You're not owning your age
For lots of hopeful daters, age is just a number, as long as it's not their own. One of the main pet peeves matchmakers have is clients who lie about their age. "Most new singles calling or talking to a matchmaker on the phone say, 'I'm in my 50s, but everyone says they are shocked because I look like I'm in my 30s,'" says Tammy Shaklee, founder and president of He's For Me, a matchmaking service for gay men. "Use any number over 40, and we hear that line. Most often when we meet them in person, they look like a good version of their age." Shaklee coaches singles to own their age. "Be proud of how well you've taken care of yourself. Your fitness level, sunscreen, healthy lifestyle choices—be proud that you are rocking 44, 54, 64, or 104."
You're already married—to an outdated look
Seeking a new start, with a new love, is the perfect time to reassess your current choices for clothing, makeup, and style. Consider it a spring cleaning for your look. Throw out the scuffed shoes and the lipstick you rocked in 1985, and take your matchmaker's advice on how to spiff up your style. "A matchmaker's job is to send their clients out on dates looking, and feeling their best, to get results. Clients must be open to honest feedback, get an updated look, and a new attitude, if they want to magnetize their match," says matchmaker and author, Renee Piane. "Often clients don't listen and get frustrated. Even on a budget, you can tune up your style. That can build confidence, and also make you feel spicy." Here's how to find your personal style, courtesy of the fashion gurus at Stitch Fix.
You think you're ready, but you are so not
"Many clients come in heartbroken after a recent divorce or breakup. They're hoping to meet someone right away, when their hearts really need healing time, so that they can reinvent and examine their lives first," Piane says. See a relationship coach or therapist before you invest in a matchmaker, and you'll most likely get better results. Some clients make it even harder on themselves, and more frustrating for their matchmakers, by remaining in active contact with their old flames. "When my clients keep in touch with their ex, I can't really tell them to stop, although it hinders the dating process because their hearts are not really open," adds matchmaker, Bonnie Winston. Matchmakers won't tell you that they can't heal your heart, but they can help you move on, once you're really ready. Here are some things to never do after a breakup, so you can move on properly.
You're obsessing instead of enjoying
One of the best ways to get ready for a great relationship is to focus on enjoying life and filling your time with meaningful activities. All too often, people who want a relationship spend their time obsessing about the what if: What if I don't find love? What if the one who got away was really the one? What if I turn into a bag lady and die alone under a bridge because nobody ever loved me? "In my experience, one of the great ironies is that you have to really want to be in a long-term committed relationship, but once you decide that, you need to stop worrying about it and focusing on it," says relationship coach, Roger Ziegler." 'Set it and forget it' is what I've found to be the most successful way, and what I wish my clients were able to put into practice more often."
You want a 10, but won't work at being a 10
If you crave a polished mate but never put on anything but sweatpants, that may pose a problem. The same holds true for many traits. Hoping to attract an intellectual partner? Make sure you spend some time exercising your own grey matter by reading books and staying on top of the news. Are you turned on by a fabulous physique? If so, hitting the gym makes sense. "If you want to meet a man with abs, you'd better get your sit-ups and crunches started tonight so you can somewhat mirror what you seek," says Shaklee. "If you're wanting fit, youthful, fun, and adventurous, you'd better have current, real stories about how you actively live that life, as well."
Your photos are dated or downright awful
Matchmakers use photos as enticement tools. If yours aren't flattering, or were taken 10 years ago, they create an obstacle and defeat your own purpose. "A pet peeve of mine is when a client provides me with photos that don't resemble them, are out of date, or just unflattering. When that happens, I try to coax them into doing an updated photo shoot, so that I can get a few pictures that are flattering and authentic," says Winston. Use these tricks to make yourself look better in photos.
Your dating skills aren't all that
Some of the best spouses started out as the worst daters. Even so, if you're putting yourself out there, you may have to up your dating game. "If a client is not dating well, and patterns are clearly emerging from feedback, we would never tell a client that 'by the way, your dating sucks,'" says Juliette Prais, Chief Executive Officer and Director of Pink Lobster Matchmaking. "Instead, we suggest a mock date, or additional coaching, to get them as date-ready as possible."
You want it all, and you want it now
Love at first sight does exist, but it's rare. Despite what Hollywood tells you, real, lasting love takes time to grow, and oftentimes, so does attraction. (Read how some real-life couples knew they had found "the one".) "We hate when we hear, 'He was great, what a quality guy, truly a great date, but I don't want a second date,'" Shaklee says. "Matchmakers often have to remind people that yes, attraction can grow. A second date can feel more relaxed because you're over the first-date jitters. Couples start falling for each other after the second date because they have found more in common and have spent more time learning what their future together could look and feel like. Give a good date a second chance. It takes four good dates to see if this new person could be in your future, or not," says Shaklee.
You think you're on The Bachelor
Consider the qualities you're really hoping to find in a mate. Are washboard abs, flowing blonde hair, or a 20-inch waist really the most important things? "Some people have super high and unrealistic expectations about the type of people they will meet through a matchmaker," Piane says. "They are very particular and demanding, which can make them difficult to match. What your matchmaker wants to tell you but probably won't," she adds, "is that real life isn't like a dating reality show, or a Disney fairytale. Piane lets her clients down gently, by suggesting viable matches she thinks will really be a fit.
You hired me because you trusted me, so stop acting like you don't trust me
Every matchmaker has this one on their pet-peeve list. Take your time choosing a matchmaker, just like you should when finding a mate. Once you know you have the right one, who has your best interests at heart and seems to "get" you, trust what they tell you, take their advice, and enjoy the (dating) ride. Once you find the love of your life, here are some ways to keep the honeymoon vibe alive.