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April 2012

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Ask Our Coaches: 
Trust Issues:
How to move past them

"... I've had a hard time trusting men."

This column answers questions submitted by our readers. Submit your questions to who will forward them to our coaches all over the world. Each issue, we'll publish a few answers from our RCI coaches.

Dear Coaches,

I'm currently single and really want to find my match. Looking back on my prior relationships, I've noticed I've had a hard time trusting men. How do I move past this? What's your advice?


Anita responds ...

Before trusting in anyone, first put trust in you. When you have trust in yourself and your guidelines for love, you'll gain the confidence needed to enjoy dating. Here are three conscious steps to help you build the support needed to fly high in any relationship:

#1 You live, you learn. Heartaches happened to teach you not only about unhappy moments, they taught you about you. You learned something valuable in each negative encounter: what you didn't like, what you wouldn't accept and you developed a tolerance to guide you in each adventure.

#2 Qualify! Salesmen qualify leads to get the golden egg. Office assistants screen calls to keep time-wasters out. Patrons investing in a car, home, etc. ask loads of questions before ever saying "yes" to any deal. In dating, why not do the same? Asking more questions will help you better determine what value you can place on who you are dating.

#3 Use your power. You have the power to choose, to control your own actions and to begin and end a relationship when you know it doesn't suit you. Eleanor Roosevelt said, "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." Two key words: "your consent." That is power.

Anita Myers |

Nina responds ...

When someone says they don't trust the other sex, it's usually because they really don't trust themselves. If you've been deceived before, you may not trust your ability to see what's happening in front of you.

This is partly due to the hormonal responses we have when "falling in love," where our judgment and intuition are clouded by our feelings of lust or attraction. Once we have physical intimacy with someone, the "cuddle" hormones kick in and we are blind to the red flags we see for ourselves or are told about by our caring friends and family.

Regain trust by moving slowly into new relationships while fully assessing the person's ability to fulfill your requirements and needs. You can't rely on what they tell you, you need time to test their behaviors to see if they actually do what they say.

Take time to know yourself and understand your intuition better. Get to know your date's friends and family and introduce them to yours as soon as you can. These allies can help you move forward or back off with more confidence. Forgiveness of self and others is the fastest way to "love forward."

Nina Potter | | 1.651.773.0732

Jianny responds ...

How wonderful that you are looking inward before moving forward. Falling in love and attracting your mate requires vulnerability. Somewhere is a trustworthy man who has been yearning to meet a woman like you. The first step is to believe that he is out there.

Second, learn to trust yourself. When meeting or communicating with a new love interest, trust your gut feelings. If you sense something wrong, do not excuse it. Embrace the wisdom coming from within and move on.

Third, reclaim your personal power. Take responsibility for the parts you played in past relationships. This will help stop you from being victimized. If you were too passive, learn to assert yourself. If too reactive, practice gentleness.

Fourth, embrace a new mindset: the love of your life is out there. Respect and listen to yourself. Associate with trustworthy people and be a trustworthy individual. Enlist friends and family to refer potential love interests to you.

Lastly, trust is earned not granted; therefore, take your time. It's better to take time to meet Mr. Right than fall for Mr. Wrong. Safeguard your heart. Mr. Right will also want to safeguard your heart. Time and experience with him will reveal those truths.

Jianny Adamo | | 1.954.495.4566

Lynn responds ...

It makes a lot of sense to be cautious around this topic of trust. When first dating, it is important to watch for whether he or she follows through with promises. Do they show up for meetings you have arranged? Are they on time? Do they phone when they say they will? Being reliable at the beginning will set the stage for trust to start to emerge.

You also want to see whether or not the person "walks the talk." Initially, we tend to put forth our best face and, as time goes on, you can see whether the person lives up to what he or she says about themselves. For example, if someone says they're committed to living "green" but they drive a large vehicle and they don't recycle, there is incongruity there.

The other essential component is trusting yourself. In past relationships, did you pay attention to your inner knowing? Did you heed your gut instincts or did you let logic or chemistry override your concerns? Slow down the dating process and take time for reflection. What does your inner guidance tell you about the person? Trust is something that is earned and this takes time.

