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!

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!

setup banner new year

New Year’s Resolutions? 5 Dating Habits to Drop in 2022

Did you hear the news? The iconic Times Square Ball Drop is back this New Year’s Eve, allowing in-person guests for the first time since the pandemic.

Like many years before, viewers from across the country will be tuning in, gathering ‘round, and counting down the seconds to the live ball drop. Commemorating the past and celebrating the future, this cherished event is a wonderful way of welcoming in the coming change of the new year.

In honor of this iconic annual event, we’ve come up with a list of resolutions to drop–that is, to eliminate–out of your routine for 2022.

Based on the scientific research within Dr. Terri L. Orbuch’s book, Finding Love Again, we’ve rounded-up a list of five common culprits that are proven to either make or break a date.

Ready for this to be your best dating year yet? Here are our top habits to DROP in 2022.

Drop: Believing in Relationship Myths

Even Aphrodite herself would agree with this one–when it comes to setting ourselves up for relationship success, it’s important to face the facts.

According to Dr. Orbuch, there are some relationship and dating myths that are just as harmful to achieving our dating goals as they are widely accepted in society.

Often reinforced by Hollywood, the media, or well-intentioned friends, these popular misconceptions often cost us the opportunity to form long-lasting relationships.

This new year, stop setting unrealistic expectations for your love life by dropping the myths.

Drop: The Emotional Baggage from Your Past

Every new year is a subtle reminder that, whether we like it or not, time is moving on–and we should, too.

Whether you can’t stop thinking about your ex, or still hurt from the pain from past relationships, carrying the weight of what was will only get in the way of accepting the good that is still to come.

Take time to heal the mountains of hurt in your heart and stop checking up on your previous partners. These habits only get in the way of finding happy, healthy relationships in the future.

If you’re still holding on to emotional baggage from your past, 2022 is your year to let go.

Drop: Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places

Contrary to popular belief, the best place to meet someone is not at a bar or a party.

According to the research in Dr. Orbuck’s book, Finding Love Again, the majority of the married couples she studied met while going about their normal, daily routines. Whether through mutual friends, work, social settings–like church or sports games–or serendipitously bumping into one another at the grocery store, the most compatible couples tend to meet in everyday circumstances.

While online dating has risen in popularity over the years, it still remains a risk towards users’ safety, energy, and money.

Our advice?

Stop wasting time swiping left and drop the disappointing dates for good. You’ll have a higher chance of finding love by skipping the bars and, instead, simply focusing on yourself. However, if you really want to increase your odds at finding love, call in the professionals.

Drop: Your comfort zone

Research shows that in times of stress, sadness, or unhappiness, our brains find the most comfort in old routines.

Viewing the familiar as safe and secure, it’s easy to slip back into old habits that aren't necessarily in line with the future we imagine for ourselves.

If you’re just coming out of a breakup or a tough period, and find yourself slowly slipping into a rut of familiarity, it’s time to make a plan of action.

So, instead of unwinding after a long day by binging your favorite shows on Netflix, take a moment to reflect on your life and the goals you’d like to achieve this year. List them on a piece of paper, along with the specific steps you’ll have to take to achieve each goal.
For example, if your 2022 goal is to make more friends, write down some activities that will help you to get yourself out there. Volunteering, attending workshops, or trying out for an amateur sports league are all great ways to network.

When you’ve finished your list, pin it somewhere in your space that’s highly visible. That way, each time you pass by, your list of goals will be impossible to miss.

As the year goes on, try to take a few minutes a day to reflect on the goals you set out for yourself. Be sure to hold yourself accountable. Are you taking the steps that you promised you’d take?

If you want to make the most out of 2022, create a plan of action and stick to it.

Drop: Finding your own dates

We’ve already covered where to stop looking for love–but what if you stopped the search entirely?

Look, dating requires a lot of work–from getting ready for the event, to getting to know the other person… not to mention just finding someone to go out with in the first place!

What if you could stop swiping, stop searching, and still go out with quality, like-minded singles?

Matchmakers make it possible. We do all the work for you, allowing you to drop the dating games and dedicate all that extra time and energy for yourself.

Stop exerting your emotional energy with players who aren’t interested in anything more than casual dates. All of our clients at The Setup are commitment-minded and serious about finding the right long-term partner for their lives.

