Dating the Bridgerton Way

Dear Readers,

It is with immense excitement that I am delighted to report that the new season of Bridgerton is underway.

Viewers take to their seats with anticipation as we watch the new season's story unfold. There are many lessons to be taken from the first episodes. I am here to draw a comparison from dating the Bridgerton way to dating during 2022.

Let us begin…

Don't Meddle it will end in disaster, leave the professionals to do their job!

Firstly, there will always be those who want to control your love life. In this season, we see lady Philippa Featherington married off by her mother who takes the lead role as a meddling matchmaker. The question of her dowry becomes a thorn in her mother's side until the new lord Feathrington miraculously appears and comes to the rescue, but not is all as it seems! With a lack of communication and transparency between the two a charade unfolds in the orangery which could lead to the downfall of the family in dramatic fashion… or does it?

Continuing on the matchmaker front, the Queen takes this role very seriously. By choosing Miss Edwina Sharma as her Diamond after some gentle persuasion by her fellow matchmaker Lady Danbury, she sets about to find a suitor of nobility and standing. It seems she will stop at nothing to not only get her wed but play wedding organizer too. This amount of meddling will surely lead to disaster! The reason we modern-day matchmakers do all the training and development we do, is simple. We ensure we make good matches that are equal on both sides. There is no point encouraging a union when one party is more invested or has more to gain. This will surely lead to disaster.

Is it lust or love?

This is always one of the biggest questions we are asked and our coaches spend hundreds of hours decoding clients' dilemmas in this area. Do you believe in love at first sight or lust at first sight? Lord Bridgerton and Kate seem to lead us merry viewers on a journey between the two. There are those of us who are cynical, we may think this pair is drawn together with sexual sizzle and a wanton lust for the forbidden! Those romantics amongst us will see the passion, desire, and genuine want for these two to get their happy ever after! This isn’t the only forbidden or complex love match that exists this season.

Recognize when you are wearing rose-tinted glasses and take them off in time to overt heartbreak and disaster.

Will Penelope’s secret stay just that and will she finally get her man? Her romantic hopes are raised as the younger Bridgerton brother, Colin returns from his travels with tales from Greece. Will he finally remove his rose-tinted glasses after a failed trip to reignite things with his old love interest Miss Marina Thompson, will Pen get her man? Why are love and relationships so complex? Some things don’t change with time. I fear we seem to learn less about love but be drawn more to lust in the modern age. This is just one of the many reasons relationships still fail! That, and marrying the sensible choice that everyone has a handle on creating.

The moral of this: less is more. Less meddling, less overthinking, and less drama. When you go into a relationship to do the right thing or to please others, you invariably end up hurting everyone and being left with a lot of cleaning up to do!


Tinder Swindler

Ask a Matchmaker: How Do I Avoid the Next Tinder Swindler?

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve likely heard about the latest dating disaster taking the internet by storm.

That is, of course, The Tinder Swindler.

In Netflix’s latest documentary, we’re told the story of a dashing, real-life “Prince of Diamonds” named Simon Leviev (at least, that’s what he called himself). Wealthy, handsome, and the son of the Russian/Israeli diamond tycoon Lev Leviev, Simon appeared to be the total package.

The only problem?

None of it was real.

Simon (who is actually Shimon Yehuda Hayut) lied about everything. From his name to his family ties–all of it was an elaborate front designed to scam millions of dollars from unsuspecting women that he met through dating apps.

Sadly, this tragic tale of lies and deceit is just the latest addition to what is becoming an all-too-common phenomenon of romantic fraud.

As a matchmaker, many of my clients come to me with stories that are horrifyingly similar to that of the victims within the film. Along with the immense financial debts and heartbreak, they are often left with a sense of deep emotional scarring. After such a betrayal, it can take years to learn how trust again.

The story of The Tinder Swindler and his victims was more than just a sensational story–it was a wake up call.

Want to avoid being swindled in your love life? Here's what singles in today’s modern dating market can learn from The Tinder Swindler.

Financial help should be off-limits

The Tinder Swindler chronicles the story of three victims–Cecile, Penilla, and Ayleen–as they recount their experiences of Simon’s emotional and financial betrayal.

After hearing their stories of love and loss, one thing becomes abundantly clear: the only thing worse than being heartbroken?

Being heartbroken and broke.

When Cecile first met Simon, she was whisked away into a wonderland of luxury. Between the designer clothing, 5-star hotels, and constant trips on his private planes, it was obvious that Simon was a man with money.

So, later, when Simon needed a little financial help in order to avoid the wrath of his “enemies,” Cecile had no reason to believe that he wouldn’t eventually be able to pay her back.

This request for money, however, was only a month into dating. At this point in their relationship, Simon and Cecile should have just been getting to know each other–not exchanging routing numbers.

While finances are important aspects of a relationship, actually giving money to your significant other is a slippery slope to slide down. If monetary support is ever appropriate, it should be reserved exclusively for when a relationship gets much more serious.

Someone who is new into a relationship would not feel comfortable making this sort of request. If they do, it should be viewed as a major red flag.

Beware the dangers of online dating

Despite the scary statistics reported about the dangers of online dating, apps like Tinder continue to thrive in popularity amongst singles.

