Aleeza Ben Shalom – Money And Dating

Money can come up at different stages throughout the dating process. It is an important conversation to have, but we don’t want to let money be the deciding factor either. Here are a few tips on how to broach the topic of money and how to handle the discussion of finances generally – from first date to chuppah.

Splitting the bill splits the connection.

Ladies, let the gentlemen treat you. Gentlemen, take her out – your treat.

Sometimes money comes up right at the beginning. It starts off innocently enough – a nice first date, an enjoyable meal and great conversation, and then the bill arrives. The dreaded question: do you want to split the bill?

Don’t say it. Gentlemen, just take the ladies out. No, really, insist that you pay for her. Ladies, don’t set him up to fail by insisting that you pay your half. For the first few dates, take her out. If she says, next one is my treat, then okay, let her do that. It’s still major brownie points if you insist on paying even when she chooses the date and venue, and offers to pay.

The psychology behind this is that men want to take care of a woman, and women want to be taken care of. The act of paying for the date signifies that the man likes you enough to take care of you. It isn’t about the dollars and cents, or who makes more.

We develop love through giving. Taking her out, driving her, picking and dropping her off, and walking her to her door, is about giving. This is how men give. So ladies, let him give to you.

How do women give? Women tend to be more emotionally ready and available – we draw someone out of their shell. We spend time preparing – hair, makeup, clothes, nails – whatever is important to us. Statistically, women spend a lot of money on these types of things, and time on it. We create an energy on the date, and put in time and effort into dates this way.

By taking the bill out of his hand, we aren’t giving him a place to give. It’s about a give and take, not just splitting everything. It creates an element of romance – I take care of you, you take care of me, versus just treating everything like a financial arrangement. Splitting the bill splits the connection. The goal is to build the relationship. Each person takes care of the other one at a different time. In the beginning, it is nice for the man to pay, “the gentlemanly thing to do.” Learn how to receive graciously and accept his gift – say thank you!

Money talks can break a relationship.

Decide if there is a future before bringing finances into it, but do discuss it before things get too serious. Before opening up the conversation about money, take the time to get to know each other and make sure there is a real connection. Once that is established, discuss what you want your life to look like. Do you rent or own? Do you have a car? What is your career path? What do you envision yourself doing in 5 years? Will things look differently when you have a family?

When do you start to have these conversations? It really depends on the level of the connection. The first few dates should be spent enjoying the person’s company and getting to know them. Decide if you like them, if you want to continue seeing them, if there is something significant here. Figure that out before money enters the picture because money can make or break things. You want a solid foundation before it enters the conversation.

Once you feel comfortable, you can start to discuss these things. Do either of you have student loans, or are you in school, or planning to go to school in the future? Where do you want to live? What kind of debt do you have, if any? At what point do you share these things?

It’s a good idea to have these deeper conversations once you realize you feelings start to develop, but before you’ve lost all ability to be objective. Your own personal comfort level will determine when you are ready – it could be the sixth date or the sixteenth. We all have different experiences of money, how we view it, and how we think about it.

Get on the same page before you bring your families into it.

Make sure your relationship is solid enough to handle an extremely difficult time period. It won’t just be one conversation; it might take a few dates. Take it in small doses. Once there is a wedding to discuss and plan, money can get very complicated. Talking about money when dating is very different than discussing it with parents and families. The conversation could involve pre-nuptial agreements, family money in a trust, no money and tons of debt, or anything in between. When you stand under the chuppah, now one person’s debt is the other person’s debt. It gets really heavy.

Know your own finances. If you’re not good at it, hire someone or ask someone for help. Have a real conversation. Who is paying for the wedding? Which part? It can be emotional and complicated and extremely difficult. The two of you must be stuck together like glue. It doesn’t matter what is happening around you. Do not let anyone make you choose between each other and family when it comes to money. Keep the close connection, and let the families duke it out if need be.

In general, you should bring up the topic of finances, but be prepared to leave the conversation unfinished and go have fun. It can take a while to cover everything. At the end of the discussion, decide what you both agree on in the conversation. Know where you are compatible and likeminded, and focus on it. It takes so much effort to find a someone you like and want to marry – don’t let money be the stopping point. If you have something solid, figure out the money, bring someone else into the conversation, perhaps a money coach. Finding a great relationship is difficult, so don’t let money get in the way.

May you broach the topic of money sensibly and sensitively with the right person at the right time, and walk down to the chuppah with a sense of calm and connection.

 

Originally Published On Aish.com.

