dating in your 30’s

Striving For Greatness At Any Age…

We are pleased to have guest blog contributor Stephanie Herman write this piece for our readers. Thank you Stephanie!

Dear Readers,

How is it that I am going to be 66 years old in November and yet I feel 40!?!

I was a former principal ballerina in New York City and now am the creator of a new body awareness system that teaches people how to stay younger in mind and body.

What do I do to make myself feel young? Most importantly, I make sure to physically stay in shape. Then I make myself try things that scare me or test my comfort level. But I also sprinkle in the other major activities that I love in my life, such as spending time with family and friends, dancing, acting, performing, teaching, giving back and making sure to have FUN!

I have been teaching my Pilates/Fitness programs for 30 years. How do they stay fresh after so long? I keep reinventing them. I have 2 programs – CoreTique is a Mind Body Educational program that personally educates people about how to best move and control the body. If you know how, then the rest is easy. My 2nd program is “Pilates Ballet by Stephanie Herman,” that is a fun musical fitness program that takes CoreTique to the next level. By teaching these programs, it satisfies many of my loves of life – teaching, giving back, and having fun!

How did I add things that scared me or tested my comfort level? I was teaching my fitness programs and staying in shape by teaching, but began to realize that in teaching, I am not always doing the exercises because I am walking around helping others. I realized I was not putting the proper fitness regimen in my OWN life, so I decided to go back to ballet after a 20 year hiatus. Talk about scary!

It took courage to walk back into a ballet studio, as I was not in ballet shape. And it took courage to show up not in shape. But, I weighed the pros against the cons and realized that I just needed to be disciplined to make myself take on this endeavor. It was not easy, it took me about 1 -2 years to feel better about myself in ballet class compared to what I was 40 years ago. I needed to stop my negative self critique, and focus on one step at a time.   When someone in class said to me “you still have it!” that felt good.

Finally, I felt that I was missing performing in my life. So, at the age of 65, I decided to add more performance in my life. How? By taking baby steps. I started by taking an acting class every Thursday night in SF from 7- 10pm. Yes, that took courage. But I love it. It’s not really performing on stage, but it is starting to bring out the performer in me, inspiring me and giving me courage to try more – it occurred to me that staying young at any age can require courage if you want to be who you want to be. Don’t let yourself or others tell you otherwise. Surround yourself by people who support your dreams!

So what does it take to feel young? It’s your attitude … how you think about yourself … what you put in your life. Optimism, balance, fun, inspiration, passion, love, health and making your dreams come true.

Ok, now that you know the answer, how do you execute on it?

You need to start by understanding which of these elements are missing in your life. Take one thing … Is it your optimism? Is it your balance in life? Are you missing Fun? Love? Health?

Let’s break it down…

Optimism…… Try for the next 14 days to only be optimistic…. Put on the calendar each time you are optimistic and when you are being negative. Being aware is the first step in changing. You might find sometimes that being negative is a habit that just needs to be broken. Try to use the 14 days to believe in yourself, give yourself permission to do what you want to do without blockage.

 

Balance– Do you think your life is balanced? Look at what you do during the week…. Think about it as a giant pie that you want to split into 10 pieces. Each piece is balanced to fit into the pie. Write 5-10 major things that fill your week. Work, Play, Friends, Healthy Habits, etc. Then see how unbalanced it might look. Or, see what you would like to add and subtract. This could be an ongoing work sheet.

 

Now, LIVE IT!:)

If you are in the Bay Area and would like to contact Stephanie and learn about how she could help you achieve your greatest at any age,  you can check out her website at: http://www.StephanieHerman.com and contact info: (650) 465-7919 or Sh1dancer@aol.com

Happy Fall and Linx Testimonial

Couple taking selfies in a park.

