A Guide to Talking About Career Ambitions and Financial Success When Dating

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While your job is a major part of who you are, it doesn’t define your whole being. Potential matches aren’t looking for a workaholic — they’re looking for someone who can balance a strong career with a meaningful social life, family time, and special interests. Here’s how to write a dating profile that divulges just the right amount of information about your career and personal life.

Talking About Your Career in a Dating Profile

Shared passions are a core aspect of successful relationships. So when your career is an important part of life, your dating profile should reflect this.

“If you’re a math nerd, flaunt it,” says psychotherapist and Fordham University professor Zachary Alti. “If you have a burning passion for your career, let it shine.” Being upfront about your career can help you attract career-minded matches who share your passion for success.

Plus, talking about your career creates an easy conversation-starter for someone in a similar field, MyDomaine’s Hadley Mendelsohn writes. “Stating your job right off the bat prevents your partner from having to ask later on. This, in turn, may prevent any awkward conversations, misunderstandings, or hurt feelings down the line.”

Keep the Career Info in Your Profile Short and Sweet

Including your career information is important, but so is keeping the description straightforward and succinct. After all, you want your date to have to work to learn more about you, suggests AskMen writer Adam Hurly. The detailed gems of information about your life have to be earned. This leaves more room for surprise and discussion when you finally meet your match in real life. It also shows that you’re a layered person who has reservations and humility — while being wildly successful.

On that note, remember to avoid gossip, ranting, or other negativity when talking about your work. Keep things light and focused on interests, urges Amy Webb, author of Data: A Love Story.

Positive words like “fun,” “adventure,” “easy-going” and “friends” can also be tied into career explanations and questions from matches. Setting a positive tone regarding your career will make it easier and more enjoyable to discuss work when you meet a match in person.

Even a quick mention of a high-powered career can boost your results. Katie Sola from Forbes reports findings on users of The League: “High-powered women were hearted 6.5 percent more often than the general female population, and were 30 percent more likely to send the first message.”

She also says that male CEOs and founders on the app were hearted 4.5 percent more than the male average. Moral of the story? Include your high-powered title, but don’t go overboard with a job description.

career

Talking About Income on a First Date

Talking about your salary on a first date might seem taboo, but when you’re looking for a match who meets your professional and career goals,it could be a strategic move.

Blogger Emma Johnson explains that sharing your income has a number of benefits. For one, it clarifies that you’re actually looking for a partner — and that you’re not looking for a sugar daddy or sugar mama.

Being passionate about your career means you’ll likely want someone with whom you can discuss personal and career goals. If you opt to talk financials, don’t stop at just income. A person’s income is merely what they make, not what they spend. Financial advisor Richard Kahler, reminds his readers that someone earning a mid-six-figure salary might not be financially stable.

Discussing Other Aspects of Your Life

OK, so you’re a rocket scientist — but what else do you do with your spare time? Swap out that lengthy description of your dissertation and show off your killer personality. Using a one-liner or a quick story about yourself can illustrate your personality in a more specific, concise way that grabs attention, says Lisa Hoehn, who writes dating profiles for a living. Pairing these descriptions with action shots is a surefire way to attract someone who lives life as boldly as you do.

Let’s say you decide to delete those extra details on your startup’s seed round. To keep your profile detailed and interesting, you’ll need other information to take its place. Dating and relationship expert Alexis Sclamberg suggests being authentic, detailed, and personable in your photos and texts.

“It’s a great way to not only show off your personality, but it gives good insight into what your life IRL is like as well—which is important when you’re finding a partner via your phone.”

Being upfront about who you are will weed out the people who aren’t on your level. This will make dating in general much more engaging.

career

Bottom Line: Showcase What You’re Looking For

Streamlining your career details also creates space for you to describe what on earth you’re even doing on this app. Looking for a LTR? Need a brewery buddy? State exactly what you’re looking for so you can ward off the people who aren’t aligned with that goal. This advice goes for both profile text and photos.

“If you’re looking for a husband who’s ready to settle down and start a family, skip the shot of you dancing on the table drunk at your best friend’s party,” says marriage and family therapist Dr. Jenn Mann. “Of course wives dance on tables too, but you’re trying to build a visual narrative that’s easily decodable.”

Online daters who get the most matches use about 70 percent of their profile to talk about themselves, says author and behavioral investigator Vanessa Van Edwards. The other 30 percent?… For best results, it’s used to explain what the person is seeking. Adhering to this 70-30 rule when writing your profile description can give you a good measuring stick for sharing who you are while not coming across as caught up in yourself.

What we do for work is fundamental to who we are, and it’s also just part of the picture. It’s important to include your career in your online dating profile — just don’t let it steal the show. Ideally, you’ll strike a balance that puts both your career and who are are outside of work in good light. Let your light shine — at just the right brightness, and in just the right places.

How to Choose a Dating App: Reviews and Real-Life Stories

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No-shows, catfishing, ghosting… we’ve all heard our share of online dating horror stories. At the same time, we progressively hear of more and more long-term partners who met on dating apps.

So which app is right for you? These reviews and user stories will give you a feel for how Tinder, Bumble, Coffee Meets Bagel, and The League connect people.

Tinder

Tinder created the standard gestures many dating apps have adopted: Swipe right to like, left to pass.  As explained by tech writer Mark Jansen, you can swipe “up if you want to use one of your precious “super likes” to show them you really really like them.” Each use is armed with only a few Super Likes per day.

The biggest downside of Tinder? Only that it has been blamed for the fall of romance and the rise of hookup culture. As Nancy Jo Sales wrote in 2015 for Vanity Fair: “The innovation of Tinder was the swipe—the flick of a finger on a picture, no more elaborate profiles necessary and no more fear of rejection; users only know whether they’ve been approved, never when they’ve been discarded.”

This had led people to think of Tinder as more of a game and a competition to see how many matches and hookups can be achieved. They didn’t see it as a place to find meaningful relationships.

