Meddling Parents Hire Dating Coaches for Their Grown Children

Parents who give their grown children a gym membership at Christmas risk a recriminatory, What are you saying, Mom? So does surprising them with offers to pay for dating coaches and matchmakers.

Two years ago, Kelli Kaku’s mother bought her the $797 online course, “Fall in Love by Christmas.” Ms. Kaku, 34 years old, was blindsided.

“I was like, ‘I’m trying!’ ” said Ms. Kaku, a 7th-grade teacher who had moved back home to Fresno, Calif., at the time. She agreed to the course, mostly because she didn’t want to waste her mom’s money.

Dating coaches say pandemic lockdowns and their long aftermath have raised parent worries that their grown children will stay single forever. That has led to a surge of interest from mothers and fathers splurging on premium dating-app subscriptions, relationship classes and one-on-one sessions with dating experts for their children, said relationship psychologist and dating coach Christie Kederian.

“Know if someone is the one for you in 5 dates!” according to an online advertisement for Dr. Kederian’s services. She consulted with Ms. Kaku and her advice was, first, to talk with her mother about maintaining personal boundaries, and, second, be more open-minded about potential partners.

A few months later, Ms. Kaku decided to take a chance on a Bumble profile she had previously passed over. It turned out to be a great match. Nobody is happier about the pair’s coming wedding than Ms. Kaku’s mother, who said she told her daughter, “See, it was totally worth the money.”

About a third of daters lean on their families for relationship advice, according to a survey of 5,000 adults conducted by dating company Match. Still, Stef Safran, a dating coach and matchmaker in Chicago, cautioned that parents need to let the dater take the lead. “Ultimately I work for the kids,” Ms. Safran said.

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