Dr. Ian’s #1 tip is to stay positive. For more online dating tips, watch the short clip. It’s great advice!
Zoosk went to fashion designer Anousheh Pasha for advice on dressing to impress your romantic someone. Check out her professional tips on looking your best at all the festive events coming up during the holiday season! And watch the rest of Zoosk’s Love Lessons series on our YouTube page.
by Jimi Alfaro
Often when in a long term relationship it’s easy to get a little lazy with your appearance. We like to dress up and look sexy during the honeymoon phase. We wear our designer or hip clothing that makes us feel confident to work. When we get home it’s easy to get into the habit of stripping down and putting on some much need comfy clothes. When both sides start getting into this routine the sexiness, the allure, the chivalry can slow down. The couple starts hanging out with each other rather then being together.
Depending on what you wear to class, the lame 9-5 or the air conditioned office it’s completely fair to want to get changed when you get home. Do get changed. Do get comfortable. But instead of getting into the comfortable cotton shorts, yoga pants or that perfect pair of worn in jeans that may or may not have a hole in it. Put on some nice weekend day clothing. Something you’d wear out to a nice bar for lunch or shopping in a nice shop. You can go as far as even organizing your closet accordingly. M-F day wear, M-F evening wear, going out/party wear, comfy wear. Though that might just be me being anal about closet organization.
The idea is to keep looking good for your partner. Keep yourself feeling confident and comfortable after a long day. While there will be plenty of nights that your yoga pants or cotton shorts will be a must have on. Try to keep this in mind. From time to time turn up your style at home. Dress up. Allure and arouse your partner. This well keep your eyes on each more then on the TV.
Photo via Flickr. Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs.
About the author: Jimi is works at Zoosk as a Recruiter. He’s a Bay Area sports fan, talent scout and resume wrangler.
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by Heather Parra
It seems like a catch-22, you spend all your time thinking how great it would be to be in a relationship and have someone special, but once you find that person to be your romantic partner you look to your friends and realize they are all single and sometimes it is hard to mesh those two parts of your life. This is the situation I find myself in and have been in for quite a few years now. I have been with my husband, Alex, for over eight years and while our relationship has withstood the test of time, not many have. While we would love to have more couple friends to hang out with, we are not going to abandon our current friends because they aren’t in a relationship and we don’t want to get excluded because we are not single. Making sure you don’t slip into the relationship black hole never to see your single friends again take effort from both parties to ensure that all friendships are maintained.
When Alex and I are around our friends we try to keep the PDA to a minimum, sure we will hold hands and do the occasional kiss or hug, but it only makes the other people you are hanging out with uncomfortable if you stray further from that. We also do a lot of things that can easily accommodate both couples and singles such as having people over for a BBQ, game night, or going to a concert or sporting event. In addition, we are comfortable going out unaccompanied. Many Fridays I will go out to happy hour with my girls and Alex will hit the bars with his friends. We get some quality time with our friends and it helps them think of us as individuals rather than a single unit. Our friends make an effort to include both of us and realize that sometimes we can’t go to everything because sometimes our relationship takes priority. It isn’t easy to be in a relationship when you are surrounded by singles or vice versa. Relationships and friendships need work and as long as you can make time for both without sacrificing the other everything should work out!
About the Author: Heather works as a Senior Revenue Accountant at Zoosk.
Photo via Flickr. Creative Commons License: Attribution-ShareAlike.
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by Matthew Talbot
Many of us have had the experience of coming across someone we dated previously, (maybe someone we took to the prom?) a few years later, and have felt an old ember of romance begin glowing again. Now that you have asked him or her out to catch up and see what might be next, what are some things to remember to help connect? Here’s 3 tips for rekindling the old flame:
1. That was then and this is now.
Whether your previous connection with your flame was a couple dates in high school or a more serious relationship, remember that intervening years and experiences have changed you both. Don’t expect to “pick up where you left off” though this may indeed happen. One of the pleasures of meeting an old friend (whether romantic or platonic) is seeing how they’ve changed since you last spent time together; savor this experience on your date.
