In the highly technological 2018 dating landscape, Laura Bilotta, founder of Single in the City and professional matchmaker and dating coach, guides singles through the modern world of dating on their search for “the one.” With 16 years worth of experience in the field, she offers insights and firsthand knowledge to Canadian singles in one-on-one matchmaking sessions and personal coaching. Laura recently published her first book, Single in the City: From Hookups &Heartbreaks to Love & Lifemates, Tales & Tips to Attract Your Perfect Match, which offers valuable dating tips she’s picked up along the way to help singles expertly play the ever-complicated dating game. She spoke with Beyond Fashion Magazine about on-the-rise dating trends, and tips on finding the one, just in time for Valentine’s Day.
How did you come up with the idea for Single in the City?
I started Single in the City 16 years ago. I always had a knack for setting people up. I’ve always been the person that everyone would come to with their relationship problems, probably because I was always very perceptive on how people were interacting with each other, and what people were doing when it came to dating. Eventually, I noticed this trend sweeping North America, called speed dating. I went to a speed dating event and, basically, I was hooked; I knew I needed to start doing this on my own. I needed to start my own company. I envisioned not just doing that one area of dating (speed dating), but creating a one-stop-shop for dating, and a place for people to meet and connect. I started doing speed dating events and mixers, and along the way I just started noticing the troubles people were having with dating and relationships. That’s how I got into date coaching and matchmaking. I wanted to help people. I keep the costs of my service pretty low because it’s already so rewarding just to be able to help people with their dating woes. And nowadays, especially with technology where it is, so many people are struggling to find meaningful relationships.
What are the major dating trends you’ve seen in the past year that you think will still be hot in 2018?
A big trend with millennials I guess is lack of commitment. Millennials, who are in a lot of ways shaping this year’s trends, are waiting a lot longer to commit to relationships nowadays, and many aren’t even getting married. You see a lot of this lack of commitment in the way millennials date, and what they do while they’re dating. Ghosting is a huge trend. Ghosting is when a person who’s been kind of leading you on suddenly disappears. It can happen in a serious relationship, but it usually happens when you’re in the early stages of a relationship, or the fling phase. Then, there’s Zombieing. Zombieing is when someone ghosts you, you think they’re gone forever, but then, boom, they come back—like they’ve returned from the dead. Another trend I see a lot is Benching, and this happens when you meet someone, and you go out with them a few times, but they keep you on the back burner—they’re still messaging you, but they don’t really make any plans to see you again, usually because, truthfully, they’re waiting to see if someone better will come along. Another problematic trend that I see a lot is Cushioning. Cushioning happens when the person you’re with has an emotionally connected back-up plan for when things go awry with you. The person you’re with, then, is kind of stringing you along because they don’t really want to let you go, but they’re not fully committed to you because they have this emotional connection set up with someone else. Another dating trend, which is quite similar to this, is Bread Crumbing, which, as the name implies, is the act of flirting and leading someone on without fully committing to them, like leaving them emotional bread crumbs.
Why are these trends so prevalent with millennials?
A lot of these trends are happening so much now because of the way people are interacting. Technology (like dating apps) has changed the way we converse with each other, and has definitely changed the way we create relationships. The reasons we’re seeing so much lack of commitment in dating (at least, in the younger generations) is due to the fact that dating apps give us so many options to choose from, that it actually becomes harder to pick someone. This is called the paradox of choice. People end up thinking, “well, why limit myself to one person when I can talk to 10? Why settle for someone when I have access to so many potential partners, and someone better could be right around the corner?” People are being bombarded by choices, and so they find themselves unable to make a choice at all. They’re often looking for this perfect person that just doesn’t exist. And for this reason, a lot of people using this means of dating find themselves in a kind of dating limbo, where they might have initial contact with someone, maybe even a hookup, but nothing that really leads into a full-blown relationship.
How do older generations fit into this new way of dating through technology?
A lot of Generation X’ers are actually following in millennial footsteps in that they’re also not necessarily looking for longterm relationships when they date. In my work, a lot of people from that generation have come out of divorce, and they’re just not interested in working on themselves before getting into a new relationship. They play the field for a while before moving into something serious. They’re also in unfamiliar dating territory. They’re not as tech-savvy as their millennial counterparts, so where do they go to meet someone? That’s where people like me, and Single in the City, come in. We give them a place to meet and connect, because they don’t rely on technology the way the younger generation does.
