How to Get Modern Day Courting Right

As a traditional matchmaking agency, when we introduce individuals we tend to ask the gentleman to make the first point of contact. Like in any instance of dating, the gentleman tends to be the active party who courts i.e. - woos the lady over a period of time until both parties feel ready to commit to one another. However, getting to this point may not be as easy as it sounds, so here is our guide to courting in the modern day.

We know that making the first move with someone you’ve never met can be quite unnerving – whether it be contacting them or be it meeting them for the first time. Our first recommendation is to message your soon to be acquaintance with who you are and asking for a convenient time to call. We suggest this so as to not have your first communication declined or hear the “please leave a message after the tone”. This can also avoid the awkward, “hello, who is this?” start to any phone call. 

Secondly, don’t be worried about being the first to bite the bullet. Even though it may seem ‘uncool’ to be ‘keen’, it isn’t. After all you are both looking for the same thing, so why should you not wish to be the first to make contact? When making the first phone call it is importantnot to overthink what you may say or predict how they may respond to questions. Anticipating or predicting can come across as being too forced and not present your true authentic self. Our other suggestion is to treat the first phone call as you would a first date. Much like your first date, there isn’t a script in front of you to guide your words, therefore nor should there be during your first phone call.

Speaking of first dates, if you’ve made it this far, it is clear the phone call went well. It is time to plan where to go and where to meet for your very first time - our suggestion is somewhere mutual. Mutual in time spent travelling and somewhere you both feel comfortable and at ease. We suggest mutually exclusive environments as this will set the tone for common ground and give the impression of being on an equal playing field for the both of you (tip – this is always a good way to start any kind of relationship). For many of us, finding the right conversation starters and topics to discuss can be a struggling point, but on a first date go with the flow and ask questions in which you feel are valuable in getting to know your date. Questions of this type will also act as your guide, as these can be passed back to you, even more so you will be comfortable answering them. They also show you are intrigued and want to know more about your date, without being overly inquiring.

Over the next few dates and coming weeks you will begin to learn more about one another by asking the right questions and delving into the deeper understandings of your date. You may even find a hint of the ‘old school’ courting will start to tiptoe in, and it may move from being a little less smart phone related to more face-to-face contact. Although dating is considered the more socially acceptable term now, courting is a conscious effort and the understanding that your date is not a simple swipe right, or a ‘yes, I like the look of you’ thought. Thus, with courting you can access a profounder level of authenticity in the start of your relationship than you would dating, enabling you to find a true relationship.

Head vs heart

There can be a fundamental difference between what we need and what we want in life. When becoming romantically tied to someone, often our head can tell us one thing and our heart another. There is a constant battle to decide which one we should listen to, whether it be logic or emotion and it can be hard to separate the two. It’s so easy to get caught up in love or even lust; the way it makes you feel, the way it makes you think and somehow you can’t picture moving forward without this person in your life. Why do we desire someone so badly that we know isn’t good for us, doesn’t share the same values as us or someone who we know will probably hurt us as opposed to the safer logical option? 

In our romantic life, following your head and remembering the facts is easier said than done as we don’t always apply these facts to the situation and we don’t know how to use our   knowledge. Our mind can generate wisdom, it can advise us when is a good time to leave a relationship, stop and warn you before making a huge impulsive decision that could change your life and be negative in the long term. Whilst it can have these positive effects, it can also be your own worst enemy. It can stop you taking opportunities, talk yourself out of committing to a relationship and keep you in a destructive mindset. 

The feeling of love is from the heart, it’s something we feel within that radiates from our body. It can make us react irrationally- it’s the option that poses the most risk as you act by impulse from your feelings without thinking about your decision fully. The head is supposed to know “what’s best for you” but if you feel this way how could the relationship be so wrong? Love can make us do wild things. Sometimes it pays off, you follow your heart and live a long happy relationship but other times it has the opposite effect, and things don’t work out and you maybe wish you’d listen to logic a bit more. 

