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All client communications detailed in this book are from real people. Only the names, and some circumstances, have been changed to protect their privacy.

Edited by Gabriella Donati 2011

Dearest Reader, First of all, I want to thank you for participating in this journey. A journey populated with singles who feel they are doing all they can do to find love, but still coming up empty-handed. Certainly, there are millions of people who are in the same boat, and honestly dont understand how they got there. These include successful, attractive, intelligent people who may be telling themselves, I just havent met the right one. The truth, however, is that you have to be the right one to meet the right one, and many people are too busy looking outward to realize that it all starts with looking inward. For a short moment in time, we will be walking together through this book and through these stories, and my desire is that as we make this journey together, with laughter, incredulity, and hopefully, newfound clarity regarding ourselves and our search for love. I firmly believe that what we think about ourselves on the inside is reflected in our lives on the outside - much like a mirror. If you are still single, I believe that its because you either want to be single, or you dont believe yourself to be deserving of love. Both of these core beliefs manifest themselves in your actions and in your life. One of the ways that you create this self-fulfilling prophecy that you arent deserving of love is to close yourself off from real possibilities of love so that you never find it. Then you tell yourself that you were right, no one could ever love you. We close ourselves off by limiting our options when it comes to a partner. We start building walls and making lists of qualities that our partner must possess in order for us to love him/her. Some qualities on our list are very important, such as honesty, faithfulness, and thoughtfulness, but some are completely irrelevant such as height, hair color, financial success, etc. These are not the qualities that indicate whether or not two people will be happy together, so why are so many people limiting love by using these types of characteristics as a blueprint for their soul mate? I have been working as a matchmaker since 2003, and I have seen many successful matches and I can tell you that all of those are between open, loving people who are confident in themselves and appreciate all the best qualities in their partner. I have also seen many people who are given the opportunity to meet wonderful possible partners, and they simply shoot themselves in the foot by closing themselves off. For years Ive been talking about writing a book that might be able to help someone get past their fear and open up their heart to find true love. This book is the realization of that dream. If it helps even one person, my goal will have been realized. Please understand that although I use many real-life cases of my personal clients, I am in no way using them to make fun or degrade. I simply use them to show how people often limit themselves and their options when it comes to finding love. Dont let this happen to you. If any of these stories resonates with you, be honest with yourself and strive to let go of the limiting thoughts. Open up your heart and the universe will fill it with love and happiness.

With warmest wishes, Sara

Get Real
It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye. -Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Think back to your late teen years and your twenties. What were your thoughts about love and what you wanted in a partner? Did you really give that much thought to it? I think most of us at that age, simply fell for someone who made us laugh, was fun to be with, and whom we found attractive- and I dont mean movie-star looks. We didnt have a strict list of criteria that someone needed to meet before we would consider going out on a date. We probably met at school, or through friends, or just serendipity. It was so much easier. We would just start talking and if we hit it off, wed make plans to meet again, and if that went well, wed make plans to meet again, and before long we were dating! Simple! Now were older, and the world has gotten smaller, but it seems like were having a much more difficult time meeting someone with whom we click. So what happened? Why are we so jaded? Why does finding a great partner seem so difficult? After nearly a decade of working with a wide variety of singles searching for their soul mate later and later in life, I have reached a few conclusions. What I see is how inflexible we have become and how our wish list of qualities has become so narrow. We no longer simply accept someone with whom we enjoy spending time and sharing our thoughts, now we want someone who looks a specific way or shares our exact interests. Or maybe we demand that the person earn a certain salary or possess specific physical traits. We want to know everything about the person from the get-go, sometimes before we will even consider going out on a date. We have turned the natural process of meeting and falling in love into a very logical, looks good on paper process. Where is the spontaneity? Where is the passion? And how did we get to this point?

I believe that this analytical approach to love stems from fear, a fear of being hurt or disappointed yet again. As we have traveled through life and had our share of failed relationships, we have closed our hearts and minds in an effort to protect ourselves from getting hurt. We have decided that the way to protect our vulnerability is to be as sure as we can that the relationship will succeed before taking a step in that direction. But love is not about logic and surety. Love is an elusive (and highly chemical) reaction to another person, and although I agree there are some characteristics that people bring to a relationship that can definitely make or break the union, none of them have to do with what a person looks like or how much money they make. Many times, those who come to me, however, dont seem to be concerned with looking for traits of

honesty, consideration, ability to communicate, and thoughtfulness in a partner. Instead, they come to me with a list of physical and financial stats that they insist a possible match possess before they will even consider making contact. I have come to believe that this is part of the reason why these people are still searching, because the person with whom you could fall in love and live happily ever after, may be nothing like the image that you have created in your mind. And while you are searching for someone who fits that idealized image in your head, your chances of finding a natural, fulfilling, loving relationship are slipping past. The following stories and anecdotes come from actual conversations and correspondence with clients. Do you see yourself in any of these stories? Are you able to read them objectively and see the limitations in many of these perspectives? You will quickly notice that the majority of these stories depict the same underlying problem cloaked in different circumstances, but hopefully with repetition, you will learn to see for yourself the variety of ways that this same issue can appear. Love is a living, breathing, fiery tempest. It grows or it dies like every other living thing. It needs to be nurtured. It needs fertile soil in which to thrive. Approaching it with a list of conditions that enable it to flourish in very limited circumstances is a killer, not a builder, of love. Get real in your search for love and youll find real love.

Many people contact me on Facebook asking for relationship advice. Its impossible to know if these inquiries are serious or if someone is just having fun with me, but I do know from past experience that many people are brutally honest when they contact me in this manner because I dont know them personally, and even though they are on Facebook, they can be a bit anonymous. Recently, I received the following note from a fan that had been following my posts for some time. I find this to be a great example of someone who is a bit out of touch with reality in terms of the possibility for success in love.

Hi Sara, I believe that I'm in love with a famous singer and have been for some time now. I've tried to go out on other dates but I just can't get him off my mind. I'd really like to meet with him to see if what I'm feeling is real or just a fantasy. It's not so easy and I don't know how to go about it. He's also younger than me but for me that doesn't matter. Do you have any suggestions as to what I should do? I just can't get him out of my system and frankly don't want to. I just want to find a way to get together with him to see if we are a good match. Rachel

I truly feel for the writer of this note, because she is completely infatuated with this singer to the point of not being able to devote any attention to a real-live date. Certainly, it is possible to become infatuated with an image that you have of someone, this happens all the time. In fact, most relationships begin this way. What really hits me about this letter is the obvious lack of thought to what the singer might ever feel for her. She says she wants to meet him to finally determine if what she feels is real or fantasy. She says he is younger than she is, but that doesnt matter to her. What seems not to have crossed her mind is whether it would matter to him, or whether or not he will feel anything for her. An important question to ask yourself when you are searching for a real relationship is, What qualities do I possess that make me right for the person for whom Im searching? What special characteristics do you bring to a relationship? What sets you apart from everyone else? Would the person that you are looking for find his or her wish list in your personality? If not, then you may be as out of touch with reality as the writer of the letter, because you are not thinking about what someone else may be looking for in a partner, you are only thinking about yourself and what you want. In this case, Rachel admits that she cant focus on a living, breathing potential mate who is right in front of her, because she is so infatuated with this celebrity. That is a real problem, and when our own idealized image of a perfect partner starts to limit who we will or wont interact with in the real world- that is also a problem, and leaves us in much the same place as Rachel, in love with a one-dimensional, idealized fantasy of our perfect partner.

On my website, there is a link to an inquiry form of a few simple questions that someone can use to contact me and learn more about World of Singles. This form includes name, age, profession, and place of residence. Most of the time, people just answer the basic questions and send it off. Once I receive it, I usually contact them via email and if they want to speak by phone, we schedule a time. I received an inquiry from a 47 year old man living in the US, and we arranged a time to speak. During our conversation, he mentioned that although he believes he is handsome man, he has lost all his hair, and he is doubtful about whether or not I could help him find his match.

Luckily, having hair is not the passport to finding your soul mate. He was worried, however, that the kind of woman he is attracted to, is not attracted to bald men. Regardless of this concern, he still maintains his list of physical attributes that he insists a potential match possesses. After a few emails, going around in circles about exactly what his match should look like, I received an email stating that he was ready to sign up with my service, but only if I could provide the following:

Sara, if you come across my type let me know and we can work it out: MUST be no older than 35, never married, no kids, natural blonde, blue or green eyes, MUST be slim, slender, nice figure, and at minimum 56 tall. Thanks.
This email is representative of many people who turn to me to find their match. They say that they are looking for their soul mate, or, as they usually describe it, their perfect match. The reality is much different. This man is not looking for his soul mate. His soul mate may not be a woman who is 56, 35 or younger, never married, no kids, slender, nice figure, natural blonde with blue or green eyes. His true soul mate, with whom he could live an extremely happy and fulfilling life may in fact be 43, divorced, two children, voluptuous, brunette with hazel eyes. Sadly, he will never find her if he is only looking at his shopping list. He may also never find the woman who fits his shopping list, because her shopping list may contain the words, great head of hair.

