Independent on Sunday

The Dating Expert

After 17 years in the dating business I have a few rules about general compatibility. I try and match people’s energy levels.

The Independent on Sunday ‘Better a plain, happy person than a gorgeous sourpuss’ People will never get into a happy relationship unless they’re happy themselves. Mr/Ms Right won’t change your life. After 17 years in the dating business I have a few rules about general compatibility and match people’s energy levels – slow talkers go together, as do fast talkers. Only occasionally do opposites attract. Long term, most people want to be with someone with similar background, and similar values. Politics seem to be much less important nowadays and income isn’t as much of issue as people seem to think it is. On a first date, keep it light. Just an hour is what we advise. You need only be relaxed and flirtatious. Don’t even think getting into deep issues. Save the “Do you want children?” for 20 dates in. Neediness and broodiness are very off-putting.

Try and be slightly less available.

I mistrust love at first sight intensely. Someone comes back from a first date fired with passion, then alarm bells ring. The couples that end up together are usually those who were lukewarm at first.

Returning from a first date, most men think it’s gone really well, but most women don’t. This is because women have done their typical reflex of listening like they’re fascinated, leaning forward with their pupils dilated etc. Men love this, but it isn’t much fun for women, and after few dates the women start talking and that’s a shock for the men. I’d say this happens 60 per cent of the time.

I know this sounds old-fashioned but if you really like the person you should hold off from having sex for as long as possible. Sex short-circuits the getting-to-know-you process and can really ruin things.

The attractive people aren’t the most popular. The happy ones are. People would always rather be with a plain happy person than a really attractive sourpuss.

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