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.


Couple discusses love and politics over red wine in the kitchen

All is Fair in Love and Politics: Dating Across the Aisle

I think we can all agree we are living through one of the most politically charged moments in recent history, regardless of which side you align with at the polls. Like all great social changes, this has led to a shift in the way people view deal breakers and dating. All is fair in love and politics.

"It appears as if in the contemporary period political orientations directly affect the social relationships people seek to form, which results in increased political homogeneity in formed relationships. This has the potential to amplify polarization through the creation of homogenous social networks and households. Now when you say you're a Democrat or Republican, that is associated not just with a bundle of policy views but also a lot of identity and world views that are a strong signal of your values."

-Niel Malhotra, Political Science Professor at Stanford University

Bumble has a feature which allows users to filter potential matches by their political affiliation, but after the January 6th Insurrection, this feature was reportedly disabled temporarily due to an increase in negative political activity. It’s Just Lunch conducted their own poll and found the following:

  • 33% felt their first date was ruined when politics were brought up in conversation 
    • 18% refused a second date because of this
  • 50% said they would date someone with different views casually, but not long-term
  • 63% said that they only date people who have similar political opinions and beliefs

Do Love and Politics Have to Mesh?

When COVID was at its worst, research showed that democrats were more likely to wear masks than republicans. So, for those who wanted to be extra cautious of the virus, love and politics clashed more than ever. Even now, some clients are unwilling to meet anyone who isn’t vaccinated.

It will be interesting to see if this trend continues after the Pandemic or if people will be more open to dating across the aisle. 

For some, it’s less about which side you’re on, and more about being informed and involved. Many people report that they won’t date someone who describes themselves as apolitical or doesn’t exercise their right to vote.

It’s important to follow current events and have at least a basic political foundation. You don’t need to be a history buff or know every candidates’ policies. You don’t even need an opinion on hot-button topics or issues. All you need is a broad understanding of what you stand for, and a willingness to learn more about things you don’t understand.

It's Okay to Disagree

Therapists suggest the following tips for navigating political discussions with your partner:

When you disagree with a stranger or an acquaintance, it’s easy to just write them off as wrong in your mind and make assumptions about their malevolent intentions. Chances are, it was a one-time occurrence and you will never have to face that issue with them head-on again.

That’s not the case when you and your partner have differing political opinions. You can’t just assume she’s evil because she thinks differently about a social issue.

Find a way to discuss your differences without getting too passionate or heated. Try to get to the core reason of why the other person feels the way they do. I would be willing to bet both of your conflicting beliefs stem from a place of hope for a better world.

After all, isn’t that what we all want? We may have varying ideas for how to achieve a better world, or even what a better world looks like, but I like to believe we all have a similar endgame. 


Elderly Couple On a Boat at Sunset - Love After Loss

Love After Loss: A Widower’s Guide

According to the Holmes and Rahe Scale of major stressful life events, the death of a spouse is rated as the most stressful thing someone can experience, followed closely by divorce. When you’re in the midst of such a life-altering shift, the last thing you’re thinking about is finding love after loss.

But when you’re ready to start dating again, this guide is for you.

The people who care about you will try to give you the best advice they can. They mean well, but only you will know if and when you’re ready to get back out there. It’s hard not to think about everyone else and their needs. But you have to focus on yourself as well.

  • How will the kids feel?
  • What will your wife’s friends and family think?
  • Is this a betrayal of your marriage? 

I can tell you the answer to that last one is a resounding no. And while it’s important to be conscious of other people’s feelings, ultimately you have to decide for yourself if you want to find love again.

Is It Too Soon for Love After Loss?

There is no right or wrong way to grieve. The length and depth of your suffering does not have a bearing on how much you loved your wife.

My mom was widowed at the age of 40. My dad died in March after a battle with cancer in which she became a caregiver rather than a wife. By June, she had met the man who has now been my step-dad for over a decade. I grew up in a small town, and a lot of people weren’t shy about letting her know that was way too fast. But the truth is, she had already been grieving for over two years.

