Dates are meant for two things: to get to know someone, and to make a memory.

But how do you make a date memorable?

If its a first date, how can you possibly know what your date will like in order to make it a night to remember?

And if its just one date on a long string of dates, how do you make it unique and unforgettable?

Here are five steps to crafting a date theyll never forget:

1. Make itactive.

Studies show that high arousal activities build a stronger connection between you and your date. Activities create memories andbring you two closer together.

For the date to be memorable, each of you has to be integral to the story. Choose something that takes two people to do. Theres no reason to, say, go to the movies, because you dont need anybody else to be in a memory of you watching a movie.

Pick something like tandem bike riding through a park. That story cant be told without including both of you, and it will get your heart pumping.

Other good activities include going to the arcade, putt-putt golf and bumper cars. The two of you play against each other; a little healthy competition is always fun. Concerts and other lively events work well, too.

Whatever you choose, make it something fun and exciting thats engaging for both of you.

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2. Make it Unique

People have to eat at some point. So pick a place be it a hole-in-the-wall, food truck or five-star restaurant that your date hasnt experienced yet.

This does several things for you:

One, its a tried and true marketing technique that you stay in someones mind by being the first to do something. You are the first to go with your date to this restaurant, and youll be remembered for that.

This also creates excitement during your date because its something new. Plus, delicious food isits own reward!

Create a new, positive and unique experience for your date, and the two of you will have a cherished memory.

3. Make it special.

Gifts are reserved for special occasions. If you want to make it a date theyll never forget, make it special.

Give a gift! It doesnt have to be extravagant, either.

If theyre into jewelry, Pearls Only has some great options. If theyre big into music, check out Sweetwater for gear and accessories or Bands in Town for tickets (which plays well with point one).

You can also scour Etsy. When in doubt, grab some specialty chocolate.

Theres an endless supply of gift options. Choose a gift you know (or are pretty sure) theyll love, and turn your date into a special occasion.

4. Make it inspiring.

One of the most powerful emotions for creating a memory and for making people want to share that memory with others is awe.

Go to a scenic vista or rooftop (bar), or any place that will take your breath away and make you say Wow Thats amazing.

Create that Wow! moment, and youll create a memory for you and your date.

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5. Make it cozy.

One thing every person wants to feel with their date is comfortable.

Call it security if you want. Call it trust. You want your date to feel relaxed around you enough to let down any guard they have. You want tobe their pleasant reassurance that the world isnt so bad after all.

Comfort can be created by chilling at home in your pajamas eating leftover cheesecake together. It can be ending the night by hanging out with your date and their friend group at their regular watering hole.

Comfort can come in a lot of ways; its different for each person. But each person wants to feel safe and relaxed with their date. People remember feeling safe and relaxed.

Going out on a date isnt necessarily about being slick or overly romantic. Its about creating a memory with someone you really care about or someone who you hope to earn more time with.

Thats what these steps are for: to craft a date theyll never forget, to make a memory.

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Sometimes, relationships come to their eventual end for a multitude of reasons: a massive argument, cheating or disagreements in huge life transitions, like moving or marriage.

But more often than not, a relationship ends simply because its run its course.

In those instances, it can be extremely difficult to come to terms with ending the relationship.

But there are a few signs we can look out for to know whether or not our own relationship has ultimately reached its natural end.

So, here are seven signs its time to stop kidding yourself and break up with your SO:

1. You fight over every little thing.

A healthy relationship requires some fighting. It shows the passion both people have fortheir relationship, and its much better to releaseyour grievances than to keep them inside, building up resentment towardyour partner.

While some couples simply fight more than others, that doesnt always mean the relationship needs to end.

However, if the argument pattern is changing from its typical style, and you begin picking fights with your partner over the tiniest things all the time, that could be a clear indication something is wrong in your relationship.

2. You purposely stay late at the office.

The whole point of a relationship is to spend time with your SO.

When you purposely take on morework to avoid seeing your partner, thats a massive sign the relationship has to come to an end.

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3. The quirks you fell in love with now bother you immensely.

