Tag Archive for: dating apps

Man Shopping & Psychotic Optimism: Love Month Part 3


It’s February and you know what that means – Valentine’s is upon us! And to celebrate the month of love, we’ll be doing something special. We have 4 of the top prior Dates & Mates guest love experts who will be joining me for the next 4 weeks. This is episode three of our Love Month #5QFeb!


Before we get into the show, just a quick shout out to our new listeners. We are so grateful to Apple Podcasts, Stitcher and Pandora for all featuring us or Valentine’s Day and we welcome you if you’re new to the show!

This week’s love expert is Bela Gandhi, founder of Smart Dating Academy and a weekly media correspondent. She is a relationship expert and has been featured on everything from Good Morning America, Steve Harvey, The Today Show, Fox & Friends and so much more!

She’s here to give us a whole new perspective on love that we haven’t heard yet!

More on that later, first we have headlines!



Why Shakira won’t marry her super hot baby daddy

According to their latest interview on 60 Minutes, Shakira and hunky soccer player Gerard Pique will not marry. ‘I don’t want him to see me as ‘The Wife’,” she says. “His lover, his girlfriend. It’s like a little forbidden fruit, you know? I wanna keep him on his toes. I want him to think that anything’s possible depending on behavior.” Is this manipulative behavior? Damona and Bela have thoughts.


Could Twitter be the right dating app for you?

The Bold Italic published a personal piece from comedian Ginny Hogan where she explains how Twitter became a dating app for her! Damona breaks down how to know if it’s right for you.


Everything you need to know about online dating today

From Damona’s most trusted resource, the Pew Research Center!


#5QFeb (20:32)

Damona asks Bela the 5 MOST IMPORTANT dating questions of our time:

  • What is the biggest challenge for daters today?
  • What is the best way to find love?
  • How can people change their patterns in love?
  • What are the elements of a strong, long lasting relationship?
  • Whose relationship do you admire and why?




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

  • What’s a reasonable age gap for dating? I started dating someone who is 7 years younger. My concern is we won’t be on the same page when we get down to having future talk. Is it worth dating someone that much younger?
  • Would you suggest speed dating? 
  • What do you do when you feel like giving up on dating?




Are you feeling overwhelmed with dating and relationships and looking for a little more support? then you are the perfect person to become one of my Friends with Benefits.  

We just launched a special patreon program for our listeners who want a little more love from Damona

What is Patreon?

Patreon is a platform that allows you to support creators like me to keep making helpful content that you want to hear and allow you to get amazing listener benefits by participating

Our page is Patreon.com/datesandmates

What will you get if you sign up?

A private Facebook group where you can chat with me and other listeners of the show.

And you’ll have an opportunity to join me for private group coaching sessions.

Plus secret BTS content from our nearly 300 episodes of Dates & Mates.

And for my really special top-tier FWBs, you can even get a personalized dating profile analysis from me with tips tailored just for you on how to make a magnetic profile that draws the right kind of dates to you.

The Patreon is live on at patreon.com/datesandmates

And we have a special bonus for anyone who signs up at the Lover or VIP level – a free autographed copy of my book. But only if you sign up during the month of February.

Go to patreon.com/datesandmates to see which of tier is right for you. I look forward supporting you on a deeper level and inviting you inside the community as one of my Friends with Benefits.


Damona  0:00  

Are you feeling overwhelmed and frustrated with dating and relationships and looking for a little more support than you are the perfect person to become one of my friends with benefits? We just launched a special Patreon program for our listeners who want a little more love for me. What is Patreon? Patreon is a platform that allows you to support creators like me to keep making helpful content that you want to hear. And it allows you to get amazing listener benefits by participating. Our page is patreon.com slash dates and mates. What will you get if you sign up? First, we have a private Facebook group where you can chat with me and other listeners of the show. And you’ll have an opportunity to join me for private group coaching sessions. Plus, you’ll get secret behind the scenes content from our nearly 300 episodes of dates and mates. And for my really special top tier Fw B’s, you can even get a personalized dating profile. analysis from me, with tips tailored just for you on how to make a magnetic dating profile that draws in just the right kind of dates to you. The Patreon is live now@patreon.com, slash dates and mates. And we have a special bonus for anyone who signs up at the lover or VIP level during the month of February. You’ll also get a free autographed copy of my book but only if you sign up during this month of February. So go to patreon.com slash dates and mates to see which tier is right for you. I look forward to supporting you on a deeper level and inviting you inside the community. As one of my friends with benefits.

Bela Gandhi  1:41  

What does his text me so frustrated? He’s just not that into me. I’ve always been battle for attention.

Bela Gandhi  1:48  

I’m ready for miracles but

Bela Gandhi  1:49  

I’m sure my

Damona  1:54  

Modern love Made Simple. This is dates and mates with damona Hoffman happy love month lovers. This is episode three of our special five to five love month series during which I will interview your favorite dates and mates guests and ask the most pressing questions about love. Today, we’re using the hashtag five q fab if you want to get in on the conversation and let me know what the big takeaways are for you from today’s episode. Before we get into the show, I also just want to give a quick shout out to our new listeners. We are so grateful that Apple podcasts and Stitcher and Pandora are all featuring us for Valentine’s Day and have sent us a lot of new listeners. So we’re so glad to have you here. And I just want to welcome you if you are new to the show, I’m certified Dating Coach damona Hoffman and I’ve been coaching singles on online and offline dating for about 15 years. I’ve made a lot of marriages and I’ve seen a lot of dating changes during that time. And one dating expert who has been in the love trenches with me for a lot of that time is Bella Gandhi. Bella is a data And relationship expert. She’s the founder of smart dating Academy and she’s a weekly media correspondent. You’ve probably seen her on anything from Good Morning America to the Steve Harvey show the today show fox and friends and so much more. But she’s so much more than just that resume. She’s a dear friend of mine and I am excited to give big smooches and welcome Bella Gandhi.

Bela Gandhi  3:23  

I am so excited to be here. This is amazing.

Damona  3:27  

You are amazing. Your advice is amazing. And I’m really excited to do this five q fab. These questions with you today. But I’m also excited to cover these headlines we have a lot of news to talk about, including why Shakira won’t get married to her super hot baby daddy, and how you can use Twitter as your dating app, plus some new research on dating from my most trusted source. And then we’ll be answering your questions including what’s a reasonable age gap for dating and what are the odds you’ll meet your match at speed dating All that and more on today’s dates and mates. Bella, are you ready for love month?

Bela Gandhi  4:05  

Girl? I could not be more ready. No Well then let’s do this 

Damona  4:12  

Now Shakira is making headlines not just for her very hot performance in the Super Bowl halftime show, but also because she and her boyfriend Spanish soccer star, Gerard PK are not getting married anytime soon. Now before you go thinking this is just, this is just too hot people getting together. It’s no big deal. No, they have actually been together since 2011. And they have two children together. So these two are really bonded. They are central essentially living as a married couple but they do not want to get married. Bella, here’s why she says on an interview for 60 minutes she said I don’t want him to see me as the wife. I want him to see me as his lover his girlfriend. It’s Like a little forbidden fruit, you know, I want to keep him on. I want them to think that anything’s possible depending on behavior. What do you think about that statement in the fact that she is not putting any any value on marrying the father of her children?

Bela Gandhi  5:20  

You know, I think, I think she came out of a pretty famously bad divorce, before she got together with pk. So I think it’s really normal after you’ve been through something that can be so traumatic, especially as a celebrity and when somebody was trying to you know, you know, take a legitimate part of your fortune that didn’t belong to them. Like I understand why she would be kind of have a lot of trepidation about getting into another marriage situation.

Damona  5:51  

It is understandable. I’m a big fan of marriage, but I also think it’s not the right fit for everyone. I do find though, when you start to build your life together, you have two kids. You have a home together, that sometimes we, we lose sight of the big picture. And we just think like, well, I don’t want to go, I want to go against the grain I don’t want to do what what I did before or what other people are doing. And that sometimes, like, as much as we want it to be, like passion filled and romantic, we have to be a little bit practical and pragmatic.

Bela Gandhi  6:22  

Oh, I think that that’s, I think that that’s so true. And I think, you know, keeping that spark going in a marriage, right, or even a long term relationship, it takes a lot of work, it takes a lot of communication, it takes a lot of negotiation, and it takes a lot of intimacy to get there and sometimes, you know, the the issue can be in a relationship, you know, especially when people can be have, you know, multiple partners or not married is the question is how truly safe Do you feel in this relationship without that official commitment, right and that can drive trust issues as well. Yeah,

Damona  7:03  

I got a little nervous I must admit when she said I want to keep him on his toes. I want them to think that’s any anything’s possible depending on behavior, which I’m reading into me and like his behavior and that she could maybe withhold something from him if she doesn’t like what what he’s doing. And that felt a little bit manipulative to me, but maybe I’m reading it the wrong way.

Bela Gandhi  7:27  

Yeah, I mean, I think you can read it that way. For sure. You know, and I think it’s also based on like, Okay, if you end up you know, pulling the wool over my eyes if you end up doing what you know, some other athletes have done to the people they’re in relationships with cheated on them, then there’s consequences for that behavior and peace out. I’m out if you do that.

Damona  7:53  

Yes, she is. Setting a firm boundary. I expect nothing less of Shakira, but I do You like this idea of keeping the romance alive and like I think there’s a way that even if you are married or you’re considering getting married, you can still have that have that essence of the girlfriend the lover the the romantic interest and still keep keep that that energy alive even though you are now the wife.

Bela Gandhi  8:21  

Yes, again, it definitely takes work right and it is because in a sense, like safety and excitement are two opposite emotions right? And the more attach them the more safe you feel with your partner, which is amazing. And you know, it’s the best feeling in the world. It becomes hard to keep that spark. So it’s really working on the balance of the two which is possible it just again, it’s it’s not natural.

Damona  8:45  

Yes, it’s not natural. One thing that’s also not natural, is meeting people on Twitter. I read this really fun article in The Bold Italic which of course will link to in the show notes by a comedian named Jenny. Hope Again, who is just frustrated with Tinder she says she signs on and off multiple times throughout the day. But one thing that’s been consistent in her life is her Twitter presence and she actually uses it as a place to try out her jokes and really show her personality. And she gets a lot of dm slides, Bella, I hear you

Bela Gandhi  9:20  

I know, I got married on Twitter.

Damona  9:22  

I know a couple who got married on Twitter as well who will not on Twitter but from Twitter. They are tweet hearts. It can work but like this this article, they she posted a lot of her dm slides that were less than less than exciting to receive. And less than savory. Less than savory to read.

Bela Gandhi  9:49  


Damona  9:50  

How do you look at that in terms of Twitter being a dating, a place for dating and Twitter as she says being her dating app in a way? How do you filter Through those dm slides and not get overwhelmed or, or like disappointed and find the real gems, if you’re going to use Twitter in that, in that function. You

Bela Gandhi  10:11  

know, Don’t I look at the entire world is fair game for dating, right? Whether it’s Twitter or Instagram, whether it’s work, whether it’s church, the synagogue, the train, you can meet great people everywhere. And the filtering mechanisms, ultimately, are going to be a little bit different just based on the context that you’ve met this person. But what what I liked about what she said is, you can really tell a lot about someone through reading their Twitter profile, and her Twitter profile was really thick. She had a lot and you could tell a lot about you could kind of make conclusions about her personality based on the things that she was tweeting. And you can also draw conclusions about other people based on what they’re tweeting. It’s like, in a sense, if you’re on Tinder or Bumble or match you can only look at that conversation that you’re having with that person. Here, you can look at the conversations that people are having with the world. Yes, it’s

Damona  11:08  

in a way, it’s taken down the filter of I’m here for dating, like people on dating apps always try to put their best dating face forward. But there’s so much more information if you can actually see that person in their natural habitat and what they would post on Twitter. It was a little confusing in that she’s a comedian. And she’s like, some of this stuff is basically just jokes. And so people are going to make certain assumptions, assumptions based on what they’ve seen on her Twitter profile. But it seems like overall, it’s been more successful for her than dating apps have been,

Bela Gandhi  11:44  

hey, if it works, keep doing it right. For some people. They meet on match for some people they meet on eHarmony Twitter, Instagram, I know you like me do this on a daily basis. You’ve seen it all. You’ve heard it all. Keep doing what works.

Damona  12:00  

I like that. And I like that it’s you’re not attaching meaning to a certain way of meeting someone. A lot of times people tell me Well, I don’t want my story that I tell my kids to be that we met on Twitter or Tinder or what have you. And ultimately, if you get the happy ending doesn’t necessarily matter where it comes from.

Bela Gandhi  12:19  

I hear it too to me. I’m like, then I don’t know that you’re truly ready to find love. Oh,

Bela Gandhi  12:28  

tough love. Yeah. Right. You should be open to meeting people anywhere whether you meet eyes across mangoes at Whole Foods, whether you meet them on Tinder or match or on the train wherever it is right that it’s finding the lid to your pot. There’s nothing better in life who cares where they came from? Be grateful for that outlet.