My parents were married for 18 years. If she can find love again, so can you. 

Everyone mourns in their own way. You may respond to the death of your spouse in a very different way than you did to losing a parent or close friend. That’s completely normal. Every heartbreak is uniquely painful. Follow your heart and your own pattern of mourning. Don’t let the fear of judgment hold you back.

Some people may decide that one epic love story was enough for them. But I would suspect since you’re here reading a blog about finding love after loss you’re not one of those people.

The number one reason people start to look for love after loss is loneliness. Once the soul-crushing pain dulls and some time has gone by, the house starts to feel really empty without your partner.

Grief & Guilt

Guilt is a common feeling among widowers who are dipping their toe back in the dating pool. Even those who had extensive discussions with their spouse about this very scenario still can’t seem to shake their sense of guilt.

We had a client whose wife encouraged him, on her deathbed, to start dating right away and still he struggled to agree to be matched a year later. 

It’s human nature to assign blame to ourselves for situations with which we had no control. Because of that we experience feelings for guilt that have no basis in reality. You’re not to blame for your wife’s death. Because if you are, this would be a much different conversation.

Since you’re not a murderer and you loved your wife dearly, there’s nothing you wouldn’t do to bring her back. So truly ask yourself, where is this guilt coming from? Chances are, it stems from you blaming yourself for something you have no business taking credit for.

Statistically speaking, men are much more likely to remarry after their spouse dies than women. You will never get over your late wife, but you can get on with your life.

If you’re a widower who is ready to find love after loss, we want to help you!


Couple Looks Out Over City - Make Time For a Relationship

How to Make Time for a Relationship

They say time is the best gift you could ever give someone because you are essentially sharing a piece of your life with them that you can never get back. Seeing as how my primary Love Language is Quality Time, I tend to agree. So, how do you make time for a relationship when you’re being pulled in a hundred different directions?

One of the most common complaints among couples is that their partner doesn’t put enough time or effort into the relationship to the point that it has become completely one-sided

We find time for the things that matter most to us in life. If you want to prioritize your relationship, you have to start finding time to focus on your partner. 

Organize Regular Outings

We’re all busy with work, travel, and family responsibilities; if you can’t fit a date into your calendar every week, then make up for it by whisking her off for a weekend getaway.

We all experience ruts in our relationships from time to time. Things start to feel monotonous and boring. Sound familiar? Try getting out of your routine. Instead of going to the same places all the time, try that spicy new spot that just opened up. Attend a pop-up art exhibit. Learn a new sport or skill together. 

The point is, if being in love is important to you, then you have to make time for a relationship in your life. If you need to delegate some projects to ensure you’re out of the office on time every Friday night, then do it. 

A good way to encourage more date nights is to buy season tickets somewhere. If it’s already paid for, and you know you have an empty box waiting on you, you’re more likely to find time to go.

And yes, if necessary...pencil in intimacy. It’s not sexy to put it on the calendar, but if that’s the only way to guarantee it happens, then write it in big letters and underline it in red. 

Forget Your Phones

The keyword of Quality Time is quality. It’s impossible to feel in tune with someone who is more focused on itunes.

We’re addicted to our devices enough as it is

From sleep to sex, studies show there are countless reasons why leaving your phone outside of the bedroom at night is a good idea. You should also ban them from the dinner table and date night. In the early stages of a relationship, you don’t always get to spend the amount of time with your significant other that you want, so you have to make the most of the time you do get. 

Carve Out Time for Communication

Whenever possible, go to bed together at the same time and include communication as part of your nightly routine. While you’re getting ready for bed and snuggling in for the night, use that time to connect.

Even if you’re in different parts of the world, take a few moments in the evening to check in with one another emotionally. Facetime is a beautiful invention, but phone calls are nice too.

Ask one another the following questions each night before bed.

  1. Is there anything on your heart you want to talk about?
  2. Did I do anything today that upset you?
  3. What was your highlight and lowlight of today?
  4. Are you looking forward to and/or dreading anything about tomorrow?
  5. What do you need from me to make tomorrow a good day?

