Watch and Learn

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

Somehow in my mind, shopping for a new watch is equated with shopping for a husband.  Allow me to explain this thought process through a journey to the center of my mind: I’ve always been a watch person – I feel naked without one, and I’ve worn several different timepieces throughout my adult years.  And I tend to be more of a “quantity over quality” watch owner, preferring lower quality, trendier  pieces to classic expensive timepieces that will last forever.  A consequence of this habit is frequent replacing – straps break, batteries fail, faces tarnish, and in one case, this chain attached to the strap that I thought was really cool just plain fell off. My penchant for replaceable (read: cheap) watches means I’m always on the lookout for the next style I might want to wear. So whenever I’m shopping at a department store (or let’s be honest – Marshalls and/or TJ Maxx), I usually peruse the watch section so that when my current watch inevitably breaks, I’ll have a replacement in mind. One store in particular usually has a ton of good options for sale, and I never have trouble finding several that I like when I shop.

So anyway, a couple weeks ago, my watch battery died, and soon after, I realized that water droplets had somehow snuck under the glass that protected the face of my watch, rendering it unreadable.  The situation wasn’t worth fixing, so I headed to my favorite store to find a replacement.  But something different happened. Now that I actually had to pick one to buy and wear everyday on my wrist, I suddenly couldn’t find one that I liked! Just a few weeks prior, when I wasn’t seriously in the market for a watch, I saw a display of nice watches, any one of which would look nice and have the features I wanted.  But now that I actually had to choose one to wear, all I saw were flaws.  This one was fine, but I really wanted a leather wrap-around band and this wasn’t exactly what I pictured.  And that one had a nice face, but the band was a rose-gold color that clashed with my other jewelry.  This inner dialogue went on and on until I couldn’t find a single watch that met my expectations. So I left the store, defeated.

And then, standing there empty-handed in the mall parking lot, I had a mini-epiphany: This is exactly why I leave so many dates “empty handed.” The same psychological principle is at play here.  When I look at a group of something (watches, people, whatever), I see a general sense of possibility – a pool of potential. But selecting one out of the group means leaving other (possibly better) options behind, or picking the one that will turn out to be a lemon, or deciding that one is best, only to have your tastes change shortly after selection.  A watch is just an object, and especially for me, it’s not a permanent life fixture. So if I felt that way about my watch selection, it’s no wonder these thoughts and the related fear cause me to “leave the store” of dating without selecting an option.

So back to the story – there I was, watchless. I decided to go to a different store and check out the selection, and I found the same issue – lots of choice, none perfect. It was getting late (I think – I didn’t know what time it was) and I didn’t want to go home empty handed. So I picked the least objectionable option and called it a day. And you know what? I’m really happy with my reliable new watch. I now like the way it looks, and it runs great.  A stylish coworker even complimented it.

So the next time I find myself surrounded by options of people, yet feeling disappointed and ready to leave, I hope I remember to glance at my watch – it will tell me that it’s time to change my thinking.

Do You Expect Respect or Demand It?

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

I was chatting with an ex-boyfriend recently, just catching up on where life has taken us since we last spoke 10 years ago, when he mentioned that our timing was bad when we had dated way back when. My recollection was way different. He was a total jerk who stomped on my heart. Forgive and forget, sure, but I don’t ever really forget.

Interestingly, I am able to take responsibility for a part of it 10 years later. Why? Because I allowed him — and other boyfriends or guys I dated — to treat me disrespectfully. What does that mean? It means I didn’t put my foot down or even run the other way when I didn’t like how they were treating me — not calling when they said they would, canceling on dates, not being totally forthright, not giving me the commitment I desired, etc., — therefore I allowed it. I can see now that many of the experiences I had could have been prevented had I demanded respect. Sure, I expected respect, but clearly not enough. It must be demanded and in this case, actions (walking away from the situation for good) speak louder than words (saying “you’re being disrespectful,” but not leaving, and therefore allowing it).

Perhaps it was an age thing; I was in my 20s. Or perhaps it’s a gender thing. Or maybe it was the type of guy I was going for and the hope that I could tame a bad boy. Likely it was a combination of all of the above. Many young women are so afraid of being dumped, or being alone, or not having the guy come running after you as you walk out the door, or we place our value in who we are dating, that we don’t say anything. We hope it was a fluke, or a one-off, or that they will grow to respect you more.

The truth is that we need to respect ourselves — men and women of all ages — more, and value our worth more, in order to understand why certain behavior is not acceptable and to walk away. Keep walking away until someone comes along who respects you, values you and believes you are worthy.

Speak Now or Forever Hold Your Peace

by Tamar Caspi under Relationships

If you like a friend of yours as more than a friend, and don’t tell them, and then they start dating someone else, you have no one to blame but yourself.

What have you got to lose? Chances are you’re not going to stay friends with someone you had a crush on if they get into a serious relationship with someone else, so why not tell them how you feel?

If you are in a relationship and don’t speak your mind about how you want to be treated, or touched, or teased, then don’t be upset when your partner disrespects you, or isn’t affectionate, or doesn’t know your limits… because you never made your expectations clear!