Dear Readers,

Happy *almost* fall! I can’t believe how long it’s been since my last entry. Truth is it’s been extremely busy on the matchmaking front, focusing a lot of my energy on a handful of international VIP searches.  It seems like the summer flew by in the blink of an eye and it’s hard to believe that October is only two days away!  The summer brought in some incredibly new dynamic Linx members of all ages. It also meant a fair amount of members took time off from dating to travel for pleasure and to gain a fresh new perspective and clarity about the type of match he/she needs for the long term. Sometimes, taking time off from dating for a month or two can actually be the best thing that happens to you. It allows a shift in focus, mental clarity, and gaining mastery over dating anxiety and being single.

In July, a beautiful and incredibly smart early 30’s female came into my office for a screening. Although there are several steps that lead up to the actual matchmaking phase, the initial “meet and greet” marks the beginning of our scrupulous Linx Dating screening and vetting process as we delve deeply to get to know all about a prospect, who he/she is,  and what he/she seeks in a perfect match.

The art and science inherent in this careful “due diligence” is one key factor that distinguishes Linx from other run-of-the-mill matchmakers who mass market their services and often have no real desire to get to know their clients.  Our discreet, closed-network approach is unique, and further differentiates us as the firm of choice for high caliber and well-educated professionals. I personally sit down with EVERY prospect and client one-on-one and take the time to really get to know another.

When she came into my office, I immediately liked her. She had a real infectious energy about her, a warmth, curiosity about the world, and empathy. This hard-working young professional based in San Francisco opened up about past relationships and in hearing her story, I knew I could immediately help her. I instantly recognized patterns in her dating which included picking the wrong types of guys where she gave these relationships her ALL yet didn’t get what she deserved in return. Ever been in one of those “one-sided” types of relationships? You give, give, give, and try really hard to make it work and the other just seems to take, take, take, and you feel an on-going void.

I told this Ivy educated prospect I wanted her to jazz up her image a bit if we were to work together- think Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany’s meets Olivia Wilde as Beatrice Fairbanks in The Longest Week.


 

One of the many unique dimensions and value-adds of being invited to join Linx is that matchmaking is done using a holistic approach from date preparation (this could involve date coaching, wardrobe consult, hair, make-up, fitness training, nutrition, etc) to actual matchmaking, valuable feedback, and a continual open dialogue with client to ensure he/she is on track for relationship success!

The prospect told me she was ready for love and wanted to work with Linx. After our meeting, I prepared a proposal with an outline of how I could best help her. This honest feedback included some preparation for (hair, make-up, review of her date clothing she already had in her closet) and making sure she was 100% ready for this journey with Linx.

It didn’t come as a surprise that she needed to take a few days to digest my proposal and in fact, it’s highly encouraged versus rushing a big decision. She came back to me over email with open arms and said she was ready to embrace my plan of action. I can’t tell you how much I LOVE when a new client is 100% ALL IN, trusting, ready, and their excitement is palpable.

I thought it would be particularly helpful for readers to hear her experience. Here’s her testimonial about the Linx process so far.

 “I explored working with Amy at the start of the summer, after hearing about her from a family friend who had overheard someone discussing “the best person in California to help you find the right spouse.” I’d experienced loving relationships in my past but had not found “the one” yet and was turned off by the non-committal, often judgmental dating scene of the Bay Area. I went into our initial meeting open-minded and cautiously optimistic. What type of men did she work with, what type of woman were they looking for, and was that me? Were they really looking for commitment and a family? Would the quality of potential matches justify the cost?

My initial meeting with Amy went better than I expected. She carved out a large chunk of her morning to talk to me in detail about what I value, my history, my personal passions, and what I thought I was looking for in a future husband. She also suggested particular qualities and areas to focus on that I had not previously prioritized, based on her years of working in the industry and seeing both successful and unsuccessful relationships. This was particularly helpful, and where it is crucial to be open-minded – Amy has seen it all and can recognize needs or patterns instantly. The moment I opened up to her (often small) ideas, I noticed a change in my mind-set and happiness in the dating land.

