created at: 2013-07-09
At The Debrief launch party in February, people asked to hear a JDate “success story.” So I invited my good friends Sam and Ben to share their reflections.

How did you get started on JDate?

Sam: When I moved back home after college, I wanted to meet people besides my high school friends. I saw an ad in the temple bulletin: “Give the gift of JDate and get the greatest gift in return—grandchildren.” Hilarious! So I thought, why not?

Ben: I signed up for JDate when I moved to Boston for grad school. I didn’t know anybody, so I figured by signing up I would, at the very least, make some friends. I wasn’t looking for anything in particular in terms of a relationship. I didn’t know how long I would be in Boston and just wanted to go with the flow.

Sam: It was frustrating initially. A lot of people who popped up I already knew. I also had the free version, so I really had to wait for someone to contact me. When I was looking at profiles, I considered what they did for fun, how they spoke about themselves (willing to brag but not too cocky), what they were looking for in a partner, etc. I wanted someone who was on the same “Jewish spectrum” as I was. I’m also tall; I wanted someone as tall or taller than I am.

How did you connect with each other?

Sam: Ben met all of my criteria. He was confident, educated, the “right amount of Jewish,” liked going out and staying in, looking for a relationship, someone I didn’t know already, and tall (little did I know, he’s the runt of the litter!). I “flirted” with him and he messaged me.

Ben: Sam contacted me first. She sent me a “flirt,” which read, “If you were a book, I’d curl up and read the rest.” The first thing I did was look at her profile, and the picture she had posted is still one of my favorite pictures of her.

Sam: We chatted for a few days on JDate and then for a few more days on instant messenger before we decided to meet at the Prudential Center. I stick out in a crowd (tall, red hair) so it was up to him to find me. When he did, we hugged awkwardly and then decided to go for dinner. Note that this was my first JDate “date” and had this not worked out, I’m sure I would not have gone for dinner on future first dates. But I was young, and we did. We ate at Stephanie’s on Newbury. We talked about college, the jobs we had (or didn’t have), our families, and some history. I requested (likely demanded) that we order two desserts and share. When he agreed, I knew he was worth a second date, at least!

Ben: We walked down Newbury Street after dinner, and ducked into a café to get a cup of coffee when it started to rain. We even got on the B line together—I lived in Boston College grad housing, and she was staying with a friend by Washington Street. We kept talking the whole time.

How did it progress from there?

Sam: After a few more dates we started spending a lot of time together. I think at that point we were unofficially “official.” About six weeks into the courtship, I asked, “At alumni weekend, I’m telling people you’re my boyfriend, right?” Then we made it Facebook official—very romantic.

Ben: I would say we became “official” after her birthday party, which was a few weeks after our first date. We went out for dinner with some of her friends and then went for drinks and dancing at The Purple Shamrock downtown by Faneuil Hall. It was also Rosh Hashanah around this time, and her mother made a bunch of food to give to me without having met me. She clearly knew I was important.

What advice do you have for others?

Ben: It’s hard for me to answer this question because our experience was so serendipitous. We were each other’s first JDate matches; I guess we just got lucky!

Sam: I feel that a lot of our success was serendipitous. I went on JDate to keep my options open and meet people. It was definitely helpful that we went into our date without thinking of it as an interview or being all business. I think the biggest hurdle is joining. I didn’t know lots of people who had met this way, and I was nervous. Give it a chance…you never know!

Sam and Ben met on JDate in September 2008. They were engaged at Rosh Hashanah in 2010 and married in October 2011. Their wedding was at Temple Emunah in Lexington, the synagogue whose bulletin initially inspired Sam to join JDate and where they are currently members. They just bought their first house and adopted an adorable puppy named Sophie.

What has your experience been like on JDate? What are your challenges, hurdles, complaints, frustrations, joys and victories? Let me know!