Maybe a newer version of online dating will be the trick!

I still don’t have the swipe left, swipe right thing down for Tinder. But no need. Just a careful click of the “i“, a quick scroll through some pictures and maybe a minute to actually read the bits of bio provided, is sufficient enough to make me a threat.

Add in a gal pal who is fairly ruthless when it comes to “getting me out there” and I elevate quickly to a triple threat.

So I try to find the fun, the “woo-hoo!” when “It’s a Match!” comes flying up on the screen – basically meaning you both picked each other based on some pictures and tiny, useless information.

Are relationships really based on much more than 140 characters these days? I’m not sure. But this is my life now. Why not embrace it?

Actions

1. Engage a fresh perspective. I’m in Colorado right now and my friends’ niece and nephew are in on the action. They’re 11 and 9, respectively. And they’re totally into finding my Tinder matches.

2. Lower the bar. I stopped thinking about this as a means to actually find a partner or a soul mate. Now, I just think about it as giving out some much needed love every time I click the Tinder heart. So much less stressful and I don’t care if I never hear from the guy again.

3. Find the fun. Honestly, I’ve only tested out Tinder in San Francisco and Denver and most of the people who come up seem to be having a pretty good time, whether hanging out with friends and family, doing some sort of sporting activity, or hugging a dog. It’s fun to see people living life. And you never know…

This post was originally featured on Jody’s blog, Got Ennui?

I grew up thinking I’d marry a Jewish man. My mother and her parents left Poland during the Holocaust and ended up in Israel, while my father’s parents were Orthodox Jews, with my grandfather the clear patriarch of the family. My father had also attended the same Yeshiva my sister’s husband’s father attended. Is it any wonder, I thought I’d follow in those steps?

So here’s my confession: I’m a Jdate veteran from years ago (ok, the 1990s).

I think I became a Jdate aficionado after exhausting the limited supply of able-bodied Jewish men from my local temple.

Now, the stories I could tell you could boil water! Guys in their 30s living in the basement of their parents homes; successful businessmen asking for late night dates (um, sorry, but I don’t go out at 11:00 pm on a Thursday night, just because you think I’m “hot)”. And don’t get me started on the guys who expected me to schlep to Connecticut or meet them at the train for a cup of coffee (thanks, but I’ll pass), or separated married men, or guys who were clearly into shiksas, but had signed up with JDate to please their parents. And of course, there were the always entertaining guys who lied about their height (yeah, if you have to stand on your tippy toes just to look at 5’7 ½ me in the eyes, I don’t think you are 5’10” dude).

Maybe it was because in the 90s and with the influx of dating sites like Jdate and the more secular Match.com, and E-Harmony, it was a smorgasbord of women for men, and they could afford to show bad behavior (for every time I said no to a late night date, whether Jdate or some other site, I’m sure some less confident gal was saying yes). And this was before the book that changed the lives of every self-respecting east coast living gal, The Rules.

READ MORE: Don’t Drink And Text: The Rules

The best was the hapless guy who told me his sexual fantasies right before the appetizers arrived (let’s just say that the oysters weren’t so appealing after he told me what he’d like to do with pearls). He told me he thought I’d be into it because I’m a magazine editor aka a “communicator.”

Back when I was a magazine editor I penned a dating column, and called myself The Dating Diva, the title of which caused my friends to constantly subside into paroxysms of uncontrollable laughter. As a guest on Rolanda, Gordon Elliot, America’s Talking, and other long-gone to that great media green room in the sky morning shows, I had the opportunity to spout advice to women like, “make sure that if you volunteer for a non-profit, get on the party planning committee, so you can meet everyone, and “always end a phone call a bit unexpectedly to leave them wanting more (apologies if I borrowed a little from Seinfeld). I also taught relationship classes at the Learning Annex (years before Ramona of The Housewives of New York took over that niche) with titles guaranteed to pack a room, such as Power Dating, or How to Marry the Man of Your Dreams.

Often, my dates (okay the stalkery ones) would Google me, and that would make for uncomfortable chatting. Him: “are you planning to write or talk about me?” Me: “Um, maybe.” I was no Taylor Swift, but talking about what I did, probably wasn’t my best opening line.