Many feel it is the best way to find their own prince charming–a diamond in the rough, as it were. But, as we learned from The Tinder Swindler, even the “Prince of Diamonds” was nothing more than a sparkling online persona.

In the film, Simon was quick to gather personal information. The women shared copies of their passport, credit card information, and even the phone numbers to certain family members. When his behavior eventually changed, the women felt vulnerable, knowing that he had their information at his disposal.

Avoid this situation by not sharing personal information or photos online.

Together is better

While the advancement of technology has provided tons of benefits for dating singles, it’s also introduced many unsuspecting risks.

Before, singles would need to go out on several dates before knowing if they wanted to pursue a relationship with someone. Now, there’s texting, voice messages, and FaceTime for that. For long-distance couples trying to maintain the spark despite being apart, these modern advancements are very helpful. It can be dangerous, however, if you’re falling in love with someone you’ve only met in person once–or in some cases, never at all.

In the case of the Tinder Swindler, Cecile and Penilla’s relationships with Simon were largely virtual. Simon used his “jet-setting lifestyle” as an excuse to avoid actually being with the girls. He only seemed to appear in person when it was necessary to maintain the romance (manipulation) within the relationship.

No matter how busy their schedule, someone who is genuinely interested in getting to know you will make time for you.

While messaging and phone calls are a great way to maintain a relationship, being physically together is the best way to get to know a person. Next time you start to fall for someone, make sure your feelings are rooted in reality–not Whatsapp.

Don’t rush the relationship

One of the most disturbing details within the film was the identical way in which his victims described their whirlwind romances with Simon.

In each relationship, his first step towards financial domination over his victims was to overwhelm them with love and affection.

From good morning texts, fine dining, to enormous bouquets of roses, Cecile, Penilla, and Ayleen all felt like Simon’s attention was like something out of a movie.

Although seemingly romantic, Simon was actually employing a common manipulation tactic is known as “love bombing.”

Often used by narcissists, “love bombing” is when a partner showers the other with over-the-top attention and affection. It usually happens at the beginning of a relationship as a way to ‘win over’ the other partner.

Remember that getting to know someone takes time. If you’ve only been dating for a few weeks and your partner is already asking you to move in with them, they’re rushing the relationship.

If you think your significant other is dropping love bombs, it’s probably time to take shelter.

Don’t fall for potential

Like many women, Cecile grew up with fairy tales and epic Hollywood romances. Although she knew life was no Disney movie, she couldn’t help but imagine that when she fell in love, it would feel just as magical.

Predators like Simon can sense this wishful thinking and use it to their advantage. A master manipulator, Simon knew that many women dream of meeting a dashing prince that will sweep them off their feet.

For the women he met on Tinder, he became just that. He pulled out all the tricks so that they’d fall for–not who he was–but who he could be.

By distracting his dates with his luxurious, jet-setting lifestyle, Simon cleverly blurred the lines between reality and fantasy. The women were quick to fall in love with the potential of him being a seemingly perfect partner.

By the time Simon started asking them for money, the women were already too deep in his deception to see the red flags.

Each woman described feeling extremely uncomfortable about the amounts of money Simon asked them to shell out. Despite this, they ignored their intuition and gave in anyway.

The lesson? Don’t fall in love with potential. Fall in love with reality. Remember that when something seems too good to be true, it usually is. Unfortunately, for the women scammed by the “Tinder Swindler,” they weren’t able to realize that until it was too late.

Avoid the next Tinder Swindler

Amongst all the real-life horror within The Tinder Swindler, the most terrifying fact is that this can happen to anyone.

If you have been victim to romantic fraud, don’t blame yourself. In today’s dating market, it’s increasingly difficult to know who is worthy of your trust.

Thankfully there is a tried and true solution to this modern problem. By working with a matchmaker, you can be assured that all of your dates will be with quality, like-minded singles.

All applicants at The Setup go through a thorough vetting process before being accepted as a client. Our members greatly enjoy the freedom and confidence that comes with dating in a truly safe environment.

Don’t get fooled again!

Swipe left to swindlers and join The Setup.


A happy couple

Third Time’s a Charm: How the 3 Date Rule Makes Dating a Breeze

Here at The Setup, we’re dedicated to giving you the tools of empowerment you need for the sometimes scary journey that is dating. Dating should be something easy and fun. However, self-sabotage and bad advice are two common hurdles that get in the way of building successful relationships. 

Let’s break down some dating strategies and figure out how to start a fun and fruitful dating journey. 

What's the first thing anyone can do when beginning this journey?

Speak to professionals. Where do you normally go for dating advice? Most often, people seek dating tips from their friends, family members, or even co-workers. Though they mean well, they usually end up giving bad advice.

For example, if you're speaking to grandparents about dating, there is the possibility that they’ve not dated within this century. Dating dynamics have changed drastically in the last 10 years. Now, throughout quarantine and the global pandemic, we've seen even more drastic changes within the dating industry.

Evidence show that nowadays, people are more anxious, lonely, and stressed than ever. Both quarantine and remote work are two recent factors that have caused otherwise content singles to consider coupling up quickly. Many people currently feel immense pressure to find love and companionship and therefore try to take a fast track into relationships. 

