A Heartwarming Note from a Reader!

Dear Readers,

I received a very heartwarming note on a Monday morning. It really instantly brightened up my day, and it was a great start to the week. It is from one of my LUNCH Actually clients who is also my blog reader. Have checked with her if it’s ok to publish her note in my blog, and she has given me permission… so here it is! :)

***

Hi Violet,

Firstly, just want to say that you and your team has done a great job in introducing men to me. Thank you so much! The men are mostly of pretty good quality, but I guess perhaps at times its really the chemistry that is lacking. Secondly, your blog has been really insightful, especially your tips on relationships.

Now for the good news – I got attached 2 weeks back! He is not from any agency but from my church. And it is a big surprise to me because when I first met him early last year, he was not exactly someone I would even consider. He did not meet any of my so-called criteria. I did not even want to talk to him or meet up with him. But as time went by, we got involved in religious activities together, then somehow started spending more time with each other, and before I knew it, we got together. It was a very natural progression, no fireworks or big drumrolls or whatnot, but we just became “inseparable”.

One of your recent posts struck me – it is true that sometimes you may state down whatever criteria you have, but at the end of the day, when you have found someone you can really communicate with, someone you can be totally comfortable with, and someone who shares your goals, visions and outlook in life, a lot of things really don’t matter. Like he doesn’t meet my height criteria, he’s not even Chinese, he’s not the high-flier I wanted, but yet with him, I can be totally myself. I can say what I want anytime I want, I can be totally outspoken and opinionated, I can tell him off, and he still accepts it. He is not the eloquent guy I wanted, but between both of us, we can talk non-stop, joke, make corny remarks and whatnot.

So at the end of the day, I believe once we’ve found a companion, all other “criteria” really don’t matter. What’s important is looking towards the same direction and how both get along with each other. Having said that, things look rather promising for this relationship, so I would like to put my membership on hold for now. Once again, thanks so much for the great job you’ve been doing!

Best Regards,
Celia

Her advice to all of you out there who’s looking for love is, “…not to write anyone off just because the other party may not be “fitting” at first instance. I’m glad I didn’t in the end!”

So, never give up and keep an open mind! :)

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Violet Lim

VIOLET LIM is a real-life modern matchmaker who has founded Asia's leading lunch dating company Lunch Actually (www.lunchactually.com). Violet is the bestselling author of the dating book 'Lessons From 15,000 First Dates'. She is also an acknowledged dating and relationship expert who has been featured on more than 1000 media coverage including ABC News 20/20, Bloomberg, CNBC Asia, CNN Go, Channel News Asia, USA Today, TV Tokyo and Singapore’s National Day Video 2005 as one of Singapore’s most aspiring people. Violet is happily married to her university sweetheart Jamie and they have two young children.

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What is your Dating Mission Statement?

When meeting up with potential clients, I will ask them what they are looking for in a potential partner.

Must be attractive. Big eyes. Slim.

Tall, broad shoulders, extroverted, must make me laugh.

These are just some examples of basic dating preferences.

Many a times, when singles list down their ‘I-Want’ list, it is based on things that would spark off infatuation, or chemistry. The things that make our hearts race.

However, the truth of the matter is, infatuation lasts, on average, 3 to 12 months. When the chemical reaction in our brain subsides after a year or so, you begin to see your partner in a different light. All of a sudden, the things you used to think was really endearing becomes really annoying.

And you suddenly realise that you do not even know this person. You have nothing in common. You have nothing to talk about.

People often say, it is different when you are looking for a boyfriend/girlfriend vs. when you are looking for a husband/wife. I believe that there is some truth to that.

When you are looking to spend the rest of your life with someone, we are looking for long term qualities.

For some, the question might be, “Is he reliable and dependable? Is he patient and kind?”

For others, it could be, “Would she be a supportive wife and a nurturing mother to our children?”

And a very important question to ask, “Do we get along well? Can I imagine him or her as my best friend?”

After all, a good marriage should be friendship on fire or friendship magnified.

What is your list of traits and characteristics that you want in your long-term partner? Most companies have a mission statement. Lunch Actually’s mission statement reads:

Lunch Actually exists to create a solution for single busy professionals who do not have the right environment to meet other like-minded people as a result of their busy and hectic work environment.

We believe that every individual deserves love, respect and companionship. Thus we strive to create supreme value and provide immaculate service to address the needs of the people we serve.