I was sitting in my office one rainy Jerusalem day, when the telephone rang. Appropriate to the weather, a very British voice said, I was recommended to you by a friend in England who said that you could help me find my soul mate. I learned from our conversation that he was 56, never-married, and considered himself attractive. He wanted to meet a woman no older than 38 (he wouldnt even consider someone who was 39), and she had to have an exotic look. He insisted that he looked younger than his age, and felt that he related better to younger people. He mentioned that he was visiting Israel and staying in a nearby hotel, and the sooner we could meet, the sooner he could meet his soul mate. It felt a bit like he was ordering lunch and that as soon as he paid the bill, his meal would be delivered, but I suggested that he come to my office so we could speak in person. I gave him my office address and mentioned that it was on the second floor. He then asked, Is there an elevator? I responded that its only one flight of stairs, so it shouldnt be a problem, and he informed me that he was in a wheelchair. It would have been impossible for us to meet at my office, and I offered to meet at the lobby of his hotel, but ultimately, we did not meet, because when I realized that his wish list was non-negotiable, I didnt really want to waste our time. Let me be clear that I am in no way poking fun at his physical situation, nor do I believe that it would be a barrier to his finding love. He could well be a wonderful man and husband. The barrier is not the wheelchair, the barrier is his inability to accept any variation from his idealized image of a perfect partner, even while he is asking that his perfect partner accept a variation from what may be her idealized image of a partner- someone who is mobile. A 56 year old man who is movement-restricted places a demand on any potential partner to adjust to a movementrestricted lifestyle. To also insist that she can only be an exotic woman under 38 years old is unrealistic and offensive to all those wonderful women who might be over 38 and not exotic but would be a willing partner in a nurturing, loving, and fulfilling relationship.

For many men, its not an easy adjustment when they start losing their hair. Its not surprising given that most of us try to hold on to our youthful looks as long as possible. I wholeheartedly agree that people should make an effort to look their best and to accent their best features, but sometimes it is more attractive to accept the changes that age brings and be confident in yourself, rather than refusing to accept what is happening. Geoff is an American business man who contacted me when he turned 57. He had never been married and affirmed that he was finally ready to settle down, preferably with a younger woman. Of course! Why not? He sent me a few photos, and in all of them he was wearing a cowboy hat. I prefer that the photos are without hats, sunglasses, or any other obstructions, so I asked Geoff to send me some photos without the hat. He did, and I immediately noticed the dead cat on his head. Now, there may be hairpieces that look natural, but in all honesty, Ive never seen one. And this one was obvious beyond a reasonable doubt, and it detracted from his natural good looks.

Nevertheless, he had some wonderful qualities, so I embarked on the search hoping that women would see past the dead cat, and to what was inside. Maybe the right woman could even convince him to bury it. Every response that I received said the same; his profile looks great, but the hairpiece was frightening. Most of the women were actually interested in meeting him, but they just couldnt deal with the hair piece. They didnt even want him to replace it with a better one; they just hated the idea of a man with a hair piece. After many such responses, I knew I had to be upfront with him. I took a deep breath (its not easy to approach a man about such a sensitive subject), and I told him of the feedback that I had received from all these woman- that even though they thought he sounded like a mensch, the hairpiece was an obstacle they couldnt get past. They would even prefer that he were bald. When I finished speaking, I tensed, waiting for his response, and I was shocked by his defensive and adamant response, Tell these women that I spend $10,000.00 a year just to maintain it! There was nothing I could say. His message was to let potential matches know that he had so much money that he could afford to spend $10,000.00 a year to take care of his hair, as if that was all that these women should care about. There wasnt a sincere thought to the constructive criticism he had received. His hairpiece was a statement of his financial success, but it might have been the only thing standing between him and a wonderful relationship. At the end of our contract, he was still single.

One of my closest friends loves hearing about my work. She is fascinated with all that has to do with human relationships, love, dating, etc, and many times we discuss my cases, anonymously, of course. I often speak of the difficult ones, and she is always thrilled when I tell her that one of my close-minded clients finally changed the wish list and was opening up to meeting someone who might not be an exact fit to previously strict requirements. One afternoon, she asked me if any of the singles who contact me ever had morals and ethics on their wish list. Well, women will include them more than men, I answered, and I proceeded to tell her another story of someone who doesnt: Michael is single, still. He was 38 years old when he contacted me. Hes a successful European businessman, attractive and charming. I had been working with him for a few months and he had rejected every profile that I had sent. His criteria were only that the woman be beautiful. Now trust me, when a client says beautiful, I know what he means, and to my eyes and I am sure to most eyes, all of these women were stunning. But he said, No, thank you to every one of them. Very politely, as if I was offering him a cigarette and he was not a smoker. One day, Michael sent me this email:

Dear Sara,

I do appreciate all the effort and hard work you are doing for me, but in order to make your work a little easier, maybe I should be more specific about the type of woman that Im attracted to. In terms of appearance, Im only looking for Angelina Jolie only in terms of appearance, of Joliecourse, (as if I would think that he was asking to meet the Hollywood star). I am not interested in s any woman unless she looks just like Angelina Jolie. Michael
I do have a client who looks just like Angelina, but unfortunately for Michael, shes searching for someone who looks just like Brad Pitt.

Many men over the age of 60 who contact me seem to live under the illusion that they can still compete for the affections of a woman in her 20s or 30s. Im not sure where they get this idea-maybe from the movies, maybe from the bevy of playmates that Hugh Hefner attracts. Whatever the source, they seem to think that if they have a whole lot of heart or a whole lot of money, a younger woman will fall for them no matter their age or appearance. In real life, it doesnt work that way. Some single, attractive women in their 20s and 30s are looking for a wealthy man, but they want one who is closer to their age bracket. They dont have the desire to date a rich great-grandfather, nor do they need to. There are plenty of handsome, young, energetic men with money; a 65 year old man is not on their radar. Recently, I began communicating with an older man suffering from precisely the type of disconnection from reality described above. When he initially contacted me, he told me he was 65 years old, so I told him about a 57 year old female client of mine with whom I thought he would hit it off. He responded by saying, She sounds lovely, but this is the kind of woman I prefer, and he proceeded to read me a list of numbers that correspond to women whose photos are posted on my website. All of the women he listed are in their 20s and 30s. I then received the following letter:

Dear Sara, before we go down this route, I would like to know about her (the potential match) and to see her photos as there must be a physical attraction Basically I am working hard to build a billion-dollar-plus company from scratch, as I took on the wrong partner who cost me a million dollars plus...I have been dealing with the People's Republic of China and next year will be 40 years that I have been dealing with them. I was the first to import Chinese marine and stationary diesel motors from China plus many other things I am currently lining up three very successful men from the Rich List of the top 100 wealthiest New Zealanders... I have lined up ten-billion-dollars-plus of investments which offer exceptional opportunity In fact; I am New Zealand's most experienced China Trader... So I am looking for an exceptional woman who wants a 24/7 relationship and (will) assist me in my goals of building a world class company. If all goes to plan we will live an exceptional life and if not, a very interesting one. I am attracted to a good looking, smart woman, who has a nice figure- as I am a bust man.
So, this 65 year old man is looking for a very young woman who is also willing to dedicate all of her time to help him to build a company. Oh, and she needs to be intelligent, attractive, and busty. Now tell me, what are the odds of this woman ever being found? Luckily, there are plenty of mature men who arent looking for arm candy. One older client from New York was adamant about not wanting to be matched with a younger woman. Humorously, he informed me, Sara, if I am with a young chick, I have to sleep with two guns in case she wants to kill me. That one kept a smile on my face for the entire afternoon.

Is there a difference between a dream and a fantasy? You bet. We all have dreams, and if we work diligently toward them, we can make those dreams reality. Fantasy, however, is completely out of touch with reality. How does this affect our approach toward dating and finding our perfect match? Sadly, those who are focused on a fantasy will likely never find their true love, because they are looking for all the wrong qualities. Many people have a mental checklist of what they require in a mate. Unfortunately this checklist has a lot more to do with looks and financial standing than with the qualities that will make a good life partner. In addition, many of those with unrealistic expectations will never have them fulfilled because they themselves cannot provide those qualities to someone else. A matchmakers task is not to cater to unrealistic fantasies; a matchmakers task is to find someone with whom you can truly be happy. Believe me, when times get tough (and they will get tough), having a wife who looks like Angelina Jolie or a husband who is wedded to his work is going to be little consolation. Find someone whose love and commitment will weather the hardships, and whose smile and friendly banter will start your day on a happy note, and youre halfway there.

