Relationship Data

Are You Dating Someone with Asperger’s?

With nearly 3.5 million Americans falling somewhere on the autism spectrum scale, it’s likely you’ve been on a date—or even a relationship—with someone who may show signs but not may not be formally diagnosed. Asperger’s syndrome is a mild form of autism that makes it extremely difficult to read others; social cues, hints, romantic gestures, and suggestive language won’t make sense to someone with Asperger’s. Paul, a 37-year-old with Asperger’s described dating with his condition as “learning a new language, but instead of words and phrases, I had to learn how to read and speak nonsensical behavior.”

When it comes to dating and relationships, people with Asperger’s, or Aspies, have additional challenges that may frustrate romantic partners. Without understanding the condition, neurotypical (NT) people can feel hurt, annoyed, and embarrassed by well-intentioned singles with Asperger’s. To help bridge the gap, we’ve addressed the top stressors of dating someone with Asperger’s and what you can do to make it easier for all parties involved.

An inability to express sentimental feelings

What you can do: Don’t assume the other person is uninterested, just because he isn’t telling you he likes you or finds you attractive. Let him know what you think and tell him why it is important that he learns how to make you feel special. Employing some structure to this conversation will help everyone feel more open and honest. “Create a ‘safe space’ for discussion and using semi-formal techniques like active listening, time outs with agreed upon return times, and speaker-listener paraphrasing,” says Amy Marsh, a sexologist “set regular times if you have to.”

Lack of understanding about physical affection

What you can do: Affection like holding hands and kissing won’t make sense to your partner. Attaching a gesture to an emotion is not intuitive, so take the time to explain what the gestures mean and why you are doing them. Otherwise, your physical affection can have an adverse effect. According to The Partner’s Guide to Asperger’s Syndrome, hugs can be very uncomfortable as they essentially restrict movement and invade personal space without warning. Best to say, “I want to give you a hug, because it will make me feel close to you. Sound good?” to help your partner acclimate to your style of affection.

Harping on the same subject or telling the same story repeatedly

What you can do: Shift the conversation to something that interests you. If your partner interrupts or continues to talk, gently tell them that this behavior makes it difficult for you to feel interesting. “If you are the more “neurotypical” partner, then you may find yourself playing detective and trying much harder to understand the other person than they ever will try to understand you, and it can feel lopsided” says Marsh. “Remember that for many people on the autism spectrum, social and emotional skills and communication have to be learned more intellectually rather than intuitively.”

Inability to read social cues or knowing which social rules to apply in certain situations

What you can do: Ease him into large social situations like parties or group outings. If he or she is overwhelmed or decides skip the event, try not to take it personally. Social situations are especially trying with so many different social cues coming from so many different people. To help your partner feel more comfortable, try to make the introductions on their behalf and help them transition topics.

Not understanding sexual situations, specifically how to escalate into physical intimacy

What you can do: For many people with AS, physical intimacy is the expression of feelings; however, escalating to the physical realm and establishing the mood with foreplay won’t seem important or necessary unless the NT explains what he or she is looking for in the bedroom. Asperger’s specialist, Dr. Kenneth Roberson suggests the following exercise: “Together with your partner make a list of the things that your partner does sexually that you like. Make a second list of things you would like your partner to do or try sexually. Make a third list of things that you do not particularly enjoy sexually. Ask your partner to generate similar lists. Then sit down together and share the items on your lists.”

If things do not go as planned in the bedroom, wait for a better time to discuss. “DO NOT argue in the bedroom,” says Marsh. “Let that be your area for safe connection with emotions and intimacy. Period.”

The first step in sustaining a serious, long-term relationship with someone with Asperger’s is acceptance. “Don’t confuse acceptance with granting permission to act whatever way your partner chooses. Callous, unsympathetic, and cold behavior, for example, are not things to be supported,” says Dr. Kenneth Roberson, Ph.D. “There is nothing wrong with expecting to be treated decently, wanting to be accepted and loved, and disapproving of anything less, but when your goal is to change the fundamental characteristics of who your partner is, you not only set yourself up for failure but you risk setting the bar impossibly high for your partner.”

