Breaking Dating Patterns & Whelming: Love Month Part 4


It’s February and you know what that means – Valentine’s is upon us! And to celebrate the month of love, we’ll be doing something special. We have 4 of the top prior Dates & Mates guest love experts who will be joining me for the next 4 weeks. This is the final episode of our Love Month #5QFeb!

Back by popular demand is Mike Goldstein, a successful dating coach, public speaker, and author who has appeared on the Today Show, Reader’s Digest, The Star Ledger, and Shape Magazine. Through his BLOG EZ Dating Coach he has reached over 100,000 women.

He’s here to give us a whole new perspective on love that we haven’t heard yet!

More on that later, first we have headlines! 


Could your partner be snooping through your phone?

In their latest study, Whistleout determined that 50% of Americans look at their partner’s phones. Do you think this is okay?

The newest dating term: whelming

According to Cosmo, the newest way to ‘impress’ your match is by complaining about how many matches you have. Damona and Mike have thoughts. 

Read Damona’s Profile Polish in Shondaland!


Are Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner getting back together?

In an interview with the New York Times, Ben Affleck explains that his divorce to Jennifer Garner was the biggest mistake of his life. Damona did some digging and it turns out that Ben’s family history with alcoholism could have contributed to the breakup patterns he might have inherited from his father. Damona and Mike weigh in.


#5QFeb (20:32)

Damona asks Mike the 5 MOST IMPORTANT dating questions of our time:

  • What is the biggest challenge for daters today?
  • What is the best way to find love?
  • How can people change their patterns in love?
  • What are the elements of a strong, long lasting relationship?
  • Whose relationship do you admire and why?




Submit your questions Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook and hear our answers live on the show! Here’s what our listeners asked about this week:

  • So I had a conversation with my guy and asked why he isn’t putting more time into our relationship. He’s busy and seems to be pulled in a lot of different directions. My question is: If I wait patiently, will that hurt me in the long run?
  • What does it mean when a guy says he does something because it’s funny? For example, my guy tells me other girls are flirting with him because he says he is being honest and he isn’t doing anything with them but he finds it cute that I get jealous. Is this a red flag?


Are you feeling overwhelmed with dating and relationships and looking for a little more support? then you are the perfect person to become one of my Friends with Benefits.  

We just launched a special Patreon program for our listeners who want a little more love from Damona

What is Patreon?

Patreon is a platform that allows you to support creators like me to keep making helpful content that you want to hear and allow you to get amazing listener benefits by participating

Our page is

What will you get if you sign up?

A private facebook group where you can chat with me and other listeners of the show.

And you’ll have an opportunity to join me for private group coaching sessions.

Plus secret BTS content from our nearly 300 episodes of Dates & Mates.

And for my really special top-tier FWBs, you can even get a personalized dating profile analysis from me with tips tailored just for you on how to make a magnetic profile that draws the right kind of dates to you.

The Patreon is live on at

And we have a special bonus for anyone who signs up at the Lover or VIP level – a free autographed copy of my book. But only if you sign up during the month of February.

Go to to see which of tier is right for you. I look forward supporting you on a deeper level and inviting you inside the community as one of my Friends with Benefits.



Damona  0:12  

Happy love month lovers. This is episode four of our love month #5QFeb the five question February series during which I am interviewing your favorite dates and mates prior guests to ask the most pressing questions and love today. We are using the hashtag five q fab if you want to get in on the conversation. My guest for today is back by popular demand. Mike Goldstein is a successful dating coach. He’s a public speaker and also an author. You may have seen him on the Today Show in Reader’s Digest the star ledger or its Shape magazine. And through his blog, easy dating coach. He has reached over 100,000 surely more 200,000 just so many women Need help in dating and he’s here to help the men and women of the de tomates community, please give big smooches to Mike Goldstein,

Mike Goldstein  1:07  

thank you so much for having me. I’m so pumped to be here.

Damona  1:11  

I’m so glad you’re back. And this is a perfect time of year because we’re still like, we’re still feeling the energy of Valentine’s Day. And whether people listening had a great Valentine’s Day or one that they would rather forget. We want to keep people moving towards that, that road to love. Right? Yeah. And then we’ll also talk about this week’s headlines, including could your partner be snooping through your phone? And you can be overwhelmed. And you can be underwhelmed because you just be well, plus, our Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner getting back together could be now I don’t know. We’ll talk about that in a minute and then we’ll answer your questions like, should you wait around for a guy who’s super busy? And is it a red flag? If your boyfriend thinks you’re cute when you’re jealous. All that and more on today’s dates and mates. Mike, are you ready to do this?

Mike Goldstein  2:06  

Whoa, those are some great topics.

Damona  2:10  

Yeah, like we just surprised you. He knows what’s coming. He’s ready for you guys and he’s ready to do the dish. He’s dating dish. Whistle out did a survey on how much Americans look at their partners phones, and I’m talking about like, unapproved snooping, not just glancing over, but actually like cracking into their phones. they surveyed 1600 people from the ages of 15 and 55 about all aspects of cell phone privacy and snooping and romantic relationships. And it turns out that a lot of people 48% of women and 31% of men think snooping is okay, but people are worried Mike people are worried about things that their partner might see in their phone and Most people are worried about browser history texts, social media accounts. What do you think about cell phone privacy? I mean, this is just a factor in relationships today. Should you be able to look into your partner’s phone? Or is the phone like a barrier for privacy, something that should still remain secret and private?

Mike Goldstein  3:22  

Can I tell you a story?

Damona  3:23  

Of course, we have nothing but time. Oh, yes.

Mike Goldstein  3:26  

So Dimona, I was 25 years old, I had a girlfriend, and we were at a beach house at our beach house. And we were sleeping in bed, about to go to bed. And she’s looking at her phone. And I glance over. And there’s a message from a guy saying, Come over and it’s about 1am at night. Oh, no. But I am the most trusting human being on the planet. You may not know this about me. So she gave me some explanation like oh, it’s just our friend. Like He wants to drink more. And I was like, oh, that seems reasonable. And then I went to bed.

Damona  4:05  

But you had a little bit of suspicion. Surely, I had

Mike Goldstein  4:08  

a little bit, but I totally let it go. Because I just assumed I’m in love. She’s in love. Like we’re good.

Damona  4:14  

Oh, no, what happened?

Mike Goldstein  4:16  

Oh, well

Mike Goldstein  4:19  

while she was sleeping with it,

Damona  4:22  

did you ever confront her about the text? Because like looking at this survey, 38% of couples gotten a fight or broke up over something over snooping. So like, was there ever a conversation? Like, you know, that text didn’t quite sit well with me? Did you ever go back into her phone and be like, I’m gonna see if there are additional messages here.

Mike Goldstein  4:44  

No, I don’t believe in that. Like even through that through that story. Like privacy is important. And trust is important. So any partner I’m with, like they can do whatever they want. And I want to be in a relationship. I know and I feel safe for them to. They can be private, they can do whatever they want. I know we’re together. There’s no cheating. We’re good.

Damona  5:09  

Mike, you know what I love about that terrible story is that you still believe in love and you still have trust, like so many times people go through an experience like that, and then they think it means they can’t trust anybody again. But it was like that was one situation and it seems like you’re able to now separate her choices from the choices of whomever you’re in a relationship with from that point forward.

Mike Goldstein  5:35  

Yes, but to be fair, there was a lot of healing if you would have brought up her name probably for the first like four or five years after we broke up. You’d probably see my eyes like start to water like it definitely hit me. Yeah, but yeah, I’m over it now. But I alway

Damona  5:50  

give like a tip and one thing that you did to to heal and move on after that situation and trust again,

Mike Goldstein  5:59  

honestly, the Like so right after it happened and I thought I was gonna marry this woman, so I was crying my eyes out. You’re 25 I know.

Damona  6:08  

life ahead of you. This is true. Okay, you figure it out, though before.

Mike Goldstein  6:11  

Yeah. So I was crying my eyes out for three months straight. And then finally I picked up a copy of john gray men are from Mars, women are from Venus. And I realized I just didn’t understand women at all. And I realized like, I was a big part of the blame of why she was looking outside of a relationship. So that gave me a lot of clarity. So I guess for me it was what am i accountable for? What do I need to change? What do I need to work on? And then on top of that, now I’m saying like stop being sad, go do some things. Go play soccer, go to the gym, go see your friends. Go keep yourself busy.

Damona  6:47  

Yes, she would. One of the things that you might do be go on a dating app and start swiping. That is something that our next article is all About in Cosmo, they’re talking about a new dating trend called whelming. And this is when your matches complain to you about how many other matches they’re getting. So I know like, just just to recap the story that you told, when people get, they’re ready to move on. Sometimes they go full force into swiping, and they just swipe right on everybody because they want that instant gratification of like somebody likes me. But would you ever then complain about the number of matches that you’re getting? Because this seems to be an epidemic that’s happening?

Mike Goldstein  7:36  

So you’re telling me that I’m going to complain because so many women want to talk to me? Is that correct?

Damona  7:45  

That’s what people are doing and this is happening and you know, it’s happening for your clients as well like there. They must be I’m sure you’re helping them to be online dating masters, and then they’re getting are they getting overwhelmed by the matches.

Mike Goldstein  8:01  

Yes, some of them. Yeah.

Damona  8:03  

But they wouldn’t complain about it on the date because you told them not to.

Mike Goldstein  8:07  

Yeah, I don’t know what like, what is that?

Damona  8:10  

Well, the article also gave us some ways to cope if you’re feeling overwhelmed, because I think this is a symptom of this Paradox of Choice of feeling like there’s this endless supply of matches. And their tips are really good for for dating apps. They said, Be more selective. ration your screen time. Don’t rely on just dating apps. And I know that you’re you’re a fan of alternate ways of dating as well. Don’t swipe late at night. No, it’s like I say dating apps are sort of like Gremlins like don’t feed them after midnight. craziness. craziness ensues, that’s when you get the worst possible matches. And don’t take dating too seriously. What do you tell your clients about ways to reduce overwhelm when they’re using dating apps?

Mike Goldstein  8:57  

Yeah, this is so Important is, first of all, online dating needs to be a science experiment. Like try to leave your emotions to the side. I know like love is obviously a very emotional thing. But the actual online dating aspect science experiment, once you get to know someone, then emotions can get involved. But the strategy is, you need to pick three times a week that you’re going to go on. And if you’ve got a good system, like my clients are only doing half an hour, three times a week. So that’s manageable. It’s not taking over your life. So maybe it’s like Monday, Wednesday and Friday at eight o’clock I’m going on. The key is what folks are doing is that like, works kind of boring. Right now I’m going to hop on a dating app for a second. Oh, I got a match. Ooh, that’s not a fit. And then you repeat that sometimes one to 10 times a day. And you keep getting let down. versus if you’re going on once, you know every few days and you’re looking at maybe 510 20 at a time. Then you will manage your expectations of Okay, I got 10 Ooh, this one looks good. And then you don’t get upset about individually each nine times you got something bad, but you get excited about the one guy that actually makes sense for you, or, or woman, excuse me.

Damona  10:12  

I like that. And I think that’s good philosophy for any kind of online escape. Like, I know I do the same thing with with Facebook, I’ll be like, Oh, I just need to escape my kids and make it be crazy. I’m going to just escape into the world of Facebook for a while, but it does have the same effect. When you are using it for more of an entertainment purpose, then, you know, dating with strategy. I’d like to add one other thing that I think they did not touch on in the article that is really important. And that’s in making sure that your profile is the right profile to attract what you want. Like I did a profile Polish for Shonda in the fall and the woman that I worked with she was gorgeous. She had tons of matches, but she was like, I’m so over. So over dating apps. And I hear this a lot of time from a lot of times from our database listeners as well. I said, Let’s be really specific in your profile. And I’m getting all of these things that you’re not from reading your profile and looking at the pictures that you chose, let’s change the the strategy and let your profile be sort of the online calling card for you that the resume that draw that draws the right applicants in and what she said in the article, and I will put the link in the show notes if you guys want to actually read it but what she said was after she did my profile updates, she got fewer messages, which you would think is a bad thing. But at the same time there were messages from more more serious guys at that lead actually today’s instead of leading to overwhelm and then she didn’t have to complain about the overwhelm on the One thing in this article last thing about this article that I want to get your take on is they said that single people should be using five to six dating apps, according to their study, to have the best chance of finding love, like based on how many matches people are getting that are that are actually turning into dates. Five to six dating apps. What What do you think about that?

Mike Goldstein  12:24  

No, thank you.

Mike Goldstein  12:29  

Dating should be fun. And that’s gonna like take over your life. Six dating apps. Yeah, that’s way too much. And I’m sure the listeners can tell us like, the same people are on them. So you don’t need to see them in

Mike Goldstein  12:45  

areas again, I swipe left on the last time.

Mike Goldstein  12:48  

Yeah, but like, we’ve talked about it before, but I love

Mike Goldstein  12:51  

three. No one

Mike Goldstein  12:53  

just wants get one good one like and don’t even do an app like maybe like a match. com Or like an okay Cupid and just build a great profile. I’m, as you know, I’m not a fan of apps because they’re not as robust in terms of profiles. Yes. So if we’re going to go on dates, I want to be more strategic with hopefully, looking at a man or a woman’s robust profile on match is like, Whoa, a lot of things are aligned. I’m excited. Because if we’re going to give up, you know, our Wednesday night and you know, get dressed up and makeup and whatever needs to happen, let us be excited, be excited. And let’s go on only one day a week, pick a good one. So even if you have 12 options, or four options or whatever, figure out which one is your most excited about and do one day a week, so you can still live your life and have six other nights where you’re doing whatever you want to do. And this will be a much more efficient, much more strategic way to get a partner.

Damona  13:50  

Yes, and then it’ll be more fun, you’ll be enjoying it more. Well, one person is not really enjoying his dating and relationship experience right now. is bad. Aflac he was he was promoting his new movie and gave a very raw and real interview to the New York Times. And he said that the divorce with Jennifer Garner is his biggest regret the biggest regret of his life. They announced their separation in 2015. You may remember it actually took another three years until they were divorced. And he fully admits they broke up because of his drinking, which it’s something that is also a part of his family history. Like his dad was an alcoholic and his relationship and his parents relationship broke up because of that. And it just makes me so sad to see him falling into that same pattern. And I want to know what you would tell a client who has a family history of something like, like divorce or like addiction, and how they can carve out a different path for themselves.

Mike Goldstein  15:00  


Damona  15:01  

we don’t know softball questions here. Mike Goldstein,

Mike Goldstein  15:04  

I don’t know if I’m qualified that, but I will try to answer that. Well,

Damona  15:07  

I’m sure you’ve dealt with this, like people that don’t have a positive relationship role model for themselves. You can still have a successful relationship and your history doesn’t have to be your future.

Mike Goldstein  15:20  

Absolutely. I mean, everyone has their own choice, right. So if you and usually what you see is when they have a parent that went so far off the deep end, and one thing they like, they don’t even want to touch that thing. Because they don’t want to repeat that. Yeah. So usually see that happen. But yeah, to your point, like everyone has the choice. You know, do whatever you need to do to be happy and to be healthy. And then you can have great partnership.

Damona  15:45  

What about this element when we are so quick now to be looking for perfect, that we’re very quick to move on. And, you know, I don’t think it was really Ben’s decision. Once he he went so far into his alcoholism. I think Jennifer just had to move on. But they ultimately divorced rather than working on the relationship and I and I’ve worked with other divorce clients that were like, I’d much rather now have stayed with the person in a relationship that was challenging, then be single again and have to basically start over. What do you think about that?

Mike Goldstein  16:29  

Well, I got a question is Jennifer Garner single these days or she lives she’s

Damona  16:34  

got a boyfriend, a guy named john Miller, who is kind of like a Ben doppelganger and way they’ve a lot of physical similarities. He’s a younger man to he’s 40. She’s 47 I ain’t mad about it, but that’s the answer.

Mike Goldstein  16:50  

Well, I think she handled it, how you’re supposed to handle it. If there’s alcoholism or something that’s got a disease. You kind of have to leave And if they get that sorted out and you’re still available and you know, they’re wildly healthy, and you want to revisit it, then go revisit it. But when they’re in that state, you’ve got to get out of there. You can’t fix them. Yeah. And they need to go fix themselves.

Damona  17:15  

All right, great insights. I told you know, softball questions here we have, we have the hard questions that are coming up in our next segment and five key fobs. So stick around. I’m here with Mike Goldstein, who’s also known as easy dating coach, right? Easy dating coach calm, so stick around for more dates and dates. We’re back with easy dating coach Mike Goldstein. And if you’ve been following all this month, we’ve been asking the same five questions of four different dating experts and we’re getting wildly different responses. So I’m going to kick it off Mike with our first question of five key fab. What is the biggest challenge for daters today.

Mike Goldstein  17:58  

Whoa, that’s a big One I told you,

Mike Goldstein  18:01  

you know, softball question, you know softball, Scott.

Damona  18:05  


Mike Goldstein  18:06  

datings freaking hard. And there’s no manual. And, you know, if we look back to 100 years ago in the 1950s, our parents were getting married mostly for security, finances, money, safety. And everyone told us, that’s what you’re supposed to do. Right? And now, you know, we’ve got women in the workforce, men in the workforce, boss, ladies to boss ladies, kicking butt. And it’s not like, hey, the man goes to work and the woman takes care of the kids now, it’s just confusing. And women have plenty of money and they’re kicking butt. And now everyone needs you guys. Exactly. Now, women are dating for love. And everyone’s dating for love, and it’s not security. And this is brand new. We’ve been on this earth for what, thousands, millions of years. And now finally, the only reason we’re getting together or the biggest reason is the Love, not just procreating and security.

Damona  19:04  

So what do you how do you see that changing the way that we operate in dating? If you’re dating for love? How’s your process different than if you’re dating for security? You spend more time probably right? Because you have to vet people.

Mike Goldstein  19:25  

Yeah, I mean, it’s definitely wildly different. Like, it’s just security. It’s like, Oh, he’s got a good job and he looks healthy. Yeah, okay. That’s all I need.

Damona  19:32  

And my parents know, like, that’s the other thing that’s different is now our dating pool has opened up to anyone possibly in the world who’s the best match for us? So now, in addition to dating for love, we’re dating to check like 17 boxes as opposed to like, Oh, well, I know him and he can be a good provider and he looks all right. Like I could wake up next to that for at least a few years. You know, it was like the criteria The criteria was lower. And the ability to meet someone that really matched us on multiple levels was, was also lower. You know, there’s a,

Mike Goldstein  20:11  

there’s just way more variables to contend with. And then the other thing is like our brain tries to mess with us. Because for a lot of us, we kind of look at chemistry as the be all sale instead of compatibility. So we’re like, man, when I’m with them, like, it’s just electric, and I feel something. And what the heck is that? Like, you’re gonna spend 50 years with someone you feel something for? No, like, what is this laundry list of things? You actually need to be happy with someone for 50 or however many years you’re going to be together?

Damona  20:40  

Can I tell you something really corny, please. As my husband and I have built our life together, I feel like the electricity has increased. Because it’s like, now we’re not just we’re not just checking boxes. We’re actually like, We’re actually intertwined in our lives. And as our lives have gotten bigger, like our love can actually get bigger. And I feel like there’s this feeling that, that that chemistry that you feel on whatever the first date or that people are, like desperately searching for is something that is on a decreasing scale, that it’s never going to be as high as when you first meet. And I would love to see what happens if people looked at it in the inverse, like, it can only build from here if you’re with the right person, that you’re that you’re matching with on like, much more on on more long term factors, right.

Mike Goldstein  21:46  

Yeah, I mean, that’s, no, it’s not. I mean, you’re talking to a love coach. So I’m like, that’s so beautiful. I love that. But back to your first question. That’s what I think is the biggest problem really is we’re not great. So we end up picking. And then once we fall in love, we’re like, All right, I’m gonna stick this out because it’s kind of close. You only get one person. So you got to make sure you pick the right person. So then when you are together for years, you are going in that upward trend of the relationship getting better, as opposed to what most people are, is it either flatlines or it’s going worse? Right? That’s a good point.

Damona  22:23  

Okay, you aced that first question, Mike. Second question, what is the best way to find love?

Mike Goldstein  22:33  

Whoo. That’s a big one to love, love, love. First off, you got to do a little work and make sure you’re like ready to rock and roll. Like you’ve got and there’s a lot to this. Because I have so many women that go to me, they’re like, I have everything on solid ground. Like I’ve got a great job. I’ve got this amazing house. And I’ve got this, like all these activities I do and this amazing Family like, That is wonderful. Do you know anything about dating? Or how the opposite sex works or whoever you’re trying to partner with? Like that really. So there’s a lot to it it’s one you got to have a good life but to you got to kind of help know how this whole dating, how to interact with whoever you’re going after works.

Damona  23:18  

And it’s also you have to have a growth mindset like this is something that I haven’t mastered. And I, I can actually learn something from my girl from the dates and maids podcast like there’s room for growth because the way you describe that, and I hear that a lot too, from listeners is like, it’s a close circle. like where’s the space if you have those five things? Where’s the space for another person to get in and actually enhance your life? How can you find love love? So let’s say you’ve done that and you have accepted that there is a skill set called dating that you are going to develop? Then what how do you find love

Mike Goldstein  23:58  

Wow. Then you got to decide, are you I want to be in my pajamas on a Friday night doing online dating and find love? Or are you the type that’s like, I’ve got the biggest personality on the planet. And I want to be out there just mingling, and meet someone. So who are you, and then go on to those routes.

Damona  24:18  

That’s, it’s good that you incorporate this idea of like figuring out what works best for you, because I’m big into online dating, obviously. And I think that that is just the best way in today’s world to to exponentially increase your dating options. But I also recognize it’s not necessarily the right fit for everyone. And if you’re doing it and it’s making you frustrated or you’re uncomfortable with it, and you’ve done the work that Mike is talking about to develop that skill set and get more comfortable and it still doesn’t work, but you have great success when you’re meeting people out on a Friday night at a bar then Why make your life easy? Right? Why do we always wait? Why do we always complicate things for ourselves?

Mike Goldstein  25:07  

Yeah, I don’t know if people can see a picture of me but I’m like mediocre looking. But online like if maybe if you’d call them the attractive women are the women that are good looking that have like seems their life together. They pretty much want nothing to do with me because I’m not like, I’m not everything marketable online. But when you put me in person, like sometimes I’m pretty charismatic. And then I’m able to actually kind of like hit probably above my league sometimes.

Damona  25:38  

So okay, I’m not even buying anything, you guys. He’s very attractive and he’s very charming. But for you, you feel more like in your element. It sounds like when you’re meeting people out in the world.

Mike Goldstein  25:52  

I mean, I come from a life prior to starting this like I came from a sales background. I’m like, pretty social. So yeah, that’s fun for me. But I’m also considered one of the top online dating experts in the country. So I, and I teach that and I work with, you know, eHarmony. Okay keeping match with their data. So I can go both routes, and I teach a lot of clients online dating, but I also want to be open to who I’m working with and what their skill set is.

Mike Goldstein  26:18  

Does that make sense? It makes total sense. So there’s no answer to question two.

Damona  26:23  

There’s no best way but the best way is just to start and to get clarity on what path is best for you. How can people change their patterns in love? We talked a little bit about this in the Ben Affleck of it all. But what if somebody just recognizes a dating pattern? Like I always date I always date jerks or my relationship somebody just told me. I think someone DM me on Instagram and they said, I always have this thing where I’m like, really into somebody at first and then three weeks, three or four weeks go by and I’m just not that interested anymore. If you recognize your pattern, which is the First step, right? Then what’s the next step to changing it?

Mike Goldstein  27:04  

Like the first you gotta like, go, why am I doing this? So like, get the explanation for yourself. I do this because x. So now that you know why they aren’t, so how do I solve this? Okay, when person does x, then I’m going to do this. So now that you’ve got a strategy, like, right, what happens? You like, Oh, it’s happening. I see it. Yeah. And then you do your plan. So you can’t do it in the moment because like, as you know, when you go on date for and you like, your heart’s beating fast, and you’ve got your butterflies, like, I don’t care about this anymore. Get your strategy while you’ve got, you know, cool, calm, collected head. And so then when it happens, you’re like, Wait a second, I wrote this down, I have a plan, and then you can implement it.

Damona  27:49  

I did a plan. I did a dating plan called Operation date. Nice guy. Some of the longtime listeners know this, but I haven’t talked about in in a few episodes. So I recognize my opinion. My pattern was dating, dating, like, these sort of creative types that weren’t really into commitment and that that just wasn’t the place that I was at in my life. And I was like, I need somebody that’s like, gonna just be nice to me. So I actually really retrain my brain, I retrain what I was attracted to, I slowed everything down to like, that’s the thing like the chemistry, you’re saying, that’s reactive, as opposed to responsive of like, Okay, I’m taking this in. And I know that my instinct is to do this. But what’s better for me is to do

Mike Goldstein  28:37  


Damona  28:39  

And if you can create that space, to give yourself time to respond, instead of just reacting to whatever you’re feeling in the moment, then I think that can put you on a different path and work for me

Mike Goldstein  28:54  

and it can work for you too. I love that that’s such a smart way to do it. And that that’s solves, like probably 99% of the problem, right? There’s if you implement that, exactly,

Damona  29:05  

I just couldn’t, I couldn’t do it anymore. I couldn’t date those kind of guys anymore. And I couldn’t accept that kind of behavior. Like there’s also what what are you accepting in your life? Right? Like, what are what what do you want? And then what are you letting be okay? And they’re at a certain point, you have to if you want to change your pattern, I’d say you have to, you have to recognize it. And then you have to choose not to do it anymore.

Mike Goldstein  29:32  

Yeah, just to give folks some clarity on this. It’s freaking hard, because our brain actually tells us the exact opposite. They did a study, I think it was like five years ago, where they attach people’s brains while they were dating people to see what triggered and really we just kept. The reason we keep dating the same people is something trigger triggers in the amygdala every time we date the exact same person. And it’s basically comfort. We feel comfortable because it’s like, oh, last time, I dated profile, who it’s the same profile, I feel comfortable. Let me go that route. And we’ll just keep repeating that for. And I have clients that have been repeating that literally for 50 years when they keep dating the exact same person, because it’s comfortable. So you really do need to kind of like smack yourself in the head and be like, Wait a second. It’s why am I feeling comfortable? Is there something here? That’s not healthy for me?

Damona  30:22  

Yeah, what am I reacting to? Because it does feel different. When you do it differently. It feels different. And it’s just sort of like, like a fitness routine, right? If you is when you start it, you’re like, Oh, this sucks. This is really hard, and this feels uncomfortable. And then you get into it. And then you see things changing, and your lifestyle is changing. And you’re like, Oh, actually, this isn’t as hard as it used to be. But you have to get over that hump. Okay, I have more questions for you, Mick. Question number four is what are the elements of a strong, long lasting relationship?

Mike Goldstein  30:58  

Can I tell a story about the last one You have nothing

Damona  31:00  

but stories. Yes, you can tell I don’t want to keep going. No, no. Go ahead. Go ahead. We like your stories.

Mike Goldstein  31:07  

Okay. Um, so my old client, Isabella, she had pattern issues. She had actually abuse she came to me from an abusive relationship and was like, think of like, 40 year old 44 year old woman like battered, like very abusive relationship. She’s like, but I’m, I’ve healed I’m ready to go like beautiful. We’re going to start dating men that treat you well. She’s like, you’re absolutely right. We sure are. She starts dating, we, we send messages. We’re sending messages to guys. We send a message to this guy. He wants to go on a date. She comes back from the first date. She goes Mike. I’m not sexually attracted to this guy it at all. I said, Okay. On a zero to 10 scale. How was the conversation? Like a nine or a 10?

Damona  31:53  

Like, oh, that’s pretty good.

Mike Goldstein  31:55  

Pretty good. Would you go on another date with him? I guess so. Yeah. I gotta Second day. Hey Isabella, are you attracted to him yet? Nope, not at all. No attraction. You guys kiss? No. Okay. Day 45 you still gonna go out with them? Yeah, go. How’s the conversation? Oh, it’s a 10 really like me super smart. comes back from date eight. She goes, Mike. Nick is the sexiest man alive. What changed? He finally kissed her on date eight.

Damona  32:29  

Oh my gosh. Wow, what a nice guy. He waited quite a while. Now a lot of people would read into that too and would think, Oh, well, he doesn’t really like me that much because so much of attraction is also like feeling that the other person is attracted to you. But she didn’t do that she kept going out like most of my clients don’t get past eight three if they’re not feeling something.

Mike Goldstein  32:50  

I know. But if the conversations like at least at eight. I say give these guys a chance because this was the nice guy. The You know, super smart like he’s written I think like 10 books, college professor like PhD, just like a little socially not great, but great guy. And he was planning these amazing dates. And he probably, you know, didn’t have that much experience sexually. So he’s figuring it out a little bit.

Damona  33:16  

Well, and it’s also like that slow love thing that I talked about a lot on the show, like real chemistry develops over time. And so as she got to know him better, and as she trusted him more, and as he saw her, and she saw him for who they truly were, then she was able to feel attraction on a deeper level. And it’s way better than that, like, just initial like hubba hubba. Okay, we’re gonna do fourth question. I loved your story. Thank you. What are the elements of a strong, long lasting relationship?

Mike Goldstein  33:54  

Whoo, I’m really you need one thing. Let’s make this simple. Another science Study, they hook people up, that will have been married from anywhere from like 20 to 50 years that are self proclaimed happy marriages and see what triggers. And these people in happy relationships, the magdala triggered when they were giving, when both parties were givers within the relationship, that’s a happy relationship. If one person is not a giver, and chooses to give, these were unhappy marriages. So that was the one thing they found that needs to be there for a marriage to be happy, you know, 2050 years in,

Damona  34:36  

they have to both feel like they’re givers or feel like they’ve been given too.

Mike Goldstein  34:40  

So both just need to be givers. So like you

Damona  34:43  

have to actually be giving, you have to actually have to do it is what

Mike Goldstein  34:48  

you’re saying. You know, obviously, you know, the Five Love Languages was a big book. So you need to figure out what your partner wants to receive. But yeah, you need to go give like whether it’s Hey, damona you’ve had a tough day. I’m gonna make you you know Chicken tonight or whatever? Find out what

Damona  35:02  

Yeah, every day. That is definitely I am an acts of service gal. Interestingly as we’re talking about the five love like languages, which if you guys don’t know it, definitely look it up. I don’t have like an affiliate link or anything, you can just go check it out. But, um, I found when my husband and I like both did the quiz that we actually had the same exact first three love languages. And I was like, That explains it that explains why it’s so easy. Do you think there’s any value in trying to look for someone with I mean, it just happened to be that way. And part of me is like, Well, we’ve been together so long. I wonder if our love languages started to overlap or something? Or if we always were the same love language. Is there any benefit in trying to figure out the love language early on and match for that, or is that doing too much?

Mike Goldstein  35:54  

That’s a great question. Honestly. So first of all, opposites do not attract. So if you can find people that are similar. That’s a home run. So I actually, when I’m dating, do ask that question pretty early on. And I do prefer someone who’s the same. It’s so much easier like I’m a 10 out of 10 words of affirmation.

Damona  36:14  

Oh my god, we’d never be compatible. Yeah, so someone tell you these things like Didn’t I just, I just got my husband’s car clean like didn’t that that didn’t show? Yeah. So but you find somebody that is very effusive and shares their their words of how they feel about you.

Mike Goldstein  36:33  

Yeah, like I’m so drawn to someone who’s gone. sounds terrible, but someone who gives me compliments. Like, I’m like, who tell me more. Yeah, I want to be a part of this,

Damona  36:41  

right? Because that that’s how you are hearing and receiving the love so so is the answer. Don’t look for that or just ask them so that then you can know how to deliver love in the way that the

Mike Goldstein  36:53  

I would say in an ideal world you do want to look for. I mean, like when I work with clients, I Like 36 things that we write down that are things that you probably wanted a partner and you’re not gonna get all of them, right. But you want to start getting a lot of them. And this is one of those things that would be part of my 36 of like, something to be cognizant of while you’re dating, so it’s a little more strategic. You’re not just, hey, when I’m on the date, we’re having fun, no, like, well, what are the answers to all these questions? Do these things fit? So to answer your question, yes, that would be great if they have it, but no, don’t make it a deal breaker. Just be cognizant of what they are and see as you’re dating, like, Okay, I know their acts of service. Let me put in that effort and do some acts of service and see if they’re a giver, are they doing what you need? And if you’re both giving and giving in the right way, are you happy? Is this working? That’s more important.

Damona  37:47  

That is very important. Okay, last question for five Keifa. Before we move on to questions from our listeners, this is kind of a personal question, Mike, whose relationship do you admire and why? Could be a celeb could be someone in Your life could be me. No.

Mike Goldstein  38:05  

I’m not gonna lie after hearing about you, I kind of that is change. No

Damona  38:11  

no, but tell, like Tell me for real, like if there’s a relationship role model that you’re like relationship goals.

Mike Goldstein  38:18  

So I’m totally seeing this from afar, so I’m just imagining most of it, but that’s probably the best relationship. Do you know Johnny and Lera Fernandez the dating coaches? Yeah. I’m like obsessed with them from afar like I do know them personally. But their Facebook just looks like they’re so in love. That’s everybody. Yeah, they look so happy and like so aligned and they’re like, eat the same foods. I think they have the same like vegan diet and there was just smiling and they almost like look the same to them. Like man, they look so happy and perfect.

Damona  38:50  

Well, it’s probably also they’re like living this. They’re living this life of like giving people dating and relationship advice and then they have to live by it too. So, I think that’s very beautiful. Love to have them on the show one day. Okay, we are going to take a short break. When we come back we have your questions, listeners, we have things that have been on your mind that you’ve submitted through Instagram and Twitter and email and we are going to be answering your questions right after this. Welcome back to dates and mates. This is our final segment where we answer your questions we call it technically dating.

Mike Goldstein  39:31  


Damona  39:33  

this one comes to us from Instagram, this lady says so I had a conversation with my guy and asked why he isn’t putting more time into our relationship. He’s busy and seems to be pulled in a lot of different directions. My question is, if Should I wait patiently, and will that hurt me in the long run? Now, we all want guys that have stuff going on that are like living their best Life as well. But sounds like she doesn’t feel like she’s totally apart of all those other things.

Mike Goldstein  40:07  

Do we have any idea? Like, are they married? how long they’ve been dating?

Damona  40:10  

I, they’re dating. But I don’t know how long.

Mike Goldstein  40:15  

So I have different answers for different phases. If it’s very early on, and you really need a lot of interaction, maybe, you know, you can do a quick like, you know, it makes me so happy if you do x. And so you’re painting exactly what he needs to do. And you go tell him, you’d make me really happy if you did x and see what he delivers. And then when he does do something, you need to give him some appreciation. Like, thank you so much like it’s so great to hear from you. It’s so great to do this. I’m having so much fun. This is fabulous. Like I know you’re busy. Like I

Damona  40:52  

love spending time with you.

Mike Goldstein  40:54  

Yeah, like you’re amazing.

Damona  40:55  

That is so key, Mike and this is something that I feel like we haven’t talked about On the show, because I’ve said, you need to tell a guy how you want him to show up for you. And yet the other other side of that is to also acknowledge it when he does, because so many times we’re like, do this, do that. Do this, do that, but then you forget to close the loop. And that’s so key to know that like his actions, changed the way that you’re feeling.

Mike Goldstein  41:26  

Okay? Give them like a bonus tip,

Damona  41:28  


Mike Goldstein  41:30  

Bonus Tip in your appreciation. If it’s just a little more valuable than the thing he actually did, he’s going to want to do it more. So like, for example, if he, you know, did the dishes, and you go, give him a big smooch and be like, Oh, I can’t believe you did the dishes like you’re so amazing. Thank you so much. He’s like, wow, all I did was like, clean a few dishes and I’m getting like this big bear hug and a smooch. I might be doing the dishes more often.

Damona  42:00  

Right, exactly. It totally works. I can tell you from experience. Also, let’s address she says, if I wait patiently, will that hurt me in the long run? She shouldn’t just be like waiting. Like, what time do you get off work like, right? What else can she do?

Mike Goldstein  42:16  

Yeah, definitely not waiting.