 

Aleeza Ben Shalom – Prepare For The Date

Starting conversations on the first few dates can be challenging. How you present yourself can make or break the potential for a relationship. How do you tell your life story without boring your date, and convey the salient insights your date needs to get you?

Here are some dos and don’ts on how to get the conversation rolling:

MINDSET RESET

Before you go on your date, give yourself a pep talk. Remember: your story matters, you matter, and what you will share with your date matters. Don’t psych yourself out, psych yourself up! Show up on your date with a positive attitude. This is the best way to put your best self forward.

DON’T START OR END WITH HEAVY TOPICS

The beginning and end of your date are crucial and memorable points in your time together. Don’t complicate them with heavy conversation. The deepest part of your conversations should happen in the middle of your date. Your greeting should make your date feel good and connected to you. So be friendly and end warmly, leaving open a possibility for another date, if you so choose.

BE INTENTIONAL

It is important to be intentional when choosing the life experiences that you will share on a date. Try not to share stories just for the sake of sharing. Choose aspects of your life to share that will truly show your date what has made you who you are today, what kind of person you are, and your ambitions for the future. Some great questions to ask yourself as well as your date include: What are my primary goals in life? What are my core values? Why did I choose this career? Am I satisfied with it? What really makes me happy? What are my secret dreams and ambitions? Why haven’t I fulfilled them yet? And remember, it’s a give and take conversation so make sure to ask your date about their story as well.

BE VULNERABLE

For many singles this is one of the most difficult things to do on a date. As mentioned above, to share a story just for the sake of sharing isn’t reason enough. You are telling your story in order to show who you are, your values and beliefs, or to show something you two have in common. To truly connect you must be vulnerable and open up to your date. Try sharing something you don’t normally share with others. This does not mean you should disclose any extra personal information you are not comfortable with sharing, but getting to know a date requires a different sort of conversation than if you are just getting to know a friend. Your conversation does not have to be especially heavy, but make it meaningful. Remember, you and your date are not in competition to out-story the other person. If you have something meaningful to share that will help you connect, share it.

CHOOSE YOUR PLACE WISELY

Location matters. If you’re looking to form a deep connection with your date through conversation, you need to pick a place where you can focus and feel comfortable. Avoid loud or crowded areas like busy restaurants or parks with a lot of people (kind of easy to do these days). Choose somewhere you can be free from distractions to allow for a more intimate atmosphere. The less public a place is, the easier it will be to open up. Where you’re most comfortable, you’ll be most interesting. Maybe you’re most comfortable while taking a walk so you aren’t forced to look someone in the eye. Maybe you prefer to sit face to face over a cup of coffee and look your date in the eye and receive that visual feedback that shows that they “get you.”

And if during the pandemic you go on a virtual date, make sure you set yourself up in a private space and good wifi connection!

Sometimes there will be an unavoidable awkward silence. This is okay. Better the occasional silent moments then fill the space with meaningless rambling. May you get comfortable with being uncomfortable and find someone wonderful to converse with.

Originally published on Aish.com

Aleeza Ben Shalom – Virtual Dating Ideas

You might be stuck at home because of COVID-19 but your dating doesn’t have to be stuck in neutral. I crowd-sourced for great ideas to help you continue distance dating in meaningful, relationship-strengthening, and fun ways. Here’s a few ways to move your relationship forward.

  1. Getting-to-Know-You Games & Activities

You may be miles apart but these games can bring you and a date closer than ever.

Never Have I Ever

Although this game is meant for a group, play it one-on-one to learn anything you want to know about your date in an indirect and fun way. Consider planning your lists of questions before you play, or find questions here.

Ungame

Another question-and-answer board game, this one will help you get a deeper understanding of each other. With thought-provoking, soul-searching questions like, “If you could live your life over, what would you do differently,” you might want to break out this game with a bottle of red. Well, maybe two bottles, one for each of you, since you’ll be playing via video chat.

Love Languages

Take the quiz to learn more about each other as well as yourself. Discuss the results.

36 Questions

These increasingly personal questions are designed to create a sense of trust and closeness. They have caused couples who didn’t know each other to fall in love. Are you ready to try them?

  1. Videochatting Games

It is likely you can find any of your favorite games online or as an app. Here are a few current, and classic, favorites.

Kahoot!

This online learning platform has a “family fun” track with more games than you’ll ever be able to play. But you can try — together with your date. You will each have to download the app and one person will be the host and need to share their screen.

Good Old Hangman

Grab a giant whiteboard or paper. Or play online. Hangmanwords makes it easy to play with others.