Jamie and I created this mission statement to remind ourselves why we started this business in the first place. Because in business and life, sometimes, you will lose your way. And you will forget, what was the purpose of it all?

Same with finding love.

What is your dating mission statement?

What are the traits you are looking for in your long-term partner? Ponder upon it. It would be even more powerful if you could write it down. Because along the way, you might be swayed by your biological and short-term needs. These short-term needs unfortunately do little to contribute to the success of a long-term relationship.

You might ask me at this point.

“Violet, why can’t we have it all? Someone who will fulfill our short-term biological needs as well as our long-term relationship needs. “

Of course that would be most ideal. But when we are searching for a partner, we make our choices, and others make their choices as well. He/she is your cup of tea, but you might not be theirs. And at the end of the day, do we want to be going around in circles and never meeting the right one, when the right one could be just right under our nose?

When I was looking for a potential partner, I thought I definitely wanted someone who is muscular, extroverted, and the life of the party. Those who know my hubby Jamie would know that he is anything but those criteria. I was looking out for my short-term biological needs when I put down those criteria. Muscular and well-built so I feel secure and protected. Extroverted would suggest that he’s fun to be with.

But when it comes down to it, all of these are not important because he might not be much of a talker in front of others, we can talk and talk and talk. 9 years after we first met, we still spend hours talking to each other every day. Does not matter he might not come across as the most witty and fun person, but we sure have lots of fun hanging out with each other.

And I am definitely very different from his initial list of ‘I-Want’. You can ask him to share them with you when you meet him.

So, what is your dating mission statement?

Are you looking for a short-term biological relationship?

Or someone whom you can share the rest of your life with?

Happy contemplating!

P/S For my readers who are already dating, or happily married, do you have any related stories to share?

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Violet Lim

VIOLET LIM is a real-life modern matchmaker who has founded Asia's leading lunch dating company Lunch Actually (www.lunchactually.com). Violet is the bestselling author of the dating book 'Lessons From 15,000 First Dates'. She is also an acknowledged dating and relationship expert who has been featured on more than 1000 media coverage including ABC News 20/20, Bloomberg, CNBC Asia, CNN Go, Channel News Asia, USA Today, TV Tokyo and Singapore’s National Day Video 2005 as one of Singapore’s most aspiring people. Violet is happily married to her university sweetheart Jamie and they have two young children.

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3 Little Words… I Love You!

Have you watched Transformers 2?

Apart from the big machine slugfest, one of the highlights of the Hollywood movie is of course the love story between the two leads. And in the sequel, the guy and the girl are bickering over who should say I love you first. Both sides are not willing to say it before hearing it from the other person.

Hence, one of the questions that people ask when they are in a relationship…

“Who should say ‘I love you’ first? The guy or the girl?”

Many guys and gals are worried about being the first to say ‘I love you’. Because..

  • they do not want to lose face, just in case the other person does not feel the same.
  • they do not want to jump the gun, because it might be too early in the relationship.
  • they are worried that they will lose the upper hand in the relationship.

The reasons are endless.

I think there is no hard or fast rule to it.

And sometimes, one party just has to take the risk. Afterall, not everything in life is about ‘face’. If your boyfriend or girlfriend is going to perceive you differently just because you are the first to say ‘I love you’, then he or she is probably not worth your time. Frankly, I will be really flattered if my guy has the courage to tell me he loves me, and not worried of coming across as not being macho enough.

Of course, there is a time and place for everything. If a guy tells me he loves me on a first date, I would really freak out.

At the end of the day, just do what feels right for YOU. Do not play mind games.

Because after all, you do not want to be like the guy and gal in Transformers 2. Uttering the 3 little words only after almost going through the valley of death! :)

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Violet Lim

VIOLET LIM is a real-life modern matchmaker who has founded Asia's leading lunch dating company Lunch Actually (www.lunchactually.com). Violet is the bestselling author of the dating book 'Lessons From 15,000 First Dates'. She is also an acknowledged dating and relationship expert who has been featured on more than 1000 media coverage including ABC News 20/20, Bloomberg, CNBC Asia, CNN Go, Channel News Asia, USA Today, TV Tokyo and Singapore’s National Day Video 2005 as one of Singapore’s most aspiring people. Violet is happily married to her university sweetheart Jamie and they have two young children.

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When 2 becomes 1

 

The lighting of the unity candle.

A very meaning symbolism of the merging of two families, the coming together of two individuals. The 2 tapered candles are usually lighted up by the mothers of the bride and groom. And after the lighting up of the unity candle, the tapered candles will either be blown out to indicate two lives have been united permanently or left burning to indicate that the two even though married will still retain their individuality.