Stop the Insanity

Find the person who will love you because of your differences and not in spite of them and you have found a lover for life. -Leo Buscaglia

Many people are so afraid of getting hurt that they will search diligently (and always find) at least one reason why the relationship could never work. It doesnt matter how small that one reason is in the great scheme of things, they will conclude that the relationship has no chance of succeeding, so why even begin? Sadly (and illogically) they frequently do this before they have ever even spoken to a potential match. They scrutinize the profile and reach their own conclusions about what the person does or doesnt want, what the person does or doesnt think, and what the person can or cannot change. You have absolutely no idea what another person wants and thinks unless the other person tells you directly, and even then, you put your own spin on it. When you try to interpret the mindset of another human being before youve even spoken, you are reaching conclusions based upon your own personal view of the world, and since no one else shares that exact same view, it is not logical that these conclusions are accurate. Is it really such a leap of faith to pick up a phone and talk to someone? To have a conversation where you can make an honest attempt to learn what makes a person tick, to ask questions and truly listen to the answers without adding your own bias? Be open! This is all that is required of love. Be open, ask questions, answer questions, and be flexible. Dont assume you know anything about a person simply by reading a brief paragraph or glancing at a few photos. Show some spunk, show some initiative, show a willingness to take a chance on the possibility that you might actually connect with another person on a very intimate level. Ahhh, but could it be that this is what you are afraid of?

I miss the days when a blind date was a blind date, and a matchmaker would simply call and say, I have a great guy for you; meet him. The couple would meet, talk, ask each other questions, and get to know each other face-to-face. Now, everyone expects to know all aspects of a personality before they ever speak with one another. They think that a profile should contain it all, as if a few paragraphs are an X-ray that can tell everything that is right or wrong about a match. After sending a profile to one of my clients, I received this response:

Dear Sara, Todd seems like a very nice man, right age, success level etc. I have two concerns. First, he does not seem like the sort who would be interested in spending a lot of time here in Israel. Second, he is seriously engaged in the reform movement and interested in a woman who is 'spiritual' though not necessarily orthodox. I have the opposite problem: I am not at all spiritual but extremely learned. Before I go out with him, I would need to know whether he has a sense of humor in general, which is not showing up in the profile, and a sense of humor about religion in particular, and an openness to someone with a genuinely secular sensibility, who hates synagogue as a form of social or spiritual life, whether orthodox or reform. I would also need to know whether he is open to spending a lot of time here in Israel. Suzannne Dear Suzanne, First of all, it is impossible to know the essence of a person simply through his/her profile. I'm sure the many facets of your personality also don't translate in your brief profile. The point of a profile is simply to have some basic information about a potential match, but you are not going to know anything vital about him unless you at least speak on the phone. That is what I would have recommended at this point, but unfortunately, when I passed your comments on to Todd, he concluded that maybe you are not a good match, so I will continue the search. I encourage you, however, to try not to read too much into what is written in the basic profile, and to keep yourself open to having a dialogue with the match before deciding one way or another if you wish to pursue a relationship. Warm regards, Sara

Sam wanted to meet slim and tall and of course, beautiful- lovely on the outside, needless to say. He was also tall, but he wasnt slim. Everything about him was round- round face, round glasses, and round the middle, but he was only interested in meeting a tall woman who was athletic and toned. I, of course, began searching for the woman of his dreams and only made introductions to those women who fit his preferences. During the process, I came across Ronits profile. Ronit was of average appearance and curvy, but I had an immediate feeling that she would be a good match for Simon. They had many things in common, and I could sense that their personalities would mesh. I was also very aware, however, that Simon would not agree to meet her because she was definitely not slim. As I always do in this situation, I approached Simon and asked him if being slim was a non-negotiable. He replied that it was. So, out of respect for his preferences, and believing that it was a futile pursuit, I ignored my intuition and continued introducing him to the skinny ones. One day, about halfway into our contract, my phone rings. The caller ID indicated that it was Sam and I assumed he was calling to tell me that the most recent match didnt work out and he wanted me to continue the search. Instead, he was looking for a mazal tov. Sara, Im getting married, he said. My heart soared. Of course he must be talking about the recent match Id made for him, who else could he be marrying? But he quickly continued, Im getting married to one of your clients, Sara, but you didnt introduce us. Its not the last match

you made for me. I met this woman on the internet, but it turns out that she is also a client of yours. What a coincidence, I exclaimed! G-d works in mysterious ways. I was truly happy for him. I certainly didnt mind that he had met his bride on his own, but I was very curious about who it might be. I asked her name, and as soon as we finished the conversation, I checked my files. Sure enough, my intuition was righthe was marrying Ronit.

Dear Sara, since you've been in this business for so long, I thought I'd ask your advice. If you write a column or blog, I give you permission to use my question anonymously. Please let me know if you do ever use my question. I'd really appreciate your help getting clarity on this situation and help me come to a decision. I don't know if I'm making excuses or if these are valid fears. I'm 29 and recently met a girl who is almost 40. She looks fantastic (even for girls my age), we get on quite well, our personalities match and our life goals are basically in the same direction. But there's always that nagging doubt about the age gap, mainly for the following reasons: * Thinking in 10 years she'll be 50 which is a mental block for me. I still feel like I'm in my 20's and that if I commit to her, my own age just got older. I'm a young-minded guy and I look good. I'm scared I'm going to wake up in a few years and think I've made a mistake when I could have married someone a lot younger. On the flip side, this might be an opportunity for me to take my life and start really living it

because I know time is a lot shorter. In addition, she looks younger than she is, and she has said that she wants to continue to look good for herself and will do what it takes to keep it that way with botox, surgery, etc. * We won't really be able to enjoy our married life together alone as we would have to start having kids immediately. We also both work long hours at the moment and live in different cities. So, that's my dilemma. I really hope to hear your thoughts. Natan

Dear Natan, given that I have been in this business for so long and I've seen both successful and failed relationships, I can tell you that one of the most important aspects in a relationship, and one that you didn't mention, is love. Relationships require work, and have less to do with age than with shared interests, respect, and admiration for the qualities that each partner brings to the relationship, and love. Yes, you could pursue the relationship, get married, watch it fail, and think you've made a "mistake" in your choice. But this could happen just as easily if you are with someone your own age. You are both going to get older, and you are both going to look older- this is inevitable no matter how old you are now. She will probably show her age before you do, but that isn't always the case. It depends a lot upon genes and how one takes care of themselves. Plenty of people look much older than their age because they don't take care of themselves, both inside and out. When she's 50, you'll be 39. So? We have no idea what time will bring to each of you over the next 10 years, and what effect it might have on your health and appearance. The important thing is that you love each other and want to care for each other no matter what happens, but at the same time, if you do decide in the future that you are no longer good together, well, that can happen to any couple. If you love each other, and make each other feel happy and appreciated- this is the goal, no matter the age. And if you really love her, I don't think her turning 50 is going to matter all that much. What will matter is that you have someone to share every aspect of your life with, to grow with, to learn with, and hopefully with whom you can become a better person. If you feel this way about this woman, then push these doubts from your mind and use that energy to build a strong relationship that other couples, no matter their age, will envy and hope to aspire to. I hope this helps. Best wishes, Sara

Occasionally, Im contacted by parents who want to do something to help their son or daughter find a great spouse. Sometimes they let the child know that they are working with a matchmaker, and other times they employ a variety of tricks so that their son or daughter doesnt actually know that the match was set-up. Parents can be very manipulative when they want to be! A few years ago, I was contacted by the mother of a 45 year old single male who made his living as a dentist. She was quite proud of him, and emphasized how wonderful he was, but her stipulation was that whomever I found as a possible match for him also had to be a doctor. Now, keep in mind that this was her wish. Her son had never indicated that he was only interested in dating doctors, but his mother believed this would be the only woman good enough for him. I began the search, limiting it drastically to only female doctors, and I was instructed to call the mother, not the son, when I found a potential match. And so it began. Nurit is a doctor. She is 35 years old What kind of doctor? Ophthalmologist Oh no, I dont want an ophthalmologist. Hagit is 36 yrs old, and a dermatologist. Ok. Where is she from? I believe her family is from Iran. Iranian? No, I dont want Iranian. And that is how it went for many, many months. If the area of medicine that the woman practiced was acceptable, then there was always something else that wasnt good enough. And her son never had a say in any of it. He had no idea that his mother was trying to sculpt his next love affair to her tastes. At the end of the contract, the mother was disappointed and upset with me because she felt I hadnt produced the exact daughter-in-law that she was seeking. My response? Mark my words, your son is going to meet a retail assistant working in a shopping mall and will marry her. This wasnt a curse or psychic insight, but when you are that determined to micro-manage your childs love life, believe me, fate will find a way to teach you a lesson.

