How can you turn a summer fling into something more? Relationship expert Kailen Rosenberg, a Masters-Level Life Coach whose practice emphasizes "keeping things real," shares her 17 years of experience in elite matchmaking, custom love design, true life makeovers, family remodels, marriage restoration and teen innovation. "Sadly most of the misconceptions of matchmakers are accurate, especially when a service has become overly commercialized," Kailen explains, which is why she takes a holistic approach to finding love with her idea of The Love Architect.
But don't expect her to do all the remodeling. Essentially, it's up to you to pick up hammer and nails. "[I think of an] architect as someone who 're-designs' from the foundation up," she continues, "while also working on the 'walls' that people build up [over time] that will affect people's love lives. The idea is for people to bring their 'love house' to a place of safety, balance, structure and peace, so love and sometimes a new partner can reside."
Following the feminist backlash to this year's Village Voice Valentine's Day cover story, an article adding to the women-stop-being-so-picky-or-you'll-end-up-alone genre (an observation made by Slate columnist Noreen Malone), the last thing intelligent single women want to hear is another cliché or cautionary tale from any relationship expert worth his or her chops. But that doesn't mean singles can't learn a thing or two, either. "Each client who comes to me believes that it is not he or she who is broken but instead our society of singles," says Kailen. "Although there is some truth to this, each and every client comes with walls that block love and happiness, which unknowingly will sabotage each relationship that comes his or her way."
For example, if you keep dating the same type and find yourself no closer to a healthy relationship, Kailen suggests decoding why you choose to attach yourself to that type. Understanding "attachment theory" essentially means understanding your childhood, where you are now and why you look for the qualities you do in a partner. "People should never feel pressured to find 'the one' but rather to focus on, in a healthy way, if they are 'the one' for themselves," she explains.
As for "picky" women (or men, for that matter), Kailen urges persnickety daters to be more introspective. "Everyone has their 'list' of must-haves, but how do 'they' themselves match up? Do they know what love is, how to give it and also accept it, in a healthy constructive way?"
For the record, Kailen does believe in soul mates; however, she also believes there are "many who come in and out of our lives who we can love, fall in love with, even learn from."
Here are Kailen's top dating tips:
- Fall in love with you. Write down what you most love about yourself. Focus on your strengths, and be aware of and compliment your unique gifts daily. Do something for yourself. For example, purchase a small luxury; celebrate you and prepare yourself for love.
- Take a close look at something that is holding you back and tackle it head-on for 30 days. Be intentional about making small changes into your daily routine and reward yourself with something fun at the 30-day mark.
- Mix it up. Go to a different gym, restaurant, library, grocery store or take a class in something you are interested in. Expose yourself to new groups of people and new places.
- Pay close attention to people you meet. Look people in the eyes. Smile. Take your time and be observant. Open yourself to new experiences and people. Watch for traits that you appreciate and want in your next relationship, and especially pay attention and take note of those you don't. Red flags are never to be swept under the rug.
- Be gentle with others and yourself. Be kind and patient. Smile and laugh. Pay close attention to yourself and those around you. Watch, look and listen.
For more of Kailen's tips, visit her website. Along with a success rate of over 200 marriages and zero divorces, Kailen has been featured on "Good Morning America," "The Today Show" and CNN, and she has contributed to Life & Style Magazine as the "Love Dr." and has been an expert consultant to "The Bachelor."