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Virtual Dating Tips and Guidance during COVID-19

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Love Against All Odds

 

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

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

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

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

Against all odds, this incredible man persevered.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Pheromones and Attraction

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Have you ever found someone completely irresistible, but you’re not sure why? Some scientists argue that we might be picking up on someone’s genetic compatibility with our sense of smell.

When we smell something, tiny odor molecules bind to receptor cells that travel directly to the brain for processing. Smell—unlike the other senses—is analyzed almost instantly. This rapid analysis is the reason why smelling something familiar can trigger an emotional response instantly, and sometimes these responses can be quite powerful. Think of the last time you smelled chocolate chip cookies. Did you feel a cozy, comfortable feeling? What about popcorn? Did you find yourself in an upbeat, casual mood?

If smells can solicit hefty emotional responses, can they trigger us to have romantic feelings?

Scientists still debate the answer, but they all can agree that the discussion starts with pheromones.

Pheromones describe the special cocktail of chemicals that our body releases that may influence the way people behave towards us. These chemicals—when smelled—are known to stimulate the hypothalamus, a part of the brain known to regulate sexual behavior, mood, and hormones.

To figure out how sensitive we are to pheromones, Swiss zoologist Claus Wedekind conducted “The Sweaty T-shirt Experiment.” He instructed 44 different men to wear the same t-shirt two consecutive nights. After collecting the t-shirts, he asked 49 different women to sniff each t-shirt and rate the odor for intensity, pleasantness, and sexiness.

Results showed that the women preferred the odors from men whose DNA was most different from their own. Because choosing a mate with a similar genetic makeup can cause a host of genetic complications for an offspring, the women’s choices show that they have an ability to analyze and gravitate towards men who guarantee greater reproductive success. In other words, women preferred sexual experiences with men who smelled a certain way.

Pheromones also solicit responses based on sexual preferences, not biological sex. In another study conducted by Dr. Ivanka Savic and colleagues at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, a group of men—some straight, some gay—and women were asked to rate attractiveness to two different pheromones. Both the gay men and women responded strongly to the male pheromone, whereas the heterosexual males preferred the female pheromone almost exclusively.

Despite the science, there is no real way to determine the true effect of pheromones; There are simply too many mitigating factors. For example, it’s impossible to confirm the real reason we gravitate towards certain people we find attractive. It could be the scent they carry, but it also could be related to personality, confidence, appearance, or status.

If pheromones can influence sexual responses, is it possible to recreate certain smells to make yourself more sexually desirable?

Unfortunately, pheromones are an elusive mix of natural chemicals, impossible to replicate in a lab. To date, scientists (and fragrance companies) have not been able to get to the heart of what exactly makes up pheromones, how they are created, or how to emulate them. Some companies tout “love potions”, but these are most likely gentle, pleasant fragrances.

Pheromones could be influencing attraction, but it’s more likely a combination of factors with pheromones playing some small role. Visual cues, body language, and the quintessential “chemistry” of how your personalities mesh all play into your perception of a potential romantic encounter.

 

Dating Fatigue is Real. Here’s What to do if it’s Happened to You…

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If you’re single and interested in a new relationship, first dates are inevitable. If you’re lucky enough to have friends setting you up or an experienced matchmaker on your side, you can count on some pre-filtering and quick turnaround time to make those first dates somewhat easier. But, if you’re searching for love online or on apps, you could invest countless hours getting to know someone before ever meeting—if you ever get to an actual meeting. According to a 2016 study by the Pew Research Center, nearly 1/3 of people using apps never make it to a date. For those that do schedule dates, many experience several bad dates before something relatively good pans out.

 

You know the drill. Anticipation and excitement grows as your first date approaches. Then, not even 20 minutes into the first date, you know there’s no chance of a future. This anticipation—disappointment—optimism cycle seems to repeat itself and, before you know it, you’ve stopped dating completely.

 

Dating burnout is similar to job burnout: An activity that once posed a satisfying challenge is now a mundane task. If the mere mention of a date conjures up feelings of inevitable disappointment, you’re definitely in the midst of dating burnout.

 

Other telltale signs include:

 

Experiencing jealousy over your friends’ relationships.

Jealousy is a sign of insecurity. If you feel slighted by your friend’s relationship or, if you’re pulling away from the new couple, you might be internalizing feelings of frustration about your own romantic life. “I couldn’t stand my coworker’s boyfriend,” says Marie. “Listening to her talk about his anniversary plans was so annoying, but I couldn’t figure out why. I typically liked hearing all of her dating stories. Then, I realized that it had nothing to do with boyfriend. I was sad we weren’t going to talk about our hilariously bad dates from the weekend.”

 

Feeling like the search is hopeless.

When quitting seems easier than fielding another bad date, you’re not heading towards dating fatigue—you’re there. If you’re fearing boredom, rejection, or exhaustion, nixing future dates will seem like the perfect way to prevent future pain.

 

Willing to go for anyone who isn’t terrible.

