Lee-Michael Pronko, the creator of the Heartstring Dating App, joins us today for an entertaining conversation about intentional dating! If you feel like dating isn’t going the way you’d like it to, make sure to join us as Lee-Michael gives us practical dating tips and ways to improve our online profiles. We also talk about the use of video in dating apps, the importance of getting clear on what you want in a partner, and what it is like dating as a single dad.
This episode has incredible advice that you can use to positively impact the way you date, even if you aren’t into online dating, so tune in!
In this week’s episode, we discuss:
[01:45] About Lee-Michael
[02:16] How Lee-Michael got into the dating industry
[04:08] Using video in dating apps
[09:25] Dating apps and authenticity – who are you looking to attract?
[11:51] Dating as a single dad
[14:24] Dating preferences and getting clear on what you want
[16:58] Lee-Michael’s top 4 deal breakers
[21:15] The importance of communication, vulnerability, and being present
[26:11] Parenting and compatibility
[31:33] Heartstring Dating App
[34:39] Lee-Michael’s favorite date
How Lee-Michael got into the dating industry
When Lee-Michael became a single dad a few years ago, he started to realize how difficult it was to date with dating apps. He felt like he could not get a sense of who someone was because it is difficult to tell your story on a dating app.
He did not want to waste his time dating so he thought “How can I get to the feeling of meeting someone in person, the fastest way possible?” Which led him to build his video-based dating app. He shares that 90% of content is consumed via video and he wanted to bring this outlook to online dating. Video helps people facilitate better connections and showcase who they are.
Using video in dating apps
Lee-Michael finds that people are much more hesitant to use video dating apps. They are used to the model of throwing a few photos on an app, drinking wine on a Friday night, and having their friends swipe for them. This type of dating is not intentional and we are not used to putting in the time and effort. Video makes you go the extra distance because you have to be intentional about the content you create.
The Heartstring Dating App is formatted just like TikTok. He finds that people need support in creating videos from an image perspective and highlighting their “personal brand”, which is where coaching comes into play. He believes that if you use video, and be intentional about dating, you will end up with better results. Celeste shares that there is so much information that we can grasp in a 15-second video such as someone’s mannerisms and how they project themselves.
Part of the video dating experience is about telling a consistent story. Of course, you want to get quality videos but it is also important to showcase your lifestyle and how you are. Telling a story with a video or photo (such as playing guitar, traveling, etc) is more compelling than throwing up a few random photos or videos.
Dating apps and authenticity – who are you looking to attract?
Celeste shares that oftentimes she sees men on dating apps using pictures from 20 years ago. At the end of the day, we need to be authentic around who we are because if not, that is the worst way to start a relationship. We need to reveal the truth in a way that is accurately reflective of where we are. Lee-Michael tells us that the importance of coaching is to awareness to this and have support in asking ourselves – who are we looking to attract? The way you frame your story is going to appeal to certain people and repel others.
He believes that people often get frustrated with online dating because of their ratings or the algorithm does not favor them. He recommends authentically showcasing who you are by working with a coach to help you with pictures, videos, and intentional prompts. Then ask yourself what you are looking for. See this as an experiment for a month and see what happens!
Dating as a single dad
Lee-Michael finds it challenging to discover lifestyle alignment with another person. For him, a few key components he is looking for is a person who is fun, lives an active lifestyle, respects boundaries, and has lifestyle alignment. It takes a lot of time and energy to date and he stopped dating 6 months. He felt like it was a distraction from his journey and he does not want to date just to get a dopamine hit because he knows what he wants. He is patient and content with the journey right now.
Dating preferences and getting clear on what you want
Celeste shares that it is important to get clear on what you want. This is especially important around your values, beliefs, and life goals. Lee-Michael reminds us that if you do not have clarity, then you might miss opportunities that would be beneficial to get experience. You do need to go on enough dates with different types of people to refine what you want. Lee-Michaal has done this enough times to know exactly what he is looking for.
It is important to look at your mindset and framework to see if you need a mindset shift. He has worked with men who want to date a specific type of woman, yet they have been on a date for months or even years. When you start where you are at and forgo dating only that archetype, it will be helpful to learn about yourself and gain dating experience. It might even surprise you when that archetype changes. If we stop dating with a material perception-based perspective and just start by saying “My number one goal is to have a fun date.” that will open up our possibilities until we know what we are looking for.
Lee-Michael’s top 4 deal breakers
His first deal breaker is someone with a victim, complainer, and negative mentality. He understands that everyone has their challenges but part of that is recognizing that we need to take responsibility. If you do not like your life, you can change it. A negative mindset is draining and exhausting, he loves life and he wants to celebrate the blessings. His second deal breaker is if someone cannot communicate about vulnerable stuff like sexual health or emotions. He has personally struggled with this but has worked on it enough to know how much it impacts a relationship.
His third deal breaker is not living a healthy lifestyle in their day-to-day lives. And then his fourth deal breaker would be if they do not have good social bonds. When he has dated in the past, if the woman did not have great social bonds then it led to attachment issues in the relationship. They need to have good friends that they have known for years so that he does not end up being their “entire world”.
The importance of communication, vulnerability, and being present
Celeste shares that communication is everything. Holding space and being vulnerable is a strength to have. This has been perceived as being a weakness but being able to be a safe space and open up is important. Lee-Michael says that men also need to differentiate when they should talk about things with their friends, process it through working out, or bring it up with a partner. An important element is to take a step back and resolve something then communicate about it after.
He also shares that being present is important to him. In life, we need to celebrate the mundane moments. There is nothing more important than spending quality time with the people you care about. We can celebrate the experience of space and not have to fill it all of the time. This is how you build a true connection with someone.
Parenting and compatibility
Lee-Michael shares that being a single parent is a hard job. He and his ex-partner co-parent great, but he knows that not everyone has that experience. He hears a lot of single moms say that they either do not have any support from their child’s father or their child’s father does not have a relationship with their child at all.
Lee-Michael finds himself attracted to single moms but he does not think he would want to date someone with children. It would be more convenient for someone to enter his life that has more freedom like him. Celeste shares that she is open to dating someone 5 years older and 10 years younger, but if they are healthy, their values align, and are attracted to each other, then this could change.
Heartstring Dating App
Creating this app has been a big part of the healing journey for Lee-Michael. He is focusing on building an entire ecosystem of support around it and it will be a new culture around dating. When we arrive in this culture, where more people are using video to leverage themselves in a dating app context, we will have a much more authentic and intentional dating culture.
Lee-Michael’s favorite date
He recently spent 4 days in a row with someone and they had a great connection. It felt like a long continuous date and it was fun to experience a bunch of different activities together. He shares that it is important to go with the flow with someone, not force anything, and let things fizzle out the way they need to.
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