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Professional Matchmakers A Safer, More Compatible Way for Singles to Meet

One of the biggest issues with online dating is that what you see…is not always what you get. People’s profiles aren’t always accurate, and it’s hard to tell if you’ll be compatible with someone when all you know about them is what they write about themselves. There’s also an issue of safety—we’ve all read the horror stories of matches gone wrong that have resulted in people being harassed, injured or worse.

Some people are turning to professional matchmakers who take the time to vet potential dates and to find out if their clients are compatible. And while you may think that matchmakers are a thing of the past or just the subject of Broadway plays, there are many Pittsburgh couples who have found happiness in this way.

Rachel Kaplan, who has been married to Rich Kaplan for the past 11 years, turned to Susan Dunhoff of The Modern Matchmaker when she had a bad experience with online dating.

“I went on a date with someone and lo and behold, they didn’t turn out to be who they said they were online,” she explained. “At the time, I was young and lived alone, and I wasn’t comfortable with this type of blind dating, which is really what online dating is. You don’t really know the person.”

Kaplan also chose to use a matchmaker for efficiency’s sake as she was in the process of earning her doctorate, working full-time and dealing with family obligations. “I didn’t have the time to devote to going through the dating process,” she said. “I liked that Susan vetted people for me, learning about their educational backgrounds, their goals and their future desires. She made sure that they were who they said they were.”

The vetting process was so successful, in fact, that Kaplan was only on the service for a week; she met her match and now she and her husband have been married for 11 years and have three children. “It’s been a great life,” she said of her matchmaking result.

Dunhoff, who has owned The Modern Matchmaker for the past 31 years, says she has an 85 percent success rate based on people in exclusive relationships, married or married with children as the result of her company’s efforts. “While all of these people could easily get a date, they came to us because they were not meeting the right people—not even close. They’re here because they are selective and value their confidentiality.

“What we do is the opposite of online dating; while there are some real people online looking for a real connection, it’s like finding a needle in a haystack,” she added. “There are also many serial daters online who just move from one person to another. A lot of what people post is deceptive, including their photos, and it can also be scary—there are narcissists and people just out of jail online. It’s not only a matter of safety, but what your time is worth.”

Lisa and Mark, now married, are two of The Modern Matchmaker’s satisfied clients.

The Modern Matchmaker works with professionals or retired professionals between the ages of 25-75, who are looking for a real connection. She does an in-depth profile of each client and also gets feedback from them after each date, which enables her to get to know them better as time goes on.

While almost all of the company’s clients want to be matched within the greater Pittsburgh area, some clients are also open to other areas as the result of owning a second home or frequent business travel. Clients can also take advantage of the Modern Matchmaker’s Scouting Program, which allows them to meet people outside the private paid client database to find compatible matches at the Concierge and Premier levels of the service.

“This concept has proven to be quite successful for our highly selective clients and is commonly used by matchmakers in cities such as New York, Chicago, and LA,” said Dunhoff. “Our team of professional scouts attend business networking events, charity events, and various other venues as a way to connect with the right people professionally and confidentially.”

The Modern Matchmaker offers four membership levels that are customized to each client based on the complexity of their search. “It’s not a revolving door; we’re looking for quality over quantity,” said Dunhoff of the services that cost between $5,000 and $25,000. “That’s why we have so many success stories.”

Meredith and Dan Pomposelli are two of these successes.

“I decided to try matchmaking on a suggestion from my mom who saw a news blurb about it,” said Meredith Pomposelli. “This was my first try at any kind of untraditional dating, and my first date was my last date—it was awesome.

“It was really easy. I didn’t have to pretend. The date felt very natural,” she continued. “Susan understood what I was looking for. She got me and she got my future husband, and she knew that we were going to click. I was his first date as well.”

The couple have now been married for six years and have a 3-year-old son.

“I was really impressed by how they hit the nail on the head; I never would have thought that it would happen that quickly,” said Pomposelli. “Having a real person matching you to another real person is very, very important because they truly care about you and finding the right person for you.”

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