 

 

How to Get Over a Break Up ASAP

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Both sides of the break up coin are agonizing. The person initiating the split has to fill the role of bearer of bad news, usually wounding the heart (and ego) of someone who he or she cares for deeply. He or she usually experiences guilt, confusion, and a unique type of stress that stems from knowing the end is near. On the other hand, we have the person receiving a final decision. Stripped of all opportunity to direct the course of the relationship, this person is left vulnerable, helpless, shocked, or disappointed.

If there was connection—real connection—pain is to be expected from all parties involved. We also know that every relationship that doesn’t make it to the next level will end with a breakup, yet we still find ourselves hurting after every split.

So, how do we heal from heartbreak faster?

  1. Avoid Numbing Agents—Shopping, food, alcohol, rebounds, pills, and drugs used to mask the pain will only prolong the agony of loss. Deriving relief this way will only push you deeper into depression, debt, or weight gain.

 

  1. Feed Yourself Well—When your heart is hurting, it’s even more important to monitor what goes in your body. Excessive sugar will crash your system; processed food will challenge your energy; and not eating will stress your heart even further. Now is the time to treat yourself to the best food you can get your hands on.

 

  1. Bring Yourself Joy—It’s easy to fall out of love with yourself just because someone else has. So many factors lead to relationships ending; we forget that so many of those reasons have nothing to do with who we are.

 

  1. Follow the Good Vibes—We tend to feed off of the energy around us. Experiment with a new crowd that offers you a fresh start. Science reveals laughing and smiling are instant mood lifters, so give yourself an opportunity to absorb the joy around you.

 

  1. Remove the Reminders—Pictures, cards, and other reminders should be out of sight. There is no need to live among reminders of relationships past. The mementos, seemingly innocuous, can derail your path to healing. Also, consider un-following—not unfriending—your ex on social media. You can always change the setting when you’re in a better place without anyone finding out.

 

  1. Keep it Simple—This is harder than you think. Attending parties he/she might attend? No. Finding reasons to reach out? No. Keeping in touch with his/her friends? No. It’s easy to think you can “be adult” about crossing paths, but the heavy emotional charge has a way of clouding better judgment.

Ironically, the things we are least likely to do during a break up — eating right, visiting friends, meeting new people—are the things that will help us heal the fastest. Giving yourself the time to cope with loss is going to fast track you to a better place with a better partner.

Where to Live and Let Love Find You

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It’s Valentine’s Day. Don’t sulk alone in your apartment watching Netflix. If you’re single and ready to mingle, maybe you should move to a new city where love will find you.

Unlucky in love? It’s not you, it’s your city. The dating pool in the nation’s largest cities varies quite a bit. To help people find the places that will give them the best chance to find their soul mates, our friends at Trulia examined U.S. Census data in each of the 100 largest metros. We’ve focused our efforts not only on where you can find plenty of single men and women, but where you’re more likely to find those more or less educated, divorced or not, and places where populations skew young or old.

For now, we limited our study to those seeking the opposite sex, since government data isn’t quite as good when it comes to same-sex statistics.

Taking a guess at what people care about most, we looked specifically at the ratio of single men to single women, the age range of these singles, how many hours they typically work each week, how much education they have and whether they were previously married or not. Note that we only analyze those at or over the age of 21.

For example, if you’re looking for a marriage-material guy– a man in his 30s with at least a college degree who works the standard 40 hours a week or more and has never been married, head directly to San FranciscoSan JoseSeattle or Austin, Texas. San Francisco has the second highest ratio of single male to single female (0.972), where 52% of adult men are single. Of this dating pool, 19.8% are in their 30s and 55.7% work at least 40 hours a week.

If you’re looking for a man…

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For women, searching for your dream guy, find out your dating destination: Click here to take the quiz.