Time is our most valuable resource. It’s finite and we never know how much of it we have left. How do you want to spend it? If falling in love and building a partnership is important to you, then you have to make time for a relationship in your world.

The good news is, with Executive Matchmakers, we take most of the time-consuming work out of dating. You don’t have to weed through dating apps or attend every (un)Happy Hour in town. We introduce you directly to exceptional, like-minded, relationship-ready women


Couple in Successful Relationship on Beach

Four Key Components of a Successful Relationship

Our founder Charlee, wrote a piece for a magazine in 2008. Her advice was so timeless, we decided to bring it back in 2021. The four key components of a successful relationship are—play, participate, prioritize, and plan. 

1. Play

Couples who play together, stay together.

There’s a reason so many people say a sense of humor is an important factor when looking for a potential mate. According to Dr. Jeffrey Hall, being able to laugh at the same things, and create inside jokes is the key to a successful relationship

Laughter is nature’s medicine. Try visiting a comedy club on your next date and see if it doesn’t help seal the bond. 

Does your partner prefer physical activities? Try a trampoline park. Maybe she’s more on the competitive side? Host a game night. Does she enjoy embarrassing herself at Karaoke?

Plan something together you know she will enjoy, something that allows you to play together and get out of your day-to-day lives. Even if it’s not your cup of tea, get out of your own comfort zone and try something new! She will appreciate your effort and your level of discomfort during Don’t Stop Believing and Sweet Caroline.

2. Participate

Speaking of effort. How much effort are you putting into the relationship compared to your partner? Are things pretty even or could one of you seriously pick up some slack?

It’s common for relationships to fluctuate, but if there is a constant imbalance, it’s time to reexamine things

Get out those participation trophies because relationships are not passive. To succeed, they require active participation from both parties.

3. Prioritize

We make time in our lives for the things that mean the most to us.

Now, you don’t necessarily need to write down your priorities and rate them, but if it helps, why not? Does finding a relationship rate up there with your career?

Then it’s time to start acting like it.

I would wager you put more than 40 hours into your job every week. But let me ask you, how many hours are you spending really making your love life a priority? If you’re in a relationship—how much work do you do to achieve and maintain a successful relationship?

Good news! With Executive Matchmakers, you don’t have to put hours of time and energy into your love life to make it a top priority. There’s no endless swiping or meaningless texting. Your Matchmaker does all the behind-the-scenes work to root out any potential deal-breakers. We sort through all of the candidates to find those best suited to you, then we introduce you!

4. Plan

In the Rom-Coms, there’s always a spontaneous meet-cute. On reality TV, the couple just happens upon a romantic flash mob while strolling through the park.

But those things don’t happen IRL.

A team of writers came up with that scenario, and some poor Production Assistants had to learn the dance, because there weren’t enough bodies in the flash mob. You didn’t see The Bachelorette signing a waiver before floating away in a hot air balloon. 

My point is, a successful relationship takes a whole lot of planning. Spontaneity often requires forethought, as oxymoronic as that may sound.

You don’t have to commission a yacht to plan a great date. A little goes a long way. What is her Love Language? Try organizing a day around filling her love tank. 

Love is an actionable verb. You have to wake up every single day and choose to love your partner. Make her laugh. Plan things to make her feel appreciated. Make her a priority in your life. 


Couple Traveling Together on Private Jet

Traveling Together For the First Time

Experiencing new things together—places, food, art, culture, anything can help solidify the bond you have already created. Traveling together, sharing experiences, romantic moments, getting away from the daily grind—all of these things cause your brain to release the happy hormones.

But we’ve all heard disaster stories of couples who broke up in every country on their European trip or fought their way across the Caribbean islands. How do you keep your romantic rendezvous from being a trip of terror?

Set Your Expectations

Everyone envisions a romantic vacation with magical sunsets and earth-shattering sex, but setting expectations unrealistically high, leads to definite disappointment.