Many still don’t, and it often gets classified as the “hookup app.” As Vice’s Emily Guendelsberger reports, one user named Shelby detailed her negative experience with a guy: “He started talking about how he makes so much money a year, high six figures. I just thought, ‘Dude, you’re rocking basketball shorts.’ But he kept going on and on about it, talking about his friend who’s a chef that opened up his own restaurant and only makes $100,000 a year.” Cut to a first date at a dollar taco shack, where Shelby was on a mission to escape the man as quickly as possible. He attempted his slickest moves to persuade her to come to his apartment, but she slid away, telling him to never call again.

Tinder isn’t exclusively full of guys like this, though. There are plenty of happy couples who met on the app. Take the story of 35-year old Carrie, who met her current love on Tinder. As Carrie explains to Cosmopolitan writer Lane Moore, she knew that it was real after a few messages: “Our conversation felt so natural and like we’d already been friends for years. He gave me his number within a day and then we started texting. About a week later, we met in person and we’ve been together ever since.”

dating app

Bumble

Unlike other apps, guys aren’t able to make the first move on Bumble.

Bumble “wants to enable women to be as confident in the dating sphere as they are in their professional lives,” says Grazia writer Edwina Langley. “Ensuring women make the first move, Bumble believes, starts the future relationship off on a more even keel.”

Bumble also includes profile information like career and education, so users have a basic understanding of potential matches’ backgrounds. LGBT+ women can use the dating app to find other women for romance, and Bumble’s BFF feature helps users find friendships.

One drawback to Bumble is that it doesn’t have a wide range of genders and sexualities represented, says Business Insider’s Avery Hartmans. “For those who identify with a different label, or prefer not to identify their gender at all, Bumble doesn’t provide that option yet.”

Another thing to keep in mind is that Bumble isn’t for women looking for an ego boost. Bumble asks women to put themselves out there — and that sometimes means being rejected. “If your self-esteem can’t take the potential (and likely) hit of not getting responses after putting yourself out there, this app’s not for you,” Abigail Yonker at The Everygirl writes.

On a positive note, a woman named Mary tells writer Alexia Dellner how Bumble reconnected her cousin with an old flame. The two had always had been interested in one another, but the timing was never right. When they found each other on Bumble, they knew it was the right time to see whether sparks would fly. They’ve been dating ever since.

Of course Bumble provides negative experiences as well. Communications consultant Julie Buckner wrote a Los Angeles Times article about her Bumble experience. When a man she met on Bumble agreed to fly to LA to meet her, she was elated. But then the man kept pushing their date back later and later, stringing her along hour by hour, until finally she realized it was never going to happen. Being stood up is horrible wherever you are, but being stood up after traveling hours through LA traffic is the stuff dating horror stories are made of.

Coffee Meets Bagel

One of the best features of Coffee Meets Bagel is that it helps eliminate mindless swiping. It does this by limiting the number of profiles you see each day, which in turn makes matches more thoughtful. This means that you can only swipe right (or, in this case, “like”) on a limited number of people in a single sitting.

“The service gives male users 21 curated matches every day that they can either like or pass on,” says entertainment writer Anna Burleson. “The women, in turn, get to see which men have liked them and decide whether to like them back. If they do, the matched pair can then chat for free.”

The app works by using “beans” as currency for gaining points and accessing special features.

Burleson explains how logging in and completing certain tasks, like rating user photos, can earn you more beans.

Coffee Meets Bagel recently rolled out a feature that allows users to comment on other people’s profiles before they’ve matched. “The hope is that by sending messages specific to that person’s profile like ‘I also traveled to Japan last year,’ users will have a better idea if a match will be worth their time,” VentureBeat reporter Anna Hensel writes.

This differs from most other dating apps, where a mutual like must be initiated in order for contact to occur. Some people enjoy the ability to contact a potential match before the feeling is declared mutual, while others find it leads to connections with people who are slightly, um, overbearing.

One user, Rebecca, a nonprofit grant writer, tells reporter Allison Fox about how she joined Coffee Meets Bagel because she was tired of trying to meet people in bars. When Rebecca met a man named Sohan for the first time, she liked that he had planned the date and was ready for unexpected events. He continued to show interest in her and plan ahead, unlike the other guys she was dating at the time.

“Here’s this guy who knows he likes me, knows he wants to spend time with me and he plans accordingly,” Rebecca says. “That was the first thing that made me think this guy is serious and cares about me.” When he proposed at a restaurant, she knew for certain the answer was yes.

A less successful experience on Coffee Meets Bagel comes from a user named Mark, who told his story to writer Alicia Chiang. Mark and his match were like two peas in a pod when chatting online. But when they met in person, they felt like strangers with nothing to say. The awkward silences led them to believe the match had been a mistake, and they didn’t talk again after that night.

dating app

The League

Like most dating apps, The League uses data from social media to auto-populate your profile. But unlike other apps, The League is more concerned with details about your accolades and accomplishments.

“Most apps gather personal information and photos from Facebook when they sign up,” Theo Miller writes in Forbes. “The League is integrated with LinkedIn because [LinkedIn’s] educational and professional information is more accurate.”

Another benefit of LinkedIn integration  is a feature that blocks a user from seeing current coworkers (as well as Facebook friends!) on the app. This creates a much-appreciated separation between dating and work, as well as dating and social networks.

Career-minded individuals will have fewer bad matches to sort through when using The League, and the varying tiers of membership offer varying numbers of matches per day. With matches based on your preferences, you’ll only see people who meet your tastes to a T. If you’re in one of the 59 cities where The League operates, sign up for the waiting list. It can take some time to get approved, as applications are reviewed manually, unless you receive an invitation from a current user.

New Yorkers Tricia and Greg didn’t have to go far when they found love on The League. “We work essentially across the street from each other and would never have met had it not been for the League,” Tricia says. “We chatted for about two weeks on the app prior to meeting on December 2nd for our first date. We’ve been inseparable ever since.”

MyDomaine editor Gabrielle Savoie didn’t have as much luck on The League. She explains that while nothing negative happened, she’s still waiting to find her prince charming. “Each guy was certainly normal and well put-together and could hold a conversation — but no sparks have really flown yet.”

