During these strange times finding a great partner is becoming even more important. Finding a perfect partner can be stressful at the best of times, but especially now without face-to-face dates. I talk to Michelle Begy, MD and Founder of personalised matchmaker service Ignite Dating, about being true to yourself and your wellbeing, attachment styles and useful tips on how to find the perfect partner while safeguarding your mental health.
Can you tell us a bit about your background and how the agency got started?
We are here to change the way people date. Specialising in hand-selected personal introductions, our elite matchmaking service helps busy professionals across the UK find a life partner who shares the same values, lifestyles and aspirations as they do, with whom they can build a future.
After working with one of the UK’s largest introduction agencies, I realised that the dating world was going through another transition. Educated and successful people were growing bored of labour-intensive online dating, had found that database matching wasn’t quite hitting the right note and wanted to be more prescriptive as to what they wanted in a partner. Through listening to my clients, Ignite Dating was born.
What is your unique approach?
Our dedicated matchmakers support our clients every step of the way, using personality profiling and instinct to provide a dating journey that leaves them feeling confident, energised and safe.
Working together, we establish the values and characteristics that are important to each individual client and search our extensive database, private network and affiliate agencies to find the right person for them. We do not rely on database matching but instead provide hand-selected, ID-checked introductions that have been picked using a unique blend of psychometric profiling, experience and intuition.
Who would you say is your ideal client?
Our private network of available ladies and gentlemen boasts successful people from all walks of life, whether in the corporate world, creative industries or academically, all with the commonality that they are seeking a lifetime relationship. We enjoy working with enthusiastic individuals who are committed to finding a life partner with similar values and outlooks on life.
In this modern busy world, it would seem that using your service saves time. What are the other advantages to finding your partner via a dating service like yours?
There are a huge number of benefits to using matchmakers, besides saving time.
Being a successful matchmaker is all about being emotionally intelligent and having a sixth sense about people. This is very often a skill that they are born with and not something that can be taught or learnt. Matchmakers can use this intuition to quickly decide if two people are likely to work well together. This saves a lot of emotional effort on dates which were never going to be right, and minimises the lows that can come with unsuccessful dates or swiping through dozens of the wrong options online.
One of the most important things a matchmaker will do is spend time really getting to know their clients – after all if we hope to use our skills to find the perfect match for them, we need to know more about who they are and what it is they want from a partner. Clients are also amazed at just how much they learn about themselves on this journey. They might think that they know exactly what they want from a partner but after extensive conversations with their matchmaker most people re-evaluate what is really important to them and find that they have more successful and fulfilling relationships overall.
Another huge benefit of using a matchmaker is that they will run ID checks – something that online dating apps do not carry out. Matchmakers ask for photo ID to make sure every individual is legitimate and that they are who they say they are. This offers an increased sense of security and means that clients are not going to meet someone who falls short of what they expected. Photographs that we present to matches are also recent and every match will have spoken to their dedicated matchmaker, ensuring that they are a good fit.
What do you think are the main factors that stop someone from using a dating service like yours, and how can people overcome that?
Cost is one of the biggest hurdles when it comes to people signing up to use introduction and matchmaking services. Unlike online dating apps, we offer a very personalised, hands-on service which is reflected in the cost. Clients have a dedicated and experienced matchmaker to guide them through the dating journey, from the initial interview and professional photoshoot to the selection of their introduction and meeting that perfect partner.
However, when you consider that the average single person in the UK spends around £1,349 per year on dates that ultimately may not lead to a committed long-term relationship, personalised services like our own become more attainable. While online dating apps may seem low cost from the offset, when people factor in the expenses for each date along with any monthly subscription charges and set up fees for the online services, it all adds up – but the difference lies in the detail.
There is no personalisation involved in online dating. It is simply a swipe lottery, and generally people will talk to lots of different potential matches before they eventually find the one that clicks, if at all. In comparison, you tend to find those that use the personalised matchmaking services will have fewer dates, but those dates will be of higher quality and more aligned to the type of person that they are looking for.
Can you tell us more about attachment styles in dating and how that affects the way we find a partner?
Established in early childhood through your relationship with your primary caregivers, your attachment style is something that subconsciously you will take with you into your adult relationships. It determines how you relate to your partner, which subsequently affects how you behave in a relationship and how healthy or unhealthy your relationships will be.