Together, discuss the plans of your trip and what you both want to get out of it. Compromise where you can, and carve out alone time where you can’t. 

  • You prefer the snowy mountains, but your partner wants a tropical paradise.
  • You like to plan out the itinerary, but your partner prefers to wander.
  • Your partner wants to relax, but you want to pack as many activities in as possible.
  • You want to wake up early and see the sights, but your partner is still hungover.
  • Your partner wants to get to the airport 3 hours early, but you’re TSA PreCheck.

How will you communicate with each other and navigate these challenges? Like most good things, if you do a little bit of work up-front before packing your bags, your trip is likely to go a lot smoother. 

You Can Learn a Lot by Traveling Together

When researching and preparing for this blog I read an article that said traveling together gives you a glimpse into what it would be like to live with the other person. This can be true to an extent, but I caution you to use this as your main frame of reference.

I know personally, I’m a neat freak. But when I’m on vacation, I’m an entirely different person. People often modify their behavior when they’re on vacation. They try new activities, eat exotic foods, drink more than usual, and some of us allow our suitcases to explode throughout the room. 

Traveling together is stressful, so think of this as an opportunity to see how your partner deals with discomfort and anxiety.

  • How does she handle it when things don’t go according to plan?
  • What does she do when the airline loses her luggage or you miss a flight?
  • How does she treat hotel staff, airline personnel, locals, etc.?
  • Does she get grumpy when she’s jet lagged and hungry?
  • How does she handle language barriers?
  • Is she flexible and patient or unmoving and demanding?

You can also learn things like what her routines look like; is she a morning or night person? How long does she take to get ready? Do you agree on the temperature in the room? These may sound like silly things, but ask any couple who has been married for decades and they’ll tell you the small things add up!


Woman Reading Dictionary of Dating at Museum

Executive Matchmaker’s Dictionary of Dating

Dictionary of Dating

The world of dating has changed rapidly in recent decades. If you’re recently divorced or widowed after a long marriage, things will look a lot different to you than the last time you were trying to woo a woman. So, we thought it would be helpful to develop a Dictionary of Dating with all the new terms from dating apps to hookup culture and everything in between. 

Benching

I’ve heard people call this their Roster or Lineup before. Others refer to it as going back to the well. Whatever you call it, benching is when you like someone enough to keep seeing them, but you have no plans to ever take the relationship to the next level.

This is someone you just want to have fun with. There’s nothing wrong with that, as long as you’re open and honest about your expectations. 

Breadcrumbing

We’ve all been there. You’re really into someone new and she seems to like you too. Or is that just your imagination convincing you there’s a chance because you want it so bad?

She puts a fraction of the effort in that you do. You’re always the one to call or initiate plans. If you’re honest with yourself, she flakes on you more than you care to admit.

But just when you feel fed up and decide you’re ready to move on, she drops little bread crumbs of attention to reel you back in. If you step back and examine things objectively, you’ll realize she’s giving you bottom of the barrel crumbs when you deserve so much more.

Catfishing

Catfishing is when someone falsifies their identity online and enters into a romantic relationship under fraudulent pretenses. It’s a very broad term that can cover everything from completely fake online personas to overly edited pictures.

The bottom line is, be true to yourself and authentic both online and off.

Cushioning

This is when someone entertains the idea of dating other people while they’re in a relationship.

People often do this when they’re considering a break-up. They download the apps just to see what’s out there, or they flirt with a co-worker to find out if the grass is greener.

FWB & NSA

FWB stands for Friends With Benefits. NSA stands for No Strings Attached. 

Both mean relatively the same thing—a sexual relationship without a romantic commitment. These terms are often used on dating apps by people who are married and seeking an affair, or people who are involved in non-monogamous relationships. 

Ghosting

Ghosting is the sudden, unexpected cease of all communication from one party within a relationship

“She bailed on our plans last weekend and hasn’t returned my calls all week; I think she’s ghosting me.”

Hatfishing

A lot of men reading this are probably guilty of hatfishing. It’s okay, this is a judgement-free zone! Hatfishing is when you use hats to hide your hair (or lack thereof) because of insecurities. 

