Dating Stories

Observations from a Single Dad in the Bay Area Dating Scene

 

Dad and little girl on beach.jpgIn 2014, I became single after the completion of a thirteen-year relationship, which included eight years of marriage. These days I’m a 43-year old single dad with two girls, ages five and eight, navigating a dating scene that has changed quite a bit since 2001. Amy asked me to write about some of my observations, which I thought would be fun. Naturally, what has worked for me may not work for others and these are just some of my thoughts at this point in time. I’m sure that as I continue to learn and grow my thoughts will also evolve.

 

  • Dating Experience as a Single Dad: Within a few months of becoming single, I started dating again. Of course, I didn’t know it at the time but I wasn’t ready emotionally at all! Looking back though I think it was important to just get out and meet women. I was honest about my situation with those that I met. Shortly thereafter, I found myself in a nine-month relationship, which ended up really helping me to get back on my feet. Since then I’ve been on over thirty dates and while none have panned out from a relationship perspective it has provided me with experiences that I’ve used to help narrow my focus on what I’m really looking for in a partner.

Key Takeaways: Just get out of the house and have fun! Don’t overthink things. Every date doesn’t have to be a perfect match and it is likely that with each date you will learn about something new and will grow as a person. I’ve been on dates including night swimming at Aquatic Park, rock climbing, cycling, hiking, running, formal events and more – all with women that I barely knew. I would have never experienced any of these fun events if I didn’t just get out of the house!

 

  • Online Dating: Of course, back in 2001 there was no such thing as online dating. Sure, you could have surfed the personals in the SF Weekly or Bay Guardian, but that wasn’t something that was done by anyone that I knew. It was really all about getting out and making a real effort to meet women in person. No texting – we would exchange numbers and leave voicemail messages. How fun it was to experience the suspense of waiting for a woman to return a message on the answering machine! Or coming home and asking your roommates, “Did she call?” Sadly, these days if you leave a voicemail instead of a text it seems most women would think you’re crazy.

The biggest issue I have with online dating is that no matter what the person looks like or writes like or even talks like on the phone, you just don’t know how it’s going to work out until you meet in person. This is a very time-consuming process because you end up going out with a lot of women that you would have never gone out with had you met the old-fashioned way to begin with. And while there is a plus side to this in terms of life experience and learning about new people as I described above, the downside is a seemingly constant state of not expressing interest in someone else, or vice versa. Even though everyone knows the process, it can still be a little disheartening, especially when you meet a really nice person and you wish the chemistry could just be there!

I also think that online dating presents a false sense of choice. Yes, there are tons of women that you could go out with, but really there’s only a tiny fraction that you would be compelled to see again after a first date, or vice versa.

Key Takeaways: Online dating can be useful and fun for an immediate high volume approach, but it can also be a time sink. Try to take it in bite sized chunks – do it for two or three months, then take a break. Or better yet, join an outdoor club/team (running, cycling, rock climbing, etc.) Prospects seem to be much better when meeting in the real world through a common acivitity. And in any case, if you meet someone that you really like, put real effort into making time for that person in your life. Don’t take those opportunities for granted and don’t play games.

 

  • Be Kind to Yourself: Shouldn’t life become easier and less complicated as we become older and wiser? While you’d think this would be the case, in terms of relationships we sometimes carry fears with us from prior experiences that can take a long time to heal. But don’t worry – we’re all in the same boat. So, if you’ve ever been in love, be elated that you had it while you did, and if you’ve never been in love remain hopeful because everyone deserves to be in love. I say this because many of the women I’ve met tell me that they stuck around too long for a man that wouldn’t commit and now they’re left with little time to start a family. Regardless of any mistakes you’ve made in past relationships, acknowledge them but don’t dwell on them. Learn from them. We’ve all made fumbles in life and the best we can do is to not repeat history.

