Become Your Own Matchmaker by Patti Stanger
Wondering where all the good men have gone? Millionaire Matchmaker Patti Stanger says you can find Mr. Right in eight steps or less. Read Chapter 1 of her guide to love.
Recovering from a bad relationship? Been on a series of disaster dates? Are you a one-date wonder? Just got dumped? Haven't been on a date in weeks, months, or years? Maybe you're a serial dater who can't make a relationship last more than two months. If you fall into any of these categories (and what single woman doesn't?) your first step is to go through Dating Detox. During this step you get to stop, take a deep breath, and get your romantic bearings. This is probably my favorite step of all, because it's all about me—excuse me—I mean, it's all about you. It's not about men, not about friends or family, it's not about pleasing anyone else—you purely focus on pleasing yourself.

During this time you wrap yourself in a delicious, warm and cuddly cocoon to metamorphose into the sexy, irresistible femme fatale that's buried deep inside you. Don't even think about going out on a date. Just step back and take time to figure out what exactly it is that you're looking for and what makes YOU happy. This is a chance to get back in touch with your softer, more feminine side—to draw men to you like bees to honey.

On a side note, don't be surprised if during your dating sabbatical, the men start lining up. As soon as you say, "I'm not going to date for a while," the bus unloads. Don't go out with them, but make sure you take reservations. Remember, the best restaurants are booked weeks in advance, why not you? You're worth waiting for.

Depending on the length of your last serious relationship, Dating Detox should last between thirty to ninety days. If your most recent relationship lasted less than a year or if you've never had a serious relationship, detox for thirty days. If your last relationship lasted for two years, detox for sixty days. If it was a marriage or a relationship that lasted three or more years, detox for ninety days. Believe me, you'll end up loving Dating Detox so much you might need someone close to you to slap you and make you move on from it.

One of the reasons this step is so delectable is that for thirty to ninety days, you're allowed to completely forget your troubles. Once you get the positive energy flowing, you'll move into a place of happiness that you'll never want to leave. This happiness will be unflappable—you'll be able to be happy anytime, anywhere, even with the most obnoxious people around you or, even more important, alone. As soon as you learn to revel in the opportunity to be by yourself rather than languish in miserable isolation, you'll be free of that ugly and burdensome feeling known as desperation. And once you've attained internal happiness, you'll be ready for a mature, solid relationship. A happy woman makes a much better companion, and your stock on the dating market will soar.

Men love happy women. It's as simple as that. Hell, women, children, dogs, cats—everyone loves, and wants to be with, a happy woman. The happier you are, the happier your mate will be. The truth behind the law of attraction is that like attracts like. During my matchmaking events I often see cheerful women who are not classically beautiful attracting more men than the supermodels in the room. Why? Because the supermodels are more likely to be starving and insecure, and don't exactly exude joie de vivre.

Are you that happy person? If not, ask yourself why. Many clients come to me unhappy because they don't have a man. I tell each one that her attitude will only set her back because a man will only be drawn to her once she realizes that she can be happy without him. Men see women who are with them because they choose to be, not because they need to be. Most women don't understand this. They think they're losers because they don't have Saturday night dates, but this couldn't be further from the truth. It's far better to wait for the right guy, alone in your jammies, than to be out with someone you have no interest in, wasting time and money.

Another common reason you might be unhappy is because you're weighed down by issues from your past. We all have issues. Even the happiest, most well-adjusted woman you know has had her share of problems, I can assure you. As I mentioned before, I had to overcome the issues I had with being adopted. Now is the time to tackle your demons head-on and get over them. There's a great line in the brilliant, semiautobiographical Carrie Fisher movie, Postcards from the Edge, where Lowell says, "I don't know your mother, but I'll tell you something. She did it to you and her mother did it to her and back and back and back all the way to Eve and at some point you just say, 'Fuck it, I start with me.' "

Release your past and say, "Today's the day I start with me!" Why would you want to drag all the problems you've already hashed and rehashed, ad nauseam, into a new relationship? Bite the bullet and get therapy, if you think you need it. A word about therapy: I've worked extensively with therapists and psychiatrists in my business, but I would suggest choosing your therapist very carefully and finding one that's truly right for you. And if you've been seeing the same therapist for years and don't feel like you've made much progress, perhaps it's time to move on. Like a professional athlete—if you want to win Wimbledon, you need the right coach to get you there.
The vast majority of women in Dating Detox are going to have some unresolved man issues. We've all had them. But now is the time to say, "I forgive all the men who came before; I start with me!" Forgiveness lightens your load. One of the most important keys to dating success lies in not becoming The Bitter Woman. Men can smell this type from a mile out and will run in the opposite direction. During Dating Detox you need to learn to love and trust the opposite sex. You need to stop complaining about men and focus on their redeeming qualities. Most important, you must accept the fact that you're never going to change them.

