Love Language Gift Guide & Modern Marriage


Random fact: One of the most entertaining things about Damona’s job are the emails she gets from Jewish mothers.

You know her work in the LA Times and The Washington Post but did you know that Damona’s very first writing gig was as a dating expert for JDate?

For a while the emails from concerned mothers looking to help their sons in dating had subsided, but now because of the pandemic or politics or COVID, they have kicked up again.

Damona talks to Tod Jacobs & Peter Lynn from Jerusalem to give relationship tips from their new book Not A Partnership: Why We Keep Getting Marriage Wrong & How We Can Get It Right.

But first, let’s dish!


Holiday Gifts for Any Love Language

How to find the perfect gift for every person in your life– it’s actually less complicated than you think. Damona explains more. 



Dating Studies 2020 Roundup

A complete roundup of every noteworthy study on love for all you science nerds out there. Damona weighs in.



Elliot Page Comes Out As Transgender

A huge congratulations to Elliot Page and why you should be inspired by his story.




Tod Jacobs & Peter Lynn compiled a ton of research on marriage in their new book, Not A Partnership: Why We Keep Getting Marriage Wrong & How We Can Get It Right.



Damona 0:00
Happy Holidays lovers. It’s December. It’s Hanukkah week. So I’m feeling kind of festive. And I’m thinking a lot about all of the wonderful Jewish mothers who send me emails trying to find a match for their little boy his. I don’t know if you knew this, maybe you’ve read my work in LA Times and in the Washington Post, but did you know that my very first writing gig was actually at j date? Yeah, I was a dating expert for j date. And it was so fun. And it generated quite a lot of emails back then. So for a while, the emails from concerned Jewish mothers looking for help for their sons and dating had subsided. But I don’t know if it’s the pandemic or politics or something else, but they have kicked up again. So to all the Mamas and part time yentas This show is inspired by you. And it’s for anyone who is on the hunt for a happy marriage. In honor of my Jewish grandfather and all of his corny jokes. I will begin my intro today, with a joke set up a rabbi and a Jewish scholar walk into a dating podcast. Okay, there’s no punch line.

Unknown Speaker 1:18
There’s only a setup.

Damona 1:20
But I do have an awesome interview lined up for you. I’ll be talking to Todd Jacobs, and peterlin, who joined me from Jerusalem to give relationship tips from their new book, not a partnership, why we keep getting marriage wrong, and how we can get it right. This interview has caused quite a stir here at dates and mates headquarters, and I can’t wait to hear your thoughts. But first, I need to get you up to speed on the headlines for this week, how to find a special gift for your special person. And it’s actually less complicated than you think. And for you science nerds out there a complete roundup of every noteworthy study on love for 2020 Plus, a huge congratulations to Elliott page, and why you should be inspired by Elliott’s story. All that and more on today’s dates and mates, you’re ready to dish.

Love Languages seem to be in the air I found out this week about a new feature on Bumble, where you can actually add your love language to your profile. So you can figure out if you can speak the same language when you match with someone. But beyond that plenty of fish also added a love language feature they did a post on their blog about the best holiday gifts for everyone based on their love language. So for those of you who are not familiar with the five love languages, it was based on the research of Dr. Gary Chapman. And it breaks us all down into five different types based on how we perceive and receive love. You ever been in a situation where you’re telling somebody you love them and you’re gushing? And you think this person must know how I feel? Because I’m saying it with my words? Well, if they haven’t really acted like they heard it, or they’ve come to you and said, I didn’t really feel loved. It’s because you might have different love languages. Maybe yours is words of affirmation. Theirs is maybe the second one physical touch, or the third gift, or the fourth quality time. Or maybe you’re like me and you’re number five acts of service. So I’m all about those acts of service like you do something for me. Oh, you cook me dinner. Oh, it’s gonna happen. It is on I am so happy. You tell me you love me doesn’t quite land the same way. So if the person is more into, say, words of affirmation, the blocks just something as simple as a handwritten letter could really make the difference for them or meaningful jewelry that has a word that’s really significant to them. This is y’all I’m giving you I’m giving you this is golden. If you are shopping for someone, and you know their love language, check out the dates and blog because we will link to this and you will know exactly what to get your loved one for this holiday season. All right, my science nerds dating has come through for us they did a roundup of all of the studies from 2020 on love. First of all, I pride myself on being on top of all of this for you. And I try to read all the studies that I can because I love this data. I love seeing how human behavior works in real time. Not in theory, but actually what are we doing and how is the world that we’re interacting with changing the way that we move through relationships, but they even found they found some gems that I didn’t even know. They found that University of Chicago said couples who meet online are less likely to to divorce. That was a seven year study. You’ve heard me say here, but you can check out this dating roundup and see why couples who meet online are less likely to divorce. According to the University of Chicago study. They also said that, OK, Cupid reported one third of women say they get too many messages. But Pew says over half of men say they get too few messages online. Are you seeing a pattern? Is there a solution for this? I think it’s pretty clear when you look at the data. And one that I thought was super interesting plenty of fish again, they did a study on the words in your dating profile. And they found that singles who use the word love are more successful. And actually, when you when you go check out this, this study, or this Roundup, you’ll see that it’s not just the word love, but when you use love, passion words, in your profile, you actually are more likely to get a match. So even using the word relationship, which some people run away from, because they’re afraid if I say relationship, and that’s too serious, then he’s going to run away. Yes, honey, he’s going to run away, because that’s not what he wants, and you don’t want him wasting your time. So those who said relationship in their profiles, actually were more likely to end up in a relationship. There’s so much info, and I don’t want to overwhelm you. But I find it all very fascinating. And if you keep listening to dates and mates, of course, I will keep synthesizing all the most interesting studies down for you every week. You may have also heard in the news about Elliott page announcing that he is trans. Great news on this is he’s getting so much support not just from Hollywood, and from fans and from friends. But also his wife is supporting him and standing by him through this transition. And he also announced his pronouns are he and a. So I look I’m still learning about how to do this correctly, too. So maybe somebody can, y’all are not shy on the DM. So maybe somebody can DM me if I should be using he or if I should be using they there. But I just wanted to acknowledge something that I read about Paige, when he says he was pressured in many cases to always wear dresses, and heels for events and photoshoots. You may remember he starred in the movie Juno. And he’s done a lot of roles. Oh, inception, that was one of my, that’s one of my favorite movies, I’ve probably seen that movie like 10 times. And when he goes to when he went to the red carpets, he was forced to dress a certain way that didn’t align with the way that he felt inside. And it made me think of you all actually it made, it reminded me of what you go through to twist and turn and contort yourself and present yourself to be seen on a date. And I was just having this conversation with a client the other day, who was worried about what to wear to a date that was going to be outside and whether the jacket was was was flattering enough or the right color. And I realized that all this info that I give you about how to present yourself. And these little tricks like I tell you were read in your profile, and how you want to show up in a in a dating profile photo. But I just also want to remind you that the very most important thing is for you to be yourself is for you to be authentic, and for you to actually shed away those layers, so that you can be comfortable in your own skin. So if anyone has gotten a message from me that they have to wear a dress to a date, or they have to show up in a certain way in order to be attractive. Go ahead and scratch that out right now. And replace it with I need to feel sexy, I need to feel feel attractive. I need to feel good and comfortable myself to be my best self on the date. So thank you, Elliot page, thank you for leading the way I know it is it is so hard. It is so hard to go through such a public process of transitioning. And maybe you are not transgender and going through a similar experience. But you can certainly relate to what I just said, of having to pretend that you’re somebody you’re not in order to be liked or loved. And I’d say as we go into this new year, let’s put that aside. Let’s be ourselves, let’s be authentic, let’s be comfortable in our own bodies. And let’s let all the haters fall to the wayside because 2020 is coming off and also our break is coming Write up. I want to share this interview with the authors of not a partnership. It is fascinating and I think you’ll really enjoy it. But you got to stick around for just a moment to hear it.

Welcome back. I’m here with Todd Jacobs and Peter Lynn. They’re both professors at the David Robinson Institute for Jewish heritage in Jerusalem. They’re joining me from all the way across the pond. They help their students figure out a pathway to successful living that uses Jewish tradition, ancient texts, mysticism, Do I have your attention? So look, even if you are not Jewish, you will be able to relate to this interview because it’s all about their research on how to make your marriage strong. And they’ve put it all together in their new book, not a partnership, why we keep getting marriage wrong, and how we can get it right. So no matter what your faith, if you’re relationship minded, maybe even marriage minded, you need to join me for the inside scoop. Please now help me give big smooches to my guests, Todd, and Peter. Hello, gentlemen, welcome to the show.

Unknown Speaker 11:09
Thank you so much.

Damona 11:11
Well, we need to we need to talk because a lot of my audience out here, they are relationship minded. Some of them are looking for marriage, some of them are just looking for commitment, but most of them are looking for something a little bit more than they’re in right now. First, I want to talk about in your book, not a partnership, you talk about the institution of marriage, right and looking at marriage, like a job.

Unknown Speaker 11:45
I like

Unknown Speaker 11:46
a good job,

Damona 11:48
a good job, a job that you want. But, you know, in a way people, people are always telling me marriage is so hard. It’s so much work. But I feel like it’s it’s it’s it’s work like this is work for me. Like I love doing it. And I love helping people. But what do you mean, when you say, marriage is like a job?

Unknown Speaker 12:06
You know, we first of all, when we talk about marriage, one of the things we try to do is to give a bit more of a depth and what marriage means than just kind of let’s call it the legal description. And the legal description is one which is you know, up for grabs. And it means different things to different people in different contexts in different countries. But what we what we’re talking about really, is a relationship that is driven by a commitment that I have towards making my spouse, the center of my concern, the center of my attention. And then I view my job, so to speak as a very elevated job. It’s not It’s not the job as a martyr, it’s an incredible job of helping give that person the life that they want and deserve. And when a person is committed to that for their spouse, and the spouse is committed back now, whether they are legally married, legally not married, living together, what I mean, it’s the dynamic is going to be same dynamic, if two people are committed to building and completing each other and giving the other the life that they want and deserve and need. That can create a an incredibly beautiful dynamic in their relationship. And that’s what we are trying to focus people on because we think that’s missing in lots of relationships. Hmm,

Damona 13:24
that’s certainly missing. And I find that a lot of people aren’t having the conversations early on about what they really want, and really, how they even define what the partnership looks like. Right? What do you think about that? Peter? When do you feel like the conversation should begin around partnership or the the goals for the relationship?

Unknown Speaker 13:51
So I would say like this, is that if you’re looking for someone that you want to have a significant relationship with, what you find is, it doesn’t have to be day one. But the sooner you see if you line up in more of a long term way, that does two things. It frees you up to allow yourself to actually get closer to this person. And you’ll see that down the line, you’re not going to run into major roadblocks when the relationship actually does get closer. What happens a lot of times, as we all know, is that people find this relationship and it goes great. But once serious issues start coming up about what is the long term look like? What do we want for you know, the future of our lives, all of a sudden, you have people that they realize, you know, we’re just not on the same page at all. And then it takes a lot of energy to now start over and you know, try and find that with someone else again, the world of dating can be very depleting and we feel there are lots of things out there that can be done to To make it much smoother for people in their journey to find either a great relationship, or ultimately, the one they want to spend the rest of their life with. Mm hmm. Yeah.

Damona 15:10
And that, that idea of, Oh, no, I have to go back to the pool, again, is something I hear from a lot, a lot, a lot of my listeners. And, you know, I feel like, if you aren’t in the right partnership, it’s worth the effort that you put in before, and it shouldn’t be that much effort. In The Now, like, I like going back to what I was saying, originally, to you, Todd. When people say relationships are a lot of work, I’m like, kind of, I feel like the wrong relationships can be a lot of work. Do you see that? Don’t tell me if I, maybe I’m wrong about that. Maybe I’m looking at that with one with just one lens. I feel free to disagree with me.

Unknown Speaker 16:05
You know, relationships, they can make you without work. But I don’t think that there’s anyone that stands, you know, at their wedding. And they say to themselves, you know, well, I’m looking forward to an okay, marriage. You know, no one, no one says I’m, you know, no one says, as a claim the cake, you know, with the spouse in the band is good. No one says, you know, oh, a mediocre is good for me. You know, I was okay with a BMI in high school, but I didn’t think that my wedding day. And, and we all know that in order to really have something in our life that things want to achieve a goal you want to go after, it’s going to take a lot of effort to get there in order to really make that excellent, that end product amazing. And so, you’re right, a person can be relationship, and Okay, you know, you just ride it out. But what you’ll see very fast is we live in a world today where things get old, very fast, and things lose their freshness very fast. And we all know, you know, we’re all guilty of this, that we drop our guard really fast as well, sometimes a bit too fast. You know, I can be a certain way in my public life. But unfortunately, I come in my private life a lot of times, you know, my behavior is not as good as it may be when I’m at work, or when I’m in front of my friends. And what I think it means when we say work is demonio 100%. Right? I don’t think it’s hard work. Because when you feel like always you when you’re with the right person, why wouldn’t you want to do that work. So it makes it beautiful. But I do realize that in order to make my marriage, let’s say my relationship get to where I want to get to, I know, if I work harder communication, I put effort in to making us have you know, romantic dates, I go out of my way to show different forms of respect to my spouse, I do things that maybe naturally when you feel like doing but I go out of my way to implement all these things that we see that you know, can bring greatness to certain relationships in your life. And I put them in my in my relationship, my marriage. So those proactive efforts are what we’re talking about as far as what we look at as work. And what we find is that relationships that are always trying to be better, trying to work harder, trying to actively get closer, when you’re going to see is that relationships end up bringing way more happiness to the people that are involved in it. And people that are in relationships, that is let them kind of let’s just let them go. And let’s see where they get to. Unfortunately, sometimes you’ll see that without a lot of effort to make it amazing. things naturally deteriorate, which is what we see in all places in life.

Damona 18:58
But what do you do in the instance where you’re committed to making your relationship work, and maybe your partner is not in the same place. And I hear this a lot as well, from people that are in partnerships, and they’re like, I’m trying, like, I’m working on my communication, I’m trying to show up for them, I’m trying to improve it, and they’re just, they’re just exhausted, they’re not paying attention. They don’t want to go to therapy. They don’t they don’t want to do the do the work, right. What then,

Unknown Speaker 19:32
look, you know, the reality is the sad reality is there are relationships which are dysfunctional. There are there are a certain percentage of relationships which are just simply dysfunctional, and one side might be the source of the dysfunctionality. And it could be that no matter what you do, you’re not going to be met with the response, the gratitude, the reception, the love the you know, the the trust that you need. It’s possible. But what we’ve seen are maybe I would answer it from two angles. One question is, you know, what makes a person love another person. And this is really this is sticking on your issue of the work. Okay? We ask our students all the time, and I and I, you know, I’ve had this conversation, many people, we talked about it in the book, you know, what is it that causes love? Do I love someone who gives to me? And because they give to me, and they’re good to me in a nice way to take care of me, therefore, I love them. Or do I love where I give? So again, if you pull it out of a romantic relationship, let’s take a child with a parent. Okay, so who loves who more a child? Or does a child of the parent more generally is parent the child more generally, most most people agree that the parents love the children way more than the children of parents. Why is that? I thought one second, but but the parent is doing all the giving, at least for certainly for many years, parents do it’s like a one way giving relationship.

Damona 20:58
I know, I have two of them.

Unknown Speaker 21:01
And so and why is it the parents love their children, and the more that gives them, the more they love them? And the answer is because the more you invest in yourself in the other, and you see yourself in the other, you see your effort in the other and you put yourself in the other, you expand yourself into into a way that creates love for the other. And, and in a relationship. You know, I once had a religion and we’d have tell us a story in the in the book about we were at 30,000 feet on a private plane, a few analysts and you know, you know, doing taking research around the country. And and one of the young analysts was complaining that his wife, you know, he just doesn’t love her anymore, because she just doesn’t do much for him anymore. They’ve been married a couple years. And I said to him, you’re missing the whole point of what causes love. I said, there’s an old rabbi who basically taught something which you don’t have to be religious to listen to. But you got to be interested in what what love is, I said, you know, if you would start giving to your wife, instead of waiting for her to give to you, if you start giving to her, doing things for her, putting her at the center of your concern, putting her into your calendar as something that, you know, making sure you’re calling her but when you said it’s not just a wife, it’s a it’s a lover, a wife, a friend, anybody, but particularly in a loving relationship, you know, if you would start giving to her, you will find that your love for her expands dramatically. And by the way, that will usually trigger something in the other. And and that and he, by the way, came back to me Two months later and said, our relationship has changed. He said, I decided I have nothing to lose by trying. And and I have found that I’ve like fallen back in love with my wife again. And we’re falling in love again. And it dovetails with one other piece of advice that we go into extensively in the book, which we think is maybe the most important chapter, which is that the chapter is called, it all depends on me. Most people think I’ll start getting started in fixing a relationship when my spouse shows me that they’re willing to do the work, or my kids, were saying spouse, but again, it matters in any relationship doesn’t have to be a married relationship. When the other person, my lover starts doing the work, then I’ll start doing the work. And what we found is quite the contrary. Most people if they examine themselves, realize and find out that they have one or two traits that need fixing, that always have a negative impact on the relationship. It’ll have a negative impact all over their life. By the way, if you have an anger problem, selfishness problem, it comes out everywhere. But nowhere will it come out as badly as in your relationship, especially after a little bit of time when you let your guard down. And if I realize I’ve got an anger problem, and it’s poisoning my relationship with my with my with my with my other, one of the most main things I can do is to start working on anger problem not forget about forget about the other person for a moment, just work on my own issue. And when and when that when that my partner comes in my partner, my wife, my husband, whoever it is, comes in and sees on my bedside table all these books about anger management, they see that I’m listening to a podcast and they see that I’m going to therapy, and I’m trying to fix the issue. It’s amazing what that can do to jumpstart a relationship where things have gone haywire up until now and the other side again, unless the other person is very dysfunctional, they may begin to and probably will begin to examine what I bring to the table here. What am I doing that maybe is not so good for relationships, and you can start a virtuous cycle, to really kickstart things again,

Damona 24:21
I often talk about the mindset piece as you’re looking for a partner, and how to how to get clarity on what you’re looking for, but also get clarity on what you’re bringing to the table. And that’s all part of the magical mindsets do of preparing yourself for the right relationship for you. So what you just said, I want to make sure everyone really hears it. And, and, and I see this also for singles in the Peep There are people that want to, they want to complain, they want to be frustrated. They want to be down on love, but then when ask them, What have you actually done to change the situation? It’s usually just complaining and commiserating. And swiping button, not having really the intention. And so that intention of wanting to change and wanting to do your best is really, really important. Now, I would love to, to turn the conversation of it around the, the whole institution of marriage, we’re seeing that people are marrying at lower rates, they’re waiting longer to get married. And I have always been pro marriage, I know I have a lot of a lot of LGBTQ listeners that didn’t always have the ability to get married, now are worried that they might not have the ability in the future. But let’s say that aside, I feel that my life is enhanced by by being married. And, and the funny thing is, I can’t even really identify where that idea of needing to be married or wanting to be married, came from versus like, I’ll just stay in this partnership. And as long as life is okay, we’ll continue on. And I hear also from a lot of people who are divorced, and especially people who are divorced multiple times, that they’re no longer interested in marriage again. So if you would, for me, maybe defend the Institute, institution of marriage, or, or celebrate the virtues of marriage, or tell me why that’s actually not as important in a partnership as maybe it was, back when I was 25.

Unknown Speaker 26:54
Look, you know, they’re the historical reasons that, you know, that, that in many societies, you know, sort of enhanced the need for marriage, you know, when when men were the only ones who could work and when women needed physical protection, and they couldn’t make a living, and there was no equality and things like that. A lot of those a lot of those reasons don’t mean anything to anybody anymore. What I think does retain the spark. And by the way, in the research and the most recent research that we’ve ever seen, the actual number of people who speak about marriage as something that is at the top of their priority list. Now, it may not be number one priority for everyone anymore. And it may be in a way that it might have been 3040 years ago, but but it seems to be in the top two or three priorities of what I want out of life. And marriage is frequently right at the top of that list. So the question is why now why not just kind of get together with somebody that I like, and and we’ll move in together, and we’ll have a good relationship, and we’ll take care of each other. It seems to be that, that what marriage does beyond any kind of legal definition is, is it it creates a sense of commitment, and exclusivity, where we’re where it’s you and me together, and we’re shutting everybody else out. And we’re totally committed to each other. And by the way, there’s a through thick and thin component that people think of in marriage, but not so much in let’s get together as long as it’s fun. You know, things, a lot of things happen, which you don’t think about when you meet that person across the room, and they’re really attractive and really healthy and really young, just like you are, you know, you think it’s going to stay like that. Well, guess what a lot of things happen in life. There’s financial setbacks, and there’s health setbacks, and there’s all kinds of things that happen. Well, what why don’t I stick around with you, if I haven’t really committed myself to you and a more meaningful way than just as long as you make me happy, satisfied, and are fun to be with, you know, beyond that, what, you know, if when a person goes that one step further than they say, I want to actually create a bond, which however, I think about it, when I think about as legally or religiously or spiritually, but I’m creating a bond that is through thick and thin. When I can come to trust the other person with my life, you know, we have acquaintances, we have friends, we have close friends, and then we’ve got this this realm of exclusivity, where we share where we are one, we literally become one person that’s bigger than the two of us as separate beings. That gives a level of intimacy, happiness, security, well being that that we just have not seen repeated in other areas. And it’s and it’s something to do with the commitment level. And it’s something to do with the intimacy and the privacy of that relationship, which is, you know, you can use the word sacred. You can use the word spiritual, you can use the word you know, you know, just beyond it’s just increasing. It’s a oneness, it’s a different level. And that seems to be something that rings and people at a very deep level.

Unknown Speaker 30:08
And then

Damona 30:10
when we’re talking about, sorry, just gonna pop up when we’re talking about marriage in the current function of society, and now that people can, you can have a child, you don’t have to be married, you can buy property. I mean, not even that long ago, a woman couldn’t even take out a loan in her own name. Now, we don’t we don’t need you fellas for that we can get our own loans. And I’m I am still seeing though people that are that will move into a partnership and even buy property with someone, but then not necessarily have have the plan for marriage or may specifically want to push marriage away. They don’t even like the idea of marriage from just from a, I guess a security standpoint, do you feel like there’s still value in the institution of marriage? Or did that go away when you know, women started cashing our own checks?

Unknown Speaker 31:20
I mean, you see, so many fastening we just said, Is it even now that you know that, that thank God, women have all these rights, which are just normal and healthy, that the fact that you still see a desire for that relationship? And something called marriage shows you how much of a part of us it actually really is. And you know, I think that what happens a lot of times is that you see that couples will go really far they’ll you know, they will buy that property together, they’ll move in together, they’ll do all these things. The question is what happens as far as making that final commitment, what holds them back, if they’re basically functioning as a married couple, what now holds them back from actually doing this thing called marriage. And what happens and what we’ve seen a lot, and I’ve seen this, just across the board through different things I’ve read with people we’ve worked with is that commitments are really difficult. And you know, one of the one of the things if you look at the word, you know, when you look at the word decide, it’s the same word as homicide, when you make a decision, you kill other options, or pesticide. And what’s scary a lot of times in life is that when you make certain decisions, you go for it, you’re now saying this is it, and nothing else. And we live in a world today where there are so many options. And you can be in so many different places. And you can be in so many different kinds of relationships. And through the world of social media, you’re seeing so many other life choices. Making that final commitment is a scary thing for people. And I think that’s where people kind of get stuck a little bit. Because as long as I don’t say that word marriage, as long as we don’t go to the courthouse, as long as we don’t have that religious event, I’m still there’s still an option of if this doesn’t go a certain way I can run. But if you already see a couple going that far, where they’re doing everything but marriage. So you know, the question to ask them is that? What would really change? Other than now they’d have a certificate on their wall? Or do they change if they actually did go to that courthouse, technically speaking, not much, but emotionally speaking a lot. And where I think that a lot actually is, is to go the distance and really shut yourself off from the rest of the world and say, I’m putting my entire life into this person is a difficult thing for people to do.

Damona 34:04
Mm hmm. Yeah. And it’s also it’s not even just difficult. It’s also a, it can be scary because there are there are potential consequences. Like I talked to a lot of successful women, who they have a good credit score, they are making good money and they’re like, if I marry this person, then suddenly now I am legally bonded, I am now responsible for his finances. And his credit score becomes my credit score. For those who don’t know, those are those are facts, and you take on his debt, and that is really, that is really a tough pill for a lot of women to swallow.

Unknown Speaker 34:50
Right? And the truth is, it becomes a question of prioritization in some sense, because if I know that she won’t go the distance with me and commit to me, because she’s afraid I’m going to bring her credit score down. How much will I can I just shoot? Well, I really give her my full trust. Because in the back of my mind, I always think, you know, there’s part of this, that’s just really, she’s just worried about me being a financial drain, she’s worried about this. And there’s the, again, whether you call it marriage, or whether you don’t call it marriage, or whether it’s legal or not legal, what creates the the level of intimacy and security, which on a long term basis, we’ve seen can lead to incredible happiness and well being. And by the way, and romance and, you know, good physical relationship and everything else, that a lot of that has to do with the fact that I say I am, I am yours, and you are mine. And we’re building something bigger than ourselves, and we’re in it through thick, and again, it’s that thick and thin component of it, which if it’s not there, and each side has always gotten the back of their head, I can get out of this, and if my credit score is going to suffer, or if or if they’re not, you know, or if a little illness is going to come in, or a little financial setback is going to come in or if you know, I just don’t, you know, they just they’re not as interesting anymore, or whatever it is there, you just can’t get the same level of conductivity. As long as that, you know, that sort of exit door is still always swinging in the background. That’s so it’s a question of what you want, it’s a question of what you really want.

Damona 36:30
But this idea of the Paradox of Choice, and that if you have the exit strategy, you might want to take it, and that doesn’t necessarily give you the most, the greatest opportunity for growth in the relationship is really profound. Before we go, I also want to get into your four pillars of giving. Because, you know, this is an element of the book of not a partnership, which of course, we’ll link to in the show notes. But I think this is really, this is good life advice, as well as good partnership advice, can you leave us with with those four pillars to take the next next phase,

Unknown Speaker 37:10
maybe period, I’ll take the first to keep it fresh and gratitude. And I’ll take that, and I’ll take the last year.

Unknown Speaker 37:15
So just just so you know that the four pillars are really, you know, if we had to define what the PDF manual is, and how to build a relationship, okay, it’s very simple. And that is the world of giving. And what we have seen is that the ultimate formula of how your relationship is going to go from good to great is by people giving. So what we designed, is we took in the back of our book, and really the whole second half of it, is we have four pillars of giving and we broke up different ways of how to see giving. Okay, so the first two pillars are pillar number one, is the idea of people working hard to keep their marriage fresh. Okay, for example, when I first started dating my wife, okay, I made a real effort to look good to, you know, smell a certain way to her with my words, to buy gifts to, you know, really make sure that I you know, I carried myself a certain way privately when we were alone together. And after birth time, you know, you’ve been together for a period of time and feeling a bit tired, and that energy is no longer there. One of the ways I can give to my spouse or anyone gives me the relationships, you know what, I’m going to make that same effort that I once made. And what you’ll find is that when you make that effort, so that brings a certain freshness to the relationship, no matter how long you’ve been in the relationship. During number two, is the world of gratitude. And unfortunately, what happens is, we are, we are doomed by something called expectations. And if you look in the world, especially in my background for the positive psychology, that if you’re looking to make something really rich in life, as far as any relationship, fill it with gratitude, and you will see an exponential change. And what happens a lot of times in life is places where we have high expectations. So our gratitude is actually quite low. Okay, in my relationship, so what happens is, I expect all these things for my spouse. So once she goes way beyond it, okay, I’m gonna express my gratitude. And once she drops one little ounce below it, I’m a frustrated guy. But you go to Starbucks and you walk out of Starbucks and you just, you know, purchased a $15 frappuccino, and you leave your credit card, and some you know, and someone runs up to you and says, excuse me, No, ma’am, sir. You left your credit card. You’re like, Oh my gosh, you know, greatest person in the world. You take a selfie, send a Christmas card. You tell everyone over the weekend, what happened like this person is is God’s gift to the world, he saved your life. And there are no expectations, all of a sudden, something happens, my gratitude levels are awesome. And where your gratitude levels should be the highest of those people that are doing the most for you to give you the life that you want, is there any place in your life that someone is doing as much for you than in your relationship, if there’s any place where gratitude should be absolutely flowing, is that is in your relationship, and people who go out of their way to proactively do that their relationships are drastically different. So that’s the, that’s a little bit of a summary of the first two pillars.

Damona 40:45
And before Thank you so much, Peter, before we move on to the last two pillars, I just want to add on about gratitude. Because I also do this with singles and I have people practice gratitude in their daily life now. Because if you are going into a relationship from a place of needing or not having rather than feeling the fullness of your life as is and the things that you have, that you are grateful for, if if you are going in from that place of not having you cannot attract as much abundance in my experience, so thank you for reminding us that we need to continue to practice gratitude. All right, take us home, Todd.

Unknown Speaker 41:28
The third pillar we call respect in all its forms, and one of the one of the deep mystical teachings is that as much as people feel that love comes first and drives the relationship, what what is what can be really more fundamental, and which ultimately drives love, is the way I show respect to my other. and respect comes in many forms. You know, there are people who will, let’s say, Be extravagant in the way they spend on their on their loved one. But on the other hand, they don’t speak to the person nicely, they’re a little bit insulting, they’re a little bit degrading, they’re a little bit coarse. And so on the one hand, you’re one second, I’ve given you everything you need, haven’t I given you, you know, all that you want all you’ve asked for? Well, yeah, but you haven’t treated me like someone who you actually care about respect. And there are people by the way, flip it around, there are people who sort of I recognize that, wow, this is a, this is a real soul I’m dealing with. And so I want to always speak respectfully and kindly and be nice. On the other hand, I forget about the person’s physical needs. And so I stopped spending. So so so so a healthy, full board respect is, I care about the way speak to you, I care about the way I speak about you, I show you respect when you’re speaking to me that I actually pay attention to listen to you, and I’m not on my phone. And I’m not looking, I’m not answering I’m not answering text at the same time, you’re trying to tell me about your day. And I’m also willing to, to give of myself financially, physically time energy, so that that total, that total experience that you can receive or give, which is all about how you treat the other, that sort of thing both increases the way that you’ll love the other again, for reasons we said before the love where you give, and it certainly will make the other feel tremendously respected by you. And that will drive the others love for you as well. So that’s the that’s the idea of respect. And we go through the litmus test you can take to see if you’re actually scoring well on that, and, and a lot of tips on how to get back there.

Damona 43:43
I hope cardi B takes that test. That’s all I’m saying. All right. And number four,

Unknown Speaker 43:49
number four, number four is, is is that we call it It all depends on me. And and it’s again, the idea that if something is failing in my relationship, don’t do what people always do and look at the other and say you’re messing things up, start with what can I do to kickstart this relationship? What can I fix in myself? What can I improve on myself without respect to the other, but it will have a benefit and spillover and probably the most direct benefit to the other. By the way, again, if I correct my anger problem, or my selfishness problem, or that I talked too much or or that I’m too closed, or whatever the problem is, if the greatest recipient of the gift of my working through my issue is going to be the one that I love, it’s going to be that person I’m in an intimate relationship with. And again, that we have seen we have seen in relationships that were on the rocks, and and both sides were pointing fingers and blaming each other. And we sat down usually if we had the opportunity to sit down with each side separately, sometimes we only knew one side. And we would say look, just stop focusing on what your partner isn’t doing. Focus on what you’re doing and how you Do it better, and see if things improve. And we have seen 90% of the time things not only improve, but they, they just rocket ahead. And they cause all kinds of improvements on the other side as well. And then you get this virtuous cycle of each trying to be better in the relationship with with the with, with all the benefits that accrue to the other side and then back to themselves. It’s a beautiful, it’s a beautiful cycle that you can kickstart about. Thank

Damona 45:25
you. This has been a beautiful conversation. I feel really inspired. As someone who is married has been married a long time, and does a lot of things that you’re talking about, I still learned a few more things that I’m going to be implementing in my home and my relationship and taking care of my side is straight, because it all depends on me. Thank you so much for being here. Gentlemen, I hope everyone will check out your book, not a partnership. We’ll put the link in the show notes. In the meantime, I wanted to wish you happy Hanukkah, and happy new year. And hopefully this will get people to be in the right place as we move into end of the year beginning to examine the year that we’ve had and where we want to be in the future. So thank you so much. Thank you

Unknown Speaker 46:14
so much, so much. Great to be here.

Damona 46:16
This has been Episode 339 of dates and maids. I would love to connect with you. I’m at damona Hoffman on all of the socials. I love your DMS, those of you who have DM me, you know, I usually respond with actually a voice memo. I love to hear your voice. You can voice memo me on Instagram and I will voice memo you back, give you some insight and then maybe even use your question on a future episode of the show. So don’t be shy. I love to hear from you. I’m at damona Hoffman on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. Speaking of loving to hear from you. I also love connecting with you and I have a group Do you know about the inner circle my patreon Friends with Benefits group, you can join for just five bucks and that supports this show. And it gives you access to my exclusive Facebook Lives where I talk about the behind the scenes insights from this show and also give you insights on whatever it is that you’re dealing with. We do a live q&a. Every week. We have tons of other resources. We have webinars and video clips and library content from dates and mates. And I want you to join me and get in the club you can join slash dates and mates and honey it’s only five bucks. So set aside a little for yourself this year. And come and join the club is I will now step away to light the candles of Hanukkah. I hope I have lit the candles of love and marriage and long term partnership within you. So I hope you continue along your journey wherever you are. We’ll be here for another two weeks in December. But I wanted to let you know we are moving to Tuesdays in January. So if you’re not subscribed to the show, make sure you’re subscribed so that you don’t miss an episode. I’ll remind you again next week. Speaking of next week, I have an awesome interview with the cutest couple. Honestly, they’re so cute. They live in Atlanta and they found love in the middle of a pandemic on Bumble and they’re going to share their story with us on dates and mates. I hope you find it as inspirational as I do. Until next week. I wish you happy dating

Transcribed by

The Sadie Hawkins Effect & Still Single


We have officially crossed into what Americans call “turkey season” and singles across the country start preparing themselves for the awkward conversations with family and friends.

Whether it’s your mom, your friend’s grandma, or a really bad first date, they all want to know: ‘Why are you still single?”

Our guest this week has plenty of experience with this tricky conversation and some advice on how to move past it.

Monique Kelley, author and love expert behind “Confessions of a Serial Dater in LA” joins Damona to celebrate singlehood.

But first, let’s dish:


Showing Gratitude

The best way to show gratitude, according to Darwin. Damona weighs in.

Divorce at a 50 -Year Low

Some good news: Divorce hit a record low. Damona explains why.

Role Reversal

What is The Sadie Hawkins Effect and what does it have to do with your love life?


Monique Kelly and Damona discuss embracing singlehood. 

Check out Monique’s new book, Reality in Chaos


Unknown Speaker 0:00
Hello lovers,

Damona 0:01
we have officially crossed over into what Americans call turkey season and singles across the country start preparing themselves for the awkward conversations with family and friends. Whether it’s your mom, your grandma, your friends, Grandma, or a really bad day, they all want to know, why are you still single? Doesn’t matter who you are. If you’re past the age of 18, and you have a pulse, someone has probably asked you this question. My guest today has plenty of experience with this tricky conversation, and some advice on how to move past it. Monique Kelley is an author and the love expert behind Confessions of a serial dater in LA. And she’ll be joining me in just a minute to celebrate singlehood. But first, as always, we have headlines. The best way to show your partner gratitude, according to Darwin, and the new stats on divorce are in and it’s not what you expect. Plus, what is the Sadie Hawkins effect? And what does it have to do with your love life? Oh, that and more on today’s dates and maids? Are you ready to do this dish? We all know that gratitude is a very important part of your friendships and your relationships. But did you know that there is a proper way to show gratitude if you really want your partner to feel like you appreciate them. There was a new psychological study that investigated the best way to say thank you. And they’ve offered some tips on how to strengthen romantic relationships. Of course, when we even look at, I’m often comparing dating to what’s happening in the animal kingdom. And when we look at primates, we see that a chimpanzee, for example, is more likely to share its food with another animal who groomed them, or help them out in the past. So we may be far evolved from that point. But we have to, we have to look back at our, our evolutionary ancestors to see where some of these, these traits that we’ve developed really begin. So there’s a way that you can express that you’re really grateful, like maybe you’re not picking bugs out of your partner’s hair,

like a chimp might be, but maybe your partner like drops you off at the office, and you say something like, I wouldn’t have made it to the meeting on time, if you didn’t drop me off at the office today. And so that a statement like that produced the most positive response from a partner when they studied this in the lab. But it didn’t matter what the tone was, you know, I’m often saying like, the context, the body language, this was so much more the content of what they were saying. It was all about making that other person feeling valued, and get this included in their partner’s goals. So the more the the person receiving the praise, felt the gratitude towards their relationship, the more likely they were to say that they felt appreciated and bonded with their partner. You don’t want to go the route of saying something about your partner sacrifice, reminding them of what they’ve sacrificed. So if you flip that and said, Well, I know it was a hassle for you to drop me off at my office during rush hour. That’s not as effective as a form of praise, but gratitude. It’s it’s been a virtue for so many generations. And even in the past couple of decades, there’s they’ve been accumulating more evidence that shows that this emotion really plays an important role in our society. That’s actually what what researchers call the find remind bind theory. And it essentially says that expressing gratitude is evolutionarily advantageous because it reinforces bonds between humans. I know we’re all looking for bonds, right? And how, and we have to rely on each other to get through this really challenging time. Which brings me to our next story. We got some good news, divorce is at a 50 year low. I couldn’t believe this research because I had seen some early stats out of the original lockdown in COVID, out of China that showed that they saw a huge number of new divorces being filed, like in March and April. But now when we’re looking at the US divorce rate, we’re seeing that more people are actually staying together. Now this this study looked at census data, and they posit this theory that because now people are meeting online, you’ve heard me say this before we’re meeting more appropriate matches. So instead of matching someone out of convenience, out of the fact that they live in your neighborhood, or they go to your church or your mom knows them, you’re finding someone that’s matching you on many, many different levels and that creates more satisfaction in the relationship. Of course, your partner can be your everything. You can’t look for them to complete you on every level. But you can have more in common and you can find a more appropriate match. And you’re a match maybe somewhere else across the city or even across the country. I’m curious to see what happens when we get vaccines when we’re able to return to regular life. I wonder if we’re actually going to see a bit of a rebound in this divorce. This divorce number, no pun intended, because I feel like also a lot of people are staying together out of convenience. I mean, there’s so much uncertainty in the world right now. And not knowing if you’re going to be able to make ends meet, even if you cannot stand your partner, I don’t know that you would step out and take that risk right now. It just seems to me like it would be too great with all the other factors to consider for so many people. But hey, I’m I want love to win. So it is my hope that the divorce rate is really going to stay down. And when we look at even more recent marriages for every 1000 marriages in the last year, only 14.9% ended in divorce. So that’s why I’m going to cut that partly because that sounds like what you expect people to break up in a year. Okay. But I’m encouraged by.

But I’m encouraged by these numbers. And divorce in America has been falling fast in recent years. This is I think, the third decade in a row that we’ve seen a drop in divorce numbers. So I certainly hope as a believer in love that it’s because we’re matching with better partners in the first place. As we’re talking about matching, I have to give you the Psychology Today study on reversal of dating roles. So I said at the top of the show, say it’s the Sadie Hawkins effect. Do you guys remember the Sadie Hawkins day, which actually just fell last week? Traditionally, it’s observed on November 13. But at my school, we had a Sadie Hawkins dance. And that was the one time that women were encouraged and required to invite their dates to the dance. And it really flipped the it flipped the norm. And it put women also a little bit more in control of what was happening in their love life. So I you know, I’ve been I’ve been on this female lead tip for a while. But it turns out, it turns out that the way we feel about gender roles is not as biological as we think. It’s actually so much related it sorry. It’s actually related strongly to our society, and the prevailing stereotypes that we have on what roles men should play what roles women should play. Check this out. This article in Psychology Today, which we’ll link to in the show notes, written by a fellow named Gary Lee Wen Tao ski, who I’m hoping we can get on the show in 2021. They looked at speed dating, right? And you know, and speed dating, there is one gender traditionally, in heterosexual speed dating, there’s one gender that sits and the other gender, the options rotate through, and then you have like three to five minutes to get to know one another. And then you move on to the next person. Well, what happened was when women were sitting and the men were coming to them, even just in a, in a sort of controlled environment, like a speed date, the women were much more picky about who they said yes to who they would want to meet and go out with again. So some speed dating companies flipped this. And when women were the ones to get up and circulate, they were far more open. And they said yes, to far more people. And I actually did do a speed dating event, before I met my husband. And that was the case. We, we were the one circulating and I was like, I don’t want to do this in my high heels.

Unknown Speaker 9:33
This is too much work. Why

Damona 9:34
can’t you just let the lady sit? But when I understand it now, from this perspective, I love that. Hopefully it was designed to challenge these gender norms, and also to get people to just open up their criteria a little bit more. Because I do see on dating apps, men swipe right far more often than women. I’m always having to talk clients. hints into being a little bit less discerning upfront because we’re we’re trying to guess what people are about, just based on a couple of pictures. So the lesson here is to see if, if you can just be a little bit more open, what might happen and if you might, in some way, be able to challenge the gender norms in your relationship or your dating life. Because so much of it is programmed by, by media, by cultural norms by our parents. And you really don’t have to live your life that way anymore. If that’s not how you want to live it. Well, we’re going to give you some more advice on how to live your life your way because we’re going to be talking about embracing singlehood with Monique Kelly, the author and creator of the popular blog, Confessions of a serial dater in LA so don’t go anywhere. We’ll be right back.

I am here with Monique Kelly. She is the high powered Hollywood player and blogger behind the popular site Confessions of a serial dater in LA, as well as cocktails and confessions. She initially chronicled the trials and travails of her post divorced dating life anonymously, until she stepped out from behind the keyboard and revealed her identity to a huge following that she had built over the years. And she created a phenomenon among Single Ladies in LA. We have been circling around each other. And we have very similar life path. And I’m so glad that we were able to bring ourselves here together today. So please help me give big smooches to my new friend Monique Kelly. I’m so happy to have you here.

Unknown Speaker 12:03
I’m so excited. I’m so excited.

Damona 12:06
We need to give the single folks some hope, hope in the era of COVID. Especially,

Unknown Speaker 12:12

Damona 12:13
I’m just I’m just gonna level with everybody. I’ve been hearing from a lot of people, I’m all about dating apps and getting out there and doing the dang thing. And a lot of people have been telling me Dimona, I’m really, I’m really feeling the pressure and maybe this is a little bit too much. And to those people I’ve said, this maybe isn’t your season for dating right now at this very moment. And what I love about what you do at cocktails and confessions, in addition to giving dating advice, you also talk about embracing your single dumb.

Unknown Speaker 12:47
Yes. Can you talk

Damona 12:48
to us first about your journey of how you came to that place of embracing your single dumb yourself?

Unknown Speaker 12:55
Oh Dimona, it was it was not an easy journey. You know, a lot of times people think it happens overnight. So for me, like most women, you get to your late 20s Dimona, all your friends around, you are getting married and you start putting this unnecessary pressure on yourself. For me, it wasn’t for my family. My family was like do you boo, you know, whatever works for you works for you. So at that point, I got into this thing where I was like, I need to be married by the time I’m a certain age, and met my now ex husband, we got married and the marriage just it just was not right for either one of us. And it’s one of those things where I never like to say it was all him or was all he was both of us. We just weren’t right for each other. So I found myself back in the dating scene. And it was really, really difficult getting back into the dating scene. It was scary. And then there were so many dates. So as you know, I started off with my blog, Confessions of a serial dater in LA before I started doing the cocktails and confessions of it. But what I found was during this time, I had to learn how to be okay with exactly where I was in the journey, not putting unnecessary pressure on myself learning how to embrace me exactly where I was at that time. And also, when that dreaded question comes up. You’re beautiful, you’re smart, you’re successful, how is it that you’re still single learning that that’s not a personal attack? And just learning how to work through that process?

Damona 14:27
What do you do when you get that question? I know a lot of our listeners have heard that. And it’s I think it’s the still that stings. It’s like why are you still single as if you’ve been working? cannot figure it out.

Unknown Speaker 14:41
What would you say to that? You know, we

Damona 14:43
have the holidays coming up, and maybe people are gonna be hearing this from their families.

Unknown Speaker 14:49
It’s it’s definitely you know, when people ask that question, I don’t think they understand this thing of like you said the still because it insinuates that you’re it’s something you’re not doing or something you’re doing wrong and with a lot of women and men who are single, they’re putting themselves out there. But people aren’t being consistent. They’re not meeting the right people. They’re getting ghosted. They’re getting love bombed, there’s a lot going on during that time. So when I get that question, I’m just like, you know what, I’m dating everybody when I was single, you know, have a boyfriend now. But I, you know, I’m dating everybody, I’m enjoying this time, like, I’m having fun, and not the fake living my best life, but just like, I’m actually Okay, you know, being where I am right now. And just figuring things out and enjoying life. And when you say like that people typically. Okay, I understand. And then I’ll say, but if you have something for me, feel free to let me know. I’m open to taking applications. So you know, you’re still open to the possibility.

Damona 15:46
I love that you phrased in that way, because I was just talking to a client yesterday, who was saying, she doesn’t want to let her friends know that she’s single, like, she feels awkward even even acknowledging that you’re open and you’re looking continues to compound those feelings of I call it single shame.

Unknown Speaker 16:08
Yeah. See? Yes, that is so true. And that’s why, you know, I always talk about a lot of times, it’s important that you have a circle of confidentiality. Okay. What does that mean? The circle confidentiality, that’s where I say it’s two friends, two of them, that you can really talk to about what you’re really feeling to people you can trust, who you know, have your best interests at heart. And you can let it out to them and you can get it out. I think for a lot of times, when you’re single, people catch you during your dating, depression moments where you’re wrong, and you’re talking about how hard it is to be single, and they want the best for you. And then they start giving you all these suggestions, all these ideas of what you should and shouldn’t be doing. Like you don’t know how to date. And a lot of times, if you’re not in a place to hear that it can just be painful. So I always like to tell singles to have that small circle of girlfriends. That too, I always say to keep it to keep it a trifecta the three of you, that you can talk to, so that when you’re around other people, you can kind of just not have to go to that dark place that sometimes sticks with you later on when you’re past it.

Damona 17:21
Yeah, that’s so smart. And also, like, I remember when I was single, I was very choosy about how, who I would go out with I know we’re not going out as much in COVID times, but still happening a little bit and I wouldn’t want to go out with my girlfriends I was going to be fighting with over a man. I just never wanted that. Yeah, sure those two breads are a completely different type.

Unknown Speaker 17:46
Exactly. That’s so funny. It’s so funny because I’ve never had that issue with my girlfriends. We all have such different types of men, or some of them are married or in relationships. So we’ve always been good but that’s so that’s a good point to mono because we both like the same type. You’re both single, all back the problem. Yeah, I’ve

Damona 18:06
had I’ve had some serious, serious falling outs fallings out, also over what I consider girl code. Now, feel free to tell me I’m wrong. I’m sure some listeners will say that.

Unknown Speaker 18:19
I’m wrong about this.

Damona 18:21
But I kind of feel like if you’ve dated someone, I just feel like girl code like your your girlfriend shouldn’t then go and pick up your sloppy seconds. I don’t care if it’s been five years or 10 years. How many guys are there out there that you need to be dating my ex man?

Unknown Speaker 18:41
I have a caveat to that. Because if you were not close if it’s a if it’s one of your girls, it’s one day but if it happens to be a girl that you just know in passing, and you guys you know you know of each other, but you guys aren’t girlfriends. I think that’s the caveat. If you’ve been home girls with someone that’s your girl, you guys have each other’s cell phone numbers in your phone. You guys talk you guys have texted that is like absolutely not because why would you want to be with a guy who your friend knows you guys go to parties together. They’re looking at you and they know everything about your man, everything everything.

Damona 19:19
I think it’s weird, but I don’t know. My husband told me that I was too petty. Like I still won’t mind some of those figs. God, I’ve been married. I’ve been with my husband for 17 years and I’m like, I still won’t talk to that lady.

Unknown Speaker 19:33
You’re married.

Damona 19:35
She broke my trust.

Unknown Speaker 19:37
It’s over. It’s a wrap.

Unknown Speaker 19:39
All right, I’ll get over it is one

Damona 19:43
thing to worry about. And you have so many additional tips on how people can really move forward in confidence in their singlehood right now you have a philosophy where you say date yourself as if what does that mean? Monique?

