Where Johnny Depp and Amber Heard went wrong–through the eyes of a certified matchmaker

There are two kinds of relationships; lust-driven and emotion-driven.

Early on in a relationship, people often make the mistake that a simple chemical reaction between each other can be the basis for a romantic, meaningful, life-long companionate relationship. Lust-driven relationships usually fail as a result of clashing core values and one trying to change the other. Lacking the pillars of a successful relationship, basic needs are not met. They are the circle inside of a square.

How Love & Lust Impacts our Brains

The chemical reaction that people describe as "the spark", "that feeling", "fireworks" and literally, "chemistry" are a result of one chemical activating in the brain–dopamine.

Directly associated with the experience of love, dopamine is a type of neurotransmitter made in the brain and used to send messages between nerve cells. It is sometimes called a chemical messenger. Dopamine plays a role in how we feel pleasure, and find focus and interest. It is related to the experience of attraction, love, and desire.

Dopamine can oftentimes be related to the phrase, “rose-colored glasses,” the pink fluffy cloud, or the honeymoon phase early in a relationship. Dopamine can create some amazing feelings by itself. However, doing all of the work on its own, it can become tiring, dissolving in a week, a few months, or a year. The recipients of this amazing chemical reaction are left with a vision that is not so rosy, clouds that are not so fluffy and pink. A moon but no honey mead to go with it. The spark has fizzled out. Without aligned core values in place or other important neurochemicals, the relationship fails.

The Emotionally-Driven Relationship Type

Emotionally-driven relationships are based on aligned core values, two to three pillars of a successful relationship (intellectual, emotional, recreational, spiritual, and sexual intimacies), and the law of attraction. These companionate relationships all have something in common: dopamine, oxytocin, and vasopressin. These chemicals are deeply connected to attachment and bonding, the latter two being key hormones for both maternal and romantic relationships.
The participants in a lust-driven relationship may not have anything to talk about and wonder why they are with the other person at all. Dopamine is the creator of lust-driven relationships and without its friends, oxytocin, and vasopressin, along for the ride these lust-driven relationships don't have the substance to endure the rise and fall all relationships have. They just can't weather the storm.

What Type of Relationship Did Johnny and Amber Have?

Analysis of Johnny Depp and Amber Heard's relationship leads this science-informed matchmaker to determine that a lust-driven relationship was pursued to the enth degree. Time passed and the dopamine wore thin. These two opposites turned on one another and began destroying not only their relationship but their self-worth. There was talk of infidelity, a major player in the downfall of lust-driven relationships as needs are not being met for either person. Opposing core values may play a major role as well. When one person self-medicates with drugs and alcohol on a regular basis, seven days a week throughout their lifetime this is behavior that cannot be changed by the other person. They didn't create it, they didn't cause it and they can't change it. Most people aren't that self-aware, so they will continue to try and understand and or change the other person unsuccessfully.

Johnny Depp and Amber Heard were committed legally to one another through marriage and that is something they were fighting for however the odds were against them. When the dopamine ran dry, the rose-colored glasses were off and their authentic selves were revealed. The rungs of the superficial ladder that the relationship was based on, physicality and their common career choice, acting, crumbled like a cracker.

The Lesson

Emotionally-driven relationships in which people have taken the time to identify core values, and intimacies that create a basis for friendship, respect, and love, can weather the rise and falls that all relationships experience. These types of relationships have stamina. So long as the superficial ladder is folded and put away, there is even more space for love to grow.


15 Signs that Prove He is the One

“Will you marry me?”

Even as a child, I imagined the day that some handsome prince charming would go down on his knee and ask me that magical question. It’s normal, I think, for girls to fantasize about these things. As soon as we’re taught to read, walk, and talk, we’re bombarded with movies, shows, and books that all center around one thing—finding The One. The fact that one day I’d meet my own special someone was as real to me as the clouds in the sky. It would happen. And we would live happily ever after.

As I’ve grown up, I’ve realized that love isn’t as easy as a Disney movie. The road to real, lasting love can be filled with heartbreak, pain, and doubt. Sometimes it takes a failed relationship (or two, or more) to teach you how to spot the right one when he comes along.

The first time I laid eyes on Rod (the man who would later become my fiance) I immediately noticed something special about him. The more we got to know each other, I grew increasingly confident that he was unlike any guy I had ever met before him. All of his expressions of love were indicators that he was The One I had been waiting for all my life.

On January 4th, 2022, my prince charming knelt on one knee and asked me that question I’d dreamt of my whole life. Despite all my imagining of that moment, I couldn’t believe it was real. It was happening! I screamed out a declarative “YES!” And we haven’t looked back since.

If you’ve been dating someone for a while, it’s only natural to wonder if they’re really right for you. Wondering if you’ve found The One? Here are my top 15 signs that you’ve got the guy of your dreams.

15 Signs He's The One

#1. I can be myself with him.

If you’re dating and considering whether you should take your relationship to the next level, the first question you should ask yourself is: am I comfortable with him? For me, this aspect of our relationship was crucial. As an introvert, I have a tendency not to let many people ‘in.’ So, when Rod made the effort to get to know me—and I mean really get to know me—I felt safe to just be myself, faults and all. He has the ability to help me relax, open up, and pour my heart out without fearing judgment. Once you feel comfortable telling your partner everything, that’s when you know he’s husband material.

#2. He supports my goals.

Rod met me during a transitional phase in my life when I was struggling to figure out my future. Instead of trying to force me on to a path toward what he thought was best, Rod gave me the space and independence to develop and pursue my own goals. His support allowed me to develop myself, my skills, and my dreams while we designed our future together. He admires my ambition and is always there for me when I need a helping hand.

#3. He expresses his feelings for me.

I’m one of those crazy people obsessed with all types of personality tests. Myers-Briggs, Enneagram—you name it, I’ve done it! And now, so has my fiance. To this day, Rod jokes about all the tests he had to take to be able to ‘pass’ into boyfriend material. All jokes aside, there was a reason behind all the test madness, and that was to gain some insight into how Rod expresses his love. Not long into dating, I sent him the link to Gary Chapman’s 5 Love Languages online test. When he texted me back with his results, I couldn’t believe it. We shared the same top two love languages—physical touch and quality time—exactly in the same order. Knowing that early on helped me as our relationship progressed. Now, I know that each time he hugs me, reaches for my hand, or makes time for just the two of us, he is expressing his love for me. The feeling was 100% mutual.

#4. He loves spending time with me, even if it's just a few minutes.

Between our busy work schedules, wedding planning, and other day-to-day duties, there are times when it’s hard to get quality time together. Despite whatever plans the day holds, Rod prioritizes being with me. Even if it means silently working our laptops, he likes to just sit next to me. If he goes out with the guys, he makes a note to invite me, even if he knows it’s not my thing. This makes me feel like he genuinely appreciates my presence. He’s never once made me feel like a burden.

#5. He's my best friend and I'm his.

The day Rod told me that I was his best friend was almost more special to me than the first time he told me that he loved me. He didn’t just like me for how I looked, what I did for him, or what I could be—he just liked me for me. For me, that meant everything.

#6. My family loves him.

