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 PINSKY (3:16)
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.
DEAR DAMONA (24:42)
(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 DatesandMates.com