Long distance relationships

Virtual Dating Tips and Guidance during COVID-19

As California is approaching nearly 2 months of shelter-in-place, Linx has transitioned to the reality of quarantine with mostly reasonable ease and we have been grateful at the number of people not holding back on signing up for memberships during COVID-19. 

While clients are very much wanting to meet each other in person, they know that this is not the time for that and have accepted the new normal of virtual dates – and some very creative ones at that. 

Approximately 75% of our premium clients are wanting to keep their searches going and try to continue to meet people during quarantine, while the remaining 25% are waiting for this to pass and “freezing” their memberships in the meantime.  Many are very open to long-distance dating, especially during this stage, and finding it such an easy way to explore chemistry without the hassle and expense of having to hop on a plane for an in-person date.   

Virtual dating is proving to be a very quick way to determine if there are some sparks, all while in the convenience of your own home.  


We are seeing a small handful of our clients venture outside to gardens and parks for their first and second dates. Our couples are being safe by placing a large blanket down and sitting at least 6-feet from one another and bringing their own drink and food to enjoy. While this is not the same of getting to dine at a fabulous restaurant with crisp table linens and a well-trained staff, this is our new normal – at last for the time being. Furthermore, there is something old-fashioned and quite romantic about setting up a picnic and slowing down from our days to enjoy fresh air and conversation at a distance.


I’m getting a lot of clients and members of Linx asking advice on how to be successful at their virtual dating. My general advice for virtual dates is to treat them just like any regular date. Always put your best foot forward and remember that just because you are on Zoom or FaceTime, the age old expression “first impressions are lasting ones” does play a very important role during quarantine.  

Some more specific advice when planning your virtual dates… Wear a pop of color (forget wearing white) and for women, do some tasteful makeup.  Guys – clean yourself up and put on a dress shirt, or frankly anything but a sloppy t-shirt and shorts.  Most of us feel our best when we are freshly showered and dressed for the occasion. Imagine you are going to an upscale lounge or restaurant for a meal….you wouldn’t wear a t-shirt and flip flops so the same principles apply when dating during quarantine – especially in the early stages as you’re getting to know one another. 

Once you are dressed and looking fresh and vibrant, set the stage for potential romance and create the right ambiance. I have one client who keeps doing his virtual dates at his office. This is a buzz kill for his dates. Why? He is not separating work from pleasure and also not taking the virtual dates seriously. You need to separate your work and work environment from your dating life. So find a location in your home that is appropriate for this – and that definitely doesn’t mean your bedroom either. Think living room, dining room, or family room/den. 

Light a candle, order a “ring light” on Amazon for optimal warm, ambient lighting or if you don’t have the budget for that, read what Tom Ford suggests for looking good on Zoom. Timing is everything. Do the Zoom date when the house is quiet (if you have kids, they are snoozing or in another room doing their homework ;-)) so you’re not distracted. If you drink, pour a cocktail or glass of wine, and if you don’t drink, pour a bubbly water with some citrus fruit or fresh mint leaves to feel festive and start your virtual date! Smile and keep the energy of the virtual date upbeat, happy, and chill. 

What if the first virtual date goes well and you’re wanting to get a little more creative for the next series of virtual dates? For out-of-the-box date ideas, I am sharing the following ideas with my clients including:

1) Be a chef. Open your kitchen, show him/her a favorite recipe you like to make and vice versa. Do this using your favorite tech platform.

2. Be romantic. Flex your brain muscles and read him/her poetry or a chapter from a book you’re reading, or share your screen with some of your favorite YouTube tv or movie clips or music (make sure to select “share computer audio” when you share your screen.) Use it as a launchpad for further conversation. You’re showing him/her a new dimension of what makes you incredibly unique.

3. Be an artist. Even if you’re not going to be the next da Vinci, become your own individual artist! Each buy an inexpensive paint set online, schedule the date for when your respective sets arrive at your homes, set up your Zoom and have a painting date. Use it as an opportunity to giggle at one another’s art work, once canvases are complete.

It is also interesting to me that many clients are immediately removing the superficial layer of first dates and delving very deep in the virtual dates by asking one another intense questions. One recommendation is accessing the The New York Times “36 Questions on the Way to Love” interactive quiz and quickly sizing up if there are long-term foundational values in alignment or not. It’s proving to be a powerful way to determine if there is enough in common to keep virtually dating or rather to move on.  This is yet another approach to incorporate.

