Relationship experts – according to whom?

Every relationship expert is expected to don more than one hat, over their time. However, to become a qualified ‘coach’ in this very human sector, much of the emphasis is placed on analysing and correcting issues after a couple have been together for some time, which is not necessarily what you’re paying through the nose for when you sign up to a high-end dating site.

Sure, dating is certainly covered in the syllabus, but only those who’ve qualified recently – and I mean very recently – may have had any of their curriculum devoted to meeting a perfect partner online. So, when the dating sites with higher-than-average membership fees are offering the services of “mentors”, exactly what school of graduation are they plucking these cardboard cupids from?

Who qualifies for a dating site mentor?

A recent report by a relationship expert who had put the hours in to gain her qualification was astounded when, after looking to enhance her newly-gained skills by attending a session promised as a think-tank for the ‘experts’ in this field, she discovered that she was the only one amongst the assembled, self-proclaimed set with anything that resembled a dating qualification, at all.

There is some mileage in stating that the people who study what works and what doesn’t work on a dating site are qualified to preach about the mechanics. But, in a field that requires a deft, understanding human touch, are data scientists the best placed to be counselling a dating single who is having no luck with their ads?

Perhaps they are indeed more suited, as singles who approach such information technicians know in advance that any queries they have are going to be met with pure logic.  They then have the choice whether to put their faith in dating science or seek advice from a faceless mentor who may be as straight as a meandering mountain path, for all they know. Certainly, for men at least, if you have a choice of IT, carpentry, soccer or relationship expert for your career path, the latter will have grass growing over it before the end of the first term.

There’s a very interesting article from The Washington Post from a couple of years ago recanting tales of singles who, even before the dating site boom, were relying on guidance from experts and paying extortionately for the privilege. It needs bringing in line with 2012 figures, but it does exemplify just what we’re talking about, especially as more singles are distancing themselves from the madding crowd and putting their whole lovelives in the hands of someone who may be helping a dating site out part time, just to get them through that last year of uni, or pay off their student loan…

Newbie dating, high end stylee

Picking up from the last article, ‘Who’d be a relationship expert?‘, we look at just what that job entails for those who can afford to date high end, but don’t know how to…

Once you’ve spoken to your counsellor – and it is only after this point that your membership may be accepted, these high end dating sites retain the rite not to have you as a member – and you reach the common agreement that you are inept at dating, the counsellor will go away and work out a personal program for you. This is the high end we’re talking about, I mean 4-figure membership fees per month!

Usually, by the time the relationship expert comes back to you, based on the information you’ve submitted/they’ve gleaned, they will have searched through their database to find you a date. If you’re paying top whack for this online dating service, you are normally guaranteed one or two dates a month.

From there, you may not get sent straight on a date, oh no. It is becoming more of the trend that you have an ‘introduction’ before you actually hit the town with your new dating site beau. Here, you mutually agree whether you feel comfortable enough with your opposite number to go out with them on that all important first date.

The counsellor will then arrange everything, providing that the introduction has gone swimmingly. The services do differ from site to site but one would expect the date, time, place and transport to and from to be all included, even the menu may have been approved by your counsellor.

You will then take all the tips your relationship expert will have given you in the subsequent one to ones – and this is everything from the art of grooming to conversational tips and body language posture and attentiveness – and hope that you’ve learnt enough in that short space of time time to woo your loaded prince or princess.

Yep – it is like a fairy tale – just waiting for the wicked aunt to arrive on her broomstick, but your fairy god-mother’s already seen her off by flashing the greenbacks at her that you’ve shelled out for this exclusive dating service.

Now, bearing in mind the type of clientele that will have been in work for long enough to have built up enough spare or lived with mom so have had nothing better to spend their cash on, you can see, even with all that forethought and planning, that relationship expert job, although it may sound a breeze, is certainly not one for the meek and mild.

But, if you’ve got the dime but not the time, why not pay someone else to do all the chatting up and arranging for you?  For those not in that bracket, we have a fair few dating sites that don’t command a month’s wages, just to guarantee that one date.

Risk assessment and first date nerves

Online dating is great fun, despite what some ‘experts‘ in the field may tell you. From the safety of your own bedroom, you can e-mail, IM, even video conference as many people as you like as often as you want.

But what happens if you really like someone and want to take the relationship offline? Could you rattle for England on the web-cam, but feel tense about dating in the real world and then struggle to muster the conviction to go through with it?

Believe it or not, there are thousands of people who use dating sites simply to connect with other singles, have a bit of fun in the week when stuck at home after work, then take that experience out to their local bars and clubs at the weekend. That’s fine, if you want online penpals instead of risking meeting your fellow dating site members for a bit of a frolic on terra firma.

