Dating is hard. Dating when you haven’t dated in over 30 years is even harder, according to local matchmaker Michelle Jacoby, who has been connecting people via her company DC Matchmaking for about 10 years and has been recognized as one of the top five matchmakers in the country for five years in a row.
Each year, Jacoby takes on about 20 clients at a time for the matchmaking side of her business, in addition to the individuals she coaches through her 12-session dating coach program and occasional group boot camps.
To clarify, there is actually a difference between the two services. Matchmaking is the initiation of a romantic relationship, following Jacoby’s process for finding the right match in her database of eligible partners. Whereas dating coaching is when Jacoby works first-hand with a client in every aspect of dating life, diving into subjects like what to wear, what to say, how to set up an online profile, etc. It costs a minimum of $15,000 to $20,000 to hire Jacoby as a matchmaker and about $10,000 for dating coaching; however, it often varies.
“The price depends on what my client is looking for,” Jacoby says. “For instance, a young 30-something who is looking for an age-appropriate partner would probably be charged less than someone who is in their late 50s. They typically have more resources.”
At DC Matchmaking, all clients above the age of 50 who purchase matchmaking services are male. Among those over the age of 60, Jacoby has a near 100% success rate where they end up in “some sort of relationship.” Yet, according to Jacoby, women over the age of 50 have much more success through online dating and dating coaching. But why?
“A lot of women who are over 50 are typically dating after a breakup or loss of a husband, so they haven’t dated in a long time and they don’t understand today’s customs,” Jacoby explains. “So, what’s beautiful about working with a dating coach is that it touches on every aspect of dating, whereas matchmaking is just a personal introduction service.”
Plus, in nearly every country across the globe there are substantially more older women than men above 60 years of age, decreasing the single dating pool for women, according to an article from the journal of Aging Clinical and Experimental Research.
While matchmaking older women is difficult, it’s still possible, according to Laurie Berzack, owner of Carolinas Matchmaker in North Carolina.
“It’s really compelling work for me, it’s challenging.” Berzack says about taking on female clients over the age of 50. “A lot of matchmakers don’t work with women but the women I work with are great. Normally when someone in their 50s or older hires me, she’s fit, active, vibrant and intelligent. She’s special, so I need to find the right male counterpart.”
Both Jacoby and Berzack are part of Matchmakers Alliance, an organization they started together with another matchmaker, Maria Avgitidis, over eight years ago to connect professionals in the business. The group now consists of about 50 matchmakers who are able to share databases and resources to truly find their clients the right partner.
“The more friends and colleagues we have in the industry the better it is for our clients,” Berzack says. “The better the matchmakers are in the industry, the more people are going to trust that we will give them the services they want.”
For both matchmakers, it is important that their clients are truly searching for love. If an individual doesn’t have the right values or intentions going into the process, neither Jacoby or Berzack will take them on. Once a client agrees to continue with either company and vice versa, it typically takes between six months to a year to find the right match.
While it is more challenging to match seniors than someone in their low 30s, for both Jacoby and Berzack, it is rewarding.
“My older clients are actually the ones who tell everyone that they’re using a matchmaker,” Jacoby says. “I think you reach a point at that age when you don’t really care what people think and you really just want to find a partner. My clients usually think it’s a hoot.”
And in Berzack’s opinion, there is a very different mindset between younger and older clients.
“When people are older they are more self-aware and they understand what will work and what won’t,” she explains. “When you start dating at age 60, everyone’s still young in their minds and that initial attraction is harder to find than when we were younger. So, it’s my job to find that and check things off my client’s bucket list.”
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