Dating After Divorce

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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Harsh Truths: 6 Reasons Why Your Relationship Fell Apart

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Relationships end for a variety of reasons—some we can control, others we cannot. Before your next relationship, consider asking yourself if any of these issues are sabotaging your efforts at finding a deep, committed relationship.

 

  1. Your ex is STILL coming up

We all have a past, but when the past becomes the fodder of our present, you are creating a rift between you and your partner’s ability to connect. Talk of past relationships not only reveals that you’re not moving forward, it also jeopardizes your chances of a future. If you find yourself beginning sentences with “My ex and I…” or “When I dated X…” consider taking some time away from dating to understand why you’re still telling these stories.

 

  1. You couldn’t trust

It’s no surprise that trust is the crux of all healthy relationships; without the bond of trust, a couple will miss an opportunity to experience true intimacy. Aside from cheating, trust issues can also indicate jealousy, game playing, and possessiveness.

 

If relationships have ended because you couldn’t trust, ask yourself if it was because of actual events (i.e. your partner lied to you, broke promises, hacked into your phone) or if you are feeling unable to trust without cause (i.e. you feel jealous even though your partner has never strayed). Being able to differentiate feelings that stem from actual events versus unsubstantiated paranoia will help you uncover barriers to intimacy.

 

  1. You were Mr./Mrs. Right Now, not Mr./Mrs. Right

The relationship is guaranteed to fail if you find yourself on either side of this equation. Not all relationships are built to last—and that doesn’t make them any less important to our growth—but if you are looking for a life partner, meeting someone who is open to the same is crucial for long-term success.

 

If you are with someone until you land your dream job, move, lose weight, or meet someone better, you are wasting your time and your partner’s time. If your partner is not your priority, you aren’t ready for an enduring long-term relationship. If you’re wondering if you’re the top priority—you’re not.

 

  1. You harbor contempt

Dr. John Gottman, a leading expert on couples’ studies, concluded that the single, best predictor of divorce is contempt. Contempt, a toxic combo of anger, disgust and frustration, stems from a superiority complex. When we are unable to see our partner’s point of view because we believe they are less intelligent, sensitive, or competent than we are, we are making it impossible to communicate about the things that bother us.

 

In addition to contempt, there were three other closely related patterns of toxic communication: criticism, defensiveness, and stonewalling (shutting down, no eye contact, etc.)

  1. You were emotionally dependent

If you are unable to make yourself happy, you will always seek someone who can distract you from the uncomfortable feelings you have towards yourself. Not only is it unfair to expect your partner to keep you afloat, it’s dangerous to allow someone else to hold the keys to your happiness. Codependent people usually don’t keep high standards when it comes to how others treat them, so it’s more likely that they end up with a partner who doesn’t treat them well. There are many ways to heal from codependency, but they all start with a belief that you—and you alone—can make yourself happy.

 

  1. You stopped appreciating your partner

A lack of appreciation comes in many forms. Perhaps you’ve stopped making an effort—to make fun plans, to keep up your appearance, to remind your partner how special they are. Taking someone for granted is a quick way to kill the romance and up the apathy.

 

When someone is asking what is best for “us”, compromise ensues. If you stop appreciating your partner’s efforts, it’s easy to stop asking “What is best for us?” and replacing it with “What is best for me?”

 

Of course not all reasons our relationships end are because we are at fault. Without the right timing, otherwise compatible people won’t be able to connect for reasons outside of their control. Age, seemingly just a number, will start to matter if he’s 28 finishing grad school and she’s 34 looking forward to starting a family. Life situations can also affect our chances of connection. If he’s ready to move things forward while she’s healing post divorce, the couple will not be able to connect on the same level. Situations can change, broken hearts can heal, and different phases can pass, but if the timing is going to be ‘off’ for more than a few months, it is better to make a clean break and revisit at another time.

 

5 Easy Ways to Get Him to Approach You…and Ask You Out

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If you’re not getting approached, you might wonder, ‘What are these men looking for?’ or ‘What is wrong with me?’ To answer the question, it’s important to note the difference between desirability and approachability. We all have traits that make us desirable, but unless we look available and willing to engage in conversation, our best qualities will stay a secret. In other words, YOU are not the problem, but there might be something wrong with the SIGNALS you send.

When it comes to approaching an interesting stranger, men and women are quite similar. We all have egos to protect. To make sure they don’t end up embarrassed or rejected, men look for any clue that reason to initiate conversation. If you want him to make the first move, try these five tips.

