A relationship that starts with Jdate never leaves it far behind.
For the first few dates, before you know the relationship is a sure thing, the temptation is to deny. “Don’t tell him we met on Jdate,” my boyfriend Mark whispers on our third date, as we sit drinking martinis in a comedy club in downtown Minneapolis. The comedian is quizzing couples in the audience on how they met, and how long they’ve been dating. “If he asks us, say we met at a party,” Mark tells me. I agree, but the comedian doesn’t bother with us. No need to duck the question.
After date five to seven, we’re acknowledging the site in public. The “how did you meet?” question now leads to honesty on my part, and silence on the part of the questioner. Invariably the delayed response is, “Oh…. I know someone (my sister’s best friend, my fourth cousin, my father in law) who met on Jdate and they just got married.”
Thanks. As if I need reassurance that my dating falls within the accepted dating rituals of our tribe. Obviously I’m okay with what I’m doing. I’m dating someone and I’m not breaking up with him out of a fear that Jdate marriages don’t last. Only 50% of marriages last anyway, whether you meet in bars, in parks, or online. So there.
The real numbers game is more complicated. After what date, or after how many weeks of dating, is it no longer okay to be on Jdate? When should one cancel the paid subscription, so that there’s no longer an ability, or a temptation, to communicate with other prospective dates? When does one remove the profile entirely so you can no longer even skim the prospects for free?
And what do you do when you discover that the man you thought you were dating oh so happily has recently been browsing the ladies on this Jew-hooking site?
This is my dilemma.
I swear, addiction or not, I haven’t been on Jdate since date three or four with Mark. It’s been over two months. And after 17 dates (yes, I was keeping score), I thought I’d never have to go back to that jungle. I wasn’t even tempted.
Until this week.
You see, I’m putting together a database of people I know in Minnesota – old friends, high school buddies, work colleagues, and men I’ve dated. The creation of this document was inspired by a conversation with a professional colleague. “It’ll be a great tool to get you new business ten years from now, he said. “One day you’ll thank me for this.” It’s shaping up to be a pretty interesting process. Last night, however, I realized to my chagrin that I had forgotten the name of one of my recent Jdate exploits in Minnesota. I wanted to add him to the database, but I didn’t even know how to search for him in my thousands of old emails. Was it Joe, or Joseph, or Johnny? I didn’t remember.
Thus the trip down memory lane and the online dating highway.
I sat at my dining room table and signed back on to the site. My heart started racing. 118 emails in my in-box? Wow. But without a subscription, they were off limits. No problem, I told myself. You don’t really care who has been emailing you on this site, anyway. You just want to figure out that Jdater’s name. Jed? Jerome? And so I skim the photos of the men I had viewed three months ago, stopping on Mark. My Jdate success story.
I paused then, momentarily forgetting the purpose for signing on to the site. Just one peek, I told myself, noticing that the ticker on Mark’s photo said I hadn’t looked at his picture in 59 days. The temptation was overwhelming. I was brought back to December, when I first noticed his picture, and fell for his smile. I wanted to see those pictures again.
I clicked. And gasped.
Today was Tuesday. Mark’s Jdate ticker told me the last time he’d signed on. Four days ago. Saturday.
My mind raced. Was he looking for another woman? Was he dating someone else? Was he Jdating multiple women? Three or four-timing me while I was in graduate school in Seattle, unknowing and unseeing.
I looked again at the men who had “recently viewed” me. His profile wasn’t listed. Whatever he’d been doing on the site on Saturday, he hadn’t been checking me out.
I went back to his profile. I knew his description of himself on his profile by heart by now, having shown it to so many friends and family members during our few months of dating. If he had changed the language in the profile, highlighting new characteristics, or things he liked to do, it would be a bad sign. No changes noted, however. I breathed a small sigh of relief.
I have decided that there is no way to bring up my discovery with Mark. What would I say, “Hi, I was browsing hot guys on Jdate and noticed that you’d been doing the same?” What if he told me he was still on the market when I thought we were exclusive? Was I ready for that information?
Befuddled, I signed off the site for the night. No clear plan of action developed for what to do with my newly acquired information. Better educated, but less confident, I crawled into bed.
(Photo: Declan TM)