How Do You Feel About Israel?

by Tamar Caspi under Date Night,Israel,Relationships

If you’re going on first dates right now it’s probable that the war on and in Israel will become a topic of conversation. If you’re passionate about Israel then it may come up — even when there’s not a war going on — or if you’re passionate about another major current event then you can use that as a measuring tool as well. Finding out how someone feels about what’s going on in Israel, and around the world, will likely have an effect on how you feel about your date.

Let’s assume you’re a devout supporter of Israel’s right to defend herself:

If your date doesn’t have much of a clue aside from some headlines while they scroll through their Facebook feed or watch TV, then you may be turned off by the lack of interest in a topic that effects all of us.

If they are knowledgeable but don’t spend time advocating for Israel, then that may be acceptable to you.

If they are sharing articles, attending pro-Israel rallies, and losing sleep after watching the news then you may feel a deeper connection.

If your date thinks Israel is at fault, and denies Hamas’ use of civilian shields, and tweets FreeGaza, and so on, then this person is very, very likely not for you.

You can gage a lot about a person by how involved they are politically, and make some valid assumptions, and then decide for yourself if this is the type of person you want to be with in a romantic relationship. That said, don’t spend your entire first date debating anything political, that’s less than romantic. Simply stating that you’re stressed about what’s going on in Israel right now and listening to their response, should be enough of a telltale sign. Then carry on as you see fit.


Revealing Your Backstory

by Tamar Caspi under Date Night,Online Dating,Relationships,Single Life

Not everyone has a backstory, but lots of people do. Positive or negative, when to reveal that story after you begin dating someone you really like is a normal worry — especially when you have something important to divulge.

I’ve written previously about being honest and addressing a physical disability from the beginning; and I’ve written about how to discuss a divorce and/or having children in a minimal way in your profile and on a first date; but how about a backstory that isn’t visible? Are you a cancer survivor or do you suffer from depression or were you abused or were you adopted or any other background that made you who you are… but no one would necessarily know unless you told them?

This type of backstory is not one to include in your JDate profile, or even to bring up on a first date, but you do need to open up relatively early on. If the story is too much for your date to handle, then let them leave — clearly it’s not the right person for you and that’s why you need to reveal your story sooner rather than later. Unless it’s relevant to a conversation you are having on a first date, then save your confession for your second or third date. This does not mean that you are ashamed of your backstory, just that you want to have prospects get to know you for you, and not your story, particularly if it is a sob story.


Learn to Listen

by Tamar Caspi under Date Night,Relationships

Going on dates, being someone’s significant other, and just being an all-around good friend means that you need to be a good listener.

When you’re on a date, it’s normal to chime in with a “me too!” when you’re looking for commonalities, but make sure you allow the other person to complete their thought. When you’re in a relationship, it’s normal to become a sounding board and to chime in with advice — but sometimes it’s best to just be there as a symbolic shoulder. Being a good friend does not always mean needing to speak, but instead just allowing the other person to talk and feel heard.

Listening is a skill. Learn it. It will come in handy in your love life and many other areas of life.


Dating & Politics

by Tamar Caspi under Date Night,Israel,News,Relationships,Single Life

In light of the attack on Israel, and all the conversations and debates going on, it seems as good a time as any to discuss how to deal with politics when you’re dating.

This is not typically a first-date topic, but skimming the surface is important if politics is one of your passions. Knowing if your date shares your stance on domestic and international issues can be imperative in deciding if there should be a second date. Getting into a full-on debate over dinner on your first date, however, is not a good idea. Having a healthy disagreement on a fourth date is awesome though as it will reveal your date’s views on current events, their level of interest in current events, and how well they listen and respect your opinion.

Obviously if you are a pro-Israel advocate, and your date is a Palestinian sympathizer, then you may have difficulties. Same goes for a staunch left-wing, card-carrying member of the NRA and a super-liberal, anti-corporation socialist. Probably won’t work. But never say never. Respect goes a long way!


Forced Affection

by Tamar Caspi under Date Night,JDate,Single Life

What happens when you really like someone, but don’t necessarily feel comfortable being overtly affectionate quite yet? How do you force yourself to make sure you’re sending the right signals that you’re interested in the other person? Eye contact, placing a hand on a leg (or arm or small of the back), letting your foot or thighs or arms touch when you’re sitting near each other, giving authentic compliments, laughing at jokes, greeting each other with a hug, saying a long lingering goodbye. Little things go a long way.

Inversely, if you keep going out on dates with someone, but never make a move or flatter your date, then don’t be surprised when your date eventually rejects your next phone call.


Be Vulnerable

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

I have some random TV show on in the background while I sit at my computer working, it’s called “UnDateable” and (so far) it’s unwatchable… but good enough for background TV. However, I glanced up a bit ago just in time to hear the words “be vulnerable,” and thought “YES!”

So many singles are NOT showing their vulnerable side, and then they wonder why they never go out on second dates. It’s okay to have a wall up, but only to a point. You have to show that you are open to love, which means being open to getting hurt. You can do this in one simple step: let the person sitting across from you (or next to you, depending upon how you’re sitting LOL) know why you want to be on this very date with him or her at this very moment.