Damona  12:49  

Yes, well, I know you’ve been doing this a long time. As I have. I’ve I’ve written the way from online dating to dating apps and one source that I always look to for research on this area is the Pew Research Center. And they just released the 10 facts about online dating in America that I don’t think anything is shock is going to shock you or I, but it might shock some people that that now 45% of people are saying that dating apps are positive experiences, but they say they’ve had frustrations. Now, the majority of people under 30. Well, almost 50% of people under 30 have used a dating site or dating app. And those numbers are also growing in the 30 to 49 and the 50 plus group. So it’s really becoming a much more accepted way of dating then when I began coaching singles on dating apps before and people were like,

Bela Gandhi  13:47  

I don’t want to do that.

Damona  13:48  

What are you seeing as someone that’s also been in this space for a long time, in terms of attitudes around dating, and dating online?

Bela Gandhi  13:58  

You know, I think there’s a certain reason Ignatius

Bela Gandhi  14:02  

people are resigned to it like they know that they need to do it. And it’s just the way life works. I don’t know that anybody comes to me, particularly jazzed about mind dating. But you know, I look at dating that with three major pipelines I do you meet somebody in real life, you get set up with them, or you’re using a site or an app to meet people, it really boils down to those three. So if you don’t use technology, you’ve just eliminated one major pipeline of candidates.

Damona  14:32  

Yeah. And the pipeline that really keeps growing. I mean, when I began doing this, they would say like, one in six relationships started with a dating site. And now those numbers are looking like more like one and four and possibly even one in three. I think the numbers actually underreported. So that’s really the trend. And even though you’re not maybe excited to use a dating app, I think sometimes people assign more meetings. To the vehicle, then they do intention to the process. Do you know what I mean by that?

Bela Gandhi  15:06  

Yeah, absolutely. It’s like, well, I don’t want to do the online dating. I said, Do you want to find love? Then you need to do the data. Do you want to do the dating? Most people don’t want to do the dating, right? They want to Amazon Prime there, mate. You know, I want to check off 17 boxes. He should be this tall. He should make this much money. He should be this funny. And I’d like him delivered prime to my mailbox.

Damona  15:29  

Yeah, I used to think that I actually felt that way about online dating for I still feel that way about online dating. I would call it man shopping. And I really feel like I ordered up my husband, but you know, I had to make a few returns. And that’s just part of the process. Sometimes you buy something it doesn’t really fit. So you got to take it back.

Bela Gandhi  15:47  

Exactly. It’s like Goldilocks man. She had to sit in three chairs before she found the one that was just right.

Damona  15:53  

Yes, yes, exactly. Just like Goldilocks. We’re all Goldilocks out here. What do you think in terms of the The qualities or the values that people are looking at, according to the Pew study, people were were focused on things like the type of relationship that the person was looking for whether or not they have children, hobbies and interests, religious beliefs. I’m going in, in descending order, racial or ethnic background, occupation, height still in there. And political affiliation. Those are all factors that people are sorting based on. Do you think we’re focusing on the wrong things right now?

Bela Gandhi  16:30  

You know, I think that we’re focusing on quantitative things, right? Things that you can put numbers to things that you can assign values to things that are that things that seem easy, right? height, interest, religion, race, political affiliation, right. But ultimately, it’s the qualitative stuff that is the beauty of relationships.

Damona  16:52  

Yes. So maybe it’s the maybe the maybe the religious beliefs if that’s really core to who you are. Maybe like the Children that’s kind of a hard thing to overlook if they have children and you’re not into that, but the superficial stuff like what’s your take on height? I feel like I keep going around and around with clients about the importance of height. What do you say to women that that are like must be six to our taller?

Bela Gandhi  17:20  

Now I tell them you’re kind of dating from your cave woman self like I get. we’re wired that way right? There’s evolution. 200,000 years humans haven’t evolved very much. And women still preference traits that they did you know back in the caveman days like I want you to be big caveman who can go out to jungle kill buffalo drag buffalo home to feed me and children. But I really rationally in today’s day and age, size doesn’t really matter height doesn’t really matter. If you look at the statistics, only 12% of men in this country are over six feet tall. The average American man take it A cross white, black, Hispanic, Asian is between five, eight and five, nine.

Damona  18:06  

And that’s a perfectly good height for most women who are what average five for the average American

Bela Gandhi  18:11  

woman. It’s about 5455. You know, and six feet tall. I tell my clients like, think about, I just put 100 age appropriate men in the room. Okay? Now if you say you want him to be six feet or over, you open the door, let 88 of them walk out of the room. Now you’re left with 12. That is what you did with just that one parameter.

Damona  18:36  

That is so interesting when you look at it that way and you really see the numbers of your dating pool going down and then and then all of the other filters that we put on it, suddenly we’re like there’s one guy or less

Bela Gandhi  18:48  

that we may be looking, it’s a percentage multiplier. Exactly. So if you have 12 guys left in the room that are six feet taller over, then if you’re like, I’d like him to be white and I’d like him to be Halfway right? There’s nobody left.

Damona  19:04  

What can people do to expand their dating pool right now beyond just taking away some of those, those filters that you and I feel are non essentials? What are some other ways that people can open up to love,

Bela Gandhi  19:18  

you know, with every inch that you come down closer to your height, I’m five, three on a really big hair day. And my husband’s five, six on a really big hair day. Right? And, and the closer you can come to your own height, every inch screens in hundreds, if not thousands of good prospective candidates for you. You know, so really think about you know, I tell my clients like everybody’s the same height line down. Yeah.

Damona  19:47  

That’s what everyone’s going for anyway.

Bela Gandhi  19:50  

Right. Right. And, and I get how we’re wired right and, but understand the math of what you’re looking for. Know what’s really non negotiable to you. To your point earlier, if religion is a big deal for you, then that has to be in there, but you’ve got to be able to give on something else. Because if you do that percentage multiplier and you’re not getting good candidates in your pool, you might just be constraining too many parameters and the sites don’t have someone for you. If you’re not getting good matches, take a look at yourself and say, What if I asked for? Is it realistic based on the demographic on this site?

Damona  20:32  

Yes. Is it realistic and is it even really what I need? Yes, it really that important when you really think about the long term goals that you have and the values that you have and what you really need in a partner. Okay, we are going to take a quick break when we come back we’ll be doing these five q fab questions with Bella. So Bella, get ready because we’re going to go deep in the next segment, I’m ready. We are back with Bella Gandhi of smart Dating Academy. So if you’ve been following this month, we are asking five big questions of for dating experts and getting wildly different responses, but all very illuminating. So Bella, Here’s your first question for five q fab. What is the biggest challenge for daters today?

Bela Gandhi  21:23  

Man? I have to pick one. Just one. And like,

Damona  21:27  

Here, I’ll I’ll narrow it down. Not one of the ones that we’ve talked about before. In the first segment.

Bela Gandhi  21:34  

Yeah, I think relying too much on chemistry. Right. We feel like like there’s a lot in that one statement. I think that with dating apps and sites and this abundance of people that are seemingly out there for us, what happens is we go out on a date, and we’re not feeling fireworks chemistry butterflies were like men Let me see who else is in my inbox. I don’t think we’re a match. You know, when you throw that person back to the pond, it’s such a big mistake. For example, I knew my husband, we were friends for six years before there was a spark, right? And we work with our clients. I don’t care if you’re feeling chemistry on the first or second or third date because good love can be a slow burn. It’s such a mistake what people are doing today expecting to be bowled over electrified by a person. In fact, if my clients are feeling really heavy chemistry with somebody on the first date, it’s a total red flag to me it’s a red flag meaning I think this person that you have all this chemistry with me just remind you of someone that you dated that was bad for you.

Damona  22:42  

Oh, yeah, I remember you saying that on Good Morning America segment that that those heavy butterflies are actually a bad sign and not to keep going back to the same well, but I talked to a few weeks ago about love at first sight and how it can’t exist because you I don’t really know that other person but I never really thought about it from the perspective of it may be your reaction to that person reminding you of an of something familiar and we tend to attract the familiar, right? Even if it’s something that’s not good for us, we we tend to repeat

Bela Gandhi  23:17  

the same pattern. Hey, I believe there’s lust at first sight, but love at first sight know lust comes after lust, attraction, and then attachment and love,

Damona  23:28  

like those difference, like how is there a certain amount of time that it takes you think to develop that slow love?

Bela Gandhi  23:36  

Yeah, for sure. I mean, you have to, you have to grow emotionally intimate with the person, right? You have to feel like this person is good for you. They’re stable. They make you feel safe, secure. They’re a cheerleader for you. They’re supportive. They’re kind, they’re generous. They love your people like those things take time to unfold. And this is where so many people Fuck is, you know, I would say lust is nature’s way of tricking us into love and attachment. And you really have to vet who the hell you’re dating. Yeah,

Damona  24:11  

yeah, that’s it. That’s a easier said than done, you know, when we get caught up in the feelings and and then and it’s not even just the feelings Bella, we get caught up in the story, this that happy ending that we want. And the story that we’ve told ourselves he’s going to be six to he’s going to make this much money. He’s also like you said going to be like Catholic and this background and whatever. And then you get there and realize the story that you were telling yourself isn’t the story that’s in front of you. Yeah, question to the story into getting that happy ending even though the facts aren’t necessarily there in front of us.

Bela Gandhi  24:46  

And yeah, yeah. And it’s focused on the right things. I tell people be picky, but be picky about the right things. Be open to the story.

Damona  24:55  

Huh? Yeah, yes. And so and sometimes, the story goes in and unexpected directions and you have to be willing to, to go with the flow. So for those people that are still looking for their love story, here’s the second question, what is the best way to find love today?

Bela Gandhi  25:13  

Hey, now I’m going to hark back to the three wells that I talked about right in, in real life getting set up and going on online dates, right? I mean, the best way is to make a plan that includes all three of those pipelines, and then optimizing it, everything that like finding love, there’s nothing more important than you will ever do in your life, then find the right partner for you. And the best way to do it is to take those three pipelines into consideration and then make a plan you have to know where you are right? And then you have to know where you want to go. You need two points to have a path where I am and where I want to be. But it’s hard right it that that’s the

Damona  26:00  

Renee brown calls that’s the messy middle.

Bela Gandhi  26:03  

It’s the messy middle. It’s like anything, right? It’s like changing careers. It’s like starting a business. It’s like having children. The middle is always messy. Right? And the journey is never a straight line up. It’s a lot of mess in between ups downs, plateaus, downs, lower downs, high ups, right and coming back to the mean.

Damona  26:22  

Okay, so for those that have identified that they are not necessarily on the path that they want to be on. Our third question is What? How can people change their patterns in love?

Bela Gandhi  26:35  

intervention, you need help. It doesn’t come naturally. Right? You can an intervention, meaning you might go out and buy a book that resonates with you, if you’re a person that’s a DIY, or you can Google it, you can read it. You can put your plan together and do it then do it. Right. If not, you need a supportive team. Maybe it’s a therapist, you know, maybe it’s a village of friends. Maybe it’s a co You need to change patterns requires a lot of work, a lot of mindfulness and a lot of Conscious Dating.

Damona  27:09  

Oh, but that’s tough. Because that also, it does require an acknowledgement that that something is broken. And that’s the place that I find a lot of people get. Talk themselves out of, right? How do you know what the right next step should be like? I had someone who I think follows me on Twitter, who was like already for a dating plan. We’re talking about dating plan, and then all of a sudden, she’s like, actually, I just decided that I’m going to do a like a man cleanse and I’m going to have just no just no men this month instead. And it was like, Whoa, like in between day one, I wanted to do it day two, I am just actually going to retreat from the whole thing. How do you know what the right path is at the right time?

Bela Gandhi  28:01  

It just it depends on how you feel right? If the thought of going on a date excites you, then go on the man plan. If the thought of going on a date, you know, makes you want to vomit, then it’s time, man. It’s

Damona  28:15  

good. It’s a good point, like, Where are you right now. And so many times people come to me and they’re like, I’m just super frustrated with dating apps. And I feel like I’m banging my head against the wall. And I’m doing this than the other thing. And I just I hate it. I’m all about you dating from a healthy, happy place, right?

Bela Gandhi  28:34  

Look, if you’re tired of anything, it’s not going to work for you. You have to, you know, the mindset that I espouse is called psychotic optimism, right? You have to believe in your gut, in your toes. Every part of you, like love exists for me, it’s when it’s not an F. Right? And like once you start to adopt this mindset, side of you know, the FDA psychotic optimism, then you’re going to start to be in a good mindset today. If you’re telling yourself, you know, the bad stories, I’m too old. I’m too fat. I’m too damaged. There’s nobody good out there. How well do you think you’re going to date? Huh?

Damona  29:21  

Yeah. And you have to be dating from that place of psychotic optimism. But in a way that’s like faith in the face of it, even when does the story that you see doesn’t add up to that it’s just like having the faith in spite of what you might be getting right now and knowing that the right now is not necessarily the future to get a leap of faith.

Bela Gandhi  29:51  

Everything is a leap of faith right and it requires hope, massive amounts of hope, and hope springs eternal when you live Take on that mindset of love will come to me. It’s a when it’s not an if I’ve just guaranteed you guys that you’re going to find love. Now all you have to do is go out and date like hell define this person. So go forth and conquer.

