Myths and Managing Matchmaking Expectations | S2, Ep. 28


Welcome to another episode of the exEXPERTS DIVORCE etc… Podcast where we give you all kinds of information and tips on everything divorce. Why? We’ve lived it, so we get it! We’re T.H. & Jessica. 

T.H.: Welcome everybody to our podcast today, it’s all about matchmaking: The do’s, the don’ts, the myths, and the truths. Julianne Cantarella is going to spill them all for us today so listen close, and don’t make a mistake. Jessica I know has a little bit of recent experience with matchmakers, so let’s get right to it.

Jessica: Thanks for coming back Julianne, it’s so nice to see you again.

Julianne: It’s so nice to be here. Thank you for having me. 

Jessica: I want to start out with, just, first of all, I’m curious as to – I love the idea that with matchmaking services, oftentimes, one side is the paying client and then there’s a pool of people. What I’ve found fascinating so far as part of the pool, is that when I get there, it turns out most of the time the men haven’t seen or heard anything about me either. They oftentimes haven’t seen a picture and they don’t have tons of identifying information about me.

I’m just curious as to what is the method behind the madness if it’s truly a blind date.

Julianne: Okay, so I will share, and I love to be transparent, I kind of work that way, but not really. Most matchmakers don’t show photos and the reason why is because they’ve gone through painstaking vetting typically. That’s what’s supposed to happen, I know I do. Historically, when I first started in the industry back in 2005, I started a small matchmaking company in Manhattan. What was happening is we were going through the process of vetting everybody, sitting down with them, finding out about them, writing up a profile, and really seeing if they’re a match for our clients. Then we present the photo with the written profile and sit down with the client and tell them about their introduction. They were turning one introduction down after another because they were like, this is good, but I’m sure you can do something better. It was just like, oh come on, man! We went back to the drawing board and we basically said let’s still do the vetting, obviously, let’s still write up the profile, but let’s take the picture out of it and see what happens. People were game and they were open to meeting without seeing a photo but having the information provided to them. Then we were having success happen more regularly really. So when I opened up my own business back in 2009, I didn’t reinvent the wheel, I went with what worked and basically still don’t show photos. However, I do meet with every single solitary person I am going to vet for my client. I spend anywhere from two to two and a half hours with them and really get a sense of who they are. I think I spoke before about goals and values, that’s my starting point. Of course, I take into consideration if a man comes to me and says, I really want a woman with the Mediterranean look, dark hair, and dark eyes, I’m going to set out to find someone who meets that qualification. But if I come across a woman who’s blonde-haired, blue-eyed, and really I feel could potentially check off all the other boxes, then I’ll go back to the client and say, listen, I know you’re more drawn to someone who’s a Mediterranean look, but let’s talk about is that something that is a hard and fast deal breaker, and then we’ll talk about that. But it’s really a goal to values perspective. I really like to make sure the client – I meet with everybody and I’ve historically met with upwards of 15 or 16 women before I make a first introduction. Then I have to go back to the drawing board to make subsequent introductions, so there’s a lot invested. That’s a personal matchmaker, that’s not a dating services model. Just let you know there is a huge difference.

Jessica: Right. So I understand the idea of not showing pictures, particularly to the person in the pool beforehand, because you want people to be open-minded. I feel from personal experience, even in the past of dating, oftentimes, someone may not be that photogenic, despite the fact that it might be professional pictures. Not everybody’s photogenic. 

Oftentimes, people look much cuter in person than they do in their pictures. I have had relationships in the past where personality was everything so I understand the need to be open-minded when you’re working with a matchmaker because it really is more personality-driven, as it should be.

But I’m curious if you had to say what the top three things are that you’re looking at when you are helping people to find a match? Obviously, aesthetics is not entirely what it is, so is it energy level? Is it their common interests? I’m curious to know what the things are that you’re looking at that make you say this person could be matched.

Julianne:  It’s different for each person. I can’t say that I’m looking for the same three things for any one person. It’s so different for each person. I may have someone who comes to me and says to me, I really need someone who can be bi-coastal., and that’s first and foremost. You can’t even imagine what I’ve had to look for, for clients. You just don’t know. It’s not like they have to be good-looking. It’s some things you wouldn’t even imagine.

