Episode 13: Love Coaching – does it work, can it help you?

Have you ever thought of registering for a matchmaking site? Or maybe you’ve already had such an experience? Our new guest Bonita of lovecoachbonita.com has worked in the industry of matchmakers and knows all the pitfalls of such services. Get to know why she gave up being a matchmaker and what might really help you create a successful relationship. She also knows the recipe for a successful long-distance relationship as well as which type of long distance partner is best for you. Click PLAY to learn more!

Sign up for a 5-day challenge for women called “Unlocking Lasting Love” starting on October 24 HERE

INTRO

Welcome to another episode of Long Distance Short, GiftBasketsOverseas.com’s podcast where we talk to real people about the triumphs and tribulations in all kinds of long-distance relationships. Your host is Ally Winters, an international gift consultant who’s found success in her own long-distance romances and friendships.

And here’s today’s topic:  Love Coaching – does it work, can it help you? Our guest is Bonita of lovecoachbonita.com. She started as a matchmaker, but now helps clients navigate the difficulties of love relationships, including long distance relationships. Let’s jump right in, Ally!

ALLY

Hi everyone, welcome back to Long Distance Short, your long-distance relationship podcast! Today, I’m interviewing Bonita, who is a passionate love coach. Bonita specializes, as she says, in assisting intelligent successful women to live a life they love with the love of their life.

How are you today, Bonita?

BONITA

I’m wonderful, thanks Ally! Thanks so much for having me on your podcast.

ALLY

Yeah, and I’m totally excited to learn more about relationships and your particular experience in matchmaking. Maybe we can start with you telling us about your background and your true passion which was matchmaking in the first place.

BONITA

Yes, definitely! I started my journey in the love industry 11 years ago; I was a successful female in a corporate setting, and I was struggling to meet the right people — well, back then, I thought that was the problem. But I actually realized over the years that that wasn’t the problem — the problem was me, right, but we’ll get to that. So I tried dating, and online dating, and then signed up with a matchmaker, but it turned out to be a very bad experience.

ALLY

Oh, really?

BONITA

She stole my money. Yes! She ran away with my money. And I knew that I’d always wanted to work for myself — I had a marketing background, so I decided to open up my own matchmaking business.

ALLY

Interesting!

BONITA

Yes, because I wanted to clean up the industry! So that’s what I did — and I very soon realized that single people need way more help than just being introduced to someone whom they find attractive. Because I had people coming back, three years later, after I introduced them to someone, and they’re in exactly the same position! Because they have patterns that they keep on repeating. And that’s how I started getting really interested in why we choose the partners that we choose, and I completed some coaching qualifications, and since then, I’ve sold the matchmaking side of the business, and I now only focus on coaching, and really, teaching people the skills of holding healthy, lasting love.

ALLY

Very nice! And you mentioned those patterns; I think our audience would be very interested in learning about them. What are they?

BONITA

The patterns are different for everyone, right, but generally speaking, we look for partners who have the same, sort of, qualities as our caregivers. What I often see are generational patterns: if you come from a household where, perhaps, you had an emotionally unavailable father, or your father traveled a lot for work, — that is also classified as unavailable, — chances are, you’ll be attracted to unavailable men. So things like that — it’s different for everyone; perhaps, your mother was a narcissist, so you attract narcissistic partners.

ALLY

Uh-huh, okay — so it’s psychology, right? We learn from our parents, and we think that they’re the role models, and we seek out people like them. It makes perfect sense. Okay; you’ve mentioned that you’ve switched from matchmaking to coaching — how did it happen and why did you decide that coaching is closer to what you want to do?

BONITA

Matchmaking, for me, was a very superficial industry, because I would meet with executives, and put their details on the database, so it would be like: how tall are you, how skinny are you, what do you do for a living, where do you live — that type of thing. And age, race, all of that — and I had to find them someone who fits into the same parameters that they’d created, and it was an extremely superficial way of meeting people. And I couldn’t help everyone with matchmaking — for instance, if you were a really short guy and I couldn’t find a really short woman on the database, I couldn’t help you, right?

ALLY

Okay.

BONITA

So I realized that, with matchmaking, I wasn’t able to help everyone, and also, that people did need a lot more help in meeting someone who fell in the right parameters. But with coaching, I could help pretty much anyone who really wants to do the work. You know, whether you’re tall, or short, or fat, or skinny, or have long hair, or short hair, — if you have a desire to be in a relationship and to be loved, then that’s your destiny, right? And if it’s not happening, then I can help you uncover why it’s not happening. And help you step into doing things in a different way, so that you can find healthy, lasting love. And that, really, is my passion; it’s not just about stepping into any relationship, but stepping into a relationship that works, that is healthy and lasts a lifetime.