Key Takeaways: Everything is working out just the way it’s supposed to. Enjoy the journey! Once you do find love either again or for the first time you’ll be glad that you experienced everything that you did. It will all make sense when it’s said and done.

After writing this piece I’m not sure if I wrote it for you or me! Anyway, I hope you enjoyed it. I’d also like to say in closing that some of the most remarkable women that I’ve met in the past three years have come through Amy’s service. So, if Amy has a suggested date for you, try not to second guess it. Just go for it and increase your chances of finding love.

Dating Fatigue is Real. Here’s What to do if it’s Happened to You…

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If you’re single and interested in a new relationship, first dates are inevitable. If you’re lucky enough to have friends setting you up or an experienced matchmaker on your side, you can count on some pre-filtering and quick turnaround time to make those first dates somewhat easier. But, if you’re searching for love online or on apps, you could invest countless hours getting to know someone before ever meeting—if you ever get to an actual meeting. According to a 2016 study by the Pew Research Center, nearly 1/3 of people using apps never make it to a date. For those that do schedule dates, many experience several bad dates before something relatively good pans out.

 

You know the drill. Anticipation and excitement grows as your first date approaches. Then, not even 20 minutes into the first date, you know there’s no chance of a future. This anticipation—disappointment—optimism cycle seems to repeat itself and, before you know it, you’ve stopped dating completely.

 

Dating burnout is similar to job burnout: An activity that once posed a satisfying challenge is now a mundane task. If the mere mention of a date conjures up feelings of inevitable disappointment, you’re definitely in the midst of dating burnout.

 

Other telltale signs include:

 

Experiencing jealousy over your friends’ relationships.

Jealousy is a sign of insecurity. If you feel slighted by your friend’s relationship or, if you’re pulling away from the new couple, you might be internalizing feelings of frustration about your own romantic life. “I couldn’t stand my coworker’s boyfriend,” says Marie. “Listening to her talk about his anniversary plans was so annoying, but I couldn’t figure out why. I typically liked hearing all of her dating stories. Then, I realized that it had nothing to do with boyfriend. I was sad we weren’t going to talk about our hilariously bad dates from the weekend.”

 

Feeling like the search is hopeless.

When quitting seems easier than fielding another bad date, you’re not heading towards dating fatigue—you’re there. If you’re fearing boredom, rejection, or exhaustion, nixing future dates will seem like the perfect way to prevent future pain.

 

Willing to go for anyone who isn’t terrible.

Settling for someone to stave off loneliness is a sign that you’re losing faith in yourself. Lowering your standards is the best way to find yourself in a relationship you should avoid. “The worst relationship I ever had was actually the first woman I met after my divorce,” says Tom, 41. “I didn’t know what I was doing and the thought of dating again blew my mind. Well, I learned my lesson.”

 

A string of bad dates.

Nothing is more exhausting than a streak of dates without any semblance of connection. Mustering up the enthusiasm—and courage—to get yourself out there again will seem like an uphill battle.

 

Finding your couch more appealing than social gatherings.

Taking a break from all social activities—not just dating—reveals that your frustration from the lack of romantic connectivity is seeping into your other relationships. If you are closing yourself off from everyone, it’s time to evaluate your approach to dating.

 

So what can you do to recover from dating burnout? Consider the following to get back the good vibes:

 

Lower your expectations, not your standards.

Instead of focusing on if the other person likes you, flip the equation to figure out if you feel something towards the other person. This process takes time and might not lead to fireworks initially.

 

Keep the first date short.

You’ll know if you want more—or not—within the first 20 minutes. Keeping the first date short will help you build tension for date #2 or save you from spending too much energy on a dead end. This advice is especially true if you are dating vis-a-vis apps and online.

 

If you know you aren’t interested, don’t go on a second date.

No one wants to be the bad guy, but going out again when you know it’s not there will waste your time and theirs. “I would rather sit through drinks with a guy I wasn’t into than have the ‘I’m not into you’ conversation,” says, Molly, 37. “Of course, this only makes things harder in the end.”

