Friday, July 07, 2006

Request from a Reader

I just got this email from a reader, and he asked some questions that I thought would best be served by JDA's other readers, so feel free to respond in the comments section and I'll then forward the URL link of the post-plus-comments to him...thanks, and wishing you all a wonderful weekend!
I have only recently come into contact with your column and blog(s) and was merely looking for some kind of direction to take being that my Jdate experiences were too hard to handle, in my opinion. I placed my cancellation with Jdate today, after 7 months of lead-ons and 'just be friends' speeches. I thought that a faith-based/ethnic-based/spiritual-based dating web site would produce at least some meaningful contacts...but sadly, every person that I encountered blamed everything on "chemistry" and used it as an excuse to have no further contact. I certainly understand why people do not want to be brutally honest about certain things....but it really does hurt all the same when rejection occurs. I do not know if you have any contacts with people who have experienced this type of frustration....but if you know of some place, online forum, or venue that similar people use to speak about these issues, could you please help me?


Caryn said...

Off-topic, but on-topic:

JDaters might be interested in this link, if you haven't seen it already

Lyss said...

My current roommate is someone I became friends with via JDate.

Tamara said...

For the person who wrote the email to you. I think might be a good way to go. It is actually not just for frum people and the few contacts I made were nice people, just not for me.

I also want to say don't give up on dating. I cancelled Jdate, I too was frustrated with it. I think you need to go to events, meet people in real life, make sure everyone you meet knows you're looking. You just never know where love might find you. I am dating a guy I met via my blog, and it's going great. So don't give up!

Anonymous said...

One reason I think that online dating doesn't always work is that it's so easy to talk to a half dozen people at a time. If you have that many potential relationships going, it's easy to be picky.

themadjew said...

caryn - that site is a hoax.

Obligatory Snopes link :

And to the person who asked this question -

Yeah, life sucks, don't it? You go out on dates, and you think everything went right. Yet, you call her or send her an email, and she doesn't return it. No explanation or anything. If you press her for an explanation, she just gives you a bunch of crap designed to make you go away without thinking bad things about her or yourself. Yet, somehow, it never works. You're being rejected, and you know it.

I wish it were different. I wish girls would actually be honest about this sort of thing. However, girls are trained to be "nice," which makes it absolutely impossible for them to be honest with you about this sort of thing.

I have the answer, but you're not going to like it. Dating just boils down to a bunch of trial and error. It's a numbers game. If you keep at it long enough, you'll learn from your mistakes, and eventually do better.

Anonymous said...

I don't understand this. I'm always hearing about people who get *annoyed* hearing that their dates didn't feel they had chemistry.

Or like the last post said, that girls pass up on a second date, but aren't honest as to why. Yes, I agree it's really bad when someone doesn't say anything and leaves you hanging. That's never cool.

But YES, it's possible simply not to feel chemistry. It's possible not to feel attraced to someone. But you're not going to say to the guy (or girl), "I think you're ugly."

Instead girls (and guys) say, "I don't see it going further than this" or "I just don't feel the chemistry" or "It doesn't feel like the right match, but thank you for a lovely evening".

These may not be fun to hear, but they aren't necessarily dishonest. I don't know what else you can say (or should say) after one cup of coffee with someone you don't really know. I think being "nice" with a rejection is a very fair option.


ptwelve said...

Emma is correct. There are very few people you ever meet whom you truly adore. It's not surprising that most people meeting online simply don't have any interest in one another.

I hope that any guy online would ask himself why he has not been successful in meeting someone in a more normal way. I find online guys to be passive, awkward, unconfident, negative, and a little bit "off" in hard-to-define ways. There are always exceptions, but basically, the method screens in guys who are not good boyfriend material. It's also possible men are going after women who are out of reach -- they want someone who is a rocket scientist and supermodel, while they themselves don't have much to offer.

annabel lee said...