Damona  30:16  

Yes, yes. Okay, so now we found the person. Now the fourth question is what are the elements of a strong, long lasting relationship?

Bela Gandhi  30:27  

commitment, shared commitment to each other. Right. And a shared partnership. You know, I, my husband and I have been married, it’ll be 23 years this year. And we have work committed to each other and we’re committed to each other’s happiness. And we’re committed to running this crazy business that we have called home. And yes, and being supportive of each other’s dreams and wishes and you know, being Continue to give more than you take and you cannot go wrong.

Damona  31:05  

Oh, I love that you said that give more than you take,

Bela Gandhi  31:07  

give more than you take and make a gratitude list about your partner, right? We talk a lot about gratitude and it’s linkage to happiness, right? It’s irrefutable, we all know it’s true. Make, you know, make a gratitude list about your partner. If you find yourself in that rut for those of you that might be in new relationships that are listening, or in relationships, think look at what this person does for you see them, notice them, tell them, watch your relationship change for the better.

Damona  31:41  

Hmm. I love that gratitude and everything. Gratitude, gratitude, also, and dating. That’s something I do with clients at the beginning of the process of making sure that they appreciate what they have, rather than focusing on what they don’t have. Yeah, I have one final question for you for five key fab. And that’s whose relationship do you admire? And why?

Bela Gandhi  32:02  

Well, you know, I am really lucky. I know we can’t pick our families, but I really will. I respect and admire the relationships of both sets of my parents, my own parents as well as my husband’s parents. Both of them are have been married 51 and 52 years respectively. And they have been through high highs. They’ve been through low lows. They have had children together, they have had success in careers they have had, you know, bankruptcies, they’ve had health scares, they’ve had people close to them die, and they have held each other’s hands through this journey called life.

Damona  32:47  

Do you think having a successful relationship yourself, how much do you think having that relationship role model in each of your parents impacted your ability to form a successful relationship and be securely attached?

Bela Gandhi  33:05  

Yeah, I think it’s really important. You know, I think that in general, our parents and the relationships that they modeled for us can have a profound impact on how we choose our own partners. Right? You can either repeat or you can repel. It’s usually one or the other.

Damona  33:22  

Hmm, yeah. And then there’s hope still, for those listening who, like me came from a divorced, divorced couple. There is hope, right?

Bela Gandhi  33:33  

Oh my gosh, you guys. I mean, every client of mine, we’ve had thousands of clients over the last decade. Most people come in with divorce, death, trauma, abuse, you know, one or two narcissistic parents. I believe me, I see the absolute beautiful, Rainbow laid and happy endings for people That’s why earlier when you asked what do people need, they need intervention with the right intervention and the right amount of hard work and doing things and being patient positive and perseverant, you can overcome that it does not have to be your destiny as well.

Damona  34:17  

Well, thank you for sharing your insights with us for five q fab. And for answering my questions, but that’s not all because our listeners have also sent in their questions and we are going to keep you keep you here for technically dating. How are you liking five q FEHB. This is a totally new format for love month and I want to know what you think of it so far. So you can tweet me at damona Hoffman with the hashtag five que FEHB FBB. And tell me what your big takeaways were from my interview with Bella. So she’s answered my questions, but now she’s going to answer yours. If you have a dating question. By the way, I love giving love Advice. And you can send me a question anytime on any platform at damona Hoffman or you can leave me a message through dates and maids.com or email me or send me a voicemail at 424-246-6255 I triple dog dare you because people are so scared to leave their voice. But I promise you, I won’t buy I’ll be compassionate as I always try to be on the show. But I would love to hear your voice. I’d love to have you submit a question via voicemail. So however your questions get to me, we will be answering them. We have three questions queued up for Bella to answer in the next segment. We are back with data mates and here’s what’s on your mind today. Every week we take questions that you’ve submitted through Instagram through Twitter in my email inbox, and we get the questions answered by highly qualified experts like Bella Gandhi. Okay, Bella, this one Lady asks, What is a reasonable age gap for dating? I started dating someone who is seven years younger. My concern is we won’t be on the same page when we get down to having future talk. Is it worth dating someone that much

Bela Gandhi  36:14  

younger? Look, I’d have to know what the ages you know, if one is 18 and the others 25. That’s a big age difference. But if one person is 35 and 42, those age differences whittle away as we get older,

Damona  36:28  

I did actually do a little follow up research and found out the ages are 33. And I think she said 20. She said 26. So there’s six years, almost seven, right? Yeah.

Bela Gandhi  36:40  

Not necessarily. I mean, it’s person specific. You know, I know the average age for men to get married in this country still 29 years old, right? So 26 is not a baby.

Damona  36:51  

Mm hmm. But at the same time, there are some questions that they should ask each other or figure out Throughout the process of dating about where they are in the timeline, right, 100% and

Bela Gandhi  37:04  

soon Don’t wait a year to ask those questions.

Damona  37:08  

Yeah, so that’s that. That’s something I just want to seize on for a minute in her question. She said, Is it worth dating someone that much younger? And to me that sounds like we’ll meet, you’re playing ahead to the end of the story. before you’ve you’ve actually read it. What do you think about that?

Bela Gandhi  37:28  

Yeah, you know, I have the conversation, right? You don’t catastrophize it just because it’s different than other people. Some of my best friends are, you know, one of my best friends has a husband who’s seven years younger than her and they’re now married and they have three kids.

Damona  37:44  

Yes. I found out today that Shakira has a boyfriend. I almost called him husband she would she would kill me. Sorry, Shakira. Her boyfriend is 10 years younger than her. She’s 43. He’s 33. So get it, girl. Get it girl. If it works, why not? But yeah, she’ll have to go through the process right of figuring out like not just not focusing so much on the age gap but in terms of future goals and the path that they’re on right

Bela Gandhi  38:12  

yeah, you like you know what if this goes well I would like to be engaged in a year and married in two years and I’m looking to have a couple of kids right so I’m not looking to drag this on for the next eight years. Like how do you feel about that? And having those direct conversations and he will

Damona  38:29  

run if he is not up for that he will run so fast Exactly.

Bela Gandhi  38:33  

If you’re the right person for him. He will stick around

Damona  38:38  

Yes, it’s amazing when when they feel ready to commit guys will commit but man when you when you try to force it. I know you fellas are like, Nah, we’re not down for that. I have a couple more questions Bella, before we let you go. This person this is a sometimes people messaged me on Instagram. Very simple. direct question. This one is would you suggest speed dating?

Bela Gandhi  39:05  

Hmm, sure, why not?

Bela Gandhi  39:10  

Why not? I have a client that got married through speed dating. Not a lot of them. But definitely, I can think of one off the top of my head. I like, you know, look, do whatever it takes for you to feel good about dating. And for some people, as part of their plan, they want to get out there. And they want to meet people IRL in real life. So if that’s you, go for it do the speed dating.

Damona  39:36  

Yeah, I find it funny. A lot of people will say to me that they, they don’t like online dating, but then when I suggest speed dating, that’s too much work. So it’s like somewhere in between. I don’t ever want to leave my couch and I can’t actually get dressed up to meet 10 guys that may not be a match for me. It’s like finding that middle ground. Sometimes very tricky. I found speed dating was more popular when I started doing this. And like I did some speed dating events that I hosted with, you know, speed dating companies like, it’s been a minute. It’s been like, you know, eight or 10 years, since that really seemed like a very popular option, but at the same time, it’s like it’s all in the pool, right? You get in the pool, and then you see who’s there and maybe what if your perfect person is there, and you just didn’t show up that day? Yeah, that’d be a bummer.

Bela Gandhi  40:34  

That would be a bummer.

Damona  40:36  

Yeah, so I suggest trying it sounds like we’re both on the same page there. Yeah. Love alright. Last question. Bella. What do you do when you feel like giving up on dating?

Bela Gandhi  40:47  

Become a psychotic optimist!

Bela Gandhi  40:54  

you have to know Look around you, right? Not every person That’s in a relationship is perfect size zero, you know, whatever it is you think it takes to get into a relationship and that you feel like you don’t have. And you have to know that this is what you’re wired for. You’re wired for love, right? And you just have to get back on the bike and keep doing it. If you need to take a break, go into do a 30 day dating, detox, that’s fine. And then by that, I mean shut it down. Right? Don’t like peek at your apps, like delete everything, and go into a total like, I’m going to rebuild myself and self care for that month, and really do the things that bring me joy, and make me feel good again and then go back into the dating pool.

Damona  41:45  

Yes, so now we’ve convinced everybody to stop dating. But then everything will be better later. No. Yeah, that’s like if you’re, if you’re at that place, you could stop dating But otherwise, you should keep keep moving forward. You should work Bella and smart dating Academy should keep listening to this podcast and become a psychotic optimist and then you’ll be all right. Amen. Thank you so much for being here Bella, I love having you for our love month five q FEHB. keep spreading the love out there in the world. Thank you for having

Bela Gandhi  42:15

You’re doing such great work.

Damona  42:18  

Thank you You too. If you love Bella Gandhi as much as I do, please follow her on Twitter at Bella Gandhi we’ll put the link in the show notes. You can also find her online at smart dating academy.com I hope you enjoyed Episode 297 of dates and mates coming up on that three hundo again, I’m at damona Hoffman on all of the socials and I really really do want to hear your love questions. Don’t forget to leave us a review on Apple podcasts or Stitcher or wherever you are listening to this show. We love our listeners. We love to know what you like about the show. What you want more of what You want less of so thank you so much for all of your feedback. Keep it coming. We will be back again next week with our final episode of this special love month series. We have easy dating coach Mike Goldstein, who will be giving us the male perspective on the five questions about love. Can’t wait for next week. Until then, I wish you happy dating


Physical Type & Dating Addiction: Love Month Part 2


It’s February and you know what that means – Valentine’s Day is upon us! And to celebrate the month of love, we’ll be doing something special. We have 4 of the top prior Dates & Mates guest love experts who will be joining me for the next 4 weeks.

This is episode two of our Love Month five-question February series. We’re using the hashtag #5QFeb if you want to get in on the conversation.

Today we sat down with Julie Spira – an award-winning dating coach, media personality, and bestselling author. She was an early adopter of the Internet and has been coaching singles on finding love online for 25 years. 

You’ve seen her on ABC, BBC, CBS, CNN, E!, FOX, and so much more! She’s been a friend and mentor to me since I started in this business over a decade ago.

Fun fact: she actually holds the record for most guest appearances on Dates & Mates!

More on that later, first we have headlines!


Mental Health & Dating Apps

The latest study on mental health and dating apps comes from The University of Saskatchewan. The concern is that dating apps may be degrading mental health because of the constant exposure to rejection. Damona and Julie have thoughts. 


Sheryl Sandberg turns her tragic love story into a happy ending

Five years after the tragic death of her husband, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg finds love again with Tom Bernthal.


Don’t go broke this Valentine’s Day!

According to Wallethub, men are 3x more likely to go into credit debt for Valentine’s Gifts. Why do you think this is?



#5QFeb (15:00)


Damona asks Julie the 5 MOST IMPORTANT dating questions of our time:

  • What is the biggest challenge for daters today?
  • What is the best way to find love?
  • How can people change their patterns in love?
  • What are the elements of a strong, long lasting relationship?
  • Whose relationship do you admire and why?



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

  • Email – I’m wondering your thoughts on having a “type” physically and criteria wise when it comes to picking men on the apps. I feel like out and about meeting men in the wild there is conversation and sparks that might lead to attraction outside of your “type”. The apps feel more like reading resumes looking for alignment in terms of interest, education, values and physical attraction. So do I break this pattern? Should I break this pattern? On the one hand I’m worried I might miss someone, on the other should I be setting up dates with guys that don’t seem interesting or attractive to me? Am I doing these apps wrong?
  • From Twitter – How do I quit online dating. I keep having really bad experiences. I’m called a bitch on a daily basis for dating with intention. And I’m objectified by creeps with every other message. But I feel like I’m longing for a relationship so badly. I can’t bring myself to stop.



Damona  0:12  

Happy Valentine’s week lovers. This is Episode Two of our love month five question February series during which I will interview your favorite dates and mates prior guests to ask the most pressing questions about love. Today we are using the hashtag five q fab if you want to get in on the conversation, and today’s guest is one of my personal faves. Julie aspira is an award winning dating coach, a media personality and best selling author. She was an early adopter of the internet and has been coaching singles on finding love for 25 years. Yes, finding love online for 25 years. You’ve seen her on ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, ie Fox, basically any three letter channel any two letter or one letter channel. She’s been on it, and she’s also been a friend and a mentor to me since I started in this business over a decade ago. So, before I get big smooches, I have to tell you that she also is now holding the record for the most dates and mates appearances. Please give big speeches to my friend Julie aspira.

Julie Spira  1:21  


Damona  1:23  

Welcome back to the show. I’m so excited to talk with you Valentine’s week. You are the person that I had to have on this week’s show.

Julie Spira  1:31  

Oh, thank you for having me. It’s always fun to be on the show. But yes, right now love is on steroids. So we really need chatting about you know what to do in anticipation of Valentine’s Day.