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If you’re looking for a woman…Best places to find Ms. Independent.jpg

For men, searching for your dream girl, find out your dating destination:

Click here to take the quiz.

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On the flip side, if you’re looking for Ms. Independent – a woman in her forties with at least a graduate degree, works at least 40 hours a week and you don’t care if she’s been married before, go East. You’ll have the best luck along the Eastern Seaboard metros of WashingtonAtlanta, Raleigh, N.C., and Baltimore. For instance, in the D.C. suburb of Silver Springs, Md., 44.4% of adult women are single – of which, 14.6% are in their fab forty years and 38.8% work at least 40 hours a week.

If neither of these profiles are your cup of tea, then take the quiz yourself to figure out where you should live to if you’re looking to find love.

To dive a little deeper into the traits of singles, we first looked at where the odds are in your favor when it comes to the guy-to-gal ratio. In our study, singles includes anyone who has never been married or was formerly married and age 21 or higher. A larger or smaller guy-to-gal ratio may tell you whether you’re more likely to be surrounded by men or women if you are sitting in a typical bar or restaurant.

  • Looking for men? Cities with the more single men to single women tended to be on the West Coast rather than the East Coast. Specifically, the San Francisco Bay Area – which includes both the San Francisco and San Jose metro areas have some of the highest single men to single women ratios. But it will cost you – these are two of the priciest markets in the nation and the center of Silicon Valley. If those markets are too rich for your blood, consider Bakersfield, Calif., which took the lead in the ranking of where men outnumber women, as well as Salt Lake City and Las Vegas.
  • Where are all the single ladies? Look to Sarasota, Fla.; Birmingham, Ala.; and Winston-Salem, N.C., which had the highest ratios of single women to single men. But if you’re looking for a big city option, Philadelphia and New York had the 8th and 9th highest single women to single men ratios.
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Next, we looked at the age range – 20s, 30s, and 40s – of these singles for each metro, broken down by gender.

  • If you’re looking for a mate just hitting the Dirty Thirty era, you should head to San Francisco, Austin, Texas, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas or Los Angeles.
  • On the other hand, Upstate New York metros such as Rochester, Buffalo, Albany, and Syracuse have a very low percentage of single adults in their thirties. Same goes for metros in neighboring states, Akron, Ohio and Montgomery County, Pa.
  • Looking for a date that Taylor Swift would describe as “happy, free, confused, and lonely at the same time?” Madison, Wis.; Virginia Beach, Va.; San Diego; Colorado Springs, Colo.; and El Paso, Texas have some of the highest share of single adults who are in their twenties.
  • Meanwhile, six Florida metros Sarasota, Daytona Beach, Cape Coral, Tampa, West Palm Beach, and Fort Lauderdale have some of the smallest share of singles in their twenties.
  • Want someone who’s firmly adulting? Move to places such as Winston-Salem, Indianapolis, Detroit, Atlanta, Greensboro, N.C.; Las Vegas, or Miami where you’ll find more singles in their 40s.

When it comes to education, are you looking for someone who’s book smart or street smart?

  • If you are sapiosexual—someone who’s attracted to intelligent people—the data shows that you should move to San Francisco, Silver Spring, Md., Washington D.C., Cambridge, Mass., or San Jose. These metros have some of the highest percentage of single men and women with at least a college degree or graduate degree.
  • If lack of a diploma isn’t a deal breaker, then inland California might be the place to go. Riverside, Fresno, and Bakersfield has some of the lowest percentages of single adults with a college degree.

Methodology

2014 5-year US Census American Community Survey data gathered via IPUMS-USA at the University of Minnesota were used for this study. For the quiz, we restricted the data to non-married adults with at least a high school degree and aged 21 or older, but younger than 50. There were two underlying factors that determined which metro is the most suitable for the quiz taker. The first factor was the single adult male to single adult female ratio. The second factor was what percentage of the single adult male or female population fit your demographic criteria specified by one’s quiz answers. Rankings of the 100 metro areas based on these two respective factors were used in order to generate a final ranking that is tailored to the quiz takers’ preferences. For the explanation portion of this report that comes after the quiz, the data includes all those who are 21 years of age or over and are currently non-married unless specified otherwise.

