date coach

Is your relationship cheat-proof? Research reveals the most common reasons partners stray

 

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After polling over 100,000 people, Chrisanna Northrup published extensive research on infidelity in her book The Normal Bar. Her findings explored not only the prevalence of cheating, but also perhaps more interestingly, she learned the situations that were most likely to encourage committed partners to stray.

 

  1. The Business Trip

For frequent travelers, life on the road comes with loneliness and stress—two circumstances that make meeting a beautiful stranger a welcome distraction.

36% of men and 13% of women admitted to cheating on a business trip. Respondents claimed that the sexual liaison was just too enticing to pass up, even if they had a robust sex life at home. Researchers concluded that the infidelity was related to sex, but also with the thrill of being wanted sexually and being able to engage and get away with it.

How long into a relationship is the business affair most likely to happen? 6-9 years.

 

  1. An ex

Even though the relationship maybe over, the feelings can still exist—especially for women. 32% of women admitted to having a fling with an ex or old interest, compared to 21% of men. Those who cheated with an ex reported a satisfying sex life at home; however, the forbidden nature of sleeping with someone who still holds emotional connectivity proved tempting.

How long into a relationship is an ex most likely to tempt? 2-5 years.

 

  1. Boredom in the bedroom

A mundane sex life is a big reason men and women entertain the idea of getting their needs meet elsewhere. 71% of men and 49% of women cheated after claiming boredom in the bedroom. Often times, people cheat because they are ashamed of their bedroom preferences. In an effort to avoid the conversation, people will suppress their desire and ultimately engage in an affair later to indulge it or, unfairly, project the shame onto their partner.

 

  1. Revenge infidelity

After a partner cheated, 9% of men and 14% of women admitted to cheating for revenge.

 

  1. An inability to be monogamous

Despite entering a committed relationship, many people just can’t dismiss the urge to cheat. 46% of men and 19% of women who strayed and were asked why said, “I just can’t help myself.”

 

But are there reasons people cheat that are beyond their control?

 

We are ultimately responsible for our decisions, but some factors can certainly cloud our better judgment. After meeting someone interesting and attractive, the brain produces a surge of dopamine. The dopamine rush triggers an intense, addictive euphoria—a euphoria that leaves us begging for more, even if it’s outside of the confines of our relationship.

 

There could also be a genetic propensity for cheating. In one study,  researchers surveyed 294 participants and discovered that those who had at least one parent cheat were twice as likely to cheat as the participants who had parents who maintained committed relationships.

 

Is there hope after infidelity?

 

Ironically, affairs don’t necessarily indicate a broken marriage. Although difficult, one of the biggest hurdles to getting the relationship back on track is working through the “victim/perpetrator” mentality. According to Dr. Joe Kurt, Ph.D., LMSW, the betrayed partner can start thinking that because he or she was cheated on, it’s up to the cheater to make everything right again. This blame-focused approach will ultimately sabotage any chance at reconciliation.

 

The best hope for a couple is to talk through the cheating—both the cheater’s experience and the injured partner’s response—in the presence of a counselor or therapist. Together, they can figure out the best ways to rebuild trust and demonstrate transparency.

Office Romance – When is it time to get down to business?

Two young business people working on computer in the office. There are people in the background.

Office hotties – there’s at least one in every company. Men turn their heads when she walks down the hall, and women linger in the office kitchen when he’s filling up his water bottle. Interacting with an office crush can make the workweek fly by.

It’s no surprise that a ton of married couples meet at work since we spend so much time there. How did these couples know that pursuing a relationship with their office crush was worth the risk of being the subject of office gossip and having to work with an ex after a potential breakup?

Consider the questions below before taking an office crush to the next level.

