We caught up with Melanie Schilling; relationship expert from Married at First Sight

She’s a household name. Dating adviser at eHarmony . And one of the three relationship experts at Channel 9’s Married at First Sight.

Meet Melanie Schilling. The woman who is giving psychology a new name. She isn’t your average counselor, Mel has turned her passion into educating and helping women find and build love and relationships into a huge successful career.

We got to have a quick chat to her :

Q: What inspired you to become a dating coach?

I spent my entire 30s as a single woman and endured all the ups and downs of dating life.  I made every mistake possible and put myself in some compromising positions.

When I finally met my now fiancé (via online dating) I decided to dedicate my practice to helping other single women date smarter and avoid the mistakes I made.  As a psychologist, I had been helping my clients create positive change in all areas of their lives (e.g. careers, health, finances, families), it was time to focus on love.

I spent my entire 30s as a single woman and endured all the ups and downs of dating life.  I made every mistake possible and put myself in some compromising positions. 

 

Q: What is the most common issue that women seem to have when it comes to finding love?

Unrealistic expectations.  Many women come to me with outrageous ‘Ideal Man Lists’ and have an unrealistic vision about their future relationship.  Women are constantly bombarded by messages from the media (especially Hollywood) about what relationships ‘should’ look like and this has an impact on their subconscious beliefs about relationships.

Rather than waiting for their Knight In Shining Armour, I coach my clients to take control of their dating destiny, be realistic about deal-breakers and develop a strategic approach.

Q: What are the 3 most important things in a relationship?

  • Open and honest communication, with empathy and compassion
  • Non-judgemental, fair and respectful conflict style
  • Capacity to grow and adapt together

Q: What should women be focusing on when trying to find love?

Highest values.  Rather than focusing on the external, superficial factors such as height, hair colour or football team, I encourage my clients to get in touch with their deepest values and find a man who aligns with these.

For example, a woman may value Health, Honesty and Family and if she can connect with a man who lives a life that reflects these values, the superficial things will no longer matter.

Q: What are the top 3 tips you would give to women on a first date?

  • Use the 1st date as an opportunity to assess values alignment
  • Dress and demonstrate body language that reflects who you really are (this takes practice)
  • Check for physical chemistry

Q: As an adviser to the controversial but popular TV show “Married At First Sight” is it really possible to find your soul partner based purely off compatibility on paper?

The scientific methodology is one part of the puzzle.  I believe, as psychologists and matchmakers, we can make strong predictions about potential compatibility.

However, compatibility is based on more than just the ‘on paper match’.  We can do the groundwork and put people together who have good markers for relationship success, but if the chemistry doesn’t develop or their lifestyles do not align, the relationship is unlikely to progress.

Q: How important is chemistry and physical attraction in a relationship?

Very important.  Essentially, physical chemistry is the difference between an intimate relationship and a friendship.  Some people believe chemistry must be instant in order for love to blossom, but I see this differently.

I have seen many examples of chemistry slowly building and developing into strong relationships.  It’s important to understand the difference between WOW chemistry (instant spark) and AHH chemistry (the slow burn, deeper connection).

Q: Why do you think so many women find it hard to find and maintain healthy relationships?

The role of women has changed so dramatically over recent decades and our place in relationships has become clouded.  We have so many options open to us today, and a relationship with an intimate partner is just one of them.

In the 1950s for instance, women had clarity about their role in relationships – as limited as it was, it was clear and everyone knew where they stood.

On a more personal level, many women make poor partner choices and this also leads to the erosion of healthy relationships.

Q: Do you think there is such thing as a man drought?

No! If you are playing a strategic game (and not a ‘numbers game’) then you should be fishing in a narrow, targeted pool and the so-called man drought will have no impact.

Q: Do you think online dating and dating apps have affected dating and relationships in a positive or negative way?

I think it’s largely positive.

Online dating has made the dating game more accessible for many people and has created greater opportunities for people who would typically avoid it altogether.

When dating strategically, the online platforms become a useful tool in screening potential dates based on your own criteria.

Some of the mobile apps have had a less positive impact, however.  There is a ‘disposable dating’ culture building as people are spoilt for choice and decisions are made based on primarily physical criteria.

Q:  What was the biggest lesson you learnt in finding love?

To let go of superficial criteria and unrealistic deal-breakers.  I always said I wanted to meet a ‘tall, dark and handsome’ (cliché) man and I thought musical taste was a deal breaker.  My gorgeous man is actually medium height, blonde and super handsome, but he loves heavy metal music!  Heavy metal – I never thought I’d end up with a head banger.

My big lesson was about listening to my deeper voice and seeking someone who aligned with my values and lifestyle goals and this is what led to my success.

To let go of superficial criteria and unrealistic deal-breakers. 

Q: For women looking for love in their 40’s , what is your advice?

  • Check your biological clock. Is this a factor?  Is it influencing your choices?
  • Invest the time to meet the right person – dating is an important project in your life, treat it accordingly (like you would with a health or career goal)
  • Get out of your head – stop over analysing and listen to your deeper self, does he align with your values?
  • Make space in your life for him to appear – energetically, it helps if a void exist

 

To contact or find out more about Melanie Schilling and her retreats and programmes she offers , click here.

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