Devorah's Top 20 Dating Do's & Don'ts

  1. "Date yourself."  Know who you are and what you’re looking for.

  2. Don’t have a laundry list of things you’re looking for in the perfect guy.  Distinguish between needs & wants.  Needs are things that are essential for your happiness & fulfillment. Wants are preferences that are not deal-breakers. 

  3. Keep your top 10 non-negotiable deal breakers at the forefront of your mind—it keeps you focused & efficient.  Know what you can compromise on and what you can’t.  Be realistic.

  4. Network—go to families for Shabbat, meet with matchmakers & get the word out that you are dating for marriage. Have an “elevator pitch” to articulate what you’re looking for (basically your deal breakers in 2 sentences).

  5. Don’t go to your single friends for dating advice! Adopt a happily married woman or couple as your “dating advisors.” Or hire a dating coach :)

  6. What are your deepest held values & beliefs? Does he share them? Any differences in these areas become more important as you get older and start a family. What are your life goals? How do you envision your life? Does he share those goals?

  7. Make sure you’re aware of at least some of his flaws & can accept them (assume he won’t change, though he probably will).  Don’t marry a ‘project.’  

  8. Distinguish between chemistry (immediate fireworks, not based on anything deep or real) & attraction (a feeling based on recognizing someone’s positive traits).  You can train yourself to be attracted to nice men, rather than “bad boys.” A guy with “swag” is usually terrible marriage-material. 

  9.  Note how he treats people he isn’t trying to impress—the waiter, the cashier, etc. 

  10. Check his references. Find unbiased people who know him. Google him and check out his social media. 

  11. Distinguish between bad habits (which can improve easily with coaching) or bad character traits (much harder to change.)

  12. If in doubt, go out (again). Date until you have clarity that this is not your husband. If you're unclear, speak to your dating coach/mentor.

  13. If you are significantly anxious during engagement, don’t set a date until you’ve figured out where it comes from.  Speak to a coach or therapist.

  14. See each other on average 2 times/week.  Give yourself time to process and miss him, and yet if you don't see each other enough, the momentum will be lost.

  15.  Keep texting, emailing and even phone calls to a minimum—your dates should be in person as much as possible. 

  16. Don’t get caught in the “something better might be around the corner” syndrome—focus on the person in front of you.

  17. Use the time when you are single to “fill yourself up” rather than just waiting.  Once kids come along, you won’t have much time to yourself. Go to classes, take up a new hobby, exercise, learn new things, spend time with friends.  You”ll be a much more interesting date if you have things to share. 

  18. You know you’ve found your soulmate when you miss him when he’s not with you, are excited to see him before a date, and want to share with him the things that happen to you during the day.

  19. Remember: taking the physical off the table (especially while you're getting to know him) is DATING SMART because 1) It is much easier to move on from a failed relationship and not get cynical. 2) It weeds out the guys who are not interested in you for the right reasons, or are not dating for marriage. 3) It keeps your head screwed on straight (keeps you objective) so that you can make an educated decision about the most important thing in your life! (google "oxytocin")

  20. Look over your social media with an objective eye. If your future husband was looking at it, would you feel embarrassed? What messages are you sending with the photos you post?