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Fleabag & Blended Families


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

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

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

More on that later, first we have headlines! 


Should we ban Plantation-style weddings?

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

Are you a Fleabag?

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

What emoji should you use in your Tinder Profile?

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


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

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

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

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

Today we talk:

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

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


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

Here’s what our listeners asked about this week:

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



Damona  0:17  

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

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

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


Carmelia Ray  1:24  

Hi Damona!


Damona  1:26  

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


Carmelia Ray  1:55  

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


Damona  2:09  

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


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


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


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


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


Carmelia Ray  2:58  

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


Damona  3:00  

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


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


Carmelia Ray  4:04  

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


Damona  4:42  

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


Carmelia Ray  5:48  

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


Damona  5:55  

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


Carmelia Ray  6:17  

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


Damona  6:35  

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


Carmelia Ray  6:59  

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


Damona  7:07  

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


Carmelia Ray  7:25  

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


Damona  7:27  

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


Carmelia Ray  7:34  

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


Damona  7:41  

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


Carmelia Ray  7:58  

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


Carmelia Ray  8:03  



Carmelia Ray  8:04  

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


Damona  8:42  

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


Carmelia Ray  8:56  



Damona  8:58  

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


Carmelia Ray  9:05  

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


Damona  9:12  

always jumping around


Carmelia Ray  9:15  

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


Damona  9:52  

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


Carmelia Ray  10:14  

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


Damona  10:20  

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


Carmelia Ray  10:34  

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


Damona  10:37  

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


Carmelia Ray  11:09  

Gen Z, right, and Gen Z


Damona  11:11  

were younger than millennials.


Carmelia Ray  11:12  

Yeah, younger than me not got it.


Damona  11:14  

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


Carmelia Ray  11:33  

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


Damona  12:23  

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


Carmelia Ray  13:02  

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


Damona  13:34  

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


Carmelia Ray  13:50  

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


Damona  14:00  

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


Carmelia Ray  14:22  

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


Carmelia Ray  14:26  

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


Damona  14:29  

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


Damona 15:24

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


Carmelia Ray  15:33  

Thank you.


Damona  15:34  

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


Carmelia Ray  15:38  

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


Damona  15:54  

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


Carmelia Ray  16:28  

Andrew do today. Yes.


Carmelia Ray  16:29  

And my children, you have kids, you got


Damona  16:32  

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


Carmelia Ray  16:36  

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


Damona  17:14  

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


Carmelia Ray  17:37  

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


Damona  18:02  

then the daughter,


Carmelia Ray  18:04  

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


Damona  18:46  

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


Carmelia Ray  19:06  

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


Damona  20:20  

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


Carmelia Ray  20:45  

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


Damona  21:52  

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


Carmelia Ray  22:07  

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


Damona  22:32  

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


Carmelia Ray  23:10  

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


Carmelia Ray  23:25  

see massive Red


Damona  23:28  

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


Carmelia Ray  24:04  

gosh, comes up a lot


Damona  24:06  

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


Carmelia Ray  24:57  

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


Carmelia Ray  25:00  

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


Damona  25:48  

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


Carmelia Ray  25:50  

exactly right.


Carmelia Ray  25:54  

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


Damona  27:11  

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


Carmelia Ray  28:05  

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


Damona  28:38  

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


Carmelia Ray  28:59  

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


Damona  29:52  

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


Carmelia Ray  30:10  

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


Damona  30:55  

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


Carmelia Ray  31:07  

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


Damona  31:26  

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


Carmelia Ray  31:32  

you get introduced? Were you already dating though?


Damona  31:34  

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


Carmelia Ray  31:44  

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


Damona  31:48  

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


Carmelia Ray  32:07  

do you like sitting off to the I was?


Damona  32:10  

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


Carmelia Ray  32:24  

Who was that broad that you


Carmelia Ray  32:28  

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


Damona  32:36  

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


Carmelia Ray  32:44  

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


Damona  32:54  

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


Carmelia Ray  33:14  

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


Damona  33:51  

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


Carmelia Ray  33:56  

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


Damona  35:11  

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


Carmelia Ray  35:27  

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


Damona  36:30  

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


Carmelia Ray  36:59  

Can you Be our Dating Coach Damona


Damona  37:02  

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


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


Carmelia Ray  38:35  

a bunch of statements? I need a drink.


Damona  38:40  

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


Carmelia Ray  38:45  

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


Damona  40:14  

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


Carmelia Ray  40:23  

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


Damona  41:15  

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


Carmelia Ray  41:28  

Yeah and have someone review her her profile because


Carmelia Ray  41:32  

I don’t know


Carmelia Ray  41:33  

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


Damona  41:59  

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


Carmelia Ray  42:11  

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


Damona  42:21  

got the calculator.


Carmelia Ray  42:23  

So 24 is the youngest.


Damona  42:26  

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


Carmelia Ray  42:32  

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


Damona  43:02  

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


Carmelia Ray  43:06  

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


Damona  43:12  

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


Carmelia Ray  43:21  

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


Carmelia Ray  43:33  

Because I’m like,


Carmelia Ray  43:36  

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


Damona  43:59  

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


Carmelia Ray  44:15  

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


Damona  44:52  

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