People generally use online dating sites to find someone to date. You don't create a JDate profile (or JMatch, or whatever) to look for friends. So if you meet someone through an online dating site and you don't feel any romantic connection, you chalk it up to "lack of chemistry" or whatever you choose to call it, and you move on to the next profile that catches your eye. If you're unhappy because you feel you've been rejected too much, take a moment and do an honest self-assessment. Are you presenting your best self in your profile and on dates? Are you doing more than half the talking? Are you actually getting to know the other person over the course of dinner/coffee/whatever?

It's possible that you're just having a string of bad luck. That happens to just about everyone. Just make sure you keep living your life, being involved in things you enjoy (whether it's shul, an improv group, a sports team, a book club, or whatever) and be the best *you* you can be.

themadjew said...

ptwelve, you're full of crap. You are making so many assumptions there.

One, you're assuming that just because someone is online, it's because they can't meet someone else in another way. Two, you are assuming that online dating is not a normal way to meet someone. Three, you're assuming that the girls who are online are all sugar and spice, etc, etc, etc, and their farts smell like cupcakes with buttercream frosting.

Furthermore, I would argue that your response doesn't even address the original question. What this person wants is a place where they can go for feedback on how they can make themselves more dateable. My comment was that, unfortunately, no such place really exists, and you pretty much have to keep trying different things until you succeed. Your response was, "You suck at dating because you stink," which I don't think is going to help anybody.

Esther Kustanowitz said...

Actually, not to negate the validity of some of my commenters, but ptwelve is not full of crap--instead, she is sharing her experiences. She "has found" that the men she's been in contact with are socially awkward, and that's not the same thing as saying all men who are online are there because they can't otherwise get a date.

And since ptwelve isn't dating girls (yet, or that I'm aware of), she can't report on how socially "on" or "off" those girls are. So let's try to think before we respond, okay guys?

Anonymous said...

Boy, "themadjew" sure is mad! I mean, really, really mad! You jumped down ptwelve's throat pretty fast there. I understand your concern, but I'm not sure ptwelve meant it to be mean. I just read it as another person's reflection.

I'll offer the best friendly dating advice to the original poster. I say this to my friends when they start to get overly frustrated with online dating (myself included)...

Take a break.

Take a month off. Drop it. Log in a few weeks from now with less frustration, a new smiling photo, and a profile edit.

Works wonders.


themadjew said...

to quote - "I hope that any guy online would ask himself why he has not been successful in meeting someone in a more normal way."

Thus, she is implying that "any guy online" cannot get a date in what she refers to as a "normal" way.

The original assertion, as well as the implication that online dating is not a "normal" way to find someone is BS, and I called ptwelve on it.

Oh but let's not jump down her throat here. Ptwelve is just sharing her experiences. So everybody, time to jump ship on online dating. All the guys are awkward, and it's not a "normal" thing to do, anyway.

Anonymous said...

I'm a girl and I think The mad jew has it right. I was on jdate and certainly believe it was a "normal" way to meet someone... Yes- there are many socially awkward people - men and women- on the site, but I met some very cool and interesting ones. And lets face it- there are tons of socially awkward people *everywhere*! You can go to a party with 500 people and not see a single one who truly grabs your attention, and 90% of the people you speak to there may seem socially awkward. Why would meeting all 500 of those people one at a time yeild any different results?
Mad jew wrote "It's a numbers game" ... that is eactly what my fiancé- whom I met on jdate- has said many, many times. He was on the site for over a year before we met and estimates that he went on about 120 first dates. Maybe 5 second dates and one chic he dates a few times that never went anywhere. All the while, alsogoing on lots of first dates with people he met in the more "normal" way- at bars, parties and through set ups. A numbers game. no better way to say it.

Anonymous said...

I'm curious...

Has anyone here found that longer conversations BEFORE you met the person gave you a good idea as to what to expect?

How many times have you set up an online date with less than an hour of conversation before hand?

I guess for the people that DID find love on jdate... what was your pre-first date like? How did it lead up to it?


JDater_Girl said...