Rod knew early on that the approval of my family was something really important for me. But he was eager to meet them and to get to know the people who know me best. As soon as I saw Rod with my parents, all my anxieties washed away. My parents immediately loved him and I knew he was going to fit right in.

#7. He provides for me.

Rod is hard-working, generous, and career-minded—qualities that show I can rely on him to support a family. A man’s ability to provide financially is great. But, in the words of Shania Twain, “that don’t impress me much.” What made Rod stand out from the rest was his ability to provide for me emotionally, spiritually, and mentally. No matter what is going on in my life, I can count on him to make things better. At times when everything feels up in the air, he is my source of stability, grounding me when the road gets tough.

#8. I trust him.

They say with no trust, there’s no relationship. When we first started dating, Rod and I were long-distance. It was important that we maintained trust despite living in different countries. Rod knew I was still scarred from past experiences and was sensitive to any suspicions I might have initially felt towards him. Not only did he never break my trust, but he was patient with me as he taught me how to trust again.

The happily engaged couple.

#9. He's genuinely interested in me.

Before I met Rod, I had met guys who were eager to fill a missing position in their lives. But when it came to dating, they were more interested in talking about themselves than actually getting to know the girl before them. Rod was different in that he was genuinely interested in me. He asked me lots of questions and still does!

#10. He's not jealous.

Both of us have lots of friends—and some of them happen to be of the opposite sex. Unlike some men, Rod has never been the jealous type. He quickly embraced my guy friends and considers them friends of his own.

#11. He remembers the little things.

Wedding planning can be a lot of fun, but it’s easy to get caught up in the details. Just the other day, I was obsessing about which color of napkins to choose for cocktail hour. Sensing I was stressed, Rod pulled me in for a hug, kissed my forehead, and told me he had a surprise for me. From behind his back, he revealed an ice cream, cookie sandwich—which he knows is my absolute favorite treat on earth. All thoughts about napkins and colors immediately vanished as I bit into my sugary escape. When it comes to the little things—Rod just gets it.

#12. He accepts me for who I am.

After two years of dating, Rod has seen me through it all—the good, the bad, and the very ugly. I love dressing up, but it’s nice to know that Rod loves me even when I’m not picture perfect. Even with no makeup, night retainer in, and unbrushed hair—he still tells me I’m beautiful. (I know he’s lying, but still!)

#13. He (still) gives me butterflies.

Even though we’ve been dating for over two years, the electricity between us grows more each day. As I mentioned earlier, most of the time, I feel relaxed with him. But sometimes, he makes me feel like a nervous schoolgirl with a secret crush. When he passes behind me and touches the small of my back; when he loses himself in the music as he plays his guitar; or just the glimmer in his eyes when he looks at me a certain way—in those moments I feel nothing but butterflies.

#14. He never goes to sleep mad.

Like most couples, we’re no stranger to the occasional argument. We are always careful to speak respectfully towards each other and never lose our tempers. Likewise, we both believe in working through disagreements quickly with honest and open communication. He’s always patient with me, listens, and is eager to find a compromise that works for us both.

#15. I can't imagine my life without him.

Love might not be as simple as it seems in movies. The road to real love can be complicated, messy, and confusing at times. But, when you find The One, suddenly everything starts to make sense. In my case, I realized that love shouldn’t be complicated—it should be comforting, uplighting, and kind.
For me, this ah-ha moment occurred with Rod, ironically, after watching a movie. The film was about a couple who grew together in both love and age. As the credits rolled, I realized that Rod was that man for me—the man with whom I wanted to grow old, spend my life, and be by my side forever. I could not imagine my life without him.

Engaged couple in city holding hands.
Molly and her fiance.

Is he the one?

Despite his undeniable charm and dashing good looks, my fiance is not a Prince Charming. He doesn’t wear a coat of armor or ride around town on a gallant white horse. And, just like me, he doesn’t always say or do the right things. But, unlike Prince Charming, Rod is real. He is a man of strength, kindness, and dedication to our love and our relationship. Loving him is my dream come true. Every relationship is different, but for me, these signs proved that he is undeniably The One. I can’t wait to begin our happily ever after.


perfect couple

Spring Cleaning: How to Freshen Up Your Dating Checklist

Jessica’s friends can’t understand why she’s still single. They say that, with her good looks and charm, she could get any guy she wanted. To some degree, they’re right. For her, finding a date has never been the problem. Most men that she meets are instantly enamored with her and eager to start a relationship.

For Jessica, however, the feelings are rarely mutual. She has high standards for her relationships and wants a man who lives up to her ideals. She refuses to settle for a partner who doesn’t cross off every mark on her dating checklist.

After interacting with a guy for a few minutes, Jessica usually decides he’s not worth seeing again. Despite her efforts, she always finds herself back to square one.

Beware of the dating checklist

Does this sound familiar? In the matchmaking industry, female clients like Jessica are very common.

Often, the most beautiful, charismatic, and successful women join matchmaking confused as to why they can’t achieve the same prosperity in their relationships as they do in every other aspect of their lives.

After years of experience, matchmakers have identified at least one culprit to this pesky relationship problem. It is none other than the dating checklist.

According to matchmakers, women with rigid checklists tend to stay single longer than those who regularly reevaluate their relationship requirements.

This is not to say that standards are bad–just that a little spring cleaning never hurt anyone.

Find yourself constantly dating guys who never measure up? It might be time to freshen up your relationship checklist.

Loosen the list

Any attractive, successful woman with a bright personality has been told this phrase at least once in her life: you can get any guy you want.

While this might seem like a great thing to hear, for most women, it only adds pressure. The process of selecting a partner is already stressful, but the idea of infinite romantic possibilities can be incredibly overwhelming. In their efforts to search for the best of the best, it’s only natural that women use some sort of organizational system to help them narrow down their choices. In that way, checklists make perfect sense.

However, checklists come with consequences. Matchmakers point to overly rigid checklists as a reason why some singles overlook potentially compatible partners. According to matchmakers, checklists are a slippery slope–once you start to list a few relationship requirements, it’s easy to list another few, and another, and another.

Before you know it, you can be evaluating potential partners from a dating checklist that is pages long.

Instead, matchmakers recommend prioritizing the qualities on your checklist. Figure out what qualities are most important to you and stick to them.

For a list that actually works in your favor, it’s best to keep it loose and limited.

What’s in a checklist?
If you’re finding it difficult to narrow down your dating checklist, one helpful exercise is to examine the values that motivate each of your relationship requirements.

For reference, some common dating checklist items are:

  • Age
  • Physical attractiveness
  • Financial success
  • Education
  • Political leaning
  • Religion
  • Family
  • Children
  • Ethnicity
  • Shared hobbies

Let’s look at Jessica’s checklist, for example. When she goes out on a date, some of the things she looks for are the following:

  • He is over 6 feet tall
  • He wears designer clothing
  • He drives a luxury vehicle
  • He earns at least a six-figure salary
  • He’s college-educated

Maybe these aren’t the only traits Jessica looks for in a mate. Yet, over the years, she has recognized these qualities as quick and easy indicators of whether or not she could be compatible with someone. However, very few of the men she met were able to check all of her boxes. If they did, she rarely felt any chemistry with them.

