Struggling to Spot Red Flags? How the 3-Date Rule Makes It Easy

Dating can be confusing. Getting to know another human being with whom you intend to spend your life is no small feat. It’s no wonder why there are so many dating strategies out there that claim to make the process simpler.

For many singles, keeping on the lookout for relationship red flags has been a helpful way to date mindfully. The problem, however, comes when we’re flooded with overwhelming, and often conflicting, red flag advice. Focusing too much on the negative aspects of dating could also just be setting us up for failure.

At The Setup, we believe the simplest and most effective dating strategy is the 3 Date Rule. What’s that? Glad you asked. In this blog, we’ll go over how the 3 Date Rule works and why using it makes spotting relationship red flags a breeze.

Seeing Red

What are red flags, anyway? In most contexts, it’s a signal to “stop.” For example, you might see a red flag thrown in a sports game after a player makes a foul. While driving down the road, red lights signal us to stop our vehicles.

In the game of love, the rules don’t always appear so cut and dry. Relationship red flags vary greatly depending on whom you ask. Some sources say red flags include constant bickering or picking fights. Others say something as simple as not sharing the same taste in music could be cause for pause in a relationship.

With so many sources giving conflicting advice, it’s hard to know what information you can really trust. Overwhelmed with so many potential red flags, singles risk focusing too much on the negative aspects of dating. Then, even the slightest human behavior is at risk of being construed as toxic and reason to end what could have otherwise been a good thing.

Though confusing, red flags can be helpful. In general, red flags should be viewed as warning signs of the other person’s inability to form a healthy relationship. Thus, ignoring those red flags would mean going down an emotionally dangerous path that could be difficult to get out of later.

What is the 3-Date Rule?

The 3-Date Rule is a method to break unhealthy pressure and anxiety-based patterns that we have placed on ourselves in modern dating. A clear action plan for singles to follow, this strategy takes the pressure off the first few dates. It is to help you understand the other person and yourself and see if there is a possibility of going steady.

Here’s how it works:

Date 1: Keep it Light

The first date should be light-hearted, fun, and focused on simply getting to know each other. The best locations for a first date are more casual in nature. Coffeehouses, parks, or an outdoor patio for brunch are great settings for the first date. It should not last more than 2 hours. The aim of this date is to get to keep an open mind, get to know the other person, and share some light conversation.

Date 2: Have Fun

On the second date, the aim is to find out if you can have fun with your date. Activities like bowling, hiking, mini-golfing, museums, or sporting events are all great ideas for the second date. The activity aspect of the second date creates a comfortable and laid-back environment in which you can get to know each other. Conversation can step up a bit from date one. On the second date, don’t be afraid to ask about the person’s values or goals.

Date 3: Wine and Dine

The third date is the showstopper. After the casual coffee shop meeting on date one, and the laid-back activity on date two, date three calls for getting dressed up! Elegant, classy, and romantic evening events, like dinner and a show, are great third-date ideas. By now, you and your partner should have established some rapport. The third date is when you can dial up both the romance and depth of conversation.

The 3 Date Rule and red flags

The 3 Date Rule is a revolutionary dating method created by The Setup’s own, Genevieve Gresset. As a matchmaker, noticed that many of her clients struggled with the initial phases of dating, despite being matched with singles with similar interests, relationship goals, and life values. She realized that the problem wasn’t with her clients’ matches, but their mindset. Many entered the date feeling anxious, fearful, or judgemental before even meeting their match. Those feelings inhibited them from investing in the opportunity before them.

For Genevieve, implementing the 3 Date Rule for her clients has brought an immediate increase in long-lasting relationships and healthier connections between couples. She found that the method took the pressure off of dating, allowing singles to enjoy the process. Couples were less likely to focus on negative aspects of their partner and more likely to enjoy their company.

In short, the 3 Date rule made the dating process simpler, easier, and more fun. Singles didn’t have to worry about scrutinizing their date’s every move—they could just sit back, relax, and focus on building a connection.

Focus on the Green

Identifying red flags early on in the dating process can be a helpful way to avoid entering into toxic and unhealthy relationships. However, focusing on the positive aspects a person presents is better for establishing strong, genuine connections.

In the early stages of dating, it’s hard to establish someone’s true character. As long as the person isn’t exhibiting any obvious signs of danger, such as stalking, asking for money, insults, or alcohol or drug use, it’s best to focus on the positive during the 3 Date process.

Does your date show you respect and common courtesy? Do they look you in the eyes while speaking? Are they empathetic and warm while speaking? Do they seem genuinely interested in what you have to say?

Asking yourself these ‘green flag’ questions after the first few dates will allow you to better analyze your connection with your match and build better connections.

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!

Ask a Matchmaker: How to Dress for a Date

Deciding how to dress for a date?

To answer some of the most common dating questions, we sat down with The Setup’s style gurus: Genevieve Gresset, Heather Drury, and Jesse Turner. Here’s what they had to say about the power of dressing to impress.

Why is it important to dress well on a date?

Genevieve: You only get one chance to make a good first impression. On a first date, it’s important to make that one count!

Heather: Whether we realize it or not, our clothes can express things like our personality or background. Also, it’s usually one of the first things that someone notices about you.

Jesse: How you dress says a lot about you. It’s an unspoken form of communication.

Does attitude matter?

Jesse: Absolutely. Confidence is key!

Genevieve: Whatever you’re feeling in your clothes–it’s going to show. If you wore too little, you’ll feel cold. If you put on too many layers, you’ll get too hot. Maybe your date won’t notice your shivers or sweat, but these things will make you appear uncomfortable. Probably, your date will pick up on that.

Heather: It’s so important to be in the right headspace before going out on a date. Do what you need to do to get in a happy, flirtatious, and playful mood. For my female clients, I always suggest taking a moment to themselves before going out. If you can, try not to go on a date straight from work. First, go home, relax, and get in the right mood. Before a date, take a bubble bath, blast some pop music, and dance around in your room! These are fun, easy ways to help you relax and slip back into your femininity after a long day at the office.

How can I show off my personality through my clothing?