One of the most difficult and sensitive issues that I deal with are women in their 40s who are desperate to have children. These are women who spent their prime child-bearing years dedicated to their careers, and it seems they wake up one morning in a state of terror when it hits them that their opportunity to have a child may have passed. By the time they contact me, they are not really concerned with finding their soul mate; they are hyper-focused on finding a man to father their child. For them, this is a non-negotiable. They refuse to date a man who has specified in his profile that he is doesnt want children or is not sure whether or not he wants children. They are not concerned with finding a compatible partner and building a relationship based on love, they are only concerned with finding a sperm donor. The irony of this situation is that many men in their 40s and 50s who still want to have children, prefer to have them with women in their 20s and 30s. My feeling is that if these women redirected their focus to finding a loving spouse regardless of the issue of children, then they might find that once in love, the man will decide that he does want to have another child, or maybe she will decide that the love she was craving has been satisfied with this wonderful man and she is not as driven to have a child. Or maybe the happy couple decides to adopt or truly being in love with each other and being there to support one another regardless of the issue of children. I mean, what happens if this 40+ year old woman marries a man simply to have a father for her children, and then for some reason, they cant have children? What would hold them together? Would they divorce and end up alone again? Im not sure there is an easy answer to this issue. One potential client was so afraid she would never find a man to father her child that she decided to pursue the path of artificial insemination. She became pregnant with triplets and then asked me if I thought the fact that she had three

newborn babies at home would affect whether or not men would want to date her. Well yes, it probably would. If you are near the end of your childbearing years, and you find yourself single and childless, I think it wise to choose your priority: having a child, or finding your soul mate. Im not saying that you cant have both, but if one takes precedence in your mind over the other, I advise you to pursue that goal, and be ready to accept that maybe the secondary goal will never come to fruition. If you decide a child is the priority, you may need to accept that the possibility of raising that child on your own, and if finding your soul mate is the goal, then you may have to accept never having children. Whatever your choice, make sure you are pursuing your goal for healthy reasons.

It makes me mad when women say, There are no good men out there. All the good ones have been taken, and a woman who has a good husband will never let him go. It makes me wonder, are some people just meant to be single? To say that there are no good men left, makes me question if maybe these women just have ridiculous expectations because there are plenty of good men out there! If you truly desire a relationship, yet you say that no man is good enough, what is the REAL problem? Could it be you? What do they really mean when they say that? Are some women simply meant to remain single, and if so, why? This is the case of attractive, lonely, successful from CA. No good man is good enough for her. I had been working with her for six months and to every profile I sent, she responded the same, No, thank you. And she looked for any excuse to decline contact. To one profile she responded, He doesnt like dogs. Actually, he loved dogs, but he simply missed the question on the questionnaire. When I corrected the error, she still said she wasnt interested. I often have the feeling that people read a profile trying to find what is wrong, instead of focusing on all the things that are right. This is what a 57 year old, single woman said to me, I would love to meet a man who enjoys sports as much as I do, so I sent her Daves profile, a fellow sportslover. A week went by and she hadnt responded. I reached out to her to make sure shed received the email. She apologized for not having answered, but there had been a hurricane warning in her area recently. Besides, she wanted to give it some thought because he wrote that he is happy with his work, and that he loves going skiing and scuba diving, but he didnt write about anything else. She decided that she couldnt get enough of a feel for him from the profile, so although he was a sports lover, since hed written little else, he must be obsessed with sports to the exclusion of other interests, and she didnt want this either. While I think we would have our passion for sports/activity in common, she continued, I can't get a sense of much more about Dave from his profile except that he enjoys his work, skiing, and scuba diving. I would like you to keep looking. Of course, her conclusions and decision were made without her ever speaking with Dave or asking him about his other interests.

Dear Sara, I'm sorry if I have not been clear on what I'm looking for! Over the last 30 days or so I received 5 or so matches, all very pretty, smart, Jewish women, but none have that extra of what I'm looking for!!!! SOMEONE THAT CAN GIVE ME BUTTERFLIESIN MY STOMACH EVERYTIME I SEE THEM! At this time in my life I'm not looking to just date, but to find the young woman that I can marry, that is why I came to you. I have tried to outline 6-8 women from your website who physically would make a good match for me and sent the extra info hair color, eye color, and facial features in a women that I look for, but no luck so far ! I do not have trouble dating! But when it comes to dating a Jewish young lady, thats where the trouble is---NONE IN MY AREA! So maybe my standards are too high and you can let me know if you think they are! So Im not sure where to go from here. Im very open to your feedback Thanks again, Michael Dear Michael, As to your admission, I have provided potential matches that are pretty and smart, and for all intents and purposes, viable possibilities for you. The issue is that you are not feeling "butterflies". Unfortunately, that is not something that I have any control over. It sounds as though you are hoping to feel chemistry with a photograph, and I'm not convinced that it's an entirely realistic expectation. At the very least, you should be willing to speak to the women by phone, and see if you feel a connection at that time. Photographs are extremely unreliable ways of determining attraction. I'm sure there are women who you have dated that if you had first seen their photo, you may have declined meeting. A photo should only be used to get a general idea of what a person is about, but it's a one-dimensional (and often inaccurate) evaluation method. I implore you to be more open and to agree to speak by phone before ruling out a potential match. Regarding some of my other clients with whom you've expressed an interest, I've contacted those whom I felt were possibilities, but they declined contact either because you weren't their physical type, or because they are seeking a professional partner. Of course, I am continuing the search, and hoping to find that elusive factor you seek, but I truly recommend that you speak to each possible match before saying "no". Best regards, Sara

Get Uncomfortable
You have to take risks. We will only understand the miracle of life fully when we allow the unexpected to happen. -Paulo Coelho

One of the most challenging aspects of matchmaking is finding people who are ready to think outside the box when it comes to love. Yes, we have concerns, yes, we have doubts, but part of the reason why you are where you are right now is because of the small, limited box that you have virtually drawn around yourself and your corner of the world. How many of us have developed a routine in our lives, which we stick with on a daily basis? I would guess the majority. We have developed a timetable based upon what we do and where we need to be at any given time of the day. We probably wake up around the same time and go to sleep around the same time, every day. Maybe we go out with the girls (or guys) every Thursday night, and do our grocery shopping on Sunday afternoon. We only like to watch certain television shows or a specific genre of movie (I hate chick flicks. or Action movies bore me to tears.). We order the same foods at the same restaurants, are drawn to specific authors or types of novels whom weve enjoyed in the past, and tend to spend time with people who also share our same likes and preferences. Its pretty boring! And its very limiting. And it really stifles personal growth. But we have an aversion to getting uncomfortable. We are very protective of the identity that we believe represents who we are, and we are extremely reluctant to act in a way that deviates from this idea. Allowing yourself to get uncomfortable is crucial to opening up your heart and letting someone in. It is also the quality required if you want to enjoy life to its fullest and be one of those who doesnt get irritated or stressed every time life seems to go a little off course. These are the people who are better able to go with the flow. Life has many twists and turns, and will often blindside you completely, but if you develop the ability to accept that this train doesnt always stay on track, you will be able to handle the ebb and flow with a lot more ease and humor- and that is a very attractive quality. When you apply this quality to your relationships, you stop limiting yourself to partners who only share your small category of interests, and you open up your life and heart to a world that includes lots of new interests and experiences. Do you limit yourself by only considering a relationship with someone in a certain age range? Do you refuse to date someone who already has children? Do you insist that your potential soul mate live within a 30-mile radius? Do you only want to start a dialog with someone who feels exactly as you do about religion, politics, sports, travel, pets, etc? Speaking from personal experience, I can tell you that over the course of my life, my opinion on each of those topics has changed, and many of you would say the same, and if it hasnt changed for you, Im sure you know people who seem to have done a complete 180 in terms of their beliefs. How many people do you know who have become more, or less, religiously

observant over the years? How many have become more conservative with age, or more become o liberal? How many people have developed a love for travel, or lost their desire for travel? I could go on and on with examples, but the point is that our tastes do change, and they change even faster if we allow ourselves to experience life in ways that are out of our comfort zone. that My biggest success stories are those that only transpired after a client was willing to come out of a self-imposed shell and experience life with someone who sees things from a different imposed perspective and with a different set of interests. Not only do I see some of the most loving set partnerships between two such people, but I also see great potential for growth in each individual as they begin to expand their knowledge and viewpoint. Children are naturally very curious, but as adults, we seem to have become so stuck in our opinions and habits that we stifle this natural inclination and devote more energy to defending the way Ive always done it. Well, if youre alone and have yet to find the love of your life, then . the way Ive always done it is probably not working. The next time you find yourself starting to say no or Im not interested or that doesnt sound fun to me, or expressing disdain for , anything that is out of your norm say yes instead. Then sit back and see where it takes you. norm,

Talmud affirms that G-d has a specific partner for every living individual. He brings d two people together, even if he must retrieve them from one end of the world to the other. The Talmud explains that only G can understand the fundamental qualities that enable G-d ndamental one human being to be successfully matched with another. Only G d can bring two G-d seemingly dissimilar personalities together so that they cleave to each other and become one.