I have to agree with Emma and annabel__lee: by using an online matching site, you expect to be matched with romantic prospects. When you meet in person, you both have the expectation that you will either want to date or not, but there are no other options (like just being friends, for example).

So at least, meeting people via some of your own interests (playing sports, going to bars, volunteering, whatever) takes the pressure off of "finding a date" and the situation becomes "just meeting new people", and this situation has many more possibilities, where the people you meet could turn into friends or dates.

I guess, drawing from my own experience, that online dating services are not the place to "produce meaningful contacts", as the reader originally stated, but provide the potential to be matched to others for dating. I recommend "producing meaningful contacts" by joining groups in your interest areas and keeping your expectations simple.

ptwelve said...

JDaterGirl, your blog is simply wonderful, and I suspect the original poster can learn a great deal from reading it. I love your pile-sort analysis.

I think the original "meaningful contacts" was a murky phrase, and the original poster meant "a girl I am interested in dating," not a "just friend." He also seemed to think because of the Jewish thing there would be a higher level of kindness or connectedness or something. Not!

Emma, there is absolutely no correlation between how much you e-mail ahead of time and what you really find...unless there is a negative correlation. I came across one reference to a study that indicated the more people e-mailed ahead of time, the more likely the meeting was to be a bust. (I think this is a sorting issue -- by the time you sort out the people you have lengthy e-mails with, your expectations are so unrealistically high you have farther to fall.)

So much is a crap shoot, or just dumb luck.

ALG said...

All very interesting.

The Snopes link posted at the top, though, says that it hasn't yet been determined if this is a hoax or not. Someone told me that his friend actually spoke with the woman in question, but that kind of heresay doesn't mean it's a true story.

I have no advice about online dating.

The Mad Jew said...

ALG - check out the dates on the Snopes link and the gonzorangers link.

All of the emails in the gonzorangers link were dated from June of 2006. The Snopes story is dated from some time in 2004. This means that either the same thing happened twice (on the same dating site no less), or the gonzorangers site (if not the whole story) is a hoax.

Anonymous said...

Re: friendship

When someone says, after a single date, "let's be friends" he/she is almost always just trying to let you down easy. If a person likes you enough to go out with you three times, the person probably still likes you more than enough to be friends. If it takes one date to decide "X isn't relationship material" then that person probably has little interest in seeing you a platonic way either.

(same anonymous who made the "too many dates makes us picky" post)

Anonymous said...

emma- As someone who has found love- more than once- on jdate- I found that how much I talked to them in advance made NO difference, and actually the opposite was true. Often I would have great chemistry on the phone and NONE in person, and then I would be disappointed and irritated that I had revealed more about myself than necessary to someone I never really needed to see again. On the other hand, I dated a man for nearly 5 years whom I almost cancelled the first date because of the initial lack of chemistry on the phone. After that relationship ended, when I went back onto the site, I actually wrote in my profile that I had no interest in developing email / phone "relationships". If the first few, quick emails did not scare me, I would suggest a quick meeting in person. It keeps expectations low, and helps sift through the loads of people out there without wasting tons of time and energy. (after all... it is a numbers game...) Incidentally, I only spoke to my current fiance on the phone for about 3 minutes to arrange a pick-up time and location before we met face to face. Our first date lasted almost 6 hours.

Anonymous said...

As a guy who pays for the dates, and as someone who lives in an area where the maximum number of dates per week is not that high, I prefer to get to know a girl for a few days or a week before we meet in persom. If a first date goes badly after 10-15 hours of conversation, at least I know that she really did positively like me at some point, and that she was giving me a fair chance. If I have a bad date with a girl with whom I only shared a couple emails and a five minute conversation, I feel like I was a just throwaway/nothing-better-to-do date, and I regret spending the money. (I live in a suburb, so lunch dates are not as easy as they are in NYC, where I suspect most of you other writers are from)

Finally, unless you live in a place where there are tons of Jewish people, or you're so great looking that you get lots of date offers, you really have no reason not to get to know the person better. If I average one email per week, what do I have to lose by spending a week getting to know each girl?

