Argument Styles & Dr. Orna Guralnik


It is NO secret that we love television shows about relationships and dating, but one Damona holds particularly dear to her heart is Showtime’s “Couples Therapy.”

If you don’t already know about the show, the documentary TV series is a deep dive into the authentic and visceral experience of weekly therapy where couples confront each other AND themselves. Spicy, but also, incredibly deep. It’s the best.

Leading the sessions for all three seasons is our guest today, Dr. Orna Guralnik! She’ll be sharing how she leads couples to some extraordinary breakthroughs, the best and worst ways to show up in a partnership, and what she has learned along the way.


How to figure out your partner’s “argument style”:

Refinery29 came in clutch with a recent article about how identifying your argument style can help your relationship dynamics in a similar way to knowing your love language, attachment style etc. 

The article lays out four common argument styles: Attacking, Defensive, Withdrawing, and Open (AKA the “holy grail” of argument styles). 

The author also points out that identifying the feelings or sensations that arise in your body during an argument can be key in directing you towards your argument style. Damona refers to this act of noticing as interoception, and explains how this can help you tune into your intuition and use it to improve your relationship communication.


Dr Orna Guralnik is a Clinical Psychologist and Psychoanalyst practicing in New York City. She lectures and publishes on the topics of couples treatment and culture, as well as culture & psychoanalysis.  

Her article – “I’m a Couples Therapist. Something New Is Happening in Relationships.” – was featured in the New York Times in May. And, of course, she is the host of the hit Showtime television series, Couples Therapy.

(11:24) How do you get people to reveal themselves?

As a renowned couples therapist, Orna seems to have the magic touch when it comes to helping couples open up. Orna states, “The whole therapeutic profession is based on the idea that if you create space, people will want to walk into it. People want to share space, people want to connect.” 

She also mentions that she is listening to the less conscious registers of what is troubling someone. This includes details relating to early family dynamics, personality structure, trauma, attachment styles, and the overall societal issues that affect how a couple is interacting with each other.

(17:30) What are the biggest elements that are shifting for relationships today?

Referencing her infamous article “I’m a Couples Therapist. Something New Is Happening in Relationships,” Damona asks Orna about the biggest elements that are shifting for relationships today. “With the recent social justice movements, we’re all learning what it means to understand ourselves in relation to systemic issues and how these issues are running through us… This helps us understand what’s governing the dynamic of a couple.”

Orna also points out how the consciousness of privilege is shifting the way we look at relationships (and let alone communicate). “When you really understand privilege, how privilege shapes the way we experience the world and how people differ in terms of how much they walk around the world with or without, something really fundamental changes inside you.”

(25:40) We gotta go to the hard, scary places.

As most of us can presume, any type of therapy will only work as much as you are willing to open up and go deep. Damona wonders how one might handle a situation where one partner in a couple is willing to go deeper, but the other isn’t ready? Orna responds, “The person who’s not in pain is out of touch in some way that they’re not well in the relationship, so it’s just a matter of time in how to gain access to that part of the person.” 

Orna adds, as the therapist, that there’s a level of “the client is always right” – if she can’t get through to someone, Orna believes she needs to figure out what is being blocked and adjust her approach. But this is always made easier if the client is willing to be as open as she is.

(32:25) Becoming a better partner starts with being yourself.

Damona asks what advice Orna can give to single folks on being a better partner, and her primary advice is to “show up as yourself and not someone else.” She also believes that a good reason to get into a relationship is to expand beyond who you are, not just pull someone into what you already are and know. And if that’s your motivation, then it’s going to get wonderful, complicated, and really interesting.

Orna also shares how you can get motivated to do the hard self-work, and reframe it so it’s not scary (hint: stay curious about yourself).


Be sure to follow Dr. Orna on Instagram @OrnaGuralnik and check out Couples Therapy on Showtime!


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


  • Voicemail from S – Hi Damona! I’m a finishing PhD student and I’m getting ready for a big cross country move in the next 6 months. As you can imagine, I have a lot on my plate. I am curious about short term dating, but I could use some advice. On the one hand, I think it would be good practice. That way when I get into this new environment I’m ready to dive in feet first. But on the other hand, with everything that’s going on, I don’t know if it’s going to be a good distraction or if it’s just going to add more stress. I would love to get your advice on how to go about short-term casual dating or anything about dating right before a big move. Thank you so much for your time and your advice, looking forward to hearing what you have to say!


