Research

Finding Love After IPO

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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.

 

  1. 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.

 

  1. 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?

 

  1. 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.

 

  1. 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 ❤️,

Amy

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Save It For The Judge…..

 

iStock-472711356 copy.jpgI 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.

 

Friends with an ex: Worth the time or time to move on?

 

iStock_000042224340_Small.jpgAfter 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.

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

How often has the following happening to you:

Your great date has suddenly disappeared.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So, when should I express my feelings?

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So, how much does the distance really matter?

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

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

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

 

Do women find men sexier when they’re taken? Here’s what the research says

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Does it feel like you’re getting more attention now that you’re in a relationship? If so, there’s a scientific explanation behind your new popularity.

When women prefer a man they know to be taken over a single counterpart, they are engaging in a phenomenon scientists call mate-choice copying. Specifically, the phenomenon describes what happens when a woman “observes a romantic or sexual interaction between a male and another female (referred to as the model female) and preferentially chooses that male as a mate” (Pruett-Jones, 1992). In other words, the woman on your arm or the the wedding band on your finger are letting other women know that you’ve been pre-screened.

Finding a compatible partner isn’t easy—and the equation becomes even more stressful with a biological clock ticking in the background. To help filter worthy candidates, women look for clues. They evaluate men for the usual trademarks of great genes: height (Sheppard & Strathman, 1989), facial hair (Waynforth, Delwadia, & Camm, 2005), and facial symmetry (Little, Jones, & DeBruine, 2011). Women are also analyzing contextual clues; they rated men with status symbols like expensive cars (Dunn & Searle, 2010) and expensive clothes (Townsend & Levy, 1990) more desirable.

But, what about the other factors? Like temperament, passion, or sociability?

Personality does count but, unlike evaluating external cues, getting to know someone requires a substantial time investment. Instead of running her own due diligence, a single woman might take a shortcut with mate-choice copying. If a man is with a girlfriend, the single woman will use the girlfriend’s judgment to determine that the man would make a good partner.

So, I should only leave the house with a woman from now on?

It’s a bit more complicated than that. For a single woman to value the girlfriend’s judgment, the girlfriend must be as attractive if not more attractive than the single woman. To understand how much the girlfriend’s attractiveness matters, scientists gave participants pictures of potential mates alone and also pictured as part of a couple. Each potential mate was pictured with a “girlfriend” who was either unattractive, moderately attractive, or very attractive.

The desirability of the man was directly correlated to the attractiveness of his female partner. Participants rated men with attractive “girlfriends” much more desirable than the same men photographed alone. But, if the man is holding company with an unattractive partner, he’s actually rated as less desirable.

Mate-choice copying might sound like a conniving dating strategy specific to some morally questionable single ladies, but scientists assert that it’s more benign. It’s less about a single woman trying to steal another woman’s mate; instead, it’s probably just a single woman adapting her opinion to mirror that of a peer. We use other people’s opinions to help shape our own. If a woman sees a man who has been highly rated previously, it’s likely she will do the same.

How your monthly cycle can make you a man magnet

 

iStock-641434604 copy.jpgIn spite of the bloating, cramping, and PMS inherent with your monthly cycle, turns out there is a bonus: Men are more likely to find you attractive. According to a study in the journal “Hormones and Behavior,” men were more likely to rate women as being the most attractive when they were at the most fertile point in their menstrual cycle.

How does male behavior change during ovulation?

In one study, researchers asked 31 women to report their significant other’s behavior changes during all stages of the month. During ovulation, women reported more attentiveness and higher involvement from their partners. The behavior changes were even more evident in relationships that weren’t serious yet, demonstrating that men were extra cautious of competition during her time of peak attractiveness. The men also exhibited a higher level of protectiveness during ovulation. This phenomena, known as mate guarding, was especially prevalent among less attractive males.

So, what about ovulation makes you more attractive? According to Michael Kauth’s Handbook of the Evolution of Human Sexuality, you can expect to:

·      Smell better—In one study, men were given three sets of t-shirts: one set was worn by women during their most fertile phase, another set worn during their infertile time, and a third set of shirts that were unworn. After smelling the ovulation shirts, men exhibited higher levels of testosterone.

·      Become more creative—Researchers gave a group of women 4 tests, one for each week of the menstrual cycle. Creativity surged during ovulation, when estrogen and luteinizing hormone were highest.

·      Appear more attractive—After showing two pictures of the same woman—one while she was ovulating and one when she wasn’t—to a group of men and women, researchers learned that both the men and the women rated the pictures capturing ovulation more attractive.

·      Have a higher sex drive—After polling 115 women about their sex drive and monthly cycle, researchers noted a spike in libido and greater sexual satisfaction during ovulation.

·      Dress sexier—Because women feel sexier during ovulation, they are more likely to spend time on their appearance. As their libido surges, they tend to dress more strategically to attract a mate.

·      Have a higher pitched voice—As ovulation approaches, women will craft a more feminine, higher-pitched voice to be more attractive to men. The pitch gets higher as ovulation gets closer.

How much can ovulation up your sex appeal? Researchers at the University of New Mexico attempted to quantify it by asking strippers to report their earnings and their menstrual cycles for two months. During ovulation, the strippers made about $70 per hour, women in the luteal phase—the phase after ovulation but before the period—made about $50 per hour, and menstruating women made about $35 per hour.