  1. Choose your group wisely.

Women tend to go out in packs, adding extra pressure on someone deciding when and how to approach. When he knows he will not only have to impress you, but also your friends, you’re making it easier for him to bow out.

Men are also sensitive to other males. It doesn’t matter whether he’s your brother or gay best friend. He’s not paying attention to the context, just the chromosomes.

Pro Tip: If the group is large, stand to the side so you can be approached without forcing him to engage the group. If you’re not interested, you can easily segue back into the group setting.

 

  1. Cultivate an inviting vibe.

Your facial expression and body language matter. Smile at him and the people around you to put out the ‘I’m friendly and won’t be standoff-ish’ vibe. To escalate the moment, catch his gaze for sustained eye contact. All nonverbal communication has meaning, so consider what your posture and demeanor are saying.

Pro Tip: Always scan your surroundings to see if someone is trying to communicate with you via nonverbal cues. If you’re fixated on the conversation, you’ll miss opportunities to reciprocate interest.

 

  1. Give him something to say.

For men, the hardest part of the approach is knowing what to say. You can grease the wheels by inadvertently supplying the topic via clothing or behavior. You might wear a sports jersey to give him an invitation to talk about the team or the upcoming game. Or, you could peruse the menu at length to give him an invitation to talk about what he ordered.

Pro Tips: Bring a prop. If you’re at the coffee shop, leave the book you’re reading on the table. It will give him the perfect springboard into conversation.

You might also consider wearing an unusual pendant when you’re out and about. The pendant doesn’t need to be expensive, but it needs to stand out to be a great ice breaker. As you’re sitting in the café, run your fingers along the chain while “reading” your book and glance up, locking gaze with an attractive male. You’re signaling interest without saying a word and inviting him to talk to you.

A pendant with a great story will help you gain even more traction. Maybe it’s an unusual crystal you had cast in silver from a hike you took in the Dolomites or a coin from your great grandmother. Sharing an interesting story about yourself is a great way to keep his attention and reveal your sense of adventure. And who doesn’t love being entertained by an interesting, worldly woman?

 

  1. Remember: Location, Location, Location.

Proximity is one of the biggest factors when it comes to the approach. If you’re moving around, you’ll be a lot harder to catch. Try to stay in the same place to give him an opportunity to make a move.

Pro Tip: Settle in a place that is central to the room. If you are in a corner, not only are you harder to access, but you’ve raised the stakes by making it harder for him (and you) to move along if there’s no conversation.

 

  1. Give him a reason to contact you.

Getting him to approach you is only the first step. You can escalate the conversation by bringing up topics that segue into plans. Upcoming events make for perfect conversation, even if you don’t end up attending the event together. In the conversation, you might ask about an extra ticket, but days later you might find yourselves circling back to talk about how the event was.

Pro Tip: Have personal calling cards with you at all times. Whereas business cards reveal too much personal information (like your last name) and tend to set the stage for business, a personal calling card is a smart dating tool that gives him all the information he needs to get in touch. Think first name, personal email, and mobile. Simple, classic, and elegant is best.

Ultimately, all of your actions should be inviting and reassuring to help your partner escalate the interaction into a more romantic situation. Smiling and encouraging the conversation to flow will make you more attractive to interested strangers.

 

 

5 Questions Every Single Parent Needs Answered Before Dating

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If you’re a single mom or single dad looking for a relationship, you’ve realized the process is different with kids in tow. Below, we’re simplifying some of the most commonly asked questions from our single parent daters.

 

Where Can I Meet People?

 

Problem: “I’ve aged out of—and lost all interest in—the bar scene. I spend time at the office, my backyard, and PTA meetings…not exactly great places to meet eligible singles. Where can I meet people without sacrificing quality time with my kids?”

 

Solution: Instead of kid-centered locales—like playgrounds—opt for kid-friendly spots like farmer’s markets and parks that will give you a chance to meet new adults. Also, with limited time, consider outsourcing your introductions to someone you can trust. Your friend network is a great place to start and so are the professional matchmakers in your area.

 

When Should You Reveal You Have Kids?

 

Problem: “I am meeting people at parties and online. I feel comfortable starting the conversation, but I am anxious to bring up my kids because I don’t want to scare anyone away or share this personal information too soon. When do I bring it up?”

 

Solution: There is no use skirting the issue: Your kids are going to be a part of any long-term relationship you pursue. With that said, you should weave in this detail sooner rather than later. Once you acknowledge that you have a child, keep the conversation about you. As much as you’d like to talk about your kid’s cutest moments, you need to remember that people want to know who you are first.

