On this episode of the I’m Just Being Honest Podcast, I chat with host Alexandra Ayers. With over 18 years since Linx has been established, I have gathered an abundance of data on finding an ideal mate and in this episode I share my best tips and answer the most commonly asked questions – including what men look for in a partner and being proactive to meet your ideal mate. Thank you to Alexandra Ayers for putting together this great podcast and interview. Let’s elevate dating to a whole new heightened level!
Dating a man in his 40s is an exciting experience. He wants to provide for a companion and has the means to do so—unlike many younger men, he’s usually established in his career and rather self-assured about his place in the world. In fact, studies like this one from the Atlantic show that a man’s desirability typically peaks around their 40s and 50s.
On the other side of the coin, there’s also a higher likelihood that he’s been married and/or has children. Though this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it may be daunting for some women.
So, what are the top 4 essential things to know about dating a man in his 40s?
(1) He likes clarity and honesty
A man in his 40s is more discerning and direct about his dating life—and expects you to be the same.
Playing games like intentionally delaying messaging back for a few days, playing hard to get, or talking about other men to entice jealousy doesn’t sit well—for a man in his 40s, this behavior is more likely to be interpreted as a lack of commitment, and he may simply assume that you’re disinterested.
He’ll appreciate you clearly expressing your interest, and he’ll also appreciate an honest and direct conversation if you’re not interested. With life experience behind him, he’ll more than graciously accept a thoughtful rejection, rather than a slow, time-wasting denouement.
(2) He needs his space
A man in his 40s is serious about keeping up with his responsibilities. You’ll have to respect that he may be preoccupied during the day and may not always message back immediately, or that he might want to get to bed early in order to wake up early.
The good news is that you’ll have more time to focus on yourself, especially when you have your own business, friends, and hobbies.
(3) He may want a family
While every situation is different, it would be wrong to assume that every man in his 40s wouldn’t be interested in starting a family with you simply because he is divorced or has kids already.
If he has kids already, it is also important to understand that he may take his time to introduce you to them—this is normal as he’ll want to be assured things are serious before he takes that step in intertwining your lives. Again, give him the space to do this at his own pace.
(4) He’s not a fixer-upper
Lastly, studies like this one by Costa and McRae have shown that personality traits remain relatively stable in adults after 30. This explains why it is incredibly challenging—or nearly impossible—to fundamentally change a 40-year-old’s personality, and it is important to recognize that trying to do so will most likely only lead to frustration for both of you.
So, for example, if he’s consistently not interested in an outdoor hike on your favorite trail, then chances are slim that he’ll ever be.
A man in his 40s has been shaped by his life experiences, both good and bad, and he’ll have a much stronger sense of self for it. The major benefit for you—if you have the chance to be with someone who truly knows himself—is that this illuminates a clearer path to connection.
If you find yourself searching for love but not knowing where to begin, don’t hesitate to get in touch—I’m here to help.
Wishing you love and good health,
As you can imagine, the engagement ring will arguably be the biggest part of any proposal- besides her saying “YES!” To help all my favorite bachelor clients blossom into confident grooms, I’ve put together a little cheat sheet.
Finding the perfect stone, band and setting can be tricky, especially when you’ll probably end up shopping alone—WeddingWire’s 2019 Wedding Report shows that only 20% of couples pick out a ring together. So, how can you find the right ring to symbolize your forever commitment?
Diamonds really are a girl’s best friend
Although any stone can be used for an engagement ring, WeddingWire’s 2019 Wedding Report shows that 71% of engagement rings have a diamond as the main stone. According to the American Gem Society, diamonds have signified union since the 1400’s when Maximilian of Austria proposed to Mary of Burgundy.
If you’re planning a surprise engagement, purchasing the right ring size will require a little finesse. To save yourself the headache and extra expense of resizing, simply steal a ring that you’ve seen your partner wearing on a ring finger and bring that to the jeweler to measure. Remember, some settings won’t accommodate a change in band size, so do whatever you have to do to make sure you get the size right.
Most diamond rings are one of ten unique shapes. Although most women prefer the traditional round shaped diamond, others may enjoy something more unusual. According to The Knot, different shapes can represent different personalities.
For example, an emerald cut tends to be more glamorous, the asscher cut suited to a vintage lover, and the marquise more romantic.
