How Humorist Justin Halpern Found The One, Pg 2

How Humorist Justin Halpern Found The One

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Were you ready to get married before you met your wife and simply looking for the right woman, or was she the first woman that made you feel like settling down?

No, I was not thinking about getting married before we met. It’s more about finding the right person, I guess? I mean my brother — who didn’t get married until he
I was always interested in talking to her and excited to see her.
was 36 or 37 — has kind of a funny dating theory. He always said that you’re going eat at the worst place when you’re the hungriest, because you don’t care where you eat when you’re starving. So, pick your restaurant when you’re not so hungry. Maybe that’s sort of a callous way of drawing an analogy — that human beings are like restaurants — but it makes sense to me, because I feel like when you’re really, really itching to have something happen, you don’t always make the right decision. And that’s not uniform, of course. Sometimes you might meet an amazing person when you are looking to get married. But I also think it’s important to remember that relationships — meaning, when you’re boyfriend and girlfriend — are really enjoyable. Just because you haven’t gotten married yet doesn’t mean you’re not still enjoying someone else’s company.

You say that Amanda made you feel calm and confident. Is that how you knew she was The One? Are there any other traits that you think might help daters recognize whether someone’s a “keeper” in a new relationship?

I think that was part of it, but I also think I just really, really enjoyed her company. When you’re first dating someone, it’s easy to enjoy that person’s company because you’re telling your date about yourself and things that neither of you know about each other. So it’s easy to have conversations, but it’s when you’ve told all the stories and you’ve covered all the background stuff that you learn whether or not you can actually coexist with that person and enjoy it. And so I think with Amanda, I was always interested in talking to her and excited to see her. It was just one of those things where it didn’t matter how long we had been seeing each other, it was always fun. And for me, I just never want to be bored — or bore someone else, either. My dad always said that was really the most important thing. He’d get into arguments with my mom sometimes, and he enjoys having his alone time, but he’d always say, “Your mom’s never boring.”

You and Amanda broke up for a bit before ultimately getting engaged. Do you think taking that break gave you more clarity in recognizing that she was someone you didn’t want to live without?

I definitely think that breakups can sometimes be good for a relationship. We’d been dating about three and a half years before we broke up, and it gave us some perspective about what we wanted to do with our lives and also how we worked together. I think in our case, we split up for a couple of months and it became clear to both of us — more for her, really — that we loved being with each other. I think sometimes you fall into that “cruise control” mode in your relationship and simply stop paying attention to stuff. Things don’t blow up, but they just kind of dissipate… and suddenly, you’re in a relationship where you’re thinking, “Wow, we don’t even really talk to each other right now.” A relationship is something you have to tend to, always.

What do you think about the role technology now plays in dating and relationships?

I think that it’s a double-edged sword. Back when I first started dating, if you called someone and that person didn’t call you back until the end of the day, it was no big deal, because you were thinking, “Oh, maybe this person didn’t get my message yet.” But now, you know that people can see when you’re trying to get in touch with them, so
It’s hard to be in a relationship and be serious all the time.
when someone doesn’t pick up the phone, you’re thinking, “Why didn’t my date answer?” It’s the worst thing ever for a neurotic person! By the same token, though, you can connect better with others. You know people are like, “Oh, technology is killing personal connections,” but I don’t agree with that; it’s really just changing them. I mean, you’re always going to need a face-to-face personal connection to make something work romantically, but some of my best friends now are people I only see twice a year, but talk to every day online. And I like that. It allows me to meet people I never would have met before. I think it’s just new, so people are against it. If had been around when I was dating, it would have been so much easier. I mean, it’s still probably difficult, but it would have been a lot easier to sift through some of the possibilities.

How important do you think humor and laughter are in a relationship?

For me, it’s huge. Humor is something that’s super-important to me, but I think that it’s probably important to everyone. It’s hard to be in a relationship and be serious all the time. Even if you’re a really serious person, you need a little levity at some point, and I also think it’s the fabric that kind of ties together conversations and relationships. I feel that if you’re with someone who doesn’t think you’re funny, I cannot see that relationship working out. You need to be with someone who enjoys your sense of humor. And that’s not to say that everyone needs to be some great comedian, but you do need to find someone who enjoys the same things you find to be humorous and who thinks that the things you do are endearing.

What advice would you give to people who are currently dating online?

Though I’ve never been on an online dating site myself, I would say: Don’t take yourself super-seriously. Or if you do, then maybe you’re trying to attract someone who is like that also. But I would say, in general, if you’re looking at someone’s dating profile, you don’t want to get the sense — or at least, I wouldn’t — that this person put maybe six hours into crafting that profile and that every word has been meticulously selected. I would want to see a profile that feels a bit like it’s a genuine conversation…like if I just met someone in the library.

Any last words of advice for daters still searching for The One?

I would say first and foremost, just make sure you’re OK with yourself. That sounds kind of like a stupid thing to say, but there was a period in my life where I just hated hanging out alone — and that’s a problem. So I’d try to seek out dates just for the sake of hanging out with someone else, but then it felt like, “Oh great, now I’m just shoving my crappy self on this person.” Just use this time to figure out what you like about other people and what you like about yourself. The rest will fall into place!

Kimberly Dawn Neumann ( is a popular New York City-based freelance writer whose work has appeared in such publications as Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire, Redbook, Maxim and frequently online. A certified dating/relationship coach, she’s published two books: The Real Reasons Men Commit and Sex Comes First and is the founder of

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