Jenna is a perfect example of a woman mired in bitterness. She's about twenty pounds overweight and refuses to exercise or change her eating habits. "Most men are pigs, because they only focus on the physical. I'm looking for an enlightened guy who will love me for me and doesn't care about what kind of shape I'm in. Until I find him, the rest can all go to hell," she says. Guess what? She's never going to find him. He doesn't exist. And even if he did, he would be thrown off by her me-against-the-world attitude. If Jenna ever wants to get married, and she claims she does, she not only needs to lose the weight (for her own health's sake, at least), she needs to lose the attitude.

During Dating Detox, you stop dwelling on all the Bad Boyfriends of the past, and you look forward to all the wonderful experiences you're going to have with men in the future. Take heart in knowing that most happily married women will gladly tell you it was worth going through every bad breakup, every creepy ex, every unbearable date, to finally find their True Love. Think of yourself as a great wine—you're only getting better and more valuable with age. When the right occasion comes along and that wine is uncorked, it will be the best, most delicious nectar the lucky partaker has ever experienced. But that will only happen if happiness is a major ingredient.

I know it isn't easy to just wake up one morning and decide, "Okay, enough dwelling on the past. I'm now going to be a happy person!" The sad truth is that most women spend so much time trying to please others—their families, their coworkers, their neighbors, their friends, their romantic partners—that they don't even know what it takes to please themselves. When I ask you, "What makes you happy?" can you immediately list ten things that make you smile, or do you have to stop and think about it for a few minutes . . . hours . . . days?

If you're among those stumped (and I know I was, for many years), I want you to sit down during Dating Detox and make a list of the things that make YOU happy. Not the things that your mother would like to see on the list. Not the things that the Bible tells you to enjoy. Your list doesn't have to include grand accomplishments, like getting a PhD, living in a mansion, winning the lottery, or having twins. Let's take baby steps, and start thinking about life's simple pleasures. Here are a dozen quick happiness fixes for you to consider:

1. Get lost in your favorite book, TV show, or movie. Rent Gone with the Wind. Indulge yourself in your favorite chick lit. Have a Sex and the City marathon.

2. Take a long hot bath with your favorite scented bath oil or bubbles—candles and soft music are nice as well.

3. Take a quick weekend vacation. Was there a place you used to love as a child? If not, a spa weekend is always fun. If you're on a budget, get some girls together and go camping. Or maybe go visit your favorite cousin whom you haven't seen in ages.

4. Pet, hold, or hug something soft and furry, even if it's just at the pet store. You could also offer to walk your neighbor's dog.

5. Work on your favorite hobby. Even if you haven't enjoyed it since high school, get back to painting, photography, scrapbooking, knitting, training for a triathlon, baking the best chocolate chip oatmeal cookies on the planet, or whatever it is you do that allows you to express your creativity and makes you feel a sense of accomplishment.

6. Write a nice letter. Email doesn't count. Take pen in hand and write to someone you care for and tell them how much you appreciate them.

7. Plant something. Have you always wanted an herb garden or pretty flowers by your door? Gardening is both relaxing and rewarding.

8. Listen to happy music. Forget the whiny girl stuff, the violent, misogynistic rap, and the songs that make you long for lost loves. I love you, Alanis Morissette, but you have to go. I don't care if you have to download a collection of your favorite TV theme songs, just listen to something that makes you want to move and feel good.

9. Sign up for a class or workshop. Ever wanted to make sushi? Learn more about wine? Master sensual massage? Now's the time!

10. Explore your roots. Find out who you are, where you came from. You can google the word "genealogy" and you'll instantly come up with dozens of sites that will help you learn about your ancestors. You can also make calls to members of your family who might have already climbed your family tree. Gaining a sense of who you are and where you came from is a wonderful thing.