Yahtzee, Uno, or Scrabble Go (or Words with Friends)

Use the apps or set up the actual game in each of your homes and play away.

Heads Up! on the Houseparty app

Invite your friends to a chat in Houseparty, then select the small dice icon in the upper right corner of the screen and select Heads Up! to launch a new game. There are a handful of free decks to choose from and dozens more themed decks you can purchase for about $1.

Scavenger Hunt

The Goosechase website prompts you to make fun use of household items or create and share videos of you fulfilling different challenges.

Get It

You each take turns naming household objects, and then you each have to run to get it. The first person back to the computer wins. You can name specific items like a flat-head screwdriver to more general things like toothpaste or something from the fridge. Get exercise and get to know each other a little better. . . but not too much better. Choose objects with discretion.

True Confessions

Have fun telling facts or stories about your life. Your date has to determine if what you are saying is true or a lie. Before a date, each person writes facts that are true or false. Email each other one fact at a time. The opposite player asks questions to decide whether you are telling the truth or not.

  1. Adventure

Being stuck at home has opened new opportunities to see the world at very affordable prices.

Secrets of the Old City Tour lets you visit the holy sites of Jerusalem from your separate couches. Save the airfare, the jetlag, yet get a taste of being in Jerusalem! This is a video tour individuals rent for 7 days. We received special permission to allow one of you to pay the $14.99 and watch the video together during your date.

Visit The Biblical Museum of Natural History in Israel. This unique museum focuses on animals in the Torah and is offering 50-minute, virtual interactive tours for only $5/person during the Coronavirus situation.

Chef It Up

Cook a meal together and then eat it together.

We may be working from home, schooling from home, shopping from home, and even dating from home. During this time let’s get creative and find ways to connect from a distance. May you use this time of being isolated at home to bring you and your date closer together.

Originally published on Aish.com.

Aleeza Ben Shalom – Dating And Texting

Dear Marriage Minded Mentor,

I’ve gone out with a woman several times and it seems we are both interested. We are dating long distance and my emotional connection seems to come and go. In person I’m connected, but when we’re apart I don’t feel the bond. One thing that especially frustrates me when we’re apart is that she texts all the time and I feel obligated to respond. I see texting more as a useful tool to set up dates and maybe say hi here and there. She uses text as a form of conversation. I would much prefer to have a meaningful conversation over the phone, even if I have to wait until that evening. So I guess my question is, to text or not to text?

Sincerely,

Generation teXt

Aleeza Responds

Dear Generation teXt,

Texting can both help and hinder your connection. Because you are dating long distance, you can use texting to bridge the gap between visits. However, if you haven’t yet developed a really solid connection, texting can interfere with the normal development of your relationship.

But what I hear you asking is, “If we want to connect, why can’t we just wait until we can speak rather than texting all day?” Great question, and I applaud you for making the effort to make a real connection rather than substitute a quick, “how r u” text. Both phone conversations and text messages will keep you in touch while you are physically apart. But some people don’t just enjoy constant contact, they need it. Our society has bred us to be dependent on instant replies.

Did you know that 30-40% of daters use a mobile device to schedule a date? And more and more people prefer texting to talking. Why? Texting is often a safe and non-threatening form of communication. The question is, are you sharing a real connection, something which brings two people together, or is texting creating unemotional connections? For many, texting has become a habitual and compulsive means of communication – and therefore often leaves us less connected than we think. In addition, I imagine you are probably spending more time thinking about your obligation to respond than daydreaming about her. It would be better for both of you if you were the other way around. Absence does make the heart grow fonder.

Let’s for a moment assume we agree that fewer texts and more personal attention is more beneficial for your potential relationship. How are you going to communicate your need for less texting and more real time, without offending your date? Communication is key. You aren’t saying, “I want to text less.” You are saying, “I am enjoying getting to know you. I want to give our relationship a good opportunity for growth. Would you mind if we developed our relationship over the phone and in person and hold off on texting?”

This message clearly shows your interest. In addition, you’ve articulated what does work for you. This may not be an easy conversation for you to have (and it definitely isn’t one you can send in a text message!). Speaking over the phone, or even better, in person, about technology and etiquette will tell you if you and your potential partner are on the same page. If you two can’t agree about texting while dating, I wonder what else you may not agree on.

Jewish wisdom teaches us that with the effort comes the reward. Make the effort to first figure out your own boundaries and comfort levels in regard to texting. Next, speak with your date about their preferences. See where your preferences and values align and differ. Then, set a standard for your relationship. Your investment in setting healthy boundaries now will set the tone and pace of the relationship. Empowering yourself to know and do what you’re comfortable with will benefit you. Whether in this relationship or another, you’ll be one step closer to chuppah.