Dating is a tricky endeavor — to be successful, you might need time, patience, a certain availability to love, and a willingness to fail before you succeed. You also need the right dating app for you, and sometimes… a little bit of luck.

Inspire Your Dating: 14 Relationship Coaches You Should Follow on Twitter

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Despite what conventional wisdom might say, Twitter can be more than just entertainment — it can serve as your new dating coach. In addition to catching up on the Kardashians or checking in on your sport fantasy team, why not pepper your Twitter feed with smart, modern advice from these 14 inspiring relationship coaches?

Susan Winter

Professional love and life mentor Susan Winter shares straightforward advice on dating and romance today. While her advice is catered toward the sophisticated adult, she understands the nuances of navigating relationships in the digital age.

Winter is a prolific writer, with bylines on The Huffington Post, Refinery29, Redbook, and more. You can also check out Winter’s personal blog and YouTube channel.

Charli Penn

The senior lifestyle and relationships editor at Essence, Charli Penn is no stranger to doling out love advice. Having first became popular for her dating advice website Man Wife & Dog, she has since moved on to podcasting.

As co-host of the Yes, Girl! Podcast, Penn discusses all things love and sex with celebrities like Michael B. Jordan and Jennifer Hudson. Also, her podcast archives have some excellent first-hand accounts of how A-list stars approach marriage, relationships, and dating as busy, successful people.

Calvin Roberson

Married At First Sight Fans will recognize its host, Calvin Roberson, a love expert with 25 years of relationship counseling under his belt. His Twitter feed is filled with realistic advice on navigating relationship conflicts and finding lasting love.

Another great thing about Roberson is that he shares personal one-on-one videos about his own experiences in marriage, making him even more personable and trustworthy.

Dr. Laura Berman

Love, sex, and relationship expert Dr. Laura Berman focuses on the mind-body connection required for lasting love. She shows how basic attraction can help successful, confident people find their perfect match in a world of basic dating profiles.

Aside from being filled with inspirational advice on self-love, Berman’s Twitter feed points followers to her various interviews, articles and books. Her writing spans a broad range of topics, from relationship goal-setting to the nuances of texting in romance.

Dr. Rachel De Alto

Dr. Rachel De Alto has also been featured as an expert on Married at First Sight, where she joins other relationship coaches and psychologists in creating perfect matches from pools of total strangers. Her expertise is in compatibility, and she’ll show you how to find someone who compliments your best traits.

Since Dr. De Alto is also a TV personality and host, she can be seen discussing love in a live setting across a wide range of media outlets. Her popularity hasn’t gone to her head, though, and Dr. De Alto still shares real-life experiences with relationships, self-love, depression, and more.

relationship coaches

Dr. Megan Stubbs

Dr. Megan Stubbs is a writer, relationship expert, and sexologist. Her extensive knowledge of intimacy gives her an informed perspective of the nuances of dating and desire. Although talking about sexuality is sometimes considered taboo, Stubbs is on a mission to break down these barriers by discussing intimate topics in an insightful, helpful, and professional way.

Stubbs has written articles on everything from sex toy myths, condom etiquette, the impact of yoga on sex drives, to how to approach PDA as an adult. If you have difficult questions about intimacy, you just might get them answered by tuning into Stubb’s advice.

Evan Marc Katz

Why would a man dump the woman of his dreams? Does religion affect the way you date? What should you say to a person on the phone if you don’t want to go on a date? These are the types of thought-provoking questions that dating coach Evan Marc Katz tackles. With grace, charm, and years of experience as a relationship coach, Katz guides people through some of the most pressing challenges of dating.

Annabelle Knight

Author, love guru, life coach, sex and dating expert. These are just a few of Annabelle Knight’s many titles. This multi-talented psychosexual therapist with her own sex toy line is your go-to wingwoman for straightforward and transparent tips on sex, love, and dating.

Annabelle’s writing and advice weaves through the worlds of pop culture, social norms and gendered expectations. A regular host on TV shows and podcasts, her knowledge on sex is bar-none. Check out her Sex [and Other Stuff] podcast to hear these insights for yourself. If you need an extra dose of Knight’s work, she’s also a novelist with three books on the market.

Dr. Terri Orbuch

As a relationship expert and author, Dr. Terri Orbuch has helpful advice on finding love. Nicknamed the Love Doctor because of her background in science, Dr. Orbuch uses science to help people better understand their own romantic compatibility with others.

Wondering if the person you’re dating is right for you? Have questions about dating as a single parent? The Love Doctor answers all of these questions and more on her Twitter feed.

relationship coaches

Matthew Hussey

Matthew Hussey is a Cosmopolitan dating columnist and host of the Love, Life podcast. From how to flirt and to how to move on to how to respond to sexting, Hussey provides all the answers. He’s also the author of the best-selling book Get The Guy, which offers expert advice on how to find and keep the ideal man. His texting advice can work for people of all genders and sexual preferences as he tackles challenges for digital communication in his ABC Online show, What to Text Him Back.

Dawn Maslar

Have you ever wondered about the neuroscience behind attraction and romance? Dawn Maslar has built a career around this very topic, with fascinating TEDx talks like “How Your Brain Falls in Love” and “The Science of Attraction.”

Her insightful book, “Men Chase, Women Choose: The Neuroscience of Meeting, Dating, Losing Your Mind,” will help you understand why you’re attracted to certain people, how your past influences your future relationships, and what it really means to kindle chemistry with another.

Erin Tillman

Erin Tillman helps people find love and empowers them along their romantic journey. Her radio show, The Dating Advice Girl, is still going strong. Not shying away from some of the biggest social issues faced today, Tillman addresses head-on subjects like the #metoo movement and how consent can lead to more meaningful intimacy.

Devyn Simone

As co-host of TLC’s Love at First Swipe, Devyn Simone helps women put their best selves forward by supporting them to physically and mentally transform themselves. Primarily interested in helping people find matches through online dating, she uses research and personal experience to help people identify their self-limiting dating behaviors so they can find their ideal match.