11. Eat chocolate. I have some reservations about recommending this because once you start, it's so hard to stop and you certainly don't want to overindulge, but a piece of rich, dark chocolate can be good for both your heart and soul. Teuscher Champagne Truffles are my personal favorites—make sure your vibrator is nearby.
Since you're not worrying about finding and dating men, either online or in person, you'll also have plenty of time to rid your life and your surroundings of all the things that DON'T make you happy. Clean house. Purge. It might be painful, but this is the ideal time to get rid of all those pictures of ex- boyfriends and those silly little gifts they gave you. It's especially important to get rid of anything that carries his scent, like a T-shirt or sweatshirt. We're chemically drawn to our partner's natural scent, which is why we like to smell his shirt when he's not around—remember Brokeback Mountain? You'll never get over him if you don't dispose of everything that smells like him. Now, if the expensive gifts he's given you are too valuable to toss out, pass them along to a friend or sell them.

The real principle behind cleaning house has nothing to do with removing all traces of the ex so you won't get all misty eyed every time you see them or so the new boyfriend won't find them. It's far deeper than that. You're making room for new things to come into your life. Suze Orman encourages women to clean out their purses and wallets to get rid of the old junk so there will be plenty of space for new money to come in. Try it. Create a vacuum, and the universe will fill it. You'll be amazed at how well this works. If you sell that Cartier watch, there will be room on your wrist for a Patek Philippe from your next boyfriend and you can use the extra cash to buy a few pairs of Jimmy Choos—to (symbolically) walk on your ex.

Ever wonder why, when you're all sweaty, out of breath, and looking your absolute worst after a heavy workout, some guy picks that precise moment to hit on you? You think, "Dude, if you like me now, you should see me when I'm wearing makeup and a skirt!"

Believe it or not, after a workout you are at your most attractive to men, because you're all glowy from that endorphin rush; you're calm, happy, content, and for a few minutes or hours, you are not thinking about dating. My clients tell me they can't resist a woman who is centered on something other than finding a man, and is instead focused on something that makes her happy and vibrant. This is why I encourage all the girls in my club to exercise—of course, this also offers them the opportunity to firm up and lose weight.

So, during Dating Detox you'll definitely want to find an exercise regimen that makes you happy. If you're a Zen type, yoga and meditation will do it for you. If you're a Type A personality like I am, you won't have the patience for yoga, and you'll want to do something more active. The workout I've found that works best for me is exercising on an elliptical machine while watching a romantic tearjerker or catching up on all the TV shows I've recorded and haven't had time to watch. My writing partner, Lisa, is on what she calls the "Netflix diet." She rents a movie from Netflix and won't allow herself to see any of it unless she's on the elliptical machine, working up a sweat. The better the movie, the longer and more frequently she works out.

Once you've discovered how to please yourself, it's time to start thinking about how others can please you, in particular, your soul mate. Remember, don't think of him as the prize for which you're competing against hundreds of other women. YOU are the prize, and HE needs to please you just as much as you need to please him. So what type of man will it take to win your affection and devotion? What is your type? What do you value in a partner? I have a method of discovering this that is really fun and happens to involve the only date you get to have during Dating Detox—a date with yourself.

Don't be disappointed—no one knows you better, is more supportive, or wants you to succeed more than your own sweet self. And besides, this is the part where you get to really treat yourself. Go to your favorite market or restaurant and order the food you love most. (Incidentally, the food you love most will not be bad for you or make you fat, right?) Me? I'd go to the Whole Foods food bar, rush past the cr??me br??l??e French toast (even though I love it), and load up on all my organic, free-range favorites—chicken, salad, etc. If you're a wine drinker, get a bottle of your favorite, and promise yourself that you'll drink just one glass with dinner and maybe half a glass during this next exercise.

After you've treated yourself to that delicious meal, get comfortable and relax. Tonight you'll begin to get your mind in sync with what you truly desire. You are going to create a picture of your perfect mate in your mind. After all, how will you ever recognize him if you don't know what he's like?

A fun and provocative way to get started with this is to take fifteen minutes to make a list of your most recent boyfriends, not listing more than five. Write down their top five assets—the things that really attracted you to them in the first place and made you stay with them as long as you did. Then list their five worst traits—the things that drove you crazy, that made you break up with them, or want to punch them, or kill them, or both. Don't get bogged down on this, though—remember, we're not dwelling on the past, and we're not dwelling on the negative. Fifteen minutes should be plenty for this part of the exercise.