May the right person blossom into a beautiful relationship and may you feel connected always and in all ways.

Originally Published on Aish.com

Aleeza Ben Shalom – Four Ways To Create A Strong Relationship

Finding someone wonderful to spend time with is a huge blessing. Here are four core things you need to do to build a meaningful and happy relationship.

Appreciate your partner. People often think they appreciate their partner and are surprised to discover that their partner doesn’t feel appreciated. It’s one thing to appreciate your partner, and it’s an entirely different skill to show that appreciation, through words and actions, in a way that truly registers. A generic comment of appreciation like, “Thanks so much,” or “That was great,” probably won’t hit the spot. But if you can articulate what you’re grateful for, your words will go a lot further. Show appreciation by being specific: “Thank you, Joe, for choosing a great restaurant. I really enjoyed the meal – and your company even more so!”

When you are tuned in to what is meaningful to your partner, s/he will feel loved, understood, and appreciated. An added bonus is that your partner is likely to start showing you appreciation as well.

Don’t be artificial, just be you. Have you ever met someone and then somewhere along the way they changed? You may wonder what happened to them and who they really are. Or have you ever put on airs or pretend to be something that you’re not just because you thought someone else would want that? Instead of simply being yourself, sometimes you’re acting like someone you’re not. Why do we do that?

Sometimes it’s because we are afraid that who we are won’t be what someone else wants. However, what someone should want is the genuine you. We all want someone to like the real us. That’s crucial to forging an authentic connection and relationship.

If you pretend to be someone or something else, your date won’t know the real you. They may be drawn to who you’re pretending to be, but is that ultimately what you want? A phony relationship means no relationship.

The best advice is don’t be artificial – just be yourself. The person who is meant for you will love and appreciate you. Anyone who doesn’t like you is obviously not for you. And remember, being yourself includes being your best self, and that’s not being artificial at all!

Pay attention, notice what bothers someone. Have you ever been in a relationship and felt like someone was doing something purposely to bother you? It’s more likely that what they were doing was a nervous habit rather an attempt to intentionally bother you. Or maybe you were in a relationship where you felt like the other person didn’t care enough about you because they wouldn’t stop doing the thing that bothered you even after you asked them to stop. Why can’t someone just stop the offending behavior after you tell them the first time?

Pay attention to what bothers your partner and stop the offending action. Sometimes someone will tell you in a straightforward way that something bothers them. Other people you date may expect you to just know. Either way, start to pay more attention to verbal and nonverbal cues. Paying better attention is key to building and maintaining a loving and caring relationship.

Kindness is everything. Develop the habit of being kind. Thinking positively about your partner may make you feel good, but it doesn’t show him or her how you feel. Use kindness to show your partner how you feel about them. You can use any method you prefer. If you’re a writer send them a note. If you enjoy buying small tokens or gifts, go shopping for them. Remember to be thinking of them as you’re doing the act. Be sure you’re doing the kindness for them and not for yourself. Random or little acts of kindness will build your connection and help you solidify your relationship.

May your relationship grow stronger and be built on a foundation of connection and joy.

Originally published on Aish.com

 

Aleeza Ben Shalom – Dating Profile Tips

Matchmakers read thousands of profiles, and it’s a real challenge to get yours to stand out. It’s also difficult to differentiate your unique traits from the multitude of those searching for their soul mates on dating websites.

Let’s examine the following real dating profile (it’s from an awesome human being who gave me permission to feature her profile, and yes, she is available). I have not met her in person; in fact I haven’t spoken with her yet. However, from her profile I have a clear picture of who she is and what she is looking for. I want to point out a few key points that make her profile a success.

Overall, the most important thing her profile gets across is that she clearly knows herself and understands what she is looking for. That doesn’t necessarily mean she’ll get what she wants, but she is better equipped to find men who are like-minded and to have a more positive dating experience until she meets Mr. Right.

The profile is indented, and my comments are in italics.

The Profile

“A bit about me…
If there was a snowstorm and I had to be stuck in one store, it’d be a tough call between Michael’s Arts and Crafts and Barnes and Noble.”

Her first sentence hooks the reader. “If there was a snowstorm…” is a very interesting way to begin a profile. If your profile’s first line doesn’t have a hook, someone may not even bother reading the rest. So make your first line a good one. You can start with, “I once…” and add an interesting story or share a fun fact about yourself to entice the reader to read on.

