You are on page 1of 5

Although online dating remains popular, other approaches such as face-toface social events are gaining ground

- along with the radical notion that core values and character are the real keys to romantic success.
By John Buchanan

Although the fabled common interests" are a eumarstona of the modern dating scene, in the end they mean little.

NO MYTHOLOGY OF MODERN AMERICAN CULTURE IS more alluring than romance and the notion of living happily ever after with a soul mate met across a crowded room by chance. Bookstore shelves are lined with instructional tomes and cyberspace is cluttered with dating tips. Yet, it seems, with each passing year romance seems increasingly elusive for many. So, what's an aspiring romantic to do? "In South Florida, there are many ways to meet people," says Dale Koppel, Ph. D., author of The Intelligent Woman's Cuule to Online Da.ting and an online dating coach in Palm Beach County. "So, people should not limit themselves to anyone way." One of the practical ironies in the age of onhne dating is that people are not assertive enough, Koppel notes. "And that's especially true of women," she says. "They wait until men contact them and that is definitely not the way to do it. You have to be very proactive. You have to goout and find the man. Don't wait for him to fmd you, because that might not happen. The other key is that you have to understand it's a numbers game. You have to kiss a lot of frogs to find mister or miss light." By the same token, too many people who claim they want to meet someone simply aren't doing anything, says Kathryn Lord, a Tallahassee-based romance coach and operator of, who specializes in online dating. "Too many people are just hoping that luck is going to find them," says Lord, who has engineered a number of marriages since launching her business in 2002. "And they want it to happen over tomatoes at the grocery store or in church or synagogue. That might happen, but it has a pretty low probability." Rochelle Peachey, a Londoner who spends more than half her time in Orlando and who launched the trans-Atlantic dating site on Valentine's Day last year, teaches that people who want results must think outside d16 box. "My South Florida clients are not just sitting in a bar in Aventura and dUnking

that something magical will happen and they'll meet tho person of their dreams," says Peachey, who already has two South Florida marriages to her credit. On the other hand, too many Single people in South Florida-and especially women-set expectations that are too rigid. "You get the 40 or 45-year-old woman, divorced with two or three kids, and she will not go out with anyone unless there are very wealthy," Peachey says. "They want to marry a millionaire. The problem is, that means a lot of good candidates are passing them by." By rile same token, Peachey says, too many men in SOUdIFlorida want a young trophy girlfliend. The solution for bod} offenders? "Climb dOWTI ff your pedestal," o Peachey says. "You have to realize that thinking like that, by women or men, is one reason why so many people in their 40s and 50s are si.ngle and complaining drat they can't meet the right person." Meanwhile, says Bari. Lyman, a Miami Beach relationship coach launching the web site Meet' this month (February), most people still miss the essential point when it comes to romantic success. Superficial initiatives like reading onhne profiles-or writing one-and basing interest on a short list of shared interests is a formula for failure. "You have to get to the essence of a person and their core values," says Lyman, who has a formidable track record when it comes to helping SOUdl Florida clients find a husband or wife. Genuine romantic success requires a new way of thinking and a genuine commitment, Lyman says.

Despite practical cautions from experts such as Lyman, however, . online dating remains wildly popular. "The online dating scene has changed the landscape of how people meet," says Andrew Rudnick, founder of the 23-year-old, Boca Raton-based Society of Young [ewish Professionals, which


hosts a major singles event in a number of national locations, including South Florida, every December 24. The 2010 event drew 1,500 attendees to the Fontainebleau Hotel in Miami Beach. "Online dating has certainly made it easier. But at the same time, because there are so many opportunities to meet people, fewer long-term relationships are actually happening. And the reason for that is that people always think there's another bus around the comer. People just assume that if they miss the first bus there will be another bus coming." A related fault is what Whitney Casey, a New York-based dating coach and relationship expert at, calls a fixation on "the bigger, better deal-or BED for short. And it's especially true of older singles in South Florida, says Casey author of The Man Plan and a former resident of Aventura. 'Too many men and women think they're going to 'hold out' for what they really want," says Casey. "And they think that if they M hold out, they'll find the 'bigger, better deal." Instead, they usually only find disappointment and frustration, she says.

professional photographer, recommends Lord. Peachey and other experts agree. But most important, tell the truth about yourself. "Don't lie about anything," warns Lord. "If you do, you will be found out."