Settling for someone to stave off loneliness is a sign that you’re losing faith in yourself. Lowering your standards is the best way to find yourself in a relationship you should avoid. “The worst relationship I ever had was actually the first woman I met after my divorce,” says Tom, 41. “I didn’t know what I was doing and the thought of dating again blew my mind. Well, I learned my lesson.”

 

A string of bad dates.

Nothing is more exhausting than a streak of dates without any semblance of connection. Mustering up the enthusiasm—and courage—to get yourself out there again will seem like an uphill battle.

 

Finding your couch more appealing than social gatherings.

Taking a break from all social activities—not just dating—reveals that your frustration from the lack of romantic connectivity is seeping into your other relationships. If you are closing yourself off from everyone, it’s time to evaluate your approach to dating.

 

So what can you do to recover from dating burnout? Consider the following to get back the good vibes:

 

Lower your expectations, not your standards.

Instead of focusing on if the other person likes you, flip the equation to figure out if you feel something towards the other person. This process takes time and might not lead to fireworks initially.

 

Keep the first date short.

You’ll know if you want more—or not—within the first 20 minutes. Keeping the first date short will help you build tension for date #2 or save you from spending too much energy on a dead end. This advice is especially true if you are dating vis-a-vis apps and online.

 

If you know you aren’t interested, don’t go on a second date.

No one wants to be the bad guy, but going out again when you know it’s not there will waste your time and theirs. “I would rather sit through drinks with a guy I wasn’t into than have the ‘I’m not into you’ conversation,” says, Molly, 37. “Of course, this only makes things harder in the end.”

 

Keep your dating life private until you’ve narrowed it down to one person.

Save yourself the trouble of rehashing the same details of lackluster dates.

 

Give yourself a time out.

You’ll project your best self if you’re not forcing yourself to feel or act a certain way. If you’re juggling five people, none of whom you really like, do everyone a favor and take a break. Channel your energy and free time towards a new hobby, keeping physically active, seeing friends, etc till you are ready to date again.

 

Get honest with yourself.

Self awareness is the first step to making sure you aren’t self sabotaging. If you don’t feel anything after several dates, ask a trusted friend about what it could be. If this isn’t possible, seek a dating coach —an objective third party can work wonders.

 

Although it can feel overwhelmingly hopeless, dating fatigue is only temporary. At Linx, we’re here to streamline your dating experience. Matchmaking isn’t just about more dates; it’s about optimizing the variables for connection. If you’re feeling disconnected, we can help. Email our founder Amy at amy@linxdating.com

 

How to Date When You Want Kids Yesterday

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All too often the subject of kids—and knowing if they’re a possibility with a new partner—isn’t handled with much care. It has a sneaky way of becoming a checklist question; a question that is asked early on to determine whether or not someone is worth seeing again. With biological clocks ticking, some women and men are rushing to get an answer before “wasting” one more minute with someone who might not share the same goals. That rush prevents real chemistry from blooming, regardless of the partner’s desire to have children in the future.

So how do you date when you know you want kids?

Describe your approach to family plans, without any pressure for your partner to be a part of it.

 

What to say: “Family dinners and minivans are probably out there somewhere, but I still have no idea how I’m going to get from point A to point B.”

 

Here’s why this works: This kind of comment reveals your plans for a family without any expectation for your partner to respond in a certain way. Not only are you able to express yourself authentically, but you are doing so in a way that doesn’t involve deadlines or ultimatums.

 

Don’t let kid-centric or family-centric conversation be the hot topic.

 

Here’s why this works: You are more than your desire to have children. With a healthy self-esteem intact, you don’t need a sperm/egg donor to make your life complete; you have yourself and you are complete as is. Even though children are a top priority, you come first. In other words, you are looking for the right person for you before looking for the best parent to a child. When dating is about you, you partner will feel like he or she complements you, and isn’t just being vetted for sperm or egg donor.

 

Accept where your partner is—and the personal goals he or she has.

 

Here’s why this works: In the wake of amazing chemistry, we can create a narrative that doesn’t exist. For example, we may think, “We have such a good thing going, of course he will change his mind when we get more serious.” This kind of thinking reveals that we do not accept our partner as he or she is; instead, we are hoping for them to change. This added pressure on our partner will ultimately cause friction and disappointment when his or her mind doesn’t change.

 

 

Be patient with those who are unsure, but keep the door open to those who are.

 

Here’s why this works: Some people aren’t sure about kids in their future for situational reasons. Perhaps they are in the midst of a career transition that is taking up most of their future planning. Maybe they are close to someone who is dealing with the agony of infertility. Maybe they need the right partner first to see kids in the future. Whatever the reason is, there’s no need to eliminate someone who isn’t exactly on your same page right away. With that being said, it’s also wise to keep the door open to those who may be ready to start their family sooner.

 

You should have a sense of your partner’s feelings about a future family before committing.

Here’s why this works: Dating is your chance to explore the likelihood of a lasting relationship. If you aren’t sure what he or she feels about kids, continue keeping doors open until you have a better sense. Signing onto serious emotional and time investment without a nod to your personal priorities is too much to risk—your time is too valuable.