Western views on relationships

I started reading Elizabeth Gilbert's follow up book to 'Eat, Pray, Love' called 'Committed'.  If you haven't heard about the 'Eat, Pray, Love' phenomenon that swept through the country in 2006, followed by the film in 2010, let me summarize it for you.  Elizabeth chronicles her failed marriage, her desire to be and do something more than just be a wife and a writer, when she decides to take off on a world-wind adventure to Italy, India and Bali, Indonesia where she eats, prays, meditates and eventually meets her man, Felipe at the end of her travels. If you haven't read it, go read it now!  And then rent the film, both extremely good.

The book leaves us wanting more, what happens with her and Felipe? Is there a happily ever after? Do they stay together, do they get married, does Elizabeth finally feel at peace with her life as a woman, writer and lover?  As a Matchmaker, I had to know if they were still together, but as a woman I NEEDED to know that they were still together! So when I saw the follow up book, 'Committed' at a local book store, I had to get it in order to get the answers all these years later. Not only is the continuation of her love story with Felipe interesting, but it also made me think and want to write this blog.  Mainly because Elizabeth talks about the various countries that she's traveled to and how they approach relationships and marriage.  It is fascinating to say the least! Having always been a very curious individual when it comes to people's relationships, learning about other cultures and how they see marriage, love and dating is incredibly interesting to me.

One of the places she visited while waiting for Felipe's visa to get renewed so he can come back to America, is in the mountains of Northern Vietnam. This small village was on the border of China, and that's where Elizabeth met Hmong women who are members of a small, isolated, ethnic minority, or the 'original' people.  The Hmong people are nomads, they don't belong to any of the countries that they live in and remain their own people, meaning they stick to their own traditions and cultures. This is where it got fascinating for me and hoping it will do the same for you.

As Elizabeth started to talk to the Hmong women, she learned a great deal about their relationships, how they view marriage and what role a man plays in a woman's life. What was so interesting to me was that the women would laugh at most of Elizabeth's questions when asked about their view on 1. soulmates 2. love at first sight 3. how they knew their husband's were the ones, etc.  To make a long story short, the women form tremendous relationships with other women first and foremost, they work together, they live together and in very crowded and closed quarters, they confide in each other and have stronger and more important bonds with the women than with the men.  There could be as many as a dozen people all living together in one small room, sleeping next to each other on the floor. The Grandparents, the parents, the children, the Aunts and Uncles, and cousins. The men were basically there for reproductive purposes and as hunters, gatherers, farmers...  Of course men and women have bonds and love each other, but their bonds aren't like the bonds we in the Western-modern world have.  They don't put so much pressure on "true love" and finding the "right one" before settling down, they don't think or worry about their man being their sole confidant and the one and only person they share their most intimate desires with. Instead they spend their days with other women, sharing work and life and their thoughts with. Their biggest and most important relationships are those with the same sex, whether its men or women.

That got me thinking. Are we putting too much focus on what our partner is supposed to be like? Are we, Western civilizations making our lives more difficult and stressful by waiting to meet the "right one", the one that has all of the qualifications of a soulmate, the one that we can share our most deepest and darkest secrets with, confide in and him be there for our every whim and need?  Are we just focusing on the wrong relationships? And instead of enjoying and appreciating the relationships we have with our female friends and relatives, worrying about the men in our lives and if they're the 'right' ones or 'perfect' enough for marriage or future with?

Of course our lives and worlds are different of the Hmong people or others with similar traditions, and it wouldn't be fair to compare our intricate and exhausting lives with those that don't have all the materialistic things that we require, no gigantic mortgages to pay for, or college tuition to afford, but do we need all those things in order to be happy?  Do we truly need our men to make a certain amount of money in order for us to feel equal?  Why can't we be happy with less? Or if we, the women make great money, why do we require the men to make the same or more?  What is it about our culture that tells us we must strive for the best and only the BEST will do?

We all need to take a moment or a few moments, and re-evaluate our priorities, our prerequisites as they pertain to our current or future partner, and strive for a simpler life. No, you don't have to get rid of ALL your musts on a list for a partner, but does he really have to be 6'3" when you, yourself are only 5'5"???  No, he doesn't...