2. Avoid “High School Reunion Syndrome”
It can be a big temptation to impress someone who we haven’t seen in years with a List of Our Awesome Accomplishments Since Then. While bringing your date up to speed on your life since you last saw one another, remember that this is not a job interview. Be yourself, and perhaps share a mildly embarrassing story from your life in the years since your last meeting – this will go a long way to connecting with your old flame and also dissolving tensions.
3. Watch Your Expectations
If your previous relationship was a more intense one, it can be a temptation to make all sorts of assumptions before your date about how it will go, and what sort of feelings the other party may have about you and your date. While the fact that you are going on a date is great, it is best to guard against getting too caught up in romantic expectations or fears. Just live in the moment on your date, and enjoy catching up with your old flame, and remember to be gentle with both yourself and your date.
About the author: Matthew Talbot works in Zoosk customer support.
Photo via Flickr. Attribution-NoDerivs, Creative Commons License.
Did you know roses have meanings according to color? If not, then this article’s for you. It’s true, not all roses are created equally. In fact, when you give someone a bouquet of roses, the color of the flowers is supposed to symbolize a message from you. Brush up on your Rose 101, or you might inadvertently send someone the wrong signal.
Here are the color meanings that ‘floriographers’ agree on when it comes to roses:
|blue||Mystery, attaining the impossible, love at first sight|
|white||Innocence, virtue, purity, reverence, humility|
|black||Death, hatred, farewell, rejuvenation or rebirth|
|yellow||Friendship, jealousy, infidelity, apology, broken heart|
|light pink||Desire, passion, joy of life, youth, energy|
|purple||Love at first sight|
|red + white||United|
|red + yellow
||Joy, happiness and excitement|
Just a little something to keep in mind, next time you decide to send a bouquet of roses. For more on the meanings of roses, visit Flower Dictionary. Happy Zoosking!
Photo via Flickr. License: Creative Commons, Attribution ShareAlike.
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by Julie Spira, the CyberDating Expert
I’ve gone on record as saying the ritual of having a ‘Date Night’ can actually save your relationship. It’s important to ‘date your mate’ and keep the romance alive after the honeymoon phase is over. Trust me, you can make those work deadlines and still have time for date night. Juggling your calendar is hard, but it can be done. Not sure where to start? Here are some of my tips.
1. Select a day and stick to it. Make sure you know your date night won’t be pre-empted by a football game or a standing nail appointment and stick to it. Every week on the same evening, you’ll be scheduling a romantic evening for you and your honey. Date night is sacred. Hire a babysitter, dog sitter, and take a pass on the happy hour invite.
2. Take turns on scheduling plans. Every week, you and your honey should alternate as to who selects the outing. Get creative. It can be as simple as in-room-dining by candlelight, to finding events to attend such as comedy shows, movies, plays, or free concerts.
3. Pre-date night foreplay. Show some enthusiasm and excitement leading up to your date. Leave a love note on your pillow or send a sexy text messages to each other in anticipation of your special night. Take out the lingerie that has been collecting dust in your bureau and wear it all day long.
4. Leave the boardroom behind. If you have had a fight with your boss or are worried about an upcoming presentation, take a break from talking about it on date night. There’s plenty of time to talk about work outside of your special evening.
5. Memorialize it. Be your own love historian. Bring your iPhone to take cute photos and videos, log into instagram and post a lovey-dovey shot of you and your sweetheart, and upload them to your photo sharing account on Flickr or to Facebook, if you’ve already announced to the world that you’re “In a Relationship.” Upload your favorite shot onto your desktop for quick viewing in between date nights.
The simple ritual of creating a date night can help you become as excited as you did during the first three months of dating, and can last for months, years, or decades to come!
Do you have your own date-night suggestions? Share them in our comment section!
About the author: Julie Spira is an online dating expert and bestselling author of The Perils of Cyber-Dating: Confessions of a Hopeful Romantic Looking for Love Online. Julie was an early adopter of online dating and creates irresistible profiles for singles on the dating scene. Visit her at CyberDatingExpert.com for dating advice and follow Julie @JulieSpira on Twitter and at Facebook.com/CyberDatingExpert
Photo via Flickr. Creative Commons License: Attribution-Sharealike.
