Hayley Bystram, Managing Director and Founder of personal matchmaking agency Bowes-Lyon Partnership, shares with us her insight of the dating world.. which all started as a result of her own post-divorce dating experience

Hayley Bystram is a busy woman and obviously a really driven entrepeneur. Dividing her time between family life and running a thriving company, you’ll find this smart but approachable  businesswoman constantly darting between her home in the picturesque Surrey hills and Bowes-Lyon Partnership’s smart Head Office in St James Square. But Hayley’s road to this point was not always smooth, in fact it was her own post-divorce dating that led her to shaping the bespoke service that her agency has become known for. She took a few minutes out to tell us her story and impart some crucial tips for those on the search for a partner.

Why did you decide to become a matchmaker?

Partly my post-divorce dating experience. I was looking to solve a problem that I personally had. I divorced in my late twenties and had tried online dating and found it to be a time-consuming and, quite soul-destroying, process! With a busy work lifestyle, I didn’t have the time to dedicate to trawling through online profiles every evening, looking for that ‘needle in a haystack’. I wondered what people like me did and where they went to solve this issue. I couldn’t find an easy solution for my age group and lifestyle, so I decided to create one. 

What makes you different to other companies/matchmakers?

Bowes-Lyon Partnership is a modern dating agency with old-fashioned values.  We meet our members face-to-face and take the time to understand their lives, backgrounds, relationship history and future aspirations. By not using technological shortcuts, we believe there is more heart and soul in our membership journey. We offer a friendly and relaxed service, we make our members feel at ease throughout the dating process. We talk through each introduction at length and take feedback after each date. Taking the time to truly get to know our members allows us to make the dating process more enjoyable and less daunting for them, and it is the reason for our high success rates.

What’s the best advice you would give to someone looking for a partner?

Take action! 2020 has shown us, not only the importance of human connection but also that, it is hard to meet someone through natural circumstances these days. Get online, ask your friends/family if they know any eligible singles or, if you want to really increase your chance of success, join a matchmaking agency! 

What are the most common mistakes people make when dating?

Sticking to their type! Many people meet with me and describe their ‘type’…..but yet they’re single! They don’t realise that perhaps their type is not working for them. As an agency we hold our members hands and guide them to look beyond their ‘types’ and comfort zones in an undaunting way. Relationship success always seems to lie just on the periphery of their ‘type’! 

What changes do you see happening for dating world, following the pandemic?

People are less likely to meet their ideal partner by chance. Our social lives have been curtailed by the pandemic and the chances of meeting someone in a social environment is much more unlikely at present. Single people, hoping to meet a partner for a long-term relationship, need to take proactive and constructive action to make it happen. I believe people will search for a partner, in the same way they do for a new home or a new career, and activity for services, such as online sites and dating agencies, will increase.

Mature couple enjoying each other's company on the beach

Many couples have rediscovered love and companionship thanks to Bowes-Lyon’s traditional approach

Do you have lots of success stories? 

It is our privilege to change the lives of our members and I’m lucky to have such a rewarding career. My favourite stories are from members who are perhaps divorced after a long marriage, or have been widowed, and come to us feeling very daunted about dating again. I love to hear their stories of the happy dates they have been on through our membership, the new places they have visited or holidays they have taken with their new partners. They describe it as getting ‘a second chance at life’ and feel it enhances their later years. Those are the stories that make me smile from ear-to-ear.


For more details of Bowes-Lyon Partnership go to the website: bowes-lyonpartnership.co.uk

This article appears in the Spring edition of Premier Magazine