MODERN JEWISH DATING – FINDING THE BEST OF BOTH WORLDS
Anyone who’s grown up in a home with strong religious traditions knows that some days it can seem more like a curse than a gift, especially when it comes to dating. Maybe it feels like a lot of pressure to date within a specific group, or maybe it feels like the rules are too strict to make it easy to get to know someone. Maybe you feel ill-equipped to tackle the modern dating world and all its “casual, label-less” mores. Or maybe you just feel trapped between the old world and the new.
The quickest way to free yourself from that rock-and-a-hard-place sensation is to change your mindset. You’re lucky enough to have two “worlds” to choose the best traits from and to build a love life that is multidimensional and fulfilling. Neither modern dating nor more orthodox courting is flawless in style, but both have a lot to offer. So here are our top picks for old-school Jewish dating techniques to bring into the modern era!
Don’t be afraid to take it seriously
Modern dating is full of phrases like “want to chill?” Or “we’re just talking.” There seems to be some constant fear of admitting we’re looking for romance, and fear is the nemesis of open-mindedness and confidence. Traditionally, dates (even blind dates) were entered into with the understanding that both parties were looking for a life partner. This isn’t intended to put pressure on a date, but rather foster the sensation of freedom. Freedom from feeling like you can’t be the first one to show interest, or freedom from doubting the intentions of your date, or freedom to really be yourself. Think of it this way, dating with intention draws others with the same intentions to you. Even if they aren’t your forever match, they’re likely to treat you with the respect and open-mindedness a potential future partner deserves.
Second chances are in style again
Most cultures with strong religious influences have some great tenants about second chances. These are excellent to use in the dating world, especially to combat the increasing short attention span of modern dating. As exciting as online dating is, it often comes with the mentality that there is always another match, maybe even a “better” match on the horizon, and we are quick to discard the present for the imagined. But so many factors can affect a first impression—dates can make people nervous, the wrong activity or setting can make things awkward, a bad day before can skew the experience—it’s unproductive to judge off of one experience alone. In geometry, any two points can make a line, but you need to have a least three points in a row to justify a pattern. We’re not saying disregard your instincts or red flags, but the traditional way of taking your time to form an opinion and giving several chances before you decide really helps us not miss out on someone amazing. And if you do decide they aren’t the right fit, communicate that directly and kindly. “Ghosting” is a modern tradition that should disappear as fast as the people who use it do.
Modesty is still classy
Honestly, modesty never really went out of style. Just look at Meghan Markle’s modest glamour-look with her prince—modesty is classy, timeless, and features the person wearing the clothes rather than the clothes themselves. But it’s hard to master; it requires you to have a sense of self, an idea of your own style, and a confidence in presenting yourself to the world. Many people would rather dress in a way that distracts from themselves (for shock value or to emphasize their body) because it makes them feel less personally vulnerable. Presenting your best self on a date with modesty isn’t an old-fashioned technique, it’s merely an underutilized one.
Matchmakers are back and better than ever
This is perhaps the ultimate example of both worlds working together. Jewish matchmakers are a longstanding tradition hearkening from a time when we lived in smaller communities where everyone knew everyone and common values, culture, and companions were abundant. It seemed like a much simpler dating era next to our increasingly complex modern dating world. And yet, the gift of the vast Internet and technology to widen our romantic horizons is wonderful! The beauty of modern matchmakers is that we can combine both: the power of technology and the intimacy of a small pool of select, compatible matches chosen by someone who knows you very well. That’s why our process spends so much time getting to know you, before we even begin digging through our databases of wonderful single people! Matchmakers can take the Internet of endless dating opportunities, and turn it into a simpler, more intimate dating experience—(with a much better success rate for finding a true life partner!)
No need to pick only one dating style or the other—older Jewish dating traditions absolutely have a place in the modern dating world. In fact, this brave new world could still learn a thing or two from the classic moves!