under Online Dating
Dating when you’re in a state of geographic transition can be tricky. Some people have even advised me against it completely. It really all depends on what you’re looking for, and what you want from a date. The more casual you are about relationships, the easier it is. However, these are some of the things I’ve considered when it comes to dating in “location limbo.”
• Putting yourself out there
• Getting some dating experience
• Meeting someone who you want to spend time with
• Gaining a new friend or activity partner
• Finding a short-term intimacy partner (if that’s your thing)
• Communication complications and logistical issues
• Having an expiration date on your relationship
• Switching to a long-distance situation under time constraints
• Hurting someone
No matter what, it’s important to be forthright about your situation. Some people will not want to date you if you disclose your situation, but you save both parties a lot of grief in the end.
Way back when I was working in broadcast media I planned on moving to New York one day. So, every time I went to visit (which was often) I would change my JDate profile to show the zip code of the friend’s place where I was staying. I would then check out my NYC prospects and even set-up dates if there was someone interesting enough. I was honest and would add to my “About Me” paragraph that I was looking to move to New York.
If you’re just going somewhere new for a weekend and you don’t plan on ever going back to that place, then it’s not worth taking the time and making the effort to change your profile. If you do decide to go down that route, then don’t be surprised if it’s just a vacation fling.
I never did end up moving to New York, but knowing that there were impressive prospects there was exciting. If you are on the fence about moving somewhere, looking to see what — or rather who — is out there is a great way to help you make up your mind.
under Date Night
One thing that will almost certainly change as I move to the Northeast in the coming month is the way I date. Though I’ve touched on it in this blog loosely, I don’t think I’ve fully explored what I’ve been doing. I’ve dated a lot in the last year, but not in the way most would normally think: I’ve done a lot of Skype dates and dated girls in other states.
The whys behind that could fill an entire blog post (and have). More important, I think, are the lessons I will have taken away from this year of untraditional (yet amazingly rewarding, especially once things move beyond Skype) dating. The big ones are as follows:
- Controlling my physicality. The main thing you learn from dating via Skype is how great it is to just talk to a person you’re romantically interested in. The talk can get flirty, and there is definitely possibility for tension (in my case, every girl I met was from JDate or other Jewish sites, so there is no question we both like each other before getting started), but it’s just that — talk. I’ve never been one for physicality in general other than light touches on a first date (I believe in getting to know people at slower rates, but that’s just me), and with a screen between you it’s almost like the orthodox style of dating — just a chat to learn about each other and where you’re headed.
- Texting. While texting can vary in other relationships, it helps to hold interest in a long-distance, online-created relationship. Sometimes it can be as simple as just observing something about my day and asking how the other person is, but overall I like checking in when it’s our only method of daily contact.
- Understanding my options. When my first online relationship began, I was definitely skeptical. We’d chatted for a few months on JDate while I continued to look locally, but once we brought Skype in, it was different. Crazy as it sounds, you get to feel good about the fact that you’re sort of seeing someone and it boosts your confidence. This can be true of any relationship, but in the case of living in a small town without many Jews, and thus fewer options, this can be a great game-changer for your confidence.
In short, all of these lessons can be learned by not doing the long distance/Skype deal, and it’s certainly not an ideal situation. But for those of us in places outside New York, LA, etc., Skype dating can offer you real opportunities beyond those same few girls you always see online. I became regularly fixed on the “currently online” page, and was constantly surprised how many people were interested in someone in another place — the same way I was pleasantly surprised when a cute girl from California first messaged me last year. It definitely seems weird at first, but if you’re willing to see where it can take you, you never know what possibilities may come.
under Date Night
As someone who has been in the same city for the last fifteen years, meeting new people to date can be a little bit like a waiting game. Dallas is a city where a lot of people stay for a long time if they’re from here, but the new faces tend to come and go. When a new person comes into our “Young Adult Jewish Community,” it’s like a feeding frenzy. We go from calm, collected adults to hungry, overeager singles on the hunt for the next potential spouse.
I was extremely guilty of this for a while, but in the last year I’ve tried to fix my problem of familiar faces: I’ve started looking outside my city. Through the miracle of Skype, and a mother who was always meant to work as a private investigator (she has a PhD in late-night Googling), I have avoided being tricked by people into strange situations. I’ve also met some amazing people in some amazing places. Starting in April of this year, I widened my search parameters largely to include “relocation,” and occasionally to just people who are online anywhere in the U.S.
Though I worried (and almost secretly hoped, for the sake of a great story) that my first long-distance match would actually be a crazy cat lady, I was in safe hands after a short drive to Little Rock, Arkansas on July 4th. In fact, my four-day-long and three-state-wide first date weekend was one of the best dates I’ve ever been on. Though the relationship didn’t work, it gave me a lot of hope in the possibility of meeting wonderful women outside of Dallas. I even went on a date with a girl I met on JDate while on vacation in New York and have set up Skype dates with other girls in random places.
Is it the most physically-rewarding kind of relationship? Definitely not. But it’s the kind of thing that stops me from excusing my relationship situation by saying, “There’s no one left in this city!” My dating pool suddenly got a whole lot deeper.
About twenty-four hours before being told I was going to be blogging for JDate, I was sitting with my new classmates from business school. They were sitting on their LinkedIn accounts, building networks and uploading resumes. What was I doing? I was sitting on the “currently online” section of JDate and mass viewing profiles.
My name is Aaron Stayman and I am a mass JDater in Dallas, a city without much of a young JDatabase (I wish I could promise that is the worst pun you will see in this column, but I do intend to be a Jewish dad one day). I spend a lot of time on JDate and going out on dates, and even more time thinking about dating. It’s something I enjoy so much, I’ve written and changed friends’ profiles, given Jewish males in my area makeovers, and have referenced books for friends to read to help them get better at the extremely niche game of Jewish online dating.
I’m 23 years old, but like many of you I’m looking to find someone for a serious relationship, even if marriage isn’t in my sights for a little while. One thing I’ve really enjoyed on JDate is long-distance dating. That’s been my niche, and I have plenty of fun stories on that front (especially involving my mother and the lengths she attempted to go to when I went to Arkansas to meet a girl from JDate after Skyping for months, or when she tried to follow me through Central Park on a date during our latest trip to the Big Apple), but those will have to wait until we’ve gotten to know each other a bit better.
The good news for everyone out there, male or female, is that I’m trying to make my time on JDate better every day, as well as everyone else’s time. I have helped guys become cooler versions of themselves — as well as helped them to understand how to bring out the naturally cool people they are. I’ve also made girls laugh and even given tips to female friends about things they can do to improve their dating. I’m no pro, and my advice may even be wrong from time to time (everyone is unique on this site, after all), but I look forward to sharing my random thoughts with you and hope you’ll enjoy the journey we’re about to share together as well!