Love is a strange game. Flirt and dating coach Julia Mattes can tell you a thing or two about it. In her practice she advises people who are looking for their significant other. In this interview, you can find out what you have to bear in mind when falling in love and what is important in a partnership.
Please introduce yourself first - what is the difference between a coach and a therapist?
My name is Julia Mattes, I am a flirt and dating coach from Berlin. In my practice on Kurfürstendamm, I advise people who are looking for their dream partner. There are no coincidences in life and the fact that people are reading this blog article right now is already a sign that they should hear from me. A coach is someone who helps you to reach your goal but in a much shorter time than if you do it alone. A coach listens, asks questions, points out solutions, inspires and motivates, challenges stubborn beliefs. The transition from coach to therapist is often fluid. Nevertheless, coaching is less about childhood traumas, as is the case with therapists, but about what it takes for here and now to achieve the goal. My experience from the last 15 years as a coach is: Some people who sit with a therapist actually belong in the hands of a coach. And some clients who sit with the coach actually need a therapist in the first step. To find out what someone needs, my tip is to get in touch and find out more, make an appointment to get to know each other and then decide from your gut whether you want to work with the coach or therapist, whether you like each other from both sides. Mutual sympathy is the best basis for being able to open up and achieve the best results for yourself.
How can couples meet and get to know each other in the most relaxed way possible?
In the pandemic, online dating was booming. It's an easy way to meet people without having to move out of the house. Super convenient! Of course, there are also many pitfalls to be aware of when throwing yourself into the online dating jungle. Just to name one of the many pitfalls that 95% of singles fall into: they register on dating platforms without a clear goal and idea of their dream partner. Usually on several platforms at the same time, because they think that this will increase their chances of meeting someone suitable. But most of them are disappointed and frustrated after a short time that "it doesn't work out": few matches, hardly any chats, no proper dates. But there are only a few things you need to keep in mind to make online dating a success.
How does online dating work in the age of Covid-19 - what is important when you first meet and get to know each other only via Zoom? What questions are better not to ask?
Many dating platforms offer so-called video chat function. This is similar to ZOOM or Skype, except that you stay on the dating platform and communicate with your flirting partner by video. The advantage here is that you don't have to give out your data, such as phone number or email address to your flirting partner whom you don't know very well yet. These video dates are a great alternative, and a great preliminary stage to the real 1st date in real life. You can tell right away in the video whether you like each other or not. If not, then you save the time, money and energy to meet for a coffee to go. When you're video dating, there are also pitfalls that decide whether you'll meet again or whether you'll be out immediately. To name one pitfall: Many women are disappointed when they start the video and the guy is hanging out on the couch in sweatpants and watching Netflix on the side. A no-go for many women. To avoid this disappointment, it is important to discuss together BEFORE the date, what should our video date look like? For example, do both of them get dressed up beforehand and be creative: order each other's favourite food and then eat together on the video date? Or should it be quite casual, easy peasy, just a little chat in between? If you think about this beforehand, you will be less disappointed.
Many couples now meet online and are successfully matched. What is more important: as many matches as possible or the much-cited chemistry?
When you fall in love with someone, many different puzzle pieces play a role: for example, do you like each other? Sympathy arises among other things from similarities, i.e. a high degree of agreement on the same values, attitudes to life or behaviour. For example, if I love riding a motorbike, I find a partner who shares the same enthusiasm with me likeable. We then have a similarity with each other, a commonality. Furthermore, we check, consciously and also unconsciously: Are we physically attracted to each other, do we find the other person attractive? What does the person radiate, how does he or she appear? The "chemistry" is created when all factors come together in equal measure. If you notice that you keep getting stuck on one of these pieces of the puzzle, for example, you don't manage to appear interesting and self-confident, then coaching can be very helpful here.
How can you support women and men in their process of finding the right partner for life?