Mike Goldstein  42:19  

Because you’re valuable. But being strategic and having a conversation with him at the right time, like not like in the middle of his workday when he maybe in the meeting or something. But hey, would it be possible to talk to you and you get a moment and then you know, he brings you up when he’s free. And you say, You’re so awesome. And I love spending time with you. It makes me so happy if we could do something x or, or I would love to hear from you more. See you. It makes me so happy when I get to do X with you.

Mike Goldstein  42:50  

And then see how he responds. Right?

Mike Goldstein  42:55  

Because maybe he can make some time for you. Maybe he doesn’t realize and

Damona  43:00  

Maybe it’s not his love language like maybe your love language is quality time. And he thought it was acts of service or something like that. And he did all these things, but he didn’t realize that it wasn’t connecting for you. I have another question for you, Mike. This one comes to us from one of our friends with benefits from the Patreon club. She says what does it mean when a guy says he does something because it’s funny. For example, my guy tells me other girls are flirting with him because he says he’s just being honest. And he isn’t doing anything with him with them. But he finds a cute that I get jealous. Is this a red flag?

Mike Goldstein  43:39  


Mike Goldstein  43:41  

finds a cute one. She’s just funny. cute and funny.

Damona  43:47  

What do you say my

Mike Goldstein  43:48  

sounds like he’s almost like deflecting her feelings.

Mike Goldstein  43:52  

I’m like, I wonder if that person who asked that as feeling like he’s not listening or not. not concerned about her. I mean, I’m just projecting that. But you know, I think you need to present if it’s bothering you, it needs to be presented that way, like, hey, when you do act, you know, when you’re flirting with these girls, that makes me feel a little less special. And I don’t ever want to change who you are like, I love who you are. But I just wanted you to know how I feel and

Damona  44:23  

own your feelings and then see how he responds to that.

Mike Goldstein  44:26  

Because maybe he doesn’t if you’re feeling upset, maybe he doesn’t want you to feel that way.

Damona  44:30  

Yeah, I tend to not think of anything as a red flag. People are always like, what are the red flags and dating? I think it’s just like, what kind of response do you get when you express your truth and your feelings and what you need? I also wonder if he is doing that, because he’s not feeling like you’re seeing him enough. And he’s not feeling like you’re, you’re pumping him up, because why else would he go? If you’re in a relationship and he’s committed to you? Why would he need the validation from these other women flirting with him. And then why would he need to tell you? It’s just because he wants you to tell him? Like, those same things? Right? That’s a great point. Yeah. I mean, it’s a childish way to go about it. Yeah. But that’s probably what’s underneath.

Mike Goldstein  45:16  

Yeah, like the whole situation. I mean, it does lead to an amazing, such an amazing point. Just go sit down and be like, Hey, are you happy with in our relationship or what’s going on within our life can 

Damona  45:25  

do to make you feel more secure? Because I You don’t need to get validation from these other women if I’m doing what what you need, you know,

Mike Goldstein  45:35  

maybe he wants some flirting from his girlfriend and some words of appreciation and then he will be the other women in this room. I don’t see my girlfriend. She’s fantastic.

Damona  45:45  

I need to know your love language, honey. Okay, um, one bonus question because you’re a guy and because this came from a guy, our fan Jose, who’s been listening to the show for a really long time, he says what is it that women with children take care of guys better than those with women without children. Do you see this? Mike? I don’t know. Do you date ladies with children? I have? Do they? Do they take better care of you?

Mike Goldstein  46:15  


Damona  46:16  

We’re just so used to take care. I mean, I even mom to earlier, I was like, you need to scoot your chair and let me put this. Let me put this microphone here. But like, that could be kind of dangerous thinking for Jose, right? Like, the fact that he’s already drawing a conclusion about a whole group of people based on a couple of experiences, right?

Mike Goldstein  46:38  

Yeah. And you know, it’s probably fun initially. It’s like, whew, someone’s doing stuff for me. And I’ve been there. I’ve had women that do stuff for me. But eventually, it’s like, hold on, she took the masculine role. And now what am I doing? How do I get to provide? Wait a second, I’m no longer sexually attracted to my mom who happens to be my girlfriend. You don’t want to date your mom. You don’t want them doing stuff. You want to be doing stuff for them, letting them kick their feet back. You know, mom is doing stuff for kids all day long, all day long. All day long. And then imagine back to the chicken and all night

Damona  47:12  

too. Okay. But I digress. Back to the Yeah, like, be the mayor chicken. Yeah, we’re

Mike Goldstein  47:19  

gonna, mom can arrest and all of a sudden she’s like, wow, this guy’s great. He’s doing stuff for me. I don’t have to do stuff for him. I got to kick my feet back. Cool. Maybe I owe him like a kiss or something or good conversation or I’m excited about this.

Damona  47:37  

I like that you didn’t go blue. I’m not good conversation. It’s like, oh, there’s other things you could do.

Mike Goldstein  47:43  

Yeah, sorry.

Damona  47:45  

We’re gonna keep it clean. For today’s episode. This is our last of five q fab. I love to hear which takeaways from the things the wonderful wisdom that Mike shared, really hit home for you. You can tweet me at five keys. With using the hashtag, you can tweet me using the hashtag five q fab, and share those insights and we’ll share them with the rest of our audience as well. Thank you so much for being here, Mike.

Mike Goldstein  48:11  

Thank you for having me.

Damona  48:13  

And you can catch up with Mike at easy dating coach calm and check out his YouTube channel. So awesome look for easy dating coach. And while you’re on his website, get his free gift. There’s so many free gifts but one that you think I think you might really be interested in is the video for how to get and keep a guy forever. We’ll put the link in the show notes. Thank you so much.

Mike Goldstein  48:36  

Thank you.

Damona  48:38  

I hope you enjoyed Episode 298 of dates and mates again, I’m at damona Hoffman on all the socials and I want to hear your love questions and maybe you need a little bit more support from me right now and you want to get in on some of those live coaching calls, check out our Patreon slash dates and mates and see how I can support you in a bigger way in love will be back again next week when I will be talking to my co host from the TV series hashtag black love. Mr. jack daniels who has a big announcement about his own love life. And he’ll be talking with me about how dating has changed since black love. And since we began this podcast, we’re coming up on 300 episodes. So we’re going to ring in the 300th episode in a big way. We’ll see you next week. But until then, I wish you happy dating

Man Shopping & Psychotic Optimism: Love Month Part 3


It’s February and you know what that means – Valentine’s is upon us! And to celebrate the month of love, we’ll be doing something special. We have 4 of the top prior Dates & Mates guest love experts who will be joining me for the next 4 weeks. This is episode three of our Love Month #5QFeb!


Before we get into the show, just a quick shout out to our new listeners. We are so grateful to Apple Podcasts, Stitcher and Pandora for all featuring us or Valentine’s Day and we welcome you if you’re new to the show!

This week’s love expert is Bela Gandhi, founder of Smart Dating Academy and a weekly media correspondent. She is a relationship expert and has been featured on everything from Good Morning America, Steve Harvey, The Today Show, Fox & Friends and so much more!

She’s here to give us a whole new perspective on love that we haven’t heard yet!

More on that later, first we have headlines!



Why Shakira won’t marry her super hot baby daddy

According to their latest interview on 60 Minutes, Shakira and hunky soccer player Gerard Pique will not marry. ‘I don’t want him to see me as ‘The Wife’,” she says. “His lover, his girlfriend. It’s like a little forbidden fruit, you know? I wanna keep him on his toes. I want him to think that anything’s possible depending on behavior.” Is this manipulative behavior? Damona and Bela have thoughts.


Could Twitter be the right dating app for you?

The Bold Italic published a personal piece from comedian Ginny Hogan where she explains how Twitter became a dating app for her! Damona breaks down how to know if it’s right for you.


Everything you need to know about online dating today

From Damona’s most trusted resource, the Pew Research Center!


#5QFeb (20:32)

Damona asks Bela the 5 MOST IMPORTANT dating questions of our time:

  • What is the biggest challenge for daters today?
  • What is the best way to find love?
  • How can people change their patterns in love?
  • What are the elements of a strong, long lasting relationship?
  • Whose relationship do you admire and why?




Submit your questions Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook and hear our answers live on the show! Here’s what our listeners asked about this week:

  • What’s a reasonable age gap for dating? I started dating someone who is 7 years younger. My concern is we won’t be on the same page when we get down to having future talk. Is it worth dating someone that much younger?
  • Would you suggest speed dating? 
  • What do you do when you feel like giving up on dating?




Are you feeling overwhelmed with dating and relationships and looking for a little more support? then you are the perfect person to become one of my Friends with Benefits.  

We just launched a special patreon program for our listeners who want a little more love from Damona

What is Patreon?

Patreon is a platform that allows you to support creators like me to keep making helpful content that you want to hear and allow you to get amazing listener benefits by participating

Our page is

What will you get if you sign up?

A private Facebook group where you can chat with me and other listeners of the show.

And you’ll have an opportunity to join me for private group coaching sessions.

Plus secret BTS content from our nearly 300 episodes of Dates & Mates.

And for my really special top-tier FWBs, you can even get a personalized dating profile analysis from me with tips tailored just for you on how to make a magnetic profile that draws the right kind of dates to you.

The Patreon is live on at

And we have a special bonus for anyone who signs up at the Lover or VIP level – a free autographed copy of my book. But only if you sign up during the month of February.

Go to to see which of tier is right for you. I look forward supporting you on a deeper level and inviting you inside the community as one of my Friends with Benefits.


Damona  0:00  

Are you feeling overwhelmed and frustrated with dating and relationships and looking for a little more support than you are the perfect person to become one of my friends with benefits? We just launched a special Patreon program for our listeners who want a little more love for me. What is Patreon? Patreon is a platform that allows you to support creators like me to keep making helpful content that you want to hear. And it allows you to get amazing listener benefits by participating. Our page is slash dates and mates. What will you get if you sign up? First, we have a private Facebook group where you can chat with me and other listeners of the show. And you’ll have an opportunity to join me for private group coaching sessions. Plus, you’ll get secret behind the scenes content from our nearly 300 episodes of dates and mates. And for my really special top tier Fw B’s, you can even get a personalized dating profile. analysis from me, with tips tailored just for you on how to make a magnetic dating profile that draws in just the right kind of dates to you. The Patreon is live, slash dates and mates. And we have a special bonus for anyone who signs up at the lover or VIP level during the month of February. You’ll also get a free autographed copy of my book but only if you sign up during this month of February. So go to slash dates and mates to see which tier is right for you. I look forward to supporting you on a deeper level and inviting you inside the community. As one of my friends with benefits.

Bela Gandhi  1:41  

What does his text me so frustrated? He’s just not that into me. I’ve always been battle for attention.

Bela Gandhi  1:48  

I’m ready for miracles but

Bela Gandhi  1:49  

I’m sure my

Damona  1:54  

Modern love Made Simple. This is dates and mates with damona Hoffman happy love month lovers. This is episode three of our special five to five love month series during which I will interview your favorite dates and mates guests and ask the most pressing questions about love. Today, we’re using the hashtag five q fab if you want to get in on the conversation and let me know what the big takeaways are for you from today’s episode. Before we get into the show, I also just want to give a quick shout out to our new listeners. We are so grateful that Apple podcasts and Stitcher and Pandora are all featuring us for Valentine’s Day and have sent us a lot of new listeners. So we’re so glad to have you here. And I just want to welcome you if you are new to the show, I’m certified Dating Coach damona Hoffman and I’ve been coaching singles on online and offline dating for about 15 years. I’ve made a lot of marriages and I’ve seen a lot of dating changes during that time. And one dating expert who has been in the love trenches with me for a lot of that time is Bella Gandhi. Bella is a data And relationship expert. She’s the founder of smart dating Academy and she’s a weekly media correspondent. You’ve probably seen her on anything from Good Morning America to the Steve Harvey show the today show fox and friends and so much more. But she’s so much more than just that resume. She’s a dear friend of mine and I am excited to give big smooches and welcome Bella Gandhi.

Bela Gandhi  3:23  

I am so excited to be here. This is amazing.

Damona  3:27  

You are amazing. Your advice is amazing. And I’m really excited to do this five q fab. These questions with you today. But I’m also excited to cover these headlines we have a lot of news to talk about, including why Shakira won’t get married to her super hot baby daddy, and how you can use Twitter as your dating app, plus some new research on dating from my most trusted source. And then we’ll be answering your questions including what’s a reasonable age gap for dating and what are the odds you’ll meet your match at speed dating All that and more on today’s dates and mates. Bella, are you ready for love month?

Bela Gandhi  4:05  

Girl? I could not be more ready. No Well then let’s do this 

Damona  4:12  

Now Shakira is making headlines not just for her very hot performance in the Super Bowl halftime show, but also because she and her boyfriend Spanish soccer star, Gerard PK are not getting married anytime soon. Now before you go thinking this is just, this is just too hot people getting together. It’s no big deal. No, they have actually been together since 2011. And they have two children together. So these two are really bonded. They are central essentially living as a married couple but they do not want to get married. Bella, here’s why she says on an interview for 60 minutes she said I don’t want him to see me as the wife. I want him to see me as his lover his girlfriend. It’s Like a little forbidden fruit, you know, I want to keep him on. I want them to think that anything’s possible depending on behavior. What do you think about that statement in the fact that she is not putting any any value on marrying the father of her children?

Bela Gandhi  5:20  

You know, I think, I think she came out of a pretty famously bad divorce, before she got together with pk. So I think it’s really normal after you’ve been through something that can be so traumatic, especially as a celebrity and when somebody was trying to you know, you know, take a legitimate part of your fortune that didn’t belong to them. Like I understand why she would be kind of have a lot of trepidation about getting into another marriage situation.

Damona  5:51  

It is understandable. I’m a big fan of marriage, but I also think it’s not the right fit for everyone. I do find though, when you start to build your life together, you have two kids. You have a home together, that sometimes we, we lose sight of the big picture. And we just think like, well, I don’t want to go, I want to go against the grain I don’t want to do what what I did before or what other people are doing. And that sometimes, like, as much as we want it to be, like passion filled and romantic, we have to be a little bit practical and pragmatic.

Bela Gandhi  6:22  

Oh, I think that that’s, I think that that’s so true. And I think, you know, keeping that spark going in a marriage, right, or even a long term relationship, it takes a lot of work, it takes a lot of communication, it takes a lot of negotiation, and it takes a lot of intimacy to get there and sometimes, you know, the the issue can be in a relationship, you know, especially when people can be have, you know, multiple partners or not married is the question is how truly safe Do you feel in this relationship without that official commitment, right and that can drive trust issues as well. Yeah,

Damona  7:03  

I got a little nervous I must admit when she said I want to keep him on his toes. I want them to think that’s any anything’s possible depending on behavior, which I’m reading into me and like his behavior and that she could maybe withhold something from him if she doesn’t like what what he’s doing. And that felt a little bit manipulative to me, but maybe I’m reading it the wrong way.

Bela Gandhi  7:27  

Yeah, I mean, I think you can read it that way. For sure. You know, and I think it’s also based on like, Okay, if you end up you know, pulling the wool over my eyes if you end up doing what you know, some other athletes have done to the people they’re in relationships with cheated on them, then there’s consequences for that behavior and peace out. I’m out if you do that.

Damona  7:53  

Yes, she is. Setting a firm boundary. I expect nothing less of Shakira, but I do You like this idea of keeping the romance alive and like I think there’s a way that even if you are married or you’re considering getting married, you can still have that have that essence of the girlfriend the lover the the romantic interest and still keep keep that that energy alive even though you are now the wife.

Bela Gandhi  8:21  

Yes, again, it definitely takes work right and it is because in a sense, like safety and excitement are two opposite emotions right? And the more attach them the more safe you feel with your partner, which is amazing. And you know, it’s the best feeling in the world. It becomes hard to keep that spark. So it’s really working on the balance of the two which is possible it just again, it’s it’s not natural.

Damona  8:45  

Yes, it’s not natural. One thing that’s also not natural, is meeting people on Twitter. I read this really fun article in The Bold Italic which of course will link to in the show notes by a comedian named Jenny. Hope Again, who is just frustrated with Tinder she says she signs on and off multiple times throughout the day. But one thing that’s been consistent in her life is her Twitter presence and she actually uses it as a place to try out her jokes and really show her personality. And she gets a lot of dm slides, Bella, I hear you

Bela Gandhi  9:20  

I know, I got married on Twitter.

Damona  9:22  

I know a couple who got married on Twitter as well who will not on Twitter but from Twitter. They are tweet hearts. It can work but like this this article, they she posted a lot of her dm slides that were less than less than exciting to receive. And less than savory. Less than savory to read.

Bela Gandhi  9:49  


Damona  9:50  

How do you look at that in terms of Twitter being a dating, a place for dating and Twitter as she says being her dating app in a way? How do you filter Through those dm slides and not get overwhelmed or, or like disappointed and find the real gems, if you’re going to use Twitter in that, in that function. You

Bela Gandhi  10:11  

know, Don’t I look at the entire world is fair game for dating, right? Whether it’s Twitter or Instagram, whether it’s work, whether it’s church, the synagogue, the train, you can meet great people everywhere. And the filtering mechanisms, ultimately, are going to be a little bit different just based on the context that you’ve met this person. But what what I liked about what she said is, you can really tell a lot about someone through reading their Twitter profile, and her Twitter profile was really thick. She had a lot and you could tell a lot about you could kind of make conclusions about her personality based on the things that she was tweeting. And you can also draw conclusions about other people based on what they’re tweeting. It’s like, in a sense, if you’re on Tinder or Bumble or match you can only look at that conversation that you’re having with that person. Here, you can look at the conversations that people are having with the world. Yes, it’s

Damona  11:08  

in a way, it’s taken down the filter of I’m here for dating, like people on dating apps always try to put their best dating face forward. But there’s so much more information if you can actually see that person in their natural habitat and what they would post on Twitter. It was a little confusing in that she’s a comedian. And she’s like, some of this stuff is basically just jokes. And so people are going to make certain assumptions, assumptions based on what they’ve seen on her Twitter profile. But it seems like overall, it’s been more successful for her than dating apps have been,

Bela Gandhi  11:44  

hey, if it works, keep doing it right. For some people. They meet on match for some people they meet on eHarmony Twitter, Instagram, I know you like me do this on a daily basis. You’ve seen it all. You’ve heard it all. Keep doing what works.

Damona  12:00  

I like that. And I like that it’s you’re not attaching meaning to a certain way of meeting someone. A lot of times people tell me Well, I don’t want my story that I tell my kids to be that we met on Twitter or Tinder or what have you. And ultimately, if you get the happy ending doesn’t necessarily matter where it comes from.

Bela Gandhi  12:19  

I hear it too to me. I’m like, then I don’t know that you’re truly ready to find love. Oh,

Bela Gandhi  12:28  

tough love. Yeah. Right. You should be open to meeting people anywhere whether you meet eyes across mangoes at Whole Foods, whether you meet them on Tinder or match or on the train wherever it is right that it’s finding the lid to your pot. There’s nothing better in life who cares where they came from? Be grateful for that outlet.

Damona  12:49  

Yes, well, I know you’ve been doing this a long time. As I have. I’ve I’ve written the way from online dating to dating apps and one source that I always look to for research on this area is the Pew Research Center. And they just released the 10 facts about online dating in America that I don’t think anything is shock is going to shock you or I, but it might shock some people that that now 45% of people are saying that dating apps are positive experiences, but they say they’ve had frustrations. Now, the majority of people under 30. Well, almost 50% of people under 30 have used a dating site or dating app. And those numbers are also growing in the 30 to 49 and the 50 plus group. So it’s really becoming a much more accepted way of dating then when I began coaching singles on dating apps before and people were like,

Bela Gandhi  13:47  

I don’t want to do that.

Damona  13:48  

What are you seeing as someone that’s also been in this space for a long time, in terms of attitudes around dating, and dating online?

Bela Gandhi  13:58  

You know, I think there’s a certain reason Ignatius

Bela Gandhi  14:02  

people are resigned to it like they know that they need to do it. And it’s just the way life works. I don’t know that anybody comes to me, particularly jazzed about mind dating. But you know, I look at dating that with three major pipelines I do you meet somebody in real life, you get set up with them, or you’re using a site or an app to meet people, it really boils down to those three. So if you don’t use technology, you’ve just eliminated one major pipeline of candidates.

Damona  14:32  

Yeah. And the pipeline that really keeps growing. I mean, when I began doing this, they would say like, one in six relationships started with a dating site. And now those numbers are looking like more like one and four and possibly even one in three. I think the numbers actually underreported. So that’s really the trend. And even though you’re not maybe excited to use a dating app, I think sometimes people assign more meetings. To the vehicle, then they do intention to the process. Do you know what I mean by that?

Bela Gandhi  15:06  

Yeah, absolutely. It’s like, well, I don’t want to do the online dating. I said, Do you want to find love? Then you need to do the data. Do you want to do the dating? Most people don’t want to do the dating, right? They want to Amazon Prime there, mate. You know, I want to check off 17 boxes. He should be this tall. He should make this much money. He should be this funny. And I’d like him delivered prime to my mailbox.

Damona  15:29  

Yeah, I used to think that I actually felt that way about online dating for I still feel that way about online dating. I would call it man shopping. And I really feel like I ordered up my husband, but you know, I had to make a few returns. And that’s just part of the process. Sometimes you buy something it doesn’t really fit. So you got to take it back.

Bela Gandhi  15:47  

Exactly. It’s like Goldilocks man. She had to sit in three chairs before she found the one that was just right.

Damona  15:53  

Yes, yes, exactly. Just like Goldilocks. We’re all Goldilocks out here. What do you think in terms of the The qualities or the values that people are looking at, according to the Pew study, people were were focused on things like the type of relationship that the person was looking for whether or not they have children, hobbies and interests, religious beliefs. I’m going in, in descending order, racial or ethnic background, occupation, height still in there. And political affiliation. Those are all factors that people are sorting based on. Do you think we’re focusing on the wrong things right now?

Bela Gandhi  16:30  

You know, I think that we’re focusing on quantitative things, right? Things that you can put numbers to things that you can assign values to things that are that things that seem easy, right? height, interest, religion, race, political affiliation, right. But ultimately, it’s the qualitative stuff that is the beauty of relationships.

Damona  16:52  

Yes. So maybe it’s the maybe the maybe the religious beliefs if that’s really core to who you are. Maybe like the Children that’s kind of a hard thing to overlook if they have children and you’re not into that, but the superficial stuff like what’s your take on height? I feel like I keep going around and around with clients about the importance of height. What do you say to women that that are like must be six to our taller?

Bela Gandhi  17:20  

Now I tell them you’re kind of dating from your cave woman self like I get. we’re wired that way right? There’s evolution. 200,000 years humans haven’t evolved very much. And women still preference traits that they did you know back in the caveman days like I want you to be big caveman who can go out to jungle kill buffalo drag buffalo home to feed me and children. But I really rationally in today’s day and age, size doesn’t really matter height doesn’t really matter. If you look at the statistics, only 12% of men in this country are over six feet tall. The average American man take it A cross white, black, Hispanic, Asian is between five, eight and five, nine.

Damona  18:06  

And that’s a perfectly good height for most women who are what average five for the average American

Bela Gandhi  18:11  

woman. It’s about 5455. You know, and six feet tall. I tell my clients like, think about, I just put 100 age appropriate men in the room. Okay? Now if you say you want him to be six feet or over, you open the door, let 88 of them walk out of the room. Now you’re left with 12. That is what you did with just that one parameter.

Damona  18:36  

That is so interesting when you look at it that way and you really see the numbers of your dating pool going down and then and then all of the other filters that we put on it, suddenly we’re like there’s one guy or less

Bela Gandhi  18:48  

that we may be looking, it’s a percentage multiplier. Exactly. So if you have 12 guys left in the room that are six feet taller over, then if you’re like, I’d like him to be white and I’d like him to be Halfway right? There’s nobody left.

Damona  19:04  

What can people do to expand their dating pool right now beyond just taking away some of those, those filters that you and I feel are non essentials? What are some other ways that people can open up to love,

Bela Gandhi  19:18  

you know, with every inch that you come down closer to your height, I’m five, three on a really big hair day. And my husband’s five, six on a really big hair day. Right? And, and the closer you can come to your own height, every inch screens in hundreds, if not thousands of good prospective candidates for you. You know, so really think about you know, I tell my clients like everybody’s the same height line down. Yeah.

Damona  19:47  

That’s what everyone’s going for anyway.

Bela Gandhi  19:50  

Right. Right. And, and I get how we’re wired right and, but understand the math of what you’re looking for. Know what’s really non negotiable to you. To your point earlier, if religion is a big deal for you, then that has to be in there, but you’ve got to be able to give on something else. Because if you do that percentage multiplier and you’re not getting good candidates in your pool, you might just be constraining too many parameters and the sites don’t have someone for you. If you’re not getting good matches, take a look at yourself and say, What if I asked for? Is it realistic based on the demographic on this site?

Damona  20:32  

Yes. Is it realistic and is it even really what I need? Yes, it really that important when you really think about the long term goals that you have and the values that you have and what you really need in a partner. Okay, we are going to take a quick break when we come back we’ll be doing these five q fab questions with Bella. So Bella, get ready because we’re going to go deep in the next segment, I’m ready. We are back with Bella Gandhi of smart Dating Academy. So if you’ve been following this month, we are asking five big questions of for dating experts and getting wildly different responses, but all very illuminating. So Bella, Here’s your first question for five q fab. What is the biggest challenge for daters today?

Bela Gandhi  21:23  

Man? I have to pick one. Just one. And like,

Damona  21:27  

Here, I’ll I’ll narrow it down. Not one of the ones that we’ve talked about before. In the first segment.

Bela Gandhi  21:34  

Yeah, I think relying too much on chemistry. Right. We feel like like there’s a lot in that one statement. I think that with dating apps and sites and this abundance of people that are seemingly out there for us, what happens is we go out on a date, and we’re not feeling fireworks chemistry butterflies were like men Let me see who else is in my inbox. I don’t think we’re a match. You know, when you throw that person back to the pond, it’s such a big mistake. For example, I knew my husband, we were friends for six years before there was a spark, right? And we work with our clients. I don’t care if you’re feeling chemistry on the first or second or third date because good love can be a slow burn. It’s such a mistake what people are doing today expecting to be bowled over electrified by a person. In fact, if my clients are feeling really heavy chemistry with somebody on the first date, it’s a total red flag to me it’s a red flag meaning I think this person that you have all this chemistry with me just remind you of someone that you dated that was bad for you.

Damona  22:42  

Oh, yeah, I remember you saying that on Good Morning America segment that that those heavy butterflies are actually a bad sign and not to keep going back to the same well, but I talked to a few weeks ago about love at first sight and how it can’t exist because you I don’t really know that other person but I never really thought about it from the perspective of it may be your reaction to that person reminding you of an of something familiar and we tend to attract the familiar, right? Even if it’s something that’s not good for us, we we tend to repeat

Bela Gandhi  23:17  

the same pattern. Hey, I believe there’s lust at first sight, but love at first sight know lust comes after lust, attraction, and then attachment and love,

Damona  23:28  

like those difference, like how is there a certain amount of time that it takes you think to develop that slow love?

Bela Gandhi  23:36  

Yeah, for sure. I mean, you have to, you have to grow emotionally intimate with the person, right? You have to feel like this person is good for you. They’re stable. They make you feel safe, secure. They’re a cheerleader for you. They’re supportive. They’re kind, they’re generous. They love your people like those things take time to unfold. And this is where so many people Fuck is, you know, I would say lust is nature’s way of tricking us into love and attachment. And you really have to vet who the hell you’re dating. Yeah,

Damona  24:11  

yeah, that’s it. That’s a easier said than done, you know, when we get caught up in the feelings and and then and it’s not even just the feelings Bella, we get caught up in the story, this that happy ending that we want. And the story that we’ve told ourselves he’s going to be six to he’s going to make this much money. He’s also like you said going to be like Catholic and this background and whatever. And then you get there and realize the story that you were telling yourself isn’t the story that’s in front of you. Yeah, question to the story into getting that happy ending even though the facts aren’t necessarily there in front of us.

Bela Gandhi  24:46  

And yeah, yeah. And it’s focused on the right things. I tell people be picky, but be picky about the right things. Be open to the story.

Damona  24:55  

Huh? Yeah, yes. And so and sometimes, the story goes in and unexpected directions and you have to be willing to, to go with the flow. So for those people that are still looking for their love story, here’s the second question, what is the best way to find love today?

Bela Gandhi  25:13  

Hey, now I’m going to hark back to the three wells that I talked about right in, in real life getting set up and going on online dates, right? I mean, the best way is to make a plan that includes all three of those pipelines, and then optimizing it, everything that like finding love, there’s nothing more important than you will ever do in your life, then find the right partner for you. And the best way to do it is to take those three pipelines into consideration and then make a plan you have to know where you are right? And then you have to know where you want to go. You need two points to have a path where I am and where I want to be. But it’s hard right it that that’s the

Damona  26:00  

Renee brown calls that’s the messy middle.

Bela Gandhi  26:03  

It’s the messy middle. It’s like anything, right? It’s like changing careers. It’s like starting a business. It’s like having children. The middle is always messy. Right? And the journey is never a straight line up. It’s a lot of mess in between ups downs, plateaus, downs, lower downs, high ups, right and coming back to the mean.

Damona  26:22  

Okay, so for those that have identified that they are not necessarily on the path that they want to be on. Our third question is What? How can people change their patterns in love?

Bela Gandhi  26:35  

intervention, you need help. It doesn’t come naturally. Right? You can an intervention, meaning you might go out and buy a book that resonates with you, if you’re a person that’s a DIY, or you can Google it, you can read it. You can put your plan together and do it then do it. Right. If not, you need a supportive team. Maybe it’s a therapist, you know, maybe it’s a village of friends. Maybe it’s a co You need to change patterns requires a lot of work, a lot of mindfulness and a lot of Conscious Dating.

Damona  27:09  

Oh, but that’s tough. Because that also, it does require an acknowledgement that that something is broken. And that’s the place that I find a lot of people get. Talk themselves out of, right? How do you know what the right next step should be like? I had someone who I think follows me on Twitter, who was like already for a dating plan. We’re talking about dating plan, and then all of a sudden, she’s like, actually, I just decided that I’m going to do a like a man cleanse and I’m going to have just no just no men this month instead. And it was like, Whoa, like in between day one, I wanted to do it day two, I am just actually going to retreat from the whole thing. How do you know what the right path is at the right time?

Bela Gandhi  28:01  

It just it depends on how you feel right? If the thought of going on a date excites you, then go on the man plan. If the thought of going on a date, you know, makes you want to vomit, then it’s time, man. It’s

Damona  28:15  

good. It’s a good point, like, Where are you right now. And so many times people come to me and they’re like, I’m just super frustrated with dating apps. And I feel like I’m banging my head against the wall. And I’m doing this than the other thing. And I just I hate it. I’m all about you dating from a healthy, happy place, right?

Bela Gandhi  28:34  

Look, if you’re tired of anything, it’s not going to work for you. You have to, you know, the mindset that I espouse is called psychotic optimism, right? You have to believe in your gut, in your toes. Every part of you, like love exists for me, it’s when it’s not an F. Right? And like once you start to adopt this mindset, side of you know, the FDA psychotic optimism, then you’re going to start to be in a good mindset today. If you’re telling yourself, you know, the bad stories, I’m too old. I’m too fat. I’m too damaged. There’s nobody good out there. How well do you think you’re going to date? Huh?

Damona  29:21  

Yeah. And you have to be dating from that place of psychotic optimism. But in a way that’s like faith in the face of it, even when does the story that you see doesn’t add up to that it’s just like having the faith in spite of what you might be getting right now and knowing that the right now is not necessarily the future to get a leap of faith.

Bela Gandhi  29:51  

Everything is a leap of faith right and it requires hope, massive amounts of hope, and hope springs eternal when you live Take on that mindset of love will come to me. It’s a when it’s not an if I’ve just guaranteed you guys that you’re going to find love. Now all you have to do is go out and date like hell define this person. So go forth and conquer.

Damona  30:16  

Yes, yes. Okay, so now we found the person. Now the fourth question is what are the elements of a strong, long lasting relationship?

Bela Gandhi  30:27  

commitment, shared commitment to each other. Right. And a shared partnership. You know, I, my husband and I have been married, it’ll be 23 years this year. And we have work committed to each other and we’re committed to each other’s happiness. And we’re committed to running this crazy business that we have called home. And yes, and being supportive of each other’s dreams and wishes and you know, being Continue to give more than you take and you cannot go wrong.

Damona  31:05  

Oh, I love that you said that give more than you take,

Bela Gandhi  31:07  

give more than you take and make a gratitude list about your partner, right? We talk a lot about gratitude and it’s linkage to happiness, right? It’s irrefutable, we all know it’s true. Make, you know, make a gratitude list about your partner. If you find yourself in that rut for those of you that might be in new relationships that are listening, or in relationships, think look at what this person does for you see them, notice them, tell them, watch your relationship change for the better.

Damona  31:41  

Hmm. I love that gratitude and everything. Gratitude, gratitude, also, and dating. That’s something I do with clients at the beginning of the process of making sure that they appreciate what they have, rather than focusing on what they don’t have. Yeah, I have one final question for you for five key fab. And that’s whose relationship do you admire? And why?

Bela Gandhi  32:02  

Well, you know, I am really lucky. I know we can’t pick our families, but I really will. I respect and admire the relationships of both sets of my parents, my own parents as well as my husband’s parents. Both of them are have been married 51 and 52 years respectively. And they have been through high highs. They’ve been through low lows. They have had children together, they have had success in careers they have had, you know, bankruptcies, they’ve had health scares, they’ve had people close to them die, and they have held each other’s hands through this journey called life.

Damona  32:47  

Do you think having a successful relationship yourself, how much do you think having that relationship role model in each of your parents impacted your ability to form a successful relationship and be securely attached?

Bela Gandhi  33:05  

Yeah, I think it’s really important. You know, I think that in general, our parents and the relationships that they modeled for us can have a profound impact on how we choose our own partners. Right? You can either repeat or you can repel. It’s usually one or the other.

Damona  33:22  

Hmm, yeah. And then there’s hope still, for those listening who, like me came from a divorced, divorced couple. There is hope, right?

Bela Gandhi  33:33  

Oh my gosh, you guys. I mean, every client of mine, we’ve had thousands of clients over the last decade. Most people come in with divorce, death, trauma, abuse, you know, one or two narcissistic parents. I believe me, I see the absolute beautiful, Rainbow laid and happy endings for people That’s why earlier when you asked what do people need, they need intervention with the right intervention and the right amount of hard work and doing things and being patient positive and perseverant, you can overcome that it does not have to be your destiny as well.

Damona  34:17  

Well, thank you for sharing your insights with us for five q fab. And for answering my questions, but that’s not all because our listeners have also sent in their questions and we are going to keep you keep you here for technically dating. How are you liking five q FEHB. This is a totally new format for love month and I want to know what you think of it so far. So you can tweet me at damona Hoffman with the hashtag five que FEHB FBB. And tell me what your big takeaways were from my interview with Bella. So she’s answered my questions, but now she’s going to answer yours. If you have a dating question. By the way, I love giving love Advice. And you can send me a question anytime on any platform at damona Hoffman or you can leave me a message through dates and or email me or send me a voicemail at 424-246-6255 I triple dog dare you because people are so scared to leave their voice. But I promise you, I won’t buy I’ll be compassionate as I always try to be on the show. But I would love to hear your voice. I’d love to have you submit a question via voicemail. So however your questions get to me, we will be answering them. We have three questions queued up for Bella to answer in the next segment. We are back with data mates and here’s what’s on your mind today. Every week we take questions that you’ve submitted through Instagram through Twitter in my email inbox, and we get the questions answered by highly qualified experts like Bella Gandhi. Okay, Bella, this one Lady asks, What is a reasonable age gap for dating? I started dating someone who is seven years younger. My concern is we won’t be on the same page when we get down to having future talk. Is it worth dating someone that much

Bela Gandhi  36:14  

younger? Look, I’d have to know what the ages you know, if one is 18 and the others 25. That’s a big age difference. But if one person is 35 and 42, those age differences whittle away as we get older,

Damona  36:28  

I did actually do a little follow up research and found out the ages are 33. And I think she said 20. She said 26. So there’s six years, almost seven, right? Yeah.