What is Cuffing Season and Why Does It Matter?

With holidays approaching, you may find yourself wanting a relationship more than usual. As the days get shorter and the weather cools down, singles are looking for a relationship that will tie them over the next few months, but perhaps not endure into the spring. This heightened desire for a semi permanent relationship occurs during “Cuffing Season”.

Cuffing season begins during that stretch of fall when the weather begins to cool off and everyone you know starts coupling up. It specifically describes the desire to couple up or “cuff” ourselves to a partner during the chilly months—and stay together until spring. The trend is undeniable, but what causes it? Is this preference to cozy up just a preference or are we biologically engineered to get monogamous during the cooler months?

Is “Cuffing Season” actually real?

Short answer is yes—winters yield a higher rate of conception; spring yields changes to Facebook relationship statuses. When Hinge, a popular dating app, polled users, they discovered that men were 15% more likely to look for a relationship in the winter than any other season. Women were 5% more interested in a monogamous relationship, too.

Is “Cuffing Season” the result of biological impulses?

Experts agree that although people tend to pair up during winter months, the urge to couple up is not substantiated by any biological impulse. In fact, humans have evolved to a point beyond mating seasons. Scientists note that humans associate cold temperatures with loneliness, which could prompt the urge to get monogamous, but ultimately, the need to “cuff” ourselves to each other isn’t a biological or evolutionary response.

So, how do I handle the “Cuffing Season” urge?

Those urges to couple up aren’t easy to avoid. Between plus-one invites and fears of experiencing the holidays alone, you might find yourself approaching relationships from a place of neediness instead of real affection. Make sure the chemistry is real by taking any relationship you start this winter on the slow side. Gift giving, family travel, and plus one invites might add a little more complication to your dating life than usual. Don’t let the stress of the holidays rush your love life. Remember, spring is right around the corner.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5 New Approaches to Dating for the New Year

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Although it may feel like you were the only person this holiday season without a significant other to curl up with next to the fire and kiss at midnight on New Year’s Eve, you are in good company. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that over 50% (124 million) of Americans 16 years and older are single. The dating pool is overwhelmingly large, but many widely used dating techniques may need to be left in 2015 so everyone can find the love they want and deserve in 2016. As you reflect on the past year and set goals for the next, consider the 5 dating approaches below:

Set Clear Personal Goals
At the beginning of each year, most people come up with vague resolutions like “get fit, “eat healthier” and “drink less” that are impossible to track and are quickly forgotten. To attract your ideal mate in the new year, set clear goals that will enable you to become the best version of yourself and meet more people who enjoy activities you love. Examples include “go for a hike/yoga class/run/bike ride/volunteering activity/fill-in-the-blank twice a week,” “finish my passion project by the end of June,” “cook at least 3 healthy meals per week” and “have no more than 3 alcoholic drinks a week.”

Put Your Ideal Match on Paper
You have probably envisioned your ideal partner, but have you ever written down the physical, personality and lifestyle traits you value most? Jot down your non-negotiables and areas where you are more flexible. Examine your past relationships, and rank the traits you have appreciated most in the past and those you want to find in the future. Be clear on your goals and also open to meeting someone who doesn’t check every box. So many people who are hellbent on finding their soulmate and won’t settle for anything less end up alone, so don’t dismiss Mr. or Mrs. Almost Right before giving them a fair chance.

Leave Your Ex in the Past
Perhaps you are hung up on an past relationship or are currently dating someone you know is not right for you. You know you don’t want to be with that person, so stop letting their space on your back burner mess with your chances of heating something up on your front burner. Many people keep past relationships in the present as an emotional crutch, but it’s important to let go of emotional baggage before you can start fresh with someone new. To get closure on a past relationship, consider writing him or her a letter or an email explaining that you need to let go of them and wish them the best in the future.

