Dating Tips from Gaspard
Dating Tips

How to Handle Valentine’s Day When You’re In a New Relationship

When you’ve just started dating someone


Valentine’s Day is more awkward than romantic. You don’t know if you should plan a lavish night on the town, buy them a gift, or simply ignore the day altogether. Here’s what two dating and relationship experts recommend.

No Matter What, Talk About It Beforehand

Before you make any sort of plans for Valentine’s Day, it’s best you talk things over with the person you’re seeing. Dr. Nerdlove, dating columnist and author of New Game +: The Geek’s Guide to Love, Sex, & Dating, told us that this is especially true if you’re someone who feels strongly about the holiday one way or the other. If you don’t like the commercialism, cheesiness, or manufactured pressure of it all, it’s best to mention it sooner rather than later.


Or if you like using the holiday to get into the spirit of romance, it’s important you let them know. As Vanessa Marin, licensed marriage and family therapist and Lifehacker contributor, explains, surprising them with a lavish celebration can be a recipe for disaster. It’s a huge gamble that’s more than likely going to make them very uncomfortable. And don’t stress about talking this out, says Marin:

Anyone in a new relationship feels that awkwardness around the 14th, so you’re not going to surprise your partner by bringing it up. Lead with something simple like, “I know Valentine’s Day is always such a weird thing, so…”

Get it out in the open, discuss it honestly, and come up with a plan together that makes you both feel comfortable.

If You’re Not Exclusive, Ignore the Holiday

It’s hard to measure the seriousness of a relationship with time, says Marin, since relationships unfold at wildly different paces. For some couples, dating for three weeks could mean you’ve only had one or two dates. For others, dating for three weeks could mean you’re already monogamous. So, as a general guideline, Marin recommends you base your plans off of your exclusivity, or lack thereof:

I think a better guideline to use is whether or not you’ve had “the talk” about being exclusive. Or, if you’re in non-monogamous relationships, that you’ve talked about being serious. If you’re not exclusive, I would ignore the holiday altogether.

You shouldn’t expect Valentine’s to be a big deal, especially if you’re in the first weeks of a relationship. Romance is just starting to blossom between you and your partner, so there’s no need to put any extra pressure on each other because of your timing. If it works out, there’s always next year. If you feel the need to do something, Nerdlove suggests you go with something small but cute like a cheesy card at most.

If You Are Exclusive, a Date Is Fine, but Ditch the Gifts

If you’ve had “the talk” with your partner and are now exclusive, celebrating is fine as long as it’s within reason. That said, Nerdlove still warns against anything too extravagant.

If you’ve been dating for a couple months, a simple romantic date is certainly a good way to celebrate, although I wouldn’t go overboard. My advice for couples is, if you’re not going to ignore it, then just stay home instead of trying to go out to a crowded restaurant that’s jacked up the prices. It’s more romantic, it’s cheaper and it’s a hell of a lot more fun.

Marin echoes the “dinner at home” concept, and notes a couple other perks that go along with staying in. First off, you won’t have to stress about getting a reservation on one of the busiest nights of the year. Second, you won’t make each other feel uncomfortable by surrounding yourselves with a bunch of much more serious couples. It’s just you and your partner enjoying a nice meal together without any pressure.

Even if you do have a date night, you should probably still avoid giving gifts. As Marin explains, one person inevitably ends up spending more than the other person, and both parties are left feeling awkward. And you should absolutely avoid giving any extravagant gifts, says Nerdlove. Big gifts very early on in a relationship raises a huge red flag to most people and will probably freak them out. If you’ve been together for a few months, however, and you see each other at least once or twice a week, a gift around $30 is reasonable. Maybe a book by their favorite author, or a movie you both mentioned wanting to see. Regardless, if you talk about it beforehand as we’ve advised, there won’t be any problems.

Meet Advices

The Best Places to Meet New People

Let’s face it, meeting new people and making new friends is hard.


We’re all busy, and it’s not easy to just come across people with similar interests. That’s why it’s difficult to make friends after college, or when you move to a new city. Still, sometimes it’s just about finding the right places or activities that suit you, whether you love nightlife, or less stressful online or quiet in-person activities. Let’s build a list of the best ways to find and connect with whom you’ll likely share interests, and want to make friends with.

Don’t get us wrong—there are lots of places to meet people. Work is an obvious contender, but making friends at work can often come with drawbacks. Online communities are great for online friendships (and many become strong meatspace friendships too!), but we want to get more specific. Which communities? If work is your suggestion, how do you handle the drawbacks? How do you go about making new friends?


Let us know your preferred method in the discussions below, like this:

  1. Include a picture! Anything to add a little visual interest, especially if your suggestion is a website, a place, or something like that.
  2. One suggestion per comment please! Let’s keep it simple and easy to read—if you have multiples, and we hope you do, add them as separate comments! We really want each thread to be about one great way to make new friends.
  3. Try not to repeat suggestions! If you see someone who’s already suggested your idea, click the star and reply to their comment with your own personal story. We still want to hear it, just make it part of the thread!
  4. Tell us your story! Maybe you met your best friend though a specific online community, or offline event, or at a place or program—whatever your suggestion is, tell us how it all happened, and why you think it’s a great way to meet people you’ll actually want to be friends with, as opposed to random acquaintances. Tell us what worked for you!