Personally, I like the idea of the merging of the two flames, and the blowing out of the individual flames. Not that I do not believe in individuality. But I believe that marriage is a covenant. And from this day onwards, nothing will be as important as your marriage. The marriage will always come first, no matter what. I remember a sermon I heard in Hong Kong. The pastor, a very wise man said…

“If you cannot put your marriage and your spouse first, do not get married.”

It sounds like such a simple piece of advice. So straightforward, so precise… that you would think that it should not be too difficult to follow. But I am beginning to see that it is easier said than done.

In our modern life right now, there are so many things, so many commitments that compete for our time. We have our job, our interests, our friends, our need for space, our quest for freedom, our ambition for success, our lust to travel around the world…

And when there is a conflict, we usually find a way to justify our own decision. Even if the right answer is pretty simple and straightforward if you follow the wisdom of the above advice.

Is that why divorce rate is on the rise?

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Violet Lim

VIOLET LIM is a real-life modern matchmaker who has founded Asia's leading lunch dating company Lunch Actually (www.lunchactually.com). Violet is the bestselling author of the dating book 'Lessons From 15,000 First Dates'. She is also an acknowledged dating and relationship expert who has been featured on more than 1000 media coverage including ABC News 20/20, Bloomberg, CNBC Asia, CNN Go, Channel News Asia, USA Today, TV Tokyo and Singapore’s National Day Video 2005 as one of Singapore’s most aspiring people. Violet is happily married to her university sweetheart Jamie and they have two young children.

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“If you want to be loved, be lovable.”

As a modern-day matchmaker, many single guys ask me the question “How can I get ladies to go out with me?”

As for the ladies, they often raise the question – “How can I get my guy to commit to me?”

For the guys who ask such a question, usually they are at a point where they have low confidence, because they have been rejected many times in the past, and are afraid of more rejections.

For the ladies, they probably have been going out with the guy for ages now only to feel that the relationship is going nowhere despite everything they have gone through together and the sacrifices she has made for him.

So the simple answer to these two questions “How can I get ladies to go out with me?” and “How can I make my guy commit to me?” in my humble opinion, is:

“You don’t”.

You can’t make them to suddenly decide to go out with you, or decide to commit to you. There is no magic potion out there that can make that happen. If I do have that magic potion, I would become an instant millionaire! :)

What you have to do is… simply become the man they WANT to go out with or the lady they WANT to commit to. It is a matter of switching your perspective and changing your perception.

It is difficult to “get” or “make” someone to do something for your benefit.

To get the results you want, you have to work on yourself. You have to be the type of man that women are attracted and are excited to go out on a date with. Or you have to be the right kind of lady that men cannot wait to commit to and never want to leave.

Many a times, nice guys get rejected not because they are nice. It is because they lack self-confidence when interacting with women. Instead of leading and being decisive, they ask permission for everything and they feel absolutely lucky when a lady shows them any attention at all. This kind of behaviour does not inspire any interest from the ladies.

For the ladies, they fear that by dropping hints or forcing the issue on their guy, they would chase the man away. Hence they hope and pray for the day the man would “realise” how well they have been treated and take action. They are unaware that the man has grown comfortable with the status quo and as the years go by, they do not see any reason to change the status quo as they are getting what they want out of a relationship anyway.

And for some ladies who come in the mould of the modern career woman, they sometimes bring their career mindset right into their relationships. They challenge every issue and they must always have the last say. Because this mindset and attitude work so well for them at work, they cannot shake it off when they are dating. I always tell our lady clients; please leave the fist-thumping at the boardroom! Because some of these ladies come across as so aggressive, when the men imagine their lives together, they see a marriage filled with disharmony and arguments. And this frankly will scare off most men.

The above examples might be stereotypical situations but they are actually very common issues faced by both men and women, especially in a world where gender roles are becoming more and more confused. There is an increasing frustration towards dating and relationships.

As Publius Ovidius Naso aptly said nearly 2000 years ago, “If you want to be loved, be lovable”.

Might seem passé, but it still rings true 2000 years later.

To enjoy the dating process, the focus should always be on the person you are and not the person you want the other person to be. We can only pray and hope that the other person will change. He might change, or he might not change. But with ourselves, if we put our minds to it, we can make those changes almost instantaneously!

Happy Dating!

