Dating Up & Toxic Relationship Fix
Finding love is a journey and as you date, you are bound to encounter some people who are not good for you. But with the right mindset and approach, you can find and maintain a healthy, loving relationship.
It all starts with awareness and the ability to identify narcissism and toxic behavior in your matches. Don’t worry though, these behaviors are not as common as the TherapyTok trend might have you think. Even still, they exist and can cause you tremendous pain.
And that is why I have licensed psychotherapist, Sherry Gaba, and certified Life and Dating & Relationship Coach, Carla Romo, here today. They will be talking about how to avoid toxic relationships, trust your gut and find and keep healthy love.
DATING DISH (2:05)
Is “dating up” really a bad thing?:
A recent article from Essence Magazine dove into the details of “dating up” when looking for a life partner – i.e. dating someone who has access to more resources than you. The article begins by calling back to a trend around getting your “MRS Degree” (AKA a woman going to college to pursue a man with the potential to be rich or successful in the future). The article continues by dropping some stats in support of dating up regarding the gender pay gap.
Well, you KNOW Damona has some thoughts to share – one being that “dating up” puts too much of a focus on dating someone above your status, versus someone who could be your equal. And what qualities really connote someone being at a higher level than you? If you are so fixated on dating someone above your level, at least be sure you’re asking yourself if it’s really something you want, or if this is a story that was told to you about what a secure partner should be.
THE LOVE FIX (10:32)
Sherry Gaba is a licensed psychotherapist, life coach, author and co-host of the podcast, The Love Fix. Sherry has appeared on Vh1’s Celebrity Rehab, CNN, Inside Edition, Access Live, and E! News. She has been featured in Cosmopolitan, Women’s World, the LA Times, the New York Post, Zoosk, Psychology Today and other leading publications.
Carla Romo is a certified Life and Dating & Relationship Coach, author of “Contagious Love” and co-hosts The Love Fix podcast with Sherry. She has been featured on or partnered with Simon Business School, Milwaukee Bucks, BRAVO, Bumble, Lifetime, and Bustle.
(12:25) Toxic red flags (and have we heard them all)?
Being a hot topic on their own podcast, The Love Fix, Damona asks Carla and Sherry for their take on the signs of toxic behavior. Carla states that oversharing can be a red flag (less in a vulnerable way, more in the let-me-dump-my-childhood-trauma-on-you kind of way). She also points out that it’s good to look for consistency in their behavior, AKA if they’re telling you one thing but their actions are communicating another.
But contrary to what a lot of people feel about dating culture and the individuals on dating apps, Carla doesn’t think the majority of people are toxic. Sherry then covers what she learned in her training about the cycle of abuse.
(24:00) Healthy doesn’t always feel like attraction…
Damona shares that in her dating journey (before meeting Seth, of course), she really has to deprogram what she defined as a healthy relationship – “I find that for a lot of people, when they’re used to that sort of chaotic relationship, a healthy relationship can feel like nothing’s happening.” Sherry continues that if you grew up with a certain amount of trauma, your nervous system experienced a lot of activation which can create a lack of regulation.
Carla adds how she advises her clients to go on a second date, even if the first date felt boring. “Go on that second date, go on the third date, just get to know people. And you don’t have to define if you’re going to marry this person. Like, the point of dating is that you need to go on multiple dates.” Sherry also gives us some of the indications of healthy conflict vs. toxic conflict
(32:35) Wholeness is in your body.
Damona mentions how employing our intuition can be a really useful tool in being able to suss out the signs of toxicity. But if we’ve been in abusive relationships in the past, we’ve often been taught not to trust our intuition, let alone ourselves. Sherry states that part of this is how trauma shows up in the body: “If you haven’t worked through your early trauma, and it’s still lodged in your body, you’re going to be responding from that place, instead of the place you need to be responding from – a wholeness.”
Sherry states that you can discharge that trauma using processes like EMDR or doing somatic work with a trauma therapist. And if being able to afford this kind of treatment feels like a financial stretch, Sherry and Carla share their tips on finding resources.
Be sure to follow Sherry and Carla on Instagram @TheLoveFixPodcast and listen to their podcast, The Love Fix, wherever you listen to Dates & Mates.
DEAR DAMONA (42:04)
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 R – What do you think about putting your HSV+ status on your dating profile to weed out anyone that isn’t in alignment with you???