Why do we spend more time and energy finding the perfect house than we do finding the perfect mate? When you’re looking to buy a house you hire a real estate agent to represent you, you provide all your finances to get pre-approved and select a price range you can afford. You research neighborhoods and create a list of your must-haves and your negotiables. You tour, tour, and tour some more. Then you make an offer. And then you wait. And you get countered. So you re-counter. And then compromise somewhere in between. And that’s all before going into escrow.
Real estate is obviously a huge investment as you will be putting the majority of your funds into it in addition to being fully responsible for it’s upkeep, not to mention mortgage. But getting married, although “free” in the literal sense of the word, is even more of a commitment, so why are singles trying to cut corners in love?
You should be paying for a JDate membership the same way you would hire a real estate agent. You should get honest feedback from your family and friends the way you would get pre-approval from a mortgage broker. You should figure out what your type is and then branch out from there and you need to make your list of desirables. And then you need to start going on dates, dates and more dates. And be willing to compromise. And that’s all before even getting engaged.
If you think there is a step to be skipped then you would be very wrong and that would be why you are still single. You have to do the work. You have to put forth the effort. You have to be willing to put your money, err, heart, where your mouth is.
Take a pad of post-it notes. Write down all of the things you want in a mate on the notes; one item per note. Stick the notes on a mirror, stare at them, think about them. As soon as you realize there is a trait you can live without, take the post-it note off the mirror and throw it away. Keep crumbling up post-it notes and tossing them in the trash like a basketball drill. Take satisfaction from making a basket. OK, now focus back on the mirror. Now that you’ve gotten the post-it notes down to single digits, try to put them in order as to what is most important to you. It may not be 1 thru 9, it could be three-tiered, but prioritize. What traits are you willing to negotiate and compromise on? Pare the notes down as far as possible and then go back and edit your JDate profile to reflect the exercise you just did.
I talk about figuring out what is important to you in a mate often and that’s because it’s not only important, but it’s also an incredibly difficult task. My list had 75 items on it, but once I put it on a spreadsheet and gave the items a numerical value, the few that ended up being worth the maximum of 10 points were the only ones that mattered. You probably aren’t willing to give up chemistry right? Of course not. But at the end of the day, does it really matter if someone is 37 when you didn’t want someone over 35? Nope!
Can a Cowboy and a City Girl make it work? Does a Southern Belle fit with a Surfer Dude? You see where I’m going here… do opposites attract? They can, and they do. But making it work long term is something else. You have to have commonalities, and more than a few if possible.
The hardest decision you may face is where to live — country, city, suburbs, urban, ocean — who gets to be in their comfort zone? Who has to compromise? And how will the person who compromises be repaid in the end? Should there even be rewards in a relationship — isn’t a successful relationship reward enough? Living accommodations aside, there will be other hurdles that opposites will have to jump, over and over again — but a couple who has a good foundation should be able to conquer anything if they want to.
A relationship is always going to be work, a lot of hard work, and you have to decide how much effort you want to put forth. Is it worth it, or would you rather keep looking for someone with whom you have more in common?
I’m intimidated by men who seem to want everything in one person. They want a woman who is: compassionate, caring, a gourmet cook, active in hiking, scuba diving, in-line roller skating and other activities that I have never done. Superwoman doesn’t exist, or didn’t they get the memo? How am I supposed to measure up?
Dear Superwoman Without a Cape,
My friends and I like to joke that men are looking for a Jewish girl who is a supermodel with straight blonde hair, blue eyes, none of the curves that we’re known for having and, oh yeah, she should surf. Aside from Bar Refaeli, that woman does not exist. At least your list is about personality and hobbies, and not just about looks! Really though, I think that men, like women, have a list a mile long and hope that the person they fall in love with will encompass most of those traits, but you can’t wait for someone to come along who fulfills all of them. I admit that I had a list and yes, my husband meets many of my criteria and because of that I was able and willing to compromise, or give up, on the items he didn’t meet. That sounds harsh, but it’s not.
Instead of focusing on the things you don’t do, mention the traits you do bring to the table and be willing to try the hobbies that a prospect may have that you don’t and on the same hand see if a prospect would like you to teach him or her your hobby.
I also think sometimes people like to make themselves seem much more interesting than they really are due to insecurities. Maybe they snowboarded or kayaked one time, so they list it as something they enjoy doing. Don’t focus on these lists so intently, just see if there’s some kind of connection and go from there.
Why do so many of these women have such unusually and unreasonably high expectations?
Dear High Expectations,
There are both men and women out there with unusually high — and unreasonably high — expectations. These people obviously think highly of themselves and believe they deserve someone, well, possibly unrealistic for them. But really I think it’s a defense mechanism — if no one meets their standards then they have an easy excuse not to put themselves out there and get hurt. Hopefully women (and men) who are taking the time to be on JDate are willing to compromise and are simply selecting every single trait they would possibly want in a mate. What you can’t tell by looking at someone’s profiles is which items are their must-haves and which are their “extras” so it’s worth contacting all the women who you match with and seeing where it leads.