Those lovable qualities unique to your partner the ones thatmade you fall in love with them now cause you to squirm.

His snoring used to help you fall asleep. But now, you wake up wishing forearplugs, so you dont have to listen to thatannoying noise.

You used to love how she ate pizza, folding it sideways and de-greasing it with a paper towel.

Now, though, you never want to eat pizza with her because her behavior annoys you.

4. Your sex life has dwindled.

Have you and your SO become so much like an old, married couple that you no longer have sex as often as you once did?

Obviously,we all live busy lives, and once yourein a committed, healthy relationship, sex doesnt have to happen every single day like it did when the two of you first got together.

But when you begin avoiding sex purposely, you know something is wrong with your relationship.

5. You plan girls nights regularly and encourage his boys nights often.

Relationships require balance a balance of time spent with your partner and time spent apart.

But when the time spent apart increases and time spent together decreases, somethings definitely up.

We all need time apart from our partners every now and then, but when we start to look forward to girls nights as a constantbreak from being with our partner, the relationship is no longer a healthy one.

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6. You start having feelings for other people.

Finding shirtless Ryan Gosling sexy and wanting to bone him is totally healthy. But flirting with a stranger at the bar during one your girls nights out is not.

When you startseriously flirting with other people, you are most likely unhappy with your current partner.

So before youhurt theirfeelings and betray theirtrust, consider ending the relationship.

7. You dont see yourself with this person in the long run.

Dating is really just a journey to find the person we spend the rest of our lives with.

When you think about your future, is your current partner there beside you? If not, then that could be a huge indication your SO isnt your soulmate.

A little doubt about a relationship is normal, and none of us know what the future holds.

But if you experience doubt more often than hopefulness about your future with your SOand no longer gainany pleasure from your current relationship, its OKto call it quits.

By breaking things off, you are free to find your soulmate the person who will make life fun and worth being in a relationship with.

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Like most problems, what we often dont realize is, we bring horriblefirst dates upon ourselves by coming up with some of the WORST conversation topics of all time.

Im a firm believer that there is no such thing as a boring person if you manage to ask them the right questions.

Buthow is someonenotsupposed to be boring when you bring up the weather?! Like, COME ON.

Here are eight boring conversation topics that you should definitely avoid on a first date:

1. The weather.

Its so cold.


There is also air in this room, and get this were both breathing it! Any other objective facts youd like to state?

Think this through for a second: Howis anyone actually supposed to respond to that, other than with Haha, yeah, or Really? Im not that cold.

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Is that really ALL you can bring to the table? Come on, be better.

2.How you slept last night and how tired you are now.

You feeling a little tired tonight? KEEP IT TO YOURSELF.

Still not convinced that this isnt one of the worst conversation topics of all time? Let me paint you a picture of how this convo is inevitably going to go:

Oh man, Im so tired.

Haha, am I that boring?

*you immediately feel so awkward* No! No! I just didnt sleep well last night.

Oh no! Why not?

I dont know. I just couldnt really fall asleep.

Thats the worst.


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Ifyoure a hopeless romantic like myself, and you just so happen to be in pursuit of a new way to show off your love and affection, all you have to do is look up.

Tonight, I encourage loversall over the world to take full advantage of this months breathtaking supermoon.

The rare view will leave you gazing at the planetary satellite as it appearsup to14 percent bigger and 30 percent brighter than on a normal day, and itsone you should make the most of.

While November 13 was announced as a prime time to catch the supermoon, dont fret. The differences between appearance on Sunday and Monday night are very minimal, and casual observers like us will hardly notice if its looking any less super when its high in thedarksky.

On that note, take this as the perfect opportunity to snuggle up next to your SO, casual bae or first-time date, and make the most of this nighttime scene.

Below, four ways to get real romantic, courtesy of the supermoon:

1. Pitch a tent on your apartments roof.

Ivelived in my apartment building for years, but have yet to make use of the ample-sized roof it has.

Dont make the same mistake. Take advantage of this oddly warm November weather and stargaze from the comfort of your own home.

If youre feeling extra outdoorsy, get into full camp-mode and make a whole night out of it.

