Let’s get you to the first date faster.

You can message back and forth all day long, but when it comes to an actual date, you have to put yourself out there. While the rom-coms make asking someone out look like second nature, we know there’s usually some anxiety involved. No shame.

Meet Match’s Dating Expert: Sylvi

With over 25 years in healthcare, Sylvi has dedicated her life to helping others. This passion eventually evolved from a focus on physical health to emotional health as she helps singles navigate relationships. Sylvi’s specialty is perfecting members’ profiles to attract who they’re looking for.

Q: How do I ask for a date without coming off as pushy or too eager?

A: Let your match know that you’re enjoying getting to know them and would like to meet up sometime soon. Ask them what their schedule is like. This confirms your interest in spending time with them and is a low-pressure invitation. It’s also a great way to feel out if the interest is mutual without making it awkward.

Q: I was turned down. What should I do?

A: We’ve all been there. If it’s clear that there will be no further contact, let them know that you appreciate their time and wish them well. If it’s a temporary situation – for example, your match is going out of town or has previous plans – ask again in a few days or sooner if your match brings it up. Life gets busy, so “no” doesn’t always mean never.

Q: My match accepted the date. Now how do I know who pays?

A: It’s 2021, so there’s no more hard-and-fast rules on who pays. However, if you initiated the date, be prepared to pay for both of you. If you didn’t initiate the date but feel strongly about paying or splitting the bill, feel free to let them know how you like to handle things beforehand. For example, you can work into the conversation, “I’m old school and pay for all of my dates. I hope that’s okay with you.” Or, “I know you asked me out, but I picked the restaurant, so can we split the bill this time?” If it doesn’t come up naturally and you feel strongly about paying, you can always excuse yourself to the bathroom and quietly take care of the check before returning.

Q: My last date didn’t look anything like their photos. How do I avoid this happening again?

A: Start by looking at your match’s photos and asking them to tell you about them. For example, if they have a lot of travel pictures, you can ask when they took those trips. Due to the pandemic, some photos may be over a year old. You can also look out for signs of discrepancy, such as obvious or heavy editing, super close headshots where you can’t see their entire face, and no full-body photos.

I also always recommend scheduling a Vibe Check prior to setting up a date. Video chats not only give you a chance to talk and see each other live, but can ease some of the anxiety that comes with meeting in person for the first time.­­

Match’s Most Eligible Valentines

Still looking for a Valentine? Whether you’re searching for fit and flawless or you’re all about the personality, these eight eligible bachelors and bachelorettes will show you some l-o-v-e just in time for Cupid’s favorite holiday.

Let’s meet the babes:

Jackson aka Mr. GQ

Do we really need to explain the nickname? I mean…look at that face. While he’s mastered all the model facials – smoldering, suspicious, you name it – he’s usually all smiles. At just eight months old and 55 pounds, he still has a little growing up to do (don’t all men?) and just wants someone to be silly with along the way.  

View Jackson’s profile

Demi aka Netflix & Chill (in the good way)

This 10-pound female chihuahua is the perfect mate for anyone into really big…ears! While she’s only one year old, she has mastered the art of relaxation, making her the dream companion for binging that new documentary. (Yes, Netflix, we’re stillll watching…)

View Demi’s profile

Zoe aka Little Spoon

If you’re one of those bizarre singles who doesn’t like to cuddle, this ain’t ya girl. This 65-pound sweetheart loves to snuggle up after a long day of work or play. She’s also a great walking companion as her little legs and affectionate spirit are always turning heads.

View Zoe’s profile

Jimbo aka The Jock

Jimbo is like the football player you had a crush on in high school, but with a wayyy better personality. He’s two years old and the perfect partner for long runs, hikes or just throwing the ball in the yard. His upbeat attitude and silly spunk will always make you smile.

View Jimbo’s profile

Tyga aka Teddy Bear

If the big warm teddy bear is your type, look no further. Tyga is 80 pounds, four years old and has plenty of love to share. He’s also the perfect guy to introduce your parents and friends to – no really, he gets along with everyone.

View Tyga’s profile

Dizzy aka Mr. Dependable

No matter what kind of day you’ve had, you’ll love going home to this handsome hunk of love. At 83 pounds, Dizzy is the perfect protector, but loves to be silly too. He’s always ready for a walk or a good belly rub (aren’t we all?) and is looking for a stable partner to provide him both.

