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Dating Advice #46 - First Date Jitters

May 8, 2009 | by Rosie Einhorn, L.C.S.W. and Sherry Zimmerman, J.D., M.Sc.

On paper, he's a great guy. But he can't seem to break into the world of dating. What's the problem?

Dear Rosie & Sherry,

I am 35 years old and I have never really had a date! Am I ridiculous to think that at 35, and treading water for the last 15-20 years, a miracle will happen and the girl of my dreams will suddenly knock on my door? Or does my inexplicable sense of urgency, with no experience in dating, warrant me to think otherwise?

I don't think I'm "disgusting!" I'm college-educated and I have a sense of humor. I'm sports-minded and athletic, and I'm a voracious reader of non-fiction and fictional classics. I enjoy movies, Broadway and I have attended the past 21 US Open tennis championships.

I think this profile describes me as a somewhat interesting single guy. But it appears the shy, nervous fella takes over when any opportunity has come up. Help, Doc!


Dear Stan,

Stepping into the dating maze for the first time at age 35 is a challenge, but if you want to find a partner in life it is a challenge you'll have to meet. Too many men and women who are seasoned "daters" share the same misconception as you -- that someone wonderful will magically waltz into their lives.

Unfortunately, the chance of this fantasy coming true is rarer than rare. An overwhelming majority of single men and women find a partner only when they take an active role in:

  1. honing their dating skills and
  2. developing resources that enable them to meet the most suitable potential marriage partners.

Because of your nervousness and shyness, you need to take the additional step of first addressing these aspects of your personality. Otherwise, you'll find it impossible to date successfully. You may want to read and follow the exercises in a Dale Carnegie or similar self-help book. Also, Rabbi Zelig Pliskin has an excellent new book entitled "Courage" (available at

We recommend that you try to relieve a lot of your nervousness with the help of a few accommodating friends. Let's face it -- almost everyone experiences varying degrees of nervousness in a new situation. Generally, people feel calmer once the situation becomes familiar. So try a few "dry runs" of a typical date. Actually go out for a couple of hours, engage in conversation, and have coffee with a friend. Role-play as if it's an actual first date. Try this a few times with different friends.

Another recommendation is to work with a married person in your community who can be your dating advisor/coach/mentor. This "dating advisor" can point out any mistakes they see you making, as well as any strong points you exhibit. They can discuss your expectations in a future spouse, and help you understand what some of the women you date may be looking for, as well as answer your questions and give you encouragement. We offer seminars to train mentors through our organization, "Sasson V'Simcha."

Finally, you may find that therapy helps with this difficulty.

Anyone who wants to succeed at dating needs to understand that success requires effort. Judaism has a concept called "hishtadlut," which is defined as "normal human effort." We don't wait for God to make miracles, but we have faith that He will help us if we make a concerted effort to achieve our goal. We hope that you will make the effort that will bring you success, and we wish you good luck.

Rosie & Sherry

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