Dating Tips for Women

He wants to try polyamory. What do I do now? 5 Questions to ask yourself before proceeding

 

iStock-859766444 copy.jpgThe popularity of non-monogamy—the practice of engaging in many intimate relationships—is on the rise, but is it the right path for your relationship? If you’ve found yourself in this situation, the most important piece of the puzzle is getting clear about what you want.

 

It’s important to understand what a polyamorous relationship entails. Firstly, it is a relationship built on consent. So, if you or your partner engages in another relationship without the consent of the primary partner, that’s not polyamory, that’s cheating. Also, polyamory is not exclusively about having multiple partners – if that were the case, you’d be describing an open relationship.

 

Sound a little complicated? Well, I’d agree with you. I’ve seen the invitation for multiple partners complicate functional relationships for years. To be fair, the relationships were on shaky ground before the discussion of additional partners was on the table, but each time the conversation about additional partners came up, someone was left feeling disappointed.

 

I believe the best decisions come from a place of honesty. Before you decide if polyamory is for you, consider the following:

 

  1. What led you to this decision?

If your partner surprised you with the proposition, it’s already looking like an unnatural evolution of your relationship. However, if you did some deep soul searching and believe that multiple partners will help you become the best version of yourself, I think you should listen to that voice.

 

  1. Are you doing this to please someone?

Compromising your picture of the relationship to paint someone else’s will only backfire. Instead of ensuring closeness, you’re building a strong case for resentment and contempt. In addition, it is common for jealously to flood the brain.

 

Ask yourself: Will my partner’s feelings towards me change based on my response?

 

  1. Are you doing this to fix something “broken”?

Compromising your needs in an attempt to “get the relationship back on track” or “try a new experience together” are just falsehoods to help us cope with the knowledge that the relationship is flawed on a fundamental level.

 

Ask yourself: How, specifically, will my partner’s new relationship with someone else strengthen our relationship?

 

  1. Are you able to speak openly about jealousy, sexual health, and feeling insecure?

Are your lines of communication open enough to discuss some of the harsher realities of polyamory? Some common drawbacks include feeling jealous, insecure, and secondary. Will you be able to talk about the physical implications of more than one sexual partner? Are you able to talk about feelings of insecurity at the risk of sounding needy? If any of this gives you pause, consider how much stress the polyamorous relationship could put on the level of communication with your partner.

 

  1. Are you able to set boundaries? Are you prepared to leave if they are crossed?

This point echoes the sentiment above; are you able to communicate openly about your needs in the relationship? If you are entertaining a polyamorous relationship, are there certain people off limits to your partner? If you are not able to voice these concerns for fear of upsetting your partner, you will sabotage your emotional well being.

 

Are you dating a narcissist? Watch out for these signs

If your partner is constantly seeking attention, validation, or admiration while keeping your needs secondary, you could be dating a narcissist. The narcissism diagnosis gets tossed around frequently, so it can be difficult to differentiate between a true narcissist and someone who just loves attention. To know if you’re dating a narcissist, look out for the following signs:

Grandiose Personality—Your partner believes that he or she is the reason other people are leading better lives. Because they believe they are more important than everyone else, it’s challenging for them to fathom how other people could survive without their contributions.

What this could look like: When your partner discusses a work project, he takes credit for the final product without any acknowledgement of colleagues. He tries to tell you that despite everyone pushing back or “getting in his way”, he single-handedly found the answer.

Grand displays of affection (initially)—If your partner laid it on thick in the beginning—i.e. flowers, gifts, or saying “I love you” soon after meeting—you experienced what psychologists call “love bombing”. This technique is used to move the relationship forward quickly, but on a false pretense—one that is self-serving as opposed to genuine.

What this could look like: You were swept off your feet, but that narrative quickly changed when you communicated needs of your own. The exchange of gifts comes easily, but the exchange of real communication has barriers.

