Quantifying love: why using a matchmaker may be your ticket to lifelong happiness

29 May

Time is money. Here at The Vida Consultancy, our fiercely busy clients outsource their love lives to us; many of them simply do not have the time to be on the dating scene.

Time is money.

It is one of those adages that is so commonplace, so ubiquitous, that we might sometimes forget just how concise and cutting its truth is.
Figuratively as well as literally, time is money. Like money, time can be spent, lost, wasted, earned. You never have enough of it – yet no amount of it will ever satisfy you.

Since time immemorial, people have been spending one to gain the other. You can spend time on a money-making project – but you can also spend money on a time-saving service. People pay money to outsource all aspects of their lives in order to save time. You might hire a cleaner in order to give you more time to spend with your family when you are home. You might do online shopping to save all the time you would otherwise be spending dragging the kids to the supermarket on a Saturday morning. You might source yourself a personal trainer in order to get fitter; without beating around the bush (another adage), better health and fitness equals an accruement of time in the long-term, just as spending your finances on medicines buys you time.
In the matchmaking industry, it is no different. Here at The Vida Consultancy, our fiercely busy clients outsource their love lives to us; many of them simply do not have the time to be on the dating scene.

Does this diminish the romance of it all? That depends on how you look at it. At the end of the day (adage alert), numerous long-term psychological studies have shown that having a life partner is the single most important factor in one’s lifelong happiness. A matchmaking service might not provide you with a funny anecdote about your hands knocking into each other as you both reached for the dusty old bookshop’s last tome of Nietzsche’s Thus Spake Zarathustra, but it will provide you with a fine-tuned, assessment-based search for your perfect partner.

Time famine
Whilst the disparity in wealth between the rich and poor is only getting greater, the distribution of wealth among the rich is becoming wider, too: more people are becoming relatively wealthy. Increased wealth around the world is producing a very novel, unforeseen consequence: a rising scarcity of time – or, depending on how one looks at it, a rising sense of scarcity of time – because, according to John Robinson and Geoffrey Godbey in Time for Life: The Surprising Ways Americans Use Their Time, people have gained an average of six hours of free time a week since 1965. Put simply, being wealthy is often a direct result of spending a relatively great amount of time accruing money. The sense of time scarcity for wealthy people often arises when they consider their personal lives and have, perhaps, a minor crisis when they realise how little time they have to concentrate on meaningful, non-work aspects of their lives, such as their family, friends, hobbies – and, of course, love lives.

There has been a wealth of research on how to reduce financial scarcity, but little rigorous research examining how to reduce time scarcity. Such research would be challenging, as time, unlike money, is inherently finite; in the end, we are only, ultimately, losing it. The growth of the sharing economy has made time-saving services increasingly accessible, but there has been little empirical research testing whether these services enhance happiness.
A ground-breaking 2017 study, led by Professor Ashley Whillans of Harvard Business School, provided evidence that using money to buy time can provide a buffer against this sense of time famine, thereby promoting day-to-day happiness, and therefore, in the long-term, greater life satisfaction. These results provide strong evidence that using money to buy time can protect against the detrimental effects of time famine on life satisfaction.

Nevertheless, the Harvard study showed that wealthy people do not necessarily use their money to buy themselves free time, instead continuing to engage in stressful, time-consuming activities such as shopping and commuting, even when they have the discretionary income to outsource disliked tasks. Moreover, a study headed by Professor Cassie Mogilner Holmes of UCLA found that increased income does indeed correlate with increased happiness – but only up to $75k (£55k). After this point, happiness plateaus whilst income continues to rise. This and the Harvard study, taken in conjunction with one another, provide strong evidence that individuals with this level of wealth would do well to spend some of this excess money on time-saving services where they are not already doing so. The UCLA study found that happier people in general are those who desire more time – not more money.

The Harvard study showed that working adults reported greater happiness after spending money on a time-saving service than they did after a material purchase. Furthermore, the UCLA study found that those who desired more money but only so that they could spend on experiences were happier than those who desired more money for material purchases.

In hiring a matchmaker, you hire a professional with an intuitive understanding for the nuances (and foibles) of every individual on their books, and therefore who might fit whom. At The Vida Consultancy, we provide clients with a unique approach, combining psychological principles and assessments with character-driven profiling, creating a personable and warm framework on an increasingly clinical, online dating scene.
Are you looking for love? Perhaps you are content in your life, but know that having a partner with whom to share your love and experiences would ultimately make your life even better? Let us now see how becoming a client of The Vida Consultancy could benefit your lifelong happiness.