Simone’s blog features helpful topics like what people get wrong in their online dating profiles, what to never do on a first date, and how to turn flirting into a relationship.

Dr. Debby Herbenick

Dr. Debby Herbenick is the author of six books on sex, including “Sex Made Easy” and “The Coregasm Workout.” Researching, studying, and discussing all things sex, her conversations dig deeper than ordinary sex talk, weaving topics like pleasure, public health, sex education, fertility, and love.

She’s also the founder and host of Bloomington Sex Salon, a monthly, community-based speaker series designed to facilitate healthy conversations about sex. Each expert-led salon explores a different aspect of sex research, education, or advocacy.

Consider incorporating these experts into your daily reading. Whether you’re enjoying the dating experience or demoralized by a stretch of lackluster first dates, these coaches’ insights might just provide some welcomed inspiration to keep you moving forward — if, of course, that is what you so desire.

First Date With a Cocktail Lover? These 10 Brooklyn Bars Serve Local Spirits

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Like finding the love of your life, a unique local cocktail can be elusive.

But if you happen to be in Brooklyn, you’re spoiled with choices. We’ve narrowed it down for you, focusing on places that would be great date venues, as well as haunts populated by cool and attractive singles. Below are our favorite distilleries and bars serving New York spirits to Brooklyners.

Grand Army Bar, Downtown Brooklyn

Grand Army Bar is known for its classic East Coast fare and locally sourced cocktails. Here, you’ll find New York-made spirits stirred into delicious concoctions you can’t resist. “The Buckskin Stallion” from Grand Army’s Fall 2018 menu is a solid first-drink option: It combines New York rye, chicory, Campari, and vermouth into a contemporary take on the original Manhattan.

The Shanty, Williamsburg

The Shanty is the New York Distilling Company’s own full-service bar and is as close as you can get to drinking from the source. Call out any cocktail (or neat pour) you want. Favorites include “Dorothy Parker American Gin”, “Mister Katz’s Rock and Rye”, and “Chief Gowanus New Netherland Gin.”

If you’re a craft beer person who feels at home in a tap room, you’ll love The Shanty’s exposed industrial equipment and barrels upcycled as decor.

Glorietta Baldy, Bed-Stuy

Named after a 10,000-foot-high mountain in New Mexico, Glorietta Baldy is a low-key hang that serves local beers and wines as well as excellent seasonal cocktails. The bar’s founders are mountain-biking enthusiasts, and so they named their Bed-Stuy bunker after one of their favorite places to ride.

If you’re feeling adventurous, the winter cocktail menu features a drink called “Acqua in Bocca!” made with Campari, sweet vermouth, and draft local IPA.

Brooklyn bars

The Gatehouses, Brooklyn Navy Yard

Set by the entrance to the historic Brooklyn Navy Yard, The Gatehouses is Kings County Distillery’s tasting room. The Gatehouses specializes in spirit infusions, letting your taste buds feast on flavors like grapefruit jalapeño moonshine, strawberry ginger moonshine, and chocolate whiskey, (which is infused with ground cacao husks from Mast Brothers Chocolate just down the road). In between drinks, order a honey and hazelnut cheese plate to level out the flavors. For a deeper taste of history, indulge in the distillery tour on Saturday and Sunday afternoons.

Van Brunt Stillhouse, Red Hook

Van Brunt Stillhouse is a distillery that sources wheat, rye, and corn from farmers in upstate New York. While specialized in making different kinds of whiskey, they also offer a craft rum aged in charred barrels. Best of all, Van Brunt organizes an $8-old-fashioneds happy hour every Sunday.

Cardiff Giant, Clinton Hill

Named after one of the biggest hoaxes in American history, Cardiff Giant is no joke. In fact, this bar takes local spirits seriously, only selling booze made in New York State. You’ll find an extensive list of spirits from all over the Empire State, including a few favorite companies such as Finger Lakes Distilling, Empire Spirits, Lockhouse, Pine Barrens, and Coppersea.

If the conversation lulls, you can always hit up one of the vintage, themed game machines in this playful bar.

Eugene & Co., Bed-Stuy

Enjoy some of the best spirits in Brooklyn in the inviting atmosphere of the Standard Wormwood Distillery’s Eugene & Co. Here you’ll find a toddy with Standard Wormwood’s rye alongside chamomile, cinnamon, lemon, and Angostura bitters. Not into whiskey? Eugene and Co. has all kinds of spirits as well as hearty meals to kick off (or follow!) a night of sipping bourbon. Favorites include a brown butter sage gnocchi, a meatloaf sandwich, and roasted brussels sprouts with pickled apple cider reduction.

Brooklyn bars

Widow Jane Distillery, Red Hook

Widow Jane prizes itself on making whiskeys that reflect the character of Brooklyn in both taste and variety. The distilling process uses limestone water from the Rosendale mines of upstate New York to cut each barrel. The high-mineral content of this water enhances the flavor of Widow’s whiskeys and comes from the same mine that sourced building materials for the Empire State Building and Brooklyn Bridge.

Stop into the distillery for tours and tasting rooms, though the former might require a reservation if you’d like to attend on a weekend.

The Moonlight Mile, Greenpoint

Greenpoint’s rock ‘n’ roll-themed bar places special emphasis on American whiskey, with more than 200 varieties lining the bar. While you’ll find authentic whiskeys from across the country, The Moonlight Mile has a great selection of New York whiskeys, including Stillhouse, Kings County, and Widow Jane. The bar also displays local art on its walls and features a customer-curated jukebox.

Interboro Spirits and Ales, East Williamsburg

You can feast on fresh, boozy concoctions at Interboro Spirits and Ales. This distillery prides itself on making simple drinks from basic ingredients: barley, water and rye. But don’t mistake simplicity for lack of taste, their flavor-forward spirits have their own special quality, especially when paired with snacks from the taproom.

