From The Straits Times    |

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#1 Love at first sight is a lie
“Many couples I know didn’t fall hard for each other immediately – they slowly grew to love each other. That’s why the criteria for a second date shouldn’t be how much you like a guy. It should be how little you dislike him. If you find that there’s nothing much wrong in a guy, go out with him again. He might turn out to be a keeper.”

#2 Work and love — it’s not a trade-off
“I’ve met many young women who said ‘love can wait’ because they wanted to build their careers first. By the time they decided it was time to find a partner, it was too late. The thing is, you don’t have to sacrifice work while searching for love. I’ve met successful women who started families in their 20s, and caught up in their careers in their 30s and 40s.”

#3 Don’t be shy to set goals
“People shout about fitness and career resolutions on Facebook, but they rarely set targets for their love life. That’s a shame – goals help you focus. Obviously, don’t say, ‘I want to get married by 28,’ but go for something realistic like, ‘I’ll aim to meet five new people every month’ or ‘I’ll go on one date every two weeks’.”

#4 The secret thing men look out for…
“…is whether you offer to pay on the first date. Most men plan to foot the bill anyway, but they will observe how the woman reacts when the bill arrives – does she reach for her wallet? Does she say a genuine ‘thank you’ when he pays? (Yes, guys can tell when it’s just a perfunctory ‘thanks’.) These things tell him whether she’s a prima donna type or not.”

#5 Take it offline
“You chat with a guy online for ages… but he never asks you out in real life. Avoid this by making your intentions clear. State on your online profile that you’re looking for a serious relationship. If you’re Whatsapping a guy, drop hints like, ‘Hey, there’s a cool concert in town. Wanna catch it?’” 

#6 Cut out the judgemental attitude
“I have operations in Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong. One difference I’ve noticed is that Malaysian women tend to be more willing to go on second dates – something we can learn from. Maybe it’s because of the faster pace of life, but Singaporeans and Hong Kongers are quicker to judge potential dates. I once met a Singaporean woman who refused to even meet a guy because his job title wasn’t impressive enough! She didn’t want to waste her time, but relationships do need time to grow.” 

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Image: Corbis

#7 The biggest turn-off for a guy…
“…is a woman he sees as ‘high maintenance’ or ‘materialistic’. Guys pick up clues from the way you dress (whether you’re head-to-toe in designer togs), how you speak to wait staff, and even little things like if you insist on drinking only mineral water!”

#8 The most ‘dateable’ women are…
“…the ones who understand that men crave respect. A lot of men tell me they don’t want to date ‘dragon women’ – but that doesn’t mean they go for submissive girls either. Most men respect intelligent, assertive women. What they don’t want is someone who belittles them and insists on being in control of the relationship all the time. Respect is to a man what love is to a woman.”

#9 It’s true: your age matters
“The hardest thing I had to accept in this business is that as women age, their chances of meeting a guy narrow. It’s just about demand and supply. If you’re a woman in your late 30s or 40s, you’re probably looking for men your age or older. The problem is that men in that age group are the most eligible guys around – they’re mature, financially stable, at the peak of their careers – and can afford to be picky. I’m not saying you can’t meet anyone, but you might have to be more flexible about your criteria for Mr Right.”

#10 Oh, and fate? It’s a really bad Plan B
“I’ve heard many women say they’ll leave finding a mate up to fate. My question is: If you want to settle down, would you rather have a husband that you found on through your own initiative, or wait for fate and risk ending up alone? The answer is pretty obvious to me!” 

This story was first published in HerWorld Magazine October 2014.

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