After working with her relationship coach, Jessica realized it was time to reevaluate her relationship requirements. Instead of projecting these prerequisites on her dates, she decided to reflect inward. She asked herself: Why are these qualities important to me?

Checklist vs. value list

Her relationship coach was able to guide her to the values that were leading her to make these conclusions about potential partners. For example, she learned that it wasn’t really that important that her partner owned a Rolex, drove a Maserati, or was over six feet tall. What was more important was that she felt safe and protected by her partner. She liked the sensation of looking up to her partner and knowing that he was strong, masculine, and capable. She also realized that qualities like a large salary, education, clothing style, or other outward signs of wealth played into this, too. For Jessica, these were signals of a partner being able to provide both physically and financially for her and their family. She realized it was also important that her partner be respected by her social circle and within their community.

In that case, Jessica was able to reverse her requirements. Although quick, obvious physical indicators might seem like compatibility give-aways, they don’t allow you to see the person within.

In Jessica’s case, she was able to switch out the superficial requirements on her checklist for qualities that honored her core values. She no longer looks for what kind of car her date drives, or whether or not his clothes are designer. Now, when she’s getting to know someone, she refers to a value list, not a checklist.

Her value list looks something like this:

  • He is hardworking
  • He is financially responsible
  • He is a man of his word
  • He is a family man
  • He provides for those he loves

If you’d like to try this, start by listing out all your checklist requirements on a piece of paper. Then, go through each item and ask yourself why that quality is important to you. Try to replace more superficial qualities with values that are deeply important to you and your relationship.

Leave room for love

Whether you decide to date with a checklist, value list, or no list at all—it’s important to leave some room for love. While strict standards make it easier to find a partner who looks good on paper, that doesn’t guarantee you’ll feel a romantic connection with them. Love is found in the wiggle room—so remember to date with an open heart.

Freshening up your dating checklist is easier said than done. If your spring cleaning routine includes reevaluating your values, why not let a professional lend a helping hand? Our expert dating coaches support clients throughout all stages of their dating journeys. Just like Jessica, coaches help their clients with topics like identifying core values, how to attract quality partners, and so much more.

Coaching is one of the surest ways to reach your dating potential. If you want to find the right person and be the right person, too, contact us about coaching today.


a couple with a large age gap

Dating with a Difference in Age: Does it Really Matter?

Does a difference in age make a relationship different?

Well, it depends on whom you ask.

For most outsiders, relationships with significant age differences tend to raise eyebrows. However, for many couples, the fear of judgment isn’t enough to wane true love.

Amongst celebrities, age gap relationships are quite normalized. George and Amal Clooney, for example, share a 17 year age difference; Jay-Z is 12 years senior to his wife, Beyoncé; and Catherine Zeta-Jones is famously 25 years younger than her husband, Michael Douglas.

With so many examples of age-gap success stories, dating with a difference in age can’t be that bad, right?

Well, for most couples, dating with a significant difference in age can be tricky.

Want to know the age-gap impact on the quality and longevity of a relationship? Let’s break it down.

The numbers game

Is age really just a number?

For many couples, a few years’ difference is nothing out of the ordinary. Approximately 8.5 percent of the population is comprised of couples with an age gap ranging from 5 to 15 years.

If it seems like the age difference usually yields towards an older man with a younger woman, that’s because it’s true. Statistically, male partners take the lead in the age department. Only 1.3 percent of couples are composed of an older woman with a younger man.

Some theories make sense of this gendered phenomenon by looking back at our ancestors. The theory goes that, by the time the female partner reaches her prime reproductive years, she is naturally more attracted to a man who has accumulated the status and resources necessary to support a family. That takes some time.

Many studies show that singles tend to be generally open-minded about age differences when it comes to their own relationship preferences. At least, to a certain degree. However, it becomes much easier to pass judgment when it comes to other people’s relationships.

Research shows that society tends to object to couples with an obvious difference in age. Well-meaning or not, disapproval from friends and family members often causes age-gap couples to feel isolated and misunderstood.

Mind the Gap

At what point does an age difference become too different?

Most researchers agree that an "age gap" relationship is when one partner is at least 10 years older than the other.

According to one study, age-gap couples report higher levels of dissatisfaction within their relationship. The larger the age gap, the more likely the couple is to divorce. Often, breakups between these couples can be traced back to their age imbalance.

Does that mean age-gap relationships are doomed to fail? Definitively not. But, if you’re dating with a difference in age, you’ll likely face unique challenges that could be avoided by pursuing someone within your own generation.

Cultural differences

Couples born in different generations tend to have an equally as different frame of reference on reality. This goes for everything from world views to inside jokes.

The larger the age difference between two partners, the less likely it is that they will understand the nuances of each other’s generation. Things like pop culture references, life experiences, and hobbies are often distinct to one’s generation.

Younger partners might also have more progressive views about society, politics, and relationship values. They might consider older partner’s opinion’s to be too traditional or constricting.

While these things may seem like small differences, couples who cannot connect on a cultural level may find it harder to find common ground throughout their relationship.

Powertrip

They say time is money, and often that stays true when one partner is older in a relationship.

Along with life experience, older partners tend to have more financial means than younger partners.

At the beginning of a relationship, having a partner who can take care of you both financially and emotionally might feel great. Eventually, however, the relationship can turn into a dynamic that feels controlling to the other partner.

A gap in both wealth and age can create an exponential difference in power within a relationship. An older partner could use their financial superiority to exert control over a significantly younger spouse. This would cause tension in the relationship and make one partner experience the conflicting feelings of both dependency and resentment towards the other.

Sweetheart or sugar daddy?

One of the reasons relationship age differences remain such a cultural taboo is due to the “gold-digger” stereotype. These relationships are viewed as more transactional, with one partner seeking out the other more for their money than their love.

Cliche? Yes. But, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t really happen.

Some statistics point towards a disproportionate shift in older, wealthy married men to younger women. While it’s impossible to judge the motivations for each partner, it’s something worth thinking about before rushing into commitment with someone much younger.

Of course, not every relationship with a significant age difference is predatory. Sometimes, the worst exploitation can happen between peers. However, couples that share a big difference in age should keep an eye out for red flags.

Life stages

When it comes to planning for the future with your partner, it’s important that you two are on the same page. This becomes difficult if you two are in two completely different stages of your lives.

For example, a younger partner might be entering into a relationship with the expectation of getting married, having children, and starting a family with their partner. If their partner is significantly older, it’s possible that they’ve already experienced these things with a previous relationship, and not want to have more children or risk going through another divorce.

On the other hand, an older partner might want marriage and kids, but feel like their biological clock is ticking. Sensing that they are running out of time, they might unknowingly pressure their partner to commit or have children before they are ready.

The closer the better

Is any gap acceptable?

Studies show that the closer a couple is in age, the better. Couples who are within a three year age difference reported higher levels of satisfaction with their partners, and stayed together longer than those with a ten year gap or more.

Still considering an age-gap relationship? Ask yourself: Is this a long-term relationship? Do we share the same long-term goals? Do we agree about whether or not we want children? Do we have the support of our friends and family?

