Couples

Looking for Last-Minute Help on Valentine’s Day?

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Luckily, we live in the age of technology – so if you forgot to make plans for Valentine’s Day (and unfortunately it lands on a Saturday this year) – you might want to look to the app store for help.

If you are looking for a last-minute gift or card, here are some apps to try:

Red Stamp Cards - Need a thoughtful Valentine's Day card in a hurry? Snap a photo and you can quickly create a unique card for your Valentine with this free app. Cards can be tweeted, texted, emailed or posted to Instagram and Facebook.

BloomThat - If you forgot to order flowers and the local grocery store’s selection looks a little tired, this app can help you out of a last-minute problem. (And they can deliver their hand-crafted bouquets via bicycle in under 90 minutes, as opposed to florists where there is an 8-hour delivery window.) For iPhone users only.

Why You Should Be Honest About Meeting Your Partner Online

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Story time: I once knew a couple with an elaborate story about how they met in a bar in New York City's East Village. Except none of it was true. They had actually met on a dating site, but were too embarrassed to tell people – even most of their friends – that they'd met online.

It always baffled me. Are we really still having this discussion? How is it possible that the infamous online dating stigma is still clinging to life?

Despite the fact that most people have tried online dating and/or know someone who did, it appears there's still something of a dark cloud hovering over it. And it's ridiculous. It's time for a big wind to blow through and send that cloud packing.

Thing is... you're the wind. We all are. That cloud isn't going anywhere until we take a stand and send it on its way. The next time someone asks where you met your partner or whether you've ever tried a dating service, it's your responsibility to be honest. Here's why:

  • Because you did. Let's just start with the most obvious reason, ok? You did it. Own up to it like the adult you are. The only reason you should ever need to be honest about something is because it's true.
  • Because it shouldn't matter what other people think. Why devote time to worrying about what your co-worker thinks when you could spend that time being in love with your awesome partner? Hello, priorities. Own who you are and own your decisions.
  • Because everyone is doing it. Maybe they aren't all being upfront about it, but they're all doing it. They've at least tried it, when they were drunk and curiosity got the better of them. If it's everyone's deep dark secret, it really shouldn't be anyone's deep dark secret. We all have a responsibility to get over our embarrassment.
  • Because there are way more embarrassing ways to meet. Meeting online is a smart, sane option in 2015. There are way crazier, way stupider, way more embarrassing ways you could have met your partner. I won't specify, but I'm sure your imagination can fill in the blanks with some pretty deranged stuff.
  • Because all you need is love. By which I mean, you have found someone amazing and you love them – that is the most important part of the story. What could possibly trump that? Almost anything flies (even most of the stuff you came up with for the last point) when the end result is people in love.

Cloud, your days are numbered.

Does Science Spell Doom For Online Dating?

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In case you haven't noticed, you are now living in a world where online dating is the norm. Millions upon millions of people use dating services around the world. In America, more than half of people say online dating is a good way to meet people. Estimates calculate that as many as one-third of US marriages now begin online. We're on Tinder on our lunch breaks, on our commutes, while we're on the treadmill...

Welcome to the future.

Technology is increasingly a part of our love lives, but... is it the best way to find romance? Is there any reason left to look for love the old-fashioned way?

Well, according to research from Cornell University and the University of Indianapolis, the personal connection – not your Internet connection – may still be most effective way to meet your match. The universities found that those who met their partners through family, friends, or other members of their community experienced “stronger ties” and the positive reinforcement that comes from dating in a more “socially acceptable” way.

Those who met online, on the other hand, were more self-conscious about their relationships, despite the fact that the stigma around online dating has been on the decline for years. Because they didn't meet through in-person connections, those people lacked the automatic support of friends or family. "Our results suggest that those who meet via weak ties perceive lower levels of support for their unions," reports the abstract.

As much as we like to think of ourselves as independent and unconcerned with the opinions of others, very few of us actually live up to that ideal. It is important to us to feel proud of our relationships and supported by those who matter to us. When those things aren't present, it can have a profound impact on the relationship.

"If you meet where there's a supportive social network, you receive encouragement to continue and deepen the relationship – especially when friends or colleagues say: 'We knew you guys were right for each other,'" Cornell's Sharon Sassler told Mic.com. Without that strong foundation, it becomes easier to question the relationship when it hits a rough patch.

Some dating services, like Hinge, are attempting to bridge the connection between in-person and online. Hinge only connects users who share mutual Facebook friends, decreasing the randomness factor while increasing the important elements of support and social approval. It's still online dating, but with a real-life twist.

It's one part old-fashioned, one part new-fangled, and maybe just the right combination of both to be the way of the future.

Is The Holiday Season Really Breakup Season? Clover Answers.

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Benjamin Franklin famously said that the only certain things are death and taxes. These days, a third inevitability should be added to the list: breakups.

They're an unfortunate fact of life, even now when we're wrapped up in the joy of the holiday season. Perhaps especially during the holiday season, when the pressure's on and stress is running high. Online dating app Clover decided to find out once and for all if the holidays are prime time for breakups, and their answer is...

Yes.

Sigh.