Delete Your Dating Apps
Put down your phone! Make eye contact with and smile at people you encounter each day. Remember the “come hither” look you used to give or receive to a sexy stranger in a bar before everyone’s eyes were glued to their phone screens? Those sexy strangers, all 124 million of them, are still out there, but you can’t meet them when you’re busy scrolling through an endless stream of profiles in an endless number of dating sites. Active Tinder users spend over 6 hours a day using the app. Take that 6 hours back, notice people around you, smile, and say hello. Who knows, you may actually meet your someone special in real life!

Ask For Setups
I really admire people who ask for setups, and I am surprised more people don’t do it. Much like the professional world, where over 80% of people get jobs through people they know, using your network to find your next date is key. People who ask for setups frequently go on incredible dates with high-quality, respectful men and women. Share your ideal match with friends and family so they can let you know if and when they meet a man or woman who checks your boxes. Ask your single friends what they’re looking for as well so you can return the favor!

Best wishes for romance, love and laughter in 2016!

Finding Love Again After Divorce or Loss of Spouse

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Romance, courtship, and monogamy are wonderful blessings to strive for in life, regardless of one’s age. 2015 has been a fascinating year across multiple axes at Linx, as we have had the opportunity to work with some of the most influential men and women in the nation. What I particularly admire about many of our new clients is that they are well over 50 years old. Many of them have been married once, twice, and in some cases three times. We have even represented many widowed clients who, after having taken sufficient time for healing, introspection, prayer, and quality moments with family and friends, affirm their belief that love with someone new seems fathomable and within reach.

Why spend the rest of your life alone when you could find a companion, a love, a lover, a dancing partner, a best friend- you name it – with whom you could fall in love and experience magic again? Loss, of any kind, fuels the soul with hope and curiosity – it can be very exciting to “hit reset” and to see who’s out there in this giant world of ours. It can make you feel like you’re 16 again and feeling puppy love.

Some of our 50+ year old clients have shared that one of the major things that dissuades them from dating again, after divorce or the loss of a spouse, is worrying about what their children will think. This concern is very real and makes perfect sense on a lot of levels. Understandably, it’s not uncommon for many men and women to have very (and in some cases I have seen, extremely) poor filters when they date for the first time after divorce or losing a significant other. In most cases I see, clients were together with their spouse for 20 years on average, which means that they sort of never really dated to begin with! They got married very young, had X number of children, and never looked back.

Fast forward decades later in this era of modern dating, the social and dating landscape couldn’t be more different! A very laissez-faire attitude amongst many singles has manifested itself over the last few years and comes hand-in-hand with the rise of a million dating apps, niche dating sites, and an underlying current of complete and utter disregard for courtship and chivalry- some of the original principles upon which Linx is built. What it means to be a gentleman and what it means to be a lady. Alas, I digress.

In the multiple cases to which I have been privy about dating for the first time post divorce or loss of spouse, the stories can be gruesome to say the least. For many men, they pick someone purely based on physicality. Unfortunately after a few dates or, in some cases, an actual relationship, these men realize that the match they chose comes nowhere close to the magnitude and quality that their late spouse or even ex possessed. It is their children who regard the new flame as a poor fit for their parent and remind them that they can do a lot better.

For women, they will often chose someone who makes them feel safe, loved, and where they feel a strong emotional pull. Many of the men that these females chose on their own do not match up to them financially and lifestyle wise. In other words, they are not in the same socio-economic class but, more importantly I feel, they lack sophistication. These females are reminded by their children that the new relationship is indeed threatening, and that the new guy is simply after her money. As the saying goes, love can be blind.

So even though I have heard so many stories of dating in the wild for the first time post divorce or loss of one’s spouse and as many times as I “feel” for my clients, in many respects it is important to go through this and see what’s out there before starting Linx. I believe it makes people (my clients) appreciate the quality and caliber of our clientele even more.

