under Date Night
Jewish Geography can become an issue when you’re single and seemingly connected to nearly every other single Jew that you know in some way — either you hooked up with their friend, or your friend dated them seriously, or your cousin broke their friend’s heart — and suddenly you feel like there’s no one left to date! But really, very few single Jews are truly “off-limits,” and even then, someone can usually become fair game with a simple conversation.
Ex-spouses of your friends are off-limits… unless it’s been years and they’re now friendly and your friend, in fact, set you two up. If it’s an acquaintance’s ex-spouse then it’s perhaps a good idea to run the idea past your acquaintance before pursuing a relationship. For example: my fiance and I were set-up by a mutual friend who is also good friends with his ex-wife. Our shadchan asked the ex-wife’s permission before making the shidduch.
If one of your friends has never recovered from getting dumped by someone, then that person is probably off-limits. If one of your friends contracted an STD from someone, then that person is, well, need I say more? But if your friend simply casually dated the person, then a simple phone call asking for your friend’s blessing should suffice. And if there was no drama and yet your friend won’t give you permission, then perhaps you need to take a deeper look at both the prospect as well as the friendship.
One of the preferences JDate asks you about is “Located Within” a certain number of miles from your city. If you live in a large city then you can likely select “50 miles” and have many prospects to choose from. If you live in a smaller city or town, then you possibly need to expand your mileage to 100 miles. I strongly suggest you do this, even if you live in a rather large city. A friend of mine in Southern California is engaged to a man in Northern California — which seems far, but is just a short flight away. They make it work, most people wouldn’t have even bothered looking so far away.
On the other hand, if you live in a large city and can’t find anyone worthwhile, perhaps your other preferences are too strict? Are your standards too high? Is there something about you that you could work on to better attract the prospects in your mileage range? You can’t always point the finger at what you consider to be poor prospects, sometimes you have to look at yourself first. Then again, after playing Jewish Geography and finding out that you pretty much know everyone in your immediate area, then you shouldn’t hesitate to extend your parameters and perimeters.
I met a girl last night who told me she was uneasy about joining JDate because she’s “never dated someone she didn’t know before.” Every one of her past boyfriends had been friends before it turned romantic. I explained to her that JDate is not like picking someone up at a bar. In fact, JDate asks SO MANY FREAKING QUESTIONS that it’s as if you are already on your 2nd or even 3rd date before you’ve even met! You may be annoyed while filling out your profile, but JDate does it for a reason – they want you to know that you’re not dealing with some random person, they want you to feel comfortable and know what commonalities you have, and they want you to feel as if you are already friends, or friends of friends at the very least. So don’t be afraid. We’re all members of the tribe and I’m sure if you spent five minutes playing Jewish Geography you would find at least one person in common… which means you’re no longer strangers.
under Single Life
The Jewish community is small. It’s even smaller when you’re dating. And it shrinks to miniscule proportions when you only take into account those that are seriously looking for their beshert. Chances are you’ll see the same people on JDate, at community events and working out at the JCC. If you happen to run into someone you’ve never seen before, odds are they’re the friend or relative of someone you’ve already dated, or your friend or relative has already dated them. The Jewish dating world can quickly become incestuous.
If you really like a guy who previously dated a friend, you want to make sure it’s okay with her, but don’t ask details. Just because he acted one way with her doesn’t mean he’s going to be the same way with you. Hopefully he learned from that relationship and her loss is your gain. All’s fair in love and war, right?
There was this one guy on JDate whose dad grew up with my mom. And another JDater®’s grandparents were close with my grandparents many years ago. I know it sounds cute, but it can get obnoxious. Recently I was set up with a guy I supposedly knew when I was little. My mom even pointed him out in pictures from my 2nd birthday party. A charming story, but it didn’t equal fate.
I met one guy at a Jewish event who had recently moved to town after graduating law school. After adding him on Facebook, I found that he knew many of my elementary school classmates and was able to do a quick, undercover background check, receiving the blessing from all of our mutual friends. Although he isn’t my beshert, I was able to utilize the Six Degrees of Jewish Separation to my advantage.
Jewish geography can be good for the most part. You know what kind of company he keeps, who his friends are, and if he’s an all around good guy. But it can also ruin a perfectly good prospect. Sometimes it’s better not to know whom he’s dated, how much he parties or about that time he got arrested in Mexico. Because that’s his past and may not reflect who he is now or who he is around you and really, that’s all that matters.
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!