Making Mistakes

by Tamar Caspi under Relationships

You view a friend’s JDate profile, and it’s a train wreck, yet they don’t want to accept a word of your advice. You see a friend falling for a scumbag, but they don’t care about your opinion. You watch a friend walk to the chuppah to meet Mr. (or Mrs.) Wrong, but they don’t want to hear one word of caution from you. Should they? Some people have to make mistakes on their own to learn life lessons. It doesn’t matter if you went through THE EXACT SAME THING, they need to figure it out for themselves. And don’t you dare say “I told you so” afterwards. Would you have listened? Probably not.

I had a serious boyfriend when I was 20, and he wasn’t Jewish. My parents didn’t guilt me or pressure me; they just let it play out. I got seriously heartbroken… and I kept dating goys. My parents made jokes here and there, but they let me go on my journey. Were they surprised I didn’t find my Beshert until I started dating Jews? Probably not. But they kept it to themselves. They knew their opinions would do nothing but alienate me. So when my younger friend Jessica was following in my footsteps, I shared my story with her as a subtle way to show her what I thought I was the right path. Ultimately Jessica chose her own path and is happily married to her non-Jewish Beshert.

People have to do what feels right for them, even if you can foresee trouble ahead, you need to let them do their thing.


Coffee Break

by Tamar Caspi under Date Night,Relationships

I’m anti-coffee dates for first dates. A coffee date sends the message that you don’t have faith the date will succeed and therefore don’t want to waste your time, money or effort. You’re not willing to risk your Friday or Saturday night, you’re not willing to take the time to get dressed up and you’re not willing to shell out the cash for a nice dinner. A coffee date only has to last as long as your Tall Mocha Latte, and if you arrive first you can go ahead and order for yourself eliminating the awkwardness of dealing with the bill. There’s less pressure, but it affects your mindset of the date, and that’s more important. I know you’re probably burnt out and have limited time available, but this is your Beshert we’re talking about — if he or she isn’t worth more than coffee, then (s)he is probably not your Beshert.


Disconnected

by Tamar Caspi under Relationships

Dear Tamar,

My boyfriend of three years passed away ten months ago and I’ve just now gotten back into dating. I already met a great guy. We were smitten, he was very into me, loving and affectionate, but after eight weeks I felt a disconnect.  He told me in a text that it wasn’t me, but wanted to get out of our relationship before he felt trapped and it would be best not to see each other at least for awhile. It wasn’t me, he said, but after awhile he feels that dating is more work than enjoyment. HUH?? I took his lead with our relationship so what is that all about?

Dear Disconnected,

I’ll be blunt — it sounds like he’s not interested in you anymore but is trying to let you down easy. You didn’t do anything wrong; from what you’ve told me, he simply discovered after 8 weeks you’re not his Beshert. At least he figured it out after 2 months and not 2 years. It sucks that this is your first experience after your loss and returning to the dating game but, unfortunately, it sounds like you’ve been initiated back into the club. As a side note: This guy doesn’t sound like he’s going to be getting married anytime soon!


Hope for the Hopeless

by Tamar Caspi under Relationships

I want to share my friend’s story to give hope to those who are feeling hopeless.

Lila was 36 when her long-term boyfriend (who was divorced with two children) decided he didn’t want to have anymore kids. Since she knew she wanted to be a mother, she broke up with him and decided to go ahead and freeze her eggs. It may seem extreme, but she was, after all, nearing her late thirties and didn’t want to take any chances. After Lila turned 38 and still wasn’t in a relationship she decided to start saving money and researching “donors” – both from friends and those from a bank. Lila could accept being single but she was going to do anything in her power to have a child.

At 39 Lila had selected a donor from a bank but hadn’t yet started the process. And that’s when she met someone. Saul was the same age and also wanted children. The two became serious quickly and their engagement was announced soon after. Lila and Saul knew they wanted to be parents and since her biological clock was ticking and Lila already had frozen eggs they decided to move forward with in-vitro fertilization. A few unsuccessful IVF attempts later and Lila was losing hope. Now she had her Beshert but couldn’t seem to get pregnant. Could she have it all?

