I’ve been contacted by quite a few quasi-singles lately, asking how to create a JDate profile when their current marriage is over, but they’re not legally single yet. “When should I go on JDate?” they ask. “And what should I state as my status?”
There is no one right answer. Some people may be ready to sign up for JDate as soon as they file for divorce because they’ve already accepted their marriage was over long before that. Others may not feel comfortable until their divorce is finalized, which varies depending where you live. Yet, others will feel ready sometime between filing and finalizing their divorce. That is a personal decision.
What to put as your status is another issue as you don’t want to lie, but you also don’t want to give off the wrong impression. If you just filed yesterday, then perhaps “separated” is the right option to choose for now, but if you’re closer to finalizing your divorce, then choose “divorced.”
And remember, you don’t need to mention your divorce at all in your profile, but you should supply some vague details on or before a first date (married 9 years, 2 kids, grew apart, not friendly right now, but you hope it is soon) — and leave the details for when you are further along and dating is turning into something more!
Some divorced women will only seek out a fellow divorcé, as opposed to a yet to be married untested guy like me. If marriages were akin to presidential terms, I’d wonder about this logic, seeing as how subsequent terms are usually less successful (but I’ll still take a second term of Obama over a first term of Romney, thank you).
Then again, I’m missing a woman’s ultimate seal of approval, her willingness to take my name, along with the ultimate seal of disapproval, her willingness to return my name, after quite possibly calling me a name.
Shouldn’t the lack of these two seals cancel each other out?
My girlfriend Joanna is dating a guy I know who is a divorcee who has full custody of his daughter. His daughter is his life — as it should be — he was born to be a father and wants to continue having children even if it means continuing to be a single Dad. The only problem with this guy is that he brings nearly every woman he dates around his daughter even before the relationship has become serious. As a woman, how do you act around a young girl who has seen many women come and go? Luckily the girl is sweet as can be and obviously resilient. She is slightly uninterested at first, as expected and after meeting the same woman a few times she will remember her name and will even play, but she definitely has her guard up. This little girl is wise beyond her years.
Many women will think that meeting a man’s daughter means things are serious, but if he wants you to meet her after just one date, I would suggest you tell him that you’d rather wait because it almost seems as if he’s using her as a pawn. I understand he has full custody, but that doesn’t mean it’s the right thing to do. Try to wait until you’ve had The Talk if you can and then once you do meet her, bring a small gift, ask her questions and try to find something to do as a group. Don’t engage in affection with her father in front of her. Try to imagine if you were the single parent and how protective you would be about bringing a new love interest around your child. Take it slow. There’s really no need to meet someone’s child until after you’ve become serious, so don’t.
Something tragic happens to you and the entire Jewish community knows about it, so how do you date after personal disaster? Tom Selleck’s character on “Friends” perfected the sympathetic head tilt “how are you?” when he was poking fun at how people were handling him with kid gloves following his divorce. The gossip mill is busy, and you’re the topic: divorce, death, illness, rejection, whatever. But you’re still single and you still want to meet your Beshert, so how do you rise above it?
You don’t owe anyone details, but don’t shy away from the fact of the matter either. Be prepared to address it and do so calmly, gently, and succinctly. If you don’t want to be a victim, then don’t feed into it. Let your dates know that there’s so much more to you than whatever the tragedy was you experienced. The Jewish community is great about coming together and supporting their befallen – and you should allow them to help you until you heal – but when you’re ready to move on, let people know. Don’t make people feel uncomfortable for showing concern, accept it and change the subject.
Drama does not define you. But make sure you are truly healed from whatever it is before even attempt to date seriously.
You sit indifferently at the restaurant across from a woman you swore you have seen before. Have you been set up on a blind date with someone you actually went on a date with long ago but can hardly remember, or have you been married to the same woman for so long that your brain reorganizes itself every time you look at your spouse to prevent yourself from committing suicide long enough to enjoy this wonderful dinner at Olive Garden?
If you chose option number two, then it is high time to file for a divorce. If, however, you are not married, then the separation should be relatively simpler. However, do not mistake comfort for misery. That is, if you’ve been in a relationship for years, and are only in it because you work a minimum wage job and your significant other is a lottery winner, it’s time to cut them loose. In an anecdote that probably resonates with more people, don’t stay with somebody simply for convenience. This is good advice unless, of course, both you and your boy/girlfriend are boring. Then you’re screwed.
What I don’t understand however, is the ongoing relationship between a highly exciting person and someone who is dull. What are you doing? You have a lifetime of adventure that you’re just wasting so that your conservative parents will be happy. Or, is there a deeper dynamic that has already existed between your uptight parents? Maybe one day, long ago, they were exciting too, but gave up their hopes and dreams and international differences in order to appease somebody as well.
Was this originally about when it’s too late to break up? Was I originally supposed to give advice?
I am about to be divorced. When I start dating and my date enquires why I am divorced, how much does one tell them before they are put off? My soon to be ex husband is a substance abuser and ruined our lives. Do I go into detail about this or not? Will it reflect badly on who I am? Please help!
Dear Divorce Drama Disclosure,
You don’t owe anyone an explanation. You only need to say that you’re divorced and that’s it. When it gets serious with someone then you can go into detail and divulge your past, but for now keep it to yourself. Your ex’s problems don’t make you look bad because it has nothing to do with you and I hope that you don’t let it effect your confidence as you begin a new chapter in your life. Not every guy is a substance-abusing jerk who wants to hurt you and I hope you’re open to eventually trusting a new man.