Now, I don't care if you're eighteen or eighty, there must be someone you've met along the way with whom you really would have liked to have had a relationship, if the circumstances had been right. Do you admire a friend's husband or boyfriend? List five reasons you'd like to be with a guy like that, and five reasons why you wouldn't. Or if the men around you are particularly uninspiring, tap Hollywood. God knows I go there in my mind every now and then for inspiration. My apologies to my wonderful boyfriend, but I've used Viggo Mortensen more than once for a number of different types of inspiration.

I'll tell you what to do with your lists soon, but before I do, let me share a story to keep you motivated. Lisa, my writing partner, was one of those people who used to be attracted to anything new or different with a penis. She was all over the map with the men she dated, hoping that she would one day stumble upon her "type." Only problem was, she didn't have a clue what her type was. When she finally decided it was time to settle down into a serious relationship, I advised her to make this list and analyze it. Now, I don't mean to sound like a miracle worker ... okay, maybe I do. But two months after Lisa made her list, she met the man of her dreams, to whom she is now blissfully married. She knew by the fifth date that he was the one for her, and he knew even sooner. I know, I know, it makes you a little sick at first, but if you saw her list of ex-boyfriends, you wouldn't envy her so much. It was right after the intolerant evangelical, whom Lisa refers to as the Last Bad Boyfriend, that she finally decided to take my advice and go into Dating Detox. After all, her relationship experience was not helping her make better choices; in fact, her choices were getting progressively worse. Lisa desperately needed to take some time off from men to decide what she was really looking for so that she would attract that. She was suffering from what I call Shiny Ball Syndrome—going after any shiny object that came along without even considering what it would take to make her truly happy in the long run.

But enough about Lisa. Let's take a look at your list. I'm most interested in the strengths category. Are there certain traits that appear more than once? Those are probably the attributes that mean the most to you. It's interesting to note that the younger you are, the more physical traits will be on you strengths list. The older you are, you'll probably be more attracted to character traits. The over-forty crowd can usually see a pattern and decide what they want in a man pretty quickly—after all, we've had a lot more experience with different types of men. But if you're under forty, it might take a little more time to really decide what's important to you. The next section will help you out.
Don't worry if you're a little confused about what you really want in a mate. I've known brilliant women with master's degrees and PhDs from the best schools, who were clueless about what's most important to them. In fact, it's usually the smartest ones who take the longest to get married, because they can't get their minds in sync with their hearts and bodies. They lean too heavily on the intellectual, at the expense of just about everything else. We all live in five distinct worlds: Spiritual, Physical, Emotional, Intellectual, and Financial. Of course, none of us divide our time equally between them. Think about which worlds are most important to you. Now think about how important it is for your ideal mate to match up to your preferences in each of these categories. If this sounds complicated, let me give you a little help.

Spiritual: You don't have to be religious to be spiritual—this just means that you have a connection with someone or something beyond the physical world. I consider myself a spiritual person. I was raised in the Jewish faith, but I consider myself more of a Food Jew—when the food shows up, I show up. I'm observant on significant holidays, because I like to spend them with those I love. But I'm very metaphysical. I don't belong to any particular organized congregation. I believe that organized religion is manufactured by man, not God. But I do believe in the power of the universe. I call on it often, and I do my best to keep in sync with it.

Sounds a little airy-fairy, I know, but it works for me. The point I'm making about spirituality is that yours should mesh with your ideal mate's. You don't need to have the exact same beliefs, but you should respect each other's and honor them. If either one of you feels resentful or derisive of the other's faith, it's not going to be a good match. And he needs to be more than just tolerant of the faith you practice, or the faith you grew up with.

Here's a crazy story about faith for you: I know of a really fabulous woman who escaped from a polygamist compound on the southern Utah/Arizona strip. Although she no longer believed in The Principle, she was worried that no man in his right mind would ever love a woman with a background like hers. She enrolled in a university, went to grad school, and there she met a man who was not only tolerant of her past, he encouraged her to associate with her family and even helped some of her half brothers and sisters start productive lives outside of the compound. He is a truly spiritual person in that he believes in the good of all mankind and works to help his fellow human beings find their true path.

It's also very important that neither one of you feels that you are giving up your religion or sacrificing spirituality for the other. This will only lead to disharmony and frustration in the long run, and when one of you finds someone who is more spiritually compatible, the temptation to stray will be irresistible. Even though your devotion to your beliefs may be unique and may limit your options, if your particular faith is really important to you, I encourage you to stand firm. As my grandmother used to say, there's a lid for every pot. Yours is out there; it just might take you a little longer to find him. Besides, places of worship are great for finding your perfect match.

