well, somebody has to arrange the matches
October 20, 2021 8:23 AM   Subscribe

I'm seeking advice and information about using a professional matchmaking service. Asking for my friend with her blessing.

My friend is looking for a mate. The usual dating apps are not cutting it and she's considering looking for a matchmaker. I offered to ask all you lovely helpful folks for some guidance and she gave me the go ahead.

Have you ever used a matchmaker or matchmaking service? Do you know someone who has? Was the process helpful/successful? What sort of things do you wish you had known ahead of time? If it cost a bunch of money, was there any type of guarantee? Please share whatever you think might be illuminating. If you had a great experience, please feel free to recommend specific matchmakers/services.

In case details about my friend are important for answers: She is 38 years old and would like to start a family with someone so time is a factor. She is aware of and educated about all of her options for having kids so that type of advice isn't needed. She is a catch (beautiful, well-educated, intelligent, funny, and kind) and is in a good place in her life to meet a mate. She has done her time with the usual dating apps and meeting people "organically" IRL. She'd like to meet a man who is truly ready to start a family. There's a history of relationships with men who waffle about having kids and these are the guys she'd like to avoid in the future. She is really over spending her child-bearing years with dudes who don't know what they want and/or how to be honest about what they want.

Any advice or information you all could share about matchmakers and matchmaking would be helpful. I'll be sharing this thread with her so she can get an idea of what her options are and whether the matching process sounds like a good fit for her. She's got a lot a love to give and she would make an amazing wife and mother. Please help me help her find someone to find her a match!
posted by RobinofFrocksley to Human Relations (15 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
It might be helpful to share her location and her budget.
posted by greta simone at 8:32 AM on October 20, 2021 [2 favorites]

I tried Tawkify, and for me, it wasn't worth it. I am/was in a similar demographic to your friend, and they set me up on two totally different types of dates. (1) Men who were significantly older than me, who were also clients (2) men my age that they had randomly recruited from LinkedIn other online sources.

The first group was fine-ish, but it would not have been hard to meet those people through regular online dating. They were not better matches than I could find myself. The second group just wasn't invested at all - it was sort of a curiosity for them.

So it was definitely not a better pool than online dating.

I wonder if what might be a better option would be an online dating coach/manager/assistant. Basically someone to keep you focused, help reply to messages and evaluate people, etc. But acknowledging that the pool of people in online dating is so, so much larger, that it's hard to beat with matchmaking.
posted by mercredi at 8:39 AM on October 20, 2021 [6 favorites]

Response by poster: She is located in Western New York and her budget is open.
posted by RobinofFrocksley at 9:20 AM on October 20, 2021

I only can speak from a friend’s experience, which is that it was neither successful nor worth it for her. In fact, her “best” match ended up becoming physically abusive; unfortunately, I do not know the name of the service she used so I could recommend which to avoid. I am sure there are success stories and better companies out there! I haven’t heard anything good unless it was a matchmaker looking to match people of a particular cultural background so families were involved but I’ve heard experiences on that too.
posted by smorgasbord at 9:34 AM on October 20, 2021 [1 favorite]

My friend met her husband through It's Just Lunch. They are very well suited for each other from a values/goals/temperament perspective but are such wildly different people in terms of social life/outside interests/hobbies/job perspective that they would have never met naturally or probably even interacted on a dating app otherwise.
posted by phunniemee at 9:57 AM on October 20, 2021 [2 favorites]

If she is Jewish (not necessarily religious) then there may be options, but I don't really have the contacts in western NY that you need.
posted by 8603 at 10:14 AM on October 20, 2021 [1 favorite]

I am a matchmaking edge case but can speak to some of the logistics of the service I'm "using". LOL, the deal is I signed up in May and met someone that wasn't part of the service in June. I did have a match right at about that time and met the person (with the encouragement of the other person with whom I had been on only three dates at that point) and they were LOVELY but not a good fit. I'm still with the person I met on my own (on an app), and not doing matches at the moment.

The matchmaker I'm "with" is not expensive in the grand scheme of things, does not make guarantees beyond "we'll match you with at least one person in the year you've paid for", did make sure there was a potential dating pool for me based on my preferences before taking my money. There is a fair bit of contact the matchmaker when warranted, but she is not intrusive. She did ask a LOT of questions in the intake interview, but I'm not averse to talking about myself. This service is not available where your friend is.

