Tag Archive for: dating

This Is Supposed to Be Fun & Conflict Styles

Dating is a journey – a process of trial and error, learning, vulnerability, compromise. It’s not easy, but nothing worthwhile is. The most important thing is that you enjoy yourself along the way.

And that’s why we have certified clinical sexologist and sex & dating coach Myisha Battle joining Damona today. She will be talking about her new book, “It’s Supposed To Be Fun: How to Find Joy in Hooking Up, Settling Down, and Everything in Between.”


Can thinking about your ex improve your relationship?:

It seems logical that thinking about your ex while in a relationship is a bad sign, right? Well Best Life Magazine says this may actually improve your current relationship. A new study in the European Journal of Social Psychology focused on “the potential positive influence” of former romantic partners. Study participants were instructed to reflect on a past relationship, particularly focusing on “nostalgic memories.”

Damona dives deeper into the results of the study, how nostalgia works in our prefrontal cortex, and why we should bring nostalgia into ANY first date scenario.


Myisha Battle a certified clinical sexologist, sex & dating coach, educator, and speaker. Her work has been featured in national print and online outlets such as the Washington Post, New York Magazine’s The Cut, Refinery29, Oprah Magazine, the San Francisco Chronicle, Playboy, Nylon, and more. Plus, her newest book is called “THIS IS SUPPOSED TO BE FUN: How to Find Joy in Hooking Up, Settling Down, and Everything in Between.”

(13:45) “Hooking up” is not the same as dating.

One of the most common thoughts Myisha encounters from her clients is that having fun in dating usually equates to hooking up with your date. As Myisha points out, “I wanted to recognize that a major focus for people dating is to try to gather sexual experiences. But again, I think hooking up – that fun part – is mistaken for like the whole of dating.” 

Myisha also goes over what it means to be intentional with your dating life. Plus, how you can identify your sexual values – AKA finding the exact right words to describe what you’re looking for.

(23:47) Are their words and actions aligned?

Damona asks Myisha for clarity on reading between the lines in someone’s dating profile. Like, what does it exactly mean when someone says they’re looking for *blank* but “open to possibilities”? 

Myisha brings up that famous Maya Angelou quote – “When people show you who they are, believe them the first time” – and states that people will usually reveal themselves and their true intentions through the dating process. There are times when their words and actions aren’t aligned, and if this happens then that can be a conversation you have with your match.

(29:19) The pros and cons of the “sex buddy.”

There is a whole section in Myisha’s book, This Is Supposed To Be Fun, about the varying ways of having a sex buddy. Damona brings up the point that a sex buddy has the potential to be a bit of a crutch to avoid being more intentional in dating, and Myisha acknowledges that there can be an unhealthy component in hanging on to somebody for too long. 

But in her book, Myisha purposefully refers to the sex buddy as a gift in order to destigmatize the judgment around casual relationships. As Myisha puts it, “just because this is a sexual connection, it’s still a connection, it’s an exchange… there’s an energetic exchange I get from you and you get for me, so it’s a relationship of sorts.”

(34:52) How to communicate using S-B-I

SBI – or Situation, Behavior, Impact – is a communication technique that Myisha says she picked up during managerial training in a former life. Basically, you state the situation (i.e. the facts), you name the behavior that you were affected by, and then describe the impact it had on you.

Myisha clarifies that the SBI model is a really helpful framework to filter our emotions through, particularly when pre-breakup thoughts start to creep in. “So it can be a way to start those conversations. And to get into the weeds a little bit with people. No matter how early or late things have been going on, it’s just a good way to organize your thoughts and to be able to give that feedback in a way that feels authentic to you.” 


Be sure to follow Myisha on Instagram @myishabattle and check out her book – This Is Supposed to Be Fun: How to Find Joy in Hooking Up, Settling Down, and Everything in Between.





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

IG Message from Tayba – Dear Damona, love your podcast. You mentioned that there’s 4 key compatibility markers, one of them being conflict resolution. Would you explain the different styles of conflict resolution in one of your episodes, as well as how to identify your own/your date’s style?


Damona is running her signature dating coaching group LIVE one last time with live session starting WEDNESDAY 1/25. This is your LAST CALL to get Damona’s direct support on developing your dating plan for 2023. Grab one of the last remaining seats today at TheDatingSecret.com

Savage Love & Hookup Hangup

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

DAN SAVAGE (13:06)

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

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

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

(15:54) Dating dinosaurs.

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

(22:21) The non-monogamous spectrum.

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

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

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



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

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



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

Love Astrology & Main Character Energy

It’s week two of 2023 and Peak Dating Season is going strong! Plus Valentine’s Day is fast approaching, so it’s not surprising to hear that many of you are looking for love in the new year. 