People who come to me are often very successful professionally, only in love they need short-term support. Many come from long-term relationships or have been through a divorce. Then they come back into the dating jungle after many years and don't know where to start. Where can I find a suitable partner? Who suits me at all? What do I want? Can I still flirt at all? Here's the good news: flirting is like riding a bicycle, you never forget how to do it. You just have to have the courage to get back on your bike. I see myself as a ranger who knows exactly where the dangers lurk in the jungle. As a ranger, you point out the pitfalls and guide people safely past them, so that in the end they arrive safely at their destination. With my experience as a dating coach, I show my clients where the pitfalls lurk in the dating jungle and bring them safely to their destination: With the love of their life. With the love of themselves and with the love of a new partner.
What are the most frequently asked questions or problems?
People who come to me are at the most diverse points in their lives. Starting with: I'm still thinking about my ex, how can I finally let him go and open up to someone new? I always attract the wrong guys, what can I do? On to: How can I tell she's into me? How do I approach her? How do I come across as interesting in a conversation? About: He doesn't get in touch after the date, is he still interested? How can I make him enthusiastic about me? But also: When is the right time to kiss her? What can I do to avoid ending up on the friendship track, or how can I get out of it? How do I get my relationship back on track? Depending on the phase of flirting, falling in love, getting to know each other and the relationship, there are different challenges that need to be overcome. Coaching can then be helpful to get off the mental merry-go-round. You get an opinion from a third person who has a different view. You are inspired, motivated and shown solutions that you can't come up with yourself because you can't see them yourself.
How important is a high degree of congruence of interests, idiosyncrasies and values?
It often happens in relationships when different opinions, i.e. different values, collide. Common interests, the same values, especially now with the pandemic the same political opinion, weld couples together especially in challenging times. Studies have found that couples with a high degree of agreement on the same values and similar behaviours often stay together longer than couples with absolutely opposite poles.
Is there a secret recipe for a long-lasting relationship?
A secret recipe for a long-lasting relationship is to always give each other small attentions and compliments. Many people think that flirting stops when you are in a relationship. This is wrong. Flirting only starts then! Appreciation plays a big role in keeping a relationship fresh. Everyone wants to be noticed and seen by their partner. You want to feel that you are still attractive to your partner. Therefore: Give your partner a loving, honest compliment several times a week.
When should a couple seek help? (Most people only start to act when the relationship has already fallen into the well).
You should seek outside help if you have more days when you feel uncomfortable with each other than days when you enjoy each other. Typical signs are when you argue about trivialities, pay attention to every little word your partner says, hardly exchange any tenderness with each other. At last when you ask yourself: Is it just a habit or is it still love?
Since Covid-19, many couples have had cabin fever. Consequently, arguments arouse - especially since everyone deals with this situation differently. How should we manage?
The pandemic is an absolutely exceptional situation. Nerves are quickly on edge. Suddenly we're squatting on each other 24/7. Before the couples might have only seen each other at the weekend or in the evening for dinner. It's really a maturity test for couples right now. Do you fit together, or not? Will it last, or will you break up? Separation can also be a solution. You can use the time we have now positively for yourself. By going into oneself and finding out: What do I need to feel good? What annoys me? Where can there be a compromise? We are all very thin-skinned at the moment. And that's why we should be a little more generous with each other, and maybe not put every word on a scale of gold.
What do celebrations like Valentine's Day mean for love? Appreciation, affection and respect should be given freely all year round.
Yes, absolutely! Appreciation should be there all year round. Flirtation and compliments within the relationship keep love fresh. That's why Valentine's Day is more of a "reminder" that you can take care of your relationship to keep it beautiful.
You have been helping people fall in love for the past 15 years - what happens when love goes, what does your work look like then?
When the love between two people goes, not everything is lost. My approach is always to fight for the partnership. There are many different things that keep people together: shared children, shared company, shared circle of friends... My coaching is about finding out and getting clarity: Where do I stand? What do I want? What do I need? How do I get there? If nothing else works, then separation can of course still be a solution. Basically, I would like to say again at this point: Unfortunately, we don't learn how to have successful relationships in school. So how are we supposed to know? But it is not as difficult if you know how to do it.