  1. Does your company allow interoffice dating? If not, there are certainly ways around it, but you will have to be very sneaky. One of my favorite couples met while working at a company that didn’t allow interoffice dating, so they had to keep their relationship under wraps for several years until they got married. If your company allows it, make sure you are allowed to date someone in your crush’s role. Some companies don’t allow employees to date direct managers, subordinates, or colleagues on the same team.
  1. Is your work crush marriage material? If so, give it shot! He or she may be the one. If not, there are plenty of other fish in the sea. You are likely to get a reputation if you hook up with multiple people at the office, and if your current work crush isn’t your future spouse, maybe a future hire will be! Don’t let a short-term fling ruin your office reputation and your chance of meeting your future spouse at the office.
  1. Do you both have the same relationship goals? Are you looking for love while your crush is just looking for a fun night? Make sure you’re on the same page and have thought through the consequences before you get to first base. A girlfriend of mine was head-over-heels for a close guy friend on her team at work. When he made a move after a happy hour one night, she was ecstatic…until he never pursued anything further. Their friendship fell apart along with her dream of dating him. As with all things in life, clear communication is key.
  1. Does your work crush have a good reputation at the company? Is he or she known for their solid work ethic and integrity or for taking credit for other people’s work? Does he or she treat the office staff and janitors with respect and appreciation? Are they trustworthy? Do your due diligence by observing their behavior at work and asking others for their impressions of the person. A major plus of meeting someone in the workplace is being able to do a light background check on him or her.
  1. If it doesn’t work out, will you still be able to work together? Ignore your hormones for a moment and spend time thinking about this before dipping in the company pool. If the answer is no, how important is this job to you, and will you be able to find a new job that’s as good as the one you have? Consider your long-term career and relationship goals, your crush’s reputation, your company’s policy on interoffice dating and your shared relationship goals before engaging in business time at the office.

Here is another thought… Just because the bar should probably be high for you to date someone in YOUR workplace, why not join forces with friends from other companies and be your own matchmaker and host/hostess.

We’d like to suggest that you invite 5-8 friends from your company, and 5-8 colleagues from another company, out for a happy hour one night.  Mix, mingle, and see what happens!  Playing host and stepping outside of the office might allow some sparks to fly for you (or others) with someone whom you had never really met or thought about that way! How is easy is that?!?

The Very Hungry Caterpillar

bigstock_Girl_Eating_Burger_4655356Advice of the day for the female readers is enjoy the ritual of breaking bread on your dates! What do I mean by that? Ladies arrive to your dates hungry and don’t be fussy when ordering.

Men are often hypersensitive to women not eating on dates. It signals to them that you might have body issues or insecurities that he probably faced in a previous relationship and likely does not find attractive. At some point in our lives, most of us have been “that girl” who orders a small side salad, skips out on the bread, and has an ice tea on her dinner date. It’s so cliche….Cher_Horowitz_Closet-022_2-376x323

Remember that classic line from one of my all time favorite movies Clueless where Cher feels out out control with her eating for the day? “I feel like such a heifer. I had two bowls of Special K, 3 pieces of turkey bacon, a handful of popcorn, 5 peanut butter M&M’s and, like, 3 pieces of licorice” Don’t come across as a high maintenance girl and announce what you ate, what you wish you ate, or how much weight you have to lose. This happens! I’ve heard it and I’ve seen it! Men think it’s sexy when a woman has an actual appetite. She’s not afraid to eat in front of him and not concerned with ordering what she actually wants to enjoy. 2014-03-18-PICKYEATING3

Linx guys expects to buy their dates dinner, so plan to actually eat dinner. Men often tell us they’re turned off by women who don’t eat. Also, you may think he’s never heard this, but saying “But I’m actually really full… this is the second dinner I’ve had today,” is not an original line. Every guy has heard that before. And no one likes hearing it.

Although my advice is to eat, drink, and be merry on your dates, the truth is many women do struggle with real eating disorders that plague their lives. I’m no expert on this topic and don’t have the knowledge to write about it but should you be someone who is reading this who does struggle with body image issues and any disorders, I strongly encourage you to seek professional help and not be afraid in doing so. The sooner you do this, the quicker you will be ready to date and date successfully….being that alluring and confident woman men love.

On a final note, try not to be too high maintenance when ordering. 😉

Are You Choosing to be Thankful?

