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Nashua Telegraph
Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Nashua Service Pairs Clients for Lasting Relationships

By TERESA SANTOSKI
Staff Writer

 

Dynamic Introductions Matchmaking Service

Elaine Saunders-Kudalis can easily relate to the clients she serves through Dynamic Introductions, her Nashua-based matchmaking service.

Currently single, she met her second husband through a video dating company, albeit unintentionally.

In 1997, Saunders- Kudalis and her first husband relocated from New York to Las Vegas. In the face of the temptations the city had to offer, however, it wasn’t long before their relationship became estranged.

Though Saunders- Kudalis was looking for part-time work, her first husband refused to allow her to work with him at his business, a branch of a dating service called Together.

“He wouldn’t let me. He was like, ‘No, I don’t need you. You don’t know what you’re doing,’” she said.

While scouring the want ads in the newspaper, she noticed that Great Expectations, a video dating service, was looking for employees.

“I thought it would be fun to work for his competitor,” Saunders-Kudalis said.

Her first match

The first match she made at Great Expectations would turn out to be her own.

“I showed up for the interview and before me was my future husband, little did I know,” she said.

The gentleman who interviewed her for the position was Tony Kudalis, whom she married in 2001.

Kudalis passed away of terminal brain cancer July 15, 2011, days after fulfilling a dream to see the space shuttle launch via the big screens at the Cinemagic movie theater in Merrimack. His story was featured in The Telegraph on July 9, 2011.

When Kudalis was diagnosed in 2007, he and Saunders-Kudalis moved to New Hampshire, where Kudalis had family, to work at Great Expectations’ Bedford office.

A year later, when the owner of Great Expectations decided to sell the business, Saunders-Kudalis took over the Bedford office and made it her own, eventually relocating it to Nashua.

“I made a decision to change the name and become more of a matchmaking-type company and move away from the videos,” she said.

“It was glorified online dating,” she said, noting that the company didn’t actively match up its clients.

How it works

Saunders-Kudalis’ approach is more personalized. She begins by interviewing the prospective client and determining whether her services are in line with his or her relationship goals.

Dynamic Introductions, she said, is geared toward people seeking a serious relationship as opposed to dates, and who have time to invest in the process of finding that relationship.

The majority of her clients are 40 and older.

If her services are a good fit for an individual and he or she decides to become a client, Saunders-Kudalis will begin the quest for suitable matches.

It can take time to find the right combination. Some clients are easier to match up and may hit the jackpot on the first date. Others are a bit trickier, because of issues like a busy schedule or uncertainty about what they want in a relationship, and may work with Saunders-Kudalis for several years.

“Everybody’s degree or measure of success is completely unique,” she said.

There is one thing, however, that all of her clients can count on.

“I can guarantee that if I take them on as a client, they will meet people,” she said, adding that she would never take on a person for whom she couldn’t find matches.

Arranging a date

Once Saunders-Kudalis has found a match, she’ll share that information with both individuals – “give them a feel about who that person is, what they do for work, their family dynamic,” she said.

If there’s mutual interest, the gentleman will call the lady – no more than 20 minutes on the phone, Saunders-Kudalis recommends – and make arrangements to meet for something low-key, like coffee.

“I don’t encourage them to get to know each other over the phone. That’s a bad idea,” she said.

After the first date, both individuals check in with Saunders-Kudalis and let her know how it went, including whether they’d like to see the other person again or if they’d like to meet someone else.

If it’s mutual, the couple will proceed on their own, and Saunders-Kudalis will be available for help and advice.

If it’s not mutual or if one of the people decides at any point that he or she wants to end the relationship, Saunders-Kudalis will gently break the news to the other person and work on finding new matches for both individuals.

“Everybody gets to keep their dignity, their self-confidence,” she said. “It takes the games factor out of it.”

8 minute dating

Doing away with the games is important to Richard Jean, 53, owner of Central Realty in Nashua. The Merrimack resident attended Saunders-Kudalis’s 8 minute dating event Jan. 31 at Margaritas in Manchester and is considering becoming a client.

“The online dating experience, which I’ve done several times, is very time-consuming, and there’s a lot of dishonesty,” he said, citing out-of-date pictures and outright lies on profiles as examples.

