Online, Okay: Some Advice to Get Started

Joining an online dating Web site for the first time was a big deal for me. I'd just broken up with my boyfriend, and didn't know what to do with myself emotionally. My stepsister, Rachel, had just met this great guy through JDate. They hit it off instantly, and she seemed very happy.

I wanted to be happy, too.

Barry, my stepfather, encouraged me that meeting someone else would help me move on, which can be true, but at the time, I just needed to heal.

When I thought I was ready, all those insecurities about online dating kicked in. I thought I was better than JDate. I wanted to meet someone naturally, on my own while I was out, or maybe get set up by a friend. I thought going online would be self-deprecating, diminishing.

I was also hesitant to put myself out there again. By joining JDate, not only would I be doing just that, I also would be on the computer screens of thousands of people, some of whom would be childhood peers.

That freaked me out!

For a while anyway. But in the end, what's so scary about declaring the fact that I'm single and available? What judgments could people possibly make? We've all been there.

More importantly, what's so bad about increasing my potential to find someone I like, who actually wants to be in a relationship?

When you meet someone around town, especially at a bar, you have absolutely no clue what this person wants, but online their desires are spelled out a little more clearly – the very fact that they're there tells you they want to meet someone.

It took me some time getting over myself and my fears, but after hearing countless success stories about great matches and marriages, I was ready to sign on.

First, Log On!
There are numerous dating Web sites out there, but one of the most popular of the Jewish dating sites around the world is probably, which launched in 1997. In fact, JDate has become somewhat trendy among all age brackets. The word is not yet in the dictionary, but it has become terminology among many Jews as an actual type of date. My friends – even my father – have been known to say, "I'm going on a JDate."

But I don't want to limit you from all the other possible Jewish-dating sites out there.

When I searched Google, an online search engine, for "Jewish dating online," I discovered there were many others, including (which is typically for more religious Jews), www.ajewishdatingsite. com, and even the Jewish Exponent's very own online Singles Scene (www.jewishexponent. com).

Each site has varying prices and requirements to join.

I'll use JDate as an example of how to begin.

First of all, you need an e-mail account, a user name and a password. Your user name is what goes along with your picture (for example, AmyinPhilly or Jason1976). If you don't have a computer, then get a family member or friend to create a profile for you.

Now, it's time to check the boxes – or in computer lingo, click the boxes – and let me suggest you read them carefully before you click. You can always change your decisions later, but take some time to read what you are clicking.

The first question after marking down your gender is what you are "looking for" (choose all that apply). These options are a date, a friend, a long-term relationship, marriage and children.

The questions continue: Do you keep kosher? How often do you go to synagogue? What is your education level? Do you smoke?

The sections that require a bit more time are the mini essays, which include thoughts about yourself, your ideal relationship, the perfect first date and what you've learned from previous relationships.

JDate gives you the option to upload a picture, which I highly recommend. Most people are more likely to contact someone who has a picture attached to their information. (After all, the unknown can still seem frightening.)

Make sure when you choose a photo that you have good body language – and that you're smiling. I think it's better to have multiple pictures, including a headshot and some others that show your personality, such as a picture of you on the dance floor, walking your dog, out fishing and hanging with friends.

I don't expect to find my life partner solely based on a person's profile, but I do take those descriptions seriously. If I read a man's profile and have nothing in common with him based on what he wrote, how could I manage to have coffee or a drink with him for 20 minutes – let alone dinner?!

Make sure not to be bitter, and don't seem too desperate in your responses. I read a profile from a woman who responded this to a question about her ideal relationship: "If I knew that, I wouldn't be single in a city of thousands of people." Being single can be hard, but a statement like that is a turn-off.

Have an open mind – and have fun with it!

No matter how long you've been searching or how many JDates you've gone on, giving up hope won't get you any more responses. A positive attitude's much more of a charmer.

If you have questions or comments, or want to share any of your dating triumphs or woes, e-mail: adinaleah@



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