So then, let’s begin! We’ll get you started, but we’re really interested in yours, so fire away.

Dating Tips

How To Fix Your Relationship

Five Simple Hacks That’ll Strengthen Your Relationship In A Week

A couple in love in the sunset on the beach

When you and your girl first met, it was electric. And it was easy: You wanted to be around each other all the time, couldn’t keep your hands to yourself (why would you want to, eh?) and you found yourself smiling in your cubicle as you read her latest text (or sext). The very best of relationships all begin with the strongest, most exciting of intentions and for good reason: Why else would you make it Facebook official if you weren’t officially falling hard for this beautiful woman you met?

But, time goes on. The months pass. You have your first fight. You have trouble in the bedroom or you struggle to communicate how you feel. You turn different pages and can’t always read the same paragraph without disagreeing. While fighting is absolutely normal and healthy in a relationship, if you’re feeling like you’ve started to lose some of the luster you both had for one another — don’t let it overwhelm or defeat you.

In fact, many relationship experts agree that while deal-breaking type of issues (like one of you wants kids and the other doesn’t) aren’t as easy to overcome, other problems can work themselves out in just a week. No need to drag out a conversation or bring out those skeletons in the closet, instead try these simple — and fun! — tactics to make your relationship stronger in the next seven days:

1. Have A ‘High-Low’ Conversation

She left the entire contents of her closet on the floor before heading off to work and you come home to a mess. She drank too much wine and picked a fight via iMessage and you just can’t let it go. Or maybe, you simply get annoyed with the way she chews her food loudly sometimes — we all have grievances in relationships. And while neither of you are perfect, a perfect way to remember those things you really love about each other is talking about them. Relationship expert and therapist Dr. Karin Anderson Abrell says having a high-low conversation will get you back on track. “Take turns sharing something you love about your relationship and actually revel in the memory of the high,” she says. “Then move to the ‘low’ something in your relationship that you’d like to improve. Take time to discuss and strategize ways you can address the issue.” The thing not to forget: once you’ve set a game plan for improving the lows you both have, talk about another ‘high’ in your relationship. It’s like the goal of a compliment sandwich at performance reviews: you always want to end on a positive.

2. Go ‘Off The Grid’ For A Weekend (Or A Day)

Even if you’re in a monogamous relationship, chance are, you actually aren’t. You’re both fondling your iPhones far more often than you’re touching one another. Abrell says by stepping away from technology for a weekend (or okay — just a day if you can’t make it) — will help you reconnect. “Many couples engage in way too much screen time. Commit to going “off the grid” for a weekend,” she says. “Take a trip away or just stay home without texting, emailing, tweeting and posting. Play cards, cook a meal together, or go to the gym. Do anything other than spending time on your phones, tablets and computers!” A good way to pass the time? Might we suggest some good ‘ol fashion marathon sex? That’s way better than checking Instagram.

3. Ask More Questions

If you’ve been together for years, you may be convinced you know everything about her: from the position that makes her orgasm to remembering not to talk to her before 7 a.m. and after her first cup of coffee, but just as you change over time, so does she. Have you really taken time to get to know the woman you sleep next to each and every night? Abrell says it’s time to go back to school: “It’s time to ‘study’ each other! Read chapters in relationship books together and discuss. Buy question books and ask each other to respond. Spend time truly connecting. Stay in bed for hours exploring new sex positions. You’ll be amazed at what you’ll learn and how much closer you become when you study each other.”

4. Send More Sexts

Beside being able to look at boobs on your phone at work without having to worry about your internet history (hey, it’s the answer to no porn at work!) is hot in itself, but it can actually strengthen your relationship. While you and your girl may have sexted in the early days when you had sex nearly every night of the week, over time, your curiosity and passion may wane. Author and communication and intimacy expert, Sandra LaMorgese, Ph.D., says rebuilding the anticipation throughout the day will have you both rushing to bed. “A good way to keep your relationship dynamic and exciting is to remember that the steamiest seduction begins long before you lay a hand on your partner. Send your partner spicy little texts throughout the day, talking about how and what you are going to do to each other once you get home,” she says. “Once your partner is in your mind, sexually, your body will follow soon after, and so will theirs.”

5. Say ‘Thank You’ As Often As You Say ‘I Love You’

By now your girlfriend’s name could be Sally-I-Love-You. You likely say those three (not so) little words so many times that you’ve forgotten just how special they are. But here’s another phrase that you might not say as often (but should): ‘thank you for _______ babe.” Relationship expert Dr. Jane Greer says expressing gratitude is just as important as expressing love (and aren’t they one-in-the-same?) “Your partner might not be doing monumental things: Cooking dinner, folding and putting away the laundry, making the morning coffee, keeping the apartment clean, but they all do matter to you, don’t they?” She says. “Remember to thank your partner instead of just expecting them to be done and often times, taking them for granted.”