 

How Do I Talk to My Kids About My Dating?

 

Problem: “I’m ready to move forward with dating, but I don’t know what to tell my kids—if anything at all. Should I tell my children that I’m seeing new people or just wait until I meet someone to have the conversation?”

 

Solution: This is a situation where less is more. A very simple, “I’m heading out tonight to meet someone new” should be sufficient. If you’re getting pressed for more details, keep the sharing to a minimum and change the subject.

 

When Do I Introduce the Kids?

 

Problem: “I’ve been seeing someone for a couple months, and I’d like to introduce them to my kids before we get more serious. Is this the right time?”

 

Solution: Since children can attach easily, be diligent about bringing someone new into their life. If a new person disappears after your child attaches, it can challenge and stress their emotional ecosystem. Postpone any meetings between your children and your latest partner until your relationship is serious and stable.

 

Do I Have to Introduce My Ex to the New Person in My Life?

 

Problem: “When I’m doing the kid hand-off with my ex wife, I don’t know whether or not to introduce my new partner. How long do I wait to make the introduction?”

 

Solution: New characters only need to be formally introduced if there is a serious future in store. Until that point, there is no need to complicate your pre-existing child rearing arrangements—or your ex’s life. When you are ready to make the introductions, make sure all parties are prepared and you have the goal of the meeting outlined: A cordial relationship between the women in your life that will ultimately spare your kids future tension.

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

 

 

Finding Love Again After Divorce or Loss of Spouse

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Love at first swipe?

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While enjoying Sunday brunch with girlfriends the other week, one of them revealed that a man we knew and respected as a devoted husband and doting father had been cheating on his wife with not just one, but several different women. He was one of the 30 million users who was exposed in July for using the Ashley Madison website that lures people in with the radical slogan “Life is Short. Have an affair.” We all shook our heads in unison as we scanned photo after photo of his beautiful family on Facebook. Why would someone with a seemingly perfect life want to destroy it?

We considered our own Facebook profiles. Endless photos of smiles at gorgeous weddings and on exotic vacations don’t accurately reflect our lives, either. We portray an image of ourselves that often doesn’t paint a full picture of life’s ups and downs. We tend to exclude funerals, arguments, breakups, layoffs, and de-tag ourselves from photos where we don’t look happy and thin.

This is an innocent example of how we represent ourselves to the world, but the same blurred lines exist for everything else we see on the Internet, including dating profiles. Online dating comes with all of the major issues of the Internet, including a lack of transparency, privacy and trust. While in many ways it’s great that the Internet has opened up the dating pool immensely, it also lends itself too much towards fabrication. Why be honest in a dating profile when you can portray yourself as taller, thinner, younger, employed, single, etc.?

With no last names, limited information and no guarantees that any information is actually true, online dating apps have become a breeding ground for infidelity. To my knowledge, no dating sites require people to prove they are single, or even unmarried!

The term “catfish,” popularized by the documentary and MTV show, refers to people who create fake identities on social media and dating sites with the sole purpose of misleading people into romantic relationships. While the show is often humorous, showcasing people pretending to be beauty pageant winners, models and singers, the extent to which people go to pretend to be someone they’re not is quite unsettling. Many of these people are married, and there are serious implications in the real world for both the people who created the fake identities and those who were persuaded by the fake profiles.

According to a recent New York Times article entitled After Ashley Madison Breach, Online Daters Check Credentials, the Ashley Madison data breach “served as a notice to those in the online dating trenches, some of whom have taken to hiring private investigators or matchmakers or turned to specialized data sites to uncover the marital status and reputations of those they are dating.” As easy as it may seem to swipe right or virtually wink at someone to score your next date, the Internet can be a dangerous place to meet someone. Even if you didn’t sign up to use Ashley Madison, you may be someone’s mistress without even realizing it.

At the end of brunch, the single ladies at the table joked that they may have to hire a private investigator or background check service to make sure the guys they meet online, in bars or in coffee shops aren’t drug-addicted, married, sex offenders. It dawned upon us that the only way to know for sure that you are going to meet an honest, single, commitment-minded person, without being a stalker, is to meet people through friends, family or a trusted dating network like Linx Dating.

Family members, friends, and professional matchmakers complete the due diligence for you and understand the full picture of every person in their network, so you don’t have to worry that your next date will be 20 years older than his or her photos or even worse, married and just looking for a little side action. The silver lining to the Ashley Madison hack is that now is a great time to join the honest people who value integrity and loyalty as they flock to professional matchmakers during this time of uncertainty in the dating world.

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