Advice for singles from a professional matchmaker
Next time you encounter someone who you think is not your type, give them a chance.
On June 8th my husband and I will be celebrating our 26th wedding anniversary. Although we too have had some ups and downs, we have a strong marriage and a beautiful family together.
As a professional matchmaker, I often come across singles who believe that once they meet the right person, they will “just know it”.
Let me tell you a secret.
When I met my husband it was not “Love at first sight” at all.
In fact, I found him slightly annoying.
We met when we were both living in Los Angeles, at a farewell dinner of a mutual friend in the Cheesecake Factory in Marina del Rey. There were perhaps 15 people at our table, many of them French. I vividly recall Pierre (now my husband) proposing we all speak French and, although I spoke French reasonably well at the time, it annoyed me that, when we were living in LA and not all of us were fluent in French, this French guy wanted us to speak French because it was easier for him.
The other thing I noticed that night about him was that he did not look like “my type” in terms of dress sense. He wore pants that were way too short with suspenders!
Pierre says of that evening that he did notice me and thought I looked pretty and that I wore a beautiful dress (the guy had good taste after all ☺)
The second time we met was at Café Casino in Santa Monica on a Sunday where we bumped into each other. We decided to have a coffee and then walked around and had an ice-cream. I had a car and had planned a visit to Paradise Cove and I asked if he wanted to come. Then, some of his students were giving a concert and he asked if I wanted to join. Getting to know him better on a “just friends” basis allowed me to see that clearly, we were totally different!
He came from a progressive, socialist family of academics. I came from a conservative, religious family of farmers.
He loved hiking, cycling, camping and other outdoor activities but, in order to enjoy them, they had to be strenuous. I liked “light” leisure outdoor activities, but the lunches, dinners or coffee stops were the parts I enjoyed most.
He was analytical and a planner. I was intuitive and spontaneous.
He did not care about food at all and considered eating out a waste of time and money. I took great pleasure in eating good food and exploring new restaurants.
And those were just a few of our differences.
However, the more time we spent together, the more I started liking him. He grew on me. I discovered a very smart, interesting, fun, reliable, guy with a strong character, a (different) sense of humor, very strong family values, and someone who always wants to learn or do something.
Of course, as a professional matchmaker and dating expert, I now know that one of the factors of attraction is spending time with each other. After being “just friends” for several months, we did start dating.
The point of the story is that we do not always magically know that he or she is “the one” when we first meet him or her.
I believe love is an action and that a relationship needs a solid foundation of friendship, respect and trust on which all the rest can be build.
Next time you encounter someone and think he or she is not your type, give it a chance.
You cannot always see from a distance whether someone could be right for you. You need to engage with them! Most people are interesting and grow on you once you get to know them better.
Even when you think you are very different, do give it a chance. As a professional matchmaker, I have seen that having different political or religious views or interests does not necessarily mean you cannot build a happy fulfilling relationship.
What is important is having similar values, and goals and being committed to making it work by prioritizing the relationship and growing and evolving as a team in the same direction. It is all about respect and a willingness to make it work both ways.
Some differences are actually complimentary. I believe some of our differences make us a better team and great parents.
Take the time to get to know someone before writing them off or giving up because “he or she seems too conservative / extrovert / fill in the blank / for me”. Many relationships never start because people filter each other out prematurely.
If you respect and love each other and are willing to make it work, most of the time you can.
Nothing remains static.
We evolve as individuals and also as a couple, we grow.
Over the years, I find that we have often been able to find each other on middle ground. My husband has become more conservative and I have become more progressive.
Where there is a will there is a way. We support each other and allow each other space but it is always important to us to create opportunities to share activities and enjoy things together.
With some creativity, we have been able to compromise in such a way that it does not feel like we are foregoing things for ourselves, but instead have been able to create win / win situations. For example, we regularly go on long bicycle tours in Switzerland together. My husband on his regular bicycle and me on an electrical bike. What a joy! He is huffing and puffing up those hills behind me and having a great time, and I am enjoying a wonderful bike ride together, the amazing views and of course a nice lunch break somewhere ☺
Although the first impression of him was that he was “typically French” and only comfortable when speaking French, Pierre later proved very multilingual. He speaks 5 languages fluently and even took Dutch language classes so he could communicate with my family. The way he dresses has improved (or have I changed?). Although it is not always easy, I now feel our differences actually make us complimentary and a better team.
In conclusion; when I first encountered my now husband, and even when I was getting to know him better those first few months, I would have never thought we would end up married.
I am glad we both gave it a chance and built a strong relationship, as we have an amazing life together with a beautiful family and never a dull moment, and we will be celebrating our 26th wedding anniversary!