There are three main types of dating attachment style – anxious, avoidant and secure – understanding your personal attachment style can help you forge healthier relationships in the future and increase your chances of finding the right person for you.
Can you give some tips on how to find a perfect partner online, and how to approach the perfect first date?
Well, we will do all the hard work for you. In the simplest terms, it is a bit like a recruitment agency for your love life.
Following a meeting, in person or via virtual meeting platforms, with one of our matchmakers, we will create a profile that highlights our clients in the best way possible to potential partners and arrange for them to have a professional photoshoot done so we have the perfect set of dating photos to present to prospective matches. These are the first key tools in promoting them to potential partners as we search through our extensive private network to find the right person for them.
Once an introduction has been selected, we will share the details with our client and have a chat with them about the upcoming first conversation which will ultimately lead to that important first date. We always recommend keeping it quite low key for the first date – maybe opting for a brunch date somewhere so that you have the option to end it after a chat over coffee and cake if it is not quite right for you, or extending it out if the vibe feels right. This usually helps keep nerves in check and allows both parties to focus on the person in front of them and see where the date leads.
Can you advise us on ‘5 DO NOT rules’ for new users?
When it comes to dating there are no hard and fast rules as to how to approach it. Every person is different and past experiences will pave the way for how they approach dating and ultimately their relationships. However, there are some little bits of advice that we would recommend, ensuring that our clients get the most out of their dating journey.
- Do not have a checklist of traits and qualities that your perfect partner must meet – life is not a tick list, not everything goes to plan and sometimes we have to grow and adapt. The same can be said for dating, life is too short to spend it lonely looking for the ‘perfect’ partner. Be more open-minded and decide whether these things are really deal-breakers.
- Do not lie – even the smallest white lies are found out eventually and when it comes to building a relationship, they are not solid foundations on which a long-term future can be built.
- Do not be negative – positivity is hugely important in every aspect of life. If you are surrounded by negative people, it can be easy for these feelings to be passed onto those around you and start to affect their emotions in a detrimental way. People want to date someone with a positive outlook who can try to see the brighter side of things.
- Do not stick to your typical type – if you’ve been chasing the same type of person for years now without being particularly lucky in love, this should be a sign that perhaps you need to update your dating profile for a partner.
- Do not rush it – while friends and family may be urging you to get back out there, there is no obligation to re-join the dating world until you are ready. It’s hard to be happy with someone else if you’re not happy with yourself or your situation.
The more mature dater may be confused or put off by the ‘age element’ to this type of dating. Do you have any age restrictions?
We work with a huge variety of clients across the country, helping clients from the age of 29 years old up to their late 70’s.
Finding a perfect partner with numerous dates can be stressful. How do you recommend safeguarding your mental health during the process?
Dating burnout is real and we’ve witnessed it with clients, friends and even family members – especially since the rise of online dating apps. If you hit a stage where you are feeling frustrated and exhausted with dating, or you find yourself regularly cancelling dates last minute we recommend taking a step back and have a break from dating.
Take some time out with good friends and family to appreciate what you already have in your life rather than focusing on what you lack and are longing for. This will ultimately give you a renewed purpose and when you’re ready to start dating again – try something new. If you find online dating laborious and want to cut down on the effort and time put into those dates that just aren’t quite what you are looking for, then why not outsource the hard work to a matchmaker; someone who understands you and what you are looking for in a partner.
Can you please share some of your achievements to date, and how you take the hard work out of dating?
Success is measured differently for everyone. For some it may simply be getting back out there and starting a new relationship, for others it may be taking the next steps and moving in together or even making lifelong commitments.
Throughout my time working in the dating industry, I’ve been lucky enough to witness the start of something special for so many clients. I’ve seen relationships blossom where clients never expected them to, engagements, babies and lots of marriages – and at the end of the day those are the moments that we live for as a matchmaker, knowing that all that hard work has paid off to see your clients happy.
It takes a lot for people to trust someone to mould and take control of something so personal to them, but it can be such a fun and worthwhile experience if people let it. The key benefit of using a matchmaking or introduction agency is that aside from the initial appointment with a matchmaker, people don’t have to put in any of their own time – a huge difference compared to the alternative of spending a good portion of their week scrolling through profiles and making polite conversation with potential matches. We get all the information that we need from that first meeting to go ahead and carry out the search for Mr or Mrs Right while clients go about their every day lives.
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