Modern Dating: The Most Important Thing in Modern Relationships

The ability to travel while your partner stays home with the kids, the ability to be in an open relationship, the ability to go out on a Friday night with or without your partner, the ability to post photos of yourself in a bikini without your partner getting mad, the ability to work from home while your partner doesn’t work, the ability to be a power couple, the ability to not have to be a mom. All these modern relationships in 2023 are filled with abilities instead of limitations. People are figuring out what works for them, may not fit into a traditional lifestyle. Millennials seem to be adopting more puppies lately to boot.

All this data adds up and can easily be interpreted into what the most important thing is in a relationship in 2023.

With high inflation, rising rent prices and large company layoffs, people have learned to be more flexible and forgiving to their partner. In an environment where relationships are constantly tested, before children are even in the mix, there needs to be a release – a way for that relationship to work – no matter what stressors are coming at it.

The most important thing in modern relationships is freedom.

Freedom from chores, so your partner can have more time for fun. Freedom in sex. Freedom to be friends with exes. Freedom not to have kids and freedom to have kids. Freedom to get a dog or a pet. Freedom to start a business. Freedom helps modern relationships develop and grow, helping two (maybe three) people in the relationship to change to adapt to 2023.

We all have to adapt in our modern relationships as the world continues to evolve. Were constantly adapting. As a millennial sometimes I feel like we have mastered adaptation. I learned the other day how to use 7 different AI apps and systems to work more efficiently, no one asked me to, my boss didn’t tell me to, I just knew I needed to know.

The same goes for my modern relationship with FML. As two career-orientated people we both need freedom, not from each other but to be successful. The freedom to do what we need to do, to get to where we want to go. That might mean we don’t see each other that week or a date night gets rescheduled. But when we do see other again it’s always well worth the wait. The freedom we have created in our relationship has given us a strong bond, we know what the other needs to be happy in this relationship.

Check out this design, created by Justine Fraser for your next date night!


Modern Dating: Man’s Best Birthday Plan

Is your partner’s birthday coming up and your feeling stuck about what to get them, what to do or cook? I’ve got you covered with my list below.

Most of these are tested by Jus on FML, so keep what you’ve learnt from Modern Dating in mind when your on your special date for a boost of confidence. (If you haven’t read the associated Modern Dating articles yet, be sure to read a few articles before you leave the site.) And yes! You can say you thought of these ideas on your own!




Create a special birthday drink, inspired by your partner and what they like to eat and drink. All the things that you like about them into one drink, like jalapeno’s for spicy, strawberries for tart, whipped cream for sweet and don’t forget to decorate with birthday toppers!

The extra added thought that goes into making someone a birthday drink they can have all day or the minute they get home from work is always appreciated. Who wouldn’t want a drink named after them on their birthday that the whole crew will love?


  • 2 Jalapenos, 1 chopped in half for decoration and 1 sliced thinly to stir into drink
  • Fancy Whiskey or their fav brand
  • Lemonade, I prefer Simply’s but your choice!


If you haven’t watched ‘Parks and Recreation’ then this won’t be as obvious of an idea to you, but the idea is to spoil your partner with their favorite food – special, expensive and cooked perfectly – while they sit comfortably watching their favorite movie, alone or with their romantic partner.

A perfectly cooked steak from a butcher, with a side of meat is the Ron Swanson move but it’s up to you and what your cooking abilities are. (Remember: Ordering in is always a good idea!)

Be sure to add special décor like a light up sign that says, ‘Happy Birthday FML or I LOVE YOU!’ This gives them the idea that you care right in their face and adds a special birthday ambience to your setting. Add special items like gifts they’ve given you, silver placemats, candles or pretty lights to make the setting more romantic.

Don’t forget the fancy birthday dinner menu that you can make just for the them on their day! Send it to your dinner guest(s) prior and make sure they don’t have any food allergies. It’s a great keepsake and gives them the feeling that they are being taken care of. Easily change out the wording to fit your needs. The best part is that they can be printed or used digitally. Below are a few of my menu templates for sale currently on Etsy.


Have the present ready as soon as they wake up or get in the door! In a pretty bag with a sparkly ribbon, homemade or Hallmark card right next to it – the works! This extra special touch shows you care as well as that you planned ahead. Gifts don’t have to be super expensive, stick to your price range but a new game you can play together from Dollerama is always a cute add on, as well as their favorite candy or chocolate. (Gift suggestions: golf accessories, golf shirts, a new gaming keyboard and matching mouse, a watch, fancy backpack, sports gear.)