Jean was referred to Saunders-Kudalis by a business acquaintance. Saunders-Kudalis suggested he start by trying 8 minute dating.

“I thought it was a very efficient way and non-confrontational way to meet people, both for the guys and for the women,” he said.

“It’s a lot of work with online dating to get to the point where you get to that first date,” Jean continued, describing the countless emails, text messages and phone calls that must be exchanged to get to know a potential companion from an online dating site.

The details

Each 8 minute dating event is geared toward a particular age group and offers men and women the opportunity to chat with eight members of the opposite sex for eight minutes each.

After the event, participants log into the 8 minute dating website and indicate their level of interest those people they’d like to know better: business acquaintance, friend or meeting for a date.

If two participants choose the same level of interest in one another, the system will send them one another’s contact information, and they can make arrangements to meet up on their own.

After a divorce and three committed relationships that didn’t work out, Jean is looking to meet someone with whom he can share his life. He described himself as “not afraid to commit. It’s just hard to find the right person.”

It may just happen through 8 minute dating.

“I got a date, and there might be two,” Jean said, adding that he would absolutely recommend 8 minute dating to others.

He’s already signed up for the Feb. 13 event at 6 p.m. at Margaritas in Nashua.

What friends miss

Just as online dating can be hit or miss, Kerry Barnes, 44, and Victor Haerinck Jr., 47, are living proof that friends aren’t always the most perceptive matchmakers.

“We have probably close to 15-20 mutual friends,” Barnes, a resident of Merrimack, said.

And yet, they’d never met.

“The one that gets us most is the lady across the hall,” Barnes said, referring to a neighbor of Haerinck, who is a Nashua resident. “She’s been my friend for 14 years.”

“I lived in the condo for 12 years,” Haerinck added.

Barnes also has several co-workers at Fidelity Investments who know Haerinck, who used to work for the company. He now runs his own financial services practice at Mass Mutual Financial Group in Nashua.

It took Saunders-Kudalis to realize how suitable they were for one another and introduce them.

A match is made

Barnes was introduced to Saunders-Kudalis by a mutual friend. She originally spoke with Saunders-Kudalis about holding an 8-minute dating event at the Old Amsterdam Bar and Lounge in Nashua, of which Barnes is a co-owner, and ended up becoming a client.

Haerinck, was sought out as a client by Saunders-Kudalis, who rents office space in Mass Mutual’s Amherst Street building.

“She kept asking the receptionist every day, ‘Is he single? Is he single?’ ” Haerinck said.

Eventually, he sat down with Saunders-Kudalis and learned more about her services.

He was matched with several people during his seven-month tenure as a client, but didn’t feel a significant connection with any of them until he was matched with Barnes.

Barnes had been a client for about a week when Saunders-Kudalis found her two matches, one of whom was Haerinck. She and Haerinck saw each other twice before her date with the other gentleman.

“Her rule is that you go out with a few different people,” Barnes said of Saunders-Kudalis.

Even though they hadn’t known each other long, she called Haerinck to let him know that she still had to keep her date with her other match.

“It’s pretty funny. I felt like I was cheating on him,” Barnes said.

Haerinck understood how the process worked and assured her that it was fine. Barnes’s other match didn’t work out, and she and Haerinck have been together since October 2012.

A happy ending

Both twice divorced and both coming from relationships that involved infidelity or betrayal, Barnes and Haerinck found common ground in their desires for a trusting relationship that was clear in its intentions.

“We have a really good understanding of what we want and what we don’t want,” Barnes said.

“Since we both met each other, we really felt like we could be ourselves,” Haerinck said.

And their mutual friends approve.

Once the news was out that they were a couple, Barnes recalled, many of their friends had similar responses, saying what a great match the two of them were and how they never would have thought to set them up on a date.

Both are very satisfied with Saunders-Kudalis’s services, and take every opportunity to recommend her to others.

“I have a whole stack of her cards in my bag,” Barnes said, noting that she’s given them out to coworkers and to people at the Old Amsterdam.

“Sometimes I put these in checks, especially if they’ve sat here and cried for two hours about how desperately lonely they are,” she said.

The old-fashioned approach to matchmaking can certainly pay off.

“Let’s go back to what worked. We’re all frustrated now, so let’s go back to what worked,” Saunders-Kudalis said.

 

 

 

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