Dating Advice for Men

Dating: Is it Really just a Numbers Game?

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After a bad date, string of bad dates, or zero dates, you might hear someone encourage you to try again with the old adage: “Dating is just a numbers game.” Sounds like a straightforward concept, but is there truth to this?

 

Although more dates increase the odds of meeting someone, you are not making the most of your dating experiences or your time unless you are learning more about yourself or figuring out a better picture of what you’re looking for.

 

MEN: If the “numbers game strategy” involves asking every woman you meet on a date in hopes one says yes, you are missing the point. However, if you are employing some level of discernment beyond visual cues, you are more likely to find a meaningful connection.

 

WOMEN: If your “numbers game strategy” involves going out with men with whom you haven’t had a single meaningful interaction but who are simply interested in you, you are setting yourself up for disappointment. Give yourself a chance to establish baseline connectivity before committing to a date.

 

When dating becomes a numbers game, it pushes us into a quantity over quality mindset, overwhelming our capacity to connect. One, it becomes easier to be more casual, passive about dating if each date is just an outing—not finding an opportunity to really connect. Two, you risk dating burnout. And, three, to achieve stronger, more meaningful interactions—the kind that last—we must know ourselves to filter potential candidates effectively.

 

Think you might be stuck on a lackluster romantic hamster wheel? Try asking yourself the following questions:

 

Does this person offer me chemistry and sustainability?

The chemistry makes things interesting, but what good is amazing chemistry unless it can lead to a deeper, enduring relationship? Unlike chemistry, the sustainability question requires logic. It may feel like you’re conducting an interview but getting clear answers on whether a potential partner is in a place—geographically and emotionally—to invest in a relationship will ultimately save you time and energy.

 

Am I aware of myself and what I am looking for?

Some of us carry negative habits and energy which can block our ability to receive and give love. Left unaware about the things we do to make ourselves less loveable will make it harder for a partner to connect. Furthermore, without knowing our blind spots, we won’t be able to select the right person to balance us.

 

Am I willing to take responsibility for the impact I have on another person’s emotions?

 

Taking responsibility for the way you date will make you more conscious about who you date. When you are deliberately seeking sustainable relationships, you’ll fine tune your ability to sniff out the relationships that don’t serve long term needs.

 

 

 

 

 

Divorced? Here are the Top 5 Questions She Needs Answered

 

Dating after divorce isn’t easy but, with nearly half of all marriages ending in separation, it’s not unusual. However, for some women who haven’t been married before, your divorce can pose some challenges. Many daters associate divorced people with excess baggage. Being upfront and willing to talk openly about your past can clear up these misconceptions and help your date clear up any doubts that are getting in the way of a potential relationship.

Knowing what to reveal about your divorce is half the battle; you also need to know how to talk about your experience.

Here are the top 5 questions women ask themselves when dating a divorced man and tips on how to answer them effectively:

  1. Does he have a crazy ex wife?

 Your date is trying to figure out how your ex wife will affect the relationship you share. She might wonder, “Will his ex be a source of perpetual drama?” or “Is the ex wife vindictive?” Whether or not your ex has handled the divorce maturely is irrelevant; your date just needs to know that you are able to handle any backlash from your past. Although tempting, you should never throw your ex wife under the bus. Not only is it unattractive, it reveals underlying anger on your part that can be perceived as a red flag.

How to discuss: “We were both ready for those divorce papers and once everything was finalized, we both moved on to better things.”

  1. Is he in a rush to get married right away?

To make up for a failed marriage, some men are overly eager to get it right the second time. This question has a way of answering itself, but it’s best to avoid talk of marriage early in the courtship.

How to discuss: “After being married X years, I know myself better and have a clear picture of the kind of woman I’d like to share my life with. I also know that being in a rush to make that happen would ruin the fun.”

  1. Is he afraid of getting married again?

A painful divorce could deter anyone from round two, so it’s important to convey that you are open—but not rushing—to marriage. She wants to know that you won’t let a bad experience get in the way of a future with her.

How to discuss: “Marriage didn’t work out the first time around, but I’m excited to figure it out again and share my life with the right person.”

  1. Why did they get divorced?

In the early stages of dating, you can answer this question sufficiently without going into much detail. Even if you made some serious mistakes during your marriage, you can address them later once the relationship has progressed. In the meantime, stick to a message that reveals how much you learned and evolved from your first marriage.

