Ivy League Matchmaker

5 ways people unintentionally sabotage relationships

 

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It’s impossible to break patterns without awareness. Whereas ending a relationship is seemingly straightforward, ending relationships without fully understanding why is a dangerous pattern—a pattern that can’t be broken unless we employ serious self-reflection. Focusing on the outward makes us feel powerless to make changes; it’s easy to surrender to a victim mentality. Below are the most common ways men unintentionally sabotage relationships:

 

  1. Holding on to a relationship fantasy.

Believing that the grass is always greener—that there is better elsewhere and anything less than perfect won’t do—is a mechanism that shields people from deeper levels of intimacy. If you believe better is just around the corner, there is no reason to invest fully, emotionally or otherwise, in the current relationship.

 

The belief that better exists is usually rooted in fear—fear of commitment, fear of losing one’s individuality, and the fear of pain. Believing that something better exists outside of the relationship mitigates the fear. Looking deeper within will reveal that the greener grass mentality is a projection of the discomfort we have within ourselves; idealizing something or someone who isn’t real soothes those uncomfortable feelings.

 

What to do: Take an objective look at your relationship patterns.

  • Are you constantly seeking change?
  • Why did your last relationships fail? What was your role in that?
  • Are you content?

Figuring out what you idealize in a partner might be a good starting point to figure out what you’re missing within.

 

  1. Inability to address pain openly.

Emotional intimacy can only be achieved through vulnerability. Being unable to share openly and truthfully will inhibit emotional depth and closeness. In The Real Rules of Life: Balancing Life’s Terms with Your Own, Ken Druck, PhD., writes that men learn that anger is a “good” male emotion as it demonstrates toughness and makes some men feel like they are in control. After years of programming, it’s no wonder that many men act aggressively in the face of stress, fear, sadness, or loss.

What to do: Learn to identify your emotional needs and learn how to get these needs met in and out of your primary relationship. This is a process; a therapist can help make it easier.

 

  1. Taking feedback personally instead of objectively.

Criticism can be highly triggering; hearing something that challenges a strong ego can cause an emotional reaction. Not only does this reaction reveal insecurity, these emotional reactions make will make it harder for your partner to communicate openly.

 

What to do: Stop Defending.

According to Robert Taibbi, LCSW, the best way to handle your partner’s concerns is to affirm your good intentions and seek a better understanding of your partners needs. Trying to build a case that refutes your partner’s point of view might stroke your ego, but it will ultimately prolong resolution.

 

  1. Failing to recognize your partner’s love language.

The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman describes the most common ways people feel loved: words of affirmation, acts of service, receiving gifts, quality time, and physical touch. If you haven’t discovered your partner’s language, reading this short book will help you learn how to express feelings more effectively.

 

Often times we express love in the way that makes us feel most loved, but that is not necessarily the way your partner will feel most loved. Additionally, learning your partner’s love language will help you avoid situations that could be especially devastating. For example, if your partner’s love language is words of affirmation, non- constructive criticism or failing to express appreciation will be very painful for a partner who is more sensitive to verbal communication.

 

  1. De-prioritizing the relationship.

Complicating factors—work, children, aging parents—can certainly detract focus from the relationship. Situational distractions are inevitable, but letting distractions, and the distance that follows, get out of hand is a dangerous pattern that gets in the way of valuing your partner.

 

What to do: Schedule couple time.

Date night, Skype dates, weekend getaways—whatever you choose is irrelevant. The most important part is that you choose something. Be intentional. The 9-5 autopilot lifestyle can easily suppress passion and spontaneity. The busier you are, the more important it will be for you make room for quality time.

 

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

 

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

 

  1. The Business Trip

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

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

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

 

  1. An ex

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

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

 

  1. Boredom in the bedroom

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

 

  1. Revenge infidelity

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

 

  1. An inability to be monogamous

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Is there hope after infidelity?

 

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

 

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

VIP Couple Testimonial

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“The first time I heard about Amy was back in 2011 when a friend and Stanford classmate of mine asked me to attend a holiday Link and Drink event with her in the city. I decided to attend the event with a few female friends. I had previously never been to a matchmaking casual event and did not know what to expect, but left the night having met a few interesting friends.

A year or so had passed, and I was still in the midst of founding my startup from Stanford, so I was quite busy with fundraising and entrepreneurship. Since I did not have much time to go out to many events, and more importantly, since I believed in Amy and in her well-regarded reputation in the Valley, I decided I would sign up to be an official client in the beginning of 2013. Shortly after joining, I met with Amy and her colleague and they went through a detailed questionnaire and interview process with me. Amy then set me up on one date- a good guy but ultimately not my soul mate. Afterwards, and mostly since at that time I was too focused with my company, I decided to put her services on a pause until my work schedule cleared up a bit.