View Dizzy’s profile

Bernice aka Down for Whateva

Bernice is one of those babes who prides herself on being low maintenance. Whether you want to explore the open road, pick up new friends at the park or just kick it on the couch, she’s game for anything. She doesn’t let her past get in the way (no ex bashing here!) and is ready for a new partner in crime to enjoy the future with.

View Bernice’s profile

Allie aka Sugar Mama

Sweet and sophisticated with plenty of skills, Allie is pretty much everyone’s type – so better keep an eye on your friends around her. She loves meeting new people, long walks on the beach (or the street) and sharing her love. And what’s better than that?   

Ready to match with one of these cuties? You’re in luck. All are currently available for adoption through Wags & Walks, an LA-based adoption center dedicated to helping rescue dogs find their forever homes. 

FAKE NEWS…and the real story of love in the digital age

Dr. Helen Fisher

The Washington Post recently proclaimed that “The US is in a Crisis of Love.” Many Americans agree—currently regarding America’s singles as commitment-phobes who are retreating to their bedroom computers to duck romance and attachment. Really? I and my colleagues at Match wanted to see if this was true. So in our 9th annual survey, known as Singles in America, we polled a representative sample of 5,000+ adult singles of all ages, backgrounds, sexual orientations and regions of the country to get to the real scoop.

Indeed, it’s fake news: 57% of singles report that they seek romance; and 60% want to make a life together–while only 9% want to “date casually.”

Today’s singles are being smart about love too. Some 31% say they first want to build self-acceptance—a good component of a healthy partnership. And one out of three want to get their finances in order before cupid strikes.  Moreover, more than half of young singles have created a dating profile on a dating site or app.  But rather than just looking at photos, then carelessly pursuing “him” or “her,” 68% say they assiduously assess a potential partner’s profile.  Few are willing to spend their precious time, money and energy pursuing a romantic dead end for very long either.  Instead, after about four months of dating someone, many launch the DTR conversation: “Where are we headed?” And 33% depart if their partner doesn’t want to have the conversation.

But today’s singles are slow and careful. They don’t want to “catch feelings” until they are ready—thus fueling an impressive new social trend, what I call “Slow Love.” Some 76% cautiously begin a partnership as “just friends.”  Then they slowly become friends-with-Benefits to see if they are compatible between the sheets—another important part of most relationships.  Even later, they inform friends and kin of their budding relationship and embark on an “official first date.” And only after a long stretch of living together, do they wed–often some six years after meeting. Where marriage used to be the beginning of a partnership, today it’s the finale. 

I’m impressed—because academic data clearly show that the longer you court and the later you wed, the more likely your marriage will last. Surely, courtship is changing with changing times.  But love is not dead. It’s a primordial brain system that will endure as long as we survive as a species.  And today’s singles—particularly our young—are taking love seriously and proceeding with elegant sanity.  Bravo to them.   

Check out our 9th Annual Singles in America Survey HERE.

When The Best Medicine Is Love

Amanda and Troy Martinez connected on Match in 2016, but their love story actually began seven years earlier, in a hospital room. While an emergency center certainly doesn’t sound like the ideal place to meet, for Amanda and Troy, a chance encounter on one of the most harrowing days of Troy’s life set the stage for the love of a lifetime.

In 2009, Amanda was working as an ER nurse at Mercy Hospital in Bakersfield, CA, when she treated a badly injured man who had been in a major car accident. Troy’s pickup truck had been struck head-on by a bus, leaving him with a fractured face, bruised chest and more. His memory of the hospital stay is foggy, but he did recall a blonde nurse taking his vitals.

Fast-forward to 2016: Troy’s daughter set him up with a Match account, and he came across Amanda’s profile — not knowing that she was the nurse who treated him years earlier. Over two months went by, with no one making the first move. Troy had been feeling shy, and was a bit out of practice when it came to dating. Finally, Amanda, who was divorced with kids as well, sent Troy a message. Not long into their conversation, they realized their incredible connection. Amanda didn’t recognize him from his Match profile right away, because when he was in the hospital, Troy’s facial fracture left him bruised and swollen — not looking like himself.

