How Covid Changed Love and Dating

How the Pandemic Changed What We Value in Love

A couple years ago, if you would have asked any one of Savannah’s friends who was the biggest “party animal” in their group, with no hesitation, it would have been her name boldly declared. Wild, playful, and a self-described “social butterfly,” Savannah was proud of being the go-to girl to call for an impromptu night on the town, a last-minute road trip to the beach, or just a round of drinks after a grueling day at the office.

Though she dreamed of one day falling in love, between work, friends, and the occasional fling, there wasn’t much room left for meeting real, serious men. Plus, ‘settling down’ sounded a lot like being ‘tied down,’ and she valued her independence far too much for that.

Then came the COVID-19 pandemic. Savannah’s daily routine changed drastically overnight, permanently shattering the spontaneous and lighthearted life she had loved to live.

Thinking things would eventually return to “normal,” Savannah kept up (as close as she could) with her old habits--however, girls' night on Zoom just didn’t feel the same without the stilettos.

After seeing the sickness and struggles experienced by friends, family, and the world, Savannah’s philosophy of “work hard, play harder” suddenly stopped making so much sense. Trapped alone in her apartment and with more free time than ever, she began to reflect on her values, goals, and how to create a fulfilling future.

After what seemed like an eternity, life began to resume to some level of normalcy. Curfews lifted, work returned to office, and all her favorite spots were up-and-running, again. The city called her to step back out into the hustle and bustle.

But, Savannah’s priorities had changed. Now, she craved connection, hoping to find someone special, safe, and real.

Shaking Up the Dating Game

Every year, Match releases its study, Singles in America, surveying thousands of singles like Savannah, between the ages of 18 and 98.

In the midst of a pandemic, this year’s report revealed some revolutionary insights into the psyche of the singles.

To say that Savannah, and others like her, experienced some changes during the pandemic would be the understatement of the century. Marking a monumental shift in modern history, COVID-19 has given way to nearly two years of instability, loss, and fear of the unknown, forcing many of us to reexamine the parts of our lives that, before, we took blissfully for granted.

Though we can’t quite say it has all been doom and gloom. In the face of adversity, singles have somehow managed to find a silver lining in the coronavirus-shaped cloud.

Whether to distract themselves from the nonstop negativity on the news, or just to fill their time after a pandemic-induced lay-off, 68 percent of Millennials took up new hobbies during these dark days.

Turns out, Savannah was not the only single to shake up their thinking this past year. When it came to putting things in their proper place, 72 percent of singles said they’re finally prioritizing the right things in life, like mental and physical health.

Put simply, singles made the most of 2021. Coming out of the pandemic as better versions of themselves, it’s safe to say this dose of singles are more eligible than ever.

Virtual Meets Reality

Nearly no aspect of life was immune to the consequences of the virus--love and relationships being no exception.

Thanks to social distancing, many singles found themselves stuck at home instead of out on the roam. Either impossible or too risky to meet their crushes in person, the cultural consensus of ‘dating’ begged to be redefined.

Like a knight in shining (disinfected) armor, a new influx of video chat technology ushered its way into lives to successfully save our dates.

Thus, the video date quickly cemented itself as a common courtship courtesy for a quarter of singles during the pandemic, with half of younger singles insisting to meet virtually before in person.

So, anyone can go on a Facetime date, but what about experiencing real love?

Turns out, you don’t have to be in the same space as someone to feel a spark in the air, with 78 percent of singles having felt romantic chemistry during a video date.

Still not convinced? According to nearly half of Gen Z and Millennials, you can fall in love over a video date. Long-distance daters, rejoice!

So, if you're single and suffering from pandemic-induced Zoom fatigue (yes, it’s a thing), a romantic video date with your special someone might be just the thing you need.

Maturity Matters, Looks Don’t

Needless to say, amongst local restrictions, life-threatening illness, and worldwide uncertainty, looks tended to take a back seat during the pandemic. With the most exciting adventure in town being a run to the supermarket, most people stayed home, alone, and in pajamas.