Bela Gandhi  36:40  

Not necessarily. I mean, it’s person specific. You know, I know the average age for men to get married in this country still 29 years old, right? So 26 is not a baby.

Damona  36:51  

Mm hmm. But at the same time, there are some questions that they should ask each other or figure out Throughout the process of dating about where they are in the timeline, right, 100% and

Bela Gandhi  37:04  

soon Don’t wait a year to ask those questions.

Damona  37:08  

Yeah, so that’s that. That’s something I just want to seize on for a minute in her question. She said, Is it worth dating someone that much younger? And to me that sounds like we’ll meet, you’re playing ahead to the end of the story. before you’ve you’ve actually read it. What do you think about that?

Bela Gandhi  37:28  

Yeah, you know, I have the conversation, right? You don’t catastrophize it just because it’s different than other people. Some of my best friends are, you know, one of my best friends has a husband who’s seven years younger than her and they’re now married and they have three kids.

Damona  37:44  

Yes. I found out today that Shakira has a boyfriend. I almost called him husband she would she would kill me. Sorry, Shakira. Her boyfriend is 10 years younger than her. She’s 43. He’s 33. So get it, girl. Get it girl. If it works, why not? But yeah, she’ll have to go through the process right of figuring out like not just not focusing so much on the age gap but in terms of future goals and the path that they’re on right

Bela Gandhi  38:12  

yeah, you like you know what if this goes well I would like to be engaged in a year and married in two years and I’m looking to have a couple of kids right so I’m not looking to drag this on for the next eight years. Like how do you feel about that? And having those direct conversations and he will

Damona  38:29  

run if he is not up for that he will run so fast Exactly.

Bela Gandhi  38:33  

If you’re the right person for him. He will stick around

Damona  38:38  

Yes, it’s amazing when when they feel ready to commit guys will commit but man when you when you try to force it. I know you fellas are like, Nah, we’re not down for that. I have a couple more questions Bella, before we let you go. This person this is a sometimes people messaged me on Instagram. Very simple. direct question. This one is would you suggest speed dating?

Bela Gandhi  39:05  

Hmm, sure, why not?

Bela Gandhi  39:10  

Why not? I have a client that got married through speed dating. Not a lot of them. But definitely, I can think of one off the top of my head. I like, you know, look, do whatever it takes for you to feel good about dating. And for some people, as part of their plan, they want to get out there. And they want to meet people IRL in real life. So if that’s you, go for it do the speed dating.

Damona  39:36  

Yeah, I find it funny. A lot of people will say to me that they, they don’t like online dating, but then when I suggest speed dating, that’s too much work. So it’s like somewhere in between. I don’t ever want to leave my couch and I can’t actually get dressed up to meet 10 guys that may not be a match for me. It’s like finding that middle ground. Sometimes very tricky. I found speed dating was more popular when I started doing this. And like I did some speed dating events that I hosted with, you know, speed dating companies like, it’s been a minute. It’s been like, you know, eight or 10 years, since that really seemed like a very popular option, but at the same time, it’s like it’s all in the pool, right? You get in the pool, and then you see who’s there and maybe what if your perfect person is there, and you just didn’t show up that day? Yeah, that’d be a bummer.

Bela Gandhi  40:34  

That would be a bummer.

Damona  40:36  

Yeah, so I suggest trying it sounds like we’re both on the same page there. Yeah. Love alright. Last question. Bella. What do you do when you feel like giving up on dating?

Bela Gandhi  40:47  

Become a psychotic optimist!

Bela Gandhi  40:54  

you have to know Look around you, right? Not every person That’s in a relationship is perfect size zero, you know, whatever it is you think it takes to get into a relationship and that you feel like you don’t have. And you have to know that this is what you’re wired for. You’re wired for love, right? And you just have to get back on the bike and keep doing it. If you need to take a break, go into do a 30 day dating, detox, that’s fine. And then by that, I mean shut it down. Right? Don’t like peek at your apps, like delete everything, and go into a total like, I’m going to rebuild myself and self care for that month, and really do the things that bring me joy, and make me feel good again and then go back into the dating pool.

Damona  41:45  

Yes, so now we’ve convinced everybody to stop dating. But then everything will be better later. No. Yeah, that’s like if you’re, if you’re at that place, you could stop dating But otherwise, you should keep keep moving forward. You should work Bella and smart dating Academy should keep listening to this podcast and become a psychotic optimist and then you’ll be all right. Amen. Thank you so much for being here Bella, I love having you for our love month five q FEHB. keep spreading the love out there in the world. Thank you for having

Bela Gandhi  42:15

You’re doing such great work.

Damona  42:18  

Thank you You too. If you love Bella Gandhi as much as I do, please follow her on Twitter at Bella Gandhi we’ll put the link in the show notes. You can also find her online at smart dating I hope you enjoyed Episode 297 of dates and mates coming up on that three hundo again, I’m at damona Hoffman on all of the socials and I really really do want to hear your love questions. Don’t forget to leave us a review on Apple podcasts or Stitcher or wherever you are listening to this show. We love our listeners. We love to know what you like about the show. What you want more of what You want less of so thank you so much for all of your feedback. Keep it coming. We will be back again next week with our final episode of this special love month series. We have easy dating coach Mike Goldstein, who will be giving us the male perspective on the five questions about love. Can’t wait for next week. Until then, I wish you happy dating


Physical Type & Dating Addiction: Love Month Part 2


It’s February and you know what that means – Valentine’s Day is upon us! And to celebrate the month of love, we’ll be doing something special. We have 4 of the top prior Dates & Mates guest love experts who will be joining me for the next 4 weeks.

This is episode two of our Love Month five-question February series. We’re using the hashtag #5QFeb if you want to get in on the conversation.

Today we sat down with Julie Spira – an award-winning dating coach, media personality, and bestselling author. She was an early adopter of the Internet and has been coaching singles on finding love online for 25 years. 

You’ve seen her on ABC, BBC, CBS, CNN, E!, FOX, and so much more! She’s been a friend and mentor to me since I started in this business over a decade ago.

Fun fact: she actually holds the record for most guest appearances on Dates & Mates!

More on that later, first we have headlines!


Mental Health & Dating Apps

The latest study on mental health and dating apps comes from The University of Saskatchewan. The concern is that dating apps may be degrading mental health because of the constant exposure to rejection. Damona and Julie have thoughts. 


Sheryl Sandberg turns her tragic love story into a happy ending

Five years after the tragic death of her husband, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg finds love again with Tom Bernthal.


Don’t go broke this Valentine’s Day!

According to Wallethub, men are 3x more likely to go into credit debt for Valentine’s Gifts. Why do you think this is?



#5QFeb (15:00)


Damona asks Julie the 5 MOST IMPORTANT dating questions of our time:

  • What is the biggest challenge for daters today?
  • What is the best way to find love?
  • How can people change their patterns in love?
  • What are the elements of a strong, long lasting relationship?
  • Whose relationship do you admire and why?



Submit your questions Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook and hear our answers live on the show! Here’s what our listeners asked about this week:

  • Email – I’m wondering your thoughts on having a “type” physically and criteria wise when it comes to picking men on the apps. I feel like out and about meeting men in the wild there is conversation and sparks that might lead to attraction outside of your “type”. The apps feel more like reading resumes looking for alignment in terms of interest, education, values and physical attraction. So do I break this pattern? Should I break this pattern? On the one hand I’m worried I might miss someone, on the other should I be setting up dates with guys that don’t seem interesting or attractive to me? Am I doing these apps wrong?
  • From Twitter – How do I quit online dating. I keep having really bad experiences. I’m called a bitch on a daily basis for dating with intention. And I’m objectified by creeps with every other message. But I feel like I’m longing for a relationship so badly. I can’t bring myself to stop.



Damona  0:12  

Happy Valentine’s week lovers. This is Episode Two of our love month five question February series during which I will interview your favorite dates and mates prior guests to ask the most pressing questions about love. Today we are using the hashtag five q fab if you want to get in on the conversation, and today’s guest is one of my personal faves. Julie aspira is an award winning dating coach, a media personality and best selling author. She was an early adopter of the internet and has been coaching singles on finding love for 25 years. Yes, finding love online for 25 years. You’ve seen her on ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, ie Fox, basically any three letter channel any two letter or one letter channel. She’s been on it, and she’s also been a friend and a mentor to me since I started in this business over a decade ago. So, before I get big smooches, I have to tell you that she also is now holding the record for the most dates and mates appearances. Please give big speeches to my friend Julie aspira.

Julie Spira  1:21  


Damona  1:23  

Welcome back to the show. I’m so excited to talk with you Valentine’s week. You are the person that I had to have on this week’s show.

Julie Spira  1:31  

Oh, thank you for having me. It’s always fun to be on the show. But yes, right now love is on steroids. So we really need chatting about you know what to do in anticipation of Valentine’s Day.

Damona  1:42  

Well, we have all these headlines that are all about how love is on steroids. This week we have the newest study on how dating apps could be affecting your mental health. And Facebook CEO Sheryl Sandberg has turned her tragic love story into a happy ending. Some good news is Valentine’s Day. Plus it’s Valentine’s week. But do you need to go broke to express your love? We’ll be covering those headlines and then we’ll be answering your questions including should you swipe according to your type? I really wasn’t trying to rhyme there but was pretty cute. And how can you quit your online dating addiction? Julie, are you ready to do these headlines? Let’s do it. Mental health and dating apps we are both of us have been in the online dating space for a long time. And we’ve read a lot of these headlines people have been talking about the effect of online dating on your safety and the rise and STDs which people sometimes linked to dating apps. But one thing that we don’t hear a lot about is mental health. And there isn’t a lot of research on the way that dating apps are actually impacting our emotions the way we feel. And according to this article, which will link in the show notes, the researchers are saying that the amount of rejection that one can experience on a dating app app is higher than you would normally experience through traditional dating avenues. I’m curious as someone that’s been in the space for a long time, Julie, do you feel like dating apps are making people more depressed today?

Julie Spira  3:18  

I think people can find a variety of ways of getting depressed. And here’s the thing with dating apps, you’re getting more rejection, because you’re getting more matches. It’s just a numbers game. So if you went out on three dates prior to joining a dating app, and maybe you like one out of three people, and you were rejected by two, it’s just you know, too bad dates with you, next week will be better. But when you’re chatting with 20 people at a time, 10 people at a time, you’ve got 50 matches, you’re swiping, you’re chatting, you’re matching, and then you know you find out they’ve met someone else or you find out that you’re not their type, you know, it stings and and it makes sense You really feel bad, but it’s still a numbers game. So if you’re matching with 50 people and you get 10 rejections, maybe it’s eight more than what I refer to before, but it’s still percentage wise, a volume issue, and you just need to be prepared that the rejection actually is a good thing. Because then they weren’t your type. And I’m telling you, you dodged a bullet.

Damona  4:22  

Yes, I always say rejection is your protection. And I had this philosophy that dating app messages are sort of like coins in the fountain, you know, you toss toss them and you make a wish. And if they come true, it’s wonderful. You got the relationship that you wanted, but if you didn’t, it’s like, are you going to be really upset over a penny? And I say, I’ve been saying this Julie for like, over 10 years, but at the same time, I know it’s not. It’s not so easy to just be like, I was rejected, no big deal. How do you how do you recommend that your clients keep a thick skin about it or reframe their Thinking around sending outgoing messages and swiping right and not getting the reaction that they are hoping for every time.

Julie Spira  5:09  

Well, no one’s going to get a home run every time just like no one’s going to buy the winning lottery ticket. Maybe you’ll maybe you’ll get three on the scratch or something and you’ll make $5. And so I think the point is, is managing expectations is so key to what both you and I do. And when someone comes to me and says, Oh, I really don’t want to try online dating. I did it. It didn’t work. And I see that they’ve had the last profile and they barely log on. I have to say, no one, neither myself. No one has the magic wand that’s going to make Mr. Right or news right up here within the first week. And while you might dread thinking of going on three dates and 52 weeks on your dating app. If somebody told you on the 53rd week you were going to have the greatest love ever and you were going to meet your soulmate. You really wouldn’t mind that. It’s 53 weeks away. Because you know, there’s a pot of gold. So it’s managing expectations and realizing that it takes time and new people join every single day. And you’re going to suffer through online dating fatigue, or online dating anxiety disorder, I always call it oh da dee. And And when that happens, take break. Just take a break, and don’t, don’t open the app for a week. And then new people are joining all the time, people breaking up all the time, and everybody’s looking for the chance to truly, really connect with someone. So it’s okay to go on bad days because you learn from them more about who you don’t want to be with. So when the right one comes along, it’s much more parent.

Damona  6:44  

Hmm, well, the right one did come along. For someone who’s been in the news, Sheryl Sandberg, who you all probably know is the CEO of Facebook. She also was the author of lean in and the whole philosophy of women leaning in and work and getting ahead My interpretation when I read that book was that a big part of her ability to lean in was the support of her husband, Dave Goldberg. And unfortunately five years ago he passed away unexpectedly and she was was left having to juggle all these things on our own. But here’s the here’s that pot of gold but you’re saying at the end of the rainbow, she is now engaged to Tom bernthal who is you might recognize the last name he is the richer and more handsome brother of actor john Burton. And I’m sure the two of them both thought they wouldn’t find someone again but here they are loving another time and being engaged Do you think

Julie Spira  7:47  

I you know I’ve

Damona  7:48  

never had to deal with love finding love again after a loss like that. And five years is a pretty good amount of time for someone to take before they are ready to jump into it, but it was pretty fast. Julie, they’ve just they just got together in April. And now they’re already getting engaged. What are your thoughts on on this relationship?

Julie Spira  8:09  

My thoughts are she’s had these five years to mourn. And she’s got a very responsible job and responsible for family. And she met someone who basically can really just move into her life and she can move into his life, and they can build a life together with both of their families. And I think that everybody desires companionship, and people go to bereavement groups or people sometimes whether it’s a death of a partner or even a devastating divorce, when you thought you were going to go the distance, that’s a death that feels like a death as well when you’re going through a divorce or a bad breakup. So when you suddenly can meet someone, and it’s not going to be the same as you’ve had in your previous husband or partner or relationship, but someone where you can have a great companionship, and together you can actually have find love again. I think it’s fabulous. But then again, my grandfather got remarried at 87 years old. And so I believe there’s no expiration date on love. Oh, wow.

Damona  9:09  

Yeah. I’m glad that you mentioned that to Julian. And I know you do coach a lot of daters that are older and that maybe haven’t dealt with dating apps or haven’t even dated in in decades. I think she’s 50

Julie Spira  9:22  


Damona  9:24  

and getting remarried. So it’s actually one one more vote for the over 50 married again, and finding love club.

Julie Spira  9:35  

I’m very happy for her great news. Yeah.

Damona  9:38  

Well, we did mention it is Valentine’s week. If you’ve been living under a rock. It’s been it’s Valentine’s week all week. And there was a new spending survey from wallet hub. I actually had read an article earlier. That said the according to the National Retail Federation, Americans were projected to spend $27 billion on Valentine’s gifts this year. I thought that was insane. While it helped did this similar survey, and they looked at what people are spending their money on. And it said, most people are going to buy candy cards and flowers. I’m so inspired by this Julie

Julie Spira  10:18  

right. And repeat. Right?

Damona  10:20  

Right. What are some better gifts you think that people can be thinking of? You know, if you’re listening to this on Monday, you still have time to get a better gift. Candy To me, it just seems like you ran out of time you didn’t really care then you just like grabbed a box of chocolate.

Julie Spira  10:36  

I’ll never forget the time and a former boyfriend. Valentine’s Day showed up with this box of drugstore candy that I know he picked up along the way. And I’m like, really? And so I feel as though these items Yes, people would like flowers. And you know what women do like flowers. Men actually like flowers too. You can get my guy a bouquet of tulips and in And in color other than red, but you don’t need to break the bank. And I’m not really spending a lot on Valentine’s Day this year, probably because I’m going to be tired. But But what I am doing is I’m recommending that people create experiences. So what that means is maybe Valentine’s day you’ll get a gift card. If somebody really loves books, get a gift card to a bookstore. If someone’s anxious to see a play, and they really love plays, and that it’s something you can go to together or concert tickets, something you can go to together. Or better yet, if you really can’t splurge on StubHub for that fabulous sold out rock concert, then look and see other events that are free. There’s always a pre museum day or a museum night and create an event and give your partner a coupon for a future date, where you’re going to go museum hopping for the day and maybe you know, a little gift from the museum store.

Damona  11:55  

I love that I’m very big into experiences and I’ve always said that to my husband since the beginning like Don’t give me stuff. I’m not into stuff. Although I told him long ago that I really wasn’t into flowers. But there have been some instances where I was like, you’re good, I got me flowers, you have to be you have to be careful what you what you tell them early on, right. But

Julie Spira  12:13  

there’s nothing wrong with flowers. And here’s the thing I recommend, if you can’t afford, you know, the flowers that are delivered that suddenly are $99, go to the grocery store and pick up a dozen red tulips and just show up with something and a card that shows that you you’re thinking out of the box, you recognize that this is a romantic day, but you don’t know to need to go to Tiffany and buy really expensive jewelry and you just need to do something, you know, that’s within your budget. And if you’re in a relationship that’s not new, it’s great to talk about the Valentine’s budget. So where do you Where do you like to go? Um, you know, going to the post six restaurants on Valentine’s Day may not be an option. So the good news is Valentine’s Day is a On a three day weekend was actually for if you think about it, because it’s because of, I think it’s Presidents Day. So you can celebrate on Friday and spend a lot of money at a restaurant or bring in takeout and have in room dining, or you can instead, you know, Happy Valentine’s Day celebrated when it’s less chaotic and we’re, you know, hurt your bankbook as much. And that would be on Saturday, Sunday. And if you’re lucky enough not to have to work on Monday, Monday, see a lot of other options to do things that other people are spending a lot of money on Friday, that won’t as I said, it won’t kill your wallet on Saturday, Sunday or Monday.

Damona  13:37  

Yeah, I was shocked from this article. They said that men are three times more likely to go into credit card debt for Valentine’s Day gifts. Guys, you don’t need to go into credit card debt. It’s not that serious. But one thing that surprised me Julie is they asked men and women if they thought that the bill should be split on Valentine’s Day. 38% of men said yes and 31 percent of women also thought that they should split the check. I just have to know where you land on that.

Julie Spira  14:07  

I don’t believe in splitting the check on Valentine’s Day or your birthday, or anything that’s really that significant when it comes to love and romance or first date, of course. But it really depends on what you’re doing. I mean, if you’re cooking first class tickets to go something pairs for Petland time today, which most of us aren’t, but then go ahead and use miles or split the check. But outside of that, I think that for a heterosexual relationship, the man wants to be the hero on Valentine’s Day. So let them pick up the bill.

Damona  14:36  

All right, you have had the final word in that segment. Julie, we are going to be back with your five q fab. The five questions we’ve been asking are for repeat, dating experts on dates and mates. Since you’re still listening, you must like what you hear. And if you do, why not take a moment to hit the subscribe button on whichever podcast platform you’re listening to. Right now and that way you will be immediately notified whenever we drop a new episode. Or for example, a bonus episode ahem which will be happening on Valentine’s Day my friends, so don’t forget to subscribe and leave us a review while you’re there so we can reach more people and heal more hearts this Valentine’s Day. We will be back with Julie spirent answering our five questions for five q FEHB. In just a moment. We are back with Julie aspira, the cyber dating expert and we are doing our love month five q FEHB. So, Julie, I’ve known you for a long time. And I very much trust and respect your your advice on everything dating and relationships. So I’m really curious what your answers are to the five questions that we have teed up for this month. Are

Julie Spira  15:52  

you ready for this? Go for it.

Damona  15:55  

Julie Spira What is the biggest challenge for daters today

Julie Spira  16:01  

I think the biggest challenge for dangerous today if there are too many choices, and I guess that’s a good news, bad news answer, because without all of these choices, we wouldn’t be able to meet so many people and actually form relationships. But because we have too many choices, it’s hard for people to be able to make a decision to say, you know, I really like you and maybe I should take my profile down, or let’s see where it goes. If it doesn’t work out, well, we can always rejoin people are hesitant to take the profiles down because of all the the abundance of options, you know, they call it the Paradox of Choice. And as a result, they’re giving up good opportunities. And then suddenly they circle back and we’ll see that guys in a committed relationship. So we need to learn to be aware when someone really great comes along, and I’m telling you, he or she won’t be perfect because none of us are perfect, but if they have, you know, three out of the five of your top traits and give them a second chance Go on a second date going a third date, and at a particular time, move it forward or move on.

Damona  17:07  

I want to pause to talk about that DTR conversation because I have been getting a lot of questions from listeners and from clients about when is the right time. And just as you said, there’s that question of, are you taking your profile down? I don’t know. I don’t want to, like, mention it and then have him think that I’m trying to move things too fast. And I actually had a client recently where we literally spent maybe a month of sessions talking about how to bridge the conversation. And my advice to her was like, just wait a little bit longer, a little longer. I feel like women want to have that cup DTR conversation usually, before the men are ready.

Julie Spira  17:48  

Do you do say, I think it used to be that way and what I’m finding now there’s a shift because I’m working with men who are like I met her and I’m done. I mean, they they want to hunt and they want to like grab their prey now. And so what they’re doing is they’re chasing women away because they’re saying, Okay, so here’s my boundary, this is what I can offer you. And this is what I want to take you and this is how I want to live our life and can we be exclusive, and the women are freaking out and going, Hey, I’ve only been dating you in six days, or six dates or whatever it may be. And so don’t so quick to seal the deal because I love the different phases of courtship. But when it comes to being sexually intimate, you’ve got to decide you know, are you okay? in an open relationship? people I work with are not are, are you? If you’re about to have sex? Do you want them to go get tested, I mean, that’s the perfect time to talk about defining the next phase of your relationship. And that doesn’t mean you putting a ring on it. It just means if you want to be sexually exclusive, let’s go together and get tested I know doesn’t sound very romantic, but it’s responsible. And while we’re doing it, you know, I really don’t feel comforted. dating somebody who has an active dating profile. So I’m going to take mine down. But I’m not going to ask you to take your stand until you’re ready. And when you say that, you know, usually someone will just catch up in time. I’m glad

Damona  19:14  

that you you phrased it that way like you make it about you. It’s not you need to take down your profile right now because things are getting serious. It’s, I’m going to take down my profile, you can do what you want. I’m just letting you know where I stand and how I feel. And that takes a level of bravery, Julie, because so many times we are afraid to really express how we feel because if we say we like this person, and they don’t feel the same way yet, then we there there comes the rejection. Again, we feel like we’ve been rejected,

Julie Spira  19:46  

but before you you know, put that big in a scarlet letter are on your face. And then here’s another one that won’t commit to make as they’re playing the field and you must be a player. Make sure you say and I hope you catch up and that doesn’t mean they will Or they won’t, but you’re not putting this like pressure on man. And when you say I hope they’ll catch up, you’re just giving them a little nudge. And chances are they’ll catch up a little sooner than they might have been had you not have to have the conversation.

Damona  20:13  

Yes, I’m a big fan for just just voicing just voicing that thing that you’re feeling. And maybe if you’re a guy, and you’re six days, six days into dating someone, and your instinct is to tell them that you love them. Maybe

Julie Spira  20:27  

that’s too soon.

Damona  20:28  

But like, if you’ve been dating for a little while, and you’re really feeling bonded to someone to say how you feel the end of the story with my client is that last weekend, she she was introducing this guy, she’s been dating to friends. And we came up with her just saying, I’m excited for you to meet my friends. How do you want me to introduce you? And then he said, I’d like to be introduced as your boyfriend. Is that okay? You know, and here there’s like four months this elephant in the room of like, We both feel like we’re exclusive, but nobody really wants to say it. And she was like, I was amazed at how easy it was. And I’ve just seen this happen time and time again, where we make it so much harder, because the different outcomes are so become so much bigger and so much more weighted in our minds.

Julie Spira  21:17  

And I think happy ending and does but you know, relationship labels, I think they’re more important, generally speaking for women than for men. A guy feels good in the relationship. He sees you every Saturday night. He calls you every day texts you in between, you know, as far as he’s concerned, he’s in a relationship. But if you say, you know, I want to be called girlfriend, I want you to call me your girlfriend when you introduce me. You know, he might not be ready to say that just yet. And so it’s really important to understand that doesn’t mean there’s not a level of commitment if you don’t have a label. Labels aren’t important to everybody. That’s a really good point.

Damona  21:56  

Okay, second question of five q fab, Julie. What is the best way to find love.

Julie Spira  22:03  

The best way to find love, okay, I’m feeling I know what you’re gonna say. But

Julie Spira  22:09  

it’s not because you know, I’ve been doing online dating coaching for 25 years. It’s because I love this new research that came out from Stanford, and University of New Mexico that showed that 39% of singles met through online dating number one, as compared to 20%, who met through friends. Now, everyone tells me I want to meet someone that someone knows and I’d like to meet a friend of a friend, but the numbers double Okay, the closest second is through friends at 20% and almost 40% are meeting through dating apps. So if you’re not using a digital dating strategy, along with going out and being your fabulous self and going to your favorite events and going into your hiking clubs, and whatever you may do, just live your life but have an online and an offline strategy because the number First don’t lie and you’re going to be missing out.

Damona  23:03  

Okay, I’m glad you brought up the S word strategy. And you may remember like way back when when we first met and we exchanged business cards, my business card actually said, online dating strategist and people were like, what is that? That sounds super unromantic. I want no part of strategy. But it’s a big part of my philosophy. And I want to know how it is incorporated into your philosophies cyber dating expert.

Julie Spira  23:31  

Well, I you know, it’s romantic to call the business love But love is a multi billion dollar business if you I mean, just look at the number of the amount of people are spending on Valentine’s alone. And we’re looking at dating apps, you know, in the billions of swipes and the multi billions of such an enormous industry that that there is a strategy that is very similar to looking for your dream job. And when you’re looking for your dream job and maybe you’ll go on LinkedIn and you Look for a few things. And maybe you’ll go to networking events and you’ll hand out your card or you’ll swap digits or whatever. The fact is, if you get to the point of finally getting a job interview after doing all of this work, to be prepared to look your best to have the best block and resume out there, and you go on an interview, and you don’t get the job, because there’s a 100 other candidates, you go on the next interview, and if you don’t get the job, because there were 200 candidates, you go on the next interview, because you probably need to pay your rent and put food on the table. And so that same strategy, I transfer that to online dating, and if you’ve had three bad dates, you don’t say I’m not going to go on another bad day because I met people that didn’t look like their profile, because you say okay, I want to find love. I’m going to go on the next day and maybe you’ll have a better experience.

Damona  24:52  

Hmm, that’s that’s a really good point. And like you I like looking at dating in a way as Your own social experiment, where each time you go out with someone, you’re learning about yourself, you’re iterating you’re improving your dating skills, your dating strategy, and then you’re fine tuning to get closer to what you’re looking for. Can we go a level deeper? Julie? Okay. How can this is the actual third question, how can people change their patterns in love? A lot of our listeners don’t like the path that they’re on right now in love. How can they change their patterns?

Julie Spira  25:33  

Well, if you don’t like the path you’re on, you need to hop off that saddle and here’s the problem. We are so used to what is comfortable for us, even if it’s bad for us, therefore, people go after the same type over and over again. And maybe it’s a commitment phobe and then they find another commitment phobe or the down someone that’s just gotten divorced, and then they find someone else who’s newly single and isn’t over their ex yet. And so I think it’s It’s really important to jump out of that comfort circle and date somebody completely different than your last three relationships. Because if you have a type, you know, it’s it’s wired into your brain that this is your type, even if it is bad for you. I mean, if you think about what happens when you bond with someone when you have sex with them, and you know that they’ve, there’s no long term possibilities in that relationship. The next thing you know, they’re on a pedestal, you’re fantasizing about them, you know, the, the hormones are kicking in, and they become better than they really are in real life. So you’ve got to date somebody completely different from your type, and whether they’re shorter or whether they live farther away, or whether, you know, they didn’t have this kind of degree that you thought that you were hoping they would have, whatever it may be, you need to date somebody different and see what it’s like and get uncomfortable for a little bit and give them a couple of chances. Because the Maybe the person who actually would be a great match for you, especially since the other ones didn’t go the distance.

Damona  27:07  

We actually one of our questions today is about type. So I’m going to, I’m going to leave a little bit of this for our technically dating segment. But I just want to say also like identifying your type, because I think we tend to look at just what the physical type is. But identifying what is that pattern, right? Like if you, maybe you date people who are wildly different in physical types, but like the, the relationships have all ended the same way or you feel the same way and the relationships. They’re probably some commonalities that you don’t realize are even there if you go back and connect the dots.

Julie Spira  27:47  

And I think it’s important to just again, make a list now make it a list that’s, you know, got 100 items on it, but make a list of the most important character traits and this is outside of like, What does someone look like? Life is looks changed, we I mean, looks really changed as you get older. But, but make a list of the type of person you want to be with the type of relationship you want, whether it’s casual, they’re committed, whether you want to be married or not. Whether you want a life partner or travel partner, make a list of all the things that you like to do, and then see if you can find someone that gets part of that list and then give them a shot.

Damona  28:27  

Alright, so we’ve been talking about finding that dream match that ideal person that has most of those qualities. What do you think for your, your fourth question for five key fab? What are the elements of a strong, long lasting relationship? Julie?

Julie Spira  28:44  

A strong, long lasting relationship. Number one, without a doubt, trust. If you can’t trust the person you’re with, why are you with them? If you’re agonizing about why they didn’t text you last night, maybe they fell asleep or you and you automatically Well, they’re cheating on you because someone else had, and you’re bringing that baggage to the table, if you’re going to have a situation where eventually they won’t, you know, they will betray your trust. If you keep feeling like you don’t trust that person, trust takes a real long time to build and a split second to lose. And that is a really important thing. So again, for online dating, if you’re taking your profile down, and you say you’re going to be exclusive, don’t say it just because you want to get into bed with this person. Say it because you mean it and you’re going to live it and your words mean everything. And so I can’t tell you that relationships once the trust, you know, has been broken, they can be fixed, but it takes a long time and it takes two committed people really working hard at regaining their trust. So don’t lose it in the first place. be that person who you say you are and if they aren’t, move on.

Damona  29:53  

Yes, and that that dovetails into something else that I always wind up coaching my clients on that it’s it’s about getting into the feeling of what it’s like being with that person and sometimes,

Julie Spira  30:09  

like if you have trust issues,

Damona  30:11  

then you your automatic default is not to trust when you’re with someone new. And the only way to tell if someone is trustworthy is by trusting them and seeing that they’re being consistent. But I find it starts with getting into feeling on the date like how do you feel when you’re with them? Do you feel safe? Do you feel like they are doing what they say they’re going to do? What about for those people that already have the built in issue with trust? Maybe they have been they have been taken advantage of in a prior relationship or been cheated on? How can they learn to trust again so that they can have that long lasting relationship that they want?

Julie Spira  30:57  

This is a real issue. This is a real issue because I’ve met people that I’ve worked with, who saw their fathers cheat on their mothers. And therefore, they ended up with boyfriends who cheated on men, and if not what they want it, but for some reason, they repeated this patterns that they grew up with. And so I think, you know, breaking these patterns is clear, clearly the the first step that I see that people need to do, and then how do you do that we have to go back into self love. You have to realize that you know, you are lovable, you are the prize. And whenever someone feels insecure about going on a date, or they feel unhappy in their relationship, and they wish their boyfriend would be more committed, just look in the mirror and go, Hey, he’s lucky to have me, I am the prize. And the more confident you are, the better off you will be in your relationships because a man doesn’t want a needy woman and he doesn’t want an insecure woman and he doesn’t want someone you know, checking up on him and staring at his text messages when he’s taking a nap.

Damona  32:00  

So true. Yep, you have to, you have to find that that faith and that courage to to trust again, and I know it takes a lot of work and it takes a lot of time to unravel those, those patterns and even if you saw it as a kid and didn’t experience yourself or you’ve been through it before, it’s not gonna happen overnight. There’s one more question doing for five to fab, whose relationship do you admire and why?

Julie Spira  32:27  

Okay, I’m going to name two. Okay. The first one I’m going to say, would be Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson. And the reason I say that is because it’s someone that most of us know. And I have admired them for a really long time. They’re both just kind people. They have so much respect for each other. They live their lives as individuals and they live their lives as a couple and they’ve been married for over 30 years. So Hollywood romances are so so difficult, and this is one that you know I give you know, a five star review to because because I just think I’ve been around them and if anyone’s watched them on TV or an award ceremonies, you can just see that they do adore each other. And they do have their independent projects, and they respect each other. So that’s my, my, my Hollywood couple. And outside of that, I’m going to actually add in one more couple, and that is my parents. And I say that with so much love and respect because my parents have been married for 60 years, over 60 years, okay. At my mother met my father when she was a senior in high school. I think she’s the only man she was ever with. And they have been together through thick and thin and they still love and adore each other and they are living, you know, their later years in an adult active retired community where they have this enormous social life and They love their children, they love their grandchildren. And they have it’s still such great role models for me, looking at the love of a share, and that they shared over multiple decades. And I only hope that I get to celebrate a 70th anniversary with them.

Damona  34:16  

Well, that’s beautiful Julie, and I’ve seen pictures of them online and they do look so cute. What do you think is the secret to their long lasting relationship?


Julie Spira  34:26  

That changes just like every relationship changes decade per decade, you want something different and different decades. At this point? I think the secret to their relationship is they watch TV in separate rooms and watch two different news channels. But But really, I think they have such a companionship, my father sends her a card every year on the anniversary of their first date. And in the end, their first date was on May 7. So he has this little poem that he writes, you know, he’s 91 years old, you still write this poem. Remember the day the seventh of may and it was the day of the first day It was the day one year later that he proposed to her and they became engaged. And so he has these rituals of making sure that my mom My mother is loved, you know, all year long, but they never forget the anniversary of their first day. And I think that’s fabulous. Oh my gosh, it gave me chills.

Julie Spira  35:19  

I have no idea when my first day was.

Julie Spira  35:23  

Better go look at the calendar.

Damona  35:25  

I better go look at the calendar. But yeah, it’s a reminder that those little rituals that seems silly like with Valentine’s Day coming up, people are thinking, How do I make this memorable? And sometimes it’s, it’s the little things it’s sending that card. It’s writing that poem, and even it’s the same poem every year that she knows that that she can count on that and she can count on him is something that’s really inspiring for us this Valentine’s Day. Thank you for sharing. How you liking this five q fab. I want to know what what’s your biggest takeaway from today’s episode. You can tweet me or You can leave a comment on Instagram or message me on Facebook and use the hashtag five q fab. That’s the number five q f Eb. And then we’ll be following and sharing your responses about your big takeaways and aha moments from this month’s episodes. Now she’s answered my questions, but it’s time for her to answer yours in the next segment. By the way, we are always doing technically dating so if you have a question, you can always submit it to me for the show on any social platform at damona Hoffman You can also message me through dates and or leave me a voicemail at 424-246-6255 Don’t be shy. We love hearing your voice. We’ll put all those links and, and instructions in the show notes. But this show works best when you tell me what is on your mind so that I can give you the dating and relationship advice that you need. And chances are if you’re having a question, there’s someone else listening right now to this podcast, who’s going through the exact same thing that you are feeling right now. So you be brave and ask the question that you need an answer to and you could be helping yourself and others to have the love and relationship that you want this year. We’ll be back right after this with more Julie Spyro. All right, we are here with Julie spire off for our final segment. You have sent in your questions and we are giving you answers and I am passing on your questions to Julie Spyro. Who’s the cyber dating expert. And I hand picked these ones for Julie. So just want to say to anyone that submitted a question I know I’ve I’m I have a few questions in queue from previous weeks. But Julie is an expert in online dating so I wanted to make sure that I gave these specific questions to her. So this one came to us in an email from a woman will call Jay. Julie, she says I’m wondering your thoughts on having a type physically and criteria wise when it comes to picking men on the apps. I feel like When I’m out and about meeting men in the wild, she calls it, there’s a cut, there is conversation and sparks that might lead to attraction outside of your type. The apps feel more like reading resumes looking for alignment in terms of interest, education values and physical attraction. So do I break this pattern? On one hand, I’m worried I might miss someone on the other eye. Should I be setting updates with guys that I don’t that don’t seem interesting or attractive to me? Or am I doing these apps wrong? And then she used the like, hands up. What do you do emoji?