T.H.: So it looks like it’s a headache.

Julianne: Pretty much! That’s not the headache part of it.

T.H.: So what did I miss? Why is matchmaking a headache? Because it’s so individualized? Because people’s expectations aren’t in check? Like, what is it?

Julianne: Ding ding! People’s expectations. I have been doing this for 15 years, and I now really am at a point where I only take on a few people at a time. They have to really be someone who I want to represent. Basically, people will come to you and think I’m paying you so you’re going to cobble someone out of the air for me. I have sat down with people, I know my clients, I sit down with them, and I spend time with them. I’m like at the end of the meeting, I’ve walked away going, I really think I understand my client, I really get it, and I know where I’m going. I had a situation where I seriously was like, that’s it; I’m just doing date coaching. I’ll share it with you. This man came to me and on a scale of 1 to 10 he was probably a five, but he was a really nice person. I sat with him, and I really spent time with him. I thought I really got a sense and I actually set him up with a 10. He called me the next day and was like I’ve never been so disappointed in my life. I almost fell off my chair. I was like –

T.H.: So what made that person a 10 that he didn’t see her as a 10?

Julianne: It wasn’t her, it was him. It was his unrealistic expectation of what he deserved, and who he could get. I was just like, okay, I think I’m done here because it blew me away. Not only was she just a lovely, warm, engaging, smart woman, she’s also attractive. I’m pretty good. When it comes to what men find attractive, especially my clients, I really try and tell them to bring photos with them so I can get a sense of the direction I need to go in. I was just blown away. It’s just an unrealistic expectation. 

Jessica: What was he expecting, someone prettier? Someone with a better personality? Or he was worried because he was like, she’s not going to like me because she’s out of my league?

Julianne: No. No, I wish. That’s not what was happening there. He thought by paying the money he was going to end up with, I don’t know, I don’t even know today, someone magnificently gorgeous. His expectation wasn’t aligned with reality is basically what happened.

T.H.: So it sounds like through matchmaking it’s almost like they give you a mold and they want you to fill it. Like date coaching, you’re working on the person and nurturing relationship as well as personal growth, it sounds so much healthier. In my mind and my past experience, chemistry is also just so critical. Like it could look like it’s all great, but if you don’t have chemistry, it could be zero.

Julianne: Right. And that’s the one thing matchmakers can never guarantee. Let me tell you, I have a lot of matchmaking friends in the industry who do show photos. They’ll tell the story of they’ve shown photos to each other and it was like, oh yeah, let’s do this, and then they got on the date and there was zero chemistry. You cannot tell chemistry from a photo.

I always tell date coaching clients that as well. You have to sit across from someone and really get a better sense of who they are as a person to see if there’s chemistry.

Jessica: So how do you help people to manage their expectations? They come to you, they’re paying you, you are the expert, and you’re going to be able to find them someone who’s going to fit what they’re telling you that their priorities are. What’s the advice that you give to them in terms of being able to accept reality in this whole process?

Julianne: Right. Again, it depends on the person and how open they are to the idea of some coaching and some processing through this. Most people who go for matchmaking, think they’ve, I’ve heard it a million times, got it all together. I just need the right person and you’re going to get that for me. And it’s just that’s not how that works. You think you have it all together until you’ve gone through the dating process. If you’re not having success, very often you need to look at why am I not having success. There’s something happening there that’s a block, and that’s not letting you find it. That’s if you’ve actually gone on dates and met a lot of people. There’s something happening there. It’s the same when it comes to matchmaking; the coach’s job is to hold up the mirror so that they can see themselves. Through coaching, someone goes into coaching wanting to do that. Matchmaking, they don’t want to do that.

Jessica: What are some of the biggest mistakes you see people making or some of the most common blocks that you see out there?

Julianne: Having unrealistic expectations, and really thinking that they want one thing when they really should be looking for somebody else. I think that’s number one. Or believing that there’s scarcity, a scarcity mindset, there’s no one good out there. I’m never going to meet someone.

T.H.: There are loads of good women!

Julianne: Right, or good men. The same thing, that they’re not out there. That’s a scarcity mindset. That’s something that you really need to work on. It’s a mind shift when it comes to that, absolutely.