Lynn Goodacre | | 1.360.450.0213

Ann responds ...

Without knowing details, I'm guessing that somewhere in your childhood or past relationships, someone you counted on profoundly disappointed you or betrayed you. It's unfair to assume your future partners will be untrustworthy, unless you're unconsciously selecting men you can't trust, thus sabotaging your own success. Assuming you're ready to be in a healthy relationship, you have to learn to let the past be the past and focus on the future

Learning to trust again takes time and effort. You must be willing to be vulnerable and realize that trust is a two-way street. Be sure you're walking the talk.

As you get to know your partner, look for clues that he is trustworthy. Does he keep promises and agreements? Does he keep confidences or does he gossip or talk about others? Is he kind? Does he value honesty? Pay attention to details and begin slowly. And, cut him a little slack! No one is perfect. Be sure you're being realistic and fair.

Over time, he'll either prove himself or not. If you begin to spot inconsistencies, excuses, any dishonest or evasive behavior, get out of the relationship before you're so far in you're willing to ignore red flags.

Ann Robbins | | 1.407.895.8222

Feature Article:
A Match Made in Heaven: What you need to know about working with a matchmaker!

With Matchmakers Ann Robbins and Wanda Murch

What comes to mind when you hear the term matchmaker? Do you think about a friend who seems to know everyone and who enjoys setting up friends and family with dates? Do you recount the TV show Millionaire Matchmaker hosted by Patti Stanger? Have you ever used a matchmaker to help you find the love of your life? This month we'll ask two RCI coaches, who are also matchmakers, to answer some important questions!

Tara Kachaturoff
Editor, Relationship Coaching Institute

What's a matchmaker and how does it differ from other services out there that help to match singles with other singles?

Ann Robbins: A matchmaker is someone who dedicated to helping his or her clients find love. Matchmakers typically work exclusively with people who are seeking a permanent relationship versus people who simply want to date or singles who are re-entering the dating world. There is a distinct difference between a matchmaking service and a dating service!

Matchmakers typically take a limited number of clients, whereas dating services take an unlimited number of clients. Matchmakers usually match their clients based on the client's exact criteria as well as other important factors that create sustainable relationships. Dating services usually match based on age, gender, and geographic preferences, with a few other matching factors.

Most dating services do not offer relationship coaching, whereas many, if not most, professional matchmakers are also excellent date and relationship coaches with special education and training in human relationships, dating, and love.

Wanda Murch: Other services like singles events, online dating, speed dating, etc. are self-help type services. Singles using these services have no immediate way to verify a person's authenticity; they simply have to take the other person's word for who they are. It can be a scary, frustrating process -- one that requires patience and clear insights into what one wants and needs.

Matchmaking, on the other hand, is a collaborative service where the matchmaker gets to know both parties, has checked out each person and who also provides a sounding board to them. This takes some of the guess work out of the process.

Matchmakers provide an unbiased view of what makes a good match for the parties and may help circumvent problems that may arise when the first blush meeting causes caution to be tossed to the wind.

What process do you use in your business to match people up?

Ann Robbins: Clients are matched based on five key elements of their lives: relationship requirements, values, lifestyle, personality/style and stated preferences. The process begins with having the client fill out an extensive profile followed by a one-on-one interview.

Next, we meet in person, which helps tremendously in determining the client's energy, style, and personality. Once a potential match is determined, both parties are interviewed at length prior to the introduction to help determine compatibility. Both parties are met in person to help assess chemistry and compatibility. Assuming all systems are "go," the introduction is arranged by the matchmaker.

Clients are advised to meet in a public place and I facilitate the introduction, maintaining confidential information such as clients' last names and their contact information. After the date, I ask both parties to contact me with feedback to help fine-tune the process going forward.

Wanda Murch: I use discussion and personality tests. The three areas I focus on are: values and background, interests and lifestyles and chemistry. Shared background, values, hopes and dreams are ingredients for long term success of a relationship.