Dear Sara, Thank you for sending me the profile and photo of Miri She is very attractive and clearly has ing Miri. excellent values and the same ideas as I have regarding what I want in a relationship. I defiantly what have not kept Shabbat in the past but am very respectful of those who do. I think the bigger ink question I have is how do I go to the next step to meet someone living in Antwerp when I spend my time between Montreal and Lausanne? I just do not know how practical it is to try and develop a relationship with someone far away. develop As you know, it takes time and it is better when you can get to know someone on a day to day basis and build the relationship in a relaxed way with some continuity.

I would appreciate your comments. All good wishes, Danny

Dear Danny, I think a key factor to remember in life is to make decisions based upon TODAY, not forecasts of what or may not happen in the future. All we have is TODAY. We can prepare for the future, but it is impossible to know what is actually going to happen then. You've said many wonderful things about Miri. My advice is to at least speak to her and just take things one day at a time. . Even if you speak a few times on the phone, or by Skype, you will soon know if things can develop. If not, then nothing lost. If yes, then just take it step by step and let the future work itself yes, out. Too many people let good things slip away because they are too focused on the "what if this on happens..." We don't know what is going to happen, and if the two of you really have a connection, then everything will fall into place. ion, Sincerely, Sara

Karen had been divorced for ten years when she contacted me, and she had been depressed for much of that time. She wasnt happy about the divorce, and she was very, very lonely. She was dating, but hadnt yet found the man with whom she really wanted to start over. She did have other good things in her life: she had a great job, traveled the world, and had two healthy and happy adult children. She registered with me, but when our year together ended, she had still not met the right one. I had introduced her to eight men over the course of the year, although I actually sent about fifteen profiles for her to review. All of the men met her basic criteria, but after each first date, they either decided they werent interested, or she decided she wasnt interested. She was very, very picky. She refused one man who was wearing a black t-shirt, because she didnt like men wearing black clothes. She refused a man who was photographed with his dog because she was afraid of big dogs, and she refused one man who had an accent from the north of England (she was from London). So, our contract ended without success. A year later, she called and wanted to re-register. This time, however, I told her we were doing it my way, which meant that I was no longer going to accept her excuses. Black clothes, pets, accents, whatever- this time around she was going to have to be more open. The first profile that I sent, she refused. I reminded her that it was my way this time. So, she said, Sara Im not attracted to fat men. I asked her, Did you like what you read about him? He was an amazing man. The way he spoke about his feelings, his family, his children, and what he wanted to give a woman- it was clear he was a mensch. She replied, absolutely, but Sara... At this point, I pushed her, I said, Look Karen, people cannot become taller or shorter. People will not become honest from one day to the next, but fat can become slim. Besides, maybe he is an emotional eater and being in love will help him lose the weight, or maybe he will be so fantastic that you wont even care if he is a little overweight. She agreed to talk to him. She called me one week later and said, Wow. Weve been talking every single night. He is adorable. But Im really worried because he is flying to Brussels to meet me. What if he is really fat? She was truly scared because he had told her that he had put on weight, and she feared that when he stepped off the plane, he was going to be so big that she would feel like running away. Three weeks later she called me. She had gone to the airport and the man who got off the plane was definitely big, but she had fallen madly in love. Between his arrival and this email, he had taken her to Prague and proposed. She said yes.

Richard was a 43 year old single man of Persian descent and living in California. He suffered from what I commonly refer to as The Blonde Syndrome. He would only agree to meet with a potential match if she had blonde hair, and he preferred it long- if she came with blue or green eyes and fair skin, even better. We started working together and six months

passed without success. When I say without success, I dont mean to indicate that he had no matches, he did; some he refused, some refused him, and others he dated, but none of them developed into long-term relationships. It was around the six-month point that Richard told me that he was coming to Israel for the holidays. Of course, he wanted to make the most of his trip and asked that I schedule coffee dates between himself and some blondes in Israel. Meira was everything except blonde. Her Moroccan ancestry blessed her with clear olive skin, deep dark eyes, and gorgeous long black hair. She also had an amazing personality. I asked her if she would be willing to meet Richard during his visit, and she enthusiastically agreed. Do you think I asked Richard if he was willing to meet a dark-haired beauty? Absolutely not. I didnt send him a photo; I didnt provide a description. I only provided him with her phone number and told him to call her upon his arrival. At this point, he just assumed she would be blonde. Do you think he was upset with me? Absolutely not. They are happily married and living in sunny California.

Its an age-old dilemma. If opposites attract, then why do we keep looking for a partner who shares our same interests? Is it really so important that a couple enjoy the same activities and share the same likes/dislikes, or is it more exciting if each person can introduce the other to something new? Well, like most things in life, the truth lies somewhere in between. I dont think anyone can discount the thrill of meeting someone who shares your obsession of a particular genre of film or music, or with whom you can engage in hours of conversation over some obscure topic in which no one else seems interested. This is what finding a soul mate feels like, right? Well, yes. But a soul mate is also someone who encourages you to expand your comfort zone and experience new things. Your focus should be finding a partner whose values match yours. Draw up a list of five value-based character traits that are simply not up for negotiation, and look first for those. Once this hurdle has been crossed, you can turn your attention to your individual interests. Say you are a fan of the opera, and your partner is addicted to trance music. Is this an impasse? Not at all. The key is how willing each of you is to opening your minds and experiencing the interests of the other.

Do you make the effort to listen to his trance music, and learn how this particular genre speaks to him? Does he surprise you with tickets to the opera, and seem willing to share the experience with you? It may not lead to either of you thoroughly enjoying the others preference, but the act of trying to understand what appeals to the other will lead to a more open and loving relationship. The bottom line is, if you find a person whom you can respect and love, then open yourself up to new interests and experiences, and try to discover more about your partner through the subjects that appeal to him/her. And if there are some activities in which you just cannot conjure an interest, then as long as they are not harmful to the relationship, accept them as part of this person, and understand that finding someone with whom you share EVERY interest, is an unrealistic goal.

During the telephone interview with prospective clients, we often discuss what they have been doing up to that point in their effort to meet their basherte. Most of the time, they have aggressively used internet dating sites to find a partner, and they come to me after experiencing burn-out with the process. I always ask them what they found so difficult, what they were looking for, how the photos affected their response, whether they actually read the profiles, and how often did the profile turn them off of making contact? One woman informed me that she had been a member of a well-known dating site for three years, and in spite of receiving a large number of messages from other members, she only went out with one or two of them after scrutinizing the online profiles. She summed it up like this, The ones who were attractive were not romantic. The ones who were attractive and romantic would not relocate. Those who would relocate and were attractive and romantic didnt like cats. And this went on and on. This woman believed that every quality she wanted in a match could undoubtedly be determined from what was written in his profile, and if it wasnt there, he must not possess it. And she is not the only person who thinks this way. It happened again today; one of my clients is refusing to meet lawyers or men with finance-based careers because she interprets that to mean they wont be passionate or romantic.

If you have gone this far in life and still have not met that one man or woman who possesses every characteristic that you seek, rest assured, you wont. And believe me; you do not possess every single characteristic that someone else is looking for either. What are the five most important traits that your spouse should have? Look for these and let the rest of the characteristic chips fall where they may.

Forget the Past

When one door of happiness closes, another opens: but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us. -Helen Keller

One of the most inhibitory influences when searching for our soul mate is allowing the past to color our vision of the future. Yes, there are lessons we can learn from the past, but what we often fail to do is take the events of the past and use them to learn more about ourselves, and what we can do differently in the future. Instead, we are more inclined to take the events of the past and externalize them, by deciding what external factors we will avoid in the future. This isnt always the best information we could have taken from the experience. Certainly, when it comes to abuse, we need to do all that we can not to repeat that type of relationship, but most of our past experiences will not reoccur in the same way because we will be dealing with different people hence, different personalities and different outcomes. And hopefully, if we have done some introspection on the negative events of our lives, we ourselves have become different people with the ability to handle the same circumstances in a healthier manner. Take for example, the many people who are children of divorced parents, or had a parent who abandoned them. As adults, they often spend the majority of their relationship energy being fearful of trusting too much, or being in a constant state of worry that their partner is not going to be faithful or will eventually leave. This is a very destructive consequence of a life episode that you had no control over, but in reality, the fact that your parents divorced has little to do with the men or women that you meet. Your fear of abandonment, however, will most definitely affect your relationships. You can either choose to bring that fear into every relationship and watch it fall apart, or you can work on yourself to eliminate that fear so that it stops destroying the real potential of today. Not all issues of the past stem from childhood. Maybe you were married to a woman who cheated on you, or maybe your moderately religious husband became ultra-orthodox and the marriage ended, or possibly you dated someone with children from a previous marriage and it turned out badly. So in the future, you try to control the relationship, or you only date secular men, or you refuse to date anyone with children. All this in an attempt to hedge your bets against the possibility of another failed relationship. But there is no guarantee that any relationship will last, and there is also no assurance that if you just avoid a similar situation, everything will turn out fine. Instead, you are limiting your future prospects, and at the same time, you are not taking what you learned from the past and growing in your ability to love, you are only more fearful, less flexible, and more restricted. Every person and every situation is different. Dating another woman with children does not mean the situation will turn out the same. It is a different woman with different children, all have different personalities and behaviors, and one relationship has no influence on the other. The only influence is what you learned from the first relationship that can help you more productively deal with any issues that might come up in the new one.

