Dating Tips

Here’s what the science says about coming on too strong…

How often has the following happening to you:

Your great date has suddenly disappeared.

  • You always initiate contact with the person you’re trying to see.
  • You’ve heard “I’m just not ready” or “I think we’re moving too fast” within the first few dates.

If this sounds familiar, you’re probably coming on too strong. This type of oversharing can be attributed to the misalignment between how someone sees themselves versus how others perceive them. At University of Texas, researchers applied the self-verification theory to explain why people continually overshare. In an effort to get people to view them the way they view themselves, some people reveal too much too soon–overly personal details, traumas, and strong feelings.

To feel happier, people want to be viewed the same way they view themselves. The person who comes on too strong believes he or she is putting your anxiety at ease by confessing their own feelings. That person believes he or she is providing important information you need to have right away, because he sees himself as a romantic or someone in love. If the feelings are unrequited, or incongruence happens, the self-verification theory notes that the oversharer will experience a negative outcome.

People who come on too strong tend to keep doing so, because they believe–on a fundamental level–that they are doing the right thing and when incongruence strikes, it’s especially debilitating because it jeopardizes the way the person sees himself.

So, how do I know if I’m coming on too strong?

Take a minute to evaluate your date’s responses. Did your date ask you lots of questions? Did (s)he initiate kissing, touching, or contact of any kind? Did (s)he propose a time or place to get together again? If not, slow down the pace until you see reciprocal positive signs that invite attention.

But, what’s the problem with telling someone how I feel?

There’s nothing wrong with sharing feelings, but it’s in your best interest to apply some objective, non-emotional thinking to ground you. For example, it’s been two dates, and you’re feeling very interested. Understand that the other person involved only knows you as much as he or she has experienced with you to that point. That person won’t know that you’ve turned down countless dates or are hard to get; they only know that it’s been a short period of time, and that’s all it took to win you over.

Without having had to “earn” your affection with positive behavior or sufficient time to show you who he or she really is, the other person won’t be able to figure out a legitimate reason for you to have such strong feelings.

When someone says too much too soon, it suggests an immediate need to fill a void versus a well-considered, intentional selection based on someone’s unique character. Just as you wouldn’t want to feel like your partner could be with anyone, and that you were just the first to come along, you shouldn’t give any reason for the person you’re dating to feel this way.

So, when should I express my feelings?

There is no “right” time to voice strong feelings. The only “right” thing to do is to try to understand what your true motivation is for doing so. Are these strong initial feelings stemming from a place of neediness? Has it been a while since you’ve met someone halfway decent? If you feel a sense of urgency to share the love, spend time figuring out the why.

 

Going the distance: How feasible is long-distance love?

 

iStock-1027701870 copy.jpgMaybe you met someone abroad. Maybe someone from abroad met you. Either way, you’re wondering if those romantic feelings can lead anywhere at all because of the distance. Of course distance can pose some unique challenges compared to dating a local single, but you might be surprised to learn those extra miles could be the fastest track into your next serious relationship.

Does distance make the heart grow fonder? The short answer: Yes.

 Two scientists, Crystal Jiang, City University of Hong Kong and Jeffrey Hancock, Cornell University, compared intimacy levels among couples in LDRs and local relationships. Surprisingly, the distance couples reported much higher levels of intimacy.

Researchers attributed the additional closeness to two unique characteristics. Firstly, the people in the LDR disclose more about themselves—more details, more vulnerability—that promote a higher rating of closeness versus the everyday chit chat from couples who live together. Secondly, distance couples tend to idealize their partners. Without opportunities to see their partner’s off days, people in LDR’s can hold on to that idealized version of their love interest longer.

In theory, my heart might grow fonder, but in reality won’t there be communication issues?

Ironically, couples communicating across distance enjoyed a greater sense of closeness than local couples. In one study published in the Journal of Communication, researchers found that although couples in LDRs weren’t always in constant communication, the overall quality of the communication was rated highly. After analyzing the diaries, texts, calls, and video chats, researchers learned that couples in long distance relationships shared more personal details.

Additionally, The Journal of Communication reports that the communication style between distance couples was rated less “problematic” than couples living closer—probably attributed to the fact that distance forces time between an emotional response and a reaction.

