In their first-rate book, Novak, star of TV's Confessions of a Matchmaker , and novelist Zigman (Animal Husbandry ) prove to be a match made in heaven. Novak cuts the bull when it comes to dating advice: you have to know yourself before you can find love. The book exhorts the reader to "Get Over It" when it comes to "thinking all men are jerks" or being paralyzed by past relationship trauma. Like a dating GPS, the book identifies dating obstacles and puts readers on the right road to romantic fulfillment. No shrinking violet, Novak is part drill sergeant (especially when it comes to self-exploration worksheets), part "love therapist" (though she refers on deep issues to the appropriate professionals). Writing in a frank-and funny-manner, Novak uses tough love in offering a compelling and rewarding read for the lovelorn. (Jan.) Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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It Takes Tough Love to Find True Love
Because Anything Worth Having Requires Straight Talk and Hard Work
There is an obsession in our culture with everything being easy.
Losing weight isn't hard, we're told.
There are magic pills, magic surgeries, and magic creams to give you a perfect body overnight.
Making money isn't hard either.
It's easy, too.
There are CDs, books, weekend seminars, and Internet schemes to help you make millions.
There's an assumption that there is a quick fix for everything. No hard work required.
All we need is desire and that easily made money. If we want to be thin, if we want to be rich, if we want to be everything we're not, all we have to do is to pay someone to get what we want.
To all those people who think finding love is easy, I say this:
Get over yourself!
There is no easy fix for finding love.
I wish I could say that reading this book will be easy-that the advice I'm giving and the work you'll need to do is easy to hear and easy to do. That just reading it-just flipping through the pages and maybe laughing at or recognizing yourself or people you've dated in some of the stories I tell-will automatically cure all of your dating problems.
But it won't.
Finding love is a process. And that process isn't easy.
It requires hard work and commitment-a commitment of time and emotional energy-to get your mind, body, and spirit ready for such a big and important change.
Because you have to find yourself before you can find love.
THE FIRST STEP ON THE LOVE MAP
"Finding yourself" might sound like one of those clichés from the seventies, but it's one of the most fundamental and most basic first steps you have to take on the path to finding love.
Because you can't get over yourself if you don't know what you need to get over.
And you won't figure out what you need to get over until you look inside yourself.
As strange as it may sound, a lot of people who come into my office wanting my services have no idea who they are. Who they really are, that is. Some might have an idea who they think they are, or who they hope they are, but nine times out of ten the person I'm interviewing is more of a stranger to him-? or herself than to me.
That's because they've never really looked at themselves.
Most people have seen glimpses of themselves-the equivalent of separate snapshots of their personality (they're a little too controlling), or their behavior (they drink a little too much or eat a little too much or talk a little too much), or their personal history (that breakup really knocked them down) that capture small pieces of who they are.
But the problem is that those separate snapshots aren't connected.
Most times, people haven't put those separate little pictures of themselves together to form a complete and cohesive total picture of who they are and what they need to work on.
In other words, they don't have the big picture.
Which is where I come in and where this book comes in.
Think of me and my work as being like the navigation system in a car: You tell it where you are and where you want to go and it gives you directions. It shows you your route, step by step, and it also shows you where you are from a bird's-eye view: from above, looking down. It gives you a wide-angle view of the landscape and of where you are in it.
What I do in my office and in this book is similar: I'm helping you get your big picture.
I'm helping you see yourself and your life in its entirety and helping you understand how all of the parts of yourself fit together. I'm helping you look at yourself and view the landscape of your life through a wide-angle lens.
Once you see your big picture, once you see yourself in a completely realistic way-all your good points and all your problematic points, all your successes and all your disappointments-you'll be able to understand the context of your life: where you came from, where you've been, where you are at this exact moment in time.
And once you know all that, once you have your exact coordinates mapped, we'll be able to take you from where you are right now- without love-to where you want to be: on the road to finding love.
FINDING LOVE IS ABOUT THE JOURNEY AS WELL AS THE DESTINATION
When you're someone who gives advice for a living, people often wonder what credentials you have-where or how you've learned what you know, what makes you qualified to tell them what they need to do to improve their lives, and who you think you are to say they need to start doing things differently than they've been doing them.
So when someone asks me that (and I'm assuming that at least a few of you might be thinking those same thoughts as you read this book) I'm always very honest about the fact that the way I've learned what I've learned is through living my life-getting through the difficult and painful moments, the moments of sadness and loss and struggle-and making it to the other side.
What I haven't learned from my own direct experience I've learned from the thousands of clients I've worked with, by hearing their stories and their thoughts and their feelings that they've been brave enough to share with me about the hard times they've been through and how they survived them.
A lot of what I tell people isn't new.
It isn't earth-shattering or complicated or particularly complex.
The advice I give people about finding love is based on the real-? life education I've had over years of hearing about and talking about and looking at relationships and chemistry and human connection and compatibility.