Genevieve: I have one female client who is absolutely amazing. She is a successful, independent, and strong woman with a vibrant personality. To prepare for her upcoming date, sent me five outfit options to choose from. Her friend suggested she go in the baby blue dress with a sweetheart neckline. Although she looked great in that outfit, it didn’t show off her character! I told her to go with the bolder choice–a dress exploding in bright reds and purples. This dress not only flattered her figure but honored her powerful personality as well.

Heather: I think color can be a powerful tool to express your personality without compromising your look. There’s no problem in sticking to a classic silhouette and experimenting with color.

Jesse: Your style should reflect who you are as a person. If you’re a happy, fun, person, that should be reflected in your clothing. The concept of “dressing your best” isn’t about being someone you’re not. It’s about putting your best foot forward so that you can get a second date.

What are the most common fashion mistakes you see clients make?

Genevieve: Women who are self-conscious of their size dress have a tendency to dress in all black. I’m guilty of this, too. We all have “fat” days sometimes! But, when you’re meeting someone for the first time, dressing in all black makes you look like you’re going to a funeral–not on a date.

Jesse: For some reason, a lot of my male clients love wearing socks and sandals. Men, please don’t do this! This combination instantly kills all sex appeal.

Is there such a thing as dressing appropriately for one’s age?

Jesse: Yes. There are some looks that a twenty-year-old can get away with that someone pushing 50 might want to avoid. It’s all about the context and the occasion.

Genevieve: I agree, but it’s important to dress not only for your age but for your energy as well. I recently signed up for a personal styling service called Stitch Fix. I told my stylist that I didn’t want to dress like a typical woman of my age. I wanted something mindful of my age, yes, but also my energy and lifestyle. The box she sent me was full of fun, playful, pieces that showed off my personality while still being age-appropriate.

What’s your most controversial fashion opinion?

Jesse: Hats are no go. I have one client who insists on wearing a fisherman’s cap on all his dates. After his dates, I’ll check in with his matches and ask how it went. They usually say he was nice. But, without fail, they all ask me if he is bald! This man has a head full of hair but because he was wearing the hat, that’s all his dates could think about.

Heather: And if a guy really is bald?

Jesse: Then be bald! Embrace it. Don’t try to hide it with a hat.

Genevieve: I suppose my most controversial opinion is that I actually like hats. I went on one date last summer where both of us wore hats. It made it all feel victorian and elegant. His hat was very cool!

Heather: Hats are one of those accessories where it depends on the context and situation. If you have a sense of style and you’re going for an outdoor date, then there’s no problem with donning a nice sun hat. But, if you’re sitting down at a restaurant indoors, it should be removed. It’s respectable and makes it easier to connect with your date.

What is your favorite fashion hack?

Genevieve: When it comes to dressing for a date, the best hack is to have your outfits ready to go. I tell my clients to have their go-to date looks on standby. That way, when a date comes up, you don’t have to worry about what you’re going to wear. It’s also a good idea to try on those outfits regularly. Make sure they still fit and look good on you.

Heather: Don’t get caught up following trends! Instead, focus on your individual features and stick to what works. Think about what parts of your body you feel most confident about. Try to pick clothing that highlights that part of your body and go from there. Once you figure out what clothing best compliments you and your and features, shopping becomes much easier.

Jesse: Before you go out, look in the mirror and ask yourself: “How approachable do I look in this outfit?” or “What does this outfit say about me?” If you want to make a great first impression on your date, thinking critically about your clothing is a good first step.

How do you help your clients to get out of their fashion comfort zone?

Genevieve: Wear it at home! Take pictures of yourself to see how you look from different angles. Maybe you like a certain outfit, but need some time getting used to it. That’s when you can wear it out for a night out with friends. Never use the first date to try out an outfit you’ve never worn before. Take it for a test run with friends or at home so that you get used to how you feel in it.

Jesse: I’ve always been slim. So, growing up, people would always comment on my size by telling me to eat a burger or something like that. thinking that it would disguise my frame, I started wearing baggy clothes. At the time, that type of clothing felt like a shield protecting me from other people’s judgments. Later in life, I switched up my style and started wearing tailored shirts and pants that actually fit. Now, I get compliments all the time on my style. I am more confident now that I’ve embraced my authentic self and started dressing in a way that actually compliments my figure–not hides it. So, I tell this to clients if I sense they need an extra push. Once you make that change, you’ll never regret it.

Heather: Just try it on! You don’t have to buy it. And if you do buy it, you don’t have to wear it. Just like meeting new people, you’ll just never know until you try.

I’m still learning the fashion basics. At what point can I trust my own sense of style?

Jesse: I think when you start to notice other people complimenting your style, that’s when you can feel confident in your choices. This is not to say that you should rely on the validation of others, but it is a good point of reference.

Genevieve: Your first inclination might be to seek the opinion of others. But, family and friends aren’t always trustworthy in these things. If they think something looks bad on you, they might find it hard to tell you the truth. As matchmakers, we have no problem being brutally honest. That’s what we’re here to do! So, take advantage of us as a resource. Send us photos and we will give you honest feedback.

Heather: The more you try something new, the more it becomes a part of who you are. If you ever feel insecure about a look, we are here to help.

man texting smiling

The Do’s and Don’ts of Digital Dating

What is etiquette?

According to Emily Post (the Queen of Manners, herself) etiquette is simply the “consideration for the rights and feelings of others.”

However, a lot has changed since Mrs. Post’s day. Navigating the considerations of others has gotten a bit more complex in the electronic age–especially, when it comes to dating.

To help clear up the confusion, we talked with one of The Setup’s star matchmakers, Marie Glover. Here’s her expert take on the do’s and don’ts of digital dating.

Don’t: Overshare

It’s only natural that you want your partner to know the real you. However, if you tell all early on—especially intimate secrets—your date is likely to feel overwhelmed.

Studies show that oversharing is a turn off. When someone divulges excessive amounts of personal information to a relative stranger, listeners experience “airplane syndrome,” mentally tuning out of the conversation.

Oversharing, or just being honest?