It's a downer, but it does appear December spells doom for a number of relationships. Clover analyzed data from 150,000 of its users, and found that there’s a whopping 300% leap in Clover sign-ups from people who are already in relationships during the month of December. Of those people, most are women – 33% more than men, to be precise. 6% of women who sign up during the holiday season are already attached, compared to 4.5% of men.

What's even more interesting than the gender gap is the correlation Clover discovered with income. A person is 2.5x more likely to seek a new relationship during the holiday season if he/she earns less than $60,000 per year. Clover offers no potential explanation for the phenomenon, but Bustle suggests that it could be because “most people making under $60,000 tend to be younger than those making over $60,000, which means they’re probably less inclined to 'settle down.'”

If you know a breakup is in your immediate future, you have a major decision to make. To breakup pre-holidays or post-holidays, that is the question. If you wait until after the festivities, you risk feeling like you livied a lie, but avoid the serious potential for awkwardness or loneliness. If you end things before the holidays, you won't have a sweetie to spend them with but you'll have the confidence that comes from knowing you faced the decision head-on.

Either way, remember that singlehood – before the holidays, during the holidays, and at any time after – is hardly a terrible fate. In fact, dating isn't always all it's cracked up to be, as these dating disasters will remind you. A read through a few tales of infidelity, ill-timed Facebook updates, and dual identities should be all the proof you need that spending the holidays single isn't so bad.

Besides, then you don't have to share the eggnog.

A Single’s Guide to Thanksgiving

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Holidays are great for celebrating, but they can also remind us of what's missing in our lives. Especially when we visit our families. Aunt Barbara might like to ask too many personal questions, while Uncle Stan usually makes some comment about how nobody's getting any younger.

Instead of letting yourself get upset, or worse, anticipating problems before they happen, take a step back. And then take a deep breath. After all, Thanksgiving is about getting together with family and sharing a meal. It doesn't mean you are obligated to be with your family all weekend, subjected to their scrutiny. After all, you're a single, independent person, with the freedom to do what you want!

Here's what you can do for yourself this Thanksgiving:

Break from tradition. Do you travel to visit family every year for the holidays? Maybe it's time you took a year off and celebrated with friends instead. You might feel obligated to fly or drive to visit parents every year, but it's not necessarily the way you want to spend the holiday. So why not try something different? Invite friends over to your place for a pot luck. Mix it up.

Go out for a drink after dinner. There's no reason to hang out with your family all night, so why not round up a few friends and head to a local bar to share drinks, or to a movie theatre to see a new release? Have something to look forward to.

Set aside time for yourself. Your family might have your weekend scheduled full of events, but let them know ahead of time you won't be attending everything. Make a point to book a spa appointment, lunch with a friend, or even just time at a coffee shop to read your favorite book. Make time for yourself over the weekend. It's important.

Stand your ground. Friends and family don't always respect boundaries and may ask questions or put you on the spot regarding your single status. Instead of making excuses or trying to find a way out of the conversation, respond firmly but positively. After all, being single doesn't mean your life is "less than" anyone else's. In fact, you're probably more social than all of them. Let them know you're enjoying yourself and your freedom, and that you're taking your time. If that feels false, then change the subject to talk about other things in your life - like your career, your friends, or your plans to move to a new home. There's more to any life than finding a partner.

Have fun. Yes, it is possible to have fun at Thanksgiving dinner this year. Relax and remind yourself to count your blessings (that's what the holiday is for)! You have people in your life who love you.

How To Date Like A Social Scientist: Part I

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There is quite possibly nothing in this world that perplexes us more than that strange collection of physical and emotional responses we call love. Humans have been trying to understand it since the dawn of…well…humans, in poetry, in art, in music, and in laboratories.

Writer Olga Khazan, in an article for The Atlantic, explores recent research being done into the murky, inexplicable world of online dating. These studies are designed to determine “what makes people desire each other digitally,” she writes, “as well as whether our first impressions of online photos ultimately matter.”

What do social scientists know that you don’t?

First, your face plays an important role in your romantic fate – which means yes, your photos matter. Some evidence suggests that qualities like extraversion, emotional stability, and self-esteem can be read in a person’s physical appearance. For example, writes Khazan, “Hockey players with wider faces, considered a sign of aggression, spend more time in the penalty box.” On a basic level, then, strangers viewing your dating profile may be making judgements about your personality on a subconscious level, solely from your photos.

But pictures are not the end of the process. Nuances of personality are only revealed through interaction, and looks can be deceiving. Personality may supersede looks as we get to know someone – or, explains Khazan, “at the very least, we tend to find people more attractive when we think they have good personalities.”

Frequently, we end up pairing off with partners who match us in level of attractiveness. Which brings up another question: should you date someone who looks like you? Psychologists say the answer is no. Khazan describes another experiment, in which “subjects who thought they were similar to one another were more likely to be attracted to each other, but that wasn’t the case for those who were actually similar to one another.” Where speech is concerned, however, couples with similar speech styles are more likely to remain in a relationship than couples with differing speech styles.

Then there’s the question on everyone’s mind: will online dating actually lead to a relationship? A 2008 study by Eli Finkel and Paul Eastwick at Northwestern University attempted to uncover the answer, and found it to be much more complicated than a simple yes or no. Online dating does give us more options than ever before but, as Finkel and Eastwick discovered, that isn’t necessarily a good thing.

Stay tuned for their discoveries in Part II.