’s only so much joy we can get out of one place. If you’re serious about finding something, take some time to book a vacation, make some long distance dates (or just don’t and let it happen), and try something new to make the madness a little more bearable.
New dating rule! From now on, you must ask someone “Are you in a relationship?” rather than asking “Are you married?” or “Do you have a girl/boyfriend?”
Why? Because if you’re engaged then the answer is neither of the above and if you’re dating someone seriously, but haven’t put a label on it, then it is also in between. So when you meet someone whom you’re interested in, ask “Are you in a relationship?” That way, they have to answer and clarify what that means to them.
Are you a cuddler? Or do you need your space when sleeping? If you are concerned about not being able to fall asleep, stay asleep, and wake up still intertwined with your new lover, then relax — cuddling is not what you see on television and in the movies!
Most people will cuddle until sleepy and then turn over to catch some zzzz’s. If not, then your arm will likely become numb and start tingling, and you will end up with warm breath in your face all night. Worried your sleepovers may not look like those rom-coms where the woman has on perfect make-up and her hair is splayed across the pillow and they start making out right then and there? It simply doesn’t happen in real life — so don’t be disappointed. You will probably be willing to overlook morning breath during the honeymoon stage, but eventually you’ll ask to get up and brush your teeth before canoodling. Sleep is not always sexy.
Just remember — when you can see past the mascara-smudged raccoon eyes, or the matted down hair, or any other imperfections in the morning, then that’s a good sign you’re with the right person.
Remembering to brush your teeth before bed will help!
under Single Life
The other day I was telling a co-worker that I’m taking a dating break. I just need some time to sit back, relax, and spend time by myself. Okay, maybe part of that has to do with the fact that I just want to watch season two of House of Cards. Whatever the reason, sometimes we all just need to turn off our phones, shut off our computers, and just focus on ourselves for a bit.
- Do: Give yourself some time off from dating if you need it. Whether it’s a week or a month, take the time you need to hang out with friends or catch up on your personal to-do list. Refresh and reset your mind, and your heart.
- Don’t: Drag this on for too long. Once you stop doing something, it’s easy to lose the motivation to do it again. When I stop going to the gym, it takes me months to start again. Whenever you decide to start this break, make sure you also have an end date.
I keep running into guy friends who tell me they are dating women whom they have no interest in marrying, but are using to pass time and get away from the dating scene. These women are typically not Jewish and much younger than them, and these guys are just having fun… except the women don’t know this. They don’t know they are being used, they don’t know that the men they are falling for won’t marry non-Jews, and they don’t know the men they are with aren’t looking for serious relationships which have a future. These women are all going to get hurt, more so if they find out the truth.
It’s not worth it. And if you believe in karma, then it’s really not worth it. Date casually, but don’t take dating to the next level with someone whom you know you would never marry.
under Single Life
We’ve all been there. You meet someone new, you get a name, and you think to yourself “what would get a conversation rolling?” It probably occurs to you that people like talking about themselves, and what could people love more than their job? So you ask it: “What do you do for a living?”
I’ll let you in on a secret. Some people like that question, but a lot of people see it for the conversational crutch it really is. Asking “what do you do?” is a faux pas in a few ways. For starters, you’re assuming all people like their job, and sadly that is not the case. I know when I was working retail I told very funny stories about things that happened to me (like a river of urine I found in my store), but it was the last thing I wanted to associate with new friends. Secondly, some people may take it as you trying to gauge how much money they make. And lastly, sometimes people just want work to stay at work.
When this question comes up, some friends and I have vowed not to reveal our jobs within thirty minutes of first meeting someone. We’ll say ridiculous jobs like bounty hunter, fruit bowl modeler, or selfie coach, and move the conversation along. So in order to help others make a more fun, lasting connection with a new friend, here are my three alternative suggestions for that rut when you need something to say:
- Talk about what’s around you. One of my favorite social rules is called “Observe, Share, Ask.” You see something in a room, mention something about it and how you relate, and ask something about the other person’s experience. For example, if I was in a room and saw a picture of a clown, I would say something along the lines of “did you see that clown picture? The circus always terrified me, did you ever like it?” This allows me to share a bit about me while sharing an experience (we both see the picture), and allows the other person to open up about their experiences.
- Ask how they got there. Whether you’re at a party, synagogue, or a singles mixer, ask someone who they know or how they found the place. This allows you to find mutual friends (this was my usual conversation starter at parties in college), and build a connection about any hooks that are revealed — they could be classmates, fellow natives, or mutual friends.
- Ask what they do in a different way. This is a fun one to me in that you still get to ask the job question — if they want to talk about it. An article I found on LinkedIn a while back had the amazing option of asking “What keeps you busy?” This is such an amusingly vague and open question that people can answer with anything from, “I blog for JDate and collect beer glasses” to what they do for a living.
Hopefully this sparks your conversations a bit, feel free to leave other ideas in the comments!