After endless lockdowns and social distancing at home, dressing up felt more like more of a chore than taking out the Tuesday trash. Aesthetically, comfort took control in our choice of clothing, with loungewear, athleta-leisure, and sneakers seeing a huge spike in sales. And, with masks covering half of our faces, makeup trends were quick to ditch the contour sticks and focused, instead, on a more natural, simple look.

Thanks to the habits we picked up during the pandemic, the trend towards inner beauty was well on it’s way. However, it wasn’t until some of our most cherished celebrity crushes began to publicly question the necessity of personal hygiene, that the hotness hierarchy finally fell to its knobby knees.

With that, it became official: looks are out, maturity is in.

“Following any traumatic event,” Match reports, “we often look for partners who are stabilizing, regardless of whether or not they have a six pack. This psychological effect leads us to surround ourselves with people and social contexts that feel genuinely safe.”

Emotional security suddenly became the new sexy.

Before the pandemic, if you would have asked a single person how they ranked physical attractiveness in a list of desired qualities in a mate, hotness would have been at the top. This year, however, only 78 percent considered it an important quality at all.

While physical attractiveness might temporarily catch the eye, qualities like being open-minded, accepting, and a good communicator are what makes a partner truly show-stopping.

Covid Killed the Hookup

With all this emphasis on emotional security, is there any room left for keeping things casual? According to singles, not much.

Today, only 11 percent of single people are interested in casual dating.

“We’re not saying one-night-stands are gone for good,” says the Match report, “but they’re definitely on the decline.”

Were social distancing restrictions to blame? Maybe. But, catching the COVID-19 cooties didn’t sound very appealing, either.

When it came to taking seriously their role in stopping the spread of the virus, Millennials and Gen Z understood the assignment.

Both generations are known for their passion for improving society; so, it makes sense that amongst a global pandemic, the young, wild, and free were more careful with their mingling.

Interestingly, 75 percent of singles, both young and old, are vaccinated. Considering the wider social opportunities and lesser risk of infection, in the times of corona, getting the pinch could mean a greater shot at love.

For all it’s chaos and instability, the pandemic also provided singles with an opportunity to slow down, work on themselves, and reflect about what they really want out of their lives.

Not interested in risking their health for something not serious, pretty quickly, the flirty flings just stopped cutting it.

Marriage-Minded

What does the future hold for modern singles? According to Match, marriage!

Now, more than ever, singles want meaningful, steadfast and committed relationships.

In the world’s current state of instability, nothing’s more appealing to singles than having a solid sense of security at home. Committing to a reliable, trustworthy, and long-lasting partner is just the sort of stability singles, like Savannah, are searching for right now.

Over the past two years, all singles report 20 percent higher interest in marriage, with men more interested in marriage now more than ever.

So, if you’re single with marriage on your mind, now is the time to get yourself out there.

Not sure where to start? If you’d like to meet like-minded, quality, commitment-minded singles, sign up today and we’ll set you up!


A happy couple

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Magic Number 3

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

3 Day Rule

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

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

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

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

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

Wait Until Date 3 To Get Physical

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

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

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

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

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

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

3 Date Rule


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

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

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

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

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

Date 1: Keep it light

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

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

Keep the conversation light and keep an open mind!

Date 2: Have fun!

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

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

Date 3: Wine and Dine

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

Do you want to go steady?

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

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

Where did the 3-date rule come from?

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

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

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

The Best Dating Strategy

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

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

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

Here at The Setup, we do dating differently. We combine years of experience, face-to-face matchmaking, with a modern app for ease of coaching and communication. Don’t worry—it isn't a dating app. It allows you to set up dinner reservations, read in-depth research articles, and access to professionals for advice on anything from outfits to opening lines.

We are here to ensure you have a fun, happy, and successful dating journey. Start at The Setup today!


