How to Handle the Stress That Comes With Holiday Dating

Holidays are stressful for almost everyone. However, when you’re with a significant other, the holidays can bring up a lot of questions. New couples may wonder if they should buy a present and long-term couples may begin to feel the heat of more personalized presents (like a ring!).

The dating world is often a muddled mix of rules—both spoken and unspoken. But when gifts are concerned, the situation often turns into a tangled web of frustration, confusion…and sometimes disappointment. During the most festive and wonderful time of the year, those in the midst of a new (or more established) relationship might be stressed out and desperately seeking Santa!

So what do you do when you’re dating during the holidays? For new relationships, should you buy a gift? Are the holidays the time to propose? Or is a holiday proposal insanely cliché? What if you’re dating multiple people and none of them are seemingly permanent partners?

The list of holiday frets and entanglements can go on and on. But, thankfully, the gift-giving situation isn’t a dire one. When handling relationships during the holidays, follow these survival guidelines:

Buying Gifts in a New Relationship

If you’re in a relationship that’s still on the new side, there may be a hesitation to buy a gift. The choice is up to you, but gift-giving may be less of a dilemma if the two of you seem to be heading in the direction of possible exclusivity. If you decide that this partner may be a keeper for a while longer–this doesn’t mean marriage per se—it’s best to select something small…or opt for an experience over a tangible gift. Purchase tickets to an event or concert. Don’t give jewelry in a new relationship…that’s just way too personal. Keep it simple, fun and not too personal. Psychology Today also recommends setting a mutual budget…that way no one goes overboard.

Gift Giving for Multiple Interests

OK…so maybe you’re dating around a lot, and your dating profile is still active. Perhaps no single individual has struck your interest as a long-term possibility. If you’ve only gone on a few dates, don’t worry about buying presents for the holiday. If relationships are kept casual and non-exclusive, a gift shouldn’t be expected.

The Long Term Love…and Gift Pressures

There is an insane pressure during the holidays when you’re in a firmly established long-term relationship. That pressure, of course, is all about a ring. Perhaps the two of you have talked about marriage. Maybe your partner has been hinting for a ring. Don’t ever use the holiday as a do-or-die pressure to get engaged. Choosing to propose, and heading to the altar, is an extremely serious decision. If, however, you are waiting for the right moment to propose, a holiday proposal can be incredibly romantic. According to The Knot’s 2016 Real Weddings Study, December is the most popular month for engagements. And there also are many tips to find affordable rings for your budget. While you may be tempted to drop on bended knee under the tree, you can always propose in a horse drawn carriage in the snow, under the stars at midnight, or even during a romantic holiday dinner.

Plus One?

The holidays also mean holiday parties. So should a new date be your plus one? The answer is based on how you feel about the person. Don’t ever bring a date to a company-hosted gathering whose personality you haven’t quite mastered yet. You don’t want a date that may consume too many libations or embarrass you. For friend-hosted events, the decision whether to take a date is up to you. Obviously, if you already introduced the individual to your close group of friends, then you likely feel comfortable. If, however, you just feel better going solo, then don’t feel pressured to bring a date. You don’t have to rush your plus one.

The holidays add pressure to an already stressful time of year…especially for individuals in relationships. But, really, the holidays don’t have nearly as much influence over our love lives as we assume. Giving gifts in new relationships isn’t and shouldn’t be an expectation. However, for couples who are looking at a possible exclusive relationship, talk about gift exchanges ahead of time and set a budget. As for the ring? Don’t propose unless you’re ready!

Planning the Perfect Honeymoon

Planning a wedding is certainly exciting, but it’s also downright exhausting. Fortunately, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, or rather, sunlight…and perhaps a sandy beach kissed by turquoise blue waters and a hammock built for two, where you and your new husband can melt away all the stress that you endured while planning your dream wedding.

Though it may seem difficult to do in the midst of all of the preparations for your nuptials, you want to make sure you squeeze in some time to between meetings with florists and dress fittings to plan your honeymoon. After all, this isn’t just any vacation, this is the vacation; one that you and your spouse will look back on forever.