Lila and Saul decided to immerse themselves in planning their wedding and buying a home together when much to their surprise they found out they were expecting! After all the medical interventions, it happened the “old-fashioned” way for them, only confirming that they were indeed Beshert. The wedding was supposed to be six months from then but Lila didn’t want to be a pregnant bride. Instead they went to the Justice of the Peace and got married on paper. The baby is due any day now (Lila just turned 42, by the way) and the big wedding is being held in six weeks, with baby in tow.

Lila’s story is so inspirational. All of her dreams did come true but she wasn’t going to wait around for them to happen, she went after them with a vengeance. As soon as she decided she was going to have a family – with or without a man – her entire demeanor changed and then the right man entered her life. True, she didn’t do things the traditional way and some may think her efforts to have a baby on her own bordered on desperation (or even undermined the concept of family values), but for Lila she was being proactive to ensure she had a family… albeit a non-traditional one.

Now she does have it all and she’s an example for others nearing or in their 40s that it can eventually happen for you too. You may not necessarily feel the need to follow her exact path, but there are other things you can do to “complete” yourself which in the meantime will distract you and better you until your Beshert comes along… which in turn will seem to happen much faster because you’re too busy being distracted with bettering yourself. The point is not to let life go on around you while you wait for something to happen, but to actually make it happen yourself. Lila didn’t think she would be a 42-year-old pregnant bride, but then she wouldn’t have this particular husband or be having this particular baby.


Closer to Beshert

by Tamar Caspi under Relationships

My friend Lauren told me she recently froze her JDate account. She said she could be going on a date every night of the week with a different guy but none of them ever pan out and she’s exhausted from having the same first date conversation over and over and over again. She’s sick of giving opportunities to guys she knows aren’t right for her and never hearing from guys she thinks she hit it off with. Why is she having such a tough time getting closer to meeting her Beshert?

Lauren is active in the Jewish community – in fact she works for a Jewish organization so she has the scoop on every guy available – and she attends single events regularly. She’s doing everything right. I checked her JDate profile and her pictures are great, her descriptions are witty and her expectations are reasonable. She is always dressed well, make-up and hair done, smile on her face. She’s got a great personality: incredibly smart and funny, with the right amount of self-deprecation and sarcasm. She has a lot of great hobbies, is well-read and is able to speak on a number of topics to make for an interesting conversation partner. So why is she having such a tough time getting closer to meeting her Beshert?

Lauren doesn’t have any unsightly physical imperfections, she doesn’t have an ungainly demeanor, and she doesn’t have a hidden temper. Lauren comes from a wonderful, cohesive family and she has plenty of friends who adore her.  She volunteers and raises money for great causes. She’s an all-around great girl and I’m proud to call her one of my friends. So again, why is she having such a tough time getting closer to meeting her Beshert?

Lauren is far from alone, many single guys and gals also wonder why they’re still single when they have so much to offer. Sometimes they’re just blind to how they’re truly coming across on dates, but for the most part it’s simply timing. I told Lauren to take her break and then to jump right back into the dating world because her chances of meeting her Beshert are even slimmer by not being on JDate. I told her to keep going on JDates no matter how redundant they seem. Eventually it will happen for her. One date, one night, will seal her fate. It only takes one time for a date with seemingly repetitive questions and textbook answers to turn into your conversation partner for the rest of your life.

I know it’s easy for me to say this since I’m married now and not single anymore, but I tried to reassure Lauren by telling her that each day that goes by is one day closer to the day she meets her Beshert. It’s so cliché, but in dating patience and persistence are the keys to success. Blah, blah, blah, right? But what is Lauren going to do, give up and stay single the rest of her life when all she really wants to do is get married to her Beshert and start a family? No, she’s not. Some women are confident with being alone and independent for the rest of their lives, but Lauren doesn’t want to be one of those women.