If you’d like to avoid any more unnecessary confusion, worry and stress throughout your dating process, our best advice is to speak to the right people from the get-go. Seek advice from professionals who have the credentials to back up what they're saying.

The Magic Number 3

We’re all aware of the many dating strategies that have floated in and out of popularity. Which ones actually work?

3 Day Rule

The “3 Day Rule” goes like this: after you finish a date with someone you must wait three days until you call them back. By waiting this amount of time, you supposedly appear less desperate and more attractive to the other person.

This strategy essentially tunes into the idea of playing “hard to get.” However, in modern dating this strategy is no longer relevant nor effective. If anything, it is more harmful to your dating journey.

Quite counterproductively, this strategy paints you as uncertain, hesitant, or uninterested. No longer do we live in a time where romance goes slow. Allow yourself the indulgence of dating and communicate with your potential partner freely. Don’t bind yourself within this outdated rule. 

The modern dating world does not fare well with the “3 Day Rule.” This unhealthy method of beginning a relationship often ignites thoughts of insecurity and doubt in your date. 

So, do yourself a favor and leave this “strategy” in the past.

Wait Until Date 3 To Get Physical

The idea behind this strategy is that after date three it is acceptable to become intimate with the person you are dating. It insinuates the idea that you are finally good enough to not be abandoned or thought of as “loose” because you waited three dates.

Countless amounts of research and years of expertise proves that this idea can be emotionally dangerous. By placing too much pressure on the relationship too soon, many partners find themselves feeling unnecessarily anxious and begin to overthink almost immediately in the relationship.

By the third date you are more than likely just beginning to truly understand the person your date, still figuring out if the feelings you have with them can spur into something deep and meaningful. Don’t get lost in the whirlwind of premature physicality—keep it cool and take things slow.

If you find yourself considering a third-date hooking up, take a moment to consider your long-term goals while dating. What do you really want? A fun night of lost inhibitions and pleasure? Or to genuinely get to know your date, understand their deepest desires, and maybe, if all goes well, build a future with them? 

Getting physical early on might be fun, but it can also cloud your judgement as the relationship continues. For example, getting caught up in lust for the person could cause you to ignore major red flags or obvious differences in you and your date’s core values. While lust is an important aspect in dating it is impossible to build a lasting foundation from lust alone. 

Our advice is to bury this strategy, and never look at it again. By taking out the pressure of intimacy, you allow your feelings to grow naturally for the other person. This will make your relationship stronger, your feelings deeper, and leave you with peace of mind.

3 Date Rule


The idea behind this strategy is to go on a minimum of three dates with your current match or possible partner before making the decision to continue/stop dating them.

The 3 Date Rule is a method to break unhealthy pressure and anxiety-based patterns that we have placed on ourselves in modern dating.

This strategy gives you a clear action plan to follow that takes off the pressure of early dating and give you steps to follow throughout your dating journey. It aims to help you understand the other person and yourself and see if there is a possibility of going steady.

There is no doubt in our mind that the 3 Date Rule benefits those who utilize it. 

So, what is the 3-date rule, exactly?

Date 1: Keep it light

The first date should be light-hearted, focusing on simply getting to know each other. This means the date should not be more than 2 hours, and it should be in a less formal place such as a coffeehouse or brunch. 

The modern “conveyor belt” type of dating—the quick interview-like conversation of back-and-forth questions—gives you no room to discover your match. Try to know a bit more than just a bullet point list of basic facts. 

Keep the conversation light and keep an open mind!

Date 2: Have fun!

Find out if you can have fun together. Date two is about laughing. Focus more on values and hobbies. 

The activity-based part of the second date will allow you to get to know this person while you're in a more comfortable and laid-back mood while your focus is on something else. Go bowling, hiking, mini golfing. Museums and sporting events are also great ideas.

Date 3: Wine and Dine

Get dressed up and go on a date dinner and a show. Allow this date to be where the romance steps in and takes the wheel. Lust can happen on date one, but date three is where you understand if that visual element can evolve into love. 

Do you want to go steady?

After the third date sit down with yourself, process your feelings, and ask yourself: “Is this someone I can go exclusive with?” 

Deciding to move forward with your date is the first step to building a strong, long-lasting foundation of forever. On the other hand, if you feel this person isn’t quite right for you, cut things off then and there. You can leave with confidence knowing that you tried your best, while refusing to waste time with an incompatible partner. Now, understanding your feelings and wants with more clarity, you can take what you’ve learned as you move into the next journey with your newest match.

Where did the 3-date rule come from?

There are only 12 Master Certified Matchmakers in the World—and Genevieve Gresset is one of the best. She has spent over 25 years coaching, mentoring, and matching single professionals all around the world.

Genevieve created the 3 Date rule when she noticed that her clients didn’t last more than 10 minutes into their first date. How? Having paired them based off their similar interests, relationship goals, and life values, Genevieve knew they should have matched better. She found, however, that many of her clients enter their dates with both anxiety and judgment, inhibiting them from investing in the opportunity before them. 

When she began instituting the 3 Date Rule for her clients she found an immediate increase in long-lasting relationships and healthier connections between people leading to the majority of the first ground of clients getting married.