By: Linx staff member, Michael Norman Quiz-Thanksgiving-Style-Header1

With the holidays just around the corner, this can be a great time to meet someone new, but it can also be an incredibly lonely time for those of us who aren’t surrounded by close friends and family.  As an unattached only child whose parents don’t live nearby, I was acutely aware of this kind of isolation just a few Christmases ago; I had very recently had a rather nasty surgery and both of my parents were sick, so it wasn’t wise for us to spend the holiday together.  I don’t think I’ve ever actually had a boyfriend of significant other during the holiday season, so that part I could handle – but being away from my parents was tough.

I thought I was going to spend the day alone (almost literally) licking my wounds and feeling sorry for myself until a good friend invited me to join her, her roommate, and one of her co-workers for an impromptu Christmas dinner.  While it certainly wasn’t the same as spending the day with my parents (which I’ve done three dozen times or so) it definitely proved to be one of the most memorable holiday dinners of my life.  (When an investment banking lesbian, a three-hundred-pound gay man on painkillers, a newly out gay lawyer who secretly wants to be a caterer, and a straight black project manager who was a collegiate swimmer consume 7 bottles of wine in 6 hours while talking about their families and their sex lives, it’s bound to be memorable.)  I learned a lot of things I never expected to learn that evening, and one of the most important is that being alone is often a choice.  Just because I wasn’t able to follow a family tradition, I assumed I had to spend a holiday alone.  I wasn’t allowing myself to consider other options, to embrace other types of family, to invest in other types of relationships, or even to invest in myself.

This year I expect to spend the holiday with my parents – just as I’ve done for years – but should that plan be somehow interrupted, I know that I’ll consider alternatives.  And I would enjoy those alternatives.  So even if you’re separated from your family – whether by distance or something harder to overcome – or if you’re new to your current hometown and don’t have an established social network, there’s no reason to spend the holidays alone.  In fact, if you take the initiative to invite new people into your world on a day when they would otherwise feel alone and possibly dejected, you might be incredibly surprised by the warmth and intensity of the connection that could result.

Here are some ideas for getting through the holiday season in good cheer, and maybe even building some relationships (romantic or otherwise) along the way.animated-thanksgiving-desktop-backgrounds-wide-photos-hd-wallpapers-free-thanksgiving-desktop-wallpapers-backgrounds

Host a “Misfit” Thanksgiving…

If you don’t already have plans for the holiday, ask around in your circle of friends or even post to Facebook; you’ll probably find that you’re not alone.  If you’re not a great cook, you have plenty of options that could still make you a great host or hostess.  Plenty of restaurants and grocers (like Draeger’s and Whole Foods) offer complete or a la carte solutions for Thanksgiving dinner.  You may find that one or more of your guests is a great home chef, so give them the opportunity to bring dishes (or just encourage them to bring wine or desserts) and fill your home with new friends and holiday cheer.  Speaking from personal experience, this can be a truly wonderful way to spend a holiday, and can be much more intimate and fulfilling than you might expect.

Take Yourself Out to Dinner…

If spending the day alone is inevitable, and you know you know that staying inside all day isn’t good for you, make a reservation for yourself at one of the many, many SF restaurants that will be serving dinner this Thanksgiving.  Some of the restaurants promising to give you reasons to be thankful this year include Michael Mina, Epic Roasthouse, Campton Place, and One Market, so odds are that you’ll be experiencing plain pilgrim fare taken to an entirely new level.  You might also want to stop into a great bar or lounge for an after dinner drink and some great conversation; you won’t be the only person spending the day without family, and you definitely won’t be the only person open to connecting with someone new.

Lend a Helping Hand…

For some people, volunteering on Thanksgiving is a tradition unto itself, and the Bay area is full of opportunities for helping out.  At Linx, we always think that volunteering is a great way to meet someone (who doesn’t like dating a man or woman with a heart of gold?) and the single person you’d meet volunteering on Thanksgiving will be just as impressed with you as you are with her or him.  Even if scoring a date isn’t the first thing on your mind that day, it’s not a bad consolation prize for being a good citizen. 😉  Good sources for finding volunteer opportunities include Glide Memorial, Hands On Bay Area, and Little Brothers.  You could also contact your local church or food bank or even a retirement center for more ideas; lots of people would love company this holiday season, and not all of them have the option of leaving their homes.People-volunteering-at-so-012