Julie Spira  38:34  

Well, I’m doing it wrong. Maybe but maybe not. So I think you should really, my best advice is to look at it as a quantity thing. And how many dates Do you want to go on in a given week? And who in that given week really rises to the top of people you’ve been communicating with, that you think you have enough in common with I’m also a big fan of hopping on the phone. I know what an arcade thing but you Know swapping digits and getting on the phone. Because if you have a phone chemistry with someone, chances are you’re going to have a good experience on the day. But if you’re on the phone with them, and you’re so bored, and you’re like yawning, oh my gosh, I can’t wait for this phone call to end and you take another incoming phone call just to get out of it, then don’t schedule a date because it’s going to be a bomb. And you’re going to it’s going to be a dating disaster. But yes, try and date people that are different than who you dated the week before. And but if you really feel like, Hey, we just have nothing in common. Our backgrounds are so different. I don’t think I can have a good time. What am I going to talk about, then just take a pass because there are so many millions of other people that you could be chatting with. So don’t be too rigid. loosen it up a little bit. But if you really know you’re going to be on a bad date, just don’t go your time is really precious.

Damona  39:56  

Yeah. I am all about one Quality, but also you have to get enough quantity in the mix to make those decisions. And this is this is a big problem with dating apps is that I think people forget that they’re using a tool. The dating app is just the tool. It’s not the it’s not the chemistry, it’s not the butterflies, it’s just the means for you to meet the person. That’s the way I look at it. So I’m like, drive to the date, get offline, get to the date, because all those things that she feels when she’s out in the wild, as she says, and she feels those sparks and the chemistry, you probably aren’t going to get them in the same way when you’re swiping right.

Julie Spira  40:37  

You’re not and the other problem that you have to be concerned about is the false expectation that you’re in a relationship because you’ve been chatting you know, morning noon and night on on via text or WhatsApp or on the dating app. And all of this chatting and this what I call the digital foreplay. It’s sort of advances your relationship where you think you really know someone and like Dimona said, you don’t know them until you actually can get together in person and see what it’s like to laugh at their jokes and see if you really feel enough to want to go on a second date. Because all first date really is, is the opportunity to decide at the end of the day or the evening, do you want to go out again and pull out your calendars and schedule something so it doesn’t get lost in the Abyss?

Damona  41:21  

Yeah, what about this idea of type though, I do want to talk about that. Because I know I I’ve always had a physical type. And I went out with people that were way different from my physical type. But I ended up ultimately with someone who was like, straight down the middle, my exact physical type.

Julie Spira  41:41  

Well, you know, you got lucky, I got lucky.

Julie Spira  41:45  

Because here’s the thing. I had a physical type and it was really interesting. I and then I ended up at one point marrying somebody who was completely opposite my physical type, and it was a bad choice not because of the physical type, but it was a bad choice, but I was at a point My life were, well, I want to get married, I want to settle down, it’s time. And you know, other boxes got checked off. So I thought it was a good decision. So now I’m back to Well, I have a certain type. And sometimes when you meet someone that’s not your type physically in a photo, first of all the photos you don’t know necessarily that they’re going to resemble what you they look like when you meet them in person, you have to hope for truth and advertising. But if you really know that you have a certain type, and you’re comfortable with that type and you’ve had successful relationships with that type, then stick with that type and just, you know, go outside the box a little bit because you do have to go outside the box.

Damona  42:39  

Yeah, and I think sometimes our type is predicated on the experiences that we have, the more that we go out with someone who is 510 and slender, the more we will be attracted the next time to someone who’s 510 and slender, but I think it can be dangerous and especially like I know y’all didn’t Ask about this. But especially when it comes to race, a lot of times people will come to me with a very narrow view of the physical type, the race, the the ethnic background of someone. And I’m like, if you go a level deeper into the values, that person may be completely aligned with you. But you’ve never dated someone who’s African American or Asian, because you just had it in your mind that you date Caucasian men. And we have to sort of shake that up a little bit. If you’re really, if you’re really opening up to finding love.

Julie Spira  43:31  

We have to shake it a lot, because there’s so many great people. And I think that I believe in diversity, and I love you know, inclusion and I love such a variety, I would say the 64 colors of crayons in the Crayola crayon box, you know, and I know dimana you’ve talked about the ice cream flavors, but the fact is, there are so many different types of people and if you haven’t had a chance to be with them, you really shouldn’t say they’re not your type because you don’t know exactly

Damona  44:00  

Thank you for saying that and making me not the only one saying that because I know you believe it too. We have one more question Julie. This okay this is put a strap your seatbelt on. Because this is this is a this is a big one. Kayla on Twitter says how do I quit online dating? I keep having really bad experiences. I’m called a bitch on a daily basis pardon the language on a daily basis for dating with intention. I’m objectified by creeps with every other message but I feel like I’m longing for a relationship so badly that I can’t bring myself to stop

Julie Spira  44:38  

when you’re asking to stop but you don’t want to stop you just want to get rid of the creeps. You know you don’t want somebody sending a dick pic and you don’t want somebody that you know is is calling you a bitch or whatever they want to say because you’re a woman that is strong has strong values and you’re stating your intentions. Keep stating your intentions because you are going to attract someone who’s looking for Exactly what you’re looking for. And as far as these debit guys, you know, swipe left block them, so you don’t have to see them in a search again. And all the tools that these dating apps have right now make it very easy for you to not be bothered by people who are harassing you or make you uncomfortable for any reason.

Damona  45:17  

Yeah, I second that definitely use the block and report feature. They take those those complaints very seriously. But what do you think, Julie? If she’s, I mean, I spent a lot of time on dating apps well, online dating before they were dating apps and I but I help my clients with with dating apps every day. I know you’ve done the same for 25 years. I’ve rarely been called a bitch. And I haven’t seen my clients be called a bitch all that often. Do you think there’s something that she’s doing that maybe allowing these guys it or could it be the app that she’s on? Or could it be something about the way that she’s presenting herself, because like, I don’t want her to be getting this abuse every day,

Julie Spira  45:59  

right? And also I’ve never gotten many views from that, you know, when I’ve been on dating apps, and I’ve seen for the most part, my clients have all had, you know, good experiences, they just didn’t feel that they had enough in common or there wasn’t a connection, but it didn’t mean they were a bad person. And so I don’t know what kind of messages are being sent out. I’ve seen dating profiles with disclaimers, don’t contact me if this don’t contact me if that I mean, don’t say anything that’s negative, you want people to contact you. So I don’t know what your communications have been. I don’t know what types of dates you want to go on. Some women really would prefer not investing a lot of time and going on coffee dates. There are other women that do not want to go on coffee dates, because they don’t want to be in allowed Starbucks and they’d like to have a quieter like lunch conversation with someone even if it’s over a cup of soup. So I think it’s a question of how are you communicating with these guys, because deep down, they want to connect with someone and you want to connect with someone. You’re obviously not a fit with these people, but there has to be another 80% of guys out there that aren’t You a bitch. That’s hope.

Damona  47:01  

Yes Yeah, definitely don’t stand for it. But definitely don’t give up if you really want that relationship keep listening to dates and mates and keep showing up for yourself and setting those boundaries and you’ll find the right one.

Julie Spira  47:14  

Julie this has been such

Damona  47:16  

a blast talking to you again on data needs.

Julie Spira  47:20  

Thank you for having me and Happy Valentine’s Day to everyone and don’t forget you know, gallon times day is the day before Valentine’s Day. So support you know, loving your friendships with your girlfriends ladies. And if you don’t have a Valentine’s date, have a blast on Valentine’s Day.

Damona  47:36  

Thank you for reminding us of that. And thank you for being here. You can follow Julie at Julie aspira on Twitter and Instagram we will put the link to her socials in the show notes as well as her link to cyber dating expert calm which is where she gives dating advice. She has a wonderful blog there with lots of great resources and you can sign up there for her free weekly flirt newsletter which will also give you the seven secrets to finding love online. Thanks for being here. Julie. Thank you. Are you feeling overwhelmed by love month and looking for a little bit more support? And then you are the perfect person to become one of my friends with benefits. We are launching a special Patreon program this week in honor of Valentine’s Day. For our listeners who are ready for more. What is Patreon? Patreon is a platform that allows you to support creators like me to keep making helpful content that you want to hear. And it allows you to get amazing listener benefits by participating. Our page is slash dates and mates. What will you get if you sign up? Here’s just a few of the benefits. You get access to a private Facebook group where you can chat with me and other listeners of the show. Maybe you’ll make a love connection there. Maybe you’ll get some more advice that you need that’s directed specifically towards you. You’ll also have an opportunity to join me for private group coaching sessions. These will be live these will be video and Phone chats that you’ll be able to participate directly with me so you can get the support that you need in love. And you’ll also get access to behind the scenes content from our nearly 300 episodes of dates and mates.


Julie Spira  49:13  

And for my really, really special


Damona  49:14  

top tier VIP, Fw B’s, you can even get a dating profile analysis, with tips tailored just for you on how to make a magnetic profile that draws just the right kind of dates into you. The Patreon is live, slash dates and mates. And don’t worry if you’ve never used Patreon before, if you just click the link in the show notes, we will walk you through all of the different tiers and what you get and make it really easy for you to become a part of the community. And by the way, we also have a special bonus for anyone who signs up at the lover or VIP level through the month of February. You’ll also get a free autographed copy of my book, but only if you sign up now before March 1. That’s a special benefit for the lover or VIP level. So you can go to slash dates and mates to see which tier is right for you. And I look forward to supporting you on a deeper level and inviting you inside the community as one of my friends with benefits. I hope you enjoyed Episode 296 of dates and mates again, I’m at damona Hoffman on all of the socials. I want to hear your love questions. And I want you to join me again next week when I will have Bella Gandhi who will be doing the five q fab thing with us. Until next week, I wish you Happy Valentine’s Day and happy dating


Being Intimidating & Taboo Topics: Love Month Part 1


It’s February and you know what that means – Valentine’s Day is upon us! And to celebrate the month of love, we’ll be doing something special. We have 4 of the top prior Dates & Mates guest love experts who will be joining me for the next 4 weeks.


We’ve been listening to the questions that you all have sent for Technically Dating and hearing the challenges that the media has asked me to comment on lately and devised the top 5 question about the state of romance today.

So each week in February you’ll hear me with a different love expert giving their unique perspective to the same big love dilemmas – I’m calling this series 5 Question February.


This week, we’re joined by the FABULOUS Francesca Hogi!

Franny is a love and life coach for extraordinary people who happen to be single. She is a Match and Today Show love expert, and has been featured in multiple national publications such as Harper’s Bazaar, Marie Claire and Mens Health. 

Fun Fact: she was also a contestant on two seasons of the CBS reality show Survivor. Francesca is the co-host of the podcast Romantical and the host of the podcast Dear Franny. 

She’s here to give you the no nonsense answers that you need to hear.

More on that later, first we have headlines!



Is A$AP Rihanna’s rebound?

Rihanna may have found love in a hopeless place, or at least a rebound.


The MOST TABOO Topic on dates

Seriously people, don’t talk about your breakups. It ain’t cute.


Your guide to swipe safety this month

Are swipe apps really that dangerous?


#5QFeb (14:60)

Damona asks Franny the 5 MOST IMPORTANT dating questions of our time:

  • What is the biggest challenge for daters today?
  • What is the best way to find love?
  • How can people change their patterns in love?
  • What are the elements of a strong, long lasting relationship?
  • Whose relationship do you admire and why?



Submit your questions Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook and hear our answers live on the show! Here’s what our listeners asked about this week:

  • IG – I’m a 46 year old divorcee. Should I pay for a dating app to get better results? I’ve been doing free apps and drawing blanks.
  • I’m a single mom by choice and I have newborn twins. When and how can I date?



Damona  0:17  

Welcome to dates invades your dating and relationships source for swipe season, Valentine’s Day divorcement and everything else that you need help navigating right now. It’s February and you know what that means Valentine’s Day is upon us and to celebrate the month of love. I’ll be doing something special. We have four of the top prior guests love experts from dates and mates who will be joining me for the next four weeks of episodes. I’ve been listening to the questions that you all have sent for technically dating and hearing the challenges that the media has asked me to comment on lately and devise the top four questions about the state of romance today. So each week in February, you’ll hear me with a different love expert giving their unique perspective on the same Big Love dilemmas. I’m calling this series for question February. But first I’m going to introduce my guest co host for today. Francesca hoagie is a love and life coach for extraordinary people who happen to be single. She’s a match and today’s show love expert and she’s been featured in multiple national publications such as Harper’s Bazaar Marie Claire, and men’s health funfact. She was also on two seasons of the CBS reality show survivor, and now she’s the co host of the podcast romantical and she has a new podcast called dear frannie. Let’s give big smooches to Francesca hoagie. Hey, welcome back to the show. Thank you for having me.


Franny  1:41  

damona I love being here. I love having


Damona  1:43  

you and I’m so excited for this month of love with you. And to cover these headlines including riana may have found love in a hopeless place, or at least a rebound. And the most absolutely most taboo topic on dates. will tell you what that is plus will give you the latest news on Swype safety for this year’s season of love. And then we’ll answer your questions including do paid dating apps yield better results. And how can you date if you’re a single mom with newborn twins?


Franny  2:17  

With great difficulty?


Damona  2:20  

Ready to do this? I’m so ready. Let’s do this. These dating dish, according to Page Six, riana and ASAP Rocky are reportedly dating. Now if you are late to the news, she was dating billionaire. That’s with a B, that’s gonna be a beautiful billionaire. Double be a son Jamil. I mean, let me tell you this man. This man had it together but it didn’t seem to work out for them. According to sources, they said that they just were living different lives and it just didn’t work. So


Franny  2:53  

people, they don’t buy you happiness. Well, I mean, they can buy you some a lot of things that can make you happy.


Franny  2:59  

True. That’s true. That’s true. But you need some other things too. But maybe ASAP Rocky has those things.


Franny  3:05  

Hopefully, actually, I think that first celebrities and you know, even though that guy is a billionaire, and he has a high public profile celebrities, and he’s beautiful, and he’s beautiful, it’s easier for celebrities to date other celebrities. And in general, sure,


Franny  3:19  

because there is Liberty


Franny  3:20  

because their lives are just so bizarre. And right, they just have a whole set of concerns that they have to deal with that. I don’t I think it’s hard for a non famous person to understand what it’s like to have to navigate both a relationship which can be obviously very challenging in even if you’re the most anonymous people in the world, you know, and then add on top of the fact that every move you make is being documented and speculated on and Oh yeah,


Damona  3:47  

people saw this they saw they were sharing a hotel suite in New York together. And just to your point about celebrities dating celebrities, ASAP Rocky has had quite a history of famous exes. He was with candled For a couple years, he was with Rita Ora, Iggy Azalea. He’s been linked to riana before there was this whole thing about him grabbing her button public a few years ago. scandalous, scandalous. But here’s the thing. She heard her sources people close to her saying like, Look, she just got out of this serious relationship. It’s just a rebound. She’s saying she’s trying to be single. She’s not looking for a serious relationship right now. Like Yeah, oh, girl can’t even


Franny  4:28  

lurking and being like, What are you guys doing in the suite together? I am. So


Franny  4:32  

I, you know, there’s there’s obviously benefits to being famous. But there’s so many drawbacks. And this is one of them. Like, you can’t just like hang out with your ex and like, get a little nookie. without, you know, strangers sitting around talking about it and speculating on it.


Damona  4:47  

That’s true. Just like we’re doing right now. Exactly. But I hope I hope she really finds love because I think she deserves it. And she’s had a rough go of it.


Franny  4:54  

Yeah, it’s hard. She’s such a boss, and she’s so busy. She’s juggling so many things. And I mean, think of like the confidence level A man has to have to be able to be with a woman who is like such a superstar. And then you add on top of just the time factor, like how do they make time for a relationship? You know? So there’s a lot of challenges there for


Damona  5:16  

a lot of our superstar ladies that are listening to this, this podcast that may be thinking, it’s really hard for me to find a match, like one element is sometimes it is intimidating when you have everything together. The guys that don’t approach you are the ones that don’t feel like they can handle all that. Yeah, so maybe that kind of rejection is not such a bad thing. And you should save yourself for Yeah, great term match.


Franny  5:40  

Oh, yeah. Anyone who’s intimidated by you is not for you. So he doesn’t have the competence, you know, but I do think that as women who might be perceived as being intimidating, it is worth thinking about. Okay, am I leading too much with my accomplishments, am I leading too much with it? And I don’t mean to say like, I want to be really clear about this, I don’t mean to dumb yourself down or pretend like, Oh, I just have a little company. And you


Franny  6:09  

know, I’m not saying that, but


Franny  6:10  

I think even just in your interactions with people, like most people go on dates, and they talk about their jobs, right? Which is like, generally like not, it’s not right for romance, right? Like, it’s not right for like connection. And I’ve seen this with women who they feel that men are intimidated by them by their sex because of their success. But then they also when they meet men, it’s kind of like they’re using their success as a little bit of a crutch, and they’re leaning into it as a kind of a thing to puff them up. And I don’t know, I think it’s kind of a subconscious thing that we can do sometimes. So


Damona  6:42  

well, it’s what’s giving you love back. So the thing that you’re successful at is the thing that’s giving you that that feedback and making you feel successful. So you then you lean into that when you’re on the dates and then you talk more about those things. But that’s not how that’s not how women really are meant to attract men. That’s not attractive to men that’s attractive to women who are looking for providers. And we’re talking about traditional gender roles. But I’m curious, as we were going through these headlines, what you should definitely not talk about on first dates. And there was an article in elite daily that talked about those who discussed breakups. Yeah, on first dates. I hear this all the time, too.


Franny  7:25  

Yeah. My feeling.


Damona  7:26  

My feeling is if you’re talking about a breakup on a first date, your first date is not going well.


Franny  7:33  

I agree. I don’t think it’s a good sign. We’re talking about breakups. Also just talking about not even like necessarily breakups, like you were in a relationship, just talking about how dating is going on the app and like, Oh, my God, yeah. So last week, I went on this date with this guy. I’m like, what, you know, why are you talking about that on your day, right? Yeah, no way I’m all about I really, really encourage people to set an intention when you go on a date, and put your Like setting an intention to, you know, see if you can spark a connection with that other person to just set an intention to just be present in that moment, share something of yourself, learn something new, just something that’s going to keep you really focused on the other person and the connection that you might be able to build because a lot of people go on dates and they feel like, oh, there was no spark. But then if you break down, what would you talk about? You talked about work you bring you talked about your ex, he talks about where you grew up, okay. Like where you went to school? Like, I mean, that’s not, that’s not that’s not I think you can do better.


Damona  8:34  

Yeah. And I feel that, of course, there are people that are going to be boring on dates that are going to be uncomfortable on dates that aren’t going to really inspire you, but it’s ultimately your responsibility to to take the conversation where you want it to go. Agreed. And if you are saying, Well, that was a boring day. Well, you were boring, some responsible Yeah, yeah. Making it boring yourself.


Franny  8:56  

Yeah. And if it means you have to think about questions ahead of time to Ask if it means like when you when you start talking about work, or you know, your date starts talking about work, you know, instead of asking them 20 questions about their boring accounting job that you don’t have any interest in, and they probably hate anyway, right? You know, say like, well, if you’re going to talk about work, you know, what do you love about what you do? Or if you could do anything, what would it be? Or what do you want to be when you were a kid, like just something to, you know, have it be something that’s more about what they care about and their values and what they dream of, you know, just there’s ways to hibbett conversation so that you’re going to a more a place that’s more likely to yield some real connection.


Damona  9:36  

I really love those tips and remembering that you, you can pivot, you don’t have to stay on track track that is leading you to a boring conversation, and you can do it gently.


Franny  9:48  

You don’t have to be like, let’s not talk about this anymore. This is boring. Don’t say that. Right? Like you can do it really gently. It’s a skill, but it’s a skill that you can develop and it’s it’s worth it’s worth it’s worth developing.


Damona  9:58  

Yeah, and you you really could change any conversation topic at any point just by leaning in and be like, you know what I’m really curious about. And then the other person will lean in and be like, Oh, yeah, body language and be like, well, I want to know what you’re curious about. Yes. And I love that so great. What did you dream of when you were a kid?


Franny  10:16  

which wouldn’t be what did you want to be when you were a little kid? Yeah. I’m


Damona  10:21  

queen or princess. Initially, and then I wanted to be an architect. I’m really into historic homes and, and design. And then I took drafting one on one and almost flunked out of high school. I’m really more interested in cheerleading. So I had to find something else to do with my life. Yeah. What about you? I wasn’t


Franny  10:44  

really a kid who had any strong sense of what I wanted to be when I grew up. But I do remember after I saw the movie, Wall Street, I wanted to be a corporate raider. No, really an actor I saw Top Gun I wanted to be a fighter pilot. Very briefly. I don’t know what this reveals about my person.


Damona  11:00  

You are inspired by the things you see.


Franny  11:02  

I guess what I think I think I was inspired by I don’t know, power.


Franny  11:07  

alarming, but um, yeah, I never really knew I never really knew


Damona  11:10  

while we’re, while we’re talking about power, the transfer of power. A lot of times with dating apps people tell me that they’re afraid of something happening to them. They’re afraid of dating safety, like people that are hungry for power that might take advantage of them. And there were some new features that Tinder rolled out to address this concern. They announced that they’re, they’re now using a panic button, you have to download a an additional app to get this. And here’s the catch that app actually sends data it shares your data with its your location. So they it’s the same technology that you that Uber uses, okay, it’s sharing your location with Facebook and a bunch of other apps and other data that you don’t necessarily have control over. Yeah, but I digress. It can alert the authorities if you are uncomfortable on a date.


Franny  12:08  

And then they all said also just use you have in the future if anyone has an iPhone and probably Android has the same feature you have there’s an emergency. You know, if you hit that side button


Damona  12:20  

I sit down. Yeah,


Franny  12:20  

I think Megan emerge. I think everyone has probably accidentally done this and you’re like, Oh, God.


Franny  12:27  

But dial but dial but yeah, you know, I think it’s good. It’s me.


Franny  12:30  

Well, you think that people?


Franny  12:33  

I don’t know if it’s necessary. Okay. I’ll tell you. I do think that, you know, Tinder in particular has has that reputation like, Oh, you can’t go on Tinder. Like, you know, it’s just for hookups. And there’s, you know, people looking to abduct you or you know, but I think that


Franny  12:49  

so we hear those stories. I mean, we hear those stories, but we hear like


Franny  12:54  

I don’t know, six of those stories a year


Damona  12:57  

and look at how many people are date and


Franny  12:58  

look at how many times 10s of millions of people are on Tinder. So it is a very, very, very, very uncommon occurrence. So obviously, you want to be smart, and their ways to be smart. And I find that generally when you’re actually paying attention, and you’re not, you know, maybe kind of ignoring things or hoping against hope because like, well, this person, their pictures are really great. So I just want to meet them, and you’re not, you know, you’re, you’re maybe ignoring some signs that there’s something a little off, or, you know, maybe they’re pressuring you, or they’re like, they want to meet really quickly, you know, or just things ideal, either something’s off, you know, or like, they’re insisting that they pick you up or you mean, like, just things like, just don’t, you know, it’s, it’s just important to be smart. And make sure when you’re, I don’t care which app you’re on, you know, you don’t know this person. And even if you meet somebody, you know, and you can meet somebody in church who turns out to be, you know, not a good person, right? So you just have to just exercise that common sense. We meet in a in a public place and place you feel comfortable. Be you know have your own transportation. Right. So you’re not relying on a stranger to pick you up or take you home. You know,


Damona  14:12  

so and that’s like meeting someone. And in any, in any setting Yeah, yeah, you don’t know them. They’re not checked out by, in fact, actually there was I went out with somebody that I met at a party through a friend and I was still like, something’s off about this guy. Even even then you don’t even know. Yeah, you don’t say don’t know, just be seeing this feature. They also added a photo Vera verification feature. That’s cool.


Franny  14:37  

That’s great. Yeah, so it’s already.


Damona  14:40  

Yeah, it’s using AI and then like, trusted people internally, to make sure that you are who you say you are. Yeah. Do we need that or is catfishing that much of a problem?


Franny  14:51  

I mean, I don’t think similar to the safety issue. catfishing is a problem but it’s usually whenever somebody has been captured When you look back, and you kind of look back at the messages, you look back at the profile, it’s not that hard to spot. Yeah, it’s really like, I mean, if you’re looking at somebody, and their profile is just like, oh my god, this is the most gorgeous person I’ve ever seen. And these model photos and like, you know, and things are looking, he was in the Navy, and like, you know, like, it’s just like, you know, it, you could do like a river. If you if you’re suspicious, you could do a reverse reverse image search, you know, in Google, you can take a picture from the app, and you can put it into Google and you can see where else it comes up. So usually the cat pictures they’re using stock photos or they’re using photos from you know, that are appearing lots of other places that you’re like, Oh, wait, this isn’t the same person


Damona  15:40  

and we want to believe the fantasy don’t mean frannie like want to believe Haha, yeah, this idea of the person, like so many times people right into the show, and they’re like, I am in love. I fell in love with this person. In fact, I just posted on my Instagram today that I don’t believe in it. In love at first sight. It’s a myth and somebody said, Well, maybe you just haven’t experienced it, huh? No. You don’t know that person. Right? I mean, you don’t know that person. You tell them


Franny  16:09  

you don’t know them. You don’t you? You? Well, that’s kind of a philosophical question. What


Franny  16:15  

is love?


Franny  16:16  

Love Is it can choose a lot. But I mean, yes, obviously when most people when they’re thinking it’s love at first sight, it’s just it’s lost its luster first. It’s chemistry. It’s Oh my god, this is finally the kind of person that I’m looking for. But you know, one big solution to catfishing is just meet them, meet them in person, right? Just meet them in person, because the person who has a million excuses why they can’t meet and oh, and I’m out of town and this and that, and it’s adding up. It’s like the you know, it’s pretty obvious if your gut is telling you it’s


Damona  16:47  

probably Lissa. What it Yes, yeah. And I think there’s a bigger issue of people not necessarily stealing other people’s photos. I know that is happening, but it’s more just people having false advertising. editing photos, which we announced a couple weeks ago Bumble is cutting down down on and and taking those photos off. But it’s more people just using old photos. Yeah, it’s always advertising or just not looking like themselves when you meet or just not being attractive to you like you can look at someone’s picture. I don’t know how many online dates I went on where I was like, oh, that person looks really hot. And you’re like, Oh, I just don’t feel it. I don’t feel


Franny  17:26  

it Are you are you were like, Oh, you can see it’s not a catfish. It’s like, Oh, this is you. But this is the best picture you have ever taken in your life.


Franny  17:36  

We’ve all done it. We’ve all


Franny  17:38  

done it. So I think if there’s anything that’s feeling off about someone’s profile, just ask yourself, if these photos weren’t as good if this person didn’t look as hot, or they didn’t have this job, or there’s something that I’m like really, really looking for would I still be excusing or ignoring an intuition that I have? And you know, just check in with yourself because it’s usually it’s because the people who are out there to deceive people, they know what to do they know the profile to put together, they know how to make themselves look so irresistible. They’re experts at it. They’re experts at it. So it’s like if somebody seems like really too good to be true, and then there’s something off about the communication and they’re not you know, trying to meet you in person are there you know, there’s something shady going on there just you gotta you gotta listen to your instincts and use your common sense and just say it’s, it’s a leap of faith to say, the person who was right for me is out there and I don’t have to waste my time hoping against hope with somebody who’s showing me already that there’s something not right here.


Damona  18:38  

Yes, you have to keep the faith. Love is out there for you. We will give you more hope later in this episode, and we’re doing this fun. Five question February. So when we come back, Franny is going to answer my five questions about the state of love relationships and romance. Today, so stick around.


Franny  19:03  

We are back with frannie. She hosts the dear frannie podcast and she has been a go to expert in media for years. So I know that she can tackle these big issues for five question February. And I’m really excited to hear these questions because I Can I just tell everyone, yeah, that you offered to show me the questions ahead of time. I said, No, don’t show me at a time. I just want to freestyle it. So let’s go.


Damona  19:28  

She’s not good. She can answer these questions on the fly. We’ll see. Okay, Francesca hoagie. What is the biggest challenge for traders today? Ooh,


Franny  19:39  

gosh, that’s a big question.


Franny  19:40  

I told you. Yeah.


Damona  19:42  

I know you can handle I can handle it. And you can break it down into chunks. Yeah, yeah. One question that you always Yeah. here from Pete.


Franny  19:50  

Um, I would say, Okay, well, there’s probably two things that initially comes to mind. One of the biggest challenges is that we have so much cultural messaging conditioning around romance that’s so terrible. And I’m talking about like the fairy tale industrial complex. And you know, there’s one perfect person and you’re going to know as soon as you see them. And as soon as you meet that perfect person, everything’s going to fall into place. And you’re either lucky in love Are you aren’t. So I think that kind of mindset that people have about romance in general is a huge, huge, huge obstacle to love and real connection. So there’s that. But then there’s also because of dating apps, and because of the proliferation of online dating, people have this sense that they have infinite choice. And it becomes this illusion that oh, well, I there’s something one little thing I don’t like about someone, I’ll just keep going because I’ll find that perfect person. So they’re related, right? It’s this idea that you’re going to know right away, and the person is going to be perfect, and then everything is going to fall into place. And just know that even though there are millions and millions of people on dating apps, all of those people are not Actually options for you, right? And not all of those people. You most people overestimate their ability to determine who is and who isn’t compatible for them, like in a very short amount of time. So people are very quick to dismiss someone because they’re like, Oh, no, like, Oh, I only want somebody who’s, you know, six too early, six feet tall, or like, you know, or just like, oh, like, he seems too nerdy. And I need somebody who’s that, you know, just all of these little things that I should. I’m going to quote another expert here. Michelle Jacoby, who I interviewed recently for my podcast, and she said something I was like, Oh, my God, this is so good. And she, she was talking about how she was in DC. And she was on a corner and she saw this father and daughter and they were just having this really lovely father daughter moment. And she was like, Oh, my God, that’s so sweet. Like, Oh, look at that bother. He really loves his daughter. It’s so sweet. And then she thought I was I was single, what would I think looking at that guy? And she said, Oh, I think well, he doesn’t really dress that well. He’s kind of dorky and, and it was like all this stuff. And then She realized that, you know, it’s like the opposite of beer goggles, like we put on these dating goggles. And when you have your dating goggles on, and you’re always looking for what’s wrong, and you’re always picking people apart, and I just think that’s so wise and so true. So I don’t I think maybe I’m going on a tangent, maybe I should have gotten these questions ahead of time.


Franny  22:20  

But I think, you know, people,


Franny  22:23  

people, and especially people who could should really kind of know better because they can look at their own dating history and their own dating success to kind of know, like, Oh, I’m maybe not as good at this as I think I am. Like, maybe I’m not as good at picking partners as I think I am. Maybe I’m not as good as making a snap decision about who is and who isn’t right for me. But oftentimes, people just want what they want. And they don’t stop to think like, Oh, well, why do I want that? And is that important? And what am I bringing to the table and, you know, what is the relationship I want to have and the people that I’m focusing on, are they even capable of being the kind of partner that I’m looking for? So


Damona  22:57  

I want to break this down a little bit because I I hear a lot. You I’m sure you get this to clients will come to me and they’ll say, well, I’ve been looking but I’m just really picky. Yes. When you hear I’m really picky. Yeah. What do you say to that?


Franny  23:13  

I, I think that Okay, first of all, I should be, I should just want to say that, obviously, you should be selective about who you,


Damona  23:20  

you know, have a relationship with. I mean, I, when I was dating, I was just not picking. Like you’re


Franny  23:28  

I just and I only say that because I think that sometimes when people hear, you know, dating experts, or coaches like us to say, like, you know, talk kind of criticize people for being overly picky, they’re like, Well, you know, you just want me to date some loser, just, you know, and it’s like, No, I don’t, I don’t want you to date somebody who isn’t a great fit for you. I don’t want you to date somebody who or be in a relationship with somebody, get into a relationship with someone unless you’re excited to be in a relationship and you have attraction and all those you know, so let’s I want to say that for anybody who’s like, shutting down here, stay with us. Stay with us. But when I hear I’m just really picky, that tells me that there is a vulnerability challenge and that they’re hiding behind a lot of pickiness in order to avoid having to, like be truly intimate with someone.


Franny  24:16  

Turn it off you guys.


Franny  24:18  

That’s my first indication. Yeah. And then sometimes people just really, I think, in dating, we’re so focused on this list of like, Okay, this person has these, all these trades, and you can have 1000 things on that list. But a, you need to go through all of those things and make sure that they actually have to do with your relationship with that person, which most of them don’t, right. And you have to make sure and then you have to be able to prioritize what those things are, right? Because you can have 1000 things but if you’re looking for them all in one person, that’s not a person that’s a unicorn, that’s a fantasy. So it’s about really understanding what are the most foundational things for you and really starting to sort from that place which makes A lot easier.


Damona  25:08  

And then let’s go into this Paradox of Choice because I hear this a lot in the media actually, that there are so many options today. Nobody wants to make any choices. And so then people are just choosing.


Franny  25:21  

Yeah, I’m not choosing anyone, right? Or most people in dating apps don’t even go on a date. So I’m sure you are familiar with that statistic. That’s


Damona  25:27  

a that is real. In my experience as a dating coach, my clients end up making selections. So I’m wondering what is different is it you think it’s just when you get to the point of you’re like, I need support with this, I’m going to hire a dating coach. And then we talk through the questions like, why am I not seeing with my clients this Paradox of Choice happening? Yeah, instead with my clients. They’ll work with me for three or four weeks and then they’re like, Oh my gosh, I already met somebody that I really like this be it Should I date other people? I mean, this has literally happened to the last clients that I had there. Like, should I stop now? I mean, should there should there maybe there’s somebody better out there but I don’t know this person seems pretty great. Yeah,


Franny  26:12  

well that well that’s because your clients and my clients are coming to us because they’re actually ready. And they’re and they’re open to listening. And I mean, I think for me, my clients same thing, they get to that place really quickly and it’s because once I say you can’t look at a dating app profile can’t look at a little two inch photo and you know 100 character bio and think you are able to determine whether or not you can be in a relationship with this person.


Damona  26:39  

So love at first sight is a myth and


Franny  26:43  



Franny  26:46  

but so I think once you understand that, the purpose of swiping right on someone the purpose of going on a first date with someone is not that you’ve already decided that yes, this is a person I can see myself with forever. That’s too high of a bar is too unrealistic of a bar, and you will, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment with that bar. So I think for me, when I explain to my clients like, you know, when you’re looking at a profile, you’re just trying to decide like, Can I talk to this person for 10 minutes, because most of those people that that you match with, it’s never it’s not going to go beyond that 10 minutes, a lot of people it’s going to, you know, you’ll make your decision here. I mean, a lot of people, first of all response rates are not 100%. For anyone show, you’re never even not even all going to turn into conversations. A lot of those people are going to take themselves out of the running, because they’re going to you’re being open and then they’re going to say something or like, and now I’m closed. You know, they’re going to take themselves out of the running or they’re not serious about meeting or you know, all these things. So when we point that out to our clients, and we teach them like this is a tool This is not like a crystal ball, right? This is a tool and you have to use it like a tool. In this year. Success on this platform is going to be based on your strategy and your approach. And the decisions that you make, and you know, people are paying us money because they’re ready to meet someone. So they’re ready to hear that. Yeah, but the average date or, you know, the average data online never goes on a date. And that’s so true. And it’s not because they’re not millions of options, right?


Damona  28:14  

Just to add one more thing about love at first sight. When I first saw my profile, I actually did say, Oh, my God, where have you been? And I did, I was in love at first sight. But I was in love at first sight, probably 20 other times. Oh, yeah. just so happened that time really does love. Yeah, that’s why even though


Franny  28:37  

my mother says she, my father at first sight, they met IRL back in the day. Sure. But and she said she she walked she saw him walking across the room and she said she fell in love with him the first night for that even spoken to each other.