In 2016, she reached out to me to meet a potential VIP client. By then, I was very much ready to be in a happy long-term relationship and build a family as my startups had matured and I felt it was the right time in my life. I decided to give her match a chance as he sounded like a great potential fit in the description.

And I’m sure glad I gave him a chance, and listened to Amy. As the match and I got to know each other, we realized we were soulmates searching for each other this whole time. It may sound cliché, and I did not know that these phenomena can occur outside of movies, but it was truly love at first sight. The more time we spent together, the deeper became our love and adoration for each other. We were compatible from all aspects of life, including our similar cultures, our dreams and goals in tech, our visions in how we would raise a family, and more importantly, our outlook on the everlasting power of true love. I am happy to say that it is through Amy that I found the love of my life, and I cannot thank her enough for bringing my soulmate and I together. Since him and I lived in different geographical locations, we would have never been able to meet without Amy connecting us.

My soulmate and I are now happily married, and expecting our first child in the coming months. Amy is an angel for bringing us together. I highly recommend placing your trust, time, and patience with Amy, as she is highly capable of finding the perfect match. She is the reason my husband and I met each other, and I cannot wait for her to meet our little one soon. My husband and I cannot thank Amy enough for bringing us together and helping form our growing family. She really does make magical dreams come true.”

-30-something Stanford University educated entrepreneur

 

Here’s How Women Flirt, According to Science

 

P19673882.jpgDemonstrating attraction oscillates between direct romantic overtures and subtle, almost subconscious, behaviors. Women—through cultural norms and socialization—are more prone to the latter. Flirting, mostly comprised of “nonverbal solicitation signals”, is the most common way women indicate preliminary interest, and it encompasses everything from a simple nod to physical contact.

 

Webster University Professor, Monica Moore, studied flirting behaviors in over 200 women. She along with two researchers, wanted to understand the most common flirting behaviors and then quantify the effects of flirting; they wanted to know just how much flirting influenced a potential male partner.

 

Moore and her team noted 52 flirtatious signals, but some of the most common signals included: hair flipping, giggling, sustained eye contact, smiling, dancing in place, moving closer, and showing off the neck.

 

After the man approached, the flirting escalated. Interested women would start touching his arms, legs, or back. Many would sit with their knee, foot or thigh touching his stool or his legs.

 

Ironically, the women who were approached the most were not the most attractive; they did not have as much facial symmetry or traditionally desirable hip-to-waist proportions. Instead, these women flirted the most—roughly 35 flirtatious signals per hour.

 

Which flirt techniques work best?

 

If flirting feels unnatural, you can still attract male attention with a simple smile. Researcher Nicolas Guegen, PhD, sent a single woman into a bar and asked her to make eye contact for 2 seconds at single men. He then asked her to maintain the 2 second eye contact but add a smile. The additional smile nearly quadrupuled the approach rate. The stronger the “invite”, the more likely a man will approach.

 

Observations from a Single Dad in the Bay Area Dating Scene

 

Dad and little girl on beach.jpgIn 2014, I became single after the completion of a thirteen-year relationship, which included eight years of marriage. These days I’m a 43-year old single dad with two girls, ages five and eight, navigating a dating scene that has changed quite a bit since 2001. Amy asked me to write about some of my observations, which I thought would be fun. Naturally, what has worked for me may not work for others and these are just some of my thoughts at this point in time. I’m sure that as I continue to learn and grow my thoughts will also evolve.

 

  • Dating Experience as a Single Dad: Within a few months of becoming single, I started dating again. Of course, I didn’t know it at the time but I wasn’t ready emotionally at all! Looking back though I think it was important to just get out and meet women. I was honest about my situation with those that I met. Shortly thereafter, I found myself in a nine-month relationship, which ended up really helping me to get back on my feet. Since then I’ve been on over thirty dates and while none have panned out from a relationship perspective it has provided me with experiences that I’ve used to help narrow my focus on what I’m really looking for in a partner.

Key Takeaways: Just get out of the house and have fun! Don’t overthink things. Every date doesn’t have to be a perfect match and it is likely that with each date you will learn about something new and will grow as a person. I’ve been on dates including night swimming at Aquatic Park, rock climbing, cycling, hiking, running, formal events and more – all with women that I barely knew. I would have never experienced any of these fun events if I didn’t just get out of the house!

 

  • Online Dating: Of course, back in 2001 there was no such thing as online dating. Sure, you could have surfed the personals in the SF Weekly or Bay Guardian, but that wasn’t something that was done by anyone that I knew. It was really all about getting out and making a real effort to meet women in person. No texting – we would exchange numbers and leave voicemail messages. How fun it was to experience the suspense of waiting for a woman to return a message on the answering machine! Or coming home and asking your roommates, “Did she call?” Sadly, these days if you leave a voicemail instead of a text it seems most women would think you’re crazy.