In addition to shape, consider the size of your partner’s hand. Pear, marquis, or oval shaped diamonds tend to suit long, slender fingers, whereas round or princess shaped diamonds are better for smaller hands.
Although shape is important, the cut will impact the quality of the diamond the most. Whereas shape is about the geometry of the stone, the cut is about the angles of the facets.
The 4 C’s: A Matter of Quality
The Gemological Institute of America created the 4Cs to assess diamond quality. Those 4Cs include:
Cut describes how well a diamond’s facets interact with the light. A well cut diamond will sparkle through the top of the stone. Of all the 4Cs, cut is the most complex to analyze since it’s based on 7 factors: brightness, fire, scintillation, weight ratio, polish, symmetry, and durability. Cut is also the most important “C”; even if the remaining 3 C’s are perfect, it won’t matter if the cut isn’t right.
Clarity describes the cloudiness of the stone. Naturally occurring internal “inclusions” and external “blemishes” can lower the value of the diamond. While no diamond is perfectly pure, the closer it comes, the higher its value.
As a general rule, try to avoid stones with inclusions on the top and in the middle. These areas have the biggest effect on the way the light passes through
Color is graded based on how little of it exists. The grading system ranges from D (colorless) to Z (light yellow); white color diamonds are the most popular (and tend to carry more value) but yellow diamonds and even black diamonds have grown in popularity.
Carat describes how much a diamond weighs. Diamond price increases with carat weight, because larger diamonds are more rare and more desirable. But, two diamonds of equal carat weight can have very different values (and prices) depending on the other 4C factors.
Settings and Metal
The setting, which describes how the diamond is placed on the ring, plays a big role in the look and feel of the ring. According to WeddingWire, the setting is the most important feature for women, whereas the quality of the stone is most important to men.
Just like the shape, there are a variety of different settings:
As you can imagine, different settings offer different benefits: The Halo is ideal for those who love a bit more sparkle, the Bezel setting offers a clean and modern look, and the Prong setting can really highlight the beauty of a main stone.
When it comes to the metal for the band, gold and platinum are generally the most popular choices. Platinum is the most expensive given its purity. It’s also a great hypoallergenic choice for those with sensitive skin. Gold offers more flexibility with colors, including white, yellow, rose and even green.
Get your certificates
Before purchasing, ask to see the grading certificate from a recognized gemological lab like the American Gem Society or the Gemological Institute of America; it’s the best way to ensure that you’re getting exactly what you’re paying for. And, please, please, please insure your ring as soon as you get home!
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!
When I look back at my modest beginnings—matching friends locally who were completely exhausted and disenchanted with dating—to growing a world class matchmaking business for clients around the world, I realize I couldn’t do it all without a little help from the universe.
The law of attraction is the single most powerful law in the universe. It states that you will attract that which you give. So, for example, if you stay positive, excited, and appreciative, you will send out this positive energy and will, in return, attract the same type of energy.
We are all responsible for our own destiny and, with the Law of Attraction, we can encourage our goals and desires to manifest.
Where did the Law of Attraction come from?
Despite seeming like a new age trend, the Law of Attraction speaks to a philosophy that’s appeared in countless religious texts. You can find it in the Book of Proverbs, chapter 23, verse 7, which states “As a man thinketh in his heart, so he is”. Buddha also captures the sentiment when he said, “All that we are is a result of what we have thought.”
The phrase ‘Law of Attraction’ was formally coined in the late 1800’s by Helena Blavatsky in her book Isis Unveiled. Although studied by various authors in the 1900’s, the 20th Century marked a resurgence in popularity, with best selling book, The Power of Positive Thinking and Blockbuster film, The Secret.
How do I get the Law of Attraction to work for me?
- Ask for what you want. Get specific.
Get intentional about how you communicate with the universe. To do this, start envisioning what your future will look like if you get what you want. Will you be doing the same things during the day? Who will you spend time with? What will you feel when you receive what you want?
The universe wants to know what you want. How it will come to be, however, may not be the path or timeline you expected.
- “I want to feel peace in my relationship–unconditionally loved by my partner.”
- “I want to feel valued for my work contributions and proud of my work.”
- “I want to build a home that allows me to host loved ones and feel self-expressed.”