Psychologically we tend to remember something of significance, something that makes us feel (whether it be good or bad). We can explain the battle of the head and heart by looking at Freud’s theory of the psyche. Freuds theory states that the psyche is made up of three aspects; the id, superego and ego. The id is the primitive instinctive part which behaves directly and impulsively. The superego is the moral-compass that controls impulses and develops in the phallic stages of psychosexual development. Thirdly is the ego, this mediates and finds the balance between the desires of the id and superego.  Relating this back to your heart and head; your heart is like the id - it has desires and follows those desires. Your head is the superego - the moral compass following logic. The idea is to gain a balance between the two, just like the ego battles the conflicts between the id and the superego. You need to battle the conflicts between thinking logically and thinking emotionally and find a balance which will lead to the most favourable conclusion.  

The key is to find a balance; follow your heart enough to not close you off to opportunities but listen to your head enough to stop you making a mistake that could lead to a potentially negative situation. Sometimes things will be black and white, and the choice will be easy but at other times you need to draw upon the information you have and the way you are feeling and combine the two as true love is from the heart, but a good relationship starts from the head. 

References: 

Freud, A. (2018). Ego and id. In The Harvard Lectures(pp. 21-35). Routledge.

Feeling the fireworks and keeping the spark alive

With Autumn drawing in and holiday season just around the corner, the onset of the penultimate months can be the deciding line between a summer fling and the real thing. So, how do we keep that spark alive and deepen our connection with our partner? 

Longevity in a relationship is dependant on successfully establishing emotional intimacy, the foundation upon which a real partnership can be built. Emotional intimacy separates lust from love and solidifies the growing bond between the two of you. Growing an emotional connection involves getting to know your partner on a more intimate level and in turn, sharing a more intimate part of yourself with them. One way that this can be done is through self-disclosure. By disclosing intimate information about yourself during conversation, you give your partner permission to confide their insecurities and secrets in you. Research has shown that sharing pain can bring people closer together, and that telling stories builds empathy. Fascinating FMRI research has shown that when listening to a story, the brainwaves of the teller and listener actually synchronise. For example, when telling an emotional story, the same regions of the brain that are activated in the teller are also activated in the listener. This synchronisation increases liking and closeness in relationships. 

As well as nourishing an emotional connection, it is important to maintain a physical connection and chemistry as well. Touch can communicate a whole host of emotions like love, compassion and tenderness. Physical contact promotes safety, warmth and comfort and both conveys and builds liking and attraction. Research on cohabiting and married couples has found that increased frequency of kissing can lead to decreased stress and increased relationship satisfaction. Being physically affectionate with your partner helps foster intimacy between the two of you. 

Another thing to keep in mind as your relationship grows is, conversely, to plan for spontaneity. As contradictory as this sounds, this helps to keep the relationship fresh. Remember to keep actively dating each other. Yes, your dates may slowly morph from fine dining and adventurous nights on the town to evenings in cuddled up on the sofa, but successful relationships find the balance between both. Keep the mindset and mentality of trying to impress your partner and having them impress you - the most successful marriages survive on regular date nights. Contribute to your relationship; go above and beyond like you would for a first date and this will keep the romance alive, not to mention remind them and yourself why you began dating in the first place. 

Finally, as you get to know each other more, compromise is an essential part of growing together in a partnership. As you and your partner become more familiar with each other, more opportunities for contention may arise. This provides the opportunity for compromise. In life, and romance, you have to create what you want, not just expect it to come to you. 

 

References 

http://www.pnas.org/content/107/32/14425

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/09/140909113340.htm

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4487821/

Feeling the fright, don’t back out of love

You can be in a new relationship where all is going well - you are enjoying each other’s company, have common outlooks and values, and yet for some, there comes a time where you may consider ending it - sometimes for no reason at all. If you find yourself switching off and backing out of relationships, you may need to start asking yourself why that is. There may be instances where, for no good reason, you give up on a love that could have grown and developed in a healthy way into something special. You may be spooked by the prospect of a love you’d never imagined, or thought wouldn’t come true.