Top 10 Rules of Dating

  1. Be realistic and open-minded! Dating is hard at any age, but when you add all your wants, musts and non-negotiables when it comes to your potential mate, you’re closing yourself off to many wonderful people. Stay as open to all and any matches possible (within reason, of course).
  2. Do not under any circumstances post nude or inappropriate pictures on your online profile. Or if hiring a Matchmaker. Even for a man, a picture without a shirt isn’t appropriate, and sends the wrong message.
  3. Do not post or send pictures with other people, especially the opposite gender. With all the technology we have today, you should be able to crop yourself out of a group picture or an old picture of you and your ex. Or better yet, have a friend take a new picture outside under the natural lighting near pretty flowers or trees. Even if that woman in your picture is your sister, most women won’t know that and won’t give you a chance to explain either.
  4. When approaching people, be yourself. Introduce yourself and ask simple questions like “How are you?”, and not “Hey there, you must be tired because you’ve been running through my head all night”…
  5. Don’t over-share on your online profile, or on the first date. People tend to do it because they think the more they talk, the better they seem to the other person. But it’s about the quality of your conversation, not quantity. Ask questions about the other person and get to know them, and don’t talk about yourself for too long. It should be like a tennis match, the ball must go back and forth to stay in the game.
  6. When on a first date, stay on neutral subjects like your background, family, where you’re from, education, etc. Don’t ever talk about politics, sex, your ex or how much money and possessions you have. There’s nothing more unattractive to a person than someone going on and on about their wealth, houses or accolades. If you have it, you don’t have to flaunt it.
  7. Be positive! Be positive! Be positive! Can’t stress this enough. It doesn’t matter what you’re talking about as long as you’re being positive. Nobody wants to hear how depressing your job is or how long you sat in traffic. All it will do is make you seem like an extremely negative and pessimistic person, even if you aren’t and just having a bad day.
  8. It’s extremely important to meet in a public place on a first date, and possibly on the second. Don’t ever go home with someone you just met! Make sure you do your research, ask a lot of questions prior to the date and have common sense when it comes to your safety.
  9. It’s just as important to never give out your information to people you meet online, that’s why hiring a Matchmaker is safer since we do background/criminal checks, and do all the research for you prior to matching you up.
  10. Communication is huge in every relationship, but especially at the very beginning when getting to know the other person. Make sure you ask questions about what they want in a relationship, their plans and future goals. If you want kids, make it known fairly early on. You don’t want to spend years with someone who never wants children with the hopes that they change their mind. Most people don’t change their mind about things like that.

Now get out there and date safe and effective!

How do you know if he's a keeper?

I get asked this question a lot: How do you know when the guy/girl I'm seeing is a keeper?  How long to give it before either making a serious commitment or moving on? What are the warning signs or red flags, and how to wait before moving on?  In this particular post I'd like to focus on the men, and more later on how to know if the woman you're dating is a keeper. There are many ways to tell if your guy is a keeper.  The most important and number one reason is if he is a man of his word, meaning if he says he will call you on Monday - he calls you on Monday.  Of course things do happen and sometimes people can't keep their word, once is alright but if he never does what he says, or rarely - it's a pattern and he isn't capable of sticking to anything, so you need to move on. Second way you can tell if your guy is a keeper is if he is on time for your dates, for your phone calls, and for other things like work, business and events.  It shows that he is a mature adult who values his and other people's time, and is respectful of others' schedules.

And the last way you can tell if your guy is a keeper is if he doesn't only talk, but also shows you that you mean a lot to him, that he cares about you, and that he respects you.  Talking is one thing, but actually showing is a whole other!  So, don't waste your time on someone who only says he cares about you but rarely shows it.

Being prompt, doing what you said you will do, truly caring about how your day went and taking the time to call and find out, showing emotion and not being selfish are all signs that he is or will be a good match.  Also, having things in common is a big deal.  You wouldn't want to date someone who is into heavy physical exercise on a daily basis (rock climbing, surfing, mountain biking, etc), if you aren't into any of those things yourself.  You don't have to have everything in common, but some things are important or else you will run out of things to do and say to each other.

How long you should date someone before deciding if he is going to be right for you in the long term really depends on the person, and on the relationship.  If it feels right after the third date, and he is respecting you and your time, showing that he cares about your day, your feelings, and overall considerate, then go for it!  Don't just jump into it all the way until you've both discussed that you are exclusive and monogamous, but until then you should definitely keep your options open and see who else is out there.