My decision to sign up was based on wanting to try all the options before resigning myself to being alone. Even though it might look like a waste in some ways, I don't regret doing it, and you never know how things will go, maybe my dude will dump me and I'll want to use it again (please don't dump me, I love you, you probably won't see this).
posted by wellred at 10:17 AM on October 20, 2021 [4 favorites]

Cis woman here. I did Dating Ring when I was 28 or 29. I went on about 5 dates with men, but none successful. I actually think they were some of my worst matches--I had better dates off the apps than I did with the service and I resented paying for it. I would have been better off paying for Tinder Gold. I didn't find the men any more committed/truthful than on the apps; I think they just had more money to throw at the dating dilemma. I was in the SF Bay Area and my Dating Ring matches were pretty much all FAANG workers.

For me, I think it was the disconnect between how I described myself/who I was looking for, how the other people described themselves/what they were looking for, and then how the matchmaker interpreted both of those things. All the matches were okay on paper, but in reality we had nothing in common and firmly incompatible on a few things. For example, I don't eat red meat or pork and my first date took me to a restaurant that offered a whole pig head as a centerpiece menu item. I think we'd both put that we liked cooking and upscale restaurants, but clearly we meant very different types of both. So if she does use a service, make sure she is really clear with the matchmaker. Maybe even have you/another friend answer some of the questions along with her or on her behalf.
posted by assenav at 11:14 AM on October 20, 2021 [4 favorites]

Apologies if this is painfully obvious, but - has she directly told her friends/family "I would like to be set up with any male friend/family member/etc. that you think would be a good match for me and who wants to start to start a family"? These days, what with the proliferation of apps and all, I feel like this type of informal matchmaking (which used to be so common- it's how my parents met) has fallen to the wayside. At least among my social circle, I think most people would assume this type of offer would be crossing a boundary and inappropriate unless requested. So she should request, bluntly, if she hasn't already.
posted by coffeecat at 11:58 AM on October 20, 2021 [15 favorites]

There’s a couple of services advertised in the NYRB classified as well as personal ads.
posted by Ideefixe at 1:16 PM on October 20, 2021 [1 favorite]

R/datingoverthirty has some posts about this. Here's another good post (that OP is near New England).
posted by foxjacket at 2:04 PM on October 20, 2021 [1 favorite]

This is probably a ridiculous suggestion, but on the off-chance that your friend works remotely and can afford to travel, she might consider spending some time in a larger city- my experience has been that there are a lot of men her age ready to settle down and have kids in the Bay Area, or Portland, Oregon, and some other places. Or even something closer, like NYC or Boston. She could also try the travel mode on Bumble first . If she has any flexibility about relocating (or the guy might, considering that many more people are able to work remotely now), that might work out.
posted by pinochiette at 2:16 PM on October 20, 2021 [3 favorites]

In case your friend hasn't seen it - New York Times article from earlier this year, What It’s Like to Work With a Matchmaker.
posted by paduasoy at 3:43 PM on October 20, 2021 [2 favorites]

A sibling of mine did this recently and so far it’s been a dud. These are not cheap services and the matchmaker doesn’t seem to get it (or maybe she doesn’t actually have a good pool of candidates). They also appear to go out and ‘recruit’ candidates who are not on their books based on what you are looking for. Based on my sibling’s experience I would not do this unless I had a couple grand to throw down that I would be willing to lose.
posted by cultureclash82 at 10:27 PM on October 20, 2021 [1 favorite]

has she directly told her friends/family "I would like to be set up with any male friend/family member/etc. that you think would be a good match for me and who wants to start to start a family"?

A relative of mine did this at his regular AA meeting then married the sister of an AA buddy. They remain married 30 years and two kids/two grandkids later. They have no financial restrictions so are able to indulge their individual interests and, while they are not really close, being and remaining married and monogamous signifies a moral status that is important for their identity. That's a qualitative judgement. Quantitatively, it was a successful partnering strategy.
posted by Thella at 2:03 AM on October 21, 2021 [2 favorites]

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