Dating Dogma

My neighbors have a sweet, loving, furry female rescue dog.  She is great with people and children and she loves attention.  She absolutely loves to go outside to walk, rolling on her back and frolicking in the grass! But then something strange happens:  as soon as she senses another dog, she turns into a tyrant, or so it seems!  She barks loudly and charges aggressively toward the other dog, practically tearing her leash out of the hand of whomever is walking her so she can lunge at the enemy.  Or so it appears! She is actually not aggressive at all.  What she is really trying to say is, “I just want to say ‘hi’ and get to know you and be your friend.”  But she doesn’t know how.  So her behavior scares away other dogs and their owners, preventing her from getting what she wants:  doggy companionship. She always reminds me of some guys who don’t know how to approach a woman and some women who don’t know how to greet a man. Some people are so afraid that they do nothing at all. But others, like my neighbor’s dog, make the effort but instead of saying,”Hi, I’m Charlie. What’s your name?”  They come across as Hey Baby!  Come over here-I want to talk to you!  I want you and I know you want me!! So all of you dogs, and people, if you see someone you want to meet, let’s try a gentler method: Hi!  I’m Paula.  I’m an old friend of the host.  How do you know the host? or Are you new to this group? or How do you like the music? or What kind of job are you looking for? Let’s all try to become gentler and less aggressive when we see something we’d like.  Let’s keep our lives from going the way of my neighbor’s...

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New Year for New Relationships

It always perplexes me and makes me sad when I see throngs of Jews swarming into temples and synagogues on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Then they disappear, and I never see their faces again for an entire year. They must sense that there’s something different about this time of year, something that compels them to visit their congregation.  They must be aware that God comes closer to us on these two holy days.  So all we need to do is go to temple and ask forgiveness for last year’s mistakes and pray for health in the coming year and that’s it, right? Not.  All year, we need to keep working and working on whatever we’re trying to accomplish –in my case, it’s trying to introduce more and more Jews to one another! I can pray and pray to God to help me create more matches, but if I don’t make phone calls and send emails and meet new people and have programs, I’m not going to be making more couples.  If I pray for help to lose weight, but I just sit on my butt and keep eating bad things and don’t exercise, it’s probably not going to happen. If you’d like to meet your soul mate this year, in 5773, try going to temple or synagogue a few more times throughout the year.  I know a young couple who met at the synagogue last year and they just got married – at the synagogue! Keep asking God to help you get where you want to be.  Keep asking, not just on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. And you must keep doing your part to get in better shape, lose weight, improve your posture, get a better job, brush up on your social skills, make more effort to meet people and more.  Especially, be kinder and gentler all year round to everyone in your life, and work toward being softer and sweeter with the person you’d like to develop a relationship with, striving to bring out the best in each other.   Keep trying your hardest and keep asking for help to achieve your goals. Even if you don’t believe in God as Avinu Malkeinu, our Father our King, it is worth asking for help because God is the ULTIMATE MATCHMAKER! Wishing you success in finding your relationship in the New...

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Using Keywords to Strike a Match~on jewishinstlouis.org!

A few months ago, Violet contacted me about meeting someone. As is my usual procedure, I met with her for an hour so I could see what she looks like and to put together a profile of her important details and potential matches. Early in the conversation, for some reason she referred to her son’s ulcerative colitis.  Immediately, I thought of my friend Max who has ulcerative colitis.  A strange commonality on which to base a match?  Yes.  But it provided a keyword for me to think of Max for Violet and to investigate further to see if they have other things in common.  As I went through the list of potential men for Violet, my mind kept returning to Max and wondering if they might like each other. When I got home, I called Max to give him Violet’s phone number.  He did not procrastinate and talk himself out of it.  He called her, set up a date, and like each other they did!  On his way home from their date, Max called me to inform me that he had finally met his soulmate!  Was it the ulcerative colitis?  Probably not, but that was a good starting point for them, and a keyword for me to think of Max as the first (and hopefully only!) match for Violet. They have other things in common, too:  they both love sailing and they are both divorced with children around the same age.  They are even members of the same temple, but they had never seen each other before!!!!!! A lot of times, people will say to me, “Keep me in mind.”  Maybe the only reason that I thought of Max is because I have known him for so many years and I know a lot about him, the keywords to be able to think of him at the right moment. Because I don’t know a lot about most people, it’s essential to stay in touch with me and keep me informed and reminded about you.  Let’s use your keywords to find you a...

