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Should I Dump My Boyfriend? Ask The App!

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Now here's something that I never expected to need an app for...though now that I see it, I can't help but be intrigued.

Sarah Gray was in a long distance relationship when she found herself wondering whether it was time to bid her boyfriend farewell. The relationship did end up crumbling, but Gray found something good in the aftermath: a new app idea. The app, called Should I Dump My Boyfriend?, helps users answer the same question that Gray faced by tracking your feelings over a two-week period.

Forget about talking your friends ears off with the trivial details of your relationships or turning to silly Cosmo quizzes to answer your burning relationship questions. This app, which creates a graph that quantifies what you should do and provides customized advice, is the way of the future.

Step one is to keep track of your feelings. Record your ups and downs in the app, which sends a daily reminder to make sure that you stay on top of the tracking process. You can rate your boyfriend as often as you like, since you never know when you might be surprised by something he does, and can leave notes describing your feelings during each rating session.

When the rating process is complete, the app provides objective advice based on the unique patterns it analyzes in your entries. The idea is to help you spot trends that you may have missed in day to day life, and create clarity about why you might be sabotaging a good relationship or sticking with a bad one.

And it's not just useful for one relationship. The app saves all your entries from past boyfriends, so you can review and reflect at any point in the future. Mad at your man and wondering why you haven't dumped him yet? Check the app for reminders about what makes him so wonderful. Feeling the post-breakup blues and second-guessing your choice to dump the chump? Read through your old notes and statistics to refresh your memory about why he was such a dud, then count your blessings.

"Being able to see your relationship clearly and objectively is the 1st step on the path to a happy, healthy love-life," says Gray, :whether it's with him, with someone else, or on your own for a while." We're often to irrational in the moment to assess our feelings correctly, making the app a valuable asset when it comes to choosing partners wisely. "Sometimes, we need an objective voice to help us appreciate a good thing or accept something painful," Grey adds. "And this app helps us tap into the best voice of all - the one inside ourselves."

Check out the app on iTunes.

Do Women Prefer Alpha Men?

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Women can be very fickle in their choices of men. While wanting to date "nice guys" seems to be the request frustrated women often make, many also find themselves in dead-end relationships with selfish and often arrogant men. So what do women really want - the nice guy or the alpha man?

A surprising study came out recently from Southampton Solent University in England, claiming that women's choices in men change during recession, but not in the way you'd think. It seems that women prefer dating men who describe themselves as "followers" rather than "leaders." The reasoning behind this? According to researchers, "a man who is a follower might offer stability: He may have fewer resources, but he may be less likely to abandon [her] for another woman or need to share his resources with lots of other women."

The researchers at Southampton showed more than 150 women a series of fictitious online dating profiles before asking them which men they'd like to date and which were marriage material. The descriptions contained information about the men's earning potential and hints of how dominant they appeared to be. Before viewing the profiles, however, the women took a language test that included words related to financial hardship such as "bankruptcy," to link dating back to a recession mindset to see if anything changed.

It seems the women would have chosen the confident bread-winners to date, but they preferred the men who were more shy and generally happy to be told what to do. (Although earning potential did factor heavily into who they considered to be marriage material.)

So in times of economic recession, women may see things differently. They look for stability, but not necessarily financial stability or career success with a man who has a take-charge personality. Instead, they prefer the easy-going and soft-spoken types. But when it comes to marriage, women are still concerned with financial stability and support more than anything else.

Are women's preferences starting to change? We are in a better place economically than we have been at any other time in history, so we aren't reliant on a man's ability to wine and dine us to impress. And while confidence in men still seems to be an agent for attraction, perhaps dating alpha dogs isn't the answer. Maybe now, there's even more reason to date those nice guys. And it seems that more and more women agree on this.

eHarmony offers Free Communication this May Weekend (2012)

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This Memorial Day weekend eHarmony is having a free communication event. It will run from Friday May 25th, 2012 until the end of Monday May 28th, 2012 (US website only).

This free communication event (FCW) falls right on a holiday so you can expect eHarmony to be extra busy. It is easy to become a member of eHarmony, all you just need to fill in the sign up form and then create a profile. Once you have finished filling out the in-depth profile you will then start to receive your matches. Any match you receive during this promotion, you will be able to communicate with at no charge and with no credit card required. Features not included during free communication events are photos, Secure Call or Skip to Email.

The last FCW happened in March (see Story). This promotion will be eHarmony's 39th free communication event (by our count).

To find further information about this matchmaking service designed for singles looking for a long-term relationship, please read our eHarmony.com review.

Match.com Introduces Games

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"Playing games" is generally looked down upon when it comes to dating, but thanks to the latest addition to the features at Match.com, members can play games that may actually help their relationships.

The Match blog recently announced the launch of the new feature. "Online dating has been an effective way to meet, but it's not always the best way to get to know someone," says the blog. "So we created fun and easy-to-play games that allow our members to figure out whether they have chemistry with each other before going out on a date." Each game will last one to five minutes, and is designed to "create shared experiences and encourage interaction between players through instant messaging."