“I love doing creative things (I sew and knit) as well as learning about life and people. My favorite three role models are Lucille Ball (for her humor), Jackie Kennedy (for her beauty and her class) and Eleanor Roosevelt (for her desire to want to improve the world and make it a better, happier place).”

These sentences could have been just generic information. However, because she defined what she meant parenthetically, we aren’t left guessing what creative things she likes or why she values certain role models. We are crystal clear about her preferences and have learned about her values.

“I love to travel and explore the world, meet different types of people and experience different cultures. Friends and family are important to me, and I try to bring joy as much as possible to other people’s lives. I love a good book that delves deep into the human experience and love learning new things every day.”

She doesn’t just say she loves a good book; that wouldn’t tell us enough. She defines what she means: a good book is one that delves deep into the human experience. Wow, powerful. Now I get it.

“I enjoy a good, intellectually stimulating conversation discussing the meaning of life, but also have a practical side to me that values a good work ethic and devotion to a higher cause. I can usually be found doing yoga, swimming, gallivanting through the city or baking up something yummy.

I would like to meet someone who is kind, honest, positive, mature, and dependable; someone who can talk about real things, but also enjoy life with a sense of humor (that’s not sarcastic or cynical!—This is really not a good fit for me as I am pretty sensitive).”

Again, those beautifully clarifying parentheses!

“Someone who has his priorities properly aligned and strives to live by them.”

She could have ended the sentence after the word aligned, but she made a great choice by adding, “strives to live by them.” That is a golden nugget of information. Many people have their priorities aligned, but not all strive to live by them. Some only talk about them. I now understand she is looking for a man who takes action.

“Religiously, I would probably say I am mostly Modern Orthodox (shomer Shabbat and kashrut). I like to learn, daven (pray), say berachot (blessings) when I remember. Most of all, I strive to have good middot (character traits). This is the most important to me, both in myself and in a mate.”

I like that she isn’t afraid to be honest. She says that she tries to learn, pray, and say blessings when she remembers.

“Below are my 3 important traits:

  1. Kind/a mensch – a really good person who people are like, “Wow, what a guy!” someone whose values I strive to emulate.
  2. Has his act together – educated, has a solid profession and knows where he wants to go in life (also nice if he’s passionate about it).
  3. Deep – can discuss intellectual things about life, questions things, can have real, honest, open conversations.”

In all three of the above, she not only listed a trait but defined the terms.

“Qualities that are not fitting for me:

  1. Sarcastic/cynical – says jokes a lot of time as supposedly funny but I think they are insulting and mean—insensitive.
  2. Stubborn/inflexible – unwillingness to change or adapt and/or grow.
  3. Overly critical – notices bad over good, doesn’t recognize or acknowledge good things.”

Some people write, “I don’t want someone who…” By writing, “Qualities that are not fitting for me” she says the same thing in a more palatable way. And again, she did a great job of defining her terms.

“Nice bonuses, but not required:

  1. Musical in some way—singing, instrument-playing, love listening to music and finding new artists.
  2. Funny! – I put this as a bonus because I think I am actually funny so I don’t NEED that in a relationship but it’s a nice plus when your significant other can make u laugh – at silly things, funny situations in a non-mean or teasing way, laughter out of love.
  3. Passionate – If they have their own passions, interests, hobbies…they are interested in life in a different way other than JUST their profession. I like to bake, sew, do yoga, art projects, sing, and I think it’s really cool when other people have their own interests too and pursue those.”

Nice bonuses, but not required,” says to me: ‘If you have these things you are likely to win me over, and while I don’t want to demand them, they are important to me and I think I’ll be best suited to someone like this. And once again, she nailed the clarity.

“Thank you!!!”

The Thank You is an especially nice touch. Clearly this was a dating profile she sent out to friends, family and matchmakers. This ending clearly shows that she is a thoughtful and grateful person. Through two simple words, her character traits are obvious.

Our sages tell us, “In the way that a person wants to go, in that way will he be led,” meaning that if you are clear about what you are searching for you are more likely to find it. So too, if you say you are looking for one thing but really you want another you are likely to end up with what you searched for, not what you desired. Or, as my mother reminds me, “Be careful what you wish for because you just may get it!”

May you have clarity in who you are and what you are looking for, and may you have good people to walk along side you.

Originally published on Aish.com.

 

Aleeza Ben Shalom – Bad Dates Happen – What To Do About Them?