Your partner is living in a fantasy—Since reality doesn’t back up that grandiose personality, your partner will create a narrative that does. You might hear your partner tell stories that speak to unlimited power, brilliance, or importance. These stories are protective mechanisms to help offset shame or a lack of self worth.

What this could look like: Your partner tells a story about that time she got a scholarship to an ivy league school, but she doesn’t end up going. When you ask why she took out loans to attend a state school instead, she becomes furious and combative. Your innocent question is met with rage and anger, as it potentially challenges her fantasy.

You partner turns the conversation on you—Whenever you discuss a problem with your partner or have some constructive criticism, the conversation seems to be redirected at you. A narcissistic person will try to make you feel guilty, overly sensitive, or just plain wrong about the issues you’re experiencing. Gaslighting is the formal term that describes this kind of emotional devaluation technique.

What this could look like: You tell your partner that you are upset when she shows up late for plans. Instead of apologizing or offering up a reason, she flips the conversation on you. She might say something like, “Why are you so controlling?” or “Would be really great if you could loosen up”. Gaslighters know that if you question your own feelings, you will continue to doubt yourself and the poor treatment you are receiving.

Your partner is a bully—To affirm those feelings of superiority, narcissists will frequently demean others. Your partner harbors a fragile self esteem so tearing people down—especially publically—is a way to preserve his sense of self.

What this could look like: The waiter delivers the wrong meal to your table. Instead of asking for a replacement, your partner escalates the situation from mistake to confrontation. After embarrassing the waiter and asserting dominance, your partner will not feel any shame or remorse for making a scene.

 

Not interested in going out again with your date? How to reject with class. 👏🏻

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I had a client email me this week inquiring about how to reject the idea of another date if she is genuinely not interested in a future with her match.
She asked, “How/when should I let me date know if I’m not interested? I never want to disappoint them after the date, so I don’t always say exactly what I feel. And sometimes I need some time to think it over. I feel bad when I have to text that I’m not interested because I don’t think it’s the best way. How should I go about being honest with them in the moment?”
I told her a good rule of thumb is to either call or text about mid day the next day. I would wait till after the date and both parties go home. If he texts right after the date and you know you definitely do not want another date, just wait till the next day to respond.
Saying in person at the end of the date is off-putting and painful to hear. So sudden! So soon! No time to reflect and digest. Ouch! It’s like a giant slap in the face. So instead, wait till the next day to gently let your date know you’re not interested. This is a bit more elegant and mature approach to modern dating.
If you are not comfortable calling, in the early stages of dating, a text is fine. If you have had multiple dates with someone, it is best to get together in person to explain you’re just not feeling it or a phone call is acceptable.
A good “template” to follow involves starting the conversation with compliments and praise. Random examples are:
-Thank you for finding such a cool dinner spot last night. I had never even heard of that restaurant and I am so glad you introduced me to such unusual tapas. 
-Thank you for being a gentleman and so kind. It is honestly rare that men open doors anymore and to treat me as well was a welcome surprise! 
– I loved your creative sense of style and the fact that you sewed your own dress by hand is beyond cool. Very unique- especially when everyone seems to go to find easy solutions to buy clothes with online purchases. I’ve never met anyone that knows how to sew and do it with such precision. 😉 
-I was blown-away when you mentioned you completed your Ph.D. program in 3 years on top of full-time work.  That’s truly impressive and no small feat. 
-I loved your story last night of how you decided to start volunteering on the weekends. Finding someone as compassionate and empathetic as you are is frankly rare! 
It then segues to you having taken the necessary time to digest the date and subsequently reflect. Upon your reflection, you feel the long-term chemistry isn’t fully there to warrant another date. (I like people to volley back with a question after this statement such as, and perhaps you agree with me?)
Pay another compliment to the effect of how you have no doubt that he/she will find the love of their life in due time.
This is an extremely kind and tasteful way to gently let your date down and pay it forward with compliments good modern dating behavior. It is so much nicer than ghosting or getting into a texting dialogue, thus leading the other person on- especially if you have no intension of going out again with him/her.
Standout from everyone else by handling the more difficult conversations with elegance when you’re out there dating. You will not only make your date feel better about themselves but in-turn, you will feel great about taking the high road.

