Stop! In the name of love

Mother-daughter matchmakers crack the dating code
without the help of technology.

By Leilani Marie Labong

After 30 years chasing Cupid’s arrow, Jill Kelleher and Amber Kelleher-Andrews have developed a refreshingly algorithm-less secret sauce that’s made the duo’s Bay Area-based firm, Kelleher International, a rousing success. According to Amber, they’ve helped more than 85 percent of their clients find partners. “Intuition is our biggest tool,” she says. “We have the largest private database of eligible change-makers in the world and we work very hard to sync up people with similar values. But nothing beats our intuition.”  ¶ While chemistry can be an amorphous and fickle thing, humankind has sought to decode it. The result: a $2 billion online dating industry. Even so, Jill says, “We’ll never fully succumb to the age of technology.” With their unique perspective on love, the Kellehers have witnessed numerous singles making mistakes after foolishly adhering to misguided societal “rules” for dating. (“If you’re serious about finding a relationship, then don’t approach dating as a game,” Amber cautions.) Here, the doyennes of romance debunk a few popular misconceptions about how we need to behave in order to meet our match.

DO call back immediately

In general, the wait-three-days rule works for daters on apps or online dating sites, and for the majority of daters who meet potential suitors randomly. But this totally backfires in the world of matchmaking, where a lot of time and energy goes into each pairing. If one person leaves a voicemail in an effort to set the date, the other person should be courteous enough to return the call within the day.

DON’T rule out potential maches who are seeing other people

The way we see it, if you are not dating, this could be a sign that you are not very “dateable.” In our experience, we have found that truly eligible people rarely go long hauls without dating. When we meet potential clients, one of the first things I ask is, “Are you dating?” Nine times out of 10, the most eligible men and women are in fact dating other people. They just haven’t found “the one” yet and they are not going to settle down until they do.

DO make the time

Being busy is great, but there is a fine line that must be considered if you are ready for a serious relationship. I have heard many men say things like, “I really like her but she is too busy” or “She’s way too busy with her career to fit me into her schedule.” We’ve found that people tend to hide behind their careers to avoid emotionally connecting with anyone. So if you’re absolutely serious about finding a partner, let them know that you’re never too busy for love.

DON’T be afraid to be a real person

This is a curious one. Hiding feelings, or sucking them up, is a recipe for disaster in a courtship. Feelings are how people connect. Feelings make you human. Feelings make you interesting. Ever hear someone say, “He[/she] finally opened up and we really connected?” We hear it all the time.

GO AHEAD, be a chatterbox

If you have control over what you are sharing, and the ability to gauge a balanced conversation, then we say, Talk away. We recommend avoiding politics, religion and exes—at least on the first date—but by no means should you stop talking. Do an equal amount of listening and talking. Ask questions, but don’t make it an interview. Remember that your ability to converse is a reflection of you.

To learn more about Kelleler International, visit

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