The process of working with Amy is a dream. You get out of Linx what you put in. Amy is available to email or message literally every day – if you have your important first date on a Saturday, she makes herself available that evening to see pictures of what you are wearing and help you make decisions if you’d like it. She is your best cheerleader and coach, providing encouragement and tips as you navigate the early stages. Amy will provide honest and insightful style tips; she helped me tweak my look in a way that I had never imagined and makes me feel beautiful every day. Matches will come at the cadence you’d like them – whether that be immediately upon becoming her client or more gradually. Amy is very thoughtful about who she matches you with, thinking about both of your needs and desires. She talks you through the initial matching phase, answering questions you may have about the other person and providing insight into why she thinks this particular person is so well suited for you.

My personal Linx experience has been fulfilling, enjoyable, and unbelievably rewarding. Within one week of becoming Amy’s client, I had my first official match with a man who was basically my “dream guy.” We became exclusive almost immediately, and things continue to progress very well. It’s still relatively early, but I couldn’t be happier. I’m so grateful to Amy for her continual guidance and encouragement along the way.”

 

 

 

Egg Freezing Part 2: When should I tell my partner?

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There’s a shift in every woman’s life when they go from doing everything in their power to prevent pregnancy to desperately trying to preserve and fertilize their eggs before time runs out. As discussed in last month’s blog post, egg freezing is becoming a popular choice for women who want to take their fertility into their own hands on their own timeline. Many women who have frozen their eggs report feeling more confident and at ease when dating, but when is the best time to let your date know that your eggs are on ice?

Don’t blurt it out on every first date

Egg freezing is a new concept, so many men, especially those who don’t live in urban centers, are completely clueless about it. Some women in their late 30s and 40s reported feeling the need to tell every man they meet that they are still able to have children since they have frozen their eggs, but the men we surveyed said that sharing this in the first few dates is not necessary and can ruin the mood. You don’t want every first date to turn into a medical lecture.

Share it with someone you care about

Freezing your eggs is a big decision you have made, or are thinking about making, for yourself. The procedure takes a lot of time, energy and money, and speaks volumes about how much you value having the option to have your own children. This is a beautiful gift you can give to a loving, committed partner when the time is right. Most of the men we surveyed said that egg freezing is a smart choice that they respect and admire. It can give couples the time they need to figure out if they are meant to be or not before rushing into having children.

Wait until the topic of children comes up

Learning about your partners’ views on having children can be an immediate deal breaker or can bring you closer together. If you have frozen, or are considering freezing your eggs, having children is likely very important to you. If you want kids and your partner doesn’t, you should have the breakup conversation instead of the egg freezing conversation. People very rarely change their minds about wanting to have kids. If he also wants kids, this is the perfect time to tell him that you’ve frozen your eggs. He will probably be thrilled to share in your commitment to having a family.

Tread lightly

Have a plan before the topic comes up and understand what you want out of the conversation. Carefully explain to your partner why you are considering or have already frozen your eggs. Chances are your partner knows little to nothing about egg freezing and will have a lot of questions. Several men have reported feeling threatened by knowing that their partner can have children whenever and with whomever they choose. Communicate gently and be aware of his feelings.

The timing and delivery of this personal information will vary by relationship, but we felt compelled to share some general guidelines since this question has come up a lot recently. Whether you are thinking about freezing or have frozen your eggs, it is a big decision that you should share with your partner when the time is right.

Are shorter men the hottest accessory of the holiday season?

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I’m 5’11” and love to wear heels, so one of my top dating criteria when I was single was that the man be over 6 feet tall. I remember thinking it was unfair when I saw tiny women dating lofty basketball players or when tall men told me they preferred dating petite women. When I thought about the limited number tall, age-appropriate men in San Francisco and subtracted those who were in relationships, uneducated, commitment-phobes, or were only attracted to shorter women, would anyone be left for me?