The biggest issue I have with online dating is that no matter what the person looks like or writes like or even talks like on the phone, you just don’t know how it’s going to work out until you meet in person. This is a very time-consuming process because you end up going out with a lot of women that you would have never gone out with had you met the old-fashioned way to begin with. And while there is a plus side to this in terms of life experience and learning about new people as I described above, the downside is a seemingly constant state of not expressing interest in someone else, or vice versa. Even though everyone knows the process, it can still be a little disheartening, especially when you meet a really nice person and you wish the chemistry could just be there!

I also think that online dating presents a false sense of choice. Yes, there are tons of women that you could go out with, but really there’s only a tiny fraction that you would be compelled to see again after a first date, or vice versa.

Key Takeaways: Online dating can be useful and fun for an immediate high volume approach, but it can also be a time sink. Try to take it in bite sized chunks – do it for two or three months, then take a break. Or better yet, join an outdoor club/team (running, cycling, rock climbing, etc.) Prospects seem to be much better when meeting in the real world through a common acivitity. And in any case, if you meet someone that you really like, put real effort into making time for that person in your life. Don’t take those opportunities for granted and don’t play games.

 

  • Be Kind to Yourself: Shouldn’t life become easier and less complicated as we become older and wiser? While you’d think this would be the case, in terms of relationships we sometimes carry fears with us from prior experiences that can take a long time to heal. But don’t worry – we’re all in the same boat. So, if you’ve ever been in love, be elated that you had it while you did, and if you’ve never been in love remain hopeful because everyone deserves to be in love. I say this because many of the women I’ve met tell me that they stuck around too long for a man that wouldn’t commit and now they’re left with little time to start a family. Regardless of any mistakes you’ve made in past relationships, acknowledge them but don’t dwell on them. Learn from them. We’ve all made fumbles in life and the best we can do is to not repeat history.

Key Takeaways: Everything is working out just the way it’s supposed to. Enjoy the journey! Once you do find love either again or for the first time you’ll be glad that you experienced everything that you did. It will all make sense when it’s said and done.

After writing this piece I’m not sure if I wrote it for you or me! Anyway, I hope you enjoyed it. I’d also like to say in closing that some of the most remarkable women that I’ve met in the past three years have come through Amy’s service. So, if Amy has a suggested date for you, try not to second guess it. Just go for it and increase your chances of finding love.

Handsome Harvard educated Bay Area Bachelor seeks Outdoorsy Animal Loving Match to Embrace Life with Together

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Our client is a handsome Caucasian male who’s 43-years old, 5’10”, with a nice athletic build. He keeps fit from regular hiking, mountain biking, weight training and bits of yoga. Wellness is very important to him. Originally from Connecticut, he’s very much at home here in California.

He’s undeniably intelligent, Harvard educated and successful, but also down-to-earth, approachable, and loves to have fun and laugh – especially playful sarcastic banter.

He’s had an eclectic career spanning a number of industries and roles. Most recently though, he realized his true passion is helping people get healthy and has spent the last few years in leadership roles at healthy food companies.

You can just as easily find him leading a company, spending time with friends and family, or going on outdoor adventures with his five and a half year old vizsla.

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Our clients vizsla….adorable!

Our candidate is an empathetic, compassionate, direct communicator, in touch with his emotional side and unafraid to communicate it in caring ways. He’s definitely a bit of romantic and gives his whole self when in a relationship. He loves to travel and has been to at least 50 different countries, with dozens more on his wish list.

Favorite places so far: The night sky in the Maldives, the top of Mt. Whitney, Yarra Yering winery north of Melbourne, Borobudur Temple, the Whitsunday Islands, the wine in Saint-Emilion, his couch and a good Netflix series.

He approaches all aspects of life with creativity and out-of-the-box thinking, and doesn’t believe there are problems that can’t be solved. He believes you should always treat people fairly and equally, regardless of background. You can be absolutely drop-dead gorgeous, but if, for example, you treat service people as second-class citizens, he can’t be with you.

He would love to build a family and believes raising children will be the most important thing he’ll ever do – creating wonderful human beings and teaching them to go out and help change the world for the better. He learned that from his parents and wants to do the same for his children. Most importantly, our candidate is inherently happy and likes being around other happy, uplifting people.

His best suited match is between the ages of 28-40 years old. At her core she is highly compassionate, caring, and a giving soul. O. Henry’s book, “The Gift of the Magi” is a great example of the type of relationship our client strives for. Where two people give more to each other than take from one another.

As our client is into health, fitness, and overall wellness, it’s important that his match share a love of balance and healthy living too. In terms of physical appearance, she’s fit, naturally attractive, and isn’t greatly influenced by “keeping up with the Joneses”. She’s comfortable in her own skin, isn’t driven by money, highly altruistic, and looks forward to love deeply and to be deeply loved in return.

If you or anyone you know might make a great match for our handsome Bay Area bachelor, please email Amy at: amy@linxdating.com

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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