Interboro’s tasting room also offers its craft beers on tap, so you will find the whiskey-loving patrons sitting alongside IPA- and farmhouse-sippers. With tap takeovers, release parties and heaps of hot food on deck (looking at you, drunken chicken sandwich), Interboro is the best of both worlds.

The best part about all of the places on this list? They’re low-key hangs that offer world-class libations. No black tie, no passwords at the door – just a friendly setting where you can have a conversation and bond over your shared excellent taste in drinks.

Images by: Michael Discenza, Adam Jaime, Shangyou Shi

The League’s Most Eligible Valentines

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For Valentine’s Day this year we’re giving you a shortlist of our ‘MOST VALENTINE-WORTHY’ users. We cross-ranked the most popular League Profiles (think 99th Percentile) with the most popular Instagram accounts also in our community (hey, people have followers for a reason), then eliminated the Flakes and voila – here’s your list of eligible Valentine’s to drool over. Let the Instagram stalking begin!

PRO TIPS: Want a shot at a date with one of them? We don’t blame you. Head to the Messages tab in your League app and click on the Instagram Search , type in their @handle, use a League Ticket to Power Move them and we’ll add you as an extra Prospect in their very next League Batch. Given that 99/100 people that see ’em, heart ’em, you’ll need to do a bit more to stand out from the crowd. Use the ‘Send A Note’ feature to send a thoughtful Valentine’s Day Message that their Concierge will send on your behalf, which improves your chances of matching by 3X (depending on how good of a writer you are we suppose). As a surprisingly few users take advantage of the Power Move ‘Pass a Note’ feature, you’ll stand out from the crowd, we promise.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

THE WINNERS (click photo to follow)

WOMEN

MEN

LGBTQ+

THE ALLSTARS

WOMEN

MEN

LGBTQ+

Plan a First Date on Valentine’s Day

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Indulge in the mushiest, corniest behavior known to man! A chance like this comes only once a year!

Yes, we’re suggesting a first date for Valentine’s Day. It might seem counterintuitive to celebrate with a stranger, but dating is always a gamble, so why not let it all ride. Not convinced? Hear us out.

Why Valentine’s Day Makes a Great First Date

Go against tradition and defy societal norms. Actually, if you’re considering it, you’re not alone – 53 percent of respondents in an AskMen survey admit that they’d go on a first date on the holiday, writer Candice Jalili says.

And here’s an unanticipated silver lining – it’s also an opportunity to escape the cringe-worthy plans of your single friends. Not so keen on eating mint chocolate chip and hearing people bash their exes? Plan a date, suggests Lily Feinn, writer at Bustle.

Elite Daily writer Jamie Kravitz adds her own twist: “Pick an activity that is so cheesy that you can poke fun at how cliché you’re being. Go to a roller rink and rock the couples’ skate, or dine in the dark à la About Time. If you can’t get to London or Paris, consider DIY-ing a similar setup in your apartment with croissants and Camembert.” Basically, the holiday gives you permission to have fun being facetious together, and even doing a little playful imagining of what life together could look like.

It’s a good plan… acknowledge the pressure that many people feel around the day, and then upend that pressure with humor and creativity.

valentine's day

Or You Could Just Embrace the Day

Tacos and 5Ks aside, the real fun of dating on Valentine’s Day is you get to tackle cultural expectations head-on. What’s more, someone in your city is probably putting on a Valentine’s Day event worth checking out:

  • In Boston, the Cambridge Museum of Science has a drag king show in the planetarium.
  • In Brooklyn, Handmade Events throws a masquerade ball. There’s something about going on a first date with mask and costume that helps build anticipation. Plus, you’ll both be dressed to impress.
  • In San Francisco, an annual Valentine’s Day pillow fight brings more than 1,000 people down to Justin Herman Plaza. The team at Pacific Tradewinds Hostel has more details.
  • In Tulsa, Oklahoma, I AM Yoga + Wellness is organizing a partners yoga event so you and your date can boost endorphins, sparkle with sweat, and perhaps connect on another level.
  • In Denver, Colorado, residents can explore the romantic side of sea creatures by watching Sex and the Sea at the Museum of Nature and Science. This event will feature ocean-themed aperitifs and will follow the stories of whales, groupers, lobsters and other animals making love under the sea.
  • In Atlanta, the Atlanta Balloon Glow in Piedmont Park promises tethered hot-air balloon rides, food trucks, and music. This family-friendly event will likely bring together people of all ages. If you’re brave enough to turn your first date into the second act of a ‘90s rom-com, then consider going for a hot-air balloon ride.

Or You Could Keep the Date Casual

Kravitz’s idea of doing croissants and Camembert might require a little more chemistry than your average first date. If you don’t feel like satirizing the tropes of romantic love, you can approach the day of love from the flip side. Bustle writer Natalia Lusinski describes a Valentine’s Day in which she and her first date went somewhere that wouldn’t be celebrating the holiday at all. This allowed them to simply enjoy each other’s company and not “force love,” as she writes. After all, it’s hard to connect when you both feel pressure to perform.

Unfortunately,  this might rule out many restaurants for the evening. If you still want to dine, consider Esquire writer Sarah Wexler’s advice that you go on a taco tour. “Planning a route so you can try delicious tacos (and accompanying drinks) at different stops along the way is more fun than sitting still,” she writes. “Call it a mini-adventure.”

You could also do something adventurous like go to a rock climbing gym or participate in a 5K. Doing something active will get your minds off the holiday and lets you pretend that February 14 isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

valentines day

Take a Chance — You Will Be in Good Company

Many couples have had their first dates on Valentine’s Day.

For example, Cosmopolitan’s writer Samantha Swantek has the story of one woman’s first date with her now-husband. They had been friends. With no ice to break, they were able to keep the date simple: he brought cupcakes to her house, and they ended up talking all night. No pressure, no being surrounded by other couples, and no sparkly heart-themed decor.

