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The single’s guide to online dating

Are you ready to jump headfirst into the world of online dating? If so, this guide is for you.

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The world of online dating can feel intimidating if you’re just getting started as a single today. Whether this is your first time downloading a dating app or you’ve swiped casually for months now, there’s a lot to learn about this brave new world. The odds of finding a match through online dating are in your favor with 66% of users dating someone they met online.

Are you ready to jump headfirst into the world of online dating? If so, this guide is for you. Stop being intimidated by the possibility of finding your match online. It’s time to embrace this technology for the tool it is: a revolutionary way to connect with other singles in your area without the pitfalls of traditional dating.

FINDING THE RIGHT PLATFORM

When you’re first getting started with the world of online dating, you probably are overwhelmed with the sheer number of platforms out there today. Across the globe, there are more than 7,5000 online dating websites according to Online Dating Magazine. With so many options, it’s easy to get confused.

It’s time to embrace this technology for the tool it is: a revolutionary way to connect with other singles in your area without the pitfalls of traditional dating. PHOTO BY BRETT SAYLES VIA PEXELS.COM

How you choose a website for you will depend on a number of factors:

  • Are you introverted or extroverted?
  • Do you prefer to make the first move?
  • Are you interested in long-term dating or hookups?
  • Are you gay or straight?
  • How much work do you want to put into meeting others?

There are no right or wrong answers. For example, if you’re looking for gay singles near you, you’ll probably want to choose a platform designed with your needs in mind. If you’re not interested in putting in a lot of work, at least at first, choose an app that focuses less on comprehensive matchmaking and more on first impressions. No matter what you’re looking for, there’s a platform for you.

BUILDING YOUR PROFILE

The next step once you’ve decided on the right platform is to create a profile. This is where most newbies make the most mistakes. Realize that your profile isn’t the same thing as your resume. It’s also not your life story. You need to find a balance between introducing yourself and sharing what you’re looking for.

Here are the basics of a quality profile:

  • Username – You want your username to be unique, interesting, and relevant to who you are as a person.
  • Photos – Use clear, nicely taken photos that clearly show your face. Don’t be afraid to include photos of you participating in your favorite hobbies or sports if that makes sense for you.
  • Bio – Depending on your platform, you’ll have a lot of room to introduce yourself. Keep it to the point and genuine. Most people won’t read through a drawn-out profile. Remember you want to save some conversation for your first date!
  • Interests – What are you interested in? Make sure this is clearly shown on your profile so potential matches can get a feel for what you’re like. They also make great conversation starters.
  • Location – Don’t lie about your location. You want to meet singles near you, so don’t list that you live somewhere you don’t.

Write your profile from a place of authenticity. Don’t try to be someone you’re not, and also don’t go overboard explaining every part of your life. This should be a highlight reel. Talk about who you are, what you do, and what you’re excited about. People are attracted to passion, so let yours shine through.

Realize that your profile isn’t the same thing as your resume. It’s also not your life story. You need to find a balance between introducing yourself and sharing what you’re looking for. PHOTO FROM PIXABAY.COM VIA PEXELS.COM

MAKING A MOVE

Once your profile is live and ready to go, it’s time to start meeting your matches. Try not to be too picky, but also know your deal breakers. This is a great chance to chat online with some interesting people near you. Start a conversation and see where it goes.

When you’re ready to meet someone you met online, make sure you take safety precautions. No matter how much you think you trust them, they’re still a stranger. Always schedule your first date for a public place, and let a friend know where you’ll be at all times. Online dating can be great fun, but only if you take safety seriously.

FINDING A MATCH

It’s okay to just put yourself out there and have fun. That’s what online dating is all about. Don’t get hung up on the perfect profile or finding a 100% match. This is the best time to explore your options and get to know what you like and don’t like.

If you’re not feeling a certain dating platform, just move on to the next one. There’s a platform for everyone, and you don’t have to settle for anything that doesn’t feel right to you. You never know. Your perfect match might only be a few clicks away.

Love Affairs

What makes a happy couple, a happy family?

Being mindful and emotionally flexible in tough and challenging situations not only improves the lives of individuals, it might also strengthen and enrich their close relationships.