Start there and see where it goes.


Manners Reminder

by Tamar Caspi under Date Night,Single Life

I have heard SO MANY awful stories about dates with bad manners that I was compelled to write yet another post about manners — not only on a first date, but for the first few months of a new relationship.

  • Boogers — If you feel that a nose nugget is loose and tickling you, then excuse yourself to go to the restroom to dig it out. Sounds funny I know, but there is no reason that you should pick your nose in front of your date.
  • Farts — Sometimes you can’t hold it. I get it. We are all human. If you’re successful at passing gas quietly then you can probably ignore a stench the first time or pretend that one stinky one is from the passing waiter, but you only get one. Once you know your flatulence is foul then excuse yourself to the restroom to see if you can avoid another nose-wrinkling scenario.
  • Belching — Sometimes a burp escapes before you can stop it. Just excuse yourself and move on or say something along the lines of “compliments to the chef,” but don’t worry about it again. If you feel a burp coming then try and stifle it. Keeping some antacids on hand is always a good idea, especially if dinner is taking place at a restaurant that serves food which include garlic, onion, or other belch-inducing ingredients.

Those are just the top few social miscues that keep coming up (pardon the pun) lately. It’s a good idea to practice preparation and avoidance before and during a date by checking yourself (and your bodily functions) before leaving the house, and by not eating or drinking anything that could create a reaction.


The Curse of the Analytical Thinker

by Haley Plotnik under Date Night,Single Life

The other day, I braved my bathing suit fears and went to the pool at my new apartment complex. I was looking around. Some guys were handsome, some were clearly married or age inappropriate, and some were too obnoxious to warrant a second glance. Back in Arkansas, almost every guy at my complex fell into the third category, so I was relieved for some eye candy rather than eye rolling.

While lying outside, enjoying the warmth of early summer sunshine, I had an epiphany: almost none of the two dozen first dates I’ve been on in the last few years have resulted in a second date.

I made a list, of course, of my dating history. This doesn’t count men who failed pre-screening. There are over 24 guys on the list… some of them I couldn’t even remember names. I struggled for 10 minutes to come up with names, only to realize I didn’t know them, so I gave them descriptors. They went something like this:

  • Effeminate guy at Mexican restaurant
  • Law school mama’s boy
  • Hipster grad student
  • Boring guy with great hair

Then my head was flooded with questions.

Am I not being picky enough in pre-screening dates? Am I being too picky on the actual date? I tried to focus on the guys who were interested in seeing me again… Sometimes it’s just highly evident and mutual that we’re not a match. But that hasn’t been the case many of the times.

The other day, I read an article claiming that most of the time, dates 1-3 aren’t indicative of your relationship because:

  1. You’re on your best behavior
  2. You’re so concerned about presenting yourself that you forget to analyze the traits and behaviors of your date
  3. You want the other person to like you and forget you have to like them too

I tend to be somewhat the opposite. The engineer in me gets highly analytical, and while I take the time to engage in conversation and enjoy the food or activity of the date, my mind is constantly taking data measurements. No wonder I rarely feel sparks! There’s zero romance in a date when all you’re doing is checking boxes in your head. My new goal is to try to just enjoy the guy’s company. I’m not going to ignore red flags, but I also know that by date 3, if a guy makes it that far, I have enough of a sense of their character to decide to proceed with caution or cut them loose.


Table Manners

by Tamar Caspi under Date Night,Online Dating,Single Life

A recent story from my girlfriend about her date eating off her plate, and then finishing it off while she went to the bathroom, has inspired this post. Her date also arrived weighing 150 pounds more than his photo showed and he ordered more than a few plates of food for himself, which he polished off before she could eat half of hers. He committed a number of table manner transgressions!

  1. Unless you ask first, or your date offers, do not take a sample of your date’s food. In fact, asking if you want to taste each other’s food is a great way to break the ice.
  2. Keep your phone in your pocket or purse (unless you have kids and then keep your phone on silent on the table and don’t look at it).
  3. Ladies should not assume the man is going to pay. Offer to split and be prepared to have your offer accepted. Men should deny the offer in most circumstances.
  4. Be polite to the waitstaff.
  5. Your first-date behavior should be your best behavior!

How to Live Happily Ever After

by Tamar Caspi under Relationships

A great article in The Week titled “How to Live Happily Ever After, According to Science,” written by Eric Barker, the author of Barking Up the Wrong Tree, gave one amazing piece of advice all couples should remember — whether they are new couples or veteran couples: rather than trying to fix the bad, instead try to increase the good.

The point here is that couples can argue about the same topic for years and never come to an agreement because neither one thinks they are wrong. Neither of you is going to change. Instead, accept that you disagree, and then focus on finding things you agree upon and things you have fun doing together.

Barker also says you can increase the excitement in your relationship by pretending you’re on your first date. Why? Because we were still making an effort to try and impress each other on that first date. Try it!