If you answered ‘no’ to one or more of these questions, the difference in age might just be the make or break factor in your relationship.


classy lady thinking

How to Tell People You’re Working with a Matchmaker

When Jill’s matchmaker introduced her to Mike, she couldn’t help but believe she had finally found The One. Not only was he incredibly handsome–but he was kind, funny, and called when he said he would. In Jill’s mind, Mike was perfect in every way.

The only problem? One pesky question that kept coming up every time she talked about him to her friends.

“So, how did you guys meet?”

Jill hated the question. She wasn’t a liar, but she wasn’t necessarily ready to share the truth either.

Although she loved Mike, it made her anxious to imagine her entire social circle knowing that she had hired a matchmaker.

Doubts swirled through her mind: What will they think of me? Will they judge me for not finding love on my own? Will they laugh at me behind my back?

The matchmaking stigma

There are lots of myths regarding professional matchmaking memberships. One of the biggest is that these services are only for those unable to find love on their own. That, obviously, couldn’t be further from the truth. People seek out matchmakers out of frustration, not desperation.

At its core, matchmaking is about taking control of your love life. Those who seek out matchmakers realize that it is the best way to save time, energy, and money while dating. Most importantly, matchmaking is the surest way to find real, lasting love in the modern dating market.

Despite finding positive results from matchmaking, many members continue to feel shame about using any sort of dating service. They might experience enormous success with their matchmaker yet feel like they’re holding a dirty secret from everyone else in their life!

It can be incredibly embarrassing, then, when a friend or family member asks about the origins of your relationship and you don’t know how to respond.

It’s important to remember that matchmaking is nothing to be ashamed about. Dating should be a happy experience that is free from any fear of judgment from others.

However, when the feelings persist, it’s helpful to know how to respond to curious friends.

How to answer the “How did you meet?” question

“So, how did you two meet?”

If that question makes you stop in your tracks, don’t stress. Thankfully, there are several ways to approach the subject–and it doesn’t always mean sharing all the intimate details of your private life.

If you’re asked about your relationship and you don’t know how to answer, here are a few fool-proof ideas of what to say.

Keep it vague

If the idea of telling friends and family that you are working with a matchmaker makes you want to hide in the corner, don’t worry. You’re not alone. Many clients prefer to keep things discrete, especially during the early stages of their dating journey.

Here are some responses that are so general, they’re guaranteed not to raise eyebrows.

“A friend in common introduced us. We’ve been inseparable ever since!”

To make it all sound even more casual, you can even name-drop your matchmaker! Matchmaking is something that’s gone on among friends since the dawn of time. By mentioning that a “friend” set you up, you’re able to authentically tell your story while avoiding unnecessary curiosity.

“We met through our mutual friend, Marie! She kept telling us that we’d be a great fit for each other. Finally, she set us up on a blind date. Turns out, she was right!”

“Our friend, Marie, introduced us! She’s a natural matchmaker.”

With these answers, you technically won’t be lying, either.

If you’re not ready to tell the whole truth, or you just don’t feel like getting into it at the moment, there’s no issue with keeping things vague. Honestly, your love life is no one’s business but you and your partner’s.

Short and sweet

Some clients tend to think that, because matchmaking is such a unique way to meet someone, they need to tell everyone that asks all the nitty-gritty details about their experience. Take the pressure off yourself–and the conversation–by just saying it how it is.

“We met through a matchmaker.”

The fact that you met your significant other in a unique way does not mean that you have to overexplain your story every time someone asks. Often the question “how did you meet?” is nothing more than a friendly conversation starter. It doesn’t necessarily indicate deep interest on the part of the asker. By just saying the bare minimum, you not only normalize your experience but avoid risking overwhelming the listener with details for which they didn’t ask.

Those who do want to know more about your story will ask. If that happens, don’t assume they are judging you. Sometimes, people will ask more questions just for the sake of keeping the conversation flowing. Assume their interest is purely curious and not out of a place of negativity.

At that point, feel free to elaborate–but don’t feel pressured to go into depth about your entire story. Only say what you’re comfortable saying and nothing more.

Embrace the originality

So what you didn’t meet your significant other in college, at work, or through mutual friends? You’re too original for that!

While meeting people the old-fashioned way tends to be the most socially acceptable way to find love, it doesn’t make for a very interesting story. Embrace your originality being forthright about working with a matchmaker.

The best part is, you don’t have to wait until you’ve found love to tell them! The fact that you’re trying something new is something of which to be proud. Sharing your progress with others might encourage them to take more risks in their love life, too.

Own your matchmaking experience with openness. Here are some ideas of what you could say to others even before you’re asked:

“Hey, did you know I started working with a matchmaker? I’ve already got my first date lined up next week!”

“I have to tell you about this guy my matchmaker set me up with! He’s so handsome and we really hit it off on our date. My matchmaker really knows what she’s doing.”

Matchmaking is a privilege and something that not everybody can afford. It’s also sort of a love-life power move. Make it clear that you were willing to invest for the best with these responses:

“I can’t afford to waste any time on guys who aren’t in my league. My matchmaker ensures that all of my dates are actually qualified to be with me.”

“There are so many women who just want me for my money. Working with a matchmaker is the safest way for a man in my position to date.”

These answers show that you are confident in your decision, that you take love very seriously in your life, and that your time is too important to waste. People will likely want to know more about you and what led you to this decision.

Even if all it took was your matchmaker making a simple introduction, the fact that you meet your significant through a matchmaker is unique in its own right.

So, if you’re out with friends and you sense the conversation coming to a lull, remember that you’ve got something special up your sleeve that makes your love story instantly more intriguing. Channel your inner Bonnie Raitt and give ‘em something to talk about!

Trust yourself

At the end of the day, you joined a matchmaking service for a reason. No, not because you were desperate or weren’t capable of finding love on your own. It was because you knew in your heart that matchmaking was the surest, simplest method to find your ideal match.

You know what’s best for you and your life. So, don’t worry about the opinions of others. Remember to trust yourself and your decisions.

Once you finally meet that special someone, you’ll know that what’s most important isn’t how you met, but that you’re together now.


Anxious Attachment Style and Valentine’s Day

Just like the people that celebrate them, each holiday is unique. They have their own style, if you will.

For example, no holiday does family fun and seasonal cheer better than Christmas. With everyone decked out in diamonds and pearls, New Year’s Eve consistently steals the show as best-dressed. With enough leprechauns and pints of beer, St. Patrick’s Day gets us to see green every year. While Easter’s bunny-shaped chocolates give it a run for its money, Thanksgiving takes the cake as the most food-friendly holiday on the calendar.

With their own individual charms, these holidays are something we can look forward to throughout the year. Although different, they are equally sweet–filling us with feelings of familiarity, fun, and security.

But, what about the holidays who’s trademark style makes us shiver with fear and anxiety? One of them is the most horrific of all.

No, it’s not Halloween.

For any of our insecurely-attached readers out there, you’ll agree. The scariest holiday is, without a doubt, Valentine’s Day.