Beware the hypocrites, however. People are probably more hypocritical about their spirituality than just about any other aspect of their personality. Actually, a lot of my clients are like that. I had a super Zen yoga master who lied, cheated on his wife with his devotees, and yelled at his staff. A man who is hypocritical about his spirituality is going to be dishonest in other areas of his life as well, so be careful. There are men out there who will tell you what they think you want to hear. It's very hip to be "spiritual" right now, but if that's important to you, you need to make sure he walks the walk and talks the talk.
Physical: We women like to think that what's on the outside doesn't matter as much to us as what's on the inside. Although we may give a guy we're not initially attracted to a second date because he has some really great character traits, while a man will accept you or dismiss you in the first five minutes, depending on the "schwing factor." Let's face it, we all have our physical preferences—we all have a certain "type."

If you think you're beyond that, let me ask you this: how would you feel about sleeping with a three-hundred-fifty pound mound of masculine flubber? One of the girls in my club tried it once. She'd spoken to a particular guy numerous times on the phone and thought he was terrific. He showed up at her door wearing an impeccably tailored suit (and probably a man girdle), and although he did look quite large, she thought she could overlook it—he was just so damn nice and funny. He fell head over heels in love with her in the first five minutes; after all, she was hot—about an 8 on a scale of 1–10. He proposed to her on the fifth date, ring and all. While she gently told him she thought it was a little too soon for an engagement, she decided the time was right to sleep with him and test out their physical chemistry. She knew it was going to be dicey, so while he was in the bathroom, she conjured up visions of Colin Farrell from that excruciatingly sexy video that was circulating on the internet a few years back.

Once she opened her eyes and beheld her date naked, however, that vision popped like an overinflated balloon, and so did their relationship. It was obvious the poor guy had once weighed as much as five hundred pounds, and while he was still making an effort to lose more, he had pouches of baggy skin hanging all over him like big rubber curtains. She said it was bad—I mean on-the-verge-of-vomiting bad. She was able to control her urge to puke and bolt, and instead told him she'd had a little too much champagne and asked him if they could cuddle for a while. After feigning sleep she "woke up" later and went home. So much for mind and heart over matter. She still thought the world of him as a human being, but she simply could not go there physically.

My advice is to pick the two physical traits that are the most important to you and focus on those. Anything else is icing on the cake. For me, it's hair and height. He doesn't have to be muscle bound, athletic, or have perfect teeth and long eyelashes, just as long as he has a full head of hair and tops six feet. Yes, my current boyfriend qualifies. Again, it might be helpful to conjure up a vision of a movie star you're completely attracted to, and think about the two physical traits that turn you on most. Subtract the rest. For example, wanting a perfect masculine life form like George Clooney is greedy and ridiculous. But how about a George Clooney type with a little pot belly? Surely he would do? Or a Brad Pitt with a receding hairline? You know what I mean. You're not perfect, so you really can't expect perfection in return. I cringe every time I see a woman in my club turn down a wonderful man just because "he has red hair" or "he's not hot enough for me." They obviously don't understand that men who are too handsome are usually vain, spend too much time in the bathroom and gym, depend on their looks at the exclusion of everything else, and have too many other gorgeous women after them. Besides, even if he looks perfect, when he opens his mouth he probably sounds like Pee-wee Herman, or he doesn't have a job, or a car, or ... well, you get the point.

Still not convinced that that outrageously beautiful man is not for you? Let's get realistic here—if you wait until you find Adonis, you'll still be waiting in the nursing home. As my aunt says, in the beginning what's really important is that "when he kisses you, your toes curl." Of course that palpable lust that makes your pulse rush and your VJ get all warm and mushy will die down eventually. Although it should be there in the beginning, no one can sustain that. Sex with him can't be a Broadway opening every night, so you have to find yourself a good spooner. The überhandsome guy is not a good spooner. He thinks that just being with him should be enough of a thrill for you, so after he's gotten his rocks off, he'll turn over and hug himself. I know this man. So just take my advice and pick your two most important physical traits. If he has beautiful eyes and is in good shape, who cares if he waxes his chest? (Yes, I've had girls complain about that.) If you're five feet two and he's five feet eleven, who cares if he's not over six feet?