With the curiosity and excitement of virtual dating, you might be wondering the risks and downsides. I think one of the major drawbacks is that some people just feel plain awkward dating virtually. It feels weird for them and simply not natural. Also, many people want to see what someone looks like in the flesh, smell their perfume, see the glistening of the gloss of their lips as the sun hits them a certain way, hug them, maybe kiss at the end of the date to test that important chemistry. Clearly you can’t do this with virtual dating, so this is a significant downside.

That said, the upshot I keep telling my clients is to keep exploring the virtual connections and when restrictions are lifted, to be able to imagine how exciting it will be to finally see their love interest in person. I think the potential of how magnetic the chemistry could be at that moment could be life-changing. 

COVID-19 has placed each and every one of us in a vulnerable place and sharing that vulnerability with someone else could not only forever bond that couple but catapult them into a love that can be tested through time.  

With that said, though, it is important not to force the transition to meeting in person – we are all (including our government) trying to figure the right time and pace to begin re-introducing social contact, and it will probably come down to each person’s comfort and tolerance for different types of risk.   Please be tolerant as we each are dealing with this in our own way and in the meantime keep staying healthy and safe. 

If you are on Instagram, I do daily simple inspirational posts to which many folks have responded very positively. If you would like to follow me, please do so at “Ms.LinxDating.” Thank you so much!

Love in the time of coronavirus: Making the most of quarantine

As cities around the country and the world go into coronavirus lockdown, your search for love doesn’t have to shelter in place. In fact, being in quarantine is a great opportunity to look inward to ask yourself what qualities you really want in a partner and is a chance to prepare yourself for a relationship once the quarantine ends.

Cultivating solitude and embracing it to find love

For naturally social creatures, getting locked into our homes with no end date can be tough to navigate, even for those of us with high levels of immunity to loneliness. 


To make peace with solitude, scientists recommend reframing the loneliness. 


Reed Larson, professor of human development and family studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign found that solitude is like “a medicine which tastes bad, but leaves one more healthy in the long run,” that creates more positive emotions and less self-reported depression down the line. Susan Cain, author of the book Quiet, says “solitude is a crucial and underrated ingredient of creativity.”  This time of social distance is the perfect opportunity to get close with solitude.


So, how is solitude relevant to finding a partner?


Researchers Christopher Long and James Averill write that time alone allows us to order our priorities according to what we need, rather than the needs of others. Solitude is a powerful experience that allows us to prioritize what we want in our relationships. 

Start by asking yourself the following:

  • Am I listening closely to what I want?
  • How much do I weigh what my friends or family want for me? 
  • What story does my dating life tell?

If answering these questions feels confusing, you’re not alone; isolation can make it difficult to experience clarity, but hang in there and don’t let this opportunity slip away.

Sherry Turkle, researcher and the founder of the MIT Initiative on Technology and Self talks about our apprehension towards embracing solitude in her Ted talk: “The moment that people are alone, even for a few seconds, they become anxious, they panic, they fidget, they reach for a device. Just think of people at a checkout line or at a red light.”


Turkle goes on to urge people to create sacred spaces to embrace solitude, where you don’t get distracted or reach for your phone—such as an hour in the morning or lunchtime in between your remote conference calls.  It can be over a quiet cup of tea, a soak in a hot epsom salt bath, or whatever else might work for you.

That said, even once you’ve had a chance for solitude, your mind might still not be the easiest place to dwell. Past relationships and other noise can make it impossible to ask ourselves the questions we need to answer before continuing the search for a loving partner. 


Consulting with a matchmaker can help bring focus into the equation. Not only can we be a sounding board to get clarity on what those relationship priorities are, we’ll be able to jumpstart your love life once social restrictions are lifted. 

Building connection amidst quarantine

If you were already dating before the quarantine, you’ll need to get creative to build and sustain the connection. 

  • Host a remote movie date. Netflix just released their Netflix Party Chrome extension that lets you watch “Netflix remotely with friends, e.g. for movie nights with that long-distance special someone. It synchronizes video playback and adds group chat.” Should pair well with a quarantine.
  • Take a (virtual) museum stroll. Google Arts & Culture has partnered with some of the world’s most popular museums to give patrons a chance to see art and exhibits through their computer screens. The virtual tour might not be the most ideal, but you’ll get some brownie points for creativity.
  • Spend a night at the opera. The Met is live streaming their operas each day. Of course you’d be more inclined to watch from the first row balcony, but desperate times call for alternative seating.
  • Try a new (love) language. With quality time and physical touch on hold, give acts of service and words of affirmation a try. Support your favorite local restaurant and get a meal delivered. Check in frequently with texts and calls—don’t skimp on showing appreciation.