Luckily there are more tools than ever to help you in your search. You can create a vision board to roadmap what you want in love and life (as Damona covered in the last episode of 2022). You can refresh your dating profile regularly to boost you in the search algorithms. You can even let your friends know that you are looking for a date and ask for support in your search.

But – did you know that you can look to the stars for more information on your dating future? (Say what?! It’s true.) Astrology can be a powerful tool in predicting the compatibility and timing for when your stars will align to find love…

Today we have one of Damona’s dear friends and mentors joining Dates & Mates, Vedic astrologer and relationship coach Carol Allen. She’s going to help us understand the stars of 2023 and compatibility as it relates to someone else’s astrological imprint.


The biggest dating trends of 2023 (according to dating app experts):

Women’s Health recently published a full deep dive into the dating trends of 2023. And according to dating app experts, this year will be all about *main character energy* as people become more certain about their deal breakers and self worth. Not only that, the article mentions shifts in dating culture such as leaning into vulnerability (Damona talks about this in her episode with one of the hottest multi-platform content creators, Chris Thompson), open conversations about non-monogamy, and budget conscious dates (Damona goes over money-friendly date ideas with financial author Nicole Lapin.)

Damona dives deeper into each oncoming trend and shares some hard-hitting stats.


Carol Allen is a Vedic astrologer, a relationship coach and Damona’s mentor. She is the author of “Love Is In The Stars – The Wise Woman’s Astrological Guide To Men.” Carol has been featured on E!, Bridezillas, EXTRA, Dr. Drew’s Lifechangers and in Chicken Soup For The Soul, Woman’s World, and Daily Candy.

(If your a fan of Dr. Drew’s, like Damona, listen to his Dates & Mates episode titled “Dr. Drew & The Big 400” here.)


(11:53) Is Vedic astrology just like any astrology?

When many of us think of astrology, our minds immediately go to those Cosmopolitan, back-of-the-magazine type of readings. But Vedic astrology, which Carol studies (originating in ancient India) follows a different criteria. Before all the compatibility details, Carol suggests first looking at the capacity of your partner – i.e. do you have the capacity for being in a relationship in the first place? How conscientious are you? How supportive are you? How present are you? How empathetic are you?

Carol dives further into defining low capacity people, and how timing plays another huge part in compatibility.

(23:01) Lunar eclipses influence marriage??

Carol touches upon the marriages of Drew Barrymore, Jen & Brad (Aniston and Pitt, of course) and shares how the stars determined the fates of their marriages (hint: both happened around a lunar eclipse). Plus, Carol gives an IN DEPTH reading of Damona’s wedding day, and how her and Seth were astrologically set up for success.

(31:48) Your calendar affects the outcome.

We all like to look to astrology for things like compatibility, life purpose, and personal information. But we forget how the stars can sway things like the success of a job interview, asking someone out, the best time to buy a house, when to have an important conversation – you name it. Carol explains how she maps things out for her clients using her special model of calendar, the Personal Success Calendar..


Be sure to follow on Instagram @CarolAllenAstrologer AND for a limited time you can get your Personal Success Calendar at a huge discount at damonahoffman.com/mycalendar.



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

Email from C – I am 62 and he is 71. 3 months together and lots of kissing, chemistry and common interests. Yet, he has made no moves toward intimacy. Should I say something? Try to seduce? Or just wait it out?


Damona is running her signature dating coaching group LIVE one last time starting the week of January 23rd. If you want to find love in 2023, this is your moment! Hear new success stories and see how the program can change your love life too at TheDatingSecret.com

Dear Damona: New Year, New Boo & Dating Sunday Too

Welcome back to Dates & Mates AND welcome to 2023!!!

The new year signifies change and rebirth for many of us. It’s a time of reflection and growth, a time when so many people are looking towards the future. And this energy is almost palpable in the number of emails, texts, voice memos and voicemails that we’ve accrued this season.

This is the season for love. Dating Sunday is upon us and this year it falls on Sunday, Jan 8th. (If you need a refresher, Dating Sunday is the time when dating apps see the biggest spike in new members & user activity.)

So we’ve decided to dedicate the first episode of 2023 ENTIRELY to your questions – it’s an all-Dear Damona episode!


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

(1:46) Email from D – I am a 28-year old woman who recently moved to a new city one year ago. Recently, I have been having terrible issues with guys not following through on plans. There’s the old rule – “if a guy is interested, he’ll let you know, you won’t have to guess.” I rarely text guys first and if they don’t follow up, I don’t either. Is this a smart approach?

(9:05) IG Message from Tamara – Hi Damona! I love your podcast. I met this guy on a dating app and we connected right away. He asked me on a first date, but then told me how to dress for the date including how to wear my hair and what lipstick to wear. This is a turnoff to me. I am not a Barbie doll and I think I can plan my own outfits. Is this a red flag?