So in closing, if a dear friend, colleague, or parent is sailing through the seas without a rudder as they navigate dating in 2015-2016 alone, give them the encouragement and hope that finding love is indeed possible again. Remember it’s a sensitive subject and can take time, a lot of work, moments of sheer frustration, and rejection but that they too can believe in love again and make it happen. Let them try to pilot dating on their own with some tools to start with (i.e., get online, go to singles meet-ups, etc) and once they have dated a bit and practiced, then hit them with higher stakes dating where courtship and romance is simply a click away to: amy@linxdating.com

Why I stopped playing the numbers game

By: anonymous male, San Francisco VIPI_next_to_his_description

When I first rejoined the dating scene several years ago I followed the well-worn path of many other people my age and joined a handful of online dating sites. After a few false starts, a friend explained to me that I was completely doing online dating the wrong way. She said that it was a “numbers game”, and that I should try to go on multiple first dates a week, week after week, until I find “The One.” I didn’t realize at the time that this was how many people treated online dating in the Bay Area. I said, what the heck, and gave it a shot.

At the beginning I found it to be fun. I realized I was meeting people that I would have never met before, and this gave me a huge amount of confidence that I would run into the woman of my dreams. I also made two very good friends and met one woman with whom I had a multi-year relationship. Even though it didn’t work out, I am still grateful that she was in my life.

After some time of playing the numbers game, I became frustrated and disenchanted with the entire process. I started to realize I was going out on dates where nothing progressed beyond small talk and running through lists of shared hobbies and travel destinations. Even if we both felt there was the potential for something more, follow-on dates started becoming fewer and fewer, mostly due to scheduling conflicts, and that quickly became a lack of interest.

Worse, I realized that the disappearance of my date didn’t bother me, as I knew that there would be someone else who was, well, let’s just say a “swipe right” away. While intellectually I knew that this was the same thought process my date was going through, I still felt a bit icky about the whole experience. As a family-oriented guy that has been in long term relationships for the majority of my life, I felt that this isn’t the behavior of the man that I thought I was or wanted to be.

I could not understand how, with all of the opportunities to meet someone that were available to me, that it was so incredibly hard actually to meet someone. Recently an article appeared in the New York Times that spoke to how I felt. The author reaches the conclusion that all of the online dating technologies have caused us to think in terms of the “numbers game”, and that there was an infinite number of possible partners, and we should toss each aside until we find the perfect mate. If this is our dating mentality, why should we ever bother committing to a person, as a better option could be right around the corner?

I knew the numbers game didn’t work for me, and stopped playing some time ago. I started to pick up on when I was a participant in someone else’s rapid fire dating game, and was able to understand how it felt. When you are playing the numbers game, every person you date becomes a number and not a human being.

Whenever you go out on a date, you have to remember that the person sitting across from you is a person, like yourself, with their own hopes and dreams, anxieties and fears. They have felt both joy and hurt in relationships, and are very possibly hoping that the first date they are on, with you, right now, will be their last first date ever. I can’t think of a more disrespectful action than what most serial daters do, namely walk into the date with the intention of making a judgment in the first five minutes, then hopping back onto Tinder.

The numbers game causes you to focus on quickly observed superficial qualities, such as hobbies, material possessions, and clothing, rather than what really determines the suitability of a partner. The important stuff, like ability to communicate, shared values, empathy, and capacity to provide support in stressful situations, can’t be determined from only one date.

The numbers game relies upon the idea that not only there are an infinite number of partners, but also that you have an infinite amount of time. We don’t. As a guy in my mid 30’s, I for one don’t want to be an “old dad”, and want to be in good enough physical shape that, if I get to have children, I would not only play with my kids on the floor but also be able to walk any future daughters down the aisle when I am twice my current age.

Women, well, they have much more defined biological clocks, with 35 being the medically recognized fertility cliff. While the numbers game can go on forever, our bodies can’t.

There are some things I miss about rapid fire dating. I miss finding instant chemistry. I miss learning about someone’s way of viewing the world. I don’t think it works, however, and would much rather spend time getting to know a small number of quality people than get three cocktails a week with complete strangers.