Dear Bari,

I had my first call with a man this week and we spoke on the phone for 2 hours! We did have some things in common, but I’m worried there’s too much of an age gap. (He’s 10 years older than me.)

On the plus side, we have similar backgrounds (we’re both Jewish) and he wants to get married and have kids, too. During the call, we had a lot to talk about and laughed a great deal. I was able to open up and tell him some personal stuff, but I didn’t feel totally at ease with him—maybe because of the age difference.

He also seemed a little stuck in his ways. For example, we like to spend our time differently. I love going out to eat and dance and socialize, but he’s more of a home body. In fact, he was surprised when I told him I don’t own a TV and that I have so many hobbies. I told him he could have more hobbies if he didn’t have a TV!

We agreed we’d meet for coffee, but deep down I’m not sure this is a match. Should I meet him for coffee, or wake up and realize that this is me falling into my old pattern of giving people a chance, even when I don’t feel the way I should about them?



Dear Anonymous,

First, congratulations for 100% investing yourself in the dating process and asking such great questions. That’s the best way to learn about yourself and your needs.

After emerging from years of unhealthy relationships, I was very much like you. I started dating again, I had to learn how to make new and healthy choices.  It was a totally new experience. 

I know that other people can relate to your predicament, and so I want to share with you some of my top tips for handling a first call with a potential suitor—and the potential confusion that might follow:

1. Don’t spend hours on the phone the first time you speak to someone.

Two hours is far more time than you need.  In the future, keep your first call with someone on the shorter side and focus on seeing if the other person is marriage minded, warm, and if the conversation flows.

Use the time you save for other dating-related activities, such as refining your online dating profile, searching for new matches or enrolling others in making great match suggestions for you. 

Remember, your only goal for that first call is to get a sense of who the other person is. After 20 minutes—30 minutes at the most—feel free to end the call with clarity. If things aligned and flowed and the person is marriage minded, suggest your preference to meet for coffee so you can see whether there’s something there.

At that meeting, notice whether you’re attracted, if you like his personality, and explore whether your values and long-term vision align.

2. Don’t look for a spouse who could double as your twin.

Life would be pretty boring if you married your clone! Instead, look for shared values, common goals, and if you like and are attracted to the other person.

Great partnerships work when you each bring something expansive and wonderful to the other’s life. You don’t need to change who you are, and vice versa. Instead, you get to see if you’re inspired by the other person and what they are about.

You may rule this guy out for being a homebody.  You’ll only know if he’s open to switching off the television and spending time doing new and expansive things with you by talking.  And maybe you’ll find you’re open to the idea of downloading certain TV shows and enjoying them with him from the comfort of home.

Keep an open heart and an open mind. If you like each other and want to spend time together, it will flow.  If not, next.

3. Don’t try and renovate your man!

Sure, he might not like to go out dancing, but how do you feel when you’re with him? Do you enjoy spending time with him? Do you feel attractive and safe around him? In a marriage, that’s what matters most.  Your marriage will be about day to day life and life building.

You also want to marry a man for who he is, not who you hope he’d be, so honor his masculinity and the opinions and perspectives that come along with that. You can always go dancing with a girlfriend once in a while, or ask him to dance with you in the living room.

In other words, stay open to the possibilities and focus on what’s most important: having a true connection with someone that stands the test of time.

4. Age is just a number.

The fact that you laughed a lot together is great! Don’t ignore the possibility that he could be the one just because of his age or what you think that could mean for your relationship.

If you value staying active and being adventurous, it’s possible that he doesn’t share that value with you, but you might find that he takes his health very seriously and enjoys exploring and trying new things.

Recognize your own biases from the past and challenge them. Take responsibility for your own fears and baggage and don’t allow it to cloud your vision of who this person is an individual.

And, at the end of the day, trust your gut. When it’s right, it will flow and you’ll know what to do.


If you want to dig deeper into what’s holding you back from true love, I created my Breakthrough To Love Sessions especially for you.

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