Either way, beware. Research has also found that listeners tend to view over-sharers as untrustworthy because they tell all without knowing the other person first.

“Your date is not your therapist,” Marie says. “If you want to build trust and be liked by a new partner, disclose personal information gradually over time.”

If your date is right for you, there will be plenty of time to share personal details later.

Do: Be authentic

When it comes to expressing yourself in dating, Marie suggest viewing the glass as half full. “If a new partner texts you and asks how your day is going,” she says, “try to focus on the positive.”

Highlighting the good parts of your day is a great way to express yourself positively without sacrificing your authenticity.

Being authentic also goes for how you represent yourself in the digital world. “I have so many clients who enter matchmaking because they’re scorned from online dating,” she says. “Lying about things like height, weight, or age, is not a healthy way to begin a relationship.”

Misleading others about physical appearance says a lot about a person’s values. “It shows that you’re okay with a little dishonesty,” Marie says, “which is not something most people are willing to risk in a relationship.”

The solution?

Get out and date in the real world. “Don’t hide behind the screen,” says Marie. “You deserve to date as your authentic, true, and amazing self.

Don’t: Only text at night

“Texting should be sporadic throughout the day–not just the booty call hours,” Marie says. “It’s important to be respectable.”

Even wholesome intentions risk being misinterpreted if the only time you reach out is after dark.

According to Marie, late-night texts say more than just the words you type. “Nighttime texts send a certain message,” she says. “Either you’re only interested in hooking up, or that you only think about them when you’re alone and bored at home.”

Recalling old school etiquette is a good rule of thumb. “Back in the day, it was considered bad manners to call someone past 10 PM,” she says. “The same rule applies to texting.”

The only exception? A text goodnight.

“Reserve the after-hours texts for saying goodnight,” says Marie, “That way, you’re the last thing they think about before going to sleep.”

Do: Text throughout the day

Avoid only texting your partner at night. Instead, keep up contact at various times of day. Even if it’s only handful of messages, sending them throughout the day is a nice gesture. This tells your date that despite being apart, you’re still thinking about them.

However, it’s not always realistic to expect you or your partner to maintain constant communication.

“Communicate to your partner if you’re going to be busy, and won’t be able to chat for some period of time,” says Marie, “especially if they are expecting to hear from you.”

At the very least, Marie suggests sending a ‘good morning’ text. “Texting first thing when you wake up is a cute and romantic way to start the day.”

Don’t: Limit your communication

The communication theorist Marshal McLuhan once said: “The medium is the message.” How does that apply to dating?

According to Marie, the means in which we communicate with our partners says more than most people realize. “If texting is the exclusive method of communication in your relationship,” she says, “that could be a sign of a weak connection between you and your partner.”

Despite its convenience, Marie warns that texting is a breeding ground for mixed messages, especially in the early stages of a relationship. “It really eliminates the personal aspect of dating,” she says.

“With texting, you can unconsciously start to build a false sense of security with someone, misinterpret messages, or believe they’re something they’re not,” says Marie. “You risk being disappointed by the time you actually meet in person.”

Avoid this by making sure that your relationship isn’t entirely based on text messages alone.

Do: Mix it up

Mix up how you communicate by incorporating texts, voice messages, phone, and video calls when you’re apart.

As always, in-person conversations are preferred. “Real connection requires physical presence,” says Marie. “Nothing beats having a conversation while looking into each other’s eyes.”

Don’t: Come on too strong

Have you ever been messaging with a WhatsApp Romeo but, when you met up for the date, he was a total dud?

“It’s easy to be bold through a screen,” Marie says. “But, sometimes that disconnect makes people say things they otherwise wouldn’t in person.”

Remember that feeling comfortable with a partner takes time. When the only way you communicate with someone is through text, you might forget how little you actually know them.

Do: Flirt

Flirting a great way to dial up the romance. But, make sure you keep authentic to your personality. “If you’re a total flirt in real life, then let that show on text, too,” says Marie.

If flirting’s not your thing?

Start with compliments. Marie suggests shifting your focus away from their physical traits. “By complimenting their personality,” she says, “you show them that you’re really interested in them as a person, not just their hot body.”

Don’t: Immediately go ‘follow’

Nowadays, it’s pretty common to Google your date, or, at least, search for their profile on social media.

“After the first date, I’m creeping!” Marie says. “It’s just human curiosity.”

But, when it comes to the ‘follow’ button, Marie says to look–but don’t touch. “Once you send the friend request, there’s no going back,” she says. “Connecting online takes the relationship into an entirely new digital sphere.”

Of course, you can always unfollow or block later. Or, avoid that awkwardness altogether by being cautious about online connections. Before taking the next digital step, make sure there is a real foundation of friendship and trust with your partner in the real world.

Do: Your research

While you don’t want to get carried away with obsessive lurking, a little research never hurt anybody.

“It’s important to remember that social media is not real,” Marie says. “However, the way someone chooses to represent themselves online can say a lot about a person.”

Thankfully, The Setup screens all its members with background checks. So, you don’t have to be worried about your safety. However, a quick social-media scan can give you some insights on your date’s interests, hobbies, and lifestyle.

Don’t: Cancel last-minute

Canceling last-minute is a big dating no-no. It should be reserved for legitimate reasons. “Pre-date jitters is not a good enough reason not to show up,” Marie says.

Sometimes, emergencies happen.

If you absolutely must cancel, don’t expect a quick text to do the trick. “Call them,” she says. “Express how genuinely sorry you feel and set up another time to meet instead.”

Do: Confirm plans

It’s Friday, and tonight you have plans–at least, you think you do–for a second date with Rod. A couple days have passed since you’ve last spoken. Do you text him to make sure the date is still on?

“Confirming plans before the date is a polite thing to do,” Marie says. “Send a quick text the day-of to make sure you’re both on the same page before meeting up.”

Not sure what to say? Try this:

Hey, I’m really excited to see you tonight! 7:30, right?

Don’t get overwhelmed with the formality of it. “A little message is all it takes to lock in plans,” Marie says. “Don’t be afraid to make it cute and express your excitement about the date.”