- Believe that you’ll get what you ask for, and then start moving towards the goal.
Maintaining positive energy about your goal and the certainty that you will accomplish it will propel you into action. Understand that forces beyond you are now working on your behalf. If it is love that you want, becoming more loving and generous will help you attract people who operate on this wave-length.
If “I want to feel peace in my relationship–unconditionally loved by my partner” is your intention, propel yourself into action by:
- Remembering that you can choose the type of relationship you want.
- Welcoming opportunities to meet people who may turn out to be just one you had in mind.
- Allowing yourself to be present for your partner’s vulnerable side.
- Showing your own vulnerabilities and appreciating your partner’s support.
- Become the “vibrational match” for what you ask.
Maintaining positive energy is not always easy—especially after a string of bad dates. It takes practice and, many times, a new perspective. Having trouble focusing on the good, the happiness, or the wins in your life? Focus on gratitude. Several dates fell apart? The person you liked didn’t feel the same? Thank the universe for taking these people who aren’t the right fit out of your life quickly.
- After a bad date, try thinking: “This experience helped me realize that I need a partner who’s less arrogant. Meeting the ones who aren’t for me will make it that much easier to see the ones who are special.”
- After a break up: “Though painful, I’m grateful that I won’t have to convince someone to be with me. I now have time to meet someone who sees a future together.”
Who else believes in the Law of Attraction?
Lady Gaga: “It happened around 5 years ago but it’s sort of like a mantra. You repeat it to yourself every day. “Music is my life. Music is my life. The fame is inside of me. I’m going to make a number one record and the number one hit.” And it’s not yet, it’s a lie. You’re saying a lie over and over and over again but then one day, the lie is true.”
Eckhart Tolle: “Whatever you think the world is withholding from you, you are withholding from the world. Whatever you think people are withholding from you – praise, appreciation, assistance, loving care, and so on – give it to them.”
Will Smith: “I believe that I can create whatever I want to create. If I can put my head on it right, study it, learn the patterns, and — it’s hard to put into words, it’s real metaphysical, esoteric nonsense, but I feel very strongly that we are who we choose to be.”
Having the opportunity to share my passion has paid dividends. Following my unique path and letting the universe help me reach people on their path has been such a rewarding experience. I’ve met so many beautiful people on their search for love. Together, we’ve figured out exactly what kind of partner would be the best fit while, I, in the background, work on making quality introductions until both my client and the match are head over heels.
With over a decade of experience, I understand the romantic landscape—not just in the Bay Area, but worldwide. I’ve worked with clients from abroad and right here at home in Silicon Valley. I’ve had the privilege of attending weddings, anniversaries, and even baby showers for clients who’ve benefitted from Linx matchmaking.
I’ve manifested my best life, and, now, it’s time for me to help others manifest theirs.
If you or someone you know has had “enough” with the dating scene, I want to hear from you! I am gifting my services to one person with a unique story who’s ready to meet the best the Bay has to offer.
There’s no gimmick. There’s no sales pitch. I’m offering a complete Linx matchmaking package that’s valued at over $15,000 for free.
Are you ready? Email me email@example.com and tell me about yourself or a friend you’d like to nominate!
Happy Holidays and to a Magical 2020 Ahead!
Have you ever believed that you were preordained to meet your soulmate?
In Jewish culture, the word Bashert (or beshert; Yiddish: באַשערט) means “destiny”. I had never heard of this word until a lovely woman that I matched to her beau explained it in full color to me.
She explained that when two predestined souls find one another in their lifetime, they have met the “Beshert.”
Upon hearing this, she understood intuitively and knew deep down in her heart that this is what she would wait for…
Over the course of her twenties and thirties there would be several marriage proposals, however, she never experienced ‘the feeling’ that she was in the presence of her “Beshert” and so she waited… Before falling asleep at night she would visualize that when in the presence of her soul partner she would recognize him instantly… additionally, whenever she saw a happy couple she would be reminded of this deep connection and send “him” love from her heart chakra. She knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that when the time was right he would appear in her life.