 

Keep your dating life private until you’ve narrowed it down to one person.

Save yourself the trouble of rehashing the same details of lackluster dates.

 

Give yourself a time out.

You’ll project your best self if you’re not forcing yourself to feel or act a certain way. If you’re juggling five people, none of whom you really like, do everyone a favor and take a break. Channel your energy and free time towards a new hobby, keeping physically active, seeing friends, etc till you are ready to date again.

 

Get honest with yourself.

Self awareness is the first step to making sure you aren’t self sabotaging. If you don’t feel anything after several dates, ask a trusted friend about what it could be. If this isn’t possible, seek a dating coach —an objective third party can work wonders.

 

Although it can feel overwhelmingly hopeless, dating fatigue is only temporary. At Linx, we’re here to streamline your dating experience. Matchmaking isn’t just about more dates; it’s about optimizing the variables for connection. If you’re feeling disconnected, we can help. Email our founder Amy at amy@linxdating.com

 

LINX LOVE: UAE + Palo Alto

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We are pleased to announce a recent Linx match–across continents. Linx Dating was recently tapped to make an introduction for an especially discerning VIP candidate from the Emirates. Our boutique firm led the search for the woman who met the client’s specific criteria and, in a short time, we made an introduction based on mutual compatibility.

As a distinguished leader in his country, our client’s time was in high demand. Travel, investments, and family responsibilities made his search for a serious, compatible partner increasingly difficult. Without time to waste, our client entrusted Linx with the search for the love of his life.

After conducting a series of meetings stateside, Founder and CEO, Amy Andersen, helped our client decide what he most valued in a partner. The ideal match would not only have an a Stanford University degree, she would be family focused and professionally ambitious.

Our client also preferred feminine women with a healthy physique and natural curves. Equipped with a specific picture of the client’s needs, Linx made a series of highly curated introductions. Each introduction helped us get closer to the right match; our efforts have helped our client find the partner—and relationship—he had been waiting for!

No stranger to high profile clients, Linx employs discretion always. We were able to conduct a search, make introductions, and exceed our client’s expectations without compromising our client’s privacy. We pride ourselves on keeping our clients’ personal lives private as we cast wide nets to find ideal matches.

After only having a few dates with his final match, our VIP client and his beautiful Stanford educated match tied the knot in a very private ceremony in Arabic abroad with only close family witnessing. We are thrilled at yet another success story and congratulate the very happy couple as they embark on their life together!

Curious how Linx Dating can change your life? Contact Amy here.

 

What is Cuffing Season and Why Does It Matter?

With holidays approaching, you may find yourself wanting a relationship more than usual. As the days get shorter and the weather cools down, singles are looking for a relationship that will tie them over the next few months, but perhaps not endure into the spring. This heightened desire for a semi permanent relationship occurs during “Cuffing Season”.

Cuffing season begins during that stretch of fall when the weather begins to cool off and everyone you know starts coupling up. It specifically describes the desire to couple up or “cuff” ourselves to a partner during the chilly months—and stay together until spring. The trend is undeniable, but what causes it? Is this preference to cozy up just a preference or are we biologically engineered to get monogamous during the cooler months?

Is “Cuffing Season” actually real?

Short answer is yes—winters yield a higher rate of conception; spring yields changes to Facebook relationship statuses. When Hinge, a popular dating app, polled users, they discovered that men were 15% more likely to look for a relationship in the winter than any other season. Women were 5% more interested in a monogamous relationship, too.

Is “Cuffing Season” the result of biological impulses?

Experts agree that although people tend to pair up during winter months, the urge to couple up is not substantiated by any biological impulse. In fact, humans have evolved to a point beyond mating seasons. Scientists note that humans associate cold temperatures with loneliness, which could prompt the urge to get monogamous, but ultimately, the need to “cuff” ourselves to each other isn’t a biological or evolutionary response.