How to discuss: “Marriage for us wasn’t right in so many ways—it’s hard to pick just one reason why it fell apart. I’m glad I went through it because I’ll make a better partner next time around.”

  1. If kids are in the picture, what does that picture look like?

If you have children, absolutely mention them early in the relationship; they should never come as a surprise to your date. She will want to know about the relationship you have with your kids and the role they will play in your courtship.

How to discuss: “I have two kids from my first marriage, and I share custody with my ex wife. I’ve got the kids on weekends, and I love being involved in their lives. I try to give them as much stability as possible, so I generally keep my relationships and kids separate in the beginning. Would love for you to meet them one day when the time is right for both of us.”

Remember, your divorce is not a deal breaker, it’s just a part of your story. Being open about your failed relationship and framing it the right way will help your partner realize that although your first marriage was broken, it gave you an opportunity to be a better partner in your next relationship.

 

The best first dates, start with you being you. Read tips on being the best version of yourself on a date here

 

 

How I Found My Husband in San Francisco…

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After several years of fun, but unsuccessful husband hunting in San Francisco, I discovered that the love of my life lived only 2 blocks away. Dating pretty much every single college-educated guy over 6 feet tall in New York and San Francisco during my 20s was a thrill! Meeting men through friends, in bars, and on Match, Tinder and eHarmony, I certainly met my fair share of men who never asked questions, expected to split the check on a first date, older men who claimed to be around my age, and extremely short men who claimed to be over 6 feet. Despite a few uncomfortable conversations and awkward hugs, I feel so fortunate to have met so many interesting men, several of whom have become good friends and business contacts. Most importantly, my active dating life enabled me to determine exactly the type of man who would be my ideal match. All I needed to do was find him…

I remember feeling frustrated when people told me that I would only find someone when I stopped looking. How can you find someone when you’re not looking? As I approached my late 20s, I decided to take this advice, but with a twist. I deleted my dating accounts and stopped going out as much socially. I also worked with Amy Andersen to complete my ideal match profile, which helped me become very clear on the traits I valued most in a life partner. Instead of Tindering to find the tallest, hottest guy, I set forth my intention to the universe to find a loyal, intelligent, charismatic man, and I stopped looking for him.

To fill my free time, I pursued my two passions – rowing and yoga. I signed up for a 200-hour yoga teacher training and started a group of Bay Area women who rowed in college. Between work, yoga and the rowing group, I had virtually no time to date, and guess what? I met my husband right away. In the first 5 minutes of a co-ed rowing event I helped organize at an upscale bar near my office, my future husband and I locked eyes. Our chemistry was off the charts, and we quickly discovered that we had several common interests a ton of mutual friends in San Francisco.

After 6 months, I moved 2 blocks away into his apartment, after 9 months, we were engaged, and 2 years later, we are married. As cliché as it sounds to find your match when you aren’t looking, it’s exactly what happened to me. I feel so fortunate to be married to the man of my dreams, and I’d love to share some tips I learned along the way.

5 Tips to Meet your Ideal Match

  1. Enjoy dating! Interacting with new people helps to broaden your horizons, learn more about yourself and the traits you value most in a partner, and to appreciate meeting the right person for you.   Especially in San Francisco, dating is an opportunity for you to grow both professionally and socially. In such a small city, you will run into former dates frequently, so focus on building a strong brand in the dating world. Your future husband may be your awkward Tinder date’s best friend! And meeting people through location-based apps like Tinder enable you to meet new friends and tour guides while traveling.
  1. Identify the traits you value most in your ideal partner. Spend time thinking about similar traits in people you have dated, in your parents, and what you value most in a life partner. Be specific on the key traits, flexible on others, and understand your non-negotiables. Write everything down and discuss with friends, family, a therapist, or a matchmaker. Don’t write off someone whose company you enjoy just because they don’t check every box. It wasn’t until I became clear about what I wanted in a relationship and shared this vision with people that my ideal partner walked into my life.
  1. Focus less on finding Mr. Right and more on becoming Ms. Right. Be the best version of yourself. We hear this advice all the time because it’s so true. If you aren’t into watching sports and you love running, join a running club instead of trying to meet men at a sports bar. I am not interested in watching sports and have been guilty of this many times! If you don’t like your job, get a new one. Don’t pretend to have your life together and rely on Mr. Right to fix your problems. We continue to work on ourselves throughout life, so get to a good place where you and your future partner can work on yourselves together.
  1. Choose happiness! – Life is full of challenges. Make a conscious decision to be happy and stay positive though the worst of times. Radiant, happy women attract similar qualities in others. Be the happy, upbeat person people want to be around. Greet others with smiles and compliments. I have always found volunteering, celebrating others, and travel to lift my spirits and open my heart to endless gratitude. And it’s so easy to meet new people while volunteering and traveling!
  1. Refine your body and mind. Exercise, drink more water, and get enough sleep. Your body will thank you, and fit, healthy people are valued in athletic cities like San Francisco. Attend classes and groups you enjoy, to meet like-minded people. Your husband may be waiting for you in your next boot camp, rock climbing or meditation class! Go outside, breathe deeply, feel the endorphins, and appreciate the natural beauty around us. Get into the best shape of your life, take care of yourself, and SHINE!

