One of the best parts about working as a matchmaker is hearing people’s relationship stories. I’ve had such a rough start in the dating game myself that basically any story I hear, I can say, “Lol, yep, been there.” Thankfully, with all I’ve learned in my profession, I’m definitely not making the same mistakes I used to.
I’m more aware of body language. We don’t only communicate with our words, our body language speaks volumes too. When I’m on a date, I constantly check in to make sure my body language is open and friendly. Rather than crossing my arms, I sit up straight with my shoulders back. I’ve been accused in the past of having resting bitch face, and while I resent the accusations, I still make more of an effort to smile now.
I make guys wait. If I could give every woman one piece of advice, it would be to wait to have sex. This may sound old-fashioned, but it’s really just practical. There’s no getting around the fact that sex complicates things. With all of the hormones and feelings flying around when you start having sex, it can be hard to really get to know someone or to get a clear picture of what’s evolving. You could end up in a relationship with someone that you have amazing sexual chemistry with but are actually totally incompatible with in the long run. Waiting for a while will save you a lot of time and heartache.
I never assume. One of the biggest mistakes I’ve made in the past was making assumptions about the guys I was seeing. I assumed they were looking for a relationship just because they took me out to dinner and texted me all the time. I also tended to assume that we were exclusive just because we’d been seeing each other consistently for a few months. In reality, men just don’t see things that way. Broadly speaking, they’re generally pretty unaware of the signals they’re sending and are probably going to continue seeing other people until you have a conversation about exclusivity.
I’m clear on my goals. While I always had a clear vision of how I would like my career and personal life to develop, I never really took the time to set goals for my love life. Talking to men and women all day long about what their relationship goals are helped me to figure out what I’m looking for in a romantic partnership.
I know my worth. While I never really thought much about what I wanted from a partner, I also never gave much thought to what I can bring to a relationship. After bad breakups, people tend to lose sight of their own value. To draw my clients’ attention to how amazing they are, I always try to ask them what they think they bring to a relationship. This also forces me to reflect on my own value, which has been revolutionary. It’s hard to attract someone who values you when you don’t value yourself.
I never pick up the tab. As a young woman, I’d been told time and time again that chivalry is dead, but that’s not true at all. There are plenty of men out there who actually want to be gentlemen, they just think women don’t like it anymore. If you want a man to act like a gentleman, you have to set the standards on the first date. Not being a gentleman is a deal breaker for me, so if he doesn’t pick up the check, I don’t see him again. Plus, allowing the guy to pay the tab makes it clear that you see him as a date, not just a hookup or a friend.
I eliminate candidates more quickly. I used to somehow convince myself to look beyond red flags and things I just didn’t like. As a matchmaker, I have a bird’s eye view of all the effort and energy that goes into dating. I’m no longer willing to use that energy on someone I don’t think I’m actually compatible with. If I notice a red flag or that our goals and values aren’t in alignment, I’m nipping it in the bud fast. That may sound harsh, but it ultimately saves everyone a lot of grief.
I ask the hard questions. I once dated someone on and off for a year without actually asking them to define our relationship. Tragic. With the confidence and communication skills I’ve gained as a matchmaker plus my ever-lowering tolerance for BS, I often ask guys what they’re looking for before we even go out. Turns out men actually really appreciate clarity and honesty. Who knew? Once we’re on the date, I ask questions about their dreams and try to get a sense of their values. Unless our lives are heading in the same direction and we share core values, it’s probably not going to work out.
I understand compatibility. Compatibility and attraction are totally different things, and let me tell you, attraction is not always your friend. Compatibility is about where you are in your life and where you’re going, what values you hold and what you define as important, how you spend your days, and what you can bring to a relationship. Since analyzing compatibility actually requires a little bit of emotional (and sexual) distance, this is often one of my most important tasks as a matchmaker. It’s also why I try to have important conversations about personality, goals, and lifestyle before I get sexually and emotionally involved with someone.
I’m willing to wait. We all want a relationship, but the more times you jump in without looking, the more you’re going to get burned. Get burned enough and you’re going to eventually hang up your hat and call it a day. I’m still willing to jump in, but only after I’ve done my due diligence. I owe it to myself to protect my heart and wait for something that could actually work rather than chasing something that never will.
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