And if you’re combining social distance with long distance, then be sure to check out my practical tips on making long distance work.

As always, I am here to support you! Consider scheduling a virtual matchmaking session to get the process started. Once quarantine is over, you’ll be ready to mingle with some of the most eligible singles from around the world!

Beauty and the Geeks…Linx Featured in Los Angeles Magazine

 

Happy .jpgHIGH-END MATCHMAKERS ARE DOING A BRISK BUSINESS PAIRING LOVELORN L.A. LADIES WITH SILICON VALLEY CEOS. Beauty and the Geeks Story for Los Angeles Magazine written by Sean Elder.

 

Did you hear the one about the actress who caught her boyfriend in bed with another woman?  “Tom!” she cried. “What are you doing?”  “Well, I got a speaking part in the new Spider-Man,” he replied, “and an American Express ad. …” Mona (not her real name) is a 45-year-old former movie actress who’d had it with fickle Hollywood types. “In my 20s I would only date guys in entertainment: actors, musicians, producers, directors. I needed the excitement. And then you have some experiences, and you get a little wiser.”

She dated businessmen and other professionals and fared no better until she started seeing a shrink who made her realize that she was dating the same kind of men and expecting different results. “The men that I was attracted to had narcissistic tendencies,” she says. “These guys were all successful and also very self-focused and pleased with themselves, perhaps a little too much.” That’s when she sought out a matchmaker.

For years any time one of her girlfriends became single, the others would say, “Head up to the San Francisco Bay Area.” “When I was younger, I probably would have never thought about dating a Silicon Valley guy,” says Mona. But according to Amy Andersen, the San Francisco-based matchmaker who worked with Mona to find the right man, the trend is bigger than her and her girlfriends. “About two and a half years ago, I started getting a ton of pings and inquiries from women living down in Los Angeles trying to find a good, like-minded man,” Andersen says.

As fate, or some algorithm, would have it, the tech world is rife with men with similar complaints. Some are modern masters of the universe. They work for companies and, in some cases, have created or developed products that changed the world and made them and many other people millions. But that does not mean that they can find the right woman Saturday night.

Take Jay, a pseudonym for a San Francisco investment mogul in his early 50s who, like most people in this story, didn’t want to be identified. Jay was married for 17 years before divorcing amicably. He missed the rise of online dating, though he made up for lost time a year after his divorce. “I was mainly immersing myself for the first time in dating sites and found it to be a very significant waste of time,” he says. “I developed empathy for my children in understanding the way these sites are set up to make you addicted to them and keep spinning faces to look for somebody.”

After spinning through a lot of faces, and going on a lot of dates, Jay decided to seek professional help. “I began interviewing a few matchmaking firms—actually I had my assistant do that—and then I got it down to a few, and I met them,” he says. After hear- ing what he was looking for in a woman, “they all told me you’re not likely to find that person in the San Francisco Bay Area.”

Andersen founded her company, Linx Dating, in part to find women for the men of Silicon Valley, who can be peculiar, to say the least. She grew up in nearby Marin County but got into a serious relationship with a “quintessential Silicon Valley geek,” to whom she is now married. “I witnessed that there was a huge surplus of eligible men and a dearth of women,” she says. The statistics back her up. According to a recent article in The Washington Post, there are 40 percent more men than women just in Palo Alto (home to SAP, Tesla, and Hewlett-Packard). Bear in 2018 women held only 20 jobs in tech. 

The line you’ll hear from women about dating in Silicon Valley is: “The odds are good, but the goods are odd.” Chances are that a genius coder or engineer spent his college years in his dorm room hunched over his laptop, while his less talented roommate was practicing pickup lines at parties. Those “odds” who went on to make their fortunes
didn’t do it by settling…..

Jay is wealthy enough to pay for a VIP, customized matchmaking experience. The woman he sought would be beautiful, yes, but older, preferably with kids—and into having more. “I’m looking for truly external and internal beauty,” he says. “And the external beauty factor in the Bay Area doesn’t seem to get divorced. I’ve now talked to five of these firms in depth for the last 20 months, and they all say the same thing, and no one has an explanation. There are just not many. There’s one: my ex. There are coyotes all over her.”