The Best Dating Strategy

Applying the 3 Date Rule by Genevieve has helped thousands of clients go out on more dates and find lasting relationship success.

Throw away those other tips that forces you to move slowly into a relationship— Genevieve suggests three dates within two weeks. 

The method works by eliminating insecurity—the annoying, yet universal feeling that makes modern dating is so difficult. The 3 Date Rule keeps dates moving quickly, focusing on foundation-building and relationship investment while prioritizing maintaining a clear mind and feelings.

Here at The Setup, we do dating differently. We combine years of experience, face-to-face matchmaking, with coaching and a member portal full of exclusive content. We are here to ensure you have a fun, happy, and successful dating journey. Start at The Setup today!


Single Mom and son laughing while on basketball court

3 Tips for Dating As a Single Mom

Dating as a single mom is tricky enough without all the bad behavior we see online these days. As a single mom, you tend to consider the impact felt by your children before you even pause to think about your own feelings, but you deserve love and happiness too!

You should be as honest with your kids as possible when you’re ready to put yourself back out there since your decisions affect them directly. Even when you know instinctively you’re making the right move—they won’t always react the way you hope. So, do your best to prepare them for the coming changes so they don’t feel quite so off-kilter if and when they meet their future step-siblings. 

1. Manifest a Whole Family

Ron L. Dean, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, suggests you sketch out the silhouette of what your perfect family would look like. Don’t just manifest your dream date, go a little further. Imagine the ideal home you hope to create with this person.

Do you want more kids? Would your imaginary husband bring his own children into the relationship to create a blended family or is he flying solo? Is there a limit to the number of kids he has or the more the merrier? Are you open to having more children with him? How many?

Committing to this exercise will help you develop a blueprint in your mind. Keep in mind: this is only a guideline it will change overtime. This is meant to be a tool to help you discover what you want out of life, not to be used to get in your own way. 

Lillian and Clay each have a son and a daughter from previous marriages. When Lillian drew up her ideal family, she decided she only wanted one more child, if any. When she met Clay, her plan evolved to include both of his children, and she was happy to become a mom of four. But she quickly found out that even her evolved family didn’t mesh with Clay’s vision for the future. You see, Clay has his heart set on having five biological children.

If you do the quick math, that would mean Lillian would need to have three more kids with Clay. I would never reveal a lady’s age, but she’s tip-toeing the line of what would be considered a geriatric pregnancy. Not to mention: the gap between her original goal of 2-3 kids and Clay’s desire for 5-7. 

You know how they say sometimes love isn’t enough? If your dreams and your partner's dreams are in direct conflict with one another, and neither of you are willing to compromise—a breakup is imminent. 

2. Trust Your Intuition

This guy has to mesh into your entire life, and that means your kids’ lives too. If you sense something is off between him and your children, don’t ignore it. You should expect some growing pains as you transition a new person into your lives, but don’t dismiss real red flags. 

Listen to your gut.

Unless you have a pre-arranged agreement with their father, there is no set timeline for when you should introduce a romantic partner to your kids. Every relationship is different, and every child is unique. Only you can know when it’s the right time to bring them together.

It can be hard introducing friends and family but introducing children is always more difficult and can be hard for all parties concerned and very nerve wracking. It is also the most important decision you can make. Only introduce children if you are 100% sure that the new relationship is stable and serious enough to warrant the introduction. It can be very unsettling for children if they are introduced to many potential partners, the children should not be used as part of the vetting process. They should be the most important ones to consider when making the introduction and if they are not ready to meet the new partner, don’t push it. Always work at the child’s pace.”

-Genevieve Gresset, Master Certified Matchmaker & Relationship Expert

You don’t want to rush it and introduce every single first date you go on. A revolving door of strange men can feel confusing and scary for a little one, especially if they get attached to guys who don’t stick around. On the other hand, you don’t want to find yourself head over heels in love just to realize your kids hate the guy. You have to find the balance that works for your family.

One single mom suggests introducing male companions to the kids as a platonic friend. That way you can see how they engage and interact with him without being confused. If everyone gets along and things continue to progress, you can explain that you’ve decided to move out of the friend zone toward a more romantic relationship. 

3. Ditch the Single Mom Guilt

Take a deep, cleansing yoga breath.

Inhale.

Exhale.

Say this with me—I am a single mom, and I deserve happiness too. I’m allowed to feel sexy and take some time for myself. I’m going to treat myself to a new dress to wear on my setup.

Now pour yourself a glass of wine; you’ve earned it. 

"Kids need a healthy relationship role model. There’s pressure for moms to be born-again virgins, and sacrifice everything for their children. While this might sound noble, children learn a lot by observation, and it doesn’t teach kids what a good relationship—or dating life—looks like. I never wanted my kids to choose to stay home because they worried about me being lonely. It’s important that kids don't feel responsible for their mother’s social life. Plus, going out without kids on occasion gave me more patience with them when we were home together."

-Lara Lillibridge, Author of Mama, Mama, Only Mama: An Irreverent Guide for the Newly Single Parent—From Divorce and Dating to Cooking and Crafting, All While Raising the Kids and Maintaining Your Own Sanity (Sort Of)

According to Lara Lillibridge, dating as a single mom is similar to what dating was like as a teenager. You occasionally sneak out after everyone’s asleep, with a babysitter, of course. And you don’t want to be overheard on the phone, or caught canoodling on the couch.