(12:08) IG Message from J – I currently live in Denver, but I’m moving to Seattle at the end of this month. Is it okay to start matching and connecting with people on Hinge before I arrive as long as I’m honest about not being there yet? And how to keep a connection alive and not disappoint people that I’m still in the process of moving there?

(17:12) Voice Memo from Princess – I just turned 21 and I’m on several introductory dating apps. I’m wanting a meaningful long term relationship and I am only looking for matches who want the same. But  I’m finding that some of these guys who say they want a relationship or either back off from that, or say they’re just checking it out. Of course, it’s fine to not know what you want. But I think they should say that. Am I being too hard on them? Or are these men emotionally catfishing me?

**Check out the question above for a refresher on Damona’s 4 Components of Long-Term Compatibility.

(23:56) Text from Anon – Should I list that I have a child on my dating profile? What are the pros and cons of doing so or not doing so?

(27:02) Email from A – I’m in my mid-thirties and was diagnosed with some health issues in my late twenties-early thirties. I am in decent shape and one wouldn’t know by looking at me that I’m dealing with any health issues. I’m actively dating and am starting to notice that average dating questions around lifestyle choices (exercising, diet etc.) trigger me. Is there a way for me to politely or playfully decline or pivot from answering these questions until I am comfortable sharing?



Damona is running her signature dating coaching group LIVE one last time starting the week of January 23rd. If you want to find love in 2023, this is your moment! Hear new success stories and see how the program can change your love life too at TheDatingSecret.com

Minisode: How to Make a Vision Board

Happy almost new year!!! Around this time, we start to get a bunch of new questions and Dates & Mates listeners. As we all reflect on starting the new year off fresh, finding a partner to do life with often becomes a top priority for people. And we want to support you in that process.

That is why Damona’s Dating Accelerator Program always begins with clarifying your mindset. (I know, easy to say but harder to do.) There are various tools you can use: visualization, journaling, writing narratives, creating ideal scenes… AND designing vision boards.

In today’s minisode, Damona will talk you through how to design a vision board. It’s okay if you’ve never made one (and okay if you’ve never heard of one). Basically, vision boards creatively act as a roadmap for your life. And most times, putting elements together on a board is a really powerful tool to manifest what you want.


Everyone has something hard wired called “confirmation bias” – AKA the tendency to interpret new evidence as confirmation of one’s existing beliefs or theories.

Your confirmation bias can be your downfall if you let it add up to a negative hypothesis. But what happens if you foresee a positive outcome? That is what a Vision Board trains your brain to do.

So let’s get started!

You’ll need a piece of poster board, scissors, glue and a stack of magazines.

  1. Take a moment to get centered and visualize the relationship you want. How will you feel when you are with this person? Where will you go on your dates? Do you see pets, kids, a home, shared activities? What does this life look like together?
  2. Scan for images. Flip through your magazines or images on the internet and see which images jump out at you. (If you do this step after a visualization, your brain is primed to pick up the most significant markers.)
  3. Seek out words or phrases. Especially ones that affirm your vision. If nothing catches your eye, you can always write in significant words and phrases with markers.
  4. Assemble! You can either paste your elements as you go, or create more of a narrative before you start gluing. 

Still unsure of where to start? Listen to the end of the minisode (13:30) where Damona answers the most common vision board FAQs…


P.S. Don’t forget that Early Bird Enrollment is now open for the next round of my signature program: The Dating Accelerator!

Get $300 off now through Dec. 31st with the code EARLYBIRD

See testimonial videos, understand how my system changes lives and get on the road to a healthy relationship in the new year at TheDatingSecret.com

Relationship Science & Dating Cancellations

Y’all know that we LOVE statistics and science here at Dates & Mates, so why not squeeze in some more data before the end of the year?

Today Damona is dishing with award-winning international dating and relationship expert (and the same person who gave Damona her certification in coaching!!) – Hunt Ethridge. He’ll be breaking down some new science in the relationship and dating space, so you can hack the dating game once and for all.


Canceling plans because you’re not feeling body confident? Let’s talk about it.

A new survey from a company called Wild Dose (who make products for belly & gut health) revealed that men are more likely than women to back out of a date when they aren’t feeling body confident. 

More specifically, the research showed that 25% of men will avoid sex when feeling self conscious, compared to 22% of women. And 1 in 10 men admitted they’ve canceled on a date last minute when not feeling body confident due to stomach issues such as bloating.

Damona makes two arguments based on this data. Firstly, that we should all be trusting our gut a lot more when it comes to dating. (Yeah, butterflies are a thing. But maybe what you’re feeling has to do more with intuition than nerves.) And secondly, that we all need to practice being more respectful of our date’s time when canceling plans. Damona also shares her sure-fire formula to avoid being canceled on.


Hunt Ethridge is an award-winning international dating and relationship expert with over 15 years experience.

Hunt is the co-founder of The Matchmaking Business Academy, which will educate and mentor matchmakers and dating coaches at all levels of their career. He has also been featured in CNN, The New York Times, Playboy and GQ.

