A teacher-turned-matchmaker helping Herts’ singles find love
PUBLISHED: 11:25 27 February 2018
We asked teacher-turned-matchmaker Jacqui van Loen of Radlett about her mission to help Herts’ singles find love
Tell us about your teaching career
I did a psychology degree and a master’s degree at the University of Hertfordshire while juggling motherhood. Afterwards I went to teach psychology, business and finance at The Astley Cooper School in Hemel Hempstead.
So there were elements you could draw on when you set up your dating business Matching Up?
Yes. When I was younger I did online dating and found the experience a bit daunting and sometimes soul destroying. Many of my dates were definitely an ‘experience’ and not all in a nice way! I had been introducing friends to one another for some time and was delighted to see them happy. I decided to make it more formal and started a matchmaking agency.
How is your service different to the many online ones?
Quite a lot of people do successfully meet online but there aren’t many personal matchmakers. The difference between my service and the online agencies is that I meet people personally. I get to know likes and dislikes and past relationships, ask them for identification (for proof of age) and take time to get to know them. I pride myself on trust, which you don’t always get online. That way, I can really match my clients with someone they will be compatible with.
What qualities do you need to be a good matchmaker?
A high level of emotional intelligence so you can use intuition about people and their needs. A good matchmaker will listen to clients and keep an open mind and be trustworthy and professional at all times. The people that come to me want a committed relationship. It’s not a quick fix. You can’t come to me on a Wednesday and have the love of your life on Saturday. If you are looking for someone that’s truly compatible you have to take time to find that person. If I haven’t anyone in my network I branch out, I am not afraid to ask someone if they are single. When I meet people and tell them I’m a matchmaker, they all gasp. I think they are expecting Yente from Fiddler on the Roof!
Is it more difficult for people to meet and fall in love these days?
We think that meeting people has got so much easier with the advance of technology but actually it’s got harder. There is a lack of opportunity to meet people by chance nowadays. At one time you could chat to someone in the gym or even at the bus stop but now everyone has got earphones in, so they become impossible to approach. It’s a shame because most people want to meet someone special.
Tell us your success stories
I set the matchmaking agency up just under a year ago and it’s been busy since day one. I recently won the award for the best new individual at the UK Dating Awards, held in November in London. Even though I have a relatively new business I have been able to match people who are still dating, which is always a good sign. I can’t wait for the first marriage, I have my hat ready!
For more information, go to matchingup.co.uk