Emotional: What you're really looking for here is the emotional yin to your yang. What you're not looking for is a mate who is on the same emotional page that you are. Do you really want a guy who cries every time he sees A League of Their Own? Do you want someone who becomes outraged about the same issues you do? Just imagine if you both couldn't stand bad restaurant service and both started screaming at the waiter? You'll mesh best with someone who can calm you down when you're feeling tense, and will appreciate the same from you. Now that's a good match and will come in handy when he can take care of the matters you hate even mentioning. Let's say it's time to lease a new car, and you want to start pulling your hair out just thinking about dealing with the car salespeople. Your partner, on the other hand, absolutely relishes the opportunity to shop around and get a killer deal—it's second only to sex in his book. You two could be made for each other. Just ask me how I got my last car ... my boyfriend loves wheeling and dealing over the details, I hate it—it works out perfectly.

Of course, there are many other issues in life that are more important than purchasing a new car. You'll want to pay close attention to how he handles stress, disappointment, victory, embarrassment, sadness, loneliness, joy, and myriad other emotions. He doesn't need to handle them the same way you do, you just have to be okay with the way he does handle them. Does he deal with problems head-on, or does he deny them? When troubled, does he become talkative or aloof? Which do you prefer? How do you want to be treated? Tenderly, or do you like it a little rough every now and then? Does he listen to you sympathetically, or does he race ahead to what he thinks is the solution? Do you like to be nurtured when you're sick, or do you just want him to go away and leave you alone?

Also, pay attention to how he treats his own family. Make sure he has a decent relationship with at least one family member, and bonus points if he's close to at least one sister. But beware the man who has no close relationships with any relatives. Even if they have drastically divergent standards, values, and morals, if family is important to him, you'll find some common ground. If family is not important to him, what makes you think he'll want to start a family with you?

Intellectual: I'll tell you right now that I prefer to use degrees of laughter, rather than degrees of education, as a barometer for intellectual compatibility, but others disagree. I think people get overly concerned about the amount of education their mate may or may not have. If he "gets" you and makes you laugh, what more do you need? I mean, we all know someone like Miranda, the redhead lawyer on Sex and the City, who was happy marrying Steve the bartender.

I've learned from my clients that a man can be intellectually stimulating even if he hasn't been to college. Michelle, an Ivy League???educated business executive, didn't respect men who were less degreed than she was, and believed they would resent her. Then she met her uneducated actor boyfriend who introduced her to the joys of National Public Radio and Pulitzer Prize???winning author Michael Chabon. How had she gone through her entire, ivory-tower life without being aware of either one? Now, she didn't end up marrying him, but she couldn't deny that her no-degree boyfriend wasn't the dummy she expected him to be.

If you can find at least two intellectually stimulating activities you like to do together, I'd say you're in pretty good shape. Do you love to watch foreign/independent films together? Do you both love wine tasting? Have you done the New York Times crossword puzzle on Sunday together? Do you enjoy discussing politics? You don't have to agree necessarily, but it's good if you enjoy the debate—it can even be sexually stimulating. Do you like to go to the same types of museums and exhibits? When you travel, do you both like to explore the culture and do as much sightseeing as possible, or do you both like to just unwind on the beach or in the mountains? Maybe you're both into extreme-sports vacations? Do you like to read the same books, newspapers, or websites? If your favorite news sources are TMZ and Perez Hilton and his favorites are the Wall Street Journal and The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, I'm not saying it will never work, but be prepared to endure eternal ribbing (I know I do). Just be aware that street smart can be a good match for book smart, if neither one of you is too invested in your own particular form of higher education.
Financial: This category might seem crass and materialistic, but money is the root of at least 51 percent of all divorces. After all, I am the Millionaire Matchmaker, and I've witnessed money make or break a relationship more times than I can count. Whatever your financial desires, you just better make sure that the guy you're dating has the same goals you do. So if you want the high life, you better make sure he does too.

On a side note, it's okay to want a wealthy man. It's okay to want a man who makes more money than you do. What's not okay is to be a gold digger or expect to be rescued. A gold digger is a flipper who isn't looking for a long, solid relationship. Once she gets what she wants, she'll leave him and trade up. Gold diggers like to cash in and cash out—they're only interested in leasing, never buying. On the other hand, a woman who just wants the comfort and security that comes from a wealthy mate also wants to be a good companion as well as have one, and hopes to add as much to his life as he does to hers. It's completely understandable if you want a wealthy husband so you can stay home and take care of the kids, or, if you're past childbearing age, so that you can travel the world together. Just don't be a gold digger.