It's also based on how I've navigated through the tough times in my own life-sometimes skillfully, sometimes not so skillfully, sometimes blindly, sometimes following only my strong but intangible gut feelings and the dim flickering light deep inside myself that was always just bright enough to illuminate my path before I completely lost my way.
Like so many of you readers, I've gone through some rough patches.
Like living with severe epilepsy for twenty-two years, and all the shame and embarrassment and isolation that went along with it until I had a stereotactic craniotomy (brain surgery) at the age of thirty-one to correct it.
Like leaving my marriage after seventeen years.
Like losing my dad a few years ago-the charismatic and completely original Buffalo Streets Commissioner James Lindner, who always called me Patti Ann and who I adored, and who told me when I first became a matchmaker that I'd finally found a job where I could use my mouth.
Like having my daughter diagnosed at five weeks old with a very rare infant eye cancer, retinoblastoma, and watching her endure several eye surgeries over the years.
Like spending most of my life struggling to make ends meet.
And like finally finding true love and learning firsthand how facing your demons and getting to your core and healing your soul can lead to such powerful change.
So trust me when I say that anything worth having requires hard work.
Think about all the things you've worked for-a high school diploma, a college degree, a demanding job or interesting career, a hot body-and then think about how you were usually so busy achieving your goal that you barely had time to think about how hard you were working. Sometimes working for what you want feels really good-it gives you a goal, and a sense of purpose, and a feeling of accomplishment when you finally get there.
Love is worth having.
And finding it requires hard work.
But that doesn't have to be a bad thing. In fact, it can be a good thing.
Self-?discovery, while scary for some people and uncomfortable for others, doesn't have to be a negative experience. It doesn't have to fill you with dread about what you will find inside yourself when you finally get in there with a crowbar and a headlamp and start looking around.
Figuring out who you are and why can be a very positive experience-it can reward you with a huge sense of relief at finally knowing and understanding yourself in ways you've never known and understood yourself before, and it can give you renewed hope for the future.
All the work you're going to do-all the time and energy you're going to put into getting to your core and getting over yourself-is going to pay off.
Because it will help you find the love you want-and keep it-just the way it helped me.
TOUGH LOVE INTERVIEW = "INTERVENTION"
Some people tell you what you want to hear.
I tell you what you need to hear.
In fact, I often say that I tell clients what their friends won't tell them. Which is why I can usually help them much more than their friends can.
The process of finding love requires that you be grounded in reality, and in order to be grounded in reality you need to be confronted with reality. You need to arrive at a point where you are willing to hear things about yourself you may not want to hear, or accept things about yourself that you haven't wanted to accept.
Maybe what you don't want to hear is that you're turning men off because you've been single so long and have become so self-sufficient that you're communicating the message that you don't
really need a man.
Maybe what you don't want to hear is that when you drink a little too much you party a little too much and when you drink and party a little too much you sleep with people you shouldn't.
Maybe what you don't want to hear is that even though you're happy with yourself at the size and weight you are, there are very few men in the world willing to consider dating larger women.
Maybe what you don't want to hear is that you need to get over yourself because women don't find your party-boy behavior that attractive now that you're over forty.
One of the quickest and surest ways to get over yourself is to have an intervention. Most interventions, of course, involve being surrounded by friends and family who have gathered and sat you down to tell you all the things they've never told you in order to help you get better. And interventions are most often about helping a loved one stop using drugs or abusing alcohol. But in my business-the love business-it's to help someone stop doing all the things that have made them unsuccessful daters.
When I interview clients for the first time-when they come to my office to see if they want my matchmaking services and I see if I want to work with them-I basically perform an intervention. There aren't any other people in the room besides the two of us-just me and my client-but the one-?on-?one intervention I perform is just as intensive a session and as effective at getting them to start understanding their behavior and issues, and seeing how and why those behaviors and issues have been adversely affecting their ability to find-and keep-love.
An intervention is the ultimate act of tough love-an approach designed to get someone to become aware of important issues in their life in the shortest amount of time. While interventions aren't a substitute for long-?term therapy or counseling, they're a great tool for a matchmaker like me to use. My intervention-?style interview cuts to the chase and gets as close to a new client's core as possible.
Because I don't beat around the bush.
I say it like it is and sometimes the things I say aren't all that easy to hear.
Which brings us back again to the false notion that things are supposed to be easy.
The things I say may not be easy to hear, but I truly believe, if a client listens to me-really listens-and, more important, if a client is willing to hear what I'm saying and absorb it into their core, they're going to experience huge changes in their life.
They're going to understand the small things they're doing wrong and their larger problematic behaviors, and they're going to understand some of the reasons why they do them.
And they're going to see that with that understanding and self-knowledge comes growth, because I give them the tools to help them move forward, past their pasts, and into their future.
From the Hardcover edition.