divorced and dating

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.

5 Easy Ways to Attract a Quality Woman

 

iStock-543806276 copy.jpgFinding someone single, attractive, and interesting is only half the battle. Finding someone capable of sharing a future can be a much more difficult task. If you find yourself dating—but never finding sustainability—with the same type of women, you need to think about re-evaluating your dating style.

Homework

Make a list of all the qualities you want in a partner. Now ask yourself: Do I possess these qualities? If the answer isn’t a definite yes, then it might be time to re-evaluate your expectations.

The best way to attract a quality woman is simple: Become that which you’d like to attract. Here are 5 ways to get her attention.

 

  1. Do interesting things.

Sounds simple, right? Unfortunately, so many of us fall into routines—and the routine can get old. No need to make grand changes, you can spice up your schedule with relatively small tweaks. Opt for a cooking class, art show, or concert. Try a new lunch place. Meet people different from yourself. Say “yes” to new experiences, even if it’s ‘not your thing’.

The most interesting people have lived through vast experiences—not all of which were pleasant. Successes and failures all contribute to a well-rounded character, so it’s in your best interest to take some risks. You will surprise yourself, and she will appreciate you for it.

 

Homework

If you’ve invited to a networking event, dinner party, or frankly any social gathering, NEVER refuse an invitation. You never know who you are going to meet. Furthermore, try two new activities in the next 60 days. Diversify your routine and see what happens.

 

  1. Enjoy the company of women, without an agenda.  

When finding a partner is top of mind, your conversation will slant in that direction instead of evolving organically. Give each other a chance to develop some attraction. The anxiety that can stem from a potential rejection will influence your interaction. Let the date be a secondary objective and just talk.

The thrill of the chase can also get in the way of determining if there’s anything beyond physical attraction. Instead of pursuing the most physically enticing woman, try to find the woman who makes you feel the most comfortable. Establishing some semblance of emotional connectivity will help you establish a firm foundation, the basis of any real connection.

 

Homework

Before asking her out, ask yourself: Would I be friends with this person? If the answer is no, ask yourself why you’re asking her out in the first place.

 

  1. Put yourself in her world.

Imagine your dream woman. What kind of things does she enjoy doing? Art? Sports? Horses? Music? Go to places that attract the type of people you’d like to meet. It’s not impossible to meet someone special during last call at the bar, but the odds of making a real connection aren’t in your favor. You’re better off making connections in places more conducive to conversation or in places that group people together based on shared interest.

 

Homework

Generosity and altruism are always attractive, and it doesn’t necessarily mean opening your checkbook. Find an upcoming event that interests you, and volunteer your time.

 

  1. Be prepared to carry the conversation initially.

Let’s be clear: Women struggle with conversation as much as men, but men are generally tasked with breaking the ice. The good news is that you only need a few open-ended questions to get started.

The questions that are easiest to ask are going to be the same ones she’s answered from every other guy. Set yourself apart with questions that require her to answer from her emotional side, not her logical side. She mentions she completed a marathon. You could go with something obvious like, “Where did you run?” or, you could try something new like, “What is it like to cross the finish line after so many hours?” Giving her an opportunity to share an experience with you will, in some ways, allow her to relive it again with you.

 

Homework

Did your last date feel like an interview? If so, the talk-to-listen ratio wasn’t balanced. Remember, G*d gave you two ears and one mouth. Listen twice as much as you talk. Next conversation, limit yourself to asking two consecutive questions. Give her an opportunity to learn about you.

 

  1. Let your actions—not your words—show her who you are.

If you’ve found professional success, and it’s serving you well, you shouldn’t need to spell this out. Talking about what you have, who you know, and what you can provide isn’t attractive; it’s validation-seeking behavior. A quality woman won’t be with you for your bank account or Rolodex; she manages her own finances and social network.

If you’re outlining reasons for her to be with you, she will wonder why you feel the need to convince her. Spearhead a more interesting conversation about common interests or something that has less to do with your success and more to do with things you enjoy.

 

Homework

Instead of starting with the basic questions and getting more specific, work in the opposite direction. See how long you can talk without mentioning what you do for work. Engineering the conversation this way will force you to talk about the life you lead outside of the office. If this is challenging, it’s time to take some serious vacation and turn your phone off.

 

Attracting a quality woman begins with a fostering a stable, healthy relationship with yourself. These dating tips are just a few ways you can capture some interest; living your truth and being comfortable with who you are is the best place to start.