Keep this in mind when you are drafting up your list of no-nos for future relationships. Again, the more restrictions you put in place, the more closed you become, and the more you limit your chances at love and happiness.

Sara, I read the profile and looked at the picture. She is beautiful, obviously intelligent and seems to be "normal" (whatever that is). However, I wonder about the circumstances surrounding her having a child. Let me explain, a few years ago, I met, fell in love and married a "nice Jewish girl" who had a daughter about two years old. The result was one of my biggest learning experiences...or in other words, one of the worst times of my life. Don't get me wrong, I made mistakes in that relationship too but I decided that it would not be wise to travel down that road again. I hope you understand, Mark Dear Mark, Let me be honest with you, one of the biggest relationship mistakes is living in the past. If you touch a hot stove and get burned, it's good to learn not to touch a hot stove- but the stove doesn't change, the stove is always the stove. In this case, however, you are dealing with a completely different human being, so to base your decision on something that happened in a past relationship with someone else, is really selling yourself and her short. Ultimately, it's your decision, but my advice is to let life happen naturally and you will see what wonderful things the universe will bring to you. Sara

For some people, the past is like a shadow that follows them throughout life and subconsciously influences their important decisions. The influence is rooted in past events but attaches itself to current issues. This may be productive in some instances, but all-too-often, it stifles our growth and opportunity for genuine happiness. Often, people arent even aware of how much control over their life has been given to a belief system that they themselves created, and hence, can alter. After meeting many potential matches and deciding not to pursue any of them, a client finally confessed that he wasnt interested in these women because none of them were like his mother, whom he believed was the perfect example of a wife. His father had always told him that when looking for a spouse, he should find one that was just like his mother- a woman who had been a very devoted wife to him, and loving mother to their children. She truly lived only for them. This might have been a good rule of thumb 60 years ago, when the majority of women didnt pursue professional careers and didnt work outside of the home, but it was going to prove more difficult to apply the same standard to the active, professional woman of today. Because of this ideal, my client wasnt interested in meeting professional women unless they were willing to give up their career once married. He went on first dates as though he were interviewing the women for a job as his housekeeper. He got very angry with me for even suggesting that he alter his approach and focus first on finding a woman he could love; he simply wouldnt acknowledge that his rigid criteria was holding him back. It was impossible for me not to inform potential clients of what he was looking for. I mean, it was only fair to the women to know what this man wanted in a spouse, so I did tell them, and he only contacted the ones who stated that they were willing to give up their careers and care only for the home. Unfortunately, it didnt improve his success rate; the women reported that every interaction with him felt like a job interview instead of the natural rhythm of a date. Ultimately, we were never able to find a match that compared with his idealized version his mother, hence, his future wife. I heard from a colleague that he is still single and simply moving from matchmaker to matchmaker. I do wish I could have helped him, but as Dr. Phil says, You cannot change, what you cannot acknowledge.

Occasionally, I start working with a client only to discover that past relationships have caused wounds to the point where he or she is nowhere near ready to get involved in another one. In these cases, it would be wise to focus inward on healing oneself and letting go of the hurt and pain, before looking for another relationship. Unfortunately, what I tend to see in these cases is not a person who takes the lessons of the past and applies them to making internal changes, but instead, are so frightened of getting into the same type of situation that any characteristic of a potential match that might indicate a similarity to a previous partner is grossly magnified. It makes me think of someone who a deep wound that needs serious attention, but instead keeps it covered up with a band aid and tries not to accidently bump it into anything. It may help avoid some measure of pain, but the wound doesnt properly heal. One client, in particular, revealed the depth of her wound in a lengthy email after I had suggested a match. I have not included the meat of the email, which goes into personal detail regarding her failed marriage, but I want to show the portions of the email that reflect how she is projecting her fears outward and applying them to a person with whom she has never spoken. She gleans from his brief profile that he is a needy man of routine who doesnt have the ability to approach a relationship with respect for the individuality of both people involved. Unless she possesses supernatural powers, there is no legitimate way to be able to assess his profile in this manner. It is simply her fears being projected onto him:

Dear Sara, Yes, bears* can be shaved, but, having been married to one, am not sure it is a good idea. The best part of your man's profile was his profession. Regretfully, this is a non-starter. Thank you for trying. Perhaps when reading your man's profile he came across as a needy fellow, who saw the good things coming to him, rather than his going out to meet up with good things. Perhaps his photo shows a sulky little boy under that hirsute visage. Caesar deemed Caius Cassius a lean and hungry man, not to be trusted. Sometimes, those lean and hungry types have more going for them. Sometimes. As said sometime earlier, on the phone perhaps, we all carry so much baggage that the older we are, the more difficult it is to find a new partner- especially so for those who first time round married late... Perhaps that might give some idea of where and why I don't find your man's profile negotiable. Am I difficult? Rather, where is the constructive man, the one who actively creates his world? Possibly most Jewish men are men of routine, with an eye to social acceptance which is in many ways sensible [minyan, shul, community, overt fund-raising etc] staying outside the fold could be dangerous, isolating, making one vulnerable. So, I accept that it's not going to be easy to find even one man who would like to walk and talk, watch the sea, write a book, paint a picture, etc with mutuality, rather than with neediness. Yes, please do keep looking.

*This potential match has facial hair, hence the bear reference.

Similarly, the following note from a client contains no less than two references to past experiences that are limiting her current choices, in addition to her bi-polar interpretation of the photographs.

Hi Sara, Hmmm, I'm not you just have the one photo of him or could you send another? I feel like Goldilocks but the first guy seemed too into his looks, and this guy seems a bit scruffy! . it's probably a good idea if I give you some feedback on why he (the most recent match) wasn't right, as I imagine it will help: The main thing was religion; he wasn't brought up with any form of religion, which I didn't initially think would be a problem ...I went out with a non-Jewish guy who was much more tolerant/open-mindedbut the thing was that he found it (me) such a curiosity and I found that we never stopped talking about it and I had to defend it as he'd had a couple of bad experiences with religious Jews. I just found him really closed-minded. He was quite right to end things early before anyone got hurt but it made me realize that if your level is too different there is just a fundamental lack of understanding and/or you have to explain yourself ALL the time (I don't think I had one conversation with him where religion didn't come up, and yet I really don't think about it that much ordinarily!). Looks-wise, he was a good height, quite good-looking (although didn't fit in with my 'perfect' type - I should send you a photo of my ex who was spot on my type, but that's probably not a good idea!!). Best wishes, Margie
Margie has decided that the first potential match is too into his looks and that the second doesnt care enough about looks. She has also declined a match because he wasnt brought up religiously and she had a bad experience dating a non-Jew. She is convinced that she will get the exact same reaction from him as she got from her non-Jewish boyfriend. Interesting that she describes him as close-minded but she herself is now exhibiting close-mindedness in her search for a partner. Finally, she concludes that finding a guy who looks like her ex is probably not a good idea- the inference being that any relationship with a look-alike is also certain to fail. Do any of those conclusions make sense? Not really. Is she limiting her chances at happiness? Absolutely.

Open Your Heart

People are very open-minded about new things- as long as theyre exactly like the old ones. -Charles F. Kettering

The future- how exciting it can be, full of promise and hope. And if you face it with an open heart and open mind, think of all the wonderful experiences it will bring to you. Even stressful times can be handled maturely and wisely, if you have been able to grown and learn from the past not to become a more closed individual, but to become someone who is confident in the fact that you will be able to handle anything that comes your way, and nothing will happen that you will not be strong enough to get through. When it comes to matters of the heart, this is an important lesson to learn. Be open to giving and receiving love via a wide range of experiences and life situations, and you will find yourself in a lasting relationship that allows both partners room to grow and develop and support each other through thick and thin. Make it a point to eliminate restrictive criteria from your ability to love another person and let him or her love you. Be willing to accept the circumstances that surround another human being because inherently, that other person is deserving of this acceptance, and every circumstance can become an opportunity that enables you to show how open and loving a person you have become. Dont try to contain your love within a small box that only allows certain people in. Only by broadening your horizons can you be assured that the right person will come into your life at the right time, and that your future will be able to unfold exactly as it should, without fear and inhibition. What exactly do I mean when I say, broaden your horizons? As Ive said before, stop limiting your options by specifying that you only want to meet someone who falls within a certain height or weight range, or has a certain hair or eye color, or makes only a certain amount of money, or has a specific career, or has children, or doesnt have children, is divorced, or has never been married, has facial hair, doesnt have facial hair, etc. How do you know that your true soul mate actually fits into one of these limiting categories? A soul mate isnt about what someone looks like, or how much money they earn, or whether or not they were married before they met you; a soul mate is about what someone feels like- to your heart, your mind, andyour soul. You have no idea what your soul mate is going to look like. So why in the world are you approaching the search as if you do? Through the years, I have been witness to the fact that true love can rear its lovely head in the most surprising of places, and those who cast aside their pretentious ideas of how their soul mate should be packaged, find themselves in some wonderful relationships. I get excited when I have a client who truly understands this concept and is enthusiastic about the unpredictability of love. As one client said to me after I made her shidduch, Sometimes I just look at Kobi in awe and think, so this is how G-d packaged my soul mate! And I am overwhelmed with gratitude that I am able to share my life with this wonderful man.