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Photo by Maico Pereira from Unsplash.com

“Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way,” Leo Tolstoy wrote famously in 1878 in the opening lines of Anna Karenina. Turns out the Russian author was onto something.

Cohesive families, indeed, seem to share a few critical traits – psychologists agree. Being emotionally flexible may be one of the most important factors when it comes to longevity and overall health of your romantic and familial relationships.

That’s the finding of a new University of Rochester meta-analysis, published in the Journal of Contextual Behavioral Science, which statistically combined the results of 174 separate studies that had looked at acceptance and commitment therapy, mindfulness, and emotion regulation.

The researchers’ aim was to clarify how mindful flexibility – on one hand – and inattentive, mindless, and rigid inflexibility on the other – were linked to the dynamics within families and romantic relationships.

“Put simply,” says coauthor Ronald Rogge, an associate professor of psychology at the University of Rochester, “this meta-analysis underscores that being mindful and emotionally flexible in tough and challenging situations not only improves the lives of individuals, it might also strengthen and enrich their close relationships.”

Psychological flexibility versus inflexibility

Psychological flexibility is defined as a set of skills that people use when they’re presented with difficult or challenging thoughts, feelings, emotions, or experiences. Such skills encompass:

  • Being open to experiences–both good and bad–and accepting them no matter how challenging or difficult they might be
  • Having a mindful attentive awareness of the present moment throughout day-to-day life
  • Experiencing thoughts and feelings without obsessively clinging to them
  • Maintaining a broader perspective even in the midst of difficult thoughts and feelings
  • Learning to actively maintain contact with our deeper values, no matter how stressful or chaotic each day is
  • Continuing to take steps toward a goal, even in the face of difficult experiences and setbacks

The opposite – psychological inflexibility – describes six specific behaviors, including:

  • Actively avoiding difficult thoughts, feelings, and experiences
  • Going through daily life in a distracted and inattentive manner
  • Getting stuck in difficult thoughts and feelings
  • Seeing difficult thoughts and feelings as a personal reflection and feeling judged or shameful for having them
  • Losing track of deeper priorities within the stress and chaos of day-to-day life
  • Getting derailed easily by setbacks or difficult experiences, resulting in being unable to take steps toward deeper goals.

Psychologists consider the rigid and inflexible responses to difficult or challenging experiences dysfunctional, ultimately contributing to and exacerbating a person’s psychopathology.

Photo by @suzylee from Unsplash.com

How flexibility shapes interactions

Through their analysis, coauthor Jennifer Daks, a PhD candidate in the Rochester Department of Psychology, and Rogge discovered that within families, higher levels of various forms of parental psychological flexibility were linked to:

  • Greater use of adaptive parenting strategies
  • Fewer incidents of lax, harsh, and negative parenting strategies
  • Lower perceived parenting stress or burden
  • Greater family cohesion <
  • Lower child distress

Within romantic relationships, higher levels of various forms of psychological inflexibility were linked to:

  • Lower relationship satisfaction for themselves and their partners
  • Lower sexual satisfaction
  • Lower emotional supportiveness
  • Greater negative conflict, physical aggression, attachment anxiety, and attachment avoidance

The results suggest that psychological flexibility and inflexibility may play key roles in both couples and families in shaping how individuals interact with the people closest to them, the researchers write.

The meta-analysis, also commonly referred to as a “study of studies,” cements and adds to the findings of Rogge’s earlier work in which he and a team tested the effects of couples’ watching movies together and talking about the films afterward. In that work, Rogge and his colleagues demonstrated that couples could bring mindful awareness, compassion, and flexibility back into their relationships by using movies to spark meaningful relationship discussions, leading to both immediate and long-term benefits.

That study, conducted in 2013, found that an inexpensive, fun, and relatively simple watch-and-talk approach can be just as effective as other more intensive therapist-led methods–more than halving the divorce or separation rate from 24 to 11 percent after the first three years of marriage.

Being mindful and emotionally flexible in tough and challenging situations not only improves the lives of individuals, it might also strengthen and enrich their close relationships.

“The results suggest that husbands and wives have a pretty good sense of what they might be doing right and wrong in their relationships,” Rogge said about the earlier study. “You might not need to teach them a whole lot of skills to cut the divorce rate. You might just need to get them to think about how they are currently behaving. And for five movies to give us a benefit over three years–that is awesome.”