For those looking to buy from a small business , I suggest Etsy for handmade items, unique pintables, funny cards and other gift options such as the Printable Romantic Games I made for my company (Social House) that can be seen below for purchase currently.


Always just buy a fancy cake from a fancy store. Save yourself the time and effort so you can focus more on the lingerie and birthday outfit you know you haven’t planned yet.


Plan a late night surprise that you can do together or with friends that will end your partner’s birthday on a high. Don’t tell them before you go and be absolutely sure to buy the tickets ahead of time so they can’t try to pay for it!

Here are some ideas: late night movie, bowling, arcade, their fav bar, concert, frozen yogurt or ice cream, a dessert cafe or perhaps a cool event happening. And don’t forget a sexcapade never fails to at least be entertaining!

Modern Dating: The Red V-Day Stats

Valentine’s Day is a $23.9 billion industry in the US, making it one of the most prominent holidays celebrated every year. Even single people can’t escape this holiday, often buying the on-sale chocolate or candy at stores a day or 2 later. According to some statistics, men generally spend double what a woman spends on gifts for the occasion, which became evident after the numerous videos circulated of men buying last minute V-day flowers and getting charged 3 or 4 times the average price for them. All while the song ‘Flowers’ by Miley Cyrus chimed around them, insisting that their loved one could do it for themselves.

This year it was projected that Americans will spend close to $26 billion on Valentine’s Day, up 2 billion from the year before. Stats from the National Retail Federation claim that it may be due to the pandemic and people feeling more freedom to spend this year.

It appears we love to be in love or at least show that we are in love.

One of the most modern stats I found online was from, that analyzed that over 72.5 million pet owners will also be buying gifts for their fluffy partners for Valentine’s Day. Millennials make up the largest portion of that number as they continue to spoil their fur babies in lieu of a human one.

According to the stats on FullyVested, about 41% of Americans would have preferred an experience as a gift this year in comparison to the normal flower or chocolate gifts.

FML and I fall into the Millennial generation, although he’s a bit of a Gen Zer at heart (he watches Twitch while I have one.)  

I guess FML and I are proving the stats right this year because not only did we spoil the dog, but I also bought him concert tickets and he waited in line at the flower shop while listening to Miley Cyrus.

The saddest stat that I came across was the number spent on unwanted V-day gifts each year.

Over $9.5 billion is spent, according to WalletHub, and wasted. The least-desired gifts on their list included things like tools, gym memberships, sporting equipment, kitchen appliances, cheesy stuffed animals, and mixtapes. (Hopefully, you didn’t shop this list in 2023. Comment below if you did and what you bought!)

Modern Dating: Vacation vs. Reality

It had been a whole month since Christmas Day before I opened my present from FML. He said it was arriving late but would be a big surprise. On a romantic dinner outing at a restaurant downtown he gave me a red envelope that simply said my name on the front in his cursive writing. As I opened the sealed envelope I saw him getting giddy with excitement.

“What? Why are you looking at me like that?” I asked him.

“You’re going to love me.”

“Aw, well I already do.” i smiled at him as I opened the envelope. I looked inside to find two plane tickets for Cancun, Mexico, one for me and one for him – just like in the movies.

“You didn’t! I can’t! Can I? Are we going to Mexico?’

“Yes baby, we need a vacation. You more so then me, I just want a whole week of you to myself.” FML said happily then winked at me.

“I can’t believe it. I can’t accept this, it’s too much.”

“It’s my Christmas present baby, it’s on me.”

“These say we leave next week?” I asked astonished.

“Yea.” He nodded, still smiling and beaming with pride.

“I have to work?”

“Just tell your boss you won’t be in the country next week.” FML answered nonchalantly.

“I’m sorry, do I look like the director of Fenty to you? I can’t just take a week off.” I said, toning down the excitement by about 10 notches.

“Baby, your in marketing. Just leave, pick up your laptop and just come with me.”

“Is your Valentine’s present going to be a new job?”

“No, my Valentine’s present won’t be here for another 5 to 6 months, give or take.” He joked.

So there we were – on a plane – headed to Mexico together. After two years apart and only two months back together, we were going away for a week to a beautiful resort. We had barely spent more than a weekend together and now we were spending a whole week – just the two of us.