Here are some tips to help you plan the perfect honeymoon.

Consider Your Goals

What do you want to do on your honeymoon? Are you and your future spouse going to want to relax and unwind pool- or beach side? Or, are you more of the adventurous type and would delight at the thrills  of rock climbing and zip lining through a rain forest? Knowing what you want to do on your honeymoon will allow you to choose a location where you can achieve your goals.

There are plenty of websites you can use to help you book hotels, flights, rental cars, and even activities, such as Expedia and Travelocity. Try using these sites to simplify your planning.

Figure Out When You Want to Leave

Would you like to leave immediately after your honeymoon, or does waiting for a few days or weeks after the big day sound like a better option to you? The advantage to going right away is that you’ll still be on the “high” of the wedding; however, if you wait, you’ll have something else that’s super exciting to look forward to after you say “I do.” And you have time to save up a little bit more money to play around with! 

Set a Budget

Like a wedding, the price of a honeymoon can get out of control quickly. To avoid going broke, make sure you set a budget – and stick to it. If you have frequent flier miles, or if your credit cards offer rewards, save them up and put them toward the cost of your honeymoon.

Determine What Type of Accommodations You Would Like

Do you want to stay at an adult-only, all-inclusive resort for your entire honeymoon? Are you looking for a more quaint, bed and breakfast type of vibe? Make sure you know exactly what you would like your accommodations to offer so that you choose something that best meets your needs.

Start Early

The earlier you start planning your honeymoon, the better. You’ll have more time to research all of your options and choose a location, accommodations and an itinerary that best meets your interests. Plus, if you book early enough, you may be able to lock in lower prices at hotels and resorts. Keep in mind, during busy seasons accommodations can get booked up really quickly and you don’t want to run out of options. 

Also, it’s important to remember that the type of honeymoon you want to take will dictate when you should begin planning. For an excursion to Machu Picchu, for example, you’ll have to book at least 6 months to a year in advance to ensure you have everything you need and that all accommodations are reserved. Excursions to these types of destinations are limited and book up quickly. However, if you are planning a trip to a tropical island where there are lots of resorts, you might be able to wait a little longer to start planning. As a general rule of thumb, the sooner you start making arrangements, the better off you’ll be.

Find Out About Necessities

If you’re going to be traveling outside of the United States, you’ll need to get a passport. Depending on your destination, you may also need a Visa and certain vaccinations. It’s best to find out all of the necessities that are required to get to your honeymoon location well in advance so you can be fully prepared.

In addition to these tips, make sure you discuss and confirm all plans with your soon-to-be spouse; a honeymoon is for both of you, and you want to make sure that you both get to enjoy it to the fullest.

Emotional Intelligence and What It Adds To Your Dating Life

Emotional intelligence, also known as EI, may be one of the essential factors for success in modern dating. From meeting a potential partner through a friend, at an event, or on a dating app, emotional intelligence can play a big role in how the relationship may continue to develop. Emotional intelligence, or the ability to better recognize your own emotions as well as others around you, is an important social skill that may add to the success of the long term relationship you’re looking for.

Here are some of the top reasons why emotional intelligence may be just what you need to enhance your dating life.


There are many positive benefits of emotional intelligence, one of which is self-regulation. The ability to control your own behaviors and reactions, despite your emotions, is a trait expressed by those with high EI. People who are in tune with their emotions, understand how to manage them for improved relationships. For instance, let’s say a person is having a bad day. An emotionally intelligent person will recognize the precise reasons why they may be feeling down and address them internally without taking their emotions out on their partner.

Instead of “getting in a mood,” try getting to the root of why you may be feeling the way you are. Communicate your feelings to your partner in a calm manner, so they have a better idea of what you may be going through at that given moment.