At any rate, because I was the Dating Diva (or despite it) I sure dated a lot. But. Only. Jewish. Men.

Patriarchal Grandpa would say to me: “Why haven’t you met a nice Jewish man, Estelle?”

Me: “I don’t know, Grandpa, I’m looking”

Patriarchal Grandpa: “You need someone tall, because you’re tall, and you also need to learn how to cook. That’s why you haven’t met a nice Jewish man, you don’t cook!”

READ MORE: Shopping For A Mate On Match.com

Maybe it was because of this kind of rhetoric that I was more focused at that time, on the religion of the man I was dating than the man himself. I had to get rid of some strong cultural pressure to take the blinders off my eyes, so that I could see for myself the man behind the religion.

Which brings me to my husband. Who’s not Jewish. And by the time I met him in 2003, that didn’t matter at all.

What’s crucial to me is that he is open to exploring and participating in my cultural rituals (admittedly, he delights in devouring my mom’s Chanukah Latkes). I love seeing his patrician face bedecked by a yarmulke at one of the myriad bat mitzvahs or Shabbat dinners we have gone to throughout our nearly eight-year marriage.

As for Patriarchal Grandpa, shortly before Grandpa passed away, he met my husband, and I think in his own (non-verbal way) he approved.

READ MORE: This Is 30: Tinder Mishaps

Here is a paraphrase of our conversation at the time.

Patriarchal Grandpa: Are you cooking yet?

Me: “No. I don’t cook.”

Patriarchal Grandpa sighs and looks at the guy I’m with

Patriarchal Grandpa: “He’s your boyfriend”

Me: “Yes, Grandpa”

Patriarchal Grandpa: “Not Jewish”? “

Me: “No, Grandpa, he’s not Jewish”

Patriarchal Grandpa: (lifting his eyebrows and nodding)

“He’s tall!”

Grandpa died three weeks later.

Here’s what I’d like to tell Patriarchal Grandpa today:

“I love you Grandpa, but although the man I married (who I’m so glad you met) is not Jewish, he’s smart, kind, successful, a great husband and father…and you know what else.

He can cook!”

How did the man you married or the partner you ended up with differ from who you thought you should choose? Join the convo on Facebook!

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I’ve been thinking about age lately especially when it comes to relationships.

Men date younger women all the time and it’s no big deal, right? Is that because these women are fertile, can still have kids and generally look better the younger they are whereas men “age better” (though most of the guys I seem to know are all bald or balding, but let’s assume this is generally true)?

Is it true that if we’re the same age we then have a shared past or experiences? What if I grew up in New Jersey and he grew up in Afghanistan? Even if we’re the same age, I can’t imagine he grew up salivating after Michael Jackson and Madonna or watching Beverly HIlls 90210. Shouldn’t it be more important to have a shared present and future? Does it really matter if the person I’m with digs 80’s music or is it more telling that we both read The Economist today or want to travel to the Maldives in the future? What are the things that really define the core of a relationship with someone? Is age just an anchor we wear around our necks?

I’m also wondering if the obsession with age is an American thing. In Asia and Africa, age is revered. In Latin America and Europe, age doesn’t even seem to be part of the conversation. Rather, it’s about cherishing, intimacy, being connected. I have one girlfriend who is married to a Cuban/Columbian guy and he adores her even when she is a sweaty mess. I truly believe that even if she was 65 and he was 40, he would still have big eyes only for her because he’s connected to her beyond just how she looks.

On this topic, of course I read more about the demise of Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher. It seems the “age thing” here (a 16-year gap) stemmed from something else lacking in their relationship. Who knows, perhaps Demi was insecure as she got older and less famous while Ashton got more famous and remained in that 20/30 age bracket where everything generally still looks pretty good. I get it. It’s like she may have been waiting for the shoe to drop and when he cheated with a younger woman, it was over. But I also believe by fearing or thinking about something too much we give it life and bring it to being.

In Ghana, my business partner Sammy said to me, ”Old people are dying. Young people are dying. It doesn’t matter. When you stay together over the years, you both start to become the same age.”