In the interim, she started seeing a skilled therapist who helped her clear the pathway for meeting her Beshert. The therapist recommended that she take off six months of dating to examine her patterns, blocks, etc so that she would be the best version of herself and be ready for “him.” That Christmas, (and five and half months into her dating sabbatical) she experienced a deep loneliness like something was missing. She texted her therapist that she KNEW this would be the last Christmas that she spent without her life partner.
She was committed to expanding her world and began Googling ways to connect with eligible men and found Linx Dating in Silicon Valley. She submitted her information like many women do in the hopes of meeting their match and was paired to a wonderful man shortly thereafter. She shares that she has never felt this way about anyone, the way she feels about him.
From their first conversation, there was an understood mutual connection and then when they met in person, it was this total feeling of familiarity, ease, fun, and attraction. This particular couple started their Linx match based on establishing a strong foundation of friendship. Multiple dates, many weekends, shared meals, walks, talks, and only escalating to holding hands for the first many months.
After a solid friendship had developed rooted in trust, integrity, and a lot of laughter, they were ready to deepen their relationship and become monogamous and romantic. They continue to fall deeper in love every day and consider this one of their greatest journeys… and they both agree that the connection that they share was worth the wait.
Life works in all sorts of unexpected ways and every day is a gift for which to be grateful. According to her therapist, I became part of the Bershert process when she contacted Linx Dating. It’s been an honor and my pleasure to help two incredible people find each other and be each other’s Bershert.
For those interested, Dr. Judith F. Chusid, has worked with over 48 couples on finding their “bashert”. She is a relationship specialist and performance coach on the East Coast. Look for her book coming out next month on Amazon titled: Success Is An Inside Job: Stop Playing Small ~ Overcome Fear of Success ~ Live in Your Potential (Tune into Your Passion-Do What You Love – Follow Your Bliss) and in 2020 look for Success Is An Inside Job: Stop Choosing the Wrong Person ~ Overcome Unhealthy Choices ~ Connect with Your Bershert. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or (212) 463-0080 to learn more.
You’ve poured your life into building your business. Long hours, lack of sleep, endless meetings have been your priority and, now, your time and dedication has paid off—your company is going public.
And, just like that, your social presence grows overnight. You’re inundated with speaking requests. You’re also inundated with a lot of romantic interest.
I’ve met several executives eager to re-prioritize their personal goals in the wake of an IPO. I’ve seen them struggle to find the right person—or even just a legitimate date—after coming into wealth and extra publicity. Ironically, for these clients, I’ve seen the dating space morph into a minefield of sorts.
How do you know if your next date is dating you for the right reasons?
How can you be sure that your private dating life stays private?
How will you know where to find the most eligible singles?
Just as you would hire a personal trainer to get fit or an accountant to organize your finances, I’ve been hired countless times to help extremely discerning clientele find their next partner.
To help my clients understand what they want in their next relationship and how to get it, I compare the process for finding the right partner to building a business.
- What problem are you trying to solve?
Perhaps you’re trying to remedy loneliness or are interested in building partnership. Maybe you’d like to “feel alive” with no strings attached, or you’re finally thinking it’s time to start a family. Most successful products and businesses are created to solve a specific problem—what’s yours?
Not sure where to start?
Envision your future. In five years, what kind of life do you envision? Where are you living? What are you doing? What would your mother say about you? How would your best friend describe you? Write it down.
- Set realistic expectations about the process.
What steps will you take in the short term to help meet your goals? Clients tend to be clear on their goals, but they can get a little lost on the game plan.
Some questions to ask yourself:
How much time do you plan to carve out per week to devote to your dating life?
How will you meet new people?
How will you date? Casual introductions over wine? Grand romantic gestures?
- Keep Iterating.
The qualities you look for may change during the dating process. Be open to the process and be prepared to adjust your ideas accordingly. Whereas it’s perfectly natural to have preferences (don’t we all?), you might find that your more urgent needs are satisfied by someone without the specific packaging.
Tip: Compromise on the packaging, never the standards.
- Hire your Weaknesses.
The demands of growing an empire may have distracted you from fine tuning your dating skills. Constant travel and other obligations may have limited your interactions to people in your professional network. Instead of trying to solve every problem at once, heed the words of billionaire Spanx founder Sara Blakely and “hire your weaknesses.”
