Love, Or Something Like It
In Love, Or Something Like It, our new Metro.co.uk series, we’re on a quest to find true love.
Covering everything from mating, dating and procreating to lust and loss, we’ll be looking at what love is and how to find it in the present day.
I had a vision of what being a matchmaker would be like: I’d be the girl about town, bulging little black book in hand, matchmaking London’s singletons who would fall head over heels with the first person I matched them with. The truth is, finding true love is not that straightforward.
What people say they want in a partner usually turns out to be quite different to who they disappear off into the sunset with.
Clients won’t meet a great match because they don’t like the shoes they’re wearing in a photo, or guys let down a woman after a date by saying they’re not looking for a serious relationship, yet they’re paying us £5,000 for five matches.
I had a vision of what being a matchmaker would be like but finding love isn’t straightforward (Picture: Saskia Nelson)Clients often share a long ‘must have’ list – most have a very narrow age range and many women say they want a man who is 6’0 or over. Given the average height of a British man is 5’8 you’ve just shrank your large dating pool to a paddling pool in one statement.
I cottoned on that to make successful lasting matches, my job is to tactfully challenge ‘the list’ to get to the heart of what’s really important to them. I frequently find myself asking: ‘Do you really want the search for your life partner and potential father of your kids to be based around height?’
Not every match I make results in a relationship. I once made a match I was so confident about I could practically see them walking down the aisle. They ticked all the boxes each of them was looking for, had the same outlook and views on life and shared a love for the same extreme sport.
They had a great date but both uttered the words a matchmaker dreads ‘There was no chemistry’. I get it: we want to come away from a date absolutely buzzing high on adrenaline and excitement but many couples who go the distance didn’t feel that rush.
I remember gently persuading one client she should go on a third date with a man whose company she enjoyed but wasn’t that excited about. Several years on they’re still madly in love!
She had been waiting for that instant feeling of ‘this is the one’ – but once she let the relationship develop at its own pace without the pressure, she fell in love. We want everything now, but love rarely works like that. The initial rush is usually lust. You need to get to know someone to really fall for them.
I have people ask me who on earth would pay thousands for dating when Tinder is free (Picture: Nicole Englemann)Similarly, opening your mind to meeting new people gives you the best chance at finding love. The saying that opposites attract isn’t true when it comes to core life values, but with hobbies then absolutely. One of the greatest aspects of a relationship is introducing new things to one another.
A client told me he hadn’t found someone he connected with on an emotional level as well as physical. Turned out he had been dating much younger women but, now he was ready to settle down, found they weren’t on the same wavelength.
He had a perception of what women his own age were like (which was completely wrong!) but after some serious home truths he started to be open to meeting people his age.
He had several nice dates with women but then met a woman who blew him away. Six months later they moved in together.
I have people ask me who on earth would pay thousands for dating when Tinder is free but matchmaking is the opposite to apps.
We meet everyone in person and only work with people looking for a lasting relationship, not hook-ups. Once we have a match the guy arranges the date and we get feedback after on how it went.
Hopefully they have another date in the diary, if not we’re back on the search for their ‘one’. It’s expensive but if finding a partner for life isn’t worth investing in, what is?
We want someone we can’t wait to share exciting news with but who we know will be there for us during the rubbish times (Picture: Nicole Englemann)People always want to know if I have found love myself – I have. I am lucky to be in a loving, trustworthy and happy marriage but I’ve had my share of heartbreak, which helps me empathise with my clients.
Recently a new client told me she was ghosted by a man she had been seeing for three months. He stopped answering her calls, deleted her from social accounts and went AWOL without so much as a simple ‘it’s me not you’ chat. I admit, when I hear stories like that I think ‘thank god I’ve met my match’.
We always ask clients ‘what does true love mean to you’. Time and time again we see the words companionship, loyalty, best friend, adventure. Ultimately, we are all looking for the same things, just packaged differently.
We want someone we can’t wait to share exciting news with but who we know will be there for us during the rubbish times, too.
A best friend to watch trashy TV with after a long day but one who you also fancy and admire. Someone you can be 100 per cent yourself with and just have fun together easily and naturally.
Finding love isn’t about compromising on core values, or stepping out your comfort zone. It’s about getting clear in your own mind what a happy relationship looks like for you and meeting people who share that same vision – everything else is secondary.
Caroline Brealey is the founder of Mutual Attraction
Last week in Love, Or Something Like It: My wife’s cancer diagnosis has changed the way I love her
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