Jay says he has met some beautiful, intelligent, divorced women in the Bay Area. But he has complaints. “They have not taken care of themselves like these women that are in more vanity oriented cities,” he says. “Mainly skin care my friend. The sun does bad things. Yes, there are women in great shape in the Bay Area who do all this outdoor activity, but their skin shows their age.”

He says New York and L.A. have the best “supply side of women,” but the pool of eligible bachelorettes in their late 30s to 40s is greater in Los Angeles. “There are enormous numbers of women that either never got married, and now they’re 38 or had long-term relationships that didn’t work out, or they’re divorced,” he says. “And they’ve taken good care of themselves. There’s so many of them that want to get married to a monogamous partner, and the guys in L.A. are not capable of it.”

“The upside of Los Angeles is that arguably the most beautiful people in the country, if not the world, live there,” says Mona. “And then the downside of that is that it’s like a candy store for men.”

Through Andersen, Jay met a woman in Orange County who fit his bill. She owned a fitness business and had two kids in grade school—a plus for him. And if a fit, fun, smart woman of a certain age (presumably with great skin) was a novelty for Jay, you can imagine how he looked to his new girlfriend. “I feel like I’m a unicorn down there,” he says. “Like, you want to get married again? You actually are open to having children?” But after introducing her to his family and touring Europe with her on his yacht, Jay decided that his dream date still had issues she needed to sort out with her ex, and at press time they were on hiatus.

Unlike online dating, matchmakers are expensive. Andersen recruits eligible women to be part of her database and then tries to pair them with the right bachelor. Some women compensate the matchmaker if the pairing is successful, paying a bonus if they get married or engaged. But generally it’s the men who pay.

“People on the VIP level want us to exercise all options and not limit our search to an existing database,” says Andersen. “They want strategic searching, very akin to a professional headhunter looking for the perfect CEO for a tech company.”

Take Jack, a Silicon Valley pioneer in his 40s who worked for one of the biggest names in tech before moving on to help develop another brand-name technology. He also found dating apps a waste of time, though he partly blames himself for that. “I try to think of myself as a very kind person; I like to think of everyone as an amazing person that I could learn stuff from,” he says. “So I wouldn’t meet someone and go, ‘You’re not the right person for me’ and then cut it short. I’d end up spending three hours with them.”

And what wasn’t he finding in Silicon Valley? “A lot of the women were not as feminine as what I was used to in my upbringing,” he says, adding that his parents are “European.” “Even the women that are working in marketing jobs in tech companies, they’re just not as feminine as what I had acquired as a standard.” In a place where even the saleswomen don’t necessarily wear makeup, what’s a boy to do?

Enter Marie, who is in her late 30s and runs a successful entertainment company in L.A. “I never had any problems meeting men or [them] even wanting to pursue more serious relationships with me,” she says. Andersen introduced the couple over the phone more than a year ago; within a few months of meeting, Jack had bought a house in West L.A. not far from Marie. He proposed, and she accepted—but that relationship, too, has gone the way of all flesh. Jack decided he wanted to keep his options open, according to Andersen. “He can’t face the reality that relationships take work,” she says.

Mona was the itinerant partner in her relationship. She met her boyfriend through Andersen a few months ago, and they dated quite chastely. They went on eight dates before they kissed and waited three months before they slept together. He’s 60, a divorced dad, and a recognizable name in the tech world. “His experience was similar in that, when he went to Andersen, he said, ‘I’m looking for the person I’m going to spend the rest of my life with,’” she says.

The early signs were good. Despite her career as an actress in the world’s vainest city, Mona had resisted the pressure to get Botox. Miraculously her new Silicon Valley boyfriend told her he found the age lines around her eyes “beautiful.” Now they are moving in together, and he even bought them a second home on the beach in Malibu so she can stay close to her L.A. network. They’re talking about a wedding, and while they may not have settled on where to have the ceremony, they want the matchmaker to marry them.

 

 

Single in Orange County, CA?

 

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The Linx team is conducting screenings in Orange County, CA next week! If you are single and searching for the absolute love of your life, please contact Amy at amy@linxdating.com ASAP to see if you qualify for a complimentary mini meet and greet with the Linx ladies.

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!”  💍 ❤️