Find the person you can trust; the person who has demonstrated enough experience in the realm of long-term relationships to help you make the best decision of your life. In the wake of money, media attention, and limited time, an extra pair of eyes, ears, and vetting could pay a lifetime of dividends.
With over a decades’ worth of experience serving high-profile clientele, I’m privy to the unique demands and sensitivities involved in the search for partnership. If you’re ready to hand off the reins to Silicon Valley’s leading matchmaker, get in touch.
Love and best wishes ❤️,
I recently had someone challenge me, in an email exchange, about the expectations that we have of the men we work with at Linx and how we hold them accountable.
It is a great and fair question – but the answer is not so straightforward. An equally great and fair question should be about the expectations we have of the women we work with at Linx and how we hold them accountable.
In this blog entry, I hope I can begin to answer these questions and illustrate that it really does go both ways and that the reality of passing judgment on people (whether men on women or women on men) may not always be pleasant, but is a fundamental truth in the human nature of long term romantic relationships.
During the Linx client intake process, there are a variety of questions I ask of the prospect and the type of match (s)he seeks. My primary goal at this early stage is to hone in on the more “scientific” part of the search, as I gather objective data regarding the type of match someone desires. These metrics are powerful, in that they allow me, the expert matchmaker, to create a solid and plausible foundation for a long-term match.
Naturally, some of the questions I ask can be a little hair-raising for some clients – for example, when I am asking a female prospect about her dress size and weight or if she has taken fertility measures to preserve her eggs (see more about this toward the end of the blog), some do not appreciate these blunt intrusions into sensitive subjects, while others go through the process with absolutely no objections.
A great prospective client I encountered shared, “I would hate to think in the end women are being judged one dimensionally in this process. While I appreciate everyone has preferences I would not be a match with a man that over indexes on a female’s looks and a particular dress size.”
I responded and told her that men are wired completely differently than us women. It is a universal and biological fact that men are extremely visual and generally fall in love with their eyes, whereas women appear to fall in love with their ears. The metrics and science of what someone desires is a relatively big part of this equation to find the right match. Every man I encounter has his own stated preferences and desires. From a physical stand point, some guys want Chinese, others East Asian, some Caucasian, no one over 5’5”, no one under 5’5”, long hair, short hair, light eyes, tan skin, no freckles, sexy in her style, or conservative style, light on the make-up, or dolls herself up all the time.
The data I gather is a completely eye-opening, scattergram of chaos. To add another layer of complexity, we then dive into a match’s personality, religion, lifestyle, career choice, marital background, hobbies, etc. It goes on and on and on. And this same principle of everyone having his/her own objective desires in a match applies equally to women. Women are just as harsh critics as the men are in what they need in a mate (from height, to hair, to personality, to income, to background, to lifestyle). The overarching conclusion is that even the most angelic people judge others. It’s life. We all secretly like what we like and don’t like what we don’t like. We don’t want to admit that human beings discriminate on a wide range of metrics but it is a fact that everyone I have ever encountered in my 16 years of running Linx has their own stated preferences and deal breakers in a potential match and if they state that they do not, they are, at least to some extent, lying to themselves and to me.
Another hot button topic for some women is when I ask whether she’s taken any fertility measures in her personal life to preserve her eggs. Egg freezing has become so popular as the tech giants like Facebook and Google often offer to pay for these incredibly pricey insurance policies. Take it or leave it but the fertility question in the intake is a big one. Not only am I asking women if they have thought about this, or if perhaps have already done multiple rounds of egg freezing, but the men on many occasions lecture me when they come in for their initial in-person meet and greets about a female’s biology and youth optimum IF the male prospect is wishing to have children in his personal life. Of course, there are a ton of men who either have kids, do not want kids, or have kids and do not wish for more. Again, everyone has their own stated ideals.
It is fair that fertility should even be a factor in the selection of a mate? Shouldn’t a female be chosen for her brain, heart and soul? Yes, actually I do believe that. But when I look to match, I align core value sets from a foundational standpoint and fertility is a large part of this equation if both parties want the option of having a child or children one day. Women, rest assured, that men are just not looking for a hot female who has ripe juicy eggs. Thank goodness. They actually are not as pigheaded as folklore goes. It is universally true that the types of men Linx Dating work with do “want it all”, just as the females that come into Linx want a man who “has it all” as well. It’s holistic, not just one-dimensional. Men need to be attracted first and foremost and then everything else hopefully aligns – brains, personality, and balance. Women seek financial stability, someone who has a healthy dose of EQ/IQ, and attraction is part of the picture too.