Relax and Reflect…

There’s nothing wrong with just taking the day to yourself and doing nothing at all.  You don’t have to leave the house.  You don’t have to eat turkey.  You certainly don’t have to eat pumpkin pie.  You could stay in, do laundry, sort piles of receipts, and downshift from everything going on in your life.  You could take the day to really think about your life, and examine all of the reasons you have to be thankful.  It would be very easy to focus on being alone, and to fixate on what you consider the missing pieces in your life, but it’s so much more valuable to take an inventory of what’s right in your world.  Most of us are drawn to positive, optimistic people, and the best way to be positive is to really be aware of the gifts in your life; you probably have many.  And you probably know what most of them are.  Don’t be afraid to make a list, and check it twice.  Christmas, after all, is just around the corner. 😉

Are You… Available?

It goes without saying that everyone who choses to meet with the Linx team has expressed interest in finding a relationship, but that doesn’t mean everyone is actually prepared to be in one.  In fact, figuring out whether or not someone is ready for a relationship can be quite complicated.  And it’s interesting to see the ways in which we all get stuck in places and patterns that keep us from moving forward with our lives.

We often talk about helping people break free from their current dating inertia; for some clients, that involves helping them learn how to date for the very first time; for others, it involves reintroducing them to the dating world after divorce; and for an unfortunate few, it can mean helping them meet incredibly trustworthy, loyal individuals after an experience with infidelity.  These are all, obviously, very big stumbling blocks when it comes to getting into a relationship and they take a lot of work to overcome.  But smaller obstacles can be just as detrimental when it comes to letting another person into your life, and we it comes to find love, many of us are more guilty of standing in our own way than we realize.

Lately, Amy and I have seen a pattern of more and more first(!) dates not even happening because of poor communication and scheduling conflicts.  This is incredibly disheartening for us because we put so much work into each match behind the scenes.  But beyond that, it’s a huge missed opportunity for everyone involved.  And it’s often the result of unreasonable expectations, inflexibility, or not being honest about the amount of time you have to pursue a relationship.

It’s sometimes the case that people honestly do not realize how busy and overcommitted they are until presented with the option of an introduction.  If these are temporary social or charitable engagements that will clear from your schedule in some reasonable amount of time as you get to know someone, don’t sweat it; most of us actually find it attractive when some has a full and active life, and even look forward to eventually being part of it.  Be upfront about your commitments – give your date a roadmap to let him or her know how quickly those obligations might clear, and dating should pretty easily fall into place from there.

If, on the other hand, you find that you really can’t plan to get together because you constantly work late, are always traveling, are on call, or don’t know your schedule, this may not be the time for you to be dating.  And you should admit that.  If work is controlling your life, don’t expect a potential date to let it control his or her life, too.  This may not be your fault, but it’s also not fair to the person attempting to date you.  Let them go for now.  With some luck, he or she will circle back when timing is better on both sides.  But if you press forward when you really don’t have the availability to build a relationship, you’ll just end up engendering hard feelings and frustration.  No one wants that.

If, however, you can’t seem to find the time to meet because you’ll only have a first date on weekends (but don’t have any free time for the next three of them), can’t go out on Thursdays (because you have your fav yoga class on Friday mornings), don’t like Monday dates (because you’re too tired after work), refuse to have a weekend breakfast date because they aren’t romantic (even though you’ll only meet on weekends and don’t have any free weekend evening for the next month) then you may be standing in your own way.  And that is your fault.
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It is really, really important to be open and honest about what you need when you start dating someone.  But it is equally important to not be totally rigid and difficult when it comes to the things you want.  You need to be home by 10pm if it’s a weeknight?  Fine.  You need to meet in the city or in Silicon Valley because you don’t have a car or don’t have a ton or time?  Perfectly understandable.  You only want Saturday night first dates scheduled six weeks in advance with regular phone calls and texts beforehand, and you expect your date to be patient, excited, and agreeable because this is what works best for your social/exercise/shopping/travel calendar?  Absolutely not.  When you’re that limiting and specific with your date, you’re not just telling him or her that you’re busy – you’re telling your date that you expect to dictate all of the terms of your relationship, and no one wants to be on the receiving end of that message.  Ever.