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by Huw Richardson
Near and far are concepts the heart seems to ignore. Literature and history are filled with long-distance relationships: the letters of Abelard and Heloise and the letters of John and Abigail Adams contain deep wisdom and love, and also humor and candid pain. What is the Anthony/Cleopatra/Caesar triad if not a long-distance relationship gone horribly bad? What else is Ulysses’ marriage to Penelope? Fiddler on the Roof has one of the daughters falling in love with her tutor, despite his exile to Siberia. The Internet has provided new meaning to “Long Distance Relationship” both in the the sense of definition (what do we mean by ‘Relationship’?) and in the sense of tools and content (what makes a relationship work). We can video chat, text and sext to our hearts’ content now. What would Cleopatra have made of Facebook? Would Perchik have tweeted his love to Hodel?
Presenting yourself online in an emotionally available way can result in that flush of new love that we are all looking for. But what happens when your Mister or Miss Awesome is far away? What can we learn about long-distance relationships to make the time-space factor easier to deal with? Is there anything that such a relationship can teach those of us not willing to take such a risk?
By way of presenting my bone fides, my last two relationships have been long distance. For two and a half years while living in San Francisco I dated a man from Seattle. Later, for more than three years, I dated a man from Hamilton, Ontario. For the first year I was in North Carolina, but I moved to Buffalo, NY, in order to be closer. Of course, even though we were less than one hour apart by car, there was an international border to cross any time we wanted to cuddle!
After six years of doing this, I’d be willing to do it again (although I don’t need to, thankfully!) because of the things I’ve learned by going through the process. These same points are valuable for “local” relationships as well as Long Distance Relationships (LDRs)
1) Communication! Communication! Communication!
Humans are remarkable animals: our physical and mental structure is patterned in such a way that we can communicate beyond mere words via posture, tone, and even pheromones and other body functions. Communication in long distance is largely relegated to text-only, and so it is important that all parties in a LDR verbally communicate as much as possible all the things that are usually contained in subtext. Since your location is divided, your communication must be extreme.
The most important thing that I’ve learned as a writer: humor, especially sarcasm and irony, fail miserably on-line. Attempting to communicate in a “sassy” way will blow up in your face. Trying to ironically understate the importance of something will result in your partner thinking it’s not important. Words online have to be 100% literal. Unless you’re an amazing writer of romance, please: Don’t do it. Full Stop.
The second most important thing I’ve learned is: everything is important. During the first relationship, the SF-STL one, we flew back and forth each month, taking turns. Sometimes we managed to see each other for two weekends in the same month! We saw each other so often that we forgot to communicate in the day-to-day. Things that needed to be said were always held off until the next time we saw each other. The result was emotional time bombs that usually exploded moments after one or the other of us stepped out of the Alaska Air terminal, most often on the drive home.
Remember to say things when they are important to be said even in text. Don’t store up all that emotional energy for the next time you see each other.
2) Virtualize! Virtualize! Virtualize!
This builds on the last item and leads to the next. There are some times when you and your new love can not be together. But there is no reason not to try! Communication on the internet has been busted wide open by the use of smartphones and mobile technology. When I started dating the man in Seattle, about the only thing you could do on the net was IRC Chat (which is where we met). Now there’s video chat and unlimited data/calling plans to keep you in touch. The New York Times Magazine calls this “Ambient Intimacy”. Regular relationships have this build in by physical proximity. Those of us in LDRs need to make our own with tech.
Zoosk lets you communicate with each other via text or video chat. This makes chatting easier and can enhance your intimacy during those times that you are apart from each other.
When I was dating the Canadian he got a phone number from Google Voice that was local to me in North Carolina. The service was (and is) free and it forwarded to his Canadian Cell phone and let me talk to him whenever I wanted. His own calling plan let him call the States so we were never fall apart. My Google Voice account now allows me text him directly from my computer for free!
Skype facilitates international calling at discount rates, but also allows for video chat. One friend of mine calls the Family in Poland (for free!) as often as she can to show live pictures of her child growing up. I used to use the service for “geek dates”: we’d send each other YouTube links and watch videos together as we surfed the net from our desks.