According to Psychology Today, people with high EI, have a better understanding of reading people’s feelings and why they may be feeling that particular way. Poor communication, negative reactive behaviors, and a general reluctance to understand what the other person is feeling, are a few signs of someone with a lower emotional awareness. Such negative behaviors may turn a potential partner off, forcing them to seek love elsewhere. Those with high EI are usually quicker to spot these signs and will make the most informed decision regarding how to address the other person’s feelings.

If you notice your partner isn’t communicating effectively, it’s best to address them calmly and simply ask them “I noticed you seem a little down, is everything okay?”. If they aren’t ready to talk, you have done your due diligence by asking and can give them their space until they are ready to open up. Let them know you are there for them when they feel ready to talk.


Confidence is sexy. High self-confidence has also been considered to be another trait of people with a high emotional intelligence. Healthy levels of self-esteem may be indicative of someone who has a heightened sense of self-awareness. Emotional intelligence helps a person to express the truest version of themselves, accepting their positive traits while also recognizing their own personal flaws which is crucial for success in relationships whether they be personal or professional.

If you want to learn more about EI and improve upon your emotional intelligence, you can read all about it here!


10 Strategies for Improving Finances as a Couple

Discussing money and finances as a couple can be difficult, but it should be a priority on the way to setting up a secure financial future. In many relationships, money is a leading source of conflict. Whether you are a new couple or a singleton, it is important to examine the role money is playing in our relationships. Here are 10 tips and strategies to improve your financial situation:

10 Strategies for Improving Finances

Be honest. While dating, it’s exciting and fun to spoil each other with expensive gifts or nights on the town. Overtime, expenses add up leading to a lot of regret and stress. It’s important to sit down and realistically examine if we can afford to do an activity or if spending coincides with our long term goals. As a couple, be upfront and talk about finances, goals, and dreams together. This will help us be more meaningful with spending so we won’t jeopardize our futures.

Avoid paying late fees. We have all had to juggle bills at one time or another, but paying late fees can ruin monthly budgets, low interest rates, and even credit scores. We owe it to ourselves to be current on our bills. If necessary, consider using automatic payments or email alerts to remind you of upcoming due dates. All of those $30 fees add up and late payments wreak havoc on interest rates paid on credit cards.

Create an emergency fund. Life happens, a lot. Cars break down, furnaces malfunction, people get sick, and surprises are around every bend. Most money experts suggest making it a priority to set aside at least $1,000 to handle these unexpected situations.

Sell unwanted items. Most of us have too much stuff. Today, a lot of our vintage and rustic treasures hiding in our closets, homes, and garages are worth a surprising sum. Take advantage of online sale sites, garage sales, and consignment stores to help us minimize and rake in some extra cash to help build that emergency fund or finance a couple’s getaway.

Pay off credit cards and debts. Many of us have been taught we need credit cards for emergencies or to build credit scores. Unfortunately, we often fall into the credit card trap and begin owing more money than we can easily repay. Overtime, this amount only snowballs as they add high interest rates and fees. Soon, there is no easy way out and we feel overwhelmed. Make it a priority to tackle these debts starting with our lowest balances and work our way up. When we have one card at a zero balance, rollover that payment onto the next card to keep up the momentum. With a little hard work and perseverance, we will eventually whittle down our debts.

Start meal planning. It’s no secret that it’s easy to grab take out on busy nights, but these impromptu meals are expensive and take a toll on our health. Instead of relying on drive thru, create a weekly meal plan. Take advantage of crock pots, instant pots, and leftovers. A few minutes planning and prepping will help us be more intentional with our grocery budgets and time, helping us reclaim our evenings and wasted money.

Evaluate insurance plans. Car, homeowner, and health insurance each take a big chunk out of our paychecks every month. Shop around for different policies and get price quotes from competing insurance companies to see if you can save money.

Ditch unnecessary expenses. Sort through statements to examine our spending habits and monthly fees. Maybe, we are paying $100 a month for cable, but rarely watch television? Look at costs and evaluate if we need to pay for these pricey services. Could we subscribe to a cheaper streaming service or watch our favorite shows for free online?