Damona  1:42  

Well, we have all these headlines that are all about how love is on steroids. This week we have the newest study on how dating apps could be affecting your mental health. And Facebook CEO Sheryl Sandberg has turned her tragic love story into a happy ending. Some good news is Valentine’s Day. Plus it’s Valentine’s week. But do you need to go broke to express your love? We’ll be covering those headlines and then we’ll be answering your questions including should you swipe according to your type? I really wasn’t trying to rhyme there but was pretty cute. And how can you quit your online dating addiction? Julie, are you ready to do these headlines? Let’s do it. Mental health and dating apps we are both of us have been in the online dating space for a long time. And we’ve read a lot of these headlines people have been talking about the effect of online dating on your safety and the rise and STDs which people sometimes linked to dating apps. But one thing that we don’t hear a lot about is mental health. And there isn’t a lot of research on the way that dating apps are actually impacting our emotions the way we feel. And according to this article, which will link in the show notes, the researchers are saying that the amount of rejection that one can experience on a dating app app is higher than you would normally experience through traditional dating avenues. I’m curious as someone that’s been in the space for a long time, Julie, do you feel like dating apps are making people more depressed today?

Julie Spira  3:18  

I think people can find a variety of ways of getting depressed. And here’s the thing with dating apps, you’re getting more rejection, because you’re getting more matches. It’s just a numbers game. So if you went out on three dates prior to joining a dating app, and maybe you like one out of three people, and you were rejected by two, it’s just you know, too bad dates with you, next week will be better. But when you’re chatting with 20 people at a time, 10 people at a time, you’ve got 50 matches, you’re swiping, you’re chatting, you’re matching, and then you know you find out they’ve met someone else or you find out that you’re not their type, you know, it stings and and it makes sense You really feel bad, but it’s still a numbers game. So if you’re matching with 50 people and you get 10 rejections, maybe it’s eight more than what I refer to before, but it’s still percentage wise, a volume issue, and you just need to be prepared that the rejection actually is a good thing. Because then they weren’t your type. And I’m telling you, you dodged a bullet.

Damona  4:22  

Yes, I always say rejection is your protection. And I had this philosophy that dating app messages are sort of like coins in the fountain, you know, you toss toss them and you make a wish. And if they come true, it’s wonderful. You got the relationship that you wanted, but if you didn’t, it’s like, are you going to be really upset over a penny? And I say, I’ve been saying this Julie for like, over 10 years, but at the same time, I know it’s not. It’s not so easy to just be like, I was rejected, no big deal. How do you how do you recommend that your clients keep a thick skin about it or reframe their Thinking around sending outgoing messages and swiping right and not getting the reaction that they are hoping for every time.

Julie Spira  5:09  

Well, no one’s going to get a home run every time just like no one’s going to buy the winning lottery ticket. Maybe you’ll maybe you’ll get three on the scratch or something and you’ll make $5. And so I think the point is, is managing expectations is so key to what both you and I do. And when someone comes to me and says, Oh, I really don’t want to try online dating. I did it. It didn’t work. And I see that they’ve had the last profile and they barely log on. I have to say, no one, neither myself. No one has the magic wand that’s going to make Mr. Right or news right up here within the first week. And while you might dread thinking of going on three dates and 52 weeks on your dating app. If somebody told you on the 53rd week you were going to have the greatest love ever and you were going to meet your soulmate. You really wouldn’t mind that. It’s 53 weeks away. Because you know, there’s a pot of gold. So it’s managing expectations and realizing that it takes time and new people join every single day. And you’re going to suffer through online dating fatigue, or online dating anxiety disorder, I always call it oh da dee. And And when that happens, take break. Just take a break, and don’t, don’t open the app for a week. And then new people are joining all the time, people breaking up all the time, and everybody’s looking for the chance to truly, really connect with someone. So it’s okay to go on bad days because you learn from them more about who you don’t want to be with. So when the right one comes along, it’s much more parent.

Damona  6:44  

Hmm, well, the right one did come along. For someone who’s been in the news, Sheryl Sandberg, who you all probably know is the CEO of Facebook. She also was the author of lean in and the whole philosophy of women leaning in and work and getting ahead My interpretation when I read that book was that a big part of her ability to lean in was the support of her husband, Dave Goldberg. And unfortunately five years ago he passed away unexpectedly and she was was left having to juggle all these things on our own. But here’s the here’s that pot of gold but you’re saying at the end of the rainbow, she is now engaged to Tom bernthal who is you might recognize the last name he is the richer and more handsome brother of actor john Burton. And I’m sure the two of them both thought they wouldn’t find someone again but here they are loving another time and being engaged Do you think

Julie Spira  7:47  

I you know I’ve

Damona  7:48  

never had to deal with love finding love again after a loss like that. And five years is a pretty good amount of time for someone to take before they are ready to jump into it, but it was pretty fast. Julie, they’ve just they just got together in April. And now they’re already getting engaged. What are your thoughts on on this relationship?

Julie Spira  8:09  

My thoughts are she’s had these five years to mourn. And she’s got a very responsible job and responsible for family. And she met someone who basically can really just move into her life and she can move into his life, and they can build a life together with both of their families. And I think that everybody desires companionship, and people go to bereavement groups or people sometimes whether it’s a death of a partner or even a devastating divorce, when you thought you were going to go the distance, that’s a death that feels like a death as well when you’re going through a divorce or a bad breakup. So when you suddenly can meet someone, and it’s not going to be the same as you’ve had in your previous husband or partner or relationship, but someone where you can have a great companionship, and together you can actually have find love again. I think it’s fabulous. But then again, my grandfather got remarried at 87 years old. And so I believe there’s no expiration date on love. Oh, wow.

Damona  9:09  

Yeah. I’m glad that you mentioned that to Julian. And I know you do coach a lot of daters that are older and that maybe haven’t dealt with dating apps or haven’t even dated in in decades. I think she’s 50

Julie Spira  9:22  


Damona  9:24  

and getting remarried. So it’s actually one one more vote for the over 50 married again, and finding love club.

Julie Spira  9:35  

I’m very happy for her great news. Yeah.

Damona  9:38  

Well, we did mention it is Valentine’s week. If you’ve been living under a rock. It’s been it’s Valentine’s week all week. And there was a new spending survey from wallet hub. I actually had read an article earlier. That said the according to the National Retail Federation, Americans were projected to spend $27 billion on Valentine’s gifts this year. I thought that was insane. While it helped did this similar survey, and they looked at what people are spending their money on. And it said, most people are going to buy candy cards and flowers. I’m so inspired by this Julie

Julie Spira  10:18  

right. And repeat. Right?

Damona  10:20  

Right. What are some better gifts you think that people can be thinking of? You know, if you’re listening to this on Monday, you still have time to get a better gift. Candy To me, it just seems like you ran out of time you didn’t really care then you just like grabbed a box of chocolate.

Julie Spira  10:36  

I’ll never forget the time and a former boyfriend. Valentine’s Day showed up with this box of drugstore candy that I know he picked up along the way. And I’m like, really? And so I feel as though these items Yes, people would like flowers. And you know what women do like flowers. Men actually like flowers too. You can get my guy a bouquet of tulips and in And in color other than red, but you don’t need to break the bank. And I’m not really spending a lot on Valentine’s Day this year, probably because I’m going to be tired. But But what I am doing is I’m recommending that people create experiences. So what that means is maybe Valentine’s day you’ll get a gift card. If somebody really loves books, get a gift card to a bookstore. If someone’s anxious to see a play, and they really love plays, and that it’s something you can go to together or concert tickets, something you can go to together. Or better yet, if you really can’t splurge on StubHub for that fabulous sold out rock concert, then look and see other events that are free. There’s always a pre museum day or a museum night and create an event and give your partner a coupon for a future date, where you’re going to go museum hopping for the day and maybe you know, a little gift from the museum store.

Damona  11:55  

I love that I’m very big into experiences and I’ve always said that to my husband since the beginning like Don’t give me stuff. I’m not into stuff. Although I told him long ago that I really wasn’t into flowers. But there have been some instances where I was like, you’re good, I got me flowers, you have to be you have to be careful what you what you tell them early on, right. But

Julie Spira  12:13  

there’s nothing wrong with flowers. And here’s the thing I recommend, if you can’t afford, you know, the flowers that are delivered that suddenly are $99, go to the grocery store and pick up a dozen red tulips and just show up with something and a card that shows that you you’re thinking out of the box, you recognize that this is a romantic day, but you don’t know to need to go to Tiffany and buy really expensive jewelry and you just need to do something, you know, that’s within your budget. And if you’re in a relationship that’s not new, it’s great to talk about the Valentine’s budget. So where do you Where do you like to go? Um, you know, going to the post six restaurants on Valentine’s Day may not be an option. So the good news is Valentine’s Day is a On a three day weekend was actually for if you think about it, because it’s because of, I think it’s Presidents Day. So you can celebrate on Friday and spend a lot of money at a restaurant or bring in takeout and have in room dining, or you can instead, you know, Happy Valentine’s Day celebrated when it’s less chaotic and we’re, you know, hurt your bankbook as much. And that would be on Saturday, Sunday. And if you’re lucky enough not to have to work on Monday, Monday, see a lot of other options to do things that other people are spending a lot of money on Friday, that won’t as I said, it won’t kill your wallet on Saturday, Sunday or Monday.

Damona  13:37  

Yeah, I was shocked from this article. They said that men are three times more likely to go into credit card debt for Valentine’s Day gifts. Guys, you don’t need to go into credit card debt. It’s not that serious. But one thing that surprised me Julie is they asked men and women if they thought that the bill should be split on Valentine’s Day. 38% of men said yes and 31 percent of women also thought that they should split the check. I just have to know where you land on that.

Julie Spira  14:07  

I don’t believe in splitting the check on Valentine’s Day or your birthday, or anything that’s really that significant when it comes to love and romance or first date, of course. But it really depends on what you’re doing. I mean, if you’re cooking first class tickets to go something pairs for Petland time today, which most of us aren’t, but then go ahead and use miles or split the check. But outside of that, I think that for a heterosexual relationship, the man wants to be the hero on Valentine’s Day. So let them pick up the bill.

Damona  14:36  

All right, you have had the final word in that segment. Julie, we are going to be back with your five q fab. The five questions we’ve been asking are for repeat, dating experts on dates and mates. Since you’re still listening, you must like what you hear. And if you do, why not take a moment to hit the subscribe button on whichever podcast platform you’re listening to. Right now and that way you will be immediately notified whenever we drop a new episode. Or for example, a bonus episode ahem which will be happening on Valentine’s Day my friends, so don’t forget to subscribe and leave us a review while you’re there so we can reach more people and heal more hearts this Valentine’s Day. We will be back with Julie spirent answering our five questions for five q FEHB. In just a moment. We are back with Julie aspira, the cyber dating expert and we are doing our love month five q FEHB. So, Julie, I’ve known you for a long time. And I very much trust and respect your your advice on everything dating and relationships. So I’m really curious what your answers are to the five questions that we have teed up for this month. Are

Julie Spira  15:52  

you ready for this? Go for it.

Damona  15:55  

Julie Spira What is the biggest challenge for daters today

Julie Spira  16:01  

I think the biggest challenge for dangerous today if there are too many choices, and I guess that’s a good news, bad news answer, because without all of these choices, we wouldn’t be able to meet so many people and actually form relationships. But because we have too many choices, it’s hard for people to be able to make a decision to say, you know, I really like you and maybe I should take my profile down, or let’s see where it goes. If it doesn’t work out, well, we can always rejoin people are hesitant to take the profiles down because of all the the abundance of options, you know, they call it the Paradox of Choice. And as a result, they’re giving up good opportunities. And then suddenly they circle back and we’ll see that guys in a committed relationship. So we need to learn to be aware when someone really great comes along, and I’m telling you, he or she won’t be perfect because none of us are perfect, but if they have, you know, three out of the five of your top traits and give them a second chance Go on a second date going a third date, and at a particular time, move it forward or move on.

Damona  17:07  

I want to pause to talk about that DTR conversation because I have been getting a lot of questions from listeners and from clients about when is the right time. And just as you said, there’s that question of, are you taking your profile down? I don’t know. I don’t want to, like, mention it and then have him think that I’m trying to move things too fast. And I actually had a client recently where we literally spent maybe a month of sessions talking about how to bridge the conversation. And my advice to her was like, just wait a little bit longer, a little longer. I feel like women want to have that cup DTR conversation usually, before the men are ready.