Coaching: Is it right for you?

If the do’s and don’ts of digital dating still feel overwhelming to you, don’t worry.

At The Setup, we combine the expertise of the world’s leading matchmakers, love experts, and dating coaches, for a modern approach to matchmaking.

Interested in speaking with a dating coach? Join The Setup today!

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.

March Madness: How to Get Off the Dating Crazy Train

Some people say that love brings out the best of us. Other times, it can make us feel like we’re losing our minds.

Consider this experience:

“I thought Mark and I had really hit it off on our first date last night, but he never texted me after saying goodbye. After waiting all morning for him to make the first move, I finally broke down and I texted him at 1 PM. Every minute that passed, I felt more anxious. Even though it was a busy day at work, I could not focus. I was constantly checking my phone to see if he had replied or, at least, read my message. Why does he not text me back? I’m furious. I just sent him another message telling him to not even bother contacting me anymore.”

Let’s break it down.

Despite only knowing each other for one date, this young woman is extremely distressed about Mark’s lack of communication. She becomes so preoccupied that she can no longer focus at work. The anxiety eventually consumes her to the point of anger. Although it’s unclear why Mark hasn’t replied, she lashes out at him, preventing any chance of a future together.

If you’ve ever experienced anything like this, you’re not alone. In fact, many psychologists agree that it’s quite common to lose a sense of reality upon entering into a new relationship.

In her Tedx Talk, Mindful Love: How to Stay Off the Dating Crazy Train, relationship coach, Katie Hoffman, explained how love activates our brain’s addiction chemicals. The result can make us feel out of control of our thoughts and actions.

While it’s normal to feel a little delusional in love, the danger with being ‘crazy’ is when the romantic imagination turns toxic, jealous, or insecure.

Ready to get off the Dating Crazy Train? Here’s how to maintain your sanity while in love.

Addicted to love

Are you crazy in love?

It’s not just Beyonce who agrees. Science also says it’s true.

A few years back, a team of scientists led by Dr. Helen Fisher at Rutgers conducted a study to see what makes us act so strange in love.

What they discovered was that the participants who were “in love” showed increased activity in the areas of the brain that create dopamine and norepinephrine. These two feel-good chemicals are responsible for the brain’s energy and racing thoughts.

If you’ve ever stayed up all night replaying all the perfect moments after a romantic date with your sweetheart, that’s the dopamine and norepinephrine working.

To get the full scope of the ups and downs of love, Dr. Fisher also studied participants who were going through a breakup.

The results of the study showed that during rejection, the same parts of the brain that were activated while “in love” were practically burning with fire during a breakup. During romantic rejection, however, those previously feel-good chemicals, dopamine, and norepinephrine took a dark turn.

Instead of endless energy and fantasies, patients reported sleepless nights, obsessive thoughts, and excessive stress and anxiety.

Interestingly enough, both the brains that were in love and heartbroken showed the same areas of activity of someone high on cocaine.

If you’ve ever felt yourself acting out of character while in a relationship, understand that your brain might be playing tricks on you.

Whether you’re feeling crazy in love, or just plain crazy, it might feel impossible to mentally sober up before acting out.

Practice Mindfulness

If you’ve ever attended a yoga class or just eaves-dropped a conversation within a Whole Foods, odds are you’ve heard of the word ‘mindfulness’ before.

Mindfulness, however, is more than just a meaningless, wellness buzzword. The practice of mindfulness is proven to decrease levels of anxiety and stress.

So, what is mindfulness?

Simply put, mindfulness is the gentle awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment at all times.

In relationships, mindfulness is extremely helpful because it forces us to pause, reflect, and assess the reality of a situation before reacting to stressful triggers.

When a romantic partner says or does something that hurts us, mindfulness helps us to break down both their intentions and our feelings about them.

So, the next time you receive a disappointing text message from your partner, take a moment to reflect before reacting.

Ask yourself:

  • What exactly about this is so upsetting?
  • Is it the words they used?
  • How long it took for them to reply?
  • Is there something deeper going on that I am ignoring?

While it might not seem like much, knowing exactly why you’re upset is essential to mental clarity.

Writing down your thoughts within a journal is a great way to practice mindfulness. Try to describe the situation and your feelings with as much accuracy as possible.

Release your feelings on paper without the fear of judgment. You might find that after writing your thoughts down, you can replace the craziness with inner peace.

Talk it out

A common misconception within relationships is that expressing disagreements to your partner is what makes you look crazy. That couldn’t be further from the truth.

Nothing is more crazy-making than being unable to express something that really upsets you.

When it comes to maintaining your sanity within a relationship, communication is key.

Before going to your partner, take time to process your feelings on your own. Make sure you can properly articulate your thoughts before approaching them to talk.

Try to speak calmly and with respect. Avoid interrupting and insulting your partner, even if they don’t seem to understand at first. Be patient as you explain why you feel the way you feel.

A loving partner will appreciate your ability to express yourself with consideration towards their feelings, despite you being hurt by them.

Hoping off the Crazy Dating Train

When it comes to maintaining your sanity in relationships, a little self-awareness, mindfulness, and communication go a long way.

Remember that, if your partner really cares for you, they would never mean to hurt you. A loving partner wants to understand all of your feelings–the good and the bad. It’s important that you can be vulnerable enough to open up about how you really feel.

When problems arise in dating, take a moment to reflect before you react. While some madness is inevitable (thanks, brain!) a little bit of mindfulness can help.

Before you know it, you’ll have hopped off the dating crazy train once and for all.

The Setup Matchmaking team

Behind the Scenes of Matchmaking

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be a Matchmaker?

We talked with The Setup’s star players: Genevieve Gresset, Heather Drury, Marie Glover, Jesse Turner, and Tian Wilynn, to see what it’s really like playing Cupid for a living.

What does a Matchmaker do, exactly?

Genevieve: As Vice President of Matchmaking, I oversee all our company’s operations. I’m also a Master Executive Matchmaker. That means one of my biggest responsibilities is training and supporting the development of other matchmakers both within the company and from around the world.