Damona  28:49  

But that’s happened to me too. And then it didn’t work out, you know? Yeah, no. question. Question one. Oh, my God. The second question. What do you think the Best way to find love is today.


Franny  29:02  

Hmm, I think the best, most important way to find love is to make sure that you have a love mindset that is conducive to it. And then honestly, it’s irrelevant like which app you’re on and all because it’ll be. It’s making its taking chance out of it and making it in evitt. In inevitability. I can’t say that word in every city.


Damona  29:21  

Okay, you said it yesterday. Do you think that people can meet offline now?


Franny  29:27  

Absolutely. Of course they can. Every time you leave your house, you have the potential to meet someone special. I met my boyfriend on the street,


Franny  29:33  

just on the streets walking home. Come on.


Franny  29:36  

I’ve met I’ve dated so many guys that I’ve met just out in the world, but it’s because I have an attitude. And I had had that attitude for a long time, which is that every time I leave my house, I have the potential to meet someone special and I believe that that’s your mantra. That’s my mantra. So like, why not


Damona  29:52  

wait but when you met him, are you looking down at your phone and I


Franny  29:56  

wasn’t looking along. I was not looking down at my phone. I was rushing because I was trying to make the lights across the street.


Franny  30:04  

I don’t have time, but sometimes we do that though. Yeah. Wait, what happened?


Franny  30:08  

So what happened was, um, he was with his brother. And we had all been in a screening a few blocks away and his brother recognized me from the screening. So as I was rushing by his brother said, Oh, hey, how’d you like the movie? And I was like, oh, oh, you guys were in there, too. Yeah. So then I so then I laid my panic button. So then I missed the light because I stopped to talk to them. But then I didn’t fall in love at first sight. But I did have this intuition. Once I started talking to my boyfriend. I did have this intuition. Just feel like I’m supposed to keep talking to this guy. I just feel like I’m supposed to keep talking to him. I did that came to my they came to me like very clearly.


Franny  30:45  

Yeah, yeah, that’s different than love it first.


Franny  30:48  

Yeah. I didn’t say that. I had fallen in love at first sight. I’m just saying I’m not gonna rule out the possibility that it can happen. It can happen and it does happen to you and my mother. At least


Damona  31:00  

I see I’m still not buying it.


Franny  31:01  

Okay, we don’t have to talk about.


Damona  31:03  

It took time for me to, to actually know him and love him.


Franny  31:09  

It took time for you to decide that this is a person that you were going to choose to love.


Franny  31:14  

Yes. Okay.


Franny  31:18  

Next time that takes is no kids.


Damona  31:20  

Okay, as we were talking about these mindset and beliefs. The third question is how can people change their patterns in love?


Franny  31:29  

Okay, well, the first thing is even recognize that you have a pattern, because a lot of people don’t see their patterns, or they believe that their patterns are just happening to them. So once you understand that you are the common denominator and your pattern, everyone has one, even if you don’t date at all, that’s still a pattern, right? So even if your if your pattern is you only get like mad crushes on unavailable people. That’s a pattern right? So everyone has a pattern. So when you see that they’re like, and then you You start to understand, oh, even if it’s happening on a subconscious level, like I am pulling the strings here. So when you that, like, I swear, that’s half the battle of just just identifying it. And then if you commit to it, then you can start to say, all right, well, if there’s some, if I’m doing this, how can I start to what can I start to do differently? Like, why am I drawn to people who aren’t into me? You know, why do I have a belief that people are cheaters? And if that because if I really believe that if you really believe that everybody is going to cheat, you’re going to always be attracted to cheaters. Sure. It’s amazing how this works. These beliefs are like, they are like, set it and forget it. So


Damona  32:40  

I’m curious about something you said earlier, when you met your boyfriend and you trusted your intuition and we talked about this. Yeah, we went deep on the dear frannie podcast, and I talked about my own experience with intuition and teaching people how to how to tap into here and here it yep. We have so much chatter down there that sometimes you can’t even hear the intuition. Yes. So is that an element


Franny  33:08  

of it, it is an element of it. There’s, if you if you really, if you start to really understand that we are co creators in all of our relationships, like, and, you know, it’s, it’s empowering really like, you know, this isn’t just happening to you, you’re not a victim. Right? And so, you may have had some experiences and some programming that happened that made you think that this is how relationships have to be. And in your mind, you think that you know, to be with somebody who say, doesn’t value you or doesn’t respect you, if there’s some belief there that that’s quote unquote, safe, because that’s what you’re used to. And that’s the message that you got at a young age or, you know, some traumatic experience. Then when you understand that, then it’s like, Okay, I need to go deeper in myself. Make sure that what I believe is possible for me is what I actually want. Because so many people are out here, they’re looking for love, and they’re looking for connection, and they’re looking for partnership, but they don’t really believe that they can have it. And if you don’t believe you can have it, you’re going to make yourself right about what you believe. And it’s, it’s so it’s really important to understand that so obviously, it’s a longer process. And you know, I know you have a process where you work with your clients through this, I have a process where I work with my clients through this, but honestly, the first step is just recognizing that you have a pattern and that you are pulling the strings and then to become determined to like get curious and figure out okay, why am I doing that and how can I stop?


Franny  34:37  

It doesn’t take long right? We


Franny  34:38  

can do you know, I’m sure you can do this. I’m sure you can help your clients work through this and like a couple of sessions.


Damona  34:43  

Well, yeah, I’m I’m interested in you said when you’re identifying that, that pattern, that it’s like you said you can people can self sabotage like you can still be acting like You deserve love and you want love. Then you self sabotage like, how do you know that that’s happening for you? So you identify Yeah, where that that block is because you’re like, I’m doing all the things like this is what I hear a lot from our listeners. I’m on all of the apps. I’m meeting people out I did my profile makeover. I did my personal makeover. I did my wrote a letter to my family. Yeah, and process that. And yet, I’m still getting this. Yeah.


Franny  35:32  

So it’s important to understand that


Franny  35:36  

the beliefs like the true beliefs that are really like what’s pulling the strings here, this, this resides on a subconscious level. So if I ask anyone, and I asked people this all the time, you know, like, I have myself a formula and you know, I work my clients through that and part of it is self worth. That’s a huge part. And every single person I asked, Do you believe that you are truly worthy of having the love the commitment, the intimacy, the fulfilling relationship that you’re looking for? Everyone’s like yes, instantly. Instant. Yes, hell yes. Everyone says yes. I’m like, Okay, great. I’m going to ask you the question again. And this time, I want you to take a deep breath. And I want you to close your eyes. And know that your brain is going to say yes. And we want to confirm with whatever comes up in your body that is a real Yes. And then just sit for a moment, just sit with that question for a moment and see what happens in your body. And 99% of the time, they’re like, Oh, actually, I got this, like, pit in my stomach, or this tightness in my chest. Or, you know, I had a client recently described it as they felt this heaviness or like, so there’s, like, our emotions, really, in our subconscious speaks to us through our bodies, which is why like getting into your body and having body awareness is actually like, it’s actually important. If you have you know, a lot of subconscious believes that it’s just important to check in. It’s just a check in because hey, if you ask yourself the question and your heart swells, and you feel relaxed and excited and you get that like juicy, warm feeling, then that’s a Amazing, you’re on the right track, right? But if it is anything less than that, you just want to check in with that and just say, Okay, if there is something in me that believes that I’m not worthy of having this, for whatever reason, don’t judge it just like, for whatever reason, then if I did believe I was worthy, what would I do right now? And just keep checking in with yourself just trying to like change your choice, just how would that change your choices and just it’s like, it’s just sort of starting to retrain yourself to understand that your logical brain is not the only thing that’s driving the train here. And so you’ve got to go a little deeper.


Damona  37:37  

Okay, I’m gonna give everyone like a secret advance. Notice that we’re going to be doing a workshop together. Yes, doing some of this mind body spirit connection in love. So it’s a little ways off. Yes, we will announce it when the time is right when the Registration is open, but if you like what what Franny is talking about, you’re going to go home. More when you work with us in person in May. Okay, there’s more questions. What are the elements of a strong, long lasting relationship? Oh, beautiful


Franny  38:11  

acceptance of yourself and the other person true vulnerability. So that’s really the risk, the ability to risk pain, right of opening yourself up and really going deep with another person, letting them see who you really are seeing who they really are. That’s the hardest part for me. I mean, I think, I think that vulnerability, like true vulnerability is often the last love block to fall for people. And they got like, so much they’ve worked on the belief they’ve worked on, you know, the acceptance they’ve worked on, you know, putting themselves out there, they work on all these things, but that vulnerability piece isn’t quite there. And so that’s why, you know, they keep on kind of bumping up against a pattern that’s like not serving them. I say that a lot. So acceptance, vulnerability. shared that values, yes, dancing, that’s really important. And I ended beyond values also just like a shared vision of your life, you know, like, what’s the kind of life that you want to lead, because, you know, if you are somebody who knows that you want to get married, and you want to have three kids, and you are continually dating people who are like, I don’t know, actually, I want my freedom, and I want to do this, and I want to do that, and I want to spend every weekend, I don’t know, campaign or, you know, like, you know, whatever it is, like you have to just understand, like, you know, you can do what many people have done throughout history, which is kind of force a square peg into a round hole. But you know, that’s not going to be a very fulfilling relationship. So


Damona  39:43  

yeah, and I think this is such a great time right now where you have the ability to choose Yeah, yeah, go a different way or to not need to get married to have that mean that you in a person are committed to one another or to date someone One of a different gender for the first time or to not, not date at all. Like, yeah, I have so many options that, especially for women were just not available to us, even if you even one generation. Yeah. Oh, yeah,


Franny  40:15  

absolutely. Yeah. So you know, so understanding that and then, you know, commitment, like being committed, like really committed that like, okay, we’re in this together, when challenges arise, we’re going to work through them together. And I’m not going to hightail it at the first sign of trouble, because trouble will always appear. Right? Like, it’s never going to be smooth sailing, and you just genuinely like each other, enjoying each other’s company. I think people underestimate that. Like, it’s not always going to be like, you know, fancy trips and romantic dinner. It’s like you’re just going to be sitting on the sofa a lot together.


Damona  40:50  

A lot enough.


Franny  40:51  

Yeah, we do.


Franny  40:53  

Like that. I love it. I also like I also like being out in the world,


Franny  40:58  

but also, I would say accident Well, we need the mix. Some people don’t some people want I want to, you know,


Damona  41:03  

I’m more of a out of the house person. But and my husband is definitely more of an introvert and like, cozy up in front of Netflix. But I’ll say also you and your partner don’t have to want the same want to do the same things all the same values like yeah, and ultimate goals for the future. Yeah.


Franny  41:24  

And even have some overlapping interests. Yeah, but not 100%


Damona  41:28  

I don’t want to watch soccer. I just don’t know. Yeah, that’s right. You get up early you watch soccer. My yoga.


Franny  41:39  

I’m not gonna go ride my bike up a mountain like him. People are like, oh, cuz my boyfriend’s very serious cyclists and people are like, Oh, do you ride? Do you ride with him? I’m like, No, why would I do that?


Franny  41:50  

Right. Exactly. Yeah, no interest.


Damona  41:52  

Yeah, but I feel like now because of dating apps and because of technology, being able to, to connect you to someone. That’s not just A couple of boxes but the checks a lot of boxes Now sometimes people expect them to check every box. Yeah.


Franny  42:07  

Oh, I can’t tell you how many people I set up. Even actually, a really good friend of mine said to me, she’s like, wow, I’m so impressed that you ever gave your boyfriend a chance because of this his cycling thing. She’s like, why? And she’s like, well, because you don’t cycle.


Damona  42:21  

Yeah, like, people say that about me. I’m like my husband, vegetarian. And people are like, how do you make it work? He doesn’t eat my food.


Franny  42:33  

It’s not hard. It’s not really that hard. It’s not hard and he wants somebody who has their own passions and their own interests, right. Like I think this is the whole like you complete me this goes back to what I was saying earlier about the fairy tale industrial complex, and you’re supposed to be this like, perfect, perfect match. And you want to spend every moment together and do everything to get no like that’s not the healthiest relationship. So you’re both coming as complete people and you’re complementing each other’s lives and you’re making each other’s lives better. And richer and more fun and exciting and you know, but you’re not. You know,


Damona  43:05  

there’s a difference between You complete me. And you duplicate me though to like, my husband does complete me like I’m complete, but he does fill in gaps of places that I need to work on and helps illuminate those areas where I want to be a better person. But we’re not we’re known as carbon, or carbon carbon copy. Yeah, I am curious, though. You’re for the fifth question. Whose relationship do you admire? And one and it could be a famous person or someone in your personal life? Yeah, tell us their story.


Franny  43:38  

is a good question. Um, well, I guess I’ll just take a famous example because I guess that’s easy shorthand for people. Um, I do admire Brock and Michelle.


Damona  43:48  

I knew you’re gonna say that. Oh, my gosh, her birthday photo and I did so sweet. I did so sweet. Woman, he


Franny  43:57  

really loves her. They’re very devoted to each other and I read her memoir, which and she goes, you know, really into detail about their relationship and their courtship and everything


Damona  44:06  

she was really trying to


Franny  44:09  

show you.


Franny  44:10  

Which, by the way, it’s interesting, though, as much as I admire their relationship, when I read her book, I was like, I never would have dated him, like I never would have. I would have started that I would have been like, yes, not gonna


Damona  44:20  

work. He was like a big dreamer. She, like had her life


Franny  44:22  

together. Yeah, he’s like, when they got married, and he’s like, hey, my mom rented me a house in Hawaii for two months to write my book. I’m gonna go, I know, I would have been like, Oh, no, I buy. But it works for them, you know, um, but I think but I kind of, I think that commitment, that sense of like, we have shared values, we love each other, we trust each other, we respect each other. And we are committed. So we are going to work through whatever challenges that arise because it’s worth it because that that love is so strong and that connection is so strong. So I think the fact that They just have true respect and trust for each other. And that’s not that’s, that’s rare. That’s rare. It’s really beautiful. And you can see it, you can’t fake that. You can’t fake it, but you can find it, you can find it, you can totally find it, but you can’t you can’t fake it. And, you know, especially not the kind of scrutiny that they’ve been under and what they’ve had to deal with as a couple and as a family and they just seem stronger than ever, especially now that they’re like out of the White House. Like they’re living their best


Damona  45:30  

lives. I know, I know. I’m so inspired by this beautiful and I’m inspired by you and answer to our five, four FEHB question. And I know you all have a lot of questions you have sent them into me and now Francesca is going to answer them. By the way, if you have a question. There are so many, many, many ways you can send them to me, you can DM me on any social platform and damona Hoffman leave me a message through dates and mates calm Or a voicemail at 424-246-6255 I don’t know why nobody wants to ever leave me a voicemail. Everybody shy of the voice I want to hear your voice You can call me call so now I had a guy that wrote it. It was like, I don’t you’re a married woman. I don’t want to bother you on foot. You guys. It’s my it’s my database. Yeah.


Franny  46:20  

Anytime a day anytime today.


Damona  46:26  

All right. We’re going to take a short break when we come back. We will be handling your questions in our next segment. Welcome back to day two mates. I’m here with Francesca hoagie. She is the host of the podcast, dear Franny, yes, among other things, and she’s also a wonderful dating coach and I know you’ll be able to knock it out of the park with these questions that we have today. The first one comes to us from Jillian she says I’m a 46 year old divorce I should I pay for a dating app to get better results. I’ve been doing free apps and drawing blanks. This is a complicated question. Yeah, you and I both collaborate with a lot of dating apps. And we both were part of the dating experts that match com brought in for their summit. So I’m always like, careful just to let people know, I’m not going to endorse one app or another specifically or dog one dating app, or Yes, but save for this 46 year old


Franny  47:26  

dog eHarmony bound to be honest, and commenting. I know that you don’t. That’s just me. I know. That’s me. That’s


Franny  47:37  

Do you think that the free apps are not going to work so well for her? I think that I think that if you are drawing a blank, I think there’s probably something more going on there. So I would be really curious to see your profile I would really be curious to see the story that you’re you’re that you’re telling with your with your photos and your bio, and I would be very good. curious to know your strategy. Because most people are really bad at online dating, and paying for a dating app or dating, you know, website or whatever is not going to solve your poor online dating problems. That’s a good point.


Damona  48:15  

I mean, I usually say you get what you’re paid what you pay for. So if you’re on a free app, you’re getting people that have, there’s no such a low barrier for entry. Like you’re getting any and everything. And you’re going to have to sort through a lot more. But at the same time, it’s a good testing space, right.


Franny  48:36  

But even that is not working there. But even the paid apps have free options. Like Yeah, every paid app has a free option. So just the fact that you’re seeing someone on a paid app doesn’t even mean they’re paying. So there’s that they can’t communicate with you know, so communicate. So that’s so that’s and I know that some people get frustrated because they do pay for an app and then they’re sending you know, they’re like I’m still have to send all the messages are people aren’t read, you know, like so it there’s still a lot I think because there are so many free apps. It’s really democratized online dating. If this was five years ago, there, I think there might have been more of a difference. Certainly if it was 10 years ago, there would have been a difference but in 2020. So like I said, I’m not, I’m not saying don’t pay for an app, I’m saying that make sure that you’re that you’re actually using the right strategy and telling the right story with your profile, because that’s going to yield you better results than you know, paying for any you know, you can pay for every dating app that’s paid and still not get have any luck. So I don’t think that so I guess my point is, I don’t think that just because somebody is paying for an app, it means that they’re more serious or they’re better at online dating.


Damona  49:47  

Good point. And I have to add one more message to Jillian because she mentioned that she’s a 46 year old divorce a beautiful and Jillian I don’t want you for one second to think that you can’t find Match because you’re over 40 or because maybe because you’ve been married before it Megan Markel can do it you can do. Or I don’t know if you have kids or whatever. But whatever beliefs like we were talking about earlier that may be attached to what that means to you to be a 46 year old divorcee. let that go.


Franny  50:17  

Yeah, let it go. It’s not at all a hindrance to you finding an amazing partner. And I actually think that it’s I think all of these things that a lot of people consider to be baggage are actually really great litmus test, because the person who’s like, Oh, God, you’ve got kids, oh, god, you’re divorced. Great. Now I’ve seen you shown me that you’re not for me. So just be really authentic and, and lead with who you are. And don’t feel self conscious about it. Like you’re looking for the people who are specifically into you, like I think, you know, trying to be generic and be like, oh, and just, you know, like, just trying to have these ideas of like, what’s going to make you have mass appeal? Like it’s not about having mass appeal. It’s about having specific appeal to the people that you want to meet. Exactly, yeah.


Damona  50:59  

Quality over quantity 100% we only have time for one more. We have more questions. I promise you all. I will answer more questions next week. But this one came in from your network. This person said I’m a single mom by choice and I have newborn twins, when and how can I date?


Franny  51:19  

So kind of what I said about the you know, really leaning in to your truth and not feeling self conscious about it. Look, if you’re a single mom with newborn twins, like is that going to weed out a lot of men? Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. And that’s good, because you’re a single mom with newborn twins. So you need to be with somebody who’s okay with that. So it’s, it’s definitely going to be a challenge is for you to prioritize the time and all of that, but if you can do it, and you’re motivated to do it, it can 100% be done. Also. I’m a mom, as you guys know, I’ve never had twins. My sister has twins


Damona  51:55  

actually was their birthday last month and it’s Lot having twins and having newborns like I could barely brush my hair. I can’t imagine trying to date in that state. So also, I feel like there’s the messaging we’re talking about, like the fantasies and the messaging that we get. There’s this messaging, like, if you are a woman and you’re single, you failed your broken, life didn’t work out for you. And so even like this woman who has made this choice to have kids, and is in this newborn phase, is hearing that message of like, she’s got to be out there dating.


Franny  52:35  

Yeah, yeah. I mean, when you’re ready, when you feel ready,


Franny  52:38  

ready when you feel the right time when you feel like


Franny  52:41  

okay, I have the time I have the bandwidth. That’s when the time is and you have you battle to be sure hair. Yeah, I think she does. She does have help. So she’s not like totally on her own. So I


Damona  52:53  

mean, I had I had a nanny and a husband. Yeah, and one Child and I could barely keep my keep my act together. So I think it might not be the right time. It may not


Franny  53:06  

be the right timing, but if you can brush your hair if you can find the time to, but again, I think I think it’s being a single mom and dating. I think it’s good because again, you weeding out the men who aren’t interested in dating a single mom and it’s I think it can be something that’s really clarifying for you. Like, you know, maybe you had a lot of distraction and you were like, Oh, it’s okay that he’s like blah blah blah and flaky. It’s okay that he you know, you might have when you were when before you had kids, now you have kids, you’re like, Oh, hell no, I need somebody who’s going to show up, be consistent, you know, really be a partner. understand the challenges that of being a single mom supporting me through them, and then the cream will really rise to the top in that situation. Hmm,


Damona  53:48  

that’s really good advice. Thank you so much for sharing that. Thank you. Thank you for being here. you for having me. I really appreciate you being our first victim. I mean, guess


Franny  54:01  

554 February and to


Franny  54:03  

listen to all these episodes and see who answered the questions better than me.


Damona  54:06  

It’s got your this is like tough mark to be. I’m really curious to see how it changes from different perspectives. But you know, I love having your your insights and your perspective on the show. So thank you for being


Franny  54:18  

you. Thank you so much damona


Damona  54:21  

You can find Franny on the socials at dear frannie and make sure you check out her podcast dear frannie on all your favorite social media platforms and by the way, she has something very special for you six love mindset hacks. We were talking about this mindset and she will help you work through it and rewrite your mindset on love. So you can find that at Francesca hoagie calm, of course, we’ll put the link in the show notes. Or you can just text love hacks to 44 222 that’s 44 222 and for those of you who want more support and love for Valentine’s Day We will be launching you ready for this? A Patreon Friends with Benefits Program. On Valentine’s Day February 14, you’ll get access to exclusive behind the scenes content from the seven years of the show, you can become a part of bonus content club which will include my podcast, video and book recommendations. And you’ll have an opportunity to join me for private group coaching sessions. Oh, and this for my really special top tier Fw B’s you can even get a dating profile analysis with tips tailored just for you on how to make your profile magnetic so that it draws in the right kind of dates. So I’ll tell you all about my new Patreon friends at benefits program on next week’s show. But in the meantime, get pumped. I can’t wait to have more opportunities to connect directly with each one of you. I hope you enjoyed Episode 295 of dates and dates again, I’m @DamonaHoffman on all the socials and I really want to hear Your love questions. Until next week, I wish you happy dating and happy almost Valentine’s Day.


Master Class: How to Change Bad Dating Habits


Do you want to make a change this year? Are you looking to commit to your dating goals? 

If so, you need to stop operating by the old rules of dating. 

Many people who come to me for dating help are stuck in negative dating patterns that have become ingrained and familiar because they do it the same way over and over again.


  • Ghosting – no one wants to be ghosted but almost everyone does it – then we make excuses for why that person didn’t deserve our time or the respect of a real response
  • Obligaswiping – Do you have a dating app installed on your phone right now that you hate? 
  • First Date Fails
    • No pre-dating 
    • Not showing up your best 
  • The Set it and Forget it profile
  • The Texting Trap – Texting is not a chemistry builder, it’s a chemistry blocker.
  • Being afraid of starting over 
  • Negative self talk – What is that phrase that is playing over and over again in your mind about why you’re still single? 
  • Lack of a plan – Are you buying into the myth that love is meant to find you?

Just like your fitness and wellness routines, dating requires the same dedication to positive habits for the best results.

Take 10 minutes today to start building better habits for you and your future life partner!


I’ll be doing a webinar called “Why Dating Apps Don’t Work For You”

on Thursday, January 9th!

In this FREE coaching call, I will go into detail on how you can finally make the dating apps work in your favor for 2020.


If you are ready to date differently in 2020 but you don’t know how to get started – The 30 Day Dating Playbook could be your solution!

I’ve taken the 5 steps to find your match that have worked for hundreds of clients over the many years I’ve been coaching and created an easy to follow 30 day program that will lead you towards the love you deserve.



Damona  0:01  

Hey lovers, today we’re going to talk about something that is really integral to my practice as a dating coach, how to develop better habits and dating, and the rules and you know what I mean? I mean the new rules for finding love. When I was thinking about this topic, and the best way to share this info, I realized that y’all love master classes. I got so many emails thanking me for the master class that I gave on dating app do’s and don’ts and I’m glad that I finally got you all off of that set it and forget it profile technique. And then when I released the masterclass on first dates, I remember one listener wrote to me and said that he had never in his life considered a picnic on a first date. And you know, who got a second date, and a third, and then a fourth date. That guy and my masterclass on how to meet your match has been one of my most popular episodes of dates and mates to date. So Really, this seems to be the best format to share one of the most important aspects of dating today. Now, I present to you my masterclass on the most common bad dating habits and how to rewrite your rules on love.

Intro  1:17  

Damona  1:29  

A lot of times I see daters operating by old dating rules in this new and rapidly changing dating environment. Many people who come to me for dating help are stuck in what my 30 day dating playbook participants know to be a samskaara. So samskaara is a pattern. It’s something that becomes ingrained and familiar because you do it the same way. Over and over again, there are positive some scars like the exercise routine that you commit to. But then there are also negative some scars that hold you back and cause you to keep reliving the past and attracting the same thing that you don’t want into your life again and again and again. And today, I want to talk about a few of the most common bad dating habits, these negative some scars, and how to fix them. And if you hear something that resonates for you, I want you to know that the purpose of this episode is not to shame you. We all have patterns in our lives that are not serving us, that needs to be changed. But the first step in even solving the problem is recognizing the problem. And then the next step is putting a plan in action to change it. So today, I hope that you hear something that makes you feel like I am talking directly to you. And I hope you will accept my challenge today to do something about it. And at the end of the episode, I’ll tell you how I can continue to support you on making this change even after the episode ends. So get your pen and paper ready, because dates and mates masterclass is about to begin, and I’m going to share with you the most common bad dating habits and how to fix them right after this. Welcome back to dates and mates for this masterclass on the eight most common bad dating habits but don’t worry. I’ll also be telling you how to fix them.


Number one, ghosting. Look. No one wants to be ghosted, but almost everyone does it. And then we make excuses for why that other person didn’t deserve our time or the respect of a real response. So here’s the bottom line. If you’re tired of getting ghosted, the first thing I asked you to do is to see where you are ghosting in your Your own life. It might just be in work emails that you don’t deem important enough to reply to. Or it could be in messages from dudes online that you think are unattractive. Here’s the fix. When you treat others with respect in all settings, you will find that you encourage those around you to rise up to your level of respect. And you will communicate more effectively so that you don’t get left in that void of ghosting.

Number two obliga swiping. If you haven’t heard this term before, I covered it a couple years ago on the show, but since then it’s become an epidemic. obliga swiping is when you have a dating app installed on your phone right now that you hate that maybe you’ve never had a date from Or that you just go on and start swiping for the momentary ego boost or the boredom blocker. But if you’re swiping without any intention behind it, you’re not only obliga swiping, you are wasting your time and depleting your energy for dating. So here’s the fix, delete any app that is not bringing you joy or quality dates, and then focus on swiping only for people, you actually could see yourself dating, and make it your point not to go for high volume of matches, but instead to make a real connection and move from the app to a real date. Third, we have first date fails, and there are a few of them. First, no pre dating. People tell me that they’re going on tons of first dates that are hours and hours long, but not connecting with anyone. Most of these people that talk to me have had very limited contact with the person predate only over text and then they feel guilty. Leaving once they’re there, don’t waste your time or anyone else’s. I highly recommend the pre date call. So here’s the fix for this one, just 10 minutes on the phone could save you two to three hours and hundreds of dollars in person. The next predate fail is not showing up your best. Often this comes from burnout or the idea that you don’t want to look like you’re trying too hard. So many people are setting dates without trying at all. I had a client Tell me on a recent date that a recent date of her showed up in a track suit because he wanted to fit in a workout right before the date. Okay, here’s the fix. You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression. So put yourself together the way you want to be seen every single time. All right, we talked about this in the intro but the set it and forget it profile. People tell me that they’re frustrated with dating apps and then I find that their profile and the photos that they’re using are five years old, and they haven’t even read their own profile in months or even years. Your profile is a living document. It changes as you also change as Time marches on. And your profile should always be a reflection of your current self. And your current relationship goals. The fix, refresh it every one to two months. Not only will it be an accurate reflection of who you are, but also what you’re looking for. Plus, it will boost you to the top of the algorithm for people who are searching for someone just like you. Then there’s the texting trap. Texting is not a chemistry builder. It’s chemistry blocker. Yeah, most people think that they should spend a lot of time texting someone before they meet up so they can build a rapport. But what happens when you build a connection and then you finally meet and discover that the person doesn’t look the way you imagined or that their banter in person is far less clever that it was on a screen. You were caught in the texting trap. There’s a fix. You can’t thoroughly vet a match via text, either set a phone call as discussed before, or move offline quickly. So you can see if what you have in writing sustains in person. Then there’s this bad dating habit, being afraid of starting over. I can’t tell you how many listeners of the show tell me that they know they’re in the wrong relationship. But they don’t want to break up because they’re afraid of starting over. If this is your issue, here’s the fix. Think of it this way. It’s your destiny to find the person who’s your best possible match just as it’s your partner’s destiny to be with theirs. And if you’re staying together out of convenience or fear of being alone, you’re blocking two people from their destiny. The next bad dating habit is negative self talk. This is a big one. What is that phrase that’s playing in your mind over and over again about why you’re still single. A major element that could be blocking you from Happiness is your own mind. negative self talk, whether it’s about who you are or what you have to offer in a relationship. Or if it’s about the matches you’re meeting. It isn’t doing you any favors. Here’s the fix. Start with rewriting your mental mantra about love. As corny as it sounds. The more you repeat it, the more you will believe it. And put the negative mantra to bed so you can see the reality and the possibilities before you.

Next bad dating habit, lack of a plan, who this one is huge. Are you buying into the myth that love is meant to find you that romance shouldn’t involve any planning or preparation, it should just magically happen? Well, you’re wrong. I’ve been coaching singles and finding love for nearly 15 years. And time and time again, I find that when people put a plan in place, the same way that they plan for everything else in their life that they are successful at. They get what they want. Here’s the fix, get into a program, get an accountability partner, do something proactive to find love, and see if that changes the outcome for you. Speaking of a plan, if you’re ready to date differently in 2020, but you don’t know how to get started, then the 30 day dating playbook could be your solution. I’ve taken the five steps to find your match that have worked for hundreds of clients. over the many years that I’ve been coaching, and created an easy to follow 30 day program that will lead you towards the love you deserve. I’ll put the link to the 30 day dating playbook in the show notes. But if you have questions about how it works, and about why you haven’t been able to find your dream match yet on your own, I’ll be doing a webinar called why dating apps don’t work for you on Thursday, January You can register for that at the dating that’s t h e dating and that link will also be in the show notes. Thank you so much for joining me for Episode 290 of dates and mates the last one I’m 2019 please send me your questions. Any dating or relationship question anything that’s on your mind. You can reach me at Damona Hoffman on all the socials. Or you can leave me a voicemail and of course your question can always remain anonymous if you would like for it to. We know the holidays can be tough for dating and relationships so there will be no break no winter hiatus for us your dates and mates. We will be back again next week with a regular episode. We’re talking with dating and relationship expert Tracy Crossley. I can’t wait for you to hear that episode. She has so much deep transformational work that We’ll be talking about and I know it will be super valuable for you. Thank you so much for listening. I wish you a Happy New Year and as always, happy dating.

Dear Damona: DTR Conversation & Dating Dry Spell


Happy holidays, Lovers! 

If you’re anything like us, you both love and loathe this time of year. It’s a time to connect with loved ones but it’s also a time of major stress. Which gifts to get, who to spend the holidays with, how to bring in the new year and when you add being single to the mix that adds a whole layer of anxiety and stress for many of our listeners and maybe for you, too. 

But we want you to remember that we’re here to help you at all times of year and when the going gets tough we’re not taking a break. We’re doubling down!

So this week we’re answering some listener questions!



Can you date someone who doesn’t share your political values?

Hi Damona, I have a dilemma. I’ve been dating a white guy for about 3 months. Last Saturday we had a conversation about politics and he has opposite viewpoints on subjects like immigration and border politics (topics that are dear to me). Since our conversation, I am completely taken aback and haven’t answered his texts because I honestly feel like i can’t date someone who doesn’t share my values or ideas. What do I do? 


How do you start to date after a 6-year dry period?

I’ve been single since I was 19 and I’m now 30. In that time I’ve hooked up with one guy once when I was 20 and then another guy that I like a lot but it didn’t work out for maybe once a year from when I was 22. Altogether, I haven’t had sex for 6 years. I would like to get back out there but I think right now I’m dealing with a mix of fear and because I’ve been self partnered for so long I don’t have the desire to really deal with having to consider someone else. How do I deal with getting over this fear and getting back into dating?


How to be better at texting?

I’m so bad at texting. I wish I knew how to text a woman to make her more interested in going out with me. I seem to always have the opposite effect. 


Do you think men and women, who used to date, can be friends? 


When should I have the DTR conversation and how should I do it? I’ve been going out with a guy for a little over a month that I met through Bumble. 


How should I feel about my new bf having a preplanned 2 week trip to Mexico in January with an ex? They are going to a wedding from someone in her family. He stressed that she’s just a friend and a lot like a sister. He could tell I wasn’t happy but I told him that I don’t have a reason to not trust him since this is new. Did I do the right thing?




Happy Holidays, Loves! If you’re anything like me you both love and load this time of year. It’s a time to connect with loved ones, but also a time of major stress, which gifts to get, who to spend the holidays with, who to bring with you to holiday events, how to bring in the new year. And when you add the anxiety and the stress of being single to the mix, that adds a whole other layer for many of my listeners, and maybe for you too. But I want you to remember that I’m here to help you at all times of year and when the going gets tough. I’m not taking a break. I’m doubling down. And maybe to the dismay of producer Leah over here who’s been busting her buns to make this show for you every week. I’m still going to give you shows all throughout the holidays. How are you hanging in there?


Leah Schell  0:57  

Honestly though, I’m having fun. I love doing Dates me. 


Damona  1:02  

Oh gosh, this show’s loving you. And honestly, you guys, I just have to give credit to Leah. She doesn’t know I’m going to say this but I just have to give all the credit because she is the reason that this show gets to you every week on time when you need it. She’s the one that helps me funnel all the questions that you send. She brings so much so much joy to this show. She brings so much heart and I just really have to say this holiday season how grateful I am. Oh my god. I’m like, I’m like blushing over here. So I don’t make my show before I get all teary eyed but I I really just do appreciate Leah. So maybe give her a little shout out when you comment on this episode The next time please. Thank you. And I also just want to shout out I had the great pleasure of meeting one of our longtime listeners, Catherine Hey girl you out there. Catherine recognize me out in about an La and we had a good long talk about her love situation. And honestly, I left feeling really excited for her. And for the possibilities that lay ahead, not just because she’s listening to the show, obviously I love that but because she’s really walking the walk, she’s hired a matchmaker, she works on herself care. She’s on dating apps, and she’s showing up in a big way for herself and for her relationship future. And that’s what it takes to make a change. First, you get clarity on what you want, and then you show up, and then you keep showing up, no matter how dire your dating or relationship challenge seems for you right now. It will shift if you put in the effort to make it shift. And that is a wonderful thing. I have one of my former clients who was expecting her first baby. I have another client who was in a new relationship. I have someone from my 30 day dating playbook program, who let me know she’s celebrating her her second anniversary this month. And I want all of that for all of you that are listening to this podcast right now. And if you’re ready to make a change for the new year, I will, I will tell you about how you can join my upcoming free webinar on changing bad dating patterns, and how you can get live coaching from me at the end of the show. And for you overachievers that already know you want to be in that you can go right now to the show, show notes and sign up. But first, I want to address your questions so many of your questions have been submitted this fall and every once in a while we like to do a special episode dedicated to you and dedicated to giving you the advice in love that you need. So without further ado, I bring you


Leah Schell 3:43  

Dear damona What does his text me so frustrated? He’s just not that intonation. I’ve always been battle. I’m ready for miracles.