If single mom guilt keeps you on homework duty in the evenings and you can’t bear to be away from them, consider utilizing the time you don’t have the kids more efficiently. Plan dates when they’re with their father, at practice, or sleeping over at a friend’s house. Schedule lunches throughout the week while they’re at school. Get creative with your time management and the kids will never miss you!


Father Daughter Bedtime Story - Men Have a Biological Clock

Men Have a Biological Clock Too

Most people have heard the expression geriatric pregnancy. It’s the heinous medical terminology pregnant women over the age of 35 get. I’m only 30 and I’m already offended. But what you probably didn’t know is that men have a biological clock too. 

"Eventually I believe we will have the research to show that when it comes to fathering a child, time isn't always on a man's side."

-Jeremy Silverman, PhD

35 is the Magic Number

It’s a long-held belief that men can father children well into middle-age and beyond, while women hit their peak fertility age in their 20s. But recent research shows that sperm count and mobility drastically decrease with age. In fact, studies show the male reproductive system begins breaking down around the age of 35 as well. 

According to Rutgers University a study—which reviewed 40 years of research on the effect parental age has on fertility, pregnancy and the health of children—revealed some surprising findings.

Not only can poor sperm quality affect the fetus and ultimately the child, but it also puts the mother at greater risk of developing complications during her pregnancy and delivery. The study found that men 45 and older can experience decreased fertility and put the mother at risk for increased pregnancy complications such as gestational diabetes, preeclampsia and preterm labor.

Infants born to older dads were found to be at higher risk of premature birth, stillbirth, and low birth-weight. There is also an increased chance of newborn seizures and birth defects such as congenital heart disease and cleft palate. As they aged, these children had an increased likelihood of cancer, psychiatric impairments, cognitive disorders, and autism.

Columbia University studied nearly 100K births and concluded: the older a man is when he conceives a child, the more likely his partner is to experience a miscarriage, even if she is young, healthy, and has no other risk factors.

Men Have a Biological Clock & It's Ticking

The study also found that older men struggled with fertility issues even if their partner was under 25. The problem is, nobody is talking about it, so most people don’t even know that men have a biological clock, much less that it’s ticking away under our noses. 

According to Gloria Bachmann, Director of the Women’s Health Institute at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School—women tend to be more aware and educated than men about their reproductive health. As she says, “Most men do not consult with physicians unless they have a medical or fertility issue.” 

Bachmann recommends physicians counsel older men as they do older women on increased risks and ways to mitigate them.

If you want to delay fatherhood, consider preserving a specimen to decrease the probability of complications later. It’s a much simpler, and less invasive process than it is for a woman to freeze her eggs, so look into it. If you know you want kids someday, consider it a solid investment in your future and your childrens’ futures.

Next thing you know, you’ll be saving for college. 

It Might Not be All About Age

“There is definitely evidence of weaknesses in the DNA of sperm as a man ages. And this could be the result of a weakness anywhere in the sperm-making system, from the copying mechanisms necessary to turn out new sperm every day, to the natural ability of the body to correct mistakes in that copying process, or really, any step along the way; any or all could become defective as a man ages.”

-Karine Kleinhaus, MD, PhD & Researcher at Columbia University

Dave McCulloh, PhD, Embryologist & Director of Laboratory Services suggests that a decline in the health of the male reproductive system has less to do with aging and more to do with environmental exposures to things like radiation, carcinogens, alcohol abuse, smoking, drug use, etc. 

Regardless of the cause, more and more research backs up the argument that men have a biological clock too. So if you’ve been putting off fatherhood, now is the time to take control of your future before you run out of options.

Of course, another option is to let us set you up with the love of your life and start making babies the old fashioned way. We can introduce you to the mother of your children


Couple sitting on a rock overlooking a beautiful beach

Your First Trip as a Couple

Your first trip as a couple should be full of shared experiences and romantic moments. But it’s also typically filled with stress, excitement, and nervous energy, especially with all the COVID travel restrictions.

Experiencing new things together—places, food, art, culture, architecture, music—all of these things cause your brain to release all the happy hormones.

We all envision a romantic holiday with majestic sunrises and moonlit love-making, but when our expectations are too high, it leads to certain disappointment. Everyone has heard horror stories of the couple who fought their way across Europe or broke up on practically every island in the Caribbean.

So, how do you keep your dream vaca from becoming a nightmare?

It's Okay to be Different

Discuss what you both want to get out of your first trip as a couple. Do you want to rest and recharge or book a bunch of excursions? Maybe you’re dying to try bungee jumping but your partner has a fear of heights.

It’s okay to schedule separate activities and then come back together. You don’t have to share all the same likes and interests just because you’re in a relationship.

You’re a couple, not clones. Compromise where you can, and set aside alone time where you can’t.

  • Planner or Wanderer
  • Sleep Late or See the Sights
  • Couples Massage or Mountain Climbing
  • City or Country
  • Museums or Amusement Parks

How will you communicate with each other when you want different things? If you work out these challenges before packing your bags, your first trip as a couple will go much smoother. 

