Matchmaker helps Vermonters looking for love - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Matchmaker helps Vermonters looking for love

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SOUTH BURLINGTON, Vt. -

Jill Meneilley already has a best friend, her dog, Moby, but she's looking for a boyfriend.

"I think dating in Vermont for anyone not in their 20s can be really hard," she said.

For this 45-year-old professional who's been divorced for five years, being single isn't all it's cracked up to be.

"I'm a friendly, outgoing person. I have a lot of interests. Vermont is such a good match with my lifestyle," she said. "I just thought there were tons of people who were the male equivalent of me in a similar situation. So it's been more challenging than I expected."

Meneilley tried online dating but says people don't always represent themselves accurately in their profiles. So she's turned to an old fashioned method of meeting people: a matchmaker.

Nicole Leclerc owns Compatibles, a Vermont matchmaking service.

"This is a highly screened and vetted process," Leclerc said.

Leclerc calls herself a relationship headhunter. She has 400 clients in the state, ranging in age from 26 to 80; 40 percent are men. Bringing a personal touch to dating, Leclerc meets with potential clients and conducts interviews to find out about them and what they're looking for in a mate. Take Terri Jordan-- she came to Leclerc after a 30-year marriage.

"The idea of new men in my life was a little bit scary," Jordan said.

Unlike online dating where clients create their own profiles, Leclerc crafts the profile for each of her clients so it's all true-- we'll call her the BS filter.

"I've met many wonderful men. Their profiles have always been true to them," Jordan said. "I liked that idea that the men I was going to meet she had also met."

There are no matchmaking business regulations in Vermont and no degree for it in college, but Leclerc does have a marketing background and was once a client of Compatibles. She bought the business 10 years ago.

There are a few rules in this matchmaking business. You have to be open to dating, get ready to go on between one and three dates a month, and first dates always have to be coffee.

"It's really nice to know that that's the expectation," Meneilley said. "There's no pressure."

Also there's no bringing up that ex that did you wrong during the first meeting. When it's over, you have to give feedback about the date to Leclerc so she knows what you liked and what could have been better.

"What she can't help us with always is chemistry," Jordan said.

Research suggests that one in three Americans meet their spouses online. Although Leclerc doesn't measure success in marriages, she says clients are getting married once every 10 months. Online dating site eHarmony says 438 people get married every day in the U.S. because of the site.

Love comes at a cost. To subscribe to Compatibles it will cost you $200 for three months, $350 for six months, $400 for a year and $500 for an unlimited amount of time. Many online sites cost less-- about half of what Compatibles charges. But Leclerc says her business saves you time and provides a comfort level for safety.

"It does take time for us to find the right one," Leclerc said.

And if you've ever wondered about the one that got away-- maybe the circumstances weren't right, maybe you were too young-- then you're in luck. Leclerc was recently approached by a major cable network to recommend clients who are interested in connecting with lost loves for a television show called "Reunite."

"One of my clients met someone on a vacation. They had a great week together, then they lost touch," Leclerc said.

You could potentially reconnect with that person again. But for Jordan and Meneilley, they're having fun trying to find a new love with a little help from a professional.

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