Elite Daily’s Willa Bennett has a similar story. Hers didn’t go quite as planned:. “He inched his body closer to mine, eventually grazing his cheek against my collarbone,” Bennett writes. “Moments later, I leaned in to kiss him. He grabbed my hand and then bit my ear, moving his lips back to mine. My heart was racing. But suddenly, he pulled away and started apologizing profusely. Confused, I backed away. He apologized again. I looked up. ‘I’m SO sorry, but I think I’ve bled all over your face,’ he declared as he wiped the blood pulsing out of his left nostril. He had in fact, gotten a nosebleed all over my face.” Amazingly, the two laughed it off,had an enjoyable Valentine’s Day, and have lived happily ever after.

Another reason to take your chances on Valentine’s Day: You never know who you’ll bump into. Just take the case of UMass Amherst students Alex and Daniel Smith. The two met on Valentine’s Day — at the movie theater concession stand while Daniel was on a date with someone else. Daniel had struck up a conversation with one of Alex’s friends, and the group chatted briefly while waiting for snacks. “The next day, I got a text message from my friend saying that that random dude I met had liked me,” Alex writes. “Less than a week later, we went on our first date. Two and a half years later we moved in together, and three and a half years later he proposed.”

The moral of the story… good can come of any experience. We know there’s a certain pleasure to sitting on your couch inhaling conversation hearts until you’re pink in the face. But dating is like most things in life – you have to play in order to win. Valentine’s Day heightens the stakes, so play big – you might come out a winner.

Dating After Divorce: How to Discuss Your Past Marriage in a New Relationship

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Previous marriages are a difficult topic of discussion, especially in new relationships. Although divorce has become as commonplace as 10-year anniversaries, many divorced people still fear they have a mark on them -– that they’ll be judged or rejected if someone finds out about their past.

Learning how to talk about your past openly and honestly is a signal that you’re ready for a new relationship. Plus, it shows your partner that you’re able to learn and grow from the unending challenges of life.

The Challenge of Talking About Marriage and Divorce

On the flip side of divorce, talking about tying the knot can be difficult as well. Confronting a situation where you and your new love have diverging views on marriage can have major consequences for the fate of your relationship. Kayla Knopp, a clinical graduate student at the University of Denver Center for Marital and Family Studies, explains that marriage feels extremely consequential for many people. If one partner wants to get married and the other doesn’t, for example, confronting this fact can greatly complicate things.

While bringing up a history of divorce might feel outright taboo, discussing your past relationships is an important way for you and your partner to bond, says Dr. Paulette Sherman, a psychologist and the author of “Dating From The Inside Out.” “That is one way to reveal who you are and what you want without putting pressure on them to make any immediate decision about you,” Dr. Sherman says. “Oftentimes when you bring up your life and relationship vision in general, the other person will reveal theirs too.” She adds that talking about marriage can give you both an idea of whether you’re on the same page.

Someone who hasn’t been married may be afraid to talk about the subject for a different reason. As Peg Streep writes in Psychology Today, “Each of us brings into marriage a boatload of unarticulated thoughts about what it means to be married based on what we’ve seen, heard, experienced, or formulated in contrast to our parents’ example—and those unconscious thoughts influence our behavior and reactions.”

So, someone might feel uneasy about topics like marriage because of experiences with their parents’ divorce, for example. Acknowledging the fact that your partner might also have reservations and fears about discussing marriage, even if they haven’t experienced divorce themselves, can level the playing field in that you both have fears about the topic.

dating after divorce

Embracing Your Relationship Past

Dating after divorce is daunting, and you may feel more guarded and emotional than you were before marriage. However, you might need to jump into the dating game before you think you’re ready. As The Art of Charm’s A.J. Harbinger explains, “…for divorced guys who are looking to get back in the game. It’s not going to be easy, but it’s necessary for you to completely heal and move on.”

In a similar way, talking about your divorce might accelerate the healing process. In order to be whole, you have to embrace all of your failures and challenges as part of who you are, explains Erik Newton, founder of the relationship-media platform Together. The ability to be open about your past shows that you can overcome challenges and learn from them.

Plus, your partner will likely want to know how your past will influence your relationship with them. Being transparent can help your partner know that you have nothing to hide, and show that you’re ready to start anew regardless of your past.

When to Talk About Your Past Marriage

There’s no perfect time to bring up your past marriage because every new relationship moves at a different pace. But if you’re open and ready to start dating again, sooner might be better — even if this means the first date.

“I’d recommend the topic be raised during a first date,” says California State University psychology professor Dr. Kelly Campbell. “People don’t have to force the topic, but whenever prior relationships naturally come up in the conversation, they should mention their divorce.”

If the topic doesn’t come up naturally during the first date, be ready for it to arise at any time. There’s really no need to hide what you’ve been through, so if your partner starts asking questions about it, you should be prepared to talk about it.

Talking about divorce early on is especially important if you have obligations that bind you to your previous spouse, such as child support, divorce fees, or a mortgage. Being upfront about these obligations can prevent your partner from harboring resentment should you get more serious in the future, says Beth Kobliner, a writer and personal finance expert.

Sometimes you might notice that you have an urge to get this topic out in the open as soon as possible. If this is the case, it’s a good idea to check in with your intentions around why. Sometimes people have an agenda to share things for shock value or in an effort to come across as “open.” Or, there could even be a hidden desire to sabotage a potential connection out of fear of getting close to someone.

Whether you want to clear up a misunderstanding or simply gain a better perspective of your partner’s opinion on the issue, it’s important to check in with why you want to talk about divorce before you bring it up.

dating after divorce

How to Talk About Your Marriage History

Taking the right approach to conversations about marriage can make it easier to discuss your past marriages and divorce.

First and foremost, it’s important to approach these topics when you and your partner are both in a relaxed setting. This will help your partner feel like it’s more of an open and natural conversation rather than an interrogation, explains Anita Chilpata, an author and a licensed marriage and family therapist.

Chilpata adds that it’s best to approach this topic slowly, understanding that it may take many conversations to get to the heart of the matter. Be patient, stay open to the other’s questions, and as marriage consultant Sheri Stritof advises, “Maintain eye contact.”