Your First Trip as a Couple is a Learning Experience

Whether it’s a staycation, or complete getaway, you can learn a lot about your partner and how you work as a team during your first trip as a couple.

When researching and preparing for this blog I read an article that said traveling together gives you a glimpse into what it would be like to live with the other person. This can be true to an extent, but I caution you to use this as your main frame of reference.

Personally, I’m a neat freak, except when I’m on vacation. I’m practically a different person. It’s not uncommon for people to modify their behavior when they’re outside of their daily routine. This is when people try new things, eat bizarre foods, and drink a little too much. And some of us just so happen to have suitcases that explode throughout the room. Sue me.

This is a great time to see how your partner deals with feeling anxious or out of control.

  • How do they deal when things don’t go according to plan?
  • What happens when you miss a flight or the airline loses your luggage?
  • How do they treat locals, airline personnel, hotel staff, etc.?
  • Do they get hangry and jet-lagged?
  • What about language barriers?
  • Are they unmoving and or flexible and patient?

You can also learn things like what their routine looks like; are they a morning or night person? How long do they take to get ready? Do you agree on the temperature in the room? Sure it sounds stupid, but ask any couple who has been married for decades and they’ll tell you the small things add up!


Couple on Date at Coffee Shop Experience Love at First Sight

Myth or Magic: Love at First Sight

According to a 2017 poll, 72% of men and 61% of women believe in love at first sight. But 41% of men and 29% of women claim to have actually experienced it.

Not to be confused with the reality show, Married at First Sight (MAFS), where one of our Master Certified Matchmakers, Genevieve, served as an expert. 

In an interview with BBC, Prince Harry said he knew Meghan Markle was the one for him the very first time they met. Like Harry, many people report experiencing love at first sight, but as you may have suspected, it’s not technically love.

Love, Lust, or Something Else?

It’s a typical Saturday night out with your girlfriends, when suddenly you lock eyes from across the room with the hottest guy in the bar. You hold one another’s gaze for just a beat too long as a slow, confident smile makes its way across his lips. Your pulse intensifies and your hands feel clammy as you realize he’s making his way over to you.

Suddenly it’s last call and you realize you’ve been talking for hours while your friends gawked knowingly. When he kisses you goodnight he asks to take you to brunch tomorrow. Your friends are dying for details in the Uber, but you can’t quite put into words what just happened. It’s not just that he’s insanely good-looking. It’s as if the two of you were drawn together by some unseen force. You just met, but it feels like you already know him and you’re already in your feelings. 

But if it’s not exactly true love...what the heck is it?

As far as 21st century scientists can tell: it's a strong pull to another person that makes you particularly open to the possibilities of a relationship with them. Maybe it’s chemistry or pheromones or destiny or magic—some things aren’t meant to be understood. But does it really matter?

Studies have proven this immediate connection and romantic drive toward another human is a legit phenomenon. Love at first sight is real.

“It's a basic drive, like thirst and hunger. Food and water keep you alive today; romantic love leads to bonding, mating and sending your DNA into tomorrow. In fact, poetry around the world talks about love at first sight. Even other creatures experience instant attraction to one another. But cultural factors always play a role as well.” 

-Dr. Helen Fisher, Biological Anthropologist

What Do We Know About Love at First Sight?

According to Dr. Fisher, romantic love runs along certain electrical and chemical pathways through the brain which can be triggered instantly.

It’s rare for both parties to experience love at first sight. It is usually only one party who feels the strong magnetic attraction instantaneously. The other takes a bit of time to warm up. 

People are more likely to fall instantly in love with objectively good-looking people. Men experience love at first sight, far more often than women do. Which suggests as we’ve often heard—generally speaking, men tend to be more visual beings.

“When you feel like you're falling in love, a chemical reaction is actually happening in your brain, releasing all those warm, fuzzy feelings. Your brain is creating dopamine and serotonin, and it looks like the brain of someone high on heroin. When you look into another person's eyes, your adaptive oscillator lock between you and your partner and form a loop. The greater the feeling here, the stronger the feeling of love. From there, these adaptive oscillators just pull you together and guide the two mouths together and you kiss. So there are chemicals in everything.”

-Dr. Trisha Stratford, MAFS Expert

One thing the experts agree on? You cannot rely on love at first sight to carry your relationship. You still have to put in effort and love your partner they way they want to be loved. It may jump start your relationship and put you on the fast track to commitment, but it doesn’t mean things will always be easy or come as naturally as it did when you first met. 

Are you ready to go on your last first date and possibly fall madly in love at first sight?


Couple Reads #DatingDictionary Next to Fountain

The Setup’s #DatingDictionary

#DatingDictionary

Dating has gone through a complete evolutionary renaissance in the last few decades, and with it comes an entire new #DatingDictionary. Even Webster adds new words every year!

I like to call it the Glossary of Ghosting.

Breadcrumbing

We’ve all been there. You’re really into someone new and they seem to like you too. Or is that just your imagination convincing you there’s a chance because you want it so badly?

They put a fraction of the effort in that you do. You’re always the one to call or initiate plans. If you’re honest with yourself, they flake on you pretty frequently.