3) Bilocation! Bilocation! Bilocation!
Unless there has been a clear and open agreement, you’re not setting up shop in one place. You have to set up shop in two places for this relationship to work.
Hamilton, Ontario, became my second home. More people in Hamilton knew who I was than in Buffalo! I would walk up James Street North, for the monthly Art Crawl and be waived at from shop windows, get hugs on the street, etc. My partner worked just as hard to know people in Buffalo, although with less success – mostly because of Population Density in the American Rust Belt, but also because people in Hamilton are so durned friendly!
Using Zoosk’s Romantic Social Network you can build a profile for the two of you that you share with your friends in both locations. You can post pictures, share comments about eateries in either location, and let the friends in one place know about what happened last weekend when you were out of town. And, of course, you can share your personal events with your friends in both places. If you link it up with Facebook and Twitter, even when you go on vacation you can make posts that all your circles can share.
You need to move easily between two worlds. The stereotyped image is “I have a drawer in my partner’s bedroom.” But the reality you need two lives: it’s a huge pain to only have a change of clothes for a long weekend – better to have several in the house! Shoes need to live in two places. We constantly read each others local news or local blogs. I knew I’d “Made It” in Hamilton when I heard my name on a Canadian podcast!
In a “regular” relationship this has obvious analogues: your circles of friend may never integrate; they may never even meet until your engagement party. But you and your partner need to move easily in both worlds and in the third world that you are creating together.
4. For the rest of you…
Clearly LDRs are special cases, but they underscore the weakness and strengths of “regular” relationships too. Communication is the key in all cases. A friend of mine, a clergy person, told a couple, “You never have to lie to each other, ever.” This holds true in LDRs and in other types of relationships. There’s a desire to only put your best foot forward, but the reality is that all the rest of you is going to show up sooner or later – and all the rest of your intended as well! Don’t use your online time to hide that as it will only break you up in the end.
And here’s the last thing I learned: both of my Long-Distance Relationships ended because of a change in my life that I failed to communicate successfully. In both cases, I downplayed the change, I even covered it over a little. But ultimately I had to be honest and it was that that caused the breakup to happen.
When you are not living in close proximity with the person you are dating (or, sometimes, when you are) it is possible to hide the parts of your life that might make the other party uncomfortable. These can be small parts (pets, family) or huge (religion, health, eating habits, etc). When you meet the prospective love of your life online, you need to bring your entire self to the table, online already creates a filter, don’t hinder the process by holding back anything that may be important to the relationship.
About the author: Huw works for Zoosk Customer Support and has been a blogger for over 15 years, a writer since high school and a geek forever. His idea of a perfect date is a tour of Alcatraz and the Barbary Coast Trail powered by dim sum.
Photo via Flickr. Creative Commons License: Attribution-ShareAlike.
By Aleks Oniszczak
Love doesn’t have to take a back seat in tough economic times. To the contrary, a little bit of creativity will put you back in the driver’s seat and you’ll have fun doing something different from the usual dinner and a movie!
Let’s start with dinner – what is it exactly that makes going out for dinner fun? There’s the novelty of going to a new restaurant or the familiarity and comfort of going to a favorite spot. There’s the anticipation of going out, getting ready, getting out of the house, experiencing the buzz and energy of people and conversations around you and, of course, walking back to the car and going home feeling like you’ve done something more with your time than sitting on the couch watching TV.
But most importantly, there’s the conversation with your special someone – getting to know them, sharing an experience and having fun. But this experience comes at a price! Sure it’s fun to eat sushi or check out that fancy new burger place, but it’ll cost you. If you’re on a budget, you’ll find yourself not going out very often if after paying for dinner, drinks, tax, tip, dessert etc. it eats your entire entertainment budget for the month, or even worse, puts you into debt! That my friend is no recipe for romance.