Unknown Speaker 19:58
This is so important because A lot of times women and men, they feel like they need to wait to do certain things until they’re in a relationship. You do not have to wait you’re already are in a relationship with yourself. So dating yourself as if Okay, if you want to have a romantic picnic on the beach with your potential boom in the future, why do you have to wait? take yourself out to the beach, pack yourself a beautiful picnic, get the layout right have a fabulous if you want to do a great meal at home, cook that meal, perfect that recipe learn how to do that go to your favorite restaurant, socially distance, obviously, take yourself out to dinner. Because what happens is when you start dating yourself as if you start putting out a different energy, because it’s not there’s there’s a spirit of desperation sometimes, and you’re putting everything on meeting someone else. So when you are living your life, again, not the living my best life fake living. But really living and being in the moment, dating yourself as if we’ll put a different energy out there so that when you attract your mate, you already have it perfected, you will already have that recipe perfected you will already know what blanket you want to use for the beach picnic, you would have already done it and it will be special and you will appreciate it more when you have to me because you did it by yourself too.

Damona 21:18
I love that. And actually, I’ll I’ll reveal another little tidbit about myself.

Unknown Speaker 21:27
Petey one,

Damona 21:28
I was working with a coach before I met my husband when I was single. I’m not a dating coach, because I don’t even think that existed then. But I was working with a life coach. And she was like, I think you’re afraid of being alone. Like I used. I used to see people eating at restaurants by themselves. And I’d be like, Oh, that’s so sad. I can’t believe that person has no one to eat with. And I my schedule was booked like sunup to sundown with some kind of meetings or Hangouts, I was always with somebody else. And she said, You need to get comfortable being by yourself. And she did exactly what you’re recommending Mike, she said, I want you to do at the time we call that artists states. But figure out like what, what makes you tick, figure out what you enjoy on your own without having to go along with a friend or do something for a man just do it for you. Yeah. And she said, also do something that scares you and make sure you book it in your calendar. As if you have an appointment with another person. And because that’s always the time, the self care time the dating as if dating yourself as if time. That’s always the first thing that’s going to fall off when a man calls or you know, your girlfriend calls or whatever. Yeah, so I had to book the time in my calendar, as if I was going out with another person and force myself to like, go to the museum, take myself to the movies, be one of those awkward people sitting in the restaurant. But it just gave me so much confidence in myself and understanding. I didn’t even realize how much other people’s interests and goals were affecting what I would do with my day. And when I had that day to figure out what do I want to do? It totally changed me. It is so true. dimana. I

Unknown Speaker 23:18
mean, I was the same way. I you know, shortly after my divorce, my coping mechanism was traveling, I was going everywhere. And I was meeting up with friends for happy hours just staying out of the house as much as possible and not spending time with my by myself. What happens is people get scared of those thoughts that come in, and one, you know, wonder how they’re going to deal with them. If you don’t deal with those thoughts. At a certain point, they will come up at the most inopportune time when you don’t want them to come up when you’re not ready for them to come up. So it forces you to do that. And also, like you said, it forces you to be comfortable being by yourself. Mm hmm.

Damona 23:57
I’ve also heard you say that it’s okay to admit when you’re having a down single moment. Yes,

Unknown Speaker 24:03
yes. That mean, what

Unknown Speaker 24:05
does that look like?

Unknown Speaker 24:06
That’s important, okay, because someone I don’t know where it has been said, I’m sure you’ll agree with us that when you admit that you’re having a moment where you you’re over being single, you’re over being by yourself that that means you are less of a powerful, strong woman, that your strength is diminished. I don’t know where that myth came from. But it’s time for it to end. admitting to yourself that sometimes this game of dating, the struggle of dating, this being by yourself being disappointed waiting for the right person. Sometimes it just sucks and sometimes you just are over it. And that is okay to admit to yourself. It’s okay to have that moment. It’s okay to take a moment to cry, scream and just be like, when is it gonna happen? It’s okay. You have those moments. That’s when you journal. Write up everything you’re thinking about. I think love to tell people to make sure that you are journaling and writing because there’s something about taking it from here writing it out and reading it that makes it tangible. That’s when you go to your confidentiality circle of girlfriends that circle of to, to talk to, that’s when you sit uncomfortable by yourself, and allow yourself to have that moment of, okay, where where did I come from? Where am I now where I want to go and just sit with it. It’s so important. And it’s okay to admit sometimes that you’re over it, it will pass that moment is going to pass, but you have to allow yourself to have it for it to pass.

Damona 25:37
Yeah, and I certainly have heard this before, from listeners and from clients. Like I’m even thinking of a male client who had this experience, we were doing the profile. This is, this is one of my first clients many, many years ago. And, and he was going out and he was like getting all excited for dates. And sometimes it worked out and then sometimes it wouldn’t get three dates in and then she dumps him and he was just like, I’m exhausted. What do I do to Mona and I was like, just stop. And he was like, what, this is so counterintuitive. This is against everything you’ve said, you said do the process, do the steps, keeps showing up. And I was like, but if you’re in this place where you’re feeling burnout, nothing good is going to come of you pushing through burnout and continuing to show up on dates and be you know, halfway in and halfway out. Just stop. But what I have people do I wonder what you think about this? I have people set a date, that they’re going to go back into it or at least reevaluate. So yeah. Okay, I’m going to take a one month break, I’m going to take these apps off my phone, get out of the rat race, date myself as if, and then starting, whatever December 1, we’re going to we’re going to look at how we can do this again.

Unknown Speaker 26:52
That is the key because I’ve heard a lot of people say, you know, they go through a disappointment, whether not even just a breakup, but a disappointment or dating depression, and they’re just like, you know what, I’m gonna stop dating for six months. I’m like, stop making these proclamations. It doesn’t make sense. You don’t need to wait six months, but to your point, you stop. And then you do need to put a date. I love that Dimona where you get back in there because there’s nothing cute and there’s nothing grand in reflective about sitting in something for months at a time. Yeah. What does that accomplishing? Just sitting?

Damona 27:27
I’m laughing because I’m a listener back in January, I was going to do my 30 day dating playbook program. And she texted me she was like, Okay, I’m really excited. I’m totally on board. I’m, I’m diving back in. And then she like, hit one of those walls that you’re talking about? And she said, No, actually, no, I’m done with dating. I decided I’m swearing off men for you want to know, it’s super funny. Monique, he met her messaged me like a month later and was like, actually, I’m in the most serious relationship of my life. We like make these proclamations. And it’s, and it doesn’t, it doesn’t serve us, I think to just project into the future, like you have to be in the moment. How do you feel right now? I don’t feel like dating. Okay, then don’t then don’t do it. Yeah, you can’t stay in that state indefinitely. And that’s why I say have the date that at least you’re going to come back and like I’m talking a month I’m not talking about

Unknown Speaker 28:29
good luck with that.

Unknown Speaker 28:31
Right? Crazy.

Damona 28:36
breakups. And I want to talk about that a little bit. Because I know some people are in this space, sometimes not by choice, sometimes because they were in a toxic relationship that they had to get out of. And then those have threads, those have residual effects that can impact our comfort level being single, or even the next relationship that we enter into what do you think about those, those situations that some of our listeners might be finding themselves in?

Unknown Speaker 29:05
Oh, yeah. That’s, that’s real toxic relationships are real. So the first thing is, you have to let go of the relationship. What a lot of my followers I find a lot of them more than you would even care to admit because and this is a fact. They stay in those toxic relationships after the relationship is over. Meaning, especially right now, during COVID. They will, you know, the person might reach out, test out the water see if you’re gonna respond to the text message. And then if you’re having a moment where you’re feeling you know, a little what’s the word I’m trying to be PG or horny daytime TV. So you know you have that moment of being horny being lonely, you’re having that data depression moment and then you have This toxic relationship where someone has shown you who they are, and you continue to let them back in continuously thinking, I’m just gonna keep dealing with them. And when I meet someone, I’ll stop dealing with them, you’re blocking that energy. So the first thing is you have to end that toxic relationship really ended. I’m talking about unfriend, delete block, unless you have kids with person, but be finished with it. Once you get to that place, I talked about reflecting. so important to reflect, you have to think about the relationship that you were in, you have to think about those moments that you didn’t like how you were in that moment, those moments how you didn’t like how that person treated you how they made you feel what triggered you? What were some of the things that they said to you? Or did you that triggered you to be someone that you didn’t like to be someone that you step outside of yourself and have that moment where you kind of have that out of body experience, you come back in your life? What was I thinking? What made you get attracted to that person. And again, I talk about writing all this down, you write it down, you read it, you say it out loud. And then I have the ceremony you do where you write it all down, you rip it up. Either you go to a beach and you put you know in a little fire and let it burn. Or you rip it up and make sure it you know paper, eco friendly paper that dissolves throw it in the water have that moment that tangible moment where you see those bad memories, you rip it up and you let it go. Also, therapy depending on how toxic the relationship was, you might need to go into therapy. And the beautiful thing about therapy is you end up going for one thing and you realize, wow, I had all this other stuff, which made me in this relationship. So once you get through that past part I talked about manifesting. You do vision boards in the beginning of the year, I talked about doing romance boards where you write you know rip out pictures and sayings and phrases of what you want your love life to look like, what you want that man to look like how you want him to treat you what are some of those key components that you need in a relationship that’s important to you write it out, have your vision board. And then you’ll realize you’re getting rid of that toxic energy. You’re not letting that person kind of creep back in and weak moments and being you are manifesting what you want for the future. And that’s how I always tell people to deal with the toxic relationship getting that toxicity out of your system.

Damona 32:22
I give everyone all of these tools of how to prepare themselves. And I’ve seen time and time again, it works in moving you into a relationship whether using the dating apps or another way. But sometimes you just don’t know you don’t know if that person you’re going to swipe on is going to be the right person you don’t know if that guy that you met at LACMA is going to find your number and look for you again after he’s divorced.

Unknown Speaker 32:45
You don’t know what’s going

Damona 32:46
to happen. So I love that you’re giving us so many concrete tips but also so much inspiration that love if we keep doing these these things. We keep preparing ourselves and we keep living in our authentic self and living our best life not the Instagram kind but the

Unknown Speaker 33:05
real best life and also having integrity you have to have you cannot manifest something positive if you don’t have your own integrity about yourself and how you carry yourself to.

Damona 33:15
Exactly Yeah, Monique. This has been such an exciting conversation for me so inspiring. I want to know where where can people find you and what else do you have coming up that people can look out for? Okay, so

Unknown Speaker 33:28
my Instagram is at cocktails and confessions. So is my tik tok. My website is Confessions of a serial dater in But the main thing that I’m super excited about, as you know, I’ve written my blog for seven years, seven years writing the blog. And during that time, you know, I left my studio executive job to write my book. So my first novel debut novel reality and chaos. It’s available for pre order right now on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. It comes out January 14, but this book damona I’m just these characters, these are strong female characters, great friend talks about friendship, love, there’s a character going through divorce. There’s a character dealing with a family member with mental illness. There’s a character that’s dealing with unrequited dreams that haven’t been fulfilled, you get an opportunity to get the dream fulfilled, but was it worth it? And how their friendship keeps them together. But reality and chaos is my debut novel. And it’s I hate to brag, but it’s really good. Honestly, kudos

Damona 34:35
to you. Thank you writing a book is a bit of a beast. So I am really impressed. You and it’s a novel.

Unknown Speaker 34:43
It’s a novel, I wanted to do something where you know, with a blog for me, there’s certain things I’m not gonna write about. Okay, so I want my grandmother and my mother to be able to read my blog now ready to be like

Damona 34:54
Poppy. So my dad listens to this podcast from dives and he’ll like send me text. I’m like Oh, you heard that episode, huh?

Unknown Speaker 35:04
So with this with the novel, I was able to create these memorable characters and just go there because they are fictional. And it just, it just presented such a great opportunity.

Damona 35:13
That is so awesome. We will be sure to put the link in the show notes and I hope everybody will follow everything you’re doing on the blog, Confessions of a serial dater in LA and follow you on Instagram and tick tock, I haven’t really stepped into the tick tock game yet, but

Unknown Speaker 35:27

Unknown Speaker 35:29
it’s a rabbit hole. Once you get there, you’re stuck, you can’t come out.

Damona 35:33
That’s what I’m afraid of. But But talking to you certainly has been inspiring, so maybe I’ll give it a try. Thanks so much, Monique. Thank

Unknown Speaker 35:41
you demona.

Damona 35:43
Make sure you check out her website to find out when the next cocktails and confessions gathering is happening. We’ll put the link to her new book, reality and chaos in the show notes for you to get it on Amazon. And I would like to give an invitation to you to become one of our Patreon friends with benefits. This is for the people that listen to this podcast and love it and have gotten so much value and advice and want to give back to the show but also want to become a part of our community in a real way. You can join our Patreon friends with benefits for just $5. And you’ll get access to my exclusive Facebook group where I do my weekly behind the mic live streams and I talk about what I’ve learned from the show what’s happened behind the scenes. There’s lots of other great content, special special promo content, special goodies, library content, it’s so juicy in there, and I want to invite you to join so please check it slash dates and mates. This has been Episode 336 of dates and mates. I love hearing from you. And we have another deer demona episode coming up soon. So hit me up on all the socials at damona Hoffman you can send me a voice memo. I love to hear your voices. You can dm them to me and let me know what you want to know on that next episode, you can let me know what you loved about today’s episode. Or you can always leave me a voicemail at 424-246-6255. Don’t be shy. I’ll be back again next week. But Ooh, this is going to be a really unique episode. You’ve heard my side of my love story a few times. But I’ve convinced my extreme introvert very shy, not in the public eye husband Seth to have a very honest conversation with me about what it’s like to date a woman who is used to taking charge in her relationship. Yeah, like me, and how we navigated those gender roles that we talked about earlier. While online dating. I can’t wait for you to hear it. Until then. I wish you happy dating

Transcribed by

Relationship Anarchy & Matrimony Inc


It’s been a very tumultuous week, month, year…you get the picture.

But the Dates & Mates train has to keep on trucking because people still need help in love.

So today, we thought it’d be a welcome departure to hear some love stories from a more romantic era with Francesca Beauman, historian and author.

Francesca has gone through hundreds of years of personals ads from people looking for marriage and she’s compiled them all into the delightful new book, Matrimony, Inc.

But first, let’s dish:


Rules for Dating in Second Lock Down

A second lockdown is coming, so it’s time to define the relationship now. Damona explains why.

Relationship Anarchy

Relationship Anarchy – the latest movement shaping the future of love. Damona weighs in.

Photos Men Should Not Put On a Dating Profile

Photos mentioned: bad selfies, gym mirror selfies, and photos at the Women’s March. Damon explains why.


Damona and Francesca explore how the search for love throughout history has built the foundation for dating today.

Check of Francesca’s new book Matrimony, Inc: From Personal Ads to Swiping Right, a Story of American Looking for Love


Damona  0:10  

Hello, lovers, we are recording this on what I think is day four of the election saga. And it’s been a tumultuous day already. Well, a tumultuous week, actually month. Well, let’s be real year, you get the picture. But the dates made strain it has to keep on trucking because people still need help and love. And I’m reading the room y’all. The other day when I finished my coaching call for my my women’s group program, I realized there’s a lot of anxious energy not just in dating, but overall. So today, I thought it’d be a welcome departure. To hear some love stories from a more Romantic era with Francesca Bowman, historian and author. Get this Francesca has found personal ads from various newspapers over the last couple hundred years that were written by people looking for marriage, and she’s compiled them all into the delightful new book, matrimony Inc. So today we’re going to explore how the search for love throughout history has built the foundation for dating today. And I’m so excited for y’all to hear this interview. And to have a little fun with us and a little levity. and bask in the fantasy with me and Francesca. But first as always, we have headlines. Lock your relationships down now because a second lockdown is on the horizon. Hmm. And relationship anarchy, the latest movement shaping the future of love, plus, the photos you should put on your dating profile today. Now that sir, just watched the Borah, subsequent movie feel so funny. I had to call that one back. All right, why don’t we get on with it. And let’s dish


Unknown Speaker  2:20  

these dating dish.


Damona  2:22  

bustle reported the new rules for dating in a second lockdown. So I know we have people from all over the US, from Canada from the UK. And I just found out that our friends in the UK as of today, the day that we’re recording this, they are facing a second lockdown and the writing is on the wall, folks, it ain’t going so hot in many other places. So there’s a really good chance that lockdown can be coming your way again. So number one, get your routes taken care of. That’s what I’ll be doing. Get my getting my little haircut done, getting my roots done. Get yourself put together because we could be in this for a while. That aside, okay, do what you want. If you if you if you don’t, if you don’t feel like doing all that and getting yourself gussied up, that’s fine. But you should know how it’s going to affect dating in the future. Because remember, this anxiety that I was talking about at the beginning of the show? Well, that is increasing as we are approaching cuffing season. And the options for virtual for for social distance dates are are going to be dwindling. So I suggest let’s get comfortable. Again, with the virtual zoom, zoom video chat dates. Maybe you could have an activity, watch a movie together. But over video chat, figure out some ways that you can still connect and feel together even if you have to do it apart. And maybe you should be thinking at this point about a support bubble. I think none of us could really have anticipated what was coming back in the spring. And it’s a wise idea for you to broaden out your social circle this may be with a partner. This may be also with a a f buddy. Maybe he didn’t you didn’t cough yet. But look, we still have needs. So maybe you have an agreement with somebody that’s in your circles so you can still get your needs met. During the winter months. The UK Government says sleep overs aren’t allowed. And so this is something that we’re going to have to learn how to work around so it’s decision time for some of you. And for others. It may be at time for expansion in figuring out how to date in a new way.


There was a super interesting article in self this week about relationship anarchy. I had never heard of this phrase before but Basically what it means is putting less emphasis on titles of different people in your life like partner, sibling, parent friend, and also putting less emphasis on your relationship significance. And I would say, relationship anarchy, it sounds kind of dramatic. And believe me, there was a lot of there’s high drama in this article. But I really love at the core, the message that it’s giving us, like they cited that you’re expected to prioritize ties your mother, just because she’s your mother, or your romantic partner, you are supposed to live with them, because they’re your romantic partner. But what if, what if it looked different? You know, we’re just talking about bubbles? What if you live with your platonic partner, but your romantic partner is someone that you see now more like, the way in the frequency that you see a friend. And I’ve been actually talking about something similar to this for a while, in not making your partner the center of your world, I think that’s really dangerous. When you’re expecting your partner to deliver everything to you, they’re supposed to be your confidant, your activity partner, your romantic partner, your co housekeeper. And that puts a lot of pressure on one person to fulfill all your needs. So I’ve always said make sure you keep investing in the other relationships. And I remember, situations with friends that would always get sucked into that black hole of relationships, I think you know what I’m talking about. And then they, they forget all of the other friendships, they give everything to that partner. And then when a breakup comes here, they come crawling back, like you’re my best friend, again. And I think there there is something to be said for relationship anarchy and the points that this person makes in this article that it’s a reminder, you can choose how much time you give to people, you can choose the focus that you give to people, obviously, you want to be on the same page with your romantic partner. So they feel they’re getting their needs met, as well. But let’s not, especially in a time like this, let’s not minimize your relationships with your friends and your family. And in the article, they’re talking about maybe getting rid of labels altogether. I don’t know if you want to go that far with it. But I think it’s ripe. I think it’s the right time for you to maybe re examine how much focus you put on finding that romantic partner, and the rule that you’re looking for them to fill in your life and take stock of what you already have and the people you already have that are bringing you love right now. Inside hook told us how to find love with the right dating profile. If you’re a guy, and what you should be putting in your dating profile. I thought this was a


Unknown Speaker  8:07  

What did I think?


Unknown Speaker  8:10  

I’m gonna take that back.


Damona  8:14  

Inside hook shared the photos that men should never put in a dating profile. A lot of these were standard and a lot of these I’ve said for a long time I have them in my book like hello no excessive group pics, I would say actually no group pics, I always say you have to be the star of your profile. We don’t want anyone else distracting the focus from you. Because I know like when I’m swiping for clients, I’m looking at you and your friends and I can’t tell which one you are and what if your friend is more attractive than you are, then you don’t want to set yourself up for that. You don’t want to have somebodies Phantom arm strangely cropped out of your photo. I see this a lot the Phantom hair, I can still tell and I’m still making determinations. Like if I see random blonde hair hanging over your shoulder, and my client is brunette. I’m thinking well, maybe this is not a fit and you just don’t want to place that. That moment of questioning in someone’s mind when they’re going through making split second decisions. Most women it takes seven seconds for them to make a decision about a profile for men it’s only five or less. So you really have to lead with that your best foot forward on your dating profile if you’re wanting to make a connection. Some other things to avoid according to inside hook. They said selfies I really want to know what you all think of this. I have come around to selfies being a normal and acceptable part of a dating profile. But they were saying bad selfies are almost less bad. Then good selfies because good selfies can be deceitfully flattering. But I mean, we’re in the middle of a pandemic, who’s running around with like a photo shoot a photographer following them around taking their dating profile photos. That surprised me. I’m still in favor of the selfies, just make sure that they’re taken with good lighting at the appropriate angle. And not in the bed. According to this article. No bed selfies. That’s not something I see a lot. Maybe Maybe you’re on different apps than my clients. But I’m not seeing too many bed selfies, but definitely no gym, mirror selfies. This is rampant, rampant issue in dating profiles, the gym mirror selfies while we’re at it, just no mirror selfies and also this is really interesting. They said no shirtless pics. did a little study on this and said that straight men who included shirtless photos of themselves and their dating profiles tended to perform far worse on online dating platforms and got 25% fewer matches than their fully clothed counterparts. We like the ABS just let us work for them a little bit more and leave something to the imagination. All right, that’s the headlines for this week. In a moment we will be back with author Francesca Bowman and a deep dive into the history of dating profiles and what you can learn from them today. We are back and I am here with someone who has one of the most interesting buy lines I have ever read. Francesca Bowman is a former TV host historian and part time bookseller. She is also the author of six books including a history of the pineapple and a history of British personal ads. Francesca Bowman’s latest deep dive into history is matrimony Inc. From personal ads to swiping right, a story of America looking for love. I’m so excited to introduce her here on dates and mates to you please help me give big smooches to Francesca Bowman,


Unknown Speaker  12:12  

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


Damona  12:16  

excited about this book. matrimony Inc. Because Well, I mean, I’ll just say the subtitle from personal ads to swiping right a story of America looking for love. It’s so resonated for me as someone who found love online and now on the show coaches, so many people to be able to use the tools of dating apps to find love. The parallels were obviously glaringly obvious.


Unknown Speaker  12:43  

parallels. Yeah,


Damona  12:44  

I just want to begin, first of all, where I know you’re a book person, where did you get the idea? From?


Unknown Speaker  12:53  

I have always been interested in personal ads, right? I’ve always kind of read them, you know, years ago, when they’d be in the back of the newspaper or magazines. I’d always trawl through them. Because there is something so amazing about these kind of tiny little detective stories, right? Just a few hundred words. And there’s somebody whose whole life in some ways, you know, they’re in the newspaper, I can remember some of my favorites like, woman who likes pastor seats, man who likes source, you know, these very, like, concise, cute little personal ads. And then one day on a whim, I started looking into them, and I found they dated back much, much further than anybody ever knew. And after just like a few weeks trawling through old American newspapers, I found America’s earliest personal ads, which no one knew existed, no one knew how far back it goes. But I found America’s first ever personal ad, which was from the Boston Evening Post in 1759. So really, a long time ago. And once I found that I realized that there was an amazing story to be told here, right? Because all these personal ads, then, you know, became computer dating, and then obviously, dating websites, and now dating apps. They give you so much evidence over 250 years about the history of our emotions, our desires, and most importantly, the history of mate choice, right? What men look for in a woman women and women look for in a man and how that’s changed. Well, or I’m afraid often not change over the past 250 years.


Unknown Speaker  14:20  



Damona  14:21  

I you have said so much. And I’ve just like, I don’t even know where to begin with. So many so many questions. First of all, 1759. What does an ad from that era look like?


Unknown Speaker  14:35  

Right, great question. So I spent weeks and months trawling through old newspapers, in libraries basements of libraries all over America. And the Boston Evening Post was one of America’s earliest newspapers. And then one day, there it is, like on the front page of the newspaper, and it was Yeah, February the 23rd 1759. And what’s amazing is it gives you such an insight into what I do. guy in Boston looked for in a woman then right. So this is what he was looking for any young lady between the age of 18 and 23, have a middling stature, brown hair, regular features, and with a lively, brisk guy have good morals. So that’s like, the starting point, he then goes on to say, must be possessed of three or 400 pounds entirely at her disposal. So there’s all kinds of interesting things in that, like, wait, he’s looking for women between 18 and 23. So, you know, really young by all standards today, but at the time, the average age for a woman to marry was 22 and a half. So between 18 and 23, but he’s trying to catch him young, Captain young and fertile at the time, young and fertile, I’m afraid. I love the way he says of middling stature and brown hair, like what does he have against blondes back there in 1759, he’s very specific that he wants a woman with brown hair, regular features, good morals, of course, very important to be respectful at the time, and then three or 400 pounds. And so if you take that all together, basically what this Boston gentleman is looking for is a woman who is young, respectable and rich.


Unknown Speaker  16:11  

That’s what anyone would want of climbing.


Unknown Speaker  16:13  

Certainly there is some consistency in terms of what people look for.


Damona  16:19  

So based on what I hear now, from people who are tentative about dating apps and online dating, why would a guy in that era turned to a newspaper to find his match.


Unknown Speaker  16:36  

So for almost exactly the same reasons, as people do today, and we can see that in the evidence, when you start getting hundreds of thousands of personal ads, again, that no one really knew exists until I researched them. They really took off in Philadelphia in 1840s. And in those ads, lots of the men are very specific about why they’re placing these ads, right. And it basically comes down to, they’re new in town, they work long hours, they don’t have time to meet people. Sometimes it’s because they’re kind of shy, you know, sound familiar? Like it’s all the same reasons as people do today, really. And why it happens is with urbanization and industrialization, right. So once these cities grew, once the population of Boston hit 20,000, New York, 30,000, Philadelphia 50,000, you can’t any longer rely on like your mum to match you are or you know, your church to match you up or your friend or your neighbor next door to match you up, which is how it would have been done in the olden days. If you’re moving to the big city, you’re getting a new job as people were in the 18th century, you’ve got to kind of turn to some new forms of matchmaking. And so, you know, because people were kind of tentative about this, they will explain in their ads that like, they’ll say, Oh, I’m a stranger in the city, or one guy says, He talks about himself in the third person, he says, have a rather bashful retiring disposition, which has hitherto prevented him from mixing much in female company. So we shy fair enough. Another guy says,


Damona  18:10  

I’m wordsmith too. So I mean, they all match that one up.


Unknown Speaker  18:15  

Exactly. They all are such wordsmith. And that’s, you know, what’s so wonderful about many of these ads. And now the guy says, I’m being closely confined by his business, he cannot devote the time necessary to a protracted courtship, He therefore avail himself of the medium of a publication to express his wishes. So that guy’s just in a hurry, like, works really long hours, and he’s in a hurry. So we you know what, one of my favorite things about researching this was, was how relatable or these people are, you know, though they’re advertising for a lot of the same reasons that people are today, right? work really long hours, who has time to meet people, maybe they’ve moved to like a different part of the country. So they’re far away from like, that college friends or whatever, or you know, their mom or so it’s really the same reasons as today.


Damona  19:01  

Well, and our listeners have heard me say before that online dating now is the predominant way that people are meeting more than all the other methods you mentioned through friends through family through church. Yeah, and, and even though some people aren’t ready to embrace it, I feel like the the the interpretation of dating apps, the the reputation of dating apps has shifted a little bit. But even just going back I’ve also talked about on the show before how even a few generations ago most people met and married someone who lived in their own hometown, they lived within five miles of their house according to two records even back in the 1940s and the 1920s. So you’re going even further back, there must have been some sort of some sort of a feeling in the 1840s. If you had to go to a newspaper To find love, did that have a stigma around


Unknown Speaker  20:03  

it? You know, not as much as you might think when it first started, I mean, some other advertisers Do you know, you say things like, oh, secrecy assured or no trifle as need apply, you know, to show that they were serious and genuine about this, but like you say, um, there was a real a need for it. And it in some ways became a public service, you know, like a postal system, right? Because if you couldn’t just marry the girl next door, or, you know, the boy you went to school with, and people couldn’t, not just because of urbanization, but increasingly in the 19th century. And with the settling of the West, right, in some parts of the American West, there was such a gender disparity there. There was you know, like an Iowa there was three men for every one woman in California during the Gold Rush, there were 250 men for every one woman right. And so then, right, then it’s just a question of need. And and therefore, it’s a result that isn’t necessarily the stigma surrounding it that you that you might think when the stigma emerged really was after the peak of personal ads of advertising for love in the 1860s 1870s, when there were so many hundreds and thousands of these personal ads in every state in the nation, every local newspaper from Kansas to Wisconsin, why Wyoming North Dakota, every local newspaper had personal ads saying wife wanted or husband wanted, do the 1870s 1880s when the stigma came was actually around the turn of that century, around 1900 1910 when there was a huge crime wave that was reported around the person ads, it’s not necessarily that it was the first Crime Wave, but the first crime wave that was reported with the rise of newspapers and newspapers who like to scandal, right, so they didn’t report they didn’t report stories of people who met through a personal ad and lived happily ever after. Because that’s not interesting to anybody. Right? They were they sadly reported stories of you know, when there was like a crime like fraud or bigamy or even murder and there were a lot of those, you know, particularly in the New York Times around 1900 9010 and that’s what really gave advertising for love. It’s kind of bad rap for a long time. It meant people thought it was like scary or worrying or you know, that it would it would cause problems and it was dangerous and that was a kind of early 20th century thing really so it came in actually the stigma surrounding it emerged much later than you might think. Huh


Damona  22:27  

See that’s so resonates i i’m i’m always saying that we hear these stories because they’re rare or because like you said they make a good salacious story they sell newspapers they sat gets you to watch the television show


Unknown Speaker  22:42  

exactly not


Damona  22:43  

you don’t hear the the mundane stories because


Unknown Speaker  22:46  

they’re not as they’re not they’re


Unknown Speaker  22:48  

not as entertaining. It’s not as entertaining to people if they’re like, Oh, yeah, we met we met we fell in love When we lived happily ever after. And everyone’s like, oh, boring, you know, they want to hear their like salacious, scandalous stories, you don’t hear the kind of stable, happy, delightful loving stories, right? Because that, you know, human nature doesn’t sadly respond to those in the same way.


Damona  23:09  

That you you have some positive stories in in your books,


Unknown Speaker  23:13  

and many


Damona  23:14  

of them on your Instagram. So tell us tell me some of the good stories because we do we love a good rom com as well. There must have been some positive.


Unknown Speaker  23:23  

There was so many positive stories, hundreds and hundreds of them and and you know, many of your listeners will probably have grandparents or great grandparents who met through a personal ad. They maybe just don’t know about it. But people you know, would write to me and say oh, my great grandmother met her husband through a Perseids. So for example, one of my favorite stories is about a woman named Augusto Lawson, who was a Swedish immigrant. And in 1892, she answered a personal ad that had been placed in a Chicago based newspaper where she lives. It was from a guy called all roods, who was from Norway originally and had settled in Washington state where he farmed the land they were he was really a pioneer that there were hardly any women and to speak to your point of why do people advertise, like, what else was he supposed to do? Right, there are hardly any women around. So it was really smart and sensible to put an ad in a newspaper. You know, in one of the big cities. agasa Lawson saw this this personal ad, they wrote to each other for a few months. And then she amazingly decided that her best bet was to travel 2000 miles to go meet him. So she got the, you know, she got the train and then she got the coach and then she turned up in this tiny town in Washington State, but they met and they married and they had kids and they farmed the land, you know, places like Washington state would not exist without these kind of pioneers, right. You need them to, you know, build families and to build a nation and in that way personal ads all forms of advertising for level release. central to the, to the founding of America in that way, because without them, these couples, you know, wouldn’t have met. So that’s one of my favorite stories because it really speaks to, you know, the history of modern America in so many ways.


Damona  25:13  

I love that I’m always telling my children, I’m like 100 years ago, y’all would be here to just tell the field. Like, right, take your dish to the sink, so you don’t go out and shuck some corn or whatever.


Unknown Speaker  25:26  

Right? Exactly. So much is different. But then so much stays the same. And I mean, that also speaks to the number of women who advertised in newspapers, like in the 18th and 19th century, so, so many more women than you might think, put personal ads in newspapers, and you’ll see them in national newspapers, local newspapers, they have this headline that says husband wanted and kind of bold black type. And they really are amazing. Some are very different to what you might read, like on a Tinder profile today and someone kind of the same. So can I give you one of them?


Damona  26:01  

Oh, yes, yes. And then I want to talk about communication because you also got me thinking with the love letters, but I want to hear one more and then we can


Unknown Speaker  26:09  

Okay, so tell me if this is the kind of thing you might meet on a Tinder profile today. This was an ad placed by a woman is in Wisconsin in 1855. She talks about herself a little and then she describes what she she’s looking for in a guy. She says, I want to know brainless dandy or foppish full, but a practical man who can drive a coach or rock the cradle to the garden or attend the ballroom on the whole he must dress neat. Look well and keep his head up in society.


Damona  26:39  

That’s all I hear. Francesca they want a man’s man. Right? Don’t yet don’t don’t hate on don’t hate on what did she say? She says


Unknown Speaker  26:51  

no foppish? No. No brainless dandy or foppish fool.


Damona  26:59  

That’s funny. I it’s, it’s amazing to me how similars these some of these patterns are. But when you brought up the love story, and you mentioned how they wrote to each other, right for a while. That’s the part that I feel nostalgic for. And I feel like that’s the thing that’s changed, like people want to blame dating apps for the, for the dissolution of courtship. But I really think it’s more communication. And the way that we that we talk to one another, and the way that we build relationships, that has changed so much, even just in the last 10 years, so they would connect, and then they’d send letters back and forth, where they could really get to know one another. Right doesn’t just like, like, hey, Netflix and chill.


Unknown Speaker  27:47  

Right, exactly. And what it does is it builds a friendship, right from the very beginning, it builds a friendship through, there’s less writing, I would say, I mean, I’d be interested to know what you think about this, it does seem to me that that is one positive spin of the pandemic, right, is that because people are not able to meet up on a first date in the way that they used to, maybe they’re having to communicate in other ways, you know, on on zoom, or whatever it is, it creates more space to build a friendship in the same way you might have done if you were a seamstress in Iowa in 1870. And you were writing letters to a goldmine and California, back and forth and back and forth for weeks and months. If you build a relationship, you build a friendship before you actually meeting and I do wonder if if that’s to be optimistic about right now when dating and a pandemic obviously has so many challenges that what the one upside is it does give you space to build a friendship before anything else happens. And surely, that could be a wonderful thing.


Damona  28:51  

I really want people to hear and and process what you just said, because that is the opportunity that we have right now. And I think that’s where we were maybe three months ago. Unfortunately, what I’m seeing right now, and I’m not gonna call any of you out at this very moment, but I’m seeing actually there’s a little bit of panic setting in over cuffing season, like everybody’s trying to partner up before things get cold. And, and the fatigue, just the pandemic fatigue. being around people for so long, is causing people to do real really crazy things. And just like Well, you know what, it’s fine, we’ll just make out it’s fine. I’m sure it will be fine. And I have always said slow Love is the way to go. Just like you were saying. Taking the time to build that connection doesn’t mean that you have to be like writing letters across the miles. But just taking some time first to get to know each other before you build the intimacy and before you like rush into rivaling,


Unknown Speaker  29:52  

like to build a friendship to become friends because that’s what’s going to see you through the tough times as we all know it’s it’s it’s the friendship That means that relationships can then last 20 or 30 or 50 years. It’s the future that’s at the core of it. Well, and


Damona  30:07  

you’re happily married lady.


Unknown Speaker  30:08  

So I


Damona  30:09  

would take advice from you.


Unknown Speaker  30:12  

I mean, don’t take any advice from me.


Unknown Speaker  30:14  

How did you?


Damona  30:15  

How did you and your husband meet?


Unknown Speaker  30:16  

So we met, I used to be a TV host. Like 100 years ago, I used to be a TV host on British TV. And he was a TV director, and he directed a show that I was hosting. But it was the first one I’d ever done in a TV studio. And I was kind of a little bit vague about how microphones work. Like, I’m not an idiot, right? So when I talk about the director, I’d be like, oh, like, I really like him or three, see, if we’ll come up for a drink tonight, I would cover my microphone, I’m not a total idiot. But what I didn’t realize is that even then the microphone picks it up. So being this TV studio, you know, in between takes, like, with the makeup lady doing, you know, my makeup and suddenly doing my hair, and I’d be like chatting to my co hosts. And all of this would be broadcast into the entire like gallery that you know, the vision mixer and including my, you know, husband, to me, but you know, again, at least in you, I liked him from really early on.


Unknown Speaker  31:12  

I love that.


Unknown Speaker  31:13  

I love that. In a sense, you


Damona  31:15  

kind of made the first move or


Unknown Speaker  31:17  

you know, right? Yes, by mistake. I made the first move.


Damona  31:22  

But you let it be known how you feel because today I feel like so many people are like, I don’t want him No, I like him. I’m just gonna play cool. If she knew I was into her, she wouldn’t like me back and I’m just like, enough, enough of the of the pretense let’s just, let’s just be real. So right. By default,


Unknown Speaker  31:40  

your real when a guy really likes you, he really likes you. So you know, my, you know, my husband’s I mean, I think he was just busy. And I hadn’t occurred to him. And then we went out for drinks. And then like, oh, and then we had to keep it a secret for ages. Because like, you don’t want to be like, you know, having a thing with somebody at work. Right? Who does that unless it’s serious. So the first few weeks, we kind of kept it secret. And so I’d be like, in the makeup chair before the show, and he’d have to like come in and be like, how’s everyone this morning? Everyone? Okay, and I’d have to be like waiting. Yeah, exactly. Wait, wait. So we can’t do the secret until we knew it was, you know, pretty serious.


Damona  32:13  

And your husband works in Hollywood. Right. So


Unknown Speaker  32:15  

Kim? Tv director, yeah, yeah. So he started out working on Bora. And with Sacha Baron Cohen, which, of course, that’s very current at the moment. And then he went into movies, and he directed the Muppets movie, and LSU the looking glass with Johnny Depp. And don’t forget


Damona  32:34  

Dora. Actually, as a parent, I love Dora. I thought it was so. so charming. And I didn’t even realize that he he had directed it. And then when I saw you directed, I was like, of course, it


Unknown Speaker  32:46  

was so charming. And sweet and funny. And and he really makes movies in His own image, I think just charming and generous and kind and funny. Yes,


Damona  32:57  

yes. And so that’s interesting. Okay, so your husband will say his name is James bobbin. Right. That’s right. Yeah. He so working in Hollywood, I imagine that’s


Unknown Speaker  33:07  

kind of


Damona  33:09  

that impacts the relationship in some way. And my husband is also he’s a TV writer. I don’t I rarely talk about what he does. So my listeners might not


Unknown Speaker  33:18  

even know.


Unknown Speaker  33:22  

It was James wacky. And I’m like, I don’t really know, we didn’t talk about things like that.


Unknown Speaker  33:26  

Right. Exactly. Exactly. Like


Damona  33:28  

my husband wrote on the walking dead for three seasons, literally, maybe saw a few episodes. Like, why


Unknown Speaker  33:36  

not watching. But you


Damona  33:38  

know, it’s it’s interesting when you’re in a way, in living a relationship in the public eye. And, and I bring this up, because also, some of our listeners, even though they might not be able to relate to being in Hollywood, social media does add this element of playing out your relationship publicly. Do you feel like that’s, that’s ever been an element, you know, especially having been a TV host. And, and now, you know, moving into being an author and having your bookshop? Does does that? Do you think impact your your relationship in any way, the public element?


Unknown Speaker  34:17  

You know, I really don’t, to be honest, I really don’t. I mean, we’ve been together 20 years, we met when we were young. And so again, I think there’s such a friendship built on that that social media is something that we both do for work purposes. But it’s it’s social media, it’s very much a work thing for both of us. So it feels pretty separate to our kind of real life in inverted commas. I mean, obviously there’s exceptions to that. But I suppose particularly because what he does is is now pretty different to what I do and you know it kind of Hollywood dinner parties when I Samurai to people, of course, they all you know, what movies Did you write and when I say I’m a historian, people kind of think maybe I’m joking. And they’re not sure whether to kind of laugh or not. Because you know, it’s a it’s an unusual job in, in Hollywood, right? I get the same thing. When


Damona  35:09  

I say I’m a dating coach people are like, really like, a deep soul conversation, doesn’t it?


Unknown Speaker  35:18  

Yes, you can’t say it without without it becoming your whole thesis, I have to take a deep breath and go. And sometimes you find you lie, because you can’t remember to talk about it. Sometimes I want to be like, I’m an accountant. So that then like people don’t ask me about it. Because I know, you know, once the subject comes up, people will ask me about it.


Damona  35:34  

So what is the topic then when you’re at these Hollywood dinner parties? What’s the topic that all the movie stars want to discuss with you?


Unknown Speaker  35:40  

Okay, I’ll tell you what they all want to know, is, what do men look for in a woman? And what do women look for in a man? Because I, you know, I feel like I do have a unique insight into that, because I can put the historical perspective on it, right? So there’s all the kind of current data or research about mate choice, but I have a uniquely historical perspective of 250 years of what people have looked for and how that’s changed. What goods give us? Well, they’ll say, What do men look for? What do women look for? The trouble is the answer I have to give because it’s the truth is not as kind of depressing. So because much of my choice is predicated on evolution, there’s always going to be an element of it, right, which is men looking for, for women who are fertile. And women looking for men who can support offspring, I have resources, right. And now that is obviously a huge generalization. And as with every year goes by, there’s more and more exceptions to that, of course, and even the definition of that changes. So, you know, women looking for men with resources in the 18th century, that would have meant cash or property. But these days, it can mean a good sense of humor, or like a lot of Instagram followers, or like, you know, really clever, you know, designing websites or whatever it is, it just means, you know, be able to support offspring, if that if that comes to the relationship, and then the same, obviously, as women choose not to have children or to have children later, like obviously, you know, men looking for women who are fertile. That’s very, you know, reductive and a huge generalization. But looking at the evidence, because so much of it is about evolution. And that’s not going to change if one has to generalize. That’s the answer. And I wish it weren’t, I wish I could give you a different answer. I’m all I would emphasize is that, of course, there are so many exceptions to that in terms of ages and situations. And with each year that goes by you get more and more exceptions to thank goodness,


Damona  37:46  

I love hearing the historical perspective, because I think, you know, we are all a product of our history, right? And everything that we’ve learned from previous generations and everything that is biologically entrenched within our society. Exactly, no, ignore it, but we have to, I feel that we have to see it, and embrace it. But I think we are at an interesting time, Francesca because I think we are we are at this place. Where are ours? Our actions have sort of moved beyond our biology, our societies move beyond our biology. And we’re in this really weird dissonant period where everybody’s trying to figure it out. Right. And I guess that’s what keeps me doing this show for


Unknown Speaker  38:28  

eight seasons. But maybe you want to me is like how, you know how quickly we’re going to move beyond that entirely in that, like, why hasn’t marriage already died out? You know, we talked about, you know, people, you know, that marriage will have disappeared and don’t yet it it kind of seems to like cling on in this weird way. And so I’m actually I’m interested in, in a weird way, how slowly things are changing how slowly dating is changing how slowly it’s changing what people look for in relationships, you know, I would have thought that there might have been a more radical shift and in some strange ways, you know, humans do seem to be oddly kind of conservative with a small see sometimes about the way they form their their relationships. I I’m waiting for that to be a more radical shift. And I hope it I hope it happens but, but we’ll see. We will see


Damona  39:20  

Well, I appreciate everything you’ve shared with us. I think this book literally, it’s fascinating. Everybody run and check out matrimony ink, from personal ads, just swiping right a story of America looking for love so many more stories than even what Francesca was able to share. And don’t forget to follow her on Instagram at Franz bookshop, your you’re a gem and I’m so glad that you were able to join us on the show and share your insights.


Unknown Speaker  39:48  

Thank you so much for having me. It’s been really fun.


Damona  39:50  

We will of course put the link to this amazing book in the show notes. You can get it on Amazon matrimony, Inc. From personal ads, too. swiping right a story of America looking for love. By the way, I am super excited to announce something new demonios coI will be curating lists of my favorite love content and books of prior guests. My favorite love. I’ll be curating lists of my favorite resources on love. Everything from podcasts, to books, to videos that you can watch to books that prior guests let me receive free By the way, I am super excited to announce demonios content club. I think I need something else in there. By the way, I am super excited to announce something new de Mona’s content club.ntent club,  I will be curating lists of my favorite resources on love everything from podcasts, to videos to books from prior guests and you My friends, you can have access to all that juiciness. All you have to do is become one of my patreon friends with benefits for just five bucks a month. You can get in the club, you can come to my behind the mic weekly, live streams on Facebook, you can get tons of other resources and items for them from the dates and mates library. And you can get into demonios content club you can find all of that slash dates and mates and again, it’s just five bucks. Five bucks support the show and get some more goodies for yourself slash dates and mates. This episode is number 335 of this show on this episode is number 335 of dates and mates. I would love to hear from you. I am already taking audios and taking questions. I would love for us to connect on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Because I need to know what’s on your mind. I need to be answering your questions in love. And I am taking questions right now for our next dear demona episode. You can DM me a voice memo of your question you can you can message it to me You can even give me a call. Give me a call girlfriend 424-246-6255 leave it on my voicemail right there. And you could be on a future episode of dates and mates and get your love problems solved. So hit me up at damona Hoffman on all the socials. I will be back again next week with the fabulous Monique Kelly who’s going to talk all about how you can celebrate your singlehood but until next week, I wish you world peace and happy dating

Dear Damona: Tinder Influencers & Bad Breath


Today is an entire episode dedicated to the questions you have submitted this week. 

Starting now, we will be spinning off the Dear Damona segment into it’s own episode once a month. Three weeks a month you’ll hear thought-provoking interviews and once a month you’ll hear listeners ask their questions and a full episode devoted to your troubles in love.

But as usual, we’ll start with keeping you up to date on this week’s headlines:


Tinder Video Chat Feature Wide Release

Tinder is the latest app to roll out this feature, but on the whole, the tech still has a long way to go.

Marriage Equality & LGBTQ+ History Month

Same-sex couples, like comedian Fortune Feimster and her partner Jacquelyn Smith, are getting married quicker over fears that marriage for them will be overturned. Damona weighs in.


How the Trump Era Has Strained Mixed Political Relationships

According to the most recent stats published in the New York Times, it appears that mixed-partisan couples may skip voting to minimize conflict. Damona explains why.



I’m @DamonaHoffman on all the socials. I love to hear from you! We are already collecting questions for next month’s Dear Damona episode— DM me your questions on your favorite social media platform and tell me how you found out about this show. Here’s what our listeners asked this week:

  • I’ve had several experiences where I didn’t want to give out my last name, my phone number exactly where I lived and exactly where I work. I have found that when I have followed the apps, safety tips suggested by match or other sites that men have called me paranoid, overly cautious. I would love some advice about how to navigate these conversations without seeming defensive.
  • So on Tinder, at least seemingly, is now apparently the career hub for women to promote their quote unquote, content, which they’re selling. Their OnlyFans and their premium Snap. And so my question is, are you seeing this in other states? Are you seeing this across the country? Or is this just a crazy Florida thing?
  • How can I find love or find a nice guy during the pandemic without the use of dating apps?
  • I started dating a great guy that fits several of the qualities I’m looking for. However, he has bad breath. Do you have any suggestions on how to approach this sensitive issue with this guy?
  • Why are men so apprehensive about sharing their career, as we are getting to know them, ask them questions about who they are? They just seem to not want to share what their job or career is. 
  • I’ve been enjoying being single for a long time. But I’m just now feeling like venturing into the dating scene. What dating app would you recommend? Not interested in apps like Tinder.



Unknown Speaker 0:00
It’s a tale as old as time. He’s handsome, debonair. She’s pretty and sweet. They lock eyes across the room.

Damona 0:10
Okay, hold on. Honey, you need to get your facts straight. Finding love today is more like

Unknown Speaker 0:17
Greece posts to get my

Unknown Speaker 0:18
swipe was invited to share my life. What

Unknown Speaker 0:21
does this text mean? Maybe he’s just not that into me is this relationship going anywhere,

Damona 0:26
you can keep waiting for the fairytale. Or you can get on board with the new rules of relationships. If you’ve read my advice in the LA Times, then you know, this ain’t your mama’s love advice. This is dates in mates with damona Hoffman, hello, lovers, while the days are getting shorter, and the dark winter is looming, but we are still out here and these dating streets and today is an entire episode dedicated to the questions that you have submitted this week. There’s a lot of ground to cover. So I want to get right into the show. But first, I need to take a moment to correct a mistake that my team and I made. And this is an important one, two episodes ago, we used incorrect pronouns when we refer to pop singer Sam Smith. So I went back and I re recorded that portion of the episode to honor Sam Smith’s identity. And I promised to be more vigilant in the future. But I really wanted to be transparent with you all and to also thank the listeners who reached out to point out the error. I am a firm believer that when you make a mistake, you should own up to it and make it right. And that’s exactly what I’m trying to do today. And I want to make this a safe space for everyone. And I really appreciate that this is an inclusive and loving community that we built right here. And that you care enough about this show for me to get it right and to engage in conversation with me. This show is definitely a conversation and dates and mates is driven by what’s happening in the news, what you need to know and the ways that I can be of service to you. Which brings us to today’s special deer demona episode. Starting now we will be spinning off the deer demona segment into its own episode once a month. So three weeks a month, you’ll hear thought provoking interviews and once a month, you’ll hear listeners ask their questions and a full episode devoted to your troubles in love. To kick it off. We have to get you up to speed on these headlines though. I’ll be talking about the latest on video dating and should you even bother and why this has suddenly become LGBTQ wedding season plus love in the time of Trump and how cross political partnerships have fared in the last four years, then I’ll answer your questions in dear Dimona, and here’s a few things that are on your mind. Why are all my matches trying to sell me stuff? And how can you stay safe on dating apps? Plus, where can you find love off of dating apps today? Oh That and more on today’s dates and mates. Let’s get into these headlines.