Julie Spira  17:48  

Do you do say, I think it used to be that way and what I’m finding now there’s a shift because I’m working with men who are like I met her and I’m done. I mean, they they want to hunt and they want to like grab their prey now. And so what they’re doing is they’re chasing women away because they’re saying, Okay, so here’s my boundary, this is what I can offer you. And this is what I want to take you and this is how I want to live our life and can we be exclusive, and the women are freaking out and going, Hey, I’ve only been dating you in six days, or six dates or whatever it may be. And so don’t so quick to seal the deal because I love the different phases of courtship. But when it comes to being sexually intimate, you’ve got to decide you know, are you okay? in an open relationship? people I work with are not are, are you? If you’re about to have sex? Do you want them to go get tested, I mean, that’s the perfect time to talk about defining the next phase of your relationship. And that doesn’t mean you putting a ring on it. It just means if you want to be sexually exclusive, let’s go together and get tested I know doesn’t sound very romantic, but it’s responsible. And while we’re doing it, you know, I really don’t feel comforted. dating somebody who has an active dating profile. So I’m going to take mine down. But I’m not going to ask you to take your stand until you’re ready. And when you say that, you know, usually someone will just catch up in time. I’m glad

Damona  19:14  

that you you phrased it that way like you make it about you. It’s not you need to take down your profile right now because things are getting serious. It’s, I’m going to take down my profile, you can do what you want. I’m just letting you know where I stand and how I feel. And that takes a level of bravery, Julie, because so many times we are afraid to really express how we feel because if we say we like this person, and they don’t feel the same way yet, then we there there comes the rejection. Again, we feel like we’ve been rejected,

Julie Spira  19:46  

but before you you know, put that big in a scarlet letter are on your face. And then here’s another one that won’t commit to make as they’re playing the field and you must be a player. Make sure you say and I hope you catch up and that doesn’t mean they will Or they won’t, but you’re not putting this like pressure on man. And when you say I hope they’ll catch up, you’re just giving them a little nudge. And chances are they’ll catch up a little sooner than they might have been had you not have to have the conversation.

Damona  20:13  

Yes, I’m a big fan for just just voicing just voicing that thing that you’re feeling. And maybe if you’re a guy, and you’re six days, six days into dating someone, and your instinct is to tell them that you love them. Maybe

Julie Spira  20:27  

that’s too soon.

Damona  20:28  

But like, if you’ve been dating for a little while, and you’re really feeling bonded to someone to say how you feel the end of the story with my client is that last weekend, she she was introducing this guy, she’s been dating to friends. And we came up with her just saying, I’m excited for you to meet my friends. How do you want me to introduce you? And then he said, I’d like to be introduced as your boyfriend. Is that okay? You know, and here there’s like four months this elephant in the room of like, We both feel like we’re exclusive, but nobody really wants to say it. And she was like, I was amazed at how easy it was. And I’ve just seen this happen time and time again, where we make it so much harder, because the different outcomes are so become so much bigger and so much more weighted in our minds.

Julie Spira  21:17  

And I think happy ending and does but you know, relationship labels, I think they’re more important, generally speaking for women than for men. A guy feels good in the relationship. He sees you every Saturday night. He calls you every day texts you in between, you know, as far as he’s concerned, he’s in a relationship. But if you say, you know, I want to be called girlfriend, I want you to call me your girlfriend when you introduce me. You know, he might not be ready to say that just yet. And so it’s really important to understand that doesn’t mean there’s not a level of commitment if you don’t have a label. Labels aren’t important to everybody. That’s a really good point.

Damona  21:56  

Okay, second question of five q fab, Julie. What is the best way to find love.

Julie Spira  22:03  

The best way to find love, okay, I’m feeling I know what you’re gonna say. But

Julie Spira  22:09  

it’s not because you know, I’ve been doing online dating coaching for 25 years. It’s because I love this new research that came out from Stanford, and University of New Mexico that showed that 39% of singles met through online dating number one, as compared to 20%, who met through friends. Now, everyone tells me I want to meet someone that someone knows and I’d like to meet a friend of a friend, but the numbers double Okay, the closest second is through friends at 20% and almost 40% are meeting through dating apps. So if you’re not using a digital dating strategy, along with going out and being your fabulous self and going to your favorite events and going into your hiking clubs, and whatever you may do, just live your life but have an online and an offline strategy because the number First don’t lie and you’re going to be missing out.

Damona  23:03  

Okay, I’m glad you brought up the S word strategy. And you may remember like way back when when we first met and we exchanged business cards, my business card actually said, online dating strategist and people were like, what is that? That sounds super unromantic. I want no part of strategy. But it’s a big part of my philosophy. And I want to know how it is incorporated into your philosophies cyber dating expert.

Julie Spira  23:31  

Well, I you know, it’s romantic to call the business love But love is a multi billion dollar business if you I mean, just look at the number of the amount of people are spending on Valentine’s alone. And we’re looking at dating apps, you know, in the billions of swipes and the multi billions of such an enormous industry that that there is a strategy that is very similar to looking for your dream job. And when you’re looking for your dream job and maybe you’ll go on LinkedIn and you Look for a few things. And maybe you’ll go to networking events and you’ll hand out your card or you’ll swap digits or whatever. The fact is, if you get to the point of finally getting a job interview after doing all of this work, to be prepared to look your best to have the best block and resume out there, and you go on an interview, and you don’t get the job, because there’s a 100 other candidates, you go on the next interview, and if you don’t get the job, because there were 200 candidates, you go on the next interview, because you probably need to pay your rent and put food on the table. And so that same strategy, I transfer that to online dating, and if you’ve had three bad dates, you don’t say I’m not going to go on another bad day because I met people that didn’t look like their profile, because you say okay, I want to find love. I’m going to go on the next day and maybe you’ll have a better experience.

Damona  24:52  

Hmm, that’s that’s a really good point. And like you I like looking at dating in a way as Your own social experiment, where each time you go out with someone, you’re learning about yourself, you’re iterating you’re improving your dating skills, your dating strategy, and then you’re fine tuning to get closer to what you’re looking for. Can we go a level deeper? Julie? Okay. How can this is the actual third question, how can people change their patterns in love? A lot of our listeners don’t like the path that they’re on right now in love. How can they change their patterns?

Julie Spira  25:33  

Well, if you don’t like the path you’re on, you need to hop off that saddle and here’s the problem. We are so used to what is comfortable for us, even if it’s bad for us, therefore, people go after the same type over and over again. And maybe it’s a commitment phobe and then they find another commitment phobe or the down someone that’s just gotten divorced, and then they find someone else who’s newly single and isn’t over their ex yet. And so I think it’s It’s really important to jump out of that comfort circle and date somebody completely different than your last three relationships. Because if you have a type, you know, it’s it’s wired into your brain that this is your type, even if it is bad for you. I mean, if you think about what happens when you bond with someone when you have sex with them, and you know that they’ve, there’s no long term possibilities in that relationship. The next thing you know, they’re on a pedestal, you’re fantasizing about them, you know, the, the hormones are kicking in, and they become better than they really are in real life. So you’ve got to date somebody completely different from your type, and whether they’re shorter or whether they live farther away, or whether, you know, they didn’t have this kind of degree that you thought that you were hoping they would have, whatever it may be, you need to date somebody different and see what it’s like and get uncomfortable for a little bit and give them a couple of chances. Because the Maybe the person who actually would be a great match for you, especially since the other ones didn’t go the distance.

Damona  27:07  

We actually one of our questions today is about type. So I’m going to, I’m going to leave a little bit of this for our technically dating segment. But I just want to say also like identifying your type, because I think we tend to look at just what the physical type is. But identifying what is that pattern, right? Like if you, maybe you date people who are wildly different in physical types, but like the, the relationships have all ended the same way or you feel the same way and the relationships. They’re probably some commonalities that you don’t realize are even there if you go back and connect the dots.

Julie Spira  27:47  

And I think it’s important to just again, make a list now make it a list that’s, you know, got 100 items on it, but make a list of the most important character traits and this is outside of like, What does someone look like? Life is looks changed, we I mean, looks really changed as you get older. But, but make a list of the type of person you want to be with the type of relationship you want, whether it’s casual, they’re committed, whether you want to be married or not. Whether you want a life partner or travel partner, make a list of all the things that you like to do, and then see if you can find someone that gets part of that list and then give them a shot.

Damona  28:27  

Alright, so we’ve been talking about finding that dream match that ideal person that has most of those qualities. What do you think for your, your fourth question for five key fab? What are the elements of a strong, long lasting relationship? Julie?

Julie Spira  28:44  

A strong, long lasting relationship. Number one, without a doubt, trust. If you can’t trust the person you’re with, why are you with them? If you’re agonizing about why they didn’t text you last night, maybe they fell asleep or you and you automatically Well, they’re cheating on you because someone else had, and you’re bringing that baggage to the table, if you’re going to have a situation where eventually they won’t, you know, they will betray your trust. If you keep feeling like you don’t trust that person, trust takes a real long time to build and a split second to lose. And that is a really important thing. So again, for online dating, if you’re taking your profile down, and you say you’re going to be exclusive, don’t say it just because you want to get into bed with this person. Say it because you mean it and you’re going to live it and your words mean everything. And so I can’t tell you that relationships once the trust, you know, has been broken, they can be fixed, but it takes a long time and it takes two committed people really working hard at regaining their trust. So don’t lose it in the first place. be that person who you say you are and if they aren’t, move on.

Damona  29:53  

Yes, and that that dovetails into something else that I always wind up coaching my clients on that it’s it’s about getting into the feeling of what it’s like being with that person and sometimes,

Julie Spira  30:09  

like if you have trust issues,

Damona  30:11  

then you your automatic default is not to trust when you’re with someone new. And the only way to tell if someone is trustworthy is by trusting them and seeing that they’re being consistent. But I find it starts with getting into feeling on the date like how do you feel when you’re with them? Do you feel safe? Do you feel like they are doing what they say they’re going to do? What about for those people that already have the built in issue with trust? Maybe they have been they have been taken advantage of in a prior relationship or been cheated on? How can they learn to trust again so that they can have that long lasting relationship that they want?

Julie Spira  30:57  

This is a real issue. This is a real issue because I’ve met people that I’ve worked with, who saw their fathers cheat on their mothers. And therefore, they ended up with boyfriends who cheated on men, and if not what they want it, but for some reason, they repeated this patterns that they grew up with. And so I think, you know, breaking these patterns is clear, clearly the the first step that I see that people need to do, and then how do you do that we have to go back into self love. You have to realize that you know, you are lovable, you are the prize. And whenever someone feels insecure about going on a date, or they feel unhappy in their relationship, and they wish their boyfriend would be more committed, just look in the mirror and go, Hey, he’s lucky to have me, I am the prize. And the more confident you are, the better off you will be in your relationships because a man doesn’t want a needy woman and he doesn’t want an insecure woman and he doesn’t want someone you know, checking up on him and staring at his text messages when he’s taking a nap.

Damona  32:00  

So true. Yep, you have to, you have to find that that faith and that courage to to trust again, and I know it takes a lot of work and it takes a lot of time to unravel those, those patterns and even if you saw it as a kid and didn’t experience yourself or you’ve been through it before, it’s not gonna happen overnight. There’s one more question doing for five to fab, whose relationship do you admire and why?

Julie Spira  32:27  

Okay, I’m going to name two. Okay. The first one I’m going to say, would be Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson. And the reason I say that is because it’s someone that most of us know. And I have admired them for a really long time. They’re both just kind people. They have so much respect for each other. They live their lives as individuals and they live their lives as a couple and they’ve been married for over 30 years. So Hollywood romances are so so difficult, and this is one that you know I give you know, a five star review to because because I just think I’ve been around them and if anyone’s watched them on TV or an award ceremonies, you can just see that they do adore each other. And they do have their independent projects, and they respect each other. So that’s my, my, my Hollywood couple. And outside of that, I’m going to actually add in one more couple, and that is my parents. And I say that with so much love and respect because my parents have been married for 60 years, over 60 years, okay. At my mother met my father when she was a senior in high school. I think she’s the only man she was ever with. And they have been together through thick and thin and they still love and adore each other and they are living, you know, their later years in an adult active retired community where they have this enormous social life and They love their children, they love their grandchildren. And they have it’s still such great role models for me, looking at the love of a share, and that they shared over multiple decades. And I only hope that I get to celebrate a 70th anniversary with them.

Damona  34:16  

Well, that’s beautiful Julie, and I’ve seen pictures of them online and they do look so cute. What do you think is the secret to their long lasting relationship?


Julie Spira  34:26  

That changes just like every relationship changes decade per decade, you want something different and different decades. At this point? I think the secret to their relationship is they watch TV in separate rooms and watch two different news channels. But But really, I think they have such a companionship, my father sends her a card every year on the anniversary of their first date. And in the end, their first date was on May 7. So he has this little poem that he writes, you know, he’s 91 years old, you still write this poem. Remember the day the seventh of may and it was the day of the first day It was the day one year later that he proposed to her and they became engaged. And so he has these rituals of making sure that my mom My mother is loved, you know, all year long, but they never forget the anniversary of their first day. And I think that’s fabulous. Oh my gosh, it gave me chills.

Julie Spira  35:19  

I have no idea when my first day was.

Julie Spira  35:23  

Better go look at the calendar.