What are people looking for when they date? How do men and women differ in what they look for in a mate?
I get a lot of middle-aged women, let’s say mid-40s, who say they don’t want to date guys their age or older, because men in that age group don’t typically take care of themselves. And the same is true for older men; they typically want to date someone younger, because they think older women (women who are the same age as them) don’t take care of themselves and get frumpy. Men, however are very visual. They don’t really know what they want until they see it. On paper they might have an idea of who they want, some young hot thing with tons of energy, until they see firsthand that they could be totally compatible and attracted to someone their own age. So men are very visual in the sense that they kind of need to see it to believe it. Women, on the other hand, are more about stability, honesty and actually, income. A lot more women are making good money, and they want to date someone they see as an equal, not someone they’d have to support financially (men don’t seem to care too much about how much a partner makes). This makes sense for where our society is though. Women have become more financially stable, so they don’t depend on men (and furthermore, don’t want to depend on them) like they once did. But really, things are more bout the individual today. No one really wants to support anyone else in a relationship. Both partners want to be equals.
Are there such things as universal dating types that can apply to all genders and age groups?
Yes, I’d say a universal dating tip is to remember that self confidence is the number one trait for attracting a partner. So many people lack self confidence, and that’s usually why they’re having no luck with finding a match. It’s important to build your self confidence, which ties into the next tip, which is to be ready to date. Before putting yourself out there, you need to work on yourself. You should be in a good, happy place in your life if you want to attract the kind of person you’re looking for (remember, the law of attraction is that you attract what you are). Often, people go looking for a relationship without first working on themselves, and it just doesn’t equate to a healthy, long term relationship. It’s important that you’re comfortable with yourself, and that you like yourself, before you ask someone else to. The best way to do this is through self love. Love yourself by eliminating toxic people and toxic relationships from your life; love yourself by taking care of your mind and body.
Another great tip, for any age and gender, is to date outside your comfort zone! It’s something that I personally did, and is how I met my boyfriend, so it’s something I like to share. A lot of people think they have a type, and that they should only date someone who fits their type. My type was a gym guy, with dark hair, who was 6 feet tall. So I only looked for that and didn’t have much luck. But, when I dated outside my comfort zone, and looked for a potential partner that maybe didn’t fit with my type, I ended up meeting my boyfriend. So keep an open mind when it comes to dating. You, just like any other human, have flaws, and if you want someone to accept of your flaws, you have to be willing to do the same. And at the end of the day, my best advice is to go for that person who’s going to put you a pedestal—who treats you the way you want to be treated. And rubs your feet at the end of the day. That’s always nice to have.
What other tips can you offer to someone looking to find love this month?
Be ready to date. If you’re trying to meet someone, but find yourself not really making any connections, look inwards. People want relationships so badly they dive into looking for one without really taking a look at themselves. You have to be ready for a relationship, and that means knowing what you want in a partner, and being open to finding it. And that’s my next tip—be open! Give people chances. Be realistic with your expectations for a partner. Maybe you’re not getting anywhere because you think you need to date a 6ft-tall guy—give the 5”5 guy a chance. Remember that love can happen, but you have to put the work in. And don’t be afraid to approach people. If you really want to date someone, don’t be passive when it comes to dating. If you don’t know how to approach someone, meet with a date coach, find a matchmaker—grab a copy of my book! Basically, find the resources and help you need to get out there. And once again, take care of yourself. Every time you go out that door is a chance to meet someone, so make sure you look presentable. Practice strict personal hygiene. And when you do go out, try going to places where you’ll have a better chance of meeting someone who is right for you. Like I said, sharing similar interests is important and a good starting point. Join clubs, join new social circles. If you love to hike, join a hiking club. If you’re not really a club person, stop looking for love at the club! And finally, remember that there are other ways to meet people. Try speed dating. Let friends know you’re single and to keep an eye out for you. Basically, put yourself out there in whatever way you can, and keep an open mind while doing it.