Emma Hathorn, the dating expert at Seeking.com, as featured on CBS News, Healthy Framework, and Everyday Northwest, has answered some of the most pressing dating questions that we’re asking in 2024— about life, love, luxury dating, and as always, raising standards even higher.

What brought you to where you are today, as Seeking’s dating expert?

My experience is more practical than anything else. Of course, first and foremost, I dated on Seeking— I met some of the most influential people of my life here, on the website, and made connections that have stayed with me to this day. Not just romantic connections too, but real, genuine connections that pushed me towards my own goals in life, and gave me advice and guidance that was invaluable. 

I want that for other people too, after having had it myself. A dating website that allowed for connections that were actually meaningful and weren’t just superficial? That’s something I could get behind, that’s something I was happy to work alongside.

Another aspect that I consider extremely influential is my work in Tokyo. I took an interest in Geisha culture and Japanese nightlife, and found myself working as a kind of modern geisha, while learning Japanese. This put me in contact with some of Japan’s most successful, elite people, and I found myself starting to question my previous standards for both my life, and for the people that I wanted in it. I saw what they had, and how hard they worked for it, and I realized that I had to raise my standards for the people that I gave access and time to.

This philosophy carried over into my dating life, and now, is the core of the advice that I give to people.

You often talk about “raising your standards”— why is this important in dating?

You can’t settle for something that’s going to take you back to your old patterns. In dating, the person that you’re with will have an influence on your life, on your success, and on your personal development. You have to be very selective in this way. You have to curate the people that you give your time to.

In order to do this, you are going to have to take your standards up, maybe higher than they were before, or even higher than you might feel is necessary. High standards are an easy thing to have, but are not such an easy thing to maintain— you have to keep a vision for your life in mind when you’re dating, and ask yourself if your relationship makes you feel as if you’re on the way there, if you feel elevated.

What are your thoughts on dating fatigue, and what would you suggest as a cure for it?

Dating fatigue is an issue today, because we are inundated with apps, with advertisements, with the endless cycle of having our online matches end up going nowhere. We scroll and swipe and match, and end up being ghosted, bread-crumbed, and back burnered (to name a few of the popular dating trends!). Dating feels low stakes, because we make it low stakes— and accept partners and platforms that make it into something that is almost disposable. 

A quick fix.

You can compare it to hook up culture too— just something to pass the time, but that ends up leaving you unfulfilled, and alone when it truly matters.

What you have to do is a complete sweep of your phone and computer. What are the websites and apps you’re permitting to have access to your time? Are you putting yourself out there in a way that is too general? I’d suggest making a choice of one place to focus your attention, and ensure that it is a place that mirrors what you want out of your dating life. Don’t chase after people on hook up platforms if you’re hoping to find a long-term relationship. Choose a site that is steeped in honesty, and integrity, and that is a home to successful, ambitious people.

I’ll be honest, there’s only one website that I’m happy to date on.

How do I find a successful partner? What does a successful relationship look like, in your eyes?

You have to go where they are. Successful people who are in those upper echelons of their careers, who have achieved a level of professional success— they’re not going to be hanging out at your local dive bar. They’re going to be in Tokyo on business, they’re going to be vacationing in St. Moritz; people like this are very tricky to meet in your day to day life.

This is the importance of having a dating platform that gives you access to these people. It’s vital to select where you date online, because it is a window into worlds that you would not be able to step into otherwise. Of course, you can hop on a plane to Tokyo, and hang around at the Ritz Carlton in the hopes of meeting a stray, handsome billionaire, but let’s be honest, this isn’t efficient, and not everyone has that kind of time.

A successful relationship, to me, is a very simple thing to describe. It’s two people whose weaknesses and strengths complement each other, who are able to build a life together through mutual upliftment and passion. Partners in life, and in achieving that life that you both want.

I think I’m being cheated on. What should I do?

This is a question, unfortunately, that we see often. It’s also quite an easy one to answer! At Seeking, we champion open, honest relationships that begin with a foundation that you both agree on. If you want something open, then it must be decided on between the two of you. If you want monogamy, then that’s equally a decision to be made between you and your partner.

In the end, it’s about what you both want, and what you agree on.

If this agreement is broken, then you have to remember the key point: raise your standards. Does being cheated on align with that? You need to be able to hold your head up, and walk away with dignity and grace.

How does personal growth and self-improvement play a role in successful dating and attracting suitable partners?

If we’re going to have high standards, we have to embody the character of a person who is worthy of that in return. Not for your potential partner’s benefit, but for your own. Personal growth and self-development are, of course, different for everyone, but to be a version of yourself that you are proud of, and that you can show to a date with pride— that’s going to make things so much easier.

Confidence is going to come out of that— you’ll have more to talk about, you’ll feel that you can hold your own, in any room in the world. If you want someone who has put in the work on themselves, then you absolutely will have to do the same. It’s something that you should be doing regardless of dating— we are our first, and most important project.

If that leads to a successful relationship? That’s when things start to get exciting; there are no limits to the things that two people, both confident in their own growth and abilities, can achieve together.

What practical advice do you provide for navigating the challenges and opportunities of online dating?

Pick your platform very, very wisely. 

Make sure it’s something that’s got a certain level of security and ID Verification, so that you know that the people you’re talking to are the real deal. You have to be fussy with this, because it’s going to save you time, and give you the security with which to date— without worrying if you’re being lied to.

Another piece of advice is to date with IRL meetings in mind. By this, I mean— get out of your computer chair as soon as you can! Dating needs to be experienced in real life (and look, if real life is getting flown across the world for a dinner date in Paris, then… so be it!). But this can also mean making time for a video call, or even just talking on the phone— it’s important to not let the texting or messaging go on forever. Understanding the essence of a person comes with spending real, quality time with them, off the internet.

What are some key red flags to look out for in a potential partner?

A few major red flag to look out for, particularly when you’re in that space of raising your dating standards are:

Unwillingness to Invest Time

Dating in luxury circles can involve extravagant experiences, but real connections require quality time and effort. You need to feel seen and heard, as well as understood by your date. Prioritize an intellectual connection that comes in conjunction with all the glamor that you expect.

Resistance to Vulnerability

Authentic connections often require vulnerability and openness. If your date seems guarded or unwilling to share personal experiences or emotions, it could be a red flag that they’re not interested in building a deeper connection.

Talks Poorly About the Ex

A person with character and integrity will never truly burn a bridge. In business, it’s important to remember that you could run into anyone again. In relationships, it’s not so different. 

What are some green flags?

It is important to also give value and attention to green flags. A few green flags to look out for, in a relationship are:

Shared Values and Goals

Finding alignment in values, goals, and life aspirations is crucial for long-term compatibility. Sharing similar perspectives on important matters like family, career, and personal growth positively indicates the relationship’s future.

Not afraid to challenge you

If your partner brings an argument or contrary belief to the table, sometimes this can broaden your view and show that she isn’t afraid of speaking her mind and challenging your ingrained beliefs— out of respect for you and your personal development. She wants what’s best for you and sees potential in your future that you might not have envisioned. 

Respectful of Your Time

Clinginess can be attractive because we love to be wanted. But, your time can be limited in this day and age for entrepreneurs and business professionals. When your partner understands this, it’s a significant green flag.

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