Last night I went out with a guy who is not for me. He is too talkative, lacked warmth and we didn’t have much in common. Overall I can tell he is a good and pleasant person, but he isn’t what I’m looking for. I told him that he isn’t a match for me. He texted me later asking what he could do better in the future. He’s a growth-oriented person and wants to know if there is anything in particular he needs to work on. Here are my questions:

  1. Is it appropriate for me to be honest and tell him why he isn’t for me? If yes, how should I reply?
  2. What are things people should try to improve on after having a series of unsuccessful dates and what things should be left alone?
  3. Should I ask him if there is anything I can improve on? I wonder if it’s only fair to let him give me feedback too.

Sincerely,

Not for me

Dear Not for me,

I like that you articulated why he isn’t for you. You gave a few specific reasons that identify differences between the two of you that make you incompatible. One of the most important things you said was that you don’t have much in common. It sounds like you aren’t similar, yet you aren’t opposites either. You are just two different, good people who ended up on a date. While it’s nice to date a good person, it’s wise not to continue dating a good person with whom you don’t share a baseline of commonalities.

You asked three great questions. Let’s talk about them one at a time.

Q: Is it appropriate for me to be honest and tell him why he isn’t for me? I don’t mind that he asked, I just want to know if and how I should reply.

A: Let’s clarify. He asked if there was anything he could do better in the future when on a date. Telling him why he isn’t for you is specific to you, not him. He is asking a question relative to him.

Was there a flaw in his dating technique? You mentioned that he is a good guy and a pleasant person but just isn’t for you. Off the bat I’d say it’s not his technique that you aren’t drawn to; it’s his personality in addition to a lack of things in common that was not for you, not his character traits or social graces.

If you do want to share something, how you say it is crucial. After mentioning that it was nothing he did so he is aware that it’s not an inherent flaw but simply an incompatibility, you can share what you are looking for and why you honestly said no. Letting him know that you can see that you are both good people, just not compatible, confirms he has much to offer to a date.

As for your other reasons, you can share that you are looking for someone who you share more common interests and life goals. It’s always good to sandwich information that isn’t so nice to hear with pleasant comments. So start off by saying you two are good people, just not compatible. Move on to the specifics of why and end with a reminder that although you two weren’t the right fit you know he’s a good guy. Giving over information in this way isn’t only good for him to hear — it’s the right way to develop good habits of speech.

Q: What are things people should try to improve on after having a series of unsuccessful dates and what things should be left alone?

A: The number one thing to improve is who you choose to date. I’m of the philosophy that we are all works in progress. Over the course of time people grow and change, both naturally and with great effort. If there is one thing you can count on, it’s that you won’t be the same person 10 years from now. If you personally see a major flaw or several people you know and trust tell you there is something big you need to work on, work on it. If you’ve had a series of unsuccessful dates, I’d prefer you look at who you are choosing to date first and then afterwards see if you need to make an improvement. See if you are choosing the right type of person to match who you are today. If you are dating people who don’t match who you are today, it doesn’t matter in what ways and how much you improve — you still won’t match.

Q: Should I ask him if there is anything I can improve on? I wonder if it’s only fair to let him give me feedback too.

Do you really want to hear his suggestions? Do you trust his advice? If you think you will value his input, then it may be worth asking. However, you risk dragging on a post-date conversation which may not be healthy. Sometimes it’s best to be short, sweet and cut contact with dates that didn’t work out. This is not a matter of being fair.

May your inner wisdom guide you and may you have the right words at the right time.

Originally published on Aish.com.

Aleeza Ben Shalom – Managing Post-Date Stress

As he smiled and waved goodbye, I wondered if there would be a second date. Are you interested or not? was the only thing I could think. A smile is nice, but how about a “I’ll give you a call” … something to indicate if there would be any follow up?

When my now-husband and I were dating, we weren’t yet working with a matchmaker, so I had no one to ask, no one to tell, no one to help me work through all the thoughts that were swirling in my head. So about ten minutes into my drive home, I was frantically searching for my cell phone. I was going to call him and ask, “What’s the story?” I hadn’t thought about what he would say next. To be honest, I wasn’t thinking clearly at all.

I found the phone, found the listing GERSHON and was about to hit call when my phone rang. Oh, good, I thought, he’s calling me. Nope! It was a friend just calling to shmooze. I sighed, then took a deep breath and realized that this call was divine intervention saving me from looking like a fool.

Giving yourself a little space from the date is not only helpful, it’s necessary.

After years of working with my clients, I have found that I am not the only one who has struggled with not immediately knowing what the other person is thinking. Not knowing drives many of us crazy. But I have found that giving yourself a little space from the date is not only helpful, it’s necessary. What is the other option? Frantically calling 10 minutes after the date ends to find out if the other side wants to go out again? Not so appealing. If feeling desperate and impatient is something you struggle with, here are five strategies for dealing with the post-date in a healthy way.

