8 Ways To Make A Relationship Last

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2011 saw a lot of important relationship milestones in my family. 30 years of marriage for my parents. More than 40 years of marriage for my aunt and uncle. And 66 years of marriage for my grandparents. In a world of celebrity marriages that last 72 days, I was in awe of the life-long partnerships my family members had created. So, inspired by their obvious love for each other, I asked my family to share their secrets for making a relationship last. Here's what they had to say:

  1. Attraction: Attraction is about more than appearances and the "spark" of chemistry that initially draws a couple together. As a relationship deepens, so does attraction. Intellectual attraction, emotional attraction, attraction to a partner's sense of humor or creativity...these are the kinds of attraction that make a relationship last.

  2. Accountability: Take responsibility for your happiness and your actions in a relationship. Hold yourself accountable for creating the relationship you want and upholding the commitments, promises, and obligations you have made. Expect that your partner will do the same.

  3. Communication: Strong communication skills are at the heart of every long-term relationship. Become aware of how you communicate and how your partner communicates with you, then create a common communication style that works for both of you. And remember that "communication" doesn't just mean speaking - being a good listener is also a huge part of communicating well.

  4. Commonalities: Opposites may attract, but it's similarities that keep a relationship going. Do you and your partner have hobbies and interests in common? Do you have similar lifestyles and habits? Do you share the same goals for your relationship? Do you want the same things out of life? You don't have to be exactly alike, but you do need to have some commonalities in order to stand the test of time.

  5. Passion: Passion doesn't just mean sex - passion means affection and connection. Physical passion can be expressed through small gestures like a touch on the arm, a kiss goodnight, or a cuddle on the couch, and romantic passion can be expressed in conversation or in writing.

  6. Security: Long-term partners know that they can depend on one another. Do you feel physically and emotionally safe with your partner? Do you offer that kind of security in return? Consistent demonstrations of comfort and safety increase trust and intimacy in a long-term relationship.

  7. Support: No relationship can last without support and understanding. Make it a point to be a source of support for your partner on a daily basis. Support their needs, their goals, their dreams for the future. Support them through challenges and major life changes. Support them without judgment and ask them to provide the same support for you.

  8. Love: Love your partner for who they are, not for who you want them to be. True, lasting love is unconditional.

2011 Dating Sites Reviews Single's Choice Award

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2011 Dating Sites Reviews Single's Choice Award - Gold
Recipient of Gold
2011 Dating Sites Reviews Single's Choice Award - Silver
Recipient of Silver
2011 Dating Sites Reviews Single's Choice Award - Bronze
Recipient of Bronze

We wrapped up the 2011 Dating Sites Reviews Single's Choice Award poll today. It ran from October 1st, 2011 and ended today, January 30, 2012. We almost reached 1000 votes, the most we ever have had. In total we had 987 voters who answered 2 questions. The first being which paid dating site would you recommend for the "2011 Dating Sites Reviews Single's Choice Award". The second question asked which free dating site you would recommend.

The annual Single's Choice Award is our most important award we give out. This is because it is voted on by you. Collectively our visitors spend many more hours online with these dating sites compared to what it is possible for us to do. We do have our own opinions as well which is why we have the Editor's Top Pick awards. These awards are based on our own experiences as well as the comments we receive from visitors throughout the year.

For 2011 we listed the top eight dating sites for you to vote on. The three dating sites which received the most votes will get an award, Gold for first, Silver for second and Bronze for third.

The recipient of the Gold 2011 Single's Choice Award is Match.com. We also gave this dating site the Editor's Top Pick - Overall award as well. Match.com received 331 votes, which is 33.5 percent of all votes. Most other dating sites in the poll only were voted on about 8 percent of the time which makes Match.com almost 5 times more popular than most other sites.

The recipient of the Silver 2011 Single's Choice Award is eHarmony. eHarmony has won this award 4 times in a row. They had 22.5 percent of the vote which works out to 222 votes. eHarmony's match system is as popular as every with users which is also why they were the recipient of the Editor's Top Pick - Match System award as well

The recipient of the Bronze 2011 Single's Choice Award is Badoo. This up an coming social dating site made great strides in popularity in only one year to be able to earn the bronze award. While they only had under half of the votes than what the winner of the silver award received, Badoo did get a respectable 95 votes, which works out to almost 10 percent of all votes.

Here are this year's standings for the Single's Choice award for all dating sites in the poll.