Making sure each party has a solid foundation and the match is a long-term match, not some short-term play, is critical. The couples I match enter serious relationships. I am an a bonafide expert and work with my clients to remove the chaos that can envelop mate selection when they are working on their own and “dating in the wild.”
No matter how you look at it, people select mates for a variety of reasons and no matter the approach, whether it be meeting someone serendipitously, via online/app dating, through Linx, or at work, we all are built to thin-slice (a la Malcolm Gladwell’s classic book “Blink”) and we do it consciously and unconsciously on a daily basis. Human beings are judgmental and if we if didn’t judge and thin-slice, we wouldn’t be able to create order and make sense of all the information around us.
After sharing love and a life together, severing all contact with an ex sounds like a harsh outcome to say the least, but is maintaining ties with an ex worthwhile? Traditional advice seems to support “clean breaks” and “moving on”, but is there something to be said for pursing friendship in lieu of separation?
Is friendship with an ex even possible?
According to The Journal of Social Psychology, friendship after a breakup is more likely if you and your ex were friends prior to the relationship.; the transition is easier if both parties have experience in the platonic realm. Conversely, if sparks flew shortly after meeting, you stand to endure more pain and awkwardness as the romance falls away.
The nature of the breakup will also impact the opportunity for friendship. Naturally, break ups that included heated endings—arguments, cheating, or any sort of perceived hostility—jeopardize chances of friendship. However, if the dumper used “de-escalation” tactics—or slowly started pulling away, the ex-partner has time to adjust and consider an alternative dynamic.
Why stay friends?
If you do decide to remain friends, have an honest conversation with yourself about your motivations. According to a research study published in the Journal of Personality and Individual Differences, your desire to remain friends after the relationship probably falls under one of the following reasons:
Reliability/sentimentality: your ex “gets you” and you can count on him or her to have your back.
Pragmatism: your ex makes your life easier. Your ex has resources you want—connections to business prospects, money, or skills you need.
Continued romantic attraction: You’re still in love.
Children and shared resources: Joint loans, kids, mortgages, etc. are obligations that make severing contact difficult if not impossible.
Diminished romantic attraction: Although the passion has waned, you still share an emotional connection.
Social relationship maintenance:You have similar friend groups or family friends.
Sexual access: Maintaining enough connectivity to ensure sexual opportunities or, simply, a friends with benefits situation.
Although reliability was the prevailing reason for friendship among both women and men, men were more likely to rate pragmatism and sexual access higher than women.
If you are pushing for friendship, be sure it’s friendship you’re actually looking for. To get your answer, ask yourself the following:
- Are you scared to lose support, advice, and comfort?
- Are you trying to avoid grief?
- Do you want the benefits of partnership (i.e. sex) without a formalized commitment?
If you’ve answered “yes” to any of these questions, you might be more interested in filling a void than pursuing a true friendship. If you find yourself pursuing contact for these reasons, the pain and stress of the breakup are probably encouraging some unhealthy rollercoaster emotions.
Using friendship as a crutch while your relationship dies will prolong the agony of heartbreak. The sooner you cut ties and take time for yourself—on your own—the sooner you may have an opportunity to pursue friendship.
What does creating space for friendship with an ex look like?
Firstly—and this may sound dramatic—defriend your ex on Facebook. According to research that appears in the Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, monitoring an ex on Facebook “exacerbates feelings of distress…and increases feelings of sexual desire and longing for an ex partner.” Although people who de-friended exes still experienced some setbacks in personal growth during their breakup, ultimately they reported less negative feelings than their stalker counterparts.
Instead of focusing on the friendship with an ex, you might find more value in revisiting your platonic relationships. The Journal of Social and Personal Relationships revealed that cross-sex friends who have always been platonic offer more satisfaction than cross-sex friends who have been lovers. Without sexual attraction or a need to get more serious, platonic friends share a pure connection.
Regardless of what you decide, give yourself—and your ex—and opportunity to adjust to the being single. If you do decide to pursue friendship, realize that the strong emotional connection you continue to share could complicate—at best—or preclude—at worst—your chances of establishing a new, totally fulfilling relationship.