Match will debut seven new games in summer 2012:

  • Best & Worst: Share your personal best and worst about everything from concerts to movies to road trips, then see how you and your partner match up.
  • Food Critic: Who hasn't wanted to become a food critic at one point or another? In this game, you act as a local food critic and pick your favorite places to eat. Compare your choices to your partner's picks, then decide on one you might like to check out together.
  • Romance Rip Off: Work together with your partner to create a cheesy romance by taking turns adding the next line to the story. Hopefully your real-life romance will be a little lighter on the cheese and a little heavier on the actual romance.
  • Name That Dance: All those times you watched viral dancing videos on YouTube are finally about to pay off! Watch the Match dance team perform their best moves and try guess their names.
  • Gut Reaction: This one's a classic. Gut Reaction is a simple game of word association designed to give you insight into the mind of your partner. See a word, react quickly to it, then compare your reactions to your partner's.
  • Drawn Together: It's Pictionary for the digital age. Draw three quick sketches on the screen and see who can identify them first. Better brush up on your stick figure skills.
  • If I Could: If you could pick one movie to watch tonight, one thing to have for dinner, and one flavor of ice cream to eat for the rest of your life, what would you chose? Compare your responses to discover where your tastes align and where they diverge.

And if you can't get enough of Match's games, check the site for a local game night hosted in your city.

For more details about this dating site, please check out our review of Match.com.

Match.com Takes Singles Offline to Meet

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It's an interesting turn of events when one of the largest most well-known online dating sites decides to create a more "real-life" experience for singles to connect.

Match.com plans to offer a new service called "The Stir" which will host 3,000 singles events over 40 different countries so their members can get to know each other face-to-face first, without all the back and forth emails and profile searches. But they're not just announcing events for people who live in the same area, they are matching members using their traditional algorithms to make the perfect singles mixer for their members' preferences, mostly based on ages and interests. So, not every member will be able to attend any event they want. They will have to be selected.

The events will be centered around specific interests and activities, like rock climbing, cooking classes, tequila tastings, or bowling nights, depending on your hobbies or what you typically like to do for fun (according to your profile of course).

Match.com claims the parties address some of the 'fundamental pitfalls of a typical night out for single people' - like meeting people you don't get along with. It also takes the pressure off the first face-to-face coffee date. Some members are reluctant to put a lot of time and energy into online dating, and have a hard time getting past the communication to have the first meeting. By getting members in a room together, the likelihood of two people connecting increases.

Match.com also plans to make two types of event offerings: more casual meet-ups at bars will be free, whereas more involved events like rock climbing will have a cost attached.

It's interesting that other online dating services which offer offline meet-ups like HowAboutWe are influencing online dating. Match.com's goal seems to be figuring out new ways to get people together, along with ways to attract new members who might still be weary of trying online dating. The Stir is a way to overcome that hurdle - by offering the traditional appeal of meeting face-to-face in an informal setting instead of the sometimes elusive process of online dating: looking through profiles, emailing, and setting up a much-anticipated coffee date.

This move will likely boost Match.com's mobile app, too. For the 60 pilot events they hosted, they offered members promotions for those who checked in online, and plan to offer these in future gatherings. There's nothing like incentives to encourage people to attend.

For more information on this popular dating site, you can read our recently updated Match.com review.

Online Dating In The Vancouver Observer

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The Vancouver Observer took on online dating this month, sharing the ups and downs of several singles who tried their luck on dating sites.

Like many who try online dating, Marianne Gagnon-Sirianni was ready to give up after receiving nothing but inappropriate emails from "suitors" on Plenty Of Fish. But just as she prepared to log off for good, she received a message that caught her eye and, four years later, she married the man who sent it.

Though her beginnings were rocky, Gagnon-Sirianni is now a major supporter of online dating. "Would you rather compete with a room full of single girls, all after the same goal of finding a good guy at a bar, or form a personal connection with someone through one on one email conversations?" she said to the Observer. "Online dating gives you the opportunity to spend weeks getting to know each other on an intimate level before even meeting," she added. "I was able to ensure that the person I was speaking with was the right person for me, and worth going on a date with."

Gagnon-Sirianni isn't the only dater to sing the praises of finding love online. Rebecca Liu, a member of Match.com, turned to online dating when she had difficulty meeting people face-to-face. She felt more comfortable in a world where the threat of rejection is greatly lessened. Another dater joined a dating site after relocating to a new city, hoping to make new friends and - perhaps - a romantic connection.

Despite the massive number of success stories, many still have reservations about online dating. They fear the stigma attached to it, and worry about the potential dangers of meeting strangers online. "There are cases where people only put information in their profiles that they feel other people find desirable, even if it is entirely inaccurate," Liu said, recalling an experience with a date who was still legally married.

But just about everything has its ups and downs, and the world of online dating is increasingly filled with ups. "Life is busy," said Matt Wilson. "People have different schedules, live in different areas and hang out in different places. Dating online is refreshing because it gives you an avenue to meet people outside your daily routines."

Why not give it a try? You might be one of the lucky ones.