Matthew Hussey spreads love, one YouTube video at a time. The 32-year-old British dating coach has built a mini-empire by doling out advice to single women seeking love in the age of Tinder and ghosting.
His book “Get the Guy” was a New York Times best seller, he hosts 250-person retreats, and he has more than a million followers on social media. He also appears regularly on “Good Morning America” Mr. Hussey’s goal, he said, is to make women feel empowered, even if his advice often sounds like common sense.
“I love when people come up to me and tell me they are in a relationship because of me,” he said in a phone interview from his home in Los Angeles. “But I equally love the breakup stories, the person who says, ‘I left someone last week because of you.’ I like to think I saved 10 years of their lives.”
Here, in an edited interview, Mr. Hussey recalls the roots of his career and describes some of the perils of online dating.
Q.: What made you want to be a relationship coach?
A.: Even when I was young, I cared too much about what other people thought, especially girls. I remember, once a girl I had a crush on walked past me and I just zoned out. My friend busted out laughing. I started reading everything I could to help myself. I learned that you can get better at this.
Earlier in your career you coached men. What made you switch to women?
I started reading the books out there for women, and it concerned me. These women were being told if a guy is shy, he isn’t into you. As a guy who spent his entire life avoiding women he really liked, this confused me.
Women were also being taught in their love lives to sit back and wait. At least as a guy you can stink at talking to girls and be deathly afraid of rejection, but in the very least you have agency.
I kept thinking about how 100 years ago a woman would drop a handkerchief in front of a guy and kept walking. It gave him the opportunity to pick it up, walk over to her, and start talking. Even then, they could be proactive. Why not now?
What alarms you about the current state of dating?
We’ve reached a new level where people feel so disposable. We know we can keep swiping. We know we can increase our radius on our apps so there are always new dates.
It’s not like everyone became a stud overnight, but most men feel like they are. Especially people who have not had a lot of attention their entire lives, they can all of a sudden hit on every attractive person they see online. Maybe they don’t get a response, but that doesn’t matter. Just the possibility gives them a sense of entitlement.
How does that impact women?
Because so many men act like this — they don’t go on dates and are flaky — someone comes along that they have a connection with, they massively overvalue that connection. They think they have to hold on to it and chase it.
I deal with women every day who are literally chasing men who aren’t taking them seriously or investing in them. They think, “If I don’t sleep with someone quickly, someone else will. He’s invited me over at the last minute, and I really want more, but I do really like him, so maybe if I get close enough with him, maybe he will realize he does want me for more.” That is extremely dangerous.
That isn’t a new thing, but is it worse now?
People are more fearful. It’s coming from a scarcity mind-set. It’s coming from the idea that he can hit up so many people, so he won’t be interested in me.
What is the solution?
It’s important to connect with the person you end up with, but it’s not a reason to invest in someone. Connection just feels good, but so do drugs. You invest in someone based on how much they invest in you.
Also, you have to be willing to let go. You become a better dater when you have a truly fulfilling life that is not dependent on someone else. Even if someone leaves, your life continues unscathed.
You recently asked thousands of male followers to explain why they ghost women. What did you learn?
This is the No. 1 question women today ask me. I think it comes down to this: A woman doesn’t really need a man to tell her that he isn’t interested; it’s clear that he isn’t if he hasn’t been texting.
Men know she is really asking, “What happened, why do you not want to see me anymore?” That’s a hard position for them to be in. There is no winning in telling someone an unwelcome truth. Even your closest family and friends have a hard time doing that, let alone a stranger.
Does anyone you coach fall in love with you?
“Love” is a word that does get thrown around a lot. I’m sure there are a few people out there who see me and like me. But people should reserve those judgments for someone they know. If they live with me 24-7, and they still think they love me, we will talk.