Father Daughter Bedtime Story - Men Have a Biological Clock

Men Have a Biological Clock Too

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

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

-Jeremy Silverman, PhD

35 is the Magic Number

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

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

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

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

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

Men Have a Biological Clock & It's Ticking

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

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

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

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

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

It Might Not be All About Age

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

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

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

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

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


Couple on Date at Coffee Shop Experience Love at First Sight

Myth or Magic: Love at First Sight

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

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

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

Love, Lust, or Something Else?

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

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

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

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

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

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

-Dr. Helen Fisher, Biological Anthropologist

What Do We Know About Love at First Sight?

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

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

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

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

-Dr. Trisha Stratford, MAFS Expert

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

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


Man in Suit Cuddles Woman - Keep romance Alive

The Top 4 Ways to Keep Romance Alive

There are only 4 words you need to know to keep romance alive. I call them the 4 P’s to Relationship Success—Prioritize, Plan, Play, and Participate.

1. Prioritize

People prioritize time and energy for the things and people that are important to them. Is your relationship at the top of your list?

Now, you don’t necessarily need to write down your priorities and rank them, but you’re certainly welcome to. Does finding a relationship rank up there with your career?

I would bet you work more than 40 hours every week. But let me ask you, how many hours are you spending really making your love life a priority? If you’re in a relationship—how much work do you do to keep romance alive between the two of you?

Good news! With The Setup, you don’t have to put hours of time and energy into your love life to make it a top priority. There’s no endless swiping or meaningless texting. Your Matchmaker does all the behind-the-scenes work to vet out any potential deal-breakers. We weed through all of the candidates to find the ones best suited to you, then we set you up!

2. Plan

In the Rom-Coms, there’s always a spontaneous meet-cute. On reality TV, the couple just happens upon a concert or hot air balloon while strolling through the park.

But those things don’t happen in real life.

A team of writers came up with that scenario. You never see the part where The Bachelor has to sign a waiver before climbing in the basket of a hot air balloon. 

My point is, it takes a lot of planning to keep romance alive. 

You don’t have to commission a yacht to plan a great date. A little goes a long way. Think about your partner’s Love Language and organize a day around filling their love tank

3. Play

Couples who play together, stay together.

There’s a reason so many people say a sense of humor is an important factor when looking for a potential mate. In fact, being able to laugh at the same things, and create inside jokes makes a relationship even stronger, according to Dr. Jeffrey Hall.

Laughter is mother nature’s medicine. Try visiting a comedy club on your next date and see if it doesn’t help seal the bond. 

Does your partner prefer physical activities? Try a trampoline park. Maybe they’re more on the competitive side? Learn a new obscure sport together. Do they enjoy embarrassing themself at Karaoke?

Plan something together you know they’ll enjoy, something that allows you to be silly together and get out of your day-to-day routine. Try to get out of your own comfort zone and try something new! They’ll appreciate your effort to keep the romance alive.

4. Participate

Speaking of effort. How much effort are you putting into the relationship compared to your partner? Are things pretty even or could one of you seriously pick up the slack?

It’s common for relationships to fluctuate, but if there is a constant imbalance, it’s time to reexamine things

Relationships are not passive. To succeed, they require active participation from both parties.

Love is an actionable verb. You have to wake up every single day and choose to love your partner. Play with them. Plan things to make them feel special. Make them a priority in your life, and you’re sure to keep romance alive.


Couple Cuddling in the Park - Date a Doctor

#SuccessfulSingles: How to Date a Doctor

At The Setup, we specialize in setting up like-minded, career-oriented singles and sending them out on their last first date. So, we thought it would be helpful to look at the pros and cons of different jobs when it comes to dating. The COVID finish line is finally in sight, but after the time we’ve had I figured we should start off with How to Date a Doctor!

Dating apps can seem harmless, but they have their fair share dangers, especially for wealthy or high-profile individuals. Making your love life public can lead to all sorts of dangerous or uncomfortable situations. 

The Setup is a discreet matchmaking service. Our members undergo detailed evaluations and a thorough background screen, so we know who we’re setting you up with!