In retrospect, my thinking was shortsighted. Limiting your dating pool by height may prevent you from meeting Mr. Right, and expanding your height preferences dramatically increases your options. Most women have their sights set on the less than 4% of American adult men who are over 6’2”, so why not take a more strategic approach? Here are 5 reasons why you should follow in the footsteps of Nicole Kidman and Catherine Zeta Jones and consider dating a shorter man:

  1. They’re confident. What shorter men lack in height, they make up for in presence. Confidence and humor add imaginary inches. Shorter men work harder to refine their social presence. They’re extremely secure and comfortable in their own skin and will be proud to have you by their side.
  1. They’re generous lovers. When you spend the night with a shorter man, you will be in for a treat. Taller guys aren’t used to putting in extra effort since they’re in such high demand, but shorter men know how lucky they are to be with you and will make sure you enjoy every second. And no, his height doesn’t correlate with the size of his member.
  1. They’re funny. When thinking about male comedians and the funniest men I’ve ever known, they’re on the shorter side. Along the same lines, the shorter men I have worked with in sales are absolutely hilarious and have customers laughing within the first few minutes of every sales meeting. While taller jocks retire from sports during the first half of their lives, funny men will keep you laughing all your life.
  1. You’ll have more space. Get ready to sprawl out in bed and fit comfortably with your new man on the couch. You won’t have to significantly adjust the driver’s seat in your car after he borrows it. And you can alternate taking the middle seat on flights since he’s not so tall that he always needs a window or aisle seat. Dating a shorter man makes life easier.
  1. You’ll look and feel like a supermodel all the time. The world is a catwalk for women who date shorter men. Embrace your height in heels and flats as you confidently strut around with your new man. A close girlfriend of mine believes that shorter men will be the hottest accessory of the holiday season!

For more inspiration, check out these celebrity goddesses who love dating shorter men and look fabulous while doing it!

Catherine Zeta Jones and Michael Douglas

Nicole Kidman and Tom Cruise

Tina Fey and Jeff Richmond

Clare Grant and Seth Green

L’Wren Scott and Mick Jagger

Rhea Durham and Mark Wahlberg

Tanya Haden and Jack Black

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

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.

Why I stopped playing the numbers game

By: anonymous male, San Francisco VIPI_next_to_his_description

When I first rejoined the dating scene several years ago I followed the well-worn path of many other people my age and joined a handful of online dating sites. After a few false starts, a friend explained to me that I was completely doing online dating the wrong way. She said that it was a “numbers game”, and that I should try to go on multiple first dates a week, week after week, until I find “The One.” I didn’t realize at the time that this was how many people treated online dating in the Bay Area. I said, what the heck, and gave it a shot.

At the beginning I found it to be fun. I realized I was meeting people that I would have never met before, and this gave me a huge amount of confidence that I would run into the woman of my dreams. I also made two very good friends and met one woman with whom I had a multi-year relationship. Even though it didn’t work out, I am still grateful that she was in my life.

After some time of playing the numbers game, I became frustrated and disenchanted with the entire process. I started to realize I was going out on dates where nothing progressed beyond small talk and running through lists of shared hobbies and travel destinations. Even if we both felt there was the potential for something more, follow-on dates started becoming fewer and fewer, mostly due to scheduling conflicts, and that quickly became a lack of interest.

Worse, I realized that the disappearance of my date didn’t bother me, as I knew that there would be someone else who was, well, let’s just say a “swipe right” away. While intellectually I knew that this was the same thought process my date was going through, I still felt a bit icky about the whole experience. As a family-oriented guy that has been in long term relationships for the majority of my life, I felt that this isn’t the behavior of the man that I thought I was or wanted to be.

I could not understand how, with all of the opportunities to meet someone that were available to me, that it was so incredibly hard actually to meet someone. Recently an article appeared in the New York Times that spoke to how I felt. The author reaches the conclusion that all of the online dating technologies have caused us to think in terms of the “numbers game”, and that there was an infinite number of possible partners, and we should toss each aside until we find the perfect mate. If this is our dating mentality, why should we ever bother committing to a person, as a better option could be right around the corner?

