As a professional matchmaker for eLove dating service, Brenan McGarrigle says she has helped facilitate more than 600 marriages in 29 years on the job.
Located in Norwell, eLove, formerly The Right One and Together Dating, has online registration, followed by a detailed questionnaire and one-on-one consulting, in which “relationship coaches” such as McGarrigle interview singles for likes, dislikes, hobbies, and values. Members pay a fee of $3,000 and up to join.
Like many dating services, eLove has received negative reviews for its business practices, such as soliciting new members but failing to find any suitable matches for them. McGarrigle, 52, responds that many singles want to blame bad luck in dating on anyone but themselves.
“This isn’t like ordering fast food, where you meet your soul mate after the first or second date,” she said.
How did you get into matchmaking?
I earned my degree in counseling and interviewed for social work jobs, but this just didn’t interest me. I saw a newspaper ad for this position and discovered I really enjoyed helping people break negative relationship patterns and setting them up for success.
How do you know if a match will be suitable?
We start with extensive attitude profiling and tests that ask about self-image, conformity, sexual attitudes, and religion, as well as height, weight, education, and income. I place more importance on what is underneath, whether it’s a strong work ethic or sense of humor.
How have online services changed the dating landscape?
If you wanted, you could go out on three dates a night, starting with a drink with a man or woman, then an appetizer with someone else, and wind up with dinner. It’s more about quantity than quality. My sister recently met someone online, but it took five years and 100 bad dates.
What’s an example of a successful match?
A woman from the South Shore, a widow in her early 70s, finally met someone a couple months ago. He was a widower from Rhode Island. He had started saying, “I had the love of my life, and she died, and I just can’t replace her.” But they decided to meet, and now they’re in a serious relationship.
How do you tactfully give advice if someone has bad breath or some other turnoff?
I give them a little sticky note and tell them to put it on their mirror. It’s meant to be a kind but joking nudge in the right direction. I might write, “Get a haircut that makes you look like you live in this century.”
How did you meet your husband?
We met at a bar. I didn’t know he was “the one” and didn’t even like him until the third date. I have been happily married for 23 years.