How to Date a Doctor

It can be virtually impossible for a medical professional to carve time out of their busy schedule to sort through pages of dating profiles.

You can make some pretty fair assumptions even before the first date. For instance, the guy finished Med School, so you know he’s smart, driven, and committed. All highly-coveted characteristics in a mate. 

When dating a doctor, you can expect additional quarantine and/or sanitation policies and procedures. I wouldn’t advise an anti-masker or anti-vaxxer to date a doctor. Remember the Pandemic is not forever, but there may be times throughout his or her career that will require additional medical precautions.

Their patients come first. There will be many times that you will have to take a bit of a backseat to your partner’s work. Put your ego aside and try to put yourself in the patient’s shoes. Are your dinner reservations really that important in the grand scheme of life and death?

Dating a doctor requires you to exercise patience and flexibility. There will be late nights, long hours, and weekends on-call. So, learn to love your alone time. Sometimes, they will have to cancel plans. That doesn’t mean you’re being ghosted or you don’t matter.

Avoid making concrete plans that cannot be altered like tickets to an event or travel arrangements without consulting them first. If something on their schedule keeps them from going, you’re left holding the tickets.

Doctors have often experienced emotional trauma at work. Studies show many health care workers experience similar Post-Traumatic Stress symptoms as combat veterans. It’s important that you can be a safe place for your partner to land after a taxing shift. If they need to unload, just listen to them.

Give them a shoulder rub, open their favorite bottle of wine, find a light-hearted show you both love. Try to help them unwind after a long shift. Doctors spend all their time giving of themselves to their patients. It’s good for them to have a partner who fills their love tank at the end of a long day.

Now that you’ve learned how to date a doctor...what profession do you want us to cover next?


Couple on Date at Fair - Join the Setup

Why Should You Join The Setup?

Most people have never considered hiring a Matchmaker before; that’s okay! We understand that this is a complicated product that requires a time investment as much as a financial investment. That scares a lot of people away. Today I want to tell you why you should join The Setup!

But think of it this way, dating in any capacity requires time and effort to achieve any sense of success. If we’re being honest, that’s true for most things in life. 

What are your alternatives? Endless hours spent swiping on random profiles? Let your mom set you up again? Speed dating?

In actuality, when you join The Setup, we a lot of the work off your shoulders. We do all the behind-the-scenes work to curate your introductions. All you have to do is show up and be yourself.

In his book, The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell introduces the concept of Connectors.

“The point about Connectors is that by having a foot in so many different worlds, they have the effect of bringing them all together.”

Our Matchmakers are natural Connectors. They cross social circles to facilitate introductions among people who share mutual goals or values. 

Invest in the Important Things

“Why would I hire a Matchmaker? I’m perfectly capable of setting up my own dates.”

There are tons of online tax services out there, but people still hire accountants. It’s perfectly normal to consult a professional about something that could potentially alter your life. We’re dating experts. Our staff is specially trained and certified to help you find a compatible life partner. 

You can’t be great at everything all the time. Most of our clients kick ass in their careers and other areas, but struggle where their love lives are concerned. 

You know how right before you start a new fitness routine, you invest in new sneakers and workout clothes to get your mind in the right place? This helps you mentally commit to the new regimen.

Anyone can flippantly swipe through the apps with no real investment. But you know anyone we set you up with has been thoroughly interviewed and screened and invested as much into the process as you have. They’ve worked with their Matchmaker to plan out their goals and dream up their ideal partner, and somehow, you fit into that mold. 

When you join The Setup, you are saying that finding love is a priority in your life.

Ask Us the Awkward Questions

If you need help picking out an outfit for your date, or analyzing something they said over dessert, we’re here for that too!

Want to get out of your own way and overcome some deal-breakers?

Your friends and family mean well, but sometimes their advice sucks. Leave it to the professionals! Your Personal Dating Assistant (PDA) is available throughout the process to help make your dating experience as stress-free and successful as possible. 