Unknown Speaker 3:09
These dating dish.

Damona 3:12
Mashable shared the news about Tinder releasing their video feature worldwide. Now, this isn’t the first time that you’ve heard about video chat dating on this show, of course. But especially it’s not even the first time you’ve heard about Tinder video chat dating because they’ve been rolling it out since May or June, all throughout the US in different markets. But this is different because now people have really had a chance to become comfortable with video chat dating. And I’ll admit that I said at the beginning that video chat dating is the wave of the future. And I still believe that it is. But I want to remind you that it’s not the only game in town. First of all, you do still have the option of a phone call. And when you do the video chat, you have to remember how much additional pressure it is to get ready for that date. And you need to be clear of whether you’re doing this as a replacement date or if you’re doing it as a screening for a date. That said if you are planning to have a video chat date, and you want to stay within the app, and Tinder is not the first app to do this. Bumble rolled out this feature earlier this year. It’s also it’s also being tested on many other platforms on match.

But the challenge is that a lot of these apps were not designed for video. They were designed for dating apps, they were designed for static images that you swipe through or that you you message about and adding the layer video is a whole different tech stack. So what I’m hearing from the database listeners and from my clients is that they’re running into a little technical trouble with these new features. And of course Tinder Tinder rolled this out slowly today. Trying to work the bugs out. So I can’t speak specifically to tenders, to tenders, video chat feature, but I can tell you that overall, they have been a little bit glitchy and a little bit hard to use. And so then people say, Well, what do I do in that case? And I had another listener who wrote in to me and asked whether they should give, whether it’s safer to use FaceTime or to use zoom? And the question the answer to that comes down to what is your definition of safer if it’s you’re trying to protect your anonymity, then you definitely would be better served with zoom. Because you’re you can have a different name on zoom, you can have your name be private on zoom, and it can’t be traced back to you. But your phone number, whether it’s a cell phone, or like I don’t know, if anyone still has a landline, it can actually be traced to your your name. And if it’s a landline, it can be traced actually to your home address. But sometimes even for a mobile phone. So you just have to really be mindful of what information is out there about you and some of these things through reverse phone lookup, you can actually find out some detailed information about the person. So do be careful about giving out your number of personal information or your Apple ID, those sort of things. And I do I have a partnership now with an app called text. Now, if you’re wanting to text or talk on the phone, and you’re you don’t want to give out your real number, definitely check out text now. But I do like the video feature, if you can find a way to do it comfortably. If you’re not going to get all caught up in like how am I looking in the video and not paying attention to the person on the other side of the screen. If you’re not going to get frustrated with tech, if you are going to prepare yourself the way you would for a regular date, then I’m all for it. I’m all for Tinder rolling out this feature. And I really think it’s going to become a key feature of all the dating apps in the coming years as they fine tune the the technology and the abilities that it has. Well, it’s a big month for tech. It’s a big month for voting. And it’s also a big month for marriage equality. I just found out that it is actually LGBTQ History Month. And that said, there’s been a lot happening that is making the LGBT community wonder if it’s time to just just tie the knot and get married because right now, we have marriage equality. We have the ability for people of all orientations to get married in the United States. And not that long ago. I remember when this was still a very big fight. Obviously, Amy Coney Barrett just got appointed to the Supreme Court. And there has been talk from Justice Clarence Thomas and justice Samuel Alito that the same sex marriage ruling has ruinous consequences for religious liberty, and maybe challenged in the future. So all of that is making a lot of LGBTQ couples run to the altar. I feel like a lot of people are running to the altar and COVID are you all seeing like tons of wedding photos in your timelines too. But specifically for people like fortune five ster, who’s a comedian, you may remember her from the Mindy Project. And she just married her partner, Jacqueline Smith in Malibu last week.

But they’ve been engaged. They’ve been together for two and a half years. And now we’re seeing that a lot of people are taking this opportunity to get married because they don’t know if the opportunity is going to be there in the future. And this is honestly really sad to me that that we It feels like we are moving back in terms of equality. And I fully believe Love is love. Did y’all see that Oreo commercial that went viral last week, it was it was kind of like a movie, actually. But it was about a same sex couple who went home to visit the parents. And the dad was clearly not very accepting of the fact that she had brought home a same sex partner. I’m not going to spoil the ending for you. But a lot of people could relate and I think not just same sex couples, but you could see anyone who has a difference with their partner, and how how challenging that moment is when you meet the parents and see if you’re going to be accepted and how and when you think about how much harder that is even for LGBTQ couples, when they don’t know if they’re going to be accepted as a person. But even like accepted as a person, so this is a, this is really frightening time for a lot of people. But I just want to remind you that you have a voice and that representation matters. And so that’s why I wanted to bring this to the forefront for you on today’s show. And remind you to get out there and make sure that your rights are being protected.

We’re on the political political train here. So we might as well stay New York Times had a really interesting article about how the Trump era has strained mixed political relationships. This article is really a deep dive into the political dynamics in relationships and how some people like don’t even really know how what happens. You know, they say like, what, what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, what happens in the voting booth stays in the voting booth. So the article said historically, women underestimate the likelihood that their spouses are voting Democrat, while men overestimate that their spouses are voting Republican. What’s crazy to me is I can’t even think about spouses that are really clear on how their spouses voting, maybe that’s just in my house. We talk about it all the time. But increasingly, people are marrying more people like themselves, not just on politics, but overall, similar education, similar belief systems and lifestyles. And what’s happening as we, as we move to the fringes of our political spectrum, is that a lot of relationships are being lost in the middle, that’s now becoming, as we’ve talked about, on the show before, one of the primary filters the primary reasons that people will say yea or nay to a match, it said that in battleground states partners tend to know less about their partner’s political beliefs. And politically mismatched couples are likely to be the people who are not politically polarized, because those are the people in the middle that can can maybe see both sides. But it’s important to note that a lot of these partnerships did not begin in the Trump era. And these more politically moderate couples came together before things were so polarized. And when we look at the voting data, voting turnout is actually lower. For mixed partisan couples, perhaps they’re skipping, skipping voting to minimize conflict. Perhaps it’s that we are still confused about which direction we want the country to go in. But I just want people to move towards love. So let’s try and keep an open mind. And let’s try to lead with love through the season, it’s going to be a rough week. And whenever you’re listening to this, I’m sure it’s going to be a strained and challenging time. So I’m just sending out lots of love to you no matter what you believe, no matter how you vote. And before we go into the break, I also want to thank you for helping dates and mates reach number 11 on the apple podcasts charts yesterday, I’ve been making this show for eight years. And I’m so grateful for all the support from our longtime fans and new listeners. And those who took the time to scroll down to the bottom of Apple podcast app and leave us a five star review. Like true Skye who said this podcast is super entertaining and chock full of helping people in the modern world and now dating in the COVID world. But let’s be real, the COVID world is now the real world. And I want you to know how to navigate through the new normal no matter where you are in the political spectrum. And no matter how you identify, I will be back in just a moment with your questions on everything from bad breath to only fans accounts. So don’t go anywhere. We are back and it’s time for your questions.

Unknown Speaker 14:08
damona help me

Damona 14:10
this first question comes to us from a longtime listener who has some questions about dating safety along with a crazy dating story.

Unknown Speaker 14:19
I’ve had several experiences where I didn’t want to give out my last name, my phone number exactly where I lived and exactly where I work. I have found that when I have followed the apps, safety tips suggested by match or other sites that men have called me paranoid, overly cautious. I had an experience where I went on a great first date with a guy this is before the pandemic and he really wanted to see me again. So I had mentioned where I worked. I had just started a new job and he actually called my place of employment the next day looking for me when I had this massive walk and talk with the guy that said, Why are you so cautious, you know, wouldn’t give me your last name, give me your phone number, you know has something bad happen, I would love some advice about how to navigate these conversations without seeming defensive.

Damona 15:16
Susan, I absolutely understand why safety is your top priority. And it absolutely should be. Any guy who is going to be worth your time is going to respect you, and your boundaries and know that for women, especially safety is the way into your heart making you feel that you are being protected, making you feel that you are comfortable and making you feel that he can be trusted. And this is something like for the guys listening that I think sometimes men don’t understand the way women have to walk through the world constantly vigilant. And, you know, I would say men of color, specifically black men probably understand what I’m talking about here, too. But some other guys might not have had this experience. I know my own husband, who’s a white man did not have this experience before of not feeling safe. He didn’t even lock the doors to our to his apartment. When I first met him. When I would stay over I’d say can we lock the doors? And he’d say, Well, I locked that there’s a door, there’s a gate to get into the apartment complex. And I was like, do you know every person who is coming in the apartment complex? And do you know every person who is a guest of someone else who’s coming in the apartment complex? And do you know every person who had the door open for them because that person didn’t want to feel bad and shut the door in their face because they just came up behind them and they didn’t want to be rude. So they let them in anyway, there’s there was so much risk. To me that was absolutely apparent. And yet, because of his experiences not to knock them he just didn’t have that awareness of safety, because he had never been put in a position where his own personal safety might be threatened. So the idea that this guy Susan, would come looking for you at your job is absolutely ludicrous. And anyone who thinks that they can win someone over with a grand gesture like that has seen far too many ROM coms, because that is the opposite of making you feel safe and comfortable. So what I would say to you is to keep with your convictions, I think it is absolutely understandable that you don’t want to share personal information, especially where you work where you live or anything like that until you’ve properly vetted someone and made sure that they are safe enough for you to feel comfortable sharing that. And yes, as Susan mentioned, a lot of the dating apps have safety guidelines on the app that you can read. And I know we all swipe past it and we skip it because we’re like, I just I’ll know I’ll be fine. But it’s a really good idea to give those those rules a once over because they’re, I guarantee you there’s probably something in them that you’re not doing right now that you could be doing to keep yourself a little bit more safe. This one comes to us from Chris, who’s one of my patreon Fw B’s I

Unknown Speaker 18:23
Dimona. This is Chris from Orlando, Florida, and I’m 31 years old. So on Tinder, at least seeing which is now apparently the career hub for women to promote their quote unquote, content, which they’re selling. They’re only fans and their premium snap. And so my question is, are you seeing this in other states? Are you seeing this across the country? Or is this just a crazy Florida thing? Because I’m originally from Denver, and I just moved here and when I moved here all I’m seeing is this crazy? Here you’re joining my only fans join premier snap. Anyways, that’s my question. I love you dimana. I love the show and help me I need answers. Thank you so much.

Damona 19:09
I have to admit I I don’t know if I can say if this is a weird Florida thing. There’s obviously a lot of weird Florida things we could Google. This one I didn’t know. But it makes sense to me because for a long time and producer Leo and I were chatting about this before the show. For a long time people have used dating apps for other means they’ve used it for business connections. Like she was even telling me that she’s known of trainers, matching with people who are overweight to sell them personal training services, which I think is absolutely disgusting. But the idea that someone would match with you to sell you their only fans subscription or something else. That is their special content. Makes me wonder Chris, if you are matching with the right people. And to me, it says that you might be swiping on the wrong things. And I feel like these types of profiles, these predatory profiles, can be pretty easy to spot. Like if they’re overly polished photos, if they like, people, real people online should have profiles that look a little bit flawed. And I was going over this in my women’s coaching group a couple weeks ago, if it looks too good to be true, it probably is you have to go a layer deeper and say, Is there more information in this person’s bio? If they’ve linked it to Instagram say, do they have a bunch of stuff that’s selling their only fans content? You have to kind of do a little bit more detective work. And I think we get into the routine of just swipe, swipe, swipe, swipe, swipe, but we’re not doing that first layer of, of filtering before you get into the chat. But as I always say you’re not looking for, for the ones that are no, you’re just you’re just focusing on the yeses. So I wouldn’t worry too much about that, that issue happening or be overly fixated on it. If you have other matches that are moving forward. But if it’s all you’re getting, you’re either on the wrong app, your profiles, not saying the right thing, or you’re swiping on the wrong people. This question comes to me from a gal named Aaliyah.

Unknown Speaker 21:35
Hi, Mona, this is Lily. And I have a question for you about being single and everything and how to find love, especially during COVID. And I hope that out there, my dream of love will come true in so hoping that you will help me with that. Thank you.

Damona 21:55
Here’s some more detail that she emailed to me. I just started out college a year ago, and I love it so much. What brought me here is that I have a serious question that you probably get a lot of how can I find love or find a nice guy during the pandemic without the use of dating apps? I know it’s kind of silly. But that is one of the things I want to accomplish before I get older, say 30 or 40 years old, although you can find love at any face any age smiley face. So, uh, Leah, yes, you are asking a question that a lot of people ask me, How do I find love off of the dating apps. And I’m just going to level with everyone I got a little keet on from the Drew Barrymore show audience for telling a lady last week that the dating apps were the best option for her even though she didn’t like them. So I’m going to expand upon that perspective. And also, let you know why I say that, because it’s not just, it’s not laziness, just go on the dating apps, it’s because dating apps are really the best bang for your buck. They’re the biggest game in town right now. And for the foreseeable future, let’s be real, y’all gonna be wearing masks for at least the next six to 12 to 18 months. And dating is a primal and, and

basic need, you are not going to just be able to put off dating and say I will deal with that later, you are going to have to find a way to date safely within this pandemic. And I find that dating apps give you the best way to expand your pool in a safe and efficient way. So what I said to the woman on the Drew Barrymore show is that she should develop a growth mindset around dating apps, saying, I’m not good at dating apps yet. But it’s something that I can get better at. And therefore when you’re better at things, you enjoy them more. That said, No, it’s not the only way. So I’ll give you a couple other ways that you could possibly meet someone, Leah, and all of the other people listening but they’re more labor intensive. So So put on your big boy and big girl and nine non binary pants, because we’re going to go on a journey really quickly through the other ways to meet someone and how, how much effort you’ll have to put into it. You can meet someone on social media, you can slide into the DMS, you can follow hashtags. You can search by hashtags, I was looking for a client The other day I searched by single dad. And then I had to go into each individual profile and look at where that person was, whether they looked cute, like how young their kids were so much more information that would have been up front on a dating app, but I did it because I’m really trying to help this person find love. You can also join a Facebook group that is around a particular interest. I wouldn’t recommend A singles Facebook group, and technically those are disallowed. So it’s hard to find them anyway. But you’d have a better chance of making a connection with somebody that you have something in common with through a more specific group, like a book club or a fan page for a particular artist or a show or something like that. You could also use your connector circle your connector circle is the people that are first, second and third degree connections to you who might know the kind of people that you could potentially meet. So those people you want to go to and ask them for a very specific thing. I’m looking for someone who’s this, this and this. And that could lead you to a match as well. You could do social distance meetups of some sort. If you feel comfortable with that. Aaliyah, you’re in college, there’s got to be something happening on college campuses, just please make sure that you’re being safe, please wear a mask, don’t go to some indoor house party, frat party situation with no ventilation, and you think you you’d end up catching COVID. And then you’re out of the dating season for a few weeks, or maybe longer. Not worth it, it’s not worth it. So all that said, I really feel like dating apps are your best bet. But keep in mind, not all dating apps are equal. And you get back what you put into it. So if you’re not getting what you want on a dating app, you haven’t programmed the algorithm you’re not using the tool correctly. And I would say go back a few more episodes. And I’ll tell you everything that you know, if you just keep listening to this show, you’ll learn everything you need to know about how to use a dating app more effectively to find love. And it definitely can happen for you between 30 or 40. Or love at any age. Sara sent me a question over Instagram, Sarah said, Hi Dimona, I started dating a great guy that fits several of the qualities I’m looking for. However, he has bad breath. Do you have any suggestions on how to approach this sensitive issue with this guy, he sometimes chews gum, and even that doesn’t seem to help. There are very few guys that fit my criteria. During the last six months of my online dating, that’s why I’m really trying to make it work with this guy. This is such a tough one. Because I feel for this guy and I feel for you. And this is probably like if he chews gum, and it doesn’t help this is probably a medical issue, or like an ongoing issue that he might have some sensitivity about already.

That said, You can’t ignore it. But also, you really shouldn’t throw a good guy, you should not throw out a good guy just because of this one thing. Like whether it’s a physical characteristic, or you know one thing that doesn’t check all your boxes. So we can get through this, don’t worry. What I would say is you feed him what they call a sh t sandwich sugar, honey iced tea sandwiches, my mama would say that would be the thing that is icky. You put in the middle, and then the bread two compliments. So the first thing is you remind him how much you love him or how much you are enjoying getting to know him or how sexy he is. So you start out with a compliment or something optimistic positive, that that shows your future potential together. And then you say, I’ve noticed that sometimes your breath has a certain odor. And then you follow it up with I’m it’s not really a big deal, right? But, but I really love kissing you and I just wanted to ask, and trust me, girl, it’s going to be awkward. It’s going to be awkward for both of you. But it’s something you just need to move through. And so he might tell you, oh, I have this medical condition. It’s this thing. I don’t know how to stop it or I’m on this medication that’s making me have dry mouth and that’s why it tastes like it’s smells like that. Or he might it might be the first time someone has said it to him. I would be shocked if it was but maybe he just needs that awareness. And you can then together figure out what the solution is. Maybe he has to go brush his teeth and his tongue before the next time you kiss. Maybe it’s he carries mouthwash or pinaka Do they still make that that that mouth spray knock I feel like all the guys in high school it always like spray that like it was gonna help them get kissed. But you can work on this together because that honestly it’s a big issue but it’s a minor issue if it if it’s in the context of finding somebody One who hits who checks so many of your boxes and fulfills you on so many deeper levels. This next question comes to us from Kathy. She’s a single 51 year old divorced mother of one daughter living in Los Angeles.

Unknown Speaker 30:14
Why are men so every hand says about sharing their career, as we are getting to know them, ask them questions about who they are kind of thing. They just seem to not want to share what their job or career is. Thank you.

Damona 30:30
Kathy, I would say if a guy doesn’t want to tell you his career, it’s possible heydo have a career. Okay. But let’s put this on context. You know, I said at the top of the show, like COVID dating is, is dating now. And the reality is, a lot of people are in dire financial straits. Right now, a lot of people are losing their jobs. I don’t know if you delineate between job and career. But it’s tough times out there. And as I also said, at the top of the show, people still need love. And, and COVID is not a reason to not continue to seek out partnership, losing your job is not a reason to seek out partnership. But if this is a pattern you’ve seen for a really, really long time, I would say it’s one of two things either doesn’t have a career and doesn’t have any money, and thinks that that is the reason that you would eliminate him from the dating pool, or the more optimistic way to look at it is that he does have a lot of money, and doesn’t want people to only love him for his money or for his career. That said, I don’t know that this is an epidemic that is happening on the global scale. Kathy, I think this has something to do with the men that you’re choosing. And you’re identifying a pattern. So I would then look at the commonalities between profiles I, let’s see, this is what I love doing like getting really granular on your dating life and figuring out where patterns are coming up. And what is triggering you to swipe right on someone or to say yes to going out with someone and what are the what are the warning signs or commonalities when you compare one profile to the next or, or if you’re meeting people through friends, what is causing them to continue to introduce you to the same kind of people, because I bet you’re going to find a similar thread. And once you fix that, and you fix your attraction to that because sometimes, sometimes you know attraction will lie to you. And chemistry is a killer chemistry will send you in the wrong direction. Many a time. And in I I’m for getting more strategic about your your matches, and figuring out what it is you’re attracted to that is not serving you and see how you can put that in alignment and then the rest of your matches will fall into place. The next question comes to us from Valerie on Instagram.

Unknown Speaker 33:13
Hello, team on ad This is Valerie. I’ve been enjoying being single for a long time. But I’m just now feeling like venturing into the dating scene. What dating app? Would you recommend not interested in apps like Tinder?

Damona 33:27
One of the number one questions I get from people is what dating app is best for me which dating apps should I be on? And I’m actually I have a solution. I’m going to be releasing a quiz very soon to help you figure this out. But in the meantime, I’ll tell you it’s much more about the way you use the tool than the specific tool that you’re on. That said, You need to understand what the dating pool is. So I the way I figure out if an app is right for someone or not, I look at the way that they like to engage. Do they like swiping? Do they like having a deeper dive? Or do they like the matches to be much more curated for them? Then I look at how much time do they have to spend on the app, the more open ended the app, the more time you have to spend filtering. The more curated the experience, the less time you have to put into it because the app is doing that work for you. Then I also look at where you are and what is the demographic you’re looking for. So Valerie, I don’t know Tinder does skew fairly young is compared to the other apps. Tinder is the number one dating app right now in terms of number of people on it. So it’s a good standard app to use. People think it’s just a hookup app, but there’s really a wide variety of reasons for people to be there. But that said, you have to do more filtering if there’s a wide variety of reasons to be there. That makes sense. So do you have the time to do that? But is it also the appropriate pool for you? When you go on Tinder? Do you see people that you’d actually want to go out with? Do you? Do you like swiping right on Tinder? Or is it like, all of these guys? I wouldn’t, I would, it’s a waste of time for me. And that said, does it bring up frustration for you, if you hate your dating app, and you’re frustrated, using it every time and of course, there’s all a lot of times a push pull with the app because we love it because it brings us dates, but like, we hate that we have to do it, or we hate the experience of it. But if you just straight up, dislike Tinder or dislike whatever dating app that you’re on, that’s, that’s definitely not the right dating app, because you aren’t going to want to do it. And to put the effort in that I’m talking about of getting really strategic, if you dislike the experience of the app overall. So I, I can’t tell you exactly what the right dating app for you is Valerie. But I encourage you to sample to try around, try different apps, go through that process. And really ask yourself those questions that I just asked asked you. And then figure out which one feels right and know that you’re not married to the dating app. So I recommend being on two apps at the same time. Ideally, three gets to be a little bit hard to manage all the messages. But I also recommend that you jump around a little bit, you can be on an app for a couple months. And then if you feel like you’ve gotten to the end of that, that thread and the bottom of that, well, then just replenish your well with a new app and do what I’m telling my clients is cycling, I’m calling the cycling. So it used to be like I would say stay on one app for three months and and just drill in there. Get your profile perfect. Wait for the new people to come in. Now I’m doing a new This is my like COVID dating, dating app plan. Cycling, you do one app for a month or maybe two until you get to the point where you feel like I’ve exhausted the options here, you cycle to another app for two months, then you can cycle back to the first one and you’ll see up brand new

selection of of possible dates for you. The possibilities are endless. Honestly, Valerie, and even though we’re in the time of COVID, it’s still possible to make a match. It’s just all about the mindset that you’re bringing into it. So I encourage you, especially as we go through whatever we’re going through, politically over the next few months, I encourage you to really clarify your convictions, your values, what you want, in a partner use this time to go inward and, and really do that deep dive work so that you have a crystal clear perspective on what you’re looking for and love. And then we can hit the ground running January, I’ll be doing my my programs again. And we can really attack it head on and make sure that you have the dating plan that’s going to bring you love. Regardless of whether we’re in a pandemic or not, I think we still will be regardless of who ends up being our president, and you can still find a match and someone may have a meaningful place in your life in the new year. That’s all the news that’s fit to print for Episode 334 of dates and mates. As always, we will put the link to the dating dish stories that we discussed. And the show recap at dates and if you have a question and it didn’t make it in this week’s show, we are going to be doing more dear Dimona episodes starting next month there will be a another full episode all dedicated to your questions. So let me know what’s on your mind. Send me a voicemail. Did you see how fun it was when we can actually hear the other listeners voices. Don’t be shy. I love it when you message me. But I really love it if you send me a voice memo or you leave me a voicemail. I’m at damona Hoffman on all of the socials. And you can send me your questions there in the DMS or you can give me a call 424-246-6255 and just stream of consciousness. Let me know what’s on your mind. We’ll pull it all together and put it in our next show. And if you want more dating advice you want direct access to me. Why not join our Patreon Friends with Benefits slash dates and mates. Listen, it’s five bucks. It’s just five bucks and you can get insider deals on my product. programs, access to special sessions and bonus features. And then you’ll also be helping to support the dates of mates podcast and make it free to so many folks who need help in love and may not be able to even spend that five bucks if you have it. Why not pay it forward and make love a reality for everyone around you. So don’t forget to vote vote like your love depends on it. And we’ll be back again next week with more dates and mates. Until then I wish you happy dating

Transcribed by

Cosmopolitan Mag & Safe Sexting


So remember back in the old days – like last year – when you were in the mood for a booty call and all you had to do was send a simple “u up?” text??


Are you now prefacing your “u up” text with a COVID questionnaire? – have you come into contact with anyone with Covid-19? Have you been out of the country in the last 4 weeks? Do you have a cough, fever, shortness of breath, or any other symptoms possibly related to Coronavirus?

Just kidding please don’t do that. We’d much rather you start with virtual dating than put you at risk or risk turning a new partner off completely.

But to make these new connections, we’re having to reexamine our strict “no sexting” policy? If you can’t have real casual sex in today’s world, can you have virtual sex?

Today we called in Taylor Andrews – sex & relationship editor at Cosmopolitan Magazine! She’s here to give us the new rules on romance in 2020 and tell us about the trends that have come across her desk and her forthcoming book Cosmo’s Fantasy Sex Games.

Disclaimer: We don’t get too graphic in this episode but we do talk about sexting and the book Cosmo’s Fantasy Sex Games soooo, now you can’t say you weren’t warned. 

But first, we dish!


The Universities with the best dating scene

StuDoc has found that Utah Valley University, Brigham Young University, California State University Fullerton, Northeastern University, and University of Virginia have the best dating scenes. It might surprise you to know that BYU was actually the student population that popularized Tinder! This is relevant to you and your dating life. Damona explains why.


Are you sexy?

There is now actual proof that if you feel hot (read: aroused), you are more likely to find the confidence to make a date happen. Damona breaks it down.


Stars, they’re just like us

Drew Barrymore shares that she, too, gets stood up by random dudes on dating apps. WTF?



Everything you need to know about safe sexting from Cosmopolitan Magazines very own, Taylor Andrews!


We discuss:

  • Why right now is definitely the best time to date
  • Sexting, how do you do it?
  • Hookup advice
  • Did we take a peek at Chris Evans’ dick pic??? Maybeeee…
  • Sexy Fantasies

Pre Order your copy of Cosmo’s Fantasy Sex Games Here!

Make sure to check out Taylor’s work in Cosmopolitan Magazine for all the juicy news!


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 am 39 years old and have been on dating apps for 13 years. I haven’t been physical with someone in over 3 years. Someone asked me to come over sat night for drinks, bonfire, and sex and I’m wondering if I should just go for it? I’m worried I’ll catch feelings.
  • Women’s Group: I met a guy on Hinge a few months ago. We’ve had 2 socially distanced dates in person and everything seemed to be going great. We both got really busy with work, but he said “if we want more we have to see each other more and talk more”. I agreed but since then he’s been distant. I set a date with him for dinner, but when I called him to make a plan he didn’t answer and hasn’t called since. Should I try again to make this happen or is it over/?


Damona  0:00  

Hello lovers, it’s Dimona. I have a new goal of reaching 10,000 more hopeful romantics before the end of 2020. But I need your help. There are three quick and free ways to support the show and spread the message of love. Number one, subscribe. Okay, look at your phone right now. And tap the subscribe button if you’re not subscribed already. And then you’ll get every episode The minute it goes live. Number two, rate and review. If you’re liste ning on Apple podcasts, go ahead and scroll all the way down to the bottom where it says ratings and reviews. Then click as many of those five stars as you want. Maybe five if you’re feeling frisky, and then you can even click write a review to tell everyone why you listen. And number three, share tell your friends about us. Click the three dots by this episode and dm it to a friend who needs to hear this advice. do three and keep dates and mates free for eight more seasons. And we can reach our goal together of healing those 10,000 hearts. Hey, Hey, Hey, welcome to dates and mates. So remember back in the old days, like last year, when you were in the mood for a booty call and all you had to do was send a simple you up text. Now are you processing your uop text with a COVID questionnaire like have you come into contact with anyone with COVID-19? Have you been out of the country in the last four weeks? Do you have a cough fever, shortness of breath or any other symptoms possibly related to Coronavirus? kidding. I’m kidding. I’m kidding. Do not do that. Please. I would much rather you start with virtual dating then put you at risk or risk turning off a new partner completely. But to make these new connections, I’m having to re examine my strict no sexting policy. If you can have real casual sex in today’s world, can you have real virtual sex? Today, I called in Taylor Andrews, sex and relationship editor at Cosmo magazine. She’s here to give us the new rules on romance in 2020. And tell us about the trends that have come across her desk and her forthcoming book, the cosmos fantasy sex games. First though, we got to get you all up to speed on what’s going on in the news. We reveal the universities with the best dating scene. And will you really look sexier? If you feel sexier? Plus stars they’re just like us. Drew Barrymore reveals her big dating app debacle. Then at the end of the show, I will answer your questions including I need intimacy, but I’m worried I’ll catch feelings. And is he busy? Or just not that into me? disclaimer folks. We don’t get to graphic In this episode, but we do talk about sexting. And of course the book Cosmos fantasy sex games. So now you can’t say that you weren’t warned. Let’s dish Our first story actually comes to us from Stu docu which is an online platform with study tools for students. They surveyed over 100,000 students from 15,000 universities to find the schools with the liveliest dating scene and some of the top five might surprise you. Number one was Utah Valley University. Number two was Brigham Young University number three, Cal State Fullerton where I have spoken before number four, Northeastern University, and number five University of Virginia. I don’t even have to look at all the results to know that my own college didn’t make the cut because the dating scene there was dead.


But here’s what’s really interesting, Brigham Young University for those of you who have been listening to the show for a while, you know that this is not the first time that I’ve highlighted Brigham Young University in a dating dish. Because back in 2013, this school, which has a high number of Mormon students, a big Mormon population was actually the school that put Tinder on the map. And here on dates and mates in 2013, you could hear me talk about how this new app was taking the dating world by storm. And it was sort of launched there at Brigham Young. And so it wasn’t actually even a hookup app, as a lot of people were saying in the beginning. They did seed it at a lot of universities, and it really took off at Brigham Young. And they even reported later that year in 2013, that it had led to a number of marriages of people who had matched on Tinder and then moved into serious relationships and become engaged with even just a few months. So I totally buy the stew doc you survey I will put a link to it in the show notes. But I would say if you want to know what’s going on dating and relationships, you should probably figure out what’s going on at Brigham Young University. There’s more news that’s fit to print, psychologists have been examining something that’s called the biased perception of romantic success. What they mean by that is this idea that when you feel sexy, you will be considered sexy by other people. And, you know, we you’ve probably heard me say that on the show before, I’m sure lots of dating experts say like, you know, you feel good, then you’ll look good. It’s, it’s, it’s a mindset. You know, mindset is everything. But according to research, it’s really, really true. And when you present yourself as feeling sexy, you actually are reducing your fear of rejection. And you’ve heard me say this on the show as well, that, that we need to just be more confident and not get attached to the outcome. Okay, here is how this study worked. And I can’t believe there are people that get paid to do this kind of research. But hey, I get paid to do this. So anything goes, they showed sexually stimulating images to people in a clinical setting, before introducing them to a stranger of the opposite sex. And then they had a neutral conversation just about like, hobbies, career goals, blah, blah, blah. But they found that those who had been exposed to sexual stimulus rather than neutral stimulus, something not so sexy, those who were exposed to it were more likely to initiate more intimate contact and be more interested in initiating a romantic relationship at the end of the session. And what this does is it confirms that when you feel sexy, you’re more likely to take a risk. And so often I say that, that success in dating, some of it is just if the other person is feeling the vibe from you and feeling like you’re into them, a lot of times that can amp up their interest in you. Well, one person who I think, should have lots of interest on dating apps is Drew Barrymore. But it turns out, it has not gone the way that she planned it, she revealed on and watch what happens live with Andy Cohen that she had been on Riah and she thought the app would fulfill her lifelong dream of going on a blind date. It’s really hard to go on a blind date when you’re Drew Barrymore because everybody knows everything about you. And you don’t know who these people are, but Riah, you know, is for the celebrities. But she said that her first day was a train wreck, she said she got stood up. And actually, I can also reveal on the show, she told me this story not too long ago, because I am also one of the dating experts of the Drew Barrymore show. I’ll be on my first show live this Wednesday at 9am. Eastern in New York live, but check your local listings to see when I will be on in your area. But here’s the thing if this can happen to Drew, and let me tell you, she is so sweet. And she’s so charming and everything that you see about her and ROM coms. It has been my experience of working with her on her show as well. It happens to everyone and and you have to do the same sort of work whether you’re Drew Barrymore or the girl next door, you have to make sure that you’re pre qualifying people before you get to the date. If this person would stand up Drew Barrymore they certainly will do it to you. And then you know if this person doesn’t show up for you, that this is not meant to be but it doesn’t mean to you should throw the baby out with the bathwater. It doesn’t mean you should give up on dating apps. And I hope drew doesn’t give up on Riah but she certainly hasn’t given up on love. So look out for me on Wednesday, spreading some more romantic cheer on her show. Those are the headlines for this week. But when we come back, we will be with Taylor Andrews from Cosmos Oh, get ready for some juicy talk in just a moment.


I am here with Taylor Andrew, she’s cosmopolitans, assistant editor of all their juicy dating relationships, sex and love content. Please help me give big smooches to Taylor Andrews. Hey, Joe, how’s it going? It’s going girl. First of all your articles are fire. And we have referenced them a lot on the show in the past, but you are really on the cutting edge tailor of what is happening in dating and relationships. And people are always asking me, like what is the deal with dating apps? And should we even be trying today? Is it too complicated? Now there’s woke fishing. I have to know their COVID status is dating just to complete hated right now.


Unknown Speaker  10:02  

Honestly, I would almost argue on popular opinion that right now is the best time to find someone in a relationship, if that’s what you’re looking for. And I’m going to tell you why. I think right now, people are not leading with physical like intimacy. Obviously, we’re in a pandemic, you can’t go meet someone in person, if you are, you’re meeting six feet apart, and you’re outside, it’s just different circumstances. But right now, you’re really getting a relationship, like via text message via zoom via FaceTime. And you’re communicating and talking to these people before you even add in the whole physical element. So you’re getting to know them, you’re getting to know like, what they like who they are way more in depth than you would if you were seeing them on a first date. So I would actually argue that right now is the best time to actually successfully find a solid relationship.


Damona  10:52  

You know, what I will cosign on what you just said, I actually was just talking to a former client yesterday, who is in the best relationship of her life, she met this guy two and a half months ago, in the middle of a pandemic, on a dating dating app. And she said, it’s just a totally different trajectory, like it’s unfolding in a completely different way. And she’s, you can really tell, if you are, if you’re on a date with somebody, you don’t have all the distractions of everything else that we use to get our attention or keep our attention on a date. It’s just the two of you talking and connecting, you really can’t have the other distractions. And you know, is this really the real deal or not? So she said, she’s, like, deeper in this relationship than she’s been on any other relationship before,


Unknown Speaker  11:45  

right? I mean, everyone’s on dating apps. Right? Now, if you’re single, you’re on a dating app. And actually, for cosmopolitan readers, 51% of our readers are on dating apps. So that’s like a high percentage, considering that some of our readers are also in relationships. So if you consider how many people are on dating apps, you’re going through a lot of different people, you get to fine tune and select who you want, who matches like your personality, what you’re into, I just think you’re gonna you’re getting so much opportunity right now today that you can absolutely find someone who is like, on the same level as you. And yeah, I mean, like I said, whether you’re on dating apps, because you’re bored and lonely, and you don’t have anyone to talk to you, or whether you’re actively trying to get a relationship, I completely agree with you now would be a great time to, I think, if that is what you’re looking for, to get into a relationship.


Damona  12:37  

And I do feel like, as you said earlier, there, there isn’t as much of that physical interaction with strangers. So I feel like a lot of those people have fallen off the apps. And one reason that a lot of people feel like, it’s not a great time because they don’t feel like as much is happening. Because we were we were at a an unsustainable pace of dating, I feel like before the pandemic, and I feel like something had to happen to stop that crazy cycle of like, swipe, swipe, swipe date, date, date, totally, you know, with wash, rinse, repeat. I wish it wasn’t a pandemic, of course, but it happened. But there’s so many other factors right now. Like, like, it’s 2020. Like everything that can happen, will happen. And there’s so much else that is affecting dating today. Right from race. We’ve talked at nauseam on the show about race and dating to the the election coming up. And we had your friend in mind, Michael Kay from Okay, Cupid, on the show to talk about that. What do you think do you think that people are finding are looking for the wrong? Like? Are they focused on the wrong things right now? Or is it just like that we are at a time where we have to, we have to kind of cut out the clutter and find somebody that’s totally aligned with us on so many different levels?


Unknown Speaker  14:06  

Well, it’s interesting you say that, because I’m actually currently working on an article of it’s a debate and it’s can you actually be in a relationship with someone who has opposing political views? I, I would argue, especially with the year 2020. I would argue that you can but you wouldn’t. You would be surprised by how many people believe that yes, you can be in a relationship with someone who has opposing political views. So while I do think that this year has definitely made it so that women are maybe, I don’t know not being as picky or anything just because they are lonely on dating apps, I do think if you want a successful relationship, now would be the time to like I said, fine tune and find people who agree with you and align with you on topics like race and LGBTQ policies and and everything in that regard and even more, so than Now you can do that because you are talking to them via dating apps and texting. And it’s a less intimidating conversation than asking someone in person. So how do you feel about our current administration? And what are your views about who should be the next president, etc, etc. Yeah,


Damona  15:16  

they used to say don’t talk about those things on first dates. But I almost feel like now, it’s like you must talk about these things, first dates, just just to figure out if they even meet meet the basic criteria.


Unknown Speaker  15:28  

Totally. So the


Damona  15:30  

The other thing that now we are dealing with since we are distanced from whoever we are matching with or talking to, is how to keep that chemistry and communication and flirtation going in the digital space. You have written this very hot and sexy new book, Cosmos fantasy sex games. And we’ll give everybody a little peek inside. But I think one one element that is really pertinent to our listeners is sexting. Like, yeah. What are the rules for sexting now, especially like, if you are talking to so to, essentially a stranger, someone you met on a dating app? Maybe you haven’t actually moved offline with them? Are there different rules for them versus someone that you’re already in a relationship with?


Unknown Speaker  16:20  

I think, okay, the number one thing I can say is, men, can we stop with the dick pics? I mean, right? Can we please please like, Listen to me, listen to everyone who’s been saying this for however long, the dick fix needs to stop. Unless it’s consensual. And unless the woman specifically asks to see your penis, women do not want to be surprised by a dick pic and their phone. So that’s like sexting rule number one, do not send unsolicited nude pictures to the other person. So that’s the biggest thing. As far as everything else, it really just depends on what you’re into. And what you and your partner have consensually agreed upon. So what I always like to encourage is I know people really struggle with sex either, like I just can’t figure out like what to say, I feel so awkward. I just I don’t know, I would just start if this is someone that you’ve slept with before, I would start by, you know, recounting your experience with them. So Oh, remember when you did this with me, or remember when you touched me here or remember when we were in the laundry room or whatever you’re doing, and then just start from there. It’s like retelling the story. So then it gets you started. And then the other person is seeing what you’re doing. And they can add in. And then you can start saying things like, Oh, well, wouldn’t it be so hot? If we try this next time? Or what do you think about this? So I think that’s a really easy way to transition into sexting with someone that you’ve already slept with. And in the case that you haven’t slept with someone, I always like to go for like, encourage the conversation. That’s Oh, I wish she were here. I think that that is always the way to get someone to be like, Oh, well, it piques their interest. And so we do fiber there. Exactly, exactly. It’s not you’re not being you know, super, super direct. You’re not saying let’s sex right now. It’s just Oh, I wish you were here and it gets the conversation started in a non intimidating way. It’s really easy for the other person to like, jump in into the conversation. So that would definitely be like, my starter. I mean, what do you what do you think about sexting? What, like, what are your tips?


Damona  18:29  

Well, I I’m kind of cautious about sexting, like, in terms of sensitive images. Like, look, we just saw this not that long ago with Chris, Chris. And like, you know, the dick bickered route.


Unknown Speaker  18:47  

That was an accident, like,


Damona  18:49  

I actually do, because I’ve had, I’ve had, like, I’ve had pictures that I did not intend to put, I’ve had, like, have you had this happen on Instagram, where you were like, like chatting with someone or in a store in stories, and then all of a sudden, it was like calling them I need to fix this? Because I’m like, sorry, I’m not trying to suddenly call you like, it’s just in the middle of the conversation. You’re right. So I think it could have been an accident, but I think it maybe it was a happy accident. after all. I think it’s probably for him going to enhance his life more. It’s been it’s going to hurt him. But you know, you do work for cosmopolitan, female focused female first, like, what would happen if that was a woman? It would be a completely different conversation. If you know, it’s like a teddy pic.


Unknown Speaker  19:38  

Right? I would and we’ve had celebs things like this get leaked. Um, you know, like it happens. Um, and it Yeah, I don’t know that. That’s an interesting conversation because it is like the difference between you know, he, I don’t I don’t know. It’s um,


Damona  19:58  

it’s complex, isn’t it?


Unknown Speaker  20:00  

It is I wish I had more of an opinion on it, but I just can’t even.


Unknown Speaker  20:04  

It just doesn’t happen.


Unknown Speaker  20:06  

It doesn’t. So, as far as explicit images go, I’m sure everyone was really happy to see that. But that was like, you know, that’s breaking a barrier. Even though it was accidental, you know, that’s even if you would put that into terms of like dating someone in general. Again, like I said, you should not be sending dick pics. So the fact that that happened is not not a good example.


Damona  20:30  

Yeah, cuz then you took the dick pic it What was your intent with the dick pic? That’s that’s the other question.


Unknown Speaker  20:35  

Exactly. Do you


Damona  20:36  

like what you said, Taylor, in terms of using it to build anticipation is how I would how I would phrase that like saying, Oh, I can’t wait to see you again. And really thinking of sexting as an element in for prep for thinking of sexting as an element of foreplay, and really, look giving yourself something to look forward to. And then the other thing I love about what you said, was storytelling. That’s so much of I mean, you know, the book is the fantasy sex games, it’s the fantasy, it’s telling the story of what’s going to happen. And I know, for me, I sometimes feel a little awkward, maybe, maybe it’s because of my husband’s reaction. He’s like, so uncomfortable with it. But it can be awkward, right? to, like, send that first sext and to step into the roleplay space. How you


Unknown Speaker  21:28  

gonna? Absolutely can’t and that’s normal. You know, if, if I could say anything, we actually have this segment in the book called finished the fantasy, where we set the whole fantasy up, we type we have it written out. So you just read it with your significant other, or whomever you want to sex with, or whatever. And then you finish it. So we already did all the hard work for you, we initiated the conversation, so then you just finish it.


Damona  21:53  

That is so perfect. And this is why I also help people with dating apps, like just getting started, like having the prompts or having the outline. And then once you’re in it, it’s it does feel more natural. Right. Yeah. You know what to say? Yeah, but it’s that, that anticipation and and awkwardness of just getting started that sometimes keeps people from


Unknown Speaker  22:18  



Damona  22:20  

The thing, like the thing I loved about the book is, it is so playful, and there’s so many ideas in there. Like you might read through it, and you’re like, Whoa, not that for me, but you might read some and think, oh, I’ve never thought of that. I’ve never tried that. I was like, how did Taylor get all these ideas?


Girl, you know, no, you know, I read the book. But when if you’re with a partner, some of it is just that willingness to explore and try something new, you know, especially in quarantine, we’ve been locked up. And it’s been like, same old, same old For how long? We’re all stressed out overworked. Why not? Why not? Try something new with your partner?


Unknown Speaker  23:11  

Absolutely. And I think it also goes into, you know, I don’t know, we’re speaking to women of you know, all sexual orientations. And they’re in relationships, and they’re single and whomever or, and whatever. But, um, I just think that like, quarantine is the best time to really have fun with all of this, and you’re with your partner all the time, might as well just make it fun and do something different than what your normal circumstances like, there’s no reason why you can’t have fun and go pick out a Halloween costume that’s leftover in your closet from five years ago and have a little roleplay situation with that. And and while I understand that it can be intimidating. I think it starts with you know, kind of breaking down that wall that you have that’s preventing you from you know, wanting to take that step and wanting to maybe dive a little kinkier deeper into your relationship and sex life. I think it starts with removing that barrier and removing whatever that wall is that’s preventing you from wanting to do that and then just like going for and owning your horniness and owning who you are and what you want, and getting that orgasm.


Damona  24:16  

It’s natural girl it’s natural


Unknown Speaker  24:18  

is yes.


Damona  24:20  

Yeah. And sometimes you just need to mix things up a little bit. Let’s say you’re on the other side of the conversation and your partner is the one that’s like, let’s be a little bit more adventurous. How do you get to that place where you can go like Dude, should you just go with the flow with what your partner wants to try?


Unknown Speaker  24:43  

I think that you should definitely establish beforehand hard boundaries. So anything that you’re absolutely not okay with doing. This can easily be done in something like a yes no maybe list which we actually also included in the book, but we’ve written about it countless times where you And you can print this off. Or you can do it from the book what we included, but there are a bunch of topics that we have listed and you go through with your partner and you say yes, no, or maybe. And if you would rather not do it with your partner, you just like print out a copy, and you do it yourself. And then your your partner does it. And then you compare where all of your yeses are, where all of your maybes are and where all of your nodes are, and the yeses you discuss, like, Yeah, I would be into that. So obviously, like, that’s consenting, once you have a conversation about it, you’re consenting to doing that in the bedroom. That maybe is okay, let’s talk about this. And let’s figure out like, why it’s a maybe and what would make it absolute? Yes. And then the no is a hard boundary, you’re not doing that. So I actually think a yes no, maybe list is maybe the easiest way to transition into like a super sexy thing that you haven’t brought up with your partner, or if you’re part if your partner wants to bring something up to you. But as far as you know, if your partner is just bringing something up, and as long as you don’t, like, have a hard boundary with whatever that person suggested, I say go for it and see if it’s something you’re into, the only way you’re going to know is if you try, and I think you should just completely, like get rid of an idea of, you know, like something that’s taboo and just try it, depending on what your partner brought up.


Damona  26:19  

Let’s say you get some of those maybes. And I love that you have this checklist in the book, you get a maybe I’ve also heard from listeners, how awkward it is to have conversations about sex before you’re having sex. Like whether it’s a maybe from that checklist with your existing partner, or like I’m about to have sex with this person, for the first time. How do you bridge those conversations and make them still sexy? Or should you just not even have those conversations when you’re in the bedroom? Should they happen before,


Unknown Speaker  26:49  

I do think they should always happen before the bedroom. Like I say consent is the number one thing. So I would always encourage that. But I do understand how that can be like icky, and it looks like you’re just like having a conversation about sex, which makes it so unsexy. But like I said, I think if you’re going to be having sex with someone, you should be able to feel comfortable talking about sex with them. Now, as far as when you’re in the bedroom, I I think what’s really sexy is, you know, doing something and trying something you’re into whether that’s like, I don’t know, like going down their body and saying, Oh, do you like when I touch you like this? Do you enjoy this? Does this feel good? Those types of questions that check in with your partner, make sure that you’re always doing consensual, safe sex, and that your partner is actually into it as much as you are. So I think if you are going to kind of just test the boundaries a little bit, I would always make sure to like, ask, how would you like it if I did this? And, and, you know, does this feel good. And you and that can be sexy. I mean, you’re making out with the first and you’re touching them, you’re on top, and then they’re on top of you, you know, if you just say on a super sexy voice and just let this like animalistic side of you come out that, you know, that’s asking for consent and still being sexy at the same time.


Damona  28:04  

What about when you’re in those situations, like I can remember many a time when I was single Taylor, where like, even in a situation where someone was getting consent. There’s sometimes this feeling I’m just gonna like just gonna put it out there and say it sometimes there’s this feeling, it’s like, oh, I don’t really want to do this. But it’s, it’s probably just easier to say us and like get this over with than to actually, like, end it rock the boat or just, you know, just stop the forward motion. You know what I’m saying? I don’t know if you’ve been in that situation, or if you’ve written about any situations like that before, but I think we’re in a new paradigm right now of women. Like, you know, I’m a little bit part of the old guard of like, you know, back then we just like rolled over And we took it. But now like in the conversation of consent, I think there is an element of I don’t want to say responsibility. But I think women are being called to speak up in those moments. And I love it any words of encouragement, you’re such as strong, competent woman like words of encouragement for other women that maybe are in the boat that I was in or that just find it hard to find their voice in those moments.