Unlike Halloween–a holiday in which you assume a mask and pretend to be somebody else–Valentine’s Day is all about vulnerability. There’s not much scarier than the idea of stripping your emotional soul naked to embrace the oceanic vastness of your partner’s essence.

No matter the attachment style, this can be tricky territory for most people. For insecurely-attached folks, it feels tsunami-level impossible.

Need some help navigating the emotional storm that is Valentine’s Day? Here’s our go-to guide to getting through the annual holiday of love.

Breaking down Attachment Theory

Our attachment style, the way in which we interact with, and build relationships with others, can have a huge impact on our dating lives. Although psychologists are still studying the nuances of attachment theory, it’s widely agreed that attachment style is the result of learned behaviors picked up throughout our early formative years.

The main types of attachment styles are secure and insecure attachment. Insecure attachment can be broken down into three, more specific categories: anxious, avoidant, and disorganized. For this article, we’re focusing on our anxious amigos, but, more on that later.

To put it simply, children who grew up in consistent and emotionally-supportive households tend to have secure attachment styles. This is not to say that their lives were without hardships, but that their caregivers were considered a safe haven growing up, and typically not a source of their stress to their children.

On the other hand, children that were raised by a caregiver that was either inconsistent or abusive tend to grow into adults with insecure attachment. The anxiety felt throughout their childhood made it difficult for them to learn how to self-regulate or trust others.

Adults who continue to struggle with insecure attachment are likely dealing with the same coping methods that they learned as young children and strengthened throughout adolescence.

Your Attachment Style on Valentine’s Day

If you grew up in constant survival mode, occasions like Valentine’s Day can definitely trigger your defenses.

To make matters worse, those with anxious attachment styles tend to attract romantic partners with who are avoidantly-attached. While two is normally better than one, two partners with insecure attachments can be a source of emotional chaos in a relationship.

I know, all of this is sounding pretty grim.

The good news? No one is born with attachment style flowing through their bloodstream. That means with enough awareness and education, we each have the power to switch up our style.

If you’re noticing your attitude towards Valentine’s Day is particularly nervous or bitter, it might be time to examine how your attachment style might be coming into play.

Remember those three categories of insecure-attachment mentioned earlier? Now that we understand how attachment is formed, let’s take a closer look at how the individual attachment styles manifest within our dating lives.

Anxious Attachment

Have romantic partners ever called you overly needy, jealous, or emotional?

When you’re in a relationship, do you find it difficult to focus on the other aspects in your life?

Do you feel insecure without the constant reassurance from your partners?

Is it difficult for you to trust?

Do you often ‘lose yourself’ in relationships? Or easily fall into codependency?

If you’ve answered yes, you might have an anxious attachment style.

But, don’t worry–you’re not alone. Some studies estimate that, in the United States, nearly 40 percent of the population experiences some form of insecure attachment.

Low in avoidance and high in anxiety, anxiously-attached partners can come across as clingy, or emotionally dependent, on their partners. So accustomed to the inconsistency of their childhoods, anxious-attachment styles manifest in adulthood through an attraction to dramatic, inconsistent, and sometimes toxic relationships.

Anxiously-attached people sometimes find it difficult to trust their partners and experience intense feelings of jealousy. At their worst, this might lead to controlling behavior–like keeping tabs on their partner’s whereabouts or monitoring their texts.

More than anything, the anxiously-attached partner fears being abandoned in the relationship. They will do almost anything to maintain their relationship. For them, the fear of losing their relationship outweighs the fear of losing themself.

Be my (securely-attached) Valentine?

Being in a relationship as an anxiously-attached partner is already scary enough–add in the holiday of love, and the stress can rise through the roof. What might seem like the perfect opportunity to express your unyielding affections for your partner, could quickly turn into a disastrous date of disappointment.

In order to feel secure, the anxiously-attached partner needs to sense that they are both emotionally and physically close with their partner. However, as mentioned earlier, if existing in a relationship as an anxious-attacher wasn’t tricky enough, there’s one more thing. They tend to find themselves in relationships with their insecurely-attached opposite–the avoidantly-attached.

The avoidant-dismissive attachment style is characterized by avoiding closeness in relationships. The complete antithesis of the anxious-attacher, avoidantly-attached partners prioritize independence, rejecting the idea of relying on others or having others rely on them.

If you’re anxiously-attached and in a relationship with an avoidantly-attached partner, you might be feeling a heightened sense of pressure to connect as Valentine’s Day approaches.

It’s true that Valentine’s Day is portrayed to be a grandiose celebration of love. However, it’s important to remember that, at the end of the day, it's just another day. If your Valentine’s Day date does not turn out exactly as you imagined, that does not mean that your partner doesn’t love you. It’s important to keep perspective and not let any passing insecurities overwhelm you.

Feeling particularly anxious this Valentine’s Day? Here’s some tips to help you tap into your secure side and find some peace of mind:

Research: Learn about both you and your partner’s attachment styles. Ask your partner to join in the research, too. With enough knowledge, you two can better understand each other and work towards building a healthy bond.

Keep a journal: One of the best ways to clear your mind is write your thoughts down on paper. This exercise is extremely useful for regulating emotions and keeping track of your triggers.

Seek out partners with secure attachment: The anxiously and avoidantly-attached have a thing for each other, it’s true. Down the line, however, their opposite dispositions tend to trigger toxic dynamics within their relationships. In order to grow as a partner, try to choose partners who exhibit traits of being securely-attached. Their security and stability will be just what your nervous system needs to relax within the relationship.

Practice mindfulness: When you’re feeling stressed, try to take a moment to practice mindfulness. Sometimes it can be as simple as removing yourself from a heated conversation to take a few deep breaths. Regularly engaging in mindfulness exercises can help to manage both your emotions and your anxiety.

Relationship coaching: Working with a dating coach has been proven to increase the odds of successfully choosing and keeping the right partner. At Executive Matchmakers, our entire coaching philosophy is backed by science, based on 30 years of research on real life couples. Each of our coaches are certified by the “Love Doctor,” herself, ​​research scientist and therapist, Dr. Terry Orbuck. The coaches at Executive Matchmakers are trained to offer more in-depth, specialized support, helping you to break free from insecure attachment, develop positive dating habits, and, ultimately, reach your highest relationship potential.

The Road Ahead

For an anxiously-attached partner, heading down the road of relationships can be a bit of a bumpy ride. But, it doesn’t have to be. If you know or suspect you have an anxious attachment, why not use Valentine’s Day as a way to face your fears? Although growing out of insecure attachment might seem like a freighting task, with enough motivation, patience, and support, you will reach your relationship goals. By recognizing your attachment patterns and examining your feelings, Valentine’s Day just might be worth celebrating, afterall.


Defining the Relationship for Valentine’s Day—Quiz!

February is here, love is in the air, and Valentine’s day is on its way.

Whether it be with a bouquet of flowers, a bottle of champagne, or a box of heart-shaped chocolates, this annual celebration of love presents the perfect opportunity to express your feelings for the special someone in your life.

But, what if you and that special someone are still unclear on your shared relationship status?

