Interview With Dating Coach Rachel Russo

By: Elizabeth Marie |

Rachel Russo is a NYC-based Dating, Relationship, & Image Strategist. She has worked with marriage-minded singles and couples as a matchmaker and coach for nearly eight years. Rachel is a writer, speaker, media commentator, and ride or die chick. She recently went on ninety-two dates on one year as Ms. NY of www.3six5dates.com.
To learn about Rachel’s business, check out her website at www.StatusMakeover.com and follow her sassy tweets @RachelTRusso.

I recently connected with Rachel and asked her a few questions about dating, breakups and everything in between. Can you say girl crush?!  Check out my interview with her below!

1.What did you learn about yourself after going on 92 dates in one year? What did you learn about men?

My reality date-a-thon was an incredible learning experience. One of the main things I realized is that even though I (mostly) thought I was over my ex, I was far from it. Although at times, it seemed like I moved on-as I did develop a genuine affection for another man or two- my heart was still with him. Ninety-two dates did not change that. The lesson I learned is that we can’t rush ourselves in the process of getting over a past relationship. Although I-like the next girl-had wished someone amazing would come along and help me move on, I came to understand that life doesn’t work that way. We have to do the work to move on first and only then will we attract Mr. or Ms. Amazing.

Re: My lessons learned about the men of NYC: Well, besides my observations that they are far too busy with their careers and prefer to text instead of call, I became intimately acquainted with how impatient some of them are about having sex. In my mind, I was husband shopping-even though I wasn’t quite over said ex- as well as making myself incredibly vulnerable by sharing my blogs about these dates with the world. I’m really not a private person or one who is overly reserved about her sexuality, but this was clearly not a time for sexcapades. (Hello, my parents would read this!) Let’s just say I was very prude with these men, and I thought it was completely appropriate. I was getting to know them, going to dinners, and I thought not having sex was a good way to separate the men from the boys, the narcissists from the ones who care, and those who are relationship material from those who aren’t. As it turns out, this was an excellent strategy for doing just that.

2. Do you think women should go into the dating game with a specific list of everything they want in a man and not stray from it, or does this hold them back more than anything?

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It’s definitely good for women to have a list and include some criteria that they will not stray from. Having a list can help them focus on finding the right person instead of wasting time with the wrong ones. The problem isn’t the idea of the list; it is that many women don’t have a realistic list. They have to realize that if their list is unrealistic, it will hold them back. A lot of women think they know what matters but are actually clueless about what is really most important to them when it comes to being attracted to someone for the long term. I recommend that women determine their top three match criteria and their deal breakers. If they meet a man who has those three criteria and does not violate their deal breakers, they should give him a chance. Sure, he might not have the other desirable qualities on the list, but there could be chemistry. Chemistry changes everything.

3. What mistakes do most people make on the first few dates?
Most people don’t put much effort into creating interesting and unique conversation. They either ask the cliché first date-type questions that keep things on the surface level or they go way too deep way too soon—revealing too much personal information, including details of past relationships. A lot of people have sex within the first few dates too; when they barely know each other, it can be a mistake.

4. Why do so many people settle for less than what they deserve in a relationship?
So many people are unaware of their own self-worth. They are totally ignorant to the fact that they deserve better. Others think that their partner is as good as it gets. They get comfortable and don’t feel like they’d be able to find better. Still others believe they could find better but are too lazy to do so. They see that change is hard, and they just don’t have the self-discipline to do what it takes. Instead of changing themselves to attract a better partner, they stick out bad a relationship–hoping their partner will be the one to change.

5. What is the most memorable (for whatever reason) date you’ve ever been on?
When I was in college, I briefly dated a guy who was very much a metrosexual. Our first date was at Willowbrook Mall in Wayne, NJ. We had lunch at California Pizza Kitchen and went shopping afterward. We were in a Guess store when he suggested I try on a trendy pair of jeans. He then insisted on buying me the jeans! It was sweet and completely unnecessary, of course. I mean: Who does that on a first date? Mr. Metrosexual and I didn’t have a long term romance, but I did get a good shelf life out of those jeans! We actually stayed friends for many years and are still in touch every now and then.

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6. Your best friend’s boyfriend just broke up with her and she’s devastated. What do you tell her?
I’d tell her I’m coming right over with a bottle of wine, a box of tissues, and a copy of my soon-to-be-published-book, How to Get Over Your Ex: A Step By Step Guide to Mend a Broken Heart—Italian-American Style. Without a doubt, breakups are one of the most painful things we go through in life. It’s so important that to have a good support system, and I’d make it clear that I want to be part of hers. I’d tell my bestie that I’d be her shoulder to cry on–there to listen to her pour her heart out, while sporadically inserting commentary about why she’s so much better off without her ex. I’d invite her to call me anytime she feels like calling him—even at 3am. I’d tell her that she should mourn the loss on her own time clock; but that once she’s done, she needs to pick up the pieces and move forward. Because there is no going back. I’d suggest she block her ex from her phone and all social media—for a long time. When she’s ready to find love, I’d help her come up with a plan for making over herself and her love life so that she’ll attract a happy and successful relationship.

7. What is a ride or die chick exactly? Because I’m pretty sure I want to be one.
A ride or die chick is the kind of woman all men should want to date, because she is fiercely loyal; men need that loyalty to feel secure. She’s the type who’d do just about anything for her man—providing it does not rob her of her self-respect or seriously put her in harm’s way. She’s the kind of girl who will stick by her man in good times and bad–whether he’s right or wrong, rich or poor, sick or healthy. A ride or chick is the girl who has his back—no matter what!