T.H.: But there could be a million men, but there’s only one right man for you. So it doesn’t really matter how many men are out there, it’s the right man.

Julianne: There actually could be a couple of right men out there for you. [Yeah] It’s just you being open to it, [Yeah] and really wanting it, and letting go of the fear. There’s a lot of fear around. Because when people are dating, they’re putting themselves in a vulnerable state, right? So you’re feeling vulnerable, you’re feeling exposed, and very often that’s when the wall goes up. You’re not dating deliberately and you’re not dating the right way.

T.H.: So is that why you’re kind of shifting from matchmaking to date coaching? Because matchmaking it just sounds like it’s, I don’t know, I didn’t go through a matchmaker for any of my experiences, but it sounds like you’re trying so hard to get a perfect match. There are so many different things about matching people up that it’s almost impossible to find the right match like that. Also, you’re only working with one side of the coin. You’ve got all these women lined up and they seem like the right fit, but you’re not coaching them either to make both sides be at their best or whatever.

Julianne: Well, okay, so I do meet the women when I’m making the introduction and I try to make sure they’re as open-minded as possible. It’s just a matter of really when they get there, it’s the chemistry, and it’s the expectation. There are so many facets to it. As I said, I’m still doing matchmaking, but date coaching is my passion and I love to see women transform. I love to see women create that healthy relationships. I get texts from clients who are like, I never thought that I would be cherished like this. I never thought that I would be loved like this. It’s after helping them drop that fear and shed those ideas so that they can open up and call in that right person. There’s nothing better. There’s really nothing better.

Jessica: I’m curious whether or not you think that in the past few years that more people are open to the idea of matchmaking or fewer people are open to the idea of matchmaking?

Julianne: I find more people are open to the idea of matchmaking because they think it’s going to solve all of their problems. They think if I hire someone, they’re going to find that perfect person for me.

T.H.: And also, I would think because you’re going to do the work, they don’t have to work.

Julianne: Right.

T.H.: I’m going to sit back, here’s your money, go on your way. I’ll check off all the boxes, let’s talk in two weeks. They don’t have to work on anything and they just send you off as their messenger to get it done. So I would think that’s a big part of it.

Jessica: But I’m curious, I think people would want to know where are you finding the people?

Julianne: Okay, more often than not, they find me. They Google me.

Jessica: No, I’m sorry. I don’t mean your customers. I come to you as a customer and I say I’m interested in your matchmaking services. Where are you finding the men?

Julianne: So, okay. I’m just going to tell you, I don’t know if this is relevant or not, but I don’t represent women for matchmaking.

Jessica: Oh, okay. So I’m a man. [Explain why] Okay. Yes, that’s a good question.

T.H.: Yes, explain why.

Julianne: Sure. So I’ve been in the industry for 15 years, like I said, didn’t reinvent the wheel, I know what works. I belong to a think tank of other matchmakers and every time a matchmaker takes on a woman as a client, it’s like all heck breaks loose. They’re like do you have a match for my client? They’re willing to go – because the men only come to a matchmaker when they want the work done. Whereas they’re less apt to sit in a Rolodex where women are more patient and are willing to sit in a Rolodex and wait for an introduction. I’ll share with you and I’ll share with your listeners, don’t ever pay to sit in a Rolodex. There are matchmakers out there who do charge. Most of us don’t, because of integrity. I don’t want to charge someone for a service they may not receive. I work with a small pool of men so I’m not going to take someone’s money and say you’re going to have an introduction if, in fact, I don’t know if they are. I think it’s great. I would tell anybody to join a matchmaker’s Rolodex or database, whatever they want to call it because you never know, there may be an opportunity for you to have an introduction.

Jessica: So when the men come to you as your clients, where are you finding the women that they weren’t able to find on their own?

Julianne: Right. So women find me.

Jessica: Oh okay, got it. So they’re coming in saying I’d like to be part of your Rolodex pool or database?

Julianne: I do networking events, they find me online, I write for several publications, and you name it. That’s how they find me.

Jessica: Okay, so interesting.

Julianne: Word of mouth. Yeah. I do have two women who recruit for me, who if I can’t go to a social situation or social events, they will go out on my behalf. But it’s just: New Jersey’s Matchmaker is there, why don’t you give them a call?