There comes a point in any long-term relationship that you and your partner must define the relationship (DTR). This conversation can mean making things exclusive between the two of you, continuing dating casually, or maybe just to keep hanging out just as friends—anything else that fits how you both feel.

What's important is that it's openly communicated between each partner and that the feelings are mutually shared.

Approaching the “What-Are-We?” topic is never a particularly fun conversation to have. In the back of your mind lurks the possibility of them feeling differently, wanting to take things slower, or rush things too soon.

rosesWhile just the idea of DTR can be a bit anxiety-inducing, openly expressing your feelings to your partner is one of the most important and necessary aspects in any relationship.

Just as important, however, is knowing when to do so.

If you DTR too soon, you risk looking overly eager. Too late, and you appear uninterested and commitment-avoidant.

Thankfully, for all those undefined daters out there, on the horizon comes a virtually risk-free opportunity to DTR.

Valentine’s Day is designed for lovers to share their feelings for each other, making it the perfect time to establish “What We Are.”

If you’re looking for the perfect opportunity to make things official between you and your boo, the holiday of love might just be it.

Yet, February 14th is coming up quick—so, time is of the essence.

If you and your partner have yet to have “the talk” before then, expect to find yourself in a situation even stickier than those caramel-filled candies you planned to share together.

Still figuring out your feelings for your Valentine? Take this simple quiz to find out whether or not to DTR this V Day!

 


Define Your Values for the New Year

Before the age of the internet, cell phones, and GPS, when lost explorers were in need of finding their way home, they turned to the compass.

Reliable, trustworthy, and ever-consistent, the compass still remains a vital navigation tool within any traveler’s journey.

In the journey of life and love, we are faced with many forks in the road. When making decisions, we must rely on our internal compass, our values, to show us the right way. Just like a compass leading a sailor safely to shore, when our lives feel like they’re going South, turning to our values will direct us back North.

What are values?

According to psychologist Barb Markway and Celia Ampel in The Self-Confidence Workbook, values “are the principles that give our lives meaning and allow us to persevere through adversity.”

Essentially, values are the things that we consider most important in our lives. Our values identify what kind of person we are, or at least, strive to be, while providing guidelines, or imperatives, for our actions.

All in all, values are the qualities that form the foundation for our decisions, and ultimately build the life of which we live.

However, actually honoring your values in everyday life is not always so easy–especially when entering into a relationship.

While we all naturally process intrinsic values—we learn them from our family, peers, and experiences—putting them into practice is a whole other thing.

As the new year comes upon us, now is the perfect opportunity to reflect on what we value most in our lives. Regularly questioning, defining, and redefining our values helps us to navigate the complications of love and dating, make decisions with ease, and accomplish our goals for the year ahead.

So, how do you know what your core values are? In honor of the new year and new resolutions, here are six steps to discover and practice your core values in life and in love.

Step 1: Brainstorm

Before defining a list of core qualities, it’s important to meditate and reflect on your actions in the real world.

Big or small—everyday we are faced with decisions. Without thinking, our intrinsic values tend to lead us one way or another.

A great way to hone in on your values is to reflect back on experiences when you felt happy, sad, or angry.

For example, think of the last time a romantic partner said something that really upset you. What did they say? What about it felt wrong? What was your reaction?

When have you felt disappointed in yourself or like you were a fraud? What behaviour led up to that?

What do you want to change about the world or about yourself?

Now, think of the things in your life that make you feel happiest.

When do you feel your best? With who? What are you most proud of? What’s important to you in life?

If you could have any career, without worrying about money or other practical constraints, what would you do?

These are just a few questions to get you started. Be sure to write your answers on a sheet of paper so you can look back on them and reflect. Your answers reveal the unique qualities that make you special, and show what you value most in your life.

Step 2: Create a list

Now, it’s time to take all that you’ve gathered from brainstorming and compile it into a simple list.

Review what you have written and see if any particular qualities stand out. For example, if finding a romantic partner is the most important thing in your life at the moment, you might mention “companionship” as one of your core values.

To make things simpler, here is a list of possible personal values from which you can choose. Try to be as specific as possible, and only choose the values that feel most authentic to you.

  • Achievement
  • Adventure
  • Beauty
  • Compassion
  • Connection
  • Courage
  • Creativity
  • Dependability
  • Health/Fitness
  • Honesty
  • Independence
  • Integrity
  • Intelligence
  • Justice
  • Kindness
  • Learning
  • Love
  • Loyalty
  • Peace
  • Security
  • Self-discipline
  • Simplicity
  • Sincerity
  • Spontaneity
  • Success
  • Wealth

Try to limit your list to only the values that truly resonate with you. If you’re having trouble, think about someone whose opinion you highly value. How do you hope they would describe you? Write those qualities down.

Step 3: Prioritize your personal values

After compiling a list, it’s important to order them by level of importance to you.

Why? Because ordering them will help to define what values are of highest priority to you.

A general list is a great start, but at some points in life, we will be faced with choosing one value over the other. For example, if your values include success, connection, kindness, and beauty, but your number one priority is connection, there may be times when beauty and success have to take a backseat.

By placing one quality at the very top of your list, you establish it as the most important value in your life. With it as your core value, you can build a routine designed for its success.

If you put ‘connection’ as a top value, you’ll know that carving out quality time for you and your partner should be your top priority–even if it means disconnecting from work sometimes. On the other hand, if ‘adventure’ is at the top, it might be a good idea to prioritize planning an exciting vacation in a country you’ve yet to explore.

Step 4: Put it to practice

Now that you’ve defined and prioritized your values, it’s time to put them into action. The first step is by letting your values design your goals.

If you were to zoom out and look at your life as it is now, could you say that you are living in harmony with the values you’ve defined for yourself now?

If not, don’t worry–you’re not alone. For a number of reasons, life has a way of diverging us from our values. What’s important is that you’re making the changes to get back on course.

Perhaps parts of your life are more in line with your values than others. For example, maybe your professional life aligns excellently with core values like success, wealth, or achievement.

But, what about outside of work? When it comes to your romantic or personal life, are you spending time on the things that matter most to you?

Now, it’s time to make a plan. Go back to your list and, for each value, write a small step you could take to honor that value within your life.

For example, if ‘beauty’ is important to you, some simple steps could be booking regular salon appointments, joining a gym, or making sure to get enough hours of sleep each night.

After writing action plans next to each value, the next step is to break them down into small, attainable goals. Start by setting daily objectives, then expand to weekly and monthly targets. By starting small and making gradual changes, you will be able to look back at the end of the year and see how far you’ve come.

Step 5: Set daily reminders

In order to reach your long-term goals, it’s important to dedicate a portion of each day to reflect on your values.

Although they seem small at the moment, the day-to-day decisions are what eventually define our personalities, futures, and ideals.

In order to stay on track, set daily reminders for yourself. Whether it be a sticky note on the fridge, a push notification on your phone, or a text from a supportive friend, make sure that everyday you are reminded of the reasons why you started this journey in the first place. Living within your value system means disconnecting from life on autopilot and taking ownership for the decisions you make. It’s not always easy—but, it’s worth it. By incorporating your values into your daily life, you will start living with intention, focus, and peace of mind.