Heather: As a matchmaker, communication is key! We get in the office, check emails, texts, and return voicemails with our clients. After that, lots and lots of matchmaking. Sometimes we brainstorm amongst other matchmakers to come up with creative matches to fit our clients’ needs. We turn over every stone to find our client’s ideal match.

Marie: To put it simply, I do everything I can to find the right person for my clients.

Walk us through your day. What does a typical day in the life of a Matchmaker?

Genevieve: I often start my mornings by going over the previous day’s statistics. I check all the reporting and collaborate with other matchmakers to identify clients in need of extra support. Every day is different and is based on the needs of our clients. Part of my job also includes media appearances, like my weekly spot on the BBC as their resident love and dating expert.

Jesse: The first thing I do is check for new enrollments. This is my favorite part of the day because I start to think about whom I could match them with and the creative juices start to flow. I welcome them and then, I touch base with existing clients. Throughout the day, I’m constantly checking emails, returning voicemails, and attending to the needs of my clients.

What’s your favorite part about working for The Setup?

Tian: One of the best things about our company is its investment in matchmakers. Every week, all the matchmakers join for a meeting where we learn new tips about how to service our clients. Genevieve has been great about keeping things fresh in those meetings. She regularly hosts workshops with guest speakers who have taught us everything from breath work to vision boards. Every week, we learn how to improve our skills as matchmakers and encourage each other to succeed.

What are some common hurdles you face at work? How do you overcome them?

Heather: The biggest hurdle is when a client is unwilling to compromise. Sometime’s they get stuck in the checkboxes—but falling in love is more finding a partner with the perfect job, body, etc. We often tell our clients to “break up” with their deal breakers. Sometimes, those ideas could be holding them back from finding true love!

Marie: Oftentimes, the biggest hurdle for our clients is themselves. It’s human nature to love what’s comfortable, but that’s usually what keeps people in a dating rut. Everyone wants to stay on the tree trunk because it’s safe, but you gotta get on the branch because that’s where the fruit is!

Tian: It’s tough when clients take the process too seriously. In my experience, the clients that end up falling in love are the ones that have the most fun with it. I try to remind my clients to just go out and take a chance.

What’s the craziest dating horror story you’ve heard?

Marie: I set up a pair of clients that seemed like a good match. My only concern was their age difference. He was in his 60’s. She was quite a bit younger and much more active. They were hitting it off, and he found her incredibly funny and charming. That is—until his teeth fell out. She made a joke that made him laugh so hard that his dentures fell out of his mouth and onto the table! There was a moment of silence and he was embarrassed, but she found it endearing. In the end, there was no love connection but they are still friends to this day.

Heather: All I’m going to say is don’t get your mom involved in your matchmaking! It never turns out well.

What are your favorite love stories from clients?

Genevieve: I was recently on UK’s hit show, Married at First Sight. All of the couples that I matched are still together, married, and one just welcomed in a baby!

Marie: I had one client who had kind of given up on the idea of love. She made her intentions very clear: she didn’t want love or marriage—just a friend. I started searching for her, but something in the back of my mind kept pushing me towards another client of mine. He was a firefighter, a bit older, and the opposite of what she wanted. After several weeks of me encouraging her to just try it out, she agreed to go out with him. Later, she called me telling me that she couldn’t stop thinking about him, and was head over heels in love. Not long after that, she proposed to him! Now, they’re happily married.

Tian: Even though I tell my clients that nothing good happens overnight, sometimes it does! One of my female clients found the love of her life on her first date! But the guy? He was on his 17th date. Thankfully, he never gave up. He trusted the process and was rewarded in the end. It was love at first sight for both of them. Not long after that, they got married!

Heather: My favorite part of my job is when our clients send us their love stories. I always love reading them, but I recently received a special thank you note from one of my coaching clients. Thanks to our guidance throughout her dating journey, she had started to feel like herself again for the first time in years. I found this so beautiful because we were able to help her fall in love with herself! That is something that most people forget when dating, yet it is so important.

What’s something that you tell all of your clients?

Marie: A lot of times, our clients will start their dating journey with a mental checklist of necessary qualifications for their partner. I try to remind them that going on dates is not like a job interview! There is no black and white when it comes to love.

Tian: Nobody is perfect. So, there is no shame in asking for help from time to time. I always tell my clients, if the Dali Lama and Oprah Winfrey need coaches and mentors, then so do we!

What’s something you want your clients to know about you?

Genevieve: My experience at Married at First Sight showed that, even under pressure, I was able to find successful matches for my clients. This is especially relevant during the pandemic when dating seems more stressful than ever. Therefore, no matter how unusual the circumstances, I’ve proven that I can still find successful matches. I feel confident in what I do. My clients can feel confident, too.

Jesse: When I’m speaking with a client, I want them to know that everything is coming from an authentic desire to help them find love. Matchmaking can be emotional at times, so I try to make sure my clients feel heard and validated when we speak.

Marie: I’m a sap. I want people to know that this isn’t just a job for us. My day does not end at 5 o’clock. Love never ends! I’ll be at home, in the shower, and think: “Oh! What about Larry with Sally?” There have been times when I’ve been out with my husband, will see a single man who could be a good fit for a client, and I’ll go approach him. Every matchmaker has a story for why they do this—and it’s not for the paycheck. For me, it’s because I genuinely believe that, at the end of the day, nothing matters but love.

What makes The Setup different?

Genevieve: What sets us apart is the ongoing training and development that we invest in our staff. Not only does it make for a better team, but it reflects in the success rate for our clients.

Heather: We are more than a matchmaking company. We are all-encompassing love and relationship educational provider. We want you to reach your full potential as a partner so that when you do meet the right one, you’re the right one for them, too.

Jesse: The Setup is seriously changing the game of matchmaking. There’s no glass ceiling for what the company can do. We will continue to build client relations and be the most relevant, successful, and cutting-edge matchmaking firm in the world.

Marie: The Setup is the end-all, be-all that people have been looking for. It’s a safe space to meet new people with long-term intentions. For singles looking for real, lasting love, The Setup is the smartest choice.