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43 Dating Hot Spots

At the beginning of a relationship, meeting for coffee is okay to see what your date looks like and figure out if you click.  If you do connect, and want to proceed, it is important to find new and different places and activities for future dates.  After you get married (hopefully!) it is essential to create mutually interesting activities to share together. Couples often find themselves in a rut and we know where that can lead . . . . We don’t want that to happen, so here are a few ideas to get started: 1. The Boat House at Forest Park (moderate) 2. Top of the Moonrise Hotel (free to moderate) 3. City Museum (moderate to expensive) 4. City Garden (free) 5. Walk at Creve Coeur Lake (free) 6. Baseball Game (inexpensive to expensive) 7. Gateway Arch and Monument to the Dream (moderate) 8. Eckert’s Orchard (free to moderate) 9. The Zoo (free to inexpensive) 10. Bicycle ride (free) 11. Concert or production that you both like (free to expensive) 12. Walk in the Central West End (free to expensive) 13. Winery (free to expensive) 14. Third Degree Glass Factory (free to moderate) 15. Butterfly House (free to inexpensive) 16. Powder Valley Nature Center (free) 17. Botanical Gardens (free to moderate) 18. Caberet night 3rd Wednesday at Tavern of Fine Arts (free to inexpensive) 19.  Miniature golf (inexpensive to moderate) 20.  Ice Skating/Roller Skating (moderate) 21.  Bowling at Pin-Up Bowl or Saratoga Lanes (moderate) 22.  Art Museum (free to moderate) 23.  Ballroom dancing at Casa Loma (moderate to expensive) 24.  Latin dancing at Club Viva (moderate to expensive) 25.  Movie at the Moolah Temple on Lindell (moderate) 26.  Go on a picnic (inexpensive to moderate) 27.  Go on a float trip (expensive) 28.  Hike at Castlewood State Park (free) 29.  Walk at Elk Trail at Lone Elk Park (free) 30.  Omnimax at the Science Center (moderate) 31.  University City Loop (free to moderate) 32.  Helicopter Ride (expensive) 33.  Walk across the Chain of Rocks Bridge (free) 34.  Chesterfield Pool (inexpensive to moderate) 35.  Confluence State Park (free) 36.  Muny Opera (free to expensive) 37.  Ted Drewes (inexpensive) 38.  Watch planes take off and land (free) 39.  Play darts at Blueberry Hill (inexpensive) 40.  Festival of Nations at Tower Grove Park (free to moderate) 41.  Belleville Art Fair (free) 42.  Volunteer together for a worthy cause (free) 43.  Go to a concert that you both love! (moderate to expensive) St. Louis has many free and low-cost festivals and activities, as well as free days and evenings at most of the main attractions! Figure out what you have in common and do it.  Try new things.  It’s about caring and being creative in your relationship, and in your...

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Matchmaking is Hit or Miss

There are a lot of happy couples together over the years who are together through the efforts of Sparks Matchmaking.  A few met att bigger events or smaller activities.  Several more were collaborative efforts between another person or two and me.  But most of the happily married couples and happily dating couples are the result of random acts of matchmaking! The only way this could occur is that the individuals had to be the willing recipients of the random acts of matchmaking.  They had to go on a date ~or series of dates~with new people until it happened.  So many people today~mostly men~complain that they hate “blind dates” and they insist on seeing a photo first.  The biggest successes have been those who jumped right in and went out with a new person, sight unseen.  I went on hundreds of dates before the advent of the Internet.  I met my husband through a personals ad.  No photo required! Are you willing to take another risk?  More than thirty people are so happy because they were willing to try again.   Not one of these 30 fortunate people saw a photo first!!!!!!!!!!!   All you have to do is talk on the phone for a few minutes and set up a brief meeting.   What works?  If something has a proven track record, why not do it?  Take the next step and make the call.  It could happen for you. Will you be the next successful recipient of Random Acts of...

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Dirty Little Secrets

Do you have any dirty little secrets?  I do.  Some are deep, dark secrets and some are just dingy.  Whatever they are, they are not to be divulged on the first date or on the phone before you meet. Some are never to be revealed to anyone, not even to your spouse.  They might just make your spouse feel bad.  Some are to be discussed much later, as you and your partner become more emotionally connected. For now, they are TMI~Too Much Information~for a first date.  The first date (and second, third, and fourth, if you get that far), should be an upbeat search for commonalities.  Common interests, hobbies, family history, activities, lifestyle, beliefs, profession, goals and connections. I am not encouraging you to lie or be dishonest.  I am suggesting that you withhold the negative for now, concentrating on what’s right and good about yourself.  If there is nothing positive to say, that’s something to work on with a therapist. Promote yourself and your positive qualities.  So… what are they?  Do you need to develop some interests and better interpersonal skills?  Some people have a perfect past and an ideal record.  But that’s not me. And it might not be you. Are you focused on your mistakes, on your ribald past and everything that’s imperfect about yourself?  If you are, it’s won’t appeal much to a potential prospect.  It makes you appear ~ and become ~ negative and undesirable. As a previous article describes, your date is not your therapist.  Some topics are for therapy, or a discussion with your rabbi, or if you’re Catholic, for confessional. At the very least, these topics can be between you and a good friend.  A crime that you committed, your physical or mental illness, your double mastectomy, your hair transplant, your illegal or unhealthy addiction.  These things are not your essence, and they’re not first date talk, unless that is what you and your date have in common!! When you are married, some of your past and present are appropriate to disclose to your spouse and bare your soul.  This is a significant part of the intimacy process and builds mutual emotional support and connection. If there is something you did in your younger years which you are not proud of, and it is not contagious, that might never get revealed –  to anyone.  Your date, or even your spouse, does not need to hear the gory details of all of your past girlfriends or disgusting things you used to do, or events that you’re just ashamed of. There are so many things to talk about with your date and hopefully new friend:  your travels, your life goals, your interests, your work, your ideas, your family.  What really matters in your relationship is the way you treat others and how you behave in public and in private. At the very least, most people can manage to be on such ‘best behavior’ for the first few dates. Just don’t share your dirty little secrets! Important P.S. – If you have a communicable disease, like herpes, AIDS, or syphilis, you MUST reveal that to your partner BEFORE you begin any sort of physical...

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