Jessica: If someone was going to say to you, which do you recommend: matchmaking vs. online dating apps, which way would you go?

Julianne: Well, I would actually recommend date coaching [laughs] with the use of online dating.

Jessica: If they were to come to you when they were going to pay for one of your services, either way, the date coaching and online dating versus the actual matchmaking, you would direct them to the online dating and date coaching?

Julianne: Most definitely.

Jessica: Why is that?

Julianne: I know that sounds so crazy.

Jessica: No, it doesn’t. Tell us why?

Julianne: Because there’s so much magic that happens through coaching. There’s just so much growth, so much awareness, and there’s a greater chance of you actually finding someone because a matchmaker typically has a certain amount of matches that you’ll have in a certain six-month time, right? When you’re online dating, your pool is tremendous. The bandwidth is larger and you have a greater chance of meeting someone.

Jessica: The last question, I’m curious to know if when you’re helping someone with dating coaching and online dating, I have a few friends who have been online dating for a while and haven’t been successful with it. I think part of it sometimes is because people really want to be in a relationship, and that kind of energy in and of itself sometimes might be a little bit challenging. But at the same time, it might be that they are what you had said previously in terms of breaking patterns, they might be going for the same guys every time and that might not be the right kind of guy. I’m curious when you’re doing the coaching and helping them with online dating, are you going into the apps and actually choosing the men for them?

Julianne: Oh my gosh, I’m so glad you asked that question. One of my credits is that over this 15 year period, really 10 from my own business, I have pulled 10 husbands and spouses out of the trash online.

T.H.: Awesome.

Jessica: Out of the trash?

Julianne: Uh-huh. You know when you go in and I’m behind the scenes and I’ll go in and I’ll say why did you pull this person out or put them in the trash? Oh yeah, 10. I have 10 of those to my credit, which I’m extremely proud of and several of them are testimonials on my website.

Jessica: So you’re really picking the people too. You’re not just coaching them on what to say to the people that they choose. You’re helping them with their actual choices?

Julianne: Like I said, From First Date to Soulmate. I do everything. Everything from what do you think of this outfit before I go on a date to what do you say, what you don’t say, how do you respond, or how are you interpreting someone’s behavior or their communication? How do you change their communication? I tell women, here’s a tip I’ll give it away, I want the men to call them. The woman shouldn’t be calling the man. So very often I work with women and they’re like he gave me his number, I’m going to call them. No. He should be courting you. That’s his job. Your job is to be courted. It’s shifting the mindset of also receiving and not taking over and not driving it. Let them do that, let them pick the place, and let them call you. These are things that women aren’t realizing that shifted. A year and a half into their relationship when he’s not toeing the line, you’re like he was okay in the beginning…

Jessica: Because you set that precedent.

Julianne: Yeah. Exactly. That’s exactly the word I use.

Jessica: Oh my god, I feel like this is a whole other conversation of things that women should know when it comes to the online dating stuff because that’s just an interesting thing in and of itself. I have friends who want to drive it in the beginning, the whole idea of independent woman vs. I have other friends who were like much more traditional and they’re like I want to be wooed and I want all of that. I would love for us to do another conversation on that also.

Julianne: Yes please, absolutely.

Jessica: This is in general has just been so much great information. Thank you so much for sharing it with the whole ExExperts community. For anyone out there who is interested in matchmaking and who wants to talk to you more one on one about that and your services, what are the best ways for them to reach you?


Julianne: They can Google me at and just reach out to me. You can call me or you can email me. I’m there.


Jessica: Okay. We’re going to have all of Julianne’s information on our site as well so you can click right through. We definitely want to have you back again. Thank you so much for the time, Julianne. It was great seeing you again. We’ll see you next time.

Julianne: Thank you, absolutely.

Goodbye: For everyone out there listening, if you know anyone at all who would benefit from what we talked about today please share this episode and everything exEXPERTS.  Be sure and click to subscribe to the Podcast on iTunes or wherever you listen to your podcasts and please follow us on social media @exEXPERTS Divorce etc… on Instagram and Facebook and YouTube and our website at  Thanks for listening!

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