Watching and discussing movies with your partner that feature onscreen couples can have a positive effect on your relationship, Rogge recently told People magazine. It’s an easy exercise that “could be a lifesaver during quarantine,” he says.

Which movies work? As Good as It GetsFunny GirlGone with the WindLove StoryIndecent ProposalThe Devil Wears Prada, and Father of the Bride are a few of the films Rogge and his fellow researchers used in their 2013 study of couples.

Looking for some LGBTQ recommendations? Rogge suggests The Kids Are AlrightThe Wedding BanquetThe Birdcage, and episodes of Grace and Frankie.

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How to have an intimate wedding

If you are having to rethink your wedding this year, or have always been attracted to the idea of a small and intimate wedding, here are some tips to help you pull it off.

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Unfortunately 2020 has meant that many couples have had to rearrange their original nuptial plans or cancel them altogether. For those that had been dreaming of their big days for months or even years, this was a devastating blow. While this kind of disappointment can be heart-breaking, changing big wedding plans to something more intimate does have its perks, and some couples would prefer this kind of celebration altogether. 

If you are having to rethink your wedding this year, or have always been attracted to the idea of a small and intimate wedding, here are some tips to help you pull it off.

Limit the Guest List

Deciding who to invite to your wedding can be one of the harder parts of the planning process. Of course, every bride and groom want their immediate family members present, as well as their closest friends, but then you need to think about aunties, uncles, cousins, colleagues, etc. Although you might be worried about offending people if you want an intimate wedding you need to cut the extended family members and colleagues from the list. Only those you have a close relationship with should be present at your wedding.

Choose a Personal Venue

Grand manor houses and fancy hotel ballrooms are all great options for wedding venues, but they don’t exactly scream ‘intimate’. If you want your wedding to feel truly personal to you and your partner, choose somewhere that means something to you both. Where did you go on your first date? Is there a cute B&B where you spent your first weekend away together? You could even get married at a family home in the gardens if you wanted to, and you could hire bartenders from a company such as eventbartenders.com and caterers, too.

Handmade Décor

For further personal touches to your intimate wedding (and to help you save some pennies!) consider handmaking some decorations for the special day. Simple candles and flowers always make gorgeous centerpieces for the tables, and you could spruce up a plain notebook or photo album to transform it into a pretty guestbook, or fill mason jars with twinkly lights and petals for some elegant, rustic lighting. It might take a little more effort on your part, but with the help of some friends and family, you can create pretty, unique decorations that will add to the romantic atmosphere.

Menu

A menu of simple yet delicious dishes is perfect for keeping things low-key on your big day. Italian cuisine is always popular and a great crowd-pleaser if you are opting for a sit-down meal rather than a buffet. If you want more of a festival vibe for your wedding, which seems to be a growing trend, hire a few different food trucks for your wedding instead, and give your guests a choice. 

Consider a Registry Office

If you want to save money and keep things small, marry at a registry office and head to a bar or restaurant for your reception. It might not sound very grand, but this is perfect for intimate weddings and allows couples to relax a little more on their big day. 

For the perfect intimate wedding, think about the points above and whether they could work for you.

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Safety precautions to take on your first date

So, how do you stay safe when going out with someone for the first time? Here are some tips.

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We all have a perfect sequence of events lined up in our minds when going on a date. You definitely want to be sure you have made the right choice, but you also want your first date to be a memorable one for the right reasons. Unfortunately, dates can be a nightmare. Apart from dealing with an obnoxious or rude date, reports of date rape have risen by 450% since 2016. This means that without taking the right safety precautions, you may end up being assaulted or worse.

IMAGE SOURCE: PEXELS.COM

So, how do you stay safe when going out with someone for the first time? Here are some tips.

1. Keep your friends and family informed

No matter how much you trust your date companion, it is best to keep your friends, family, and loved ones in the loop about where you’re planning to go and when. Ensure that they have necessary details like the location, contact number, name of your date, and the day and time of your date. If you make any sudden changes concerning your planned date location, let your loved ones know immediately. Also, ensure that your smartphone’s location services are always on.