Damona  3:57  

Modern love Made Simple. This is day two. mates with damona Hoffman. So producer Leah has been cataloging your recent questions. And Leah, I want to hear what is on everyone’s mind.


Leah Schell  4:10  

First we have a question from Instagram. She says, Hi damona I have a dilemma. I’ve been dating a white guy for about three months. Last Saturday, we had a conversation about politics, and he has opposite views on subjects like Immigration and Border politics or topics that are near and dear to me. Since our conversation, I am completely taken aback and haven’t answered his tax because I honestly feel like I can’t date someone who doesn’t share my values or ideas. What do I do?


Damona  4:38  

Ooh, ciao. This is this is complicated. Obviously, you guys know I come from a cross cultural cross religious background. We just talked about that last week. But at the same time, I’ve been coaching people on navigating cross cultural challenges for the last How long have I been doing this? 15 years and I What I’ve seen is a big shift towards politics. Being a bigger source of contention and relationship, frustration than race, religion, anything that used to be such a major divisive issue. And the data really supports this. Now we are divided on political issues. We are divided on things like immigration. And I have to say it’s not something to be taken lightly. You know, I’m super optimistic. I’m going to show I believe that many relationship challenges can be worked through with communication. But I wonder if this challenge speaks to a fundamental difference in value systems, and the way that you look at the world, which you also know if you listen to the show regularly, that’s one of the major tenants of long term compatibility, shared values and I don’t know specifically what the fight ended up being about or this heated conversation. But if you’re feeling like you are really diametrically opposed on different sides where you can even have a conversation about these issues and come to some sort of an understanding, you don’t have to agree on everything. But you just have to have enough space to understand the other person’s point of view, and to be able to accept and allow that their experience is different than yours. Their perspective is different than yours. And that’s okay. You can each hold one on one another’s point of view in consideration, while also still strongly believing in what you believe. here’s the here’s the answer. Is there a way to move forward with this? It’s been about three months. Yes, there is a way to move forward. This is where the going gets tough. I find relationships work in threes. You’ve heard me talk about my three date rule. You need to decide, wait until the third day to decide if someone is worth investing more time. And I also find that at three months, that is when most relationships either take off or fizzle out. Because this is when you’re really being yourself. This is now he’s letting down his guard, he is being authentically the person that he is. And he’s sharing with you his authentic thoughts, which, in a way requires a lot of vulnerability and especially at a time when we know it’s so divisive. The fact that he wants to share that with you does speak well of his his trust in you to be able to share that perspective. However, if you’re at the point where you cannot see his point of view, and you feel that his point of view is somehow challenging your own, then that is a major here A major turning point in the relationship and you have to decide if you play this relationship done in down the road, three months, six more months a year. Could you be a part of this person’s world? Could you be a part of their family if you decided you wanted to move forward with long term partnership or marriage, or maybe having children. And so these are the tough conversations that need to be drawn out. The difference in opinion itself is not enough to spell the end of the relationship. It’s how you deal with that information once it comes out. And how he deals with it and whether you can still communicate through the difference in opinion produce really good you have anything else you’re a Texan. So I imagine you deal with


Leah Schell  8:43  

Yeah, actually it says like this a lot. Yeah, this reminded me of my first like long term relationship. In college. I come from a like a very, very conservative background, being from Texas and I think like when I started college, like my friends litical views were like really like opposite of what they are now. And the guy that I dated, he was very, very liberal. And like, it was like a whole like four year relationship of like him, teaching me and just like exposing me to like different, like political points of view. And dude, thank you, if you’re listening to this for like teaching me all those things and putting in all that effort, it must have been awful. But even though that, like relationship didn’t end up working in the end, like I know that, like, you can definitely, like, have conversations and like teach people about your point of view. And, like, it doesn’t have to be the end of the race relationship. But


Damona  9:42  

did he come at you like, my perspective is right. And let me show you the way.


Leah Schell  9:49  

Yeah, I mean, you know, we were in college and very politically active and so like, there were lots of really heated arguments. But I feel like the times that were most impactful to me It was just more through like actions, not words. And that makes sense. I don’t know exactly how to explain it. But it was more just like three experiences and just like showing me exactly what his life is like, well, and we form our opinions based on our experiences.


Damona  10:17  

So sometimes someone might have one perspective, because that’s what your parents told you, or that’s what you’ve experienced. Right? And if you’re in the right partnership, it should open up your horizons, right? Total. I mean, my politics haven’t really shifted. But I’ll say one thing I really appreciate about my husband is he’s he is able to consider someone else’s point of view, even if it is 180 degrees opposite his own. Right. And I, I really appreciate that and I’m working to can you guys see how hard I’m working here. I’m working to be able to understand that and not not automatically shut down the conversation because that’s what we’re doing right now. No and in love, but also just in life. We’re just shutting down the conversation. And that’s pushing us all further apart. So this is a invitation for deeper discussion. Yeah, totally. More questions, more questions. What else is in the hopper?


Leah Schell  11:15  

More questions? Okay. This one also comes from Instagram. She says, I’ve been single since I was 19. And I’m now 30. And that time, I’ve hooked up with one guy once when I was 20. And then another guy that I like a lot, but it didn’t work out with for maybe once a year from when I was 22. altogether. I haven’t had sex in six years.


Unknown Speaker  11:35  

I was a lot of years. So a lot of years.


Leah Schell  11:38  

I would like to get back out there, but I think I know I’m dealing with a mix of fear because I’ve been self partnered for so long, and I don’t have the desire to really deal with having to consider somebody else. How do I deal with getting over this fear and getting back into dating? I like this to use all partnered.


Damona  11:56  

Yeah, thank you for it. Maybe we inspired you When we were talking about Emma Watson being self partner to use that term, or maybe that’s a term that you’ve used for a lot, but a long time, but I first want to just acknowledge her bravery and vulnerability with even asking this question. I know there are a lot of people listening right now that are dealing with some challenges like this and some things that they might have embarrassment over like not having sex for six years, some for some people, that’s a source of source of embarrassment and not being able to share that with anyone you know, you might not even be able to talk to your best friends about that. So first, I just want to say thank you for sharing that with me and with my audience, anonymously, of course, because that’s the first step in changing patterns or in getting help is just acknowledging what your story is, what your situation is, and then learning how to move through it. So thanks for your bravery with that. Yeah, girl, that’s a long time to be celibate. And in some respects, it sounds like not celibate by choice. I really want to focus in on the part where she’s talking about being self partnered for so long, that she doesn’t have the desire to really deal with having to consider someone else. Again, this person is extremely self aware, because she already knows what the challenges for her. And I have a lot of clients, particularly clients that are out of long term relationships or that are older, that have their life set and have their social circle sad have their patterns and beliefs and behavior set. And they want someone to just fit into the groove. It’s like these are the holes in my life. I want you to be available. At this time. I want you to believe these things. I don’t want you to require too much extra time for me and I want you to enjoy the same things that I enjoy doing. And that’s a really tall order. That’s very hard to To find someone that just fits and meshes with your life. So I’m glad that she’s acknowledging that. But I have to say, if you don’t want to deal with having to consider someone else, you are choosing to stay in a static point of your life, you are choosing to stay there. And, yes, you could have sex, you could probably go online right now and have sex with somebody tonight if you wanted to. But that’s not really what you’re looking for. And I also appreciate that she acknowledges that she has this fear of getting back into dating. But you have to just start at some point you have to start and you have to be willing to expand your life. And I wouldn’t think of it as not wanting to deal with considering someone else. It is a joy to consider someone else and I do hear this a lot like I don’t have to tell someone where I’m coming and going. I, I was super independent person, but the fact that somebody cares, where I’m going to be at a certain time that someone is expecting me to be somewhere or to, to, to communicate with them, or to consider them in my actions is actually a real gift. And that’s an opportunity for growth and for expansion of your life. Think of all the things that this potential partner that you haven’t met, could actually bring into your life could teach, you could could expand your world over. So when you look at it that way, maybe you’re actually depriving yourself of an opportunity. And it’s not about this considering someone else. Or Or maybe it’s the history that you’ve had in the past with relationships, that is making you feel like it’s going to be repeating that again, but it doesn’t happen. You’re rewriting the rules of your life and the rules of your love life. This is your opportunity to do it again and do it differently. So do it mindfully and do it with the intention of having your world get bigger. Instead of keeping your world in the same in the status quo. Don’t stay in stasis, stay in a period of change. More questions, more questions, questions before the break.


Leah Schell  16:25  

Okay, cool. One more question from Instagram from a guy. He says I’m so bad at texting. I wish I knew how to text a woman to make her more interested in going out with me. I seem to always have the opposite effect.


Damona  16:38  

Oh my gosh, texting. That’s a whole other thing. I feel like I should run the texting trap again as a webinar.


Leah Schell  16:48  

Yeah, we get a lot of questions about texting. Do


Damona  16:50  

we get a lot of questions about texting? Look, texting is not a natural state of communication. I know for many of my listeners, That that grew up on phones. It It is because that’s all you’ve known. But when you really think about it, it’s a very new mode of communication. And it’s very specific, short form, short form volleys back and forth with emojis, and gifts and stickers and what it means emoji all these. There’s just all of these mood modifiers you’ve had me heard me talk about how adding things like emojis can change the context. But the I’ll just give you the basic rules of texting and then I will do a whole episode on texting. Feel like I had an episode until I have Oh, how to communicate go back to last season and episode on how to communicate. But I’ll give you the cliff notes. Don’t write too much, you’re probably writing too much and these tax if you’re, if you’re meeting women online and then you’re moving into the tax And she seemed interested in all of a sudden she’s not you have said something that made her run away so you’ve probably said too much or you’ve said something the wrong way and she didn’t know how to interpret it. So keep it short and sweet. overtaxed definitely use an emoji. Not a whole. Not like my kids do a home run of emojis. I don’t like that too. It’s the cutie what is that my granddaddy, your granddaddy? Oh my gosh, that’s, that’s both charming and frightening at the same time. But just one emoji can be very effective to to state your intention because when you’re communicating with someone face to face, you have all of these other inputs of information, you have their intonation, you have their facial expressions, you have their body language, you have so much more to tell you what that person means by it. But when we’re talking about text that’s all stripped away. So first, I would just shorten shorten your texts and try to get offline more quickly. Don’t try to build a report over text because that is something that is really a learned skill and try an emoji or two, but don’t go overboard with it.


Leah Schell  19:14  

I have a questions kind of related to this. More recently, I’ve seen kind of a trend towards doing like voice messages like sending like an actual voice instead of text. Like, what do you think about that? Especially like in the early stages of dating?


Damona  19:30  

It’s funny you would say that because many times when people DM me on Instagram, I respond with a voice message. And everybody like freaks. Oh my god, it’s really you you’re actually sending but sometimes for me, just because I’m used to communicating verbally, sometimes it’s easier and sometimes I think my message is clear. If I actually leave the voice message because they can hear how I’m intending To say what I’m saying. Sometimes I don’t love receiving voice messages personally because if I’m with my kids, I can’t always listen to it right? But I think it’s it can be a good way. Then you at least have intonation you have another layer. So I think that’s that’s a good point. Leah. Adding voice to the mix. I wouldn’t do every one a voice message but adding it to the mixed mix maybe with it the animal Geez.


Leah Schell  20:28  

Yeah. Don’t do the animal


Damona  20:30  

Jesus to hear the technology hasn’t caught up.


Leah Schell  20:33  

Especially not the owl. Don’t do that. Don’t do the owl.


Damona  20:36  

But yeah, I think a voice message short voice message can be very effective in building rapport, particularly before you’ve met. Because sometimes it’s like I just need to hear their voice and know their real person and really hear what they sound like to feel that connection. Look at you, Junior dating coach. I love it. Can we do one more before the break? Yeah. Of course,


Leah Schell  21:01  

um, this one. She says Hi, damona I love listening to your podcast. Thank you. I have a question. Do you think men and women who used to date can be friends,


Damona  21:12  

too? I think men and women who used to date can be friends. Yeah. I’m friends with pretty much all of my exes. That’s awesome. I mean, so I’m not in touch with someone like Facebook friends with but um, it’s really important to set up what the boundaries and the rules are of the relationship so that it’s clear you’re not going to whoops a daisy catch feelings and end up in a weird situation ship again. But absolutely, I think men and women can be friends and I have a ton of guy friends that are platonic and always have been. And I think I’m just the fact that used to date someone that doesn’t necessarily say You are still attracted to them. That just means that at some point in your life, you felt a connection and it’s very common. I mean, how many axes do all of us have? It’s very common for you to confuse that feeling of I like this person. I enjoy their company. I find them funny I find them to be intelligent. We like the same things whatever with I should date this person. Yeah, so to answer a broader question with a real specific answer,


Unknown Speaker  22:27  

yeah, I don’t


Leah Schell  22:29  

think it speaks to like the maturity of somebody who can be friends with their exes. I


Damona  22:36  

What, are you calling me old? No, no,


Leah Schell  22:39  

I’m calling myself image here just because I I don’t know the relationship though


Damona  22:45  



Leah Schell  22:46  

now. Okay. I definitely know that I’m 100% at fault in this situation. That’s why I’m willing to admit it or not like at fault, but I know that I was being immature. I was just like, Oh, never talked to me again and moving to California by like, you know,


Damona  22:59  

over time. Again, sort of,


Leah Schell  23:02  

but yeah, like, just like we’re not friends like 100% not friends. So like, but that was something that I just decided, um, and I think it was a really immature decision. So,


Damona  23:16  

but sometimes that’s what you need. Sometimes you need to close the door. Yeah. First completely close it, shut it lock it. Like most of my exes that I’m friends with now there was a period where I was like, please don’t talk to me, right? Yeah, where you have to get distance from it. And then the next time you see them, you’re like, Oh, I don’t feel anything anymore.


Leah Schell  23:35  

Right? Yeah, I totally can see that. But like in that situation. Did you leave the possibility open for them to be friends with you? in the future? in the future?


Damona  23:43  

Yeah, but I would say right now. Not a good time. Right.


Unknown Speaker  23:49  

Right. Yeah.


Damona  23:50  

Yeah. So I feel like in general, though, do you think men and women can can be used today can be friends? And yeah, absolutely.


Leah Schell  23:58  

Totally. Just don’t What I did


Damona  24:02  

if you learn nothing else from the show, no, I, we all look, we all have these experiences that teach us how to be better in relationships. If you have the missteps, then you wouldn’t have the the, the learning that you need rate continue to evolve and relationships. So that’s true. We are continuing to evolve and we are continuing this show after the break. I just want to thank the longtime listeners and supporters of dates and maids. And even though it’s holiday time, like I said, we will continue to make these episodes for you because I know your love life doesn’t stop just because the holidays are here. And if you’re starting to take stock of your year and make plans for 2020 about how you want to date differently, we should talk and that’s why I am doing a webinar on January 9. It is called why online dating doesn’t work for you. And I will be doing a presentation plus a live coaching and q&a. At the end so if you have a dating dilemma that you want to talk to me about live, this is your chance to live, live, live, live live, and you will get free coaching from me on your specific problem should you be brave enough to share it and join me? You don’t have to ask a question you can just come for the presentation and figure out why online dating doesn’t work for you. and sign up at the dating that’s th e dating and I will spill all of my dating secrets with you. The link will also be in the show notes and on our blog at dates and mates. com We have more dates and mates coming up. I want you to stick around for more questions from our listeners including how to have the DTR conversation. All that and so much more right after this. lovers, we’re back you asked I answered and there’s more dear damona Producer Leah, what else you have in the hopper?


Leah Schell  25:58  

Okay, this one is from an email. She says, I’ve been going out with a guy for a little over. I’ve been going out with a guy for a little over a month that I met through Bumble. When should I have the DTR conversation? And how should I do it?


Damona  26:16  

This is a big question, Leah, because it’s different for everybody. There is no set time that you need to like, Oh, it’s five o’clock on on January 1, and we haven’t had the DTR conversation and we have to do it now. That is a recipe for disaster. You have to feel out where you are in the relationship. Does it feel like you’re moving towards exclusivity? Are you seeing each other more than once a week? Are you having conversations about the future? Are you feeling like you don’t want to be swiping online, this happens a lot of times to my clients. They’ll get in the program. And then within I don’t know four Five weeks, they are dating someone that they want to be exclusive with. And then they think, wait, it happened so fast. Maybe I should go back and date more people. But like the idea now that I have a burden hand, and I really like this person, the idea of going back and swiping feels exhausting, and it feels like you can’t focus on the person in front of you. And it just feels if swiping Do you feels on, appealing, uninspiring because of this person that you’re with, and maybe this is the person that you should focus on. So when do you have the conversation, if those feelings are becoming more and more intense for you, and if you’re having more and more conversations about the future, then it’s worth just checking in and seeing how they’re feeling and it doesn’t have to be a whole thing like this is this is not a bank binding contract. This is not a marriage proposal. You don’t have to say like, I I feel that way. We are destined for marriage. And I want to know where we are. And let’s define the relationship. So I could track you on the timeline trajectory of my relationship future. That’s too much. You could just say, I am feeling like, I want to focus on just the two of us and just eating you. How do you feel about that? But here’s, here’s the hard thing. You have to be willing to accept whatever answer you get when you’re ready to do that. So if you’re not ready to accept whatever answer you get, without trying to control the outcome, then it’s too soon to have the conversation. If you feel like you could have that conversation, and if they say, only really like you, I’m not sure where this is going. But I like seeing you. I’m not ready to take my profile down. Then you have information that you have to catalog and say, Do I want to continue dating this person knowing that they’re not sure when I feel very, very short? Or do you say like, oh, man, Maybe I have been moving a little bit fast and I don’t really know this person that well? Or do you need to redefine how you are, how you are moving forward in this relationship. Or maybe you need to go online again and see, maybe if I date one more person, then I can determine if this is someone that I still think is special, but it’s information. It’s crucial information that will allow you to move forward or move out of the relationship. But you can’t have this conversation lightly. You can’t have this conversation when you’re not sure. So wait until you really have clarity for yourself. And then make it as painless as possible. Don’t Please don’t do the We need to talk. How many of you have had that conversation like we need to talk about where this is going dramatic? Right, we get into harsh robbing. Yeah. I hate that. I hate that. Like even my husband will be like, we need to Talk. It’s like something about the kids. Like, I don’t want an appointment, have a conversation. Let’s just talk. We need to talk. Just talk. Yeah. So don’t do that. Not that he does that that often. But just just begin the conversation at a time when you’re both comfortable and casual and you can speak openly. Don’t do it over over new the New Year’s party, like while the ball is dropping, and all of your friends around, do it somewhere when you can both be vulnerable, authentic, clear, and speak with clarity and openness. And it it’s a hard conversations a very hard conversation. You know, and I remember when I had been dating my husband like six weeks, and it’s funny because he had a birthday party, and then he invited me to the birthday party. But then I was like, I don’t know how I’m going to be introduced his birthday party. I was pretty sure that we weren’t dating anyone else. Uh huh. But we hadn’t had the conversation. So I showed up to the party and he was like, This is damona. And all of his friends were like, Oh, damona like it was clear that they had. But I still didn’t have a title. We hadn’t had the conversation. So then I asked him later, where where do you?


Where do you? Yeah, what is this? And he was like, Well, I’m not really sure. And then he like backpedaled. And I went, Okay, I get this, like, this is not my first rodeo. Okay. So I was like, Oh, it’s gotta be his idea. You know? Like, the guys that are listening. Y’all have to think it’s your idea. For the ladies, just just let it be their idea. You can’t You can’t push it, you can’t force it. You will not get the outcome that you want. So I just backed off. I was like, okay, that’s fine. You know, I’m really enjoying hell. Yeah, I’m enjoying this, but whatever. And I’m like a week later, he was like, so do you want to be my girlfriend? Oh, this is the funniest part. He was like, I was going to ask you before my party, but then like he kind of chickened out. Oh. And I’m like, wait, then why did you act when I asked you You acted like you weren’t really sure. Can he just needed it to be enlightened by him? Okay. Oh, yeah, like I needed to not emasculate him.


Unknown Speaker  32:24  

Worked out. Okay. And yeah. Do you have any other questions this week?


Leah Schell  32:27  

Yes. One more actually. Tell me. Okay, another one from Instagram. This person says How should I feel about my boyfriend having a pre planned two week trip to Mexico in January with an ex Oh, oh, wow. They are going to a wedding from someone in her family. He stressed that a she’s just a friend and a lot like a sister. He could tell I wasn’t happy but I told him that I don’t have a reason not to trust him. Since this is new. Did I do the right thing?


Damona  32:58  

Okay, let’s break this down. It’s two weeks. In Mexico, who gets two


Leah Schell  33:01  

weeks off in January anyway, couples vacation not that this is a couple of couples vacation, but like a huge vacation. Wow,


Damona  33:09  

that is a huge vacation. Um, but it’s for a wedding, okay for someone in her family, okay. I mean, there are definitely people that have a certain place in your life that you have dated in the past. We’re talking about this a little bit before the break, that there is not the like, if he’s telling you she’s like a sister, then he probably doesn’t have the desire to be with her again. And this sounds like this is a new relationship. This is our new boyfriend, she said. So she can express that she’s not happy about it. But ultimately, this is a test of her trust of him and of where the relationship can go. And you cannot build a relationship without complete trust. And this could be a test of The relationship. So there’s a saying, If you love someone, let them go. Or if you love something, let it go. And it comes back to you, then it’s meant to be, yeah. Yeah. And again, you can’t just like he’s got to think it’s his idea. You cannot squeeze the situation, too, so tightly that you you cause him to actually want to rebel against that. And if it’s so new as well, that’s your new boyfriend, then let them know you’re going to be chill because this is a long distance run. This is not a sprint. Yeah. And this will not be the last time if you stay in the relationship with this person. This will not be the last time that you question who he’s spending time with or where this if this woman is that good of a friend, where her role is in your relationship, so you have to give him enough space to be able to show that he’s trustworthy,


Leah Schell  35:01  

right? And I like that she was honest about her feeling so those resentments didn’t build up and they could have a conversation about it.


Damona  35:08  

Yeah, yeah, I mean she said she wasn’t happy but you know, you got to make yourself happy then. Why don’t you go on your own trip to Mexico don’t like Shadow them. That would be awkward. Oh, hi. I didn’t know you were going to be at the moon palace resort.


Unknown Speaker  35:25  

I just happened to stay here to


Damona  35:29  

vacation. No, don’t do that. But do something. No for real though. Do something that is going to make your soul flourish during the time when he’s gone. I know I said that kind of flowery. But do something that will fill you up whether it’s maybe it’s a maybe it’s a trip with your girlfriends or maybe it’s a going to the spa and having a massage day or self care day or doing meditation every day or yoga or working I don’t know, whatever you do read a book, whatever it is do it with intention. I’m doing this for the with the intention of keeping my mind occupied and my heart full while he is away. Because if you are calling him every day going, what are you doing? Who are you doing it? Have you seen her? You’re you’re just going to squash this again. So you’ve got to have your own stuff going on. So that he feels like you trust him. You’re giving him the space that he needs. But you’re also taking care of yourself. I mean, not what is sexier than someone who can take care of themselves. I’m hearing that more and more for my male clients and the listeners of this podcast. They want a woman who has her own stuff going on, has her own career, her own life, and isn’t reliant on a man. prior generations. That was that was a societal construct that we were stuck with it. We had to we had to be reliant on a man for our financial and emotional well being Now you don’t have to. So you can have this relationship. You can have your cake and you can eat it too. I am spent. We it’s a holiday season. And I will go back and recharge. Because like I said, we are not taking a break for this holiday season. I can’t believe this is Episode 289 of dates and mates. If you have a question that you want answered, and you’ve been too shy to share it with me, just know that I don’t fight. And if there’s a question that you’re having, just like you were listening to this episode probably heard something that resonated for you if you have a question, just know that you could be helping out thousands of other listeners by sharing your question with us, and we will make it anonymous. We will make it safe and secure for you to share your question. You can dm it to me on any social media platform at damona Hoffman or email me damona at damona Hoffman calm we also have a forum on our website, data mates com basically it’s so easy Easy to get in touch with me I just need you to reach out and take the first step I heard we got a review a new review yes we did Who’s it from?


Leah Schell  38:10  

It’s from sure door them


Damona  38:13  

to join me that’s what their that’s their name


Leah Schell  38:15  

dr them okay the door them what it what is your door them say just adore them said excellent dating guidance or advice is wise current and she is engaging and positive thank


Damona  38:26  

you thank you she door you I try to stay current y’all I’m reading all these headlines trying to stay up on the trends for you and yes, I try to keep it positive. There’s a lot of stress out there in the world and I want data mates to be a fun experience for you. Thanks for the five star review Joe door them if you want to shout out on future episode, leave us your five star review on the platform. You can leave us a four star review if you want but I’d really like a five I’ll still read it was four star but review on whatever platform is bringing This podcast to your ears right now and then make sure you’re subscribed to the show and that you’re sending the episodes that your friends need to hear to them. This is probably one of those episodes so go ahead and share it and you do those three subscribe, review and share dates and mates we will keep it free. like clockwork will be back again bright and early next Monday morning to ring in the new year with a masterclass episode on how to change the bad dating habits that aren’t working for you. And in the meantime, Registration is open now for my webinar coming in January on January 9. It’s called why dating apps aren’t working for you. And I will also be doing a live q&a and coaching as a part of that call. So if you want to be in on that it’s free to sign up at the dating Until next week, I want to wish you Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa and of course, happy dating


Fleabag & Blended Families


On today’s episode, we’re talking all about blended families, tradition, and the holidays.

We like to keep you up to date and aware of what’s trending here at Dates & Mates. And no surprise but here in the US and worldwide, blended families are becoming more popular – whether that be blended races, blended cultures, blended religions, or two families joined through re-marriage.

So if you’re dating, in a new relationship, or are re-married, you will likely at some point find a point in your life where you are looking to blend your family traditions with your significant other. Blended families are becoming more and more prominent and we want to keep you informed!

More on that later, first we have headlines! 


Should we ban Plantation-style weddings?

You may know that Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively’s 2012 wedding pictures have been “shadow-banned” because they took place at Boone Hall Plantation in Charleston. Is it time to ban plantation-style weddings once and for all? Damona and Carmelia weigh in.

Are you a Fleabag?

If you’ve seen the show “Fleabag” on Amazon Prime (WATCH IT!! IT’S GREAT!) you know that “fleabagging” is making lots of really, really bad dating decisions over and over and over again.

What emoji should you use in your Tinder Profile?

Tinder’s EOY breakdown of Tinder profiles is here! Which emoji should you be using on your profile? hint:


Joining us today is celebrity matchmaker, and online dating expert, Carmelia Ray. 

Carmelia is an internationally acclaimed matchmaker for high achieving men and the quality women they’re searching for. You may also know her as a TV personality on shows such as Mom Vs. Matchmaker, The Real Housewives Of Toronto, and most recently A User’s Guide to Cheating Death. Carmelia’s advice has been featured in AskMen, Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, OK! Magazine, and so much more. She recently launched a dating app here in LA called Censio.

When we decided to do an episode on blended families and holidays, and blended traditions, our first thought was that we had to get Carmelia’s input on this episode. 

Fun Fact: When she’s not supporting clients in their search for love, she’s traveling and loving life with her extraordinary husband, and family (4 kids and American bulldog).

Today we talk:

  • Sixteen percent of children live in blended families.
  • The number of kids living in blended families has been stable for nearly thirty years.
  • Children of Hispanic, black, and white backgrounds are equally likely to live in this type of family.
  • Children from Asian families are half as likely as Hispanic, black, or white kids to be part of a blended family.
  • Six of ten women’s remarriages create blended families.
  • 60-70% of marriages involving children with a previous marriage
  • 1 in 5 adults raised in interfaith homes
  • Most common interfaith household is protestant/catholic
  • Mixed faith partners shot to 40% (20% in the 60s) DOUBLED SINCE THE 1960s
  • Today, mixed-race marriages are at a high, and the number of multiracial Americans is growing three times as fast as the population as a whole, according to the Pew Research Center. 
  • Although multiracial people account for only an estimated 7 percent of Americans today, their numbers are expected to soar to 20 percent by 2050.
  • As a matchmaker, how much do you pay attention to things like race and religion?
  • What are the most important factors in compatibility for blended couples
  • How can you blend families over the holidays – first holiday with a partner’s kids or introducing a partner to your kids.

Follow Carmelia on all the socials (@carmeliaray) and don’t forget to use the code “singlebells” for your first unlimited month of Censio free!


Submit your questions Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook and hear our answers live on the show!

Here’s what our listeners asked about this week:

  • (From Instagram) I’m on all of the dating apps and I’ve been looking trying not to be too picky. But I can’t tell if I’m on the apps because I’m scared of being single and I feel like I should be. Or if I’m doing poorly being because I’m scared or I’m doing poorly because I’m not interested. I’ve always seen myself in the future with kids, but there was never a man attached to that future, and I would like to have sex but I’m not into just going on hook up apps because I feel intimidated from being out the game for so long.
  • (From Instagram) What is the youngest appropriate age I can date? I’m a 34 year old man.



Damona  0:17  

Hello Lovers and welcome to Dates & Mates. I’m your host certified Dating Coach Damona Hoffman, and thank you for making this show your source for dating and relationship advice, especially holiday dating and relationship advice. I know this is the time of year that a lot of you are thinking about dating challenges, relationship challenges, and I’m really excited that you took the time to join us during this busy holiday season. 

We love to keep you aware of what’s trending. And it’s no surprise that here in the US, especially blended families are trending and becoming more popular. So whether that be blended races, blended cultures, blended religions or two families joined through remarriage. Whether you’re doing dating or in a new relationship or are remarried, you will likely find at some point in your life you may be looking to blend your family with someone else in someone else’s traditions. 

And that is why we are doing today’s show to give you the resources to navigate that challenge of blending. Joining me today is celebrity matchmaker and online dating expert, Carmelia Ray.


Carmelia Ray  1:24  

Hi Damona!


Damona  1:26  

Hi! I got to tell people about you. She’s an internationally acclaimed matchmaker. You also probably know her from TV. She is the host and matchmaker of a show called “Mom versus Matchmaker”. Yeah, she’s the matchmaker. She’s also been on The Real Housewives of Toronto and most recently a user’s guide to cheating death. You’ve seen her and asked men variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Ok magazine and so much more. She’s also become a partner in a dating app


Carmelia Ray  1:55  

Matchmaking app! Yes. We want to do distinct ourselves from like the swiping apps to a relationship based and relationship oriented app. So this is why we call it a matchmaking app.


Damona  2:09  

Well, I can’t wait to hear more about that. And I can’t wait to talk about the headlines with you. We have some juicy ones this week, including a wedding tradition that is being banned.


And fleabagging. Are you doing it? We’ll tell you what this new dating term means and maybe how you should be avoiding it in the future. 


Plus, we’ll break down Tinder’s end of year report on this year’s hottest dating trends.


And then we’ll answer your questions, including how to master dating apps, if they make you feel scared, confused and intimidated. I know a lot of you are nodding your heads to that. Plus what ages are appropriate for you to date. 


All that and more on today’s Dates & Mates. Carmelia, I didn’t give you some smooches earlier. Maybe I’ll give you some smooches now – 


Carmelia Ray  2:58  

And you’re gonna give me a real smooth or is it Virtual?


Damona  3:00  

a virtual smooch. I don’t want to make it weird. And then we’ll do these headlines. 


All right. Did you know that Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively are shadow banned, their wedding pictures? You cannot find them on many in many publications because they got married in 2012 at Boone Hall Plantation in Charleston. You may recognize it as the location for the notebook, which is probably why they chose it. Right. But y’all, it’s a plantation. It’s a plantation. Yeah. So this this week Pinterest has banned plantation style wedding pictures from their whole site. And there’s a people are taking sides like the not saying we don’t want to. We want to celebrate love wherever people decide to have it. But is there a reason to not promote these plantation style weddings as Something that are grand and beautiful when you really consider the history


Carmelia Ray  4:04  

I mean you know, you you when you consider the history you’re stepping and celebrate you know you’re on a grounds where you know some bad things happen right and so historically It’s a place where attached to a lot of really awful memories so you’re trying to the only thing that that I might think is positive that you might want to replace those memories and and with something more positive and and have the past be in the past but I guess you know I have not i’m not personally related to that. So I want to emphasize with people that that it might offend.


Damona  4:42  

Yeah, well as a as a black person in America I am I am personally connected to it. But at the same time, I think there is something empowering and being able to say like, now I can choose if I want to I can have my my wedding This spot, right and like you’re saying kind of re, like, rewire exactly that the reasoning that some people use the N word which I never use, right, but they’re like, we are redefining it for ourselves. And so in a way, I guess that is a possibility if we can look at it that way, but I’ll tell you I have friend that that’s from Louisiana and was getting married and looking at venues. And one of them called the the, obviously this the homes that the the enslaved people lived in right quaint cottages that your guests could stay on on the grounds and I was like, I don’t know that you get to do that. I don’t know that you get it right. The history. You have to acknowledge what the history is and say like maybe we can educate people by inviting them to this place to see where where this history happens. So


Carmelia Ray  5:48  

I mean, forgive, I really don’t know about plantations or their actual people like, are they abandoned now? Are they


Damona  5:55  

working on the other like their giant mansions that are beautiful locations for writings but have like you said this horrible, dark, very attached to it. So I don’t know if it’s it’s really the place of, of Pinterest. Sure ban it because again, if you ban it, you’re trying to you’re trying to negate it from Well,


Carmelia Ray  6:17  

I mean, and then what happens what happens to the, you know, freedom of speech, right? opportunity like you can’t express this is your wedding day. I mean, I don’t know, I think it’s hard for me, I want to I want to not talk about that. But it’s great that you’re bringing up that point. We talked


Damona  6:35  

about the stuff you do to me, it’s another tough thing to do. People that are in terrible relationships, cycles, these bad relationship choices again and again and again. Cosmo has coined a new term called fleabag. For those of you who are fans of the show like I am, you know that


Carmelia Ray  6:59  

there is a show I’ve been out of the woodwork here so like like I’m a Netflix person in my free time. Yeah, there’s a show called fleabag


Damona  7:07  

there’s a bag okay and in it the main character is just a train wreck date or she dates people who are unavailable. I won’t. I won’t spoil it for anyone okay seen it or for you. Okay, but she makes some really bad relationship choices particularly in season two. Okay,


Carmelia Ray  7:25  

like where the audience is going. Oh, no, you didn’t


Damona  7:27  

know Yeah. Oh my god. I have a friend that is Yang or has fleabag or we’ve all fleabag Darcy Yeah.


Carmelia Ray  7:34  

Oh my god. Yes. Not to be confused with tea bag. That’s right. Just believe earlier on the show.


Damona  7:41  

Let’s just say I want to get some advice since you are such a an expert in dating and relationships and matchmaking. Yes. For people that are in these toxic cycles of makeup, break up. relationships that aren’t serving them what’s like one tip you could give them to break that cycle.