So, how do I handle the “Cuffing Season” urge?

Those urges to couple up aren’t easy to avoid. Between plus-one invites and fears of experiencing the holidays alone, you might find yourself approaching relationships from a place of neediness instead of real affection. Make sure the chemistry is real by taking any relationship you start this winter on the slow side. Gift giving, family travel, and plus one invites might add a little more complication to your dating life than usual. Don’t let the stress of the holidays rush your love life. Remember, spring is right around the corner.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finding Love Again After Divorce or Loss of Spouse

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Romance, courtship, and monogamy are wonderful blessings to strive for in life, regardless of one’s age. 2015 has been a fascinating year across multiple axes at Linx, as we have had the opportunity to work with some of the most influential men and women in the nation. What I particularly admire about many of our new clients is that they are well over 50 years old. Many of them have been married once, twice, and in some cases three times. We have even represented many widowed clients who, after having taken sufficient time for healing, introspection, prayer, and quality moments with family and friends, affirm their belief that love with someone new seems fathomable and within reach.

Why spend the rest of your life alone when you could find a companion, a love, a lover, a dancing partner, a best friend- you name it – with whom you could fall in love and experience magic again? Loss, of any kind, fuels the soul with hope and curiosity – it can be very exciting to “hit reset” and to see who’s out there in this giant world of ours. It can make you feel like you’re 16 again and feeling puppy love.

Some of our 50+ year old clients have shared that one of the major things that dissuades them from dating again, after divorce or the loss of a spouse, is worrying about what their children will think. This concern is very real and makes perfect sense on a lot of levels. Understandably, it’s not uncommon for many men and women to have very (and in some cases I have seen, extremely) poor filters when they date for the first time after divorce or losing a significant other. In most cases I see, clients were together with their spouse for 20 years on average, which means that they sort of never really dated to begin with! They got married very young, had X number of children, and never looked back.

Fast forward decades later in this era of modern dating, the social and dating landscape couldn’t be more different! A very laissez-faire attitude amongst many singles has manifested itself over the last few years and comes hand-in-hand with the rise of a million dating apps, niche dating sites, and an underlying current of complete and utter disregard for courtship and chivalry- some of the original principles upon which Linx is built. What it means to be a gentleman and what it means to be a lady. Alas, I digress.

In the multiple cases to which I have been privy about dating for the first time post divorce or loss of spouse, the stories can be gruesome to say the least. For many men, they pick someone purely based on physicality. Unfortunately after a few dates or, in some cases, an actual relationship, these men realize that the match they chose comes nowhere close to the magnitude and quality that their late spouse or even ex possessed. It is their children who regard the new flame as a poor fit for their parent and remind them that they can do a lot better.

For women, they will often chose someone who makes them feel safe, loved, and where they feel a strong emotional pull. Many of the men that these females chose on their own do not match up to them financially and lifestyle wise. In other words, they are not in the same socio-economic class but, more importantly I feel, they lack sophistication. These females are reminded by their children that the new relationship is indeed threatening, and that the new guy is simply after her money. As the saying goes, love can be blind.

So even though I have heard so many stories of dating in the wild for the first time post divorce or loss of one’s spouse and as many times as I “feel” for my clients, in many respects it is important to go through this and see what’s out there before starting Linx. I believe it makes people (my clients) appreciate the quality and caliber of our clientele even more.

So in closing, if a dear friend, colleague, or parent is sailing through the seas without a rudder as they navigate dating in 2015-2016 alone, give them the encouragement and hope that finding love is indeed possible again. Remember it’s a sensitive subject and can take time, a lot of work, moments of sheer frustration, and rejection but that they too can believe in love again and make it happen. Let them try to pilot dating on their own with some tools to start with (i.e., get online, go to singles meet-ups, etc) and once they have dated a bit and practiced, then hit them with higher stakes dating where courtship and romance is simply a click away to: amy@linxdating.com

Love at first swipe?

