Patti Stanger knows how to find love. Just maybe not for herself. "I'm thinking of hiring someone," says the L.A.-based matchmaker, who specializes in finding love for high-income-and often high maintenance-clients. "I see my clients getting married and having babies and I think, 'What's wrong with me?'"
Happily-ever-after has admittedly been an elusive ending for Stanger, 49. More recognizable than ever thanks to her hit Bravo show The Millionaire Matchmaker
, now in its fourth season, "guys are intimidated by me," she confesses. "It can get very uncomfortable, but I want someone who will say, 'Isn't she amazing?'"
Her success already doomed one engagement, she says; her planned marriage to real estate executive Andy Friedman was called off last August after a seven-year relationship. He refused to appear on her show, and that "bothered me," Stanger admits. "I want someone who's proud enough of me to step up and do a scene." And with the show, and her company the Millionaire's Club taking off, "I wanted someone to build an empire with. He wanted to retire and have a simple life," she explains.
But it was a dispute over the "kids question" that was the ultimate deal-breaker. "He had said he wanted kids in three years, so we waited. Then he changed his mind," says Stanger matter-of-factly. "He has the right to change his mind. I had the right to leave."
That's not to say that the prospect of being suddenly single wasn't daunting. "I delayed the breakup because of it," she says. "My biggest fear was being under scrutiny." She'd already faced plenty of it from critics and disgruntled clients over the years, who would point to Stanger's single status as a sign of failure. But Stanger is firm in her belief that her love life doesn't matter on the job. "Would you say to the biggest coach in the NFL, 'You got me to the Super Bowl but you never played in one yourself?'" Stanger asks heatedly.
Now going on blind dates as she nears 50, the often-abrasive Stanger is suddenly feeling vulnerable. "Being sized up by men doesn't feel good," she confesses. "I'm not 25 any more." To boost her confidence, she started taking a diet supplement, Sensa, which she now promotes, to shed 25 lbs. "If I was going to be out there again, I had to get back in a size 2-4," she says simply. Now it's a man's turn to prove himself. "No matter how much money or fame the guy has," Stanger explains, "I have to respect you to love you."