This isa solid excuse to get all cuddly with bae, plus an opportunity to have sex outside. Its a win-win situation for all parties involved.

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2. Cozy up with some drinks on an enclosed bar terrace.

Mondays are rough on just about everyone, so allow supermoons presence to drag you to a five-star bar in order get rid of thoselingering Sunday Scaries.

Take your pick of any spot with an outdoor terrace, equipped with lounge chairs, quality service and maybe some heat lamps, and youll find yourself in a prime spot to soak up the moonlight with your man or woman of choice.

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No matter how many heartbreaks and heartaches we go through, our desire to find love never changes.

No matter how many awkward dates we have, the hope that the next will be amazing and will turn out to be our soulmate never fades. This is why weve agreed to go on dates with the kind-of-cute-if-his-hair-wasnt-the-same-length-as-mine guy from the bar, the barista who knows our morning coffee order by heartand our cats doctor.

Dating apps have changed the game and now theres a new place for love to be found and awkward dates to be made: Tinder.

Here are the five stages ofanyand all Tinder dates:

Stage 1: Denial

You sit at the bar, patiently waiting for your date to arrive. You cant believe youve resorted to using Tinder to find love, but youre hopeful. Everyone you know has met their SO on Tinder!

The textual chemistry between you two is so strong you think this could be something amazing.

You check the time, kicking yourself for arriving so early. Picking up your phone, you scrollthrough Facebook, deleting bad selfies and returning emails from your mom anything to make it look like youre not waiting for a blind date.

You begin to psyche yourself out and worry youre not going to recognize them when they arrive, so you decide to take one last look at their photos. You set the contrast on your phone to low and hold itunderneath the table, so no one can see. Even though half ofNew York City uses Tinder, theres still a stigma attached and you dont want strangers judging you.

You scroll through their photos hoping and praying they are who they say they are.

You notice they were active only four minutes ago. Um, WTF? Maybe theyre doing the same and checking out your pictures as well? Or, more likely, theyre still trolling the app for more matches. As you put your phone down you hear someone say your name.

Stage 2: Anger

You look up to see someone who vaguely resembles the photos you just looked at. Apparently someonerecently discovered Photoshop.

They sit down across from you and begin to make small talk, but all you can think about is how you already know they graduated from Columbia with a business degree and have two brothers and a dog named Rex.

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You dont dare mention any of this, otherwise theyll know you stalked them ahead of time, so you keep your mouth shut and make a mental note to write Google a thank you.

Theyre not as cute as their photos and something about their voice seriously irks you. Really? This was the beautiful stranger on the other end of all those late night, early morning, really drunk, text messages?

You grab your drink and try to focus on what theyre saying, but you cant shake the fact the two of you already exchanged a fair share of racy texts. Your mother would be so disappointed.

Stage 3: Bargaining

As the date starts to wind down and your buzz from the drinks begin to kick in, you start to debate whether or not you want to kiss them. Youve started to convince yourself that maybe the date wasnt so bad and it was endearing how much they texted the whole time you were speaking.

You walk each other to the subway, and standing atop the stairs you stare deeply into each others eyes. You can literally feel the sexual tension building. Maybe this is the pivotal moment where you fall in love, and you finally realize what Tinder is all about? They grab you by the waist and go in for a kiss.

Its horrendous. The future you had planned for the two of you comes crashing down around you. How can someone go 25 plus years of their life not knowing how to kiss? You close your eyes and pray for it to end quickly.

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Growing up, I watched a lot of television. (Like, a LOT.) I gravitated toward the types of shows withstorylines centered on relationships.

What can I say? I’m a sucker for love.

These shows always seemed to feature a female leaddating a war veteran.And though intoxicating to my younger self, these storylines had a problem: They were all extremely limited. They only showed a one-dimensional portrait of what it’s like to date someone who’s been through a literal war.

I learned firsthand that dating a veteran is anything but one-dimensional when I fell in love with an Iraq War vet.Itdoesn’t only entail waiting for someone to triumphantly come home after cycling through deployments. Hell, it’s about more than just going through war.

