Dear Dating Coach,
I have been dating someone and it is going well. We get along nicely, we have the same hashkafa, and we come from similar backgrounds. I keep going out with him because nothing “is wrong” but I also don’t feel super excited about our dates. Shouldn’t I be feeling more? More enthusiasm? More connected? More nerves? Just MORE?! Should I stop dating him because I don’t? Please help!
In Florida, it seems like the Tesla is everywhere. Maybe you have a lot of them where you live as well. Here, it seems like everywhere we look, someone is driving (or being driven by) a shiny Tesla. (Besides for us of course. Minivans are much cooler; obviously.) So even young children here are able to identify a Tesla and are familiar with some of their special features like doors that “wing” open. (I would just like to mention, that my minivan can also magically open its doors without assistance. Don’t be jealous. Minivans are clearly for VIPS like me.) My young daughter goes home in a carpool, driven in a red second-hand car that doesn’t scream “resale value.” After a few days of carpooling, my daughter came home one day and said, “The car we drive in is so beautiful.” Then she lowered her voice and dramatically whispered, “I think, it’s a Tesla.” Yes, sweetheart – that 2007 Hyundai Elantra is totally (not) a Tesla.
Thank you for your letter. You are dating someone and it seems to be going ok, but you are not feeling much at the moment. While you are glad that there have not been any red flags, you are still concerned by your lack of excitement. You were expecting “more” at this point, and your lack of feeling worries you. Now you wonder if it is wrong of you to continue to date when you don’t feel stronger emotionally about where this might be going.
We don’t date in rom-coms, we don’t date in romance novels, and we don’t date through insta-stories. We date in reality. In our frum world, this often means that we are meeting (vetted) strangers and dating them in order to see if we can spend the rest of our lives together. In reality, this typically does not happen overnight. In reality, it takes time to form a connection, to feel, and to allow vulnerability in. It is certainly not unusual for this to take many dates and a strong willingness to share and bond. Sometimes this can be difficult, or feel contrived; but not every connection is organic and easy from the start. To get from “two strangers” to “married couple” takes effort and commitment. Not every dating story is a Tesla, clear in its shiny exterior. Sometimes, it takes longer to notice a different, yet still valuable ride. Be patient and nourish feelings by looking for a M.A.N.; a mentch, attitude, and niceness.
Focus on how he behaves. Is he a mentch? Notice if he is patient with those around you, focus on how he talks to others, and how he interacts with everyone he meets. Notice his attitude and his response to any stressors or difficult moments. Be mindful of his connection to Hashem and his general approach to life. Finally, take note of the often-overlooked “niceness,” he displays. Is he a nice person? Does he have middos? Is he good-hearted? These are highly attractive traits that we gloss over as we hope for a Tesla-worthy “meet-cute” or a slow-motion run through the airport. Look for a mentch, a good attitude, and niceness and then allow yourself to feel. These traits are worthy of your feelings and ultimately, your love.