Photo Credit: Jewish Press

Dear Dating Coach,

I have been dating for some time and feel like every guy that I date misses the mark just a bit. They are all fine and interesting, but I think that I may be overlooking some important quality that I can’t put my finger on. I would like to refine my “wish list” of traits and characteristics that I am looking for and I could use some guidance. Help would be appreciated!


Determined Dater


Dear Determined,

Baking is not my jam. (Get it? Baking? Jam? Ok. Ok. I’ll stop. Jam! That’s funny stuff. Ok. Ok. Stop rolling your eyes.) Baking just takes a certain level of patience and precision that I lack. You need to measure just so, bake for exactly 32.5 minutes, talk to the cake, give it compliments, and create a calming environment. Any misstep and your cake is too raw, too done, too loose, or too tough. Not my thing. When I do make a cake that looks right, we celebrate just a little. The other week, the cake came out of the oven and it looked wonderful. We all tasted just a bit and it was good but something was missing. Was it cocoa? Baking soda? Some more vanilla? We tasted and tasted (just to be sure) and finally got it! It was missing salt! The most unexciting, basic ingredient. Yes, salt. Just a pinch and the cake would have been just right. Told you – not my jam.

Today, daters are careful when they determine what characteristics matter to them. I hear a lot of words like, “smart, outgoing, ambitious, spontaneous, and educated.” These are all good words. I have noticed however, that there are certain vital traits that are consistently overlooked because they are not exciting terms, and lack that “star quality.”



It is essential that you date someone who is stable. This means someone who is emotionally healthy, and able to build a healthy long-lasting relationship. Don’t dismiss the importance of someone who is reliable and steady. We tend to value the “flashy” and the “Instagram worthy” over consistency and stability. Life can be hard. Someone who is stable will be someone you can rely on.



Commitment is a tricky word. It’s hard to understand what that entails when you are dating. Words like forever and always can feel overwhelming. Still, one cannot discount the value of someone who believes in commitment, in weathering life as a team, and who hopes to bolster and hold you through the good and the bad.



Kindness is not something that we can take for granted. We hope everyone is kind, but it is certainly not something we can simply expect as an essential foundation of every human being that we date. Kindness is often disregarded, but it is exceedingly valuable in a partnership. Kindness is getting up to take care of a crying baby, kindness is heating the car before you get in, kindness is waiting for you to try your soup before he tries his. Kindness is basic, and immeasurably powerful.

So, create your new “list” and include stability, commitment, and kindness and you will have shifted your focus to finding someone with qualities that are simple, yet vital.


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Henni Halberstam is a Dating and Marriage Coach whose expert advice will help you navigate dating and relationships in order to ensure a successful marriage. You can contact her at [email protected] to schedule a phone session.