Unsure if your question is right for Dates & Mates? Check out our recent all-Dear Damona episode to get a taste of what our listeners are thinking. 📝 

Rachel Lindsay & Trending Globally

We have a big episode today, with a big name guest – so why not kick it off with a big announcement to match?

As many of you know, Damona has been working on her book for the last year or two. And now, we can OFFICIALLY announce the release date and the title!!!

In her 15+ years coaching singles, Damona has found that the biggest game changer for clients is the moment when they throw out the old scripts they’ve been living with – the soulmate myth, the chemistry myth, all the myths that keep us believing that there is one way to find love. As soon as you realize the power you have to live your OWN love story, your life begins to change.

Damona’s book will be the framework to help you do just that. So on January 2nd, 2024, you can buy your copy of F the Fairytale: Rewrite the Dating Myths and Live Your Own Love Story. In the meantime, you’ll be hearing excerpts from the book and much more throughout the year.

Now, on to the show! You know our guest today as The Bachelorette from Season 13 and a correspondent on EXTRA. She’s the one and only, Rachel Lindsay! And she has a brand new novel called “Real Love!” that asks what happens when you take the road less traveled.


Match Group served up the world’s first comprehensive survey of dating trends:

If you’ve never heard of Match Group, they’re the ones who own companies like Tinder,, OkCupid, Hinge, PlentyOfFish and OurTime. And recently, Match Group partnered with research firm Ipsos to dive deep into the current state of online dating. Nearly 20,000 people were surveyed from the US, Germany, Japan, India and Turkey – including people with and without online dating experience

The results were split into three sections covering LGBTQ+ dating, online safety, and how online dating seems to be the foremost venue for making connections. Damona goes over the hottest takes to come out of this data-fest.


Rachel Lindsay is currently a correspondent with ExtraTV and she is the host of The Ringer’s “Higher Learning with Van Lathan and Rachel Lindsay” podcast, which was recently nominated for an NAACP. 

Rachel is best known for her role as the first Black lead in the franchise’s history on the 13th season of ABC’s The Bachelorette and as a contestant on the 21st season of ABC’s The Bachelor. 

And her newest book, “Real Love!”, is on shelves… TODAY! 

(17:00) How much of Rachel’s novel draws from IRL?

Rachel’s book “Real Love!” revolves around Maya, a young CEO who is offered the opportunity to join the nationally beloved reality dating show “Real Love.” But after turning down the show, she watches her friend Delilah say yes to the experience. 

Besides the obvious, Rachel says that the book is loosely based on her own journey but stands alone as its own story. On deciding to go on The Bachelor, Rachel says “once I said yes, it changed my life in the best way. But I always think about that girl who almost said no. And so I wanted to explore that.”

Rachel also notes some of the key themes in the book including how we keep ourselves from our own happiness (to quote Rachel, “fear is really the root of all evil.)

(23:30) Throw out the life plan!

Damona brings up an essay from Rachel’s previous book, where she described the 10-year life plan she used to have. And now? Rachel shares that she’s thrown the idea of a life plan out altogether. “Even now, when someone says to me, ‘what is it that you want to do, what’s the end goal?’ I don’t give them one… What I would say is hold true to those things that you don’t want to compromise on your morals, your values, your dreams, your goals. All that should stand through and through.”

(28:05) A fine line between your story and someone else’s…

Damona observes Rachel’s very deliberate choice to have the main character of “Real Love!” be black, and asks if this was a way for Rachel to explore how race factors into finding love today. Rachel says absolutely, noting that “as [Maya] comes to a certain crossroads and she’s open to new opportunities, you see that certain things don’t necessarily match up with her life plan. But is she going to act on them? Or is she not? And that’s a very real life situation.”

(31:02) Blackness and Bachelor Nation.

Rachel had never watched a show from The Bachelor franchise when she first went on as a contestant, later becoming the first black lead of not only The Bachelorette, but of a Bachelor show PERIOD. And although she didn’t have a full concept of how historical her position was, she describes anticipating judgment for every decision she would make by both The Bachelor audience AND the Black community alike. She continues, “I was going to be open to love. And if it came my way, I was going to accept it no matter what package it came in. And I needed to be okay with that. Because I knew the world that I was going to have to face once I made that decision.”

Rachel also describes the biggest advice she has for interracial couples.