Cuffing Season

How to Make It Last Past Cuffing Season

Well, Valentine’s Day is over. With that comes the official end of the year’s best season for cuddles.

No, I’m not talking about winter–we’ve still got a bit more of that to go.

The season I’m referring to is the most infamous season in the dating calendar. And, that is none other than cuffing season.

What is cuffing season?

Young or old, big or small, cuffing season affects us all.

winter changing to summerJust preceding “spring flings” and “single girl/guy summer,” cuffing season refers to a period of time where single people switch gears into relationship mode. Single people actively seek out partnerships as a way to pass through the fall and winter months.

The season generally lasts from October, when the weather begins to dip in temperature, to March, when things start to heat up again.

And, just like the season comes and goes, by the time Valentine’s Day wraps up and the infatuation wanes, cuffed-up couples tend to go their separate ways.

But, not always.

If you’re lucky, sometimes you can cuff yourself a keeper during cuffing season. When you find someone special, it’s important to strengthen your relationship so that it lasts the test of time.

While cuffing season might be coming to a close, it doesn’t mean your relationship has to end, too. Here are our top three tips for helping your new relationship last!

Don’t rush things

sign post representing the ways to get through cuffing seasonDespite what The Beatles have to say about it, for a relationship to pass the test of time, love is not all we need.

While it’s true that love is the foundation of a good relationship-–love can be fickle. Just one accidental peek at your partner picking their nose like an adult toddler and you might begin to question everything.

Love, or at least what feels like love, can happen fast. But, true, lasting, love comes with time.

It is also important to recognize that “love” is only one component of a larger whole because it requires other ingredients to be solid and healthy.

Couples that last the longest attribute their success to qualities like respect, romance, and regular quality time as being the foundation of their longevity.

So, if it’s been a few months and neither you nor your partner has confessed your undying love for each other—don’t worry. In the early stages of a relationship, it’s more important to notice qualities that can foster love in the long run.

Instead of focusing on blurting out those three little words ASAP, make sure your partner shows signs that they can handle your love in the long run. Someone that consistently treats you with respect, patience, and kindness is someone who is capable of sustaining a loving relationship, even in stormy weather.

Actions speak louder than words. If your partner is treating you with love and respect, that’s their way of saying “I love you” without words (for now).

Make time for romance

Couples who couldn’t make it past cuffing season often cite a lack of romance, as the reason for their split. If you’re noticing the spark begin to dwindle between you and your partner, it might be time to rev up the romance in your relationship.

However, amongst the hustle and bustle of daily life, that’s easier said than done. It can be easy to get caught up in the same old routine. But, becoming a creature of habit can be a bit of a turn off.

If you want to keep the romance alive in your relationship, it’s important to maintain a balance of both physical and emotional intimacy. Stealing kisses throughout the day, giving massages after a long day of work, or buying a new set of lingerie for yourself or your partner are surefire ways to dial up the heat.

However, keeping the romance alive within your relationship goes beyond the bedroom. Lasting romance thrives on building deep, emotional intimacy between you and your partner.

Even if your schedules are hectic, try to carve out some quality time for the two of you. One of the best ways for you to connect is through regular and meaningful communication.

Couples who dedicate part of their day towards connecting with their partner are more likely to go the distance. Whether that means eating breakfast together before work, or going for a stroll around the neighborhood after dinner, your partner is sure to appreciate the quality time.

If you want your relationship to withstand the test of time, it’s important to take some time for romance.

Communicate openly

Couple talking after cuffing seasonWhile each couple is unique, when it comes to disagreements, it usually boils down to one common culprit. A lack of communication is one of the most common causes for failed relationships.

There’s nothing more heartbreaking than being unable to open up with the person who matters most to you. But, when you’re unable to express your feelings from the heart, seeing matters eye to eye seems impossible.

In order to maintain open and honest communication with your partner, it’s important to be truthful to one another.

Even in the early stages of a relationship, it’s important to set a precedent of honesty (without oversharing, of course). Opening up about yourself and sharing your feelings lets your partner know it’s safe for them to do the same.

While some privacy is important in a relationship, secrets often lead to hurt feelings and mistrust. Sharing your private thoughts and feelings with your partner is a great way to build trust and make the relationship stronger.

If you’re unable to trust your partner with your innermost feelings, it will be difficult for you to communicate–especially when problems arise.

Even when emotions are high, try to speak to your partner with love, patience and respect. Remember that it’s you two against the problem–not each other.

Relationships that last the longest are when the partners understand that being happy is better than being right. Learn how to make decisions with your partner, even if it goes against what you think is best.

For a relationship to make it past cuffing season, being willing to compromise is key.

Even more important?

Being able to say “I’m sorry.”

No matter how great you or your partner are, nobody is perfect. At some point or another, someone will make a mistake. When that happens, try to avoid stubbornness. Being quick to apologize–and actually meaning it–will help your relationship overcome the blunders.

Going the distance

couple laughing after cuffing seasonWith these tips in mind, you and your partner are sure to make it past cuffing season stronger than ever. As the weather gets warmer outside, let the love for you and your partner heat up, too!

Above all, remember to treat your partner with the same level of affection as when cuffing season began. Make them a priority in your life, even when your schedules get hectic.

Want more love and relationship tips?

From cuffing season to single summers, The Setup offers personalized dating coaching for every time of the year. Get expert tips on how to make your relationship last by joining The Setup today!

Frustrated dating app user

Ask a Matchmaker: 10 Reasons Why Matchmaking Works

It’s tough out there for singles.

In today’s digital dating scene, singles are still finding it harder than ever to settle into long, lasting relationships.

Thankfully, there’s hope. Since the dawn of time, matchmakers have been playing cupid and coupling up singles into perfect pairs.

Nowadays, it’s no different. Matchmaking continues to be the most efficient and effective way for singles to find love.

Here to break down the benefits of matchmaking is Master-Certified Matchmaker and Vice President of The Setup, Genevieve Gresset.