  1. Patience  – Have patience with yourself and with your date. Getting the right words out at the right time is an art. Your date may not know what to say even when there is a good connection. Sometimes nerves and excitement keep a person from thinking clearly. If the date ends and you don’t know if another one is on the horizon, give it time. Don’t jump to any conclusions. Sit with the unknown and wait it out. While this can be frustrating and unsettling, sometimes being patient is the best thing you can do.

2. Sleep on it  – You just came back from a nice date, but it ended in a nebulous way. You are very eager to know if the person wants to go out again. My first question is: Do you want to go out again? Sometimes clients answer, “If the other person wants to try again, I will too.” To me, that’s not a clear answer. It will be more helpful for you to take a night to think over whether or not you really liked the person you just went out with.

Don’t leave the question in someone else’s hands. You decide first what your preferences are. If you don’t want to go out again, I want to know. If you are undecided and would be open to trying again if they are also interested, that’s good information. If it’s a definite yes, you’ll still be interested in the morning. No matter your answer, you should still sleep on it and clearly understand your reasons for wanting to move ahead or not.3.

3.  Distraction – Your date ended. You’re crystal clear that you want to go out again. The other person seemed to be on the fence. Whether you are waiting for a call or dying to call and ask for a second date, your goal for today is distraction. Give the unsure party 24 hours to figure things out. Allowing them time is the best thing for both of you because then their response will not be influenced by your desires, but will just be their real answer. Keep yourself busy enough that your thoughts don’t get the best of you and drive you up the wall. Waiting for an answer can drive anyone crazy and you are likely to do something desperate and probably not smart unless you distract yourself and keep busy. Focus on a hobby, read a book… do anything other than think about this dating situation. Since you’re crystal clear, there is no need to review the situation in your head any longer.

4. No rehashing the date – Don’t run to tell the world what just happened on your date. Rehashing the date isn’t likely to change the fact that you still don’t know what is going to happen next. Truthfully, talking about it won’t make you feel better. Besides, if you don’t get a favorable reply, how will you feel when you need to break the news to your friends that your first date was your last? If you need to clarify your feelings, you can verbalize your thoughts to a friend. This isn’t storytelling. Sometimes we just need to talk things out. Set a time limit, and tell your friend that this is a one-way conversation where you are going to talk some things out for the sake of mental clarity, but you’re not looking for feedback.Keep a journal

5. Dating is definitely one of those times where journaling can be helpful. Sometimes things need to be thought out; other times, writing things out will help set your mind at ease. Don’t have a journal? No problem! Send yourself an email and read it the next day. You’ll be surprised at how nice it is to see your thoughts waiting for you in your inbox.

The best thing you can do is know yourself well and have a plan in place to keep you in the best frame of mind while you figure things out. What you do post-date is not as important as having a plan for keeping yourself distracted, patient and calm.

Originally published on Aish.com.

Aleeza Ben Shalom – Eleven Dates

What is the goal of each date?

There are no exact rules when it comes to dating, contrary to some modern-day books and articles. But since misguided dating expectations can kill a date, it’s helpful to know your goal for each date.

Date #1: The aim here is to enjoy each other’s company, to get to know a little about each other and to start warming up to being around this person. Some people are better than others at being open and friendly on a first date. I consider a first date a success if you are either feeling positive or neutral about the person you went out with. If you are feeling negative about the person then I know you’re likely to say no to a second date. Neutral doesn’t feel great, but it might still be worth giving it a shot. Some happy couples started out feeling neutral on their first date. If you’re feeling positive about the date, it could be a real feeling or only one of infatuation. Only time will help you to tell the difference.

Date #2: It’s good to keep expectations low for this date. A great first date can lead to a second date that bombs. A neutral first date can lead to another neutral date. Of course, a second date could also be amazing, in which case you won’t need help moving to a third date. However, don’t let a neutral second date throw you off course. Take a minute of quiet reflection after this date and answer these two questions: Do I want to know more about this person? Was s/he pleasant to be around? I’m less concerned with the actual date and more interested in your reflections about the person with whom you just spent a few hours. If you’re feeling neutral, I’d say try again. If you’re confident this isn’t for you then it’s time to end it. The goal of this date is, in a small way, to begin desiring to know this person better or to be around them more.