(12:08) Where we are now…

There have been several milestone shifts with dating culture in the last 15 years. But most all of them fall under how we communicate – Tinder and swipe app technology increased the speed of communication, and texting became the primary mode of communication in dating. So how can we continue to use these tools as a means of connection, rather than letting them become obstacles to connection? Hunt gives his hot take.

(19:30) Authenticity pays off!

We talk about authenticity a lot on Dates & Mates and learning to show up as your authentic self. But Hunt clarifies. He says that it’s about being your *best* authentic self. “Sometimes people think oversharing or being unedited is authenticity, and that’s not necessarily what it means… I could sit here with greasy hair and a ripped t-shirt and that would be authentic because I look like that sometimes. But it’s not going to be the authentic that will work the best for you in a dating situation.”

So can we redefine what it means to be authentic? Hunt shares his thoughts…

(26:38) The science of self-disclosure

Hunt dives into a study he read recently about the science of over-sharing, which some may see as self-disclosure or being vulnerable. According to the research, your date’s response to self-disclosure works out more favorably and creates more connection when the other party values openness and vulnerability themselves.

Hunt also explains the ways in which we are wired to mirror each other (and the varied ways that mirroring shows up).

(36:04) What if Stranger Danger was wrong?

Another study? Heck yes! Hunt shares some research he found that describes how positive interactions with strangers, however minor, predict a greater subjective well being. “It boils down to if I smile at you, you’re gonna smile back. And if I see your smile, hopefully it makes me feel warm and fuzzy. And so I kind of created a feedback loop.”

Plus, Damona and Hunt dive deeper into this concept of “reciprocal altruism”.

(36:04) What does it take to date offline?

Online dating has its obstacles, no doubt. And I know many of us are itching to ditch the apps altogether and solely date offline. But keep in mind – dating offline will require us to do more of the work to see results.

A tip from Hunt to ease your transition into offline dating… Instead of asking each other logical questions like “how was your day,” try asking more emotional questions that will access their more positive emotions. What was your favorite thing about this weekend? What was the best thing about where you grew up? When was the last time you had a win at work? What was the best prank you saw in college? 


Be sure to follow Hunt on Instagram @QuestforAdvice and check out HuntforAdvice.com for more information.




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


  • IG Message from Emily – Dear Damona, I was wondering if you could provide me with some insight. I have it stated on my dating profile that I am looking for something more serious. I’ll match with someone, they say they are looking for something more serious as well, but then by the third or fourth date they say that I am further along in wanting a commitment and they aren’t quite ready for a relationship and want to keep things casual. And when that happens, I end it. This has happened to me four times now. What are some signs I can look out for to avoid this happening again and is there anything I can do to find someone more serious about wanting a relationship?

Boundary Bubble & Fourth Date Day

It’s that time of year… Mariah Carey has her Santa hat on and Starbucks has changed their cup color to red.

The holidays are a magical moment when family comes together and people celebrate. But the same things that make it so great can create some strain – like cramped spaces, a little too much booze and overly nosey visitors.

You know what you need my friend? Boundaries. Both to make it through the crush of cuffing season and to make it through another holiday with well-intentioned family and friends.

And that’s why we have relationship and recovery coach Dufflyn Lammers joining Damona this week. She’ll be outlining how to set healthy boundaries with your loved ones AND dates so you can have a happy and healthy holiday season.


Just FYI, your fourth date should absolutely be a day-date.

A new article from Cosmopolitan Magazine gives several reasons to go for the day-date during your fourth meetup. Firstly, the fourth date is still early enough that if red flags come up during the date, you can make your exit. The day-date also provides less pressure to dress to perfection or play up the sex appeal. And unless you’re doing mimosas for brunch, you can’t hide behind alcohol during a day-date. You can also escape that pre-date anxiety since you’re not waiting around all day.

Damona is a fan for a different reason – the day-date gives you a deeper understanding of your matches’ personality. The goal of the first three dates is to give and receive as much authenticity as possible. So going out for lunch, coffee, a hike etc. is more likely to create opportunities for connection than hiding behind a few drinks.

Additionally, Damona gives tips for why activity dates (aka bowling, mini golf, hiking) can play a role in feeling more attracted to your match…


**REMINDER: Our big cuffing season giveaway with OkCupid is still on through December 15!!! Just share this episode or your fav episode of Dates and Mates to social media, then tag Damona (@damonahoffman) and OkCupid (@okcupid) for a chance to win three FREE months of OKCupid Premium.



Dufflyn Lammers is a relationship and recovery coach with over 10 years of experience. More specifically, she’s trained in attachment repair, tantra, intervention, and personal coaching.

She has published and performed for the LA Times, In The Rooms, The Fix, She Recovers Foundation, The International Conference on Addiction and Associated Disorders, National Association for Poetry Therapy, HBO, NBC, and the Hollywood Fringe Festival.