Actions

1. Let it go. Getting hung up on age as a number seems narrow-minded. I’ve always dated guys who were my age or older and they all turned out to be wrong, wrong, wrong. I’m not saying a young guy is the answer, but maybe age isn’t necessarily a defining factor of strength in a relationship.

2. Keep options open. Just because someone is 10 years younger or 10 years older, don’t shut the door on the conversation. If you connect intellectually and emotionally, maybe something’s there that transcends age.

3. Be willing to explore. Sure, maybe a relationship with a 10-year age gap can fail, but so can a relationship with no age gap, right? Sadly, relationships fail all the time. Don’t let boundaries you’ve created hold you back. Even though the world is big and life is long, everything can suddenly feel very small and limited if we close ourselves off based on our definitions of what we can and cannot have.

This post was originally featured on Jody’s blog, Got Ennui?

People make a lot of fuss about “summer-winter relationships” but the fact is that they can be enjoyable and fulfilling – if occasionally challenging – for both parties in the couple.

The Advantages of an Age Gap
When you’re in a relationship with someone from a different generation, there are many benefits. The younger partner can learn from their other half’s maturity and life experience. This can be particularly useful in situations where, if they had been left to their own devices, the more innocent party might have screwed up.

For his part, the older partner gets to enjoy the energy, youth and liveliness of their spring chicken “toy” boy or girl! I’m not trying to say that us more mature ladies and gentlemen don’t know how to let our hair down – it’s just that having someone young around can give you a real boost of energy, and keep us up-to-date on the latest trends. Your friends will feel this burst of energy as well – it’s infectious!

Another big advantage is that being with someone younger pushes you to make sure you’re taking care of yourself. You might be getting healthy just to remain seductive or so that the age gap isn’t so obvious, but you’ll reap the health benefits all the same. And it’s never a bad thing to give ourselves, our body and our appearance more attention!

The Drawbacks – and How to Deal with Them
For all the good stuff we get in an age gap relationship, belonging to different generations can sometimes be a weakness.

It can be hard to be on the same page about things. One person’s maturity and experience comes up against incomprehension. To add insult to injury, the younger party might find their partners “wisdom” embarrassing, as they just don’t get where their coming from. For example; the older partner might spend time agonizing over the consequences of a relationship with someone younger, while the latter might be solely concerned with living this love as intensely as possible, without spending too much time reflecting on the potential fallout among family and friends.

On top of this, it’s not always easy to get in sync with your partner when he or she is ten years younger and seems to never run out of steam. The younger party in the couple will want to go out all the time, dance all night, see the latest movie, go on exciting, noisy vacations… whereas the older party’s idea of a good time might be bed by ten in front of Netflix. Once the first heady burst of passion in the relationship wears off, this kinds of differences can raise their head.

Of course, we’re generalizing here – these are not rules by any stretch of the imagination – and they are also differences a lot of couples of the same age experience… though we must admit they seem to crop up more often when an age gap’s involved.

Finally, the big one: kids. The question of whether or not you’re going to have children is one that tends to creep up on people. You really must give this nonnegotiable aspect of your relationship some serious thought. A younger man with a partner who is nearing the onset of menopause for example needs to think about this. His partner might find herself unable to offer him the child that he wants. The lack of desire in one partner to have a child as they already have a child of their own is another big one. This is a subject which can’t be neglected in a couple. It is at the beginning of a relationship, when you begin to feel that things could become serious, that you need to think about this issue. Often the future of the couple depends on it.

Photo courtesy of Huffpost.

I need to confess. I’m surfing my profile on Match.com. I don’t know if it’s allowed, but I don’t care. After selling my place in New York City earlier this year, I’ve become a bit of a vagabond. I don’t know what zip code or city I should put as my Match location. In fact, I was kind of hoping to find my guy and then get inspired to live in whatever city or town or country that he happened to be in! How can I make Match.com work for me with this mindset? Well, first of all, I have two accounts. One is based in the Washington D.C. area since my instinct is that’s where it makes the most professional sense for me to be. I also have a close friend monitoring that account for me, since sometimes I think I’m just not cut out for finding love on my own. Maybe my friends know what’s better for me than me… That’s Match account #1.