So, how much does the distance really matter?

Apparently, not that much. One study published in the Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy reported that couples living apart were just as happy as couples living in the same city. Even before the realities of distance set in, distance couples “perceived a lower likelihood of breaking up with their partner” when researchers wanted to measure commitment compared to locally-based relationships.

Ultimately, when these same participants were polled four months later about their relationship status, the break up rates between distance and local couples were the same.

Perhaps, we’re spending too much time wondering how the distance will make things harder rather than how it can help us get more intentional about connecting. If the chances of making love last are the same, why not see where those loving feelings take you?

 

7 Practical Ways to Make Your Long Distance Relationship Work

 

iStock-925386886 copy 2.jpgMaybe you’ve met someone on vacation or you’ve decided to look for love in more than one (local) place—and found it. Either way, you want to see where the relationship is going, and you don’t want distance to get in the way. To make the best of your long distance relationship, we suggest these 7 practical ways to help make that (temporary) distance a mechanism to bring you closer.

 

  1. You spearhead constant communication.

Naturally, you and your long distance partner will share bigger life events, but it’s talking about the small stuff—the daily minutia—that will make your relationship feel “normal”. Ask the small talk questions and try to track the recurring characters. The goal is to get enough information so that you can hear updates without having to ask the who, what, or why each time.

 

  1. You make being accessible a top priority.

Work schedules and sleep schedules across different time zones can make connecting more difficult, but not impossible. A little bit of planning can bridge the gap.

  • Send What’s App messages before bed so that your partner can wake up with you.
  • Spend one lunch break, breakfast, or dinner together via skype. Yes, that’s right. Pull out the computer with your glass of red.
  • Download WhatsApp or Facebook messenger to avoid unnecessary costs associated with international messaging fees.

 

What it looks like: One client went for a 30 day meditation retreat in northern India. Although she prepped her partner well before her month-long departure, she sensed his skepticism and slight resentment over her plans. To bridge the gap and stay true to her break from technology, she wrote him a letter or post card almost every day detailing her thoughts and realizations. His inability to communicate back left much to be discussed upon her return. Instead of creating distance, the month apart ultimately brought them closer together.

 

  1. Try different types of communication.

Spice up your communication style with something new. Take a break from the texting or phone and opt for a video call. After so many texts, you can miss important nuances and forget the little personality quirks that make your partner unique. The point is to make distance seem more like a slight inconvenience than a real barrier. The phone calls will give you insight to tone and mood; the video chats will help you decipher the real emotion. Even snail mail might help you see a more serious, intentional emotional side.

 

  1. Be romantic.

You won’t be around to make her coffee or buy her flowers, so find new ways to make her feel loved. Coordinate a flower delivery—out of the blue—to show that yes, you value romance and will make that happen regularly once you’re together. Use this temporary time apart to provide a preview of coming attractions.

 

What it looks like: One client started dating a man shortly before he fielded a work assignment in Germany. Whereas she wasn’t interested in dating across continents, he had different plans. Shortly before Valentine’s Day, the man got in touch with the client’s closest friend to figure out the perfect romantic gesture. Together, they decided the client needed a anti-stress holiday. He reserved a hotel room and a spa day for both women and arranged for a bottle of champagne and cheese plate to be delivered shortly after they arrived. The thoughtfulness and surprise factor was all the client needed to wait out his return.

 

  1. Always have a meeting in the works.

To survive the hurdles of distance, it’s easier to have a goal—like a meeting that’s right around the corner. Have the next meeting in the works before you end up apart. Whether it’s a short trip or a long holiday, all that matters is that you two know you have definitive plans to be together.

 

  1. Get a credit card with travel perks.

It’s as obvious as it sounds, and yet lots of couples miss out on the perks. Find a card that pays you back in miles or upgrades or lounge visits. If you’re anticipating time apart, get a card that’s going to make it even easier to get together.

 

  1. And, finally, remember just how little time you’ll be apart in the grand scheme of things. Something special is worth the wait. If you’re meant to be together forever, one week, one month, or one year, will hardly matter. Linx has brought so many couples together who are separated by cities, states, and countries. Couples have navigated these waters by following the aforementioned tips and ultimately overcoming distance, to say “I Do!”  💍 ❤️

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. 👏🏻

                                            July_2010_Sand.jpg
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.