With ​​over 25 years coaching, mentoring, and matching single professionals all around the world, Gresset knows a thing or two about matchmaking.

Thinking about joining The Setup? Here’s Genevieve Gresset’s top 10 reasons why Matchmaking is the right move for you.

1. You’ll have a higher chance of finding love

With a dating pool filled to the brim with emotionally-unavailable partners, the search for suitable singles seems impossible nowadays. Thankfully, matchmaking makes finding love easier.

“Singles who choose matchmaking are three times more likely to find a worthwhile partner than if they were to go about it on their own,” says Gresset.

Unlike other forms of dating, matchmaking cuts straight to the point. For singles who are serious about commitment, it’s the best way to go.

2. You’ll save time, energy and money

Between swiping, ghosting, being left on read–modern dating is far from fun. Finding a quality partner on a dating app or online service takes forever, and all the work is left up to you.

“For singles, the dating process goes something like this,” explains Gresset. “They’ll spend hours swiping left and right on dating apps, selecting matches mostly based on superficial qualities. If they do match with someone, they will text for a bit, and then, if things seem to be good, schedule a real date.”

Simple enough, right?

Well, no.

“This process can take weeks, if not months,” says Gresset, “leaving singles discouraged when there turns out to be no chemistry in person. This method of dating is simply a waste of time and effort.”

According to Gresset, singles are tired of spending so much of their time, energy and money on lousy dates.

There is a solution. “Matchmakers are scheduling masterminds,” says Gresset. She’s right. Once signing up for The Setup, your personal matchmaker takes over all the details of dating so you can sit back, relax, and focus on being in the moment.

What do you have to do? Gresset puts it plainly: “Just show up!”

3. All your dates will actually look like their profile pictures

They say that there are a lot of fish in the sea, but it doesn’t help when the sea is polluted with dirty, slimy catfish.

There’s nothing worse than investing time, energy, and emotional labor into someone, only for them to turn out to be a liar. Did you know that 53 percent of Americans lie on their dating profiles? Even scarier, a large chunk of those fake profiles are designed to scam singles out of their money, private pictures, or other tricks that could come back to bite you.

Tired of catching catfish? It’s time to hang up the fishing rod and go out with singles who have nothing to hide.

4. You don’t have to go through dating alone

Getting back into the dating game after months (or years) spent out of it can be challenging–especially if you’re naturally introverted or shy. If you’re having a tough time getting back out there, a matchmaker might be just who you need.

According to Gresset, the biggest hurdle many singles face is getting over the fear of dating. “Meeting someone new can be stressful,” she says. “My job is to help my clients feel comfortable enough to actually enjoy the dates they’re on.

As a matchmaker, Gresset takes the awkwardness out of introductions.

And if the date goes well?

Matchmakers like Gresset are still there to help singles as they progress throughout all stages of their relationship. “As personalized dating coaches, we’re there to hold your hand throughout the entire dating process,” she says. “We can be as involved or distant as you prefer us to be.”

5. You’ll meet people outside of your normal social circle

“When you’re single, everyone has an opinion,” says Gresset. “Friends and family are quick to share how, who, and why you should date certain people–whether or not they are actually right for you.” For singles just trying their best to find love, being set up with a ‘friend of a friend’ might seem like the easiest way to go.

According to the experts, going out within your tired and true social circle only keeps you stuck in the same old dating disasters.

“While the advice of others can often be very helpful,” says Gresset, “too many unwelcomed opinions tend to muddy the playing field and usually don’t result in finding lasting partnership.”

Though well-intentioned, the advice of loved ones often conflicts with itself, leaving singles confused and wasting too much time dating the wrong people.
“Matchmakers, on the other hand, are neutral,” says Gresset. “Unlike family members or friends, matchmakers have no vested interests in who you date.”

Looking to be set up with someone totally different yet totally right? It’s the matchmaker’s job to make that happen.

6. It’s discrete

Have you ever been swiping through Tinder just to see the profile of your co-worker? Or even worse, your boss? (Be honest, you swiped right, didn’t you?)

You know those “meet cutes” in romantic comedies when the guy and the girl happen to accidentally run into each other on the street?

Well, virtually bumping into your coworkers, or other IRL acquaintances, on a dating app is the exact opposite of that. Basically, it’s the definition of awkward.

Thankfully, The Setup is different.

“Unlike online dating where your information is shared all over the internet,” says Gresset, “our process is completely discreet and confidential.”

7. Every date is designed for success

Picture this: you’re on a date and you two seem to be really hitting it off. You’re two hours into conversation and laughing, flirting, and having a great time. You’re already planning your wedding day when suddenly they say something that catches you totally off-guard.

Sound familiar?

“Traditional dating often doesn’t give couples the opportunity to share their thoughts on politics, religion, or life goals, until it’s far too late,” says Gresset.

With a matchmaker, this disappointment can be easily avoided.

“We do all the digging on your matches so you don’t have to,” she says. “That way, clients can show up to their dates confident that they have every chance to succeed if the feelings are there.”

A matchmaker does all of the research ahead of time so you don’t waste energy with someone who absolutely could not be a potential partner.

8. All your dates are safe

Whether online or in the real world–dating is dangerous. Ever heard of Ted Bundy?! Whether through the screen or face-to-face at a bar, it’s not exactly safe to be talking to a stranger.

With matchmaking, that fear can be relieved from the dating process. “All of our clients go through a thorough screening process before being approved for our services,” says Gresset. “Everyone is vetted and safe to date.”

9. We challenge you to push go outside of your comfort zone

Look, we get it. Dating is not easy. According to Gresset, pre-date jitters are one of the leading reasons singles stay stuck in dating ruts. “Sometimes, just the idea of meeting someone new will make my clients feel anxious,” she says.

For matchmakers like Gresset, moments like these are simply opportunities for growth. “We want our clients to progress past the obstacles that were holding them back before,” she says. “At The Setup, we give singles the security they need to date with confidence, to believe in the process, and to believe in themselves.”