Being flexible isn’t just about dating someone who doesn’t look like the actor you fantasize about or the crush you had in college; it’s about stepping out of the box of your life and realizing that your future is going to look exactly like your present unless you start to make different choices.  Amy hates asking the question “Are you single?” because it’s both too vague and too specific at the same time.  She always prefers to ask people “Are you available?” because it’s important to know if they’re unattached, interested in finding commitment, and willing to do the work it takes to get there.  It’s like asking “Are you single? Are you looking for love?” and “Are you willing to invest in another person in order to find it?” all at the same time.  It’s important to be flexible in a lot of ways when you start dating someone, and that includes being flexible with your time, your attitude, your tastes, and your expectations.  In fact, flexibility is the difference between being single and being available — it’s a measure of how open you are to being surprised, and how willing you are to take a chance on trying to make something work.  It also happens to be attractive. 😉

So what about you?  Are you flexible or are you rigid?  Are you open or are you closed?  Are you just single and expecting a stranger to walk into your life, compliantly play by your rules, and make sure that you live happily ever after?  Or are you available – ready, willing, and able to meet someone else in the middle, prepared to no longer be the obstacle that stands in the way of your own success, and open to finding out what it’s like to let someone else co-star in your personal pursuit of happiness?  The question is yours to answer, but don’t forget that it’s an answer you’re constantly sharing with the world.

Text from NPR Marketplace Feature on Linx

by Shannon Service:

Online dating is a billion dollar industry, and one in three Americans met their match through websites or dating apps. But algorithms don’t always work for everyone, even in Silicon Valley.

Michael Ralston is a software designer and a client of Linx Dating, a boutique matchmaking service in Palo Alto. There’s a lot that he likes about online dating — the time to craft thoughtful responses, multitasking while chatting with someone — but he wasn’t having much luck.

So he tried Linx.

When Ralston joined the matchmaking service his wardrobe was the typical Silicon Valley uniform: jeans and T-shirts. Amy Andersen and Michael Norman of Linx dating took him shopping, got him a haircut and figured out what Michael needed to become more dateable. It is full service, top to bottom.

“Dinner reservations and recommendations, sedan bookings should they not want to drive for the date,” Andersen lists some of Linx’s many services. “Shopping for some proper hand towels, making sure the refrigerator is stocked with some decent wine.” Andersen takes clients ballroom dancing to work on rhythm and letting go.

Linx counter-intuitively brings “Fiddler on the Roof”-style matchmaking to the most connected Valley in the world, but business is booming. Andersen charges up to $100,000 for tailored matchmaking services.

Andersen hit on the idea for Linx one night during a dinner date. She is a strikingly beautiful and charming Stanford grad, yet her date kept looking over her shoulder.

“So I called him on it,” she says. “I said, ‘What are you doing?’ and he literally said ‘The BBD’. And I said ‘The whatah, whatah, huh?’ and he said ‘the Bigger Better Deal.’”

The “Bigger, Better Deal” is a Silicon Valley anxiety disorder in-which one can’t stop searching for the next hot start-up. Andersen realized that the sheer number of singles online creates a kind of dating BBD.

“The grass is always greener,” Andersen says, “there has to be someone else who’s just a little more interesting, or a little more of a better match.”

A third of Americans agree that online dating’s masses make it hard to pick just one. But if you do win the electronic love lottery, studies show online couples have higher satisfaction and lower divorce rates. So Linx offers a blend—a large enough pool to find deep matches, but not so many that clients get stuck in choice paralysis. Andersen also works with each client individually, zeroing in on their romantic pitfalls.

Her client Michael Ralston is smart, interesting and very sweet, but his weaknesses are confidence and real time communication with women. So Andersen gently hammers away at these challenges.

She runs Ralston through a mock version of the pre-date phone call.

“Ring,” Ralston says, holding his hand like a phone to his ear.

“Hello?,” Andersen replies.

“Hi Amy, this is Michael…. Amy from Linx gave me your number.”

“Oh hi Michael! How was your workday?”