With a matchmaker, you can date with ease, knowing that each potential match has been screened, interviewed, and hand-selected based on your core values and preferences.

New Year, New You

Whether you’re watching the Ball Drop, celebrating with friends, or counting down for a kiss with your special someone, be sure to reign in the new year with your intentions set clearly ahead.

This new year, it’s time to date smarter, not harder. Don’t stress yourself out with making momentous resolutions. You can make just as big of an impact on your love life by dropping a handful of harmful habits and switching them out for something better.

Christmas tree

Best Romantic Christmas Movies on Netflix in 2021

Whether you’re spending the holidays back home with family, cuddled-up with your lover, or making out with a pint of ice cream a la the iconic single-style of Bridget Jones, one thing is for certain—at one point or another, you’ll be watching a Christmas movie.

A sort of staple this time of year, Christmas movies provide a sense of much-needed escapism—a cathartic release for all the emotions we tend to keep under wraps within us.

At their worst, Christmas movies are, well, cliche. At their best, however, sweet holiday tales often offer valuable lessons on life and love.

I mean, when Audrey Hepburn said: “Everything I learned I learned from the movies,” one can only assume that, at least a few of those influential films were holiday rom-coms.

This year, Netflix made the season’s pickings easy, giving us a plethora of feel-good flicks to choose from.

Want to gain something good from your seasonal guilty pleasures? Here’s our list of the best Christmas movies on Netflix right now, and what they can teach us about love.

White Christmas (1954)

White Christmas

What it’s about:

Dreaming of a White Christmas? Despite Netflix’s habit to remove older films, this Hollywood classic is here to stay. A technicolor masterpiece, White Christmas stars Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney, and Vera-Ellen as they dance, sing, and entertain in a wonderful medley of seasonal delight. When they discover that a beloved Vermont Inn is at risk of closure, two show-biz ex-soldiers and a singing set of sisters team up to save it from its fate. As the pairs work together, they find themselves falling in love. Both sentimental and charming, White Christmas is a great, lighthearted musical that’s perfect for the holiday season.

What we learn:

Before any sparks start to fly, this film focuses on friendship and what it means to support a friend in need. When Kaye’s character, Phil, see’s his friend, Bob (Crosby) unhappy in his personal life, he puts it upon himself to play matchmaker, reminding us that sometimes a little love is just what we need to bring the magic back into our lives. His support shows us the value of true friendship, and how, sometimes, a helping hand is often just what we need to guide us through love.

Likewise, Bob reminds us never to settle in love. As an entertainer, he’s well aware of his ability to snatch any girl he’d please. However, he’s after something deeper, something real, and someone with more to offer than just a pretty face.

Ultimately, this Christmas-favorite reminds us all of what we have to be thankful for, the value of supportive friends, and the power of true love.

The Holidate (2020)

The Holidate

What it’s about:

Spending Christmas alone, again?

Two singles, fed up with being dateless during the holidays, decide to become each other’s platonic plus-one’s. Facing the festivities together, Slone (Emma Roberts) and Jackson (Luke Bracey), struggle to balance their budding feelings for each other while dodging their family’s nosey inquiries. A bit predictable yet easy-to-watch, The Holidate is a film filled with fun, wit, and lots of romance.

What we can learn:

If you’ve ever been single during the holidays, you know all too well of the insufferable, yet often-well intentioned comments made by family and friends around the dinner table each year. While it might be tempting to go to extreme lengths to avoid that awkwardness, The Holidate shows how getting tangled up in deceit often just complicates things.

While, at times, far from fun, it is okay to be single. Your value does not depend on whether or not you’ve snagged a date for Christmas at mom’s.

However, if you really want to avoid the seasonal pressure of showing up solo, start dating earlier in the year. Unlike the pair in The Holidate, by Christmas time, you’ll have a plus-one that you can actually kiss under the mistletoe.

A Holiday Calendar (2018)

A holiday Calendar
What it’s about:

Abby does not like Christmas.

Played by Kat Graham, this aspiring photographer struggles as much in love as she does in work. But, when her grandfather gives her the antique advent calendar of her deceased grandmother, she can’t help but feel the Christmas spirit.

