For Him

Although we cover a variety of online dating and relationship tips, there are times when a situation is too unique for an umbrella topic. Or maybe we just haven’t covered something yet! That’s why we’re going to do an Ask Online Dating U every once in a while. At Online Dating University, we’re here for you, so send us your questions!

I’m 22 and my girlfriend is 21, and we’ve been dating since 2007. We work together great, we balance each other very well and maintain a very healthy relationship.

That being said, I’m having a bit of an issue with her right now. I like to build things, create stuff, and experiment with things — this weekend built a great DIY smoker so I could cook for a family get together.

She is upset because I probably spent the same amount of money that her dad did on a steel, electric smoker. Her family is very budget minded (read: cheap), so she has grown up looking at everything at a cost standpoint. Generally that’s great, and we save money, but when it comes to stuff like the smoker she gets upset about the cost of things when, in this case, the relative cost of a terracotta or cast iron smoker is much greater than the cost of a cheap electric steel smoker. I spent about $60 total, including charcoal, when a high end one runs at least $400 or $500.

I know she’s just worried about having money and not being poor, but sometimes it’s like she just doesn’t understand that sometimes its worth the extra money to buy a quality product that will work well and not have to be replaced. I’m all for buying cheap things, but the way I look at it is if I spend $1 on something that I will most likely have to replace, I’d rather spend $2 on a similar item that will not wear out as quickly. We don’t have joint bank accounts, or live together. She says she’s concerned for my future.

Maybe I’m misreading all of this or looking too far into it but it really frustrates me. I am super proud of my smoker that I built and she just seems to not care about and hates the thing and all the effort I put into it. If I could talk to her about it I would but she just gets short with me and will refuse to talk about it. Any advice would be appreciated. I love her to death, I really do, but stuff like this really irks me.

Honestly, you need to talk about her money concerns. It’s one thing if you’re living together and sharing a bank account, but you’re not. She does have every right to be concerned about your well-being, but this doesn’t exactly fall under that. It’d be one thing if you were digging yourself deeply into debt, but it seems like you’re responsible about money and purchases — DIYing is an awesome alternative to paying full price for something you need!

Something to consider: She may be projecting her own stresses and worries onto you. Is she having a hard time with her own finances or job? Get the whole picture, and provide emotional support and reassurance so she’ll relax a bit on the money issue.

If that doesn’t change things, it may just be the way she was raised — it’s tough to change the way people think about money. You’re both still young, so you can agree to disagree, be patient, and don’t make a big deal out of it. On the other hand, if she always has a problem with you doing what makes you happy, then that may point to bigger problems in your relationship.

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What To Buy: Graduation Gifts for Your Boyfriend or Girlfriend

by Online Dating on June 8, 2011

Graduation — whether it be from high school or college — is a huge milestone for anyone, and it’s that time of year. Many times it can be tough to figure out what to gift your partner, and it’s no different when they’re graduating. Here are a few suggested graduation gifts for your girlfriend or boyfriend.

Life After College

[Above: Ampersand cufflinks, Mondrian-esque whiteboard, Nixon watch, leather satchel, Lincoln tie, cassette tape dispenser]

When brainstorming what to get your sweetie for graduation, use life after college for inspiration. What degree did they earn? What kind of job are they going for once they graduate? Are they traveling after school?

  • For guys: A nice watch, briefcase, tie, or even cufflinks are classy choices.
  • For ladies: If your girlfriend’s moving on to an office workplace, she’ll probably want new clothes — a gift certificate would work well for this, especially if you’re not sure of her size or preferences.
  • Neutral: Luggage if a great gift if your partner is traveling after graduation. If they’re planning on backpacking, grab a nice backpack for them, and perhaps a few useful goodies to pack. If they’re moving to a new place, buy a few things to spruce it up — a message board, picture frames, etc.

See More Gift Ideas →

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Tips for Dating an Older Woman

by Online Dating on May 17, 2011

When searching for matches on an online dating site, keep an open mind — a guy shouldn’t only look for women who are their age or younger. The fact is, attractive younger women will get up to four times as many messages as the “average” woman, and as much as 25 times the amount of messages as a woman who’s not good looking at all.

There’s a similar phenomenon with women who are over the age of thirty. If you’re a man under thirty, you’re probably missing a huge amount of potential in the over-thirty crowd. If you can expand your potential dating base up to that and into the forties, then you’ve got access to a much less competitive marketplace. And hey, your youth will be a significant advantage when competing for women in that “cougar” age range.

Strangely enough, as a man gets older and older he’s likely to search for a relatively younger woman. A thirty-one year-old man might set his search range on the online dating site from twenty-one to thirty-three -– ten years younger than himself but only two years older. As a man gets older, that scale slides even further.

Women, on the other hand, are more open minded. They tend to have preferences more equal with their own age in the center of the age continuum. And by the time she hits the age of twenty-nine, a woman will often start looking for older men and avoiding men of her own age. Later on, it shifts back down, creating that sweet spot where “cougars” are looking for guys in their twenties or thirties.

Why date a cougar?

  • Cougars have attitude. Just ask Bridget Jones or Samantha from Sex in the City. They have a strong sense of self, and that confidence is hot.
  • Cougars know their way around. Where? Everywhere, from hot dating spots to the latest social events, cougars know where the action is at. And they know their way around your hot spots.


  • Be Yourself: You can’t pull one past a cougar, so just be yourself. She’ll want to date you because of you, and you offer her a sense of fun and spontaneity.
  • Be Creative: Although she’s been around the block, try to do something new with her.
  • Be Confident and Intelligent: This is an important combination! She won’t want to waste her time, and when you are with her, keep her on her toes by maintaining stimulating conversation.

[Image via Tumblr]

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