The price tag of romance

It is all very well speaking in a qualitative sense about what a matchmaker does. Sure, at The Vida Consultancy we work with only the most exceptional individuals, people who are elite in their fields, esteemed, respected, attractive, intelligent, worldly, cultured – but it means nothing without that one thing that all scientists love: data. In this vein, then, let us now break this down, squeeze out some actual, quantifiable data from something that seems almost inherently unquantifiable: what price can you put on love?

The New York Times found that people spend up to 90 minutes a day swiping on Tinder. This was in 2014, however, four years ago, the use of dating apps has increased dramatically since then, and it is probable that the upper limit might now be around 150 minutes a day spent swiping (or otherwise perusing similar platforms).
It becomes far harder to quantify how many dates per month people will go on as a result of online dating; there is currently no research on this. Some people will undoubtedly be avid daters, perhaps going on several a week; others may count themselves lucky to have one a month. As a conservative estimate, then, let us settle on two dates a month as a result of online dating. This means that the total time spent finding just one date online is 24 hours alone.

Online-dating platforms are inherently restricted by the one-dimensional nature of their user interfaces; there is simply no real way of knowing whether you and your date will be even remotely compatible until you meet in person. Some dates will go swimmingly, lasting perhaps four or five hours. On the other hand, some might be so awful that you resort to excusing yourself to the bathroom, giving your trusted friend ‘the call’ and fifteen minutes later receiving a totally unexpected phone call delivering the devastating news of your great-aunt’s dry-slope skiing accident which entails your immediate departure from this otherwise delightful and riveting date. Even if initially the chemistry seems potent, it can take many dates, and hours upon hours of quality time spent together, before you can even begin to understand whether you are on the same page regarding such massive aspects of a long-term relationship as marriage and children. If you are not, you may well find yourself back where you were a few months previously – downloading the same old app, with an indefinite amount of swiping to get through.
Or… you might consider The Vida Consultancy. Consider our UK membership: ten guaranteed introductions within twelve months of signing up, for £12k. Not an insignificant investment by any stretch of the imagination, but with our widely lauded success rate of 85%, perhaps you will see the logic. On average, it takes us a couple of meetings with a client and six introductions before they a relationship tends to blossom.

Maybe you remain unconvinced. After all, how many first dates does a person need to go on before finding the person who ends up being their life partner? This is an extremely complicated, but nevertheless relevant and important, query – about which, again, there is simply no research. Consider, though, the intricate, fine-tuned assessments we at The Vida Consultancy have developed over the years in order to find people their perfect match. A client meeting lasts around three hours and consists of various components, as our matchmakers get to know you, what makes you tick and for whom you may be compatible. We know your time is precious. We are interested only in quality – not quantity. When you use an expert to help find you love, it becomes less a game of chance and a question of ‘if’, more a character-building process where the question is ‘when’ – and ‘who’.

Whilst spending such a significant amount on matchmaking might initially seem outlandish, think back no further than the aforementioned innumerable studies that state unequivocally, incontrovertibly, that the single most important factor in determining lifelong happiness is a long-term, dedicated, loving relationship. Whilst here we have, to an extent, provided an answer to the question ‘What price can you put on love?’, you might consider the question’s addendum: how much of a financial sacrifice are you prepared to make for a one-time expenditure which is likely to lead to lifelong happiness?

As founder of The Vida Consultancy, questions that challenge the fundamental principles and workings of my company are usually directed towards me. One common – and, as you will now see, erroneous – statement that I am faced with is the following: ‘You charge £12k for ten dates, or £1.2k for one, when I can log in to Tinder and get that for free.’ Well, simply put – no, you cannot. Working as we do with only the most successful, creative and talented people society has to offer, the quality and standard of the dates is incomparable – especially if you value your time.

Happiness
Perhaps counterintuitively, we have seen here that it is possible, to an extent, to not only discern what price you can put on love – but, perhaps, what price you should put on love.
Time and money are similar in a multitude of ways, but, no matter how much wealth you may accrue, no matter how exponentially your income rises, we return, once again, to an adage: you cannot take it with you. Romance – happiness – the feeling and sensation of walking hand-in-hand with a person with whom you feel inextricably, mystically connected – these are the currency of life, and they are, simply, invaluable.

The expert matchmakers at The Vida Consultancy can find you that love.

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by Rachel Vida MacLynn

Founder & CEO

Rachel Vida MacLynn is reputed as being a world-leading matchmaking and dating expert. Registered as a Chartered Psychologist with the British Psychological Society, Rachel advocates a professional matchmaking approach based on psychological principles and professional consultation.More by this author

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