Matchmaking experts are helping singles forge digital connections

With video dating and remote chatting now the default, matchmakers and dating coaches are helping daters deal with distance


You don’t become a matchmaker without optimism about love – even if it’s in the form of a long-distance relationship. Give me unending calls, simultaneous intimacy and absence, and longing. Yearning, even. I am fully on board with borderline-adolescent intensity.

Of course, few singles are intentionally looking for a long-distance relationship – but that’s what we have to work with right now, even if we may only be just a subway ride away.

Seeing the potential for connection even from afar, Toronto’s dating professionals are still making matches, and clients learning to adapt. Christina Jay of Preferred Match has seen a marked change in her clients over the past month: “I think singles are getting pretty antsy and those who were initially opposed to a FaceTime date are now pretty open to it, given the circumstances.”

Celebrity matchmaker and TV personality Carmelia Ray has hit the ground running with a huge swath of projects: video dating introductions, virtual speed dating events through local platform FirstDate, and even a live weekly matchmaking event called Spicy Love she co-hosts with Miami matchmaker Michelle G.

The inspiration for Spicy Love struck after G livestreamed a session with one of her single male clients via Facebook Live. “We’ve grown the concept from matchmaking one single to up to five singles per episode, and have had over 20 singles apply to be featured within a week,” she says. “It’s amazing how many singles are really open to connecting and being matched.”

Beyond finding new ways of meeting people, many have been focusing inwards. Love coach and matchmaker Lee-Anne Galloway is seeing a willingness among singles to expand their previously-restrictive dating parameters: “I do find myself focusing on coaching more – coaching clients to refocus on what’s most important to them in a relationship, as this period of isolation is really highlighting their values and true desires.”

In the spirit of collaboration, a number of dating experts (including myself) have teamed up to present free online panels/socials, starting later this month, to find matches for people while helping them feel confident about how their skills can transfer to the changing dating landscape.

Everyone keeps talking about “the new reality” – but that’s a nebulous concept. Uncertainty is not a part of building a stable relationship. It’s all well and good to liken meeting new people through video dating to a long-distance relationship, but the experience is very different when you haven’t opted into it, and there’s no definitive end in sight to the space between you. 

Dating professionals are seeing a different shift. Rebecca Cooper Traynor of Match Me Canada puts it into plain terms: “There’s no room for pickiness, and with a virus like this and how contagious it is, we’ll likely have many circumstances of social distancing and lockdown for the next few years. When they are looking for love, here’s what people should have on their minds: Could they be isolated with this person?”

Things are ambiguous now, but there is the capacity for something useful to come out of this time. If people can think of video dates as opportunities to meet people in a more low-pressure way, they’re more likely to open up their parameters.

Find a person you can really hunker down with, and eventually you’ll be able to run into each other’s arms in slow-motion – or possibly just hug awkwardly when you finally come face to face.

Claire AH is a matchmaker, dating coach and owner of Friend Of A Friend Matchmaking.

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