So, stay on track with constant reminders. Every time that you express and incorporate your core values into your daily life, you will be actively working towards your goals.

Step 6: Remember to redefine

Whether your aim is to define your values professionally or personally, with enough time and dedication, you will see yourself, your relationships, and your life transform.

As you continue to continue to grow and incorporate your values, eventually you will accomplish the goal you originally set out to achieve.

When this happens, remember to reassess.

For example, maybe at the beginning of the year, your top values relate mostly towards your professional goals, prioritizing values like ‘work,’ ‘achievement,’ and ‘success.’ Then, after months of hard work, dedication, and living in harmony with your values, you achieved your professional goals.

After accomplishing milestones in your life, it’s time to reflect and reassess your current values.

While you will probably always value more or less the same qualities, it’s common that some values change in priority as we progress in life.

So, if after achieving all the professional success of which you’d ever dreamed of having, it’s possible you start to consider having someone with whom to share it all.

In that case, values like ‘work’ or ‘wealth’ might go lower in priority as values like ‘companionship’ and ‘love’ start to move up.

Take time to regularly reflect on the state of your life, and whether reassessing your values would be worthwhile. Doing so helps you stay on tract, allowing you to accomplish your goals quickly and with ease.

Know thy values, know thyself

By living in line with your core values, you communicate to others that you are confident in both yourself and the decisions you make. There is nothing more attractive than a partner who knows what they want.

If your goal for the new year is to find love, defining your values will make the process remarkably easier. Defining your values requires self-awareness—an important quality that, unfortunately, is not possessed by everybody. By knowing who you are, you will likewise know what you want in a partner, creating a clear vision of the relationship you want and deserve. Not only will you save time by dropping dates with incompatible suitors, but you’ll protect yourself from falling victim to becoming overpowered within a relationship.

Often, those who don’t have their values clearly defined end up looking to others for direction. Even with a perfect partner, this can be dangerous and lead to loss of self and codependency. However, this becomes dangerous when falling into a relationship with a narcissistic partner. There is nothing that a narcissist loves more than a partner who can’t stand up for themselves. Those that cannot define their values subconsciously let others define them for them. In the hands of a narcissist, someone guided by negative values, this makes easy grounds for manipulation and toxic behaviors.

Strong values, strong relationship

As we settle into the new year, it’s important to keep a clear focus on our goals, values, and how to live in harmony with them both. By defining our values and being mindful of them in our everyday life, we can make the changes to set this year apart from all the rest.

No matter your values, goals, or circumstances, building self-awareness and reflecting on your life will make you both a better partner and person.

Remember, if you ever feel lost in the journey of love or life, rely on your values like a compass. Focusing on your core values will always lead you the right way.


The 2022 Holiday Gift Guide

What to Get Someone Who Already Has it All

Every winter, Christmas comes and goes. But, for those dating in December, there’s one pesky question that stays evergreen: What should I get for the one most special to me?

Gift-giving is never easy. But, if your significant other seems to already have all they could ever wish for, the pressure to impress can feel downright impossible.

Those who “have it all” tend to agree that their most meaningful presents usually weren’t the most expensive. They were great, however, because they were given with love.

Worried you’ll need a Christmas miracle to pull off the perfect gift for your partner? Here’s our guide for giving to someone who already has it all.

The Thought That Counts

When done thoughtfully, a good gift can express your affection, what your partner means to you, and how you hope for their happiness--not just during the holidays--but all year long.

That, and a test on how well you know the receiver’s tastes and desires.

Don’t let this overwhelm you. But, if you really want your gift to wow your partner, it’s important to put some extra thought into it.

Before buying, ask yourself:

  • What are their interests, hobbies, or passions?
  • How have they been feeling lately? 
  • What feelings about our relationship do I want to express to them?

Think of your gift as a symbol to communicate both your character and your care to your partner. Imagine how your honey will feel when they recieve and experience your gift. Subconsciously or not, they will associate those feelings with you. So, before buying a gift, consider what it could say about you and your relationship.

Gifts That Keep On Giving

Still not sure what to put under the Christmas tree for your special someone this year?

Let this be your little helper. To get in the giving mood, we’ve come up with some ideas that would make even the most adorned holiday-honey happy. Check out these three gift categories and what giving from them would mean for your relationship.

Something Collectable

Is your cutie a collector? Find out what your love interest loves and contribute. Whether it’s as niche as adding another rare coin to their collection, or simply finding another fine wine to add to their cellar, your special someone is sure to appreciate the gesture.

What this gift means for your relationship: You pay attention to the details, genuinely care about your partner's interests, and love them for their authentic selves. You acknowledge all the time, money, and energy they’ve put into growing their collection. By adding to it, you prove that you value their passions, even when others might not. They will feel seen, validated, and confident that you’re someone who understands them like no one else before.

Love Actually meets Breakfast at Tiffany’s! If you’re looking for a sparkling collector’s item with Hollywood-level romance, go for fine jewelry. Make the experience extraordinary by going together to pick out their special piece. Along with saving you from the headache of a gemstone guessing game, it will attach a romantic memory to the piece that your partner will remember forever!

 

Fellas, if you’ve found yourself a fashionista, you already know she’s got a soft spot for a good designer handbag.

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If you want to help her step out in style, and cement you as the best boyfriend of all time, look no further than the iconic Hermès Birkin bag. With this legendary leather luxury as your gift, your leading lady is sure to love both it and you.

 

If you’re in the market for something more heartfelt, it might be time to put pen to paper. Wiggle your way into the heart of your favorite literature-lover by contributing to their favorite collection:

 

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Find an original edition of their favorite fiction or, if you’re feeling creative, write your own! Pour out your heart to them in poem and prose. By retelling your relationship’s epic love story from your perspective, you’ll get to express your feelings for them in a way that truly touches their heart. Filled with love from front to back, there’s no way they’ll be able to put it down.

Something for Sleeping

After a long, hard day, there’s nothing better than slipping into a set of cozy pajamas and snuggling up in bed. For a gift that’s comforting, sensuous, and just a bit luxurious, bedtime accessories are the way to go.

What this gift means for your relationship: Secure, sensitive, and fluent in body language, your presence in your lover’s life is like a plush pillow after a long day’s work. Even if you can’t be snuggled up with your sweetie each night, you love to imagine them enjoying your gift and thinking about you as they turn off the lights.

What are the best bedtime accessories for your babe? Glad you asked.

Keep things flirty yet cool with washable silk pajamas.

 

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If you’re buying a gift for a new partner, you can’t go wrong with this one. Unlike other gifts that only appeal to particular interests, everyone appreciates a good set of comfy clothes--making it a great gift for someone whose tastes you’re still getting to know. Plus, the smooth silk fabric makes for a subtly sexy twist to this classic holiday gift.

Feeling a bit naughty? For sentimentality’s sake, avoid giving your partner something overtly sexual (save that for Valentine’s). However, if you’d like to give a gift that’s nice with just a dash of spice, look no further than between the sheets.

Temperature regulated and proven to be cooler than other fabrics like cotton or silk, bamboo bedding is perfect for when things heat up between you and your lover.