(same anonymous who made the "let's be friends" post)

ptwelve said...

To the anonymous just above:
Your logic stymies me. You prefer spending 10-15 hours "getting to know the person better," so you feel she gave you a real chance -- and you consider that less of a waste than if you communicated only briefly? I would argue it is more of a waste. Regardless, the date is equally unsuccessful. Besides, communicating more does not make you get to know the person better. That's an utter fallacy. The poster directly above you makes this point.

These are not really dates. They are pre-dates. The idea is to see whether you like each other enough to have a real date. If you find yourself resenting spending money on girls who are not interested, one suggestion is to go for coffee or ice cream, instead of a pricey dinner. In fact, I am stunned that anyone thinks dinner is even appropriate in this venue.

Boogie said...

If I'm reiterating or repeating what has already been said herein, I apologize; it's just that I've been on J-Date for awhile, and despite the fact I met my girlfriend there -- and we've been together since September '04 -- it's a question of using the site, whether it's JDate,, eHarmony, what have you, and making the best use thereof.

If one has the mentality that "I need a book and some CD's so I will go to and purchase them" and subsequently "I need a girlfriend/boyfriend/wife/husband so I will go to JDate/Match/eHarmony and procure one," that will not be a rewarding experience. If one hits one of the aforementioned dating sites knowing that he/she might not meet Miss or Mr. Wonderful but will perhaps meet a lot of people -- some great, some good, some awful -- than he/she will get a lot out of the site. It's sort of like the difference between expecting the site to find your perfect mate and bring you two together; I see it more as another opportunity to meet people and see if you find someone you really dig and want to get to know. The Big Man helps those who help themselves; JDate's job is to bring people together, not get Shmuel and Sarah married off ASAP.

Or as another of my JDate friends once observed: I have pretty low expectations, so whatever good comes of all this is a bonus, period.

Ahuva said...

I would like to second what Tamara said about trying more sites than just JDate. I know some people who had good results with SYAS and I'm currently seeing someone I met on Frumster.

JDate, in my experience, tended to be a bit more of a "meat market" than some other Jewish dating sites.

Also... sometimes women don't want to give specific feedback because the reason it didn't work with her is not necessarily something the guy needs to fix. I took the train up once for a date and brought a copy of the book I happened to be reading at the time ("Vilette"). It turned out that his idea of good reading is Reader's Digest (I'm not kidding.) He also had no interest in current events other than what was happening in the world of sports. There's nothing wrong with that-- but it wouldn't work for a geeky girl like myself. I'm sure he'll find someone eventually who is completely fascinated by office intrigue stories and football.

Dori said...

This topic has been well covered. I would just add: I have done three spells on JDate since 2002, probably gone out with 20 guys or so over the years. Two of them I fell in love with. Of the 18 or so guys that I met just once/twice: it was either that a) they weren't at all cute or b) they talked incessantly about themselves. Or both. The vast majority of my dates have felt like one-way interviews. My #1 advice for success in dating: express genuine interest in the other person and her opinions. This means you MUST. STOP. TALKING.

Anonymous said...



Hahahah, funniest last line of a post ever.


Anonymous said...

There are soooo many women who don't allow chemistry to happen -- meeting on a Tuesday at 8:10 p.m. for a first date and qualifying the date (before ever meeting in person) that you are "meeting friends" at 9pm on the other side of town is not going to lead to any chemistry whatsoever, no matter who the guy is.

scott said...

Amen brother! Never heard a guy say, "there's just no chemistry between us."

Ro said...

Uhh Scott I've heard that on more than one occassion. Guys are not excluded from using chemistery as an excuse.

Esther Kustanowitz said...

Clearly Scott and that last Anonymous aren't dating men, or undoubtedly they'd know that "no chemistry" isn't just in the women's script. You may not phrase it exactly the same ("let's just be friends," "I like you, I just don't LIKE you, like you...") but it's the same. And we all know it.

