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Down Under dating coach

Now even New Zealand has a dating coach.  When I was doing online dating back in 1998, there was no one no where to be found.

How to bag a bloke… and other dating tips
By Kim Knight - Sunday Star Times | Sunday, 03 August 2008

Dating can be a tough time - and good advice helps.
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SINGLE? CHECK. Happy? Check. Really?

New Zealand’s first self-proclaimed dating coach is not sure she believes you.

“People won’t initially say they want a long-term relationship, or marriage,” says Denise Corlett. “They’ll say, `oh, it would be quite nice to meet someone’...”

The reality, she says, is once people hit their late 20s, they’re looking for someone special. Someone significant. Permanent. Someone but not just anyone.

Corlett found her second husband on the internet. He was the only man she dated. Friends tell her she got lucky. She says it’s because she got specific.

“I think I filtered out people incredibly quickly. Not in a nasty way, but I was pretty clear about what I was looking for.”

Corlett, 46, trained as an occupational therapist before working in psychological health. She set up as a life coach in 2001 and has most recently worked in the recruitment sector. She encountered many people who were having difficulty finding potential partners.

“People were getting into internet dating, going to agencies and the like, and I just felt there was no one in New Zealand who was addressing the issues that constantly came up: it’s not working, I can’t seem to find anyone.”

And so Dating Advice was born. Corlett won’t set you up with a partner but she will try to equip you with the skills to attract the potentials.

“I promote the idea of saying, `I’m single, and I’d like to be a in a relationship’. It’s OK to let your intentions be known.”

Her Auckland office is all Valentine’s Day reds and creams. There is a box of tissues on the bench and a whiteboard against the wall.

Tell me why I’m single, I demand.

“Why don’t you tell me why you’re here,” she suggests, gently.

(Because my editor made me). But, OK, since I’m here… All men are bastards. I am perfect. Nobody really understands me. Why the hell am I telling you this over a glass of water? Where’s the sauvignon blanc?

I’m kidding. Except for the bit about the liquor. How many women, I ask Corlett, go out on a date that lasts, say, three hours and then embark on a three-day analysis of said date, assisted by 15 assorted best friends and several bottles of wine?

She laughs. “Women are so good at analysing. We love sitting around and talking with our girlfriends, about what he did, and what he said and what does that really mean. But men are simpler creatures. They don’t do that.

“The best approach women can take is to ask them outright, or take it just as it is. Do something else, see other people. If that person’s interested in you, they will pursue you.”

Men, says Corlett, like to take charge of this process ("I might be a bit old-fashioned in that"). Women, she says, must reciprocate by being available, “or making the opportunity for the man to initiate something”.

OK fine. But how do you meet someone who wants to ask you on a date in the first place? Corlett says there’s no one approach. Busy, shyer people might have more luck online, for example.

“The thing with internet dating is initially, it’s such a visual thing, and I’m not just talking about how you look, but also your screen name, and the first few phrases you use if that’s not bringing people in, you might have to change it.”

Singles with wide social networks that put them into regular contact with others could try maximising their opportunities to meet people. Or, says Corlett, who will work with clients on a personalised plan of, er, attack, you could just smile at that man/woman you’ve walked past on your way to work every day for the past three years. “And then the next time you see each other, you might say, `hi, it’s a nice day’.”

Because here’s the thing: “If you want to get into a relationship or do anything new in your life, there’s always some risk involved. At the end of the day, even if you have a fabulous relationship, your partner is going to die, or you’re going to die. To the greatest couples, that’s what happens. Someone is going to have pain at the end of the day.

“You do have to open up, you do have to be vulnerable and even if 10 men or women have broken your heart, you need to learn from that but you still need to open up and be vulnerable to the 11th. There is no connection with someone if you are distant, untrusting and aloof.”

Corlett’s business which includes modules that can be completed online is attracting more male than female clients. “Guys often have this perception they have to be funny, or know the lines, or whatever, to approach a woman. They don’t need to be like that. They need to be themselves.”

Corlett says singles of both sexes need to value themselves more. “To be attractive, you need to value yourself and you need to see yourself as deserving. No matter how you look, what actually is attractive at the end of the day is how you come across. You need to see yourself with the best eyes first.”



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