by Mrs. Chana Silver
Can you please give your opinion about several dating issues? I have been having debates with my friends about these important things – and we really need to get some clarity about it – because they come up all the time.
Is a second date a must – every time? What is considered normal as far as spacing the dates? How do you advise people about phone conversations during dating? What is your take about texting while dating?
Looking forward to hearing from you!
Thank you so much for Jemsem – it is such a valuable site!
Dear JemSem Reader,
Thanks for bringing up these important issues! They certainly are part and parcel of dating situations – and do need clarity. What I write – is obviously my personal opinion based on my experience, you may hear other answers to these questions, as how to go about these things is not absolutely etched in stone.
A Second Date??
Here’s the basic outlook on this all important question: Do I go out with him again? If the first date was good, obviously you’ll go out again! If the 1st date was pareve, just okay, no great shakes, it wouldn’t bother you never to see him again, go out anyway!
If the 1st date didn’t go well, you need to analyze why. If it was because of something your date said that doesn’t jive with you, or an attitude, hashkafah, behavior, or language that was used, you need to speak to the shadchan and find out if that really reflects who the person is. If it does, don’t go out again. Otherwise, give it a second chance.
Many times people aren’t themselves on 1st dates. Let’s face it: a first date is a blind date. You’re strangers to each other. In most circumstances it takes people time to warm up and open up. Many make the mistake of feeling that they totally ‘know’ the person after the 1st date and that they are sure this person is not for them. As a matter of fact, most people tell me that they are shy when first meeting people and they when they feel more comfortable, they become more outgoing. So be careful not to nip a viable situation too quickly in the bud.
Spacing the Dates
Don’t let a lot of time elapse between your 1st and 2nd date; you don’t know the person yet and there isn’t all that much to consider. A day or two perhaps. After that, the usual is about twice a week or so.
There is a concept of momentum. Once the process starts to take off, you want to keep it rolling. Too much of a break could make it feel like you are starting over each time. On the other hand, you must have time to think in between the dates, this is also very important.
Ilana* and Chaim* had a whirlwind dating adventure that was very exciting and thrilling, and everything seemed great. They went out often, and when they weren’t together, they spent a lot of time of on the phone with each other.[more on this in the next section] The day soon came when Chaim popped the big question, and, of course, Ilana said yes. They had a l’chaim and a vort, set the date for the wedding, and began making life plans. It was then that Ilana started to notice certain things about Chaim that bothered her. Things he said and ways he acted that didn’t sit well with her. After some soul searching on her part and some meaningful talks with key people in her life, she broke the engagement.
Ilana openly tells people now that had she done all this in a more serious fashion when she was dating – speaking to key people and having time to think in-between dates – she would have seen these red flags more consciously and would not have gotten engaged. These things were in fact tugging on her somewhat, but she kept putting them on the back burner because things seemed so good. It was all happening so fast, and Chaim was always there, either in person or on the phone.
This is a decision that will have an impact on the rest of your life. So make sure to have the time you need to think things through and talk it over with that significant person who is helping you, while still keeping it at a good pace.
On the Phone
Stay away from long phone conversations. The phone should be used as a pleasant bridge between dates to keep the relationship running. The conversations should be on the shorter end; deep and important issues should be discussed in person. The reason for this is that a couple can develop a ‘phone relationship’ – and hide behind the phone or a computer for that matter, and this is quite different from relating to the person directly – face to face.
Though texting is ok for quick hellos or short messages, and it is quite convenient, too much texting daily is not emotionally healthy. It is short, choppy, and shallow. People today feel that they are building deep connections through texting and computers etc., but they are not. Perhaps several texts a day back and forth could be appropriate, more than this, is just silly, a waste of time, and foolish. There is nothing at all that can take the place of being with the person and getting to know them for real.
Thanks again for being the conduit for me bringing out these important and ubiquitous dating issue!
With Warmest Wishes,