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How to date a stockbroker who drives a Jaguar

Financial Post - Sarah Treleaven

Finding love isn't easy, but Eligon.ca aims to make finding a match easier for a certain subsection of the population — doctors, lawyers, chief executives and other accomplished professionals who make at least $70,000 a year.

The founder of the site, Boris Giller, is touting the site's security features, which require prospective menthe's to supply a résumé, fill out a detailed application, sign a legal agreement stating that all information provided is truthful and submit to identity verification and a credit report.

People who use online dating services often complain about outdated photos and phony profiles. But rarely do profiles require a statement of minimum income. "We decided to target toplevel managers, executives and professionals," says Eligon spokeswoman Tatiana Khanberg. "Dating websites can lead to awkward situations for them. Professors don't want to run into students, or CEOs into their clients:

Ms. Khanberg wouldn't disclose how many members were currently signed on, although she did acknowledge that approximately 50% of applicants are accepted.

Tom, who asked that his real name not be used, is a divorced stockbroker in his 50s who has signed on to Eligon. He is less concerned with being awkwardly paired with a client and more interested in meeting someone with a similar frame of reference. He says that less exclusive sites don't make for compatible matches.

"You're going to run into a lot of potential partners who probably won't be suitable: he says. "They're not going to be able to keep up with your business activity and they're not going to be able to hold their own in a conversation about world events"

He cites a date he had about three weeks ago — arranged by another online dating service — where he took out a woman in her 40s' a low level manager in the financial sector without a university degree and "whose mindset is to look for a partner to nest with in a backyard in Oshawa."

Tom had a hunch that the pairing was not going to work when his brand-new Jaguar made his date transparently uncomfortable. "It created a wall between us," he says. "She wasn't used to that and she didn't know how to handle it."

To help avoid that kind of unease, Eligon has created a "unique compatibility formula" to match their members. With the help of Beth Mares, a Toronto psychotherapist and relationship counsellor, Eligon has created a questionnaire that takes into account both fundamental values and common sources of conflict. The questionnaire determines whether or not a prospective candidate likes to spend a lot of time with family, wants to have kids and plans to travel. Presumably, it does not inquire about whether he or she likes sitting around a backyard in Oshawa.

But does a relationship that begins with this kind of matching service have a better chance for success than a relationship started in a bar? Ms. Mares thinks it could. She says that couples from similar socioeconomic backgrounds often have an easier time. "People tend to assume that the other person has the same expectations that they do, and there are probably going to be fewer surprises if they're matched in that way."