Anyone who’s been out there on the dating scene will tell you it’s not for the faint of heart. It requires thick skin, a resilient spirit and a whole lot of patience to find your beshert. Many singles can also benefit from the advice of a professional dating coach like Tammy Tilson. A psychotherapist for more than 15 years, Tilson’s practice became more specialized five years ago when she created her business, the Matchpro. Jmore recently spoke with Tilson, a Pikesville resident, about some of dating’s most challenging questions.

How does one avoid choosing the wrong type of person?

Evaluating negative patterns from past relationships can be a valuable tool in preventing you from making the same mistakes. For example, if you keep picking partners who are critical, make a conscious choice to choose someone who doesn’t exhibit that behavior. Many of us unconsciously pick the same type of person over and over because they feel familiar to us. Be compassionate toward yourself while embracing your new self-awareness. Greater insight will allow you to pick a partner who is different.

How can a couple pace their relationship appropriately?

The first six to eight months of dating is typically the romantic stage. This feels awesome because our brain releases endorphins that make us feel happy. Savor this period but realize that your brain is literally on drugs, thus preventing you from seeing your partner clearly. So don’t make any major decisions about your relationship during this time. As your relationship progresses, you will inevitably notice differences and flaws in your partner and experience conflict. If you can navigate challenges and resolve differences, your relationship will be strengthened.

 How can one tell if a prospective partner is truly available for a relationship?

If someone is truly available, they are consistent in their behavior. They want to speak to you and see you regularly and make you a priority in their life. They are there for you when you need them, and most importantly you feel a sense of calm and relaxation when you are with them.

In 2018, is it possible to find a mate without using online dating sites?

Online dating is one tool to find a partner, but it is by no means the only way. Try volunteering, playing on a sports team, asking friends who they know or pursuing interests that increase opportunities to connect with like-minded people.

 Why hire a dating coach?

A dating coach is an objective professional who can help you in a multitude of ways. I learn about [singles’] relationship goals and preferences, conduct criminal and credit background checks, and help implement strategic plans that lead to success. I can write, edit and manage your online profile and provide professional photographs. A coach will help you with conversation skills. I can take you shopping or link you to a hair stylist or makeup artist. A coach offers emotional support, discusses dating strategies, helps builds self-esteem and gets you in the right frame of mind for meeting that special someone.

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Watch dating coach Tammy Tilson on Jmore’s Weekend Agenda: