What makes you different to other companies/matchmakers?


Customer Service – it is the most important aspect of the agency that underpins the whole business. We ensure we go above and beyond our members expectations and deliver an outstanding service that makes them want to tell all their friends about us. We only take on members where we feel truly confident of being able to deliver success and, in doing so, we ensure we maintain our high success rates and our business reputation of delivering results.

What do you like most (and least) about being a matchmaker?


I live vicariously through my members! They go on amazing dates and adventures and I enjoy hearing all about them. I’m lucky in that I love Mondays as that’s my day when I catch-up from all the weekends dates and find out where members have been and what they have been up to with their introductions. I don’t have a least favourite part – I am passionate about what I do and it is the driving force behind everything. I do work long hours and I really don’t ever switch off from it but… that’s part and parcel of the role and my enjoyment of what I do outweighs any negative.

Do you think the way matchmakers are viewed in the UK is changing?

When I first came to the industry nearly 15 years ago – my view was that matchmaking agencies were run by scary, bossy ladies who reminded me of my school housemistress. Nowadays it is such a wide market with a variety of matchmakers running agencies that cater for niche pockets of people. It’s a huge industry and there is room for everyone.

Do you have any funny or interesting dating stories?


There are so many members who should have met earlier in life instead of through me. I’m a big believer in fate and I have had numerous couples over the years who have so many similarities and common acquaintances and it’s astonishing that their paths haven’t crossed before. One lovely couple, who I introduced, used to holiday in the same house in Spain each summer as children. They both shared a common family friend and she would holiday with her family in this friend’s holiday home the first two weeks of August and he would holiday with his family the second two weeks in August. The exact same house – they never knew each other or crossed paths. I introduced them to each other when they were in their 60s but they’d frequented the same place their whole childhood. It’s like the Universe was trying to make the match happen and we just had to give it that little extra nudge!

What’s the best advice you would give to someone looking for a partner?


Take action! 2020 has shown us, not only the importance of human connection but also that, it is hard to meet someone through natural circumstances these days. Your perfect

partner isn’t going to find you on the sofa in your house and we’re not mingling as much as we used to so…take action to make things happen. Get online, ask your friends/family if they know any eligible singles or, if you want to really increase your chance of success, join a matchmaking agency!

What are the most common mistakes people make when dating?


Sticking to their type! Many people meet with me and say ‘this is my type, this is the type of person that I date’…..but yet they’re single and don’t realise that perhaps their type isn’t working for them. It is not about going completely outside of your comfort zones but exploring areas that you may not have thought about before. As an agency we hold our members hands and guide them to do this in an undaunting way. Relationship success always seems to lie just on the periphery of their ‘type’!

What your greatest success story?


My favourite thing used to be getting baby-scans from couples we had matched and who then create a family! That used to blow my mind but my favourite ones now are my older generation couples who find love. They are often members who are widowed and believed they wouldn’t meet another partner after their husband/wife had passed. They describe it as getting a second chance at life and feels it enhances their later years. Those are the ones that make me smile from ear-to-ear.

Have your met your own life partner?  If so, how did you know they were the one?


I was married in my twenties and divorced by the time I was 30. I met my partner at 31 and we have been together for 12 years and we have three children. We had been connected through a mutual friend and when he turned up for our first date I decided he wasn’t ‘my type’ (see the above question for the irony!) but thought I’d have one drink and then head home! We get on really well, we’re like chalk and cheese in many ways, but so similar in other. He excels in areas that I lack and, I hope that he would say I do the same for him. We connect well, and we bounce off each other.

Do you believe in soulmates?


Yes, but I think you can have romantic soulmates, friend soulmates, family soulmates, work soulmates – an abundance of different categories and connections. I do not believe you are limited to only one soulmate in only one aspect of your life – I think you can have many in different areas of your life.

What qualities do you think make for a great partner?


I believe there is higher compatibility between couples who have similarities in their backgrounds. It is not to say that I don’t think opposites attract – I think they can do but, in my matchmaking experience, there is higher compatibility and more success in relationships with members who share similar backgrounds. It’s important to have the same morals, values, share a similar outlook and desire the same future. When looking for a partner, do consider the background and lifestyle similarities, morals and values as part of the qualities to look out for. As a dating agency, background and upbringing is something we spend a lot of time talking to members about, as it is intrinsic in our matchmaking process.

What is the best way for a man to approach or a woman?  Is it OK for a woman to approach a man?


I am all about encouraging action and being proactive! If a gentleman saw a lady he was attracted to then, a confident introduction to introduce themselves and mention that they had caught their eye, will give you some insight into whether there is any interest from the other party or whether they would prefer not to be disturbed. I love the old-fashioned ways of a gentleman making the first move but, in this day and age, it’s all about seizing opportunities as they present themselves so I would encourage ladies to be open-minded to approaching a gentleman also – even if it isn’t the traditional way of doing things!

What is the secret of a long and happy relationship?


Communication – it really is as simple as that. Talk to each other, say what you are thinking and feeling. Don’t assume your other half automatically knows – clear communication will help relationships through the stormiest of waters and is the groundwork that any successful relationship is built on.

How do you think dating is changing (especially due to the pandemic) and what will happen in the near future?


People are less likely to meet their ideal partners by chance. Social interactions are curtailed, weddings and events are limited – your abilities to even cross paths with someone are constrained. People looking for a partner, to share their life with, need to take proactive and constructive action to make it happen. Whilst I am a big believer in fate I think there is huge benefit in giving fate an extra nudge these days!


What trends and changes do you see happening over the next few years in the dating world?


More and more people will use a third party to meet their partner. Our social lives have been curtailed by the pandemic and it has stripped away that natural chance of bumping into a like-minded person. Single people will actively search for a partner, in the same way they do for a new home or a new career, and activity for online sites and dating agencies will be increased.




We hope you enjoyed this Dating Expert Interview . You can find out more about Matchmaker Hayley Bystram and her Elite dating agency Bowes-Lyon Partnership:   HERE