But I’ve lived my whole life, towing the straight and narrow professionally, living in New York for 18 years and working in finance, while nothing worked out on the relationship front. In fact, I think I went down the negative side of the relationship scale. I want to also make sure I keep room in my life for a little craziness and a little randomness when it comes to matters of the heart. So, I originally pinned Match account #2 to Denver, Colorado. This is simply because I love the type of guy that lives in Colorado – outdoorsy, independent, self-reliant — the guy who in a post-apocalyptic world would know how to make fire, how to forage for food, how to find shelter. Unfortunately, I’m not always in Denver to be able to date there, so I switched my location to northern NJ for the time I’m based here. But the guys who popped up just didn’t flicker with me, even if I ignored the pictures and just read the profiles. Not good. So now I rebased myself to Santa Fe, New Mexico since I’m about to spend a good two weeks out there. And I have to say, a couple of the prospects are not bad… After that I will be chilling on a small, tropical island in Belize and living it up around Notting Hill in London for the entire month of May. Will Match.com let me rebase my profile internationally? Hm.

This could be a terrible way to find love, by shopping around the U.S. and even the world. But what I’ve done in the past by anchoring down in one city didn’t work and I really did give it a shot. Why not try something different?? Maybe I’m a little crazy and a little flighty these days when it comes to matters of the heart, but I’m hoping to catch up with the guy who gets that – the guy who gets me. Once that happens, I can let myself be grounded.

Photo courtesy of Couple.

Just spent a few great days with two of my closest friends from college. We talked and talked to the point where your back teeth cut into your tongue so much it physically hurts. What did we talk about? Everything. Work transitions. Midlife crises. Eating healthy. Exercise.  You know how girls get…

We also talked about dating and relationships; ones that have failed and ones that have gone through tough times. Luckily, it wasn’t all reminiscing and we went out several times to be social, and laughed plenty along the way. And I learned quite a few things as well.

Actions
1. If you’re going out on the town and want to meet people, take someone with you who balances out your nature. I need to bring along a friend who is good at the icebreaker conversation, the one who’s not afraid to ask, “So, do you come to this bar often?” – totally oblivious to the groans. You have to love those friends, because then they open the door for someone like me who’s better at the back-end. I need a little time to settle in and hear a little talk before I find my public voice. If I go out with another conversation back-ender like me, we will likely just sit at the bar and talk between ourselves all night. Purpose defeated.

Felicity Huffman's What The Flicka? - Friends Turn Glum Into Fun!

2. If you’re serious about online dating, skip right to Picture #2. One of my friends is gung-ho about the potential of online dating. She sat there, gaga-ing  over those first pictures and profiles you’re shown before you sign up. So then we had her log in to see what it was really about. She gave up reading the profiles almost immediately. Okay, picture #1 oftentimes looked decent; a little blurry, a little distance , but then scroll on down to the next picture… and, BAM! Not good.

Felicity Huffman's What The Flicka? - Friends Turn Glum Into Fun!

3. Think like Jackie-O. I can’t change my nature. I’m a romantic, but that’s not always a good thing. Romantics fall for the fate of the encounter, for the immediacy of it, for the desire of it – they may not see things clearly with that hazy glaze over their eyes. So it’s important to have a call-upon to help re-evaluate where your feet are in the situation. Something that lets reality creep in and clear away the romantic fog. For me, that’s usually finding my inner Jackie-O. What would she do in this situation? I can feel quite confident in saying she surely never played easy to get!

Felicity Huffman's What The Flicka? - Friends Turn Glum Into Fun!

Lessons
1. Thank god for our friends, especially girlfriends. For all the heart aches, the work aches, and the life aches we go through, these are the people who stand by our side and listen over and over and find the humor and the sense in things. These are the people who remind us that no matter how low life hits us, we are not alone.

2. Make time for your friends. Set up that group outing or even a one-nighter in a convenient city. Just a little time together can erase years of separation and bring you right back to where you always were.

3. When it comes to matters of the heart, don’t be pessimistic or even optimistic. Just put your intention out there for the universe and what you need will eventually find you. Be open. In the meantime, find the laughter and the joy in your day.  Remember you’re alive.

This post was originally featured on Jody’s blog, Got Ennui?