February 12, 2014
Word count: 1026
The Love Expert Looking For Love
“No one wants to date a relationship expert,” says Anita Chlipala, a relationship coach
and therapist. “It’s a little rough on the love life.” The 33-year-old sips her Northern
Lights Raspberry Latte in a downtown Caribou Coffee cafe. She’s wearing a grey
cardigan over jeans with brown boots. Her long blond hair drapes over her shoulders
and her piercing blue eyes look over the table as she sips her coffee. “I have high
standards, but they’re flexible and I’m realistic,” she says.
Chlipala’s business, Relationship Reality 312, Inc., sees a wide variety of clientele.
From single people looking for love, dating couples wondering if they should be
engaged, to married couples going through divorce, Chilipala has seen it all. After her
morning three-cup minimum of coffee (sometimes the whole pot), she checks her email, and starts her day off running from one networking lunch to being interviewed on WGN radio to a speed dating event. No day is the same. The young businesswoman has a lot of fun with her job and shares crazy stories you couldn’t even dream of: “once, a 60- year-old Indian man asked to masturbate in front of me in my office.”
While helping fulfill her client’s relationships, the single Chlipala has struggled with
finding love in her own life. Marriage is definitely in her future plans, however men seem to be intimidated by her in depth knowledge on the topic. “It’s really, really, really tough to find guys. They think I’m analyzing them all the time,” recalling her previous experiences with meeting men.
Chlipala has dabbled in many different career choices over the years, first studying
Journalism, then changing to English and then becoming a teacher. While working as a teacher in Pheonix, she went to a seminar and heard another relationship expert speak, which then gave 24-year-old Anita an epiphany moment. “I just knew, as soon as she said what her job was: ‘that’s what I want to do.’ I am a spiritual person, and I know this is my purpose.”
After researching several graduate schools, Chlipala chose the University of San Diego. She graduated with a license in Marriage and Family Therapy and moved back to Chicago. Starting her own counseling business has been hard but she quickly gained national recognition. Blogging on the popular website PattiKnows.com with the famous Millionaire Matchmaker has also grown her international audience.
Throughout all of the hard work and long hours put into creating a company and the
devotion to her job, Chlipala has not had much time to go out and meet men. “I work
nights and on weekends I want to spend time with friends and family. I use Match.com
and other dating sites and apps on my phone,” she states, completely blasé. Younger generations turn towards technology to socialize and find possible partners, but the
whole realm of notorious “hook-up” apps and websites still seems taboo to many
Though Jenna Fahey, Chlipala’s coworker and fellow relationship expert has been
married for ten years, she has seen online dating work for many of her clients. “People
are texting far more than they are talking in person, and people are meeting online. It’s an interesting time and makes for more interesting problems in relationships,” says Fahey, a specialist in sexual addictions, domestic violence, and mental health issues. Such problems include superficiality and couples might not try to get to know someone before judging them by their photos.
Chlipala says that in a few years, couples will be proud to say that they met on Tinder, a popular iPhone app, or other online dating websites. These dating methods actually
work better for Chlipala because they help blunt rejection: “If they don’t email me back, at least I didn’t waste my time. I’ll tell a guy what I do, and if he can’t appreciate my career then he won’t make a good life partner.”
Chlipala is definitely a motivated woman. Her good friend and goal-partner Stephanie
Mansour says that “Anita is one of the most driven businesswomen that I know. She
sets high goals for herself and always works hard to achieve them.” Mansour is a health and fitness expert, Body Image & Confidence Coach for women and CEO of Step it Up With Steph. The two ambitious women get together to bounce ideas off of each other and brainstorm.
Near-future goals for Chlipala include publishing her book, creating a smartphone app, and separating her business into two: being a relationship therapist based in Chicago and a love coach with a more international audience. “One of my other goals on a daily basis is for my clients to not have to return to me,” she says. Fahey says that Chlipala gives her clients the tools to be able to get themselves to where they want to go with their relationships. “She gives information backed by research that has been proven effective; you wont get her opinions or her bias,” says Fahey.
Chlipala always tries to practice what she preaches to her own clients. One of the things she tells single people is to separate what they’re looking for into two categories: wants and needs. Chlipala’s top five needs are quality time, physical affection, intellectual stimulation, fun, personal and professional growth. While her ‘needs’ are nonnegotiable, she finds herself thinking early on about compromises for her ‘wants.’
Wanting a man who is 6-foot tall, for example, is something she can compromise on.
Chlipala knows that it’s unrealistic to love everything about someone. “I hate how
Hollywood portrays love,” she says disconcerted, “what they show is called the
‘romantic love’ stage and it can last from 3 months to 18 months on average. Once that fades, which it does for everyone, some people think that they might be with the wrong person. You need to nurture feelings and then you get mature love: safe, calm, gentle.”
“My clients are my own love inspiration. I often get asked how I can listen to people’s
problems all day,” says Chlipala, “but I get to see the effects of my work. I see how
awesome marriage can be.”