Dates #3-5: For the next few dates, it’s good to have a combination of fun mixed with getting to know your date. All fun and nothing personal won’t help you build a lasting connection. Too much serious talk will deflate a good thing if it’s not integrated with activity and enjoyment. We long to spend our lives with people we enjoy being around and it’s good to look for someone whom you can connect to and share things in common. Start to make the conversations on your dates more personal, but don’t divulge your deepest secrets just yet.

Dates #6-10: Sticking with someone for the next few dates should start to be an enjoyable process (unless you struggle with anxiety, depression or other challenges in which case it may take you longer to enjoy the process). Deeper conversations should start emerging naturally as the dates progress. Things like your future hopes, wishes and dreams, as well as slowly revealing personal challenges you’ve overcome, are subjects that should come up. People tend to speak about themselves negatively and justify it by saying, “I just want to be honest. I don’t want to hide anything.” Generally speaking, people can see the faults of others; we don’t need to draw extra attention to faults that are already visible to the naked eye. If there are any more serious things you need to discuss, such as illnesses, you will need to determine when to have that conversation. Some people start to share things early on while others wait until the relationship is further along. Since each couple dates for a different amount of time before reaching chuppah, the time frame will be different for each couple. I suggest you speak to your mentor to guide you in how to best approach discussing sensitive subjects in dating.

Dates #11+: These dates are confirmation. I like you and you like me. The more time we spend together, the more time I want to spend together. I have come to recognize the good side of you and I like it. I am also able to identify at last five faults about you and accept those as a part of you. In layman’s terms: I accept both your good side and “other” side.

Your personal mentor will be able to guide you through different dating situations. If you don’t yet have someone you trust, take time before your next date to connect with someone in your community who can support you. Also remember that what worked with one dating situation won’t necessarily work for another. Each relationship is unique.

May you have insight into your dates and may you find the right one with ease.

Originally published at Aish.com.

Aleeza Ben Shalom – 49 Blessings To internalize While You’re Searching For The One

Being single may sound like more of a curse than a blessing, but while you’re working on finding the right one let’s focus on blessings.

  1. May you answer the door when opportunity knocks.
  2. May you love your life.
  3. May you soon gain something you’ve always wanted.
  4. May you know when to hold on and not be afraid when it’s time to let go.
  5. May inspiration strike at just the right moment.
  6. May you be satisfied with being perfectly imperfect.
  7. May you explore new options and open yourself to new possibilities.
  8. May the challenges you face strengthen your core.
  9. May your false beliefs evaporate and may you replace them with words of truth.
  10. May you have time in your week to visit someone in need.
  11. May you wear your smile, no matter how difficult today seems.
  12. May your mind be filled with great ideas.
  13. May you let go of something you no longer need.
  14. May you overcome what is holding you back.
  15. May your failures lead to success.
  16. May you embrace and loving accept your body.
  17. May you schedule your time wisely.
  18. May you invite someone new into your world.
  19. May you increase your confidence and boost your self-esteem.
  20. May you laugh easily and often.
  21. May you have the strength to put forth enough effort to get what you want.
  22. May you be blessed with an abundance of love.
  23. May you manifest your future by living as if it is already your reality.
  24. May you receive encouraging words that elevate you.
  25. May you be motivated to set and reach a new goal.
  26. May your life be infused with meaning and purpose.
  27. May you have strength, courage and wisdom to do the right thing at the right time.
  28. May you be free of financial burdens.
  29. May you hear what others say and more importantly understand what they mean.
  30. May you redirect angry energy and use it as fuel towards something positive.
  31. May you see clearly what you are meant to see and turn away from things not meant for your eyes.
  32. May you know the right questions to ask and may you be open to receiving the answers.
  33. May your words, actions or presence bring comfort to someone who is struggling.
  34. May your eyes be wide open and may you clearly see the messages that are before you.
  35. May you see clearly the obstacles that are before you and may you steer clear of any challenges.
  36. May you strengthen yourself, both body and soul.
  37. May you carry your physical and spiritual loads gracefully.
  38. May you find something wonderful to do this year that inspires you and connects you to great people.
  39. May many singles find their soul mate and be satisfied with their choice.
  40. May those in need of healing recover completely, mind, body and soul.
  41. May your senses be awakened by a pleasing surprise.
  42. May you find the perfect place to call home.
  43. May you visit exceptional places.
  44. May you be satisfied in being uniquely you.
  45. May the efforts you make yield the results you desire.
  46. May you have a good today and a better tomorrow.
  47. May you find your purpose in the world and pursue it with passion.
  48. May you harness the wonderful power within you.
  49. May you have a huge breakthrough!

Originally published on Aish.com