Damona  35:25  

I better go look at the calendar. But yeah, it’s a reminder that those little rituals that seems silly like with Valentine’s Day coming up, people are thinking, How do I make this memorable? And sometimes it’s, it’s the little things it’s sending that card. It’s writing that poem, and even it’s the same poem every year that she knows that that she can count on that and she can count on him is something that’s really inspiring for us this Valentine’s Day. Thank you for sharing. How you liking this five q fab. I want to know what what’s your biggest takeaway from today’s episode. You can tweet me or You can leave a comment on Instagram or message me on Facebook and use the hashtag five q fab. That’s the number five q f Eb. And then we’ll be following and sharing your responses about your big takeaways and aha moments from this month’s episodes. Now she’s answered my questions, but it’s time for her to answer yours in the next segment. By the way, we are always doing technically dating so if you have a question, you can always submit it to me for the show on any social platform at damona Hoffman You can also message me through dates and mates.com or leave me a voicemail at 424-246-6255 Don’t be shy. We love hearing your voice. We’ll put all those links and, and instructions in the show notes. But this show works best when you tell me what is on your mind so that I can give you the dating and relationship advice that you need. And chances are if you’re having a question, there’s someone else listening right now to this podcast, who’s going through the exact same thing that you are feeling right now. So you be brave and ask the question that you need an answer to and you could be helping yourself and others to have the love and relationship that you want this year. We’ll be back right after this with more Julie Spyro. All right, we are here with Julie spire off for our final segment. You have sent in your questions and we are giving you answers and I am passing on your questions to Julie Spyro. Who’s the cyber dating expert. And I hand picked these ones for Julie. So just want to say to anyone that submitted a question I know I’ve I’m I have a few questions in queue from previous weeks. But Julie is an expert in online dating so I wanted to make sure that I gave these specific questions to her. So this one came to us in an email from a woman will call Jay. Julie, she says I’m wondering your thoughts on having a type physically and criteria wise when it comes to picking men on the apps. I feel like When I’m out and about meeting men in the wild, she calls it, there’s a cut, there is conversation and sparks that might lead to attraction outside of your type. The apps feel more like reading resumes looking for alignment in terms of interest, education values and physical attraction. So do I break this pattern? On one hand, I’m worried I might miss someone on the other eye. Should I be setting updates with guys that I don’t that don’t seem interesting or attractive to me? Or am I doing these apps wrong? And then she used the like, hands up. What do you do emoji?

Julie Spira  38:34  

Well, I’m doing it wrong. Maybe but maybe not. So I think you should really, my best advice is to look at it as a quantity thing. And how many dates Do you want to go on in a given week? And who in that given week really rises to the top of people you’ve been communicating with, that you think you have enough in common with I’m also a big fan of hopping on the phone. I know what an arcade thing but you Know swapping digits and getting on the phone. Because if you have a phone chemistry with someone, chances are you’re going to have a good experience on the day. But if you’re on the phone with them, and you’re so bored, and you’re like yawning, oh my gosh, I can’t wait for this phone call to end and you take another incoming phone call just to get out of it, then don’t schedule a date because it’s going to be a bomb. And you’re going to it’s going to be a dating disaster. But yes, try and date people that are different than who you dated the week before. And but if you really feel like, Hey, we just have nothing in common. Our backgrounds are so different. I don’t think I can have a good time. What am I going to talk about, then just take a pass because there are so many millions of other people that you could be chatting with. So don’t be too rigid. loosen it up a little bit. But if you really know you’re going to be on a bad date, just don’t go your time is really precious.

Damona  39:56  

Yeah. I am all about one Quality, but also you have to get enough quantity in the mix to make those decisions. And this is this is a big problem with dating apps is that I think people forget that they’re using a tool. The dating app is just the tool. It’s not the it’s not the chemistry, it’s not the butterflies, it’s just the means for you to meet the person. That’s the way I look at it. So I’m like, drive to the date, get offline, get to the date, because all those things that she feels when she’s out in the wild, as she says, and she feels those sparks and the chemistry, you probably aren’t going to get them in the same way when you’re swiping right.

Julie Spira  40:37  

You’re not and the other problem that you have to be concerned about is the false expectation that you’re in a relationship because you’ve been chatting you know, morning noon and night on on via text or WhatsApp or on the dating app. And all of this chatting and this what I call the digital foreplay. It’s sort of advances your relationship where you think you really know someone and like Dimona said, you don’t know them until you actually can get together in person and see what it’s like to laugh at their jokes and see if you really feel enough to want to go on a second date. Because all first date really is, is the opportunity to decide at the end of the day or the evening, do you want to go out again and pull out your calendars and schedule something so it doesn’t get lost in the Abyss?

Damona  41:21  

Yeah, what about this idea of type though, I do want to talk about that. Because I know I I’ve always had a physical type. And I went out with people that were way different from my physical type. But I ended up ultimately with someone who was like, straight down the middle, my exact physical type.

Julie Spira  41:41  

Well, you know, you got lucky, I got lucky.

Julie Spira  41:45  

Because here’s the thing. I had a physical type and it was really interesting. I and then I ended up at one point marrying somebody who was completely opposite my physical type, and it was a bad choice not because of the physical type, but it was a bad choice, but I was at a point My life were, well, I want to get married, I want to settle down, it’s time. And you know, other boxes got checked off. So I thought it was a good decision. So now I’m back to Well, I have a certain type. And sometimes when you meet someone that’s not your type physically in a photo, first of all the photos you don’t know necessarily that they’re going to resemble what you they look like when you meet them in person, you have to hope for truth and advertising. But if you really know that you have a certain type, and you’re comfortable with that type and you’ve had successful relationships with that type, then stick with that type and just, you know, go outside the box a little bit because you do have to go outside the box.

Damona  42:39  

Yeah, and I think sometimes our type is predicated on the experiences that we have, the more that we go out with someone who is 510 and slender, the more we will be attracted the next time to someone who’s 510 and slender, but I think it can be dangerous and especially like I know y’all didn’t Ask about this. But especially when it comes to race, a lot of times people will come to me with a very narrow view of the physical type, the race, the the ethnic background of someone. And I’m like, if you go a level deeper into the values, that person may be completely aligned with you. But you’ve never dated someone who’s African American or Asian, because you just had it in your mind that you date Caucasian men. And we have to sort of shake that up a little bit. If you’re really, if you’re really opening up to finding love.

Julie Spira  43:31  

We have to shake it a lot, because there’s so many great people. And I think that I believe in diversity, and I love you know, inclusion and I love such a variety, I would say the 64 colors of crayons in the Crayola crayon box, you know, and I know dimana you’ve talked about the ice cream flavors, but the fact is, there are so many different types of people and if you haven’t had a chance to be with them, you really shouldn’t say they’re not your type because you don’t know exactly

Damona  44:00  

Thank you for saying that and making me not the only one saying that because I know you believe it too. We have one more question Julie. This okay this is put a strap your seatbelt on. Because this is this is a this is a big one. Kayla on Twitter says how do I quit online dating? I keep having really bad experiences. I’m called a bitch on a daily basis pardon the language on a daily basis for dating with intention. I’m objectified by creeps with every other message but I feel like I’m longing for a relationship so badly that I can’t bring myself to stop

Julie Spira  44:38  

when you’re asking to stop but you don’t want to stop you just want to get rid of the creeps. You know you don’t want somebody sending a dick pic and you don’t want somebody that you know is is calling you a bitch or whatever they want to say because you’re a woman that is strong has strong values and you’re stating your intentions. Keep stating your intentions because you are going to attract someone who’s looking for Exactly what you’re looking for. And as far as these debit guys, you know, swipe left block them, so you don’t have to see them in a search again. And all the tools that these dating apps have right now make it very easy for you to not be bothered by people who are harassing you or make you uncomfortable for any reason.

Damona  45:17  

Yeah, I second that definitely use the block and report feature. They take those those complaints very seriously. But what do you think, Julie? If she’s, I mean, I spent a lot of time on dating apps well, online dating before they were dating apps and I but I help my clients with with dating apps every day. I know you’ve done the same for 25 years. I’ve rarely been called a bitch. And I haven’t seen my clients be called a bitch all that often. Do you think there’s something that she’s doing that maybe allowing these guys it or could it be the app that she’s on? Or could it be something about the way that she’s presenting herself, because like, I don’t want her to be getting this abuse every day,

Julie Spira  45:59  

right? And also I’ve never gotten many views from that, you know, when I’ve been on dating apps, and I’ve seen for the most part, my clients have all had, you know, good experiences, they just didn’t feel that they had enough in common or there wasn’t a connection, but it didn’t mean they were a bad person. And so I don’t know what kind of messages are being sent out. I’ve seen dating profiles with disclaimers, don’t contact me if this don’t contact me if that I mean, don’t say anything that’s negative, you want people to contact you. So I don’t know what your communications have been. I don’t know what types of dates you want to go on. Some women really would prefer not investing a lot of time and going on coffee dates. There are other women that do not want to go on coffee dates, because they don’t want to be in allowed Starbucks and they’d like to have a quieter like lunch conversation with someone even if it’s over a cup of soup. So I think it’s a question of how are you communicating with these guys, because deep down, they want to connect with someone and you want to connect with someone. You’re obviously not a fit with these people, but there has to be another 80% of guys out there that aren’t You a bitch. That’s hope.

Damona  47:01  

Yes Yeah, definitely don’t stand for it. But definitely don’t give up if you really want that relationship keep listening to dates and mates and keep showing up for yourself and setting those boundaries and you’ll find the right one.

Julie Spira  47:14  

Julie this has been such

Damona  47:16  

a blast talking to you again on data needs.

Julie Spira  47:20  

Thank you for having me and Happy Valentine’s Day to everyone and don’t forget you know, gallon times day is the day before Valentine’s Day. So support you know, loving your friendships with your girlfriends ladies. And if you don’t have a Valentine’s date, have a blast on Valentine’s Day.

Damona  47:36  

Thank you for reminding us of that. And thank you for being here. You can follow Julie at Julie aspira on Twitter and Instagram we will put the link to her socials in the show notes as well as her link to cyber dating expert calm which is where she gives dating advice. She has a wonderful blog there with lots of great resources and you can sign up there for her free weekly flirt newsletter which will also give you the seven secrets to finding love online. Thanks for being here. Julie. Thank you. Are you feeling overwhelmed by love month and looking for a little bit more support? And then you are the perfect person to become one of my friends with benefits. We are launching a special Patreon program this week in honor of Valentine’s Day. For our listeners who are ready for more. What is Patreon? Patreon is a platform that allows you to support creators like me to keep making helpful content that you want to hear. And it allows you to get amazing listener benefits by participating. Our page is patreon.com slash dates and mates. What will you get if you sign up? Here’s just a few of the benefits. You get access to a private Facebook group where you can chat with me and other listeners of the show. Maybe you’ll make a love connection there. Maybe you’ll get some more advice that you need that’s directed specifically towards you. You’ll also have an opportunity to join me for private group coaching sessions. These will be live these will be video and Phone chats that you’ll be able to participate directly with me so you can get the support that you need in love. And you’ll also get access to behind the scenes content from our nearly 300 episodes of dates and mates.


Julie Spira  49:13  

And for my really, really special


Damona  49:14  

top tier VIP, Fw B’s, you can even get a dating profile analysis, with tips tailored just for you on how to make a magnetic profile that draws just the right kind of dates into you. The Patreon is live now@patreon.com, slash dates and mates. And don’t worry if you’ve never used Patreon before, if you just click the link in the show notes, we will walk you through all of the different tiers and what you get and make it really easy for you to become a part of the community. And by the way, we also have a special bonus for anyone who signs up at the lover or VIP level through the month of February. You’ll also get a free autographed copy of my book, but only if you sign up now before March 1. That’s a special benefit for the lover or VIP level. So you can go to patreon.com slash dates and mates to see which tier is right for you. And I look forward to supporting you on a deeper level and inviting you inside the community as one of my friends with benefits. I hope you enjoyed Episode 296 of dates and mates again, I’m at damona Hoffman on all of the socials. I want to hear your love questions. And I want you to join me again next week when I will have Bella Gandhi who will be doing the five q fab thing with us. Until next week, I wish you Happy Valentine’s Day and happy dating


Master Class: How to Change Bad Dating Habits


Do you want to make a change this year? Are you looking to commit to your dating goals? 

If so, you need to stop operating by the old rules of dating. 

Many people who come to me for dating help are stuck in negative dating patterns that have become ingrained and familiar because they do it the same way over and over again.


  • Ghosting – no one wants to be ghosted but almost everyone does it – then we make excuses for why that person didn’t deserve our time or the respect of a real response
  • Obligaswiping – Do you have a dating app installed on your phone right now that you hate? 
  • First Date Fails
    • No pre-dating 
    • Not showing up your best 
  • The Set it and Forget it profile
  • The Texting Trap – Texting is not a chemistry builder, it’s a chemistry blocker.
  • Being afraid of starting over 
  • Negative self talk – What is that phrase that is playing over and over again in your mind about why you’re still single? 
  • Lack of a plan – Are you buying into the myth that love is meant to find you?

Just like your fitness and wellness routines, dating requires the same dedication to positive habits for the best results.

Take 10 minutes today to start building better habits for you and your future life partner!


I’ll be doing a webinar called “Why Dating Apps Don’t Work For You”

on Thursday, January 9th!

In this FREE coaching call, I will go into detail on how you can finally make the dating apps work in your favor for 2020.


If you are ready to date differently in 2020 but you don’t know how to get started – The 30 Day Dating Playbook could be your solution!

I’ve taken the 5 steps to find your match that have worked for hundreds of clients over the many years I’ve been coaching and created an easy to follow 30 day program that will lead you towards the love you deserve.