 

Digital Dating Detox

Dear faithful readers,
I’m re-posting a blog entry from a talented friend who’s a writer, editor, and digital consultant living in New York City named Micaela English. Micaela is a spectacular individual and just launched a website and journal (blog.) Rather than sending editors writing clips when pitching stories, she needed a one stop shop to show the work she’s most proud of. She also has so many stories that don’t get picked up and feels passionately about sharing her work with the world which you can find in her “journal” (a fancier💎 way of saying blog.) Her first story she published? …. “Why Silicon Valley’s top matchmaker (Linx Dating + Amy Alex Andersen) told me to go on a digital dating detox last summer, and how it led me to meet the loveliest human being.” So enjoy and please consider following my dating advice and perhaps you too will meet the love of your life next. XO- Amy  iStock-635698096 copy.jpg

The Best Piece of Advice Silicon Valley’s Top Matchmaker Gave Me? Stop Dating

Last year, I was totally and completely burnt out from dating and relationships. I had that Charlotte from SATC moment,“I’ve been dating since I was 15. I am exhausted. Where is HE?” After my last relationship with someone I was sure I had long term potential with abruptly ended, I reached a breaking point. In a desperate move, I asked for help. I wrote an email to a matchmaker I had interviewed in the past for an article, and had really clicked with. Her name is Amy Andersen of Linx Dating. Amy is not only the top matchmaker in Silicon Valley (think entrepreneurs, CEOS, and the like) but she is also insanely smart, contagiously funny, and warm. She not only responded to my e-mail right away but she also gave me the best dating advice of my life. In the spirit of SPRING FEVER, and people coming out of their winter cocoons, ready to get our there again, I want to share her advice with you no matter what stage or status you are in on your relationship journey. To the broken hearted, there is light at the end of the tunnel, take some time to celebrate and date YOU!

So what did Amy say to me when I told her I had just about had enough of the swipes, dates, pseudo-relationships, and breakups? She said I needed a complete and total digital dating detox. A digital dating detox? What is that? Amy explained in tech terms, “It’s about getting off the spinning hamster wheel going nowhere and removing the digital noise and distractions from your life. It’s a “reboot” of yourself and a defragmentation of your internal hard drive. Or in Silicon Valley lingo, it’s a CTRL + SHIFT + ESC. Like a computer that’s a few years old and running slow, you might not feel as if you are mentally as agile and optimistic as you used to be. With a computer, it’s likely that you have stored cache, installed apps by accident, have a million old e-mail downloads that are hogging memory, and have a ton of junk on your desktop. My digital dating detox is a personal “clean up” program created to empower anyone who has experienced dating fatigue. The goal is to make you stop feeling burned out and give yourself a necessary break and reboot.” Does that click with you? Keep reading.

1. Invest in yourself and Delete.The.Apps.

First things first. Delete the apps. Amy told me to delete every single one of them for a few months, which I did. To be honest, I was super anxious about it, they were my security blankets to getting dates, but not having alerts and “homework” swiping as part of my daily routine was truly one of the most liberating things I’ve ever done. Amy’s philosophy? “Invest in “YOU time” until you can look forward to it again. My most important advice is to take a well-deserved break and get off all apps, online, and just focus on making a personal investment in yourself. Get in the best mindset and health, and do things that make you genuinely happy.”

2. Surround yourself with like-minded, positive people who are doing cool things in their lives.

As Jim Rohn said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” I truly believe this. Living in New York City, there are so many choices, invitations, and “we need to catch ups.” In order to stay overall positive and healthy during my experiment I chose to spend my time with people that genuinely felt good to hang out with, inspired, and supported me. It was as simple as that. I still truly believe this, I love seeing people, I’m sure you do too.

3. Start spending your time doing things that YOU want to do instead of what others want you to do or what society says you should do.

