Aleeza Ben Shalom – A Harvard MBA Dating Offer

Ren, a Harvard MBA, put up an ad, “$10,000 to find a girlfriend.”

Hi Ren,

I’m a dating coach and matchmaker for singles. I tell you this first to tell you that I don’t specifically have a match for you. Sorry!

Why am I contacting you? First, I want to say, NICE move! You reversed the matchmaking process on the matchmakers. You have paid no one, and have everyone working for you. Smart move in love and business! Secondly, you made a great dating profile. It could be improved with 2 things. I hope you don’t mind that I’m making unsolicited suggestions. If not for you, perhaps others can benefit from your story.

I hear that you sincerely want to meet someone and since I can’t make an introduction, I at least want to help as you seem sincere about finding her. First thing, it would be nice if there was a video of you as well as pictures. Pictures are nice, but an intriguing video would capture even more attention, probably go viral and most importantly will give people a better idea of who you are. Which leads me to the second point, it would be best for you to list more about yourself that is unique, different and really makes you who you are. And we need a ton of interesting details about what you’re looking for. All those little quirky things that your prefer, we need to know about. I want to know about those small details that probably mean nothing, but could end up helping someone to identify her. The part about you liking people who are “intellectually curious” and “like learning about the rules to a new board game,” that was a great point. I’d love to see a dozen more points like that. Not that one person needs to have all those things, but rather that someone with a few of those things would be a good person to suggest to you. Anyone who is helping you look for a girlfriend needs more details in order to do a good job at matching you up.

I’m guessing your new full time job is going to be sorting through all the lousy suggestions you get from the publicity of your story. I hope you are good at filtering suggestions! Being decisive is a great challenge and especially if you aren’t really sure what you want. You said, “Most people don’t know what they want (even if they think they do), and I’m no exception.” If you don’t know what you want, how can anyone help you find it? You’ve got to know. Just imagine you are starting a new business and looking for a partner, how would you go about finding one? I believe you’d know what you want before you would start to look for a business partner. In the business of love I need you to know what you want too.

I think with more serious consideration of what you want, you can articulate better to the world your desires and I imagine within 60 days you’ll find her. Not a guarantee, but with the media attention you attracted, I think you can find her.

I hope you meet a woman who has the qualities you value. I can tell you are a creative individual with a passion for life and an innovative spirit.

I wish I had someone wonderful to introduce you to. However, I see your dating site is down now. So what I want to know is have you found the one? I sure hope so, but if not, don’t give up.

All the best,
Aleeza

 

This article was originally published on aish.com.

Aleeza Ben Shalom – Dating Decisions: Being Proactive in Dating

Choosing a spouse is a real challenge. Even if you’re generally good at making decisions, picking one person with whom you will spend your life may trip you up. Here are a few ideas on how to gain clarity and choose the one.

Too many choices

Are you a kid in a candy store when it comes to dating? Are there too many options for you to make any one person yours? Do you date endlessly, all the while wondering why you can’t find anyone?

If the whole world is at your feet and you just can’t figure out which one to choose, try narrowing your options. First, date one person at a time. This will keep you from comparing your dates to one another to see which one is best. Although one person may be more fun, intelligent, or witty than another, it is still possible that neither will be a fit for you. It’s better to compare yourself to your date, rather than comparing your Sunday morning date, to your Sunday afternoon date, to your Sunday evening date.

If you like what you see and feel, keep dating; if there is a deal breaker, move on. When in doubt, keep going out – until you see or feel something that absolutely convinces you this person is not for you. Was he rude to the waiter? Does she dismiss your opinion? Loving kindness does not extend to staying with people who make you uncomfortable. Keep dating until you have a clear answer either way. If the answer is no, say goodbye.

What if you are too distracted by other dating possibilities (like someone from your past or someone you’ve always wanted to date) while you’re in the middle of dating someone? Look within and see if this is a character flaw (are you a perfectionist or never satisfied with what you have?). If there is genuine interest in someone else, you may want to revisit that relationship. Perhaps you should be dating this other person. An honest self-evaluation will help you choose the right person to date.

Another question to consider: do you have a wandering eye, or the feeling that the grass is always greener somewhere else? Although the grass is greener from your vantage point, I’m confident that when you find a new pasture you’ll still be looking for a greener one. Work hard and train yourself to see your own pasture. And if the grass isn’t so green where you stand, tend to your own garden, and watch it grow. Focusing on the idea that there are better fish in the sea won’t get you the results you desire. If you desire a relationship, you may need to hit the reset button and create a new normal. Your new normal can be: I see the virtues in the person I am dating, I’m satisfied in my relationship, and I value building a closer bond with the person I have.

What is the difference between sincere interest in someone else and the general feeling of the grass being greener? Wanting to revisit a past relationship is quite different than feeling like there will always be something better out there. If the latter is true, that hints at a character flaw that can be rectified. It is not easy to be married to (or be the child of or be employed by) one who does not value what they have.

Be proactive

You need to choose someone. It may be picking someone out of a crowded room at whom to smile, or telling someone you are already dating how wonderful you think they are. Making a choice is vital. Your other option is to be indecisive and passively wait for someone else to choose you. However, by not making a decision and not vocalizing your feelings, you show the other person that you don’t care so much either way. Don’t wait for someone else to choose you, or you may miss a great opportunity that’s right in front of you.

