Millionaire matchmaker reveals dating deal-breakers

This article was originally published Aug. 17, 2011, on Yahoo Shine.
By Sarah B. Weir, Yahoo! blogger

What makes elite matchmaker Christie Nightingale cry—in a good way? Witnessing her former clients melt into each other’s eyes on their wedding day. What about crying in a bad way? Learning that a client blew a chance at a second date with a great guy or gal by checking their BlackBerry halfway through dinner.

According to Christie, pulling out your cell phone is the number one faux pas people make on dates—and a real deal breaker. She recalls, “I provided an introduction for a charming, handsome, and powerful CEO. He pulled out his phone twice in the cab on the way to dinner, three times during the meal, and again on the drive home. His date informed me there would be no second meeting. When I mentioned this feedback to Prince Charming, he was shocked; he didn’t even realize he was doing it.” She suggests simply turning off your cell and giving your date your full attention. “If you really want a lasting relationship, you have to consider your priorities. Guaranteed, life will go on if you don’t check that incoming message.”

Part psychotherapist, part cheerleader, Christie makes it her business to deconstruct people’s courtship weaknesses and help them woo better the next time. And that business is booming— with offices in New York, Washington D.C., and Philadelphia, and partners in Los Angeles and London, her database includes over 10,000 men and women seeking a lasting romantic partnership.

Christie points out that no matter what is going on in the outside world, people never stop wanting to find true love. “My business has grown about 30 percent during the economic downturn, singles are looking for something real to hold on to.”

A far cry from the dating sites have mushroomed on the Internet, her company, Premier Match, will turn away a potential client if it seems like his real agenda is hooking up. Not that she doesn’t see a value in online dating. As she puts it, “If you are just ending a relationship and have been off the dating scene for awhile, it’s important to get back out there. Some people approach a date like a root canal—put on something nice and go have fun. It’s only an hour and a half out of your day.”

However, when you are ready to get serious, the excitement of online dating can turn to disappointment. Many of her clients contact her office after failing to cultivate a sincere relationship through the Web. They complain that the people they have met aren’t fully honest about themselves nor are interested in taking it to the next level. Other clients she has are busy professionals who woke up one day and realized, “Oops, I forgot to get married.”

Maybe her own match is the best advertisement for this real-life Aphrodite’s business. She recently celebrated her 10th wedding anniversary with her husband. When asked if he was her typical “type” when they first met, she admits that he really wasn’t but chose to give him a chance because she had so much fun with him. She encourages, “If you meet someone who is caring and funny and smart, stick it out for three or four dates—even if they don’t meet your usual criteria.” She points out that if you stay emotionally open and give it a little time, you might discover the kind of love that grows and lasts.

5 Signs Your Relationship is in Trouble

Great relationships require time, attention, energy and vigilance. It’s unrealistic to think you can have a solid relationship without some effort. It pays to be observant, to ask questions when you don’t understand something, and to notice changes in behavior, tone of voice, and attitude.

Communication experts have found that only 7 percent of our communication is verbal, while the other 93 percent depends on body language and tone of voice. It only makes sense to pay attention to more than just the actual words a partner says.

Below are 5 warning signs that can help you head-off trouble in your relationship before problems become more serious.

1) Your relationship feels stale and dull.
If this stage continues, both you and your spouse could be more susceptible to the lure of an affair. Deliberately schedule plans to do new things, go to new places, and, of course, look at how you could spice up your sex life with your partner.

2) Your partner acts upset but says, “Nothing’s wrong,” when you ask.
Trust your intuition about this. Females, in particular, are prone to say, “Nothing,” when asked, “What’s wrong?” This often indicates there is something they need to say, but they don’t feel comfortable saying it. Work on creating a safe environment for sharing mutual concerns.

3) Your partner has a significant change in moods, enjoyment of life, socialization patterns, or grooming/appearance.
A partner can become depressed and sometimes doesn’t put the clues together to realize what’s happening. The depressed partner might experience changes in sleep patterns, eating, appearance and hygiene. An uncharacteristic isolation from friends and family, as well as crying spells or loss of interest in things that used to bring pleasure are huge signals. If this happens, it’s time to consult with your partner about seeing a medical professional.

4) Your partner is unusually anxious or agitated when you walk in unexpectedly while he or she is on the computer.
It may just be a coincidence, but it could also be that your partner is involved in doing something that he or she doesn’t want you to see. Becoming involved with someone online isn’t harmless, as some partners will claim. It robs a relationship of commitment and focused energy, plus it can lead to an affair in real time.

5) You observe your partner being secretive about cell phone calls or text messages.
If your partner is secretive while on the phone or goes into the other room, this is certainly something in which to pay attention. Don’t jump to conclusions. Simply observe this behavior for a while. Sometimes there’s a rational explanation, but if that’s not the case, the secret calls could be a signal that your relationship is in danger.

What do do you think? Are there other ways to know when your relationship is in trouble? I’d love to read your comments!