This is where a considered contemplation and evaluation of perceived red flags needs to be undertaken. Quite often we can over-exaggerate signs that we may deem as red flags and blow them out of proportion, leading to an otherwise unnecessary break down in a relationship. It is of course important to balance “imaginary” red flags with demonstrations of actual concerning behaviour. Its not to say that you should ignore worrying behaviour from a partner or potential partner, but rather to assess whether this behaviour is indeed an issue or whether you are using it as an excuse to cut ties and run away from potential happiness. 

Giving someone the benefit of the doubt can be one way you express compassion for your partner, depending on what it is they have done. For example, if your partner has had a particularly stressful day at work and comes home and verbally snaps at you, then perhaps standing back and understanding where this has come from can allow you to have a discussion or at least hash out the root of it. However, if your partner exhibits this behaviour frequently and without a triggering event, it might be time to review how you are being treated in the relationship and reassess. Again, taking the time to consider your relationship and the events that occur in it will help you from cutting and running. Often those who are frightened to love won’t take a moment to breathe and think, but simply work off a kneejerk reaction. This - which although can bring short term relief to that person - will merely bring about a cycle of long-term despair, resulting in loneliness and a sense of loss, thinking “what could have been?”. 

On the opposing side are those who stay in bad relationships because they are too afraid to be on their own. This is just as unhealthy as those who exhibit avoidant behaviour, as both paths lead away from love. By remaining in a negative relationship, you are shying away from meeting someone who could bring you a real sense of joy. Being alone can be a frightening prospect for some, but it is important to remember that not only are you wasting your opportunity to find happiness and love but that you are also withholding this love from a potential future partner. Finding love involves a little bit of faith in yourself, and in potential partners. Fear will only hold you back from achieving a healthy and successful relationship and will keep you backed into your bad relationship. 

Be brave and give yourself a chance to be happy. We all deserve love and we all have the ability to find it, so don’t be frightened to find the success you seek - don’t back out of love. 

Cityjet interview with Susie Ambrose

Seventy Thirty is a luxury matchmaking company, offering a discreet and exclusive service to clients of affluence.

“Coming from a background in psychoanalysis,” founder Susie Ambrose explains, “my inspiration came from my clients, who were successful, affluent, intelligent and attractive but single, and often had difficulties meeting the right type of person.

“My entrepreneurial drive was born when I discovered that no other company was providing a truly- bespoke and exclusive matchmaking service. After seeing the gap in the market, I went on to found the first exclusive matchmaking company.

“I was a real novice in the matchmaking world. However, I understood the importance of high- quality service and I appreciated the importance of exclusivity. Our members are ultra-high-net- worth individuals (UHN W Is) who are accustomed to  consistently receiving an exceptional service. We are experts in luxury and we admire the finer things in life, therefore we fully understand our members’ needs, wants and desires, tailoring our service around them individually. This was a very important factor when I started the business. ‘

“Research has proved that the affluent tend to work 70% of the time, leaving only 30% for their personal lives. Before the company launch, market research confirmed that successful single men and women had few resources for finding suitable partners. As I already had some key contacts in London, I invited a few to join with a lower introductory fee until I had built up my critical mass.”

“I also created our unique matchmaking model, which we still use today.

We match on background, lifestyle, attraction and relationship goals.

However, fundamental to these factors is having an understanding of each person’s values, motivations and outlook in life.”

“My focus has always been towards building the brand through word-of- mouth. I had enough contacts within my network to launch the service, and I got stuck in with making select introductions myself. With time, dedication and a lot of networking with highly-successful people, Seventy Thirty became increasingly well- known as being the place to find the ultimate partner. I then brought in a team of young, dynamic psychologists who have genuine passion and confidence in dealing with very powerful people.”