Be sure to follow Rachel Lindsay on Instagram @TheRachLindsay AND go out and grab YOUR copy of Real Love! – on shelves today!




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

Text Message from Anon – Hi Damona! I recently started listening to your podcast and really like it! You inspired me to get back online for dating after taking a couple of years off. My question is: How do I balance the matches and conversations? I’m not very good at, or comfortable with, talking to and meeting multiple guys at once. I don’t want to miss a good potential match due to ignoring messages but I don’t know that spreading myself thin over the matches allows me to really gauge a good connection. I don’t want to get overwhelmed and give up, but I’m not really sure what to do. Thank you!

Savage Love & Hookup Hangup

The rules of dating have changed! But you know that. We’ve been shouting it from the rooftop for 10 years now.

While many of our parents and grandparents adhered to strict gender roles, monogamy and a typical relationship timeline (first comes love, then comes marriage, then comes a baby in a baby carriage), WE are building relationships that suit our lifestyles.

For example, non-monogamy is on the rise! Since last year, there has been a 42% increase in mentions of “ENM” or “ethical non-monogamy” on OkCupid profiles. There has also been an increase in the number of married couples who “Live Apart Together” – folks in committed relationships who live in separate homes. And according to the Census Bureau, the percentage of people in these LAT relationships increased by more than 25 percent between 2000 and 2019.

Based on our inbox, y’all have a lot of questions about how to make your relationship dream a reality (even if it includes a non-traditional arrangement). So we brought in the big dog today – THE Dan Savage is here with us. He’s the host of the Savage Lovecast and the long-running column, Savage Love. Dan will be talking about writing the rules of your own relationship and answering your love questions in a special Dear Damona segment!


If you clap when planes land, your partner might break up with you:

Hold onto your “icks” ladies and gentlemen, we’re about to dive into dating dealbreakers. A study commissioned by the dating site Seeking discovered that out of 2,000 adults, over half (65%) have ended a relationship because of an ick. What is an ick, you ask? It is a specific and possibly non conventional trait that turns someone off (i.e. “they gave me the ick”).

Damona goes over the most prominent icks from the survey – including bad body odor, clapping when your plane lands, and being obsessed with astrology (LOL since Dates & Mates just did a whole episode about astrology). Do you have an ick? 👀 

DAN SAVAGE (13:06)

Dan Savage is an American author, media pundit, journalist, and LGBT community activist.

He is the author of “Savage Love,” a sex-advice column, which first appeared in The Stranger, Seattle’s alternative weekly, in 1991. The column is now syndicated across the United States and Canada. 

Dan is also the host of the podcast The Savage Lovecast, where he answers your sex questions and talks politics, and the author of multiple books including his most recent one, “Savage Love from A to Z: Advice on Sex and Relationships, Dating and Mating, Exes and Extras.”

(15:54) Dating dinosaurs.

Damona and Dan have many things in common, but the biggest is that they’re both veterans of the professional dating scene for 15+ years. Damona asks Dan what he’s seen as the biggest changes in dating and relationships during his career. Surprisingly, Dan responds that the question – “am I normal?” – is a thing of the past.

(22:21) The non-monogamous spectrum.

Damona brings up an interview that Dan did on the Death, Sex and Money Podcast with Anna Sale, in which Dan brought up the difference between non-monogamy and cheating.

Dan states that monogamy is a spectrum, and that you CAN in fact be cheated on in a non-monogamous relationship (just as you would a monogamous one). He also shares the kinds of feelings you may be having if you’re non-monogamous at heart (and how to have the “I’m non-monogamous” conversation).

Be sure to follow Dan on Instagram @DanSavage and to check out his book “Savage Love from A to Z: Advice on Sex and Relationships, Dating and Mating, Exes and Extras.” You can find his podcast, Savage Lovecast, wherever you listen to Dates & Mates.



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

  • Voice Message from B – I put so much pressure on myself to find a guy that meets my standards, I think I am hindering myself from finding my match. What should I do?
  • IG Message from R – I find myself getting lost in flings while I search for my forever partner. How do I balance this dissonance?