For now, Lauren is dating in a healthy way by taking a break and keeping her sanity. I know she isn’t going to give up on love and I think she’ll be back online before she knows it. And soon enough I’ll be dancing the Hora at her wedding because I have a feeling she’s going to meet her Beshert in the near future.


Putting Up a Wall

by Tamar Caspi under Relationships

I admit it, I watch “The Bachelor.” It’s my guilty pleasure and I love it! I find it interesting to see woman after woman putting it all on the line right away when there are two dozen other women vying for this one man’s attention whom they know nothing about and have spent little to no time with. On the other hand, it’s baffling when women have walls up and then wonder why they’re sent home. If you’re going on a show looking for love then why even bother pretending to have any pride left? Maybe that’s harsh of me, but it just seems like a waste of time. These women have so little time to get to know the Bachelor and yet some of them are not willing to open up at all.

JDate is the same. The numbers mean you are going to meet a lot of people and start many conversations and tell and retell your life story a million times until you meet your Beshert. Your chances of meeting your Beshert sooner have everything to do with how open you are and willing to share.

Many of us keep to the same script on first dates. We only want to let the person get to know us a certain amount and we want to control that amount because we’ve all been on one of those first dates where we talked for hours and hours only to never see the other person again. Why bother exchanging more than pleasantries until you know if there could be another date? This is the normal, human type of wall that most people, not just singles, seem to have naturally up to protect themselves.


Instinct & Intuition

by Tamar Caspi under Relationships

After you’ve finally recovered from the surprise demise of what you thought was a relationship headed in the right direction, how do you trust your instincts again when it comes to dating? It’s hard to get back out there after a broken heart and it’s even more difficult to know if you can not only trust your gut but also take someone at their word. A broken heart will wreak havoc on your self-esteem, your self-confidence and your self-worth, not to mention your sub-conscience.

About five years ago I was blind-sided by a break-up. Not only was it out of left field, but I felt so confident about the relationship I didn’t know how the guy could have felt differently without me knowing. After a few weeks moping, hanging out with my girlfriends and throwing myself into my work, I was ready to start dipping my toe in the dating waters. I wasn’t ready for a new relationship quite yet, but I needed to bring myself back from the brink. Seeing what (or rather, who) was out there would help me finish healing. So I signed back on to JDate and fielded messages and phone calls from some really great guys who had my interest piqued. But my inner alarm kept ringing. How could I know that this guy wouldn’t hurt me also? I didn’t. That we can never know and it’s a risk we take in love and life. But how could I know that this guy was being genuine about how much he liked me? Again, I would just have to take a risk and make sure I kept my eyes open to any warning signs.

It’s definitely hard to trust not only yourself but the person you’re dating after a painful break-up. You become cynical. Every statement, every action, is doubted and dissected. And that skepticism is hard to hide and unfortunately will lead to making your dates fail no matter how great the other person was. Believe that the right person is out there and that putting only your best self forward will help in finding him or her. Eventually I did meet my next boyfriend, but alas that relationship also didn’t pan out, although this time I was the one to bring an end to it. I would go through more than a few of these before meeting my husband but at least I felt good knowing I gave them 100%.

The thing we all have to understand about dating is that no matter how many dates you go on, no matter how many relationships you’ve been in or for how long you were in them, only one is going to be the ultimate success (okay, maybe two, but that’s not the point here). So each date you go on and each relationship you enter deserves to be given your full attention, your entire focus and entered into with an open heart. Until you meet your beshert, dating is cyclical. First date after first date, relationship after relationship, break-up after break-up. It’s easy to get jaded and frustrated, but eventually the cycle will end with the right person at the right time.


Not My Type

by Tamar Caspi under Relationships

Dear Tamar,

Any tips on what to say to someone who sent me a message but, to be quite honest, is just not my type in the looks department? I know that sounds soooooo incredibly shallow but let’s face it, attraction is important! I just don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings or come off like a b**ch. I want to be honest and I think if someone messages me they deserve a reply! Help please….