ALLY

That’s totally great! So, about your matchmaking days: did you succeed in helping people, eventually, to find their love?

BONITA

Yes, many times, many times; but I also have a long-distance story that I can tell you, because back then, I used to live and work in South Africa, so I had a matchmaking service for South Africans, and one day I received a phone call, and he was based in Australia — I think it was Melbourne. And his name was Dave, and Dave just said to me: you know what, I’ve just lost my wife, two or three years ago, we were married for three years, as South Africans we moved over, — and he just mentioned that he was really struggling with Australian women, and he wanted to meet a South African woman. And it was strange, because, obviously, Australia and South Africa are miles and miles and miles apart, and he actually convinced me to take him on as a client.

I treated it very differently: I arranged his dates via Skype, and I think it was the second woman who I introduced him to, — they fell madly in love, and they had a couple of Skype dates, and next thing you know, he’s flying back and forth, and she had children in school, and his kids were already done at school, and the next I heard, she was just waiting for her daughter to finish her last year of school, and she moved over — she and her daughter moved over, and they are now both happily married and Australia. This was eight years ago.

ALLY

Nice!

BONITA

I think that’s a long-distance story that probably… I think it’s a fairy tale, I think it’s a beautiful story. So, yes, long-distance relationships can work — and also can’t work, right, depending on the people.

ALLY

I was just about to ask: of course, nowadays, a long-distance relationship, especially during the pandemic, is something natural, right? But if we go back to nine, ten years ago, do you think it was different, and do you think some people can go with it, and some people just cannot go with it? Does it suit every person?

BONITA

I mean, if we talk about five, ten years ago, I think the world has obviously become so much smaller; like, five years ago no one knew what Zoom was, right? And the sound of Skype was horrific. So, technology’s changed; flight tickets were cheaper, the world was getting smaller and smaller, and traveling wasn’t such a luxurious thing anymore — everyone started traveling. So, definitely, there’s huge difference, because there used to be easier scope to get to each other, or to see each other daily. But I think a long-distance relationship — you know, there are no rules, there are absolutely no rules, — all dependent on what it is you’re looking for, and what it is that your partner is looking for, and what your attachment styles are. I spoke to a woman yesterday who’d been single for ten years, and she said to me: “I don’t know if I can deal with someone in my house — I just want to see them once or twice a week!”

ALLY

(laugh) Oh yeah, there are some people like that! No wonder.

BONITA

So, maybe you just want to have a partner once or twice a month, if you can get to each other so often. But I also find, if you have a pattern of long-distance relationships that aren’t working, then it might be that you’re keeping yourself emotionally safe. Because there’s a lot to be said about telling yourself: oh, I’d love to be in a relationship — and if only they’d live closer, right? So there’s some psychology behind that, because if I choose long-distance relationships repeatedly, I’m keeping myself safe, emotionally — because I don’t really have to open up, and I don’t really have to commit, right? And sometimes we do this unconsciously, sometimes we don’t realize that this is what I’m doing.

ALLY

But eventually, if people are really serious about what they are doing and where they will be in some time, eventually they would have to leave their comfort zone, and maybe there would be some problems.

BONITA

Definitely. Definitely, I think if you have a long-distance relationship for years, and you don’t move together, into the same city or the same apartment, — I’ve heard of it going wrong a couple of times…

ALLY

Why?

BONITA

I don’t know — and then, all of a sudden, it just doesn’t work, because there’s this attraction in not being able to have what you want, and when you have it, the chase dies. It’s weird.

ALLY

Okay, so in the end, some people can do long-distance relationships, some people are just not ready for a relationship at all — that’s probably what you’re saying? Like, maybe, you need to work on yourself first?

BONITA

I think it’s different for everyone; maybe you meet someone on holiday and, within days, it just clicks, and you know that you’re meant to be together. But you do that long-distance relationship — but I think… a lot of times, people tell themselves they’re in relationships, and it’s not a relationship. And I think it’s only a relationship when you both know that you’re committed to each other. Right?

ALLY

Okay.

BONITA

Not dating someone else. And if there’s a future plan to live together, or to get together.

ALLY

Yes.

BONITA

That is a healthy long-distance relationship.

ALLY

Okay. So we are now talking about healthy and unhealthy long-distance relationships. Maybe you have a couple of stories up your sleeve?