Christine is a 30-year-old, Ivy League educated, East Coast transplant in San Francisco.  She believes that the meaning of life is to love and be loved, and she is passionate about volunteering, technology and yoga

Geek is Chic: Guys Get Your Glasses On

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Think of Bono, Karl Lagerfeld, Spike Lee and Elton John. These gents are iconic, and so are their spectacles. In fact, you probably wouldn’t recognize them without their signature frames.  Glasses have become extensions of their faces, if not their personas.

The frames of the rich and famous are not only synonymous with the people wearing them, they have become fashion fixtures embedded in popular culture. The stylish eye wear of celebrities are often so iconic in their own right, they transcend time and continue to set fashion trends. Some may simply be fashion accessories but, regardless of their purpose, they have become part of our culture. You don’t have to be a fashionista to sport some trendsetting glasses.

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Pop Chart Lab, Inc. in Brooklyn, New York produces an eye chart of famous eye wear. So if you are out shopping for a cosmetic touch, you can first test the look of some famous frames, including Benjamin Franklin’s bifocals, Elvis’s sunglasses, Maverick’s aviators and even MC Hammer’s oversized glasses.

It is always interesting to us that so many people seek elective corrective eye surgery only to later adorn glasses for cosmetic purposes.  But the data speaks for itself and it says frames are “in” with or without anything in them, literally. LeBron James has popularized eye wear sans lenses at press conferences. And curators at the London College of Fashion, where the exhibit Framed received much acclaim, asserted in recent years that overt design has replaced a trend of minimalism when it comes to eye wear.

But you need to pay attention and stay current as it seems minimalism is back for the Fall of 2015 along with some audacious rims. Sleek seems to be chic with retro-90’s and 60’s looks designs making their way into fashion publications, but so too are bold, thick frames from the 70’s.

Three years ago Harris interactive conducted an online survey on behalf of the new eye wear retailer Ditto.com. They found that 87% of women find glasses on men to be sexy and 91% of women found that sunglasses on men were sexy.  Indeed, everyone looks (fill in your favorite adjective) -> hotter/sexier/bolder/mysterious/polished/hip/cool/trendy in sunglasses.

BUT, before you head out to the nearest retailer, heed some of our advice on what frames to consider and what to ignore. Not all spectacles are spectacular. And just because you think Will Smith’s sunglasses look great on him in Men in Black, it does NOT mean they will look great on you. They don’t have to fit your face, but they do have to fit your look. If you are bold enough they can even MAKE your look. 

If you can’t figure out what to consider buying, you can’t go wrong with the classic black rim glasses. They are simple, yet sophisticated and are perfect for just about every occasion. But if you aren’t looking for something safe, but really slick and avant-garde, we’d be remiss if we failed to introduce you to Tom Ford’s Hugh Polarized Square Wayfarer Sunglasses

Beyond those glasses, we also love Tom Ford’s Marko Aviator Polarized Sunglasses. If you’re thinking you want to mix up your look this Fall and try a new optical look think Oliver Peoples. Our top Oliver Peoples Optical frames include: Jack Huston RX, Executive I, and Calidor.

Don’t Date Like an Antelope!!! Leave the Bar behind…

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Sometimes it helps to provide some metaphoric imagery to get our point across when it comes to dating.

