Using Facial Software To Find Your Mate

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Remember that lesson you learned about not judging a book by its cover? Throw it out the window. The latest dating site to join the fray is all about appearances.

The site in question is FindYourFaceMate.com, a new dating service that's set to launch on July 10. Researchers studying attraction have found that facial features play an integral role in mate selection. When someone has features similar to your own, you are naturally inclined to trust them. And we all know trust is the foundation of any good relationship, right?

The idea of “facially compatible” partners isn’t a new one, though this may be the first time it’s been used so consciously. Think of all the times you’ve seen a cute couple and thought “Wow, they look so alike!” That’s the science of attraction at work.

Kerri Johnson, an assistant psychology professor at UCLA, explains that "There is evidence that general liking improves when people look like you." In romantic relationships, compatible partners tend to be of a similar level of attractiveness.

"Across dimensions, people who are similar tend to be attracted to each other," Johnson says. "'Birds of a feather flock together' characterizes most aspects of interpersonal attraction," and “There's a long-standing pattern where a person's own level of attractiveness is matched in their partner.”

Face.com is the service behind the magic of Find Your FaceMate. The Israeli company has provided Face.com technology to Facebook for nearly two years, in the form of the tag suggestion tool which helps users identify their friends in photographs, and was recently acquired by Facebook.

The same technology will be used by Find Your FaceMate. The service examines 63 points of interest on the human face to determine whether the same person is featured in multiple photos. The software examines each of the facial features and compares them with other faces in an attempt to make a positive identification. On Facebook, it’s used to recognize the same person. On Find Your FaceMate, it will be used to find singles with similar features who could be potential dates.

But the face isn’t everything, so I guess what your parents taught you about judging books is true after all. “In the beginning, it’s the face,” says Christina Bloom, founder of Find Your FaceMate. “But there are other things at play. Do you have the same values? It doesn’t mean it’s going to be a successful relationship.”

Would You Pay To Highlight Your Posts On Facebook?

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Would you pay to have your status updates highlighted on Facebook?

For online daters, this system is old news. Many online dating websites offer the option of having a profile highlighted or ranked at the top in search results in exchange for a small additional fee. But for social networking sites, this is a new approach to interacting online.

Apparently only a measly 12% of your Facebook friends actually see your status updates on average. Facebook is now toying with the idea of adding Highlight, a feature that lets users pay a few bucks to have their posts appear to more friends. Facebook is currently testing the new feature out, offering a paid version to a small percentage of its user base. A free version is also available, designed to determine if Facebookers are at all interested in the Highlight option.

It might be a nifty new way to make sure your voice is heard by more people, but let's face it - Facebook's real motivation is the money. Facebook's worth is based on its potential for earning money, not actual money it earns, and the company needs to turn that around if it's going to continue receiving funds from investors.

It's likely that Facebook will now pursue more aggressive strategies for making money, a plan that could easily backfire for a service that members are used to using for free. Although there are no known plans to charge for all use of Facebook, pay-for-popularity features - and other paid features - could be major turn offs for users who were initially drawn to the site because it's free. Younger users - which make up a huge portion of Facebook's user base - may also be resistant to the inclusion of paid features, as they're less likely to have the financial resources to pay for them.

Facebook's diplomatic statement on the matter reveals very little:

"We're constantly testing new features across the site. This particular test is simply to gauge people's interest in this method of sharing with their friends."

The Highlight feature could prove useful, but it also poses potential problems. Highlighted posts could easily compromise the relevance of the news feed, which currently uses a sorting algorithm to display posts by a user's closest friends and posts that have received a significant number of Likes and comments. Highlight could distort that, and may turn your news feed into a marketing scheme from club promoters, small businesses, and anyone else who would benefit from increased attention.

I'm going to stay skeptical for now, but perhaps Facebook will surprise me. I'll do my best to keep an open mind.

To find out more about what makes this social networking site a good place to meet singles (or not) you can read our Facebook review.

Chemistry's FREE this July Weekend - 2012

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From Friday July 20 2012, to Sunday July 22, 2012 members of Chemistry will be able to communicate for free.

If you are interested in online dating and are looking for a dating service to evaluate, then Chemistry’s 3 day free weekend is an ideal time to try out this dating site. Chemistry was brought to you by the creators of Match.com. The main difference between the 2 dating sites is that Chemistry relies on their in-depth personality test and complex matching algorithm to supply their members with quality matches. The matches provided are the ones Chemistry has determined are best suited for your personality and have the best chance of creating for you a long-term relationship.

To take advantage of the Chemistry 3 day free weekend all you need to do is create a user account and answer the profile questions. Once completed you will then receive your matches. Then, starting Friday July 20 and for 72 hours you will be able to communicate by flirting (chemistry starters) and sending emails for free. No credit card is required and this promotion is available for new and existing members.

Chemistry had their last free communication weekend in May. To find out more about this matchmaking service designed to find members long-term relationships please read our review of Chemistry.

Dating After a Bad Relationship

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Not everything in dating - or, indeed, in our lives - always goes smoothly. Many of us have had a relationship that’s shaken our confidence: in our judgment, in our self-worth, in the future. If we’ve made such a mistake once (or twice, or even more than that), who’s to say we won’t make one again?

It’s natural to feel hesitant, even a little fearful. In fact, it’s probably a good sign; if you strode out into the dating world undaunted after a traumatic relationship without even questioning what you could change next time, you’d probably be all the more likely to repeat mistakes. It’s good to reflect, to have your eyes open a little wider. What’s not good, however, is living so much in fear and regret about what you’ve done in the past that you refuse to move forward. Here are a few healthier ways to get back on the horse of romance.

