03 Mar Dating and Relationship Advice
Dear Rabbi and Shira,
Ok so I’ve probably gone on dates with about 15 – 20 people in the past 4 years Most of those people I went on one or two dates with, some went on a little longer, and it was a very normal vanilla dating experience, nothing special or noteworthy. However a few of the girls I dated were people that actively excited me and I really wanted to continue seeing them, could be what people call a spark, or I was just really attracted to them. My question is should I be chasing that feeling and finding someone who excites me like that, or is it a non-achievable goal as they come along so rarely and what’s really important to focus on is building a relationship with someone that I get along with (even if I don’t have that same level of excitement)?
Looking in Lawrence
Thanks for writing in.
There is no one-size -fits all answer to this question. Each person is different, and their relationship needs, and models differ as well.
To begin answering the question, we believe that you should start by zeroing in on your experiences as there are all types of ways people connect and feel the “spark” you are mentioning. Attraction comes in many styles. There is attraction based on physical characteristics or on their psychological, communication or behavioral attractiveness.,
Start to tease apart what made the experiences where you felt the “spark” enjoyable. Can you clarify this “spark” that you had? Was it the appearance of the other person”? Was it her personality that drew you in? Was it her intelligence? Was it the way she behaved? Her attitude? Her confidence? Her gentleness? Did she have a cheerful pleasant personality? Sarcastic and witty? Was it the conversation that drew you to her? Did you find her to be outstandingly beautiful? Do you see a common theme that runs across the few people that you were more interested in?
From here, think about what these experiences taught you. What did you learn about yourself? Your needs?
For example: I liked her “look”. I liked how she dressed. Her manners. I like that she is fit and takes care of her health. I liked the rapport we had. I liked how she listened when I spoke. I enjoyed how creative she was when I asked her an interesting question? I liked how she expressed herself. I liked her passion and convictions. Her personality was on point and compatible with mine.
Consider how you met the girls that were more exciting to you. If you met these girls at an event and then pursued a relationship, it will have a different feel than if you met them through a shadchan. You might enjoy the fact that you met and established a sense of familiarity going out. It might take longer to get this sense of familiarity when introduced through a shadchan a the environment is more artificial.
It’s also important to note, that not every relationship will start with a spark, but a spark can develop further on in a relationship. Before ending a “relationship” determine which if any elements of attraction physical, psychological, behavioral are present. All three need to be there for a relationship to grow and thrive but note that it may take a bit of time. Is there a set amount of time? Not necessarily. Everyone is different. However, be fair to yourself, and her, and don’t let things go on endlessly, while you are trying to figure things out.
To conclude with your last question , “Should I be chasing someone who excites me like that?” You should giving your relationships time to assure that the more subtle factors are there. You should not only seek people whose attraction is powerful immediately. But you must assure that you find them to be behaviorally psychologically and physically attractive.
Rabbi Reuven and Shira Boshnack