“I hear stories of what new couples get up to in their honeymoon period, then the engagement celebrations, weddings and babies… and I am proud and humbled by the success we have had.”

“We are now in a digitally- dominated era and younger generations prefer to use various dating apps. However, the art and business of matchmaking will always appeal to people who prefer a discreet and personalised bespoke service.”

“In the luxury market, there is money to spend and the savvy rich want to make sure they are making sensible and fruitful long-term investments.

“Seventy Thirty is an investment for a better future. I will continue ensuring that our goals are achieved and that we continue to be an exceptional ambassador for the luxury industry.”

Susie Ambrose

Founder

5 Ways Mindfulness Can Enhance Your Connection With Your Partner 

Mindfulness is a lifestyle, rather than a life choice, and where better to apply it than the most important aspect of your life - your relationships.  Research has shown that more mindful individuals have higher relationship quality. Here are five tips and mindfulness techniques that will help enhance your connection with your partner and improve your love life:

1.Active listening  

Active listening is a mindfulness technique that is often misunderstood. It sounds fairly obvious, but when was the last time you stopped, took a pause and actually listened to what your partner was saying, instead of mentally formulating your next response? Listening actively means fully concentrating on what is being said, rather than just passively ‘hearing’ the message of the speaker. There is a big difference between hearing and listening that often goes overlooked in everyday conversation. Next time you’re talking to your partner make a conscious decision to listen to and understand the message they are trying to get across. It may surprise you. 

2. Presence 

Following on from this, active listening helps to make the user more presentin the conversation. Too often we get stuck thinking about what has happened and what will happen, as opposed to what is happening right now. Regular mindfulness practice changes the areas of the brain associated with directing attention and focus, which helps us get better at concentrating on the present moment. This is vital in appreciating what your partner is doing in the now, as opposed to colouring their behaviour with or comparing it to their historical actions or your expectations. Appreciating your partner goes a long way, as positive interactions are the basis upon which liking grows and love blossoms. 

3. Verbal Communication

Communicating that appreciation is vital to a successful relationship. It is much easier to vocalise distaste than appreciation, and much harder to accurately express what was intended when clouded by anger or frustration. Communicating mindfully means being conscious of your words and their effect on your partner. Words spoken in a moment of anger can cause long term and deep hurt, even if they weren’t meant. Consider replacing accusations such as “you never” or “you always” with “I feel” and “I would like”. These phrases steer you away from the blame game and help to focus on your own feelings – whilst communicating to your partner that you’re willing to see both sides of the discussion. As well as communicating your feelings mindfully, putting yourself in their shoes and exhibiting understanding and empathy go a long way too.   

4. Self awareness

Communicating your emotions accurately and mindfully also feeds into self awareness, and being aware of where your emotions are coming from. If you find yourself getting irritated with your partner after coming home from a busy, hassled day at work, you can perhaps ask yourself if your frustrations are indeed coming from them, or being influenced by outside forces. Perception is vital to human experience and one of the few things we can control. Clear your head and make sure you are being fair to your partner. They should be a supportive sounding board, not a verbal punch bag. 

5. Stop and breathe

Finally, stop and breathe. There are a multitude of mindfulness techniques surrounding breathing and their importance cannot be understated. Taking a few long deep breaths and counting to 5 on each inhale and exhale can be enough to clear your head, displace anger to think clearly and totally change your perspective. Breathing reduces anxiety and stress, and calms the heart rate. For a process that is required for human survival, it is something many of us don’t pay enough active attention to.   

References 

https://www.londonmindful.com/blog/5-mindfulness-tips-for-a-happier-relationship/

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-mindful-self-express/201706/five-ways-mindfulness-makes-your-relationship-happier

https://www.inc.com/minda-zetlin/5-mindfulness-techniques-that-will-improve-your-relationships-and-make-you-a-bet.html

https://docs.wixstatic.com/ugd/c8fe6e_65448e5da9754a6c8676f179d07067d1.pdf