Unknown Speaker  29:20  

I think the biggest thing that I can say to that is that your pleasure is just as much worth it as your partner’s pleasure. So you need to really focus on what feels good to you and not so much what feels good to your partner. I think so often women are told, you know, like you mentioned, we have to lay on our backs and we have to be the one that is making sure the man orgasms or or who whomever their partner is, and and that’s that doesn’t need to be the case our orgasms are just as just as important as our partners. And so if something makes you uncomfy don’t do it You do not have to do it. There’s nothing that says like no you are in charge of a man’s orgasm because you’re not and and i think Like I said, that just goes back to women feeling like they have to please their partner, and they have to focus more on their pleasure. But no, you you deserve an orgasm just as much you need to make sure and like control that, that you are seeking just as much pleasure as you are seeking to give your partner. Okay, and then for


Damona  30:17  

our guy spies in the audience, we have a lot of male listeners actually, as well, that one, that they’re good guys tailor, they want to make things also safe and comfortable for women. Are there any tips that you can give those guys for how to create this kind of space? With a new partner?


Unknown Speaker  30:41  

Yeah, I mean, I, I’m big on communication, like I said, so I really think that a good good sex starts with communication. And I think it’s just being super open about having a conversation before you have sex about what each other is into and what you want to try, and what feels good. So I would just make sure to actively check in with your partner when you’re having sex to make sure that everything is going great. And and, yeah, I mean, I think sometimes as women we like in heterosexual relationships we like to feel taken care of, and like he’s almost in control. But I don’t think that needs to be the case all the time. So I think having those conversations beforehand can really be beneficial. So I would just tell whoever the guy listeners are that you know, be very open about what you’re interested in and wanting to please your woman and talking to her about what gets her off? Because she knows better than you do.


Damona  31:44  

Mm hmm. All right, ladies, no, no best is what they want. We just have to find her voice and speak up about it, and maybe get some new ideas. And I for one got many of them from reading Taylor’s new book, Cosmo, fantasy sex games, y’all. It’s hot, is right for the times. And there’s so much more also at cosmopolitan calm that people can read. And I just have to be you didn’t, you didn’t ask me for this feedback. But I’m just going to give it to you. I’m also a subscriber of for the for the magazine. And I have to say, Taylor, like I know you and I connected because you were looking to highlight some more voices of color. And as I was going through my Cosmo magazine last month, I was really shocked at the number of people who looked like me. And I feel like there’s really been an effort to be as inclusive as possible and to really diversify the images, not just in the content, but also in the advertising. So I just wanted to say how much I really, truly appreciate the work that cosmopolitan is doing on that front,


Unknown Speaker  32:59  

of course, and we appreciate experts like you being able to weigh in. I mean, you’ve helped so much with our content. And I hope that all your subscribers know that they can see you on Cosmo articles and be like, yeah, that’s Dimona. She’s awesome. She knows everything. So I love talking to you about the


Damona  33:15  

articles. I don’t know if I know everything, but at least I can have conversations with smart ladies like you and we can learn from one another and pass it on. So thank you so much for being here. Taylor, it was really a pleasure to have you on the show.


Unknown Speaker  33:28  

Thank you so much. I really appreciate it.


Damona  33:31  

Lovers don’t go anywhere. I have your questions. But more importantly, I have your answers. Please stick around. We are back. This is dear demona. This one comes to me from a new listener. In an Instagram dm she says I’m 39 years old and I’ve been on dating apps for 13 years. girlfriend. That’s a long time. She says I haven’t been physical with someone in over three years. But someone asked me to come over Saturday night for drinks, bonfire and sex. And I’m wondering if I should just go for it. I’m worried I’ll catch feelings. Who? That got sexy real fast, didn’t it? First, I would say it’s really good that you know what your tendency is that you know that when you get intimate with someone, you can catch feelings really quickly. First, obviously COVID is happening right now. So you have to have a real way to assess someone’s risk. Like I had a conversation with a client and she was like, Yes, that’s just risk risk. And it was fine to go out on a date and I’m like, I’m not sure how you did that. Like Did you take like, like at the top of the show? Did you do a questionnaire Did you did you like get a saliva sample? Did you stick a swab up his nose? I don’t know. But you figure it out the way that works for your stay and your comfort level how you assess the risk. I think, Hey, we are all feeling the skin hunger right now. Well, not me because I, I’m touched out, I’m around people all day long. But for those of you who are single, it is no wonder that we are missing that human connection, and even just the power of touch. So men or women, there is no shame in getting your physical needs met. But if you know that the tendency for you is to put more into it, and to think more about it than what it really means, you might need to add an extra level of protection for yourself emotionally because it’s clear if this person just matched with you on a dating app. And they were just like, bam, drinks, bonfire, sex, let’s get it on. I don’t know that that is suddenly going to blossom into a more meaningful relationship. So you have to know what you’re signing up for. Now, I’ll tell you a little story. This is kind of embarrassing. I have had one and only one, one nightstand in my life. And I it’s kind of one of those things where I thought, well, everyone’s done it, and everyone should do it. So I’ll just do it and get it over with. And I have to tell you, it was honestly the worst experience of my life, there was nothing sexy about it. I felt terrible when it was over. And he, he wanted to he was really a jerk. And then he wanted to walk me to my car, and I was like, Don’t walk me to my car, I’m fine. I’m a grown woman. And then he felt really bad for being a jerk. So then he just followed me to my car to make sure that I didn’t like I don’t know, get raped or something, because then he’d feel extra bad. And I have to admit, I don’t regret a lot of my experiences. I think every experience that you have, it teaches you something and adds up to something more. So I don’t regret that it happened. But I definitely learned that for me. One Night Stand life was not it. So you might already know that about yourself. But if you feel like you can separate the intimacy and the physical connection, and the sex from the emotional part of it, and you can do it safely. I am not one to judge.


Our second question for today came from my women’s group, the dating accelerator program, this person said I met a guy on hinge a few months ago, we’ve had to socially distance dates in person and everything seemed to be going great. We both got really busy at work. But he said if we want to if we want more, we have to see each other more and talk more. I agreed. But since then he’s been distant. I set a date with him for dinner. But when I called him to make a plan he didn’t answer. And he hasn’t called since Should I try again to make this happen? Or is it over. So a lot of times we operate out of a place of assumption. And I definitely think he was trying to send you a message here that he either was angry with something that happened or didn’t feel like he was getting his needs met. And so he he might have even been saying in that conversation, he had already made the decision to move on. If we want more, we’d have to see each other more and talk more. And the other part of that sentence in his mind was, and it doesn’t seem like you can do that. So Peace out, I’m gone. And then at that point, you’re agreeing, but you’re entering from a position of needing to make things up to him and cater to his needs. Right? So I’ll just first say it might already have been too late. But in most of these situations, we also if we don’t have clarity, we need to get clarity. So yes, you should try again. And for some people, like they’re too proud to actually just speak what they are feeling and what they want. And that’s how we end up in all of these ghosting, Limbo, half assed situations, none of that for you, you’re going to say, Listen, I feel like I’ve been really distracted. And I really want to give this a chance. I’d love to see you house this weekend. Just go directly for it. Put your heart out there, put what you want out there, you’re going to get one of two responses. It will either be Oh, I didn’t know that you were really into this? Yes, I’d love to see you. And then he his competence is renewed, and he wants to invest in it further or you get crickets. And what I need you to hear is that crickets are a response. So that’s why I say you might have already gotten the response. But we if you were operating out of a place with any ambiguity, ambiguity, we can’t necessarily judge that. So now you’re going to go right for it. You’re going to say exactly what he wants to hear. You’re going to be very clear about where you See things going in the future. And then you’re going to see what he has to say about it. And then you’re going to report back to me, and the dates and make show. That’s it for today’s episode. This one is 329 of dates and mates. Yeah, you’ve got to check out Taylor’s work and cosmos, she writes all of the hottest content about sex and love and And this book is seriously, it raised my body temperature, about three or four degrees just from reading it. You can pre order Cosmos fantasy sex games, wherever you get your books, but I’ll put a special amazon link in the show notes. Disclaimer, if you order through this link, I do get a small percentage of the sale like a very, very small percentage of the sale, but I’m just trying to make it easy for you to get this book. So that’s the scoop for today’s episode. Hit me up on the socials at damona Hoffman. I’d love to know what you learned from today’s episode, or hear what your questions are for a future episode. We’ll be back again next week with more hot dates and mates content but in the meantime, make sure you watch the Drew Barrymore show I will be on this Wednesday, September 30. So check your local listings for when you can catch the show. Until next week. I wish you happy dating


Transcribed by


WHOREible Decisions & Cat Guys


Our guest for today felt like the world would have to end to meet her match. But she’s gone from dating married men and loving her single life to a happy committed relationship… and all it took was a global pandemic to get her there.

Today we’re talking with Mandii B – WHOREible Decisions co-host and multimedia star – about her unexpected journey in love. 

Sit tight ladies and gents, this episode is going to be a FUN one – but a little on the raunchy side. So if your kids are in the car make them do earmuffs or better yet, listen to us later.

There will be some Fbombs, there will be adult talk, but there will also be some intriguing advice and hardcore humor.

First Damona eases you into this show with the dish:


Can you ever truly get over your first love?

According to experts quoted by Elite Daily, there are many psychological reasons that it’s hard to let go of your first love. Damona explains just exactly why and tells you what you have to do to get them off your mind once and for all.


What’s really going on between the White House sheets?

According to body language experts, Melania is more than unhappy in her marriage to President Donald Trump. Damona breaks it down.


Should you date a dude with a cat?

News for cat dudes: A new study shows that women have a tendency to rate men who post dating profile pictures with their cat as less desirable. There are limitations to the study, but still, it gives us pause.



WHOREible Decisions (11:00)

Today Damona sits down with Mandii B aka FullCourtPumps on IG – corporate business boss babe turned into podcast star and entrepreneur! She is one of my favorite women in podcasting. You might have heard me on an episode of her podcast – Whoreible decisions – which she hosts with her friend Weezy.

Mandii is THE ultimate career woman. She’s leveraged her corporate background into one of the most successful podcast careers in the game.

Now she’s here to give us an update on her love life in the time of Corona.

We discuss:

  • Professional women who boss up in their relationships
  • What does it mean to be dominant in your relationship?
  • Dominant women dating dominant men
  • Dating married men
  • It took the end of the world for her to find her perfect relationship

Did you LOVE Mandii as much as we do? Make sure to follow her on all the socials @fullcourtpumps and check out all her podcast projects!


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

  • G – He wants me to be more dominant in the bedroom. I don’t even know where to start?
  • Isaac IG – How should older virgins (25+) go about navigating dating in this pandemic?



Damona 0:00
Hello lovers, I have a special announcement for those of you looking for love. I will be doing a free webinar on Wednesday September 2, all about how to find love in the new normal. Yes, it is possible to meet your match in the middle of a pandemic. And yes, cuffing season is coming and yes, I have the secret to dating and I will share it with you. Why not join me so you know what to do to get out of the dating rat race. You can register for free at the dating again, that’s th e dating and you can join me live virtual style for my presentation on how to find love in the new normal and so that you can get your questions answered directly by me. It goes live on September 2 I hope you’ll join me

Unknown Speaker 0:55
is a tale as old as time he’s handsome debonair. She’s pretty and sweet. They lock eyes across the room.

Damona 1:05
Okay, hold on. Honey, you need to get your facts straight. Finding love today is more like Greece posts to get

Unknown Speaker 1:15
somebody to share my life. What is this text me? Maybe he’s just not that into me

Unknown Speaker 1:19
or even I have told all my hoes I got a man I know y’all cheat on your wives, but I’m not gonna cheat on my boyfriend. So I’ll let you know what I’m saying. Okay, you can

Damona 1:26
keep waiting for the fairy tale, or you can get on board with the new rules of relationships. If you’ve read my advice in the LA Times, then you know, this ain’t your mama’s love advice. This is dates and mates with damona Hoffman. Hello lovers, what would it take for you to find love? My guest for today felt like the world would have to end to meet her match. But she’s gone from dating married men and loving her single life to a happy, committed relationship. All it took was a global pandemic to get there. Today we’re talking with Mandy be co host of the hit podcast, horrible decisions and multimedia star about her Unexpected Journey in love. But first, we’ll hit this week’s hot headlines including Can you ever get over your first love? And what’s really going on between the White House sheets according to body language experts, plus, should you date a dude with a cat? Then? At the end of the show, I’ll answer your questions along with Mandy including what to do when your man decides he wants something more in the bedroom and advice for older virgins on navigating the pandemic. Sit tight ladies and gents This episode is going to be a fun one, but a little on the raunchy side. So if your kids are in the car, make them do earmuffs or better yet Listen to us later, there will be some f bombs there will definitely be adult talk. But there will also be some intriguing advice and hardcore humor. First, I’ll ease you into the show with a dish these dating dish.

Elite daily asks, Can you ever get over your first love? Oh, we’ve all had that that first romance those first butterflies. And thanks to the wonders of social media, you can relive them again and again, if you don’t get yourself blocked. Why is it so hard to move on from a first love? Well, for many, it’s the first time that you’ve ever really gotten to be yourself that you’ve stepped out outside of your your home nest and came into your own in the context of a relationship. But according to experts, there are some ways that you can move on from these adolescent or from relationships. You know, it’s funny because one thing they talk about that keeps us tied to the past is thinking about it again and again and again. And I actually have talked on the show about nostalgia, and how effective it is if you’re on a first date to spark feelings of nostalgia and your date to actually create a bonding experience. So asking things like, what did you do for summers growing up? Instead of just being like, hey, how’s your job? Or something like that? Just imagine, like, even me just saying, what did you do for summers growing up, probably made you transported you back to another place. And even if I didn’t have the exact same experience, I can almost connect with you just by thinking about what I did for my summers growing up. But nostalgia. If you’re thinking about a past relationship, it actually can be really dangerous, because there’s this phenomenon that experts refer to as Pollyanna syndrome, and you’re only focusing on positive relationship memory so you don’t forget Get all the fights. You don’t forget the time they lied to you or cheated on you. Well, maybe you remember the cheated, cheating, but you’re not thinking about all of the negative things, all of the friction points in the relationship, you’re you’re taking the Pollyanna approach, and you’re looking at only the optimistic side of the relationship. So how do we fix it? How do we get over that love of the first person we fell for? Well, in this article, this elite daily article, they quoted a couple of doctors doctor, which suggests that getting to the bottom of why you’re having trouble moving forward is really the, at the crux of being able to do that. So you have to ask yourself questions like, how lovable do I feel? And if I don’t feel lovable, what’s getting in the way? And Dr. Wish says until you can really get over that. You won’t be able to move on and when you can get to why didn’t I feel whole or enough from in myself without that relationship? You might have a big life change ahead of you. And it could be something that would make you even more happy than a relationship but certainly more happy than romanticizing the past. Also, Dr. manly quote in this article said, by grieving the first love fully accepting that life has taken a different path and moving forward, the psyche is then open to new possibilities. Obviously, this is a long journey if you’re still thinking about your first love, but you have to take the first step. One person who’s clearly not thinking at all about his first love is Donald Trump. He’s now on wife number three milania, our First Lady of the United States of America, and Nicole Moore, a body language expert has analyzed their relationship. And she tells us according to interview clips and photographs and everything that she’s seen that milania did love Donald at one point, but may not be in love so much anymore. She looked at an interview That milania did in Barbara Walters, I think back in 2015. And she said that the energy of milania changed when she talked about how they first met, going back to the first love and then nostalgia factor, right. She lit up when she was talking about when she first met Donald. But she didn’t seem to be so thrilled about Donald’s presidency. And now, now that she’s in it, she she really doesn’t seem to be so thrilled. And she said she encouraged him to run for president. But according to body language experts and the clues that she’s giving, she may have been lying when she said that. There were also interviews where they asked what

There was also an interview where she was asked point blank if she loved her husband, and you know what she said? She said, Yes, we are fine. That just made me I don’t I’m not a body language expert, but I’m not I don’t think you need one to know that saying yes, we are fine and this is in relation to all of the the affair reports that have come out against Donald to just say yes we are fine is not really answering the question like are you in love with your husband still, so that gives me a little bit of concern. But nothing more so than watching their inauguration first dance. Y’all. I just watched this for the first time. And it is the most cringe worthy moment that I have ever seen. I mean, worse than a middle school dad’s terrible and it’s not even the fact that neither of them could dance and I kept thinking maybe her dress is just too tight. You know when you wear like the, the kind of pencil skirt and and I was like No, there’s plenty of room in that dress for her. Her to dance but she keeps turning her head away. And they’re looking at the crowd and they clearly were the most awkward that they have ever been in the relationship. But now looking at the way that they’re photographed together, he’s definitely taking the lead. He always walks in front of her. I don’t know if you’ve noticed that he always walks in front of her, and he often will initiate conversation. And he, of course will often speak on her behalf. So I can’t predict the future. But I would say based on body language, they have gone through an entire entire lifespan of the relationship. While going through the lifespan of this presidency. I’ll let you check it out. on the list, we’ll put the link to this analysis in the show notes. If you are a fellow looking for love, you might want to think twice about posting a photo with your cat in your dating profile. There was an interesting study that looked at pictures of men themselves and then men holding cats and it turns out she Docker you guys. Turns out that men who are holding cats in photograph seem less masculine, more neurotic and ultimately less dateable. I don’t know why it is that cats gets such a bad rap. But there is something sort of weird about looking at a photo of a super masculine man holding up little fluffy cat. And I really don’t mean to be gender normative or hetero normative or, or feline normative or any of that, but it is sort of funny and people have asked me before do you put your pets in your profile? Do you put cats do you put dogs? Actually, according to the study women who said that they were dog people were the ones that ranked these men, so unfavorably the most unfavorably. So I would say it’s a bit of a gamble. I mean, maybe if your cat is super important in your life, and it’s like Love me love my cat or ever Then I would put it but otherwise you might want to save the cat for the second date. Those are the headlines of this week when we come back. I am going to be with Mandy B aka, full core pumps on IE, she is going to be here talking about her Unexpected Journey and love. She’s also going to dish out a little bit of love and sex advice. And I’m telling you, it’s going to get hot and heavy. So if you’re bothered by some colorful language, this might not be the episode for you. But if you’re up for some fun, definitely keep listening. Welcome back. I’m here with Mandy be also known as full court pumps on Instagram. She’s a corporate business boss babe turned into a podcast star and entrepreneur. She is one of my favorite women in podcasting. You might have heard me on an episode of her podcast horrible decisions, which she hosts with her friend weezy now she’s here to give us an update on her love life in the time of Corona please help me give a big smooches to Mandy

Unknown Speaker 12:09
Hey guys

Damona 12:12
I’m trying to get you on this

Unknown Speaker 12:15
time right it does

Damona 12:16
yes and then when I was on horrible decisions I don’t know if you remember but we talked about doing your dating profile we

Unknown Speaker 12:23
did we did and girl it is unnecessary at this moment

Unknown Speaker 12:30
so what you got to boot up I

Unknown Speaker 12:32
wound up in quarantine of apparently it took the world to end for me to actually find someone I liked. Um so we actually met in the most pandemic fashion possible we met on zoom like

Damona 12:48
what we actually were Yeah,

Unknown Speaker 12:50
we met on zoom through a mutual friend. And literally two days after that, like we exchanged numbers in the in the chat on zoom because he doesn’t Now wait, wait, wait, wait, wait.

Damona 13:01
It was like Was it a group like a group zoom party?

Unknown Speaker 13:04
It wasn’t even a group party. No, like a friend of mine was trying to start a podcast. And so he was like, Oh, yeah, well, I think I won’t have my boy on it. So get on and like we got on. I was like, Oh, he kind of fine. And so even started flirting. And then I gave him my contact in the chat because he doesn’t have social media. And we literally went hiking Two days later, and I’ve been inseparable since so. Oh, I know. Right.

Damona 13:34
I love hearing this story. And I’m sure my listeners are sitting there going. Okay, well, that worked for Mandy, but how’s that gonna work for me? Do you have any tips on how you like what was going through your head and how you made it work? Was he

Unknown Speaker 13:51
he was just so fine. And so I was like flirting with him calling him Teddy Riley because he couldn’t get his sound right. So I was just like, I was Pretty much what I mean. And then, um, he like he’s very tall. I like tall men. So as girls do when we flirt, we joke and kind of like to me, I like to really crack jokes. So I was like, hey, so is your head just really big? Or are you a tall person over there? Because, you know, I’m looking at him through a box. And he looks like a huge, a huge guy. But he could have also just had a huge as head on a little body. I don’t know. So when he told me his height, I was like, Well, hello there. How are you? kept flirting? And I’m, like I said, I mean, it happened the same way. I guess you would flirt on a dating app. Like I said, I know we talked about that last time and how to go about like, starting the conversation and letting it know up front what you want. And I think when we exchanged contacts, I didn’t really know what I wanted. It’s funny because as soon as I met him, I was like, Yeah, I just need you know, Dick once a week. I don’t really want to see you that much. I don’t really like People a long time and I just wouldn’t do all these things on on how emotionally unattached I normally am with men and so that I just wanted this. And literally everything I said in the first day is out the window with how I’ve been with him. So

Damona 15:16
do you think he wanted a challenge? Do you think saying those things made him be like, I’m gonna just I don’t even know

Unknown Speaker 15:23
how much of a challenge it was girl I thought as soon as we got back from hiking, so, I mean, there wasn’t much of a challenge. I would say, first day, first day, I mean, I was shit at that point, like three and a half months with no action because of quarantine. And so I was just like, you know, to hell with it. And literally, we ended up seeing each other every day for two months after that. And, and what are his feelings on pegging? Oh, yeah, go for it. It’s so crazy. Yeah, it’s so crazy because he is so dominant. And so for your listeners who may not know I am you bringing up pegging? I guess I’ll open up a little bit here audience. So I am very dominant in the bedroom. I’m very dominant. Like, I’m the type of woman that when I go out to eat even on a date, I’m ordering for the man. So once I know what he wants, when the waiter comes, the man normally doesn’t talk at all. He’ll take this, he’ll take this and I’ll take this. And I’m literally normally that dominant. And so with him, No, ma’am. It I’m in the most submissive state that I think I’ve ever been with a partner. And it’s crazy, because I’ve actually gotten him to like, open up and we go to like the nude beach here in it. Well, it’s in Jersey. And what Wait, what there’s a new jersey shore? Yeah. Well, Cindy gunnison. And it’s funny because I was talking to my friend GLAMAZON tile me shout out to her, and I was like, oh my god. I’m so submissive. He doesn’t let me be dominant. And what’s crazy is he opened up he was like, actually When we go to the beach, and when you bring me to places, that’s you in a dominant state, he was like, I’m literally allowing you to take me into the spaces that you feel comfortable in. And he was like, so I’m vulnerable in that state, like all of these new places and new things that you’re showing me. That’s a form of me allowing your dominance as well. And I was like, Oh, you just go worse. I’m talking about the bedroom. But no, it was. So like, I think that he actually does feel a sense of vulnerability and submissiveness when he allows me to kind of take the lead. So you know, there’s a balance.

Damona 17:36
Yeah, it’s nice. That’s actually that’s a, you said in a very raw way. That’s really beautiful. That’s really beautiful that you can allow him to be vulnerable in his way and that you can be you can find your vulnerability as well. I imagine it must be a little different, too, because he came in knowing that you had this podcast horrible decision.

Unknown Speaker 17:57
Not really and no,

Unknown Speaker 17:58
no, no.

Unknown Speaker 18:00
He didn’t know until the end of the cabinet gonna hold him, literally. So what’s crazy is he knew of the podcasts. And the only reason he knew of the podcast was because he was like, yeah, so I was in Jamaica, and I went on Google and found the podcast. And I was like, sir, you’re not slick. You. If you were looking while you were in Jamaica, you came across our hedonism episode. hedonism is the swingers resort in Jamaica. So I was like, Oh, you bought that life, huh? And so I kind of open it. But yes, he actually saw that episode and thought I was approved. He was like, Oh, so y’all didn’t even have sex there. Like he was like, I watched the whole episode and I thought both of y’all just weren’t as freaky as y’all. Y’all made it out to be. So yeah, he Wow.

Damona 18:47
That was I think you found the right guy. I think you found that guy and girl. But on the show, you really talk in a in a very, in a very open way about sex about Gender roles about sexuality, gender identity, all that stuff. And I think it must have been, what was that moment? Because you also came from a corporate? Yes. You and weezy, right? Yes. And here you are doing this very. If I may say kind of x rated podcast, right. While you’re also still working your corporate job for a while. Yeah, I mean, now this is your thing is

Unknown Speaker 19:25
my main job now. I mean, of course, I did feel like I was living two different lives. I mean, I’m sure they thought I was sick as hell because I would have to leave work to go to the studio and I was like, Oh, my God, I have a doctor’s appointment. So I don’t know how many times I use doctor’s appointment while I was at work, but I was like,

Damona 19:41
you were knocked out. That’s why I do I’m gonna

Unknown Speaker 19:44
count. I was an accountant for a big four firm. So like during tax season, I’m in the office till two o’clock in the morning. But like if I had to go to the studio, I was like, oh, tonight can’t be one of those nights I stay late. And they definitely you know, pin that against me especially in review time because They thought I wasn’t saying as late as I should have been. Um, but what’s crazy, I think that that’s where our audience grew as well, just because I worked corporate just because I have two degrees just because, you know, I’m in that kind of conservative setting as well. You know, I could even show my tattoos. I think that a lot of our audience resonated because when they go home, they suck dick to you know what I mean? On the weekends, they’re going out, and they’re hoping for a one night stand after they go to the club and meet a guy that, you know, puts them into a pretzel. So it’s, it’s, it’s funny because you call it x rated. But really, we just talk about, literally sex in a way that I think a lot of people are ashamed of saying, but we all do these things. You know what I mean? I mean, is everyone pegging? No. But I was

Unknown Speaker 20:53
like, I don’t know. Maybe I don’t know.

Unknown Speaker 20:57
But you know, like, even though

Damona 20:58
it’s aspirational in a way

Unknown Speaker 21:00
Yeah, there we go. Like a lot of people say they literally live their lives through hearing our stories. And I love that. And I mean, even when we were on tour, people were saying we change their relationships, because now they found ways to communicate with their partners. And even if both of them just listened to the episode, we talked about topics that maybe you wouldn’t even think to bring up to your partner. But because you’re listening you could just literally blame us if you want to peg your man. Just be like, Hey, I heard this crazy shit on this podcast. What are your thoughts? And then now you have the conversation open to that you know?

Damona 21:33
Yeah, and you you make it so fun the dynamic between the two of you is just so honest your friends before he started the podcast, right?

Unknown Speaker 21:41
No, yeah, like so we’ve known each other since we went Didn’t she

Damona 21:45
go to it like a guy no appointment with

Unknown Speaker 21:47
me. So that was actually upon us like getting back into good graces we actually became, we started off actually as enemies because I dated her ex This is mind you 15 years old, so doesn’t really count. It’s a boyfriend. That never counted. And so we ended up being becoming friends around 1516. And we have a wild crazy traveling party liquor infused just rock star type of friendship up and through about 20 years old. And then we stopped being friends for about five years, somehow prior to the legal. We were definitely under age drinking, absolutely with fake IDs and all. But say like, we ended up parting ways for about five years. And just the way the universe has things set up. She ended up in New York A few years after I moved here. And so a lot of our mutual friends were just like, Oh, we these moving to New York, you guys should meet up, you know, at this point. Now, we’re 2526 years old. A lot of things have changed. We’re both now you know, I’m in college, literally working at Goldman Sachs at the time, she’s you know, upping the ranks in her tech job and so We were like, Okay, let’s try this again, literally a month. Within rekindling, we ended up in the studio and started horrible decisions. And here we are three and a half years later

Unknown Speaker 23:11
doing this full time story. Yeah.

Damona 23:14
And you’ve been through a lot of changes even personally through the course of doing the show. And you’ve always been very body positive. Yes. You know, you share bikini shots on Instagram.

Unknown Speaker 23:28
I think at this point, I own a goddamn bikini line.

Unknown Speaker 23:32
I mean, you wouldn’t think I live in New York.

Unknown Speaker 23:35
You see me in a bikini. Right? I know. Right?

Damona 23:39
Right. Right. But also your body has changed during that time. So you and you actually had surgery. Yes,

Unknown Speaker 23:46
I had you had the so I had the gastric sleeve. VSG it’s the vertical sleeve. So basically, they took out 80% of my stomach. And this isn’t to be confused with life. Whoa, this is literally my organ my stomach went from literally the size of a flattened football to a to a golf ball. And so it’s pretty much a forced portion control as far as food is concerned, and literally the first three months of it was like a liquid only than soft food only then blended food only because my stomach was stapled shut. And so yeah, literally within a year and a half, I went to my peak of about 230 pounds, all the way down to about 155. So about 80 pounds. And I mean, also to put into perspective as well. I’m five foot one. So 230 pounds on someone who’s five one, you know, is is kind of a lot and so there was a lot as far as how I felt in the bedroom. I felt like my partner’s had a lot to say. There were a lot of uncomfortable conversations as well. Where you’re saying before you had

Damona 25:01
this? Yeah.

Unknown Speaker 25:03
Well, even with people knowing about my surgery like I mean, at one point, when I started losing weight, my my lovers at the time because I had multiple, they were like, Oh, we gotta we gotta get you some food. They actually liked my way I had other men that was like, Oh, well let me let me have sex with you before the weight loss. And what’s crazy is there’s there’s such shame and stigma surrounding bigger women in dating, not only for men, but women as well. And what’s crazy is a lot of these men did not want me to lose these pounds. But also, you know, there’s stigma and if we get into the talks about how they view lizzo and how they view a lot of just bigger girls in the industry, we almost come across as we’re not the type of people that men would fuck, essentially. And what’s crazy is I feel like I was getting way more men when I look bigger. Not gonna lie. To me now you just got that one. I do. Just have And I’d never thought that I’d be the one to be like, like I’ve always said that I need a boyfriend who’s gonna let me keep all my hopes. And I literally have told on my hose now like, Hey, I got a man. I know y’all cheat on your wives, but I’m not gonna cheat on my boyfriend. So I’ll let you know what I’m saying again.

Damona 26:19
Oh, wait a minute, you just you just here we go. You just dropped something there that I have to pick up. So So you’ve been the other woman? A lot? A lot. What at? What does that feel like for you?

Unknown Speaker 26:35
I’ve started thinking about it psychologically, as to why I prefer these relationships. And I mean, for anyone listening who’s married, they’re just probably going to be like, Oh, fuck, whatever you have to say about this. Like, you’re an awful woman to do so. But I’ll be honest, I feel like if it’s not me, it’ll be someone else. First off. Secondly, I don’t go into it. with malice, I don’t go into it wanting to steal away this man from their wives. I honestly normally don’t know the wives name, the birthday, their relationship, we don’t talk about it. But I’ve gotten into more thinking as to why I like these relationships. And here’s, here’s the fact of the matter. When dating a married man, I can be 100% myself, when dating while being single. I think as a woman, you lose yourself because you’re trying to be wiped or cuffed or become the girlfriend. And a lot of times you go about doing things, thinking, This is what I need to do in order to become a wife with this man. So I’m going to change who I am to do so in the relationships that I have with these married men. It’s been just the most honest and organic relationship because I know exactly what they want out of me and, and vice versa. And so we’re able to be honest, the lies that you would normally Tell somebody that you’re trying to pursue don’t have to be there. Because clearly there’s another woman. And so it’s honestly just become some of my most honest and fulfilling relationships over the last decade.

Damona 28:12
And you’re really living in the moment and those really you

Unknown Speaker 28:14
are and you can just say, Mr. Chair, so whatever stress they’re having, as far as you know, the financials of a marriage or being parents in a marriage, when I’m with them, and they’re with me, it’s, it’s not really a thing. And I will be honest, too, like, I’ve benefited financially through those relationships. I’m not getting them, you know, just to say, Hey, I have a married boyfriend, husband, whatever. No, like normally it’s, it’s financially beneficial to me. And it is, I guess, emotionally. You know, an advantage for them. And it’s just, it’s just fun. I mean, I’ve enjoyed it and they’ve looked out for me more than anyone has I just, like knowing what I’m getting into and I think with dating and being single you It’s all up in the fucking air

Damona 29:02
is but you must have had some experiences. so crazy experiences with the wife finding out or stalking you or whatever. No, never. Um,

Unknown Speaker 29:13
I’ve had one that’s like so they’ve all told me that they’ve been questioned about me. But I’m a friend. And they’re that. So like, it’ll go to where maybe we just make sure we don’t look like we’re in the same cities at certain times on social media wise, but other than that, like no, it’s never been like a difficult thing. I’ve never called the house. I’ve never made it awkward.

Damona 29:41

Unknown Speaker 29:42
Okay, well as a wife, I don’t know that. I know. I know.

Damona 29:45
I don’t know I can cosign on that. But maybe you should do like a class for the women that do.

Unknown Speaker 29:51
You also have a new podcast. You may not know busy busy, and this is only two I have a third one dropping in two weeks. So I

Damona 30:00
So the new one I was talking about is period. Yes. And tell us about what that is. So

Unknown Speaker 30:07
I think with the three and a half years that we’ve been doing a horrible, a part of horrible that I love although Yes, we talk about all of the nasty, kinky things involving sex. I really enjoy learning about just the body, psychologically how things happen. We’ve had a lot of experts come on, and I just love hearing stories about how other people maneuver their lives and and you know, so with period says, I wanted a platform to focus on women. I am I have so many home girls, and I actually blame them as to why I’ve been single so long. Because when I have free time, I just want to hang around my home girls, I love my friends. And I mean, of course, we always talk about so many different things. And it’s just crazy that so many women experienced so many different things. And people just assume that we all go through the same course in life and, and and I’m just like not at all. And so I started period CES to go into just all of the things that women go through. So some of the topics include pcls, infertility, trying to conceive after birth control, breastfeeding, single parenting, co parenting, I’m doing one on body positivity, of course and loving your curves I talked about. I talked with my friend Latasha about loving her dark skin and her coarse hair, and how society has deemed those features to be not beautiful. And so literally just opening the dialogue with so many women on on how they live through life and it’s, it’s so rewarding. I just, it’s been so fulfilling and recording and getting that content out there.

Damona 31:50
I’m so glad that you’re doing it. Yeah. I and I love that you have found love since the last time that we had a hand in that Mandy But I think it’s really exciting to just see all the changes that have happened in all of these changes happening through quarantine. I was gonna say

Unknown Speaker 32:09
for the, for me to find happiness Jesus, right, but

Damona 32:13
you know what it did it. It caused us to flip our perspective

Unknown Speaker 32:17
and currency and I got a fucking cat because I was so lonely. Okay, so

Unknown Speaker 32:21
you got a cat, you got a boyfriend, you got two

Unknown Speaker 32:24
podcasts and I actually see boxes behind here I actually, quarantine allowed me to sit my ass down and I was like, there’s no reason why I still don’t have a product. And so I am actually also periods. This is a part of the official box owner brand and it’s a subscription box that focuses on bringing women own and black owned feminine hygiene and sexual wellness products to your front door. And so I’m partnering with a lot of brands who may not have the the capacity to get on shelves, or be in Target or Walmart. Finding a way to help bring those brands into your home.

Damona 33:04
That is so exciting. I am definitely gonna get my boss

Unknown Speaker 33:07

Damona 33:08
and when you come out with that bikini line, right, you let

Unknown Speaker 33:11
me know.

Damona 33:13
Alright, we’re gonna take a short break, but I want you to stick around because we have a lot of questions that are more in the horrible, horrible decisions kind of category. Data meets category and you are the woman to answer those. d damona. Help me. We are back with Mandy from horrible decisions. And Mandy Yes, let’s do it. Love your advice. So let’s help some ladies and some Jen. I love that. Get their loving in quarantine. This one comes to us from Gina on Twitter. She says he wants me to be more dominant in the bedroom. I don’t even know where to start. Mandy How can Gina become a boss?

Unknown Speaker 33:56
Oh Boss Lady. I mean dominance is different for A lot of people, to me, it’s what it’s putting them in a vulnerable state, which is probably why I like the pegging in the booty play so much, because those are normally no go places to go. I mean, I think something up, the way to dominate, I think would be as easy as starting with a massage. Maybe blindfolding them, adding some different toys and layers into the bedroom. But you literally being like, hey, tonight, we’re going to try something new. That’s the way to be dominant, because now you’re taking lead. And it’s literally that simple. You say? Yes. Yes, that simple. So you taking the lead in the bedroom, and being like, hey, I want to introduce you to something new. And we talked about that earlier. Literally just being the person to lead allows you to have that dominance. And so it can be something as simple as that and now you’ve opened the, you know, conversation to maybe he wants to try something else and you take that lead and introduce them to those things.

Damona 35:00
Yeah, I love that. And I also read a study about how people are more open to trying new things during the pandemic. Now, it’s like, yeah.

Unknown Speaker 35:13
They’re like, wait, I realized there’s a few things I want to try before I leave this earth. That’s why

Damona 35:19
I also bored. Like, if you’re at home all the time, and you’re there with your partner all the time, you’re just like, well, we might as well do something out and

Unknown Speaker 35:26
try some new things in quarantine. And I didn’t even think there was anything new for me to try. So yes, I think it is wrong. I think the world Yes, but yes, please like,

Damona 35:37
She’s also already in a relationship. And I think a relationship should be based around trust and you should be able to try new things and know like, what’s the worst that’s gonna happen? Right? I mean, maybe a trip to the hospital, I don’t know. Right? But if you’re with your partner, he there shouldn’t be any shame or embarrassment or grief. There’s somebody that you really trust and can open up to. Okay, I have another one for you from Isaac on instant He says, How should older versions 25 plus go about navigating dating in this pandemic?

Unknown Speaker 36:08
Well, the way I lost my virginity at 16 I don’t even I don’t know how to really help with that, um, to me.

Unknown Speaker 36:18
To me, I mean, I guess you could maybe talk about maybe talk more to the dating profile in it. Um, you being a virgin, I think has more to do with maybe you wanting that emotional or whatever type of attraction outside of sexual. And so, I don’t know, I would say to just bring up that conversation. I still think maybe he’s looking for something more serious before he loses it. And to me and quarantine actually, now is the best time because people are sitting the fuck down. So you probably actually have more time to get to know somebody before diving into sex.

Damona 36:52
Yeah, you have to get over that covid hurdle of is this person right? safe to even be around to even be around right and then once you’re in You’re in no pun

Unknown Speaker 37:03
intended I want intended

Damona 37:05
no intended intended. Um, I will say I feel like when I was ready I was just like, let’s just let’s just get it done. And we put so much emphasis on the first time especially as you get older you start thinking like it has to be a certain thing it has to be really special and it has to be candlelight and magic and sometimes you just need to you know, I’m now I’m speaking to women but you know, Papa cherry and get it done and then move on tonight

Unknown Speaker 37:36
just talks about this. I don’t think I realized how much bad sex I was getting until I actually realized Okay, more about myself and experiencing good sex. And what’s crazy is I talked about even because I lost my eight my virginity, as you know, in my teens, I realize how quick my body count added up to because I was Looking for that hi that loving basketball first time moment that made me feel special and actually felt good. And the first couple times you have sex, you’re gonna be like, this is it? This is the Big Bang Really? And so yeah, it’s I mean, to me I think if you’re a virgin it’s also to me at this age smart for you to figure out what you enjoy. Do you like your balls played with? Do you want some math play and really start exploring yourself so that you are able to communicate with your partner the things that you’re gonna like?

Damona 38:32
sales of toys are up in nature and there’s maybe your third business there’s a third Oh my god. This quarantine keeps going on just like

Unknown Speaker 38:43
the at home toys buyer. We go.

Damona 38:44
Oh, ideas, ideas, that one’s for you. Okay, one last question before you have to go Mandy this one. I think this one came to us in an email Leo Tell me later and I’ll do a pickup. This person says what if you find someone that you would like to see Dark a committed physical relationship with how do you navigate and set safety agreements. You just went through this Oh, and slept with them on the

Unknown Speaker 39:08
first year. You know what I mean? Um, but it’s hard. You know, he was COVID free. Well, how did you know his status? He wasn’t coughing. I don’t know. I mean,

Unknown Speaker 39:18
honestly, I mean, I would hope I mean, this is I mean, giving the human species way too much credit. But I would hope that it’s something to where if you don’t feel well, you know, just not to bring your ass around people. And again, that’s probably giving people way too much credit. Because we have seen a lot of people just pretty much out in the open like, Yeah, I got COVID but I wanted to go to the beach. There are those selfish individuals. But I think it’s funny. You’ll know if that person is the right person for you. There was a person that I had been having sex with, I think we talked about him. I had been bugging him for seven years. The guy 24 seven, who’s no longer in the picture. It was there in Quincy. And we ended up reaching out to each other. And he actually was offended that I asked him if he had any symptoms or was COVID free or had tested positive. And he made it seem like I was asking him if he had HIV. Now this was early on, this was like, in March or April, like right in the midst locked down, but it’s like, he got offended that I asked him if he was healthy. And so I think that you opening that, that dialogue with whoever you’re wanting to seek that physical interaction with? You need to make it to where you guys can not only talk about COVID in this space, but hey, are you fucking anyone else Ross Should I know like, you know, when was the last time you got tested? I think that this actually opens up the dialogue to the important questions. If you’re going to go forward with having sex with someone and literally open up about all things you get tested for everything. You know what I mean? I just

Damona 40:50
think it’s a it’s an open that up. Yeah. What about though going forward into the relationship now you’re a little ways into it. Is it an ongoing agreement that If you are bringing someone into your bubble, that they’re not going out and going to parties or having a different risk level than you Oh,

Unknown Speaker 41:07
I mean, I’m not gonna hold you my man didn’t pretty much asked me if I was chasing Corona. Because I’ve been on I mean, I’ve been to Atlanta twice. I’ve been to Florida, I’ve been to LA. And so you just figure out where Corona is poppin

Unknown Speaker 41:21
and then, you know, that’s,

Unknown Speaker 41:24
like, so you just want to go to all the epicenters. Hmm. And, um, to me, it’s and that’s why like, even when I go to those places, I’m not going to a Hookah Bar, I’m not going to clubs, I am being around my friends. Even when I was just in LA, my home girl was like, I don’t feel too well. And I said, Well, I love you, but Honey, I’m not gonna see you. Like, if you’re not feeling well. This is not the time to be around your friends with a cold or anything you know. And honestly, just getting tested, like I’m scheduled to get tested next week. Just so that he knows my results and just so that we can like be on top of it and Yeah, again, it’s the conversation you have to at the end of the day, we’re all not living in our own little bubbles anymore. People are back to work. People are back eating out, they’re at the gyms. I mean gyms opened up here in New York this week. So, wow.

Unknown Speaker 42:14
Yeah, I mean, it’s

Unknown Speaker 42:16
a lot of kids are back to school, you have to realize this bubble that we were living in maybe in April and May. It’s kind of bursted and so you just have to be do your due diligence, wear your masks, do your hand sanitizer, and if you don’t feel well stay away from people until you get tested.

Damona 42:34
There you have it take responsibility for your life and those around you take control of your sexuality and what you need in the bedroom to and definitely definitely check out horrible decisions. And oh, periods. Yes, definitely check out periences and you’ll let us know when these new prod these this new buy.

Unknown Speaker 42:55
Box is dropping in September. So in the next couple of weeks The website will launch anyone can can join up for the subscription or the mailing list. It’ll have a newsletter component to it as well. And again every Monday, if you’re not, you know if you actually like this little raspy voice that you just listened to for the last hours, though, it’s we I released both shows on Mondays so you can listen to horrible decisions and get your kink in comedy. And then head over to period sis and get some edutainment tales of womanhood.

Damona 43:30
I love it. I love it. Make sure you follow make sure you follow me on Instagram, every little court pump and Mandy even though I didn’t get a chance to do your dating profile, I got a man now girl. I’m so happy that you found love and continue to track your journey and hopefully you can come back on dates and mates and tell us more. Yes,

Unknown Speaker 43:51
thank you so much for having me.

Damona 43:53
This has been Episode 325 of dates and maids. You can follow Mandy on all of the social At full court pumps, we’ll put the link in the show notes, of course, but make sure you stay tuned on all of her latest updates. There is definitely some tea coming down the pike. So you’re going to want to know what’s happening with Mandy because she has big news to share, and just a few weeks, and as always, we will give you a shortcut to today’s headline articles and the best gifts in the game. On the show, recap at dates and Don’t forget that registration is now open for my free webinar that’s happening this Wednesday on September 2, so don’t miss out. Sign up at the dating again, th e dating and I will share the secret with you. In the meantime, hit me up on your favorite social platform at damona Hoffman. DM me, let me know what you liked from this week’s episode. And let me know what questions you have that I could answer on a future show. We We’ll be back again next week with a deep dive on dating app algorithms to kick off your labor day. Until then, I wish you happy dating

Transcribed by

Date of the Union & The Entanglement


This week we’re answering the question: Can you date today? Or can all we hope for is just a summer “entanglement?”

Damona gives a “Date of the Union Address” devoted to helping you understand the current dating and entanglement landscape plus get you up to speed on the top headlines that we missed during the Love Lessons special series.

First up, we do the dish with Damona’s co-host for the day, Steve Barnes:


Will and Jada and The Big “Entanglement”

We know you’ve heard about Will and Jada… plus August. But we still have questions: Was this “entanglement” staged? Do Will and Jada have an open relationship? Damona and Steve have some experience with Will and Jada that might change your mind of some of these questions…


Royally Screwed

So Princess Beatrice’s wedding didn’t go as planned. Not only did COVID completely cut the guest list down to 100 and push it back… her dad’s entanglement in the Epstein case also cast a shadow on a day. Damona and Steve discuss.


Once and For All: What makes a great relationship

Samantha Joel et al of Western University in London, Ontario have completed the most comprehensive and successful study to answer the question, “what makes a great relationship?” According to Joel, the partnership you build is more important than the partner you pick. Read CNN’s full article here!



We are joined by fan-favorite dating coach Francesca Hogi! You’ve heard her wonderful advice on the podcast before, but if you’re new here, Franny is a love and life coach for extraordinary people who happen to be single.

Fun Fact: She is the co-host of the podcast Romantical and the host of the podcast Dear Franny: Uncommon Conversations About Love.

She’s here to help Damona to this “Date of The Union Address” right!

We cover:

  • Were dating coaches wrong? Maybe this isn’t the best time to find love?
  • The New Courtship Timeline: dating is slower, but relationships are moving at lightning speed
  • Summer Time Love is Fake
  • The exact steps to take to find love right now
  • Why you should be on two dating platforms – and we tell you which ones those are
  • Why you should be stalking the people you’re interested in

Read Franny’s full list here!


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

  • Danette –Is 2 weeks to soon to start saying “I love you”? I’ve met someone who is working abroad and we have established quite a nice text relationship. He is head over heels for me and keeps telling me he loves me. We haven’t met yet. I have strong feelings for him but this is making me uncomfortable. How do I elegantly ask him to slow down.
  •  Mary – I wanted to know if in your segment on Dating While Social Distancing, do you have recommendations on physical intimacy? What if you find someone that you would like to start a committed physical relationship with? How do you navigate and set safety agreements?

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?

There are three different tiers. One for our loyal listeners who want to connect with others and keep this show going strong for another 7 seasons.

Sign up at for: 

  • an opportunity to work with Damona directly
  • to get quality advice that is tailored to your dating challenges
  • and to become part of a community that will help you find the healthiest, most loving relationships this year



Unknown Speaker 0:00
It’s a tale as old as time. He’s handsome, debonair. She’s pretty and sweet. They lock eyes across the room.

Damona 0:10
Okay, hold on, honey, you need to get your facts straight. Finding love today is more like we supposed to get my swipe. I just want

Unknown Speaker 0:19
somebody to share my life. What

Unknown Speaker 0:20
does this text mean? Maybe he’s just not that into me or even I met him on the street. I know which hospital he worked at. I knew his name is I slid into his DMS

Damona 0:30
on Twitter. You can keep waiting for the fairy tale, or you can get on forward with the new rules of relationships. If you’ve read my advice in the LA Times, then you know, this ain’t your mama’s love advice. This is dates in mates with damona Hoffman,

Unknown Speaker 0:47
members of Congress,

Unknown Speaker 0:49
the President of the United States.