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While enjoying Sunday brunch with girlfriends the other week, one of them revealed that a man we knew and respected as a devoted husband and doting father had been cheating on his wife with not just one, but several different women. He was one of the 30 million users who was exposed in July for using the Ashley Madison website that lures people in with the radical slogan “Life is Short. Have an affair.” We all shook our heads in unison as we scanned photo after photo of his beautiful family on Facebook. Why would someone with a seemingly perfect life want to destroy it?

We considered our own Facebook profiles. Endless photos of smiles at gorgeous weddings and on exotic vacations don’t accurately reflect our lives, either. We portray an image of ourselves that often doesn’t paint a full picture of life’s ups and downs. We tend to exclude funerals, arguments, breakups, layoffs, and de-tag ourselves from photos where we don’t look happy and thin.

This is an innocent example of how we represent ourselves to the world, but the same blurred lines exist for everything else we see on the Internet, including dating profiles. Online dating comes with all of the major issues of the Internet, including a lack of transparency, privacy and trust. While in many ways it’s great that the Internet has opened up the dating pool immensely, it also lends itself too much towards fabrication. Why be honest in a dating profile when you can portray yourself as taller, thinner, younger, employed, single, etc.?

With no last names, limited information and no guarantees that any information is actually true, online dating apps have become a breeding ground for infidelity. To my knowledge, no dating sites require people to prove they are single, or even unmarried!

The term “catfish,” popularized by the documentary and MTV show, refers to people who create fake identities on social media and dating sites with the sole purpose of misleading people into romantic relationships. While the show is often humorous, showcasing people pretending to be beauty pageant winners, models and singers, the extent to which people go to pretend to be someone they’re not is quite unsettling. Many of these people are married, and there are serious implications in the real world for both the people who created the fake identities and those who were persuaded by the fake profiles.

According to a recent New York Times article entitled After Ashley Madison Breach, Online Daters Check Credentials, the Ashley Madison data breach “served as a notice to those in the online dating trenches, some of whom have taken to hiring private investigators or matchmakers or turned to specialized data sites to uncover the marital status and reputations of those they are dating.” As easy as it may seem to swipe right or virtually wink at someone to score your next date, the Internet can be a dangerous place to meet someone. Even if you didn’t sign up to use Ashley Madison, you may be someone’s mistress without even realizing it.

At the end of brunch, the single ladies at the table joked that they may have to hire a private investigator or background check service to make sure the guys they meet online, in bars or in coffee shops aren’t drug-addicted, married, sex offenders. It dawned upon us that the only way to know for sure that you are going to meet an honest, single, commitment-minded person, without being a stalker, is to meet people through friends, family or a trusted dating network like Linx Dating.

Family members, friends, and professional matchmakers complete the due diligence for you and understand the full picture of every person in their network, so you don’t have to worry that your next date will be 20 years older than his or her photos or even worse, married and just looking for a little side action. The silver lining to the Ashley Madison hack is that now is a great time to join the honest people who value integrity and loyalty as they flock to professional matchmakers during this time of uncertainty in the dating world.

Christine is a 30-year-old, Ivy League educated, East Coast transplant in San Francisco.  She believes that the meaning of life is to love and be loved, and she is passionate about volunteering, technology and yoga

How I Found My Husband in San Francisco…

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After several years of fun, but unsuccessful husband hunting in San Francisco, I discovered that the love of my life lived only 2 blocks away. Dating pretty much every single college-educated guy over 6 feet tall in New York and San Francisco during my 20s was a thrill! Meeting men through friends, in bars, and on Match, Tinder and eHarmony, I certainly met my fair share of men who never asked questions, expected to split the check on a first date, older men who claimed to be around my age, and extremely short men who claimed to be over 6 feet. Despite a few uncomfortable conversations and awkward hugs, I feel so fortunate to have met so many interesting men, several of whom have become good friends and business contacts. Most importantly, my active dating life enabled me to determine exactly the type of man who would be my ideal match. All I needed to do was find him…