10. Working with a professional dating coach helps you become a better partner

“In order to find the right one,” says Gresset, “you first have to be the right one. That’s our motto at The Setup.” She has a point. Studies show that relationships have a higher chance of success when both partners are emotionally prepared enough to be in them. According to Gresset, working with a dating coach is one of the best ways to grow as a partner. “Coaches help you attract a quality partner, break free from bad dating habits, and so much more,” she says.

Who better to learn from than an expert on love? Each coach at The Setup is certified by the Global Love Institute and the “Love Doctor,” herself, ​​research scientist and therapist, Dr. Terry Orbuck.

“Our entire coaching philosophy is backed by science, based on 30 years of research on real life couples,” says Gresset. “We use science to help our clients find love and grow within healthy, lasting relationships.”

Matchmaking works

If you’re single and tired of mingling, a matchmaker is the best bet to finding lasting love. As a dating service that combines coaching, matchmaking, and an exclusive member's portal, The Setup is in a league of its own.

Ready to have better dates, fall in love, and find The One? Get set up and join The Setup today!

Cute couple about to kiss

12 Unconventional Ways to Celebrate Valentine’s Day

Seeing red? Pink, too? You’re not the only one. This time of year, a simple stroll around town will showcase store windows decked out in ribbons and bows, chocolates in heart shaped, velvet boxes, and promotions for sale-priced champagne.

That’s right, Valentine’s Day is almost here. As February’s finest holiday, Valentine’s Day provides the perfect opportunity to celebrate the euphoric feeling of being in love. Yet, for as much compassion as a holiday can contain, it also runs a high risk for the cliché.

No matter the occasion, dating someone special means expressing your love in a way that’s unique and authentic to your relationship.

So, if you’re in the mood to celebrate the holiday of love, but wanting to break free from those same, old, boring traditions–we’ve got you covered. Here’s our list of 12 ideas to make this Valentine’s Day unforgettable.

Have a spa day

This year, Valentine’s Day falls on a Monday. What better way to start the week with a relaxing day at the spa? Make this holiday stress-free and book a couple’s massage for you and your partner.

Looking for something a little more intimate? For those who’s language of love is Physical Touch, move the spa day at home and take turns pampering each other with massages, facials, or whatever special treatment your partner prefers.

Personalized scavenger hunt

Whether you’re just getting to know each other or have been together for years, a personalized scavenger hunt is a fun way to take your partner on a walk down memory lane. For long-time lovers, construct the hunt as a fun way to showcase the special places that you’ve spent together as a couple. Just starting to build your history? Make it a tour of your favorite childhood places to show your significant other the sides of you that no one else sees.

Unleash your inner beast at an Anger Room

Tired of keeping all your feelings bottled up inside? Unleash your rage and take your date to an anger room. Also known as rage rooms or smash rooms, anger rooms are spaces where people can let loose and vent their rage by destroying objects within a safe environment. Some anger rooms, like this one in Dallas, Texas, even let you BYOB (bring your own breakables)! As far as unconventional Valentine’s Dates go, bonding over the sound of breaking stuff is hard to beat.

Get high at a trampoline park

No substances necessary for this feel-good activity. For the adrenaline-junkies looking for something a little more low-key than skydiving, try a trampoline park like this one in Austin, Texas. Have a friendly competition with your partner on who can jump the highest. Loser has to buy drinks afterwards!

Get your game on at an arcade

Ramp up the vintage vibes–and a little friendly competition–with an exciting date night in an arcade and bar, like Miniboss in San Jose, CA. With playful drinks like their signature “Ziggy Piggy” which comes in a glass shaped as an upside down pig, you’ll never run out of funny things to talk about with your date.

Rent a quirky AirBnB

Honestly, is there a better excuse for a romantic getaway than Valentine’s Day? You don’t need to travel far to keep the romance alive. If you want it to be a night neither one of you will ever forget, skip the classic hotel route and go for some more unconventional digs. Don’t know where to begin? Start by googling for the quirkiest AirBnB picks in your area, like this one in Texas. From a tree house in Arizona to a railroad caboose in California, the options for a creative overnight stay are limitless.

Express your feelings through prose

It’s not just the sensitive, artistic types that need to occasionally pour their heart out in song. If you’re in love on Valentine’s Day, use the holiday as an opportunity to express your feelings through a thoughtful poem or song for your partner. Too cheesy? Ask your partner to do it, too. Before ending the evening together, take 10 minutes to write a small poem for each other and then share. Make it as quirky, silly, or serious as your heart desires. The important thing is to express love for them and gratitude for the ability to spend this special day with them.

Take a romantic dinner cruise

This one might be a bit harder for the land-locked lovers. But for those who live by the sea, a romantic Valentine’s Day cruise might be the perfect way to end the evening. On cruises like this one, hosted by LUX Cruises and Events in the San Francisco Bay area, you and your significant other can share dinner, drinks, and your undying love for each other, while sailing away into the sun.

Volunteer together

There’s nothing better for the soul than the satisfaction that comes from helping those in need. Show your partner your supportive side by spending the day of love caring for the community. Not sure where to start? Websites like VolunteerMatch are a great way to search for local opportunities to donate your time, money, or efforts to a good cause.

Trapeze Classes

Does being around your lover make you feel like you’re flying? If that’s the case, a trapeze class for two might be just the thing to get your heart racing this Valentine’s Day. At Boerne Trapeze in San Antonio, Texas, couples can learn to swing, flip, and fly through the sky with the help of a professional Trapeze artist.

Sing your heart out at Karaoke

If we can learn anything from High School Musical, it’s that Karaoke can be the start of something new. Break the ice with a new partner by belting your heart out with Karaoke. Bonus points for hitting the stage for a romantic duet together!

Snuggle up with a Netflix marathon

As the holiday of love, celebrating Valentine’s Day typically means getting pretty, going out, and going above and beyond. However, if just the idea of dressing up and hitting the town sounds exhausting, why not ditch the fancy dresses and stay home instead? Pick a series or saga that you’ve both been dying to see, snuggle up, and press play. If you and your partner are self-proclaimed homebodies, Valentine’s Day can’t get much more romantic than that!