(12:00) Learn to voice your expectations.

Defining our boundaries can take time, but as Dufflyn observes, “that’s the big thing that boundaries give us is an opportunity to be our authentic selves.”

When we know our boundaries but don’t express them, we often end up in situations where we feel disrespected or betrayed. But how can the other person have an opportunity to show up for us if we don’t let them know what we expect? Set up your expectation, and THEN see how that person shows up.

(16:36) Boundaries are gates, not walls.

We set up boundaries around others to protect ourselves and make us feel safe, right? But that doesn’t mean we can’t be flexible. Dufflyn compares boundaries as being alike to gates rather than walls, which more easily allow us to come together with another human who isn’t us. “When two people come together, there’s always negotiation. We say these are my standards and boundaries and these are the other person’s. Do they match?”

Dufflyn also maps the different levels of boundaries, and explains how setting boundaries is a kind thing to do for ourselves AND other people.

(23:25) The MOST common myths about boundaries.

The top misconception Dufflyn hears about boundaries is that maintaining boundaries will hurt people’s feelings. “The truth is when we stop pleasing people, people aren’t pleased, right? But the fact that they’re not pleased doesn’t mean that we should trash our boundaries. It might actually mean the opposite – that this was overdue. Or that they’re uncomfortable.”

Damona asks if there’s a right and wrong way to express our boundaries. There is no right and wrong way, but only the most compassionate way. Dufflyn’s strategy is to “top and tail” your boundary. A.K.A. Top it (acknowledge the other person), then express your boundary, and finally tail it (how you will take action or collaborate with the other person).

(31:24) Let’s regulate these emotions…

One of the biggest obstacles we may face when setting boundaries is unregulated emotions. Because it’s really hard to place a boundary when family members or other people are pushing against them, right? Dufflyn adds, “If you’ve got two people that are both dysregulated, they’re not going to be able to regulate one another, which is the primary way that we find regulation, right? It’s co-regulation with another person.”

So how do we emotionally regulate in those moments? By having a few people who we can rely on to help us emotionally regulate, rather than relying solely on our partners, matches or a family member. Not sure who to call? Dufflyn likes to imagine the conversation ahead of time. She says, “Before I dial, I think, will this person make me feel regulated?”


Be sure to follow Dufflyn on Instagram @Dufflyn. Dufflyn has also created a FREE guide for Dates & Mates listeners – The 8 Top Tips for Getting Through the Holidays With Boundaries


And if you want to work with Dufflyn ASAP, her new workshop Boundaries Are The New Black is going LIVE on Saturday December 17, 2022 at 7PM CET.



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


  • Email from Anonymous – Dear Damona, I am a 25 year old female and I have been putting a lot of effort into online dating recently and have been challenging myself to go on at least one date per week. So far there is one trend that I run into a lot while talking to men online and that is they don’t ask me questions about myself. I will ask them a question like what is your favorite genre of music for example and they will respond with a long paragraph but then not think to ask me the question in return. It really frustrates me because I feel as though this is a lack of awareness and interest in me and it really turns me off. It really is a dealbreaker. Am I overreacting? Is there a way I can communicate this without sounding overly negative and judgmental? I don’t know what to do and I am tired of carrying the conversation and not getting the same effort in return. Thank you!

Gender Wars & Broken Picker

Gender norms are evolving rapidly but online there still seems to be a lot of rhetoric circulating about things like alpha males and high value women. 

And while there is no doubt that there are certain characteristics of these labels that are valued by many, like a strong work ethic or being accountable, I’ve been wondering if these terms and the online communities that seem to be building around them are driving us further away from authentic love and true understanding between the sexes.

And that’s why we have one of the hottest multi-platform content creators, Chris Thompson, here to break down the gender war he’s witnessing online and to share his methods for coming back to a place of peace. 


Should dating references be required in online dating?

We all go to Yelp for reviews on new restaurants – but what if you could do the same thing for potential dates? A recent article from Refinery29 makes the case for why dating references should become the new norm in online dating. The article cites a lot of scary statistics about the potential dangers of online dating – but Damona wants you to remember that it’s really unlikely that some of these extreme situations will happen to you. More likely, your worst case scenario will be realizing you and your date are incredibly incompatible.

But if something does happen to you, report this user to the app immediately! Because there’s no way that apps can police toxic or dangerous behavior if we’re not reporting it.

P.S. If you’re really nervous about online catfishing, listen to Damona’s interview with Kamie Crawford, co-host of MTV’s hit show Catfish. She shares her top tips on how to research your matches before you meet IRL. 


**If you’re looking for a little more discovery in your dating life, try out Damona’s FREE Profile Starter Kit to magnetize your dating profile. (This won’t be free forever, so get it while you can!!)