I wasn’t as scared as I maybe should be, I was eager just to get there and take in the warm, sea-salted air. Canada was feeling frozen and I needed to thaw my body out from a couple of very tough years. Sometimes winter in Canada can feel as numb as it looks. You can’t go outside somedays, some weeks you never see the sun and some months just feel longer then others. After Christmas, I usually went into some form of hibernation.

Immediately upon contact I could feel the sun warming up my body from months of frost and wear-down. FML looked at me as soon as we stepped out of the airport and gave me a huge kiss.

“I’m so happy baby.” He whispered in my ear, then squeezed my bum in front of a group of people.

“Me too, where are we going now? Do we get on one of the buses?”

“No I booked a cab to take us.” FML said, sounding a bit confused himself as he looked at his phone’s email.

“A cab? In Mexico?” I asked.

“There, there it is.” He pointed to a man holding a sign with his last name on it. FML waved at the man, smiling.

“Are you sure?” But before I could ask he took my suitcase out of my hand and wheeled it away. I quickly followed my clothes before they could get to far.

The resort was incredible, from the adult’s only section to the room he rented that included a hot tub, it dawned on my quickly he had spent more on this vacation then he initially told me. FML had always made more money then me, it wasn’t a new thing in our relationship. He never made me feel bad about it. FML always told me ‘your the best writer ever,’ which, to me, implied he realized I wasn’t going to be bringing home the bacon while he brought home a whole ham. I wasn’t raised to accept money from a man, I was filled with independence, self-care and credit card debt. I knew other woman who easily took money from more then one man, I told them often I idolized them. I think women should get pay cheques from our government every year for putting up with men on a daily basis.

Taking money or a vacation from FML always felt a little off to me and I don’t think a marriage certificate would make me feel any better.

But here I was, in Mexico, on a trip I didn’t pay for and loving it.

It had been years since FML and I spent a whole week together like that. No phones or anyone to get in the way. Just pure us.

When we got home we were going to be pulled apart by our usual two hour road trip which probably made us more grateful for that time together. That’s the thing about long distance relationships, your just grateful when you can spend a week together. The fact that I hadn’t had a vacation in over three years, while being a reporter during a worldwide pandemic, made me feel like I had stepped into an early heaven. I ate too much, I drank too much, I swam too much, I slept too much, I danced too much. It was perfect.

When we got home I went into some form of PTSD and refused to come back to reality. We came back Sunday night and FML went back to his home Sunday afternoon.

Now it was close to two weeks since I had last seen him, and most of that was in a different country. He had gotten COVID on our way back home and was very ill.

That’s the other thing about long distance relationships, sometimes you do get torn apart and it’s painful because now you have this video playing in your head of how perfect the relationship could be versus reality.

Modern Dating: Relationship Rules in 2023

“There are no dating rules in 2023. There is good and bad manners but no rules.”

You can date anyone and no label has to be associated. Or give you and your partner a label if you want one, it seems the rules went out the window. Which has opened a door of open sexuality. You can walk through or you can keep the door closed, whichever way you prefer just don’t close the door on anyone else.

When FML first came back into my life, I hadn’t seen him for over 2 years so of course the very first thought I had seeing him again was ‘F**k my life.’ Then we kissed… by accident, and a little bit by habit.

It’s now been 2 months; 3 family Christmas events, 2 accidental love bomb, 1 NYE party, 1 family drama, 2 introductions to new friends and were still together. When we first got together my expectations were low, maybe a return to great sex for a few weeks until the long distance became torture again. But everything’s different this time. Except my friends, who are still skeptical of the door we reopened. Just consider that the price of good friendship.

He was invested in our relationship, and I was just hoping I could match that investment. But lately, I wasn’t sure. I had already not just gone down that road with FML already, but had driven down it in a moving truck.

They say relationships are like a piece of yarn and every cut you make is a thread you loose. Well after awhile I gathered those threads and built myself a safety net.

If FML and I can’t figure it out and we have to shut the door again, I have a net to fall into. It might not be the strongest net but I didn’t have it before.

No matter what kind of relationship or who your with, build yourself a safety net. Sometimes we fall, and we need something to catch us so we don’t hit the ground too hard.

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Modern Dating: Is timing everything?

They say timing is everything when it comes to relationships. Which may explain why FML and I were back together after a two-year hiatus. A lot had happened in this two-years. I honestly don’t know why he came back, other then love.

“He must not have been getting laid,” Alexa said to me while we were out Christmas shopping. She tried on a giant, puffy black coat and looked in the mirror.