After a chain of curious events, and stumbling upon a new love interest, Abby starts to wonder if the calendar is more than what it seems.

What we can learn:

Chanel’s $825 Advent calendar could only dream of being this powerful!

Christmas is a time when we can often get lost in materialism, but The Holiday Calendar gently reminds us where the true value of this season lies.

This sweet treat of a film features a female lead who’s focused on finding fulfillment in her life. Abby dreams of making art that feeds her soul, something inspiring to viewers who relate to the relentless tug and pool between meaningful work and paying the bills.

Also tugging at her is the dichotomy presented by her two love interests—one who never makes the move, and the other who is seemingly too good to be true.

Overwhelmed with decisions, Abby reminds us that it's okay to feel lost sometimes. But with a little seasonal sparkle, everything will be just fine.

Love Hard (2021)

Love Hard

What it’s about:

Love Hard is a modern tale about a single person’s worst nightmare--being catfished on a dating app. Disappointed with her dating life in Los Angeles, Natalie (Nina Dobrev), turns to a popular dating app to see what’s out there. After sparking an online romance with a handsome stranger on the East Coast, she decides to travel to his hometown to surprise him for the holidays.

Once she arrives, however, she finds out that her online dreamboat, Josh (Jimmy O. Yang), is definitely not the same guy in the pictures.

When Natalie learns that the man in the photos does exist—his name is actually Tag (Darren Barnet), and lives in town—she becomes determined to couple up with him, and, surprisingly, Josh helps.

What we learn:

As Natalie attempts to find the face she originally fell for, she slowly starts to realize that real romance is more than skin deep. Love Hard makes us challenge the values we place on physical appearance in relationships, reminding us that it’s never a good idea to judge a book by its cover.

Attraction can be powerful, yes (after all, that’s what made Natalie fly across the country for someone she hadn’t even met on FaceTime), however, physical appearance isn’t everything. Looks can fizzle out—but true love never fades.

A Christmas Flow (2021)

What it’s about:

What can be more romantic than a Christmas romcom? A Christmas romcom in French, of course!

If you’re tired of all the Christmas cliches, this holiday romance is sure to shake things up. This three-part feature follows a notorious famous rapper, Marcus (played by actual French rapper, Tayc) as he meets and develops and unlikely romance with journalist and feminist activist, Lila (Shirine Boutella).

From the get-go, they seem to be an impossible pair. But, as their paths continue to cross, so does their undeniable attraction.

What we can learn:

While it’s true that opposites often attract, they’re less likely to stick together in the long run.

Main characters Lila and Marcus are total opposites, with core values that completely contradict one another. If they were to join our matchmaking services, they would likely never be paired.

However, Lila’s patience as she helps Marcus to reveal his softer, more empathic side is too heartwarming not to swoon. As we watch their love grow, we learn that love can come from the most unexpected places, and often brings out the best in us.

While lighthearted and fun, this romcom also provides a plethora of discussion-worthy topics to bring up with a partner. If you’re looking for an easy way to approach your significant other with sensitive subjects like sexism and gender roles, cuddling up with A Christmas Flow might be the perfect place to start.

Thanksgiving dinner

Single Survivor Guide for Thanksgiving

Oh, Thanksgiving. The annual Fall feast of gratitude and gravy is right around the corner. As a kid, it used to be one of my favorite holidays—a long weekend off of school, watching football with my uncles, and the smell of mom’s warm pecan pie filling the kitchen air. 

Nowadays, however, this time of year can be a bit tricky, especially for singles. If you’re a perpetual Thanksgiving loner, this season can be downright depressing.

Find yourself dreading showing up dateless to this year’s festivities? Check out my four favorite tips for surviving this Thanksgiving as a singleton.

Prepare your answer: “Are You Seeing Anyone?”

If you’ve been alone for a hot minute, maybe you’ve experienced that brief moment of despair while looking into the mirror and thought to yourself: “Why am I still single?” 

Trust me, we’ve all been there. It’s hard wondering why you still haven’t found The One, but absolutely nothing compares to the searing sting that’s felt when someone else says it to you—especially a family member. 

So, how can you deal with those well-intentioned, yet, annoying questions and remarks you’re bound to hear from your family? Unfortunately, the answer is NOT to hit your great-aunt Bertha over the head with a Turkey wing. 