Don’t forget we conduct background screens and in-depth interviews before taking on a new client, so we know who we’re setting you up with. #Nocreepsallowed So what are you waiting for? Ready to put your love life in the experts’ hands? Join The Setup today.


Couple at Sports Bar During one of their First Few Dates

Ask the Experts: 5 Tips for the First Few Dates

The most important thing to remember early on, especially in those first few dates, is to remain present. Stay in the moment and just enjoy one another’s company. This is the easiest way to combat any anxieties or fears you have during the first few dates. 

First things first. Take a deep breath and relax. And remember, your specially-trained Matchmaker is here to help coach you through every step of the process. 

It's Not a Date

I can promise you this—everyone has first date fears and jitters. So much so, that I often hesitate to even use the word date for a first meeting between matches.

Date has a romantic connotation, and while matchmaking is obviously a service for people seeking romance, it would be unrealistic to expect every single first date to end in a love connection. 

We can eliminate some of those first date fears simply by eliminating the word date. 

Your first setup with a new match should be quick; I always encourage my clients to have a short, 30-minute drink before committing to a dinner date. Whether you get coffee, a craft beer, a green juice, or a pre-dinner cocktail, keeping things short and sweet will help alleviate everyone’s anxiety. 

We alway encourage a 3 Date Rule, so after your first setup, you should go for an activity next. Sharing experiences is a natural way to start forming a bond, and it will help you both loosen up and have a little fun while you get to know one another.

When you sit across the dinner table from a complete stranger, it’s easy to notice and panic every time there is a slight lull in conversation. When people get nervous, they talk too much

When you’re actively participating in an activity together, those lulls are less noticeable and feel more natural. By the time you go on a dinner date, you’ll have plenty to talk about. 

It's a Setup

Let’s face it, we all put an enormous amount of pressure on ourselves. In a high-stress situation, like the first few dates, that pressure often bleeds over and can cause damage if not kept in check.

Some go into every encounter with the opposite sex hoping it turns into marriage and a white picket fence. Others are so picky they will write their date off in the first 5 minutes for something trivial.

Both of these approaches are incorrect.

Let’s think about it from a business perspective. When you were a novice in your career, you didn’t go into every single job interview expecting to not only get the job, but to retire from that company. Alternatively, would you turn down your dream job because you didn’t like the break room?

Take the pressure off and just enjoy each other’s company.

Get Your Mind Right

You should go into every first date looking for three things you like, appreciate, or enjoy about the person. That’s it. Just three. But by focusing your efforts on finding positive traits in the person sitting across from you, you can overcome the silly things that put you in a negative headspace.

So you hated his shoes? If you’re really looking for lasting love, overlook the shoes. Does his lifestyle align with yours? Do you have similar goals in life? Did he make you feel safe and special? Did he match your sense of humor? Was he charming? Kind? Handsome? Punctual? Try to focus on the things about him you would like in a partner, even if you know he’s not a fit. 

Pay Attention to Red Flags

In addition to making a concerted effort to find three things of value, it’s equally important to gather information about the things you don’t like. Especially if those things enter into deal-breaker territory.

If you learn she has a pet you’re highly allergic to, that’s probably not going to be a long-lasting relationship.

Take mental notes.

Everything that happens between the two of you is data and information that will be helpful to your Matchmaker in facilitating your next match. Sharing three positives in addition to candidly discussing all the reasons you know he or she is not for you with your Matchmaker will help in your search to find love.

Even bad dates are good dates, because you learn what you don’t want, and so does your matchmaker. We use each and every interaction to fine-tune your profile, so that we can find someone who checks off your most important boxes.

Don't Start Planning Your Wedding

Let’s say you’re matched with a wonderful woman. You meet up at a new smoothie spot and things go great. That weekend, the two of you play a round of golf together, and you take her to dinner later in the week.

It all goes better than you had hoped.

You’ve now had three very positive, promising interactions with a woman you’re attracted to and have common interests with. It’s impossible to keep the daydreams at bay.

This is where I urge you to pause and set realistic expectations. 

There is nothing wrong with being hopeful and dreaming of happily ever after. We all wish for that.