I can’t tell you how many dating profiles I’ve seen in which every single photo, the man is wearing a hat. Women want to see the real you, don’t hide under a hat.

And remember, bald is beautiful.

Non-Monogamy

Also known as Polyamory, Open Relationships, or Swinging, couples who engage in non-monogamy have romantic and/or sexual relationships with additional partners.

This type of relationship is not considered cheating, as all parties involved are aware of and consent to the sharing of partners.

Situationship

Do you have a female friend you call whenever you’re single and need a plus one for an event?

Maybe the two of you kissed once at a Christmas party when you found yourselves under the mistletoe after a few too many glasses of egg nog, but nothing much ever came from it. Nevertheless you’ve remained in each other’s circles and the chemistry never falters when you’re together.

Congratulations, you’re in a situationship!

This word can really describe any romantic couple that hasn’t defined the relationship. They never use words like boyfriend or future. They have formed a casual connection that feels comfortable and fits their situation. 

Zombieing

Zombieing occurs when a ghost from your past suddenly reappears with no explanation for their disappearance

Rebecca disappeared on Adam last summer after they had been seeing each other pretty steadily. She just stopped returning his calls with no explanation. Today, out of nowhere she texted him, and said, “Hey stranger! I’ve been thinking about you, hope all is well!”

Rebecca is a zombie risen from the dead. 


Couple Toasting on the Beach - Five Apology Styles

Five Apology Styles: How to Say I’m Sorry

Dr. Gary Chapman, creator of the Five Love Languages, also co-authored a book titled When Sorry Isn’t Enough: Making Things Right with Those You Love with Dr. Jennifer Thomas. In it, they present Five Apology Styles: Expressing Regret, Accepting Responsibility, Genuinely Repenting, Making Restitution, and Requesting Forgiveness. 

Chapman and Thomas suggest we rely on the Five Love Languages to make restitution by assuring the injured party of our love for them.

For instance, if your partner’s Love Language is Gifts and her Apology Style is Making Restitution—consider making flowers part of your apology. 

1. Expressing Regret

I made a mistake and I feel terrible.

In its simplest form, Expressing Regret is just saying I’m sorry. It’s acknowledging that your actions caused someone else pain and feeling bad about it. 

Expressing Regret zeroes in on emotional hurt by admitting guilt and shame for causing pain to another person. It doesn’t make excuses or attempt to deflect blame. It is understood as a sincere commitment to repair and rebuild the relationship. Regret is most clearly expressed when the person offering the apology reflects sincerity not only verbally, but also through body language.

2. Accepting Responsibility

It was my fault, I shouldn't have acted the way I did.

Accepting responsibility means taking the blame and consequences that come with your actions. To accept responsibility, you must do so verbally and be willing to correct your error. 

No one likes to be portrayed as a failure. However, we must all admit that we make mistakes. If the apology doesn’t accept responsibility, many people will not feel as though it was meaningful and sincere. Being sincere in your apology means allowing yourself to be weak, and admitting that you make mistakes. 

3. Genuinely Repenting

I will take actionable steps to make sure this never happens again.

Apologies don’t mean much if the bad behavior continues. To genuinely repent, you need to create a plan and share it with the person you have wronged that details the steps you will take to change your behavior in the future. 

Many people doubt the sincerity of an apology if it is not accompanied by their partner’s desire to modify their behavior to avoid the situation in the future. One important aspect of genuinely repenting is verbalizing your desire to change. Your partner cannot read your mind.

4. Making Restitution

What can I do to make it up to you and fix my mistake?

Sometimes sorry isn’t enough. Some mistakes require reparations and damages. It’s important that you include the person you’ve wronged in developing a plan to right your wrong. And be willing to eat some crow and follow through. 

In our society, many people believe that wrong acts demand justice. The one who commits the crime should pay for their wrongdoing. Many people believe that in order to be sincere, the person who is apologizing should justify their actions.

