Dear JDate,

HOW WE MET: If you ask him, he would say he won me at an auction, but the real story is probably better. Apparently I “Hot-Listed” him on JDate in October 2003, but didn’t contact him. He noticed that I hot-listed him, but he didn’t contact me until March 2004. I told him he was too short, divorced, and rode a Harley, so I wasn’t interested. He told me that my profile was insane, I seemed crazy and that he didn’t want to date me either. He said that we lived close and I knew a lot of people, so we should be friends. I agreed.

We wrote back and forth every few weeks, and each time, it would just kind of fade out. And we never met in person. I was a serial dater on JDate, and he was dating around on JDate and being fixed up, but he didn’t really want to meet someone and thought he never wanted to get married again. I had been single and in the online dating scene so long that I was ready to be fitted for a straight-jacket. I was ready to quit dating altogether and starting to get really cynical. He was enjoying his freedom after a long-term relationship that ended in a short marriage and an expensive divorce. He was really only focused on his business instead of looking for a girlfriend.

In August 2004, I tried to hook him up with a friend of mine, but they never ended up meeting and that faded out too. Finally, on December 19, 2004, I was helping a friend host a networking event at Houlihans in Weehawkin. I had put his name on the invite list for other events for this group a long time ago, and he was on this list too when I got the invite. He had RSVP’d yes for this December 2004 event so I figured that if I was trying to hook him up with my friends, I should at least check him out in person and make sure he was normal. We both showed up for the event and ended up hanging out all night and making plans to go to the upcoming Matzo-Ball in NYC as friends. We went that night, and while we didn’t know what was starting, we knew it was something important.

We had a courtship/friendship like something out of high school, complete with lots of drives to nowhere, 80’s music and trips to the diner. We couldn’t get enough of each other. I used 4000 cellular minutes the first month we met, got no sleep, emailed 20 times a day, and just laughed at everything and nothing ALL THE TIME. For the first time in both of our lives, we both felt understood. We just “got” each other. We both think we are “The Luckiest.”

WHEN WE GOT ENGAGED: November 18, 2005

HOW IT HAPPENED: Bryan went on a solo motorcycle trip across the country for the month of July. I didn’t want him to go, but he planned on it and needed it to clear his head and dump his “baggage” about his divorce. He needed to really decide if he wanted to be in a relationship that would most likely have him getting married again — something he swore he wouldn’t do. Three quarters of the way through his trip, he decided he was going to marry me and turned his bike around. When he came home at the end of July, he said we should start looking at rings.

We had been talking about getting engaged since August, looking at rings — once, on my birthday, August 2, and also a few weeks after. I thought it would happen by October because he said in the middle of September that it would probably be at least 3 – 4 weeks. He told me who he was buying it from, and I knew it was being made. I just didn’t know when it would happen. I was getting antsy because I knew the ring was paid for but sitting in the store because he knew that if it was in our house, I would be ransacking it. He also kept telling me it was coming, so I could actually envision the ring on my finger. More importantly, I just couldn’t wait to be his wife.

Days just kept going by. I was getting impatient, and to throw me off, he kept telling me about things he had planned to do for work where he would have to go away for the day. I saw no room in his schedule for a proposal. I thought he was planning on making me wait WEEKS because Thanksgiving was coming too, and there just didn’t seem to be time. The night of November 17th, I was all upset and disheveled from moving, trying to cohabitate, etc. He tried to make me feel better and took me to buy hair dye and go tanning … and then told me that if I dressed up that Friday, I would probably start to feel better, and we could go out to dinner. I said fine. Friday I got dressed nicely and went to work.

Bryan involved my friend Julie a week before so she told me she would be near my office on Friday for an interview. She asked me to lunch. I told her I was supposed to go to lunch with my boss but that I could visit with her for a little while before or after. At 1:15, she came up to my office, and my boss told me I could go to lunch with Julie. We started walking towards Union Square where my friend started veering off in the wrong direction. I asked her where the heck she was going, and she told me to turn around. Bryan was there with an enormous sign. It was on poles, and he had paid two guys $50 each to hold the poles up. It read: Tara Shawn Diamond, Will You Marry Me? My name was spelled out in pictures of me that he had taken of me all throughout the 11 months that we knew each other. He was playing our song, “The Luckiest” by Ben Folds on a little CD player. He got down on one knee and asked me. We were both shaking, and I think that is when I started to cry (happily of course!). Also, when he was down on one knee, he whispered, “Which hand and which finger?”