Chris Thompson is a veteran of the influencer industry and has an audience of over 2 million. He also hosts the podcast, Unfiltered Friends, where he helps your favorite creators tell their personal stories.

(12:15) Let’s end the Gender Wars.

The dominant theme amidst Chris’s social media content is discussing gender roles (or breaking down the “Gender Wars”). When we say “gender wars,” we are referring to the strict thinking that men must support men and women must support women, solely. In this line of thinking, people tend to blame the opposite gender for their horrible dating experiences. Chris believes that this divide is mostly created when we project our dating disappointment & resentment onto each other.

Chris also gives details about his experience interviewing someone who has narcissistic personality disorder, and how our mainstream fantasies about love actually allow narcissistic people to manipulate us more easily. (Say whaaaat?)

(22:38) Look beyond the checklist.

When dating apps give us access to more matches than we could ask for, it’s great to be specific about what you’re looking for in a partner. But if our must-haves consist of mainly surface level qualities, sticking with this checklist can begin to dehumanize our matches. Make sure your must-have qualities help determine your long-term compatibility with someone, and allow potential partners to be included in the building of your relationship. 

Chris and Damona also discuss (and debunk) the idea of what it means to be a “high value” woman or man.

(28:30) Alpha-male atrocity…

Let’s get one thing straight – Alpha-male culture is ridiculous and should not be seen as an exemplary approach towards dating. That being said, there is a reason why so many men have continued to gravitate towards the Alpha Male persona. Damona believes that this attraction comes from a place of pain and feeling as though they are not enough. Chris states that in order to alieve the toxic symptoms of alpha-male culture, we must approach the situation with compassion. 

**Note: compassion does NOT mean validation. Of course alpha-male culture tends to validate really crappy and toxic behavior, which is never okay. But the more we can understand where toxic behavior is coming from, the more we can help to heal it.


Be sure to follow Chris on Instagram and TikTok @SupDaily and check out his podcast, Unfiltered Friends, wherever you listen to Dates & Mates.



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


IG Message from E – Hi Damona – help! I discovered your podcast a few months ago and listen a few times a week when I walk. I go on lots of dates. Men usually ask me out on a second and third date. I have actually turned down numerous opportunities with nice guys who want a relationship. I’m not attracted to most of the guys I date! What do I do? Am I picking the wrong people? I find the really attractive guys are often jerks or have very different values (like very conservative, anti-abortion, that sort of thing). I’m starting to wonder – is it me? Is it my selection strategy?

Sexual Attraction & Post-Divorce Dating

Whether or not you’ve been through a bad breakup, we can all agree that no one gets into a relationship intending to call it quits. But unfortunately people sometimes grow apart to the point where the best thing for them to do is to split. 

It really depends on the situation, but just because you’re divorced doesn’t mean your love story is over. You’re just moving on to your next chapter!

And that’s why we have best-selling author and relationship coach, Jennifer Hurvitz, joining Damona today. She will share her personal experience and outline how to return to dating after a big breakup.


What you should know if there’s no sexual attraction for your partner, according to a therapist:

You go on a first date with someone you’ve been chatting with, and it goes great! A few more dates pass by and you eventually decide to take things to the bedroom… only to find out that your sexual connection may not be up to par with your romantic one. Now what??

Well according to a recent CNN article, a lot more goes into physical attraction than we realize. Dr. Justin Lehmiller of the Kinsey Institute notes that physical attractiveness “doesn’t actually top the list for men or women… traits like intelligence, humor, honesty and kindness are often at least as important, if not more.” The article also points out that in hetero relationships, men more often internalize an “either/or” view of women– those who make great wives and mothers and those who are sexually adventurous.

All that being said, can sexual attraction make or break a relationship? Damona observes that in current dating culture, there’s a big difference between “I can do what I want to do and experience pleasure without labels” (which we’re all for), and “I am pursuing pleasure at my own expense and not getting my core needs met.” Damona explains how to build more awareness of this, and why sex actually gets better the more you get to know your partner.


Jennifer Hurvitz is a relationship expert and dating coach. She is the best-selling author of “Midlife Priceless: A Dating Coach’s Guide to *Finally* Doing Relationships Right” and the host of the podcast Doing Relationships Right.

(12:40) The hardest thing about dating after divorce.

There are many aspects that make dating after divorce difficult, from rediscovering your sense of self to becoming intimate with a new person. But Jennifer shares what the biggest hurdle was for her – “I don’t know why I get so emotional and talk about it. But it’s really frightening to do it all again, after you think you’re with this one person forever.”

Part of Jennifer’s journey back into dating was accepting that you don’t have to be the perfect version of yourself in order to put yourself out there. Because realistically, we are never going to be the ABSOLUTE perfect version of ourselves. The only thing you can be prepared to do is put trust in who you are, and take that first leap into the dating pool.