There are definitely certain points when people should bail.  The biggest point is the one I mentioned above: his disrespect of your time. (And of course this goes both ways, ladies!) Meaning he shows up late to your dates, and I don't mean 10 minutes late.  Showing up late without a phone call or a text is not only rude but shows he clearly doesn't care about your feelings or time.  And if this becomes the typical routine, I say you need to move on.  Once or twice is alright, especially if he is stuck in traffic but calls to let you know, however if this is something that you begin to expect from him on a regular basis... then it's a definite red flag.

The other red flag and a means for bailing out of that relationship is his vagueness about things.  If you ask a person about their day, or what they did over the weekend, or about his past relationships, and he beats around the bush the whole time or doesn't quite answer the question while changing the subject... another red flag.  Run before you get emotionally attached!

Love and Independence - Does it Mix?

The following post was inspired by a very interesting woman I met a couple weeks ago.  Let's call her Samantha.  Samantha is in her early-forties, is an accomplished career-woman and Mother.  I had the most interesting conversation with her about her stance on relationships and her role in them.  Like most women today she makes a good living, and doesn't need to rely on a man for her happiness when it comes to money, love or sex.  When I asked if she was in a relationship, she replied: "Oh honey, I'm in many relationships.  I never wait on a man to call me.  When I want to see them, I call them myself.  And I have many to choose from."  Her honesty and refreshing outlook on life took me by surprise, but a very good surprise!  I was happy to hear that there are women like her out there who decide to take their personal happiness into their own hands, and not sit around whining about men that never call or the lack of quality men in general.  (And yes, the men all know she isn't exclusive with them) I guess I'm so used to hearing the complete opposite from women that in a way I wanted to use her as an example for others.  Just because you take charge of your love life, call the shots when it comes to relationships, and don't sit around waiting for a man to call you - it doesn't necessarily mean you are acting like a man, or have no feelings.  It means that you are a strong, independent woman who takes charge of her own life, and only lets IN those people that are worth having in your life.  Those people that bring positivity with them and not constant doubt and frustration about where you stand with them, or how they feel about you.  Women in general spend way too much time worrying and thinking about what others think about us, and even more so with a potential partner - be it a man or a woman.

One of the best quotes Samantha has shared with me is this: "Just journey on and don't expect.  If it's meant to be, it will be!  You are the master of your bubble!"  I absolutely love that quote and hope you will too.

So, does love and independence mix when it comes to relationships?  Sure it does.  You make your own rules and what makes you happy in life, or at least you should...

I leave you with these words of encouragement: be yourself, be happy, love and care for others and only let those people in that love and care for you in return because all the others don't matter in the end anyway...

Happy dating this weekend!


Love-everyone wants it, but not everyone does anything about it...

Lately I've been noticing just how different men and women truly are.  Yes, I know its a cliche and everyone throws it around, but nowadays I believe this to be more true than ever. Let's take men and women when it comes to relationships for example.  When a woman wants to find a partner in life, or simply start dating again after a divorce, or after becoming a widow - what does she do?  She researches all available online dating websites, traditional matchmakers and relationship gurus.  She takes amazing pictures of herself or enlists her friends to do it for her.  She starts working out, dieting and going to all the known singles hot spots.  A single woman on the prowl takes advantage of every avenue and potential meeting spot while looking her best.  This is even more true when women sign up for my services.  From the moment they come to me, they are eager and willing to listen to my advice, and start on the journey of finding a partner.  It's inspiring and extremely rewarding for a Matchmaker.

On the other hand, what do single men do?  The exact opposite.  Don't take this the wrong way, in no way am I bashing men!  I'm only stating the facts that I've been dealing with lately.  The single men I've met in the last couple years don't necessarily like being single, yet they become accustom to their way of life and the daily grind.  They get up in the morning, they go to work (which ranges anywhere from eight to twelve hours per day) and throw themselves into the workload.  Most men tell me that there isn't a moment in their day to think about how lonely they are, or how to change their situation.  Work becomes an obsession of sorts and a substitution for a relationship.  The amount of time and energy a single man puts into his career (and I'm talking about an individual with a fairly successful career), is the same amount that a typical woman puts into her career, kids and family combined.  I don't want to generalize as all men being the same, however most men do need a push when it comes to getting out of their comfort zone, and finding a partner in life.  They definitely want to be in a relationship, but may not have the energy or desire to go out and meet people.

