Relationships are trial and error, a learning curve, a journey. Each date brings new experiences and a little (or maybe a lot) more self-awareness. You start to develop a sense of your needs and wants, establish your boundaries, and navigate towards a partner that shares your goals and values.
But the story doesn’t end once you find your partner. In fact, it’s always being written.
That’s the joy in love AND the reason Dr. Pia Holec, one of the experts from Married At First Sight, will be joining us today. She will be sharing tips on how to expand trust and build intimacy with a partner for a healthier, more satisfying relationship.
DATING DISH (1:52)
Toxic forgiveness – is it really possible to forgive and forget?:
Have y’all ever heard of Red Table Talk, the talk show led by Jada Pinkett Smith & her daughter Willow? During a recent episode, Jada and Willow had Will’s ex-wife, Cherie, on the show to clear the air about some things that rubbed each other the wrong way from way back (and to potentially forgive & forget). They did this all with the help of relationship expert Nedra Glover Tawwab, but you might know her from Instagram.
In her new book, Nedra coined the term “toxic forgiveness.” So our friends at PopSugar asked, what exactly is toxic forgiveness? According to Nedra, it is the unhealthy way we pretend to be “over it” in an effort to move on quicker.
Damona goes over why we feel in such a hurry to forgive when we’re not ready, and poses a thoughtful question – who is our forgiveness really for?
DR. PIA HOLEC (8:20)
Dr. Pia Holec is a psychologist, sex therapist, relationship guru and speaker. And to top it all off, she was an expert this year on the 15th Season of Lifetime’s “Married at First Sight.”
(9:22) The relationships of Married At First Sight.
Being in a relationship is one thing, but starting a relationship through a reality show is a completely different ball game. Besides the relationships on MAFS undergoing an extremely accelerated process, Dr. Pia also has to ask her clients on the show – what are you willing to do in order to make this work?
Plus, Dr. Pia gives us the 4 biggest factors that are affecting relationships and the way we communicate today.
(13:04) Being prepared for a relationship.
Damona believes that you have to prepare for the relationship that you want to have, and Dr. Pia says that being single (or living in your “single season”) is the perfect time to prepare. “Your single season is the time to work on yourself, so that you can be a fully formed adult when entering into a relationship… Conflict arises and issues come up when you’re expecting your partner to complete you, or help you figure out what you want and what you need.”
Dr. Pia also shares the kinds of questions you should ask yourself to be relationship-ready.
(15:38) Defining trust.
Sometimes the biggest hurdle we have to jump when dating is learning to trust someone. Damona defines trust as “when you see that someone’s words match their actions consistently over time.” Dr. Pia continues that trust is usually what we equate with safety.
She adds that when it comes to trust, “your feelings are real… they’re not always based in facts, though.” Dr. Pia helps her clients and couples on MAFS cultivate trust by grounding themselves in the present moment. This way, they are able to take a pause on their emotions and focus solely on the facts of a situation.
Dr. Pia describes the power in naming our own trauma (and how to do it).
(21:00) Is your therapist third-wheeling?
We LOVE that everyone is so open about going to therapy these days (according to the stats at Hinge & OkCupid, people are actually more likely to swipe right if you go therapy). But for those who are not as comfortable sharing our mental health journey on our dating profile, Damona asks Dr. Pia for some advice on bringing up this topic with new matches.
Dr Pia says: Just put it out there in the open. Acknowledging that you go to therapy won’t feel awkward if we don’t let it feel awkward, right? It’s a beautiful thing to be in touch with your emotions… And if that person judges you for bringing up mental health early on in dating, then chances are they’re not your person!
(26:55) Is it love bombing, or are they just being honest?
If you haven’t heard, love bombing happens when someone showers you with attention or affection to gain your trust, in order to manipulate or control you. It sounds scary, but it’s very easy to stop love bombing in its tracks if you know what to look out for.
Our gut and intuition will almost always tell us what’s up. But if you’d like more proof that your spidey senses are correct, try asking yourself these questions:
❓Are they only saying nice things?
❓Are they trying to isolate you from your family?
❓Do they use phrasing like you were meant for each other or belong together?
❓Do you feel a sense of safety with this person?
❓How do I feel with this person? Then ask – how do I feel when I’m NOT with this person?
DEAR DAMONA (35:35)
Email from Emily – I had breast cancer and a lumpectomy in 2020. I wasn’t dating actively before my diagnosis, but this year I decided to start actively looking. I have been on the dating apps and talking to people. When do I tell the person I am getting to know about my cancer? I have scars on my body I can’t hide if I choose to be intimate. I also have side effects from my radiation. Nobody talks about life and dating after cancer treatment. How does a 48 yr old never married, no kids kinda woman navigate the dating world?