Ruth was visiting Israel from India, and she called me as soon as she landed and told me that she wanted to meet. She had found my name and number on Sasson Vsimcha, a website which contains a comprehensive list of international matchmakers, and she was determined to see me during her visit to Israel. She traveled with her uncle from Haifa to Jerusalem. She looked and sounded lovely. She was 42 years old, a professional, who in her own words said, Please help me find a husband. If I go back to India, I will be single forever or be forced to marry a Hindi. Wow. She was only going to be in Israel for a month and a half. What a challenge. I was petrified, really. I wanted her to leave; I didnt want to take her as a client because I really didnt think I could help her in such a short time. A month and a half to find her perfect match and have the two of them fall in love before she returned to India? It reminded me of those movies where if the main character doesnt marry in one month, he loses the millions in inheritance money that his rich uncle bequeathed to him. To discourage her, I suggested that she should go back to Haifa and think about it a little more. She consented, and when she and her uncle walked out the door, I breathed a sigh of relief, and mentally said, phew. Ten minutes later- a knock on the door. I have already thought about it, she said. I know you can help me. Lets go for it. How about that for positive thinking! She signed the contract and completed the questionnaire. She didnt leave me with photos, because back then, matchmakers didnt work as much with photographs. If someone provided me with a photo, it was because they wanted me to remember how they looked, but it wasnt intended to be forwarded to a potential match. In those days, a matchmaker would simply call a potential match and tell him/her, I have a new client, shes 42, single, from India, and will relocate for her soul mate. Do you want to meet her? The minute she left I started working; we didnt have much time on our hands, just a month and a half to find a husband! Immediately, an image of David flashed through my mind, and instinctively I knew that it would be a good match. David had been a client for more than a year and just hadnt yet met the right woman. I telephoned him, and he enthusiastically responded, I would love to meet her. I called Ruth right away. As I was describing him to her, a red flag popped into my mind that said, He smokes, and she doesnt want a smoker. I didnt want it to be a deal-breaker, but I told her, Listen Ruth, I just remembered, David smokes. Oh no, Sara, I told you no smokers, please look for someone else. Ruth, go and meet him. Youve got nothing to lose. Maybe he smokes because he is lonely. Ruth and David met. The rest is history. They are happily married.

The longer you wait to marry, the greater the odds that you will be dating someone who is already married, divorced, and with children. Though some clients wont consider dating someone with children, most of them realize that at a certain age, its almost inevitable, and with maturity, wisdom, love, and humor, it can turn out to have some very rewarding benefits. Be aware that especially at the beginning of the relationship, children are going to take precedence over you, and thats perfectly normal. One of the most important things a divorced parent can do is to create a stable environment for a child in an instable situation. When the parent is dating, the child must see that his/her needs take precedence. You need to be understanding and flexible in this situation, and realize that this is your chance to shine. If plans change at the last minute because of a childbased emergency, dont show irritation. Instead, offer to be of assistance, and assure

your date that the evening can be made up another time. Remember that your date was also looking forward to seeing you, but children come first, and that last thing you want to do is make him or her feel guilty for putting a child first. As the relationship grows, your role in the household will grow, and you will begin to feel more comfortable vocalizing your opinion. Hopefully, youve shown maturity and thoughtfulness when dealing with the child up to this point, and your opinion can be valued. In addition, if youve made an effort to really get to know the child, and have spent quality time with him/her, then you have, hopefully, become an important role model in the childs life. This is truly a gift. To have a role of influence in the development of another human being is one of lifes greatest opportunities. Optimally, you will have the chance to play this role in the lives of your own children, but showing genuine concern and understanding toward your partner and his or her children, shows a truly loving and selfless character.

All too often, it is easy for us to point out the mistakes of others and not notice our own flaws. Its painful to look at oneself and see where we fall short; its much easier to direct blame elsewhere. However, if you notice a pattern in your relationship issues, it might be time to take a good, hard look at your own culpability and work to make yourself a better partner. Growing up, the majority of us probably did not have the best role models for a successful relationship. Many of us came from divorced homes, and even if our parents stayed together, there may not have been much love shown between them. Or maybe one of them was away most of the time, leaving a void in our development. Whatever the circumstance, it may have led to our inability to work through issues, or forgive angry outbursts, or simply deal with everyday issues that couples are faced with and work through them in a healthy manner. Look back over your relationship history. Are you unforgiving of flaws? Do you demand perfection? Maybe you take the opposite track, are a pleaser, and bury your identity? Do you place more importance on spending time with friends, and have difficulty merging your life with your partners? Do you have intimacy issues, whether physical or emotional?

These are serious questions, and could take much soul-searching to reach an honest answer. Many of these types of issues stem from childhood emotional traumas from which our subconscious mind attempted to protect us. Unfortunately, those protective mechanisms are now preventing us from experiencing a healthy love relationship. If you suspect that you are causing your own relationship problems, open yourself up to speaking with a counselor and try to learn new methods of reacting to old triggers. If you are in a relationship, and you see yourself sabotaging it, try to open up to your partner and bring your insecurities to the table. The goal is to accept you were hurt, find new ways of dealing with the pain, and move forward to form healthier relationships.

Marty is in his early 60s and has been on a roller-coaster ride of love for most of his adult life. He came to me after his third marriage ended, as well as unsuccessful attempts at numerous romantic relationships. He is an attractive, funny, intelligent man who loves to pamper his partner but is very egalitarian minded. When I first met him he was searching for a woman who would be his best friend and lover. He wanted someone attractive, but he didnt have any set criteria on what that meant. Basically, she just had to be attractive to him. He likes to be very connected with his partner and to do everything together. Even to the point where he was a bit controlling in his insistence that whomever he was dating should show the same enthusiasm as he had for the activities that he enjoyed. This included his religious observances: attending synagogue, observing Shabbat, and keeping kosher. This requirement actually stopped him from dating many women to whom he was attracted. When we started working together, he was ready to try something new. He started dating a vivacious, energetic woman a few years his junior. She was divorced with two grown children, and very independent. She didnt have this same need to be tied at the hip. She enjoyed the time they spent together but she also enjoyed her time alone and with friends. She was not looking to remarry, but she was interested in a lifelong partnership. She was also nonobservant. All of this was a shock to Martys system, but they got on so well together and so enjoyed their time together that soon they fell in love. Marty decided that he was going to try something different. Since his old mindset hadnt brought lasting love into his life, maybe it was his mindset that needed to change. He stopped demanding that his partner be a mirror image of himself, and simply let himself love her for who she is. He accepted her need to have her space, and he has found things to occupy his time when they are not together. He continues his level of observance, and does not demand that she do the same. If she flips the light switch on Shabbat, he does not internalize it; as long as he is not flipping switches, he is content. He has expanded his heart and mind and is the happiest he has ever been.