BONITA

Yes, I had a couple of long-distance relationships myself, before I got married the second time, and I’ve been with my husband now for ten years; but I remember a relationship with someone who was a three-hour flight away, and there were a lot of promises made at the beginning, like: how is this going to work? And there were lots of expectations set about him being willing to move to my city, so we started the relationship. And, six months in, he stopped talking about moving to my city, and if I’d bring it up, he would try to convince me to move to him. So things changed at that stage, and if I think back at it, there really wasn’t that much commitment from his side: we never had that discussion that we weren’t dating other people, although I assume that that was the case.

ALLY

Okay, I see your point.

BONITA

That didn’t end well. And then I also remember dating with someone who was about two or three hours’ drive away, and that worked for a while, but I didn’t think we were made for each other. So my own long-distance relationship stories aren’t all that successful, but I’ve seen it work for other people.

ALLY

Was it the same problem? Maybe one of you, or both of you, just were not committed enough?

BONITA

That was a different problem — that was probably my issue, I wasn’t… all that in love with the second one. So it wasn’t about the distance, really, it was a lot more. And I think that’s why there are no rules: because it’s always a different situation; people are so different, we can’t put people in boxes and say: yes, long-distance relationships work, or no, they don’t work, right? It’s so dependent on the two individuals — what’s the timing, which stage of their life are they, how besotted are they with each other, how crazy are they with each other, can they live without each other or not. And all of those things need to be taken into the equation when we think about whether it works or not.

ALLY

These are the facts, really, we just cannot create a single pattern. And you also mentioned emotional unavailability; there is some psychology behind it: for example, if a friend of mine wants to meet somebody and for this to end in a healthy long-distance relationship, how do they know that this partner will be emotionally available, as we call it?

BONITA

That’s a great question; we know when someone is emotionally available if they make us feel safe, if we just sort of know where we stand with them, and I think always a really, really good test to know whether the relationship will work is that you need to have an honest conversation with yourself, and ask yourself: how committed is this person to their own growth and development, and how committed is this person to making this relationship work.

ALLY

How can we check the latter one? How can we check that the person is committed?

BONITA

Well, they want to spend time with you, so they make plans to see you more; and they’re talking about the future…

ALLY

Openly, right?

BONITA

Yes. Talking about the future, planning holidays together, inviting you to family holidays, talking about how you’re going to get together.

ALLY

Okay, so less “me,” and more “us,” together. And I’m asking because some people just don’t feel that this is something very obvious.

BONITA

I think that we need to be really careful, because people think: if I’ve been on a couple of dates, or we’ve spoken on Zoom or we’ve spoken on the phone for two years, that we are in a committed relationship; and that’s how people get hurt. And you know when you’re in a committed relationship when you’ve had that discussion, you are both under the same impression.

ALLY

So, the rules are simple: both partners should be committed, and both should be prepared for that. Do you think that emotional maturity, if we can call it that, — do you think that matters?

BONITA

I think emotional maturity matters for any grown-up, otherwise you go through life in a completely triggered state, always triggered by things happening and going wrong, because things go wrong in long-term relationships: if you can’t get someone on the phone, and you need to be able to trust someone. So, yes, definitely, it plays a role in every aspect of our life. You know, the only thing that’s really important in any relationship, whether it’s long-distance or short-distance, is how this person makes you feel about yourself. And I think we should always be really, really certain about following or reading a person’s actions more than their words. Because I think, especially when we’re in a long-distance relationship, we rely very heavily on what the person is saying to us…

ALLY

Of course.

BONITA

Because that’s all we have — we don’t see actions; and the person’s actions always say so much more about them than their words. Action is not words — even if it’s long-distance, people need to make a plan to get to you, and to see you, and to be with you. I have a five-day challenge that’s coming up at the end of October: it’s for women, unfortunately, but men can join if they want — although I don’t think they’d learn that much; maybe they’d learn about how women operate, but it’s called “Unlocking the Lasting Love without Relying on Online Dating”. And it’s five days, forty minutes every day, and I guarantee you a breakthrough: every single day, you’re going to learn something amazing about love, and why you are single, and why your relationships aren’t working.

ALLY

Okay. Thank you so much, Bonita, for such nice and useful advice, and your philosophy — I hope this episode was useful to all our listeners, and of course, we’ll see you again in a month’s time. Bye-bye!

Thanks for listening to “Long Distance Short” — GiftBasketsOverseas.com’s podcast with real people in real long-distance relationships. Make sure to subscribe, and keep tuning in for a new episode every month. If you have any questions or ideas for a future podcast, make sure to drop us a line at [email protected] — that’s [email protected].

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