Imagine yourself on the African savannah. If you were a male antelope, you might very well be the type to line up alongside other male antelope, in discrete “mini-territories,” waiting for females to arrive on the breeding grounds, so that you could court them.

It is not unlike when men line up at a bar waiting for a prospective date to walk through the door.  The scientific term for this is called arena or “lekking” behavior.  It’s a strange word—so it’s no wonder that it hasn’t caught on, or yet found its way into Urban Dictionary. But a handful of animal species do it, and human males attempt to do it all the time, especially at the bar.

In breeding season, male antelope and males of other species have a few options when it comes to courting potential significant others.

They may defend and protect harems, or guard property and possessions.  Some may choose to dominate other males. If those options don’t appeal to them, they may choose to “lek”, just like you would at the bar.  In fact, if you walk in the bar and aren’t already accompanied by a bevy of attractive women, didn’t just leave your Bentley with the valet, and aren’t an alpha male, you may consider it your only option.

And if you do choose to lek, like an antelope, you will have to do your best to look as confident and attractive as possible, while females approach at the bar.  You may even have to look like Matthew McConaughey or have game that defies logic to get the attention of women at the bar.   Although the lekking or bar option may be of benefit to a handful of species of antelope, fruit bats, and sea lions, it doesn’t seem to be working too well for a lot of men out there these days, and it is certainly not an atmosphere in which many of our clients excel.

Yes, many women may converge upon the bar, but meeting them at such a venue rarely leads to something substantial like a relationship.  We hear about unsubstantial, and perhaps, sordid flings all the time, but even those are usually few are far between, in reality.

Without getting into too much detail concerning mating systems of the animal kingdom, the occurrence of lekking seems to be density dependent. By that, we mean that finding success by sitting at the bar stool is really a numbers game. Hence, the success of lekking depends on how many men vs. women show up to a given venue. It seems to work as a courting strategy when there are a lot more females than males converging upon a given location.  Reality-based TV shows like The Bachelor showcase the benefits from lekking when there are 20 girls to each guy. Real life—not so much!

Most men tell us here at Linx Dating that on any given weekend evening there are usually a lot more men hanging out at bars than women. Even if there are just a few more men than women, the most confident alpha male still has to work really hard to attract and court a prospective mate. This is why lekking at the bar is generally a poor strategy for humans out on the dating scene.

If you are back on the market, we suggest that you extinguish the arena behavior and leave the lekking venue (i.e., the bar) behind.  One way to do this is to develop a hobby or passion that draws a particular type of person to an event of mutual interest.  Trust us, if antelope had time for hobbies they would much rather lure a date to do something fun and of mutual interest, than try to prove themselves on the one day out of a whole year that the females are in heat.

These hobbies and passions could be literally anything from: coed hiking clubs, coed book clubs, embracing your inner geek with continuing education at Stanford University,  or sailing class. Maybe it means sweating your way through regular spin class at Soul Cycle. Bring your A-game and friendly attitude and introduce yourself around the room. If you’re a novice at something like spin for instance, admit it, smile, ask for help getting set up, and make new friends. Survey the room and plant yourself next to someone of the opposite sex. Adopt the mentality that he/she might not be “the one” for you but maybe that new spin buddy has friends and can open your world up to new opportunities and connections. You gotta work it and work at it to get ahead in your personal life!

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If you have always wanted to learn how to cook or perhaps are already an experienced cook who enjoys learning new techniques and recipes and you live in the Bay Area check out cooking classes through Sur La Table or Dragers Market.

As you make plans this weekend to grab drinks at the local wine room with your single friends, remember to not date like an antelope! Leave the bar behind and try something entirely new. You might very well meet that special someone you never expected!

This Week at Linx

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As Memorial Day quickly becomes a distant memory, I hope you all had a tremendously relaxing and special holiday weekend. Perhaps some of you headed for the beach for days filled with BBQs, cold beer, sandy toes, and sun-kissed noses, while others of you hopped on a plane to see family or to hit some exotic destination. Or maybe it was good down time just chilling, while others packed in socializing, shopping, and fun brunches out with friends.

Every time I started to write a new blog entry over the weekend, I somehow get completely sidetracked by an urgent client email that required an immediate response, or a new match that I needed to make. Such are the realities of running a small niche business.