So what’s the answer? It’s simple – Coffee! Or Tea. Either will do. But, can it really take the place of dinner? Well, think about it – if you take the time to find a funky café with cozy seats and you’re with your honey, what’s not to like? You still have the planning as you do with a restaurant, you’re still going out – to a new part of town you haven’t explored before perhaps. You’re at a table together with lots of other people and couples around you, just like a restaurant. You can people watch, eavesdrop and gossip about the people and conversations around you just the same as you would if you were at one of those places where it ends with a large check on the table waiting for you to pay. You can talk, joke and stare into each other’s eyes just the same.
The only difference is that a couple of coffees are going to cost you around $5 even at “expensive” fancy cafes while even moderately priced restaurants are going to want you to part with more than that for the tip alone! Just don’t get tricked into getting a latte – you’re on a budget and the goal is to be able to go out with your honey as much as possible, not pay for the café owner’s trip to Europe. Coffee is the best deal, so stick with it. When times get better, go out for lobster – twice a day even. But until then, don’t be a shut-in, take your sweetie out and have fun!
Hope you found this post useful! Next time I post here, I’ll discuss how to derive all the fun of going out on a date to a first run 3D Imax movie – again, without breaking the bank.
About the author: Aleks Oniszczak has followed his own dating advice and has ended up happily married, living in San Francisco working as a QA Engineer at Zoosk. Being Canadian, he enjoys Poutine, skating and universal healthcare.
Photo via Flickr. Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike.
July 6, International Kissing Day. What does that mean? How do we celebrate “Kissing Day”? Are we supposed to lock lips with someone special this day? Do we study kissing technique? Is the purpose to increase the quantity of smooches? Do we try new styles of kisses? Or is it just a play from Hershey’s to coerce us to buy their chocolate morsels?
Don’t we all already know how to kiss already? We’ve been kissing since we were toddlers. Do we really need a day focusing on it?
To be blunt, the answer is “yes.” We need to set aside one day for the kiss because it’s such an accepted intimate act that carries so much weight in a relationship. It seems that once they’ve been in a relationship for a while, most couples’ kissing styles begin to mesh and they find their smooching groove somewhere in the middle. But, for couples newly dating, without much kissing experience or even for some “old timers”, a little guidance might be in order to guarantee this intimate act is seen as sensual, rather than as a fiasco.
It all starts with cleanliness. You don’t want to go sticking your tongue into someone’s damp cave of halitosis. So, if you know there might be a make-out session in your near future, brush your teeth beforehand. If that’s not possible, carry a travel size bottle of Scope, some mints or a stick of gum to freshen and not offend.
I remember in high school kissing a girl once after she’d eaten what seemed like a wheel of cheese. She wanted to make this kiss an event. Not a good thing. And, while we’re on the subject, fellas, if kissing is in on the horizon, shave so you don’t leave her with stubble rash.
The big question: open or closed? The simple answer: closed…duh. Once you have made lip-lock, there’s really no reason to open your eyes. Keep them closed and enjoy the ride. If you open them and your partner catches you, you run the risk of coming off kind of creepy. But, then again, you just caught them with their eyes open, too. Could be a match made in heaven.
Where do you put your hands while you’re kissing? It really depends on your position. Are you standing at a door? Sitting on a sofa? Lying on a bed? If you’re standing, wrapping your arms around your partner and rubbing their back is a safe way to go (think slow, sensual strokes). Another safe bet for most any position is even placing the hands the face (a hand cupping the jaw or lightly touching the cheek). Hands in your pockets? No!
Once the tongue comes into play with a kiss, you start to open the door to passion. A tongue can really heighten a kiss, but it can also douse the fires of excitement if used improperly. Remember, inch for inch, the tongue is the strongest muscle in the human body. So, use that power for good, not evil. That means no shoving or forced entry. And, by all means, keep it in the mouth. No one needs you lapping their lips and chin like a Golden Retriever. Use your tongue to tease and seduce, and you’ll be fine.
Celebrate the kiss today, July 6th. Smooch good-bye on the cheek. Give a peck on the lips in the morning. Increase the passion a la the French. But, be sure that there’s meaning behind each lip-lock. Have fun.
Leon Scott Baxter is America’s Romance Guru and author of A Labor With Love and Out of the Doghouse and the new book, The Finance of Romance
Got some kissing advice you’d like to share? Share your lippiest tips in our comment section!