 

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Does your holiday honey find it hard to take a break? A sleep kit is the perfect gift for your workaholic partner. Sleep kits have a little bit of everything--typically including items like essential oils, bath bubbles, and eye masks.

 

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Whether they’re an on-the-go jet-setter, or a parent pulled in all directions, this gift will show that someone as special and in-demand as they are still deserves a little TLC.

Something to Experience

Just like love, experiences are intangible, at times, life-changing, and very real. If you’re shopping for someone who truly has it all, an experience might be the best bet for a mind-blowing holiday .

What it says about your relationship: Making memories with your partner is more valuable than any material thing money could buy. Depending on the nature of the experience, your partner could view you as thoughtful, exciting, or spontaneous. Gifts come and go, but the way the experience made them feel will remain in their hearts forever.

If you’re dating a live-show lover, you’ve got to go big or go home. For the football fanatic, snatch some 50 yard line tickets for their favorite team. Pull some strings to let your cutie meet the players after the big game. Not possible? Make it special by booking a suite and inviting their favorite fellow fans to cheer along with their favorite couple.

If music is more your partner’s thing, find out their favorite band or artist and book the best seats in the house. If they’re not currently touring in your town, don’t worry--book ahead to a venue in a city that your partner loves and make a special vacation out of it. Bonus points if you can grab some backstage passes.

 

When your gift is an experience, make sure that the experience you choose is truly special. Don’t decide on something that you would probably do otherwise. It’s best to add a dose of adventure.

If you’re looking for something incredibly romantic and unforgettable, hosting your partner on a hot air balloon ride is hard to beat. With a bit of wine, cuddles, and some stunning sunset views, this gift is sure to put your partner on cloud nine.

 

 

For those with a need for speed and seeking more of an adrenaline rush, find a local rental car service for vintage, luxury, or race cars and go hit the road. With the wind in their hair and you in the passenger seat, you’ll turn a racer’s dream into a romantic reality they could have never imagined!

 

 

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Presentation Is Everything

Whether it’s a set of silk pajamas or a pair of backstage passes, make sure you present your gift with some special flair.

Part of the joy in both gift giving and receiving is the physical nature of it—the anticipation while slowly unwrapping, and the surprised smile upon seeing what’s within.

So, don’t be afraid to be bold with your delivery! If you’re nervous, remember that your partner is probably feeling the same. As long as your gift comes from the heart, it really is the thought that counts.


Prenuptial Agreements – What are they?

Why knowing the details can help save your relationship

What truly is a prenup?

When asked to sign a prenup, it can cause a hurricane of emotions. It often causes people to feel as if their fiancée doesn't trust them or know them. We understand that many thoughts and feelings are connected with prenups, so we will help you maneuver through this complex concept.

We found through our research that prenups do not need to imply a lack of trust or lack of confidence that the marriage will last. Therefore, we want to help couples face this crucial conversation about their finances and their future.

We've created a guide to answer questions about navigating your prenup.

Prenup – What is it?

A prenup, formally known as a prenuptial agreement, is a contract between an engaged couple. The contract outlines the couple's rights and responsibilities regarding any premarital and marital assets and debts. More importantly, why do so many couples argue about prenups? What will happen should the marriage end in death or divorce.

The main talking point that a prenup arises is goals about finances, attitudes about money, accrued debts, and spending and saving habits. Sandy Roxas, a Family Law Litigator and Mediator, highlights the importance of financial conversations before marriage because “money issues are one of the leading causes of divorce.” That means that having conversations like these before the wedding “can help build the foundation for a stronger and long-lasting union.”

Postnup vs. Prenup

Let’s begin by opening up the options outside of a pre-marriage contract. A postnup agreement is very similar to a prenup. A postnuptial agreement is signed during or after the tying of the knots. They are just as enforceable as each other.

The reason for signing a postnuptial agreement can lie in similar grounds for a prenuptial agreement. However, it is more common for unexpected changes in finances. These unpredictable finances can include forthcoming inheritance, sale of a company, or large liquidation. Another option is that the couple did not finish negotiating their prenup and chose to finish it post marriage.

What is the cost of a prenup?

The range of prenups is vast, anywhere between $1,200 to $15,000. It should be noted that if the estate is complicated, then the price can rise. Canterbury Law Group lets couples know that some lawyers “will charge hourly fees and others will work on a flat fee," it all depends.

Postnups are more costly than prenups because the marital property must now be considered for the couple. Elizabeth Green Lindsay, Esq., ensures that "a well-drafted agreement can be worth its weight in gold” if there is a divorce.

When should you begin the prenup process?

Prenup negotiations can take months of back-and-forth changes. So, the experts advise couples to begin the process as soon as possible to give themselves enough time to feel happy with their final product pre-marriage. The best advice we can offer is to finalize one at least 30 days before the wedding date.

The party that retains the attorney is usually the party that earns the most income. The party whose attorney has not drafted the prenup needs to receive the contract at least a week before signing. This time allows for negotiations and possible edit suggestions. Once the draft is finalized, it must have proof that both parties chose to enter the agreement and were not entered into it under duress or undue influence.

Do you need separate lawyers?

In our previous section, we discuss the roles of attorneys, so should each person get their own lawyer? Our advice? Yes! A lawyer who represents both parties has a conflict of interest. When only one party has a lawyer, it can cause the other person to be at a considerable disadvantage. Separate lawyers guarantee equal chances for fair negotiations in the prenup process.

Can you create your own prenuptial agreement?

The simple answer is yes. However, there are many specifics to be wary of when creating your own prenup agreement. As couples do not always understand legal ambiguities, online forms are available for use. The main concern is making sure your form complies with all state laws to guarantee its legality. The easiest way of securing a legal DIY prenup is to hire a lawyer to review the form.

The overarching risks about creating your own prenup are really about the specifics of state laws. Suppose you feel confident about creating your own prenup and finalize the legal document with a lawyer at the end of the process. In that case, it is ultimately your right to follow that path. We advise that you are careful with the process.

Can you add custody and child support terms to a prenup?

It doesn't hurt to add terms and conditions involving child custody. However, the courts will decide what is in the child's best interest at the time of the court date. If the child's interest does not follow the terms set in the prenup, the courts outweigh the prenup. This means that it genuinely doesn't matter what you put on your prenup, as the court rule will be the final decision. All it does will help guide expectation, not guarantee actions, post-divorce.

In recent years, it has become more common to add clauses about pets within prenups. Many states across the country recognize pet custody when it comes to divorce. Even in amicable separations, it is often seen that pet custody causes a lot of emotions to fly. So, adding a pet clause can help keep the break smooth.

Someone won’t sign the prenup – What now?

If one party refuses to sign a prenup, then your first step is accruing proof of premarital property. It's always a solid idea to keep records of your assets before marriage to provide a layer of protection in case of separation. This includes inheritance. Experts also advise that you keep your own copies in a safe and secure location as many financial institutions only keep records for a certain number of years, therefore, making it difficult to collect them after so long.

We hope this guide to prenups was helpful! If you are interested in more advice revolving around prenups or postnups, let us know. We can post the pros and cons of prenups and advise how to ask your partner to sign a prenup.