Jennifer also gives tips on how you should go about revealing your relationship history (especially if your history is kind of a complicated one).

(18:00) D.A.T.E.

Much like Damona discussed with family therapist Jordan Green last week, Jennifer also likes to break down the dating process into four different stages, which she calls D.A.T.E. – Decide, Attract, Trust, and Evolve. “You decide who you want to go out with, you attract (or you realize you’re not attracted to the person). And then basically, you either trust them or you don’t. And then you evolve together.” 

Jennifer points out that the Decide phase is crucial, because it is the catalyst for growth in your dating journey. Deciding not only refers to deciding to pursue a specific person, but also speaks to making the choice to date AT ALL (that’s that first leap we referred to before). 

Damona and Jennifer also discuss why it’s important to choose your boundaries instead of choosing to “go with the flow” in social situations.

(26:25) Trust & time.

Developing trust is a slippery slope that, in dating, we have to learn to bounce back from. But Jennifer poses a great question – do you trust until someone gives you a reason not to trust them? Or do you go in not trusting and they have to prove themselves?

Jennifer believes that in order to develop trust in any relationship, time has to be a core factor. Because no one can create a really solid foundation overnight, especially if you’re coming out of a situation like a divorce or breakup where you’ve already been burned. 

Side note: did you know that in some states, if you’re dating someone who is separated, that person’s partner can sue you?? Jennifer breaks down the legalities of dating someone who is separated and why these laws exist.


Be sure to follow Jennifer on Instagram @DoingRelationshipsRight and check out her book, ‘Midlife Priceless: A Dating Coach’s Guide to *Finally* Doing Relationships Right.’ And, listen to Doing Relationships Right wherever you listen to Dates & Mates.



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

IG Message from M – Dear Damona: First off, I love, love, LOVE your podcast! Your energy is amazing! So, I’ve been divorced for 12 years, had off and on relationships that typically ended when the guys cheated or were commitment phobes. I’ve finally met someone, and we’ve been dating for 3 months now. My question to you is when do we know if we’re being too picky, unrealistic, or holding onto an idealized connection that may never materialize? On paper, my boyfriend is great. We enjoy each other’s company, but already things are a bit mundane. The sex isn’t great, but it’s not the focus of our connection (that’s where I’ve messed up in the past). I just really desire someone who stirs my soul, but that hasn’t happened yet with someone who desires a committed relationship (that desire usually only happens with f*ck boys).


Dating App Identity & Partner Power Struggles

Dating happens in stages, but did you know that relationships do too? We’re not just talking about the traditional path of dating, committing and getting married. There’s more to it than that, a whole lot more.

And that is why we’ve got family therapist Jordan Green on Dates & Mates today.  She’ll be breaking down the 5 stages of every relationship to help you navigate the ups and downs that come with time. After all, no relationship is perfect.

And the timing is perfect too! It’s Thanksgiving week here in the U.S. and some of you might be accelerating your relationship to the next level by blending families this holiday… or you might need to “Define the Relationship” after spending a week dodging questions from nosy family members. Either way, we give thanks to you for listening to this episode.


The No. 1 thing that makes relationships successful:

Have y’all ever heard of the Gottman Institute? I bet you have. The Gottman Institute was co-founded by Drs. John and Julie Schwartz Gottman and helps provide practical, research-based tools to strengthen relationships. (Just for perspective, the Gottmans have studied over 40,000 couples.)

In a recent article for CNBC, John and Julie Gottman shared the number one factor they’ve nailed down for relationship success – turning toward your partner instead of turning away. Basically, turning toward your partner is acknowledging them and engaging with their attempt to connect. These attempts could show up as making eye contact with you, giving you a smile, asking you for help, or even just saying good morning. On the other hand, turning away is actively ignoring or not noticing your partner’s attempt to make a connection. And even more detrimental is turning against, which is irritably or angrily shutting down their attempt to connect.

It seems simple enough, and Damona says it all boils down to just having good communication (which is one of D’s four pillars of long-term compatibility – shared goals, shared values, trust, & communication/conflict resolution). Remember that we are not born knowing how to communicate, but we can always practice it. 

Read the article for tips on how to practice turning toward…


Jordan Green is a family therapist and the founder and CEO of Remble, a relationship improvement and mental health app.

Before that, Jordan founded and managed a membership community called The Love Group, which offered monthly courses and collaborated with therapists from around the world.

(12:00) A little more about Remble…

Being a therapist herself, Jordan says she has received tons of DM’s from women who were struggling in their relationships and seeking advice, but were not inspired to sign up for any of the preexisting therapy websites. 

This led her to launch Remble, an app which collaborates with therapists from around the world to offer courses, daily short-form videos, journaling prompts, and even on-hand conversation questions that you can ask during your date.

(16:07) Unfolding the 5 relationship stages.

