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Dating Industry Consultant & Relationship Coach, | Host of Dateworking Podcast

To build my own “quaranteam” during quarantine, I sought wisdom from the poly, kink, and coliving communities who mastered these strategies long before the pandemic started. Here’s what I learned.

It’s hard to overstate how much relationships have changed since the beginning of the pandemic. Someone just reached out to me in a panic because his girlfriend is now quarantining over 8,000 miles away from him, with no return date in sight. He asked for some insight into how to keep their romantic spark alive from afar. He is not alone, and our struggles go far beyond romance.

As a dating coach and community builder, I’m constantly exploring the latest methods and spaces for virtual connection. Thus far, I’ve hosted events and tutorials around self-care, massage, dating at a distance

100+ lovingly hand-crafted questions
…for falling in love with life
…for connecting with others, and with yourself
…and for infusing little sparks of magic and depth into everyday conversation

Below, you’ll find dozens of heartfelt questions, handwritten on sticky notes, that I’ve managed to snag at the end of each of the monthly Hygge NYC friendship-making gatherings I’ve hosted over the last 5 years. People arrive as strangers, and leave as friends, based solely on having shared their answers to questions written on these sticky notes.

I hope you enjoy these recipes for deep connection as much as my friends and I have.

Take them, share them, and make them your own.

~Steve Dean

1. What is your strangest habit? 2. What is your love language? What drew you…

There’s always a lot of buzz around cooking at home right now.

Obviously you get all the good smells, the tastes, the satisfaction of making/following recipes, and of course, the mountains of #foodporn to post all over your instagram later.

But today, I want to celebrate washing those dishes you just painstakingly created and plated. Particularly, I’m rooting for the timeless art of washing dishes together, my favorite underdog.

I grew up with dozens of cousins. Dozens.

Every weekend, like clockwork, my family would gather for dinners, birthday parties, you name it. …

a vulnerable conversation on love and relationships

This is the transcript from a casual Facebook interview
conducted by one curious woman with her new friend, a dating consultant in New York City.
Her commentary is in bold.

So first, do you think love is a game?

A game?
I think love is pure science.
Most of its fundamental components are predictable and actionable.
You can manipulate it, which could technically make it like a game,
but I think that if your objective is to “win” or “score points,” then it’s not so much love as much as just plain manipulation

Yeah that’s what I mean, you know, people like to play this game to increase their “value.”

I think we can alter ourselves so we become more loving and more lovable…

👋 Steve Dean here, your friendly online dating consultant and editor-in-chief of Dating Meets Data.

I just started a newsletter where I share dating insights, experimental events, date ideas, industry research, and my interviews with dating app founders.

➡ You can sign up for it in 10 seconds at

Tomorrow morning’s newsletter is special because it includes a surprise link to my new podcast episode, in which I spent an hour talking to OkCupid’s former CTO about his experiences building out the algorithms that have affected the love lives of over 50 million people!

that’s us way back in 2013 ❤❤❤

We also discussed how I…

Pictured: three dating coaches — Cora Boyd, Max Alley, Steve Dean. Photo by Atticus Maloney


In my last 8 years of dating regularly across 25 cities and consulting for dating companies, service providers, and online daters of all stripes, I’ve been developing increasingly strong opinions about what the dating industry needs.

But before you go building the next best dating app, please realize:

  1. It’s expensive.
  2. No one will fund you.*
  3. You may get sued.
  4. The landscape is incredibly competitive (4,000+ dating apps & websites)
  5. Swipe fatigue is at an all-time high.

*(To see which dating companies do get funded, check Internet Dating Investments by Online Personals Watch.)

My most important finding after 8 years…

I’ve been a dating consultant for over 8 years, and it just so happens that two of the most common things that I hear people complain about are also two of the most difficult problems for the dating industry to solve.

In our modern swipe-happy culture, it’s fairly easy to gauge physical attraction along with a rough sense of social & intellectual compatibility by simply thumbing through someone’s photos and casually perusing their dating profiles. Mirror selfies? Nahhh, swipe left. Cooking dinner in an apron while high-fiving his furry culinary companion? That’s the ticket! Sign me up.

But as I…

Infidelity is more often a structural problem, not a moral one.

The next time you think your partner is cheating — before you suddenly begin disparaging their character, feeling insecure about yourself, or blaming any number of unseen “others” who you may believe are suddenly threats to you and your relationship — I want you to take a deep breath and think about the structure of your relationship itself and whether it’s currently capable of meeting the needs of both you and your partner.

I’ve been an online dating consultant since 2011 and have assisted thousands of individuals with all stages of dating and relationships, and in all my years of…

Thank you Samsung for a $2000 folding multitask phone so we can now drive ourselves ever closer to the brink of dating dementia.

As an online dating consultant, I get asked by reporters sometimes how new tech trends will impact online and offline dating. Surely, a new $2000 folding phone must have some impact on dating, right? Right???

source: The Verge


I honestly don’t see folding phones having a major impact on dating at all, other than as a status signaling mechanism, akin to how owners of iPhones used to be perceived as more hip and wealthy. …

source: rawpixel on Unsplash (edits mine)

I’ve been thinking a lot about attention.

It’s one of the most finite and unscalable resources we have. During any given second, we have the option of attending to various things in our vicinity, but every time we change what we attend to, we incur a cost.

By the time you switch from making eye contact and conversing with someone to checking your phone, to remembering what event or meeting you have coming up next, at least 1–3 seconds have gone by, and you don’t get those seconds back. …

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