Though they wanted to meet right away, time was not on their side. Again. Work took Troy out of town for two weeks, pushing back their first date, but regular phone calls kept their connection blossoming. After messaging on the app and talking on the phone for weeks, they finally met…for technically the second time. Dinner and dancing at a Mexican restaurant solidified their connection — both say their first date never really ended, because they’ve been inseparable ever since. On knowing Amanda was the one, Troy says, “It’s hard to explain. You just know.”

Coming up on their one-year anniversary as a couple, Troy approached Amanda’s daughters to ask their permission to propose, and then got approval from his own kids — everyone agreed they should be together. On Christmas, they were celebrating and opening gifts with their families. At the end of the day, Troy announced that he had one more present to hand out, and presented Amanda with a ring and heartfelt declaration of his commitment.

Today, Amanda and Troy are happily married, and enjoy traveling with their children (most recently to Disney World and the Dominican Republic). Both avid lovers of the outdoors, they spend precious alone time together in the mountains, fishing and hanging out. Though they have many other shared interests, like music, put simply: they are just in love with each other’s company.

Love Language Inspiration

Love isn’t limited to flowers and chocolates anymore. In the digital age, even the smallest sentiment can go a long way to show your appreciation for an admirer. Check out our 5 Love Languages and get some inspiration without spending a single cent.

How To Have a Great First Date

By Julie Spira, Online Dating Expert and CEO, Cyber-Dating Expert

You passed the profile test, mutually “liked” each other, and have decided to meet IRL for the first time. Now what?

How can you make sure you’re date-ready, and ensure your in-person dialog helps you get to a second date?

First dates can make even the best conversationalists nervous, with many singles defaulting to an interview-style meeting, or ending up with long moments of silence, where you can hear a fork drop on the floor. Both of these scenarios can take the romance out of dating, and make someone ask, “Check, please?”

If you’ve had this happen before, chances are you could use a cheat-sheet or a little coaching on how to get started and keep the convo going.

Here are five tips on how to break the ice, remove the pressure, and have a first date worthy of putting a second one on the calendar before you leave.

Take a Screen Shot of Your Date’s Profile.

Preparing for a first date takes more effort than putting on lipstick or pressing your pants.

I know that dating can be overwhelming, and you don’t want to call someone “Jimmy” when his name is “Johnny.” If you take a quick peek at their profile before the date starts, you can welcome them with a personalized “hello,” to get your date started.

Plus, you won’t be asking embarrassing questions like, “So have you ever been married before?” which might backfire, as your date might feel as if he or she is under the microscope.

You’re on a Date, Not in a Deposition

Too frequently people get nervous on a date and default to a job interview-style list of questions that feels as far away from romantic as it gets.

I suggest asking questions that don’t require a “yes” or “no” answer, such as “What’s the last concert you went to, and what did you love about it?” or “What movie do you have a burning desire to see?”

Both topics can easily lead to asking someone for a second date.

[Cue smiley face. :)]

Leave the Drama Behind

I’ve read too many dating profiles where someone writes they’re looking for someone who is drama-free. Besides being cliche, everyone’s had life experiences that involved drama, so it’s an unrealistic request.

I recommend keeping your first date conversations on the lighter side, which means don’t start comparing your date cards, talk about work problems, or complain about your ex. I promise you the date will go south quickly, and you’ll go home with regrets.

If you’ve had a bad day at work, don’t let that mood tag along turn into an unpleasant date. Both you and your date’s time is precious and valuable.

Instead, take a deep breath and remember the memories that made you smile. Talk about those with your date. Even if you go down job history memory lane, talk about something you accomplished and are proud of.

Be Up on What’s Newsworthy

While you don’t have to read a newspaper from cover-to-cover or be a journalist, it’s a good idea to take a quick peek at an online news or entertainment site to know what’s happening in the world.

It can be as simple as knowing what films topped the box office the weekend before, to an understanding of climate issues. Being up on world affairs helps the conversation if it should slow down, plus being smart is super-sexy

If you’re still stuck on what to say, try spending more time listening and being interested, than talking and being interesting.

Julie Spira is America’s Top Online Dating Expert and Digital Matchmaker. She’s the founder of Cyber-Dating Expert, and has been coaching singles on dating online for over two digital decades. Follow @JulieSpira on Twitter and Instagram. Sign up for the FREE Weekly Flirt newsletter.