Dear Not My Type,

You ask a very realistic and common question. First off, I applaud you for not wanting to just delete and ignore the message because you’re right, people do deserve some sort of reply. Here’s the thing though — you don’t have to say why exactly you’re not interested, sometimes it’s more polite to just decline without explanation. The person won’t be left wondering why you didn’t respond and you can avoid being a b**ch. Simply reply something along the lines of “Thank you for your interest, but unfortunately I don’t believe we’d be a match. I wish you the best of luck finding your Beshert!” You can also tell a little white lie and reply “Thanks for your letter, I just recently met someone and want to see where it goes. Good luck!” Some people may reply back questioning your rejection (i.e. “Why don’t you think we’d be a match? Why are you still signing on to JDate if you met someone?) but at that point you can ignore and block and not feel bad about it.


Serial Dater

by Tamar Caspi under Relationships

My girlfriend Esther* called me last night with a new dating debacle. She met this guy she knows from the community on JDate. His name is Yoni and once they started instant messaging each other, conversation flowed, she laughed, she was interested and it seemed 100% mutual. They went out and the date went really well, too. There was chemistry and they had a lot in common and they wanted to make plans to see each other again. Then the problem reared its ugly head.

Esther started telling some girlfriends that she had met this great guy, a guy she knew from the community but a guy she admittedly probably wouldn’t have given a chance to had he approached her at a local Jewish event. Once she said it was Yoni she started to hear rumors about more and more friends and acquaintances whom had all dated him. Turns out the guy is a serial dater.

Since I know Yoni, too, I was able to give Esther some advice. Yoni really wants to get married (although not exactly in a stinking-of-desperation kind of way) and is willing to turn over every rock to find his Beshert, I don’t see a problem with that but it’s tough to hear he has dated every relatively attractive woman who is active in the community. Some were just one or two dates, others were long term relationships. None of the women had anything bad to say about Yoni, just that “it” wasn’t there. When Yoni runs into his exes at events they greet him cordially with a warm hug and kiss on the cheek. There is no animosity. But there’s also no concrete reason any of them stopped dating. There’s just something you can’t quite put your finger on.

Instinctually, I didn’t think Yoni was right for Esther, but I thought he would be good dating practice so I softened the edges for her. I told her that she shouldn’t have a problem with someone who has dated everyone possible, it just means they are looking for the same thing as her. As long as her friends who dated the guy give her their blessing and warn her if there’s anything worth knowing, I say all he’s free game. Esther had realistic reasons to be concerned, but she had already been on a date with him and enjoyed herself, so why should she be punished because other people didn’t have as successful as dates? I told her that I would be more concerned if she didn’t know one person whom he had dated. Yoni was obviously committed to finding a Jewish woman, and that’s exactly the type of guy Esther was looking for.


Friends or Lovers?

by Tamar Caspi under Relationships

Dear Tamar,

I have a really good long-time friend that has always wanted to date me. We flirt but, until recently, were only friends. I finally agreed to go on a date with him and now that I have, I’m completely confused. Did I have a good time because we’re such good friends and I enjoy his company, or is it more? I can’t even tell if I’m really attracted to him or not. I don’t want to hurt him. What do I do?

Dear Friends or Lovers,

You’re definitely in a tough predicament. You run the risk of losing a great friend while you take the risk of finding out if he’s your Beshert. I suggest having this conversation with him if you haven’t already. He’s obviously had the hots for you for many years and wants you to feel the same way so I strongly believe he’d rather you jump in 100% to finding out if it could be true love, rather than play it safe and never know. To be blunt, the only way you’ll know if the chemistry you felt on your date is real is to keep dating and to get intimate. Cuddle, kiss and see how you feel. You know what that feeling is you’re looking for — the tingly sensation, the butterflies, the spark. And regardless of if you do or don’t feel it, make sure you keep the lines of communication open with him. If you don’t feel anything for him, hopefully your honesty will allow him to one day soon resume a friendship; just don’t expect it to happen overnight. If you do feel something, don’t rush into it because you feel so comfortable together. Just take your time and enjoy!