Soul Mate? Not Quite.

| 2/15/2008 4:19:56 PM

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Seven-Year-ItchJewish women looking for long-term relationships online using dating sites like JDate and could actually be hurting their dating lifes. An article by Susan Schnur in Lilith (pdf) makes the argument that online dating websites are bad for Jewish women. “For a good number of Jewish wom­en — mostly those in their late thirties and up who have never married — In­ternet dating has proved an embittering experience, making them feel isolated and at fault,” Schnur writes. The sites encourage men and women to be overly picky, to the detriment of long-term relationships. Schnur observes that “Some women become so demoral­ized by their online experiences that they drop out of dating altogether.”

Many of these women should stop holding out for romantic love, settle down, and marry the next guy who’s good enough, according to Lori Gottlieb at the Atlantic. To single women over thirty, Gottlieb writes “If you say you’re not worried, either you’re in denial or you’re lying.” Peppering her argument with pop-culture references, Gotleib contends that women should settle down sooner, even if that means marrying someone they’re not head-over-heels in love with. Gotlieb writes: “My advice is this: Settle! That’s right, Don’t worry about passion or intense connection.” Of course, there are plenty of writers on the internet who take issue with such advice.

Bennett Gordon

2/24/2008 5:58:37 PM

Great points Rhea. If anything, this article sheds light on how little our concept of relationship has evolved. Cultural differences aside, pressures of media have created a highly competitive atmosphere, that, no surprise, makes choosing mates a real nightmare. Unreal expectations are the rule, and online dating is a slow-motion trainwreck. While there is perhaps some benefit to allowing us to let our hair down in an anonymous atmosphere, it also brings into play the most amplified set of expectations imaginable. Our expectations of love, of marriage, of romance, of living together, are all needing serious re-examination. We think it is just our children bearing the brunt of the loss of a civilized society, with ADD, violence etc. But we don't look to the loss of innocence and its cost in our own lives and our partnerships. I'm 48, single, and a serial monogamist. I'm looking for love, attraction, juiciness... yes. But what I won't settle for is a lack of trust or an unwillingness to continue growing as individuals, and together. Sounds simple. Pretty dang'ed elusive so far.

2/24/2008 5:32:33 AM

Relationships all have a measure of luck built in. Just because someone is attractive to you, does not mean you'll be able to live with them; and just because they're wonderful now, does not mean you'll still see them that way next year. I just got married after 15 years of living together and having a 10-year-old daughter. I am reasonable certain that this relationship is working. We both have good qualities and short-comings - perfection was never something I expected to find. In fact - when we met, I was quite happy without a partner and for the first year or so, I was quite willing to break it off when things seemed to indicate incompatibility. I think the idea of marriage as a romantic event should be reserved for those who are willing to do it over and over. For those who want it to last, sexual attraction ought to be one of the criteria, but not the most important one. Rhea

2/22/2008 11:27:32 AM

Interesting article. now I know it's easy to quickly "hate" on this piece and say that settling is too boring or a sure path to misery. But I think what this woman is truly getting at is that these dating sites make it so easy to just write someone off as not good enough, simply because the don't like cats, or some other minor flaw that could actually be worked out over time. The instant information provided by these sites is good in that it cuts to the chase in many cases. But it also could lead someone to ruling out a perfectly good mate for a silly reason. I'm in a very happy relationship, and I wouldn't say that I've "settled" but I've definitely compromised quite a bit on some issues. (for example, geopgraphy...I'm only staying in NYC for my love). But compromise is perfectly healthy and in no way settling. If you think you will find someone that is 100% compatible with you online, and wouldn't think to "Settle for less" then you very likely will be disappointed. I think this article is just saying to give things a chance. You may not find "Mr. Perfect" but you might just find "Mr. Right".

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