 

 

Love Against All Odds

 

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There is no doubt that the most fulfilling thing about my business is that I get to try to help people, on a daily basis, with matters of the heart. When it comes to love, there are few fixed rules, and relationships are often quite complicated… so each time that I can put two people together and help give them a chance to find happiness, it reminds me why I really do what I do.

Every once in awhile, I like to share a specific story of one of my couples. In this case, I just attended their wedding yesterday in wine country and was reminded how unique their story is and why it can be a lesson to all of us in how special true love can be.

The groom had been referred to me by a family member 8+ years ago after he had sustained a very bad life threatening injury that had left him incapacitated
for a period of time. His sports injury had left him with long term damage to his eye sight in one eye, as well as, deafness in one ear.

While incapacitated recovering, his wife at the time took very bad advantage of his state and burned through a bunch of their investments, divorced him, and left him without any financial resources. Basically, it seemed like it was all over for him. From a foundational perspective, this man is extremely lucky to even be alive.

Against all odds, this incredible man persevered.

I met him, agreed to work with him with open arms, and fell in love with his spirit, optimism, and fighter mentality. I immediately could see that he was loyal beyond compare and one of the most down-to-earth, no pretenses about him kind of guy. No wonder why my relative referred him!

Though my new client feared that Linx would only work with high net worth women looking for high net worth men, I allayed his fears and found him a San Francisco based woman who was a total sweetheart – with a heart of gold, compassion, and integrity. She never saw his injuries as reason to not date him or having to start over financially as a cause to reject. She had met her soul mate and that’s all that mattered.

It was his third Linx match and her second Linx match that resulted in their dreamy magical chemistry. I even helped plan his proposal at Cavallo Point in Marin years ago.

The two had a long 5-year engagement. The five years brought them even closer as they moved from San Francisco to Michigan so that he could complete his graduate degree to start a new career and she could be closer to home and also evolve her career. They have recently begun their new life in the San Diego area and love the healthy lifestyle So Cal offers and warm sand in their toes only minutes away.

They finally had the wine country wedding of their dreams this Labor Day weekend… 4pm on Sunday – a perfectly intimate setting at a beautiful property, shaded with trees overlooking vineyards. There was a gentle breeze setting in magically at the most needed time on a blazing hot day in the sun where highs were 100+ degrees in the direct sun.

The Linx couple exchanged heartfelt vows under a Chuppah, followed by outdoor cocktails and seated dinner and then barn dancing with a live band followed. Seeing his complete adoration for her and her pure love for him brings such joy to my heart. The happy couple is now somewhere up high in the skies en route to their beach honeymoon and for some much needed R & R. Mazel Tov!

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Why you should break your dating inertia

In conversations with countless individuals, we have discovered that people assume that matchmaking is about arranging marriages; this really isn’t true. For some people, marriage is definitely the next step in their dating lives, but for many of our clients this process is simply about learning how to move forward.

At Linx, matchmaking is about helping your break your dating inertia. Our goal is to simply help you move forward and get into the serious, lasting relationship you deserve.

One of the great advantages of working with a matchmaker is that we have the ability to help avoid the triggers and landmines of your past relationships when providing you with new introductions. We can best position you for success by pairing you with others who understand – or even share – your particular dating difficulties.

Need someone who isn’t threatened by your success, grad degree, identifiable famous last name, or unusual hobbies….look no further. Want someone else who has been in a serious committed relationship or previous marriage and “gets it?” We can actually help with all of that. In fact, it’s part of our job.

If you a prospective client or curious to see if you might make a match for some of our current clients, take a look at some of our select male client bios here and select female clients bios. Email our founder, Amy, and tell her a little bit about yourself amy@linxdating.com

 

Is He Ready for Commitment? 7 Signs that Point to Yes

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There is nothing more frustrating than heading towards a serious, monogamous relationship only to hear your could-be-significant-other say, “I just don’t think I’m ready to commit.” Unfortunately, many women blame themselves for this outcome instead of chalking it up to poor timing or different long-term goals. Save yourself time, energy, and heartache by choosing men who want—not be convinced to want—a longer term relationship.

At Linx, we work exclusively with relationship-minded men, and we’ve noticed a few qualities that set them apart from their more casual counterparts. Here are seven signs to help you spot the difference between contenders and pretenders.

  1. Is he thoughtful about the time he spends with you?

He wants to make sure he sees you. He doesn’t invite you to hangout or casually mention that you should drop by his weekend BBQ. Instead, he asks you out and figures out a time based on your schedule. You’ll also notice that his dates are somewhat tailored to your preferences. He may take you to the restaurant that has your favorite dumplings or the art exhibit you mentioned in passing. He wants to share great moments with you—and that starts with thoughtful planning.