Damona  0:01  

Hey lovers, today we’re going to talk about something that is really integral to my practice as a dating coach, how to develop better habits and dating, and the rules and you know what I mean? I mean the new rules for finding love. When I was thinking about this topic, and the best way to share this info, I realized that y’all love master classes. I got so many emails thanking me for the master class that I gave on dating app do’s and don’ts and I’m glad that I finally got you all off of that set it and forget it profile technique. And then when I released the masterclass on first dates, I remember one listener wrote to me and said that he had never in his life considered a picnic on a first date. And you know, who got a second date, and a third, and then a fourth date. That guy and my masterclass on how to meet your match has been one of my most popular episodes of dates and mates to date. So Really, this seems to be the best format to share one of the most important aspects of dating today. Now, I present to you my masterclass on the most common bad dating habits and how to rewrite your rules on love.

Intro  1:17  

Damona  1:29  

A lot of times I see daters operating by old dating rules in this new and rapidly changing dating environment. Many people who come to me for dating help are stuck in what my 30 day dating playbook participants know to be a samskaara. So samskaara is a pattern. It’s something that becomes ingrained and familiar because you do it the same way. Over and over again, there are positive some scars like the exercise routine that you commit to. But then there are also negative some scars that hold you back and cause you to keep reliving the past and attracting the same thing that you don’t want into your life again and again and again. And today, I want to talk about a few of the most common bad dating habits, these negative some scars, and how to fix them. And if you hear something that resonates for you, I want you to know that the purpose of this episode is not to shame you. We all have patterns in our lives that are not serving us, that needs to be changed. But the first step in even solving the problem is recognizing the problem. And then the next step is putting a plan in action to change it. So today, I hope that you hear something that makes you feel like I am talking directly to you. And I hope you will accept my challenge today to do something about it. And at the end of the episode, I’ll tell you how I can continue to support you on making this change even after the episode ends. So get your pen and paper ready, because dates and mates masterclass is about to begin, and I’m going to share with you the most common bad dating habits and how to fix them right after this. Welcome back to dates and mates for this masterclass on the eight most common bad dating habits but don’t worry. I’ll also be telling you how to fix them.


Number one, ghosting. Look. No one wants to be ghosted, but almost everyone does it. And then we make excuses for why that other person didn’t deserve our time or the respect of a real response. So here’s the bottom line. If you’re tired of getting ghosted, the first thing I asked you to do is to see where you are ghosting in your Your own life. It might just be in work emails that you don’t deem important enough to reply to. Or it could be in messages from dudes online that you think are unattractive. Here’s the fix. When you treat others with respect in all settings, you will find that you encourage those around you to rise up to your level of respect. And you will communicate more effectively so that you don’t get left in that void of ghosting.

Number two obliga swiping. If you haven’t heard this term before, I covered it a couple years ago on the show, but since then it’s become an epidemic. obliga swiping is when you have a dating app installed on your phone right now that you hate that maybe you’ve never had a date from Or that you just go on and start swiping for the momentary ego boost or the boredom blocker. But if you’re swiping without any intention behind it, you’re not only obliga swiping, you are wasting your time and depleting your energy for dating. So here’s the fix, delete any app that is not bringing you joy or quality dates, and then focus on swiping only for people, you actually could see yourself dating, and make it your point not to go for high volume of matches, but instead to make a real connection and move from the app to a real date. Third, we have first date fails, and there are a few of them. First, no pre dating. People tell me that they’re going on tons of first dates that are hours and hours long, but not connecting with anyone. Most of these people that talk to me have had very limited contact with the person predate only over text and then they feel guilty. Leaving once they’re there, don’t waste your time or anyone else’s. I highly recommend the pre date call. So here’s the fix for this one, just 10 minutes on the phone could save you two to three hours and hundreds of dollars in person. The next predate fail is not showing up your best. Often this comes from burnout or the idea that you don’t want to look like you’re trying too hard. So many people are setting dates without trying at all. I had a client Tell me on a recent date that a recent date of her showed up in a track suit because he wanted to fit in a workout right before the date. Okay, here’s the fix. You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression. So put yourself together the way you want to be seen every single time. All right, we talked about this in the intro but the set it and forget it profile. People tell me that they’re frustrated with dating apps and then I find that their profile and the photos that they’re using are five years old, and they haven’t even read their own profile in months or even years. Your profile is a living document. It changes as you also change as Time marches on. And your profile should always be a reflection of your current self. And your current relationship goals. The fix, refresh it every one to two months. Not only will it be an accurate reflection of who you are, but also what you’re looking for. Plus, it will boost you to the top of the algorithm for people who are searching for someone just like you. Then there’s the texting trap. Texting is not a chemistry builder. It’s chemistry blocker. Yeah, most people think that they should spend a lot of time texting someone before they meet up so they can build a rapport. But what happens when you build a connection and then you finally meet and discover that the person doesn’t look the way you imagined or that their banter in person is far less clever that it was on a screen. You were caught in the texting trap. There’s a fix. You can’t thoroughly vet a match via text, either set a phone call as discussed before, or move offline quickly. So you can see if what you have in writing sustains in person. Then there’s this bad dating habit, being afraid of starting over. I can’t tell you how many listeners of the show tell me that they know they’re in the wrong relationship. But they don’t want to break up because they’re afraid of starting over. If this is your issue, here’s the fix. Think of it this way. It’s your destiny to find the person who’s your best possible match just as it’s your partner’s destiny to be with theirs. And if you’re staying together out of convenience or fear of being alone, you’re blocking two people from their destiny. The next bad dating habit is negative self talk. This is a big one. What is that phrase that’s playing in your mind over and over again about why you’re still single. A major element that could be blocking you from Happiness is your own mind. negative self talk, whether it’s about who you are or what you have to offer in a relationship. Or if it’s about the matches you’re meeting. It isn’t doing you any favors. Here’s the fix. Start with rewriting your mental mantra about love. As corny as it sounds. The more you repeat it, the more you will believe it. And put the negative mantra to bed so you can see the reality and the possibilities before you.

Next bad dating habit, lack of a plan, who this one is huge. Are you buying into the myth that love is meant to find you that romance shouldn’t involve any planning or preparation, it should just magically happen? Well, you’re wrong. I’ve been coaching singles and finding love for nearly 15 years. And time and time again, I find that when people put a plan in place, the same way that they plan for everything else in their life that they are successful at. They get what they want. Here’s the fix, get into a program, get an accountability partner, do something proactive to find love, and see if that changes the outcome for you. Speaking of a plan, if you’re ready to date differently in 2020, but you don’t know how to get started, then the 30 day dating playbook could be your solution. I’ve taken the five steps to find your match that have worked for hundreds of clients. over the many years that I’ve been coaching, and created an easy to follow 30 day program that will lead you towards the love you deserve. I’ll put the link to the 30 day dating playbook in the show notes. But if you have questions about how it works, and about why you haven’t been able to find your dream match yet on your own, I’ll be doing a webinar called why dating apps don’t work for you on Thursday, January You can register for that at the dating secret.com that’s t h e dating secret.com and that link will also be in the show notes. Thank you so much for joining me for Episode 290 of dates and mates the last one I’m 2019 please send me your questions. Any dating or relationship question anything that’s on your mind. You can reach me at Damona Hoffman on all the socials. Or you can leave me a voicemail and of course your question can always remain anonymous if you would like for it to. We know the holidays can be tough for dating and relationships so there will be no break no winter hiatus for us your dates and mates. We will be back again next week with a regular episode. We’re talking with dating and relationship expert Tracy Crossley. I can’t wait for you to hear that episode. She has so much deep transformational work that We’ll be talking about and I know it will be super valuable for you. Thank you so much for listening. I wish you a Happy New Year and as always, happy dating.

Surviving The Holidays While Single

A Few Dating Dangers For Singles To Avoid This Holiday Season

Navigating the holidays can be hard when your parents keep asking why you’re still single. Top it all off with dating app fatigue, and Millennials & Gen Zers are ditching dating apps more than ever. But mostly, holiday dating app fatigue comes around due in large part to awkward questions from relatives.

How many times have you heard something on the order of, “Why are you still single” or “when are you going to settle down?” Be prepared for all of the awkward questions because you’re going to get them. 

If you don’t want to talk about why you’re single during the holidays, share all the accomplishments that you want to share instead of focusing on the negative. If all else fails and they just keep asking, tell them some of your bad date stories.

Here are a few tips on handling awkward conversations with relatives:

1. Stay optimistic about dating apps.

Dating apps are the most powerful tool in your dating tool box. If you’re feeling down about dating apps just remember this:

Now more than ever daters are finding love online. But regardless of this shift, people do tend to get down on dating apps around the holidays. Often parents and relatives don’t understand that online dating is the norm now. The latest news may not have helped that…

2. Tell your parents the dating apps aren’t dangerous.

You may have seen in the news that the safety of some of the best dating apps has been called into question. A recent investigation proved that registered sex offenders are finding victims through free dating apps and websites such as Tinder, OkCupid, Plenty of Fish, and more. 

This is terrifying. But, it’s also an opportunity to examine 1) which dating apps you are using and 2) how we are filtering potential dates

On episode #287 Dates & Mates, Damona discussed this with Rene Lynch, editor of LA Affairs in the LA Times. They break down this controversy: 

  • If you’re concerned about your safety, certain dating apps automatically use background checks against the sex offender registry – like Match. These are typically paid subscription dating apps that have the resources to filter for dangerous situations.
  • Do some research on your own! Before you meet your date in person:
    • Schedule a pre-date phone call or video chat & make sure that everything checks out.
    • A quick search on all social media platforms can tell you all you need to know about your match.
    • If something feels off to you, follow your intuition.

3. Think about dedicating some extra time to dating.

Damona always encourages daters to be proactive in finding love. And since we’re all on holiday, let’s take advantage of all the free time! A good rule of thumb is to dedicate five hours a week or more to your dating process.

4. If you’re experiencing dating app fatigue, take a break!

We have all been there. Sometimes you get tired of the seemingly endless and monotonous game of swiping. But once you take a step back, you realize that the dating apps are more than just swiping at faces. 

If you’re in a dating rut, make sure you take some time to regroup. As Damona says, it’s better to take a break than to bring the wrong energy into dating.

5. Revisit making IRL connections.

While you’re taking a break from dating apps, make an effort to meet people in real life and be more conscious about the kind of person you are looking for. You can actively search in relevant spaces where you can find potential matches with common interests. 

6. Where’s your match hiding?

If you’re looking for someone that has a professional career, you might want to go downtown at happy hour and chat up the people that work in those office buildings. Or if you’re looking for someone who has a big heart, try attending a charity event and places with people who make philanthropy a part of their lifestyle.

Do you have a dating resolution for next year? Reach out to us on socials (@DamonaHoffman on all platforms). Happy dating!

Done with Dating & The Cheerleader Effect


Okay so we talked about breakups last week, what do you do when you are ready to take on dating?


Samantha Burns, AKA the millennial love expert, tells us her exact steps to ditching dating forever in her new book: Done with Dating: 7 Steps to Finding Your Person


Is it weird that Kayley Cuoco isn’t living with her new husband?

You may remember that in her last divorce – asked for a HUGE alimony. Maybe she’s still healing from that and needs to take it slow? We have thoughts. 

Find your soulmate before the end of the world! 

Tinder’s new content-forward programming will find help you love while you play a “choose your own adventure” game on their platform. Damona breaks it down. 

Did you know there are apps to fix your relationships?

There are dating apps and now there are relationship apps backed by the Gottman researchers. Are these worth it? Damona breaks it down. 


Be the host with the most

Samantha’s new book Done with Dating: 7 Steps to Finding Your Person is a great follow up to her first book Breaking Up and Bouncing Back: Moving On to Create the Love Life You Deserve. She gives us her seven steps to get back on the horse and find your person. 

We go in-depth on:

  • Do you want to take charge with your dating life? Or would you rather be pursued?
  • Tips, Tool, and Tricks to switch into a more empowered mindset in dating
  • What “stinkin’ thinkin'” is coming into your mind?
  • Love happens when you intentionally create a thriving fun dating experience.
  • Ways to shift your luck in love
  • If you wait for love to find you, will it?
  • Are you waiting for someone to make you happy?
  • Go out in groups AKA The Cheerleader Effect
  • Be The Hostess With The Mostest
  • Be casually confident but not aggressive
  • Dating & Attachment Styles


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

  • Should you tell your friend if her boyfriend is raising some red flags for you?
  • What should you do if you don’t want to be with someone but don’t want them to date anyone else?



Don’t forget to send us your Halloween Dating Horror Story! You can submit any of these ways:
  • DM Damona a voice memo on Social Media (@DamonaHoffman)
  • Send Damona an email (damona@damonahoffman.com)
  • Leave us a message! (424-246-6255)

Fireworks & Creating Chemistry



Today on my third episode in the Summer Love Series, we are making fireworks in honor of 4th of July.

Gina Gutierrez, CEO of Dipsea, an app providing sexy audio storytelling for women by women, joins me to talk about passion and building chemistry

Buckle up, folks! This is our steamiest episode yet! 


