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Melinda Lee has had many roles throughout her life: actress, spokesperson, magazine editor, radio host, matchmaker. Now a love coach, she sat down with us to let us in on what she does and share her tips for single people looking for love:
Melinda, when did you know you wanted to become a love coach, and how did you go about it?
Well, I was trained as a coach, and then I realized my passion is love, so I became a matchmaker. I had great joy pairing up many men and women with their life partners. Recently, I saw so many single women of all ages who struggle to meet men and to develop and sustain a relationship. They think they want a committed relationship and think they know exactly who “he” should be, but they haven't taken a good hard look at who they are and what they bring to the table. So, I decided to specialize and work one-on-one with women to uncover what is keeping them from having the love they say they want in their lives.
What is your typical client like? Do you see more men or women?
My typical client is age 40-60 and is female. She is successful professionally -- almost all clients are earning well over six figures – but she does not have a good track record in her personal life. About half of my clients have been married at least once (many have been married several times), and the other half have never been married and would like to be married. Today, I am seeing almost all women.
Do you have a memorable transformation story you can share?
"Sue" was in her 40s and had had a short marriage straight out of college. She was career-minded -- and that is putting it mildly -- so the fact that she got her master’s degree and an LD before she was 30 did not leave her much time for romance. She decided she wasn't meant for marriage and totally devoted herself to practicing law. Finally, in her early 40s, she lifted her head up from her caseload and realized she felt "empty," as she called it.
She was introduced to me through a mutual friend (a former client) and together we embarked on what I call her "love transformation." Sue had to re-learn how she conducts herself on dates, how she treats her body, mind and spirit, and, most importantly, she had to get clear about what it means to be in a real – not Hollywood -- relationship.
Over the next nine months, Sue and I worked together on a weekly basis, reviewing her personal contracts (which we co-authored), reviewing dates and exchanges with men in general -- until she met "Ted," a partner at a rival firm. It was a bit rocky at first, with Sue's testosterones vying for "top billing," but Ted was understanding (he and I had a few sessions together too!) and, a year later, he proposed. More importantly, Sue was ready to be a partner and wife. She wasn't able to get pregnant, but she and Ted were committed to being a family, so they have adopted two little boys who were abandoned by their parents and were struggling in the foster care system. Sometimes life has a happy ending. It was so nice to be a part of this one!
What is the most common dating/relationship problem you advise people about?
Women expect men to think like them, and they simply do not! Because of this difference in communication, the relationship breaks down and the love and sharing are compromised. Women, especially my clients who are strong successful women, have to learn how to be a woman outside their workplace so their man can be a man. And, stop making the dating process another "interview.” Have fun. That's what men are attracted to: a fun, happy person.
What is a common question or issue you hear today that you didn't hear when you began your career as a relationship expert?
Internet dating seems to be the biggest difference now from when I began this career. People want to know how to use the Internet effectively and safely without creating a second job for themselves. I advise my clients who have public profiles to never add their phone number or address and always drive their own car to very public places for at least the first five dates. And, to weed out the numbers, be brutally honest. If you like sailing and hate skiing, say that. If you want to be married and have children, say that too. Stop pretending to be someone or something that you are not. This is key! There are some concessions to making relationships work, but you have to be genuine.
What relationship/dating issue do you expect to become more significant in the near future?
Communication and isolation. I see a huge issue as we bury our heads in our computers, iPods, iPhones, etc, texting away and never looking up to connect with each other. How can we expect to share our lives? My suggestions: Create some boundaries and "rules" to ensure you are connecting. No phones or texting during dinner. Create some sacred time to give your significant other your undivided attention – a minimum of one hour per day, even if it's in 15-minute increments. If we are not conscious, our sound-byte culture will disrupt our values around true, lasting relationships.