Because online dating has generated so much misrepresentation and consequent suspicion, face-to-face social encounters, such as those pioneered by Rudnick and others, have growing appeal. "Get out in the real world and meet people," says Miami-based Ken Block, founder of 20-year-old Faces Singles, which hosts dances and other social events in South Florida throughout the year. "That's the best way to meet someone, because going to an organized event that's identified as a Singles party brings people together with a common bond. You know people are serious about meeting someone." Another popular current option is It's Just Lunch, also celebrating its 20th year and built on the simple idea of matching two people over a casual lunch. And last year, says Julie N ovotny of It's Just Lunch's HalJandale office, 92 percent of Singles the company polled said they prefer face-to-to-face encounters to online dating. Whether it's an organized event or a casual outing, Casey also recommends in-person social contact as a key tactic in any romantic quest. "You need to be out at last once a week," she says. "GD out on your own, at least one night a week, to meet people. Go to the opening of a play or an art exhibit or a new restaurant, because the best chance you're going to have of meeting someone is when you're out and open to that."

Aside from taming the beast of unrealistic expectations, success in online dating requires attention to a few fundamentals, says Lord. "For example," she says, "one of the key things is that people don't do a very good job on their profiles. And men, in particular, do a poor job. But most women do, too." Lord encourages clients to work hard on a precise, heartfelt profile that truly presents their essence and substance, not a few cool catch phrases. And look your best online by investing in a

102 A'


Regardless of what method you use to meet people, however, the underlying truth is that superficiality never finds lasting success, says Lyman, who has created a thriving business and a number of successful relationships based on a shockingly simple premise-go deeper than an online dating questionnaire about common interests and get a read on the core values and character of anyone you're potentially interested in. Lyman's approach, she says, is a throwback to a time-tested Jewish cultural tradition known as Shidduchim, or traditional matchmalting based on the goal of enduring maniage as a result of true compatibility. At its core, it's based on careful analysis of another person's core values and vision for their own Me-and how those traits complement you. Unfortunately, says Lyman, much of modem dating is based on the assumption that if both of you like sailing or sushi or the beach, you will have a viable foundation for a lasting relationship. Nothing could be further from the truth, she says. And before you can assess the real compatibility of a prospective mate, you must assess yourself. "You have to take a look at yourself and become clear about who you are and what you truly, truly want in a partner," Lyman says. "You have to know yourself and be honest." Then seek a pmtner whose personality, values and vision for their life complement yours in a way that reaches far beyond simple attraction or shared interests. Unless you go to that extent, Lyman says, you are doomed to eventually become another divorce statistic. Once her clients have experienced her methodology, they fmd the true love that has escaped them previously.

"I had a completely different mindset after working with Bali," says 25-year-old Naomi Matatov, who met her' soul mate and got married in Boca Raton after being coached by Lyman beginning in 2009. Before that, she had tried everything from online dating to [ewish socials, but to no satisfying result. "Bali taught me a completely different approach," says Matatov. "For example, I learned to get vel)' specific about what I was looking for. Then, after leaming how important values were and finding out about the real person, I got to tile point where after a few hours of conversation, I could tell whether or not I was interested in continuing on with a person toward a relationship." Although the fabled "common interests" are a cornerstone of the modern dating scene, in the end they mean little, says another of Lyman's clients who found a husband. "That's not what's important if yon want to find a husband or wife," says the woman, who asked for anonymity. After experiencing tile process with his wifo to be, the man she married reached the same conclusion. Although he had never really pondered the issue, he says, he "did realize that the standard way of doing tIlings wasn't working. I just didn't know yet what the better way was." That's a widespread, daunting reality, says his new wife. "A lot of people are just approaching dating tile wrong way," says the 25-yearold social worker. "The vast majority of the things you can do just don't address the real point. They're social activities. But they don't address the character issue, or your real values as a perSOll and what you're looking for in a partner." Once you master that principle, says Lyman, endming romance is on the way. r!l