People are not mind readers, you need to tell them how you feel and what you’re thinking. If you are honest with your words (and your actions support them) and the feelings are not reciprocated, then at least you put it all out there and will have no regrets.

Murphy’s Law

by JeremySpoke under Online Dating,Single Life,Success Stories

Murphy’s Law states something like if something bad will happen, it will, or something like that. I’m not really sure, because if I look it up, it will depress me more. I don’t know who came up with it (I’m assuming Murphy) or the rationalization/science behind it, but from what I’ve experienced, it only comes true if you believe that it will come true.

If you think that you will never find someone, you won’t. If you believe that not buying rental car insurance is going to cause you a lot of pain, it will. If you don’t look at the expiration date of that gallon of milk, you will die. If you have no expectations, then nothing will let you down. I’m not telling you to always be optimistic, because that would be ridiculous. You would always be disappointed. Also, you should obviously not always be pessimistic, or else you won’t make it through your day. I’m telling you, that in most situations, have no expectations. See what life comes up with for you. Whenever you make plans, you’re setting yourself up for either disappointment or severe disappointment.

Blind dates are a perfect example of this. Don’t go expecting defeat, because you will then be defeated. Also, don’t go in expecting marriage, because you will then also be defeated. Go in expecting to have a beer and some food with a nice lady, because that is exactly what will happen. There is usually no such thing as instant gratification. Everything good takes time. Treat a date as an extension of your life. It’s not a gamble where you have to put all of your chips (or money) into one event. Win or lose, it’s just another night of your life. I used to take every date to heart. Everything was calculated. If I didn’t like her, I was disappointed, and if she didn’t like me, I was devastated. That is no way to live life.

You are going to eventually die. That is the only concrete thing that you should expect. What happens before then is due to a lot of factors, the least of which are what you think will actually happen. The only exception is if you’re President of the United States. If you are this person, you have been planning that shit for a very long time. However, thousands of other people also planned to be this person, but failed, and will probably never be. Obviously, a lot of other people have also worked hard towards goals and eventually achieved them. I’m sort of lost and am contradicting myself now, but just don’t give yourself unrealistic expectations, okay?

Priorities Intact

by JeremySpoke under Date Night,Online Dating

I answered the IM but was in the midst of talking to another girl with whom I really felt a connection. Without realizing what I was doing, I think I set a date and time for a meetup with some girl I didn’t even realize I was talking to. When you subconsciously set up an entire evening with someone, and you just think you’re watching TV, it’s time to reevaluate your life. I did not evaluate anything, except for the fact that I knew that the man on the television could in no way eat a three pound cheeseburger.

The date that I planned thankfully didn’t materialize. I was still completely in love with the other girl I was talking to. When the girl I was ignoring texted me asking if I wanted to catch a movie, I accepted because I didn’t want to spend another Friday night watching TV in bed. We decided to meet at the movie theater lobby. I got there a little early, but surprisingly was not nervous at all. I really didn’t give much, if any, thought to this girl who was currently secondary to that other girl. Oh the other girl, I’m glad I eventually never met you.

The theater lobby was crowded. I suddenly looked to my left. She was standing right in front of me. All of my anxiousness and insecurities came flooding back in an instant when I saw her. I didn’t know what to say, and I had no idea why. Usually when I get nervous on a date, I start talking loud and fast. She was not what I had expected at all, and we were both yet still to speak.

I really did not expect to see what I saw. She was beautiful. Not in the sense that her prettiness made me feel giddy or even that I was sexually attracted to her. It was more in the sense that I just felt comfortable and safe. She ultimately didn’t want to go out on another date. That is probably good, because I probably would have eventually ruined something great and obsessed about it for the next ten years.

Wow, that story is extremely sad. It’s probably best to bury the experience into the back of my mind. That, global warming, and my parents’ divorce will all get resolved sometime in the distant future. That is, if there is a future.

High Expectations

by Tamar Caspi under Relationships

Dear Tamar,

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.

Keeping Up the Momentum

by Tamar Caspi under Relationships

So many JDates begin on the phone and can last hours as you get to know each other. Those early phone conversations are so exciting, you’re more than willing to lose sleep to stay up talking and you can’t wait to meet. But often the time between those calls and meeting can lag… so how do you keep up momentum? Sometimes the first date is great and you can’t seem to sync up your schedules for a second date. Again, how do you keep the excitement going?

For instance, my friend Jack met a new JDate at a bar where they talked until the place shut down. They really liked each other and couldn’t wait to make plans to meet again. But she was going out of town the next week and he was traveling out of the country for two weeks after that.

It was so great to finally hear Jack say that he really liked a girl, that she was really cool and that he was really excited to see her again. So I was bummed to hear that it would be nearly a month before they could continue to develop their romance. So many things had to happen and, inversely, not happen to aide them during the hiatus. First, and most importantly, neither of them could meet anyone else who tickled their fancy during that time. Second, and just as important, they had to keep in touch to a point: talk on the phone before he leaves for his trip and exchange a few emails when he is able to check into an internet café. But, thirdly, they shouldn’t build up too much of a rapport while separated because then they run the risk of building up unreachable expectations. There’s a fine line between keeping in touch, keeping the flame alive and keeping the momentum going and actually starting a serious relationship via the phone and internet before spending enough time together in person.