Anonymous said...

Those girls that get those "let's be friends.... there was no chemistry" etc... lines must be hearing that from men they did not meet on the internet. In my internet experience, if there was no phone call from the guy after the first date, that just speaks for itself. Done. And if there is a phone call but you, the girl, don't return it, Done. Shalom, Nice to meet you, Finished.
If the guy calls and there is chemisrty enough for conversation, but none romantically, then it is her responsability to say the "no romantic connection"line... because as we know from a previous blog, men will only stick around someone they are not terribly interested in if they thing they are gonna be getting a litlle sumthin' sumthin' for their effort. Is that very cynical? Well, It's true.

Ro said...

My last Jdate and date both told me in an email we did not have chemistery shortly after the date was over. They could have not told me but I guess they did not want to leave me hanging.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I have to disagree with T. Guys, including myself, use the "no chemistry" line just as much as women. There is no divide between the sexes on that one. Also, just as many men as women will or won't stick around for a 2nd, 3rd or more dates to see if chemistry will happen. I think the eternally single folks are the ones that dont give it time. As with real chemistry (you know, the school subject kind, with elements and chemicals and explosions) human emotional chemistry sometimes takes time to happen. It isnt always instantaneous. Problem is that too many people are looking for that instant connection. And well, it doesnt always happen instantaneously. And often, the instant connection, when it happens, doesnt sustain itself and withers away.

People, give it more time.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I have to disagree with T. Guys, including myself, use the "no chemistry" line just as much as women. There is no divide between the sexes on that one. Also, just as many men as women will or won't stick around for a 2nd, 3rd or more dates to see if chemistry will happen. I think the eternally single folks are the ones that dont give it time. As with real chemistry (you know, the school subject kind, with elements and chemicals and explosions) human emotional chemistry sometimes takes time to happen. It isnt always instantaneous. Problem is that too many people are looking for that instant connection. And well, it doesnt always happen instantaneously. And often, the instant connection, when it happens, doesnt sustain itself and withers away.

People, give it more time.

Above Rubies said...

I fully agree with anonymous above. Sometimes it may take more than a date. People get nervous, or have a bad day, and may need an extra chance. I tried online dating on and off for several years. First, and then J-Date when I had decided to convert. I met some really fascinating people, but a lot of them were slow to commit-always looking for the next thing to come along. Before choosing the Orthodox approach, I had my last J-Date. It was a man who I spoke to for several weeks. He was so excited because he said he rarely would meet a woman who could fit into different cultures as well as I can. I'm very honest and up front, and had photos up, and even went so far to tell this man that I had gained 15 pounds and if that would deter him, that he shouldn't come. I picked him up at the airport-he couldn't believe how beautiful I truly was, blah, blah-we had a dynamic conversation-he was so happy to be with me, etc. We got to the restaurant, and I took off my coat. I will never forget the look of disappointment on his face. He was reserved through the rest of dinner and told me there wasn't chemistry on the drive back to his hotel. To the point that instead of staying the weekend as planned, he took an earlier flight and I never heard from him again. Painful, huh? Because I was a size bigger than he had expected? There is way too much emphasis put appearances. At that point I decided J-Date was not for me. It's hard when one lives in a smaller city. There is nothing wrong with online dating. It allows our paths to cross with those we wouldn't ordinarly meet. J-Date is very secular and not as marriage minded as Frumster. I have a friend who met with a shadchan who put her on SYAS, and she has had tremendous luck! Just hang in there and keep an open mind. There are a lot of us out there that feel your disappointment and frustration...

Chutzpah said...

This guy sounds like a Vulcan and I can see why no women have had any chemistry with him. If a sincere guy with an up to date photo and a well-written profile can't find a woman on Jdate, he's not going to find her any place else. There is smorgasboard of amazing women on the site and 7 rejections is nothing. He probably needs to work on the vibes he's sending out and his dating skills. I've made many friends from Jdate even though I think it is way overpriced.