August 15, 2016, Singapore – According to The Straits Time, the proportion of adults in Singapore who divorced at least twice more than doubled in the past decade. Many find themselves not being able to find happiness or the right partner even after trying a second marriage.
This was a big concern for Malcolm, who is afraid about getting into a marriage. For the past year, Malcolm has spoken to matchmaker after matchmaker and went for a few dates but none of them had been able to help. Any hope of finding love had seemed obscure by now, until he came across a third dating agency, Divine Connect.
Mrs Juliana Toh, clinical director of the Counselling and Care Centre, raised a very good point: “A marital breakdown is never due to just one person.”
“If you don’t make sense of your part in it, chances are you will repeat the same pattern of behaviour in your next marriage. You need to address the losses from your first marriage first.”
This is why, in Divine Connect, they help clients make sense of their past and tailor make developmental programs before providing personalised matches. Their motto is to help singles have a fruitful relationship, not just any relationship.
Visualize the actor, Elvin Ng; suave, charming, attractive. Malcolm’s basically the exact opposite. He wasn’t particularly handsome; decent looking, but unlikely to stand out. He wasn’t tall or gym fit. He was an interior designer who spent most of his time in his clients’ company and on projects that hardly allowed him any time to socialize.
For the past year, he had spoken to matchmaker after matchmaker. Amazingly, none of them had been able to help. Any hope of finding love had seemed obscure by now.
Until he came across a third agency.
The turning point
Hidden in the corner of a quiet block, he entered the place with a sign that says “Divine Connect.”
There was something about the logo that unsettled him. Will he be forced to join a cult? Or get roped into some religious society?
A loud, bubbly voice greeted him as soon as he stepped in.
“You must be Malcolm! Welcome! I’m Cindy, chief dating coach of Divine Connect.”
Cindy seemed like a nice person enough. She was very concerned about making him feel comfortable.
“I know you’ve been trying for a while now. Tell me some of the challenges you face,” she said, after getting Malcolm a drink.
It was as though she knew what he was thinking.
The Enneagram personality
Subsequent visits to Divine Connect proved to be quite unlike any other. While the previous two agencies did surveys and profile matching before setting him off on his dates, this particular agency emphasised heavily on a personality test model called the Enneagram. He was given a long list of questions to answer online before attending the legendary Enneagram workshop, where his type was to be revealed to him. Eventually, he was deduced to be a type 2, The Helper, under the Enneagram Personality Profiling Tool; in short, a ‘Mr. Nice Guy’ who could have done better with more assertiveness and confidence.
He had a one to one coaching session with Cindy again soon after the workshop. The whole point was to make sense of the report and to better understand his blind spots.
“Oh no, no wonder you are struggling,” Cindy had said.
Malcolm wasn’t sure what she meant then.
It turned out the ‘diagnosis’ stage was just the beginning as well. Right after stripping his personality bare, Malcolm was quickly introduced to another coach named Toni.
Toni cut a more serious figure. They thought she would be the best fit for the job. Malcolm wasn’t too excited about it.
“Don’t’ worry! She might look strict, but she will take good care of you,” Cindy had said. “Your personality will fit perfectly with her coaching methods.”
Turned out, Toni was quite unlike what she had seemed.
Passionate and motherly, she was sincere in equipping him with personality skills that she insists were key to his happiness. And it wasn’t just one to one coaching. Periodically, there were group sessions; inputs from at least 3 other coaches at a time.
“You have to understand your strengths and weaknesses!” one of the coaches had said.
“Build your confidence!”
“Know when to step back and when to be firm!”
“Too much warmth, time to build up your strengths!”
“If you can’t love yourself, you can’t expect others to love you!”
“Being assertive is not about being aggressive! It is about teaching others how to treat you.”
Malcolm felt as though he had known this advice all along, but had subconsciously chose to ignore it. It came as a shock when somebody had to spell it out so clearly for him. After what seemed like hours and hours of self-enlightenment, with Malcolm secretly enjoying most of it, Toni finally announced with triumph at the of his last session,
“You are now ready for your next date, young man.”
Pic: The group of coaches at Divine Connect.