Dating Tips

How To Get Your Ex-Girlfriend Back

If You Really Want To Win Her Back, Follow These Steps

You idiot. What in the absolute hell did you do to fuck this one up? Okay, calm down and take a few deep breaths. This isn’t the end of the world. While losing the one you love aka the One That Got Away™ may seem like it’s the end of the world, I can assure you that it’s not. While the feelings circling through your stomach, heart, and brain are currently at their most uncomfortable state, there is plenty to do to win back the one you lost. All it takes is a little bit of sticktoitiveness and a slight suspension in self-respect… but just for a little bit. Here you’ll find everything you need to do get back the one that got away.

Apologize Profusely… If It’s Your Fault

What happened? Look, let’s straighten out the facts before they blow up in your face. If either one of you did something completely morally reprehensible, then you should truly consider if it’s worth getting back together. Some couples can get through something like infidelity, but some couples can’t. You two will know in your heart if there’s an issue you can get through, but if you broke up over a silly who-said-what quarrel, then apologize like your life depends on it. Make sure it’s something you actually feel sorry about, though, as this will be the basis of your new relationship.

Make An Effort To Change Yourself

Nobody should have the ability to make you act the opposite way you intended. If you hate oranges — and I mean truly hate them — you can’t be expected to suddenly love oranges with the coos of someone you love. That being said, there are some qualities that cannot (and should not) be changed. On the other hand, there are some qualities that absolutely can stand to be tweaked. If your untidiness and interest in hoarding old bottles drove her wild, consider changing your act. In the end, do you want to be on your deathbed with the one you love or surrounded by your hobbies and foibles for all to see? Forget the Coke bottles, damn it.

Be The Cusack

There are so many good movies out there in which star-crossed lovers have to defy the odds to be with one another — a lot of those movies feature John Cusack. In one of his most memorable roles in Say Anything, he plays Lloyd Dobler who holds a goddamn boom box over his head (blasting Peter Gabriel of all people) to get the love of his life back. Guess what: it eventually works. While not everyone likes Peter Gabriel and even less people have access to a boom box, doing that one huge romantic gesture is something she won’t be used to. Maybe it’s surprising her with a dozen roses, or chocolate, or a new puppy covered in roses, showing you’ll go the distance for her will almost definitely help break through that icy layer of anger. BE THE CUSACK.

Use Your Words

Don’t message her on Facebook, don’t favorite her tweet, don’t show your affection via a stray like on Instagram — hell, don’t even try to get back together on the phone. Put down your phone if you can stand it and have a face-to-face conversation like adults. You’d be incredibly surprised to know how much emotion and meaning gets lost in translation when communicated through a text message. An innocent “It’s okay” can be turned into a cold and scathing version of itself when the other party is upset enough to interpret it as such. So, just grab coffee together and work out your differences with your mouth holes.

Offer A Solution

Okay, so maybe it wasn’t an argument that drove you two apart, maybe it was a natural disaster like moving across the country. If you gave or were given the whole “the universe will bring us back together” speech and know that the universe doesn’t particularly give a shit about two young adults in love, offer a solution. If she’s in New York and you’re in Ohio, make a schedule. You’re going to visit each other every month and talk on the phone every night. If that doesn’t work, find a compromise that does. One of the biggest mistakes a couple can make is giving up and leaving their fate in the hands of this foggy unknown force that is the universe. It sounds romantic to say that you’ll eventually end up back together, but have you seen how many attractive people are in New York? She’s gonna find a new boyfriend faster than you can say “universe.”

Change The Relationship

If you broke up over the state of your relationship, whether it was too stale or rocky, simply change it. If it takes some particularly un-sexy planning in which you sit down together and figure out what you’re going to do and when, just do it. It may not sound fun to put “sexy time” in your iPhone calendar, but when that notification pops up and you follow through with your plans, you’ve already progressed in changing your habits. Let’s say you’ve ended things because you couldn’t find time alone with her and your roommates were constantly getting in the way of your relationship, consider moving in together. It’s not that hard.

Dump The Side Piece

Being single, no matter how long, is a perfect time to test your bachelorhood and date a bunch of different people to make sure you’re fine with your choice. Once you’ve gone through and had sex with the entire Mid-Atlantic region of the United States and are sure the one that got away is the one for you, then end your fling. Just end it. If she’s gone through the same process, assume she’s learned the same vital information about herself that you have. No matter how you cut it, you can’t have your cake and eat it too.

Don’t End The Conversation

There’s a reason you keep coming back together. If you truly didn’t want to be together, you wouldn’t be. Keep the dialogue open and relish the time you have with one another. There’s never going to be a relationship as seamless and easy as you imagine and that’s totally fine. Nobody’s perfect and two not-perfect people together are bound to make for a not-perfect relationship, but that doesn’t mean you should give up. If you’re worried that things are going downhill, ask her if everything is alright. Sometimes your insecurities will take hold and send the relationship into a bad spot when everything was going better than you thought in the first place. Keep talking, keep planning, and never stop being romantic.