That being said, the sense of entitlement I see in so many women these days really rubs me raw. One of the girls in my club, a MAW (model/actress/whatever) once asked me, "He only makes two-hundred-and-fifty thousand dollars a year. Is that enough?"

"Enough for WHAT?" I exploded. "Enough to buy you a big house and car and save you from ever having to spritz perfume in a department store again? How much do you make? Do you think that's enough for him? Let me ask you something: what have you got to offer, other than your good looks, which will fade?" Clearly this woman was a gold digger. A wealthy man wants a woman who will act responsibly with his money and help him increase it, not someone who does nothing more than sit around and think of ways to spend it. That's a bad investment, and men don't get rich by making bad investments. I always say, "She who asks for everything gets nothing. She who asks for nothing gets the world."

But while money is an important factor to consider, if you meet a great guy who has everything you want except cash, and you turn him away because he hasn't made it yet, you might regret it until the day you die—he could have been the great love of your life. My mother's friend is the perfect example of this—she was dating a great, energetic, motivated, and ambitious guy. Only problem was, he was from the wrong side of the tracks and didn't have two pennies to rub together. Her parents told her to stop seeing him. "But Mom!" she said. "I love him." "I don't care," her mom responded. "He'll never amount to anything." That was Don Kirshner, who eventually became a wealthy, famous music promoter. Not only did she lose him, but she had to hear about him all the time on the radio and television.

A happier story is Karen's—she met and married Michael when they were sophomores in college. They were both preppy paupers, and they finished school while living in a one-room, windowless basement apartment underneath a pizza parlor. They supported each other through thick and thin, and twenty years later they're living in a 10,000-square-foot grand estate with all the money they will ever need and have six beautiful and intelligent children. The lesson here is that while they both aspired to financial success, neither wrote the other one off because he or she wasn't making the big bucks when they first met. Instead, they shared the same goals and grew their life together. It wasn't like the rich guy picked out the Pretty Woman hooker and brought her up to his level.

He will come. Now that you know who you're looking for, it's time to bring him into your life. I'm a firm believer in manifestation and have followed the teachings of Esther and Jerry Hicks and Abraham for years. So in order to manifest your dream guy, I have a specific recipe for you to follow:

1. Get happy before you begin your manifestation process. Do whatever it takes to get into this place: eat chocolate, pet your puppy, play golf, take a bath, watch your favorite comedy . . . you get the point. Beware: If you do not complete this critical step, your manifestation will not occur. Others who teach this process leave out this vital step but trust me, your happiness is the fuel that will take you to where you want to go.

2. Close your eyes for a minimum of seventeen seconds, preferably more. Visualize how you want your particular desire to play out. You are the author, the director, and the actor of the movie in your mind. For example, if you want the cute guy at the gym to ask you out, picture him standing in front of you and asking you out. If you want to go away on vacation with someone you just met, imagine him taking you away to a romantic destination. If you want to get married, imagine yourself walking down the aisle in a beautiful dress. If you don't have a particular person in mind to marry, imagine your favorite celebrity crush to get you closer to the target. The more you visualize how you want your life to be, from a happy place, the quicker it will happen.

3. Now let go of the scene, but come back to it anytime you want and add more details to it.

Continue practicing this exercise with the things you want in your life, and the practice will soon become so much fun and so satisfying that you'll enjoy the visualization itself, without focusing on whether or not it happens. This is important because the universe will only reward you when you are in a place of desiring without keeping score.
Half the fun is in the anticipation of your perfect mate. You will find yourself so deliciously caught up in enjoying the idea of him that before you know it, he'll be tapping you on the shoulder. You'll be more than ready for him. You'll turn around, look him in the eye, smile, and just know. And wonder of wonders, so will he!

While you're waiting for your larger desires to arrive, here's a fun little exercise to try that I guarantee won't take very long to work and will make your home smell nice at the same time:

Would you like to receive some beautiful roses? Who wouldn't? Picture those lovely, rich-colored roses in your mind. Bring them to your nose and inhale their sweet scent. Imagine yourself touching the velvety soft petals with your fingertips and gently brushing your cheek against them. Make those roses as real as you possibly can, without actually going out and buying them. Now go about your life, and every so often, when you need a sensual mental break, revisit those roses in your mind.