First, analyze your last relationship. Remember, you’re just analyzing; you’re not beating yourself up. Try to think about it objectively. Take a piece of paper and write down your thoughts. Is there any way you could have predicted the bad outcome? Remember that some people - predatory people - deliberately change or conceal their personality, and there’s really very few warning signs, so don’t feel bad if you can’t think of a way things could have gone differently.

But maybe you didn’t date someone who set out to hurt you; maybe things just ended poorly. In that case, you might determine if there’s something different you should be looking for, a trait that’s more compatible. Even in bad relationships, you can usually learn something from them, even if it’s about yourself and what you really want.

After you’ve analyzed the past, the key is to put it behind you. That’s why it’s helpful to write it down; it’s a tangible reminder that you’ve been through this process already, so you don’t have to go over it again and again in your head.

The final step is to start looking toward the future with anticipation. Try a new list: positive reminders of what you’re looking for in the future. The trick is to keep it positive: instead of saying you don’t want “a lying jerk,” maybe you’re looking for “honest communication.” And once you have your positive list, you can draw from it when you’re writing or revising your online dating profile.

Looking to jump back in the dating pool can definitely be daunting when your last relationship ended badly, but remember this: almost everyone has a similar story, something or someone they regret. And that includes people who are now in stable, happy, healthy relationships. Don’t let one bad apple affect the future of your dating health; instead, feel confident that you’ll more readily identify rotten fruit in the future.

Does Being in a Relationship Affect Your Weight?

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It's great being in a new relationship - you spend more and more time with your partner, basking in the heady feelings of love. But along with this newfound happiness, do you tend to pack on a few extra pounds, too?

There is a common notion that when you settle down into a relationship, it's easy to let yourself go. When you're single, you tend to focus on losing weight and having healthier habits in order to attract a partner. But when you're in a relationship, the pressure to keep yourself looking as attractive as possible subsides. As it turns out, there is research supporting this idea.

A recent study from The Ohio State University showed that women are more likely to gain weight when they get married (whereas men are more likely to gain weight when they get divorced). Another study, published in Obesity Research, reported that women have an average weight gain of six to eight pounds over a two-year period after getting married. But it's not just married couples - a 2009 study from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill found that after studying 7,000 individuals over a period of a few years, those who were in relationships and moved in with their significant others were twice as likely to be overweight than their single peers.

There are some explanations for this phenomenon. For one, when meals are shared (and this is one of the most common bonding activities a couple does together), you indulge together more often. Maybe you go out for a rich pasta dinner, or you buy the extra large tub of popcorn in the movie theatre, or you get an ice cream when you're spending an afternoon at the park. It's easier to indulge with someone else.

This doesn't mean that relationships equal bigger waistlines. In fact, as long as you're aware of how your eating patterns change when you move from single to coupled, you can do a lot to prevent it.

Talk about it. There's nothing like making a plan - if you feel pressured to eat when you're not hungry, or eat foods that aren't so good for you, then feel free to let your partner know that you want something different.

Eat individually. You don't have to enjoy the same meal (or the same portions) together. If you want to have a salad while he has pizza, then make pizza and salad for dinner and each enjoy your own thing. My husband is vegetarian but I eat meat, so sometimes I make myself fish or chicken while he has a veggie burrito.

Make time for exercise. One of the first casualties in relationships is forgoing exercise. What if instead you both decided to take walks, jog, or go to the gym together? Staying healthy is a good goal for any couple.

Prepping For Your Date: A How-To Guide

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For me, the most nerve-wracking part of a date is thinking about it before it even starts. I used to wonder what each new guy would think of me, what I would say, what he'd be like. When I finally met him, usually things fell into place and it wasn't so scary.

To save you some of this angst that I felt, I've created a list to help you prepare - mentally and physically - before that next date. It's good to be prepared, because you never know when the right one will come along - and don't you want to feel ready?

Dress for success. Ok, this may seem like a no-brainer, but lots of people neglect it. Don't show up in jeans and flip flops, even if you want the person to see the "real you." Look your best and dress up a little more than you do on a day-to-day basis. First impressions are key so don't assume they don't matter.

Allow for traffic. I live in L.A., so driving was a main point of consideration for any date. I picked places that were halfway between where each of us lived, so nobody felt they had to drive too far. And I added an extra 15-20 minutes onto my commute to allow for traffic, especially after work. I didn't want to arrive late and stressed out.

Google your date. I'm all for doing a little research before you agree to meet in person. Sometimes you can find out good information, like if someone is married or an ex-con. You can't be too careful when you're dating online.

Take a few breaths - relax! If you're feeling the pressure, take some deep breaths. Tense all your muscles for a few seconds and then relax them. This will physically help remove stress from your body.

Pick a familiar place to meet. If you tend to get nervous in new situations, it's good to have some familiarity on a date. Pick a place you know and like to be, or choose an activity that you like such as biking or walking dogs. Sometimes doing an activity together takes the pressure off of sitting across a table from one another trying to come up with conversation topics.

Remember, this is only a date. This is not the time to overthink things - try your best to just have fun and enjoy the date. Save the play-by-play analysis for other parts of your life.

If it's a first date, make it short. Keep it to a coffee date or something similarly brief if you've never met. Remember, you can always stick around if you're both having a good time. (Or better yet, ask her out again.)

Most importantly - enjoy!