Carmelia Ray  7:58  

get professional help. Number one, I mean, tip number one, we’re both coaches,


Carmelia Ray  8:03  



Carmelia Ray  8:04  

And a lot of times people don’t know or they can’t recognize or even in that cycle, do you know you know, that friend and you keep talking to that person and they don’t do anything differently. So, make a different move, make a different decision, get help get support, put yourself outside of that toxic relationship and give yourself space. I think for people that continue to go back, they’re just either that again, it maybe has to do with their attachment styles. Are they anxious and avoidant? Do they are they addicted to this push pull type of situation? Right and, and so a normal relationship for them is foreign. I will


Damona  8:42  

say that was definitely my experience before I was used to the drama to me drama felt like attraction. And that like, you know that that we’re fighting now we broke up, we’re making up the


Carmelia Ray  8:56  



Damona  8:58  

highs and the lows, that starts with Feel like the norm. And it’s done. I think that’s what people really need to hear. Well, when you


Carmelia Ray  9:05  

thought a flea, I mean, that is so relevant, right? You just want it to go away or squash that but


Damona  9:12  

always jumping around


Carmelia Ray  9:15  

in your face is just like, Oh, yeah, I love that term. So I think want to be if you if you know that you can’t get out of this or you recognize this cycle and it is toxic, get help, get support, ask for you know, go to people that you trust, and maybe even go outside of your family. I really strongly believe in coaching and working with professionals, the experts that can maybe even do an intervention for you. They might have to drag you out of this relationship so that you can have the space you need to really see yourself outside of what you’re going on when you’re in the thick of it. It’s hard to get out of


Damona  9:52  

yet. So let’s say you’ve done the work and you’re ready to date again. Maybe Tinder A place for you to start. Tinder came through with their 2019 year in swipe report. This is their end of year evaluation about the most talked about topics particularly focusing on Gen Z. That’s their biggest


Carmelia Ray  10:14  

story. I wasn’t even aware Tinder did an annual end of year report. It’s like I know does singles and managers singles


Damona  10:20  

in America. So when did this start? Maybe this year? Okay. I don’t know. But this is not really the last year. Okay. Actually, for a number of different countries. They have one for the UK. They have one for Australia, France, Germany, India. So


Carmelia Ray  10:34  

all that data that I mean, they are amazing data. Yeah,


Damona  10:37  

yeah. So if you’re listening from another country, check out your report, but I’ll tell you what the US report said and I’m so curious Yeah. Gen Z. daters were more likely to mention causes or missions than a travel in their Bibles. But millennials old old asked millennials. They were three times more likely to talk travel. I find that When I’m when I’m coaching people of different generations, because I have all the way from like, late 20s, all the way up to late 60s and even 70s and


Carmelia Ray  11:09  

Gen Z, right, and Gen Z


Damona  11:11  

were younger than millennials.


Carmelia Ray  11:12  

Yeah, younger than me not got it.


Damona  11:14  

And so the trends are different for different age groups. And I find that really interesting. As I’m coaching people. Now I have to say like, well, if you’re dating someone over 40, you definitely do the phone call. But if you’re dating someone between 30 and 40, you might not want to do the phone call. If you’re dating someone under 30. If you do the phone call, you’re going to get you’re going to get shadow back.


Carmelia Ray  11:33  

Well, you know, I think I think Gretta The is the poster child for Generation Z, right? So yeah, she is the poster child for Gen Z, which is why I think a lot of high schoolers, and it’s so funny. I work with a lot of teachers and different singles, who work with young people. And when you ask young people were talking even like elementary and primary, they’re all about wanting to help someone My daughter, my three year old is like, Mommy, can I help you? Are you okay? Daddy? Are you okay? Like you stub your toe and she wants to, like, admin immediately fix it. I said I have a headache. She goes and gets her pretend doctor kit. Like, I don’t know what it is about these young young people that are really focused on helping others whereas, you know, Millennials just want to get away and not work.


Damona  12:23  

Like our core audience, but apparently you’re right on with with the reference to gretta Yeah, climate change social justice, the environment and gun control were really popular phrases and oh, my girl files in emojis. emojis are are on the case. Yeah, I have had various feelings about emojis because I definitely use them like anyone that’s done my texting trap or texting 10 commandments training they know that I’m, I’m all about using emojis as mood modifiers but I’ve been seeing them more in place of words in profiles to kind of short Cut the the conversation


Carmelia Ray  13:02  

I I love emojis I have again various children we’re going to talk about blended blended families but my various my various and sundry curious show, I should qualify that I have children in three different age groups, primary elementary and young adult. And they all speak to me an emoji. Like they all speak to me in emotion. It’s like very few words and more signs and yet I can completely understand it you can understand I can show that there are some things that emojis you know are better for


Damona  13:34  

Okay, what about this one the most popular emoji is not was not the eggplant is actually the face palm emoji like the face the hand in front of the face like the kind of my head yeah 41% increase in use this year.


Carmelia Ray  13:50  

That we all have a we have more dumb moments. Like why did I do that like that is a permanent emoji in my phone.


Damona  14:00  

Want to connect with people? definitely use emojis. Yes, you can connect on female superheroes Captain Marvel lizzo Elizabeth Warren, we’re trying to go with the overall theme of superheroes. All of those were very big topics and 2019 also, Jonas Brothers, who knew? I didn’t know that was still a thing. Yeah, job rose. They call it in


Carmelia Ray  14:22  

the urine swipe. I work. I couldn’t be one song.


Carmelia Ray  14:26  

I’m so dating myself. I’m so sorry people.


Damona  14:29  

Well, we’ll put the link if you want to brush up on it will put the link to the articles we talked about in today’s dating dish, on our blog at Dates & Mates. com. We will be back with Carmela in just a moment talking more about blended families. But first I have to ask you, are we friends? Are we friends on social media? Are you getting all the bonus Dates & Mates content through Instagram and Twitter and Facebook? Is my blog bookmarked on your browser? If not, I want you to know that the New Year’s right around the corner and I have some Very special things lined up to help you meet your dating and relationship resolution so don’t miss out follow me @Damona Hoffman on all the socials and while you’re at Dates & Mates calm for this week’s show notes. Take a look at the rest of the blogs. We have new content coming at you every week with dating and relationship tips. We will be talking about blended families in just a moment. So stick around.


Damona 15:24

Lovers we are back with Carmela Ray. She is an internationally known celebrity Matchmaker, online dating expert and so much more. Welcome back to the show.


Carmelia Ray  15:33  

Thank you.


Damona  15:34  

You may be like now the reigning champ. I think this is your


Carmelia Ray  15:38  

I think it’s been you’ve had seven years and I travel every time and I’m not even from here. I fly all the way from Toronto just to be on Dimona show. Literally, I call her and I say I’m here and and we graciously make time for me. So that is probably number four.


Damona  15:54  

I know you’re not coming just for the show, but we’re lucky to have you and you’re coming at the right time because At this time of year, I get so many questions from our listeners about blending families about blending traditions for the holidays. I know you know a few things about that both through working with your clients and even through your own experience. And when you’re not supporting clients and you’re not working with sense CEO and launching the number one matchmaking app, you are living the fabulous life traveling with with your extraordinary husband.


Carmelia Ray  16:28  

Andrew do today. Yes.


Carmelia Ray  16:29  

And my children, you have kids, you got


Damona  16:32  

various and sundry children, various and sundry kids and your two Bulldogs.


Carmelia Ray  16:36  

Oh, one one now. So I have I know. I know what. Anyway, so I have I have and I’ll tell you the ultimate blended example of the ultimate blended family because my older children Michaela and Brandon because 21 Brandon’s 15 is from my first marriage. My youngest daughter who’s turned who turned three this year is from my current Marriage, and then mom and then my husband has a daughter who is my step daughter. And she’s one year younger than Michaela. So there’s four kids in total. Very blended. I don’t even know how to keep track of the kids.


Damona  17:14  

Okay, well, let’s, I have to and I can’t. Myself. Yeah. But looking at the stats, 16% of children live in blended families. But you actually found an interesting stat that you shared with me. Yes, that 60 to 70% of marriages involving children with from a previous marriage don’t make it Yeah, they fail. And actually, I just


Carmelia Ray  17:37  

worked with a recent client, who was super sad story and she had shared with me that the reason her last relationship ended was because the teenage daughter of the man she was with could not get along with her, and to the point where she had said, had had put the dad in an awkward position to choose between Between the partnership or her,


Damona  18:02  

then the daughter,


Carmelia Ray  18:04  

the daughter said, Dad and ultimatum you know, it’s either me, I mean, you know, and she backed out as well, because she’s like, she has a daughter too. So there’s her daughter, there’s this daughter. And then there’s the the, you know, position that she held that it’s going to made it very challenging. And the sad part was the relationship between the couple was solid, but the relationship between the child and the partner, even though it wasn’t solid, clearly, the child was dealing with whatever she was dealing with. And, and that’s part of the issue. Sometimes kids, they just do not want to see another person in the role of their mother or father and regard and it’s unfortunate.


Damona  18:46  

It’s really unfortunate. What do you think people can do? Like some of our listeners now are dating people with kids? Get looking for marriage? Are there tips that you can give in terms of especially during the holidays, how to You set things up so that you can be successful with the other person’s kids so that you don’t get into that ultimatum situation.


Carmelia Ray  19:06  

Wow, there, you know, there are so many moving parts in a blended family. And it also depends the advice is going to be different based on the stage of the relationship, how comfortable the children are, I think if you’re trying to create a bond, and we’re talking about the holidays, and it’s always great for you to try to plan something with the kids, but like this potential step brothers and sisters together, because then you start your test that unity, whereas if the kids are going with their parents, and they never get to see each other, you’re also missing out on an opportunity to, to share a really awesome moment, right? And then at the same time, it’s when when when the other partner wants to have the children, how does it work with the schedule, right, because the dad may want to spend time with the kids and the new partner, and then it just doesn’t align. So you really want to get agreement between the couples? And then, you know, integrate the kids. And also I think it’s really important to ask the kids what they want, right? Because what are they comfortable with? Maybe they don’t want to spend time with the family. So there’s or with their, you know, the people, the other children so to speak. So there’s so much to consider there.


Damona  20:20  

What if you are dating someone that that has kids and you don’t have kids yourself? Okay. So that’s a lot of our listeners that are they’ve never been married, they don’t have kids, but they’re like, I want to be a part of this family. Is there a way to, to integrate, or should you just let the parent pace the forming of that relationship?


Carmelia Ray  20:45  

You know, it’s one thing for I mean, I think it’s a great sign when somebody who doesn’t have children is dating someone with kids and wants to really have that relationship. It’s showing you that they want to be part of that family and sees that diamond As a being in their future, that being said, you can never force this outcome because you’re talking about the children’s well being is I think the most important consideration is, are the kids ready for that? And the rule of thumb, and although there’s no real rule is you wouldn’t introduce your children to a partner, unless you felt that this was going to be a long term partner. Otherwise, your kids might just feel like there’s a revolving door of partners. And that would have a negative impact as well, because they may be already suffering, the loss of the parent leaving, and now they might form this attachment to this new person, and then they’re gone. Right. So the, I think it’s important to for that person to express they would like to have that involvement, and to let them know because sometimes they don’t even say anything, right. And then the person with the child thinks, do they even want to?


Damona  21:52  

Yeah, I need this like, do you do you as the single as the person without the kid, need to drive it and say it really like to me meet your son or daughter? Or do you need to wait for that person to open the door? Because,


Carmelia Ray  22:07  

like, as a parent, I think I’d probably have to pace that right. I think you also have to look at the strength of the partnership. First of all, right? Like, is there a reason the person is not wanting to introduce this person to you? Because if you really like this person, and you’re dating them, and you haven’t yet it’s six months, and you don’t want them to meet the kids, and it’s like, What’s up with that?


Damona  22:32  

Yeah, I have a client that she and her ex husband had, they made a rule that they would not introduce anyone to their child, neither of them until they were at the point of, of either moving in together or marriage. And I will say it’s, it was a little tricky, like there was once where they died. And this, he came to drop off flowers for her birthday and her son was there. And she was like, it’s great that he was romantic, but it Same time, in honor he broke that crossed a bit of a line. So it can it can become really complicated, especially when you have certain rules. As a parent that you haven’t communicated, she


Carmelia Ray  23:10  

didn’t communicate that that’s really her bad, right? But if he stopped cross the line, and she knew that we weren’t gonna introduce and then he did it anyway. I think that’s a red flag. I really do. Because if he’s gonna stay together,


Carmelia Ray  23:25  

see massive Red


Damona  23:28  

Nose Oh, she is like the Nostradamus of dating and relationships, man. Well, when we’re talking about blended families, I’ll share my own story because I come from like, multiple blended family on multiple levels. Like my mom already had a kid when she met my dad. My sister was like, my half sister was like about nine. And then my dad is Jewish. My mom is Christian, and she’s African American. My dad is white. So my family is. So first I want to talk about interface. Okay, relationships and as a matchmaker I’m sure you deal with this. Oh my


Carmelia Ray  24:04  

gosh, comes up a lot


Damona  24:06  

mixed faith partners actually, the number of mixed faith partners doubled since the 1960s. So now we’re looking at 40% of households are mixed faith and that that could be Protestant Catholic that could be Jewish Christian could be Muslim. I deal with this every day Damona every day What do you help first of all when someone comes to you and they’re like, I want to find love. I’m say Jewish I see as my first writing gig was with JD So okay, this has a special place all the Jewish mothers that are like, please help my son. A very, very special place in my heart. Okay, but if they’re like, I must find love. I’m say 38 Yes, and I’m looking for love. I’ve only been dating Jewish. Okay, Jewish man. How’s that been working for him?


Carmelia Ray  24:57  

Is that what you say? No, but I’m saying to them, right.


Carmelia Ray  25:00  

You know it really a man? It’s really a matter of how much importance and, and and how often How does your faith show up in your life? Because if it doesn’t show up that often your life Why should it show up in your dating life and in your partner choice? Yeah, that a value that you really is it you’re trying to make your parents happy? Is it something that if you could meet the right guy, and you really think about your core values, if religion or faith isn’t top of those core values, then it’s it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t weigh more than having someone who you can trust or is loyal or reliable or has a strong sense of right and wrong. Like I think 100% of people would say they’re spiritual. I think that’s the word. Right like religious


Damona  25:48  

spirit. Yeah, exactly. I mean, spiritual but not


Carmelia Ray  25:50  

exactly right.


Carmelia Ray  25:54  

So this happens a lot where and really it’s sometimes authentically is frustrating or or challenging for me, because I’ve got someone that has this strong line in the sand about who they want to meet. And yet their religion isn’t even what drives them. And it’s not even they don’t go to synagogue, they don’t really even practice the things that that they’re supposed to as a devout Jewish or Christian person. And yet they put that in as a consideration or must in a partner. So I my coaching to that person would really be to be open and flexible and dating somebody that is outside of their faith when their faith isn’t. Really. Yeah, if you want a deal breaker and it’s not obvious in their day to day life, yeah, right now, if they have parents and family and they’ve got other family considerations that would make dating someone outside of that race or faith problematic. I could understand why they’d still be seeking a partner. However, it’s proven time and again, that when somebody meets somebody That they love. And you can just see they make them happy. Like, nobody’s going to say no to that kind of a relationship where they just know this person is happier, healthier and just elated when they’re with that person.


Damona  27:11  

Yeah, I just read an article about this couple. The man it was from. He was from Asia and the wife was from Ghana, I believe. And what a mix it was. They were both gorgeous. Yes. And the dad initially was like, Don’t even bring her to my house. I don’t want to meet her. And they he spent the, the now they are now married and the husband spent months of just introducing her over time telling her that they wanted him her to come to the house, even when they were like don’t bring her here. Yes, to kind of create those moments where they could get to know her as a person was there a happy ending? There’s a happy another married and the dad showed up to the wedding. And like sometimes I feel like parents say these things like don’t even come here if your husband is an Indian, like don’t even don’t even come in my house with with


Carmelia Ray  28:05  

it’s really sad, guys. I mean, you would think that in this day and age that millennials and Gen Z would not have to deal with that. And yet, I see this with my daughter’s friends who are different religions and cultures where they’re literally dating someone outside of the faith outside of their race behind their parents back in in relationship that’s been going on for years, terrified to tell their family about this partnership, because of the strong influence, cultural influence inside of that dynamic. Yeah, well, so young people


Damona  28:38  

as the host of mom versus Matchmaker, gosh, so if anyone hasn’t seen the show yet, it’s fabulous, and you should definitely check it out. But the premise is basically a mom does a setup for their child and Carmela does a set up for the child and then the child who’s an adult will choose who they think is the bedroom and


Carmelia Ray  28:59  

I have three jewels. Moms, they all chose Jewish people, right? They literally did. And you could tell the choice like it was so funny. And not even that the Jamaican moms and anybody who was in a cultural like, like where they were culturally specific, they ended up choosing the moms choice, which was clear because the mom had an idea or perception of who their child should date based on religion, ethnicity, culture, family values, tradition. And I chose a match based on what the person wanted. And what the person wanted, had nothing to do often with what the mom wanted, which is why one in those cases, right? And not always though, sometimes, I think that that they the kids favorite, the mother’s choice, knowing that it was mom’s choice, and if they didn’t pick mom’s choice, they’d be in a whole heap of trouble.


Damona  29:52  

So let’s say you have not chosen the moms choice and yet approaching the holidays and it’s time for you to figure out how to introduce this person into your family and your life. What would you recommend to any of these clients on mom versus matchmaker? Like, how do they begin that conversation? A Mom, I didn’t kick your person.


Carmelia Ray  30:10  

Yeah, that’s so interesting. And you know what, I don’t know that I would use a major family holiday to introduce somebody. I think that you avoid all that because you’re not just impacting that person. It’s everybody’s holiday, right? So you don’t want to make it about you must, you can’t force somebody to like your partner, you can take a stand. But if you’re willing to be that person and you have that stand, then you need to know that there it could ruffle some feathers. So if your intention is not to ruffle feathers, it’s better to have that conversation before the actual holiday. Or just express where you draw the line in the sand and say, Listen, I love this person. If you really want me to attend, it’s important that he comes he or she comes with me. Or you’re not going right yeah,


Damona  30:55  

you have to set your partner up for success. And that’s a really good point that this is a is a time when it’s already the stakes are high the the emotional intensity is off the charts.


Carmelia Ray  31:07  

Yeah, I read I don’t know who it was but it was like how did reduce drama over the holidays and you don’t bring somebody new to a family holiday function when first of all, they would completely they’re, they’re the opposite polar opposite of what who your parents want you to date. That is not the time in place to bring someone over the holidays. Oh, I


Damona  31:26  

was just so nervous to me. My husband’s family. Thanksgiving was the big, big holiday in there. Did


Carmelia Ray  31:32  

you get introduced? Were you already dating though?


Damona  31:34  

Before we were dating? Yeah, we were dating and I had met his parents, but he does this big family event where it was like aunts, uncles, cousins. I love those


Carmelia Ray  31:44  

Filipinos. So we have like hundred people in our family.


Damona  31:48  

It wasn’t quite Filipino level. But it was like, it was like, you know, yeah, big family. And I remember this moment we had been dating at that point over a year but like, yeah, I didn’t know where it was going and They were like, we’re gonna take the holiday picture. And everybody you know, they do they do, like


Carmelia Ray  32:07  

do you like sitting off to the I was?


Damona  32:10  

Like, I’m not trying to be in the family in the family. Yeah. And they’re like Damona get in the picture, get the picture. And I just felt so uncomfortable because they thought, what if I’m on the picture? And they’re gonna be going through the pictures like,


Carmelia Ray  32:24  

Who was that broad that you


Carmelia Ray  32:28  

can feel that but look at that they were so gracious. And you didn’t automatically go in there. I mean, you had respect and you’re


Damona  32:36  

set to the side that tells a lot about my family of origin I guess and like the baggage you know, we all bring like different ideas and different


Carmelia Ray  32:44  

but I I was dating somebody where you know, the family was like, get them out of the picture. Not in the pictures not in the white. Why is he even hear


Damona  32:54  

my mommy like he’s not like Tell him to go outside. He’s not in the picture. But she loves My husband from from the beginning, but I will say it was an opportunity for anyone that’s listening that may be in that situation, it was an opportunity for me to feel like, Oh, I’m included. And then I also thought he must be saying very nice things about me to them.


Carmelia Ray  33:14  

Yes, I can see now that’s probably because she relationships had it, and you’re married. And you have now two children. So he saw the future with you, which is great. But in terms of blended families, unfortunately, we don’t get that happy picture. I mean, I experienced the other side of the blended family where the partner I had chosen was somebody my family didn’t like, and it was so close after my separation, that the person who was in there and I had two young children at the time when I was dating somebody new that they were like, Who is this person? and wine is too early. And this and that was, it was actually nightmarish. Wow. Yeah.


Damona  33:51  

But how is it different now? You’re remarried, you have the happy blended family picture?


Carmelia Ray  33:56  

Yeah. And it’s not always different. You know, it’s I mean, I authentically I’m Filipino. He’s not, you know, he’s got another child how it’s different now as I think, because I’m mature and I’m older, they realize that they can’t tell me what to do. You know, I think it’s very different when it’s also who I am. Right and what I stand for. So they they just gave up on me. That’s what it was. Do whatever that she’s gonna do I just, just they just couldn’t. It was what is that? There was a show before that. They would say something is futile. It’s Do you know that you’re the V? No. Oh, gosh. educate you. I wish I could. What was it? Resistance is futile. Okay. That was sentence. Oh, yeah. That was it. But you know, at the same time, it’s, it was it’s a matter of just being clear of what makes you happy. How you see the future and, and, and really being gentle about it. I think anytime you’re aggressive or you force an issue or force an outcome You’re not considered of the impact for other people. It’s when it’s it doesn’t work, you know, you’re looked at as selfish or self serving, and you have to first of all, consider the children.


Damona  35:11  

Yes, of course, this is such great advice for the holiday time. And just in general, if you’re looking to date someone that comes from a different circle, and we all we all have our different cultures, even if you’re both coming from a Christian background, you might have different traditions that you’re having to blend together.


Carmelia Ray  35:27  

And, you know, a real concern for singles today, especially if they’re single in their 40s, or even in their late 30s, as you said, and, and their choice in the dating pool are single parents. They often do. Sometimes they’re afraid of even dating somebody who has a child. And that’s a deal breaker for some people and me, I know that it can be very successful. I mean, I don’t like what this stat says, but I’ve seen it work where it can be successful, but it requires compromise. It certainly requires that you don’t come into the relationship with already a preconceived notion that it’s going to fail. If you go into that, well guess what’s going to happen it’s already going to fail. But they come to me saying no, I don’t want the drama. I don’t want you know that the ex baby mama or baby daddy or whatever the case is. And it’s not always like that in fact is so far from that in some cases there are people that are separated and I look at them as like oh my god poster child for the separated family that really just worked together for the kids.


Damona  36:30  

Yeah, it’s all about communication to like I did this holiday dating segment or dating relationship segment on access daily. And I every every answer I had, essentially the crux was communication in the Mario Lopez is like, so again, it’s about communication. I’m like, basically like that is the answer to every questions. One of my four pillars of long term compatibility. You have to have good communication and good conflict resolution because the problems will arise and it’s all in how you deal with it when it comes up.


Carmelia Ray  36:59  

Can you Be our Dating Coach Damona


Damona  37:02  

Yeah, of course, what will train will do okay and even trade because everybody like you said everybody needs an outside I, their dating life, their relationship life and somebody to talk to. So I’ve enjoyed talking to you and it’s not over Oh, not over currently because we have questions from our listeners. And you are just the person to answer them in our next segment.


Well Carmela the questions have been pouring in during the holiday season. I know everybody is stressed about their dating relationship situation right now. We have picked two of the most pressing questions to answer today there will be a deer Dimona episode coming up in the coming weeks. So if you haven’t gotten your question answered, please submit it to me on any of the social medias at Damona Hoffman or you can go to Dates & Mates calm and submit your question there. Our first question for the day. It’s a little bit long, but I think you’ll get the gist of it. Okay. This person says I’m on all of the data. apps. And I’ve been looking, trying not to be too picky. But I can’t tell if I’m on the apps because I’m single scared of being single, or I feel like I should be. Or if I’m doing poorly because I’m scared, or if I’m doing poorly, because I’m not interested. I’ve always seen myself in the future with kids. But there was never a man attached to that future. And I would like to have sex. But I’m not into just hooking up on apps because I feel intimidated from being out of the game for so long. I swear I feel like I’ve heard this question in different formats from so many people, but like breaking it down. Is there


Carmelia Ray  38:35  

a bunch of statements? I need a drink.


Damona  38:40  

Question is, should she be on dating apps is passed away. She’s been out of the game for a while.


Carmelia Ray  38:45  

I think she needs clarity. It’s very, very clear. And thank you for just being completely transparent and vulnerable. Because I’m hearing this going you need some clarity because you don’t know what’s going on. Understand you’re in a state of confusion. And if you have no compass, or goal or direction, you have you see a kid but you don’t see a man, you don’t know why you’re on a dating app, you don’t even have a goal. Well, first of all you’re getting, you’re not getting the result because you don’t even know what you want. You cannot get results unless you realize why you’re on the app in the first place. So if you’re on a platform, and you have no idea why you’re on that platform, that’s challenge number one. Secondly, it I’m not judging her for not for thinking maybe she wants to be an independent woman to raise a child and she’s looking for a donate, don’t donate, donate a donor a donor that Yeah, she might be looking for the perfect specimen donor and co like wonderful co parent, you know, relationship. Because I mean, she could be I don’t know because she doesn’t know either. So I think the first thing you have to do is book a session with Damona like number one, if not heard me please for free Hi, because you need to get out of this. I don’t know where I’m going left, right, upside down. It was you’re exhausted. I’m exhausted with the statements. Well, I think you need help, like, in a good way in a really, really good way. Right? So thank you for that. But


Damona  40:14  

you have dating apps amplify whatever challenges you’re already having. People think oh, the dating app, I just go on the dating app and that’ll fix it like I haven’t. I


Carmelia Ray  40:23  

I if you go into dating app with that, it’s just going to further solidify your already view of dating disappointment because that’s what’s manifesting right now. You’re not clear. If you don’t have clarity on what kind of relationship you want, you’re just going to get more of the same so I think the work has to be done with first figuring out what what she brings to the table like what really does she envision for herself in a partner you know, and and then move towards that goal. Don’t get you know, Europe, you’re playing a game with no rules. Yeah and and no way to measure success like what is success to you is success to you going on dates is success to you having sex? Because if a success is having sex, then a great you’re having sex not just going on naps for hookups so


Damona  41:15  

yes yeah and all of my programs all begin with mindset that’s always the thing because if you don’t know the direction you’re headed then how will you know if you even get there?


Carmelia Ray  41:28  

Yeah and have someone review her her profile because


Carmelia Ray  41:32  

I don’t know


Carmelia Ray  41:33  

yeah what are her photos saying is it is it as confusing as like what’s going on in her head like is she posting usually right? Is she posting photos to attract what kind of men what kind of relationship? What are the words you’re using to define yourself? Are you are there even words on there? Are you just like kind of going around thinking okay, well I’ll float in whatever direction and patches takes facepalm emoji That’s better.


Damona  41:59  

Okay, as we’re just Talking about getting clarity on who you’re looking for. Our second question comes to us from a fella who says, What’s the youngest appropriate age? I can date? I’m a 34 year old man.


Carmelia Ray  42:11  

Oh, I have a rule for that. Sony. Somebody told me this rule. You take your age. Try this half your age. half your age plus seven. Okay, you


Damona  42:21  

got the calculator.


Carmelia Ray  42:23  

So 24 is the youngest.


Damona  42:26  

for 10 years. Yeah. There’s a big difference between 24 and 34.


Carmelia Ray  42:32  

Well, because well, yes, but he’s got to realize like he’s asking what’s appropriate. what’s appropriate is someone who has emotional maturity, compatibility, physicality, and sees you at your level. There’s no age attached to that if you’re concerned about age, let’s figure out why. That’s the concern. Why aren’t you asking? What’s the kind of woman I should be dating? What are the what are the partner qualities that lead to the most successful outcome for me, not how old or young I should be. dating. That’s the wrong question.


Damona  43:02  

Girl just I’m just gonna drop the mic right there. Because that


Carmelia Ray  43:06  

you might as well say 17 then like, come on, like, like, I don’t know. I mean, you know, sorry to go.


Damona  43:12  

I mean, I didn’t know when I was in my early 20s. I was dating guys in their 30s. But then you’re also on a different track. I think it’s different when you’re in your third


Carmelia Ray  43:21  

I was to at 23 years old by someone in his 40s and he was Uber successful, currently a multi millionaire. I wish I had seen the future.


Carmelia Ray  43:33  

Because I’m like,


Carmelia Ray  43:36  

I’m kidding. No, I mean, I mean, I was not ready for a serious relationship. so dizzy given name z anonymous, he’s anonymous. Okay, so Mr. Anonymous askers. Don’t ask about age. The rules say it’s 24. But beyond that, it’s all of the other things that are more important than the age of the lady that you’re dating


Damona  43:59  

Carmelia you are wealth of information. Thank you so much for joining us. She is on all of the socials at Carmelia Ray. And also I forget yes yo is doing something. Yeah, well remember it’s the, it’s the magnetic making a matchmaking app. So chief Matchmaker,


Carmelia Ray  44:15  

yes, I am the chief matchmaker at Censio. It’s actually launched here in LA, you can download the app at Censio and be in the spirit of giving for the month of December up until I think it’s January 1, you can use the promo code single bells, exactly how it sounds all one word. So to get one month free of unlimited matches and introductions on our app, so we welcome you to use that and can’t wait to interact with you on the love couch where you can ask questions. And yes, I’m so glad to be here. Thank you so much, Mona.


Damona  44:52  

Thank you. We will put that promo code single bells in the show notes along with your social media links. Thank you for being here. Thank you. And thank you for being here to listen to Episode 288 of dates and dates again, I’m at Damona Hoffman on all of the socials. I want to hear from you. I want to know what your questions are for our upcoming dear Damona episode, so make sure you send those to me and make sure you share this episode with a friend. Next week the holidays will be in full swing, but we will still be here with our weekly episode. We’re not letting you down. My holidays are on and I know the pressure is on for you so you can count on Dates & Mates. Until then I wish you happy dating

Love Story & Dangerous Dating Apps


We’re all trying to navigate our own love story, but the question on everyone’s lips right now seems to be: Are dating apps dangerous?

This week, Rene Lynch, LA Times writer and editor for the LA Affairs column, talk about the best love stories that teach us the best lessons. Also we break down all of the recent bad press surrounding dangerous dating apps.

More on that later, first we have headlines!


Why aren’t people having sex?

According to Financial Times, there is a huge decline in the amount of sex young people are having- especially men. Damona and Rene break down what this means for you.

Are free dating apps dangerous?

A recent investigation showed that predators are free to use free dating apps. Should all dating apps use a dating app registry

Is cheating the norm?

Recently Anna Ferris and Kat Von D talk about their history with cheating exes. Is this the new normal?

LOVE STORY (14:60)

Rene Lynch, lifestyle writer and editor at the LA Times, proves that we learn a lot from other people’s love stories. We talk about:

  • Compelling love stories
  • Big Takeaways from love stories
  • Our stories make up who we are, whether good for bad
  • Write your won happy ending

Make sure to find Rene Lynch at the LA Times or on Twitter (@ReneLynch).


Submit your questions Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook and hear our answers live on the show! Here’s what our listeners asked about this week:

  • Email Question: Hi Damona. I recently started internet dating & I have met some nice guys but no one that really blows me away. I have been asked by one of the men to stop seeing the other men to see if this relationship can work. I am in my 40’s & the endless dating cycle is tiring, but I do not want to settle for the man that is giving me the most attention and who is the most demanding. Any advice?
  • Lately I’ve been really struggling in my relationship. He’s a great guy and we share a lot of the same values. The thing is I was never really attracted to him and never felt the spark, I thought I could get passed it bc we do share similar values for the future and in life but I’ve been nit picking and criticizing him for a few months now. I’ve tried changing but biting my tongue feels impossible. Do you think I should stay and work it out even tho I’m not exited bc he is so nice and loves me so much? Hanging out with him feels more like an obligation than something I enjoy and it’s so hard bc he’s everything I want on paper and loves me so much.
  • How can I understand if a guy has serious intentions without asking directly?




Damona  0:17  

Hello lovers, welcome to Dates & Mates. I’m your host certified Dating Coach damona Hoffman. And I want to thank you for making this show your source for modern dating and relationship advice. Whether you’ve been listening to Dates & Mates for all seven years, or if you’re new to the show, you know, you can learn a lot about dating from hearing other people’s stories. And today we’re going to take a deeper look at how love stories and our quest for a happy ending can change a romantic future. In studio with me today is Renee Lynch. She is a writer and editor for the LA Times Saturday section and features. She works across a variety of coverage areas including wellness, design and food and lucky for us She’s also the editor of the weekly la affairs column, please Give big smooches to Renee Lynch.


Rene Lynch, LA Times  1:02  

Thank you very much. I’m happy to be here.


Damona  1:04  

I’m so happy that you’re here. I’m a big fan of the column. And you know, I love a good love story. I love a bad love story. I love all love stories, because I think you can really learn something from hearing other people’s stories. So I’m excited to get into the details of what you’ve learned from your years of editing the LA affairs column. All right. But we also have headlines and we’ll be talking about why young people really aren’t having sex anymore. And what you can learn about cheaters from Kat Von D and Ana Faris, plus, our free dating apps dangerous, huh. We’ll cover those headlines and we’ll be answering your questions, including What if he’s ready to be exclusive? And you’re not? And should you break up with a guy who has everything on paper, but just doesn’t excite you? All that and more on today’s date and mates? Renee Are you ready to do this then? I am ready. I’m so excited. Let’s dish Financial Times published a new study on how dating apps are changing relationships. And there was a lot of interesting data in this study that some of which we’ve covered before, like the marrying age is going up and people are waiting longer to actually tie the knot or deciding not to tie the knot at all. But all but what I thought was really interesting was the research on sex. It I know I have. Yes, men apparently are reporting they’re having the least amount of sex. This is a major decrease in recent years. 28% of men have not had sex in the past year versus 18% of women. And the article posits that one of the reasons is that women are the younger men are really struggling in the dating market. They’re not having sex. much because women are looking for older men. So like there’s this gap in the market where they have a high sex drive, but they’re not getting any. What did you think of this article? Renee?


Rene Lynch, LA Times  3:10  

Well, I find it very surprising because the media image is that we are kind of bombarded with daily seem to suggest that everyone is having sex all the time, which makes a lot of people wonder whether there’s something wrong with them, right. I mean, we’re, you can’t drive down the freeway without seeing some kind of sexually charged image. But when you dig deeper to it, I think it, it’s not all that surprising. And it does reflect that I think it is harder for men to kind of like, meet and connect with women. I think there are variety of reasons behind that. I also think there’s an interesting parallel to this Instagram world that we see that we think everything is so perfect out there, and everybody is having so much fun, and we’ve got this fear of missing out. And yet, there’s also this incredible loneliness that’s going on in the world. And I think some of those statistics really reflect that, that there’s an emotional disconnect in a variety of ways. It’s weird as the world gets a little smaller through technology, we can reach and connect with people more than ever before. There’s still a sense of, we’re not connecting.


Damona  4:16  

Yeah, I definitely see that with dating apps. And you all know, I’m a huge fan of dating apps. I think it has opened up a lot of possibilities for connection. But there’s a lot there are a lot of people that are on dating apps that aren’t actually connecting. They’re either doing it just just to waste time, or there are the people that are on the dating apps, specifically out for sex. And I feel like there’s been a pushback to people, especially women rejecting the idea that they’re on a Tinder or a hinge because they are looking to hook up. They’re like people and we actually you’ll see this in the questions from this week to people are really craving a deeper level of connection and We’re not getting it on the dating apps. But I think that has to do with the way that we’re using the apps and the mindset that you, you show up with when you’re there.


Rene Lynch, LA Times  5:08  

I think that’s totally accurate. I think the dating apps kind of give us this idea of like, dial up a date, and you can just, you know, get on and in five minutes have a date. And in some cases, true, that’s probably true. But if that’s all you’re looking for, your you may find it. But if you’re looking for anything more, it’s far more complicated than that. That’s just a simplistic view, you’re not going to dial up a husband or a wife or partner, it’s just not going to happen. And so you’re you’re you we kind of have that we live in a society where we kind of get whatever we want whenever we want it. And yet, of course, there’s this huge hurdle between dialing up you know, whoever on a dating app and actually meeting and connecting so I used to call it man shopping, right?


Damona  5:52  

But I did it with a clear intention. But I know a lot of people out there are getting more than they bargained for when they’re using dating apps there was a an article that hit people calm and a number of other outlets, criticizing match the parent company of many dating apps, including Tinder, and OkCupid. And plenty of fish for not doing thorough background checks on their free sites. Actually, they don’t do any background checks at all. Match itself does scrub their roles, and it kicks off anyone that does have a match to the sex offender registry. But they don’t do it for OK Cupid and plenty of fish. And there was a new investigation that revealed that sexual offenders are looking for potential victims on these free apps. Here’s my take, Renee, I think that the dating apps are not we’re making them too responsible for our choices. Like if you went to a bar and you met a sex offender, you wouldn’t go and sue the bar because you met them there and You might, you might, you probably wouldn’t win. But I, I feel like it’s unfair to put this kind of pressure and burden on dating apps, especially the free dating apps, like you didn’t pay anything to be there. And now you’re expecting all of these, all of these resources to be provided for you, but you don’t want to actually pay for them to be to be given to you. Now, I’m a little bit biased. I do work with match on content, and I’ve worked with them for many years. But I’m saying this more as a dating coach, and someone that has done this for over I’m almost embarrassed to say, for nearly 15 years, I’ve been coaching people on dating apps, and I’ve always said you have to do your own research.