Well, the main question is, how can I get a higher response rate to emails I send out? It seems that so many emails go unread and most of the ones that are read go unanswered.
I know it’s a numbers game, but really it would be nice to hear back. I think there is too much judging going on out there. Even after going out a few times, people run.
I really do try to give someone a chance. We all have issues. We all have quirky things we do. It would be nice to meet girls who are ready, ready to commit, ready to have a life together. I am 43, I know that I will have to make compromises and I will have to change a bit to fit in with someone new.
It would be great to hear your take on this. Thanks!
Dear Response Rate,
Remember that people without a paid JDate account cannot read their emails, so don’t take every “unread” message to heart. As for the ones that are read, now that’s another story. It’s easy to put the blame on the receiving end, and sometimes they are to blame, but all you can do is try and see how you can better your emails and profile and photos to elicit a higher response rate. Are your pictures showing you in the best light? Is your profile appealing? Are your emails too forward? Try to see how you can switch things up a bit to make sure you’re coming across the way you want to because a lot can be lost in translation online. Aside from that, you seem to have a great attitude, ready to meet someone and realistic about what that means in terms of compromising. Good Luck!
My JDating® friend Miriam just met a guy who is approaching 40 and has never been in a serious, long-term relationship that was headed for marriage. I found it highly suspect that someone with so many years of dating under his belt had never been engaged, or lived with someone. I understand that some people were busy and invested in their career. I have sympathy for people who didn’t realize they were being too picky until it was too late. I have empathy for people who simply weren’t ready until they were over the hill.
But I question the person’s willingness to compromise and be compatible with others. Most of the men and women I know who are still single and in their 40s are beyond stubborn and not willing to change anything in their life anymore because they have become too self-sufficient and independent. They are so used to being alone that they can’t seem to share their life in order to make a relationship work.
Every single – no matter their age – needs to be open-minded, willing and flexible. There is not one relationship – friendship, marriage or otherwise – that is successful without compromising. Both participants have to be prepared to meet in the middle. I know plenty of 30-year-olds who are just as stuck in their ways, but luckily for them they still have time to learn and adjust before their biological clock starts ticking in overdrive.
When you meet someone on JDate set rules cannot be applied. I am a big proponent of using JDate as a means to an end (meaning if you are on JDate then you should use the website to meet someone in person not just waste time trading emails back and forth). At whatever point you offer up your phone number (I recommend almost immediately) the clock starts ticking down from 48 hours — that’s 2 days, which is the expected time frame you would call someone if you got their number after meeting them at a bar.
But if the other person isn’t ready to call or isn’t totally convinced you are worth it, then the digits will be ignored and another email will be sent in its place. This is not always bad, but you should set yourself a time limit for a phone call, and when plans should be made by, before abandoning ship. Concessions need to be made, whether it’s allowing a phone call after two days, accepting a first date in the middle of the week or overlooking typos in emails and text messages. Relationships need compromise to thrive, even if that means meeting halfway from the first day.
I’m constantly talking about “the search for Beshert” and finding “The One” or holding off for “Mr. or Mrs. Right.” At the same time, however, I just don’t know if there is only one soulmate for each of us. When I was twenty years old and in college I dated and lived with a guy for a year. Back then, I would have told you he was the one for me and we were going to get married and have six kids and live happily ever after. About a year after he transferred to a university in another state and broke up with me, I realized the heartbreak had caused me to grow up and change for the better. I could never imagine myself with him and couldn’t believe I had spent a year with him as it was! When he came crawling back, I was confidently able to tell him that the best thing he did for me was break my heart. He may have been that “Tamar’s version” of soulmate, but we would have for sure been divorced by now as I wasn’t done maturing as a woman or as a person.
Five years ago when I decided to only date Jewish men and sign up for JDate, my evolution into the person I am today really began. Once I truly learned what I wanted, who I was and where I saw my life going, I was better able to figure out who would make the short list for my heart. Obviously, not every guy – nor every second, third or fourth guy – that I dated could be my Beshert, but a few did make the first cut.
I didn’t – and still don’t – believe that there is only one person out there for you; that lighting will strike when you meet each other, or that you will fall in love at first sight. In order to meet your soulmate you have to make it happen. If you meet someone you like and he or she encompasses the “must have” items on your list and you are willing to accept or compromise on the other items, and the other person also feels strongly enough about you to do the same, then that person could be your Beshert. Your soulmate isn’t going to necessarily encompass every item on your list, nor will you be everything they are looking for – this does not a soulmate make.
When I first saw my now-husband I did feel well, “something,” but I also had to make the first move to get his attention – not exactly ideal in my book. Once we started talking though, the conversation never stopped and that, mixed with attraction that steadily grew between us as we continued getting to know each other, was what sealed the deal. At the time we met, we were both ready to meet someone… “The One.” We had both matured as much as we each could on our own and were ready for the next stage. Meeting my husband at that time and that place was due to a number of components: Timing, of course, but also maturation and the willingness to compromise. Is he my Beshert? Yes. Does that mean someone else couldn’t have been? I guess I’ll never know.