Before crafting the perfect response, it’s important to remember that your nosey loved ones probably mean well. 

Take their prying as thickly-veiled compliments, as they couldn’t imagine why someone as young, attractive, and fun as you could continue going solo. After all, they just want the best for you. 

It’s also entirely possible that their questions are just a way for them to stir up some small talk, trying to catch up with your life—“How’s work? Seen any good movies lately? Oh, by the way, where’s your date?”

No matter the motivation, questions about your love life are… uncomfortable, to say the least—especially if they’re always asked by the same few people or delivered in the form of some kind of recurring joke. 

Let your family know that, despite being single, you’re not depressed. In fact, you’re happy! If they sense that you’re enjoying life, they might slow down a bit with their concerned comments, allowing you to redirect the conversation towards more interesting aspects of your life. 

To show off your confidence, you can say:

“I’m having such a blast on my own right now. Did you hear about my last-minute trip to Mexico?”

“Maybe someday I’ll meet someone, but right now I’m rocking the single life!”

Feeling snarky? Here’s a few responses that turn the tables around and put that pesky prober in their place: 

“Yeah, I'm still single! I’m just not willing to settle like most people do.”

“Hmm. I’ve never thought about it, actually. Why did you get married?”

Host a Friendsgiving

The idea of confronting your rude relatives is still too much to handle? Maybe it’s time to skip the family feast and apt for a Friendsgiving instead. 

Whether it’s to flee from the family theatrics, or to enjoy a sense of community while far from home, this holiday alternative is a favorite for singles still in the mood to celebrate. 

Modern life has pulled millennials in all sorts of directions, and oftentimes, that means living alone and far from home. However, being a family-of-one doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy some family-style fun. 

Many singles find that their friends offer just as much comfort and support as their relatives, if not more. Hosting a Friendsgiving is a perfect opportunity to show your closest circle just how much they mean to you. 

Whether you’re an experienced entertainer or first-time friendsgiver, it’s best to plan ahead. Let your pals know ASAP so they can carve out the time for turkey. When it comes to decor, keep it simple. If you’re in the mood to splurge, focus on the food. 

Feel free to pick a culinary theme that’s totally untraditional (this is Friendsgiving, after all. Anything goes). Yet, keep in mind your guests’ preferences. All your friends are health nuts? Try plant-based versions of the holiday’s staple plates. Are they world-traveling, Insta-influencers? Prepare foods from around the globe and ask your friends to guess their origins. Those who choose correctly get to take home a goody bag of treats! 

While cooking can be a fun part of the evening’s preparation, it’s also a lot of work. No one will judge you if you opt for take-out, instead. This is a holiday for you, too. So, make sure you enjoy it. Friendsgiving can be just as fun by ordering in some Uber-Eats and watching reruns of The Office with your besties. 

Plan a Special Activity

If you’re new to a city or, for some other reason, find yourself single and alone on Thanksgiving—don’t worry. There are still tons of ways to make the fourth Thursday of the month worth remembering.  

Most people get the holiday off work so, I’ve got to ask: wanna get outta here? Whether a quick jet-set to Europe or exploring a neighboring town, a long weekend is just enough time to get your Eat, Pray, Love on. It might sound crazy, but why not? Traveling solo can be even more rewarding than going with friends. Plus, you never know what kind of cool and interesting people you might meet.

If traveling isn’t possible or just not your thing, why not sign up for a Turkey Trot? Most major cities host annual Thanksgiving runs with varying distances from 5k, 10k, and sometimes marathons. 

If you’re like me, Thanksgiving is synonymous with lounging on the couch in a cranberry sauce-stained sweater while watching the Macy’s Day Parade on TV—basically the antithesis of any sort of physical exertion. However, getting your buns out of bed early Thursday morning and heading off to the races might be just what the doctor ordered. 

A bit of exercise and fresh air can be even better for the soul than Grandma’s special stuffing. Even if you’re not athletically inclined, there is something undeniably wonderful about being part of a large group of people that are all running together towards a common goal. Talk about a sense of community!

For extra feel-goodness, try to find a race that supports a good cause, like Run to Feed the Hungry, for example, which raises funds and awareness about hunger in the community. With this marked on your calendar, you’ll look forward to the holiday with excitement, knowing that you’re doing something great for both yourself and others.