As much as most people hate being alone, rarely do you hear men complaining about it, unlike women.  Women complain and make plans to change their situation.  Men shut down, get used to their situation and stay complacent.  This is one of the reasons why I make an effort to approach men, since most of my male clients don't take the initiative on their own, but I sure wish they would!  If you are a single man reading this, don't waste more years being alone - do something about it.  There is always someone out there for everyone!  And if you are in the Los Angeles or Orange County, California area - contact me for Matchmaking and Dating Services.


Get over your past... with time

The other day I met a man who wanted to become a client of mine. After meeting him in person and thoroughly examining his profile and questionnaire, I noticed a pattern of behavior of someone who is still not over his past relationship. While going through his answers to my profile questions, I saw that almost every time *Stan would say something about his ex. Some were pretty subtle, like "I'd love to meet a woman with a similar sense of humor as my ex", others were anything but: "She is the love of my life and I am honored to have known her for as long as I have". Clearly Stan has not moved on and wasn't ready to meet new people.

As much as I hate turning people away, I knew that in this case it was beyond necessary. Not only is he not ready to get out into the dating scene, but furthermore he is in no shape to be trying to find a serious relationship. I can't help someone who is still deeply in love, and in obvious pain from having lost that person in his life. Only time can heal him and allow him to move on.

After discussing this with Stan, and explaining why I can't take him on as a client, I gently proceeded to ask what happened with his ex and why they broke up. He confided in me that it was his fault it ended, and at that time he wasn't able to give her what she wanted which was a commitment and marriage. Me being the realist that I am, I bluntly asked him what's stopping him now? I told him to go straight to the jewelry store, buy her a ring and go ask her to marry him!

He was speechless for a few seconds, then asked if I was serious and why I'd turn away money. Simple... I'm not in this for money because if I was, I sure as hell would be charging a lot more than I do, something along the lines of other traditional matchmakers. But matchmaking and relationship guidance has never been about money to me, it's about a passion for seeing people happy and creating a life together.

We've all had friends who told us that the best way to get over someone is to move on to someone else, or in my words 'to get on top of someone new', but that just isn't the reality. Reality is that you don't truly get over someone in that way. The only way is to give it time, and take time out for yourself to think about what went wrong in that relationship, why it failed and how you can change and prevent it from happening in the future. The only thing you accomplish by moving on to a new relationship too fast is temporarily feeling better, but the root of the problems is still there and in the end you still miss your ex. And the pattern continues. You absolutely have to give it time!

As far as Stan goes... He listened to my advice, went to see his ex-girlfriend and they continue to be in ecstatic state of love and bliss! Waiting for my wedding invitation.

So stay positive and learn from your mistakes, but more importantly don't let those mistakes happen again, whatever they may be...

Enjoy your week!

*Names have been changed to preserve privacy.

Are your judgemental ways ruining your dating life?

We all like to think that we’re open-minded, well-rounded and completely non-judgmental individuals…  Unfortunately, for most of us that’s just not the case.  Everyone has judged and sized up others from time to time, whether we’d like to admit it or not; it’s only natural to jump to conclusions and assume something about another person especially if it’s a stranger.  But when it comes to dating and finding a partner in life… being judge-mental can be extremely detrimental to a relationship not to mention to your own wellbeing. Having been in the business of matching two people together as long as I’ve been, I see it happen all the time, primarily with my female clients.  Sometimes, before I can even finish telling the woman about a man I’m matching her up with, she starts to have doubts about his profession, or age of his children, or his height, etc…  Now, that’s no way to be open and seeing what’s out there.  How can anyone expect to ever meet a partner in life or have a date at all if they constantly pre-judge someone before they even meet them?  I’m not saying that men don’t do the same thing at times, because some do but the majority of men I work with seem to be a lot more open-minded.  Just because you’ve had a bad experience while dating an attorney in the past or someone’s ex was a nightmare, doesn’t mean that every attorney is that way, or every ex is a terrible person.  It’s stereotyping but in the dating arena: he is an accountant so he must be boring; she is approaching forty and never married so there must be something wrong with her…