Damona is running her signature dating coaching group LIVE one last time starting the week of January 23rd. If you want to find love in 2023, this is your moment! Want to learn more? Check out the free intro class on Wednesday January 18th at 4pm PT/ 7pm ET. You can sign up for that at

Dating Dance Cards & Catch a Catfish

It’s officially cuffing season folks! The days are shorter and colder, and many of us are feeling that urge to spend more time cozying up in a warm place. And we may want to cozy up with a partner. So that’s exactly what cuffing season is. It’s a reference to being handcuffed or tied to one partner up before your imagination goes wild. It’s not the kinky kind. It’s just the partnership kind. 

That’s why we have MTV’s Catfish co-host and host of the podcast Relationsh*t, Kamie Crawford, joining us today. She’ll be bringing you up to speed on all things dating, from the apps to catfishing and beyond, so that we can get YOU cuffed.


We’re bringing back a classic Dates & Mates segment: Romance Rollback! 

If you’re new to this segment, Damona will be taking a classic romance, dating, courtship, or relationship tradition that you may or may not have heard of – we’ll tell you what it is, how it worked and what we can apply from the customs of yesteryear to today’s dating and relationship scene.

Dance cards: A classic ballroom custom

Have you ever heard the phrase “my dance card is full”? This is in reference to the 1830s ballroom tradition. Basically, a dance card was a card that was provided at large balls with a list of chosen dances for the evening & a blank space beside each dance. Ladies each had a card and when a gentleman asked her to dance, he would write his name in the space for a particular agreed upon dance.

Damona dives into how dance cards came into fashion, lists off some other ballroom etiquette of the time and breaks down the modern love lessons we can learn from them.


Kamie Crawford is a television host, podcast host and model. She co-hosts the MTV hit series, Catfish, and hosts the amazing podcast Relationsh*t, an advice podcast that covers all relationship topics – the good, the bad and the straight up sh*tty.

**Want to hear some Valentine’s Day do’s & don’ts? It may seem a ways out, but is it ever to early to prepare?  Check out Damona on the Relationsh*t podcast with Kamie Crawford here!

(14:50) Friends can catfish too??

Having been co-hosting MTV’s Catfish since 2019, it makes sense that Kamie would have some firsthand experience with catfishing. But what surprised Damona is that it wasn’t a potential match that was misleading her – it was her close friend and roommate! According to Kamie, her friend had faked an engagement, posted about a fiancé that didn’t exist, and posed as traveling to a bunch of different countries.

Moral of the story: You can even be catfished by people that you know in real life, so don’t blame yourself if you couldn’t see it beforehand. 

Kamie also gives us the scoop on how she researches potential matches before meeting them IRL (hint: Google is your friend).

(20:47) Dating profile red flags

Kamie and Damona discuss the bizarre pictures they’ve both seen on dating profiles. Remember that you should be the star of your dating profile, because whoever matches with you is going to be dating YOU – not your dog, not your group of best friends, not your friend’s baby. So make sure that your pictures are always showcasing parts of your personality.

 (29:00) What is the Texting Trap?

It’s one thing to have really great texting banter with someone, but it’s another thing if you never actually meet in person. This is what Damona calls the “Texting Trap” – when you and your match are endlessly messaging back and forth but never actually make plans to talk on the phone, Zoom, or meet in person. 

Damona and Kamie talk about the importance of in-person chemistry, and how “90% of your dating problems are going to be solved if you do a phone call or a quick video chat before you meet.”


Be sure to follow Kamie on Instagram @KamieCrawford and listen to the Relationsh*t Podcast wherever you listen to Dates & Mates. 



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

IG Message from Renee – Hi Damona! I am a young widow – it’s been almost two years since my husband passed away (we were married for 13 years). Although I’m on instagram and etcetera, I am 100% new to dating apps and have been extremely reluctant to join one. However, I’m very restless at this point (not to mention horny) and have finally decided maybe I should try one (or two or three). I think I just need to date and not take it so seriously (as in looking for a hubby) since I’m sure I still am working through the loss in my own way. Do you have any tips for someone in my situation?

Green Flags & Don’t Text Your Ex Happy Birthday

Choosing a partner is the most important decision you’ll ever make. It affects your finances, your family, your mental health and your future. But remember that your dating journey is just as important as your relationship destination. 

It’s a myth to think any relationship is ever a waste of time. These experiences can be the greatest source of information when it comes to better understanding ourselves and the relationships that best fit our lives.

And that’s why we have Nick Viall, author and host of The Viall Files podcast, here to discuss his new book “Don’t Text Your Ex Happy Birthday” and help you navigate the ups and downs of the dating process, so you’ll leave this episode feeling more empowered in dating.