It’s been a whirlwind last few weeks at Linx as we have onboarded some truly exceptional new clients – interestingly, a heavier concentration of 45 + individuals in the last few weeks – all extremely successful in their own right, refreshingly down-to-earth, candid about what they seek in a match, and ready for love now! I look forward to doing some new blog entries in the coming weeks to announce a few of these key searches.

I have also been squeezing in some date coaching and even a wardrobe consultation, and I believe there are lessons for everyone in these sessions.

During this particular stretch, though I worked with my clients on a variety of techniques, we focused primarily on early stage dating. For one young woman in technology, I discussed the art of “Flirting 101.” My main lesson was that being too eager or overly sexy can lead a man to discount you as a potential mate and love interest, but not enough flirting can leave even the most intuitive guy confused and unclear about how to proceed. I find it very surprising that so many people see this as a black and white thing. It’s actually very gray. As a woman, you don’t have only two choices.   It’s all about subtlety – each individual has to build an awareness and confidence that allows her to almost unconsciously calibrate a situation and then react naturally in a way that smoothly and metaphorically telegraphs what she is feeling. I’m not saying this is easy. In fact, it is hardest for my clients that come from very analytical backgrounds. Tapping this art means being in touch with your softer, more emotional side and also getting experience across a wide range of interpersonal situations (whether it is at work, with friends, family, or ideally dating.)

For another client, I helped strategize about how to combat shyness. One of the hardest things about building dating confidence can be overcoming stranger anxiety…  you know, the stuff that sets in when we’re about 18 months old, and (for most of us) never really goes away?  The ultimate goal is to build enough confidence to approach strangers you find attractive AND to carry that undeniable confidence over into real life dating. I gave this client homework where her goal was to have small, simple interactions each day with people she does not find attractive, for example asking for the time, making chitchat while waiting in a grocery store line, etc. Seem counter-intuitive? Well, the stakes are low and it is a lot less pressure especially for an exercise like this that can be pretty nerve-wracking regardless of how “hot” or “not” someone is.   Start on the easier end of the spectrum, build up, and don’t immediately try to boil the ocean.

So I can sit here and preach all of this advice and speak in generalities… but I can just hear a reader saying, “that’s great but how do I actually DO this stuff and improve?”

Well, one option is to let me date coach you. LOL. And then you get a ton of individualized attention and narrowly tailored practice. Another client who is doing coaching work just sent in this feedback this morning, “all these efforts have been wonderful in putting my focus on the future, and rediscovering the happy person I am naturally. The coaching process has been very helpful to dig into what is real and make sure that my best self is visible.  It feels good to make an investment in myself.  I appreciate all your help.” It is always nice to receive emails like this where the effort and hard work clients are putting into this process are not only rewarding but they feel as if they are entering a new chapter in their lives with the gusto and confidence required.

A cheaper option to Linx coaching, and I know this may sound corny, is to watch emotional movies (they could, but need not be, romantic comedies) or to read a classic romantic novel, even if you aren’t getting a lot of practice in the real world. My husband uses, to great effect, literature and movies in his Stanford courses on entrepreneurship and leadership because those topics have so much to do with people and even fictional material like movies or books allow a whole class to experience the same people and situations with their diverse real life lenses and to have a productive discussion about all of it. I believe the same thing applies in improving in your artistic dating skills.

On a lighter note, I also did a quick wardrobe consult for one client this week. This 30-year old entrepreneur needed some nice dress shirts, a sport coat, and some pants that were alternatives to jeans. He mentioned that he had a gift certificate to Nordstrom so I headed over there and spent a hour pulling a few select items for him with the help of one of their personal shoppers. I think my client will be pleased with my picks – classic yet with a youthful modern twist- Hugo Boss, AG pants, J Brand pants, and a few dress shirts too.

Beyond all of the coaching this week, we also have screenings for new prospective clients, a couple of new client interviews, and… drumroll… a Dutch media company visiting Linx this week, flying out from the Netherlands to meet with me. Germany has always had a love affair with Linx and Silicon Valley but perhaps the Dutch are catching the virus as well. They will first interview me, and then (this is the best part) set up one of my young male clients with the host of the show – a gorgeous 24-year old who apparently is edgy, vocal, and hip! This will all air in August in a short documentary.