Dating can be and should be fun. It’s natural to have hope that this develops into a relationship filled with love and trust and acceptance, and all the things that Maslow told us humans need to survive.

Feel the butterflies. Get excited while you get ready. But, trust in the process, and don’t get ahead of yourself. Just take it one date at a time.

Allow love the opportunity to grow and develop naturally without any unnecessary pressure or stress. Stay present throughout each date, give it your undivided attention, gather data, and don’t get in your own way. If you are able to do all of this, you can overcome all of the fears you have going into the first few dates. 


Man & Woman Get Over their Deal-Breakers and Embrace Happily

How to Break Up With Your Deal-Breakers

Let’s talk about deal-breakers. We all have them.

Deal-breakers can mean different things to different people, so for the purpose of this article, let’s define them as criteria you use to disqualify a potential match before ever even meeting them.

We all have them, but they’re not all created equal, we’ll talk more about Boundaries and Barriers in a bit.

Below, I’ve compiled a list of dealbreakers (in no particular order) that I’ve heard consistently over the years. Some might seem silly to you, but they are quite serious to another person. 

  • Divorce
  • Career Type
  • Religion
  • Political Affiliation
  • Dietary Restrictions
  • Body Shape
  • Height
  • Zodiac Sign
  • Education Level
  • Smokers
  • Cat Owners
  • Children
  • Distance
  • Race
  • Ethnicity
  • Virginity
  • Age

We once had a client refuse a date after learning his match was lactose intolerant. I know a woman who has a strict no Geminis policy. I could go on for days, but you catch my drift.

The first step to getting over some of your more trivial deal-breakers is to write out a list. Take some time to really mull this over and create a comprehensive list of all your must-haves for a potential match.

You’re the only person who will ever see this, so don’t be afraid or ashamed, just be honest.

It doesn’t matter if they’re big or small. Just add them all to the list. Don’t worry, we will whittle it down later. 

Boundaries & Barriers

Now, it’s time to separate your deal breakers into two categories.

Boundaries are good things; they keep us safe and allow us autonomy to rule over our own being.

Barriers on the other hand, get in our way and keep us from achieving our goals. They act as metaphorical roadblocks to our success.

For instance, rejecting a long distance relationship because you know you need Physical Touch and Quality Time to be happy—that is a Boundary. 

Excluding anyone who doesn’t reside within a 5-mile radius of your front door is a Barrier. You’re needlessly shrinking your pool of potential matches to a minute scale, making your Matchmaker’s job impossible.

Keep in mind, a lot of this depends on you and your situation as much as the other person. Let me give you a couple of examples.

I will not date anyone with a cat.

  • Boundary: if you have a severe allergy
  • Barrier: if you just prefer dogs

I will only date Catholics.

  • Boundary: if you’re a practicing Catholic
  • Barrier: if you haven’t been to mass since you were a child

I will not date someone who has children.

  • Boundary: if you don’t have or want kids
  • Barrier: if you have kids from a previous relationship

Now, I want you to reflect on your list. Organize each one into either the Boundary or Barrier column.

Breaking Up with Your Deal-Breakers

Next, I want you to rank your list of Boundaries in order of importance. Then, do the same with your Barriers.

Those Barriers are starting to seem a little less important now, huh? Some of them may even feel kind of dumb. That’s a good thing! That means getting over them is going to be easier than you thought.

Starting with the lowest-ranked Barrier, think through each of your deal-breakers. Go deep. Make another list of pros and cons for each if you need to. Ask yourself the following question:

If you met the single most gorgeous guy on the planet tomorrow, and he possessed a myriad of positive characteristics, would this one single thing eliminate him in your mind as boyfriend material?

If the answer is yes, then you’re not ready to let go of that deal-breaker just yet. That’s alright, some of us are just pickier than others. But it’s important that you know that about yourself and have patience with your Matchmaker. 

If the answer is no, or even maybe with a qualifier, then let’s see if we can work through it.

