The Scoop: Many singles wonder what’s holding them back from meeting The One. Dating Coach Marni Battista suggests many barriers exist that keep people from finding lasting love. Some singles may not have highly developed emotional intelligence, while others don’t take an active role in their dating success. Marni offers practical advice to help singles overcome those struggles through her coaching business and popular podcast.

Dating Coach Marni Battista said she helps her clients date with dignity and maturity. She suggests that many women — from their 20s to 70s — haven’t worked through issues from childhood that trap them into dating the wrong guys.

“Dating with dignity means dating from your emotional adult self. It’s not the part of you that didn’t get attention from dad or lived with an alcoholic mom or felt like you were shy or insecure or not good enough,” she said.

Photo of Marni Battista
Marni Battista helps women work through their issues to attract compatible partners.

That long-standing trauma can lead to women attracting partners who also have issues or seek too much external validation. If they don’t work through their issues, Marni warns, they will always struggle to form healthy relationships.

Marni encourages clients to improve their emotional intelligence by identifying feelings and expressing them appropriately. For instance, she advises clients to avoid sending text messages longer than their thumb, as their meaning may be obscured.

An emotionally mature relationship has a much higher likelihood of success.

“You’re not making ultimatums or breaking up. And you know when it’s your insecurities or when there’s an actual challenge. You don’t avoid conflict,” Marni said. “Grownups who are dating handle conflict and manage it.”

She suggested that many couples don’t have mature relationships because they believe too sincerely in the adage “love conquers all.” While love and chemistry are essential, Marni said those connections aren’t enough to build a long-term relationship.

“The lingo won’t set you free. You have to do something to change yourself. Having awareness is not transformation,” she said. “It’s about creating a transformation. The challenge is communication.”

Long-Term Impact of Dating During the Pandemic

Building a long-term relationship was challenging enough before the COVID-19 pandemic threw another wrench into dating. But the outlook may end up being positive.

The COVID-19 pandemic has clearly changed how singles date, perhaps for good. Before the pandemic, if two people who met on a dating site wanted to get to know each other, they would typically opt for an in-person date at a bar or coffee shop.

Social distancing and COVID-19 restrictions changed that. Today, the first step in getting to know someone is often a video chat, and that medium may endure as a litmus test for compatibility.

“A lot of women felt uncomfortable in the beginning asking for a video date, and now it’s fine. I think people appreciate it because it’s so efficient. It’s like working remotely; you can never go back,” Marni said with a laugh.

Still, relationships formed during the COVID-19 pandemic are now facing tests of their longevity. During the pandemic, many singles paired up because they felt they had limited options in the dating pool — and they didn’t want to ride out the pandemic alone.

But now that singles have more options, many are re-evaluating their COVID-19 companions.

“They were long-distance when they had remote flexibility and freedom. Now they think, ‘Do I move and get a new job?’ The opening up tests compatibility when other factors are there,” she said.

Some couples who started their relationships in the last two years are in limbo because they may be discovering they have been a temporary support system during an uncertain time.

Empowerment Leads to Dating Success

Emotional intelligence is an essential factor in mature relationships. But Marni has seen many singles — especially those in the millennial and Gen Z generations — who have emotional intelligence but can’t change their behavior. She recommends women become leaders in their own lives to help solve that issue.

After interviewing thousands of men and women over the last 13 years, Marni has reached an intriguing conclusion: Both genders feel disempowered in dating.

Many men believe women have all the power in dating and relationships, while women often feel the same about men.

Marni’s coaching helps women get to a place where they can make intelligent decisions about their own lives.

Photo of Marni Battista speaking
Marni aims to empower women through her coaching and speaking engagements.

“You have to release your trauma and change the wiring in your brain. You’re creating new neural pathways and learning new healthy ways to communicate,” Marni told us.

Marni’s coaching clients can develop tools to improve their relationships they likely didn’t learn when they were younger. Most sessions involve modeling and accountability that helps clients implement new strategies for relationship-building.

“People go to therapy and just talk, but then they don’t know how to do something different in between sessions. We’re all about the implementation and turning it into tangible goals. It’s not just about feeling better — it’s about being better,” Marni said.

Once singles feel better about themselves, they can start committing to others. That is just one of many green flags that daters can look for.

Marni advises women to look for men who openly communicate if something goes wrong in the relationship. He won’t ghost, and he won’t ignore issues.

Another green flag is when a man’s words and actions consistently match.

“Especially online, someone can paint a picture of being super cool and interesting, but it’s really about how they act. Their words and actions have to match consistently. And if there’s a bump in the road, they have to take responsibility for it,” Marni said.

Teaching Singles to Lead Their Own Lives

Marni said she gives one piece of advice to all of her clients to use in dating: Don’t date someone for their potential. Instead, singles should connect with others who live their values and consistently do what they say they’ll do.

When dating someone who doesn’t live up to who they promise to be, Marni suggests singles should search for someone more suitable.

“If you’re embarrassed to tell friends or family that you’re still with somebody who is causing damage to self-esteem and self-worth, go get help. Figure out why,” she said.

Screenshot from Marni Battista's website
Marni’s Life Check Yourself podcast offers valuable advice for many types of daters.

Many single women need help figuring themselves out before they can start dating. Marni recommends they get a sense of her style by listening to her podcast, Life Check Yourself. The show invites experts and women who have dating challenges to share their experiences. Listeners can hear how Marni coaches women to see if they would be a good fit.

She also recommends listening to her 45-minute webinar to help women pinpoint why they’re still single or stuck repeating the same patterns. The webinar also includes one-on-one coaching if women are struggling.

“So many women have the same emotional challenges. When you realize you’re not alone, a lot of the shame goes away,” Marni said. “Once you work on your internal stuff and have a process to follow, the dating part is easy. Look at your patterns and let me help you!”