All of these judgmental behaviors are unnecessary and usually have no merit.  I’ve known accountants with tattoos underneath their boring suits, and a very exciting night life.  And yes I’ve also known the stereotypically quiet, soft-spoken and anal retentive accountants as well as everything in between.  It just goes to show that we are not all what the stereotypes make us out to be; and why going by generalizations rather than individualistic qualities about each person is extremely damaging in the beginning of any relationship.  More than anything I want to encourage anyone who is single and either just starting to date or been dating a while, to think about all the pre conceived notions you may have each time meeting someone new.  Are you judging them before you’ve had a chance to truly get to know them?  Are you going into a relationship assuming you know what kind of person he or she is because they identify with the opposite political party as yourself?  Is their lack of formal education making them seem beneath you?  Are all of your expectations making you happy and capable of finding a long-lasting relationship?  If no, maybe it’s time to drop the judgmental attitude and expectations, and just go with it and see what develops without all the judging and assessing.  Give the other person a chance before you decide what kind of person they are.  Let time and positive outlook on your new relationship be the only things that fuel your mind, not judgments and generalizations.

So get out there with an open mind and enjoy every relationship along the way, whether its a romantic one or just a good friendship!  And as always, contact me for any of your relationship needs and advice: matchbyjulia.com


Why oh why do men wait to call?

This seems to be the topic I discuss most with single peeps and friends alike.  You meet a man, you like a man, he seems to like you too, you go out and have a good time.  He tells you he'll be in touch, only to wait for days on end to no avail...  All my single ladies ask the same question: Why doesn't he call?  Or why does he wait days before you get a call? Well... I'll be very frank... Either he lied and was never going to call you because he doesn't see a future of any kind with you, or and this is a big OR...  He is one of those people that simply can't multitask and manage his time.  Believe me, I've asked many of my past and current male clients why they do this and most of them had the same answer: I honestly wanted to call her, but my work load was unbearable and my kid got sick, and blah, blah, blah.  Yes, it does sound a lot like bull****, and at times it IS bull****.  However, there are those times when something could've happened to prevent him from following up, but most of the times... he isn't into you and doesn't want to see you again.

The bottom line is this, and I've said this for many years now: If a man likes you, and wants to see you he WILL find a way through all his hard work loads and other bull**** to call you and ask to see you again!  There is nothing that will stop him, that is IF he wants to pursue some kind of relationship with you.

The problem is that women and men are very different in how we show our affection.  Women run to the phone the minute we finish the date to call or text that same person we were just on the date with!  We can't wait to tell him how great of a time we had, and how we can't wait to see him again.  Women want and like to give people reassurance, and make sure everyone including our girlfriends know how we feel.  Men, on the other hand... not so much.  The men I've asked say that they show their emotions while they are with the woman, and don't understand why its not enough for her...  They believe that those days in between are their days to spend working, and taking care of whatever priorities they have in their lives; but once they are back with the woman they have no problem 'showing' her how they feel about her.  I put quotes around the word showing because men don't talk much about their feelings, they show you how they feel: they touch you, hug you, kiss you, etc...  You get the point.

Women are a lot more complex, and as I constantly remind my male clients - women NEED to hear things once in a while also, especially in between the dates otherwise you will have one unhappy woman on your hands. Or no woman at all.

Women don't seem to have a hard time finding a minute in their crazy schedule to call or text a man they are interested in.  We are born multi-taskers, and no matter what is going on WILL find five minutes to make that call, or worst case scenario a text, which I don't recommend.  Women can have four kids running around, a full-time job, lunches and dinner to make, homework to work on and still find the time to call someone to say hello.

So in conclusion: Men - don't wait days or weeks to call the woman you want to see again, that is IF you want to see her again!  Women don't need much, a simple hello, how are you is usually enough to make them feel they are wanted and being thought of.

And Women - don't wait and imagine all kinds of reasons for WHY he hasn't called, because we do that when too much time has passed, just accept that after a certain amount of time you need to let it go and find another man.  A better man, a man that will call you the day after a date to tell you that he had a good time and wants to see you again.  Because there ARE men that do that, and instead of waiting and wasting your time wondering why he hasn't called, you could be out there meeting the one that WILL call.  I know it sounds easier said than done, but try it anyway...

So get out there and take charge of your love life!

Have a great week my Singles!










Welcome to the official blog of Match By Julia. I, (Julia Bendis), Founder and Matchmaker of MatchbyJulia.com will discuss all your pressing topics and answer questions that relate to dating, being single, matchmaking, online dating, and any other advice and topics you'd like for me to address. Send your questions to julia@matchbyjulia.com or post them here in the Comments section.

Looking forward to helping you solve and understand today's world of dating!