Everyone is different; we were all raised differently, and prefer a different type of balance in our relationships. Some people want equality, whereas others prefer to let the woman run the show, and still others want men to wear the pants in the family. For many this is due to what their parents relationship looked like growing up. Even if you didn’t like your parent’s balance, it is difficult to break the cycle. Some of it is cultural, some of it is considered old school, and a lot of today’s egalitarian relationships are attributed to modern times with women working outside the home and earning as much as, or more, than their counterparts.
Every relationship is different, and how your relationship is balanced shouldn’t be of anyone else’s concern as long as you are happy with it. That said, you might find yourself in a male-dominated relationship and be perfectly content to move on to a more egalitarian balance in your next relationship. Each relationship balance is going to be different. All that matters is that you feel happy and respected in yours!
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Recently, a friend called me with a question and gave me permission to share his story:
“Ryan” is poly-dating (as I recommend) and is in the early stages of dating “Rebecca,” whom he met on JDate, and also communicating with “Rachel,” a woman he recently connected with on JDate as well. Ryan and Rachel have been trading instant messages, emails, texts, and chatting on the phone — all before their first date. Ryan and Rebecca, on the other hand, have spent time in person, talking until the wee hours of the morning and sharing a few kisses on a few occasions now.
Ryan knows that poly-dating is a smart idea so he doesn’t get too serious about any girl too quickly… but things with Rebecca are progressing naturally and he already really likes her. Now he feels guilty about his upcoming date with Rachel, and he also likes Rachel and feels guilty that he’s spent so much time getting to know her and building up expectations. Should he go out with her?
Interestingly, in this case, I said no, he shouldn’t. He has already spent time with Rebecca and likes her, and wouldn’t be giving Rachel a fair shake because he would be distracted by feeling he’s betraying Rebecca. As unfair as it is to Rachel, his communicating with her while dating Rebecca was the poly-dating that kept a good pace for their relationship to unfold. Now he can commit to dating only Rebecca and see where it leads. Meanwhile, he should be honest with Rachel and let her know that he met someone else and wants to see where it goes out of respect for her and his new relationship. He should end the conversation with a compliment, of course, noting how great he thinks she is since it was only timing that prevented them from exploring more, and nothing personal about her.
Side note: this is another example of why too much communicating before a first date is not beneficial and, in fact, is detrimental by creating unrealistic expectations.
A couple of my friends have recently asked my opinion about their respective relationships, which are all in the same general phase: things were moving along smoothly for several months but both my friends felt they should be emotionally further along than they are. They wonder if they should break-up with their significant other because something is perhaps missing, or if they should continue seeing each other and hope it progresses?
Is there a timeline for when you should be in love?
For one of my friends I supported her decision to break-up with the guy. He already had incredibly strong feelings for her and she was only finding reasons not to fall in love with him. It would be inconsiderate of her to continue dating him because she would be basically leading him on since she didn’t have anywhere near the same feelings.
For my other friend, I supported his decision to stay with his girlfriend and give it more time. Although she felt stronger towards him, she was also aware that he wasn’t in the same place yet. He likes her just fine and is having fun and doesn’t want to put pressure on the relationship to move any faster, and she says she is okay with that. I told him to make sure she wasn’t saying that to him just to placate him because she is hoping he will fall in love with how easygoing she is.
There’s no right time for when you should have the feelings of love, but you do need to know the difference between love and lust, and understand when someone is unfairly feeling far more into you. Don’t waste your time or someone else’s, especially when feelings are involved.
When you’re dating, you will likely make pronouncements about how you feel about various topics, whether that be parenting, where you want to live, what you want to do with your life, how religious you are or want to be, what side of politics you lean towards, and so on and so forth.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t change your mind one day.
And if you’re in a relationship, that doesn’t mean your partner will have to agree or support your change of heart. Oftentimes you won’t realize how you feel about a certain topic until you’re in the moment when said topic presents itself. You are allowed to change your mind, but if it’s something pretty huge (like deciding you no longer want kids, want to move halfway around the world, or want to become an Orthodox Jew), then you can’t expect a significant other to instantly decide to change their life along with you. Follow your heart’s desire of course, and don’t decide not to change because you’re afraid your partner won’t approve or will break up with you. At the end of the day you have to be true to yourself.
That said, if you’re engaged, married or have children, altering your life drastically may be more of an issue, and it’s important to make major decisions like this as a couple.
under Date Night
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.
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.
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We all have crazy schedules and many responsibilities. Everyone has a life outside of dating and relationships, and sometimes it is difficult to find time to see someone you like. That’s why you need to take opportunities when they arise.
If the school you teach at has early dismissal before a long weekend, then make a date for the afternoon rather than going home to catch up on sleep. If you can stretch out your lunch hour and sneak back into the office late, then go on a date in the middle of the day when you don’t have to cut it short and rush back. If you have a busy weekend with out of town family, then break away to have a brunch date or a coffee date, or even a walk around town.
Bottom line: If you want to see someone, then make the time to see them.
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A great blog about “15 Ways We Can Put an End to the Dishonest Dating Culture We’ve Created” echoes many of the same dating philosophies I put forth in the past few years while writing for JDate and in my book, “How to Woo a Jew: The Modern Jewish Guide to Dating and Mating.” The author of the blog laments about how many missed opportunities there are due to going in circles while playing the dating game. She has a challenge for all singles out there: stop playing games by following the 5 tips below.
- Go out on dates and have fun
- Let the person you like know that you like them, and if they don’t like you back, then you’ve now saved yourself lots of time and energy
- Don’t settle or change what you want in order to fit someone else’s needs
- Don’t be afraid to get hurt, or use past relationships to stop you from making a commitment to a new relationship
- Respect yourself and those you’re on a date with whether you want to go out on another date or not, it’s the golden rule: treat others as you want to be treated. That said, if you don’t like someone then don’t lead them on.
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Everyone has that one ex-lover to whom they compare everyone they ever go on to date. No matter how long ago it ended, or why it ended, or even how long the relationship lasted, everyone has their measuring stick (pardon the pun). Everyone also has that one ex-lover to whom they hope everyone thereafter will shine in contrast to because of how terrible they were treated. Sometimes both of these scenarios are the same person. Actually, oftentimes it’s the same person.
It’s perfectly acceptable and natural to experience this. The point is to make sure you are being realistic and have the right perspective. Don’t use an ex to trivial a new prospect, give each individual the respect to earn or lose your adulation. And just because a new prospect doesn’t measure up to all of your ex’s positives, that doesn’t mean he or she should be ruled out — perhaps they don’t have any of your ex’s negatives either!
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We’ve all been there. You’re out with someone you’re newly dating, it’s not a full-on committed relationship yet, and you run into someone who you used to date, and still have feelings for, or you run into someone you’d typically be interested in dating had you not met while with your date!
So, how do you make introductions without burning either bridge? Simple: don’t include titles. Say hello, introduce the person you’re with to the person you’ve run into by first name only, and don’t get flirty. Respect yourself by being respectful to your date. You can always send a quick email, text or Facebook message later that day letting the person you ran into know that it was nice seeing them.