Bad Romance?

It’s Just Lunch claims to be “The world’s #1 personalized matchmaking service.”[1]  Flying on a plane, the article caught my attention.  This service, amidst the growing trend of supercharged dating, offers professional help.  This time, it’s personal.

They search for “interesting, like minded individuals,” taking away the grueling task of locating the next prospect of your love life.  This service especially gears its advertising towards busy professionals.  Too far?

When I found out about this service, my gut reaction was, “Really?”  Does a person really need a professional to help them locate that “special someone?”  But of course, the once crazy idea of online dating is responsible for a huge percentage of marriages (and even more relationships). utilizes cutting edge, scientific processes and psychology to develop matches.  And the truth is, there are successful and unsuccessful relationships arranged by various means.  I don’t have the stats concerning the most successful methods as related to satisfaction, stability, and length of relationship.  What I can speak to are the psychological and relational principles that lead to emotional health.

IJL states, “We know dating can be frustrating and disappointing, but it doesn’t have to be.”    Truth: all relationships of any depth will have frustrations and disappointments in them.  Can they minimize that?  Possibly.  Get rid of them?  Nope.  Truth: helping a person play “the game” better doesn’t guarantee long-term success in a relationship, only possible short-term success in minimizing stress and finding someone.  Truth: good relationships take hard work, so if you bypass it at one level, more power to you.  You can’t bypass all of it.  Healthy couples do their utmost to be…healthy.

Call me old-fashioned, but service and selflessness is also a part of healthy relationships.  When the focus is inherently on my needs and my wants when I want it, it can be easy to miss out on loving the other person- especially when they are hard to love.  With any amount of time, we all are hard to love. Then, when a person is focused solely on their needs and wants, surprise, surprise!  That person you fell in love with starts to cheat on you because you are “no fun anymore” or “you don’t get me.”  Possibly the most famous marriage researchers, the Gottmans, have quantitatively shown again and again how the ability to manage conflict well in a relationship is its number one predictor of success.[2]  And that takes work.

Conclusion?  IJL may be a great service.  If you are seeking to be emotionally healthy as a person and in a relationship (and finding a healthy person), please consider the importance of pursuing measures to develop yourself in healthy ways.  No professional service magically makes that appear.  Not even counseling.



  1. Word.

    As someone who grew up with a Jewish Great Grandmother and an Irish Catholic grandmother (loong story), the concept of matchmaking has had a serious hold on my love life since the age of about 16.

    I’ll be the first to admit that I suck at conventional dating, and I have dabbled in online dating simply because I’m an academic at heart and see it to be this very large and very entertaining social experiment.

    But services like the one that you posted about…a bit too much. Like taking advantage of an entire population of people that is still living in their parent’s basement watching anime and playing world of war craft. I hate when I hear people being taken advantage of from services such as this one.

    Good post.

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