Feature: Dan's Story


"We all have expectations of how our lives are going to turn out. Even if we're not the type to plan out every detail and aspect of our lives, we at least subconsciously have goals that we vaguely expect to be met - that we'll have a certain type of job, a certain amount of income, live a certain lifestyle...and for most of us, that lifestyle likely includes finding love and fulfilling companionship along the way.

As with all things in life worth having though, finding lasting love doesn't just fall easily into your lap. Relationships thrive and fail, and one must deal with the experiences as they come. I guess my point is, at any age in your life, you may be faced with starting over. It's hard - but to me, worth it.

I was coming off a 29-year marriage and hadn't dated much prior to that marriage, so I was feeling pretty removed from the modern dating scene. I had been focused on raising my children, completing a graduate degree, and developing a career, but now I felt the need to come up with a strategy for my love life. I caught a presentation by Smart Dating Academy's Bela Gandhi on the WGN Morning News in November of 2011 and knew this was the nudge I needed to get moving.

I took the first step and contacted Bela, and we met for lunch shortly after I first watched her on television. Although at that point, I was very unsure about how to go about getting back into the dating pool, my confidence grew as she described to me the team at SDA and the process each client would undergo. The entire plan fit exactly the assistance I was seeking.

One of my strengths is that I am not easily discouraged. Oftentimes, people ask me what my greatest obstacles and setbacks were when working with SDA to find love, but I've always thought of the whole thing as simply a process. Every process involves one step at a time, and those steps can go up and sometimes down. I stuck to following the advice of Bela and the SDA team and kept in perspective the fact that no matter how many bumps in the road, the road was still leading me in the direction of my goal.

Donna and I met through Match.com two years ago. Sometimes you meet people, and it takes some time to warm up to them. In this instance, she and I clicked right away. We are both very open and expressive communicators, and we quickly could tell that we shared a lot of common values. A major topic of conversation was how much we enjoyed and valued the experiences of raising our children and watching them become successful adults. No matter what we talked about though, we welcomed each other's input and perspective. When the relationship works and is healthy, I think you can just feel it. For me. it was a breath of fresh air to find someone so passionate, positive, and family-centric. Donna tells me she feels very fortunate to have found me as well, so I guess the feeling is mutual!

After my experience working with SDA, I feel confirmed that there is someone for everyone if you know how to find them. To singles out there, I would say get online and cast a wide net. Set boundaries, but be flexible. And most importantly, appreciate the process!"

- Dan