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Violet Lim

VIOLET LIM is a real-life modern matchmaker who has founded Asia's leading lunch dating company Lunch Actually (www.lunchactually.com). Violet is the bestselling author of the dating book 'Lessons From 15,000 First Dates'. She is also an acknowledged dating and relationship expert who has been featured on more than 1000 media coverage including ABC News 20/20, Bloomberg, CNBC Asia, CNN Go, Channel News Asia, USA Today, TV Tokyo and Singapore’s National Day Video 2005 as one of Singapore’s most aspiring people. Violet is happily married to her university sweetheart Jamie and they have two young children.

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To Be Chivalrous or Not

Was invited to be a panelist on a TV Forum on Channel News Asia – “Maybe Baby” recently.

And one of the issues brought up was… our guys could be more chivalrous, or ‘gentlemanly’. One lady related that there was a time she was about to walk through these glass doors carrying heavy bags, and nobody offered to keep the doors open for her. I can relate to these incidents. When I am overseas, and I am standing in an elevator, chances are one of the guys will keep the doors open, and wait for me to walk out first. It rarely happens in Singapore or Malaysia for that matter.

Actually, I don’t think that our guys are less nice compared to their overseas counterparts. It is a lot more about awareness. Sometimes, they are just not aware of the social etiquette that is expected of them. Or maybe they grew up in a very MCP environment where the mother waits on the father. Or maybe they are confused. Since we women have been asking for sexual equality. I think our guys definitely will be more chivalrous if they made aware of what the ladies are looking out for.

Just to give you an example, my personal story. My dad has always made it a point to walk on the side of the road where the traffic is coming from. When I first started going out with my hubby, I realised that he does not do that all the time. I pointed it out to him, and ever since, he has always made the effort to switch sides with me. :)

During the forum, one of the other panelists voiced her opinion on this issue. I am paraphrasing her. I cannot remember her exact words. She said that what should really matter is not whether he opens the door for you, but whether he stays up with you through the night when your child is sick. All these so-called chivalrous acts like opening the door and pulling out the chair are just scratching the surface. I definitely understand where she is coming from.

But there is a big problem.

Nowadays, when people date, they do not have the opportunity to delve deeper to know whether the guy will stay up through the night to look after the baby. You probably only have the luxury if you get to know the guy from school/university where you can observe through various activities. Or maybe, if you have met through a charity activity.

Nowadays, ladies can only observe the things that the guys do OR don’t do during the date. And from them deduce whether they would like to meet him again for a second date. One of my clients used to wear slippers to his dates. He definitely is the type of guy that would stay up for the baby. But most ladies would already be put off by his sloppy dressing on the first date! Never mind wanting to get to know him better! Luckily, after our ‘coaching’, he dressed better for his dates, and he is now happily married.

Ladies, what do you think? Do chivalrous acts matter?

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Violet Lim

VIOLET LIM is a real-life modern matchmaker who has founded Asia's leading lunch dating company Lunch Actually (www.lunchactually.com). Violet is the bestselling author of the dating book 'Lessons From 15,000 First Dates'. She is also an acknowledged dating and relationship expert who has been featured on more than 1000 media coverage including ABC News 20/20, Bloomberg, CNBC Asia, CNN Go, Channel News Asia, USA Today, TV Tokyo and Singapore’s National Day Video 2005 as one of Singapore’s most aspiring people. Violet is happily married to her university sweetheart Jamie and they have two young children.

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The Test of Time

Met up with an ex-uni mate today. We did our Masters together at LSE.

It was fun catching up. She brought me to a nice wine bar at Soho. It’s my first time at Soho, after making like more than 10 trips to HK. Haha. The funny thing was neither of us ordered wine. But the tortilla wrap was yummy actually.

We talked about many things. About our friends from LSE. About life. About religion. And at one point we talked about love.

She asked how I ended up being a modern matchmaker. So I shared with her the story of how Jamie and I decided to go into the dating industry. I told her that I feel truly blessed that Jamie and I complemented each other’s strengths and weaknesses. And also, how many friends warned us against going into business together. But how it is working out really well for us.

And she asked me, “If you guys see each other everyday, and like 24 hours a day, wouldn’t the chemistry be gone?”

I was lost for words for like 2 seconds.

Actually, she asked a very valid question. Because we are often conditioned to think that love is all about romance and passion. The giddiness. The quickening of pulse. The lack of sleep because you are up whole night thinking of the other person.

Strangely, I have also just finished reading the book ‘Why We Love’ by Helen Fisher.

