Mike and Jennifer Levinson had their share of dating ups and downs before meeting on JDate. Neither had high expectations for their first meeting, which was Mike’s first JDate ever. Little did he know, it would also be his last…
Our story begins when “I had been in a really bad relationship,” Jennifer remembers. “All my friends were on JDate, meeting really nice guys, and I was still like, ‘There’s no way I’m putting my picture on the Internet!’”All my friends were on JDate, meeting really nice guys, and I was still like, ‘There’s no way I’m putting my picture on the Internet!
Jennifer’s friends gradually broke down her resistance to the idea. “I thought there was no way I’m ever doing this [dating online]. Now, clearly, everyone who’s single does it, but back then it was just starting to take off. If you told me I’d meet my husband online, I would have said you were crazy.”
Reluctantly, Jennifer took the plunge. After three months, she’d gone on a few dates, but not met the right guy. Then she got an email from Mike.
“My best friend had just moved to Texas and met the most amazing man,” Jennifer remembers. “Our big joke was that I would marry a guy from Texas. Well, this guy writes me an email and I saw he had a really cute profile picture. The caption said he was from Texas…”
Despite this bit of providence and a few other basic commonalities in their profiles – neither was a drinker, both liked movies and working out – by the time their date rolled around, Jennifer wasn’t expecting much. “I figured I’d give him an hour,” she says. Mike later told her that his patience was even shorter – 45 minutes was the deadline for sparks to fly.
Which they did. The couple’s first date, at Q’s Billiards in Brentwood, CA, lasted five hours. “It was an instant connection,” Jennifer recalls, fondly. “He was just a breath of fresh air, a complete gentleman, and no ulterior motives.”
The pair found many similarities in their families and upbringing. Both wanted children, and to raise them in the Jewish tradition. They immediately knew where the other stood on a number of potentially thorny issues. “We actually talked about all the things they say not to talk about on the first date. We talked about everything,” Jennifer laughs.
The check arrived while Mike was in the men’s room. Jennifer took the initiative and paid it. Mike was stunned when he returned. “He was beyond impressed!” Jennifer says. “I didn’t give it a second thought. I don’t know why the guy always has to pay for the girl.”
By the time Mike and Jennifer said their farewells, both knew that something very special was happening here. Mike drove home, called his parents and told them he had just met the woman he was going to marry. They’ve been together ever since.
“A month after we met, he took me to Texas to meet his family,” Jennifer recounts. “Six months after we met, we were engaged, and eight months after that, we were married. Our first child arrived nine months later.”
What does Jennifer say to the 600,000 singles on JDate, many looking for their own version of this fairy tale come true? “Without being corny, just… keep the faith! There’s someone out there for everybody. Even if you feel like you’ve had 4000 bad experiences, that doesn’t mean the next one won’t be exactly what you’ve been looking for.” The dates I went on, guys would say, ‘you really look like your picture!’ They were impressed by that.
Jennifer also has practical advice for successful JDating. “The picture has to grab you. But use something from your ordinary life: no touchups. The dates I went on, guys would say, ‘You really look like your picture!’ They were impressed by that.”
She adds that a misleading picture is one of the biggest complaints she hears from singles. “That doesn’t get you anywhere. It wastes your time and the other person’s time. Be honest.”
No one knows better than Mike how suddenly your soul mate can arrive. “I was the first person from JDate that he went out with,” Jennifer laughs, hardly believing it herself. “He likes to tease that he paid 30 dollars for me… Just the one-month membership fee!”
Now that’s money well spent.