This one really resonated with me. My calendar was so often filled with things “I needed to do”. Dates were scheduled like workouts. It was exhausting. I decided to throw that all out the window. If everyone was going away for Memorial Day weekend and there were invites to travel, but I didn’t want to. I didn’t. I spent it going to the spa and doing things that felt good for me. I listened to my mind and body and took my emotional temperature of what I was open to doing, one day at a time.

4. Try and do new things out of your comfort zone.

Amy suggested that I “Think about the “types” of people you would like to meet and center yourself in those environments. If you have always wanted to learn rock climbing and find men who do this to be incredibly attractive now is your time to take indoor rock climbing lessons after work .” Doing these new things will also prove to yourself that you are constantly growing and doing new things. It’s a win/win!

5. Stay open. Stay kind.

This point really hit home with me. I used to feel frustrated after an unsuccessful date and like it was a waste of time but Amy made a really good point to me. “You never know whom you are going to meet. Even if he/she is not the one for you , he/she might have a friend who ends up being your match. Be kind and compassionate to your date with the goal of sending out positive energy and good karma. Although you and your date might agree that there is not chemistry between you, maybe he/she will extend an invite to a BBQ to meet some of his single friends. It is precisely at this even that you could meet the true love of your life. Lesson, don’t burn bridges or play games. Remember any single person is in the same boat as you and probably doesn’t actually enjoy dating just for the sake of dating- much like you!” Be kind, it will never hurt you in the long run.

6. Ask people around you if they know anyone for you?

The good old friends of friends approach. Amy says to, “Tell your trusted network of friends and family that you are taking a 2-6 month digital detox and are going to “old school” it for the time being. That you are excited at the possibilities and put it out there that you’d love to be considered for any set-ups if they have a single friend in mind. Have a sound bite ready for your approach with anyone you are talking to….”I came out of a relationship a few months ago and I’ve checked out some of the dating apps but truthfully it’s challenging from a time and lack of vetting perspective. That’s why I was hoping to get out there and just meet people a little more organically, like you.”

6. STAY POSITIVE and don’t overthink all of this.

And Amy’s most important advice of all, “The energy you radiate is what’s given back to you.” Hell yes. “Additionally, you have to enjoy being in the moment and letting go of concerns or any negative messages or doubts. When you are literally having fun and carrying on with a giant smile and a “I don’t really give a flying f*ck” attitude because I am happy THAT is exactly the energy people want to be around. You’ve reached a much more enlightened point and have shifted your energy from tired and frustrated to “light, easy, and breezy.” You’re radiating a confidence and certain je ne sais quoi that many people wish they had.”

So what happened to me, after my digital dating detox? I fell in love with myself again. And with being in love with myself, I felt this magical aura around me once I “got back out there” I went on my first Hinge date after no dating for a few months and there he was, the healthy partner I manifested while taking time to be the healthiest version of myself.

For more information on Amy Andersen, linxdating.com

How Much Sex Should We Be Having Anyway?

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Whether you’re enjoying the newness of a fresh relationship or comfortable after years together, you can count on your sex life changing. What is hot and heavy at first may calm to sporadic bedroom sessions. Or, maybe that initially awkward and mediocre sex (that perhaps you don’t want very often) can evolve to gratifying, explosive orgasms (that you’d enjoy twice daily). With such a wide spectrum, is there a baseline amount of sex we should be having?

 

According to the Kinsey Institute for research in Sex, Reproduction and Gender, the best predictor of sexual frequency is age—not marital status. Researchers found that, on average, people between 18-29 have 112 sex sessions a year; people between 30-39 have 86 sex sessions a year; and people between 40-49 have 69 sex sessions a year.

 

Wondering about the 50+ crowd? After surveying over 8000 participants over the age of 50, the The Normal Bar found that 31 percent enjoy sex multiple times a week; 28 percent enjoy sex a few times a month; and 8 percent have sex once a month. Nearly a third of respondents rarely have sex at all.