“Um, pretty good. So…” Ralston stumbles, blushing.

“Tell me about it, tell me about your workday,” Andersen says.

Ralston gives up and breaks down laughing.

Andersen drops character and says, “What were you feeling right then when I said, ‘How was your day?’”

“I was like “Oh no!” to be honest,” Ralston says.

They practice the call several times until Ralston is able to go off script and be more spontaneous.

Life lessons, wardrobe make-overs, mock dates. All this costs Ralston over ten grand. But does he think it’s worth the price?

“I’ve always been socially awkward and I think I’m less so now,” he says. “It is expensive. But from one point of view, the answer to that question is—is it going to work?”

High-end matchmakers often say they successfully match up eighty to ninety percent of their clients. But what successful match means is harder to pin down.

Featured in: Marketplace for Monday September 29, 2014

Putting the CON in Confidence… Part I

I love my coffee

When Amy and I are asked to name the one quality that women find most attractive in a man, the answer is easy: CONFIDENCE. We hear it every day, and while it’s true that some guys can seem a little bit too confident, confidence is a lot like money; it’s hard to tell when you have too much of it, but it’s very, very obvious when you don’t have enough.

Confidence is absolutely essential for converting a first date into something more, and eventually ending up in a relationship; after all, if you don’t believe that a particular woman should be interested in dating you, then why should she be? And how are you ever going to convince her that you’re the right guy if you can’t even convince yourself? Given that we aren’t all 6’5” with a cleft chin, a full head of hair, and huge biceps, it can be easy to doubt yourself or be anxious on a first date. Thankfully, a little bit of confidence is something a guy can fake pretty easily (Do you hear that, ladies? You aren’t the only ones who can fake things.). And for a guy who’s low on self-esteem, even faking just a little bit of confidence can go a long way.

1. Before you pick up the phone, have a plan.

Under no circumstances should you ever call a woman for a first date and say “What would you like to do?” As a man who has spent most of his life dealing with “complicated” women, I can tell you that this is a huge mistake. To get the upper hand (and earn some respect at the very beginning of your relationship) only present her with a series of Yes or No questions. And do them in order of Day, Time, Place, and Transportation. For example:

“Are you Free on Saturday?” No? “How about Sunday?” No? “Can you be free for dinner on Friday?” Once you get a yes, IMMEDIATELY move on to times. “Does 6:30 work for you?” No? “How is 7:30?” No? “Great, I’ll make a reservation for 8pm.” Then move on to “Do you like Indian?” or “I was thinking of this Burmese place” or “I thought we could go to a bistro I like in Saratoga.” Be sure to have three or four different options picked out in advance, and once you get a Yes, MOVE ON. “May I pick you up?” No? “I’ll see you there. I’m looking forward to it. Feel free to text me if anything changes.” And then HANG UP THE PHONE.

Do not ask “What times works for you?” DO NOT do that. If you do, she will likely spend several minutes telling you why all of the other times do not work. You will feel beaten by this. You will be tired. We do not want that. And do not ask “What kind of food do you like?” Do not do that. Because most women will tell you what they don’t like instead of what they do. Even if she started with something like “I love Thai” you will end up hearing a story about food poisoning or a bad date or a cockroach that she encountered at a Vietnamese place with bad lighting on the outskirts of Boston that she mistakenly frequented during her first year of grad school. Ten years ago. And you will forget where you are in the entire date planning process. See? You probably forgot where we were in this lesson, and I only distracted you from the path for just one sentence.

It is really key that you do not open any windows into her past in this initial phone call. Remember that this woman is interested in dating a gentleman – and you might be that gentleman – so take a firm hold of the conversation, and make sure that you only open the door that leads to her future.

If you’re new to the area (or new to dating) or really want to make a great impression, Amy and I will happily give you recommendations if you ask. And we can certainly make you aware of any dietary restrictions or allergies you should consider. Make a checklist if you need to, but go into the call with clear goals and objectives, namely a day and time that work for you, a place you want to eat, and clarity on how she’ll get there. You’ll be off to a good start. And believe it or not, she’ll be glad you took the lead.

Next time, more tips on how to fake it… for when you’re actually on the date.