  1. Can you count on him?

Being able to rely on your partner for support is a big part of a sustainable relationship, and he will want to show you that he can handle one. It’s easy to feel infatuated when everything is going well, but does he have staying power when things get a little, hmmm, complicated? How did he react when you had a blow up at work? Was he available when you were sick with a nasty cold? If he always shows up for you, he’s showing that he’s worth the emotional investment.

  1. Can you talk about anything?

He’s willing to be straightforward about his feelings for you. If he’s not verbal, he finds other ways to show how he feels. He reaches for your hand. He holds the door for you. He stocks his fridge with your favorite snacks. He learns how you take your coffee. Give him an opportunity to show you how he feels; if he’s interested in long-term commitment, he will be attentive.

  1. Does he bring up exclusivity?

Sometimes the cues aren’t always verbal. You’ll notice that his phone isn’t blowing up with texts or calls from other women, because he’s buried all old flames. If you’re his +1 to an event and notice that all other attendees are in couples, he considers you two a couple.

  1. Does he take it slow?

Having sex at the right time—not having sex in a vacuum—becomes the goal. There is no pressure or focus on the sexual aspects of your relationship, because he knows that this part will evolve at its own pace. Men seeking casual flings will put an enormous amount of focus on the physical. Dates may seem rushed or overly casual and may feel more like activities to fill time until it becomes ‘suitable’ to have sex. How would he respond if you nixed the date without spending the night? If you predict any backlash whatsoever, he’s probably more interested in sexy time than learning about you.

  1. Does he talk long-term plans?

He might not be talking rings or kids, but he’s making plans that go beyond the upcoming weekend. Whether it’s scheduling a concert weeks away or inviting you to an upcoming wedding, he’s starting to assume you’ll be in the picture.

  1. Does he make you feel secure?

When a man is seriously interested, he wants to make you feel safe—physically and emotionally. In large crowds, he will help navigate you. If someone appears aggressive, your man is on alert. He’s an extra pair of eyes and ears making your physical well-being a priority. You’ll also notice that your man wants you to feel your best. You won’t feel jealous of other women, because your man takes time to compliment, and remind you of all the reasons you are special.

If you’re wondering how to get him to commit, you’re asking the wrong question. The right man for you—a man who is ready for a serious relationship—will show you that he is worthy of your time and affection. If you are ready to meet a commitment-minded man, consider emailing amy@linxdating.com and tell Amy a little bit about yourself.

Harsh Truths: 6 Reasons Why Your Relationship Fell Apart

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Relationships end for a variety of reasons—some we can control, others we cannot. Before your next relationship, consider asking yourself if any of these issues are sabotaging your efforts at finding a deep, committed relationship.

 

  1. Your ex is STILL coming up

We all have a past, but when the past becomes the fodder of our present, you are creating a rift between you and your partner’s ability to connect. Talk of past relationships not only reveals that you’re not moving forward, it also jeopardizes your chances of a future. If you find yourself beginning sentences with “My ex and I…” or “When I dated X…” consider taking some time away from dating to understand why you’re still telling these stories.

 

  1. You couldn’t trust

It’s no surprise that trust is the crux of all healthy relationships; without the bond of trust, a couple will miss an opportunity to experience true intimacy. Aside from cheating, trust issues can also indicate jealousy, game playing, and possessiveness.

 

If relationships have ended because you couldn’t trust, ask yourself if it was because of actual events (i.e. your partner lied to you, broke promises, hacked into your phone) or if you are feeling unable to trust without cause (i.e. you feel jealous even though your partner has never strayed). Being able to differentiate feelings that stem from actual events versus unsubstantiated paranoia will help you uncover barriers to intimacy.

 

  1. You were Mr./Mrs. Right Now, not Mr./Mrs. Right

The relationship is guaranteed to fail if you find yourself on either side of this equation. Not all relationships are built to last—and that doesn’t make them any less important to our growth—but if you are looking for a life partner, meeting someone who is open to the same is crucial for long-term success.

 

If you are with someone until you land your dream job, move, lose weight, or meet someone better, you are wasting your time and your partner’s time. If your partner is not your priority, you aren’t ready for an enduring long-term relationship. If you’re wondering if you’re the top priority—you’re not.

 

  1. You harbor contempt

Dr. John Gottman, a leading expert on couples’ studies, concluded that the single, best predictor of divorce is contempt. Contempt, a toxic combo of anger, disgust and frustration, stems from a superiority complex. When we are unable to see our partner’s point of view because we believe they are less intelligent, sensitive, or competent than we are, we are making it impossible to communicate about the things that bother us.