 

Worried about your sex life losing steam? There is an upside: Although the quantity of sex may decrease with age, the quality gets better. In one study, researchers attributed the higher levels of sexual satisfaction in menopausal and post menopausal women to their confidence, managed expectations, and ability to prioritize their sexual needs.

 

We’re below average! Is there a problem?

 

Not necessarily. In one study led by Amy Muise of The University of Toronto-Mississauga, researchers found that couples who have sex every night are just as happy as the couples who have sex once a week. In another study, researchers asked half of the 64 married couples participating to double the amount of sex they typically have. When comparing happiness levels from the cohort having more sex to the cohort sticking to their usual sex amounts, researchers found no increase in happiness. Instead, the couples with the doubled sex requirement reported lower energy levels and sexual dissatisfaction.

 

The findings show that real satisfaction doesn’t stem from the amount of sex, but rather from the quality of sexual experience. Sex is a vehicle for connectivity; some couples need to have sex to be connected and others can achieve connectivity other ways. In other words, as long as you and your partner feel connected, the amount of sex is secondary. “It’s important to maintain an intimate connection with your partner without putting too much pressure on engaging in sex as frequently as possible,” said Muise.

 

Is there a such thing as too little sex?

 

Technically, couples who have sex less than ten times a year are considered “sexless”. For older couples, the declining amount of sex is perfectly acceptable. But, for other couples, a mismatched libido can pose problems. If you haven’t been in the mood, take a closer look at your medications—especially antidepressants and antihistamines—and get your hormone levels checked. If you’ve ruled out physical causes, consider a fake-it-till-you-make-it approach; having sexual experiences can actually produce hormones that trigger higher levels of desire. If sex isn’t on the table, engaging in foreplay can also help fuel the flames of desire. Touching, holding, kissing, and other forms of physical contact stimulates oxytocin—a chemical that gives you feelings of closeness and connectedness with your partner.

 

What if we’re having too much sex?

 

Lucky you–literally! According to sex therapists and medical professionals, there is no such as too much sex; however, if your desire for sex is interfering with your job or relationships, you should consider chatting with a therapist.

 

 

 

Man’s Best Friend or Competition? How to Date Someone with a Dog

 

iStock-615075394 copy.jpgForget the mother-in-law. Sometimes the most difficult family member is the four-legged hairball who drinks out of the toilet. Managing an obnoxious animal can be difficult, but the real difficulty lies in dating someone whose priorities are out of order.

 

If you’re feeling like a powerless third wheel, there are ways to get your relationship in a better place. Below, we’ve outlined the most common problems that arise when dating a pet owner and how to approach them.

 

Problem: The dog sleeps in a bed—with both of you.

Solution: Tell your SO (significant other) that you’d like to keep the bed on hold for sleeping and other “special activities”. Between the pet hair and the lack of space, this request shouldn’t come as a surprise. Snag a dog bed and keep it in the corner of the bedroom to accommodate the new arrangement. If you’d prefer to keep the dog outside of the bedroom entirely, vets suggest putting the dog bed in a warm enclosed area away from heavy traffic areas (i.e., hallway, family room, home office, etc).

 

Problem: The dog is poorly trained, and your significant other isn’t doing anything about it.

Solution: Explain how the pet’s behavior makes you feel. For example, you could say, “Rover went crazy and tried to bite the mailman. It was really stressful, and I was worried about liability issues.” Then, pivot to the solution: “I think we need to enroll in some obedience classes. Here’s one that has rave reviews.” If your partner pushes back on the formal classes, suggest some in-house training that includes crating the dog after bad behavior.

 

Problem: You are allergic to your partner’s dog or cat.

Solution: This is tricky. Aside from suggesting some antihistamines, there isn’t much you can do. According to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, the best way to keep allergies at bay is to:

  1. Keep animals away from the bedroom
  2. Vacuum often with a HEPA filter
  3. Wash your hands after handling your pet
  4. Try to bathe your pet once a week or you can hire a doggy concierge to arrive to your home and clean the furry loved one in a mobile van in the driveway.