Can work stress make you more critical in your relationships?

Have you ever come home from a stressful day at work, only to find yourself completely annoyed that your partner didn’t throw away that empty chip bag on the couch? That’s why the Society for Personality and Social Psychology published a new study diving into how work stress can affect our relationships. Researchers looked at couples and had them fill out a questionnaire that asked them about the stressful situations in their lives.

The results? Turns out that participants who reported experiencing more stressful life events outside of their relationship, were especially likely to notice their partner’s negative behaviors.

But if you aren’t in a relationship, Damona also believes that work stress could be making singles more critical of their dating lives, and causing them to show up on dates already looking for negative behaviors. Remember that where our attention goes, the energy flows. So on your next date, see what happens if you more consciously refrain from scanning for negative behaviors and look for those green flags instead.


You may know Nick from his starring role on the 21st season of ABC’s The Bachelor. Nick is also the host of the podcast The Viall Files, which explores all things dating and love – from post-breakup healing, to salacious texts in their three weekly episodes. 

And his book “Don’t Text Your Ex Happy Birthday: And Other Advice on Love, Sex, and Dating” is out TODAY!

(11:00) Bad texting doesn’t always mean bad communication.

Although there’s no arguing that dating apps have totally changed the landscape of dating, Damona believes that texting has actually been the biggest shift in dating culture (given that texting is now a whole separate stage of the courtship process). And the biggest challenge with this is interpreting someone else’s tone. Nick notes that regardless of our intention when sending a text, the other person will always read the tone to match whatever mood or feelings they are in – if they are feeling defensive they will read your text defensively, or if they are feeling guarded they will read the message in a more guarded tone.

Because of this communication gap, Nick suggests avoiding having ongoing conversations with new matches over text. Take advantage of tools like Zoom, where you can clearly read someone’s facial expressions and hear their tone. 

Nick also gives us some crucial tips for sliding into someone’s DM’s, and how to avoid looking like a catfish.

(21:30) The player vs the f**kboy

Two famous archetypes on a similar mission – but what really is the difference between a player and a f**kboy? One might say that they’re the same thing and f**kboy just replaced the term player in the last decade. But the two definitely have their differences. 

According to Nick, a f**kboy is someone who is well intentioned. They want to have a relationship in theory, but don’t want to check their own behavior and do what it really takes or make the sacrifices required to be in a relationship. “Women, men – we all can become f**kboys. Because f**kboys happen when we’re not communicating our expectations and boundaries, and we make assumptions. The other person is having sex with us, but not really prioritizing our feelings. And then all of a sudden, we have a f**kboy situation.” Weirdly enough, your f**kboy could be someone else’s future partner. 

On the other hand, players are the people who actually have alternative motives. They truly don’t want a relationship, they just want to have sex. They tend to manipulate and lead others on, and will go out of their way to make you feel special so they can hopefully hook up with you with no attachments. They’re playing the game (hence the name “player”).

(27:50) Get yourself unstuck.

Nick had one central message when writing his new book “Don’t Text Your Ex Happy Birthday” – that we have more control in our love lives than we want to give ourselves credit for. Nick shares that he has always remembered feeling very stuck in a relationship. He says that he would obsess over small details or moments and the potential for rejection. “I chose to make her choices a representation of my self worth. And I allowed her choices to validate my self worth.”

Nick encourages readers to avoid making any kind of rejection about you. “Rejection sucks. It’s not fun. But if we reframe rejection as clarity to give us the answers, to allow us to have more freedom, to empower us to make our own choices, then it can just change things a little bit more.”


Be sure to grab yourselves a copy of “Don’t Text Your Ex Happy Birthday” today! 


You can learn more about The Viall Files podcast on their website, and follow Nick Viall and The Viall Files on IG for more hot tips.