 

In addition to contempt, there were three other closely related patterns of toxic communication: criticism, defensiveness, and stonewalling (shutting down, no eye contact, etc.)

  1. You were emotionally dependent

If you are unable to make yourself happy, you will always seek someone who can distract you from the uncomfortable feelings you have towards yourself. Not only is it unfair to expect your partner to keep you afloat, it’s dangerous to allow someone else to hold the keys to your happiness. Codependent people usually don’t keep high standards when it comes to how others treat them, so it’s more likely that they end up with a partner who doesn’t treat them well. There are many ways to heal from codependency, but they all start with a belief that you—and you alone—can make yourself happy.

 

  1. You stopped appreciating your partner

A lack of appreciation comes in many forms. Perhaps you’ve stopped making an effort—to make fun plans, to keep up your appearance, to remind your partner how special they are. Taking someone for granted is a quick way to kill the romance and up the apathy.

 

When someone is asking what is best for “us”, compromise ensues. If you stop appreciating your partner’s efforts, it’s easy to stop asking “What is best for us?” and replacing it with “What is best for me?”

 

Of course not all reasons our relationships end are because we are at fault. Without the right timing, otherwise compatible people won’t be able to connect for reasons outside of their control. Age, seemingly just a number, will start to matter if he’s 28 finishing grad school and she’s 34 looking forward to starting a family. Life situations can also affect our chances of connection. If he’s ready to move things forward while she’s healing post divorce, the couple will not be able to connect on the same level. Situations can change, broken hearts can heal, and different phases can pass, but if the timing is going to be ‘off’ for more than a few months, it is better to make a clean break and revisit at another time.

 

5 Questions Every Single Parent Needs Answered Before Dating

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If you’re a single mom or single dad looking for a relationship, you’ve realized the process is different with kids in tow. Below, we’re simplifying some of the most commonly asked questions from our single parent daters.

 

Where Can I Meet People?

 

Problem: “I’ve aged out of—and lost all interest in—the bar scene. I spend time at the office, my backyard, and PTA meetings…not exactly great places to meet eligible singles. Where can I meet people without sacrificing quality time with my kids?”

 

Solution: Instead of kid-centered locales—like playgrounds—opt for kid-friendly spots like farmer’s markets and parks that will give you a chance to meet new adults. Also, with limited time, consider outsourcing your introductions to someone you can trust. Your friend network is a great place to start and so are the professional matchmakers in your area.

 

When Should You Reveal You Have Kids?

 

Problem: “I am meeting people at parties and online. I feel comfortable starting the conversation, but I am anxious to bring up my kids because I don’t want to scare anyone away or share this personal information too soon. When do I bring it up?”

 

Solution: There is no use skirting the issue: Your kids are going to be a part of any long-term relationship you pursue. With that said, you should weave in this detail sooner rather than later. Once you acknowledge that you have a child, keep the conversation about you. As much as you’d like to talk about your kid’s cutest moments, you need to remember that people want to know who you are first.

 

How Do I Talk to My Kids About My Dating?

 

Problem: “I’m ready to move forward with dating, but I don’t know what to tell my kids—if anything at all. Should I tell my children that I’m seeing new people or just wait until I meet someone to have the conversation?”

 

Solution: This is a situation where less is more. A very simple, “I’m heading out tonight to meet someone new” should be sufficient. If you’re getting pressed for more details, keep the sharing to a minimum and change the subject.

 

When Do I Introduce the Kids?

 

Problem: “I’ve been seeing someone for a couple months, and I’d like to introduce them to my kids before we get more serious. Is this the right time?”

 

Solution: Since children can attach easily, be diligent about bringing someone new into their life. If a new person disappears after your child attaches, it can challenge and stress their emotional ecosystem. Postpone any meetings between your children and your latest partner until your relationship is serious and stable.

 

Do I Have to Introduce My Ex to the New Person in My Life?

 

Problem: “When I’m doing the kid hand-off with my ex wife, I don’t know whether or not to introduce my new partner. How long do I wait to make the introduction?”

 

Solution: New characters only need to be formally introduced if there is a serious future in store. Until that point, there is no need to complicate your pre-existing child rearing arrangements—or your ex’s life. When you are ready to make the introductions, make sure all parties are prepared and you have the goal of the meeting outlined: A cordial relationship between the women in your life that will ultimately spare your kids future tension.