But just when you feel completely fed up and decide you’re ready to move on, they drop little bread crumbs of affection to reel you back in. If you step back and examine things objectively, you’ll realize that you’re getting bottom of the barrel crumbs when you deserve so much more than that.

Catfishing

Catfishing is when someone falsifies their identity online and enters into a romantic relationship under fraudulent pretenses.

It’s a very broad term that can cover everything from completely fake online personas, to overly edited pictures. Although, sometimes lighter cases are referred to as Kittenfishing.

The bottom line is, be true to yourself and authentic both online and off.

Cuffing Season

Cuffing season begins toward the end of summer and lasts typically through Valentine’s Day. Cuffing someone means to lock them down in a relationship.

So cuffing season refers to the time of year when the party dies down and the weather cools off. It puts people in the mood to couple up and snuggle in for the winter, and guarantees a plus one for all Holiday activities. 

Cushioning

This is when someone entertains the idea of dating other people while they’re in a relationship.

People often do this when they’re considering a break-up. They download the apps just to see what’s out there, or they flirt with a co-worker to find out if the grass is greener.

DTR

DTR stands for Define the Relationship.

This is that sweet spot after you’ve been talking to the same person for a while and you’re ready to figure out if there’s a future. Does this person want to date exclusively, or are they condemning you to a situationship?

Ghosting

Ghosting is the sudden, unexpected cease of all communication from one party within a relationship

“He bailed on our plans last weekend and hasn’t texted me back in days. I think I’m being ghosted.”

Hatfishing

A lot of men reading this are probably guilty of hatfishing. It’s okay, this is a safe space. Hatfishing is when you use hats to hide your hair (or lack thereof) because of insecurities. 

I can’t tell you how many dating profiles I’ve seen in which every single photo, the man is wearing a hat. Women want to see the real you, don’t hide under a cap.

And remember, bald is beautiful.

Haunting

Haunting occurs when a ghost from your past suddenly reappears with no explanation for their disappearance

Abby disappeared on Ryan last summer after they had been seeing each other pretty steadily. Hee just stopped texting her with no explanation. Today, out of nowhere he texted and said, “Hey stranger! I finally watched that movie you were telling me about, you were right!”

Ryan has returned from the dead. 

NSA

NSA stands for No Strings Attached, also known as friends with benefits. 

This is a sexual relationship without a romantic commitment. These terms are often used on dating apps by people who are involved in both ethically and unethically open relationships. 

Orbiting

This is something that ghosts do. After they’ve disappeared, they start engaging with you on social media. They orbit your digital life to stay on your radar, but never commit to much more than that. It could be anything from liking your latest post, to sending DMs even though they left you on read and never called you back.

Polyamory

Also known as Non-Monogamy, Open Relationships, or Swinging, couples who engage in polyamory have romantic and/or sexual relationships with additional partners. 

This type of relationship is not considered cheating, as all parties involved are aware of and consent to the sharing of partners.

Roster

I’ve also heard this called a lineup or benching. Others refer to it as going back to the Well. Whatever you call it, this is when you like someone enough to keep seeing them, but you have no plans to ever take the relationship to the next level.

This is someone you just want to have fun with. There’s nothing wrong with that, as long as you’re open and honest about your expectations. 

Situationship

Do you have a friend you call whenever you’re super single and need a plus one for an event?

Maybe you kissed once on Midnight at a New Years Eve party after a few too many glasses of champagne, but you never really defined the relationship. Nevertheless you’ve remained in each other’s circles and the chemistry never falters when you’re together.

Congratulations, you’re in a situationship!

This word can really describe any romantic couple that hasn’t defined the relationship. They never use words like girlfriend or future. They have formed a casual connection that feels comfortable and fits their situation. 

Stashing

Jason and Kylie have been talking for several months now, and they go out on a date most Friday nights. The weird thing is, Kylie’s never met any of Jason’s friends, family, or co-workers. They never stay out late, because Jason goes to his nephew’s soccer game and the whole family goes out to brunch every Saturday morning, but Kylie’s never been invited. 

Jason is stashing Kylie away and hiding his real life from her. There are a myriad of reasons for doing this and not all of them are nefarious, but don’t you deserve better? 

Talking

Every generation has their own vernacular from going steady to hanging out. When you say you’re talking to someone it’s just another way of saying you’re dating, but you haven’t defined the relationship yet. 

Thirst Trap

This is when you post a really sexy photo of yourself online in the hopes of catching the attention of your crush.


Couple in Bed Together Sharing Intimacy and Laughing

Sex and Intimacy: How Soon is Too Soon?

Think back to that first time you met the person you’re talking to. Focus on the time you first felt butterflies in your stomach, that indescribable cosmic rush between your head, heart, maybe even your junk? Get ready, cause today is all about sex and intimacy!

It's a rush that can quickly advance one’s carnal desires early on in a relationship. Throw in a Pandemic and all the rules went out the window. 

The words, new year, new you have never felt more accurate!

Sex and Intimacy

You’re both consenting adults; if you choose to experiment with sex and intimacy on the first date—you do you! Some say it’s a right of passage in a relationship to assess true physical compatibility. No one can deny the importance of sex and intimacy when it comes to building a romantic bond. 

Maybe you’re both just ready to jump anything with a pulse after being in lockdown forever!