Damona 0:53
Thank you, Madam Speaker. Members of Congress, Madam Vice President lovers, This day marks eight years essentially two terms as you’re leading dating and relationship official. We kicked off the season strong with an interview and coaching demo with the real housewives garcelle Beauvais last week. It was beautiful. It was the very best American dating podcast episode about the best. And now it’s time to address your concerns in a date of the Union Address. All right, in all seriousness, we’re in a challenging time for dating and relationships and everyone needs love now more than ever. So today’s episode is devoted to helping you understand the current dating landscape and getting you up to speed on the top headlines that we missed during the love lessons special series. To do all of this. I have two exciting guests joining me today for updates on the date of the Union. Do you get it data you didn’t get it? Well, I have a fan favorite love coach joining me Francesca hoagie who will give us the exact steps that motivated singles need to take right now if they’re looking to find love. But first, we have the headlines. Of course we missed some huge headlines including will and jaida and the big entanglement and the royal wedding. No the other royal wedding, didn’t you here, plus the latest and most accurate study on what makes a great relationship. Then at the end of the show, Francesca and I will handle your questions including Is it true love or is it a catfish? And when is it safe to get physical with your quarantine crush? Joining me to tackle the headlines of the day is my dear friend Barnes. He’s an actor and producer plus. You may also know him from over 20 years of experience as a radio personality specifically as the host of Atlanta’s number one morning radio show. The morning acts for many years. Now, he’s the host of a hot new podcast called the Pop Culture Show. Along with cmts, Leslie Fram and Kobe Bryant from nycs 106. point seven. Please help me give big smooches to my co host for today, Barnes thank you

Unknown Speaker 3:19
very much good to see you. damona.

Damona 3:21
My friend, I was thinking about who can help me figure out what we missed in the time that we were doing our love lessons and who is always on top of the headlines. And of course, it’s you. Of course we do this every week already on the Pop Culture Show. So why not do it here on dates and mates?

Unknown Speaker 3:40
I’ve listened to your podcast for years you’ve been doing it for so long gratulations on all the success.

Damona 3:45
Thank you. And obviously you are a legend in radio and podcasting. So I’m just honored. You’re here to break down these headlines with us. Are you ready to dish with me Barnes

Unknown Speaker 3:56
I am always ready. Let’s do it.

Damona 4:00
stating dish. Bowsher and everyone in the internet has been talking about will and jayda. This all went down when we were doing our love lessons, but it’s just too important not to talk about, in case you haven’t heard and you’ve been living under a rock jayda had what she calls in entanglement with August alsina. And it turns out it happened during a break when she and we’ll were on a break. So she brought herself and will to the red table to talk this all through. Barnes. I got to know from you. I mean, you’ve been covering pop culture for a long time and there’s been a lot of rumors about willing Yeah,

Unknown Speaker 4:40
for a while. We talked about this in the pop culture show while you’re on vacation. And it what’s weird to me is if you follow all of the clues and all the bread crumbs that have been dropped, first of all on the red table show on Facebook, he called it I believe in a fair or a situation And she quickly corrected him and said entanglement and I think that’s key because August seen us song entanglement was already created made and on the platter ready to come out. It’s very suspicious to me I think something weird is going on with that whole thing even though they have a piece of it and this is just a big Hollywood play. I don’t know what’s happening but all the things said in the song are even Rick Ross is wrapped talking about Will Smith kind of under the lines. It’s strange. Just

Damona 5:32
looking at the read Table Talk episode. I just really felt that will was coming from a very honest place. I feel like the bond between them is so strong that, you know we like to banter about what’s going on. I feel like it is and they’ve been I mean, they’ve been together for what like two

Unknown Speaker 5:53
decades. Come on. You know Hollywood. Something is weird about this whole situation. That August is Seen a coming out with an entanglement song and the way she was so purpose driven in mentioning it during that whole thing with Will I agree with you will seem like he was coming from a very honest place. She, however, was the complete antithesis of that. I felt like she was very fake, and very contrived. And very, she was very flippant with him.

Damona 6:24
I’m just surprised that she was able to keep this a secret while doing red Table Talk for so long. But

Unknown Speaker 6:30
all that aside motion,

Damona 6:32
all promotion, let’s say you’re here, so Hollywood with the pop culture analysis. But let’s say for our listeners who are watching this thinking, Oh, that could be me. I just want to know what your thoughts are on the open relationship situation. Like let’s say it wasn’t even really against the rules of relation, the relationship and they are just in an open relationship. Do you think that we’re going to be seeing more more people coming out and saying The rules of your relationship do not apply to me.

Unknown Speaker 7:03
What legendary for years, they’ve had an open relationship and they’ve had multiple people in and out of it. That’s what people say. They came into our studios one time, she came in one time and was very like, she’s the princess snapping those fingers through the hallways like with her whole, you know, posse following her. And he’s the same way we interviewed Well, a long time ago, and he had like multiple people around him. They’re just very contrived. I feel like they’ve gone on a path to their stardom. And even this open relationship thing could just be something to get people talking. But the August I’ll who is August alsina. I mean, Where did he come from? See all of a sudden he’s being talked about.

Damona 7:44
So what is it? Clearly they understand it, they’re pulling all the strings and yes, we are just talking about it. And yes, we’re going to probably buy that.

Unknown Speaker 7:53
But that read the table. Once again, 15 million or something or more views

Damona 7:59
barn’s Let me tell you though. That show is so good. I mean, we could talk about that all day. But you mentioned that she came in like the princess. There was news about an actual princess that happened while we were in the love lesson sessions as well. Princess Beatrice finally got married on July 17.

Unknown Speaker 8:17
This is great

Damona 8:18
delicious snack, Edoardo mapelli mazzi. And she had to keep changing her plans like it seemed like everybody else was just conspiring against her wedding. You may remember back in the fall there when all the Epstein drama was happening. Prince Andrew just fully put his foot in his mouth and they were like, okay, can’t get married now because obviously people are going to be talking about that. And then COVID happens. And so you know, here all of her cousins get these lavish weddings and carriage processions and they’re like, we’re just going to do a tiny little family only thing and and keep it really small but I can’t believe that that Really what she wanted I think she kind of just got the short end of the stick

Unknown Speaker 9:04
well with Prince Andrew and everything going on with Jeffrey Epstein. That’s number one and they use COVID kind of as an excuse. I mean, the Queen didn’t even stay the whole time. The Queen was like, in and out out he but by the Epstein thing, there are still things coming out with that.

Damona 9:20
Oh, it’s so sketchy sketch and like for everyone listening I’m sure a lot of us had plans that got disrupted from COVID. And a lot of us had weddings or in I just heard from a client who was engaged who had to break off her engagement cuz her her her fiance is stuck in another country. It’s it’s been wild, but maybe like you said, Maybe this is a blessing in disguise for them. And then they can just focus on the relationship being about the two of them and not deal with all their drama. And look at this. This is the royal family. And they have all that same drama. Like don’t invite him to the wedding. Who knows wasn’t Sheila

Unknown Speaker 9:59
she was With an American for what, almost 10 years

Unknown Speaker 10:05
research now

Unknown Speaker 10:07
it’s the pop culture show up on Pop Culture Show, I’m just doing dates and maids.

Unknown Speaker 10:12
She was with this guy. Beatrice was with this American for, I want to say 10 years. And when they broke it off, whoever broke it off, he was engaged in a hot minute. So that’s very interesting. And American, I believe living in London, and they get broken up. However, they got broken up, and then all of a sudden, magically, he’s engaged

Damona 10:34
in it. You know, when it works, it works when it doesn’t work. It doesn’t work. But that reminds me of a new cnn study that was just published on what makes a successful relationship. And they looked at successful couples. Everyone’s always asking me like, what are the qualities that I need to present to be ready for a relationship or what should I be looking for? What are the red flags? Turns out Barnes it’s ain’t even about you. It’s more about the relationship. And it turns out that the satisfaction the relationship matters a lot more than the individual characteristics. So thinking of things like, like perceived partner commitment, like if you feel like your partner is committed to you, that’s, that can really indicate that you’re going to be in it for the long haul, or appreciation, of course, sexual satisfaction, perceived partner satisfaction, and conflict. I found this study fascinating Barnes and

Unknown Speaker 11:32
I know every, like every hot button. Well, I mean, isn’t that the bottom lines, but I do? Well, hitting the hot button. I guess that’s the key to a successful relationship right now is the third point. But beyond that, it’s Can you ever get it perfect? Because if you had those four things, or whatever that are this, you know, that are the base of a relationship, and three of them are working here. All right.

Damona 11:57
Yeah. Like everyone’s looking for the Holy Grail. I don’t know about I’ve been watching that show Indian matchmaking on Netflix. And you know, so they have the, well, we’re not gonna get into the controversy, but they look at the bio data, right of all the people that they’re matching. And they go so far as to send them to astrologers and to do face readings to try to get the compatibility, right. But really, it’s just about their, their commitment. When you look at it that way. It reminds me actually, you know, my husband, and I remember in the beginning, I was like, What do you like about me? And he was like, I like how you make me feel. And I was like, that’s a cop out. Give me some compliments. But now that I’m seeing this study, it makes a lot of sense that it was more about the relationship and how he felt in the relationship than necessarily that that I was doing anything special.

Unknown Speaker 12:52
Well, look at all the look at all the reality shows. I watch all of them all the dating shows, it’s weird. Nothing is good enough for Anybody,

Damona 13:00
well, you can’t reality TV, you can help who you love. But I’ll put up the the link to the study, of course in the show notes, dates and mates calm. But there were something some individual characteristics that could predict whether you will be satisfied in a relationship or not. These are really interesting barns, life satisfaction, negative effect, depression, attachment avoidance and attachment, anxiety. If you haven’t read the book attached, you can learn about your attachment style, but I was like, This is the key. We did all of these exercises in love languages to get clear on our partner but also to get really comfortable with ourselves. And that seems to be a big factor much more than looking for those qualities in your partner.

Unknown Speaker 13:50
Have you seen the show? I’m sorry, on Netflix.

Damona 13:52
Yeah, no, I heard it’s really funny.

Unknown Speaker 13:54
All about dating. They’re trying to will feroza an executive producer and they’re trying To be the almost Sex in the City, but kind of quirky of this age. I’ll be curious to see what you think about but they talk about these things.

Damona 14:08
I know like three years. I’ll have some on demand. Oh, I know. I have a lot to watch and very little time. I’m busy watching love love on the spectrum. That’s a good one. Barnes. Where’s that? I haven’t heard that. So Netflix, but it’s people who are on the autism spectrum looking

Unknown Speaker 14:23
Oh, I have not seen that. I did see that. I saw it but I didn’t see it. so

Damona 14:27
fabulous. cringe worthy at moments. But actually, you could. everyone listening could learn a lot about relationships by watching what these people go through, because they have to teach them just basic social skills and interaction like things that I assume for a lot of the people listening should just come naturally. But it’s reinforces what I say that dating is really a learned skill. And so sometimes we need to just break down all of the steps and make sure that you’re building the relationship in the right way from the beginning.

Unknown Speaker 15:00
Netflix is full of shows like that. I’ll give you two more for homework. Okay, on twisted relationships. One is called Dr. Foster. Okay, which is a UK show a must see on Netflix, I’m

Damona 15:10
sure they have a bad name, Beatrice,

Unknown Speaker 15:13
Beatrice, and then the other ones, another UK show called liar. And those are both about twisted relationships. But a lot of the things you talk about are exhibited in these people. And to your point, is it you the couple, or is it you the individual that’s making the relationship go sideways? If you focus on yourself and make yourself better, is that going to make collectively a better relationship? Now you’ve got to worry about the other side.

Damona 15:39
So much to do. You’re giving me homework barns. That’s

Unknown Speaker 15:43
what we do.

Damona 15:44
This is why I listened to the pop culture show, which all of you can hear at the pop culture or wherever you get your podcast, because Barnes keeps us up to speed on what we need to know whether we’re talking dating and relationships or what’s happening on the hutzler or anything else? You’re my source Barnes and I appreciate you being here.

Unknown Speaker 16:05
We have to have you on our show soon. It’s Mondays at 10am we dropped a new episode.

Damona 16:08
I love it. I can’t wait to be on that show and I can’t wait to have you back to do the headlines with me again here on dates inmates. Thank you. That’s for dish. We’ll be back with updates and actionable advice in my date of the union address with Francesca hoagie. But first, I have to ask, can we be friends? Can we be friends with benefits? It’s not what you think. In case you haven’t heard already, I have a Patreon group for my true friends who want a little more support and love. If you’re looking for a community of daters and behind the scenes insights from me, then you are the perfect person to become one of my friends with benefits on Patreon. You can check it slash dates and mates. And when you become a member of our community, you get a private Facebook group where you can chat with me and other listeners of the show. You’ll also get access to the behind the mic live stream talk back each week all about that week’s episode, plus secret behind the scenes content from over 300 episodes of dates and mates and 10% off of any of my online programs too. There’s even more, you can read all about slash dates and dates, and you can join for just $5. And that will allow me to hopefully keep the show going for another eight more seasons as well. Okay, don’t go anywhere. The date of the union is coming right up.

Welcome back. I am here with one of the Dayton mates fan favorites dating coach Francesca hoagie. You’ve heard her wonderful advice and stories on this podcast before but if you’re new here frannie is a love and life coach for extraordinary people who happen To be single, 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 awesome podcast, dear frannie uncommon conversations about love. And she’s here to have some uncommon conversations with me and do this date of the Union address, right? So please give big smooches to my friend Francesca hoagie. Hey, hi. Thank you hear me, Danny, welcome back. Thank you. Thanks. I’ve been going down

Unknown Speaker 18:38
since the last time you’re on the show. You know, the world just it’s it’s, it’s changed like 20 times in the last six months. It’s pretty extraordinary.

Damona 18:49
That is exactly why I wanted to do this show because we talked about dating like, I’ll be honest, I started out super optimistic me two months ago. Yeah. And I was like, this is great, you guys. Yeah, sure. All my listeners

Unknown Speaker 19:00
are laughing or laughing right now we were all so excited. We’re like, this is actually gonna be the best thing ever everyone.

Damona 19:06
And I think there are positives to it. Like I was saying it slowing down the dating process, which was on hyperspeed and really needed something to recalibrate it. I wasn’t really counting on this, but here we are.

Unknown Speaker 19:21
Here we are. But yeah, yeah.

Damona 19:23
Now like we’re, what, five months into quarantine? Yeah.

Unknown Speaker 19:27
10 years, one or the

Damona 19:29
other. It feels like 10 years. And I feel like from my clients and the listeners who’ve written into the show, I feel like the the tone has changed a little bit. And the fatigue is setting in and the frustration is coming up again. So what are you seeing in your practice?

Unknown Speaker 19:47
Yeah, I’m seeing the same thing. I was really really optimistic at the beginning of quarantine and I saw my clients I think, when it first when everything first started walking down there Really was this wave of people who were like, Okay, well, this is it is what it is, it’s not going to be for that long. So like, let’s just, you know, have some video dates and get to know people. And that was happening, like very much happening for my clients like pretty easily at the beginning and I was like, Oh my god, this is amazing. Everybody’s gonna meet their husband and quarantine are gonna be all these like, you know, Corona love stories. And there will be there will be but I’ve just seen it kind of like that initial wave just kind of crash a bit. And it seems like, like you said that fatigue is set in. Which by the way, I mean, even if it wasn’t a pandemic, like this is not, you know, summertime is not the best time to be looking for a serious relationship in general. Because people are always more distracted in the summer and just have, you know, shorter attention spans. And so I thought that kind of the fact that we are still all quarantining for the most part, hopefully would extend This kind of honeymoon period, but it’ll come back around because you know, fall was coming. cuffing season is coming.

Damona 21:06
cuffing season is right around the corner. I’m a big fan of the zoom dates, but I have always said, and for my patreon friends with benefits, there’s a there’s a special video I did that’s just on how to ace a video chat date, because it’s a separate process. And I think a lot of people were kind of slipping into just like, oh, you’re here, let me just click into, you know, the Bumble video or asked or meet me on zoom. And it was like you said it was not very mindful and very fatiguing. And we have to still have something to build up to we have. We’ve lost that anticipation, right? Because there used to be that I’m going to meet this person for the first time. What am I going to wear? How is my hair going to be done?

Unknown Speaker 21:51
Why are they did all that like yeah, excitement. Yeah, it’s so

Damona 21:54
intimate, bringing someone into your home like you’ve never met them and now they’re visiting But still, yeah, that’s a whole different level. It’s a whole different level. Totally. We even get there. You wrote this fantastic blog. You guys when I mean not gender, y’all, this blog is so, so on the money about all the things that you should be doing right now, if you’re looking for love. So she says she’s in a relationship now. But she says, I’m a love coach, if I was single, here’s how I would find love during COVID. So can we just run through it? I want people to check out this blog too. But I can let’s give some of the highlights. You in the blog, you differentiate between dating, traditional dating sites and dating apps. I’ve talked about this on the past in the past on the show, but for the noobs. Let’s get everybody up to speed on the difference between those two things.

Unknown Speaker 22:51
Yes, absolutely. And thank you for the kind words by the way, from the heart girl. So a traditional dating site, you know, Think the will the classic one Right like so you think of you go on a site, you can put in your search parameters, you run searches, the site suggests people to you, you can message anybody you want, whether they live, you know, down the street from you or across the world. So it’s really you have more controls over your kind of what you’re doing on the site, just because of the way that it’s set up. And also, the profiles on a traditional dating site are they’re just more detailed. So, you know, if you’re looking at a dating app, you might have 400 500 characters say everything you need to say about yourself, which is not a lot of not a lot of room, you know, basically like two tweets. So the subtle lot of room but if you go on to a traditional site, then you can say as much as you want. I mean, you don’t want to say too much, right? You don’t want to bore people with your life story, but you know you you have more of a chance to express yourself a little bit more Your personality, who you’re looking for the kind of relationship you want to have. And you know, all apps have a free version, most of them also have a paid version where you can, you know, upgrade to get some extra bells and whistles. But for the most part, the app experience is a free one. And the traditional sites also usually have a free version, but you do want to pay because the paid versions are where you can really get the full benefit of a traditional site. So the cost, the just the functionality, you know, like I said, on a traditional site, you can sort of run searches and be a little bit more targeted about who you’re looking at. Whereas on a dating app, the algorithm is just basically showing you everyone in your area, who generally is the gender and age that you’re looking for. I mean, you can kind of pay to get a little bit more specific on certain apps, but you’re definitely casting a wider net on apps.

Damona 24:55
Yes, that’s so true. And you also talk about the algorithm and Yes, thank you. I say this to my clients to like, you can be on Coffee Meets Bagel, which is a great app, y’all. But you get one match a day there. And there’s not really much I can do in the algorithm for you. But on like an OkCupid, or a match, I have different ways that I can search I can do I have different ways that I can signal to the app, what you’re looking for. Yes, right. Yeah. So do you feel like it’s a it’s a either or situation or you feel like everybody should be on both a traditional and an app? And is there a max number of apps that you’ve seen people be able to juggle?

Unknown Speaker 25:40
Yeah. So I think ideally, you’d be on to, okay. And I when I say ideally, I mean, this is this is current, okay, so this is August 2020, you know, COVID-19 times, three months ago, four months ago, five months ago, I wasn’t recommending that, that people be on both our traditional site and an app. The reason And I’m doing that now is because because on a traditional site, the bar to entry is a little bit higher, you know, you’ve got to pay, you’ve got to put more work into your profile. My suspicion is that this is the time that you want to, you want to go there, that’s where you want to be like, if you’re looking for something serious, that’s where you want to be. If you’re willing to put in the time and the effort to really get to know someone without the instant gratification of like getting to hang out with them. I think that you are more likely to find more people who are willing to invest that same amount of time on a traditional site, which is why I’m recommending that right now. Particularly for the person who has been on a dating app and you’re feeling really like frustrated, burnt out, you know, you feel like you’re out of matches, like you’ve seen everybody you know, in your city or town, then that’s a good opportunity. Also, I spoken to people who are now because of everything that’s going on and maybe their jobs situation, they’re more geographically flexible, because they’re like, well, I live live in New York, but I, my job now is going to be I can work wherever. So maybe I live somewhere where I can have a better quality of life. So they’re even more open to moving. And if you’re more open to moving, you can go on and OkCupid or match. And you can say, all right, these are the five cities I’m interested in, and you can start running searches for people in those cities, and start connecting with them. So yeah,

Damona 27:22
that I have to admit I’m, I’m definitely adapting my traditional strategy a little bit. And, and it’s also specific to each client. Like I have a client who’s looking for something very specific. And she’s kind of gotten to the end of the Bumble role. And yeah, so I was like, normally, I would not say you need to be on four apps at a time. But if you’re looking for something really specific and you’re eager to get things rolling, like if you don’t have time to play the long game for whatever reason, you know, you’re goals or biological clock or whatever, then maybe this is a good time because you’re working from home and you have more free time. Maybe this is a good time to juggle more apps, as long as you can be active on it. Right? Like, you don’t want to be missing messages and, and being flaky.

Unknown Speaker 28:17
Yeah, exactly. And it basically comes down to Yeah, what is your bandwidth? You know, I mean, I have some clients for, you know, to be on one platform is enough, like, that takes enough of their time, their energy they get, they get enough matches, you know, so they have plenty, they already like, you know, I have plenty of people to, to communicate with who they feel are more or less fitting their criteria. So if you’re in that position, then great, like, do what you’re doing. But if you’re not in that position, and you do have the bandwidth to expand and, and again, I was writing this blog post from my perspective, like this is literally me Francesca hoagie. If my boyfriend and I broke up tomorrow. What would I Well, if we broke up tomorrow, I wouldn’t actually go right now I have to rethink my whole life. But

Damona 29:08
we’re talking how you and your boyfriend, Matt, because you also talk about this. Yeah. And the blog and I think this is really important for a lot of folks listening but especially women, women, folks, yes. Yes, you met IRL. But then you hadn’t you hunted him down girl. I did I do that and YG.

Unknown Speaker 29:32
I met him very briefly on the street on the corner of sunset and tahini and Beverly Hills. And

Damona 29:41
that’s a good corner. It was by the way, it was.

Unknown Speaker 29:45
It was like a brief exchange. He was with his brother and we had all just been at the screening and his brother recognized me. So his brother like was like, Oh, hey, how’d you like the movie? So I started talking to them briefly. And I just thought he was really interesting. I just thought he was like, I know that. We’re just Something about him and our brief interaction. And we had this moment where we kind of made eye contact and like, there was just kind of like, oh, there’s just something there, you know. And I just really listened to my intuition. And my intuition just was really like screaming. You’re like, you’re supposed to keep talking to him. And I didn’t know why. But then we went our separate ways, because he was getting in an Uber to go home

Damona 30:24
and be weird to chase the nuber. Right? Yeah. But we have social media,

Unknown Speaker 30:34
social media, and I knew it too. I was like, I have enough information about him to find him because I knew that he was a scientist. I knew that he worked. I knew which hospital he worked at in LA. I knew he was Australian. I knew his name. So I was like, this is this. I can do that. I got this.

Damona 30:53
And then dm him.

Unknown Speaker 30:55
Yeah. So I slid into his DMS on Twitter and I just said they were was really nice meeting you. And that was my like, that was like my digital link. You know, it was like if he’s interested, because I didn’t know if he could have been married, he could have been, you know, from what I could see from his Twitter. I couldn’t tell, but it was all science. So I was like, there’s nothing personal there. And so, you know, he could have been gay, like, a million things. So I had no idea but I was like, if he’s available and interested, this is enough for him to like latch on to. And it was. So that’s how we met.

Damona 31:29
Oh, my gosh, I am so impressed with because I think a lot of women would, I’m always saying on the show, to take initiative and just just open the door. It’s not changing the rules of chivalry, just to be to show that you’re open, right. But I think a lot of people are afraid that if they start the relationship off that way, that then the whole gender dynamics of the relationship. We’ll be off forever. Yeah,

Unknown Speaker 32:02
yeah. Well, part of it is like there’s, there’s this definitely takes a little finesse like this is dating. I love dating. And I think that dating is so important because you learn so much you learn so much about yourself. You learn so much about other people you learn so much like, just about what’s really important in connection if you if you do it the right way, if you do it intentionally and you actually pay attention to what you’re doing. And there’s a difference between being proactive and doing something like I did, which was like, number one cyber stalking him. And number two sliding into his DMS right like me doing that. Some people be like, Oh my god, I don’t want to chase the guy. I don’t want to chase the guy either. And I didn’t chase him. I did take a very proactive, bold step and I call this like one bold step. You can take one bold step and see if the guy is like, oh, wow, I didn’t even know this was an option for me. So I’m gonna pick up the ball and run with it because What happened? Like, I sent him that message I said it was, you know, it was really nice meeting you and he like responded right away, he commented on something that I said in my bio, he like asked me out to dinner like, you know, it wasn’t like, I didn’t have to pull teeth to get that. keep that going. I was just like, pushing it into motion, because there are guys who are good guys who, like they need a little bit of encouragement. Like he, there was no way that he thought in the three minutes that we interacted, that he’d be like, Oh, let me ask her out. Like, he’s just not that kind of guy. Like, he doesn’t have that kind of game, you know? So, and I could tell that he wasn’t that kind of guy. It wasn’t that he wasn’t confident. I could just tell like, if I’m interested in him, I just need to make sure it’s clear and then see what he does. Now if you meet a guy and the guy is super, like suave, Mr. Cool player type that guy, you don’t need to make a bold move with that guy. Right? Right. And you guy will you be chasing?

Damona 33:57
Yeah, right. And you also have to listen to what’s happening, like so many times I hear from people that like, Oh, I wrote him, but then he didn’t write me back. And I don’t know if I should send another message. And I’m like, why are they responded to?

Unknown Speaker 34:12
He responded with his his silence was a response. It was a response. It was a communication, just looking for.

Damona 34:19
Yeah, well, that’s the problem, right? We have expectations. And then when our expectations aren’t met, then sometimes we try to change the narrative or the information that reinterpret the information that we’re getting. But absolutely, I want to keep this going on a positive note, because I am still optimistic. I am still optimistic about finding love in a pandemic.

Unknown Speaker 34:40
Yeah, and

Damona 34:41
I’ll let everyone check out the blog for the rest of the tips because there’s

Unknown Speaker 34:46
10 of them. They all bear 10 different things as fire right now.

Damona 34:50
This is like all the stuff that I would tell you as well. Like, she literally just gives you the roadmap right there. So we’ll put the link in the show notes. But before we do that, I also want Want to talk about social distance dates? Now I’m seeing a lot of people are like, Okay, what is the timeline here? Now that we’ve we’ve connected? Maybe we’ve done a virtual date or two or phone call and a verge zoomed? I don’t know, connected. But where do we go from here? Mm hmm. Are you finding that people are starting to feel comfortable with moving offline into social distance dates? Yes,

Unknown Speaker 35:26
definitely. Definitely. Yes. At first, it was all virtual. Nobody wanted to go anywhere. People weren’t even discussing it. Really. The possibility of meeting in person. But now Yeah, people are definitely doing socially distance dates and there are ways to do it that are safe. I mean, Okay,

Damona 35:43
tell us about that. Like, what’s the etiquette?

Unknown Speaker 35:46
So like, if I were dating right now, like something that I would do is I would say like, okay, we can meet here and, you know, get a cup of coffee, get an ice cream, get a juice and like, take a walk together, you know, and six feet apart. And yeah, as long as you’re like you’re outside, you know, so there’s airflow. That’s really important. You have a mask on. Right? So that’s also really important.

Damona 36:09
A cute mask. Okay? Don’t just get, you know, the surgical blue and white situation. Yes. Why do you stop a cute mask?

Unknown Speaker 36:18
Yeah, we’re gonna be wearing masks for a long time people. So invest in a couple of masks that really capture your style, your personality, like don’t just do the straight, you know, surgical mask.

Unknown Speaker 36:31
Day. Yeah, that’s a missed opportunity. That’s a missed opportunity.

Damona 36:34
Yes, I love how you said that. Exactly.

Unknown Speaker 36:38
So that you know, so you could do that with lots of different things. So basically, if you’re outside and you could do something like you know mini golf, you don’t have to be you know, you have some space together. Have some space apart. We went to a drive in movie last week. I know you did too. You guys also want to drive in movie,

Damona 36:56
you know, I went to see RuPaul drive and drag Coming to a city near you, everybody. It was okay. But it was nice to be outside. It was a

Unknown Speaker 37:07
movie and it was nice. It was fun.

Damona 37:09
But then you have to be in a car with the person so like we had a whole thing

Unknown Speaker 37:14
you don’t have to be in the car with the person because you guys can park next to each other.

Damona 37:19
Okay, okay I’m with you. I’m with you. Yeah I like I tell I had I went with a friend so I tested before I went and she had like a fairly recent test I was like I can accept this

Unknown Speaker 37:32
but we’re getting a car right now like that’s just don’t just don’t do that aren’t

Damona 37:37
next to each other yet.

Unknown Speaker 37:39
Other timing, you could you could go on a picnic, you could go to you know, you can have a picnic on the beach or in the park. You could go for a hike, like anything that you’re outside. You know if you guys if you happen to like I don’t know like playing tennis and you know, you want to play tennis together. Like there are ways to do it and still be and still be safe now. Does it require a little bit more creativity? Yes. Does it require a little bit more effort? Yes, but it’s worth doing. And, you know, that’s, I mean, listen, love is, and this is my point of the blog too, because I’m not expecting other people to look at this blog and be like, Oh, I’m gonna do all these 10 things if this crazy person would do, but I would do all those 10 things if I was really motivated to be in a relationship, because it’s that important to me, you know. And so if it’s important to you, this pandemic is not going to be over anytime soon. And I wouldn’t be willing to put my dating life My hopes were finding a relationship on hold indefinitely. It’s life is just too short for that. So does it take a little bit more effort? Does it take a little bit more determination? That’s, that’s okay. That’s good. And I mean, I think Dimona, like, wouldn’t you agree that the fact that one of the reasons that modern dating has gotten so challenging Pre pandemic is because there were so many people who weren’t put willing to put in effort. And they weren’t actually determined to meet someone like they wanted to meet someone. But if they got frustrated after a few days, like they were out of there, you know, it’s just there was

Damona 39:15
too much happening where nobody could focus on what was in front of them, I think, yeah, we just we had too many options. And now, I think what I’m seeing is that people are also realizing as we’ve been separated for so long the value of having someone that you can trust to go through this experience with and so now I’m actually seeing a lot of relationships that have been on hyperspeed and people that I mean, we did an episode on this a few months ago of people that really bonded, met right before the pandemic and bonded very quickly, like practically moved in together. And so I think there’s going to be a little bit of recalibration on that front, but the timeline once you connect with people I think is actually going to be faster than it had been. I think we had it backwards before. It was like fast, fast, fast, get to the date like sword, sword, sword, sword sword. But then it was a long time to get to commitment and figuring out what was what for a lot of my clients and really, you know, getting to DTR and figure out if this person was real or not. I think now, we’re we’re flip flopping that so we’re, we’re moving into it a lot more slowly. But then once you are like, Okay, this is my person. Now we have to test we have to bubble together and now now we’re bonded very fast.

Unknown Speaker 40:41
Yeah. And I think that makes sense. And that and that’s why we have been so optimistic, you know, starting starting from the start of this that we’re like, oh my god, this is amazing. This is going to slow everything down and give people an opportunity like force people to actually get to know each other communicate what they’re looking for. See if they have to Shared values, see, and if all of those things are connecting, then it’s like, Alright, well, let’s just do this. Like, we just now we just need to see if we actually, like get along and have chemistry and like being together, and that is something that you can determine rather quickly. It’s those other bigger questions that really take time. So I think that, you know, I think that the relationships, I think that a lot of the relationships that are going to come out of this time are going to really illustrate the power of doing just that. They’re going to be a lot of really great relationships that last with people who they may just have that clarity of knowing, like, yeah, we want the same things in life. Like we have the same level of commitment. And we know how to support each other through challenging times because we were there for each other. Like, this person has a reason that I’m still standing after, you know, however long of this pandemic, so

Damona 41:55
yes, it’s definitely changing things. I just made me think I have to shout out one of My former clients who she actually had a destination wedding plan, and I kid you not Franny a year, a little over a year ago, year and a half ago, she came to me and she was like, I don’t know how I’m going to find love again. I’ve been divorced X number of years. And she found somebody, they were going to have a, a wedding abroad, and COVID happened. So now they’re just like, fine. Let’s just do let’s just do a little ceremony, just with family, tie the knot and get it done. So she’s actually getting married this week. Her name is denat. So I’ll be sharing her story on the blog and I’m sure on the show again, but yeah, you know, that will give everyone some hope that even though Yes, COVID is changing our plans. In some ways. It’s changing for the better now she’s going to be married even sooner than she thought she would be.

Unknown Speaker 42:51
That is fantastic. And I also have a client who got married last week. And yeah, and I’m so glad that they did it because first they were going to Wait. And because they were originally supposed to get married this summer, and then they were going to push it, but they just changed it. Like they just did like a very small ceremony on a Wednesday afternoon, like, with just their immediate family in their front yard like but it was, but it was awesome. And she was someone who had never been in a relationship before we started working together and now she’s married to a wonderful man.

Damona 43:24
I love that. Okay, hopefully that is inspiring for all the people listening. They’re like, I gotta do 10 things.

Unknown Speaker 43:32
Just do things you have to be open, you know, and it’s a mindset because it’s like, it’s not like it’s it’s home. It’s not homework. It’s just like, all right, love this. This is the mind strategy. We would encourage anyone who’s looking for love to just embrace and this is the mindset that I truly did very intentionally and consciously embrace for myself, which is I know that love is 100% possible for me. So my only job is to open my myself up to receive it however it shows up. I know he’s out there. I don’t know where he is. He could be around the corner. It could be I don’t know where he is. So why would I shut down any Avenue a potentially a spining each other?

Damona 44:15
You you are a woman after my own heart.

Unknown Speaker 44:19
Like, why would you do that? Like what? Like why would you just like Intel or willfully just decide like, No, I’m not going to do these and you know a lot of people they consider themselves like, I’m out there I’m trying and then like, Okay, what are you doing? And like they maybe they’re on an app that they swipe a few times a week, and then they get frustrated? And then they made it they deleted it. And then they download it A month later and they

Damona 44:41
complain to their girlfriends about being single.

Unknown Speaker 44:43
Yeah. And I’m like, Well, what else? Like that’s not that’s not being out there? like no, that’s not a job to pay your bills. Is that how you would look for a job? Like no like if you want to if you’re determined like you’re put in the effort.

Damona 44:57
All right, everyone, you heard it here. If you want,

Unknown Speaker 45:01
yep, if you want to find love, you got a date like it’s your job, granny. It’s really it’s your hobby. It’s your passion. It’s exciting. It can be fun. It should be fun, make it fun. Maybe that’s my job. You know? It’s like Yeah, well make it make it a job that you love. How can you make it exciting? How can you be more confident? How can you be more yourself so you take away all of that anxiety of like trying to be something that you think someone else wants? Like, you know, there’s just so many ways to make dating such a more joyful experience. Completely

Damona 45:34
frannie This is too good. Your advice is too good. I need you to stick around for the next segment. Because we have questions from our audience and I need you to help me answer them. Okay. Hello, friend. Welcome back. You have questions. We have answers and this is dear Dimona,

Unknown Speaker 45:58
damona help me

Damona 46:00
This one comes to us in an email from D we’ll call her D. She says is two weeks too soon to start saying I love you. I met someone who is working abroad and we have established quite a nice text relationship. He is head over heels for me and keeps telling me he loves me. We haven’t met yet. I have strong feelings for him, but this is making me uncomfortable. How do I elegantly ask him to slow down?

Unknown Speaker 46:27
This is a tough one. And it’s tough because All right, I’m just gonna be unfiltered here. Okay, is that okay? All we do

Damona 46:36
on this show that

Unknown Speaker 46:38
so it is not a good sign that there’s somebody that you’ve met online, who lives abroad who after two weeks is telling you that he loves you. There are scammers out there who actually you know, prey on people and this is what they do. They do this love bombing thing and they just, they just tell you the greatest thing since sliced bread They know what they’re doing. They know exactly what to say. I’ll just put it this way. If he, he starts saying anything about any kind of financial transaction. Just know that this is not a real person. I mean is a human but not this person is not who you think they are. Did she say that she’s only spoken to him on the phone? text, text? Text chip? Oh, yeah. I mean, at the very least, please insist that you do a video call and see who this person is. Mm hmm. And if this person is actually who they say they are, I would be very surprised, wouldn’t you Dimona?

Damona 47:37
Yeah, and I think there are also some red flags around the if you ask them for a video call. And they only want to do it at weird hours or like, they give all these excuses for why they can’t have their camera on or like anything that makes you feel like this isn’t transparant also sometimes, like an accent that you don’t expect, I’ve heard that happen before. Yeah, I’ve heard

Unknown Speaker 48:07
that happen a lot, right? Yeah,

Unknown Speaker 48:08
you’re like,

Unknown Speaker 48:11
you know, Max, but the accent is clearly not. Yes,

Damona 48:16
yeah, there are a lot of signs here that this could be a catfish. I like to keep it optimistic too. So let’s just say in, in some universe that maybe this person actually is is legit. And like, I find that also in quarantine. People are kind of moving a little bit more quickly when they like I was saying in the first segment in the earlier segment, when you’re, when once you’ve connected with someone, they’re moving things forward too quickly. So if that happens to be the case for D, I would say just be really blunt about how you’re feeling like this is moving way too fast. I need to get to know you better. You don’t have to be elegant about it. You can you can be direct. Anyways, we have another question and we’re running out of time. Franny. She said do you have recommend on physical intimacy, what if you find someone that you would like to start a committed physical relationship with? How do you navigate and set safety agreements? Yeah,

Unknown Speaker 49:12
yeah. Well, I think the question should you have the answer in the in the question, right? Like, it is something to navigate, you do need to have agreements. So you need to talk about it. What’s your comfort level? What are the parameters? You know, when are you guys getting tested with some regularity? How often are you coming into contact with people who aren’t that you know, each other? I those are just all conversations that you have to have. And I would be really clear about it. I wouldn’t, you know, I wouldn’t tiptoe around it. I’d be like, you know, really honest, like, I really want to, you know, I really want to go there. I’ll be like, I’m ready. I think you’re amazing, but how can we do this and really be safe and make sure that we’re taking every precaution to protect each other and, you know, other people think?

Damona 49:59
I think it’s ongoing conversation to like totally. I’ve been hearing from people in relationships that are like, my, my spouse is ready to like move out into the world and I’m still cocooning and nervous. Yeah. And they have different tolerance, risk tolerance. So I think this is a conversation obviously if you can get tested or self quarantine before you actually take the masks off and become intimate with someone and like really think this through what it because once it only takes one it’s kind of like the STI conversation right? It only takes one right One false move exactly one

Unknown Speaker 50:45
time ever and everything is fine. Right? Yeah.

Damona 50:50
Right. So I mean, we live in Los Angeles where we’re testing is free and available. I haven’t even say I tested you know, before I did the ripples drag race I got to same day test producer Leo will attest to this. I got to same day test. I got the next the results by the next morning. It was unbelievable. I know not everybody is in that situation. Yeah. So yeah, it was amazing. You guys. I’m like, I’m like a testing junkie now. I just want to know, I want to know, am I okay? Am I okay? Do it, do it. It’s so great. I mean, if you if you feel like i, this is I do at any time my situation changes, like, if we go out of town, or if like when our babysitter came back, like if your situation changes, it’s a good idea to test if you can get one but if you’re dating someone, and maybe you’re in a state where that’s not available, you have to kind of think ahead of how are you going to prepare right to get to that point. And then you also have to talk about what are they doing after that? Yeah, exactly. Yeah, I tested and I’m fine. And now I’m gonna go to like Abba zoo. And, you know, go chill on a boat with opa.

Unknown Speaker 51:59
While my closest friends

Damona 52:04
I wouldn’t be having that. I’m not gonna judge your life. If that’s how you want you and your boo want to do it, that’s fine. But make sure that you’re on the same page and that you understand their risk tolerance in comparison to yours. Right? Yeah,

Unknown Speaker 52:16
absolutely. Yeah. And that’s another and it’s also it’s it can it has for some people, like you said, become a bone of contention. You know, if you can’t agree on the rules, if they’re, I mean, I had a client who was dating somebody who he was, you know, she has she’s immunocompromised. She was just concerned about her own health, for obvious reasons. Yeah. And they had, they were, they were seeing each other and they physically were seeing each other. They were seeing each other like a couple of nights a week. But then she found out that he was like, having friends over to his apartment and all these things and she’s like, that’s not what we agreed to, you know, and it and it became like, they actually like stop seeing each other.

Unknown Speaker 52:57
I call this COVID cheating, like infidelity right there is total

Unknown Speaker 53:01
code infidelity. And she was like, I’m not taking like, you know, she felt very disrespected. And yeah, they weren’t able to reconcile it. So that is a real possibility. But I think that you know, just talking about it, just being really honest with each other is the way to go.

Damona 53:17
That is the way to go for most relationship challenges I really

Unknown Speaker 53:21
can’t always answer

Damona 53:25
all of your answers. I love your uncommon conversations about love on dear frannie and

Unknown Speaker 53:30
I love it when you join us here on dates and mate. So I hope you will come back again soon. Anytime. I love being here. Thank you for having me. demona

Damona 53:38
I hope you like the new intro for deer demona the beautiful soulful voice you heard was my dear friend Jenny Wren, and also thank you Alexander, for your wonderful question. Dear Dimona cries. We heard you we’ve listened and also shout out to our composers James Morris for the brand new dates and mates intro and for the deer demona Intro This is Episode 322 of dates and mates. My guest co host today both have fabulous podcasts that you just have to hear. You can find frannie on deer frannie uncommon conversations about love and barns and his crew are the Pop Culture Show. Look for the links in the show notes and find it wherever you are listening to this podcast right now. As always, we’ll give you a shortcut to today’s headline articles, and the best gifts that are fit to print on the show recap at dates and mates calm. And don’t forget to check out that Patreon group and support the show for just $5 at slash dates and mates. You don’t want to miss that new behind the mic series and meet other folks in the Friends with Benefits community. So come on slash dates and mates. I’m at damona Hoffman on all the socials. We are banking all these questions you have for future episodes. So don’t be shy DM me and let me know what’s on your mind and how you felt about today’s episode. I’ll see you next week with more modern love advice. Until then, I wish you happy dating

Transcribed by

Love Lessons: Love is Blind – Carlton


Many of you have reached out recently expressing quarantine fatigue which is compounded by being single. You have a deep desire for someone to navigate this period of fear and frustration. You can only do so many zoom calls with friends to make up for the fact that you’re solo all day every day. And dating apps have lost their allure with the possibility that you may not be able to meet in person for weeks or even months.

So this month, we are going to have a completely different format from the usual Dates & Mates. This series is designed to take you deeper on a mental, spiritual, and even physical level to design the love life you want. This unexpected break from the rat race of love and life we had been caught in is giving us an opportunity to get clarity and explore parts of ourselves that had been buried away.

Today Damona invites you to begin a four-part journey called  Love Lessons.


We will launch the series today with an interview that will make you feel all the feels. The other 3 episodes will be full of visualization, meditation, and self-inquiry.

Today, you will learn along with Carlton from Love is Blind as he reflects upon what he learned from the groundbreaking social experiment and TV series that he participated in.

Do you remember Love is Blind? For those who haven’t seen it – you might want to binge-watch the entire Netflix series and then come back and relisten to this podcast once you’re in the know because Carlton is going to spill all the tea and give all the spoilers and even reveal something he has NEVER said in an interview before.

But above all, this is a love lesson.

It’s a lesson in self-awareness, bravery and forgiveness:


Carlton teaches us:

  • The power of vulnerability
  • To move into your dream relationship you need to be willing to forgive the past.
  • Why you should face your fear.
  • We are constantly growing and evolving and that means you don’t need to wait for healing to occur or enlightenment to strike to be ready to date again.
  • How to keep faith.

Find more from Carlton on Instagram @CarltonMorton or donate to Camp Carlton – his charity for the children of his hometown – if you feel called!


Damona  0:12  

Modern love Made Simple. This is dates and mates with damona Hoffman. Hello lovers, so many of you have reached out to me recently expressing quarantine fatigue, which is compounded by being single, you have a deep desire for someone to navigate this period of fear and frustration. You can only do so many zoom calls with friends to make up for the fact that your solo all day every day. And dating apps have lost their allure with the possibility that you may not be able to meet in person for weeks or even months. So this month, we are going to have a completely different format from the usual dates and mates. This series of four episodes is designed to take you deeper on them mental, spiritual and even physical level to design the love life you want. This unexpected break from the rat race of love and life that we’ve been caught in is giving us an opportunity to get clarity and explore parts of ourselves which have been buried away. Today, I invite you to begin a four part journey with me called love lessons. We will launch the series today with an interview that will make you feel all the fields. The other three episodes will be full of visualization, meditation, and self inquiry. Today you will learn along with Carlton from love is blind as he reflects upon what he learned from the groundbreaking social experiment and TV series that he participated in. You remember Love is blind. For those who have not seen it. You might want to go back and binge watch the entire Netflix series and then come back and re listen to this podcast. Once you’re in the know Because Carlton is going to spill all the tea y’all, and he’s going to give you all the spoilers and even reveal something that he has never said in an interview before. But above all, this is a love lesson. It’s a lesson in self awareness, and bravery, and forgiveness. The TLDR version of His love story is that he was one of the seven guys on the show who proposed to someone sight unseen. But when he revealed to his fiance diamond that he was bisexual, the relationship fell apart in a spectacular reality TV blow up. Then in the reunion, he got down on one knee and asked her if they could be friends again, but today, they are both single. All right, let’s get big smooches to Carlton from love is blind. Oh man, we gotta talk. Thank you for being here.

Carlton Morton  3:02  

Thanks for having me. How are you?

Damona  3:04  

I am so great and I am such a fan of love as blind as a dating coach. I think it was an awesome experiment and experience for people to go to but I, I have questions and a lot of my listeners have questions because especially like going through Coronavirus, and then watching Love is blind at the same time. There are a lot of parallels coming up. So let’s just initially start with the experience of Wait, wait, wait, I gotta back it up to what the heck would make you want to even do the show in the first place?

Carlton Morton  3:39  

Well, I was looking for love, like I’m still in love, but that’s a whole nother story. I was looking for love and I’m wanting to be married and I thought that it would be an amazing experiment to be a part of.

Damona  3:52  

So you knew going into it that if you wanted to meet your person you would have to propose and that was the deal. From from the beginning.

Carlton Morton  4:01  

Yeah, I knew that if I felt that, you know that that was one of the options, but I also knew that there was a possibility that I may not match with anyone. They kept saying, you know, it’s just a social experiment. There’s like no strings attached. You don’t have to do this. And it was just real connections formed every single time. Okay, so everyone’s asking what was it like in the pods? The pods like I could still smell the pods. I remember what they smell like they smell like so fresh. It’s smells like a bath and beyond and like, you know, walking past like the oils and the Roma oils, like the pods were so posh and comfortable and cozy like sometimes we even fall asleep in the pods like sometimes we had long dates, like late night dates that we’d be sitting down, you know, just chillin just kicking back and just falling Blake you fall asleep on Sunday. Dates because it’s like it’s not that a person is necessarily boring. It’s just It’s been a long day of dates. And you just kind of want to kick back and you’re having a relaxing conversation. It’s like falling asleep on the phone.

Damona  5:11  

Like all times. Could you choose who you went into the pod with? Or was it sort of like Chatroulette?

Carlton Morton  5:19  

Knowing we couldn’t choose there was a formula to it. So it kind of went off of who ranked to the highest. And that’s basically who you match with. There was like a algorithm I wish we could have. Because I tried to like on numerous occasions, I tried to sacrifice like or, or donate my time to someone else to go on a date with someone that maybe I knew I wouldn’t have a connection with, to get more time with my ex.

Damona  5:44  

Okay, so spoiler alert. For those that haven’t watched the show. Pause the podcast right now. Come back, go. Go watch. It’s like what like 11 episodes, something like that with the reunion 1112 episode. So go watch it, then come back and do hit play again. Spoiler alert, so Carlton is one of the participants who decided to propose. But he didn’t quite get to the the happy ending. You did hear that he said he was single right now. Take me through the next phase of the pod. How did you know? You and diamond got engaged? And that’s a big deal. You had never met this woman and you got down on one knee and proposed, what was it about diamond? Or was it something that she said How did you know what was that moment when when you decided to like take the plunge and and propose?

Carlton Morton  6:37  

Um, I just knew like, the moment that we really opened up was when I thought when we talked about our father’s book, our dad’s passed away. So we really connected on that, even to the point where we both had stories like with our dad’s past, where she would collect ladybugs or her dad and I would collect fireflies, my dad It was just kind of like little moments like that. And then even when it came time to see her for the first time, I was in my dressing room, five minutes before I was thinking in my head, wow, it would be so great if you call her dad and a traditional type setting and you know, get his permission, but even if that was granted by producers who is not here anymore, so do you know right before I went to meet her, I look at my dressing room mirror and a lady is calling.

Damona  7:30  

You know, I believe in all of that I will cosign

Carlton Morton  7:36  

Okay, you know, so it was just little moments like that along the process just reassured me that she was the one for me like the connection was there she like sometimes she had like a little attitude, like, Oh, you don’t know my voice by now. And like that kind of got my attention. It was just little stuff like that.

Damona  7:57  

It was beautiful to watch all of that unfold. I Do want to ask as a person of color? And as I mean it didn’t look like there were that many people of color in the mix. Was that something that you had ever thought about finding something like were you intentionally looking for a black woman or was it just it was or similarity of familiarity or was it just chance that she happened to be black you think?