By choosing someone on whom to focus your time, effort and attention, you can make yourself the chosen one for their affection. Showing interest to someone across the room may be all it takes for them to cross that room and strike up a conversation with you. Yes, putting your thoughts and feelings into actions puts you in a vulnerable position. It isn’t easy to be so real and let someone know you are interested without knowing how they feel first. It is possible you may be rejected and it may hurt. However, persistence pays. And persistence is a trait you’ll need in marriage. So if you are rejected, have glass of wine, wait for the sting to wear off, and try again.

Reciprocate or move on

Okay, so someone chose you. What I want to know is: do you want them as much as they want you? Or even if you don’t want them as much, do you want them at all?

Sometimes being chosen is like the children’s game “Duck, duck, goose.” Someone taps you on the head and calls goose; do you run after them or just sit there wondering what you should do? This can be quite a challenging position to be in. Someone likes you, you kind of like them… kind of. Is it enough? Are you ready to be exclusive or get engaged? Can you really say no to the rest of the people out there and YES to this one?

At a certain point in your relationship, if someone chooses you and you don’t choose them back, they may burn out. They won’t believe in you or in the relationship anymore. And it’s not because they aren’t into you. It’s because you are demonstrating that you aren’t into them. Don’t just let things fizzle. Take ownership of your feelings and make a decision. Get clear: either choose them or end the relationship.

When dating my husband, we asked each other what we liked and valued about the other. I decided to seize the moment and started rattling off a spontaneous list of the things I valued about him. Somewhere around the 20th thing, he said I could stop, but I couldn’t – I kept going on. By the end he was in almost in tears. He knew that if I saw all that in him he would be a fool to miss marrying me. Of course after I opened up, he followed suit, and I heard his list too. Eleven years later, I can say I’m glad I choose him and that he choose me.

So go ahead: choose someone, don’t wait to be chosen. And don’t forget to share the good news!

Originally published on aish.com.

Aleeza Ben Shalom – 3 Ways To Change Your First-Date Experience

What I hear most from self-proclaimed “older singles” is that they feel frustrated. Every first date is another big effort from which they never see results. It’s that feeling of ‘Here we go again, another boringly repetitive date.’ Luckily, there are a few ways to break out of old habits and change your experience (and these tips work just as well for the first first date as for the 40th first date).

1. Change the way you ask questions.
Your goal on a first date is to see if you enjoy spending time together and can start making a connection. That’s it! If this is the latest in a long line of dates, making a connection might feel incredibly difficult. But open-ended question can help making a connection much easier, if there’s a connection to be made. Closed-ended questions, on the other hand, are conversation stoppers.

Here are a few examples of easy rephrasing that can lead to greater success a first date:
Don’t ask: “Where did you move from?”
Try asking: “Why did you decide to move?”
Don’t ask: “Do you have any free time?”
Try asking: “How do you like to spend your free time?”
Don’t ask: “When did you start your job?”
Try asking: “In what ways is this job different from your last job?”

You’ll notice that these questions are nearly the same. The difference is that the first options can be answered in one word, which might be followed by an awkward silence. Awkward silences can be avoided. The second option gives your date the opportunity to tell a little story, to share a small piece of his thoughts or feelings.

You can also answer questions this way even if your date asked a closed-ended question. If your date asks, “When did you start your job?” help him out. Answer the question and then tell him how much you like your job, what it was like compared to the last place you worked.

2. Change the question you ask yourself.
“Is this my soul mate?” That’s the million dollar question. It’s such a consuming question that you might be asking it over and over again while you’re still on the date. And we all want to know the answer asap. If you’ve been dating for a while, you probably think you’ve gotten good at figuring out what works for you and what doesn’t. What’s more, you’re probably right! Making a snap judgment may have become second nature to you. You want to be efficient in your dating for marriage process; you don’t have time to waste.

Yes, be efficient. However, really being efficient means that you are dedicating a minimum of one full date to investigating whether or not this person is your soul mate. There’s nothing wrong with asking “Is this my soul mate?” — but not until after the date. That means on the date, the only question I want you to repeat over and over again is, “Am I present in the moment?”

Ask yourself if you are really hearing and seeing who is in front of you (even if you don’t want to marry him or her!). Ask yourself if you are being yourself. Make sure you stay in the moment of the date and out of your head. When you return home from the date you can ask yourself if this was the one. Even if you already know the answer is “no,” practicing this marriage-minded approach to dating will help you on your next first date.

3. Change the way you describe yourself.
“So, tell me a little bit about yourself.” People often ask this on a first date when they don’t have a more specific question. Trying to answer such a blanket question often leaves people speechless. Oy! Where do you even begin?

You begin with the end in mind. What is your goal? Your goal is to identify whether or not this is your soul mate. So share how are you unique, what makes you you. What are you going to say that will quickly and clearly differentiate you from others and express who you are? It’s a good idea to give this some thought before your next date. By first understanding yourself and your unique qualities and combinations you will be better able to articulate who you are to another.

Remember, don’t try to be what he or she is looking for. You simply want express clearly who you are. You may be surprised at how much someone will love exactly that person.

Changing your first date experience isn’t easy. Putting your best self forward can be especially challenging after years of dating. But these simple changes can make a big difference. Pick one thing you want to change on your next first date. And let me know how it goes. You may or may not find your soul mate on the next date, but you will find more of yourself which will ultimately lead to your soul mate. May your journey from here on be short, sweet and filled with support from the network of people who love you!

Originally published on Aish.com.