Is there an underlying reason for your deal-breakers? Try to get to the core of your desire for wanting or needing that specific trait in a partner.

Maybe it’s not that you have to date a Catholic, but just that you desire a partner of faith and a good moral compass. Perhaps you don’t necessarily need someone with a graduate degree, as long as they’re intelligent and ambitious. 

Your Matchmaker will be able to shed some light on your particular situation and teach you how to increase your scope of potential matches.


Playful Couple Cuddles on Couch Laughing at Bad Dating Advice

Don’t Listen to Bad Dating Advice

We have all received outdated, unsolicited, downright bad dating advice from friends, family, acquaintances, maybe even complete strangers. You know that nosey aunt who shares way too much information and inserts her opinion into everyone’s life? She says things like:

Don’t listen to that lady and her bad dating advice.

Rules are meant to be broken. It’s a new decade, so take all the bad bad dating advice you’ve been told throughout the years erase it from your memory.

There is an entire genre of self-help books dedicated to dating advice, much of which is solid, data-based research, but an equal amount is opinion-based and anecdotal. As they say, don’t believe everything you read. 

Love is Magical

Soulmates, twin flames, love at first sight, happily ever after—these are the types of magical love we strive for from our very first bedtime story. 

Real life love is much more practical. Don’t get me wrong, it has its magical moments when you swear the earth stops spinning. But true love, the kind that lasts forever, is a choice that must be made every single day.

Love is a verb as much as it is a noun.

The worst dating advice I ever heard was: If there is no chemistry on the first date, it’s not worth pursuing.

Attraction is not limited to our primal instincts, even though it may feel that way sometimes. As feelings of love and admiration develop, so does that magical, unexplainable spark.

Don’t write someone off right away. Some of our strongest matches have come from couples that we initially had to talk into going on a second date.

Remember the Three Date Rule!

Keep Conversations Light

We’ve talked about the opposite end of this spectrum: oversharing. You don’t want to share too much too soon, but you also don’t want to avoid meaningful conversations that occur naturally. As the relationship progresses, you should feel comfortable opening up about more sensitive topics like family goals, career dreams, and wishes for the future.

Imagine investing months into someone only to find out your goals for the future couldn’t be more opposite. You want to marry and raise a family, but she has different dreams.

By not defining the relationship and communicating your needs, you run the risk of wasting a lot of time dating people who aren’t a viable match. 

Be Your Best Self

We’re taught to be on our best behavior in all new relationships, and it’s true—to an extent. On a first date, at a new job, or even with a budding friendship, it’s always important to put your best foot forward. 

As Miranda Lambert put it, Hide your crazy and start acting like a lady.

But there comes a time in every new relationship, where both parties have to be vulnerable, let their guard down, and show their flaws. If this doesn’t occur, the connection will remain in surface-level acquaintanceship territory rather than growing into something deeper.

Often in new relationships, people will behave how they think their partner wants them to behave. This leads to a myriad of problems.

If you’re not behaving as you normally would, your partner doesn’t truly get to know you. She may fall in love with a false version of you. This often leads her to a sense of feeling defrauded. And you’re left feeling as if your partner never truly knew you after all. 

In trying to be everything your partner wants, you’ll end up losing your sense of self.

Communicating one’s needs, expectations, and boundaries is key for building the foundation of any new relationship. 

You’re finishing up dessert on your third date, when your partner suggests a bar across town for a nightcap. You know you have an important meeting first thing in the morning, but you don’t want to upset him, so you say yes. Unfortunately, while you’re sharing a drink an hour later, the mood has shifted. Now, you’re in your head, stressed out about the morning, and constantly checking your phone. Your date studies you closely for some sign of what caused the flip after dinner, but ultimately he’s left clueless.

If you had set boundaries and explained why you needed to go home after dessert, you could have both ended the night on a high note, excited for your next date. 

Have you listened to bad dating advice in the past? It’s not too late to purge all that junk from your mind. Just remember, not all advice is good advice! When in doubt, ask your Matchmaker