Matchmaker, matchmaker . . . singles fall for love’s old ways
Not all singles looking for a life partner want to put their profile on the internet. Touting discretion and careful research, matchmaking agencies have found a new business niche
Another couple who set up their own matchmaking service four years ago are Jennifer Haskins and Bill Phelan of Two’s Company (twoscompany.ie) who met through a dating agency. Both divorced with grown-up children, Jennifer (in her 50s) believes that their shared life experience gives them a greater understanding of the challenges and pitfalls facing their clients.
With a background in counselling and psychotherapy, Haskins is aware that many people looking to meet a new partner following a relationship or marriage breakup or the death of a partner may not be emotionally ready. She is planning to offer workshops to help to prepare people for the new journey they are embarking on.
While Two’s Company has clients aged 25 to 80 on its books, they have a particularly high level of success with the over-50s, she says.
“Women in their 30s tend to be quite idealistic. They know exactly the kind of man they want and they are interested in nesting and having children. People coming out of another relationship or who have lost a partner are looking for a partner, a companion and somebody with shared values.”
Describing their company as the “more serious, professional end of the market”, Haskins says women need to be aware of the impact that rejection or ridicule can have on a man’s confidence – even an outwardly confident man.
“Marriage breakups can also be tougher for men. Women will discuss and analyse their problems with their female friends but if a man tries to bring the topic up with his male friends, they tend to shy away from it as they are not comfortable discussing issues of the heart. So men can feel very isolated after the death of a partner, separation or divorce.”
Alison Keating, a psychologist at the bWell clinic in Malahide, advises single men to take the risk of walking up to women and asking them out, knowing they may say no, because there is satisfaction in taking risks, even when they’re uncomfortable. “It can take a lot of courage and the social rejection can be cruel at times. If somebody gets rejected again and again, it can really affect their confidence and sense of self worth,” she says.
Keating advises women to “be kinder” to men who approach them, even if they’re uninterested. “I wonder how it would be if women had to make the initial icebreaking move. You don’t have to go out with them but you don’t have to hurt their feelings either,” she says.
The cost of membership of Intro Matchmaking Agency is €495 for 12 months and includes a face-to-face meeting with the Intro staff and five guaranteed introductions. The cost of standard membership at Two’s Company is €595 for six months which also includes a meeting with the agency and the guarantee of a minimum of four introductions.