There was this unexplainable sense of satisfaction. For Malcolm, it was as though for the first time in his life, he was truly able to share his thoughts freely and openly. There was no need to pretend. There was no one to judge.
Everyone was genuine and sincere to help.
Cindy was with him when they first met.
“Your next date, she’s a type 9, peace loving and adverse to conflicts. Just don’t scare her off by harping on the details,” she advised.
They were in a cosy restaurant with hardly anyone around.
“Be comfortable, Malcolm. Just relax,” added Cindy, sensing his discomfort.
Despite having gone for a number of dates previously, this time it felt more intense and unnerving than before. Malcolm wasn’t sure if it’s Cindy’s assessment of his date’s personality, or because he was trying to remember so many things.
He waited and waited for what seemed like forever.
And then there was a voice behind them.
It was gentle and soothing. Malcolm was facing the other way. He turned around immediately and saw a pleasant looking girl with long, dark wavy hair. She was tall, slim and didn’t look like one who needed help with love.
She carried an apologetic smile as she greeted everyone.
“Sorry I think I’m a little late!”
Not that Malcolm minded at all.
“Malcolm, this is Susan. Susan, this is Malcolm,” chirped Cindy.
The unlikely duo started out a little shy. The mentor was eager to help them break the ice.
“Malcolm was telling me how excited he is to meet his new date.”
It wasn’t long before they started talking like old friends, and Cindy knew it better to make themselves scarce.
As Malcolm learnt, Susan was a teacher with a degree. She specializes in math. This is not her first time joining a dating agency as well and she has never been in a relationship before.
Malcolm wasn’t a degree holder. He works in a sometimes rugged environment. He doesn’t stand out in a crowd. He thinks that sometimes it is things like this that made him unattractive to girls.
But Susan didn’t seem fazed by any of it at all. She was just there, listening, sharing.
She was genuine.
His worries earlier were unfounded.
Leap of faith
The first meeting was unbelievably simple. It was in a quiet corner of a lovely restaurant, yet Malcolm felt something he had never felt before; something tingling and warm; a longing; a connection. He wasn’t sure though, if it was one sided, or if Susan even felt anything about him. He was sceptical.
“So, how’s everything?” the text read.
It was the night after the meeting. Malcolm had hoped for the text to be from Susan. It was from his chief dating coach, Cindy.
“It was good, I guess.”
“Possible on a second date?”
“I wish, not sure what she thinks though.”
“She might reject me.”
“Are you serious about this?”
“Too serious, will I scare her off?”
“You should believe in yourself.”
Love, or not
Fast forward to 2016, it had been two years from their fateful encounter. Malcolm once again stepped into the place called Divine Connect.
Cindy was again there to welcome him, patting him hard on the back as he took his seat in the meeting area.
Pic: Cindy at one of her coaching events.
“You know,” started Cindy. “I have a secret I have to let you know now.”
Across the room, there were framed photographs of couples the agency had successfully matched.
Malcolm and Susan’s wasn’t there.
“What is it,” asked Malcolm.
“The night after you first met Susan, before you texted me, Susan had already told me that she’s keen to go out with you.
“What!” Malcolm was genuinely surprised at this piece of information.
“But I couldn’t make it easy. You need to find your own courage to make it work,” added Cindy.
“Gosh, my life could have been different because of this.” sighed Malcolm.
He looked over at the row of photographs. “This is so sad, really.”
“Why isn’t ours up yet?”
Cindy was visibly annoyed.
“Come on, lah. You two haven’t send me the pictures, despite me having asked a thousand times. Still dare to ask!”
At this point, Susan rushed in through the door and quickly took her seat beside Malcolm.
“Sorry I’m a little late again! We can get started now!”
Malcolm shook his head slowly and smiled, apparently in so much bliss he had to squint his eyes. He took Susan’s hand and lay it gently on his lap.
“Don’t worry about it, dear.”
He was just glad that this time, they weren’t there as applicants to a dating agency, but as role models eager to share their story with aspiring lovers.
He was glad that he took the courage to ask her out after their first meeting.
Finding love when all seemed lost might not be such an impossible thing after all.
To find out more about Divine Connect, visit https://www.divineconnect.com.sg/.
Company Name: Affiliate Hall™
Contact Person: Serene Teo Siat Ling