 

Is She Ready to Commit? 7 Questions to Ask Yourself

 

iStock-629605642 copy.jpgShe might be interested, but is she willing to commit? To know for sure is a time-consuming process. Standing by until she’s ready or doing every little thing to change her mind will challenge your patience and sanity. Those loving feelings you have now can snowball into frustration and resentment if your partner’s intentions stay ambiguous. To avoid pursuing a woman who isn’t ready to commit, ask yourself the following questions:

 

  1. Is she emotionally available?

 

Intimacy begins with trust, and wounds of the past can make trusting someone new very difficult. If your partner struggles to communicate her feelings, she might be protecting herself from another heartbreak or letdown. If your partner constantly rehashes stories about her ex, she’s not ready to commit emotionally. As long as she fixates on the demons of her past, she’s still living among them. Over time, she’s more likely to let go of the anger or sadness, but as long as she’s processing, give her time. Your efforts to be her knight in shining armor are impressive, but they won’t be fully appreciated until she’s moved on from the past.  Keep in mind that this one is all about degree – though you don’t want write someone off too quickly, you should also move on if the wounds seem too fresh.

 

  1. Does she want you to be the best version of yourself?

 

Everyone has blind spots; does your partner take time to help you discover and improve the ones that are problematic? If so, she’s showing a willingness to invest in your well-being.

 

Maybe you’ve slipped back into workaholic tendencies. Maybe you’re struggling with aging parents. Whatever it is, it’s a problem you can solve together. You’ll notice her feedback doesn’t feel like criticism. Instead, she spends time figuring out the root cause of the problem in a calm, non-judgmental way. If she’s looking for the best long-term fit, she will want her partner at his best—even if it involves tough conversations.

 

  1. Does she make an effort with your family?

 

Everyone has a couple challenging relatives but, no matter how much we may wish otherwise, they’re still family. A woman who’s interested in a long-term relationship will take them as they are. She’ll let your overly political father vent, she will let your perpetually unemployed brother crash at your apartment, and she won’t hold it against you.

 

If the relationship is casual, she’ll avoid intertwining herself in your life. She might meet your friends, but family requires a different type of effort.

 

A woman who is ready to commit will do her best to make a solid impression. She will help your mom figure out FaceTime. She will spend 45 minutes talking to your dad about his fishing trip. She might have 100 more interesting ways to spend her time, but she wants to cultivate relationships with the people who’ve known you the longest. Because your family is an extension of you, she will make them a part of her life.

 

  1. Does she allude to a future?

 

If commitment is on her mind, she’ll start gauging your interest in future plans. Testing the waters about kids or marriage can be too forward, so listen for softer cues. She might want your thoughts on pet ownership or ask about your lease. If vacation days are numbered, she might ask about holiday plans well in advance.

 

If she’s trying to make long-term plans, she sees you in her future.

 

  1. Does she introduce you to friends?

 

Meeting the friend group is another way she will integrate you in her life. If you’re playing a bigger role in her life, she’ll want her leading ladies to know you. Watch for invites to group outings or impromptu meet ups where she’s already with a close friend. If she’s inviting you to high exposure events like company outings, family gatherings, weddings, she’s also publicly acknowledging that your relationship has legs.

 

  1. Does she want to impress your friends?

 

Just like family, your friends are an extension of you. Because these people are important to you, they are important to her. If she believes that you are the best long-term partner, she’ll want your friends to see her as your best match. Their opinion of her is not something she’ll take lightly. To make a good impression, she might make an extra effort to befriend a colleague’s wife or take initiative to plan a couples’ trip.

 

  1. Does she demonstrate willingness to compromise?

 

When the relationship shifts from an “I” to a “we”, your partner will make decisions differently. Because she’s focused on what’s best for the relationship, her needs are best met when both of you can come to an agreement, even if the outcome is not exactly what she had in mind. If she’s only looking for casual fun, there’s no reason for her compromise. Without a future, there’s no need to make sacrifices.