Carlton Morton  8:25  

Well, from me I’ve always dated like different races so it didn’t matter to me going into the process. Why I ended up with I like literally went into it thinking Love is blind and I still believe love true love is blind. Um, but I just thought like, if I end up with someone else would that be an issue like all those thoughts do go through my head. I hope I answered your question, but it didn’t matter to me if it would have been someone that was no.

Damona  8:55  

Yeah, I do feel like sometimes you have that additional pressure though to when you’re The only black couple I mean, obviously Lauren, Lauren’s black but when you’re the only black couple to you know every there’s a lot of pressure like I I hosted this show that was by the same production company called hashtag black love that was sort of born out of married at first sight and Monet. It was inspired by Monet’s story and she and her husband on married at first sight when they were the only black couple. And so everybody was like, please make it please make it please make it and then when they didn’t, it’s like, I’m carrying the whole weight of every you know, everyone who’s black on my shoulders in this one relationship? Yeah,

Carlton Morton  9:36  

I definitely feel felt that after, like, after the show came out, and still to this day, I feel like a certain way even when it came to speaking up about racial injustice and police brutality. I felt like the moment that I speak up, someone is going to say hi, we just witness you are With a black woman, and degrade a black woman in an argument on national TV, that’s what they would have said. So like, it took some like prayer and some soul searching to really just navigate, especially this time, and then the whole like social thing is just like it’s crazy. You know? So there is a lot of pressure.

Damona  10:20  

Yeah, it’s complicated right now.

Carlton Morton  10:22  

Yeah. And there were a lot of amazing black women on the show that you didn’t necessarily get to see because they didn’t necessarily find matches. But there were some some amazing black woman on it.

Damona  10:33  

Would you do it again?

Carlton Morton  10:35  

Oh, absolutely. Do it again, because I’m still looking for love. And I feel like love is blind get better matching me and I’ve ever met myself.

Damona  10:42  

Alright, so let’s talk about can we go a little bit and do your dating history? I mean, to to even go through the experience of proposing to someone you have to feel like that person is different. But I know you revealed on the show, Carlton, that you had dated men. In the past as well, and that was not always something that that women you dated, were open to talk to me about that and and even just the decision because you knew if you were going on love is blind, you knew that they were matching it with a woman. Yes,

Carlton Morton  11:16  

yes. Correct.

Damona  11:17  

So tell me about that process of understanding your own identity and sexual orientation. And then also in doing that on national television, that’s very brave.

Carlton Morton  11:32  

Thank you. Um, it took a while. It’s obviously been a long journey. Initially, I actually told someone in casting that when they reached out I was like, I don’t think this shows for me

Damona  11:43  

that just makes them want you more.

Carlton Morton  11:46  

I still, isn’t it like confident and like really just talking to strangers about sexuality at that point, and I don’t want to get on the show. And then it’s like, I’m some liar or I’m pretending to be a heterosexual male. I have to Be able to tell my truth to who to the person that I fall in love with. That was my thing. I wanted to make sure that if I went on the show, that was given a fair chance, there’s so many men who are bisexual or fluid and they can’t live their truth or whatever reason. So I wanted to show people that process and show people that bisexual people do have our minds when we love you, we love you, we’re with you. That was like major to me.

Damona  12:27  

But that that is a lot of responsibility as well to to kind of represent for the bisexual community because we haven’t seen a lot of that on TV you know, maybe like two or whatever. But we haven’t seen we haven’t seen that many people saying just what what you’re saying that like, and I’ve I’ve dealt with this with bisexual clients in the past with their their partner not feeling like they can be fully committed because by saying yes to you, I’m saying no to an entire gender of people but at the same time, that’s What it is even in, in a hetero relationship, if you say yes to a person and you want to be in a monogamous relationship, you’re saying no to everyone else. Yeah. Okay, but then I have to ask you Carlton, it took you a minute to express that to diamond What? What prevented you from telling her about your sexuality from the beginning?

Carlton Morton  13:25  

Well for one it was it like nine day process before I actually got to like see her in person. So it was actually very quickly. For me it was in this quick process. Why would I be so foolish as to just share that side not knowing for sure that this is the person that I’m gonna pose to because had I told any of the girls, all the girls on day one, it would have gone back to that side we would sharing notes like guys, we would say things like, Oh, you had a date with so and so. Oh, what does she say? Oh, for me, it was all about this moment. scary for me, it was about like opening up to the right person, instead of me telling them right now I’m going to get to know the person, make sure that this is someone that actually can love for the rest of my life. And then I’m going to share that information because otherwise they’ll go and tell my story for me. And what’s gonna happen, everybody’s gonna rank Crocs, and at the bottom of experiment.

Damona  14:23  

I hadn’t thought of it that way. And it’s interesting, the way that you talk about needing to tell your own story and you know, kind of control the narrative there. Do you feel like since all of the pod experience you’re not seeing the other person, you’re you’re just speaking to them behind the wall and that you have to propose if you want to actually see them in person. Do you feel like there was an element of you that thought if you and diamond could just be together face to face and you told her that she would have reacted in a more favorable way

Carlton Morton  15:00  

Absolutely Well, the thing is, I knew that it was inappropriate to like, tell her the first moment we seen each other when the doors slide open, and then it’s like awkward. So like, of course, that was in the back of my mind. After seeing her for the first time, I’m thinking, oh my god. So now we have to have this zation. And I hope that she’s still my fiance. After this conversation, we had the conversation. And again, that’s the face to face conversation, even if we were in the pods. And it was like there was a rule, you can’t go back and say what somebody told you or anything she did, she deserved at least a face to face conversation. And you know, it could have been done the day of the wedding. It could have been done the night of the bachelor party, but I was like, No, I do. It’s important to me, that we have that conversation before we spend our first night.

Damona  15:49  

Yeah, and I think I think we’re looking at the timeline. As you know, we spent all that time in the pods and then like, why did he wait until they’re on this trip together? But From your perspective, there was only nine days in the pods. That was pretty early. And you’re really you’re not just

Carlton Morton  16:05  

dating that person and there’s like time restraints. So there’s a lot of factors that went into when’s the right time? If you have 15 minutes for a date today, why would I start that conversation? And then like she’s stressing about it until we date against tomorrow, if we even have it at

Damona  16:22  

sea. You weren’t trying to just get a trip to my No,

Carlton Morton  16:24  

I wasn’t. I’m been around the world like, I look. I haven’t been around the world. Like I’ve been very blessed. I have amazing parents amazing exes, sometimes, and I’ve been around the world so it wasn’t about that. Or TBS people claim to see I’ve been on to number one shows prior to being blind. We’re Housewives of Atlanta and Basketball Wives.

Damona  16:46  

I would have taken that trip, but that’s just me.

Carlton Morton  16:49  

No, it’s amazing. It’s an amazing resort. Like you totally should look into it. It’s like the most peaceful place ever. That’s why I’m like, Oh my God, we couldn’t even stay And try to work it out.

Damona  17:01  

I know. So, talk to me about that moment when you finally got the courage to tell her. She didn’t quite react the way you were expecting, did she?

Carlton Morton  17:12  

He didn’t. Well, here’s the thing. I feel like she reacted the best. She knew how. And the way that she felt it was something that caught her off guard. Um, so I can’t like, you know, be mad at her for the way that she was fighting.

Damona  17:32  

But you did get kind of mad at her, though you did in that moment. And I know you’ve said you said in the reunion at and since then, that that wasn’t your proudest moment of how you reacted?

Carlton Morton  17:45  

No, it was it was very defensive and it was scary. That’s like the biggest thing it was a lot of fear in those scenes and just like no experience like you know, I’ve been on other shows, but I wasn’t on most shows today. My true to someone that I was about to walk down the aisle. So you know is it was one of those moments that I’m like, still cringe

Damona  18:09  

if you could rewrite it, Carlton, what would you have said and what would she have said how would it have gone differently?

Carlton Morton  18:16  

I would have told her that though it may be something that who, for please don’t count me out. It’s already happening, you know, and it’s like one of those things that I still I’m still like dealing with it. Like, I’m kind of over the whole like point that this show has happened and then whatever, but as far as like losing my

Damona  18:39  

I’m sorry, I

Carlton Morton  18:41  

know, I know. I’m sorry. Cuz like, and like,

Carlton Morton  18:44  

I will be like, Oh, you know, cooler like, everything’s all good and someone will be like, will talk to me about her. And then like, I’ll start talking about her. All right.

Damona  19:02  

Take your time. Take your time, brother.

Carlton Morton  19:04  

I gotta like miss my friend. You know what I’m saying? It’s like, we’re so much alike.

Carlton Morton  19:12  

Next question.

Damona  19:14  

Well, I know you said you’re still looking for love. You’re still single.

Carlton Morton  19:19  

Maybe I shouldn’t be though, right? Not just yet.

Damona  19:23  

Well, you ask him my opinion. Yeah. I think a lot of times we wait to be ready. But this is this is the moment like you are. You are, you’re in your life. And I think we learn most when we are in motion and an action. So my feeling is that you don’t wait to find love, but you should always be processing and that this, this is the process of uncovering who you are and what you really want. So what I was going to ask you is with the knowledge that you have the experience that you went through, and what You’re going through right now? What would you do differently? Like if you could do the show again or even just in in life and looking for love again? How? How would you come into it differently? How would you present Carlton in a new way or think differently of your partner?

Carlton Morton  20:19  

only show who Carlton truly is. And that’s not like a defensive person. I think part of not fully feeling like I was able to live my truth made me I will always have like a gate up or some type of like, defense mechanism that would be like on guard. But since coming out as fluid, things like I feel so free, so I feel like now I wouldn’t be so scared in the pods. I would have the conversation probably the moment that I feel like I have a connection with someone. Even if it was more than one person. I would still have like a compensation but it would have to be some blue. I have to get trust conversation that came with that. And hey, this is something I’m about to share with you and I don’t want for you to share it with anyone else here, that type of thing because that was like my main thing like, Oh my god, what if she goes to her, and she’s gonna tell her and like, it was a lot going on,

Damona  21:19  

even though you’re not in the pod, so I feel like this is still a conversation that you’re going to need to have right? You’re still absolutely going to need to figure out that point of when to really fully bring yourself to the relationship and I know a lot of our listeners are are grappling with that too, especially during Coronavirus time where like we’re we’re talking like in like you were in the pods only it’s through your phone and they don’t really know people but you almost develop this false sense of intimacy this feeling that you you think you know the person but you don’t really know the person. I mean, did you feel about Once you revealed your fluidity to diamond that like she was a different person than you thought she was, or do you think it was something else that that caused the rift

Carlton Morton  22:14  

to a certain extent, I felt that maybe she was a little different at swag kept saying, Please don’t be stereotypical right now because there were a few things that she was saying in that moment, that I was like, whoa, wait, like, so it made me like it turned to the fire just kept getting hotter and I was like, just loading, loading, loading, and then it just exploded. You know, there was like, a lot of back and forth that I was like, wait, that’s how you feel. That’s how you really feel like you know, but then looking back, I can’t like even fault her for those things. Because again, I said ain’t said I didn’t really know. Um, I don’t

Damona  23:00  

It’s so it’s so big of you to acknowledge that and even you know, I watched the reunion too, and how you really, really try to make amends with her. And that’s something that I think a lot of people aren’t able or willing to do.

Carlton Morton  23:16  

I tell you in an exclusive like, that I haven’t really told us that was such an impromptu, like, big sub speech, because my initial plan was that I was going to get my fiance back. Okay, I was gonna say, listen, we don’t have to start planning a wedding right now. But like, I want my fiance back and I want to save this, what can we do? But when I stood up, everybody kind of gas. And she kind of looked at me like, I know he is not about to propose. And so I was like, do you like go back to being publicly humiliated in front of millions of people? Or do you just like say face right now? So it’s like me See?

Carlton Morton  24:02  

I had it on my mind to get mushy. Yes.

Damona  24:05  

Wow. Thank you for sharing that with me.

Carlton Morton  24:09  

I’m like holding that in. And when you said it, I’m like, Oh, I haven’t lived that out.

Damona  24:14  

Yeah, I’m glad that you did. And I and you know them. We just live in so many boxes, Carlton. And it’s like there’s the box of being black. There’s a box of being bisexual. There’s a box of just being

Carlton Morton  24:27  

in a box. Yeah. And

Damona  24:28  

it’s hard to navigate that, and I think a lot of people watch the show. You know, we’re eating our popcorn. Like, he shouldn’t have said that. I can’t believe he did that. Oh, girl. Did you see that?

Carlton Morton  24:37  


Damona  24:38  

But like, it’s so nice to be able to really talk to you as you’re processing. And you’re still processing it. And we’d like to think that if we were in the same situation, oh, we wouldn’t have done that. Right. You don’t know. You don’t know if those cameras aren’t in your face. And you don’t have the pressure of that moment. Like anything could happen.

Carlton Morton  24:59  

And I think it’s more Importantly about we have to start thinking as humans, where do we put the most emphasis on? As it relates to what matters? I don’t get why there is a constant attack on the LGBT II when it comes time for us to live in our truth. Because there are a lot of factors that we could hold against other people. Hey, what’s your political party? Hey, I was definitely asking people’s political.

Damona  25:24  

Well, that’s become one of the biggest filters on dating apps and in dating today that that is now it went from being, you know, number five or six on the list to now number one or two for most people. But you’re right, you’re right. You know what it is Carlton, it’s fear. It’s that it’s fear of the unknown. And I mean, even I’m feeling right now. I wrote this Washington Post piece about racial bias in dating, and people are not handling it. Well. I have to just say, people are not handling my my suggestion that we question Our own beliefs and we ask, Well, why? Why am I so afraid of that? Or why have I drawn that line in the sand? And I’m somebody also, like, one of my boyfriend’s was bisexual, openly, like, I knew that he was bisexual. He’s now gay. But you know, it’s a it’s a spectrum, right? Yeah. So so I can absolutely relate to everything that you’re saying. But something about the way I was raised I was conditioned to question and to be open and to not draw some of those lines in the sand that a lot of other people just haven’t had the opportunity yet yet. Growth Mindset to explore. And that’s what you’re up against. It’s it’s like that the box like I was saying,

Carlton Morton  26:46  

No, and I think representation matters. Like there needs to be like people need to continue seeing people like myself on TV who are bisexual black men, you know, because otherwise, like, what do we have to look up to them? No, there was no one on TV. Like me before me. Like I looked everywhere reality TV kind of sir. Like, there was no one like me on TV before me. So I’m very proud that I could like at least start the conversation.

Damona  27:16  

Yeah. Thank you for blazing that trail.

Carlton Morton  27:19  

Yeah, you honor. honor that I chose me. I think it’s time that people see like, you know, more bisexual people in on dating show, period. I’d love to be the first. The first bisexual back there. Hi.

Damona  27:34  

All right, you said it here first.

Carlton Morton  27:37  

I see.

Damona  27:38  

All right, just to wrap up for a lot of our listeners who are single and ready to mingle. What did you learn about dating in the pods that you think can be relevant in dating today if you were to give them one or two pieces of advice for how they should move forward?

Carlton Morton  27:51  

Um, I would say honesty will take you everywhere and trust just make sure it’s someone that you can trust. Be honest vulnerable sometimes we shut down because of our experiences in the past and that keeps us away from getting to the future. Oh, trust your heart, your heart all lie to you. And you’re gonna know when it’s the right time to have certain discussions and never be too hard on yourself. Sometimes it works sometimes it doesn’t work out sometimes it’s just timing. So don’t give up.

Damona  28:23  

Well, Carlton, I hope timing lines up for you again because you are a gym and I’ve really enjoyed this conversation with you.

Carlton Morton  28:30  

Thank you Sorry I put on the waterworks. I didn’t realize that it would come out today.

Damona  28:35  

When you’re being real and authentic. You’re

Carlton Morton  28:37  

such an emotional person. Like I’m so sensitive. I’m so like, and people don’t always get to see this. I

Damona  28:44  

thank you so much for your honesty. Thank you for being here. There’s so much to learn from what Carlton said. First, remember the power of vulnerability. Men are told to stay strong not cry not show weakness. Do you see what just happened? When Carlton showed his true self and his true feelings, he drew us in. He wishes he could have done that in his relationship with diamond. But he’s learning to do it now. Which brings me to my second point, forgiveness. To move into your dream relationship. You need to be willing to forgive the past. Even if diamond is still processing what happened. And believe me, a lot happened which might take a long time for her to process. But Carlton has forgiven himself for hurting someone he loved. None of us are perfect. Many of us say hurtful things that come from our own place of pain. forgiving yourself for your past mistakes is the first step to moving forward. My third takeaway is to face your fear. Your Carlton say that if he could do it again, he would not have been so afraid of what people would say in the pods and he would have left more have his true self shine through. as scary as it is to acknowledge something so personal about yourself as a sexual orientation that has often caused you to be excluded in the past. If you are going to bond your life with another person, you have to be willing to face your past fear and be brave enough to open up to that person fully. Fourth, we are constantly growing and evolving. And that means you don’t need to wait for healing to occur or enlightenment to strike to be ready to date again. We learn in motion, so you don’t need to wait to find love. If you are committed to the process of understanding yourself and growing as a human, you can love in your imperfect form and find someone willing to learn and grow with you. Finally, keep the faith in spite of all that Carlton went through he said he would do an experience like love is blind again. And he’s still looking for true love. No matter what you’ve been through before, I hope that Carlton has inspired you to keep the faith the true love is out there for you too. This has been Episode 317 of dates and mates and the first of four dates and mates love lessons. For more of Carlton’s journey. You can follow him on Instagram at Carleton Morton and you can also check out his charity for kids called Camp Carlton and support if you feel called

Get Your Ex Back & Daddy Culture


Since Damona’s first advice column in the LA times ran with a question about whether or not you should reach out to your ex during the pandemic – we’ve been getting a ton of questions on this topic.

So today we bring in Lee Wilson whose primary platform is all about how to get your ex back. We’ll tell you if you should make a move and how to do it if that’s what you want.


But first, Damona covers headlines:


The latest stats on COVID dating behaviors

Damona received a new study from the dating app Iris on dating habits in New York at this time. Damona covers a few key findings: men are lowering their standards right now, don’t expect any in-person dates right now, and authenticity is IN.


What is ‘Daddy Culture’

Following the really concerning Chris D’Elia allegations, the world is finally having a long overdue conversation on ‘Daddy Culture’ and the age of consent. Damona breaks it down and tells you why you should be concerned.


Divorce is the only option

Kelly Clarkson announced her divorce to Brandon Blackstock. Damona has thoughts on their relationship and why it perhaps wasn’t meant to be.


Ex 101: The No Contact Rule (11:00)

Damona welcomes Lee Wilson to the show. He’s a relationship expert and dating coach. After being a marriage consultant with two nonprofit organizations for several years, Lee went out on his own and started coaching both men and women on how to get their ex back after a breakup or separation and also on how to improve their relationships to prevent breakups, separation, or divorce.

He always says that your first instincts are almost always the exact wrong thing to do and can push your ex away – so he’s going to help us get clear on whether it’s worth trying to get back with your ex.

They discuss:

  • Should your ex back
  • What NEVER to do if you want them back
  • The no contact rule


Find more from Lee on Youtube or at


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 Jem on IG – how do you deal with flaky people? If people get ghosted should they call the person out to stand up for themselves rather than letting the person think it’s okay to treat people like that.
  • Listener on FB says: I really like this guy but he wont wear a mask anywhere. Should I let him know this really bothers me?


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  • and to become part of a community that will help you find the healthiest, most loving relationships this year



Damona  0:12  

Hello lovers. Welcome to dates and mates. Since my first advice column in the LA Times ran last month with a question about whether or not you should try to reach out to your ex during the pandemic, I have been getting a ton of questions on this topic. So today, I’m bringing in Lee Wilson, whose primary platform is all about how to get your ex back. And we’ll tell you if you should make a move and how to do it if that’s what you want. In the meantime, I’m also going to get you up to speed on this week’s headlines. We’ll talk about the latest statistics on dating culture during COVID. And what it means for your love life. And what is daddy culture and why you should be concerned. Plus, Kelly Clarkson reveals why divorce was her only option. Then as always, at the end of the show, I’ll answer your questions including, should you stand up to ghosts? And what do you do if the guy you’re dating won’t wear a mask? It’s a metal by pandemic, y’all. Oh, we’re gonna have a lot to talk about on today’s dates and mates. It’s time for the dish,


Damona  1:29  

A recent survey from the dating app, Iris came across my desk. You know, I love a good survey. But this is something that is impacting your life right now. They looked at the dating habits of single New Yorkers in the era of COVID. And as you know, New York was hit pretty darn hard by it. So they’re sort of our canary in the coal mine. And they asked them about their comfort level with dating again, in person dates versus versus online virtual dates, Netflix and chill and so much more. Here’s what they found out. males were nearly 25% more likely than females to lower their standards. During quarantine. I’m very curious about what lowering the standards means. Because I find that a lot of people have standards that are not realistic. It’s not even about high standards. It’s just like standards that don’t really exist in the real world. And so maybe this is actually a good thing that people are starting to examine what’s on there must have list and realize that the the internal qualities and the values of that person have a lot more to do with compatibility than how they look in a bikini. And so I’m kind of comforted by that information. But it looks like people aren’t going to be moving offline anytime soon. This survey said in person dates are still a thing of the future. 26% scent of singles aren’t going to risk it and would rather wait until 2021 for their next in person dates. About 14% of people, though, said that they would go out as soon as the quarantine is lifted. And you’ve heard me say on the show before that I think as soon as states open up and things are more free, you’re going to see the dating floodgates open. And I think this survey is capturing attitudes of the last few weeks and months. But it’s amazing how how quickly we forget, and how quickly our attitudes can change. So we’ll see how that pans out. But people are saying that video dating is just not making up for in person connections. And over half of the respondents are no more willing to try video dating now than they were pre COVID. But I read that y’all and you know what I hear. I hear that almost half of the respondents are willing to try video, which I feel is something that was not even in the Zeitgeist, even though I do Talk about it in my future of dating masterclass in March right before the pandemic it, I do think people will be more open to it going forward. We’ll put the link to the entire survey results in the show notes. But what it tells me is that people are more open to making real connections. The question is, will it really last one thing that I’m hoping doesn’t continue is daddy culture. This is basically the the romanticization if that’s even a word of younger women with older men from either side, and looking at the crystal Leah case, if you all haven’t heard crystal Leah who’s an actor and comedian, he is going down y’all for approaching young women and when I say young women, I’m saying young women. I think Chris is like 40 years old, and he has been tweeting and chatting with women that are like 16 1718 not even now he’s been accused by these women of requesting nude photographs from them and sending lewd texts and pulling out his erect penis in front of others. I don’t know why comedians think we all want to see their erect penis out of their pants, but just stick to your jokes, and zip it up, y’all. But what this brings to light is that there actually is this whole culture. And if you go into Twitter, you’ll see there are all these women that are almost wearing it as a badge of honor that they’re able to date men that are old enough to be their fathers, or even older than that. And there’s this sexualization of the barely legal women. And I fully understand that sometimes we idolize someone older and a lot of relationships can fall into sort of a mentor mentee dynamic. But it starts to get really dangerous when you’re talking about people who are not even of legal consent age or are still, like your frontal lobe is still developing, when you’re 16 1718, you will engage in riskier behavior and do things that you don’t necessarily think through because literally, your brain is not fully formed. So if you are someone who thinks it’s appropriate to date, someone of that age, and shockingly, I looked up the age of consent in many states, I thought it was 18 everywhere. It’s not in many places. It’s actually 16. But not only can it be criminal, but actually, the question is, is it really ethical? Or are you being a predator in pursuing someone that is that much younger than you or in that specific time of life, so I didn’t have any luck. For crystal Leah anyway, but now that this has come to light, I’m really going to be focusing on daddy culture and these age gap relationships and helping people to ask what is really appropriate for them. Kelly Clarkson and her husband Brandon Blackstock, have called it quits. And this has been an interesting romance to follow. They actually originally met, like in 2004. But they officially started dating in 2011. And things moved really quickly. They announced their engagement in 2012. And then they got married less than a year later, and then a few months later than they had a child together. And then they had another child two years later. So they’ve really been on this on this fast track to love. And that’s what I really want to caution you about. A lot of times people tell me Oh, things are going great because it’s moving so quickly, and I don’t want to deal with wasting time with the wrong person. And I’m just so sure that I’m with by with my person now. So I’m just going to go full speed ahead. And a lot of times when you burn out when you burn that fast you burn out. And that seems to be what happened. They had irreconcilable differences, essentially. And she’s not really commenting on what exactly went wrong. And honestly, that’s her business. I’m not going to get in it. But what I want you to know is that it’s important to take your time and to make sure that especially if you’re in a situation like Kelly, where she’s got a lot of finances, she’s got a big career that she’s managing. And you want to make sure if you’re engaging in a relationship with someone that it’s it’s going to be additive to your life and not be something that drains your energy or that takes away from who you are and what you want to achieve. So I wish Kelly lots of luck. In this next chapter of her life, and I hope that she and her kids and Brandon are all going to be okay. That is the dish before you move on. I just want to ask your opinion on my latest Washington Post article. It’s asking our dating preferences. Actually an example of racial bias if you exclude people of a certain race from your dating pool. It was published online last Thursday was in the print issue of the magazine on Sunday. And I have to admit, I was a little bit nervous leading up to the release because I knew it would make some people uncomfortable. I have always dated race open, not colorblind, but race open. But I know for a lot of people we’ve hidden behind this idea that race can be a dating preference. So we talked about it a couple weeks ago, but I’d love for you to read the article. I’ll link to it in the show notes. I’d love to know what you really think. And I appreciate all of you who are willing to engage with me on this question. And I encourage you to continue the conversation. So if you have thoughts, share them with me on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter at damona Hoffman. Or you can always join the Patreon Friends with Benefits Program, and we can really get down into it. That’s my private Facebook group for all of the super fans of dates and mates who need a little extra love and want to support the show that’s at slash dates and mates. Anyways, there’s so much more coming. I’m going to tell you how to get your ex back along with Lee Wilson. And then I’ll answer your questions on ghosting and dating during COVID right after this.


Welcome back. I am here with Lee Wilson. He’s a relationship expert and dating coach. He’s been a marriage consultant with to nonprofit organizations for many years, and then he went out on his own and start coaching for both men and women on how to get their ex back after a breakup or separation, and also on how to improve their relationships to prevent breakups, separation or divorce. Please help me welcome Lee Wilson and let’s give them some big smooches. Thank you. pushes back. I love it when that happens. Thank you so much. I’m excited to have you here. Because I’ve been getting a lot of questions about exes. And I feel like because we’re in quarantine right now. I mean, some of you states aren’t still in quarantine, but I live in California and it’s still pretty locked down here. And we are feeling like the isolation. I think it makes us nostalgic for the past. It’s so funny. Actually, my daughter was asking me about my exes. And I’m like, I hadn’t thought about them in years. And then I was like, Huh, I wonder what he’s been up to you. Like this Google search, and I’m like, What am I doing? Is this corn? Is that what’s going on?


Lee Wilson  12:06  

Well, most of the people that I talked to, it’s fresher than that. You know, it’s a it’s an x from two months ago, or even very fresh breakup week or two. Most the time, when it’s fresh when it’s the same day or the same week. your instincts tell you that you have to do something right away, like this person’s falling off a cliff, and you’ve got to act quickly, or you’ll lose them forever. That’s the kind of response and reaction most people have, what do I need to do because I need to do it right away time is moving by quickly and I need to do something or I’m going to lose him or lose her. And so usually, my job is to convince them to take a breath. You don’t have to get them back today. You don’t have to get them back this week or this month to get them back. So Matter of fact, time is really on your side. If you don’t apply all that pressure you feel like you should apply Because that’s actually what will push them further away.


Damona  13:03  

Yeah, absence does make the heart grow fonder. I wonder though, is there a conversation around? Should you even be getting your ex back?


Lee Wilson  13:15  

I have that quite a bit, I usually will ask questions about the relationship. And there have been quite a few times where I’ve said, you really should stay away from this person. There was a woman who was about my mother’s age, and she was telling me about this man she had been dating, and some of the awful things he did like, and at one point, I just said, I’m just being honest, I don’t want to help you get this guy back. I want to help you escape, find somebody who treats you right, you know, just awful. And I said, Why do you want this guy back knowing the answer, but it was the human part of me asking why? Because the reason she wanted him back is because when he broke up with her, she felt loss. And so sometimes I remember one client, I think helped him get a girlfriend because I do help people attract love. And he had gotten a girlfriend, things are going pretty well. And then he had a coach. He called me and he said, you know, though? I don’t I don’t. I’m kind of thinking I might date around a little bit. He was actually asking me how to kind of slow it down with her. He calls me he booked a call about a week later, she broken up with him. He was crying. He was desperate. She’s his soulmate now. Like what changed from a week ago? A week ago, you were you were wanting to slow things down and maybe break up with her. But what changed is, he lost control.


Damona  14:37  

Yeah, rejection happened.


Lee Wilson  14:38  

Yeah, she’s wanting to move. She’s moving away from him. He has that sense of loss. And he wants to get back what he thought he has far as control and also it lowers your feeling attractiveness. You feel like you’re not attractive enough to keep this person and so you want some self confidence back. You want some of that self image back. So there’s a lot more Going on besides just I love this person, they broke up with me that you’re feeling. Most people do love the other person, but a lot of it is loss. It’s that sense of loss that makes you so desperate. You want to be validated. You want this other person to say you’re worthy.


Damona  15:13  

So how do you heal from that, like, you’ve been through that loss? You’ve been through that rejection, you’ve been through that loss of control, you hit the nail on the head with that, Lee? And then and then what like, do you recommend that they have a period of distance from their former partner?


Lee Wilson  15:34  

If they want the person back? Then what I tell people is you have to give them the breakup. And what that will mean is is that you don’t make an effort to get them back, at least not right away. And a lot of that is being it’s doing a couple of things. First of all, it’s being respectful because if they said they want to break up and you’re just not giving them the breakup, it appears kind of like you’re pitching a fit Like a child in a toy store, and the parents have said no, and the child just keeps pestering,


Damona  16:05  

I’ve been there. Yeah.


Lee Wilson  16:09  

It’s desperation. And it causes people to beg. And it’s the exact opposite of what you should be doing because it’s not attractive. And the reason we’re begging it goes back to that sense of loss of control. Because what happens if you’re face to face with a dictator, and this person says, your car’s now mine, your house is now mine, and you’re going to live in a dungeon for the rest of your days, and you have no power, all you can do is what? beg for mercy, right? And that’s what happens when your ex breaks up with you. They have all the power and so you feel like all you can do is beg and plead and try to make a miracle happen to get them back. Whereas if you have the control yourself, you would not be pushing and begging and pleading with them. And it only makes matters worse, because it shows that them that you’re not strong enough to stay away. And they also will think, if this person, is this hurt by this breakup, then I can get them back whenever I want if I wanted to, because usually they’re not 100% sure, usually it’s 90% 80%. And you can work on that. But if you convince them that you were just so miserable without them, that all they would have to do is snap their fingers and get you back, then it frees them up to not have to worry about that if they do start missing you. Like a lot of times, people who are quiet after a breakup and just you know, I respect your decision. I think we’re great together. But you know, I can’t my gonna try to change you.


Damona  17:42  

I can’t make you love me if you don’t


Lee Wilson  17:46  

write a song about that.


Lee Wilson  17:47  

I think that’d be a hit.


Lee Wilson  17:51  

But if if you just back off and give them the breakup, and what that means is your absence that’s what they’re saying. They don’t want you in their life anymore. They may, they may sanitize it by saying, Let’s still be friends or you know stuff like,


Damona  18:05  

Oh, I hate that. I mean, can we talk about that for a secondly, that let’s still be friends. Like, I will say, I am friends with most of my exes. But it didn’t happen right away. And I always like had a period of healing where I was like, Don’t let’s not talk right now. But I hate that like, we could still be friends. No, you can’t like my heart is broken, is it? So there’s like a no contact rule that you have your clients do for a period of time.


Lee Wilson  18:34  

Right? And, by the way, when your now ex pitches, the friendship thing. First of all, the important thing is you don’t act like a friend. Now, some coaches will have a real cold approach to this. And so this other coach said, if they pitch friendship, say no. I do not accept your offer. Only contact me if you want a relationship. What If they’re 99% sure they want to get back with you, but they’re not 100% sure, then they’re gonna remember you saying, don’t you contact me unless you want the relationship back. So now they kind of feel trapped. If I call her if I call him


Damona  19:12  

just to explore Yeah, then it’s, I have to have a marriage proposal ready to go.


Lee Wilson  19:18  

Right. Right. And you basically you give away your opportunity to retract them because you want to have it set up where when you’re not there anymore, you’re not texting, you’re not seeing them, and they miss you. And they think boy sure would be nice to interact to text to hear his voice or hear her voice. And they reach out. Your number one, they feel like they can that you’re approachable because you weren’t jerk about it. And they don’t feel like they have to have all their ducks in a row yet.


Damona  19:46  

I’m very interested in what you’re saying. You pique my interest with the retraction element. Walk us through that. What What do you need to do as someone that is on on the receiving end of the breakup, and let’s say you’ve given it time, you’ve had the No Contact rule, and then you’re like, I’m ready to retract this person. And I definitely think they’ve made a bad decision in letting me go. And this is the person for me. They’ve made a mistake, but we’re meant to be we’re destined, how can I retract them? Li,


Lee Wilson  20:19  

part of the retraction is that you’re quiet. Because that’s the ultimate mystery. When you answer the question. You’ve relieved the mystery. When the question lingers, and they don’t have any answers. That’s when there’s mystery and they want the answer. So the most powerful thing is actually the question, not the answer. And you want to be a question mark, because they’re thinking, is he not going to come after me? Or she’s not going to try to get me back. And so whereas when they broke up with you, even if they’re a good person, and they do care about you, they still see themselves as more attractive because it’s a little bit of an ego boost when you break up with somebody. Yeah, you’re the decider directing them. Yeah. You have the power, this person starts to feel like okay, maybe I’m not up here, maybe it’s more like this. Maybe we’re more even. And that’s kind of the start of the dominoes falling. Then it’s curiosity like, What? What’s this person doing? Is there somebody else? You know, here it is night time I’m looking at my phone, they’re not texting me, what are they doing? And this person can kind of become preoccupied with you. And so the first part of retracting them is doing nothing. It’s just literally literally staying away from them, which takes a lot of strength to do. It’s writs. It’s much more difficult than it sounds because most people I speak with fail.


Damona  21:36  

Can I just add though, having been through this experience myself and also coached clients through it, it is so much more fulfilling. If you cannot be focusing on that person and not be chasing that person. It drains your energy so quickly, right? And it’s like, it’s almost like Like you said, it’s a way to reconnect claim your power, you have the power of not contacting them and even like, not stalking them on social media, that seems to me like it’s just a recipe for disaster. What’s your feeling on that?


Lee Wilson  22:13  

Yeah, it’s counterproductive. If you have anxiety at all, it’s really bad usually. And it’s, most of the time it’s going to make you at least tempt you to do the things you should not do. If you want to retract this person, and I hear a lot of excuses, because I will tell people stay away and they’re wanting magic words, you know, that they’re wanting me to be this guru in the forest. And they get to me and they’re like, what do I need to do? And so they expect me to tell them something, it’s gonna be really difficult like these, this incredible thing to say, are this crazy pattern of events? And so when I say yeah, there’s no contact. They’re wanting it to be, I think more majestic and glittery. realize is that that is hard. It’s like if I told you to walk a mile across glass, you know, and you get your ex back. They’d be like, Alright, where’s the glass? Well, this is the hard thing that I’m telling you. It’s not walking over glass, but it’s probably equally equally as hard and it’s to stay away. And I remember this one particular gentleman who was trying to get his ex back and told him stay away. And four days later, I got an email from him. And he said, just want you to know, I reached out to her. Of course, I’m just like, you know, I’m not just saying this. Sounds good.


Damona  23:34  

You know, I’ve seen program works great when you do the exact opposite of what I recommend. Yeah.


Lee Wilson  23:40  

I’ve seen thousands of cases. You know, I haven’t this wasn’t just like, yeah, I had this girlfriend. One time, she broke up with me and I didn’t contact her and got her back. I’m basing this on thousands of cases. You know, this is not just advice from your aunt. And so he told me that he said that, I just thought it’d be a good idea to keep the lines of community Be open. And so he had a call booked about two weeks after that. And we spoke. And of course, he told me the disaster that unfolded after he did that. And you know, I just kind of said to him, you know, I told you not to communicate, but he hadn’t he had reasoned with himself and wanted to contact are so bad that He justified and found a way. And most people will do that they will look for Excuses, excuses to contact this person. Because if here’s what here’s why it feels like if you could just talk to them, you could talk to the old version of them. And YouTube would get back together. Because what people have difficulty realizing is they’ve changed and you’re not talking to the same person. So the same rules don’t apply. So,


Damona  24:54  

so when you’re in that situation, and let’s say let’s say you have a client That is fully committed and they’ve they’ve kept the no contact. Is there a certain point where you’re like, Okay, you’ve, you’ve come to a different place and you should make contact? Or is it always just about waiting enough time where that person gets to ever? Like, do you plant a seed and like your friends here? How do you do it?


Lee Wilson  25:23  

No, no, I would not suggest planting a seed in a frenzy. Oh, man, I have horror stories about that. Here’s why your friends will overestimate their ability to help. They think they think the same thing you do. If they could just have a little talk with them. Well, they’ll win them back for you. And they’re so so wrong. Because what they’ll do is they’ll go to this person. And they’ll they’ll say, this is true story. This actually happened in high school. So he goes this guy and he’s like, man, she loves you so much. All she does is cry. I mean, just made the sob story thinking, thinking that this I would feel so sorry for her they take her back. But the lesson which I didn’t know at the time because I was 16 stupid, was pitting someone is not attraction. They’re very different. And so he ended up making the situation much worse. I learned the lesson right away when my friends asked how I’m doing, I’m doing great. Don’t even tell them if you’re, you know, miserable.


Damona  26:21  

Exactly. Should you be dating? Should you like we hear about the rebound relationship? Should you just go in and put yourself back out there?


Lee Wilson  26:34  

It’s a double edged sword. And there here’s, here’s what I tell people. I know you’re hurting right now. Let’s talk in two and a half months, you’re not going to do anything. As far as this relationship goes two and a half months. That’s the plan. If they contact you, that changes because that’s when you have the opportunity to retract them. But at two and a half months. Let’s decide then if you want to reach out this person


Damona  26:59  

is there a certain amount of time that you recommend before you start dating someone else.


Lee Wilson  27:04  

There’s there’s some good solid research on this from psychology organization to research relationships and research, the way that our brain chemicals work. And usually the minimal is three months that I that I recommend. For a lot of people, it’s longer than that it’s like six. And I do understand that there’s some validity to the idea that if you date around that your ex might hear about that and become insanely jealous and wants you back. However, 20 years and thousands of cases I’ve seen that blow up in people’s faces a lot. Here’s why. Usually the person who does the dumping, and then finds out you’re already dating after two weeks, thinks, well, I must not have meant that much to them anyway, that’s one thing or they think you’re trying to get their attention with it. And then it makes you look like you’re trying to get them back and you’re not really doing as well as they thought you were. So there’s a lot of ways that it can blow up in your face. But then as far as you personally If you are in a serious relationship, you’re really not ready as quickly as you think you are most of the time because you want, you don’t want to just hop from one relationship to another. You know, you don’t, you don’t want to just be in a relationship for the sake of being in a relationship, it’s very easy to get into a rebound, that will move too fast and sabotage itself. So I usually tell people to take some time and just be alone for a little bit and reflect evaluate on the relationship you just lost. How do you feel about that? What was good about the relationship? And a lot of times, if people are just given the breakup, you would be amazed. I get emails still to this day, every day of people who will say, I really didn’t think they would. But I did what you said and now they’re contacting me, and they want to get back together.


Damona  28:52  

Yeah, it’s amazing how simple it can be to get what you want. If you know the steps and you get out of your own way. So thank you for giving everyone the roadmap here and the secret sauce. I know you have a lot more on your YouTube channel. Thank you so much for being here, Lee.


Lee Wilson  29:09  

I appreciate it very much enjoyed it.


Damona  29:11  

Thank you. Now you know how to get your ex back. But in a moment, I’m going to tell you so much more and answer your questions on dating during COVID and ghosting stick around. We’re back and I’m here and ready to answer all your dating and relationship questions. This is technically dating.


Damona  29:39  

jambe on Instagram asked me, How do you deal with flaky people? If people get ghosted? Should they call the person out to stand up for themselves rather than letting the person think that it’s okay to treat people like that? Jim, I love your chutzpah. I love that you are willing to stand up for yourself the question Is what are you gonna get out of it? If you are going to call somebody out and read them the riot act about their crappy behavior, which is ultimately the right thing to do. And if I was their Mama, I would tell them why they need to behave in a better way. But are you doing it because you’re trying to get back at them because you’re trying to teach them a lesson, because you’re looking for some sort of feedback or an apology. Because if it’s if it’s that reason that you’re doing it, you are chasing a feeling that may not come and ultimately potentially doing more harm to yourself and good people. Hate is gonna hate people gonna flake. So if you can just deliver it in a way that’s not emotionally charged, and let them know we had a plan to meet this date. Sorry, sorry, didn’t happen or if they’re ghosting you in conversation. Like you made a connection, and then all of a sudden they’re not responding back, please don’t do the three texts like, hey, Did I say something wrong? Are you there because that just puts you in a weak position like I was talking about with, with Lee a moment ago. And I want you to be strong. So this is what I do. I do think and release, you thank that person for showing you who they were up front. And then you release them to whatever is their karma next. And that’s it, then you wipe your hands of it. And you can move on with a clean conscience and find somebody who’s going to treat you appropriately treat you like a person and make a meaningful connection.


Our next question today is from a listener on Facebook, who says I really like this guy, but he won’t wear a mask anywhere. Should I let him know that this really bothers me. Okay, now this is kind of a different situation because you’re in a relationship or you’re in a situation, ship your data This guy, this isn’t a ghosting situation where the person just dismissed you. This is somebody that you care about and you want to build a relationship with. And if it is something that really bothers you, then absolutely, you need to speak up. Now this can’t be a, you should wear a mask. Haven’t you seen the stats? Look at all of the people that have COVID, do you want to be one of these people? It can’t be that kind of a situation because people are just going to push back against that kind of a judgment, right? But what you can do is you can say I really care about you, and I want you to be healthy, and I want to be able to be healthy and feel comfortable with you. But it makes me feel uncomfortable when you don’t wear a mask. And that way it’s not it’s not judgement of them. I mean, even though it is but you’re not expressing judgment of them, you’re expressing how their actions are impacting you. And if that person is actually person, if that person really wants to invest in a relationship with you, then they will say, Okay, I don’t really want to do it. But for you, I will Or how about I just start wearing it to the grocery store, maybe they’ll start bargaining and then you’ll move into the next phase of this conversation, but you’ve at least expressed your dissatisfaction. And is it a deal breaker? I’ve been hearing this a lot people have been been messaging messaging me like is it a deal breaker if this person won’t wear a mask, maybe if you’re in a situation where maybe you’re caring for children or the elderly or you are compromised and your immune system and this person will not respect your your boundaries and your needs in a relationship, then guess what we got another thank and release. And there you have it, but I really hope that you can use this time to Express your needs in a way that’s really constructive and to move into a deeper phase of the relationship. That’s it for today’s show. This is number 316 of baits and mates. This is our last full episode of season seven, but I have some really exciting minisodes coming up in the next month all through July I’ll be doing a series of master classes centered around meditation and visualization. And trust me These exercises are really good for my one on one clients, and I know there’ll be good for you too. So don’t forget to check out Lee Wilson. He’s at my ex back coach calm and if you want to continue the journey with me, you can join our slash dates and mates. As always, we will put all the links from today’s show in the recap. You can find that recap at dates and maids calm along with producer Leo’s super cute gifts. You don’t want to miss it. Honestly, there’s so much more updates inmates, if you’re just listening on on Apple or Stitcher or Spotify, there’s a whole other world waiting for you at dates and mates. And by the way, if you are listening on any of those platforms, I would love to have you review the show. let other people know why you love dates and mates, and you can help me heal more hearts in season eight of dates and mates, so stay subscribed to the show. We’ll have more content for you all summer. And let’s stay in touch. Let’s stay in touch for the summer. I’m at damona Hoffman on all of the socials and don’t forget to DM me your questions because we’re gonna be back with season eight and just a moment’s notice. And I’m gonna need your questions so that I can help you in love. Until next week, I wish you good health and happy dating

Rethink Love & Bachelor on Blast


We’re about halfway through 2020 and we already cannot wait for the fresh start that 2021 will bring. This year has been by far one of the most intense but it’s forcing us to look at what is really important.

What life do you want to create for yourself when we eventually come out on the other side of this extremely challenging period of time?

Today, we want to help you create something beautiful out of the challenges around us.

We explore your options and perhaps guide you to finding your ideal life with Monica Berg, author of Rethink Love and Fear is Not an Option.

She’s all teaching you to create a life worth living. That sounds really heavy – but basically we want to help you create the life you want immediately.


But first, Damona covers headlines:


Are your dick pics on Amazon RIGHT NOW?

Security researchers came across a very surprising data breach this month – sloppily stored super personal and sometimes sexually explicit private interactions from various dating apps can be accessed through something called a “bucket.” Is your data all over Amazon? Damona breaks it down.


Bachelor on Blast

This week, Matt James was announced as the super hot new Bachelor! But did you know that the Bachelor previously argued in a lawsuit that it was their constitutional right not to cast contestants of color? Here’s an NPR article from 2012 all about it. What does this casting decision mean for the past, present and future of reality TV? You might remember that Damona has a history in TV casting and producing. She has a lot of thoughts on the topic.

Date night ideas for those of us who are still social distancing (read: all of us)

Damona gives us 10 date night ideas for keeping it cute in quarantine – if you’re tired of Netflix and Chill.

LOVE & WISDOM (12:00)

Damona’s been Kabbala curious for a very long time so when we were approached to have Monica Berg – Communications Director for the Kabbala Center – we got super excited.

She’s the author of Rethink Love and Fear is Not an Option and self-professed change junkie.

Monica’s lived a very full life and it has taught her how the practical wisdom of Kabbalah can bring Light and strength into even the most challenging experiences by changing the one thing we can control ourselves. We all need some Light and Strength right now.

She and Damona discuss:

  • Ancient wisdom
  • Ups and Downs in a relationship is healthy
  • Romanticized expectations of falling in love and why they’re unhealthy
  • How distorted self-perception is killing your potential to find love

Find Monica on all the socials @monicaberg74 and at PLUS you can join Monica’s Rethink Love Interactive Webinar if you want more from her


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

  • I’m 37, and I’m so embarrassed to say that I’ve never been in a relationship before. I’ve talked to some therapists and they don’t really know what to say that, and it’s still makes me sad to this day. I’ve been single my whole life and it hurts me knowing my situation, that I’ve missed out simple things, like celebrating an anniversary with a guy, walking along a beach, watching the sunset, celebrating anything basically. What would you say to help me get over this embarrassment? Is it something that I just have to live with and stop dwelling on? I’ve been living with it my whole life, I don’t really know how to heal my heart from this.
  • What advice do you have on interracial dating and how to have convos about what’s happening during these crazy times?