If you’re ready to make 2019 a year of unforgettable connection, I want to give you the best chance of success. The road to love does involve some work; it’s more than just taking risks, it’s also about letting go of the habits that hold us back. To get your 2019 started right, follow these 7 tips to simplify and expedite your path to a meaningful, fulfilling love life.
- Ditch the lukewarm arsenal of safe bets.
If you’ve been dating, chances are you’ve met some great people but, as great as they are, just aren’t a great fit for you. If you’ve accumulated a collection of “friends” and have found yourself “staying in touch” late at night or spending all your precious free time together, it’s time to cut the cord. Every moment you spend with someone who isn’t your match prolongs the wait for the right person. Harsh? Yes. Necessary? Absolutely.
Example: As much as I should love having a glorious, no strings attached relationship, I’m going to try my luck at finding something serious. I want you to know that you didn’t do anything wrong; it’s just that I’m planning to try something new. Wanted to make sure you weren’t left wondering what happened.
- Let your on again, off again relationship rest in peace.
If you broke up, the relationship is, well, broken. If you have separated or called it off, and are thinking about trying again, ask yourself: “What has actuallychanged?”
Loneliness summons all types of uncomfortable feelings—like regret—while also only allowing you to see the good times and forget the reasons that led to the break-up in the first place.
Don’t let these lonely feelings fool you into trying again with someone you were certain wasn’t right for you or someone who was certain you weren’t right for them. The relationship isn’t right, especially at this time, so give yourself the space to grow.
- Leave the ghosts of your past where they belong: the past.
Heartbreak is a part of life. If you’ve looked for connection, you’ve experienced the pain of losing it. Spending time discussing the ghosts of relationship past will only allow them to keep haunting the future. Each time you choose to relive the happy moments of a past relationship or rant about where an ex went wrong, you resurrect a broken relationship from the dead. Give your new relationship every opportunity to thrive; keep the ghosts at bay.
- Evaluate how much you want a relationship. Align your behavior accordingly.
Just because you are single doesn’t mean you are seeking a relationship; behavior is the only true indicator of what you truly want. I say this—as obvious at it seems—because so many times people want a relationship but do not do the work to be in one. If you want to be in a relationship, get matched, say yes to new people, make a move. Do something! It might not feel good, but it will prove that you are actively pursuing your personal goals.
- Refuse to negotiate the red flags.
If you like someone, it’s easy to let the feelings of infatuation cloud better judgment. Instead of making excuses for someone else’s error, re-claim your power by making very intentional mental notes.
If your date, for example, is going hard on the drinks and you find yourself unimpressed or concerned, you can try one of two approaches:
- I have noticed that my date is drinking beyond what makes me comfortable. I am choosing to note this for now. If it happens again, I will choose to be with someone who makes me feel less concerned.
- I am uncomfortable with my date’s drinking and have decided that I want to be comfortable. I choose to move on.
Every time you make an excuse for someone, you are stripping away your ability to make a choice. Once you break the habit of being forced to accept to being able to choose, you will feel much more aware of your standards and much less open to people who don’t meet them.
- If the present fulfills you, don’t let the future stress you.
Have you met someone who makes you feel fantastic? Get familiar with those feelings and let yourself experience them totally! Too many times, I have seen clients sabotage happy, functional relationships in their efforts to “know where it’s going”. Sometimes, the most challenging part of a blossoming relationship is allowing it to unfold organically. If you do find yourself pushing for answers early on, consider the source of your fears and giving yourself time to sort them out before they jeopardize your next connection.
- Discover what makes you most magnetic.
Whereas people have their preferences when it comes to physical looks, no one argues with the allure of a happy person. That happy energy—the joy of genuine contentment—is universally attractive. Discovering those things that make you feel alive—cooking, hosting, fixing, building—whatever it is, will help you broadcast something special. Cultivate your own happiness and let that new energy work for you.
If you’re intent on making the magic happen this year, consider outsourcing some of the work to the professionals. I receive dozens of new clients who want to meet people beyond their traditional circles. Get in touch! Maybe I’ve just added your next match to my rolodex.
I’m sending you best wishes for happiness and love in 2019!