6 Confessions From a Male Online Dating Coach
By: Rosie Valentine |
If you asked me six years ago if I would ever become an online dating coach I would have said yes. For as long as I can remember I’ve been fascinated with the courtship process. The selection of a mate might be the most single important decision of your life. Think about how much time, effort, and emotion we pour into finding a partner, and then keeping them around. My parents were from a generation that got married a few years out of high school between the ages of 19 and 22. They didn’t have social media or the internet to help them cross paths with new people; it was whoever was already in your social circle that determined who you were going to marry. Today, it’s more complicated. To a certain extent there might be too many options for singles — but that’s where someone like me comes in.
This December starts my third year of working for eFlirt Expert. It’s been a rollercoaster of a ride, mentally. I don’t think anything can prepare you for the emotions associated with helping others find love and you can’t help but live vicariously through our clients, which helps get a better gauge on their mindset and what they’re experiencing at the moment. While this is key when you give advice and assist in running their online dating accounts, the lesson learned is that what’s good for business isn’t always what’s good for yourself. Here are some emotions and situations I face as an online dating coach.
Having seasonal mood swings.
Online dating season is quiet in the summer, picks up in the fall, and is in full swing by the holidays. I don’t even want to talk about what Valentine ’s Day week is like — it’s basically singles getting into full-blown meltdowns dealing with the loneliness and the social pressures of being a bachelor or bachelorette (trust me: I legit know what it’s like to have PMS during the busy season).
There are days where I want to smash my computer into a million pieces, but I do this job because I love to help people with their dating problems. Of course, there comes a point where too many singles are asking for help all at once. Sure, many of the issues we face as dating coaches are repetitive, but each person has their own ways of coping with the troubles they face.
Being single during the warm summer months is exciting and full of adventure. Once the days get shorter and the nights get colder those feelings shift. No one wants to feel alone on those cold dark nights, especially around the holidays. Lucky for me we’re on the cusp of the cuffing season — we all go through it (as a bachelor, I feel it too). Hook me up with a girl who will show up to my house on Sundays sporting a Patriots jersey with pumpkin muffins from Dunkin’s in hand and my heart will melt. You can cuff me to her all winter long.
Throwing stones when you live in a glass house.
Being a dating coach doesn’t mean I’m immune to dating problems of my own. At times, disagreements in your own relationships can provide useful examples of what not to or how to pull yourself out of trouble, while other times it makes you doubt the advice you give. When you have relationship problems of your own it can feel like you’re not qualified to give advice, which is something you must get over.
I’m often faced with similar situations to give advice on that I’m currently going through in my own life. It’s one thing to give advice; it’s another to take it. (Being hypocritical is almost part of the job.) What’s more is that you have to give advice on a case-by-case basis. It’s important to know the context and history of your clients’ situations: the correct guidance isn’t what’s best for you, it’s what’s best for them. I can use my own dating experience for talking points, but it shouldn’t be the end all be all for coming up with a final resolution.
Embracing the victories.
The ultimate goal for a dating coach is hearing one of your clients has found love with “the One” and not just any One. We’re not miracle workers, so finding the one can take months or years, but you need to remember to celebrate the little victories along the way. Dating should be a continuous process of learning about yourself, what you want or don’t want in a relationship while becoming comfortable with who you are.
Little victories we see along the way can be as simple as a client admitting they’ve been too picky when it comes to who they’re willing to communicate with. We can give advice and point toward areas of improvement and change, but ultimately, the client needs to look in the mirror on his or her own and take ownership of things they can and should improve on. It’s these minor achievements that lead to a more confident and secure person. Those personality traits are very important to have if you’re going to succeed in a serious relationship. Taking time to acknowledge them is a reminder you’re doing a good job!
One of the best skills I’ve developed from this job is listening. I’ll fully admit I’ll never truly know what women want, but listening correctly allows you to ask follow up questions which leads to more detailed information.
We receive questionnaires from clients on a daily basis. Our questionnaires ask a range of questions that poke and prod of the inner works of our clients’ life and mindset. Asking the correct follow up questions will create new avenues of important personal details, and these details allow us to learn the nuts and bolts of what make our clients tick.
Applying these listening skills to my personal life has made me a better friend and romantic partner. Too often it seems people are focused on getting their next opinion or comment out and miss what’s being said at that very moment. I will say at times it’s made me almost too focused on the details, if that’s even possible.
Being hypersensitive to details.
The private meltdowns you have about your own relationship problems while doing this job are the things nobody sees or can relate to. It’s my job to help people with their dating concerns and issues first and foremost. The last thing you want to do after a long day of work is deal with your own relationship issues, so you’ve got to find a way to leave work at work – easier said than done.
Focusing on you after the workday.
It’s easy for clients’ dating problems and future goals to subconsciously float around in your head. At any given moment those thoughts can come crashing down and it’s pretty overwhelming. I’ll admit, separating work from my personal life is something I struggle with daily. It’s a switch that’s difficult to turn off.
When you spend all day helping others with their relationship issues, it leaves you wanting to stay clear of your own. It sounds strange to say it, but your personal relationship problems often make you feel like you’re still at work. Don’t get me wrong, I love my job. I’m like everyone else though when it comes to my down time — it’s nice to distance yourself from anything that has to do with work to ensure you get a sufficient break. The last thing I want to do is sit down and run my two online dating profiles when I’ve been in and out of 10 to 15 clients’ profiles in a given day. Hell, I spend half my days creeping men for our female clients (I got a thing for Greek gods and Italian stallions, apparently).
Even on a personal level, online dating can feel exhausting at times with so many options at your fingertips and it’s important to shut things down. So how do work on your own romantic relationships and seek out new dates without feeling like you’re still punching a time card? I’m still not 100 percent sure, but when I find the answer, I’ll let you know.
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