However, there are millions that do use their membership to start dating. It can take a while to build up the courage to ask that special someone out initially. But, after the first, tentative contact has been made, maybe even following up with an intimate chat or two on a one-to-one basis, both parties eventually feel safe enough to take their relationship just that little bit further and arrange that first date offline.

Assess the risks

More and more dating sites are vetting their members before allowing them to sign up to their sites, especially at the high-class end of the market. Some even have relationship experts who call an applicant and speak to them on a one-to-one basis before confirming acceptance and that the site can actually deliver what that hopeful single is looking for.

With reputation and conversion rates so important in online dating marketing, for those top of the range dating sites that demand high monthly fees in return for that extra special personal service, they will want to lead their advertising with fantastic success rates to entice other high-earners to join.

If you can afford that service, great. However, many of us can’t and we’re not only left with the job of assessing the risk but, unlike the sites that have personal relationship coaches to help plan your date for you, you have to do pretty much all of the groundwork yourself, particularly if you want the date closer to your home, with the added safety net of local knowledge – always advisable for women on their first few dates!

In the next article, we look at the aspects that can make your first date a roaring success, in an attempt to secure you that second liaison, and beyond.

Cash-strapped couples going to the wall

The constraints on finances have placed ‘arguments over money’ at top of the list for reasons for divorce this year, according to one dating site.

DivorcedDate.com, who ran a similar survey of 5,000 of its members the same time last year, are not so shocked that this cause has overtaken ‘communication’ as the main reason for couples looking to move on so soon after Christmas

According to Asda, their income tracker suggests that there is 8.4% less disposable income this year than there was last. This lack of ready cash, putting constraints on holidays, presents and quality time out is starting to tell with married couples everywhere.

Relationship expert underlines the need for disposable income

The online dating site, originally founded for singles who have been in relationships for some time and perhaps have got out of the habit of dating someone new, have their own expert in relationship matters.

Amélie Duval knows only too well that if there are cracks in any relationship, this type of pressure only blows these cracks wide open. One small argument over mis-spent cash can soon lead to all sorts of tensions being released, therefore potentially bringing a long-term relationship crashing down in an instant.

New Year, new start

Following such an incident, one half of the disheartened couple will suddenly take a look at their life and not like what they see. Drawing a line under it all, they turn to dating sites like this one, not necessarily to find someone new, but to relate their issues with like-minded people.

Obviously, as soon as lines of communication open, they realise that there is a world of people who have gone through exactly the same emotions. This is backed by the announcement that DivorcedDate.com have welcomed more than 11,000 sign-ups since Christmas – double their usual sign-up rate.

The other reasons mentioned for couples breaking up this year were listed as cheating, lying, a noticeable lack of sex and love, becoming disheartened by addictions to drink and drugs and the fact that the person the new single had married had changed beyond all recognition.

Not only do those in charge of the economy have the business market to consider being ripped to shreds, the effects are now striking at the heart of the UK household. Let’s hope that things change, and soon.

Festive pressures increase adult dating sign-ups

The festive season can get fraught with tension as families are cooped up for longer-than-usual periods. Like it or not, one (or both) of the individuals in such couples turn to dating sites such as undercoverlovers.com for solace when things in the marital home get just too much.

This year, the owners of the strictly adult dating site, designed specifically to target married couples looking for excitement beyond their existing relationship, were ready.

In their first year in operation, 2010, undercoverlovers.com were overwhelmed by the influx of new members in the period immediately after Christmas. This year, the trend was no less emphatic with almost three times the amount of new members signing up than average.

So, why did almost 20,000 feel the need to look elsewhere for new relationships following the Christmas holiday? Relationship experts and lawyers give their opinion as to why this should be the case.

Pressure cooker situation needs space to let off steam

Dr. Maryse Vaillant, a relationship advisor to the dating site, points out the blinding obvious.

She reasons that, whilst one or both halves of a couple are at work usually, when the festive holidays break there can be two weeks of enforced togetherness that denies the relationship its ability to breathe which it would in normal circumstances.

If there are hidden cracks, this added pressure will get between them and burst them wide open.

The legal outlook

Voices from the legal sector tend to back up what the relationship expert and the dating site tell us.

The period directly following the festive break is the busiest for family lawyers who handle divorces. More applications for separations are filed at this time of year than any other.

Poll give tips to those who fear the worst

Following last year’s glut of new arrivals, the dating site surveyed 5,000 of their new members to try to ascertain exactly why they had joined.

The top five reasons are listed as:

1. the other half doesn’t appreciate them
2. the romance has gone, yet is sorely saught
3. bedroom antics have become stale and excitement is yearned
4. arguments with the spouse have caused them to look elsewhere
5. the Christmas stocking was almost bare

The message is simple when presented with so much evidence.