I cannot remember what exactly I said to my friend.

In her book, Helen Fisher said this, “People around the world say the exhilaration of romance wanes as their marriage or partnership becomes increasingly stable, comfortable, and secure. I have mixed feelings about this fate nature has decreed. First, many of us would die of sexual exhaustion if romantic love flourished endlessly in a relationship. We wouldn’t get to work on time or concentrate on everything except ‘him’ or ‘her’. Moreover, as romantic love matures, it often expands into hundreds of complex and fulfilling feelings of attachment that produce an enormously intricate, interesting, and emotionally rewarding union with another living soul.”

I guess, if I were to answer my friend again, I would say, “The chemistry is not gone. Strange as it may sound, it has become stronger. It might no longer exist in the same form that it was when we first met. But it has evolved. To stand the test of time.” 

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Violet Lim

VIOLET LIM is a real-life modern matchmaker who has founded Asia's leading lunch dating company Lunch Actually (www.lunchactually.com). Violet is the bestselling author of the dating book 'Lessons From 15,000 First Dates'. She is also an acknowledged dating and relationship expert who has been featured on more than 1000 media coverage including ABC News 20/20, Bloomberg, CNBC Asia, CNN Go, Channel News Asia, USA Today, TV Tokyo and Singapore’s National Day Video 2005 as one of Singapore’s most aspiring people. Violet is happily married to her university sweetheart Jamie and they have two young children.

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Not ‘Single, Desperate & Ugly’ at all!

Did I tell you that I have been invited to another wedding recently? Two of our clients got married.

And it was a real grand affair. It was held at one of the poshest (is there such a word?) hotel in Singapore. And we are reallly happy for them, because they are such nice people, and as time goes by, we have actually become friends. :)

What struck me as really interesting at this particular client’s wedding is this…

Usually, when I go for client’s wedding, I will always keep a low profile. I will avoid speaking to people on my table. Or even when they make small talk, I will reply very politely, and not seek to prolong the conversation. The reason is very simple. I do not want to tell people that I am a matchmaker, or I run a dating service, and risk them drawing the direct conclusion that the couple met through us. Our clients usually prefer for people not to know how they actually meet, and I respect their decision. It is not my place to ‘advertise’ or ‘market’ our business. We are happy to just be there to bask in their happiness and their joy.

I always joke about it with Jamie… if people ask… I will say I am a housewife, and he will say that he is in the IT business. 

So anyway, back to this particular wedding dinner. Right at the start of the wedding dinner, the groom came over to the table and say… “I put you guys at this table because I think you guys are of the same wavelength and will be able to do some networking as well,” and I politely smiled. And he proceeded to say, “Please meet Jamie and Violet, they run a very successful dating agency, Lunch Actually!” And my smile froze, not knowing how to react. He introduced the rest, and then left to entertain his other guests. I was very worried during the entire dinner that people at my table were going to ask the question…

“So… did they meet through you guys?”

And it did not help that one of the groom’s friend on our table actually knew that the bride and groom met through us. And kept saying things like… “So Violet, I am sure you are invited to many wedding dinners?” And gave me this knowing smile. I really felt like throwing Fried Rice at him.

But you know what was the most amazing thing?

Nobody on the table even suspected. Not one.

And then I suddenly realised why.

Because the bride and the groom are so eligible. The bride is beautiful. She’s definitely someone you would classify as above average, if not gorgeous. Someone that guys would definitely look twice. And the groom is successful and talented.

And that was the reason, that it never come across anybody’s mind that they actually met through a dating service.

Because people always have the impression that people who go to dating services are ‘single, desperate and ugly!’

And this couple is definitely far from being ‘single, desperate and ugly’.

I just thought that was quite an interesting experience. And perhaps from now on, I can stop saying that I am a housewife, even though that is my secret ambition… haha! 😉 

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Violet Lim

VIOLET LIM is a real-life modern matchmaker who has founded Asia's leading lunch dating company Lunch Actually (www.lunchactually.com). Violet is the bestselling author of the dating book 'Lessons From 15,000 First Dates'. She is also an acknowledged dating and relationship expert who has been featured on more than 1000 media coverage including ABC News 20/20, Bloomberg, CNBC Asia, CNN Go, Channel News Asia, USA Today, TV Tokyo and Singapore’s National Day Video 2005 as one of Singapore’s most aspiring people. Violet is happily married to her university sweetheart Jamie and they have two young children.

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