Today finding love and maintaining a healthy and long lasting relationship can be hard. Juggling work, a little self love and meeting the one all seems a bit overwhelming.
We chatted with Melanie Schilling, one of the love experts and psychologists from Married at First Sight all things from working on the show to her own search for love, along with some deeper and more practical insights into finding love today.
Tell us a little but about you and your journey with love.
I thought I was terminally single; spent my entire 30’s as a single woman. I spent most of that decade focused on my career, travel, my friends and basically anything BUT dating. It wasn’t until I hit my late 30s that I really started to consider finding a partner. I threw myself into the dating world and did everything wrong! Dated all the wrong men – the emotionally unavailable, the commitment phobics and the Peter Pans. By 39, I decided to apply what I had learned from working in the corporate world for 15 years and started practicing what I preach. I got strategic. And it worked! I met Gareth online and fast forward 6 years, we now have a 3 year old chick and we’re all getting married next month.
Many of us know you from your expert position on Married at First Site. What was it like working on a show like this?
Like any job, it has it’s ups and downs, exciting bits and boring bits. But mostly, it’s fascinating. It’s such a privilege to be invited inside these new relationships, to observe and learn about what makes them work (and not work). I’m constantly having OMG moments, as you probably saw from some of my facial gymnastics ;-)
What sort of things did the experts take into consideration when matching up the couples?
We all approach the matches from a different perspective. My approach is all about core values. The research shows that couples are more likely to be compatible when their ‘big ticket items’ like values and beliefs are aligned. These things are more important than the more superficial factors like height or job type.
Your approach to relationships is a little different than most, can you briefly tell us a little about the science and psychology behind a love match? What is most important thing scientifically when finding a partner?
My approach has been criticised for being ‘not very romantic’ because I focus on strategy. I advise my clients to approach their dating life the way they approach their careers – be smart, make choices in line with your values, consider both short and long term implications.
I read that you strongly believe ‘Positive relationships lead to a positive life’,
How do you recommend we balance a happy life alongside a relationship? It can be quite a juggle!
Harvard University conducted a 75 year study into human happiness and found that the single factor that leads to the most happiness is positive relationships. A happy life and a positive relationship tend to go hand-in-hand. Whilst you can have a positive life without a good relationship, you can’t really have a good relationship without a happy life. So it makes sense to focus on yourself first – to invest energy in living your best life, playing to your strengths and following your passions.
I believe living your best life is an aphrodisiac.
A lot of women today seem to find themselves being 'ghosted' or ignored after they thought everything was going in the right direction.
What would you suggest to someone in this position, should we actively go out and find the man we wants or should we just work on ourselves first and wait until he comes into it?
The first thing to do when entering into the dating game is to figure out your dating GOAL. If you are after some light-hearted, casual fun, then mobile apps and some of the hook-up sites will work well for you. But, if you are really ready to step into a meaningful, long-term relationship, it might be time to consider your tactics. Relationship-based sites are more likely to yield the results you want.
Think about this: Looking for a serious relationship on a hook-up app is like training for a marathon by jumping hurdles.
You also mention ‘the most important relationship you have, is the relationship you have with yourself. Get this right, and you have the opportunity to live, love and work to your fullest potential.’
What would you suggest for us to improve our relationships with ourselves?
Spending time alone is under-rated, especially after long-term relationships. Take the time to invest in YOU and get to know yourself. We all change through relationships so it can be really interesting to reflect on how you have changed, what you learned and what you might do differently next time.
On a general note, schedule in time each week for yourself. Whether that is doing a yoga class, a walk, meditation or just taking yourself for a solo coffee with your journal. Make this your Hour Of Power to allow your walls to come down, your sub-conscious desires and needs to bubble to the surface and see yourself for who you really are. I highly recommend journaling, whether in a book or via an app, as a way to process your emotions and untangle any complicated feelings or thoughts that may be developing.
So many of us have related to the characters on Sex and The City in our paths to finding a relationship, what did you think about Carrie and Big's relationship?
Big is mostly unavailable (and then becomes completely unavailable when he marries someone else). Carrie is addicted to his ‘intermittent reinforcement’ or drip feeding her the crumbs of his attention. Research shows that this type of unpredictable reward system is the best way to shape someone’s behaviour – this is why the pokies are so successful.
It was interesting to observe things unfold when his marriage broke down and he went to Carrie for reassurance. She had moved on to Aiden, an amazing partner for her, but she allowed herself to be dragged back into Big’s manipulative world. Thus, the addiction.
We hope you got some great insights and practical tips from our interview with Mel- I know I sure did! You can read more about Mel here.
If you want to start setting yourself up to find a long lasting and healthy relationship, we put together a free Love Action sheet with practical steps in the right direction. You can download it here:
It’s that time of year. The days are shorter and the time it takes to get out of the hot shower is just a second longer. It’s winter. The cold might be an excuse to cover up that epidermis but the chill of winter is the reason to take that extra time and show your skin the love it deserves.
Avoid those dreaded fish scales, now is the time to start prepping your skin for spring -why heck, while we’re being optimistic- even summer!
Ensure you moisturise all over ( not forgetting those elbows or ankles) straight out of the shower. Moisturising after a steamy shower ensures your product will really penetrate the skin and your skin can actually benefit from the added hydration.
*Keep a hand balm in your bag and use it! keep those hands soft and subtle, you never know who you might meet on the street.
Long day? Exfoliate! Date night? Exfoliate! Want that lit from within glow?
Exfoliating is just as important as moisturising, if not more. Not only does exfoliation shed those unwanted layers and reveal a smoother you, it actually aids the process of moisturising. Exfoliating will help the creme, lotion or oil deeply penetrate the skin, locking in the skins natural oils and assisting with repair and cell turn over.
For best results use your favourite body scrub 2-3 times weekly.
Don't be afraid of fat ! Fatty acids that is!
It’s not a cliche, good skin starts from within. Drinking plenty of water throughout the day is essential in ensuring our bodies are hydrated, inside and out! Another fun addition to your diet is fatty acids, “A diet rich in omega-3 and omega-6 oils can boost your skin's inner hydrating functions”. Include some fish oils in your vitamin cabinet and keep eating those smashed avocados ladies (the house can wait).
By now, you won't be fearful of anyone seeing your dry knees, your skin will be polished and glowing. Regardless of the cold you will want to show off that new skin, maybe even your new Kat?