Love your nail color!
Thank you! It’s called Soul Mate and I didn’t choose that for any reason except my manicurist said I do the same color every two weeks and I needed a slight variation. My pulse was racing like, “I don’t know if I can change!”
When did you realize you had a knack for matchmaking?
It started in college with my college roommate, I would always tell her she needed to get out more and o3ne night I went out to a party and when I came home and I was literally bubbling over. She was like, “What is wrong with you?” and I said, “I met your husband tonight,” but he had a girlfriend. Fast forward to three years later, I get engaged and my parents threw me an engagement party. My roommate was there as well as the guy from that night because he is a friend of my husband’s. He grabbed my elbow and goes, “Bela, is that the girl you were obsessed with setting me up with at school? She’s cuter than I remember!” I said, “She’s always been that cute, you’re just single now!” I told him he had six months before our wedding to man up and call her. I would check in with him every month, fast forward to month five and he still hadn’t called her! I said, “Fine, this is never going to happen.” Now it’s our wedding night and we are sitting there at our own reception and everyone is dancing and we are drinking champagne looking down from this raised table and we see the two of them slow dancing. It turned out he finally asked her out the Saturday night before and they had went out every single night that week, our wedding was like their eighth date. Two years later they called and said they got engaged.
What had you been doing as a career before then?
I ran a chemicals company for 12 years that made Teflon for cookware and bakeware. People say I went from chemistry to chemistry! I’m not one of those people who believe in a light bulb going off but I put the phone down [after they called about their engagement and] I just said, “I’m supposed to do this someday.” My husband said, “Do what?” and I said, “Help people find who they are supposed to be with.” Ten years later from that date I actually put my plan together and started a business. Now it’s been three years. Most matchmakers will give you one date a month but there are still 60 meals [in a month], what are you going to be doing for the other 59? It evolved six months later [to be a dating coach service]. Just this year we had three engagements, two babies and three weddings!
What are some of the biggest mistakes people make while dating these days?
People screen people out so quickly especially as technology has hit dating. Ten years ago when we were dating there was no internet, there was no Match.com. Now people feel like the next best date is a mouse click away. One of the other mistakes I have found that really makes a difference is we are all expecting to be liked, that’s what everyone wants and the best way to get someone to like you is to genuinely like them first. Transition your mindset. Successful dating really starts and ends in your mind. If you are looking for what’s good in that person—I’m not saying this person is going to be your husband or your soul mate—but when you walk in think, “I’m going to find what’s good about this person and I’m going to have fun,” then the dates start to become more fun. You start to put better energy out there. You get the third date, the fourth date, the guys don’t vaporize. It’s amazing what happens.
Number one thing you hear to be a dating deal breaker?
One of the biggest problems that men complain about with women, especially with professionally successful women, is that they have taken on more of a masculine veneer and they want to talk about how successful they are at work and all of these great things they’ve done at work, they have their Blackberries on and they are talking about these big deals. Women have taken their work persona to their dates. Men say, “She’s amazing, she is super cool but I’d rather hire her than date her,” because it was more competitive.
Do you believe everyone really does have a soul mate?
I believe there is somebody for everybody but I believe that there are lots of different soul mates. I don’t believe there is only one person for us. That should encourage you! Think of your must-haves and as soon as he doesn’t meet one, I don’t care how hot he is or how successful he is, throw him back to the pond. It’s the big things that are going to matter long-term. Like, is your religion important to you? Do you want to have kids? Do you want to work?
You offer a Flirting 101 class. Can you give us the cliff notes?
One of the best flirting tips I can give you is that if you are interested in someone that is looking at you, give three seconds of eye contact with a smile. I will warn you it is going to seem like an eternity, but be present!
Does the standard don’t sleep with someone on the first date rule still apply these days?
Yes! Sex is a big deal. I’m fairly old school with that because I’ve seen that it makes a difference. Don’t have sex until you have that conversation and you are in an exclusive relationship. There is science to this, when we have sex we secrete a hormone called oxytocin. Oxytocin is also the hormone in pregnant and nursing women that lets your milk in and also allows you to bond with your babies and puts you into labor. When we give off this hormone it’s the attachment hormone. So when women have sex with men too early you are flowing with oxytocin, and what do you feel? You feel attached! This is how good women stay with bad guys. Suddenly you’ve had sex and now you can’t stop thinking about this guy even though he might be a complete zero and inconsistent and unreliable but still he gets into our bloodstream because there is oxytocin in the bloodstream. It’s literally scientific.