Make sure you find quality time alone with each other if you’re subjected to prolonged periods of togetherness, including putting the effort in in the bedroom.

And, when considering your spouse’s Christmas gift, take the time to consider the gift to nip any recourse in the bud before it happens.

Online dating without the hassle

Leaving the business world in which you have grown up professionally can be a daunting, if not altogether terrifying, decision; especially when the firm you work for is a world-renowned global debt, asset management and finance corporation. But for Alexandre Errera and Maxime Leufroy-Murat, that was the life-changing alternative they chose when leaving behind Morgan Stanley and its graduate program to set up exclusive online dating facility personaldatingagent.com.

For the two gents, who met on the graduate program, the instant connection they made would be the catalyst that eventually realised their early recognition that they wanted to work together on a project outside of the financial institution’s confines. It took them a while to get there, but the seed had been sown whilst working at the multi-national giant’s London headquarters – the dating site industry had a niche gap that needed filling, and these were the two guys to plug that hole.

Working in the city can generate an affluence of cash in your bank balance. However, the long hours and draining manner of handling some of the biggest funds in the world can leave you with little time or energy for anything else, let alone trying to incorporate a love life. It was here that Alex and Max realised they could provide a service: employing relationship experts to handle the monotonous side of dating whilst alleviating its members of some of their over-burdening bank balance. Kind lads, indeed; nay, almost saint-like.

leave it to the experts, for a price

This is not a free dating service, by any stretch of the imagination. The packages they provide range from $300-$1200 per month with an intermediate $525 deal. That may seem a staggering amount, but these guys, with the business acumen they acquired whilst working in the city , did their marketing on the spot. It was a while after they had decided to work together long term that they hit upon the idea of an online dating service; one that wasn’t right up there with the top end of the A-list dating market but could offer so much more than the multi-million membership sites who fight for the bulk of the global online dating membership.

The service they provide is , however, first class and tailored to the busy city slicker lifestyle.  Upon joining, you will get a personalised call from one of their ‘agents’. They will literally take the headache of filling in a dating portfolio from you, use humans, not algorithms, to filter the matchmaking search to find you a ‘guaranteed number of dates each month’ and finally arrange the meeting offline on our behalf. All you have to do is turn up.

After initially having trouble hiring dating experts and writers, they are now ready to rumble; whether you are a resident of the capital or not, PDA is looking to serve a global audience. And, really, the high end package not only guarantees you 4+ dates per month but also picks your clothes, gives advice and includes a pro photo-shoot. Wow.

As Stevie V once warbled ‘money talks, dirty cash I want you, dirty cash I need you, whoa-oa!

Home of 419 fraud to host dating site

Talk about the lonely Christian walking unarmed into a pit of Gladiators, but that was the first image that sprang to mind when I heard that a new online dating site is in prelaunch mode – in Nigeria. My secondary image was of being smothered in honey and walking naked into the forest where bears doze in anticipation of hibernation, but then that thought started to stray in more adult dating territory so nipped it in the bud before, well, before I was lost in the blizzard of a fantasy winter woodland.

Bolanle Olayinka has identified a specific need in the African country for introducing like-minded singles in typical matchmaking fashion, however, there are additional filters which enhance the search facility in conjunction with the user’s culture, history and background. It is hoped that the depth of information input in the first instance will nurture friendships and closer relationships that will last a lifetime

The dating site, BestD8, as well as the in-depth profile assessment, will provide many features that you’d expect to find on a dedicated contact site plus a selection of other mediums that allow all possible mediums of online communication within its domain.

Using features such as private messaging, online chat and webcam video conferencing onsite will provide some level of security as long as the website admin monitor and verify its members. Alongside all of the dating tips and notifications, given the website’s location, we would strongly advise checking out exactly what verification methods the dating site is using. You could even ask one of the one-to-one advisors about it, if you take up the site’s offer of chatting to ‘relationship experts’.

dating site hoping to connect singles across the web

Although the site is aimed at connecting African singles by matching their cultural preferences, it is hoped that the site will attract a global audience by connecting its membership to a  world-wide dating community. Given the millions of dollars that are illegally elicited from US and UK dating sites, however, and the awareness of the problem being hammered home here by publishing up-to-the-minute online dating news via sites like dating.org.uk, we would have to say: “Yeah, right – good luck with that!”

No doubt there will be the odd fly that will accept the invitation to join the spider in their intricate web, but we would have to remind dating site members that the moment you leave the security of the dating site’s domain when you are asked to, you are exposing a soft underbelly which predators on the internet can smell from the thousands of miles away, deep in the heart of the African continent, where they reside.