If cohabitation is in jeopardy because of your partner’s pet allergies, you have to figure out which relationship you value more: the one with your partner or the one with your pet.

 

Problem: You can’t go on vacation, because the pet “has anxiety” without his owner.

Solution: Before traveling, set up some time to interview pet sitters. Give your partner (and pet) some time to get comfortable with the idea of a new caretaker. Once you’ve picked the right pet sitter, you can leave for vacation worry free. If your SO is still hedging with the pet sitter, frame the situation from a cost perspective. One-way flights with a pet in tow can cost $100-150 or, as much as $1000 for a long stint in cargo. Hotel fees can also add up to $100 per night.

 

 

Problem: Your partner co-parents the pet with a crazy ex.

Solution: Establish some boundaries. Encourage your partner to come up with a set schedule for pet care and get it confirmed well in advance. Last minute changes or pet sitting requests can add unnecessary emotional reactivity.

 

The best way to approach any issue is to have a solution in mind. A new plan might not be the perfect answer, but it’s a start. For many people, the pet is family, and family is forever. If your partner isn’t prioritizing your needs over the pet, you will need to decide if you can handle being #2 in your partner’s life.

 

How and When to Talk Kids with Your Date

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When it comes to deal breakers, we start filtering with the usual suspects: smoking, level of education, religious background, etc. However, life goals—like the decision to have children or not—shouldn’t be treated any differently.

 

According to the US Census Bureau’s survey in 2014, 28.9 percent of women between the ages 30-34 are . This percentage is at an all-time high and, according to other surveys, this trend isn’t stopping anytime soon. Women are postponing pregnancy or not having children at all. For many women thinking about their waning fertility, the topic of kids—to have them or not—is a topic better had sooner than after months of dating.

 

Although men don’t have a biological clock to contend with, they might have family expectations of their own or want to be sure their partner wants to remain before committing. In one poll conducted by the Associated Press in 2013, more than 8 in 10 men said they were interested in becoming fathers. With men’s continued desire to procreate and more women opting to postpone pregnancy, figuring out where kids—or if—kids fit into the plans is a crucial milestone.

 

Talking about future family plans is important, but it’s a tricky conversation to initiate. Women worried about family planning will want to initiate the conversation sooner, but often they do so at the risk of scaring potential partners off or making their partners feel like sperm donors. Men, on the other hand, might feel like they’re adding pressure to their partners to bear the burden of pregnancy.

Step 1. Consider timing.

 

The first three dates should not reference a future. Talking about your future life together before spending enough time together sends a desperate message: Your partner’s personality and behavior isn’t that important. If you’re bringing up kids before establishing any real connection, your partner will feel more like a means to an end instead of being an actual end.

 

The best time to weave hopes of a future family is when the relationship is transitioning from dating to something more serious. When it’s safe to assume you’ll see each other rather than wondering if you’ll see each other, you can start weaving in references to a future family without any kind of pressure-inducing discussion.

 

Step 2. Consider your word choice.

 

When you talk about a future family, nix the deadlines. The point of the conversation is to understand where your partner falls on the family-planning spectrum—not when you’d like to get pregnant/impregnate.

 

If you’re sure you want children, try:

  • I never thought I’d say this, but I’m actually looking forward to driving a minivan full of little leaguers.
  • Not now, but in the next few years, I’d be interested in starting a family.

 

If you’re sure you do NOT want children, try:

  • Although I enjoy kids, I’ve never felt the call to have my own. I want to make sure you know that upfront, so you don’t miss out on any life experiences you might be looking forward to.

 

If you aren’t sure about having children, try:

  • I haven’t spent too much time thinking about my future family. I think so much of that answer depends on my partner.

 

Step 3. Get honest about your needs.

 

If you’re sure you don’t want children and you know your partner does, do the right thing and set your partner free. To continue dating despite misaligned future paths is a waste of time for both of you. If, on the other hand, you’re sure you do want kids, and your partner doesn’t feel the same, do not waste your precious time trying to convince him or her otherwise.