If you’re dating someone who’s also divorced, asking the right questions can help to open a dialogue about what you’re both looking for, wellness and relationships writer Korin Miller says. It’s important that you’re both willing and able to talk openly about your pasts. If people are carrying a great deal of anger toward their exes, for example, this will impact their current feelings toward one another.

Asking your partner if they believe they can spend their life with someone will show you how their past has influenced them, positively or negatively. Be aware that in asking the question, you’ll want to be prepared to answer that same question openly and honestly yourself.

Lastly, while your divorce is an important part of your story, it doesn’t define you, Woman’s Day writer Stacey Freeman shares. It’s just one of many things that have happened to you throughout your life. The right partner for you will want to be with you for who you are, with all of your past experiences having shaped you. Don’t rob them nor yourself of that opportunity.

Images by: Brodie Vissers, Thought Catalog, Brodie Vissers

14 Smart, Funny Dating Podcasts to Inspire Your Love Life

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It’s ironic that dating can be a lonely experience. For anyone who has to balance a demanding career, a busy social life, and any number of other passions, finding someone else on your level can be a thankless solo journey leading you to reenter your relationship with Netflix.

Connecting with the stories of others is a great way to motivate yourself to keep looking, and dating podcasts can provide a wealth of information and inspiration.

With true love stories, real talk about intimacy, or advice from the LGBTQ community, here are 14 dating podcasts that will hopefully keep you from a series of mind-numbing first date conversations and deliver you the One you seek.

Modern Love

The Modern Love podcast, a spinoff of the Modern Love column in The New York Times, is a favorite among the New York elite. Following a unique format, the podcast invites actors, authors, and influencers in the arts to read essays and stories submitted by everyday users.

Dear Sugar

In every episode of Dear Sugar, best-selling author Cheryl Strayed and her co-host, Steve Almond, read and answer letters from people from all walks of life. They’re not afraid to tackle difficult issues, answering questions on loneliness, dating as a single parent, overcoming jealousy and finding your sense of worth.

While Dear Sugar ended in 2018, the advice is timeless and universal. Since there’s no sequential order, you can browse the episodes and find a topic that speaks to you.

Savage Lovecast

If you get easily embarrassed talking about sex and intimacy, Savage Lovecast will desensitize you — and quickly. Answering a handful of calls on each episode, Dan Savage is ready to cover any topic, including many NSFW.

Whether it’s having a sex addiction, reconciling with a partner after cheating or navigating LGBTQ dating, this podcast opens up real conversations and shares endless nuggets of wisdom on love and modern relationships.

This Is Why You’re Single

Ready for a straightforward and hilarious conversation about modern dating? This Is Why You’re Single is hosted by comedy writers Laura Lane and Angela Spera, who began collaborating on sketch comedy after meeting at an improv theater.

The podcast confronts the hard truths about dating in the digital age, using real-world dating stories as launchpads for practical conversations. Laura and Spera’s advice is real, practical and relatable. There’s also an eponymous book that tackles many of the same topics.

woman in headphones listening to dating podcasts

Nancy

Nancy is one of today’s leading podcasts documenting the modern queer experience. Tackling topics like coming out, sex toys, growing up trans, and finding love by speaking up, Nancy somehow manages to be sad, funny and uplifting – and all at the same time!

We also like Nancy for its no-frills approach to politics and society. The LGBTQ community, with its civil rights constantly under attack, needs more unification and support than ever and Nancy blazes the trail with wit, ferocity, and class.

Date/able

This podcast is specifically geared toward the young professional dater, for whom dating can get frustrating and lonely. Date/able shows its listeners that there are others facing these same issues.

Better yet, listeners can submit their stories, questions, and experiences (anonymously or publicly) for discussion on the air. If you’re ready for stories that are honest, heartbreaking, and hilarious, don’t miss Date/able.

I Do Podcast

Despite its title, the I Do Podcast covers much more than marriage. In fact, it offers incredible advice that can be applicable to people seeking or entering new relationships too. It helps its listeners tap into their own issues and consider what might be keeping them from healthy, happy relationships.

Past episodes have included how to deal with rejection in romantic relationships, how to identify whether you have narcissistic habits, and how to address honesty and conflict resolution.

Dating While Black

Taking aim at the often uncomfortable discussion of race in the context of dating, Dating While Black offers a realistic look at the challenges faced by many people in their 20s and 30s. Recent episodes of Dating While Black have discussed topics like limiting yourself to a type, how to date effectively and what it means to have (or encounter) emotional baggage. If you need something uplifting and funny to accompany you on your commute, give this podcast a listen.

LOVE SEX DESIRE

Speaker, writer, and personal coach Susana Frioni discusses all things driving and halting desire in our daily lives. LOVE SEX DESIRE takes a gentler, more sophisticated approach to topics like intimacy, consent, attraction, and sexual pleasure.

Fironi interviews life coaches, bestselling authors, psychotherapists, and other experts for a well-rounded perspective on dating today. Her ultimate goal is to find out what it really takes to create a thriving partnership — and she invites her listeners along for the journey.

Why Won’t You Date Me?

Hosted by comedian, actress and writer Nicole Byer, Why Won’t You Date Me? offers comedic relief for those feeling lonely. Byer invites her exes and past flings to the show, asking them about why the relationship ended. She also invites on guests to talk about their dating life and, without hesitation, asks them whether or not they’d date her. The result is a fresh and hilarious approach to singledom that will have you laughing till the very end.

couple chatting, representing dating podcasts

Where Should We Begin?

Psychotherapist and bestselling author Esther Perel hosts Where Should We Begin? an intimate podcast on relationships. Perel interviews real couples about their relationship issues, successes, and heartbreaks throughout the years.

By examining the love lives of a varied range of people, this podcast sheds light on issues considered too taboo or impolite to talk about in everyday life.

Making Gay History

Making Gay History sheds light on the most influential gay activists of the current era. Each episode documents the seldom recognized life efforts of courageous and devoted LGBTQ civil rights leaders. While not directly about relationships, this podcast offers endless inspiration.