Damona  0:12  

modern love Made Simple. This is dates inmates with damona Hoffman. Hello lovers, we are about halfway through 2020. And I think it’s safe to say we’re all experiencing some sort of change. Whether we like it or not, the world around us is rapidly evolving. It’s time to decide how you fit into the new normal. What life do you want to create for yourself when we eventually come out on the other side of this extremely challenging but necessary period. I want to help you explore your options and maybe guide you towards finding your ideal life. Along with Monica Berg. She’s the author of rethink love, and fear is not an option. She will be teaching you all how to create a life Fourth living. I know it’s kind of heavy. But the bottom line is that you can have the power to change your life right now. And we want to help you do that if you’re not where you want to be. So I want you to think about your immediate life goals. And then we’ll come back to that in a moment. But first, I’m going to get you up to speed on this week’s headlines. We’ll talk about how to keep your dick pics from getting leaked on Amazon, and 40 seasons and a single black lead what ABC needs to do next, with their first black bachelor plus date night at home ideas for those of us who are still social distancing, which should be all of you. Then, as always, at the end of the show, I will answer your questions including how to approach dating if you’ve never been in a relationship, and what advice do you have on interracial dating? You know, that’s a topic I have a lot to say about. So let’s get ready and do the dish

Monica Berg  1:59  

these days. dish

Damona  2:03  

dating app data exposed according to Wired Magazine, now every few months, you hear a story like this from me about a dating app breach. But this one’s a little bit different because it actually wasn’t a breach of a particular app. But it was actually a publicly accessible bucket on Amazon web services that included sexually explicit photos and audio recordings. Nobody exactly knows where they came from or how they got captured. But what the experts agree on is that it was basically just sloppily stored data, not a breach of passwords or access to your app. So as I seem to do quarterly, I’m just going to remind you that I’m not a fan of sending sensitive material over the internet. I’m not a fan of posting it. I’m not a fan of even Snapchatting it because we have I’ve had a breach on Snapchat. And you have to be in control of the information that goes out and you and you have to be prepared that if that information gets leaked into the public eye, that it’s not something that will cause you to potentially lose your job or be embarrassed or end your relationship. This breach was pretty sensitive because some of the apps whose data was was included here were apps like threesome, gay Daddy bear and herpes dating. And they’re actually a total of nine services. But among them, many of them were were apps that had sensitive data about people’s sexual orientation, which may or may not be public and their health information like in herpes dating, so I just have to remind y’all to be very careful with what you share. I know we’re living in a time where we are virtually dating, but just remember screenshots can happen, data storage can happen. revenge porn definitely happens. And however they got there, I just have to remind you that once they’re on the internet, they may not ever disappear. So choose your sex wisely. Speaking of choosing wisely, ABC is trying to make good on The Bachelor Finally, after 40 seasons and only one lead a one black lead, who was Rachel Lindsay a bachelorette they now have a black bachelor. But just to put this in context, you may or may not realize there’s also been a lawsuit, there’s been a petition, there’s been a lot of conversation about the lack of diversity on ABC actually raised children’s who herself has been very critical and said that she’d like to see more people of color on the entire staff which is something that as a former casting director, and as a former Diversity executive and television executive and TV producer, I have often rallied for. And I’ve said that this the land of TV and I’ve worked in it for nearly 20 years, the land of TV does not look like the world that I grew up in are the world that many of you are living in, which is actually quite diverse. And yet, because of the reach of TV, we have a responsibility to accurately portray the world and even to be leaders to lead the charge on change happening in the world. So this

Monica Berg  5:35  


Damona  5:36  

choice to pick a black bachelor right now I do not believe is an accident, I believe it is is is a representation of what is happening in the world and his reaction to that, rather than being forward thinking and leading the charge. ABC is behind the eight ball and choosing a black bachelor to avoid criticism. And you may not realize they’ve actually been sued for this They, there was a lawsuit, which I’ll just give you the highlights of it. But there were a couple of contestants who auditioned for the Bachelor. And they sued because they said the show is discriminates against people of color, both in choosing the primary Bachelorette and choosing people who he or she will date. And you know what ABC said, y’all. ABC. ABC argued that casting is a first amendment right, and that they have a right to discriminate if they’re talking about casting and not have to deal with potential backlash of forming an interracial relationship that that is up to them and the judge agreed the judge agreed that it is not illegal for them to discriminate. Now it is illegal Of course in any other hiring situation. But on television, they agreed that it is not as illegal and they dismiss the case. And this is not okay. This is not okay with me. This is a complete lack of awareness of the responsibility of television. And I know many of the people that work at ABC, I know many of the diversity executives, and I’m sure they are just Gerges biting through their upper lip at this decision, and at an even at the afterthought now of putting a black bachelor in this position, because it shouldn’t have to be mandated by the court. It It shouldn’t just be something that you do as a reaction to a racial revolution. It is something that is a business imperative. It is something that is a world shaping imperative, and something that I don’t believe that the ABC executives and producers are taking as seriously as they should. So I I’m really happy that we finally do have a black bachelor. I posted a video Do not too long ago about racial preference and and bias in dating and how it really relates to our own deeper unconscious bias around race. I do encourage you to check that out on my Instagram or Facebook if you haven’t watched it yet. And this Sunday, I will have a full article in The Washington Post on this topic as well, but we’re just it’s just the tip of the iceberg we have so much further to go and this is just the beginning of the discussion. On a lighter note, you all still need to keep dating but I know many of you are hesitant to go out even as dates are opening up and and lifting restrictions for Coronavirus. So I have a cute little article that can help you if you are either in a relationship or you are newly dating someone have 10 ideas 10 things that you can still do at home, to have a fun and sexy date. We will of course Put the link to it in the show notes. I wrote this for our sisters at AARP, which is a blog through the AARP for black women. But it’s for everyone and I talk about the importance of an histology date. If you don’t know what it is style check date is you can check that out and we’ll put the link in the show notes that dates and mates calm but nostalgia can can actually bond to people if you can create feelings of familiar prior experiences it can actually make you feel connected. Almost as if you were there together. You can certainly make a gourmet meal together my husband and I are big fans of the box to meal kits like sun basket. You can do a sip and paint night you can play Never have I ever there are a ton of ideas. So I don’t want you to feel limited Even though Coronavirus fatigue is certainly setting in I’m feeling it myself. We can still take time to connect and we can still do it in a way that is safe this season. Those are the headlines of the week but in a moment we’ll be talking to Monica Berg about all things love and light and lifelong change. But first, I just need to ask you, are we friends with benefits. If you are looking to go deeper in love and you want some extra bonus material on all things dating and relationships, I would love for you to become a part of the dates and means Patreon program, I’m giving you access to all the hidden episodes of dates and mates. Right now we only have the last 100 episodes, but there’s actually over 300 episodes of dates and dates. And I’m going to give you access to all of those if you’re inside of my friends with benefits program. There’s video tutorials on how to read your dates face in the profile to tell if they’re a match for you or not. And a lot of other dating resource cheat sheets and extras those are all available for slash dates and mates. And of course, you’ll be invited inside my private Facebook group where we can have a direct conversation But that’s only for people who are my friends with benefits and I’d love for you to become one of them. It starts at just $5 a month. And again, that’s slash dates and mates. We’ll have more coming right up with Monica virg. So don’t go anywhere.

Welcome back. I am here with Monica Berg. She’s the author of rethink love and fear is not an option. And she’s the chief communications officer of the Kabbalah center. She’s lived a very full life and it’s taught it’s taught her how the practical wisdom of Kabbalah can bring light and strength into even the most challenging experiences by changing the one thing we can control ourselves. We all need some light and strength right now. Please help me give some big smooches to Monica Berg.

Monica Berg  11:47  

It’s great to be here with you. Thank you.

Damona  11:48  

I’m so glad to have you. So Monica, let’s start at the top. You are the the chief communications officer of the Kabbalah center. Tell me What just give us like a rundown of what Kabbalah is and how it impacts your life?

Monica Berg  12:07  

Well, Kabbalah is an ancient wisdom that explains the complexities of the material and non material world. And for thousands of years kabbalists have understood that the purpose of our life is transformation, and that every human being is born with the potential of greatness, for greatness. And our responsibility is to try to unlock that potential. And I have found the wisdom to really be life altering. Sometimes I wonder where I would have gone I started studying when I was 17. And it explained to me, really, you know, the purpose of life, how to create beautiful gifts from the most difficult challenges and how to really allow life to an all of the things that you experience to go through you rather than happening to you. There’s a purpose for everything. It’s all divine, and there isn’t A great gift really just to be found if you’re looking for,

Damona  13:03  

huh, yeah, then especially connects when we’re talking about dating and relationships. Because there’s a lot of ups and downs, right? And as you as you move through these experiences, I like to look at every, every relationship, whether it’s your sole partner, your life partner or not. It’s an opportunity to learn, even if it doesn’t go exactly as planned.

Monica Berg  13:30  

Well, absolutely, I agree with you. And in fact, I don’t think I think the plans we make are kind of funny. I think we’re seeing that especially now, when we’re the pandemic and people realize that things are not really in our control. And I think that’s why a lot of people have a lot of fear, and a lot of uncertainty because we usually go through life with the illusion that we are in control of what happens, we have a goal, we have an idea, we have a purpose. We’re going to make it happen and if it doesn’t happen, then we get really upset and why didn’t workout I had a plan and I was so sure it was supposed to turn out like that. I think especially when it comes to relationships, there are certain things we can be sure of. If we’re looking and setting up the relationship from the beginning and the right way in terms of making sure you’re aligned in big picture ways and the most important ways, having common goals and understanding of what you want out of life, right, those are big things. And as you evolve in that consciousness, your partner then will evolve with you. But I think far too often people go into relationship with it being more of a commodity of you know, a buyer seller kind of exchange

Monica Berg  14:38  

often and relationships people kind of

Monica Berg  14:42  

it check out too soon. I think that in everything in life, there’s a process that we are meant to go through. And I think that if we’re paying attention if we’re really conscious beings, we’re we’re deriving meaning from everybody, everything every exchange, even if it doesn’t seem consequential, but something like a relationship of course, is I think in those moments that even if relationships seem to be stuck or stifled, there is a something you can learn about yourself. But also I think people often exit far too soon.

Damona  15:10  

Hmm. Talk to me a little bit more about that exiting too soon.

Monica Berg  15:17  

Well, I think that it’s really easy to have a belief system where Yeah, I hear this a lot. You know, I I’m tired of this relationship. It’s not what I expected. It’s not what I signed up for. And, you know, I know I’m going to meet do one on an airplane or you know, so and so mme and a taxi, they’re waiting for it. And we have this very romanticized idea of what falling in love and love looks like. And and that’s just a farce, you know, I mean, of course, that can happen. But far too often, I think people right off the relationship with I think in our minds, we think that a successful relationship is one that has no problems that it’s easy. That is fluid. And the truth is if you look historically, at relationships, even the strongest ones there, there was adversity, there was opposition. And I think that is actually a healthy part relationships are meant to be served as a mirror for you. I think if we look in biblical stories, we look at Shakespeare, there was often something that they needed to go through that was very difficult. And through that they were able to appreciate one another and actually grow from having that experience. So I just think we’re often very wrong about what we think love should look like and then how it’s going to play out.

Damona  16:34  

It’s like the sand needs that pressure to become the diamond. I heard like a little bit of almost sound like a laugh in your voice when you said the one and I know your book, The subtitle to rethink love is three steps to being the one attracting the one and becoming

Monica Berg  16:53  

one. Did I hear

Damona  16:55  

a little laugh on this idea of the one or do you believe There is a one destined person for everyone.

Monica Berg  17:06  

You didn’t hear the last because i think that i think that there are I do believe in soulmates but I think we’re wrong about, again what we think about that because we think it’s going to be amazing and effortless. And also, I think far too often we right off the person we’re with because we have an expectation that they should be something else. I think you can have a lot of different soulmates in your life actually. It depends where you’re at when you meet the person. If when you’re attracting a mate, you’re coming from a place where you’re feeling like you need validation or you feel very needy, or you feel that you want to your cherished delusion about what marriage will bring you. Well, you’re going to attract a certain kind of person, right? And maybe that person is a spark of your soul and you’re meant to do things together but then you might feel you outgrew them Why? Because maybe now and even invested more into becoming a friend yourself and getting to know yourself. And your ideas about who you want to be and how you want to live might have changed. And so therefore, you might want to different kinds of me. So I think it’s really important when you go into finding the one, you first look at makes sure that you are the one you know. Are you happy with who you are? Would you want to be married to you? Are you a friend to yourself? Do you do like living in your skin? How does that feel for you? And I would really say the relationship that first needs the most attention and the priority really is the one that you have with yourself. And far too often people actually just skip the entire chapter of their lives, and they move on from feeling, you know, maybe needy or not really knowing who they are, or maybe even a little bit undeserving. Or maybe not really good enough. And straight into I need love to help me feel all whole and all of those areas and I think that’s a mistake a lot of us make.

Damona  18:53  

Yeah, I I can certainly relate to that. And that’s been a part of my own story. From this place of being sort of other, being someone that is multi cultural, dual religion, you know, finding my place was was really hard. But as listeners of the show know, when I really came to understand and appreciate myself, that’s when I was able to attract my highest love. And I know you’ve had you’ve had different evolutions of Monica Berg and different challenges that you’ve faced.

Monica Berg  19:30  

If I may, I,

Damona  19:32  

I also heard that one of those struggles that you had was overcoming an eating disorder and body image challenges, which is something that I’ve struggled with as well. Can you talk about a little bit about your journey is this is something that comes up for a lot of my clients and my listeners as well?

Monica Berg  19:50  

Yes, absolutely. And interestingly enough, the first part of my book is all about the relationship you have with yourself. It’s eight chapters. It’s a big part of the book. I wrote it like that, because I actually have tried every single thing that I offer in those chapters. for somebody to struggle with anorexia, it’s really, by simple just the definition, you starve yourself from being able to give yourself love or receiving love, and also such a lack of self care that you don’t even nurture yourself, not with food or any other aspect. So I hit a point where I recognized how how little self love I had, which was surprising because I also had very strong beliefs of not suffering. I believed in fairness and equality and love for all but my ability, my inability to give it to myself was very big. And so I had a choice to either slowly keep starving myself to death ultimately, or I had to really learn to love myself. So I think it first starts with hearing and identifying false beliefs that we all carry. Usually it’s the voice of our parents. And my parents are great. They love me. But you know, they had their own struggles, right? So I started to identify those. And I started to identify areas where I felt shame, and feelings of unworthiness. And I decided that I was gonna turn the volume lower on that negative voice, that inner critic and I was going to try to find what was almost now an audible, the voice of my soul, which was telling me you know, you are destined for greatness simply by your existence, you are deserving of love. And I knew full well that I needed to learn to give that to myself. So although I was so lonely at the time, it’s a very isolating place to be in. And what I wanted more than anything was for someone to love me unconditionally. I knew so fully and completely in that moment, even at age 18, that I needed to learn to do that for myself. And if I didn’t do it now, I wouldn’t be happy. I wouldn’t even know if I would survive


Damona  21:58  

that steep That’s deep. And I think a lot of people can relate to that. But but maybe haven’t had that turning point that epiphany. Was there something was there a catalyst that really got you to say, I have to make a change.

Monica Berg  22:20  

Well, it’s interesting because I think a lot of people and that’s why I feel like having anorexia was a blessing. Because a lot of people can deal with this place of being in a prison. It’s like a self made prison, right? It’s very comfortable. It’s small, you’re caged in, but it’s a comfortable, it’s a comfortable prison, right? Because you’ve created it. For me. It was so extreme at that point that I was forced to have to do something about this. And the day that I realized that is also a gift, I call it the gift of knowing, because like most people who suffer with this, you don’t see it right. There’s body dysmorphia. You You see Large person when you look in the mirror, and, and I By the way, I was never I was always the size for like I’ve never It was never because I felt like I gained weight and it was just this deep shame that I had carried around for my whole life. And I remember one day I went to the bathroom and it was something I did every morning. It was called the pinch test and I would lift up my night shirt and I would pinch parts of skin which I felt were fat, but literally like skin off my stomach between my fourth my finger, my pointer finger and my thumb. And I remember on this given morning, I looked in the mirror and for the first time I saw like I actually saw what I looked like. And you have to know that before that I just saw a very different version. I saw this barely obese monitor looking at me. That’s what I had seen for years. And on that day, I saw a skeletal version of myself and I was horrified. I was horrified but it was at my own hands. I had created this and I started screaming and crying Trying to my mother who at that point, yes, she was expecting my heart to give out at any moment, from the lack of nutrients. And she came in and we just held each other. And from that point on, the struggle is still there, I needed to get help, I started this spiritual work. And I really did this work, but I knew no matter what I saw later that it wasn’t true that it was my eyes lying to me. And that was another gift and another insight that you can’t trust your five senses not in anything, not even in relationship.

Damona  24:28  

like can you trust the other senses? I believe I’m a big believer in many senses, and not even just six. But

Monica Berg  24:38  

well, this is the thing according to Kabbalah, we have what is known as the 1% reality versus the 99% realm. So the 1% is everything that’s ruled by our five senses. It’s, you know, sight, smell, hearing, taste, and very often, you know, and it’s immediate gratification. So when we go about relationships, we look for what you know, you Are pheromones, right? Do they smell good test? How do they feel to us? What’s the attraction level? And of course, all of those things are important. However, we know that looks fade. We know people get older. I mean, lots of things change, bank accounts change. So if it’s just based on external, you know, you’re gonna get into trouble with that a little bit later. But what’s connected to the 99% realm? is empathy, kindness, compassion, connection. Pleasure, laughter, right? All of those things. That’s what you really want to start out looking for when you’re looking for relationship, because that will stand the test of time. If you find a kind of person they’re going to be they’re going to continue to be high maybe and fast. They’ll want to continue to be kinder and find ways to grow that, huh?

Damona  25:43  

Yes, that’s I. I appreciate the way that you phrase that because that’s something that we talk about a lot on the show, but it’s hard to put into words what exactly those qualities you should be looking for are. I want to fast forward a little bit In your story to when you met your spouse, and just continuing on the conversation of self love and, and body image, because sometimes when when you get into the relationship or when you’re dating, then your face those issues are looking at you again because people feel that they’re being judged because of the way they look. Did that come up for you when you were dating? Or has it come up for you in your relationship in the past?

Monica Berg  26:37  

Well, it’s really interesting because

Monica Berg  26:40  

even though I really want a relationship I never trusted. I never trusted it because I didn’t feel I was ready for it in some way. I mean, even when, like, I mean, I went to Beverly Hills High School, there are plenty of opportunities, but I kept just feeling like I need to protect myself from something I didn’t know that I need to protect myself from me actually. Just what followed right when I was about to graduate, but when and my husband and I knew each other. So again, I started studying Kabbalah when I was 17. And he was very involved. He was kind of born into it, actually, his parents co founded the cloud center. So we came from very different backgrounds. And he you know, I love this too, because he always had his nose in a book. You know, he was walking read, and I written that, you know, I was drinking and dancing and do very different things that we were coordinating. But we put ourselves connected, right, but I could not see him like, even if God had come and said, this is your future husband. It was absolutely not because at face value, it didn’t look like things lined up. And I remember I was doing all of this work that we’re speaking about, I was still anorexic. And one day I walked into his office because there was a project that I volunteered to work on, and it was his projects and they walked in and our hands touch and it was like if we saw each other for the first time and we were married nine months. Later. And we were young to write. So when we joke like, oh, we’re really lucky it worked out. But the truth is, we both had these things in common in terms of the 99% realm. So, and I was interested when we fell in love, which is interesting, right? And I think, and I remember it was the first time I ever felt really happy, and it wasn’t so much that he was making me happy. It was just I never laughed so much. It was like there was levity. And there was a simplicity that I had never known or seen before. It was just being able to arrive on your own terms. And be seen, I think it was the first time I was really seen for who I really was like, he could see my soul and I don’t think anybody had ever seen me in that way ever until that point, and I’m not really sure until recent times. If people have you know, he always saw me and I think that that that belonging not only helps me heal But never made me. Never made me question who I was, or if I was enough.

Damona  29:08  

I wish that for all of our listeners, I hope that they can all get to that point. But I know there’s a lot of fear but you got to do the work and a lot of fear on the way to like fear of acceptance, fear of rejection. And I know we’re talking about rethink love, but you’ve also written a book called fear is not an option. Can you give just a couple of tips on overcoming fear or, or, you know, rejecting fear when it comes to moving into a relationship?

Monica Berg  29:44  

Well, I can talk about fear forever, although, yeah, I think that people do of course, fear of rejection. It feels very real. And I actually think it comes from ancestral times when when we would stand up and Be an individual and speak our mind. We could be ostracized right? And what did that mean? Then we were gatherers and hunters. That means if we were rejected from a group, basically, that was death because we could not survive on our own right. So I think we’re running really old software. And we think it’s real. And that’s why we’re terrified of being rejected. But the way I look at rejection is different rejection isn’t that what you’re offering is not worthwhile, or that it’s bad. It’s just the person you’re trying to give it to, is not the recipient of it. And if you look at it that way, it’s really not personal. It’s just not for them. But what a blessing to see that early on. So you can not waste time and you can move on to the next. So in order to do that, though, of course, you have to know your self worth, which takes us back again to that first very fundamental step, which is really learning to be your own best friend, and it’s possible for everyone I say this completely wholeheartedly. I fundamentally know this to be true. Everybody can get there, but you have to have a true desire. desire to do it. Again. For me, the desire was everything because it was life or death. But what if everybody looked at life like that? Right? If I don’t change this about myself? It’s the death. It’s a slow death. What is a slow death? It means that you wake up every day. And are you living your best life versus just mediocre? You wake up and you’re not really excited to get out of bed. You wake up and you can’t wait till this happy hour. I mean, that’s so death to me.

Damona  31:22  

Oh, yeah. And I think now in this time of, of COVID and radical, racial change, I think it does slow death is getting faster. And we’re all seeing our own mortality presented to us and we have a choice. And I love that you say, you say that. Change, get it. You want people to get addicted to change. And that change is something that can really be powerful to create the life that we want. So I think we’re in a really important time be having this conversation, Monica To really inspire people to make a change and to continue to make changes. What, what is one thing that you encourage someone to do today? If they’re feeling all those pressures, and they’re feeling the slow death? How can we make a move to get unstuck, and not not accept the the death sentence that we’ve been taking on? not to get too serious, we

Monica Berg  32:25  

need to

Monica Berg  32:27  

know. I know, like the death sentence.

Damona  32:30  

But you know, I mean, it feels real to me. It feels real to me right away.

Monica Berg  32:36  

I think that as much as I say there’s an option, there is a place for healthy fear. And in fact, in my book, identify three different different types of fear because when you break things down like that, it’s very easy then to overcome them. And we don’t have to go into that if you don’t want to, or we can whatever you want, but with healthy fear, for instance, healthy fear is rooted in real fear. It’s rooted in things that happen right? Like death, disease, sickness growing old and what people do with that kind of fear. They take it all the ways every time like let’s say somebody fears their parents dying, then they think about that. And they ruminate about that thought over and over again or when they’re with their parents. That’s sad, because they’re thinking, Oh, is this the last time I’ll be with them or our days are numbered. Instead, you can use it as a great motivator for change, right? You can say, Okay, I’m going to tell them, I love them. Whenever I see them, I’m going to make sure I’m kind even if I’m annoyed. I’m going to make sure that I enjoy our time together. So I have those memories. Where if a person’s afraid of disease, well, then great, use your time wisely. Eat healthy, don’t have stress, don’t smoke, right? exercise, there’s these things are set for us, actually, to help us be aware of things we do need to pay attention to. So I’m all for that kind of fear. And in terms of change, I think very often, people crave change, but they reject change because we like to be comfortable. we as human beings. We really like our comfort and changes the opposite of that it’s very uncomfortable. The thing is this, if you accept this reality, that change is a constant companion for all of us through life. Think about this. I mean, if I look back to Monica 15 years ago, or 30 years ago, I don’t even recognize her. And I hope that tomorrow, I don’t recognize the version of me that I am today, right? That’s how I approach life now. And it’s very freeing, and it’s very liberating, because the alternative is that you go through life collecting things and accumulating things and then you get terrified. Don’t take this away from me. I worked really hard for this. Oh my god, I can’t lose my job. I worked really hard to get to this position, or this race or this promotion, oh, my God, my house. I’ve got to protect it. I worked really hard for it. And so we go through life collecting things and then we’re afraid we’re going to lose them. But what about this? What if we don’t have that fear? And we say, Okay, I’m so curious about life and where it has to take me and what I have yet to discover that I want to be flexible. That means that day to day again, you wake up you have a plan, you have an idea of what your life should be like Like what your day should unfold like, and then it doesn’t go that way, you have a choice in that moment, I can be upset and write the day off and wait for tomorrow. Or I can look around and say, Okay, so that’s not an option. What else is and if you approach life like that, you’re going to see endless opportunities. And then you’re actually going to be happy. It’s like the formula for happiness.

Damona  35:21  

I love how you said it. We took we took all of the despair, and you turn it into a positive Monica and I too, I’m a change addict. And you know, people have heard me say on the show before, like, I’m not a done person, I’m not finished. I’m evolving and I am excited for all of our listeners to to get to get more, get some of your wisdom and get that inspiration for them to keep pushing to change and evolve as well. Thank you so much for being here. I hope everyone will pick up their copy of rethink love three steps to being the one attracting the one and becoming the one Monica. I think this is just the The beginning of a long friendship and a journey for us to take together. So thank you for inspiring me as well.

Monica Berg  36:05  

Oh, I look forward to that. Thank you so much.

Damona  36:09  

What a delight what an enlightening experience to speak with Monica Berg. I have learned so much from her. I’ve been Kabbalah curious for a while myself, so I’ll keep you posted. As we move along this journey. We’re going to take a quick break, but I have questions from you all and some juicy ones this week. So don’t go anywhere. We’re back. And I am here and ready to answer your dating and relationship questions. This is your favorite segment. Technically dating.

Monica Berg  36:42  


Damona  36:44  

This question came to me in an email from Abby. She says I’m 37 and I am so embarrassed to say that I’ve never been in a relationship before. I’ve talked to some therapists and they don’t really know what to say. And it still makes me sad to this day. I’ve been single my whole life and it hurts me knowing this situation that I missed out on simple things like celebrating an anniversary with a guy walking along the beach, watching the sunset celebrating anything, basically, what would you say to help me get over this embarrassment? Is it something that I just have to live with? And stop dwelling on? I’ve been living with it my whole life. And I really don’t know how to heal my heart from this. Happy. Thank you so much for your question. Well, it’s funny, all of the memories that you mentioned, walking on the beach and watching the sunset, I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve done that with my husband. And what it Telegraph’s out to me is that we’ve fallen for it, Abby, we’ve fallen for the myth of romance that we’ve seen in rom com. So those are all moments from movies. They’re not real life. And while you’re yearning for a relationship, I want to be be mindful of What kind of relationship you’re yearning for? If you’re looking for that kind of picture, perfect experience. It doesn’t surprise me that you’ve been in pursuit of that the last I was gonna say 37 years, but hopefully not when you’re a baby. But maybe for the last 25 years you’ve been in search of that happy ending and that picture perfect moment. And that’s really not what real love is about real love. It is those moments you get to celebrate together. But it is also it is a journey and self discovery as I was talking about with Monica. And in terms of the embarrassment, I feel you girl I because I really did not have many serious relationships before I met my husband. And I can certainly relate to that feeling of not being in a committed relationship and feeling like you’re missing out on something That FOMO is real. But I just want you to know you’re not alone, even at 37 there are many other people listening and I get emails from them all the time, who are looking for the same thing that you are. But the important thing is that if you want your life to change as Monica and I are saying earlier, this is the moment to do something about it. Don’t wait for tomorrow. Don’t wait until you’re this perfect version of yourself. Don’t wait until you’ve completed your therapy and you are a done person because change is inevitable and you will grow and evolve with the right partner. So what I want you to do it to release that embarrassment is to focus on the vision of the relationship that you want to create. Because I promise you once you are in that relationship, that time that felt like an eternity when you were when you were single, will be a will be a little blip on the meter of your life. And I want you to visualize I want you to picture what it would be like to be with this person? What are the qualities of this person? How do you feel with this person. And I want you to basically create an ideal mate vision. And once you’ve done that, then you work backwards in you write your dating profile, and you talk to your friends about introductions, and you release the single shame because if you stay in the shame and embarrassment of not having a relationship, you will not be able to shine in the sun as a single person and for people to be able to see you. And then we will cue your dating plan off of your vision of your ideal mate and how you want to feel when you’re in that relationship. I could take you a lot further, but I’ll leave it there for today’s show and I will be doing a women’s group program. So if you are interested in getting in the women’s group program, Abby or anyone else listening that wants to go on this journey with me and do some of these exercises I would love to help you can email me to get on the Advanced list Dimona at damona Hoffman comm there’s also always the 30 day dating playbook, which does some of this work in a very truncated version 30 days of or less, and that’s it. 30 day Our next question comes to us from one of our Patreon friends with benefits. This person asks, What advice do you have on interracial dating? And how do you have conversations on what’s happening during these crazy times? Yes, it is a crazy time. But I’m really glad you asked this question because I’ve talked a lot about how to date race open and opening up your parameters or search parameters. But I haven’t talked a lot about the challenges that you might face in engaging in an interracial relationship if you haven’t in the past. And it’s funny because even we talked about bachelor at the top of the show, Rachel Lindsay was saying that she wished for people to not have their first interracial relationship on national television. On the Bachelor. So we’re all aware that there’s going to be friction. But I believe that loving one another and being open to, to crossing racial barriers and blending our cultures in America. And I know I have listeners all over the world. But here, especially because of our history, it’s really important to moving forward in this time. So I’ll give you a couple of steps that I think you need to take and things that you need to think about if you’re embarking on an interracial relationship for the first time. The first thing I hear a lot from people that are in interrelate interracial relationships is that they don’t want to have to educate their partner. But here’s the bottom line. We don’t know what we don’t know. And it’s inevitable that your partner may say something that they don’t understand may be offensive to you. There may be cultural norms, or certain patterns that you have that are under familiar to them. And we have to create a culture of being open to the discussion. And you have to create an environment where your partner can, can voice their questions and concerns that they may have never been able to say to another person, but they feel safe enough to ask it of you. So yeah, there’s gonna be a little bit of an education process. And yeah, it might be a little bit exhausting. I have to tell you, I’ve gotten so many messages from friends that are basically asking me to explain blackness to them. And I don’t have the rulebook. Certainly myself. Just living in the skin gives me one experience, but there’s so much more out there to experience and learn but if you can’t learn from your partner, who can you learn from? The next thing I’ll tell you is that we have to remember where we are in history. Our historical memory is very short. The the interracial marriage ban just ended in 1968. We just celebrated loving day, just a little over a week ago, my parents got married in 1978. And people would look at them my father’s white, my mother’s black, they would look at them with the stain when they would go out. And that’s really not that long ago. So the you have to consider the history that came before this moment that you’re in and realize that not everybody is ready to accept this and some of you listening right now, might not be ready to accept this conversation. And that’s okay. But we’re just beginning we’re just beginning the talk now, many many years later. So, when you are bringing your significant other around your family around your friend circle, you need to be aware of what the environment is and set your partner up for success. So if there are certain things about your culture, that they need to understand certain cultural norms, if there are certain Things that you want to make off limits to your friends and family. Or if you know that you have family that just is not going to be open and accepting of this person, then you have to set your partner up for success. And you have to create your new traditions together. And this is actually true of any any new relationship, whether you are the same race, and the same religion or not. Everyone has different traditions and cultural norms. And you’re always blending traditions when you’re blending two families, two people together. So when you’re creating your own traditions, I want you to remember that you are one another’s champion, you’re always on the other person’s team. And this may be a very challenging thing when you’re going up against decades and decades and, and even centuries of preconceived notions about who someone is based on the color of their skin. You are Trailblazer if you’re choosing this path, you’re choosing to be in an interracial relationship, even here in 2020.

Monica Berg  46:07  


Damona  46:08  

it’s up to you to lock arms with your partner and remind them that you are united front, and that we are pushing forward. Together, no matter what. I hope those tips are helpful. This is obviously a deep conversation that we could spend a lot of time talking about. And this is just the beginning. But I appreciate you being open to asking the question and to taking this journey with your partner. That’s all for Episode 315 of dates and mates. You can find Monica on all of the socials at Monica Berg 74 or at rethink life dotnet and we’ll put those links in the show notes as well. We are rapidly approaching the end of season seven of dates and mates man this season has flown by and I am still processing Everything that we’ve talked about and I am already planning what’s going to be in store for season eight. We have one more super awesome episode coming this month and then in July I’ll be putting on a month long dating masterclass called manifesting your mate. It’ll be a parts meditation parts inspiration, totally different format something new for you to explore in July. I’ll give you more info on that next week. But in the meantime, don’t forget to join the Patreon slash dates and mates. And if you are looking for a deeper conversation on how to get that highest love that you want, and you deserve, please join me. We will put all of the links from today’s show and the show recap at data Nate’s comm I’m at damona Hoffman on all the socials. keep those questions coming now I states are opening up and people are ready to date. I know you have a lot of questions and I want to give you the answers. Next week we’ll be talking about how to get your x back with Lee Wilson a relationship and marriage coach. Until then, I wish you love light and strength and of course, happy dating

The Art of Charm & Interracial Love



How are you holding up?

We are not okay. 

We mourn the loss of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and Ahmaud Arbery and our hearts are with all the individuals using their voices to enact positive, systematic change.

Damona has been talking about it more on her social media. If you would like to join the conversation, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment!


View this post on Instagram


Today I’m mourning the loss of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and Ahmaud Arbery and I’m thinking about the collective inherited trauma that we carry with us.⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ Right now is the time for action and active conversation. If you don’t understand the protests happening around the country I encourage you to educate yourself and find a perspective different than yours. That’s what creates compassion. And that’s what ultimately is going to heal.⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ Even if you can’t truly understand our experience and our cause, you can stand up for what is right and can teach the people around you what is happening in the world. We can find ways to change how our country views and treats people of color – especially black men.⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ Love is the tool that’s going to make change.⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ Spread love and understanding.⁠⠀ Vote for representatives who will enact systematic change.⁠⠀ And represent your community by completing this year’s census at⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ Artwork by @Shirien.creates⁠⠀ ⁠⠀ #BreonnaTaylor #GeorgeFloyd #AhmaudArbery #blacklivesmatter #humanrights #protest #equality #socialjustice #BlackLove # #blackandproud #blackamericatoday #takeaction #dailyquotes #dailyinspiration #bethechange

A post shared by Damona Hoffman (@damonahoffman) on


We thought long and hard about whether to drop an episode of Dates & Mates today, but came to the conclusion that even in hard times like these, it is still our responsibility to use our voice.

And to spread as much love as we can

So if you are looking for a small distraction from the world around you, today’s episode is all about adaptability and confidence as modern dating is impacted by the events around us.

Our guest Erin Muroski, who has spent years inside the mind of men as an Art of Charm flirting coach, gives us tips on how to set yourself up for success.


If you’ve listened to this show for a while, you know that we encourage anyone looking for love to embrace adaptability.

Not only is it an important skill for the advancement of the human race and yada yada, but now more than ever it’s time to get comfortable with the flow. Get comfortable with change. Get comfortable with spontaneity and organic interactions with the people around you.

Here is the Washington Post article that Damona referenced at the top of the show


I love my white husband but… 

Damona covers an article written by Laura Cathcart Robbins – who was on the show last month. It talks about how interracial couples can truly understand each other in times of racial tension.

Scott Disick and Sofia Richie Split

After three years of dating, Scott and Sofia have officially split. This comes after a report that Scott has checked himself into rehab to work on some past traumas.

Hey baby, what’s your sign?

What does your astrological sign say about your relationship potential?


As we said, we’re talking about confidence and spontaneity as states reopen and we move into the next phase of coronadating.

Erin Muroski is an experienced improv coach and dating coach and she’s spent years working with men to help them be the most confident version of themselves.

But here’s why we’re so interested in Erin’s perspective because for years she’s been inside the mind of men as an art of charm flirting coach.

If you heard our master class on flirting from last year, you know I’ve used improv for years as flirting coaching technique and we can’t wait for you to hear Erin’s perspective on this topic.

Find Erin on all the socials @erinmuroski! Don’t forget to check out her super fun podcast, Final Rose Material!


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

  • Tweet from OJ – Can monogamy be upheld when partners choose to keep their relationship a secret from everyone else?
  • Tweet from Cherry – I’ve gotten out of the habit of trying to meet a guy so how to begin again?


Damona  0:12  

Hello lovers, welcome to dates and maids. If you’re anything like me, you have been glued to the news the last few months and there was an article that came across my desk this week in the Washington Post, about adaptability. I’ll link to it in the recap, which we always do at dates and mates calm, but what you should know is that it talks about why flexibility is important in the post COVID world. And if you’ve listened to the show for a while, you know that I encourage anyone looking for love to embrace adaptability and flexibility. Not only is it an important skill for the advancement of the human race, and yada yada yada, but now more than ever, it’s time to get comfortable with the Follow the flow, get comfortable with change. Get comfortable with spontaneity, and organic interactions with the people around you whether you’re meeting them online or offline. Today I’m talking to Aaron murasky. She is a coach at the Art of Charm which helps people get comfortable with conversation and become a more confident version of themselves. Before we talk to her, I have some thoughts on this week’s headlines that I want to share with you. I’ll be talking about how interracial couples can understand each other better in these tense times and how the COVID crisis may be the downfall to Scott disick and Sophia Ritchie’s relationship. Plus on a lighter note what your astrological sign may say about your romantic potential. That is always at the end of the show. Aaron and I will address your questions including our monogamy and secret relationships. mutually exclusive and how to begin again in love. You ready for this? Then let’s dish


Unknown Speaker  2:09  

these dating dish.


Damona  2:12  

My dear friend, Laura Cathcart Robin so you’ve heard on the show before posted a fantastic article in Huff Post about her and her boyfriend Scott. The title of this article was I love my white boyfriend, but there’s something he’ll never understand. Laura is a black woman. And she is in a long, long term relationship with Scott who’s a white man. And it’s funny because she wrote this article actually, before George Floyd was murdered. I’m just gonna say it on the show. And she was writing it kind of in response to Briana Taylor and art Armory and realizing that there’s something as a black woman that she carries with her and out As a woman of color, I also relate to this, you carry this constant vigilance and this constant sadness. And I’ve actually been doing a lot of study on inherited trauma, and how a lot of this and this is science, y’all can look it up. It’s not something it’s not pop psychology. But in your cells in your DNA, you carry the emotional experiences of your ancestors and the generations before you what I know it’s wild, but it is fact and even going a couple of generations back and when I think about what my grandparents were going through, what even my mother was going through growing up as a young woman in Detroit in the in the 50s and 60s, it’s heavy and the fact that it’s still coming, it’s still being dealt with today or not dealt with but it’s still a present issue. is something that when you’re in a interracial relationship and you are, you are grappling with it on a daily basis, and your partner hasn’t really had that experience, it can cause a greater divide. But what I said to Laura, and what I’d love to offer up to any of you who are either in interracial relationships, or thinking about interracial relationships is that when you love someone who’s different than you, that is what creates understanding. That’s what creates compassion. And that’s what ultimately is going to heal. Love heals all. And that is what I hope the big takeaway will be for those that read her article and those that are listening to the show is that I encourage those kind of connections and maybe it’s not romantic love, maybe it’s friendship, but through build, bridging those kind of connections and having the kind of uncomfortable conversations, and in Laura’s case, being able to sit with Scott and she’s saying like he’s as out rageous She is but can she really understand it? And the answer is probably not. And my husband can’t really understand it either. But he can take action. He can be an activist he can, he can stand up for what he believes and he can teach our kids what is really happening in the world and ways that they can behave in a different way to change our society’s views on especially black men, but people of color in general, and using that love as a weaponizing it, you know, use that love as the tool that’s going to make change. That is really, that’s really what we’re being called to do right now. So I’ll link to Laura’s wonderful article in today’s show notes, but I really just encourage you all right now to lead with love in this difficult time.


I wish I had a snappy transition this next story, but some people that still love each other Ended up, breaking up end up calling it quits. And that has happened to our darling couple, Scott disick and Sophia Richie. Now we covered their relationship early on, like three years ago because there was such a huge age gap between them and a lot of people. Sophia Ritchie’s dad, Lionel Richie included thought it was a phase and it wasn’t going to work. But they did make it three years. But now they’re saying they’re calling it quits. And A source told, told the media told Cosmo that it’s not that there was like a big fight that happened. It’s just Sophia wants to do her own thing. While Scott takes care of his health. He actually checked himself into rehab to work on past traumas, after losing his mom and dad within months of each other. I think he’ll find there’s a lot more in there. And a lot of us when we go into those dark places, and we ask for help, we find there’s a lot more than we realized that we need to pull out and examine and change. So I’m really hopeful for Scott and for his family and his kids that he has with Courtney, that he’s able to really make change. But it really shines a light on the fact that sometimes relationships aren’t meant to be, and whether they end up getting back together or not after he goes through this treatment, it reminds you that it’s okay to walk away from something if you find that it is not. It’s not the thing, the relationship that’s bringing you the most possible joy. So I wish them both the best. Sophia is 21. So she could have many other relationships ahead of her. And Scott really needs to focus on himself and healing right now. But if there’s anyone listening right now that’s feeling like that trauma or that pain, like a lot of us are going through some really heavy things right now. Don’t be afraid to raise your hand and reach out and get help. On a lighter note, if you are looking for the ideal match, maybe you been using the wrong criteria. Maybe you should look to the stars for your connections. Now I’m a big fan of astrology. And you’ve heard, I’ve had my own astrologer Rachel laying on the show before she actually did a fantastic article on women’s health recently. But I don’t judge holy compatibility based on what somebody star side is. There’s a lot more into astrology. But this is just a fun article which we’ll link to where a company called buzz bingo did some research on the longevity of celebrity relationships based on their star signs. And I know you’re curious because my friends at OkCupid said that a lot of people are responding to their questions about astrology on dating apps. So I know I’ve got your attention on this one. According to this study. Capricorns are the most relationship focused and their relationships lasted the longest, but who do you think had relationships that Where the shortest? Ha ha? Yeah, it’s Scorpios not surprised by that one. Scorpios No, no, I’m not gonna throw any shade at you. But you know you Scorpios like things the way you like it. But get this According to the study of a Scorpio paired with a Capricorn. That was a match made in heaven. Hello, Orlando Bloom and Katy Perry. But Capricorns y’all don’t even think about being in a relationship with an Aquarius, aside from them stealing your post birthday glow? It just won’t work. I would love for you all to check this out. Let me know what you think. Do you use astrology in matching? And do you ever go beyond the sun sign? There’s so much else there’s your rising sign. There’s your moon and your moon is about your emotional self and how you are in relationship. So let me know what you think of this astrology. And whether you think the relationships they they highlighted are going to last for the long term. That’s it for this week’s headlines. Up next, we have Aaron murasky, who’s going to talk to us about techniques to be more confident and flexible in dating and relationships and of course, in your everyday life, so stick around.


Welcome back. So, as I said, we’re going to be talking about confidence and spontaneity as states now are reopening. Not my se but some of your states are reopening and moving into the next phase of what we will call Corona dating. And so I like to welcome to the show, Aaron murasky from the Art of Charm. She is an experienced improv coach and dating coach. But here’s why I’m so interested in Aaron’s perspective, because for years she’s been inside the mind of men as an Art of Charm flirting coach, you may have heard the Art of Charm podcast and they’ve been Helping men to be more confident and date more successfully for many, many years. You know if you heard my masterclass on flirting from last year also you know that I’ve used improv for years as a flirting coaching technique, and so I cannot wait to get Aaron’s perspective on this topic. Let’s go ahead and give her some big smooches and welcome Aaron murasky to the show. Hi, Aaron, I’m so excited to have you on the show. Because we need we need to understand what’s happening there in the Art of Charm house. Yeah, to be here. And I’ll just, I’ll just kind of give everybody a catch up. We have had we had Jordan Harbinger, who was one of the founders original founders of our charm on the show, many years ago. So people might have one impression of what Art of Charm is, but I understand there’s been, you know, change in leadership, and a bit of a new direction. Tell us what you’re doing over there at Art of Charm and give us a sense of what you’re Roll is in the company.


Unknown Speaker  12:01  

Yes. So I’m just yeah, AJ and Jordan originally formed, Johnny jumped on board very shortly after that, to do all of the AJ and Johnny been doing the in person coaching for you know, over the past decade together doing the boot camps. And so the boot camps at the house are, you know, it’s a five bedroom house, beautiful house, in the Hollywood Hills with the pool, all kinds of nice, it’s just like a gorgeous layout. And guys come and stay for a week from all over the world. And they learned self improvement, self development skills, communication skills, so that they’re able to further develop their confidence, their their, you know, businesses, their relationships, everything. You know, after that kind of intense experience of a week long, fully immersive sort of experience.


Damona  12:54  

I want to go to this. This is like, I know you have your bachelor podcasts as well as this story. Like the it’s like the bachelor house. It’s kind of like the bachelor house. Yeah.


Unknown Speaker  13:04  

But yeah, and and they, you know, instead of all these, you know, women coming to the bachelor house, like they do on the television show, this is the guys like, you know, basically at the house, they are learning new skill sets, then they practice them at the house, with with coaches like myself, and then they go out into the wilds of Hollywood and LA and go, you know, use those skills because like any skill, you have to practice it and you have to like go out and fail at it to figure out how to be better.


Damona  13:37  

Okay, I’m just gonna rip the band aid off and ask you how is this different from pickup artistry?


Unknown Speaker  13:44  

Oh, gosh, I mean, first of all, let me just say I wouldn’t be a part of the company if it was like, if it was like, what I think what I think of when I think of pickup artists I think of like kind of sleazy when manipulating women into Thinking one thing so that, you know, they’ll hop into bed with you. And that’s really your end game. And it’s funny because I actually had I interviewed with Johnny to be the improv coach there. This was before I really knew what the company was. And when he was sitting there telling me about it, my mind was clouded with that idea of pickup artistry and so I was like, you know, thanks. But no thanks don’t really want to be a part of something like that. And he urged me to come to the house. He’s like, you can sit on sit in on any lesson that we do anything that we do, like come by, that’s not what we’re about at all. And I did. And it was amazing just to see what they’re actually teaching and just like helping guys kind of uncover the best versions of themselves and like really just dive into that self development side. So yes, there’s a pickup part of it as in like the guys do go out and try to make connections with people but The difference is is that at the root of it is like being able to be authentically yourself and and uncover your own charisma and charm so that you’re able to connect with people and the end game is to have stronger relationships. So let’s


Damona  15:13  

help people do that today. Let’s help them be a little bit more charming and better conversation skills. This is a question that we get asked a lot on the dates and updates podcast and let’s assume we’re in the future where we’re not stuck in our homes and we actually can talk to strangers out in the wild. What are some of the biggest mistakes that people come into the program with? And what are some tips that you have to be able to inch them into being better with conversation beginning conversations? Mm hmm.


Unknown Speaker  15:49  

Yeah, I mean, the biggest because one of the things that I work with the guys on is their approaches. So initial approaches to someone you do not know. And I think the biggest mistake that people make is that they, they come in, and you’re you’re face to face with someone, and you’re like, Okay, I need to just stay face to face with them full on and not break eye contact. And that can show


Damona  16:16  

super creepy.


Unknown Speaker  16:18  

Yeah, exactly. And that’s going to show that I am like confident and whatever it is like actually all that does is build a whole lot of tension. And it’s when you know, without locking eyes, like it’s scientifically proven that when you don’t break eye contact you after a certain amount of time you’re building so much, so much so much tension. So the two things that kind of go hand in hand with that is yes, of course you’re going to come up and be face to face. At first, you’re going to say hello, you’re going to make that nice eye contact and then like you would do with the friend you’re going to sidle up next to them so that you’re side by side as opposed to just full on icontact. You know, we call that positive body language when you’re when you’re completely face to face. So you want to get into a neutral Body language, get side by side where you know, because typically any, any event or wherever you are, you know, you might be at a bar or whatever you’d be, you’re kind of getting to yourself where you’re like facing the bar, or you’re looking at the concert that’s happening or whatever is going on, that just puts you in a place where the tension is able to dissolve, and then you’re more comfortable, the other person is more comfortable. And I will tell you, when I started working with the guys, and I started using this in my actual, you know, interactions with people, I was amazed at how differently you feel when you get into a more neutral position as opposed to staying face to face even though that’s what we think we’re supposed to do.


Damona  17:43  

Well, I like it also because it allows you to take in input from the rest of the room. Mm hmm. Because it can get really intense if it’s just like we’re just eye contacting it out. Yeah, there’s nothing to interrupt the flow or if if there is a low There’s nothing, there’s no other inputs to be able to divert attention and then get the vibe.


Unknown Speaker  18:06  

Yeah, exactly. And it’s like, then your eye contact will be intentional. So you’ll give your eye contact when you’re speaking. And then you give your ear when you’re listening. And that way your brain is able to slow down a bit and take in the information the other person saying, and, you know, have a thoughtful comeback and really, really listen as opposed to just having those nerves and smiling and nodding and thinking, What will I say next?


Damona  18:31  

Yeah, it’s it’s super intimidating. So, you since you brought it up, what do you say next? That’s another thing that a lot of people struggle with on first meetings or first dates. What’s your philosophy on conversation and trying to figure out what is the next best thing to say and how do you keep that feeling natural and flowing?


Unknown Speaker  18:54  

The big over all like we definitely get in deeper to a conversation. flow. That’s like a little bit more next level winter at boot camp. But our overall philosophy is the conversation formula that we use is just question answer statement, the biggest conversation flaw that I see when I’m meeting people and when guys come out to boot camp is we have a tendency when we’re nervous to get on that question train where we just ask question after question after question. And what happens is, is that the other person who doesn’t know you is going to start to kind of build a wall and feel pressure of all these questions that they have to answer. And the person asking the questions isn’t sharing anything about themselves. So at the end of this conversation, which is not going to last long, by the way if you’re just asking questions, because that feels like an interrogation or an interview, the other person’s going to walk away and have not learned anything about you and look, there’s a reason why we like forget names are we You know, but when someone brings something to a conversation, that’s interesting, we don’t forget that we might forget the person’s name. But we’ll be like, Oh, you brew your own beer at home and or, you know, whatever it is, we remember those interesting parts of the conversation. So, it’s important to ask a question, like a thoughtful question, an open ended question, not just, oh, have you been to this bar before? Right? That’s yes or no, it’s not gonna go probably very far. But like a thoughtful question like, Okay, what do you you know, we’re stuck at home right now, or we’ve been stuck at home, what are you binge watching on Netflix? Something like that. So that that leads to a conversation that’s going to unlock a little bit about the other person’s personality and then the other person answers, and instead of what happens a lot of time where we’re just cueing up another question in our head, you’re just gonna listen and then you’re going to give a statement based off of that, like maybe sharing something about yourself or just having something to say about that. Instead. just jumping to the next question, because that’s what leads to fulfilling conversation is giving those statements


Damona  21:06  

Yeah, otherwise it starts to feel like an interview. Right? Like, like if I was just like, Aaron, what’s next question? Next question next. Yes.