Interest and lifestyle compatibility is also important. Shared experiences cement relationships and provide for great conversations and bonding long after the lust wears off. Lifestyle considerations are about how couples spend their day-to-day lives. These should match or be compatible otherwise there will be conflict.

Chemistry is also an important topic but I dig beyond the superficial and find out what essence people find attractive. For example, does a woman like a man who is soft and gentle or rugged and manly, and why? Does a man prefer a very feminine woman or a self-confident woman, and why? I teach people to look for the essence and not just the surface characteristics.

What's the best way for a single man or woman to prepare for meeting with a matchmaker in order to increase their chances for a positive outcome?

Ann Robbins: Prior to hiring a matchmaker, make a list of questions to ask. Ask about the matchmaker's qualifications and background and if the matchmaker has any special training in matchmaking or relationship coaching. Ask how your prospective matches will be screened, interviewed, how you will be matched with others, and what determining factors are used in the selection process.

Be sure to ask how many matches you can expect to receive and get everything in writing. Ask if you will see photos or bios prior to introduction and determine the level of confidentiality used by your matchmaker to protect your information.

Also, be sure to ask about the matchmaker's network – is the matchmaker a member of any professional organization that connects him/her to other matchmakers? And finally, be sure to ask how communication takes place between you and your matchmaker – by phone, in person or by email?

Wanda Murch: As with any large purchase, research is the key. When shopping for a matchmaker you should be clear on what you expect from a matchmaker – what is your desired outcome? Do your homework. Review their website, read their blog and look for references. Does it seem like the matchmaker's values line up with yours?

In order to get complete alignment, be prepared to ask about methodology, timeline, price, experience, expectations and references. The biggest question is to ask is how many people does the matchmaker have in her database; does she only deal with paying clients or does she source out non-paying matches from a variety of different sources.

How many matches do you get for the price and what is the timeline. Is there recourse if the matches are not suitable? What is her success rate and how is that measured. Remember it is a buyer beware world.

If you could give one piece of advice to singles who want to use the services of a matchmaker, what would it be?

Ann Robbins: If you're considering using a matchmaker, first, know who you are and what you want. Then, be sure you clearly discuss this with your matchmaker. Most of the frustration I have seen with singles using matchmakers has been caused by expectations that are not clear or realistic.

A good matchmaker will tell you if you're being unrealistic, or if your expectations are beyond the scope of the matchmaking engagement. An ethical matchmaker only accepts you as a client if it appears you can both be successful. So, approach with objectivity, realism, and honesty. And remember, a matchmaker is not a miracle worker!

Be patient and realize you will probably have to be matched with several dates as your matchmaker really begins to understand your preferences. Then, your matchmaker can begin fine-tuning the search to truly help you find the love of your life! Most of all, have fun!

Wanda Murch: Be clear on expectations and then be open to suggestions. If your matchmaker has really gotten to know you and you are comfortable that she understands what you want in a relationship then you should meet each prospect with an open mind.

For feedback and for enhanced communication, always question why the matchmaker chooses a match. What did she see in the other person that led her to believe it was a good match? Use the process as an opportunity to learn more about yourself. Always seek to fine tune your vision of a perfect relationship.

The clearer you are, the greater the likelihood that the matchmaker will get it right. A good matchmaker will provide constructive feedback from both her perspective and that of your dates. Lastly, relax and enjoy the journey.

Copyright © 2012 by Relationship Coaching Institute. All rights reserved in all media.

Our Matchmakers:

Ann RobbinsAnn Robbins is a Certified Professional Matchmaker and Master Certified Relationship Coach. She is the founder and president of LifeWorks Matchmaking and dedicates her business to helping singles find love. She has been featured on CNN, ABC, CBS, FOX, NPR and in numerous newspaper and print publications. 1.407.895.8222

Wanda MurchFrom accountant and business advisor to matchmaker and life coach, Wanda Murch brings a practical approach to your love life. Her philosophy can be summed up with her favorite quote - "Life may not be the party you had wished for, but while you're here you might as well dance."

Bonus Article:
Dating Rules to Never Break

by Dr. Dar

When it comes to your dating love life, do you wish there was a rulebook? While "The Rules" are so last century, a new dating handbook has yet to be created in the new era.