It was the most beautiful ring I have ever seen, and it is one of a kind … like he is. People were all around clapping and taking pictures. He then told me that he had asked my boss if I could have the rest of the day off and that she had said yes. So, we went back to my office, picked up my stuff, and he had booked a suite at the Waldorf Astoria. His parents sent us a bottle of champagne and chocolate-covered strawberries. I love his family. We called them and my parents, and they are so excited for us. We got ready to go out. We also went to the bar in the lobby for a drink and saw Jimmy Kimmel and Sarah Silverman. We then had dinner at Smith & Wollensky and just had a great time.

Our wedding on October 21, 2006 at the Hilton Woodcliff Lake was beautiful. Bryan owns a lampshade factory and a retail outlet. He hired me to run the retail store, and we love working together. So, we planned a “lampshade-themed” wedding. We made a 6 foot lampshade chuppah and lampshades for all the crystal lamps on each cocktail table, and we had enormous lampshade centerpieces on the reception tables. Everyone loved it, and our wedding was even featured in a lighting trade magazine.

We recently bought a house in Glen Rock, New Jersey, and couldn’t be happier. If it wasn’t for JDate, we never would have met, even though we lived 15 minutes apart virtually our whole lives.

Tips for other JDaters:
My number one tip for JDating is to step outside your box. If you have a rigid checklist of what you are looking for in a partner and aren’t willing to budge on that ideal, you can end up missing out on the best match for you. I was single and JDating for five years. For most of that time, I was unwilling to date someone under 5’9, divorced, divorced with a child, that lived further than the NY metro area, had pets, etc. As time wore on and I found myself still single and having gone out with people who should have been my match because they had all the criteria on paper but that I had no chemistry with, I had to let some of it go. When Bryan emailed me, I saw on his profile that he was short(er) than I was looking for, divorced, rode a Harley and loves dogs. Those were all not on my list of positives for what I was looking for in a guy. But, I decided to meet Bryan anyway, and less than two years after meeting, we were married.

1. After three dates that have gone reasonably well, it is appropriate to ask if the person is still going to continue looking around on JDate and make your own decision as to whether to continue dating after you get your answer. Nothing is more disheartening than thinking you have a connection but seeing or knowing the person is a “JDate addict” and on there 24/7.
2. If you do meet someone you think you might really like and want to get to know, stop your own addiction to JDate and give it a chance.
3. If people are “Most Popular” in their area or they seem to be on JDate every time you log on, be smart — they are most likely enjoying playing the field. They may get off JDate permanently for the right person, but they get a lot of responses and have a virtual buffet of people they are choosing from. Don’t be surprised if they play it very cool and aren’t ready to settle down.
4. Don’t take your profile down before actually having a discussion about it and mutually deciding to do it. Too many times I took my own profile down prematurely and should have continued playing the field. It also would have let me know that HE was still on there dating other people.
5. If someone doesn’t answer an email you send, don’t take it personally. It ISN’T you. BUT, if you find this happens a lot, DO take this opportunity to look over your profile and see if there is anything you can do to your writing to make it more appealing or add or change your photos. But ultimately, you never know what someone else is looking for in a romantic partner.
6. Update your profile often, making it “NEW” again. Write INTERESTING things about yourself that would catch someone’s attention! Don’t write clichés like enjoying walks on the beach, romantic dinners, and that you can look good in a little black dress or a baseball cap. No one wants to read the same thing they’ve read 500 times before in other profiles. Unless you’re looking just for a hook-up, don’t write overtly sexual references. If you have a photo up, there’s no need to write that you’re attractive — beauty is all in the eye of the beholder anyway, and you’re just wasting precious space with that. Dare to be different and unique.
7. Put flattering but REAL and CURRENT photos of yourself. Don’t put in the one from college from 10 years ago when you still had hair or six-pack abs — that is just wishful thinking on your part and just setting your date up for disappointment. It isn’t right, and it isn’t fair.
8. Trust your gut. If something seems off, for instance, question it — only give a cell phone number, be vague about making plans, etc.
9. DON’T WASTE TIME. Do not spend weeks on the phone or emailing with someone before meeting in person. If there is no chemistry in person, all that time and energy will have been for nothing because, most of the time, you won’t end up “friends.” You’re not looking for a new friend, really; you’re looking for love. Anyone can have some interesting banter behind a telephone receiver or when they have time to write.
10. Be POSITIVE and DON’T LOSE HOPE. Both my husband and I went out with MANY people before meeting each other. I had a spreadsheet, and there were at least 200 JDaters that I met in person. Chemistry is not something you can judge through emails and phone calls. You’ll just know when it’s right, and in the meantime, have some fun, meet a ton of people and enjoy dating. Don’t go to every “meeting” thinking this will be the one, but do go into it with a positive attitude and a smile. If nothing else, you may get a good story out of it. I got a dating column on an online magazine with all my experiences.

Tara & Bryan
Glen Rock, New Jersey

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  1. that is an excellent story! really enjoyed reading it, thanks guys!

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