Studies show your partner may not be as smart as you think

According to the latest research, it turns out we consistently overestimate our loved one’s IQs and our own. OUCH.


Chelsea Handler has had a change of heart!

Chelsea Handler recently decided that it isn’t weak to want a relationship. Why this sudden change of heart? Damona and Producer Leah have thoughts. 

Signs your date doesn’t want to see you again

In case you have some trouble reading the signs, Damona breaks it down. 

How To Build Chemistry

A guide to learning what turns you on!

As an entrepreneur focused on the need for content tailored to women’s specific needs, Gina finds a lot of women need help to figure out what turns them on. 

“Inspiration is a really important paradigm or experience,” Gina says. If you need some extra inspiration to get you feeling in the mood, approachable, accessible, sexy content is Gina’s solution to building great chemistry with your special someone. 

On today’s episode, we also talk: 

  • Finding your sexuality at your own pace
  • What to do if your “on ramp” is different from your partner’s
  • Why erotica and porn don’t always meet women’s needs
  • How we are stimulated by audio content

Whether you’re single or in a relationship, Gina gives some GREAT tips on how to spice up the chemistry this holiday week!


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

  • How to move offline into a date IRL
  • Should you worry about your boyfriend’s drinking habits? 
  • What is the acceptable amount of time to wait before you text someone?

How To Flirt & Improv Games


Today, on my second episode in the Summer Love Series, I share 5 fun exercises that can improve your flirting game instantly.

If you followed my first TV series, #BlackLove, you might remember that I used improv techniques to teach the women how to flirt. Here’s a peek:

Flirting Coaching with Damona from Damona on Vimeo.

The show just showed the highlights, but on Dates & Mates today, you get the full experience of what a flirting coaching session with me is like.

For today’s demo I’m joined by two experienced improvisers Marquis Olison & Nicky Urban (whose improv group was just on America’s Got Talent last week.) With me, they demonstrate how improv can make flirting fun. I know it sounds CRAZY but I promise if you listen and try out some of the exercises, you flirt game will never be the same.

Here’s the rundown:

Why improv? (2:30)

How men can impress women in today’s world (5:30)

Yes, And (9:00)

What you can learn from Yes, And & How to replicate (12:00)

How to build energy on a date (13:30)

Accepting someone’s reality (17:00)

Mirroring & How to tell if someone is intelligent (18:30)

Embrace The Weird (23:00)


Missing this week’s headlines?  

Damona’s got you! Watch for Damona’s IGTV today for this week’s headlines on: All of the Hollywood Heartbreak this week (spoiler alert: lots of Hollywood exes made headlines), learning your dating app score, and how to stand out on dates in big cities. 


Dear Damona: Beyoncé & The 35 Year Old Virgin

Giving you a little extra LOVE this week!

Today we’re back with another BONUS Dear Damona episode! Last week, I received a few questions from people who are feeling a little extra unlucky in dating, so I dedicated an entire episode to giving the Dates & Mates community a little extra love. 

If you’re a 35 Year Old Virgin, will men think there’s something wrong with you? (1:00)

If you’re openly dating a girl and she sees you on another date, is it awkward? (6:30)

If your man doesn’t like Beyoncé, should you drop him or educate him? (9:50)

How do I start dating when people don’t even give me a chance? (13:15)

Let me know if you like this “Dear Damona” Q & A style episode in the reviews!


Meet Cute & Instagram for Dating


We talk a lot about how much dating has changed since Damona began her career as a dating coach. Who remembers when online dating was brand new?

Even we couldn’t have predicted the changes that the dating technology ecosystem has seen even in the last year. We want you to be as prepared as possible for upcoming trends so you can stay ahead of the dating game.

This week, Damona talks about the future of modern love with the people who make decisions in the dating app landscape. This short format episode features an in-depth interview with Geoff Cook, CEO and co-founder of The Meet Group, and Evin Rose, Millennial Love Life & Dating Coach, on dating app trends to look out for. Here’s the rundown:


Your Next Dating App: Instagram

Honey Australia reports that singles who use the hashtags  #strongandsingle and #happilysingle might get a few extra DMs from potential dates. Should you mix Instagram and dating? Damona and Evin Rose have thoughts.


If you aren’t familiar with the Meet Group, they are responsible for a lot of cutting edge dating apps that are popular worldwide, like MeetMe, Lovoo, Skout, and so many others. As an expert entrepreneur, business strategist, Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award Winner for the Philadelphia Region, Geoff Cook is the man to give us the facts on the business and trends involved with the dating app tech landscape.

Lately, we have noticed that there is a trend to mix dating with other aspects of your online persona. Listeners often ask: Should you integrate your social media into your dating profile?

For Evin Rose this seems like a no brainer. “When we get someone’s last name, we immediately go look them up anyway on social media to try and get a sense of who they are,” she says. “I think there really is something to finding other ways to connect with people virtually.”

It does seem like a complete no brainer. But why are some having such a hard time blurring these lines?

Geoff has a really good explanation. “People like to express different aspects of their identities via the brands they use.” he says. You might share your workplace version of yourself on Linkedin, and your family friendly version of yourself on Facebook, but your dating persona – the most extroverted and fun version of yourself- is reserved for your dating apps usually.

“That’s partially why it’s strange to be hit up on Facebook or a network where most of your interactions are not for that,” he says. “I think it’s tough to walk that privacy line.”

There is absolutely something to be said for protecting your social media from your dating life. HOWEVER, if we just shut down these new possibilities entirely, we might miss a good opportunity to find love.

So maybe next time someone slides into those DMs, see where it goes and let us know!

We talk about sooo much more on this episode about future trends in dating including:

  • Is live streaming the key to finding your next match?
  • Integrating human connection back into online dating
  • Is this match a real human?: Sorting through multiple realities on dating apps
  • Podcasts: The new predictors for compatibility?
  • And so much more!


There are millions of people on dating apps worldwide. If you’re not finding love there, your profile may be the problem. Use Damona’s FREE guide to creating the ultimate MAGNETIC online dating profile. Get the Profile Starter Kit at profilestarterkit.com


Women’s History Month & Refridgerdating


As a dating coach for 13 years, Damona has seen shifts in dating trends and watched as women become more empowered in their dating lives. How do these things impact women’s dating destiny? Internationally renowned matchmaker and TV personality Carmelia Ray returns to co-host this episode with lots of insight on how women and men relate to each other in 2019. Here’s the rundown:


The surprising reason ARod’s relationship with JLO is a lot of pressure

HUGE Congrats to JLO and AROD who announced this month that they are engaged! Shortly after the engagement, ARod revealed why a relationship with JLo is a lot of pressure for him. Damona and Carmelia break it down.

New Trend Alert: Honeymoon Edition

This just in! Ditch your new spouse and go on the honeymoon of your dreams BY YOURSELF! Damona and Carmelia are not here for this new trend and they explain why.

Meet Your New Matchmaker: Your Fridge

Predicted right here on Dates & Mates! Refridgerdating has just launched allowing you to see into your match’s fridge before you decide to make a move. Damona and Carmelia have thoughts.


In honor of Women’s History Month, Damona sits down with Robert Kandell, interpersonal communication expert who helps women and men relate to each other better in the #MeToo Era. We talked about A LOT:

  • Shifts in acceptable dating behavior for women & men
  • Dating Patterns
  • Dating in big cities vs dating elsewhere
  • Do women need men anymore?
  • FOMO and Investing in relationships
  • Women have a higher earning potential and don’t have to settle!
  • “Men are acting more like boys, and women are acting more like men.” – Robert Kandell
  • And so much more!

If you liked this interview Damona has some supplemental material for you! Don’t miss Damona’s Communication Master Class and her interview with The Angry Therapist on Male EQ


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

  • Why are women choosing to stay single for longer?
  • What is the best way to date if you have decided to ditch dating apps?


Damona always says that working out has greatly improved her relationship with her body. Begin a program with Beach Body on demand! Just go to DatesandMates.com and click the Beach Body Banner to get started.

Cuffing Season & Swipe With Spirit


If you’re looking to cuddle up with a new boo this fall, we have tips to make that relationship last through Valentine’s Day and beyond. Dominique Clark – Relationship Guru, Author, and Media Personality – joins today’s episode and gives us tips on how to find a quality match in these colder months. Here’s the rundown:


The best way to find out what your ex thinks of you

Katie Miller, a 21 year old college student, went viral this week with the exit survey she sends to all of her dates. Would you send something like this to your dates? This isn’t our style, but it definitely gets the job done.


Surprising secret to a happy relationship from Kaley Cuoco

The Big Bang Theory’s Kaley Cuoco stresses the importance of independence in her relationship in this month’s interview with Women’s Health. However, some of her advice may go a little too far. Damona has thoughts.

Sneaters Beware: we’re on to you

Have you ever gone on a date just for the free meal? MetroUK gives us the term for this: Sneating. When is sneating okay and how can you avoid sneaters? Damona and Producer Leah discuss.

#LevelUp (14:17)

The #LevelUpChallenge lives on! Ciara’s summer hit applies to your cuff game, too, ladies and gents. Damona and Dominique break down how you can level up this cuffing season on today’s episode. We talked about a lot:

  • Cuffing Season & Cuffing Buddies
  • Are men looking to be cuffed?
  • Being Single during the holidays
  • Our biology and human connection
  • Snack Relationships
  • Level Up and find a Quality Match
  • How to empower yourself to find a match
  • Perfection and Honesty
  • Getting to know someone and when to share
  • Texting
  • Long Distance Relationships & Making Plans

Dominique raises some really great points about perfection and honesty in this chat. Here is one of the many moments that we loved in this talk with Dominique:


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

  • Is it normal to have commitment issues?
  • When should you post pics of your partner on social media?
  • On what date should you have sex?


Damona has an important announcement! Listen for Damona’s new dating app method that is guaranteed to guide you towards the deepest love of your life.

Join the database or get advice from Dominique on her Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter at DominiqueClark.com

Become a part of the Dates & Mates community at DatesandMates.com by picking your free ecourse – The Texting 10 Commandments (singles) or The 7-Day Relationship Bootcamp (couples).

Try Beach Body on Demand for free for 14-days by clicking the banner at DatesandMates.com

Gender Identity & Astrology of Love


Carol Allen, from Love Is In the Stars, co-hosts this week’s episode. Carol is an astrologer who steers the love lives of many women based on what is written in the stars. Today on the show, she gives us a fantastic fall love forecast and joins us to talk about gender and sexuality because she has a personal connection to this topic through a close transgender family member who she’s supported through his transition. Together with our guest panel, Damona and Carol unpack what your dating life can learn from the experiences of those who have a different sexual orientation or gender identity than you do.


Why are divorce rates going down?

Thanks millennials! According to Time, a recent study shows that divorce rates dropped 18% from 2008 to 2016 and this is due mostly to the lower divorce rates among millennials. Is it really all that surprising that millennials are divorcing less than generations before them? We don’t think so.

What can you learn from Gen Z daters

According to a study done by the dating app Zoosk, there are a number things that Gen Z does right when it comes to dating. Gen Zers are the least picky daters and swipe right on 33% of the matches they are presented with. How can this help you and what else can you learn from this study? We have answers.

Your childhood faves have a new relationship status!

It’s been a few weeks since former Sesame Street writer, Mark Saltzman, confirmed that Bert and Ernie are indeed a gay couple. The official Sesame Workshop says differently, however. Does it matter whether Bert and Ernie are gay? Does representation matter – even in kids programming? Or are we taking the puppet relationship dynamic too far? The discussion heats up this week.


Sexuality and Gender Identity: Are they fixed or fluid? How do you know if the way you’ve been living or dating might be limiting your possibility of finding true love and happiness? We sat down with Jasmine Luna and Harry Caldwell to learn more about their experience.

Jasmine Luna is your average queer, transgender, latinx witch. She is a strong advocate for her queer community, which includes work at the Trevor Project and the Los Angeles LGBT Center.

Harry Caldwell is a Jewelry Designer, Yoga Instructor, and Tantra Instructor. He has identified as Pansexual for the last 15+ years and feels compelled to share his knowledge of the energy of love with everyone he encounters in order to reduce the amount of suffering in the world.

We talked about A LOT:

  • Pansexuality, Omnisexuality, Bisexuality, Transexuality
  • Transitioning
  • What it’s like Transitioning within a relationship
  • Pronouns & Identity
  • Mixed Raced Identity & Sexuality
  • Tantra & Unifying the Masculine and Feminine Energies within us
  • Dating in Los Angeles versus other cities
  • How to maintain outgoing mentality towards dating apps
  • Hookup Culture and Pansexuality
  • Making Love & Deep Intimate Connection
  • The Trevor Project
  • Panty Hose
  • Chickens



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

  • Is it normal to be dating multiple people online?
  • How can you tell if they’re busy or blowing you off?


Carol Allen gives us the scoop on what the upcoming #VenusRetrograde means for your love life.

Get Carol’s compatibility report half off HERE using the offer code HALFOFF.

Join Damona’s community for free by taking your free e-course at DatesandMates.com

Follow Harry @CaldwellCrafted on IG

Follow Jasmine on IG @the_witchy_wonder and read her adventures jasmineseclipse.blogspot.com

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