I guarantee you that those roses will soon appear in your life. Perhaps some client will send them to show appreciation. Maybe you'll be offered a centerpiece from a table arrangement. You'll receive roses as a reminder of an anniversary or an event that you'd completely forgotten about. Or perhaps a friend will have overordered and will give you the extras. Maybe some guy is wooing your best friend with roses, and she doesn't even want to look at them, so she'll give them to you. Or maybe it will be your turn to take home the weekly fresh floral arrangement from your workplace. However they come into your life, I guarantee you that you won't have to wait long. This is an exercise I have the girls in the Millionaire's Club try, and believe it or not, it always works. Just give it a try. What have you got to lose?

The reason it works so well is because you are not in such desperate need of roses. In fact, it's something you would like to have but really don't care that much whether you get them or not. As the Buddhists would say, there is no attachment to the roses, therefore there is no resistance to your receiving them. If, however, it were Valentine's Day and your boyfriend didn't buy you roses, even though all week long you'd been expecting them, it would have been because you blocked them with your resistance.

Some of you mistakenly feel that because your marriage(s) ended, you're at a disadvantage. Ladies, nothing could be further from the truth. To be honest, and you know I'm never anything but, divorced girls have a huge advantage. Think about all your invaluable experience! You're not some starry-eyed twenty-something who runs home crying to mommy the first time your husband criticizes you. You know what it takes to make a relationship work, and what will make it crash and burn. You know how to love and how not to love. Men are more likely to look at never-been-married woman over thirty-five and ask, "What's wrong with her?" than they are to say the same thing about a similarly aged woman who is divorced. At least you tried—at least someone picked you. You get big brownie points for this. It sounds harsh to those of us who have never been married, but it's true, and the truth hurts me as much as anyone else, because, as you know, I've never been married. I know what men say about me.

Divorced ladies, for all the trauma and heartbreak you've been through, consider the hard-fought advantages you've won:

1. You're better able to weed out the losers. You've been in the program before, you know all the signs, both good and bad, so you're better able to assess if he'll make a good husband.

2. You can discern his interest level, and your own, much quicker. You don't waste time kidding yourself that this might work if you just give it one more shot. Experience has made you a realist.

3. You're not desperate. You know that, yes, you can recover from a heartbreak, and, no, he's not the last man on earth. You also know that it's better to be alone and happy than in a crappy relationship.

4. Your stock is higher because you've been picked. Men register this in their minds, whether consciously or subconsciously. And if your ex-husband was someone prominent in your community, your stock goes up even higher.

5. You have more realistic expectations. Men love this, because they don't feel the pressure to be perfect. They know that you've seen a man in gross old underwear before and accepted him, warts and all.

These are among the reasons divorced women tend to get married again quicker than a woman of the same age who has never been married. The never-been-married woman deliberates for freaking ever!

However, there is a big difference between the separated woman and the divorced woman. If your divorce is not yet final, chances are you're not quite ready to date yet, because all your issues with your ex have not yet been resolved. You might even still be having ex-sex, so those oxytocin bonds are still binding you to your former husband, and you'll never be able to give it a real shot with anyone new. My advice to the separated woman is to resolve those financial, emotional, and custody issues ASAP so you can move on. You're crazy if you think he'll come back to you once the divorce proceedings have begun. If he initiated the separation, it's likely he was out the door, both emotionally and physically, the second he asked for the split—as a matter of fact, he probably bailed out of the marriage six months prior to that and was just waiting for the right time to tell you. You need to cut your losses and get the hell out of there right away. You might have to give a little in your settlement demands, but that's a good sign that you're over him. Don't waste one more second of your time or your youth on someone who has rejected you. If you've done the rejecting, you're already over him, so why waste any more time? Make the separation period as short as possible, sign the papers, and move on!

Now that you've spent thirty to ninety days in Dating Detox, you'll be cleaner inside than if you'd just gone through a major power colonic, figuratively speaking. You've purged all the bad attitudes, memories, and men from your system, you've found your own happy place, and you're mentally and spiritually ready to move on to the next step. You've made your inner self beautiful; now it's time to do a little (a lot?) of work on your outer self.

10 things you should never talk about on a first date

Patti's advice for a picky fortysomething

Thou shall follow Patti's 11 dating commandments
Become Your Own Matchmaker by Patti Stanger. Published by Atria Books. ?? 2009


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