  1. Match.com
  2. eHarmony
  3. Badoo
  4. Zoosk
  5. Chemistry
  6. Date.com
  7. PerfectMatch.com
  8. Lavalife

Thanks to everyone who took the time to vote for the 2011 Single's Choice Award. Our visitors in 2012 will appreciate knowing which dating services are the most popular.

'Tis The Season For Online Dating

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2012 is upon us, and so is an annual rush to join online dating sites in the new year.

It's known as the Holiday Effect - the 15 to 20 percent increase in online daters from December to February. Every year online dating sites experience a surge in membership over the holiday season, as singles who didn't have someone to kiss under the mistletoe or at midnight on New Year's Eve turn to the Internet for a fresh start in the new year.

There are a number of reasons that January has become such a busy month for online dating. New Years resolutions are on everyone's mind, focusing many people's attention on improving their current relationships or finding a partner if they're single. The idea of making a fresh start for the new year is also a strong motivator that draws traffic to online dating sites, as is the pressure from family and friends to settle down that singles often experience during the holidays.

"There is also the anticipated Valentines Day event which many single people dread more than any other day of the year," says Penny Russell, a spokesperson for a single parent dating site, "and this often spurs them into action and a determination to seek out a new partner before that day arrives."

Doree Lewak, author of The Panic Years: A Guide to Surviving Smug Married Friends, Bad Taffeta and Life on the Wrong Side of 25 Without a Ring, believes that the pressure to be attached during this time of year is especially strong on women. "Women still feel huge pressure around the holidays," she told USA Today, "and certainly exacerbated by New Year's - to have a date. I don't think that moment has passed."

Dating sites all across the Web experience the Holiday Effect from both men and women, from Match.com who say that their busiest season is December 26 to February 14, to PlentyOfFish.com who report a 15% spike in sign ups and a 20% increase in activity from current users during that period.

And it's not just the dating sites themselves that benefit from the Holiday Effect. As more and more members join the sites, the pool of potential dates increases dramatically, improving everyone's chance of finding love in the new year. Many dating sites respond to this trend by offering special rates around the holiday season, so if you're in the market for a membership take advantage of their holiday gift and start the new year off right.

If you are interested in finding a service to join this year, you should take a look at our list of reviewed dating sites or try our dating site search tool.

New Background Checks Category

General News
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We have had a number or requests over the last year for our recommendation on the best online service to use to perform background checks. These requests come from people who have met someone on a dating site and are just looking for that extra bit of security to ensure the person they are dating is who they say they are.

There are a number of companies out there that offer this type of service. Over the next few months we will review a number of them and add the ones we feel offer the best service to our new Background Checks category.

Most background check services allow you to find information on an individual including contact and address information, military records, criminal records, and other court documents like marriage records. Remember though no service can offer 100% accuracy. Please read our Background Checks page for more information on this.

The first service we have added to the new category is a review for PeopleFinders.com.

eHarmony offers Free Communication this New Year's Weekend

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eHarmony is having a free communication event this weekend which starts Friday, December 30th and ends on Monday January 2nd at 11:59pm. It has been a while since their last event so those of you interested in giving eHarmony a try, now is the time to do so. With the recent holidays and the New Year being celebrated on Sunday you can expect dating services like eHarmony to be extra busy; which means more singles to meet online.

For those of you who have not heard of eHarmony's free communication weekends (FCW), they allow new and existing members to communicate for free. Remember it is also free to create a profile as well so there is no cost or credit card required to enjoy this event. The only features not included during this promotion are photos, Secure Call (a phone service) and skipping to email in the guided communication process.

The last FCW happened during Labour Day in September (see Story). From our count this will be eHarmony's 36th free communication event.

To find out more about this online dating site you can take a look at our eHarmony review.

POF Visitor Statistics from November

POF (Plenty of Fish)
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So how many people visit Plenty of Fish (or POF as now the dating service likes to be called) in a month? Unfortunately they did not release that number but they did share some other related statistics which may help us figure it out. In November of this year the dating site had 6 billion page views and over 32 billion images served. According to Alexa, in the last 3 months the average page view per user was about 30. So this would mean that Plenty of Fish had about 200 million visits in the month of November (6 billion / 30) (this includes repeat visitors). Now Alexa.com statistics are not always exact but at least this gives you a rough idea.

We also found out that instant messaging on POF produced almost 30 billion page views. All of this traffic (including the actual dating site) is run off of just 11 web servers in which it is estimated 6 are only needed. So, what is the total cost to run the web services for POF? Well, according to the Plenty of fish blog it is just shy of $70 thousand Canadian a month.

To find out information about the dating site please read our review of Plenty of Fish