If beating the holiday blues with a runner’s high is simply not your thing, volunteering at a local charity center is an excellent way to spend the special day. 

Studies show that volunteer work is great for combating depression, anxiety, and feelings of loneliness. There’s nothing like doing something special for others to put your own life in perspective. Research some local volunteer opportunities where you can donate your time or money for a good cause. By focusing on doing small acts of kindness, you will feel the true spirit of Thanksgiving.

Focus on the Positive

If you’re feeling lonely this Thanksgiving, remember: you’re not alone. The holidays can be hard, especially if you’re going through them without a partner by your side. At its core, Thanksgiving is about expressing our gratitude for the good in life and for those that we love the most. By focusing on the positive, you can do more than survive this Thanksgiving--you can enjoy it, too. 

At The Setup, we want to help you through all the challenges of single life. But, if you’re serious about finding that special someone, these tips are just a temporary fix. 

Ready for this Thanksgiving to be the last holiday you’ll attend alone? ‘Tis the season to make a change. To meet your special someone by Christmas, sign up today!

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 Reads #DatingDictionary Next to Fountain

The Setup’s #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.


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 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. 


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 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 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.”


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 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 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. 


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.


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.


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. 


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. 


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? 


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 with Sparklers on NYE - Reflect on Your Life

Reflect on Your Life Cause the Roaring 20s are Here

We don’t often take time out of our daily lives to really dig deep and self assessment. So, that’s exactly what I want you to do today. Take a few deep, cleansing breaths, and reflect on your life. Think about your life, decisions, relationships, triumphs and trials. 

What lessons have helped shape you as a person? What is most important to you as we move through the roaring 20s? What do you hope to achieve? What sort of plans can you implement right now to start moving the needle in that direction? Do you have a bad habit you need to ditch? Do you want to find your life partner?

Now, the good news is you can start manifesting these things and making bold changes to achieve your dreams right now. 

Reflect on Your Life

Change doesn’t come easily. In fact, it often goes against our very nature, but it’s a necessary part of life. After you reflect on your life thus far, it will be easier to make concrete plans for a better future. 

What needs to fundamentally change for you to make room for love in your life? Maybe there’s an ex you need to let go of, or a heartbreak you haven’t fully healed from. Are your deal-breakers getting in the way of your happiness? Perhaps, the last decade just beat you down a few too many times.

The Pandemic has certainly been a worldwide wake up call. Life is short. Now is the time to be brave, bold, and confident enough to take those first steps. Your matchmaker can help you nurture the positives in your life and create a solid foundation for you to find love.

Make the Years Matter

Step outside your comfort zone and make this year worthwhile. We only have so many trips around the sun, don’t you want to spend them living your dreams? 

Do you have your eye on someone new? Is there a coworker you want to get to know better? Valentine’s Day is almost here; gather the courage to send them a card or small gift

If you’re in the early stages of a new relationship. You don’t want to overwhelm your partner by going all out before they’re ready. Open a dialogue, ask them what they think of the holiday and what sort of expectations they have surrounding it. Share your feelings as well, you’ll avoid a lot of awkwardness and embarrassment this way.

If you’re single, gather your single friends and go do a fun activity like a mixology class. Host a murder mystery party or trivia night. Try to avoid places where couples are going to be in full PDA mode. If you send yourself flowers to work, the last thing your self-esteem needs is to witness a proposal occur at the next table over.

Stay in and spoil yourself with your favorite take out and a nice bottle of wine. Treat yourself to a spa day. Self-care is your first line of defense

Many of our single clients report feeling excessive loneliness when they don’t have someone to share Valentine’s Day with. But, I have an insider tip to bring you a bit of peace and solace.

You’re not alone; a lot of people who are in happy, healthy, long-term relationships also hate Valentine’s Day.

Often, this happens because one party desperately wants to celebrate it, but the other party perceives it as a frivolous holiday. This leads to conflict and disappointment. 

Instead, shower your partner with love and affection regularly, not just when you feel a sense of obligation.

Whether you’re happily loved-up, completely alone, or exploring a budding relationship, Valentine’s Day can be stressful. No matter how you choose to spend it. Afterward, reflect on your life and make a plan for how you hope to spend the next one.