2. Meet in a public place

First of all, pick your preferred location and ensure that it is in a public place. Also, make sure that your preferred location is as close to your home as possible. You may want to choose a romantic restaurant that meets your fancy, but it might not be the best option if it is too far away from home. Instead, you can go to a local restaurant, a cafe, or a park close to home. If you’re meeting someone for the first time, please avoid following them to their homes immediately. It would help if you also took time to research social distance date ideas to protect yourself during this pandemic. 

3. Provide your transportation 

It feels romantic to have someone pick you up right from home, open the doors for you, and hand you a rose. But that can wait for now, as your safety is the most important thing at the moment. If you’re planning on meeting someone you don’t know very well, go with your own transportation. There have been several instances of people being picked up by strange vehicles and not making it back home. If you own a car, drive yourself to the location. Alternatively, you can use an Uber. 

4. Leave when you’re uncomfortable

If your date makes you feel uncomfortable in any way, then it is time to leave without hesitation. There are times when you need to trust your intuition and instincts, and when it comes to your safety, one red flag is more than enough. Pay attention to signs like your date’s body language, demeanor, and the kind of things they say. For example, if they’re being too physical or trying to invade your personal space, then that’s a no-no. 

Finally, before setting off from home, put your investigative hat on and conduct a thorough background check.

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Romantic partners influence each other’s goals

Over the long-term, what one partner in a two-person relationship wishes to avoid, so too does the other partner – and what one wants to achieve, so does the other. These effects can be observed regardless of gender, age and length of the relationship.

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Choose your partner wisely.

Over the long-term, what one partner in a two-person relationship wishes to avoid, so too does the other partner – and what one wants to achieve, so does the other. These effects can be observed regardless of gender, age and length of the relationship, as researchers from the University of Basel report in a study of more than 450 couples.

The research team from the University of Basel’s Faculty of Psychology wanted to examine the short- and long-term interdependence of approach goals and avoidance goals within couples. The participants reported whether they had tried to avoid conflicts or share meaningful experiences with their partner that day. This was followed by an analysis of how the information affected the goals of the partner.

When one person within a couple avoids distress and conflicts, for example, the other tries to do the same. And conversely, when one person seeks personal growth and meaningful experiences, the other wants to achieve them too.

The goals of each person were recorded daily over the course of two 14-day measurement periods at an interval of 10 to 12 months; 456 male-female couples took part. The average age of the participants was just under 34 years old, and the average relationship length was almost 10 years. The study appeared in The Journal of Gerontology.

The study showed that when one person within a couple avoids distress and conflicts, for example, the other tries to do the same. And conversely, when one person seeks personal growth and meaningful experiences, the other wants to achieve them too. The team of psychologists, led by first author Professor Jana Nikitin, found significant delayed effects between the partners. These appeared regardless of gender, age or relationship length.

It was notable that the daily goals of one partner – which can change – mainly coincided with the medium- and longer-term goal trends of the other partner. It therefore takes several days to months for the long-term relationship goals of one partner to have an impact on the goals of the other.

“This could be an adaptive mechanism to maintain the stability of the relationship,” says Nikitin, “by not being influenced by every momentary shift made by the partner.”

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Are you still waiting for the one?

If you feel like your time has come and you’re desperate to meet someone new, we’re here to help. If you keep on reading we’ll give you some great tips on how you can meet the love of your life.

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It can feel so disheartening to know that you’re the only one without a stable relationship. Even if you aren’t the only one, the single life just isn’t for some people. You could spend your days scrolling through dating apps, perhaps even messaging girls through different social media apps, and you might not find the one for you.

But we will reassure you of this, there is someone out there for everyone. Just because you haven’t found your ‘one’ yet, it doesn’t meant they aren’t right around the corner waiting to meet you. It also might be the case that you’re too nervous to meet new people, or you find it hard to maintain conversation long enough to do so.

If you feel like your time has come and you’re desperate to meet someone new, we’re here to help. If you keep on reading we’ll give you some great tips on how you can meet the love of your life. 

Be Less Particular 

This is one of the things that gets in the way with people the most when searching for someone new. You have to be prepared to compromise and to think about the bigger picture that someone has to offer. If you’re basing your search largely around looks, you’re never going to win. The personality plays such a big part, as cliche as it might sound. You need to know that you’re going to be able to talk to someone for hours and hours on end into the night and have an incredible time.