Many believe that determining your sexual chemistry before becoming exclusive is a necessary indicator of compatibility. However, there are others with fancy degrees and data who disagree. 

Waiting Builds a Bond

Believe it or not, there is scientific data that supports waiting before jumping in the sack.

A study in the American Psychological Association’s Journal of Family Psychology surveyed 2,035 married couples. It found that the longer they waited to have sex in their relationship, the better the relationship was overall, even after marriage.  

Don’t want to get married you say, so why wait? Well, there’s data to support that scenario too.

Sharon Sassler and her colleagues at Cornell University found that rapid sexual involvement has adverse long-term implications on relationship quality.

“Adequate time is required for romantic relationships to develop in a healthy way. In contrast, relationships that move too quickly, without adequate discussion of the goals and long-term desires of each partner, may be insufficiently committed and therefore result in relationship distress, especially if one partner is more committed than the other.” 

Couples that engage in sex too soon create counterfeit intimacy. These fast, intense feelings  of lust or infatuation are often confused with true love.

This counterfeit love currency is then cashed in on major life purchases, like buying a house together or adopting a dog. 

That basically means having sex early on in a relationship creates an imbalance which can include unhealthy communication patterns, and rushes to judgement on major life decisions. Such preemptive entanglement is hard to unravel. Often couples will passively follow what’s easiest and proceed with poor life choices instead of interrupting the status quo. 

Love > Libido

They say true love is worth waiting for, but some people view hooking up more casually than others.

Be willing to have an honest conversation about sex and intimacy with your partner. Even if you haven’t defined the relationship yet. Communicate what each of you are seeking before you bring sex into the relationship. Otherwise someone is going to get the short end of the proverbial stick.

Simply ask yourself—do you want to nurture a long-lasting relationship built on a foundation of partnership and love or are you just looking to feed your libido? No judgement here. You get to choose, but be sure to discuss it before clothes start hitting the floor.

Click here for more information about Safety and Sexual Health


Couple Kissing and Making Up - 5 Apology Styles

How to Say I’m Sorry - 5 Apology Styles

The 5 Apology Styles are: Expressing Regret, Accepting Responsibility, Genuinely Repenting, Making Restitution, and Requesting Forgiveness. 

The creator of the 5 Love Languages, Dr. Gary Chapman, also co-authored a book called When Sorry Isn’t Enough: Making Things Right with Those You Love with Dr. Jennifer Thomas. They explore the different ways people need to express and accept apologies. 

We rely on the 5 Love Languages to make restitution by assuring the injured party of our love for them. For instance, if your partner’s Love Language is Gifts and her Apology Style is Making Restitution—consider making flowers part of your apology. 

1. Requesting Forgiveness

How can I earn your forgiveness and make this right?

In its simplest form, Requesting Forgiveness is just saying, Please forgive me. The weight of this apology style lies in the vulnerability it requires. When you have wronged someone, it’s especially humbling to ask for their forgiveness knowing they have the power to reject you

In some relationships, people want to hear their partner physically ask for forgiveness. They want assurance that their partner recognizes the need for forgiveness. Requesting forgiveness also shows that you are willing to put the future of the relationship in the hands of the offended partner. You are leaving the final decision up to them – to forgive or not forgive.

2. Making Restitution

What can I do to fix my mistake and make it up to you?

Sometimes sorry isn’t enough. Some mistakes require reparations and damages. It’s important that you include the person you’ve wronged in developing a plan to right your wrong. And be willing to eat some crow and follow through. 

In our society, many people believe that wrong acts demand justice. The one who commits the crime should pay for their wrongdoing. Many people believe that in order to be sincere, the person who is apologizing should justify their actions.

3. Genuinely Repenting

I will take actionable steps to make sure this never happens again.

Apologies don’t mean much if the bad behavior continues. To genuinely repent, you need to create a plan and share it with the person you have wronged that details the steps you will take to change your behavior in the future. 

Many people doubt the sincerity of an apology if it is not accompanied by their partner’s desire to modify their behavior to avoid the situation in the future. One important aspect of genuinely repenting is verbalizing your desire to change. Your partner cannot read your mind.

4. Accepting Responsibility

It was my fault, I shouldn't have acted the way I did.

Accepting responsibility means taking the blame and consequences that come with your actions. To accept responsibility, you must do so verbally and be willing to correct your error. 

No one likes to be portrayed as a failure. However, we must all admit that we make mistakes. If the apology doesn’t accept responsibility, many people will not feel as though it was meaningful and sincere. Being sincere in your apology means allowing yourself to be weak, and admitting that you make mistakes. 

5. Expressing Regret

I made a mistake and I feel terrible.

In its simplest form, Expressing Regret is just saying I’m sorry. It’s acknowledging that your actions caused someone else pain and feeling bad about it. 

Expressing Regret zeroes in on emotional hurt. It is an admission of guilt and shame for causing pain to another person. When you express regret, don't make excuses or attempt to deflect blame. It is understood as a sincere commitment to repair and rebuild the relationship. It speaks most clearly when the person offering the apology reflects sincerity not only verbally, but also through body language.

Just like the 5 Love Languages, there is an online quiz you can take to discover which of the 5 Apology Styles work best for you.