“It’s possible. I kind of hope he wasn’t I guess.” I admitted to her as I looked at a sparkly pink reindeer.

“That’s not for sale, that’s décor Jus.”

“I like it.”

“Did he say anything to you? Did you guys even talk about the last two-years and what you both went through or who you dated before you got back together?”

“A little bit, there just hasn’t been that much time. Now it’s the holidays and then after that we have a vacation booked. I guess we did talk about it here or there. I mean I had to admit to him eventually I lost my job right.” I said picking up the pink reindeer I had my eyes set on.

“When did you tell him?”

“Right before my giant family Christmas party. I knew my aunts would give me away.”

“Perfect timing,” Alexa said laughing. “What did he say?”

“He seemed oddly okay with it, honestly, I wish he cared more but he just said kind of like a ‘You got this‘ sort of thing and then we went to see the fam.”

“That’s good I guess, he knows you’ll be fine either way.”

“He’s just so different now. It’s weird sometimes to me,” I said putting the pink reindeer down on top of a pile of folded shirts.

“What do you mean, how is he different?” She asked looking through a rack of jeans.

“I don’t know it’s like I can’t make him mad anymore. He’s just so loving and sweet. He keeps paying for everything and trying to take care of me and the dog. He calls me now, he never called me like that before, now he calls just to see what I’m doing.”

“And this is difficult for you?” Alexa asked sarcastically.

A women working at the store comes over and lifts the pink reindeer off the folded shirts and puts it in the centre of the table, then walks away without a word or glance given to Alexa or Jus..

“Should we tell her I moved it from over there?” I whispered out the side of my mouth to Alexa.

“No, no just leave it, that women is scary.”

“It’s just like dating a new person and now were talking about moving in together,” I explained as we walked through the store.

“What! You’ve only been seeing him again for like 2 months, what is the rush?” Alexa asks as we leave the store.

“No rush, we just like being around each other and I guess the reason we never worked before was because we weren’t living together. So now…now it’s like everything’s sped up. We know each other, we don’t have to start from ground zero.”

“Yes you do.” Alexa said nonchalantly as we walked through the heavily crowded mall.


“You have to start from ground zero or your starting from inside a haunted house.”

Modern Dating: Gophers and Bears

Winter is coming, gophers…we have created a lot of terms for when someone pops in and out of our life’s unexpectantly. Sometimes, the warnings are true and they are just popping in to warm up.

FML was not the only guy to message me over the Thanksgiving break – there was 3 exes that popped into my DMs. At first I was surprised, had I posted a sexy photo on the gram? Was one of my articles circulating? What had I done to suddenly draw them back?

Then I talked to my friends who described to me what gophering is and I knew I had become a victim. I just didn’t know which guy out of the 3 was a rodent that liked to pop out of the ground to mess with my schedule.

The first to message me was Josh, a guy I had spent last New Year’s Eve with after he had messaged me out of the blue. I think Josh might be a repeat offender. We had met online two-years ago after FML and I broke up. We had a great time together but it ended with me being ghosted after the first date. (And that was probably the first red flag that I missed. ) He messaged me a few months later apologizing and called me over the Christmas break. We bonded very quickly, mostly over Star Wars. We spent a couple months going out to fancy dinners and taking our dogs for walks in the park beside his building. Then he ended things… again. Of course I got hurt and took some time to recover.

Enter Thanksgiving in Canada, a year and a bit later, and now I’m getting apology messages from him, asking to see me again. Let’s just say I killed that gopher with a shovel.

The second gopher, I mean guy, to message me was Logan. The guy from the Modern Dating post titled: Signs of Alien Life. We had worked together as reporters for a news station, dated, had sex in the office, then he moved far away… and still lived far away when he decided to pop up out of the ground this past Thanksgiving break.

He wanted to come see me for a visit while he was back home – I was happy to hear from him but I just didn’t need to bring that gopher back inside. Being single and independent as a women was looking pretty good on me lately.

Then FML messaged me.

…He wasn’t a gopher, he was a bear. And he was coming in heavy and fast after a long hibernation. I was just standing there, tipsy from white wine and smelling like his favourite fish. I didn’t stand a chance.

It was very easy for me to swipe left on Josh and Logan over Thanksgiving. I adored both those gophers but they looked for shadows and FML looked for me.

Gophers come back for a season, bears come back for a reason.”