I remember feeling frustrated when people told me that I would only find someone when I stopped looking. How can you find someone when you’re not looking? As I approached my late 20s, I decided to take this advice, but with a twist. I deleted my dating accounts and stopped going out as much socially. I also worked with Amy Andersen to complete my ideal match profile, which helped me become very clear on the traits I valued most in a life partner. Instead of Tindering to find the tallest, hottest guy, I set forth my intention to the universe to find a loyal, intelligent, charismatic man, and I stopped looking for him.

To fill my free time, I pursued my two passions – rowing and yoga. I signed up for a 200-hour yoga teacher training and started a group of Bay Area women who rowed in college. Between work, yoga and the rowing group, I had virtually no time to date, and guess what? I met my husband right away. In the first 5 minutes of a co-ed rowing event I helped organize at an upscale bar near my office, my future husband and I locked eyes. Our chemistry was off the charts, and we quickly discovered that we had several common interests a ton of mutual friends in San Francisco.

After 6 months, I moved 2 blocks away into his apartment, after 9 months, we were engaged, and 2 years later, we are married. As cliché as it sounds to find your match when you aren’t looking, it’s exactly what happened to me. I feel so fortunate to be married to the man of my dreams, and I’d love to share some tips I learned along the way.

5 Tips to Meet your Ideal Match

  1. Enjoy dating! Interacting with new people helps to broaden your horizons, learn more about yourself and the traits you value most in a partner, and to appreciate meeting the right person for you.   Especially in San Francisco, dating is an opportunity for you to grow both professionally and socially. In such a small city, you will run into former dates frequently, so focus on building a strong brand in the dating world. Your future husband may be your awkward Tinder date’s best friend! And meeting people through location-based apps like Tinder enable you to meet new friends and tour guides while traveling.
  1. Identify the traits you value most in your ideal partner. Spend time thinking about similar traits in people you have dated, in your parents, and what you value most in a life partner. Be specific on the key traits, flexible on others, and understand your non-negotiables. Write everything down and discuss with friends, family, a therapist, or a matchmaker. Don’t write off someone whose company you enjoy just because they don’t check every box. It wasn’t until I became clear about what I wanted in a relationship and shared this vision with people that my ideal partner walked into my life.
  1. Focus less on finding Mr. Right and more on becoming Ms. Right. Be the best version of yourself. We hear this advice all the time because it’s so true. If you aren’t into watching sports and you love running, join a running club instead of trying to meet men at a sports bar. I am not interested in watching sports and have been guilty of this many times! If you don’t like your job, get a new one. Don’t pretend to have your life together and rely on Mr. Right to fix your problems. We continue to work on ourselves throughout life, so get to a good place where you and your future partner can work on yourselves together.
  1. Choose happiness! – Life is full of challenges. Make a conscious decision to be happy and stay positive though the worst of times. Radiant, happy women attract similar qualities in others. Be the happy, upbeat person people want to be around. Greet others with smiles and compliments. I have always found volunteering, celebrating others, and travel to lift my spirits and open my heart to endless gratitude. And it’s so easy to meet new people while volunteering and traveling!
  1. Refine your body and mind. Exercise, drink more water, and get enough sleep. Your body will thank you, and fit, healthy people are valued in athletic cities like San Francisco. Attend classes and groups you enjoy, to meet like-minded people. Your husband may be waiting for you in your next boot camp, rock climbing or meditation class! Go outside, breathe deeply, feel the endorphins, and appreciate the natural beauty around us. Get into the best shape of your life, take care of yourself, and SHINE!

Christine is a 30-year-old, Ivy League educated, East Coast transplant in San Francisco.  She believes that the meaning of life is to love and be loved, and she is passionate about volunteering, technology and yoga