Patti Stanger, TV’s “Millionaire Matchmaker,” has reached astronomical heights as the world’s most successful matchmaker. As I follow her on Twitter, I read her tweets and figured it would be valuable to analyze her dating advice from the perspective of a clinical psychologist and relationship expert. Is Stanger’s advice good, or does it need a tune-up? Let’s take a look at some of her recent advice and I’ll weigh in with my perspective.
Stanger dishes on: How to get a man to notice you. “Don’t be shy;” “make eye contact and smile;” and “make it easy for him” to talk with you because “men are humans too and they feel just as nervous and scared about approaching you.” (Posted on Twitter, May 26, 2014.)
Dr. Seth’s Take: I appreciate Stanger’s comment about how men feel. In particular, I appreciate the thoughtful way she acknowledges that men have insecurities, too. The truth is that men feel a lot of pressure to always be the initiator, even though many of them still prefer that role. For women, Stanger’s advice is spot-on in that women must resist the tendency to feel shy or to avoid eye contact. I always tell my clients that there’s nothing to lose until you have an actual relationship, so summon your courage and say hello to someone who catches your eye. Overall, Stanger’s instruction about how to get a man to notice you is A-list advice.
Stanger dishes on: Men making more money than women. “Men don’t like it when women make more than them, they resent it and often take revenge.” (Posted on Twitter, May 20, 2014.)
Dr. Seth’s Take: I wish I didn’t find Stanger’s comment to be so true. I wish I could say that the gender wars had neutralized to the point that men could honestly feel good about making the same or less money than their female partners. Unfortunately, we’re not there yet – and may never be. Overall, Stanger’s comments are true, especially in terms of how men deal with the resentment they feel about their female partner making more money. Yet while Stanger explains that men sometimes respond with revenge, I disagree: Men aren’t motivated by getting revenge; they are motivated to get more power in the relationship when they don’t have the financial power. Men often (unconsciously) start acting out to gain the attention of their female partners, and their acting out frequently takes the form of cheating, staying out late, not calling to check in, or abusing substances.
Stanger dishes on: The kinds of female bodies men like. “The world comes in different shapes and sizes, so embrace your curves. Real men love sleeping with real women, not a bag of bones.” (Posted on Twitter, May 13, 2014.)
Dr. Seth’s Take: I love any message that encourages women to feel better about themselves because women have it so much harder in our culture than men. Women make less money, often get stuck with the bulk of childcare duties, and suffer the most unrealistic expectations in terms of their body type and thinness. With the male clients I see, Stanger’s advice couldn’t be more true. Sure, Leonardo DiCaprio seems to be a guy who isn’t interested in dating anyone over a size 0, but Leo is most definitely not the norm. Stanger’s advice to accept your curves is empowerment-based, and you can never go wrong when sending that message.
Stanger dishes on: 4 ways to know if your man is cheating. “Sudden hygiene or weight changes;” “hinting to wanting to break up;” “new moves in the bedroom;” “you suspect it.” (Posted on Twitter, May 12, 2014.)
Dr. Seth’s Take: If only there were a perfect method to detect infidelity! Though Stanger has hit upon a few behaviors that may indicate that your guy is cheating, I haven’t found that the composite of these behaviors consistently indicates that someone’s cheating. In fact, putting this list out to the world could actually make some women paranoid when there’s no reason to worry. Of the four factors she mentioned, the truest of all is this: “You suspect it.” We all have a strong, acute instinct and that instinct usually leads us to the truth. Caveat alert: If you have a history of being cheated on or of suspecting that you’re being cheated on, you have to check yourself, slow down, and discuss the issue with a few trusted friends. Sometimes coming off a bad relationship history can skew your perceptions, and you need to make sure that you’re not creating an issue where there truly is none.
Stanger dishes on: The 4 worst things a single girl can say. “I don’t have time to date;” “I’m too picky;” “He’s just not out there;” “I’m not online dating.” (Posted on Twitter, April 25, 2014.)
Dr. Seth’s Take: Simply put, Stanger nailed this one in one fell swoop. If you’re single, dating can be disappointing in that it requires investment without the promise of a reward. Who wants that, right? The silver lining approach reminds us that the whole dating process is worth it as long as you meet one good egg. Yet in order to meet your best match, you must avoid falling victim to any of these four negative, fatalistic beliefs. In particular, telling yourself that you’re “too picky” only reinforces your sense that you won’t meet someone worthy. In fact, I always tell my clients that they aren’t too picky; they’re actually too rigid, usually going for a fixed type instead of being open to dating people of all types and personalities. Quick verdict: If this were a game, Stanger’s advice would score again.
Taken as a whole, I find that Stanger’s advice is generally positive and empowerment-based. Though her television style can be undeniably abrasive from moment to moment, the nuts and bolts of her ultimate message are intact. Perhaps we can all learn a little from someone who appears to be so unbridled and unafraid!
About the Author:
Dr. Seth is a licensed clinical psychologist, author, Psychology Today blogger, and TV guest expert. He practices in Los Angeles and treats a wide range of issues and disorders and specializes in relationships, parenting, and addiction. He has had extensive training in conducting couples therapy and is the author of Dr. Seth’s Love Prescription: Overcome Relationship Repetition Syndrome and Find the Love You Deserve.