It’s about the 250,000 service members whoare transitioning back to civilian life each year reuniting with their families, trying to find jobs and starting their lives again. It’s about commitment, both the commitment of the relationshipand the commitment the vet has to his or her country.

And for me, it was about trying to understand something I couldn’timagine. I gained the kind of perspective I never had before, and together we took onissues that can be deeply uncomfortable and are often brushed aside.

I realized just how much people are willing to risk for their country.

Most of us love our country and would consider ourselves patriotic. But when it comes to actually defending our nation? That’s where the patriotism of many falls short.

When I dated a veteran, I loved someone who put everything on the line for America. Experiencing his sacrifice together made me appreciate our country that much more, but it also opened my eyes to the lack of options that lead some to the choice of military service.

Their battles are physical and mental.

When we think about the battles that veterans have fought, we mostly think about the physical ones. We think about combat, weapons, trenches all the trappings of war that most have only experienced through the lens of Hollywood films.

But after the battlefield is in the rearview mirror, the scars left behind aren’t just on the surface. They plague a veteran’s mind. Consider post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which affects a large number of vets.According to the Department of Veteran Affairs, nearly 30 percent of veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan warstreated at VA hospitals and clinics have been diagnosed with PTSD. That’s more than250,000 reported cases.

When I waswith a veteran, I sawthe effects of PTSD firsthand.And PTSD is just one of the many pernicious afflictions that silently haunt so many veterans.

It’s okay to let someone not talk about it.

When my significant other was dealing with an issue, it was my natural impulse to urge him to talk about it.

But PTSD and other post-war problems that veterans routinely experience are not simple issues that you can talk about and magically solve. They often require professional help to work through, and not everyone is able to overcome the demons they face.

Ilearned that it’s okay to let someone just be. It’s okay to let someone not talk about it. It’s okay to sit and live in the silence. Sometimes the only way I could relate was simply by being there.

Ibecame a part of the veteran community.

The bond that a veteran has with his or her fellow soldiersis unbreakable. I mean, it has to be, right? In order to head into combat with someone, you need to implicitly trust that person. This is your life at stake, as well as your country.

I was welcomed into that community. I saw the perspective of many, not just my boyfriend’s, and I saw how they’re there for each other. It’s an exceptionally close group of people because each person has a fundamental understanding of what it means to go through something few otherscan comprehend.

Theoretical issues become real.

There are certain atrocities that most of us will never encounter. We hope we will never have to see someone die. We hope that we will never have a friend who commits suicide.

These theoretical issues become real when you’re in a war. And as stories came to light in the span of my relationship, they felt more real than they did before. I’ve metpeople whose lives have been touched by things like homelessness and death, and the issues have become uniquelypersonal because of that.

The transition back tocivilian life isn’t easy.

We hope that, when a veteran leaves the service, he or she will be welcomed back into society with open arms.

But formanyveterans, transitioning back to civilian life is a struggle. According to the VA, morethan half of all post-9/11 veteranswill face a period of unemploymenteven as the national unemployment rate continues to decline.

And when it comes to getting post-service benefits, things don’t look much better. As reported by the Military Times, despite ongoingimprovements,the VA was still sorting through75,000 backlogged disability claims at the end of 2015.

This means that manyveterans need not only emotional support, but also financial support.

It made me really grateful for what I have.

When I was with someone who had been through a literal war, I couldn’t help but thinkabout the hardships that I’ve endured, and man, they just didn’t stack up. It doesn’t make my experiencesany less valuable, it’s just that I learned to appreciate the things I haven’t seen.

The important thing I remembered through this realization is that I couldn’t feel guilty. I needed to maintain a healthy perspective.

Because the other thing I was grateful for was this person I hadfallen in love with. I was grateful that he survived the war and came out the other side open to love.

In this week’s episode of Secret Lives of Americans (Friday at 10.p.m. on Pivot), we meet Amber & Alex, who have been harboring a secret: they are buried in $50,000.00 of debt after being discharged from the Coast Guard for medical reasons. Find out how they changed the conversation about the transition back to civilian life by watching this video, and then visit the series’ Take Action hub to find out how you can get involved.

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