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

  • IG Message from L – I’d like to ask for guidance on how to proceed with someone I recently met. We met last week & had an immediate connection. We saw each other the following day & he stayed with me, although we slept fully clothed. After that his communication was constant, but often made more sexual comments. We met again at my house the day he returned from a business trip. He spent the night & we just fooled around. We didn’t go all the way because I had communicated I wasn’t ready for more. He texted me the following Sunday, saying “Good morning sunshine. I hope you’re having a great weekend.” I responded. Then I sent a message on Monday just saying hi & he again responded with the same pleasantry. Since then he has not initiated contact once. I’ve reached out twice with pleasantries & he’s responded politely. I’m not sure how to proceed from here. I like him a lot & my goal is to develop a LTR with someone. 
  • Voicemail from Anon – Dear Damona, I recently became involved with a young lady that I like very much. So far, we’ve had three in person days of video call, and we’ve been texting paragraphs back and forth for at least three weeks straight. I knew from our first video call that she was someone I was extremely attracted to. At the end of our third date, I decided to ask if we can make our relationship official. But to my surprise, she kind of talked her way around saying no. So we had a heart to heart moment, where she reveals to me that she has some pretty serious past relationship baggage that only happened a few months ago. The following day, we had a text exchange where she said, “The more I thought about it last night and this morning, I truly don’t know if I’ll be ready for a relationship anytime soon. I do want to keep getting to know you and get closer though.” So my conundrum is, I genuinely like this woman and can envision myself having a future with her. But if she’s not ready to be in a relationship, should I move on and start from square one with a new person? Or is it worth the emotional investment that I continue to linger in her orbit, waiting for her to feel ready to be in a relationship? Since I already know that I like her and on some level, I know she likes me. I ask this question from the perspective of knowing that relationships require hard work, and I don’t want to waste my time if she has cold feet.

Dr. Drew & The Big 400

It’s our 400th episode special of Dates & Mates! We’ve been collecting messages from Dates & Mates listeners who shared why they listen to the show. They’ll be sprinkled throughout the episode, including two very special messages from the Hoffman household.

That is not the only thing that makes this episode special. When Dates & Mates started 9 years ago, there weren’t many other shows like this around. But there was one show (and one person in particular) that gave Damona a roadmap for how she wanted to share her voice and knowledge with the world. That show was Loveline, and that person was Dr. Drew Pinsky – who will be the honorary guest on today’s episode!



Dr. Drew co-hosted the radio show Loveline for over 30 years and offered advice on dating, relationships and so much more. In addition to his career as a TV and radio personality, Dr.  Drew is a doctor of internal medicine and an addiction specialist. He continues to treat patients to this day.  

Dr. Drew and his wife, Susan, have been married for 30 years and they currently work together to produce the podcast, Ask Dr. Drew. Today he joins us to share the story of their 7-year courtship and his secrets for a long-lasting relationship.

(4:30) How Dr. Drew met his wife Susan:

Dr. Drew sets the record straight on his marriage origin story. It’s 1982 – Dr. Drew had finished his second year of medical school, and he and his friend went out to a bar to blow off some steam from studying.

When they arrived, they were surprised to find that a fashion show was being held at the bar, and it was at that moment that Dr. Drew spotted his now-wife at the mic MC-ing the show. He recalls having this weird, cosmic feeling of “I have to talk to this person.” Buuuut this apparently wasn’t reciprocated, since she blew him off pretty hard.


Two years later, Dr. Drew was in the studio hosting Loveline when Susan appeared.  She was at the radio station as a guest to promote another fashion show. Dr. Drew describes how he felt a powerful attraction to her again, and he explains how he did something he had never done before.  He knew that she was in a relationship, but he still asked her to please take his phone number, no strings attached. He says he just “had” to do it.

Susan eventually did give Dr. Drew a call, and it wasn’t until a year later that they both realized their paths had crossed before. They continued to date off and on for seven years, until finally staying together. “I think it’s Eastern philosophers like Chinese philosophers that have a saying about the important people in your life entering more than once,” mentions Dr. Drew. “They come around a few times typically.”

(10:23) Good stretches and bad stretches:

Damona asks Dr. Drew about why he and his wife were off and on over the years, and how he knew when it was the moment to pursue the relationship head-on. “It’s more that I knew when it wasn’t the moment. I knew that if I got married or committed myself to somebody, let’s say five years into our relationship of on-and-off again, I’d blow it if I was not ready.” 


He continues that readiness, and having a sense of when you’re ready for something, is such a personal compass. Part of this process is accepting how you may need to let go of the right person if it’s the wrong time, which can be hard to swallow. 

Damona also inquires Dr. Drew’s thoughts on “doing the dance” of dating (i.e. when should I text them, is it too early/late to call, I have to wait for them to reach out first). Dr. Drew is very clear that men will never play games with you, they are wired to see things very simply.