Upgrade appliances. A major portion of our living expenses often goes toward high electric and utility bills. As our microwaves, dishwashers, and other appliances wear out, replace them with energy efficient upgrades. And don’t forget the pool! Pool pumps and filters are responsible for a quarter of all energy usage in a home. Over time, these new appliances will allow us to save money without worrying about keeping the lights on.

Take advantage of a job’s benefits. Most employers offer perks and benefits for free or little cost. Look at your 401(k) plans, health savings, or flexible spending account to see if you might be losing valuable ways to save money. Some companies even offer commuter benefits, fitness reimbursement programs, car rental upgrades, and occasional admissions to theme parks or sporting events. See what is available and take advantage of these opportunities.

How do you improve your finances as a couple? We want to hear from you! 

10 Outdoor Activities for Every Couple

Spending time outdoors is a great way to enjoy life, get a healthy dose of vitamin D, and to breathe in the fresh air. Time outside is proven to have health benefits such as spurring weight loss, increasing brain activity and function, and reducing stress.

With that being said, enjoying outdoor activities is the perfect way to enjoy the company of your spouse, and luckily for you there are endless fun things to do in the great outdoors. Keep reading to learn about all of the outdoor activities that couples should be sure to experience at one point or another.

Going to the beach

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Whether you live near a beach or have to travel to take advantage of one, this is definitely not to be missed. What could be better than the salty air and warm ocean breeze? Search for seashells, dip your toes in the water, and observe wildlife for either a fun adventure or a relaxing day – you decide!

Having a picnic

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Grab your favorite sandwiches, a checkered blanket, and your sunhats and enjoy a meal outside, even if it is just in your very own backyard! You’ll love to hear the birds chirping as you sit back, relax, and enjoy a delicious meal and a bevie or two.


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Planting and maintaining your own garden – whether it consist of shrubs, flowers, or vegetables – is a fulfilling activity. So why not share in the fun with your significant other? You’ll love the time outside and admiring your garden will be an awesome reward for all of your hard work.

Going for a walk

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As simple as it is, going for a walk is a great outdoor activity that is not only fun, but it has a wide range of benefits to it. It helps relieve stress, aids in weight management, boosts your mood, and can even make you more creative. Find a new path to enjoy together!

Enjoying a campfire

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What’s more delicious than a freshly toasted marshmallow on a s’more? Making campfire treats and snuggling with your S.O. by the fire, will definitely warm you up. After a busy week, catching up and sharing stories is a great way to make memories!

Star gazing

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Whether or not there is an astronomical event happening, watching the stars is relaxing and not to mention romantic! It’s an inexpensive date night and is also a good way to get some fresh air. You may even be lucky enough to see a shooting star!

Training a pet

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Taking your pet outside to train them is a fun thing for you and your spouse to work through together. While this will certainly take some hard work, patience, and dedication, it’s worth it to ensure that your pet is adequately trained. It’s also the best way to bond with each other and your new pet. Build trust amongst one another and enjoy the sunshine as well as each other’s company!

Going for a hike

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Why not combine quality time together with something that will make you more fit and show you some beautiful sights? A hike proves to be fulfilling and interesting. You can adjust this activity to fit virtually any skill level and it’s up to you whether you want to make it a short voyage or an all day/overnight adventure.

Seeing a drive in movie

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‘Let’s all go to the lobby’ – This is an old fashioned one, but it’s a great idea for a summer night. Kick back, relax, and chomp on some popcorn from the snack bar, as you watch a fun flick that you both can agree on. Talk about nostalgia!

Going to a fair

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Especially during the summer months, there are seemingly endless outdoor fairs and music festivals going on around us. Take advantage of one and play carnival games, eat fried food, and ride the rides for an authentic experience. You’ll both have a blast and will surely feel like kids again!

There’s nothing better than spending time with those that you love. Doing it outside is just the icing on the cake, as it’s sure to boost your mood and make your time together even more treasured. Head outside to do something fun and make unforgettable memories all summer long!