Have a spectacular weekend ahead!

Fess Up

young lovers kissWhat would you do if someone you were dating didn’t tell you about a potentially devastating sexually transmitted disease they had in fear that you’d reject them from the start? We live in an era where STDs are rampant – some of these are curable and many are incurable such as HPV, herpes, and HIV/AIDS. Thousands of people find themselves single, searching, and living with incurable STDs everyday. These folks could be your neighbors, colleagues, fellow churchgoers, Soul Cycle patrons, former classmates, and potentially… your future lovers.

Today there are websites that are created for matching one STD carrier to another. It’s a smart way to date and not have to worry about a) having to disclose a dark secret about your personal life to someone who won’t understand and b) worrying about transmitting anything since you both might very well have the same STD (especially if you meet through sites like h-date.com). These sites create a community of like-minded people to feel normal again, sexy, desirable, supported, and safe.

Although there appear to be a lot of choices for meeting other educated professional men and women who share one’s same STD, many people opt-out of these community sites in favor of mainstream sites and apps like Match, Hinge, Tinder, and jDate. In theory there isn’t anything wrong with someone with an STD enjoying the benefits of these various sites/apps, or of working with a matchmaker, assuming they practice full disclosure with whomever they meet.

There is a lot of shame and regret involved with having an STD and a lot of folks never know the “right time” to communicate that they have contracted something awhile back. I know someone very well who met a seemingly amazing guy on one of these apps out there. He was the perfect on paper prototypical guy many girls would swoon over: Ivy League educated, founder/CEO resume, well-rounded, cute, affable, and well…she felt he could be “the one.” They enjoyed dinners out, laughed a lot, cooked together, and she even met some of his family members.

A red flag arose when he wanted to go exclusive early on. It seemed too good to be true to her- especially after so many misses happening with non-committal guys. He came on really strong, flowers on date two, lots of cuddling, consistent communication, wanting to see her, and what really felt like old-world courtship. Since she felt he could be too good to be true, she really didn’t want to mess things up with sex too soon. He didn’t pressure her, in fact, after many dates they didn’t even “go there.” She wanted to wait till she was really ready and sure that everything felt right.

About two months into dating pretty exclusively, he pulled out of nowhere a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde on her. You know how someone can have a quick shift in personality and go from chill and fun one second to bizarre and distant the next? That’s precisely what he did to her. She called him out on it asking what was wrong. He grew increasingly weird that weekend afternoon and said that it wasn’t working between them. Wasn’t working, she thought? What on earth? Where’d he pull that crap from? They had just had a fantastic lunch with his family, held hands, kissed, and laughed about some silly inside joke.

She knew there was more to it and he was holding something back. Was it an ex? Was he not the guy he represented himself as online? Sadly it was the latter. After tears shed and arguing back and forth, he admitted that he was afraid to tell her that he has a serious STD and THAT was the reason he wanted to break-up. She couldn’t believe he had never disclosed that upfront. Every thought raced into her mind- could she have contracted the STD, what are the symptoms, why didn’t he tell her sooner, where are all the honest men out there…..

The saving grace was that they had never slept together nor been intimate in any way. She was able to breathe a huge sigh of relief and move on with her life in that regard. What bothered her beyond the momentary STD scare was the fact that yet another “douche bag” of a guy failed to be honest and upfront about something so serious.

A lesson here is that the devil really is in the details when you’re our there dating on your own. Although someone could appear dreamy and like a total Romeo online, tread extremely cautiously until you have fully gotten to know that person. A lot of people withhold life-threatening information in fear of rejection or simply hoping they don’t have to have the talk as it is “so heavy” and there is “never a good time.”

Be smart, wise, prudent, protective, and ask questions. Don’t be afraid to have the talk and be the first one to ask your partner if they have had an STD screening or an HIV test, and when they had their last test. If you’re getting serious and thinking about having sex, the only right way is to openly communicate with your partner and then go get tested together. I emphasize going together as some people say they will but never do.

There is never a right time to bring up if you have an STD or suspect you might. Bring it up early on (think date two or three time frame). If your date is supportive, awesome! There are lots of ways to have safe sex together without having to worry. If your date closes the loop from getting to know you further, I’m pretty sure they will be thankful you saved everyone time, energy, potential heartbreak or more by being upfront early on.