There is a saying that no one knows you like your mother, so why is it that singles tend not to take their advice when it comes to dating? Most singles will even defend their bad boyfriend even if they know their mother is probably right! The truth is your mother wants what’s best for you and since she’s wanted that from the very first moment when she heard she was having you; odds are you can probably trust her judgment.
For most adult children it can be embarrassing to admit they might need mom’s advice to help them find a partner. Dating is stressful, fraught with emotional ups and downs, and too time-consuming to really research a potential partner’s compatibility. So, when it comes to finding a successful match, a centuries-old practice is yet again making a mainstream comeback; mothers and fathers hiring a matchmaker for their single adult children. “We’re seeing an increase in parents reaching out for help because of course, they want the best for their children,” explains Relationship Coach Renee Richel, Founder of 1 True Match. “But let’s face it, weddings and divorces are expensive and if those occur when their kids are in their 20’s the chances are that the parents are helping foot the bill.”
So, What’s a Parent to Do?
Offering support is of course the first step that parents can do to help their kids find someone who shares common values, faith and goals. It’s never too early to start having that conversation with your child about finding friends who share those commonalities. That will make the transition to talking about what to look for in a potential partner when dating becomes part of the picture.
It’s much easier to direct them to keep the priority on developing a friendship first with a potential crush before diving in heart first. Keeping the lines of communication open will also be helpful when talking about why a friendship or romantic relationship didn’t work out. The last thing any parent wants is for a heartbreak to damage their young person’s confidence or shy them away from making future connections.
Mothers Go Rogue to Play Matchmaker
You may be surprised that with all the dating apps available singles are becoming more willing to let their mothers and matchmakers bail them out of bad dating experiences. This change could be attributed to the negative experiences women under the age of 35, in particular, have had. According to the Pew Research Center, 60% of female users ages 18 to 34 say someone on a dating site or app continued to contact them after they said they were not interested, a similar share (57%) report being sent a sexually explicit message or image they didn’t ask for.
Any mother of those young ladies would surely want to jump in and see how they can help prevent that from happening. But moms need to make sure to ask first. “We’ve heard all kinds of stories of well-intentioned parents trying to help but end up making things worse,” shares Richel. “We don’t recommend making fake profiles to pre-screen dates for your kids, secretly setting up dates through other mothers, or intervening if help is not wanted. The best approach is to be honest and ask how you can provide support and bring up the possibility of working with a professional matchmaker.”
Matchmakers and Moms Can Make Magic Happen
As parents turn to professional matchmakers, they are finding that many offer specialized searches. For example, there are matchmakers who prioritize education and income, some focus on cultural backgrounds and others on spiritual alignment. That’s where working with your single son or daughter is critical. What do they value most and how can you guide them to also consider attributes that you as their parent feel are in their best interests?
That is also an area where a matchmaker can help navigate. “At 1 True Match we are a faith-focused matchmaking service, but we also conduct personality tests, emotional IQ tests, background checks and personal interviews,” details Richel. “We take into consideration what our clients really truly wants and needs and then we conduct a search to find a person who matches those same qualities. Parents often weigh in because they have insight that even the client might not have about themselves.”
Boundaries Are Best
While parents may be all gung-ho to pitch in to help a professional matchmaker, establishing clear boundaries early on is critical to avoiding clashes down the road. Determine early on how the process will go:
- Will the matchmaker present a candidate to a parent first and then once approved provide the information to the single adult child for review?
- Will candidates that don’t meet mom’s approval still be presented regardless but with the feedback of why they didn’t pass muster?
- If an adult child just isn’t clicking with a potential match, even though they may look great on paper and presented well during a screening interview, parents need to accept their decision.
- Don’t fall in love with a candidate before your son or daughter does because you don’t want your young person to feel they’re letting you down if they aren’t feeling it.
- Adult singles also need to give a candidate chosen by their matchmaker and parent a fair chance to see what their parents and the matchmaker see in them.
- It’s also important not to blame their parents if the candidate doesn’t click with them.
It’s vital that no one involved in the matchmaking process become too overbearing or have unreasonable expectations.
Quality Over Quantity
This double vetting process can be just what a busy single young adult needs to find a quality match. Instead of casting a wide net, this allows both young people to take the time to get to know each other without the rush of matches that statistically speaking will never pan out. For adult singles, the prospect of better matches with little effort is an appealing time saver. The added benefits are knowing mom and dad already like your date and you’re letting them help without feeling like they’re interfering.
“I do want to make sure that adult singles understand that their parents, will naturally expect to hear feedback on how the date went. An answer of it went fine is not going to cut it under these circumstances especially if they are paying for the services of a matchmaker,” explains Richel. “Parents also need to respect their young person’s privacy and appreciate they are not going to hear every detail and not to get defensive if the candidate didn’t get a passing grade.” However, Richel adds that working with a matchmaker will help substantially increase the odds that there will be a second date and eventually a walk down the aisle.