U Up?

Betches Media presents the U Up? podcast, hosted by Betches founder Jordana Abraham and comedian Jared Freid. This podcast does a great job of investigating male and female perspectives on modern dating. It sheds light on what it means to use today’s dating apps, how hookups make us feel, and why relationships come to an end.

The Heart

Although no longer in production, The Heart podcast has years of episodes on life, love, relationships, and becoming your best self. It is one of the foremost podcasts discussing these topics, and we love.

With its artistic and off-beat approach to love, The Heart’s archives are organized by category and listeners can sort through topics like sexual abuse, breaking up, body positivity, and being queer in a Christian family.

May your listening lead you swiftly to love.

The Science of Attraction: Why We Gravitate Toward People Who Love Cooking

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If your eyes light up when you read that a potential date loves to cook, you’re not alone.

An analysis of over 3.7 million dating profiles performed by Zoosk found that both men and women are more likely to message potential partners if the other person’s profile mentioned food, The Independent’s Rachel Hosie reports. This trend also holds true when people mention a love of cooking in their profiles.  

Food and health appear more than any other interests on dating profiles. A passion for cooking implies a passion for food as well, giving those who list it a two-for-one hobby in terms of attracting the interest of dating prospects.

Why cooking? What is it we love about people who enjoy spending time in the kitchen?

Food and Courtship: A Tale as Old as Time

Why has the dinner date endured as one of the most popular courtship activities? According to Helen E. Fisher’s classic piece in Psychology Today, the reason is innate, not cultural.

“Around the world men have given women presents prior to lovemaking,” Fisher says. “A fish, a piece of meat, sweets and beer are among the delicacies men have invented as offerings.”

Other species do this as well. Many creatures give their partners food as a way of demonstrating their worth as providers.

For humans, sharing food is linked to perceptions of attractiveness and intimacy. In a 2013 study published in the journal Human Nature, TR Alley and colleagues showed videos of couples dining to a group of university students. Afterward, the researchers asked the participants to rate the mutual attraction and intimacy of each couple. The students found couples to be both more attracted and more intimate when they fed one another or shared food with one another.

Sharing food is also tightly linked to our earliest and most deeply ingrained feelings about safety, security and emotional regulation, Myrte E. Hamburg, Catrin Finkenauer and Carlo Schuengel note in a 2014 study. That study linked the act of food offering to emotional regulation.

Put simply, humans are more likely to approve of people who share food. Why? Because sharing and receiving food feels good. And those who say they love to cook are communicating on an emotional level: “I like to care for others”

young couple cooking

Enjoying the Multisensory Experience

Some studies indicate that the foods can change body chemistry in a way that alters one’s attractiveness to potential mates.

For example, a 2016 study by Jitka Fialova, S. Craig Roberts and Jan Havlicek in the journal Appetite found that men who ate garlic regularly had body odor that was rated more attractive and more pleasant by women.

A similar study in “Evolution and Human Behavior,” led by Andrea Zuniga, found that women preferred men’s post-workout body odor when the men ate diets high in fruits and vegetables.

Food may introduce a tactile element to attraction, as well, says Dawn Maslar at MindBodyGreen. For instance, one study found that people meeting a potential first date while holding a cup of hot coffee rated the other person warmer and more generous. While holding an iced coffee, they were more likely to see the other person as more stoic.

Human attraction appears to be based on a wide range of sensory input. Sight, sound, smell, taste and touch all play a role. According to Sara Chodosh at Popular Science, the reason may be that weighing information on multiple sensory channels allows our brains to make more informed decisions about whether someone is a good potential mate.

Love Me, Love My Hobby

As suggested above, hobbies like cooking that indicate a kind or generous nature may make people appear more attractive to others.

A 2014 study published in the journal “Personality and Individual Differences” found that when a group of participants viewed photos of people with neutral facial expressions, they tended to rate their attractiveness neutrally. When told the people in the photos were known for their kindness or generosity, however, the attractiveness ratings went up.

“We find that ‘what is good is beautiful,’ with personality reflecting desired traits as facial attractiveness,” Yan Zhang and fellow researchers write. “We can thus presume that personality traits may contribute to judging facial attractiveness and that the personality traits desired in a person are reflected in facial preference.”

Once you’ve found The One, sharing healthy hobbies like cooking and exercise can benefit both you and your relationship. A 2015 study by Sarah E. Jackson, Andrew Steptoe and Jane Wardle found that partners who made health changes together were more likely to stick to their new healthy habits.

middle aged couple cooking

Changing With the Times

Our parents or grandparents might have assumed that men were the ones looking for a partner who could cook. Meanwhile, women were the ones listing “cooking” among their interests in order to attract a male partner. Today, however, this stereotype is wildly out of date. According to chef Todd Mohr, cooking classes for those interested in preparing romantic meals attract students of all genders and orientations.

Researcher Alice Eagly’s social role theory may help explain why we’ve moved beyond the days when cooking was tied to our ideas about gender. Eagly’s theory posits that our assumptions about attractiveness are influenced by our expectations about social roles. In a world where people of all genders and sexual orientations participate in the work and home world, cooking no longer belongs to a particular gender. Instead, it has become associated with traits like enjoying food, giving generously or caring about health.

According to Julia Kitlinski-Hong at Lifehack, people who love cooking are likely to have better emotional control, be more open to new experiences, appreciate subtlety, and enjoy learning new things. These are traits typically desired in potential partners.

The Best of Both Worlds

In a 2005 study in the journal “Personality and Individual Differences,” researchers Todd K. Shackelford, David P. Schmitt and David M. Buss identified four dimensions by which people rate their long-term partners. One of the four, “Dependable/Stable versus Good Looks/Health,” implied that people are willing to accept a less attractive or healthy partner who is highly dependable.

A partner who loves to cook may have better health and also demonstrate dependability through their desire to nurture others. And so it follows that potential partners that enjoy cooking can rate highly in both dimensions!

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