5. Requesting Forgiveness

How can I earn your forgiveness and make this right?

In its simplest form, Requesting Forgiveness is just saying, Please forgive me. The weight of this apology style lies in the vulnerability it requires. When you have wronged someone, it’s especially humbling to ask for their forgiveness knowing they have the power to reject you. 

In some relationships, people want to hear their partner physically ask for forgiveness. They want assurance that their partner recognizes the need for forgiveness. Requesting forgiveness also shows that you are willing to put the future of the relationship in the hands of the offended partner. You are leaving the final decision up to them – to forgive or not forgive.

Just like the Five Love Languages, there is an online quiz you can take to discover which of the Five Apology Styles work best for you.


Couple in Bed Together Sharing Intimacy

The Right Time for Intimacy: How Soon is Now?

Think about the first time you met the person you’re seeing. Focus on the time you first had that flutter inside you. You know, that beautiful, indescribable cosmic rush between your head, your heart, and perhaps...your loins? That’s right. Today we’re talking about sex and intimacy!

It's a rush that for some, quickly advances one’s carnal desire to have a sexual relationship early on when first dating. Pepper in a Pandemic and likely your rules of—let’s call it, engagement when dating likely went out the window, along with 2020.

Never before were the words, new year, new you more accurate and embraced!

Let's Get it On

As the crooner and undeniable icon of all things sex appeal, Marvin Gaye once sang while wearing skin tight turquoise leather pants. Wait, give me a moment. I got a little sidetracked by the steamy 70s visual. Even the lyrics to his classic song speak to the aforementioned struggle.

“I’ve been really tryin’ baby...tryin’ to hold back this feeling for so long.” 

Look, you’re both consenting adults. If you choose to experience intimacy on the first date—go right ahead, sister. More power to you, brother! Some might even say it’s a bit of a right of passage in a relationship to assess true physical compatibility. No one can deny the importance of intimacy when it comes to building a romantic bond. 

Maybe you’re both just ready to jump anything that moves after being in lockdown for eternity!

There is a camp who believe that determining your sexual chemistry before becoming exclusive is a sound indicator of compatibility in a relationship, and subsequently a marriage. However, there are others with fancy degrees and clipboards armed with data who would disagree. 

Abstain Because Science Says So

Rest assured, there is scientific data behind the practice of sexual restraint.

A study in the American Psychological Association’s Journal of Family Psychology surveyed 2,035 married couples. It found that the longer they waited to have sex in their relationship, the better the relationship was overall, even after marriage.  

Don’t want to get married you say, so why wait? Well, there’s data to support that scenario too.

Intimacy Too Soon Creates Counterfeit Currency

A counter study by Sharon Sassler and colleagues at Cornell University found that rapid sexual involvement has adverse long-term implications for relationship quality.

“Adequate time is required for romantic relationships to develop in a healthy way. In contrast, relationships that move too quickly, without adequate discussion of the goals and long-term desires of each partner, may be insufficiently committed and therefore result in relationship distress, especially if one partner is more committed than the other.” 

Couples that engage in sex too soon create a counterfeit intimacy. It creates fast, intense feelings that are often confused with true, lasting love.

This counterfeit love currency is then cashed in on major life purchases, like buying a house together or getting married. 

That basically means having sex early on in a relationship creates an imbalance which can include unhealthy communication patterns, and rushes to judgement on major life decisions. Such preemptive entanglement is hard to unravel. So, often couples passively follow what’s easiest and proceed with poor life choices.

Choose Lasting Love Over Libido

They say true love is worth waiting for. Not everyone wants long-lasting love. So, talk with your partner, beau, “friend,” bae, whatever the label. Even if you haven’t defined the relationship yet. 

Communicate what each of you are seeking before you bring the physical into the relationship. Without doing so, someone is going to get the short end of the proverbial stick.

Simply ask yourself—do you want to nurture a long-lasting relationship built on a foundation of partnership and love or are you just looking to feed your libido?

No judgement here. You get to choose, but be sure to discuss it before clothes start hitting the floor.