Rene Lynch, LA Times  7:41  

What do you I think that you make a great point. And I think in a lot of ways, you’re you’re totally right. But there’s also a reality that situation. Most people have no idea you’re sophisticated you are working in this area, you understand what it means to try to track somebody down and get some background information on them. A lot of people Just don’t have that I think about, you know, I’m a journalist. So my first reaction is if I’m going to date you, I’m probably going to look you up in our database. And but a lot of people don’t have access to that. And they might do an easy Facebook search, but they’re not going to go beyond that. I think a lot of these dating apps are in a tough situation, because they did not go into this business to be investigators. But I think on the other hand, there’s an argument to be made that just as we’re demanding more accountability from Facebook and from Twitter, we, these, these businesses realize that they are potentially putting people in the path of the sex offender, and they’re certainly not advertising that, but at some point, we do expect them to take some responsibility for it. So I think if I’m coming at this from a we are all responsible for our own actions, position. I agree with you. But I mean, at some point Do they really not have any accountability or responsibility in some ways by knowing that you You have this problem and you’re not doing anything about it. They’re there. They’re acknowledging their role and trying to step away from it. Yeah, I need to do more.


Damona  9:07  

They certainly could do more. And I think they have in recent years done a lot to shore up. Just general dating data. Potential faults in their in their data sharing like it used to be when you would go search for ok key, but you could you could search the profiles were actually indexed by Google. And you could find them you could find anybody and search by their photo and it would come up as associated with Ok, Cupid. So they have since they’ve since shored that up, and it gave a lot of my clients more, more of a sense of security, that their information wasn’t all out there. But I think we also have we have to accept responsibility. Like you said, you brought up Facebook and Instagram. We have to accept responsibility that when we put our image out there and when we put our information out there that it could be used in many different ways. But you’re absolutely right that a lot of people don’t have these resources. And that’s why I’m glad that people are listening to this podcast right now. Because I’ve said for a long time you have to do you have to do your research, like do a google check, do a phone call before the day and see if anything doesn’t match up with what what they’ve said. And if if they’re, if they’re a registered sex offender, or if they have a criminal record, you might be able to find some of that information just from a basic Google search. So that at the very least you should be doing if you have any concerns about this, or go to match and pay for it. Like maybe what they should be doing is adding an like an app an add on service that you can pay to have background checks. I know, Bumble lets you verify your account. But maybe there’s an added level of security they can give to people that aren’t willing to pay for the service because not free.


Rene Lynch, LA Times  10:56  

Right. Right. That’s a very good point. I mean, we shouldn’t expect that this is all going to be handed to us for free. I think this also speaks a bit to a generational divide. Millennials, they know their way around all this stuff. They’re much more savvy. But I think if somebody like my mom who is widowed, if she were to go on a dating app, she would fall for every anything because she doesn’t use a computer she doesn’t know. You know, it would be it would be a hard asset to just get her on a dating app. But some people are just not that sophisticated there. And I shouldn’t say sophisticated because sometimes people are just not interested in living their life connected to the internet and a computer. And should those people be more susceptible to, you know, a bad actor? I would say no, but I do think that we have, we can’t expect that this is all going to be handed to us for free. I do think that a pay option. That’s something that seems fairly reasonable.


Damona  11:49  

Well, we’ve given them all the all the information they need. Hopefully they’ll pick it up and run with anyone credit for it. But one thing that’s a little bit harder to tell when you’re on a dating app is whether someone is in a relationship or not. I’ve read in some of the LA affairs stories people find out later on that the person they thought they were madly in love with was already madly in love with someone else and in a relationship with them. And Kat Von D and Ana Faris, normal normalize to the the phenomenon of cheating on the unqualified podcast and you look at these two ladies and you think who’s gonna cheat on Kat Von D. First of all, she’s gorgeous. Second of all, I feel like she like she she would cut you your life. But she says she’s dated nothing but jerks and has never been on a real date. She claims a past boyfriend cheated on her Renee 18 times while they were together she she looked in she saw in his email and messages that there were 18 different women that he had she verified He had had sex with while they were together. What is going on? You’ve been editing this column for a long time. Is there an increase that you see in submissions? of Cheaters or do you think it’s just like now we’re talking about it more before it was just so taboo that people wouldn’t discuss if it happened to them?


Rene Lynch, LA Times  13:21  

I don’t I can’t say that I see an increase in it I can tell you that a lot of the submissions we get have to do with cheating. But before I get to some examples, on a Ferris we had I had the pleasure of meeting her once in studio she came into the LA Times. so incredibly nice, incredibly, you can always tell them Sure, you can bet your shares celebrities, you can always tell how they treat everyone else. She was so pleasant and when I heard that story, I thought who would cheat on Anna you be getting me It’s horrible. What What luck to the rest of us have? But we we you know, it’s not.


Damona  13:55  

It’s not about that it’s not about even reading this week, Justin Timberlake I was holding hands I was like Justin and like you like you’re not going to do better than Jessica he’ll it’s not going to happen john What is going on?


Rene Lynch, LA Times  14:11  

But it’s it’s really shocking how often that happens and I am sure there’s you could do a whole show on the psychology of cheating but people I think go into relationships expecting that the person is if they are in a monogamous relationship they’re expecting that the person is going to be honest with them. And my god the LA affair submissions just show time and time again that that is not the case. And and it sometimes just seems so, so surprising that the person didn’t catch on one of our more popular columns had to do with a woman who was I can’t exactly remember all the details of this, but she found out that her boyfriend had her phone number in his phone, but under a guy’s name and she did not Real that’s how she found out red flag right? Somehow his phone rang or she would she called the phone Oh, they were looking for his phone or something. And the phone rang and she’s like, why do you have me in here as Tony? Take it all fell apart. It was funny about that, as so many people did not understand who were read the column that that is a common practice that people do. They’ll hide the person’s name and their phone under another name so that if the phone rings and their partner says, Oh, it’s Tony from work or Joe from work, it’s not another woman calling.


Damona  15:29  

So in that situation, she was the other woman.


Rene Lynch, LA Times  15:32  

Yes. She found that’s how she found out that she was the other woman. I know.


Damona  15:36  

That is just the worst. What are some other other other red flags that you’ve seen? Or, or patterns that you’ve seen that cheaters will do? Because I know people are listening like, I gotta take some notes here from Renee because I need to know because I think a lot of people have suspicions like, what if my partner is cheating on me or has cheated on me? But are there any things that You should really be on the lookout for like, like, is only being able to see you on the weekends like, Is that an automatic red flag? Are there any other things you’ve seen? Well,


Rene Lynch, LA Times  16:10  

I think it particularly in LA some of those rules that might apply elsewhere are difficult in LA because when I was dating my husband, I, we lived about 40 miles apart. We only saw each other on weekends. So he could have had an entire other family and told her that he was going on business trips for the weekend, and I wouldn’t have known it. So those rules do not always apply. I would say, to step back a little bit further before you try to figure out if somebody is cheating. Have you had the conversation? Are we in this together? And it’s just us too? Are we monogamous? Are we? You know, is it just as to we published a story not too long ago by a woman and I have to tell you, I had a hard time editing the column a little bit because I was struggling to understand her point of view, she met a guy, they hit it off, they go on their first date, and then after their First Date she does her due diligence and starts googling him and finds out I believe through Facebook, that he’s in these photos with another woman and kids and she’s trying to figure out what this is. And she calls him in a fury. And he says, we’ll wait a second. I’m Yes, I’m married. However, I am in the process of getting divorced. I have a great relationship with my wife. She knows I’m dating, and we’re separated and we’re in the process of getting a divorce. I don’t know is that is that a problem? This woman went through the roof over that, but I don’t know.


Rene Lynch, LA Times  17:32  

I don’t know about disclosing all that on your first date. I feel like I kind of felt for him.


Damona  17:38  

I feel like he should say before the date, just so you know I am. I mean, you have to say that you’re separated, not divorced. And that’s a really common. That’s a really common cheater move. Right right to say, oh, we’re in the process. I mean, how many times we heard that I’m leaving my way. But tomorrow,


Rene Lynch, LA Times  17:59  

but It’s true. It’s true. I mean, I guess I


Damona  18:03  

was like, so, so jaded.


Rene Lynch, LA Times  18:05  

Should you have to reveal everything on the first day? I don’t know. I personally would have appreciated that being revealed on the first day. But I think sometimes people find out that their quote unquote being cheated on, and maybe they haven’t had the conversation about are we monogamous?


Damona  18:20  

No one else such a good point. I also read a recent la affairs column where a woman was talking about her dating patterns. And she said that in all of the, the, the relationships or the date she she had the intuition, she had the gut early on, that they were not a good guy or they weren’t, weren’t right for her. And so many times, we just squash that and we put our intuition aside. And those of you who’ve been listening to the podcast for a while, know that I’m really big into using that intuition and trusting your gut. Because we could we can do all the steps but ultimately, we can do background checks, but I think the best background check is it starts with how do you feel when you’re with them? And what are the signals that you’re getting? Yeah,


Rene Lynch, LA Times  19:07  

you’re totally right. I i in particular loved that column because I worked with her on that for quite a bit. It had a very different tone to it. In the very beginning, she was very down on herself that this was never going to work out. And, you know, this is all horrible. And then as we work through it, ice center will it actually seems like you’re, we need to play up that idea that you have listened to your intuition and it ended up being a much more I think inspirational column because, you know, think about how many dates you’ve gone on in your life. You’ve had far more dates that did not end up in you being married then the date that got you married, right, so are you a dating failure? If you look at the statistics, you are right, you are more bad dates that didn’t go anywhere today. True. And so I think we have to not take the bad date as like a sign of that. Some thing is horrible. It just didn’t work out. It didn’t work out if you went shopping, and you didn’t find the black pair pants that you were looking for you and be like, I’m a failure to shop another day, right? Like you would just be like, I’m ready to get back in the hunt and look for those pants. I think we need to approach dating a little more like that. It’s not the end all be all, you know, referendum on who you are as a person. You’re just trying to find your match, trying to find your person. And that takes time. And it’s not a big deal. It’s like calm down. It’s all going to be okay. didn’t work out the Saturday, maybe next Saturday is your day. So uplifting


Damona  20:34  

and I totally agree with you. Speaking of time, it’s time for us to take a little break. And first I wanted to just acknowledge our listeners that have told their friends about the podcast and that have told other podcast listeners about the podcast through reviews. Special thanks to Nicole who just left us this review. She said I enjoy listening to this podcast on my way to work every Monday. Not to sound arrogant or anything But she’s the host is funny and engaging. And she always has a wide variety of love and dating themes to themes to address you won’t be disappointed. Thank you so much, Nicole for listening. And thanks to all of you who are dedicated to listening to this podcast. Please take a moment to review the show on the podcast platform that is bringing it to your ears right now. So the more people can get the help and love that they need and we can keep making Dates & Mates a free resource for you for seven more seasons. We will have more with Renee Lynch of the la times in just a moment.


We are back with Renee Lynch of the LA Times. She is the editor of the LA affairs column which I’ve been a fan of for a long time. Renee, people love a love story. They love a good love story. And we’re sometimes really addicted to happy endings. I’m curious because you read a lot of love stories What’s your favorite kind of love story?


Rene Lynch, LA Times  22:12  

I you know, I love a good love story where there’s a lot of drama and obstacles before you get to the to the wonderful payoff. I just think that I love the story where it slowly revealed itself kind of like When Harry Met Sally story the way we knew it slowly revealed itself that Wait a second, the person I’ve wanted all along, or the perfect person for me is right here.


Damona  22:39  

So much more like people are like, how did you know your husband was the one and I’m like, I don’t know cuz I just wanted to keep seeing him and not seeing anybody else. It wasn’t like, all of a sudden whiz bang like the music change and I swept off my


Rene Lynch, LA Times  22:55  

feet and we danced off into the sunset.


Damona  22:58  

I don’t know. Did you hear you’re married. Did you know when you first met your husband? He was the one No,


Rene Lynch, LA Times  23:05  

my husband, I’m a very silly person. And my husband for is also very silly person, which that’s why I love him. I always say he’s the goof to my ball. Our first few dates, he was so serious, and just so kind of like this kind of commanding and control very serious personality. And I was like, No, like, No, no, no, no, no. And we actually went on a date we went golfing and I told a friend I go he doesn’t know this but he’s got one shot like this date. This is about to be over


Damona  23:38  

way this was your this is your first


Rene Lynch, LA Times  23:41  

No, this is like your this is the person I’m married to now


Damona  23:43  

but how many dates and more dates Okay, so this is like the date it and


Rene Lynch, LA Times  23:47  

I was like, This guy is just too serious. And it because I felt like I couldn’t be my ridiculous silly self because I felt like he was like disapproving and like why are you being loud or silly or whatever. And so we go coughing and we are in the parking lot at the end of the night and we’re about it we were two different cars are about to go our second way and somebody starts playing Britney Spears hit me Baby One More Time started doing the dancer, Brittany’s my god parking lot and I was like, will you marry me?


Rene Lynch, LA Times  24:20  

That is a bold move or a guy


Rene Lynch, LA Times  24:22  

I couldn’t like I wish I had a camera on my face because the shock of like, is this guy really doing this right now? And he had the whole like he was doing the whole thing. And I thought okay, well you just one date number five.


Damona  24:35  

But it’s I like hearing that story because it shows how people really reveal themselves over time and I talk on the show a lot about slow love and how people are not usually themselves right away and true. Like people get so caught up in chemistry and what am I feeling on the first date, but it’s really the second, the third, the fourth and the fifth date. Yeah, that really tells you who that person is? I’m curious what made you stick with it beyond the first or second day because there are a lot of people that after a soso or a bad first date might just be like,


Rene Lynch, LA Times  25:13  

you know, there was enough there. He’s very handsome. There was no is there? Yes, that always helps. And we we kept finding weird things in common. Like we were reading the same book at the time. And you know, just like an odd little thing. And it wasn’t a new book. It was an old it was Lance Armstrong’s book. It’s not about the bike. Before Lance. Yeah, youngsters, Grace. And he knew, you know, so he was able to talk about that. And then we would just find these like weird little things in common. And I just found this he is he’s Puerto Rican, he’s very close to his family. And that’s something that I really admired. And there were just little things that I thought this is a really a stand up guy. I was just really worried that I that I wasn’t I was like, maybe not measuring up, it was really this kind of like weird thing where I thought, I’m kind of like, you know, I’ll say silly stuff, I’ll just I’m kind of a very relaxed person. And he just seemed like a little too uptight. And I thought, Oh, this is not gonna work out


Damona  26:13  

the best behavior with you. Right?


Rene Lynch, LA Times  26:14  

Well, that said he was really nervous. And so it took us a while to I think, I think a slow burn is such a great way to describe it, that it took a while for it to unfold and reveal itself. And that was the relationship that really made me understand that I would say if you have two things that you need in a relationship, it’s compatibility. And also attraction. I mean, you need to have some attraction to the person that you’re with. But if you are not compatible, I think that the media image that we often get is that you need to have a fiery tempestuous Lake relationship. And I’m like, Girl run on and run late. I do not want that. Like, maybe that’s great for a hot summer romance, but that is not what you want when the roof is leaking. Getting in the kid is crying and the bills need to be paid. You want slow, steady compatible somebody who who your spending habits are similar. Somebody that you know that you can rely on, you don’t mean that that you know exactly.


Damona  27:16  

What’s interesting about the LA affaires column and the work that you do with it, you get submissions, you get like hundreds of submissions every month. And I’m guessing


Rene Lynch, LA Times  27:28  

No, it’s true. I tell people, I could run the column if I stopped accepting submissions today, I could run it like through 2015. I mean, I have it literally in my quote unquote short stack. I have probably 150 columns in the short stack.


Damona  27:41  

Wow. So this is anyone in LA that has a love story that wants to tell something about about their journey. And I’m curious when you have all of these stories, I’m sure everyone feels like their story is the most important one to be told. But what is it that makes you pick one out over the other and then talking about A little bit about your process of how you take this core idea. Like we all tell the story from our point of view, like this happened, and he did this to me, but like, like the example you were telling about before the break, how you shape it to almost give them new perspective on the story that they’ve lived.


Rene Lynch, LA Times  28:16  

I feel like doing this job is kind of being a little bit of a therapist for people, always, because I’ll see something in their story. And they don’t see it because they’ve lived it, right. It’s, it’s staring them in the face, and I’ll start to ask them about it. And then it’ll slowly fall away that this the story isn’t over here. It’s actually on the other side of the room. It’s over here. And part of that is the editing process. When columns come in, first and foremost, I’m looking for a really great story. I tell people do not worry about filing a perfectly polished, edited manuscript. That’s not what I want or need, because I’m the editor. I can guarantee you that whatever you file, no matter what shape it’s in, I’m going to find some changes because the style changes for the paper. Like for example, we don’t use profanity. So just like maybe that makes us old school but you know, changes will be major columns. So first and foremost, I’m just looking for a good story. Tell me a good story. Pretend you are you and I just met, we’re sitting next to each other having coffee and they say so you know, tell me about your last date or your partner, whatever. Start typing. That’s what I want. Just tell me a good story. And then from there, I’m looking for something original. I’m, you know, if you if you read the column, I’m just looking for something perhaps offbeat. I love a story that ends up happening an inspirational aspect to it like that woman who I think is like so many of us, we think, Oh, I went on another bad date. There’s something wrong with me. And we were able to finally get to the point where she already understood but she wasn’t fully embracing it. That when you walk away from a bad day, you’re walking towards yourself. You’re that is a victory. You put that in the win column sister You do not walk away from that feeling bad. about that. And so I loved that I’m working on a column with a man right now, it’s probably going to take a while it’ll run early next year, and he and his partner broke up because of his drinking. And when they get back together, you know, it’s it’s very difficult challenge for them to recover their relationship. But he, he really comes to the idea that so many people do who struggle with substance abuse that he had to say no to that in order to say yes to the relationship. And it’s just a really beautiful inspirational story. And I’m fully convinced that somebody will read that column. And he was very upset with his partner because he felt like his partner was rejecting Him and not accepting him. But the partner was saying, I cannot have this alcoholism in my life. And so I’ve seen enough of right


Damona  30:47  

intervention to know that line.


Rene Lynch, LA Times  30:50  

And so I’m sure that people will read that column and somebody somewhere will read that column and say, You know what, I’m going to stop drinking today. And so that to me, I want to Love that I get to do something like that it’s an honor and a privilege.


Damona  31:04  

You just gave me chills honestly to know that you’re impacting people that are reading this on on such a deep level and even just the people that you’re writing that you’re editing the column with, to know that they can get new perspective because our stories really sometimes trap us in a pattern. Like all the time when I’m working with clients, I, I help figure out what is that story that’s playing in your head about why you’re still single, maybe it’s you’re telling yourself every day there are no good men in LA or I can’t trust my gut or they’re all cheaters whatever that story is. Sometimes you have to take a step back from it and maybe even in writing it out. Like not everyone listening to this podcast is going to have their their story published in LA affairs, but maybe they can get started by just writing down their story on paper, getting the story out of them. And then almost distancing it Yes, it’s yourself from it to just read it and say Okay, where How have I grown from this? What can I learn from this? How can I become a better person myself through this experience, and then maybe that will lead me to?


Rene Lynch, LA Times  32:12  

Well, I think you have just hit right on it that I sometimes think that we think like life is just supposed to be perfect and unfold. But we all know we come with so much baggage, and then you’re meeting somebody else who has baggage. And we’re both trying to see if our baggage will fit within it, each other’s baggage. And if you’re coming from the perspective of like, I can’t find, you know, there are no good women in LA or I can’t find a date or there’s something wrong with me. In some ways, I would encourage people to do exactly what you said, which is, instead of using this as a negative use it as an opportunity for personal growth. We are in the land of of personal growth, right? There’s no place in the world that encouraged us to look within like LA, we should take advantage of that. And maybe it’s seeing somebody maybe it’s talking to somebody maybe it’s trying to journal or Right about it there are plenty of free online resources. But why not delve into? Why am I finding it hard to meet a woman in LA? Do I really believe that all women are bad look, let’s push back on that belief and see what happens when I start digging into it is what happened in my background that has led me to believe that and then what am I going to move past that? I mean, be the hero of your own story right? Every good hero needs an obstacle. You gotta like go around it or through it or under it or whatever just in


Damona  33:28  

the third act


Rene Lynch, LA Times  33:31  

it’s not the end but but I think we can often give up right we can often give up just before the breakthrough so I think we the way you put it is just perfect. We just need to push through that and sometimes for some people writing it down and submitting it to a column like Ella fares or or someplace else or maybe even writing it down and burning it in the backyard and being like I’m now done with that. I’m ready to move on.


Rene Lynch, LA Times  33:51  

Oh, yeah,


Damona  33:52  

right. I did that. Actually. I had a I had a group of girlfriends over in in the I guess it was in the summer, spring or summer, and we got a fire pit and we all we burned our stories. And this woman had this relationship that she was still holding on to a lot of negativity around it. And she was still processing it, even though she was in a healthy, positive relationship. Now she still had unfinished business. And so she took all of these photos, all of these letters, all of these things that were tying her to the past and she burned them. She burned them in my backyard. And it was just so cathartic.


Rene Lynch, LA Times  34:36  

Okay, now you’re


Damona  34:38  

just to see, I mean, y’all like fire safety, like don’t like make sure you are doing this in a way which I didn’t do that but you know, like, have a professional or water or something, I don’t know. But just just seeing her go through that and, and be able to, to release that. Like we carry around all these feelings that we attend. To the stories that we’ve had,


Rene Lynch, LA Times  35:01  

right, and you know what it’s okay to have a wonderful relationship that for whatever reason, didn’t work out, it’s totally fine. And it’s fine to reflect on that and maybe remember that person and think about him or her fondly. But that it’s think sometimes things just don’t work out. And that’s just the way it is. And it’s okay. It’s not a reflection on who you are. It’s just a reflection on that moment in time. And that can actually be a beautiful thing, right that you had a, you know, a summer boyfriend or summer girlfriend, and it was great, and then it didn’t work out. But that’s a wonderful memory to have not baggage to kind of like drag into like your next 17 relationships. Exactly.


Damona  35:39  

You are so wise, Renee. I’m like, I’m getting all of the chills and all the fields here. And all of our listeners have submitted questions to all of our listeners. Some of our listeners have submitted questions that I think our listeners would really want to hear your insights to the questions that they’ve submitted. So we’re going to roll right into our next segment. Alright, Renee, we have questions from our listeners that people have submitted all kinds of ways. We get questions through email, through Instagram, through Facebook, through Twitter. And today I have a question that came to my inbox. That said, Hi damona I recently started internet dating and I’ve met some nice guys, but none that really blow me away. I’ve been asked by one of them to stop seeing the other men to see if this relationship can work. I’m in my 40s and the endless dating cycle is tiring, but I do not want to settle for the man that is giving me the most attention and who’s the most demanding? Any advice? Ooh, that is a hard one. That is a hard one is a burden hand.


Rene Lynch, LA Times  36:45  

Yeah, she has a burden. And I guess I I would wonder, first of all, I’d love to know a little more about her dating history. How she got to this point, what is your story? What is your story? But I mean, what about Giving it a certain amount of time so that you’re not putting too much into it but maybe four or five more dates or say, I mean, I can kind of understand somebody saying like, can we make this monogamous or at least make it about us? For now, I think I would be so anxious if I knew my boyfriend were leaving me and dating somebody. Like, I just think that would just ratchet up my anxiety.


Damona  37:24  

But in the beginning, you were you were online. Right? Right. And you knew in the beginning the chances chances were he was dating other people.


Rene Lynch, LA Times  37:32  

But once we started dating a few more dates, and once he did his little bit,


Rene Lynch, LA Times  37:39  

you know, we never actually had the conversation of are we is this are we exclusive, but we just kind of knew we were exclusive. But Had I known that he were out dating other women. I think that would have been, I think I would have at some point said can we make this just about us? I think that would have been a little hurtful, so I can understand somebody’s asking for that. I mean, if he says I need you to never date another man again for the next 10 years, I think you say you got to get out of here. But saying if let’s put our emphasis on this and see if we can work six, eight weeks. I don’t know that doesn’t seem that doesn’t seem unreasonable.


Damona  38:15  

You’re giving me food for thought running because my initial reaction was if she’s not excited about him, and he’s already at the point where he’s saying, Let’s be exclusive, that maybe they’ve given it enough time to see if it’s working or not. And for her, it’s just not working. And


Rene Lynch, LA Times  38:32  

well, that’s why I wondered about her background because I wonder if she I wondered if she is a little bit like me who was like, Wait, you’re not bringing fireworks and like 3000 roses on our first date? She this isn’t very exciting. Yeah. I


Damona  38:48  

Well, there’s a clue in here. She says the endless dating cycle is tiring. And I know a lot of our listeners struggle with that. Especially she says she’s in her 40s we have a lot of listeners in their 30s and Does it feel like I’ve been doing this, I’ve been like, on this in this rat race of dating, and it’s like wash, rinse repeat of I’m going on this date, I’m not really connecting with a guy I’m this far in, I don’t really want to break up with him because I don’t want to start over. Right? Like that fear of starting over can keep people in the wrong relationships. But by the same token, I totally hear what you’re saying, like you have to be looking at the bigger picture of what, what you need out of the relationship. And maybe if it’s not, you’re not checking all the boxes. But if you’re checking enough of the boxes, you know, maybe it is worth just just focusing


Rene Lynch, LA Times  39:39  

and committing for a little bit and saying like, if you are invested in this relationship, what would that look like? I can guarantee you that if you and I are in a relationship, and we’re totally committed to each other, it’s going to look very different than if I’m dating five other people. And so I’m not giving you my all I’m not giving you all my attention. That person is going to feel that but again, I’m a little curious as to what it what are her expectations about a relationship? I guarantee you that I do not check all of my husband’s boxes, I’m sure. He would be like, I would like somebody who’s maybe a little more organized. There’s there are definitely things that he will be like, I wish I could change about her. But if you’re, you know, checking most of them. He’s the person who, if he is my desert island person, I want him on that desert island. Is he perfect? No, he’s not perfect. But at some point, you just get to that point where you think this person is very, very special to me, and I want them in my life more than I don’t want them in my life.


Damona  40:41  

Okay, that’s a good segue into our second question, which is similar but different. This one came to me from Instagram. She says I’m a 20 year old female. She said I just listened to a podcast you were on. I’m not sure which one but thank you for listening. Maybe horrible decisions or maybe kind of dating but thank you for Much. Lately I’ve been really struggling in my relationship. He’s a great guy and we share a lot of the same values. The thing is I was never really attracted to him and never felt the spark. Never felt the spark, Renee. I thought I could get past it because we do share similar values for the future and in life, but I have been nitpicking and criticizing him for a few months.


Surviving The Holidays While Single

A Few Dating Dangers For Singles To Avoid This Holiday Season

Navigating the holidays can be hard when your parents keep asking why you’re still single. This week, I interviewed with The BBC and was not surprised by the most recent statistics on dating app fatigue for singles this holiday season. Millennials are now deleting Tinder more than ever.

I see dating app fatigue frequently during the holiday season due in large part to awkward questions incoming from relatives. Here are a few tips to get you through this holiday season: 

I’m still optimistic about dating apps 

Like I’ve said before, dating apps are the most powerful tool in your dating tool box. If you’re feeling down about dating apps just remember this:

Now more than ever daters are finding love online. Here are the latest stats from eHarmony that might cheer you up a bit:

online dating statistics

Even with proof like this, people do tend to get down on dating apps around the holidays. Often parents and relatives don’t understand that online dating is the norm now. The latest news may not have helped that…

Tell your parents the dating apps aren’t dangerous

You may have seen in the news that the safety of some of the best dating apps has been called into question. A recent investigation proved that registered sex offenders are finding victims through free dating apps and websites such as Tinder, OkCupid, Plenty of Fish, and more. 

This is terrifying. But also, it’s an opportunity to examine 1) which dating apps you are using and 2) how we are filtering potential dates. 

On episode # 287 Dates & Mates I discuss this with Rene Lynch, editor of LA Affairs in the LA Times. We break this controversy down: 

  • If you’re concerned about your safety, perhaps use a dating app that automatically background checks against the sex offender registry – like Match. These are typically paid subscription dating apps that have the resources to filter for dangerous situations.
  • Do some research on your own. Before you meet your date in person, take some time to double check that they are safe:
    • Don’t forget the pre-date phone call! Make sure that everything checks out
    • A quick search on all social media platforms of this person can tell you all you need to know
    • If something feels off to you, follow your intuition.

On that note… here are a few thoughts on how to handle other awkward conversations from relatives

I recently filmed a segment with Access on the dating and relationship complications that arise during the holidays. Be prepared for all of the awkward questions because you’re going to get them. 

How many times have you heard something on the order of, “Why are you still single” or “when are you going to settle down?”

If you don’t want to talk about why you’re single during the holidays, share all the accomplishments that you want to share instead of focusing on the negative. If all else fails and they just keep asking, tell them some of your bad date stories.

If you haven’t seen it yet, check out the segment for more tips on getting through the trials of being single during the holidays.

But since you’re on holiday, maybe you can dedicate some extra time to dating?

I always encourage daters to be proactive in finding love. My rule of thumb is to dedicate five hours a week or more to your dating process.

If you’re experiencing dating app fatigue, you should take a break

We have all been there. Sometimes you get tired of the seemingly endless and monotonous game of swiping. But once you take a step back, you realize that the dating apps are more than just swiping at faces. 

If you’re in a dating rut, make sure you take some time to regroup. I always tell my clients that it’s better to take a break than to bring the wrong energy into dating.

While you’re taking a break from dating apps…

Make an effort to meet people in real life and be more conscious about the kind of person you are looking for. You can actively search in relevant spaces where you can find potential matches with common interests. 

Where’s your match hiding?

If you’re looking for someone that has a professional career, you might want to go downtown at happy hour and make sure that you’re talking to people that work in those office buildings, or if you’re looking for someone who has a big heart, go to charity events and places where you’re going to meet people who make philanthropy a part of their lifestyle.

Do you have a dating resolution for next year?  Reach out to me on social (@DamonaHoffman on all platforms) and let me know your biggest dating challenge right now and I’ll help you fix it!


Done with Dating & The Cheerleader Effect


Okay so we talked about breakups last week, what do you do when you are ready to take on dating?


Samantha Burns, AKA the millennial love expert, tells us her exact steps to ditching dating forever in her new book: Done with Dating: 7 Steps to Finding Your Person


Is it weird that Kayley Cuoco isn’t living with her new husband?

You may remember that in her last divorce – asked for a HUGE alimony. Maybe she’s still healing from that and needs to take it slow? We have thoughts. 

Find your soulmate before the end of the world! 

Tinder’s new content-forward programming will find help you love while you play a “choose your own adventure” game on their platform. Damona breaks it down. 

Did you know there are apps to fix your relationships?

There are dating apps and now there are relationship apps backed by the Gottman researchers. Are these worth it? Damona breaks it down. 


Be the host with the most

Samantha’s new book Done with Dating: 7 Steps to Finding Your Person is a great follow up to her first book Breaking Up and Bouncing Back: Moving On to Create the Love Life You Deserve. She gives us her seven steps to get back on the horse and find your person. 

We go in-depth on:

  • Do you want to take charge with your dating life? Or would you rather be pursued?
  • Tips, Tool, and Tricks to switch into a more empowered mindset in dating
  • What “stinkin’ thinkin'” is coming into your mind?
  • Love happens when you intentionally create a thriving fun dating experience.
  • Ways to shift your luck in love
  • If you wait for love to find you, will it?
  • Are you waiting for someone to make you happy?
  • Go out in groups AKA The Cheerleader Effect
  • Be The Hostess With The Mostest
  • Be casually confident but not aggressive
  • Dating & Attachment Styles


Submit your questions Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook and hear our answers live on the show! Here’s what our listeners asked about this week:

  • Should you tell your friend if her boyfriend is raising some red flags for you?
  • What should you do if you don’t want to be with someone but don’t want them to date anyone else?



Don’t forget to send us your Halloween Dating Horror Story! You can submit any of these ways:
  • DM Damona a voice memo on Social Media (@DamonaHoffman)
  • Send Damona an email (
  • Leave us a message! (424-246-6255)

Dating Fatigue & Dumbing it Down

Have you ever wanted to give up on dating?

Today’s episode is all about dating fatigue and finding purpose in dating with author, Kacie Main!


Do ladies dumb themselves down to date?

According to Mirror UK new study shows that 37% of women feel that men are intimidated by their intellect. Damona and Kacie have thoughts.

One trick to get a second date

Daily Mail reports that saying your dates name multiple times may be the key to getting a second date.

Plenty of Fish has banned filtered photos! 

What exactly does this mean? Damona and Kacie break it down.

A Drastic Solution to Dating Fatigue

Giving Up Men for Lent & Finding Purpose in Dating

We’ve talked about dating fatigue on Dates & Mates in the past, but have you ever been so burnt out on it that you decided to quit the dating game entirely?

Kacie Main did. In 2017, she got so burnt out on searching for love after a string of questionable decisions, that she decided to hit the reset button and give up men for lent (about 40 days.)

A little drastic, maybe?

Maybe not, it turns out! I loved hearing about Kacie’s journey from what she calls “dating desperation” to really understanding and finding her purpose in dating.

We go in-depth on dating fatigue and also cover:

  • Does dating occupy too much of your mental space?
  • Are you the victim or the villain of your dating life?
  • Should men be threatened by this? 
  • Also consider taking a break from alcohol, baby showers, and friends of the opposite sex. (wait, baby showers???)

You can find Kacie at! Make sure to get a copy of her book “I Gave Up Men For Lent: The story of a jaded, hopelessly romantic, health-conscious party girl’s search for meaning” on Amazon!


Submit your questions Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook and hear our answers live on the show! Here’s what our listeners asked about this week:

  • How to know if they’re telling you the truth on dating apps?
  • What to do when you get really aggressive comments about your body on dating apps?
  • How to pick up a dating app convo if it’s gone cold?

Master Class: Dating App Dos And Don’ts

A Comprehensive Guide To Dating Apps

Everything you need to know about dating’s latest developments

There have been so many changes in the dating landscape even just this month! Are you up to speed?

On this week’s episode of Dates & Mates, Damona gives a masterclass on dating app dos and don’ts, especially for Facebook’s NEW dating app.

We know what you’re thinking! ANOTHER DATING APP?!

But today, Damona gives you a step by step assessment of what might be wrong in your dating plan so you don’t feel the frustration of keeping up with all the new developments in dating.

TOP 5 Dating App Problems (2:39)

  • The Profile Problem
  • The Pickiness Problem (7:20)
  • The Sit Back & Wait Problem (10:00)
  • The Dating Pool Problem (12:30)
  • The Dating Strategy Problem (15:25)


PLUS, did you know that the latest studies on the marriage market show that there is a shortage of men with marriageable qualities? (21:00)

Damona covers this study published in the Journal of Marriage & Family  and gives you the rundown and goes in-depth on:

  • Are you pricing yourself out of the marriage market? (22:00)
  • What men and women can learn from this data (25:00)
  • How to solve your marriage market problems (26:00)


Facebook Dating is Here! (30:00)

  • Step By Step Tutorial (31:00)
  • Why This is a Game Changer (40:00)


If you or anyone you know is overwhelmed by dating today, don’t miss this episode! 


Get your FREE Profile Starter Kit TODAY!

Bonus reading materials: Damona in Essence and Shondaland 

Want to get on the VIP list for the 30 Day Dating Playbook? Click here!

If you want a more in-depth step-by-step tutorial on Facebook Dating, find @alittlenudge on Instagram here!