I knew the numbers game didn’t work for me, and stopped playing some time ago. I started to pick up on when I was a participant in someone else’s rapid fire dating game, and was able to understand how it felt. When you are playing the numbers game, every person you date becomes a number and not a human being.

Whenever you go out on a date, you have to remember that the person sitting across from you is a person, like yourself, with their own hopes and dreams, anxieties and fears. They have felt both joy and hurt in relationships, and are very possibly hoping that the first date they are on, with you, right now, will be their last first date ever. I can’t think of a more disrespectful action than what most serial daters do, namely walk into the date with the intention of making a judgment in the first five minutes, then hopping back onto Tinder.

The numbers game causes you to focus on quickly observed superficial qualities, such as hobbies, material possessions, and clothing, rather than what really determines the suitability of a partner. The important stuff, like ability to communicate, shared values, empathy, and capacity to provide support in stressful situations, can’t be determined from only one date.

The numbers game relies upon the idea that not only there are an infinite number of partners, but also that you have an infinite amount of time. We don’t. As a guy in my mid 30’s, I for one don’t want to be an “old dad”, and want to be in good enough physical shape that, if I get to have children, I would not only play with my kids on the floor but also be able to walk any future daughters down the aisle when I am twice my current age.

Women, well, they have much more defined biological clocks, with 35 being the medically recognized fertility cliff. While the numbers game can go on forever, our bodies can’t.

There are some things I miss about rapid fire dating. I miss finding instant chemistry. I miss learning about someone’s way of viewing the world. I don’t think it works, however, and would much rather spend time getting to know a small number of quality people than get three cocktails a week with complete strangers.

“Do You Have Anyone… Younger?”

We hear this question perhaps more often than any other — at least once a day, sometimes once an hour, and never, ever, in jest. We hear it from men and women young and old, from divorcees and widows, from single mothers, lonely dads, and those hoping to find a Happily Ever After that keeps them from becoming one of the above. We hear it… all the time.iStock_000019428153Small

There are a lot of reasons someone might want a younger spouse; beyond the superficial, men tend to point out the desire for fertility in women (funny we’ve never heard that one before guys!), and women tend to point that men don’t live as long as they do, so each gender can certainly make a valid point. But most of the time that we get asked for an introduction to someone younger, age actually has very little to do with it. Most of the time, people aren’t looking for someone young. They’re looking for someone youthful, and they’re hoping to go on a date with a man or woman who is willing to exhibit real, unbridled enthusiasm; they’re looking for a date who is excited about meeting them.

For those of us who’ve been dating for longer than we’d like, or who’ve cycled through the same three first date restaurants far too many times, we can start to think that every first date will be just like those that didn’t work before. We already know where we want to sit, what we’ll likely order, and how bad or good a particular waiter might be. We can fall into a familiar routine far too easily, and treat our dates like they’re part of a longstanding pattern that he or she did nothing at all to establish. In fact, it’s OUR responsibility to try to break that pattern; after all the only common link in all of those failed first dates is… us.

Try to remember that it’s not your date’s fault that you already go to Left Bank with your friends every Thursday night. Don’t talk to the guy across the table from you about all of your ex’s past sins. And please, please, don’t tell the woman you’re trying to court all about how you “destroyed your ex-wife in the courtroom.” Young people think a lot about the future; older people think a lot about the past. Which one do you find more attractive? And which one do you think you want to be? Age may dictate lots of things about your body, but it doesn’t have to play any role at all in your attitude; you may not always be young, but you can always be youthful.

We do our best to rise to the challenge when our clients ask to meet someone younger, but more often than not, we know that an age gap isn’t really the solution. Our clients quickly realize it too, but instead of understanding that the difference in age is too big, they usually decide that it simply isn’t big enough. When we’re really, really lucky, they finally admit that they might be better off taking our advice about the men or women they should date. And in the very best cases — when we’ve met people who are optimistic, full of life, and looking toward the future — we’re able to say to our clients “We happen to know an incredibly warm and youthful person you should meet… and the two of you happen to be about the same age.”