Respect Yourself
Love yourself first and everything else falls into line. You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world. Lucille Ball

Although I wholeheartedly believe that the best way to find your soul mate is to be yourself, I also wholeheartedly believe that one should put their best foot forward, especially on a date. Even if you are sitting across from your soul mate, if you chew with your mouth open, dress sloppily, look like you spent the day repairing the washing machine, or simply just dont look as though you care enough about yourself or the date to make an effort, even your soul mate may walk away. But Im actually jumping ahead of myself, because with a matchmaker or online dating, the first impression isnt usually the first date, its the photos that are sent to a potential match. And you wouldnt believe how important these photos are! From my experience, if the potential match doesnt immediately like what he/she sees in the pictures, they pass. No matter how intriguing the profile, the match has to feel a connection with the person in the photos before committing to making contact. In this day and age, how do people not know this? I still receive photos from people that make them look as though they could be anybody. They hide their hair (or baldness) under hats and scarves, they hide their faces (or wrinkles) behind sunglasses, or the photo is taken from such a distance that you cant make out a single thing about their features. The point is, a potential match wants to know what you look like, and if you look as though youre hiding something, they wont even give you the benefit of the doubt. My recommendation is that a client use photos that show him/her in a natural, comfortable setting- maybe playing with a pet, or laughing with friends or family. Make sure there is nothing obstructing your face, and make sure the photo was taken close enough so that the viewer can see what you look like. I mean, isnt that the whole point? Ive received client photos that just make me wonder, What are you trying to prove? I once received a photo of client on the back of an elephant. Cute, but the only one fully visible in the photo was the elephant. What was this person really trying to say? That he is an avid traveler? That he is not afraid of elephants? That he looks cool in Ray Bans? This is a no-no. Tell your date about the amazing time you had on your African safari, but dont use that photo as your initial greeting. At this point, it will not impress the potential match because right now all they want to see is your face. Once youve passed the photo test, its time to speak to your match on the phone. Be considerate and dont pick a time when you know youll be interrupted; you want to give your full attention to the conversation. Its important that you dont dominate the conversation. This also applies to your first date. The point is to learn a little something about what makes the other person tick, and you cant do this if you are the one doing all the talking. Dont worry, if the two of you hit it off, youll have plenty of time to talk about yourself, but dont scare your date by

making it appear as if you are self self-centered and self-absorbed. Ask questions and really listen absorbed. to the answers, and if your match is a considerate person as well, he or she have plenty of questions of their own for you to answer. stions If you are meeting in person, then dress nicely and greet your date with a smile (theres nothing nicely more appealing). Try to relax and again, simply focus on getting to know someone else without all the pressure of immediately deciding how you feel about the person. Enjoy the time spent iately together and mull it over later. Focus your thoughts on whats being said and soaking up the atmosphere. Just enjoy the fact that you are participating in the wonderfully human activity of getting to know another person, regardless of where it goes. I actually encourage my clients to go on at least two dates before deciding the match wont work. Many times there is so much pressure on the first date, that it skews the results. Again, it doesnt mean youve decided one doesnt way or the other, it just means the first date wasnt a disaster and neither was the company.

Its no secret that a first date ranks high on the list of anxiety-producing events. Choosing what to wear, where to go, and what to do is stressful enough, but youve also got to provide stimulating conversation, witty commentary, and project an appealing and desirable image. Its enough to have the most confident of us pretty strung out by the time the date is at the door. Many of us reach for a drink to calm our nerves, so whats the protocol for drinking on a first date? Like almost everything, the key is common sense and moderation. Having a glass of wine (or a beer, or a mixed drink) at dinner is certainly a nice way to relax, and it really can take the edge off. My advice, however, is to stop after that first drink. You may be tempted to order another, and you might even be able to handle it, but I advise that you dont. No one looks good drunk, and once youve had two or three drinks, youre less apt to be able to stop yourself from having more. With slurred speech, an unsteady walk, and a laugh that is a little too loud, youre almost guaranteed to blow your chance at Date #2. Ive heard horror stories of women who have had too much to drink on that first date, and later tried to pretend they couldnt remember their embarrassing behavior. Of course, none of the men wanted to pursue a relationship, because all of them assumed that these women had emotional problems that led them to over-drink. So instead of that second drink, breathe deeply, relax, and take this opportunity to get to know another person. If you focus your attention on your date and take it off yourself, youll ease your anxiety, and truly enjoy the evening.

You never get a second chance to make a first impression is nowhere more applicable than on that nerve-wracking first date. In this world of online Jewish dating and Jewish matchmaking, if youve made it past the horrific photo and profile screening and actually scored a genuine face-to-face encounter, you should consider yourself lucky. Getting to date #2, however, is not a given, and your behavior now just might be the make-or-breaker. 1) Past Relationships: Asking if your date has ever been married is a legitimate question, but thats where it should end. At this point you dont need to know the Who, What, Why, or How of that relationship. And you dont need to provide this information about yourself either. This advice also applies to anyone you have ever dated. Do not discuss these relationships and most of all- do not BASH your ex (or exs). Nothing is less appealing than someone who is still so bitter that they feel the need to trash-talk the ex. Given the fact that there must have been something about the person that attracted you in the first place, if you trash-talk them now it only makes you appear to possess either bad judgment (why did you date them in the first place?) or confirm that youre still hung up on them. Neither of these conclusions places you in a positive light. 1) Medical Issues: Wanna put your date in a squeamish state of mind? Start talking about the rash you developed at the beginning of summer, or how the doctor keeps upping your Prozac dosage. Or maybe you prefer to launch into a discussion of how Siamese twins runs in your family or how there seems to be a history of dementia on your mothers side. Believe me,

medical issues are not to be shared on the first date. In fact, you may be better served by keeping these beauties under cover until youve returned from the honeymoon. 2) Family Problems: Giving your brother the ten-year silent treatment? Hate your sister and think her kids are holy terrors? Well, you may have a point, but if you want to give the impression that youd make a great spouse and an even better parent, you probably dont want to reveal the fact that you cant even get along with members of your own flesh and blood. You also dont need to get into the difficulties your Aunt Shifra is having getting pregnant or discuss the exploits of that scandalous womanizer- your Great-Uncle Moishe. 3) Money Woes: The whole neighborhood is whispering about your past-due credit cards and the local mini-market has your bounced check stapled near their cash register, but if youve scored this date, he/she might be the one person in town who doesnt yet know you cant balance your checkbook. Please, dont be the one who breaks the news. Steer away from all money topics including how much you earn, your clever trick of paying the minimum on your credit cards with other credit cards, and your entrepreneurial method of selling food stamps on EBAY for gas money. Oh, and dont ask your date for their salary quote either. 4) Religion and/or Politics: Briefly disclosing that youre more liberal than right-wing or that you follow a Modern-Orthodox stream of Judaism rather than a Reform one, isnt a bad thing. As a matter of fact, aside from the inexplicable love between hard-core democrat James Carville and Mary Matalin- his Republican Consultant of a wife, I would venture to say that being on common religious and political ground is going to make your bond stronger. Unleashing two terms of pent-up aggression towards the Bush administration and that fiasco in Iraq over your fat-free cappuccino, however, is not the way to forge it. Religion and Politics are touchy subjects for everyone no matter what their beliefs, and youre probably not going to agree on every facet, so lets leave this alone for now. Once youve gone out a few more times and your date is aware that youre not a fanatical republican-hating, love bead wearing, anti-war hippie throwback, then you can discuss politics.

There is no loss of internet articles or printed books that delve into all areas of dating and how you should be doing something differently. Youll learn what you should and shouldnt do, wear, discuss, say, eat, joke about, divulge, be secretive about, etc.. Youre even instructed as to how many dates you should have with one person before becoming intimate. Im not here to tell you that some of this information isnt valid, or even necessary. Much of it can be helpful depending on the situation, but the most

important thing you can learn about dating is to be yourself. Forget about trying to make the other person laugh, or not slurping your spaghetti, or whether your dress is too tight or not tight enough, the best impression you can give on a first date is an honest impression of who you really are. Why is this so important? Because you are looking for your soul mate, and your genuine soul mate is only going to be attracted to the real you. One of the most attractive qualities you can find in a person (and one of the rarest) is sincerity. Show the date your real essence, and he/she will either never want to see you again- in which case they are not your soul mate, or they will be intrigued and pleased to find someone with whom they click so well (maybe this is your soul mate!). Most people agree that they prefer a sincere person to someone who is trying to be something theyre not, yet still, many people dont feel comfortable enough to let their true self show. Take my advice, of all the self-help mantras that you can benefit from, Just Be Yourself is the most powerful.

Dearest Reader,

We have now arrived at the end of our journey. I hope that through this humorous, yet sincere glimpse into the minds of fellow singles you have been able to see a little of yourself and at least come away with the stirrings of an awakening that will help to open your heart to greater acceptance of the roller-coaster ride of love, and help prepare you to be an even more wonderful, open, and loving partner.

My intention has not been to trivialize the issue, but after a decade of matchmaking, I see a pattern in the approach of those who successfully find love and those who dont. You may not agree with my point of view, but I have come to believe that if you are limiting your chances for love by imposing all sorts of restrictions on who the other person has to be in order for you to love him/her, then there is a real possibility that you are either afraid of love or dont believe yourself to be deserving of love. If either of these is true, you will need to address that issue first, and free yourself of that belief before you can be happy with love.

Yes, there may be certain characteristics that you prefer in a partner, but if they are based on superficial standards, let them go. If a guy seems interesting but he is a few pounds overweightmeet him anyway. If a woman has a great smile but she has short red hair instead of long blonde hair, meet her anyway. The goal is to fall in love with a wonderful partner with whom you can grow and share your life; its not the recipe for a perfect chocolate cake. Life is messy; love is messy. I encourage you to embrace this reality because when you do, you will finally reach that special place where you are able to enjoy life and love in all its fullness and beauty. Live and love happily,