You also need to make sure that their life matches up to one that you’re going to want to live. If they don’t have the same drive and ambition as you, it’s likely that the pairing isn’t going to work. You might also like to consider their social life and what they get up to, and if they have any hobbies. A key component to a strong working relationship is each having your own life to live.

Broaden Your Horizons

Sometimes it might be worth thinking about where and how you’re looking. Some people spend their lives searching on dating apps, refreshing every day to see if someone new has come up. To really broaden your horizons, think about meeting somewhere everywhere that you go. You could meet them whilst eating lunch with a friend, or bump into them in the supermarket. You could meet the love of your life in another country, that happens so often. Dating someone that lives in another country is not difficult, nor is settling down. You can aquire a spouse visa application that makes it simple for them to be able to live with you.

There are tons of ways of getting around obstacles that means a relationship with someone outside of your town could easily work.

The Art Of Dating

Finally, you need to master the art of dating. The trick is to make sure you’re not being too overpowering, but also not too relaxed. You want to make sure that you’re complimenting, organizing dates, checking in on how they are, and generally being attentive and involved in all aspects of their life. The more interest you show, the more interested they’ll be.

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New study explores if flirting is real and shows it can work

Although flirting is mentioned a lot in the general media, and examples are everywhere, there is relatively little scientific work on the topic of flirting, its underlying mechanisms and function.

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Photo by Dede Avez from Pexels.com

“She was totally flirting with you,” my friend told me after the hosts left our table.

“No, she wasn’t. She was just being polite,” said another friend.

Misunderstandings about flirting can potentially result in awkwardness or even accusations of sexual harassment. How can we figure out what other people mean when they smile at us? Is there a unique, identifiable facial expression representing flirting — and if there is, what does it convey, and how effective is it?

Although flirting is mentioned a lot in the general media, and examples are everywhere, there is relatively little scientific work on the topic of flirting, its underlying mechanisms and function.

Now, a new paper by researchers based at the University of Kansas has been published in the Journal of Sex Research examining if flirting has a particular facial cue effectively used by women to indicate interest in a man.

“There are very few scientific articles out there that have systematically studied this well-known phenomenon,” said Omri Gillath, professor of psychology at KU, who co-wrote the paper. “None of these studies have identified the flirting facial expression and tested its effects.”

Gillath’s collaborators were lead author Parnia Haj-Mohamadi, a doctoral student in psychology at KU, and Erika Rosenberg of the University of California-Davis.

The researchers found internal states — such as being romantically or sexually interested in someone — can be conveyed to others nonverbally through facial expression.

In other words — flirting works.

Some women are more effective than others in effectively conveying a flirtatious facial cue, while some men are better at recognizing this cue. Beyond these individual differences, a few expressions were identified by most (if not all) men as flirting.

“Across our six studies, we found most men were able to recognize a certain female facial expression as representing flirting,” Gillath said. “It has a unique morphology, and it’s different from expressions that have similar features — for example, smiling — but aren’t identified by men as flirting expression.”

In the studies, women — some professional actresses and some volunteers from the community — were asked either to spontaneously pose a flirting expression (similar to what they’d use at a bar to get attention from a potential mate) or to follow instructions based on existing anthropological literature for what researchers define as flirting.

The team found some women are more effective than others in effectively conveying a flirtatious facial cue, while some men are better at recognizing this cue. Beyond these individual differences, a few expressions were identified by most (if not all) men as flirting.

The researchers used the Facial Action Coding System (FACS) to classify the morphology of highly recognized flirtatious facial expressions. The coding showed the most effective flirting cues include a head turned to one side and tilted down slightly, a slight smile, and eyes turned forward toward the implied target.

After identifying these most recognized expressions of flirting, the researchers used them in experimental studies.

“Our findings support the role of flirtatious expression in communication and mating initiation,” Gillath said. “For the first time, not only were we able to isolate and identify the expressions that represent flirting, but we were also able to reveal their function — to activate associations related with relationships and sex.”

The new paper puts flirting in the same category as other well-studied emotions and provides researchers with tools to further study the functions of flirting. It can also give sometimes-clueless men, like the one in the example above, a more concrete way to figure out if a woman is truly flirting.

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