As we celebrate Tu b’Av, the Jewish festival of love, who better to speak with than dating expert Julie Spira?
Even the Los Angeles Business Journal agrees. Last month, Spira, 60, was nominated by the L.A. Business Journal Women’s Council as a woman making a difference in the community.
Spira has been coaching singles on how to find love online for more than two decades and said she was thrilled that love was included among all the law, commerce and tech nominees.
The recipient of the 2017 iDate Award for Best Dating Coach and author of “The Perils of Cyber Dating,” Spira has been a go-to source for a myriad of media outlets, including CNET, CNN, NBC, Glamour, Psychology Today and The New York Times. Her dating and relationship advice appears on eHarmony, Jdate, Match, Plenty of Fish and Zoosk.
“We love our work, but we should also have love in our lives,” Spira told the Journal, “and love our partner, if we have time to find one.”
Jewish Journal: How do you recommend singles find love?
Julie Spira: People come to me expecting a magic wand, but it takes work. My approach is a business-like approach. We need to look at finding love and finding your dream partner the same way we need to look at finding your dream job. To find the right company that would be a good fit, you need to be diligent about sending out your resume, contacting people and networking.
If you are out of work and need to pay your rent, you’ll do whatever it takes. You can’t stop and say, “I had four bad job interviews. I’m not going to go on any more.”
It’s the same with online dating. Start by looking to build your network of quality people. And when you find that right person, it will typically last longer than the perfect job.
JJ: What advice do you have for successful women for maintaining their relationships?
JS: When it comes to matters of the heart, you need to leave the boardroom out of the bedroom. Being only in work mode leaves no room for someone to feel romantic. Women need to be able to shift, talk about different things over dinner. If you only talk about your career, you will be in the friend zone forever.
As a woman-owned business, I have a lot of empathy toward women who have challenges with getting ahead. My friend Randi Zuckerberg just wrote a book called “Pick Three: You Can Have It All (Just Not Every Day).” She says you just have to choose three things to do each day. You can’t be the perfect wife, mother, friend and business owner all on the same day.
It’s all about managing expectations. We manage expectations in our careers. We have to do the same thing when it comes to love.
JJ: How has your Jewish upbringing impacted your personal and career path?
JS: I was raised in a conservative Jewish household where my parents helped build the first temple in a small town in New Jersey. I learned very early on about work ethic and community. My mother was a schoolteacher and my father worked for the family department store. They were both very involved in the temple. My entire family and extended family were involved with donating time and philanthropy.
As I child, I would go around with the UNICEF boxes at Halloween. When I was a teenager, I was a volunteer candy striper at the hospital where I was born. I also volunteered as a delegate aide at the 1976 Democratic National Convention.
Once I went into the workforce, I kept volunteering. Plus, I was a member of the board of directors of the Costume Council of LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum of Art) and on the board of Jewish Big Brothers, Big Sisters. I mentored my “little sister” from the ages of 10 to 15. I’m still involved in a lot of charitable organizations. I don’t remember a time I was not giving back.
JJ: What challenges might Jews face when dating?
JS: The Jewish community is a vibrant one and Jewish singles vary across the spectrum. There are a lot of people who feel they are culturally Jewish, but they don’t practice and go to temple every Friday night. They may marry outside their faith. Then there are those that are Orthodox. Whereas a dating app like JSwipe does not want people to define how Jewish they are, Jdate lets you decide which box to swipe.
When single Jewish women come to me and say they want to be with a Jewish man, I always ask how important religion is to them. You need to be very specific about what you want, especially if you live in a big city like Los Angeles. You can get lost. Find and attend events where you are going to find like-minded singles who are looking for the same thing.
JJ: In the spirit of Tu b’Av, how do you recommend Jewish singles remain open to finding love?
JS: There’s nothing better than the feeling of being in a new and happy relationship, and romance gets amped up around our Jewish “Valentine’s Day.” Since Tu b’Av falls in the middle of the summer, the days are warmer and the nights are longer. This gives singles many more opportunities to find love and to fill up their date cards.
My best recommendation is to have both an online and offline dating strategy. July is a busy time for new signups to online dating sites and apps. On websites such as Match, OkCupid or eHarmony, check the box to list your faith, or swipe right on mobile apps and include that you’re Jewish in your bio. Plus, there are plenty of free outdoor activities, including concerts, films and more to schedule interesting and fun dates, so the possibilities are enormous.
Remember that love is a 365-day feeling and desire, and dating online is available 24 hours a day.