Unknown Speaker  21:12  

Right. But, but I mean, that’s what we’re doing, you know, exactly. That’s what we’re doing here. But you know, like when you’re first meeting someone you want it to be that give and take and not just like, Okay, so here’s this, you know, does it feels like pressure after a while? Oh, yeah,


Damona  21:27  

it feels like pressure, like right away. You kind of brought up another point that I think is really important and the people that have listened to the show for a while, no, I’ve done flirting masterclasses and that my own internal flirting coaches are actually like you trained improvisers and performers. And you also mentioned Netflix and I am totally digging the middle ditching shorts if anyone is like not really sure what great improv looks like that Special is so great and it really shows you just what we’re talking about the ability to really listen and stay in stay in the moment and like take the inputs that you’re getting and then react and respond. How have you been able to apply your background in improv, to flirt and coaching? And also, how do you define the difference? A lot of times people hear improv and they’re like, has to be funny. But as I learned to improv is really more about being honest. What’s your philosophy on that?


Unknown Speaker  22:31  

Absolutely. I mean, there’s all different kinds of improv Of course, we think of you know, because of Whose Line is it any way and, and things like that. We think like, oh, it has to be like this wildly hilarious comedy but improv like, I mean, we use I know in acting classes, I’ve used dramatic improv you know, where you’re just improvising, but it’s a dramatic scene, like you’re just going off the top of your head and following impulses. And I, my philosophy is it’s just, improv is just a way to make You better at taking information and responding, you’re able to do that in a much faster rate than other people when you’ve really studied improv because you are literally doing mental exercises to do that all the time. You You don’t you know any of my groups that I’ve been in or classes I’ve taken, you don’t just walk into class and go, Okay, we’re going to start a 30 minute long herald of different scenes, you always start by going, Okay, we’re going to do a bunch of exercises to get our synapses firing, right like so to focus to free our minds. And the big thing I’ve noticed with clients when it comes to flirting and approaching people is that we’re our own worst enemy with that stuff. We’re already judging and telling ourselves that we’re gonna what we’re gonna say is stupid, or what we’re gonna say is cheesy or, you know, being down on herself. I’m not funny. That’s what I hear from so many clients all the time. Well, I don’t I’m just not funny. And I’m like, you probably just haven’t ever let yourself uncover that sense of humor. You haven’t just Let yourself be silly and go well, whatever comes to mind, I’m just going to say and, you know, we’ll go from there, you can literally always go, oh, man, that was weird. You know, call it out Who cares? But, but yeah, like, I think it’s just my philosophy is just like I tell literally every single person like everyone should take improv, it helps you even if you’re a CEO of whatever, when you’re giving a presentation where you’re giving a meeting, you’re leading a meeting, whatever, you’re just going to be firing on all cylinders when you’ve taken the time to sharpen that tool of your mind.


Damona  24:35  

Yeah, yeah. And it also keeps you able to respond in the moment like there might be something weird that happened. And like, here’s an example I had a client that was in a session with my, my flirting coach was also doing a like mock date and he’s an improviser. So he he knows To keep the conversation going, but they were sitting at the coffee date and this woman walks by with like, this like weird stuff in her hair and like, like a bathrobe like, but she didn’t look like she was homeless or out of it. She was just like, doo doo doo. I’m like running my errands. But I have like curlers in my hair in my bathrobe on and whatever. And it was just the weirdest thing. And I saw it. And I thought, somebody has to say something about that. And I was, I was waiting for my client to just acknowledge the weird thing that had just happened, which would give them such a great jumping off point for a conversation because I think we sometimes feel like the pressure is all on us to think what is the next subject topic, whatever, but sometimes, you might see something or you might be able to connect on something that’s outside of the two of you. That could give you fodder so finally my coach was like, That was weird, right? But if you’re just like laser focused in on like, What do I say? Next, what do I say next and you don’t have that fluid improv sense. You might miss a great opportunity like a woman with curlers in her hair in a bathrobe walking down the street like it’s her regular Saturday.


Unknown Speaker  26:12  

Really? Yeah. And you can tell a lot about a person by the way they respond if the person’s like, yeah, I can’t believe you did that. And then it’s like, you probably don’t want to talk to this person. Right?


Damona  26:24  

Right. And if you can tell if you don’t say anything, that maybe you’re like, taking yourself a little bit too seriously. Right. I like that you brought up also this. This concern that a lot of people have about not being funny. Because, on one hand, what I hear from a lot of clients is that their number one quality they’re pursuing is someone with a great sense of humor. Although sense of humor is so subjective, and someone that I think is funny, maybe completely annoying to you, or vice versa. But I do think comedy is like one of our only ways of showing our ability to take a risk, right? Like a guy’s not going to go and slay a bear for you like he used to in olden times. But if you can, if you can attempt tumor, then then that might make you look very brave in today’s world. Do you recommend people maybe try try to like, be funny and they’re charming? Or if you’re if people try for it, is it like, that’s never gonna work?


Unknown Speaker  27:34  

I yeah, I mean, that’s a really good question. I always have found trying to be funny, is the sure way to not be like, and look, I give anyone credit who’s like gonna take a big swing. You know, but my thing is like, when your aim is to be funny, as opposed to like, I’m just gonna have fun and let my personality come out. Like that those are two very different things. And even when you were saying like, Oh, I’m looking for someone with a sense of humor. I don’t think I get why people say that. But I think what we’re really saying is, I’m looking for someone who has a similar type of sense of humor. To me sense of humor is just hands down, completely subjective. And you’re going to connect with people who you have a similar sense of humor with because you bond over that,


Damona  28:25  

yes. And that kind of goes back to something else that I say on the show a lot about love as you are like, don’t try and be something else. Be your authentic self, and you’re not going to be everybody’s cup of tea. But the person that does find you funny, will then be able to make a lot of laughs with you in the future. I do want to talk about other elements of charm of The Art of Charm. And one thing that a lot of people struggle with is body language and image like how to present themselves. What do you do? To help people get more comfortable in their, in their own skin, and is there an element of like, if you You know, I’ve heard like you fix the outside like get yourself some fancy clothes and then you’ll feel great and then you’ll do great.


Unknown Speaker  29:18  

I mean look there is there’s a certain amount of just when we look at someone what we see and like if that appeals to us or not. Now within what you know, within the clay that we’re giving of ourselves, we can, you know, not take care of ourselves or we can take care of ourselves we can explore the styles and things that we like or we cannot do that and I think taking pride in you know, your appearance and all that that is that’s important. But honestly like your how you present yourself as far as your your you know, the week basically talk about like, in a first impression, there’s like five pretty important things. And like the first one is smile. Like a lot of times my clients were like, Oh yeah, I smile all the time. I always walk up to people smiling. I’m always smiling throughout a conversation. And then we do what we call video work, which is we video them doing an approach, and they cannot believe how they have like a resting bitchface the entire time. And I’m like, yeah, and it makes a huge difference. When you I always like, you know, we tell guys to do this all the time. Like literally just walk down the street. And as you pass someone, make eye contact and give them a really nice genuine smile. It is almost impossible for someone to just not automatically want to smile back. It’s it’s an instinct that we’re like, oh, that’s pleasant. I gravitate towards looking at this person and smiling back. And you know, it’s little things like that, that we think oh, I understand that. And that’s just very basic, but those basic things all together make a huge difference. Going up smiling, gay, getting into neutral. Body language, having energy, you know, do you want to go talk to someone who’s just standing there like a lump and waiting for someone to you know, like, make their night good? No, you want to go up to someone who’s already involved in conversations who’s, you know, excited to get to know people who’s open. And so, you know, like standing near people, not just kind of away from the crowd trying to observe. So there’s, there’s so many things that go into that. And we definitely dive into that at our boot camp a lot, because it’s all these little things that we act like, Oh, yeah, I’m doing that which most of the time you’re not. And then you know that there, there’s those small things that make a huge difference and how someone perceives us and it’s very hard to change someone’s impression of us. So those first few minutes of getting to know someone are really important.


Damona  31:52  

I so agree with you. And I know a lot of people now are thinking, well how does this apply if we Are say we’re listening to this and we’re still in quarantine. Right? And most of the days are happening over video chat. I assume, Aaron that a lot of these techniques and principles can apply when you’re talking to someone via video chat. Right?


Unknown Speaker  32:24  

Yeah, I mean, look, there’s a certain amount and all I will say this just I’ve experienced that it’s almost more like a draining is like a, you know, dramatic word to use for this. But zoom calls actually kind of take a lot out of me because I’ve, you know, obviously because I work, you know, in this field, I’m like, okay, I really want to analyze like, why this feels this way. And it’s because I think we’re just staring at each other through an entire zoom call. You’re either staring at the other person or you’re Looking at yourself, and it’s, it’s not right like it’s not what we would do in person first of all, you wouldn’t be able to see what you’re looking like to the other person at all in person unless you have like, they have a mirror behind them, which would be weird, but you know, we’re, it’s that it’s the whole thing of the positive body language and eye contact, you’re so conscious of how you look you’re looking at that you’re looking at them and just staring at them because what else do you have to look at? And so, I tend to now with zoom I make, I try to make the other person the big picture. And I used to do the tiles, you know, see your equal, whatever, but I’m like, all I’m doing is looking at myself and like going, Oh, why do you know like, that’s like, Yeah,


Damona  33:42  

so the whole reason like for years when I’m working with one on one clients, people have been like, do you do video calls? And I really prefer not to. And that’s the exact reason why I mean, it’s partially also because I don’t really want to do my hair and put makeup on unnecessarily. Career like hosting television because I was like I want to put on makeup, podcasting much better fit. But that aside, it’s really more about when people are on video conference. Yes, they’re like more self conscious you’re looking at yourself and the work that I do I need people to be able to drop in and hear what I’m saying and really connect. And so this is maybe a vote. I’m still figuring this out myself. I did do. For our hardcore listeners, there is a video training on video chat dating on the Patreon tell you about it later. But for those that are dating virtually, I have been having conversations with other dating coaches. And some of them are talking about doing more phone calls. Like we have the video chat and so we think oh, because all of our work calls are on video chat. We should go right to video chat dating, but there is an argument for the phone call and kind of like you know in high school and we used to stay on the phone with our boyfriends till hours at night. There’s something sort of charming and And simple about about that, but at the same time, like, if you haven’t met in person, building that rapport virtually can be really challenging.


Unknown Speaker  35:13  

I agree and I it’s, you know, look, I’m not virtually dating right now because I’m married. But I will say I really my heart goes out Yeah, my heart goes out to people who are right now I have my my, one of my best friends who lives in New York right now is doing that. She’s like, I got a couple of first dates on zoom. And it’s like, really weird. And I’m like, Yeah, I think it’s just gonna be hard to do that right now. Because I know for me anyway, when I was on and eHarmony for a while, you know, way back when, and I found that I eventually had to get to a place where I was just like, yeah, I’m just gonna meet up for someone. I’m gonna only have an exchange back and forth a couple of times. Then we gotta meet up for coffee for like 30 minutes because there’s something to be said, For in person, like the chemistry that you have with someone in person, even when it’s over video chat. Before that it’s totally different than in person. It just, it just totally, you know, like, as silly as it might sound, there’s something to be said for pheromones and things like that. The way someone smells not meaning Oh, this person smells bad. This person smells good. There’s, but there’s a pheromone component that you can’t get into invest all that time and having zoom calls, and whatever and then this quarantine is lifted and you meet them in person and you’re like, oh, like something is just not right. And I just invested all this time and energy into someone. And I can just tell it’s not gonna


Damona  36:46  

click So yeah, that’s why we got to keep it loose. Y’all keep it loose. Keep a few conversations flowing, fill your social calendar, and then we’ll see where we are in a month. This is fascinating. Aaron, I could literally talk to you all day. Yes, we do have questions from our listeners. Awesome, and I know you have answers. So it’s time for our next segment. We’re back with your favorite dates and made segment.


Unknown Speaker  37:17  



Damona  37:19  

before we begin, I mentioned a video training in our last segment that you do not want to miss. It’s all about setting yourself up for success in dating during these unprecedented times. There’s also a live profile Polish video training that I did with Susan ibus of the human behavior lab. But you do not want to miss this video training because you can see how you can improve your dating profile like right there. It’s all visual. And then it also shows how you can choose the right kind of dates just based on their facial features. It’s wild and if you’re looking for dating, support in a deeper way, and a community of people who are looking for love Got you. I got you girlfriends and boyfriends, you can get all of that for just five bucks if you join my patreon. But also if you’re new to me and the dates and mates community and you just want to dip your toes in the water, before we officially change our relationship status, you can also check out my free profiles starter kit. It’s a full PDF with detailed instructions and tips on creating a magnetic profile that will attract the right matches to you and it takes 20 minutes or less of your time, y’all I want you to have it and that’s why I made it totally free. And all of these goodies are there for you at dates and Okay, okay, I’ll move on. But I just wanted you to know it’s totally free. And you can find it at profile starter kit calm because I really want to help you get online and get a different kind of dating experience going for you. All right, Aaron. These questions have come in from our listeners. This is a tweet from a fella named oj he says, Can monogamy be upheld when partners choose to keep their relationship a secret? from everyone else? Secret secrets are no fun, secret secrets do they hurt


Unknown Speaker  39:16  

someone? I think like, why, why keep it a secret if it’s just that you’re kind of like, you know, trying to see if you’re a good match and all that, that’s fine, but I you know, it all comes down to you just have to trust the other person and you have to go, I can handle whatever you know, wherever things go from there. I feel like I never really understood that until I was with was until I started dating my husband where it was just like, oh, you make me feel good and secure and I you know, that’s a hard thing to put your finger on but someone who makes you feel secure. You just don’t worry about that with you just stop having that in the back of your mind as like oh I’m you know, worried that they’re going to cheat on me and after a while if you’re with someone that you’re constantly worrying about that happening with I feel like maybe at the root it’s not the right person because when you’re with someone where you’re in a really where you’re really vibing and you’re in a good place, I think you don’t you don’t worry about that. You’re just like yeah, just trust them. Yeah,


Damona  40:27  

and I hate to say this oj. But if you are already in a position and I don’t know the situation, but if this is already a position where the relationship is starting out as a secret I wonder if monogamy is not been upheld from the beginning, like if that person could maybe already be relationship or married or living a double life. And you know, I I’m a big fan of dating apps and or meeting online, what have you, but there are a lot of people out there They’re that have their online identity and have one have another whole secret life. So to me secrets are really a sign of potential problems down the road. All right, let’s move on to our second question. This is a tweet from cherry. She says, I’ve gotten out of the habit of trying to meet a guy. So how to begin again. How I love what she said habit because I really think of dating as a learned skill. And a lot of times people come to me they’re like, I don’t know how to date. And you know, women sometimes feel like they’ve gotten rusty or they’ve lost their Mojo. And I really look at it as it’s something you just have to practice. You’ve just been out of the beef just went out of practice. Jerry, what do you say from the perspective of someone who coaches both men and women?


Unknown Speaker  41:53  

Yeah, I mean, I would definitely say I find the best resource for especially If you’re like, Okay, I’m going to jump back into the game here. Maybe, you know, if apps feel overwhelming, just ask some of your most trusted friends. Hey, is there someone that you think I would be a good match with, even if it’s like, I don’t know where this will go, but you definitely would have fun first date. And you know, I think dipping your toe in that way because your friends you know, are going to know you and they’re going to hopefully not set you up with someone who’s, you know, not trustworthy and all that. And so then at least you have that kind of, as opposed to just meeting a stranger on the internet, you at least have that kind of security and knowing Okay, we have mutual friends, they think we’d have fun, not a lot of pressure. Maybe even we’ll just become friends after this, and that’s fine, too.


Damona  42:48  

Mm hmm. And maybe we can even reframe this for her, like she said, trying to meet a guy. What’s your reaction to that Aaron like, Is it is it something that you need to be changed? trying it? Or is it more just like about being open?


Unknown Speaker  43:05  

Yeah, I definitely think there’s the peace of being open to that and kind of looking at people with that different perspective of like, Oh, is this someone that I’m like, would would fit the kind of criteria that I’d be looking for for a partner? Because I do think when we say just like, Oh, I just wasn’t looking at all and this person came along. I always found that saying to be very strange, I never felt that way. I always felt like, even when I was like, okay, I’d be totally happy to be single right now. But if some cutie walks up here, and it’s really funny and smart, like I’m gonna notice that right? So like, I don’t know about trying, like I think trying sounds like you’re like you think you have to go out there and put on some sort of act or something or you have to be doing something different other than being yourself being open and knowing what you want from someone. I think if you just have those things in mind like you don’t you don’t want to really be trying you just have to be like, yeah.


Damona  44:06  

Oh, bass. Yeah. And I like what you said about maybe going with a setup from a friend. And you know, especially especially at this time you want to make sure that they check out but I, I wouldn’t put too much pressure on the dating apps and Sherry, if you’re not sure what to say, get the free profile starter kit. At data maids calm we’ll hook you up, but you just got to get out there and for lack of a better term, pop that first day cherry cherry. Yes, um, I have faith that she will find someone it’s just me putting one foot in front of the other. Aaron, this has been really fun talking with you. It’s been so great. I enjoyed so many of your insights. Thank you so much for being here. Aaron. Thank you so much. That’s it for Episode 300 12 of dates and mates, you can find Aaron on all the socials at Aaron murasky. Plus, if you’re a bachelor nation fan, you should listen to her super fun podcast called final rose material on Apple podcasts. And while you’re there, also check out the Art of Charm podcast. It’s Aaron’s company. She’s not one of the hosts of that show, but there’s so much advice that Art of Charm offers to men and women on dating and relationships. And don’t forget to join the Patreon we want you in the community you can sign up really quick and slash dates and mates and you’ll get access to those special video trainings, you’ll get special access to me so many other things and you’ll be a part officially of this club because you’re not alone. Even though you may feel alone right now you’re not I got you and so many other people in this community want to be there with you throughout all this. If you’re newer to the show, and you’re not really sure that you’re Ready for commitment yet then just download the free profile starter kit. All of that and all of our show notes are always at dates end and let’s connect on all the socials. I’m at damona Hoffman, I love to hear from you. I love to know which episodes are resonating for you which guests you’d love to hear more from, and what questions you have. So let’s connect. And next week I have a special episode celebrating Pride Month, a fantastic dating coach Dani Meacham, who coaches LGBT daters will be here joining me offering some dating app tips for everybody regardless of how you identify. Until next week, stay safe, be well and I wish you happy dating

Proposing to Him & Couple Covid Finances


I hope you were inspired by the success stories that we featured in last week’s episode Quarantine Love Questions. Hearing stories of new love made us want to share more success stories with you. So today’s episode is about the BIG moment in one couple’s relationship.

You know that moment when a guy gets down on one knee and asks the girl to marry him? Well this story is exactly like that but the roles are reversed and the woman is the one doing the proposing.


Today we’ll explore why women don’t feel comfortable making the first move with Jenn and Sean, an engaged couple who is writing their own rules on love.

More on that later, first Damona covers headlines! 


Megan Fox and Brian Austin Green call in quits

The first Hollywood couple to report that their relationship ended in quarantine. Damona reports.


How to weather the oncoming financial crisis

It is widely known that a lot of conflict in relationships centers around finances. In this current financial crisis, the University of Arizona gives us a study on how couples can ease the burden on their relationship.


COVID Season’s Hottest Dating Profile Musthave

Singles across the country are flaunting their coronavirus antibody results. Is this actually hot or not?



Question for the ladies: Would you ever propose to your man?

Way back when my husband and I were dating, there was a period where I was just waiting for the proposal to happen. 

He knew he was going to propose. He knew I knew he was going to propose. But the days kept coming and there was no ring in sight.

I thought about proposing to him, but I just couldn’t do it. However this week, I talked to one woman who took the reins into her own hands.

A few months ago, Jenn got down on her knee and proposed to her boyfriend, Sean! 

When I heard their story, I had A TON of questions, and I know you do, too.

On today’s episode of Dates & Mates, they share their story and I analyze what modern daters can learn from it.

This is a really cute story but we also get a better understanding of when and why women should make the first move plus take a peek inside the mind of men who are ready for commitment.

Here’s a pic they snapped just before they went on their life-changing hike!


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

  • Voicemail: What’s a good response for when someone asks you “why have you not been married?” I always answer that I haven’t found the right one
  •  Iris in San Diego, sent us these questions: “What will be the impact on marriages? Will the divorce rate go up?” 
  • I went through a breakup last month…and shortly after I lost an extended family member. I feel that I can’t properly grieve either one of these events. Do you have any advice?


Damona  0:12

Hello lovers. Welcome to dates in mates. I hope you were inspired by the love stories that we featured on last week’s episode, quarantined love questions. You know, hearing stories of new love just made me want to share more success stories with you. So today’s episode is about the big moment in one couples relationship. You know, that moment when a guy gets down on one knee and asks the girl to marry him? Well, this story is exactly like that. But the roles are reversed and the woman is the one who did the proposing. My nine year old daughter asked me the other day, why is it that the man always asks the woman My husband who was in the room at the time, he replied, he was kind of burying some male shame when he said this, that it was a relic of another time in history when women couldn’t really choose who they married. So he goes on. Do you know who the man used to propose to? And she looked at him confused. And he says, the father of the bride. And for the sake of future generations, I was glad to see that this response totally threw her for a loop. She had no idea what he meant by that. And it always bothered my husband that there was this expectation that he had to ask for my hand in marriage, since he saw me as my own individual person with freewill not a piece of property belonging to the Resnick family. Yeah, so ultimately, my husband did propose and he did, as he says, alert my parents to his plans, although he will swear that he did not Call it asking for permission. My dad looks at another way. Regardless, we all got the outcome that we wanted. But as a feminist I have always wondered, why didn’t? Why did we even have to go through that ridiculous dance at all? Why didn’t I just ask him? I knew months and months, maybe even a year earlier that I wanted to marry this man. What was it that kept me from just proposing to him? Well, today, I’ll explore that question with Jen and Shawn and engaged couple who are writing their own rules on love. But first, we got to get you up to speed on this week’s headlines. We’ll talk about a new study on how couples can weather the oncoming financial COVID storm and spring’s hottest dating profile must have plus our first major celebrity breakup announcement of Corona season. Then we’ll be answering your questions like How do you respond to the Why haven’t you been married question and will Coronavirus increase your chance of divorce All that and more on today’s dates and mates Now,


Unknown Speaker  3:15  

let’s dish these dating dish.


Damona  3:19  

Brian Austin green and Megan Fox are officially calling it quits on his podcast with Brian Austin green. You got you guys know Brian Austin green. He was on Beverly Hills 90210. And then the reboot of Beverly Hills nine to one. Oh, well, he said that he and Megan Fox who’s like maybe the hottest woman ever born. They have been separated for months after realizing that they’ve grown apart and Megan actually said something in an interview about traveling for work and realizing that she was happier away from her husband than she was together with him and I’m sure for Brian Austin Korean must really sting Like, he’s definitely not going to find a sexier wife, like megan fox is the pinnacle. But it also goes to show you that sometimes you don’t know what’s under the surface of a relationship. And we know the relationship has been Rocky. They started dating in 2004. They got married in 2010. And then apparently they were going to split I think we even covered on the show before, they filed for divorce in 2015. But then they reconciled before the birth of their third child. So now they have three, three kids together. And Megan is saying they’re still going to do family vacations together. And I know a lot of couples want to do this. When there’s a breakup, they’re like, we just want to keep everything like it was. But it’s not like it was you’re not romantically involved together. And believe me, I know of couples that have done this successfully, but I just want to take our foot off the gas and if you’re finding yourself in this situation, we can say what we ideally want to happen in the future. But don’t be too hard on yourself to try to make everything okay for the kids, especially in the middle of a pandemic, something as serious as this, things are going to unfold the way they’re going to unfold. And I for one, I’m sorry that this couple didn’t make it, but I’m sure they will both move on and be happier in the long run. If you are facing some financial trouble. Turns out your relationship may also be in trouble too. There was an interesting article that came out on how couples can weather the COVID financial storm and it gave a lot of great just general relationship advice on how to manage this time including they call it relationship maintenance behaviors, like respecting one another being there for one another and showing love and affection for one another. Which is great and easy to say. And I know a lot of you guys listen to this show, or hear me on other shows talking about like just communicate just just work through it together. But it really is at the core of, of your relationship lasting. So if we just break that down to like what is showing love and affection for one another look like, like at the end of each day. At this point, I’m doing a lot more work than my husband is I produce this podcast, I also produce another podcast called I make a living for the freshbooks brand. I have dating coaching clients, there’s a lot happening. And so my husband is taking on the burden right now of managing the kids and homeschooling. So I make sure at the end of every day, I just say to him, I love you, I appreciate you, thank you for doing this so that I can provide for our family and do other things that are really important. So that might be a good place to start if you’re starting to feel some of those, that friction. And then this article also reminded that receiving financial support from family and friends was associated with higher levels of commitment. For the couples that were studied in, in the study that this article references, so I know a lot of you, you, you want to feel like you can do it on your own, but this is the time to remember that it takes a village. It really does. And you may need to lean on your parents, your brothers and sisters, your extended family a little bit right now so that you can keep yourself from going underwater. It’s the reality that those who are struggling financially are going to have a tougher time making it through Coronavirus and the quarantines and the safer at home and I’m sure a lot of you. I’m speaking to a lot of you right now who are listening to this podcast. But just remember that there are resources out there for you and there are people in your, in your circle in your community, or in your family that want to support you through this because it’s not worth it to lose your relationship over financial challenges if it can be worked through it. You’ve heard me say on the show before, that a lot of times the financial challenges are an indicator of something else. So see if you can get to the root of what’s really going on. And make sure that you’re doing those things like respecting one another, showing love and affection and being there for each other during this time.


If you’re still single though, Coronavirus, might actually help you out in getting a date. There was an article that said singles are flaunting their COVID antibody test results now in dating profiles. I really wonder would you guys do this? Would you put your like, I’m, I’m negative. Like some some people have asked me if they should put STD test results in their dating profile. I think this is all a step a little bit too far. And this to me also shows a bit of a desperation for that connection or for having sex and moving offline really quickly and making people feel a little bit more comfortable that you are not that you do not have COVID. It’s the antibody test that they’re talking about. But I’m sure people are doing it also with the the current COVID test, which I actually just had today, and it was super easy. I live in California where it’s free, and anyone can sign up for it. If you’re not somewhere where you can get a test like See if you can go in your doctor’s office, because it’s just great for peace of mind. I don’t believe that I have it. I guess I’ll let you guys know next week. But just to know where I stand and as as we start to open our circle out more as we start to move back into dating. You want to know your status. And so it is sort of like the new STI, you have to know where you stand and then communicate that to someone else if you’re going to be intimate, but I do think putting it on your dating profile, maybe a step too far. Those are the headlines for this week. But I have an epic love story coming your way in just a moment. So don’t go anywhere.


Welcome back. As most of you know, I classify myself as a feminist dating coach, and I want to push more women to take initiative in their love lives. But a lot of times we have this fear that making the first move will come off as desperate, or will intimidate men. But I know for a fact that this takes a lot of pressure off of men and can actually ease the connection and make you more likely to move into the relationship of your dreams. So I got to interview one couple who shows us what it looks like when a woman takes charge in their relationship. A few months ago, Jen got down on one knee and proposed to her boyfriend, Shawn. Yeah, you heard that right. She asked him to marry her. Obviously, I had tons of questions, and I’m sure you do too. So I’m excited to share their love story with you In a nutshell, Shawn and Jen met in their undergrad dorm hot tub seven years ago and have been together ever since. I also did ask questions about the dorm hot tub. I’m like, how do you get this dorm hot tub? I can’t even get a hot tub in my house and they had it at school. But that I digress. Jen has always taken the lead in their relationship. She actually was the first to add him on Facebook. This was like the beginning of their relationship. And that was a huge relief to Shawn. I was like, Oh, cool.


Unknown Speaker  11:33  

Yeah, 50% of the legwork.


Damona  11:38  

Yes. Wait, talk to me more about that. Because a lot of times people I say that all the time on the show that women should be proactive. And I know we’re gonna be talking about more about women being proactive in your relationship, but I get a lot of pushback. What was keeping you from reaching out to her first


Unknown Speaker  11:55  

at the time, I was very nervous of like, just like communicating with the audience. It sucks because it wasn’t my strong suit. So this thing is really cool because it already has kind of started us off on this whole connection thing. Just like a whole new world.


Damona  12:10  

You messaged her first though.


Unknown Speaker  12:12  

Uh, yeah, I messaged her and said something to the effect of I don’t mean to be that guy asking someone out over Facebook, but, uh, maybe you would you want to go get coffee sometime. And then I said,


Unknown Speaker  12:27  

Well, I don’t really like coffee, but I’ll go get hot chocolate with you.


Unknown Speaker  12:31  

Yeah. And then I was like, Well, I don’t like coffee either. So let’s both get hot chocolate.


Damona  12:36  

Oh my gosh, you this is the perfect love story. I love it. You asked her out for a date that you didn’t even want to go out.


Unknown Speaker  12:45  

I didn’t know what to say. I was like, coffee is what people do right.


Damona  12:50  

And the rest is history. Within a year they moved in together, and their relationship moved quickly. But they agreed to take things one day at a time. You’ve heard me say that. on the show before, Jen had some relationship fears, though, that brought her to this defining moment in their love story.


Unknown Speaker  13:07  

I had some issues, you know, you always have your first heartbreak. And I work in theater. So I would travel and do summer stock theater and things. And the first summer after we had got together, I offered basically, if he wanted to just have an open relationship for the summer because I didn’t want to get cheated on. Because that I found out that that had happened to me before he kind of in that moment, like, pulled me in and said, No, I don’t want to do that.


Unknown Speaker  13:38  

I was like, that’s not really something I’m comfortable with. So I’m gonna go with no but thank you from


Damona  13:44  

Yeah, that’s so interesting. That’s so interesting because you were operating Jen based off of your prior experiences, even though nothing that Shawn was telling you in the in that moment, it sounded like lead you believe that’s what he wanted. And it sounds like it wasn’t really what you wanted. And it


Unknown Speaker  14:04  

yeah, it wasn’t. And it definitely made me emotional and made me really appreciate him. And I knew a lot like more in my heart that he was there for me.


Damona  14:16  

Yeah. And being a relationship minded, female and dating coach. I’m really curious, Shawn, what is going through your head in that moment? And what it takes for a man to commit I do have a lot of female listeners on the show. And many of them would tell me that they feel men are afraid of commitment that if they say anything, like if that conversation had gone differently, and Jen was like, I need you to commit right now. Like, are we is this relationship going anywhere? that that would make a man run away. So what was it the way that she phrased it that helped you realize the role that she really played in your life, or were there certain characteristics that you were looking for in a long term relationship that she lined up with? Or maybe something else?


Unknown Speaker  15:09  

And in that particular moment, like I could tell she’s very vulnerable. She was, you know, kind of opening herself up to me. And I didn’t. I don’t know, it never really sat right with me of, like, dating around. I just, I don’t know, I kind of always have been just like, I’m focusing on one thing at a time, so I’m kind of committed to this. Mm hmm.


Damona  15:34  

Can you guys talk to me about your parents, relationships and the relationships that were modeled for you when you were young?


Unknown Speaker  15:42  



Unknown Speaker  15:43  

yeah. So both of our parents were divorced.


Unknown Speaker  15:46  

Both of our dads went on to remarry,


Unknown Speaker  15:51  

mind multiple times.


Unknown Speaker  15:54  

And both of our moms are single and happy that way. Not Not looking for. Yeah,


Unknown Speaker  16:02  

something new. And both of both of our moms are pretty much our central parental figure. Yeah.


Damona  16:10  

So Did either of you have either before the time that you met or during the relationship, have a vision of what a healthy relationship would look like for you or what your relationship goals were at the time, we both wanted one partner that we would commit to neither of us were afraid of commitment. So let’s fast forward a year together now for many years for over 77 years. And you met an undergrad, so you’re still relatively young. But that’s a long time to be with someone. And also, that’s a sort of pivotal time in people’s lives, where they’re figuring out what, who they want to be who they want to be with. And you’re going through that, considering the needs also Have a partner How did that? Did you ever feel like you were missing out on, you know, playing the field and being 20 something and foolish?


Unknown Speaker  17:14  

No. I do like get a lot of almost social pressure of people saying like, like, if you haven’t been with other guys, how do you know that? That’s what you want. For me. It’s just kind of like, I’ve never not been happy with what I have. Why would I? Why would I like ruin this to go find out that this is what I wanted the whole time.


Unknown Speaker  17:40  

And that’s pretty much how it feels for me as well. Like I’ve been happy the past seven years. Like why would I give up something that brings me joy?


Unknown Speaker  17:48  

Yeah. I love that.


Damona  17:50  

So you’re together seven years. Talk me through the proposal. I want to hear it from both sides of this story. This is really You know, I’ve also been asked, I, in my relationship sort of a lead through a lot of the milestones. And at the time when my husband and I were dating, I was making a lot more money than he was. And that was sort of a sticking point for him. He didn’t want to propose until he felt like he had his financial life together, and he could be a caretaker for another person or for a family. And people have asked me Well, why didn’t you just propose them because there was this whole period of just like waiting and waiting and waiting for him to feel secure enough, even though we both knew that the relationship was what we wanted. And I have to admit, like I am super modern on most relationship norms, but this was one area where I was like, I don’t know why I just couldn’t do it. So that takes a lot of chutzpah as my people would JOHN, for you to take the initiative in a world where it’s so it’s just not really considered traditional. It’s not traditional for a woman to be the one proposing. Yeah. Did you ever grapple with like these big questions of what does that mean for our relationship or who I am as a woman? Oh, I had,


Unknown Speaker  19:21  

you know, I went through a lot of the same thoughts as you. And there was a time where I told Sean, I wasn’t going to propose to him. He had to do it. And it was it, you know, when I decided like, when I finally decided in that moment, I had been like, MIT This is stupid. Like, I’m not gonna wait for I’m sure he can explain you know, what he was thinking, but I was like, I’m not gonna wait for whatever, you know, he feels like needs to happen for him to feel like he’s in a good spot to propose because I’m in a good spot to propose. And, you know, we either we know this is happening, or we’ll have to figure things out.


Damona  20:12  

You know that she’s the one, right, what’s stopping you from taking the bull by the horns.


Unknown Speaker  20:18  

So it’s kind of funny. I was in a bit of a similar situation, as you’d mentioned with your husband and always finances. So 2019 was a pretty rough year for me because I had racked up quite a bit of credit card debt from going to grad school and my car was on its last limb because I had about 338,000 miles on it and how to get in a car. So


Damona  20:46  

that’s impressive. You got it that far. Yeah.


Unknown Speaker  20:48  

Toyota, everybody by Toyota.


Unknown Speaker  20:53  

had that. I’m not being paid, I swear.


Unknown Speaker  20:57  

But uh, you know, I just couldn’t On this huge financial transaction, I was like diverting a ton of my money to paying off credit card debt. And then I had finished paying off all my credit card debt at the end of the year. I was like, Alright, this is gonna be the big year. We’re gonna do some traveling finally started talking about like, you know, future house plans to start coming up, even though we live in LA and I don’t know how we’re ever gonna afford a house out here.


Damona  21:30  

But Jen knew what she wanted. She decided to propose anyway.


Unknown Speaker  21:34  

People say there’s the Seven Year Itch like people who have gotten married start to realize they’re not right for each other something and we’re at that point, and we’re realizing that were even more right for each other, but about, I don’t know, half a year ago or so we opened up into even deeper conversation about, like fears of the future and maybe doubts that we had with each other and communicated about that. And it was really, honestly a really rough conversation. Like things that people who do not want to be in relationships look at. And they’re like, yeah, that’s exactly what I don’t want. We got through that night, and I made the decision, right. And that I was going to propose to Sean, I was going to ask him at some point. So I guess that might have been the moment that you know, I knew I was going to lock him in. When you flip and it’s not normal for the woman to propose. There’s not like the same expectations. So I had to figure out about like, doing a ring, what I would do, I wanted to get a ring, but I really wanted Shawn to like it. I really didn’t know what Shawn was. Want for that? So I decided to get some cufflinks and then a few engagement presidents for the day. Also knew I knew the first thing I knew is that I wanted to do it somewhere out in nature with just the two of us. Because you know, Sean is not a crowds person. Yeah, he wouldn’t appreciate a big, like crazy fancy proposal, you know, coordinating dancing or singing or anything like that. So I had to get him. I had to like, figure out a way to get him to agree to go to Death Valley National Park we hadn’t been to yet. And so we took my car, which made it easy for me to pack in all of the presence without him seeing and the cufflinks and my side door on the driver side. I had to keep stopping him from like, going in the Trying to get anything when we were setting up I would keep like I would find ways to like either if he was going to the trunk grab the stuff he wanted really quick first and put it out so that he would grab it before getting to the trunk.


Damona  24:12  

Yeah, I mean we have our she acting weird. Yeah.


Unknown Speaker  24:14  

I was just like, Oh, cool. She’d be nice. Like, she’s just gonna get


Damona  24:20  

I don’t know, I hadn’t seen you have no idea


Unknown Speaker  24:22  

at this. No, I had not noticed that. She was like, actively stopping me from going to the car.


Unknown Speaker  24:29  

He didn’t know until the moment of


Unknown Speaker  24:32  

Yeah, I did not know until quite literally, like started off with the speech which we’ll get to. Then, um, her getting down on one knee. So


Damona  24:44  

yeah, um, Okay, tell me about the speech. I want to hear both.


Unknown Speaker  24:47  

So I wanted to go to artists palette and Death Valley, which is really like Scott, all these C’s Painted Hills. I knew that we could find a place where we’d be alone. There. My plan was we share a backpack when we hike. So my plan was to put the cufflinks in the backpack and carry the backpack. But we get there and Shawn immediately grabs the backpack. And so I had, I was like, Oh, great. Now what do I do? Sean wouldn’t put down the camera. I was taking so many pictures taking off. Like, being a goofball. Like he is and him taking pictures of me and I was like, how do I get him to be serious for a second? And then I started you know, making more eye contact with him and, and not like being a little quieter. And then I think I I think maybe I actually told him put the camera down for a second. Yeah. So finally, like I had his attention, and he actually snapped a picture right before I proposed of me, which was amazing. And so I started saying, you know, hey, love. We’ve been together for over seven years now. And we’re doing better than we could have imagined. And I start at the end and he cuts me off and he says, Oh, I see. I get it, I get it. You’re dropping hints like this would be a great place for me to propose to you. And I was like, No, that’s not what I’m


Unknown Speaker  26:32  

doing. dropping a much bigger hint.


Unknown Speaker  26:35  

And kind of like, he caught my momentum there. So I was fumbling a little, and that I don’t really know what I said next. And I swear it took eternity for me to get the cufflinks out of the box. And that I in that moment, I didn’t know if I didn’t plan beforehand. If I I was going to get down on one knee because I thought, you know, it might be weird. I don’t know how I feel about it yet. But in that moment, I totally understood. And I got down on one knee because you feel completely vulnerable. And you know, your life is in the other person’s hands. It feels like and I opened up the box and I said, Will you marry me? And


Unknown Speaker  27:28  

he was shocked.


Unknown Speaker  27:30  

Yeah, I was pretty much completely taken aback. He


Unknown Speaker  27:34  

stopped talking.


Damona  27:37  

How and how long was this pause before he replied.


Unknown Speaker  27:40  

No, like eternity.


Unknown Speaker  27:42  

I don’t know. I probably want to say a couple of seconds. Yes,


Unknown Speaker  27:45  

probably. Yeah, ultimately, I’m


Unknown Speaker  27:47  

sure it felt like the absolute worst three seconds of her before


Unknown Speaker  27:53  



Unknown Speaker  27:56  

Oh, I didn’t say yes. He said.


Unknown Speaker  27:57  



Unknown Speaker  27:59  

Yeah. case that


Unknown Speaker  28:00  

gratulate me down.


Damona  28:04  

For a second, I was like, what’s he gonna say? So now you’re engaged. And you’ve got to tell everybody else in your world about this. I imagine. Like, I come from a somewhat traditional gender roles family. I and, and there was this whole thing of like, my dad wanted my husband to call, he’s probably listening right now I’m gonna get hate mail from him. He wanted my husband to call and ask his permission to ask me to marry him. And my husband didn’t. He’s like, you’re your own person. Like you’re, you’re not a piece of property that I need to get permission to take away. Yeah. So


Unknown Speaker  28:47  



Damona  28:48  

so he did say I’m planning to ask him to marry. Did you like get anyone’s quote permission to ask Shawn and how did your parents react when you finally told you


Unknown Speaker  29:00  

I thought about it, you know, I thought about honestly actually going to his mom. But I ended up deciding not to I wanted it to be more of a surprise. At this point. Everyone had been asking us when you get married Anyway, you know, since we were in Death Valley National Park, we didn’t have any service for a lot of the time. So we could get some text out to some people. But obviously, we didn’t want to tell our parents through text.


Unknown Speaker  29:31  

Hey, by the way, got engaged.


Unknown Speaker  29:32  

Yeah. So we waited and we were driving out later that night and we called our parents we told them and they were they were all pretty supportive for the most part. My favorite story is that I we called and we told my grandparents on my mom’s side, and my grandma answered the phone and I say Hey Grandma, just calling let you know that Shawn and I are engaged. And she’s like, Oh my gosh, that’s great. And I said, I propose to him, you know, cuz I was so proud of myself, right? She’s like, Oh, wow. And she turns and you can hear my grandpa in the background and she turns to my grandpa and says, Jenny and Shawna engaged. She proposed to him. My grandpa in the background says yeah, cuz he wasn’t gonna do it.


Unknown Speaker  30:32  

And then my grandma turns back on the phone and says, He says that’s really sweet.


Damona  30:41  

You can totally hear him


Unknown Speaker  30:43  

had a total there’s a question though relationship with her grandparents or grandpa specifically but then he threw all that shade I never seen them.


Unknown Speaker  30:53  

Oh, he’s harmless. I you know what, Larry, Shawn


Damona  30:56  

there’s there’s sometimes truth in kidding. So good. No, what would you have? Would you have proposed? If she had waited?


Unknown Speaker  31:05  

Yes, this was the year this is gonna be the big year.


Damona  31:09  

So honest question do you feel at all like, robbed of that opportunity to be the one who did the proposing?


Unknown Speaker  31:16  

No, because we’re in this together. Like, she got to have that moment. But I mean, I’m sharing it too, because now we’re engaged.


Damona  31:24  

Oh, that’s so beautiful. I love beautiful stories like this. So thank you for giving us faith that sometimes you don’t have to do things the way that we’ve always seen in the movies and the fairy tales, you can carve your own path. Thank you so much for being here.


Unknown Speaker  31:37  

Thank you.


Damona  31:39  

Jen says they’re taking this quarantine one day at a time as well. And they plan to get married in the fall of next year. I love love, don’t you and I love people who write their own love stories. Congratulations to Jen and Shawn. I hope all of you can have a happy ending just like theirs. And if you do, I would love to share it on a future episode. Out of this show to help you get to your happy ever after I have answers to your relationship questions coming right up. Welcome back to dates and mates. Do you have serious dating and relationship worries right now, if you need more support and love or if you just want to get access to special bonus content, our first 200 episodes, live community chats and other special resources inside of the private dates and mates community. I invite you to join slash dates and mates. The entry level is just five bucks and your membership dollars will go towards bigger and better things that we have planned and we will be bringing to you on dates and mates. If you’ve been listening to the show for a while and you’ve learned a new dating or relationship skill or you just enjoy hearing me talk about what’s happening and dating news and hearing other people’s questions getting answered. We would love to have your support Again, you just go to, slash dates and mates. And then you can join the club and become one of my friends with benefits. All right, on to the questions. This one is a voicemail that came in from our listener, Jacqueline, what’s a good response for the question of why have you not been married before, and the example I’m going to use is myself. I am 48. I have been in relationships, and I have dated and been on online sites and I’ve taken breaks and so now I’m looking to get back out there again. And I just wanted to know what you would say to someone who asked that, because I feel like what I say and what my answer is, just doesn’t really work and needs a new spin. Mine is because I haven’t found the right one


Unknown Speaker  33:52  

yet. So I would be very curious as to what you would say to this question. People be so nosy on


Damona  33:58  

dating apps. Don’t Jacqueline, why have you not been married as if it’s their business as if that’s not information that is to be earned further down the road? There are so many reasons I’m sure why someone has not yet been married. You. I mean, I took my time to choose the right person. And people would always ask me like, why are you still single? That’s another question I’m sure that you’ve heard before. Because you are choosing you’re not just falling into a relationship with the wrong person. Or maybe there’s other stuff that you’re working through either in your family history or your personal life, or maybe you’ve just had some other life goals, whatever it is. It’s none of their business and it doesn’t relate to the relationship at hand. Now I have gotten I have gotten statements from listeners before that say, Well, I won’t date anyone. I won’t date a guy who Is unmarried over 40 because it means XYZ or I won’t date a woman who’s never been married, because it means something we’re attaching meaning to prior relationship history, we’re attaching meaning to stories that we’ve heard. And that’s not fair to you. And that’s not fair to them because they may be cutting off the potential for something really great with you. Because they’re asking his dumb question that they think might actually tell them how the relationship is going to play out. Because really, that’s at the root of that question, right? If I invest my time in a relationship with you, and if I fall in love with you, what will happen to me? Will you be willing to marry me? Will you break my heart? Will you Is there some sort of a red flag that I can see now, that can prevent me from that sort of heartache? But you know, if you’ve been listening to the show, we we have to go through the process. You are going to get knocked out A few times before you can stay up. So I would say twist it around in a flirty way. And do not answer that question. directly. You could say, well, why do you want to know? Or you could say, well, because I haven’t met you yet, or you could say anything that lets them know that that question is not going to be on the table until you are further down the line in your relationship. Iris in San Diego sent us this question, what will be the impact on marriages of Coronavirus? Will the divorce rate go up? Now, you heard me say on the show before right at the beginning of when Coronavirus was hitting in the United States. China was coming out of there several week lockdown and according to stats that I saw there, the divorce filings were up about 25% as the lockdown restrictions are easing. So what this tells me is that Corona A virus is an amplifier. There’s the aspect of, you know, the life and death aspect and in making you really take stock of your life and how you want to spend it and who you want to spend it with, then there’s the added stress of just being in close quarters with someone that you’re not used to spending all day every day with. But I’m hopeful that that means it just brought those relationship challenges to a head more quickly and all at the same time. And that in the following years, we will see a decline and more of a stabilization of the relationships that made it through it because honestly, if you can make it through this with your partner, you can make it through anything. This is hard as hell you guys. This is super hard, and if you can stay together through it, then I really have confidence that you can last. This person sent their question to NPR as well. He said I went through a breakup last month and shortly after I lost an extended family member I feel that I can’t properly grieve either one of these events. Do you have any advice? Well, first of all, I just want to say, I’m so sorry that you went through that. And that you are, you are in this grieving place. A lot of us have lost people close to us. And a lot of people have lost relationships too, and losing a relationship. Even though it’s not necessarily as serious as losing a life of someone in your life. It is losing that person in your life, all the same. And so it does need a grieving process. Whether you were together for a month or a year or 10 years, you do have to give yourself time to process what happened and, and how you feel about that and where it’s leaving you right now. So if you can’t say what you wish you could say to that person, maybe try writing them a letter and this is a letter that you will need Never, ever, ever, ever send. And maybe you will burn in a cathartic ritual when you’re done. But maybe write them a letter to say the things that you wish you could have said. And sometimes that’s enough to just get those feelings out. Sometimes that can get you closer to the healing. And then I’ll go back to something that I said earlier in the show, remember that you have people around you, to support you. And don’t be afraid to reach out and be a little bit vulnerable, be a little bit messy. Tell your friends or tell your siblings or your parents, that you’re hurting right now and you need someone to talk to. And even if we can’t see one another face to face right now, sometimes a phone call or a video chat can be what we need to just bridge that divide and remind you that even though we’re separated, we are not alone. That’s it for today’s episode. This is 311 of dates and mates. Don’t be shy send me your dating and relationship questions. I am here to help. You can DM me on Twitter or Facebook or Instagram. I’m at damona Hoffman, or leave me a voicemail. That number is 424-246-6255. And just like Jacqueline, you can hear your beautiful voice and I can hear your beautiful voice on the show. And let’s spread the love today. Why don’t you share this episode with a friend, someone who needs to hear some of the advice that I just gave in technically dating or someone who needs to hear the story of Shawn and Jen. I will be back next week with Aaron Murkowski who teaches flirting skills for the Art of Charm. And she’s going to give us advice on how to start moving back into the real world with flirtatiousness and fun. Until next week. I wish you happy dating