Is it the same for men?
A lot of guys can get attached to women during sex because they secrete oxytocin as well. I think men have a better mechanism to sort of love us and leave us quickly and if they aren’t that into us they can sleep with us and have nothing invested in it. There is all sorts of chemistry, physical and emotional. Men are clearly wired by physical chemistry first, you have to give them awhile to develop the like. So when we sleep with them too early a lot of the times we stunt that emotional connection. Haven’t you had a guy grow on you that you weren’t attracted to in the beginning?
That’s what happens. We are sparked emotionally and that’s when physical chemistry develops. So if a girl tells me, “Oh my gosh, he is so hot,” and lights up like a blowtorch I’m like, “Whoa! Hold on a second!” If you just need to go out and have a bender, then go out and have a bender.
What advice do you give when it comes to texting?
Don’t text too much. People don’t have context when they read a text. They are like, “Why did he say yes instead of yeah with an exclamation point and a smiley face?” People misinterpret texts all of the time or you’ll be in a texting marathon of texting back and forth every 10 seconds then all of sudden someone has to go to the bathroom and it’s been three minutes and you’re like, “Oh my God, she doesn’t like me,” and then we tell ourselves these crazy stories. So I say don’t text.
Not everyone has those love at first sight moments. What are the key components when you are considering someone as your life partner?
I tell people all of the time, marry for character. Marry a person that makes you feel happy, makes you feel safe and secure because so much of the time we search for the elusive chemistry. And what is chemistry? A lot of it is just lust in the very beginning which is scientifically proven to reduce after two years. Ultimately you should be attracted to the person but if it doesn’t hit you over the head on date one it shouldn’t be like, “I didn’t feel a connection.” Give it three dates. If you think it’s a nice person and there is something good to it, keep dating that person until you know for sure. I usually say now to go on up to six dates with a person and then if you tell me you would run out of the room if he tried to hold your hand then okay, we are done.
One topic to avoid in the early stages of dating?
Don’t talk about anything that is negative or that can lead to a debate. First dates are like a job interview. Think about what you are going to say!
And what is the best setting for a first date, drinks? Dinner?
Don’t do coffee. Coffee feels like an interview. It’s awkward! Meet for a drink or an appetizer and cap it at 90 minutes. Leave them wanting more. You know if you are drinking a lot and hanging out with this person for eight hours you’re going to probably talk about things that you shouldn’t on the first date. With too much time and too much alcohol, you are probably going to go down those dark allies. Then you go home together and it’s all a mess. Abridge it! Make in an hour and half, two hours max. If you are having fun, then great, you’ll be looking forward to it again.
What do you tell people who are getting out of a relationship or can’t move on past their exes?
If they can’t stop thinking about their ex then either they aren’t ready to do this or you need to cut it off completely. I don’t want you to be in contact with that person anymore. Go and get rid of anything they’ve ever given to you; all pictures, all gifts, hardcore. Purge yourself! That is bad energy.
You are happily married. Was it always easy for you to find great relationships or have you had crappy boyfriends?
No, not always. Didn’t we all? I had a relationship in college which was what I thought I wanted. I wanted him to be tall, super smart, very edgy and he was both all that was good and bad that I thought I wanted. The highs were really high in the beginning and then the lows were really, really low. It was really hot and cold. There would be days he would just be mean because that is what he felt like that day or he would disappear for five days and finally two years later I said, “Enough is enough.” Granted I was really young but I just said, “We are done.” I’m a finance major so once I closed the door, I took out my notebook. What did I learn from this guy? What worked, what didn’t? What was his responsibility, what was mine? What do I know I want in a person? And one of my top three things was that I want someone that is a good person who has a pleasant disposition everyday. Someone who is nice to me and nice to everyone.
How did your husband propose?
I’m a painter and I’ve always been into art. I love the French impressionists so he took me to the Art Institute for some fake exhibit that he said was going on. He did it in front of [Claude] Monet’s “Water Lilies”. I had no idea it was going to happen. Right after I said, “I should call my parents,” and he was like, “Everyone is already meeting us for dinner,” so both of our families were there.
Does your husband make you happy every single day?
No! [Laughs] We argue but we never let it escalate.
If you could have a drink with anyone, who would it be?
I would love to have a drink with President Barack Obama. Let’s assume he is alpha so whatever he is having I’d love to try it. Tell me what your favorite is and I’ll have that.
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