I am having difficulty meeting men in the city of Boynton Beach, FL where I live and I’m not a barfly. So, I’m turning to JDate for a little help. I have been divorced for 5 years now and am definitely ready to be your next success story! Could you please give me any helpful advice/tips on how to make this a successful dating experience? Do I need to make the first move? Should something in my profile be changed? I would appreciate ANY advice/help to make this successful and a fantastic experience. I will be joining within the next couple days. I look forward to hearing from you and thank you in advance for your help!
Dear Next Success Story,
I appreciate your eagerness to seek help. I know you’re not a barfly but find out when there’s going to be JDate event in your area for starters. Be honest about your divorce both on JDate and on dates but don’t give too much information too soon. Keep the details to a care minimum. Once you create your profile, go through all of your matches and start using the tools to Flirt! and so on in order to let the guys know you’re interested. Make sure you’re preferences are realistic but not too narrow. I think you’re enthusiasm will help you land a lot of dates quickly!
I feel that I receive limited responses to my JDate profile and was wondering ways to attract women? I am tall with diverse interests but divorced (no children) and in my mid-40’s. Any suggestions?
Dear Great Catch!,
You are, in fact, a great catch based solely off of the information you just gave me. I know of dozens of women who would be interested in you! So that means you’re probably not representing your best self in your profile since you’re not receiving replies. Try taking new photos – this New Year’s is a great time to get some candid photos of you having fun and celebrating! Make sure your preferences are realistic. I know women in their early to mid-thirties who would be interested in you, but you will, without a doubt, have more luck with women in their late thirties to mid-forties, so your age range needs to be pretty broad. Finally, although I’ve now told you that you seem like you’re a great catch, make sure your About Me paragraph doesn’t come across as cocky. Nothing is worse than a guy who is a great catch and says so himself! Oh, and instead of just saying “diverse interests,” actually name some of them that are indeed diverse. Having broad preferences is good, making broad statements is not.
In your August 23rd column entitled “What’s TMI?” you advocate withholding information – such as being divorced – from one’s profile or introductory email, as it is “too much information” (TMI) and you seem to suggest waiting until you’re already making plans to meet to mention it for the first time.
While I think I understand your rationale and agree that it is unnecessary to ‘tell all’ at the outset, it nonetheless smacks distinctly of being dishonest, or at least less than candid – which is hardly the right way to kick off a potential relationship. I’m specifically speaking to divorce. Can you clarify?
Dear TMI Clarify,
I appreciate your response. I’m not telling anyone to lie. In fact, people who lie in their JDate profiles abhor me because they’re going to be found out eventually. In the specific letter you are referring to, the woman was recovering from a major surgery and in that specific case I didn’t feel it was necessary for her to use her “About Me” paragraph to talk about it, though I did advise her to tell her dates on the phone prior to meeting.
As for divorcees: If you’re divorced, separated or widowed, you most definitely need to be honest and check the appropriate box. My advice is simply not to get into all the gory details about your previous marriage — or even about previous relationships if you’ve never been married — in your “About Me” paragraph until after having been on a few dates. And as I said in “What’s TMI?” this rule goes for anything pertaining to drama in your life. For those previously married you should absolutely not lie as it is a part of your life and forever will be. But spending two hours talking about your divorce and how the children are handling it is simply not romantic nor does it allow your date to get to know YOU. I hope I’ve cleared things up!
under Date Night
I am so incredibly puzzled. I have gone on numerous dates that all seem really great. They’d last an average of 2-3 hours for dinner. My photos are completely accurate and updated. In fact, I am often thanked for being so honest. I am 48 and look much younger (and awkward to say about myself, but I am considered very attractive). I have teens and am dating men around the same age as me. I have been completely puzzled because I am not being called for second dates by those I would like to have a second date with. One recently texted 30 minutes after the date to say he had a great time…and then no follow up. I am really confused and feel like shelving dating.
Dear Ready to Give Up,
Don’t shelf dating just yet. I look at this from a “so far, so good” perspective: you obviously have good photos (and look like them!), you have a lot of life left to live and the men are spending a pretty big chunk of their time with you. If you remember dating the first time around, you’ll recall it wasn’t easy then either. And now you’re bringing age, experience, kids, and all the pluses and minuses that come with that to the table — and probably so are the men you’re dating. So what’s the problem? Why aren’t you getting 2nd dates?
I think what you have to look at are the conversations you’re having on the dates: are you talking about yourself and asking questions about your date? Or, are you commiserating about your past relationships, the stress of having teenagers and so forth? Although these topics may seem like bonding conversations and you may think that by putting all your cards on the table the man will know what he’s getting into, these topics also have negative connotations and may not leave a man thinking he’s had a great time. Instead, he may think he’s left a therapy session.
Once you meet someone you like you’ll each have plenty of time to discuss your past, but right now you should be talking about upbeat, positive subjects. What interests and hobbies do you have in common? Play Jewish Geography (but don’t talk badly about anyone, that’s bad karma). Talk about what you’re both looking for in the future. I believe if you stick to these topics on 1st dates you will start landing some 2nd dates. Just don’t give up, it will happen! Good luck!