And if a guy IS playing games with you, it’s either to keep you from getting too deep into the relationship, or to keep themselves out of the relationship. Bottom line: the more direct and honest you can be, the better it will be for both parties.


(14:36) One day at a time:

Dr. Drew gives a piece of sound relationship advice that parallels the work he does in long-term recovery from drug addiction – take it one day at a time. He states that if you are happy today, you will most likely be happy the next. Take the time to express gratitude for your partner and let them know that you appreciate them.

But if you are not happy today, the negative feelings will continue to build up. This is when you need to pay attention and hone in on what is missing for you. Damona adds that much like Dr. Drew’s advice, a relationship is just a constant choice. “You get to choose to be committed to the relationship. And it’s this constant process of recommitting.”

Damona also brings up the elements of communication and conflict resolution in a relationship, which can be very layered. She points out that if your model for relationships has been a dysfunctional one, then having clear and honest communication can feel wrong. In these cases, fighting or a lack of communication will feel comfortable and familiar, however unhealthy it may be.


Dr. Drew says the remedy is learning how to fight fairly. “One of the ways to think about it is when there’s a winner, the relationship loses. The fighting should not be gratifying, it should not be interesting. It should be something you just want to understand and move past and not let it escalate in any way.”

(19:56) When people are ready, they’re ready:

Damona brings up one final point with Dr. Drew – what can I do if my partner doesn’t show up to do the work? Put simply, Dr. Drew answers that you can’t force somebody to show up to do the work, they have to make the choice. But when someone motivates themselves to step up to the plate on their own, they will be ready.

Dr. Drew indicates that he’s a big fan of EFT, or Emotionally Focused Therapy, because it’s all about supporting both people in a deep context. He adds that most people usually feel heard and understood, and come out having clarity about what’s creating the conflict and what each other is experiencing.


EFT also helps you to listen with your whole body (wait, what?). “It’s really the difference between hearing the words, and listening with your whole body. Your body is the instrument of what you’re listening to. You hear it to your toes, and you feel it, hear it, and process the information as it’s coming in.”

You can hear more of Dr. Drew’s amazing advice and insightful conversations on his podcast, Ask Dr. Drew.


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

(24:57) “Waiting For Chemistry” asks: My new date seems a lot more interested in me than I am, but I’m not feeling it yet! He lacks that sexual spark for me and I admit it’s from comparing him to my past lovers. However, he meets all my must-haves and seems devoted to a real relationship. I don’t want to lead him on, but how long should I continue to show him my undivided attention in terms of going out and showing physical affection? I’ve already slept with him, partly because I wanted to see if that changed the chemistry between us – it hasn’t.

(28:10) Anonymous asks: The last couple of months, especially over the holidays, have been very challenging emotionally, mostly due to the continued isolation and living alone with the day-to-day anxiety during covid. I’ve done EMDR, and I’m likely going to start taking medication soon to help me through this very difficult time. Something I struggle with now is finding the time, energy, and mindset to even check the apps or have a phone call or in-person date. When will I know I’m ready to date? And how do I get back out there?

(31:23) Anonymous asks: How does one handle dating with a disability that is only occasionally visible but yet can’t be denied?

(31:23) R asks: I’m still looking young at 34 years old, but I just find myself in a single place – others in my life already have families and now are even married. Coming from a Latino based family, I get asked by Aunts and Uncles when am I going to find my match, and it’s just killing me inside. Especially that I’ve been through so much in my life since I am epileptic and have had more than 6 brain surgeries now. When women see me, they ask me about my scars on my head, and I will always feel it’s not their business to know about my medical condition. But will they just run away like always?

(37:21) Dani asks: Why do I want physical intimacy and touch when I think about the person I am going on a date with, but when I am there with them in person, my instinct is to pull back and I often feel uncomfortable with affectionate contact? I understand it takes a while to warm up to someone, but it can feel really frustrating to want to run towards something in my head only to end up running away from it in person.

(41:03) Anonymous asks: I am going through something really painful. I caught my boyfriend of 5 years in a lie and he revealed that he loves another woman. This was via text and he hasn’t contacted me since. I would love it if you have any advice or pointers. I feel so lost right now.

(43:20) Anonymous asks: When I am out in social settings, I have been told I am unapproachable or intimidating. How can I appear more approachable?


  • Download the OkCupid Dating App for free today!
  • Try Damona’s free First Date Starter Kit at