So how do you know the do's and don'ts rules of dating? While the truth is there are no hard and fast rules, the following guidelines should help you navigate the dating world.

Dating Rules #1: Listen to Your Heart

Whether you're on a date, communicating with someone you meet online or flirting with a cutie you meet in the flesh, it's important to pay attention and listen carefully to your gut. If a potential date's actions or words set off an internal alarm system, you owe it to yourself to pay attention and act accordingly. These alarms can be both good and, sometimes, bad.

For example, if you've met someone online and they seem interesting, then you talk to them on the phone and they sound completely different (in a negative way), you may decide never to meet them in person. A positive example would be if you were on a date with someone and they seemed a little nervous yet well intentioned, your gut might tell you to give them a second chance. By going on a second date, you'll gain a better understanding of who they really are and if you'd like to see them soon.

Dating Rules #2: Pay Attention to the Red Flags

Like those internal alarms that alert you to your gut feelings, you also have an alarm system to alert you to red flags. Often this alarm system is turned way down. As a result, we often ignore red flags and find ourselves getting involved with inappropriate partners because we're not paying close attention.

To become a truly successful single in the new millennium, you owe it to yourself to become a red flag observer. That means paying attention to red flags as they are presented to you on your dates. An example of a red flag would be if you found yourself on a date with someone who could not stop talking about their ex spouse. They may be a fantastic person, and eventually make a great partner, yet right now they're still not ready. Your job is to pay attention to that red flag and not pursue this person.

Dating Rules #3: Actions Speak Louder Than Words

During the course of your dating life you will most likely find yourself on a date with someone whose actions speak much louder than their words. Maybe they're attentive and chivalrous to you, yet treat the waiter, bartender, and/or valet very poorly. Or maybe they claim they're ready for a long-term relationship, however their wandering eye soon tells you otherwise. To get the very most out of your dating life, it's important to understand that actions speak louder than words.

When someone's actions are contrary to his or her words, this is not only a huge red flag, it's gut-check time. By paying attention and screening out potential partners whose actions don't match their words, you cut down on wasted dating time and make it that much easier to attract potential partners worth your valuable time and energy.

Rule #4: Don't Play Dating Games

Successful singles know what goes around will come around. They also know the importance of being honest and well intentioned with the people they will date. As a successful single, you owe it to yourself and the individuals you date not to play old games. Try to call when you say you're going to call. Do what you say you're going to do and be honest when the other person asks you if you'd like to go out again. If you don't want to see them again, say so in a kind and considerate manner. By being honest and letting them down easy, you avoid playing dating games. Expect the same honesty in return.

Rule #5: Know When to Say "Game Over"

Just as you should not play dating games, also you will want to avoid getting played. Like it or not, there are plenty of those players on the dating scene. It's up to you to know the signs of the player, know their game, and be confident enough to tell them "game over." Here's how to actually spot a player: When they approach, they'll take you a little off guard with a backhanded compliment/insult along the lines of "you're too cute to be wearing that" or "I'd buy you a drink, but you probably wouldn't talk to me."

These tactics are known as "The Dating Game." The player's real motive is to take you off guard so that you're on the defensive and you'll try to make up for it by engaging in their game. The problem is, these players aren't really genuine. Instead of falling for their tactics, simply smile, say "game over," and walk (better yet, run!) away as fast as you can.

While there are no hard and fast dating rules, there are definitely some guidelines to follow to make your dating life more enjoyable. By really listening to your gut, paying attention to red flags and understanding that actions speak louder than words, you cut down on wasted dating time. In doing so, you not only avoid getting played, you also greatly increase your chances of dating relationship happiness.

Copyright © 2012 by Dr. Darshana Hawks. All rights reserved in all media. Used with permission.

Dr. DarDr. Dar, Ph.D. is an internationally recognized Relationship Expert, Author, Speaker, and a Master RCI Licensed Relationship Coach for Singles and Couples. She coaches men and women re-entering the dating scene to find love, moving in together, pre-married, newly-married, and couples who are in crisis, conflict, or experiencing communication problems.

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