Absence makes the heart grow fonder, but it also can shine an amber light on someone’s faults you may normally hate. Having a month of phone calls and emails after meeting each other only once means that you will only get the person on his or her best behavior. You also won’t get to see facial expressions on the phone or hear vocal inflections in an email. That means when you see each other again in person you may not know each other as well as you think you do. It’s hard not to build someone up in your mind after a romantic night together but as long as Jack and his new crush go into this month apart and into their reunion with realistic expectations then I think they will do just fine picking up where they left off. By giving yourself a reality check and reminding yourself that you will eventually see the cracks in the foundation that we all have, you can go into a date being able to see the forest for the trees.

Inconsistently Interested

by Tamar Caspi under Relationships

Dear Tamar,

I recently accepted a Sunday brunch as a first date from a widower. He mentioned that a year had passed since he’s become a widower and he was seriously seeking a partner to share his life with. He also made remark about an upcoming dinner date where a woman was going to meet some of his friends. Aside from this awkward comment, the date was lovely and as we parted he suggested a second date.

Another weekend passed, phone calls and emails when finally a date was proposed by email but not for another two and a half weeks, again on a Sunday but this time for dinner. He seemed like a relatively normal guy, so accepting the date wouldn’t have been out of the question except clearly I’m not at all on this man’s dating radar with a month between dates selected on Sundays.

Should I just say I’m unavailable, not answer, or acknowledge that he find me if and when his dating schedule opens up? I certainly understand dating a number of people simultaneously as you attempt to find the one, I do likewise. But he’s asking me to make an hour long trip back and forth on a work night when I’m obviously not a priority. It seems incongruent.

Dear Inconsistently Interested,

I think you already know the answer to your question, otherwise you wouldn’t bother asking, right? It sounds like you just want reassurance that rejecting the date is the right thing to do. But, and this is a big BUT, it is possible that he was dating someone, it got serious but didn’t work out, and now he’s getting back in touch with you because he felt a connection. You could accept the date but go on it knowing not to expect much and hopefully be happily surprised. It sounds like this guy caught your fancy so if you’re still unsure just ask him what’s going on. He may be surprised by the question and you may not like the answer, but if it’s going to continue to bother you then why not ask? Good luck!

Email Eyesore

by Tamar Caspi under Relationships

Dear Tamar,

Maybe it’s just me or what I say, but out of 83 emails I sent out I have only gotten back responses from 4 people. What’s the story?

Dear E-mail Eyesore,

Without reading one of your email examples I’ll give you some basic advice. First, a 5% response rate isn’t all that bad. I know one in every 20 emails doesn’t sound great, but it’s not terrible, I promise you. You have to take into consideration that only paid JDate members can open email, so your odds are probably more like 10% if not more. Then, keep in mind that the ones responding are the ones you want to talk to because you have already established a mutual admiration. Now, take a look at your emails and make sure they’re not too generic, not too long, not too self-involved, not over-flattering and that welcome a response. Emails must be personalized. Lastly, make sure you’re sending emails to people that are realistically in your range, whether that be age, location, looks or what have you. It’s great to reach for the stars because you may catch one, but make sure that, in general, your expectations are realistic. I think that if you implement these things and remember that not everyone can read their emails you’ll find yourself not only getting more responses but feeling better about the ones you do get and not wondering about the ones you’re not hearing back from.

Not The Dreaded Talk?!

by RollingStone9862 under Relationships,Single Life

In most relationships there comes a point in time when you need to have “the talk.” Usually what precipitates this conversation is the feeling by one, or both, of you that you aren’t on the same page regarding where the relationship is, what your expectations are, and where it has the potential to go in the future. However even though having this conversation might seem like a positive for any couple it is not always easy to initiate, or have, especially if you have a very unclear picture of where you stand with the other person.

Additionally if, like me, you’ve had bad experiences with these types of conversations in the past, then you know how ominous the time leading up to them feels, and the impending doom that might very well ensue during and after the talk. The last time I had one of these “talks” with a woman I was seeing it started with me asking her, after we had a few drinks, how she would classify our relationship (casual, exclusive, other?); she ended up reacting defensively and threw the question back at me. In a panic I decided to change the subject since I had clearly touched a nerve and had tried to bring up a subject that she wasn’t ready, or willing, to discuss at that point in time.

The feeling of not being on the same page as someone that you are seeing can be uncomfortable; however, I think that in spite of those feelings it is important to do what you can to have an open line of communication with people you are dating. I have been casually seeing a woman for a couple months now and am beginning to feel like we need to have “the talk” because I am not totally sure how she feels about things and where she sees the relationship going. In the end, even though, to a certain extent, I am dreading this conversation because it might not go well, I know that even if I don’t hear what I want,  it’ll be better to have the opportunity to put my cards out on the table instead of remaining unclear on how she views me and our relationship.