Jordan offers up some insight from psychologist and author Dr. Susan Campbell, who pinpointed the five stages we all experience in a relationship after doing a study with hundreds of couples. 

Those five stages are: 1) Romance, 2) Power Struggle, 3) Stability, 4) Commitment, and 5) Co-creation.

Damona asks Jordan to clarify what happens in the power struggle stage & why it’s important. (Spoiler alert: this is the stage where couples either break up, or push through and become stronger.)

(21:21) Codependent vs. interdependent vs. independent

Jordan states that in all relationships – “there’s me, there’s you, and then there’s us. But in a healthy relationship, ideally, you have a good balance between all those parts.” And, that balance is where you will find interdependence. Jordan goes through the challenges that one might face when being too codependent or independent, and what you can do to rebalance yourself in your relationships with others.

(26:30) Is the bar too high?

We are Team Dating App all the way, but Damona brings up the observation that sometimes people focus too acutely on having certain things in common. Instead of focusing so much on whether they like tennis or not, think more about the questions that matter. Like – what is this person’s character? What values are important to them? What are some of the characteristics and qualities that I see in them that I’m actually looking for in a partner? Nails down these answers, and then let go of your attachment to exactly what that has to look like.

(32:17) Wants, needs, and boundaries.

Communicating can be really hard. And if healthy communication wasn’t modeled for us growing up, trying to express hard feelings can accidentally come out as criticism. So Damona asks Jordan for any wise words regarding expressing boundaries and what you need. 

She shares a simple formula for communicating your feelings – I feel [blank] about [blank], and I need [blank]. “This helps the other person to understand how you feel, and it gives them a recipe for how they can best support you…”


Be sure to follow Jordan on Instagram @the.love.therapist and check out the Remble app!




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

Email from Nikki – Hi there. I’m 51 and would love to be in a meaningful relationship in the next year. I’ve been single for 11 years. My son is 13 now and I’m ready. Do you have any specific tips for Bumble? That seems like a healthy place for professionals to meet other professionals. Thanks for the work you do!


Financial Love Languages & Dating Against Type

Real talk: when was the last time you discussed money on a date? Probably never. It’s always a taboo topic – until the check comes. It’s time we destigmatize talking about money on a date. 

And that’s why we have best-selling author and host of the Money Rehab podcast, Nicole Lapin, joining us on Dates & Mates today. She will be outlining how to navigate the conversation and develop a financial love language for a happier, healthier and more secure relationship.



Do you have a type? Maybe what you think you want and what you actually prefer don’t match up.

A recent study from the University of Toronto has us questioning if having a “type” is really all that legit. According to the study, the qualities that we think we like in a partner depend on the social context in which we encounter these qualities. For example, you attend a great party and the people there happen to be really funny. Then you come away thinking, “gosh, I prefer funny people.” But it was really just a great party.

Andre Wang, one of the co-authors of the study, said “it could be that people are so constrained by their own ideas about liking, that they are limiting their dating pool.” But good news – understanding the distinction between what we think we like vs what actually drives us to like someone can actually be a useful tool!

Damona describes how this reaction is actually related to something called “the familiarity principle” and how gravitating toward what’s familiar may be part of our biological attraction towards safety.


Nicole Lapin is a financial journalist, television news anchor and businesswoman known for her work on CNBC, CNN, Bloomberg and MSNBC. 

Nicole is also a New York Times bestselling author of four books, including her most recent one “Miss Independent: A Simple 12-Step Plan to Start Investing and Grow Your Own Wealth.” She is also the host of the podcast Money Rehab where she rehabs your wallet so you can get your financial life together.

(14:20) Financial first-date etiquette.

Damona and Nicole dive into the classic first-date debate – who picks up the check? And is there a certain etiquette we should be aware of when talking about money on a first date? 

Nicole shares that you can actually get a glimpse of someone’s financial situation and habits by asking them about their goals. “Goals have price tags… It’s timing, it’s tone, it’s turf. It’s having a glass of wine, talking about your hopes and dreams, and then getting into sort of how you’re going to pay for those hopes and dreams. Versus, you know, approaching it in an aggressive way.”

(20:15) A question of property.

Damona gets Nicole’s thoughts on what it means for a woman to own property (which is often rumored to be a turn-off). Nicole points out that “I think it’s just not the right person if it’s a turn off. There will be a person for whom it’s a turn on.”

Women have also expressed to Damona that if they own property or make investments, they’re afraid their partner may see this as a free ride. To that Nicole says: “I think that is about being really clear whether or not you want somebody who makes the same amount of money as you or more or whatever. “ 

Plus, Nicole breaks down the difference between good debt (there’s such a thing?) & bad debt.

(25:13) We all have financial trauma.

Our individual relationships to money are as unique as our upbringings. Which is why Nicole says we all have our own version of financial trauma. There is bigger trauma like having your house foreclosed on or family members being in debt, but Nicole also says that financial trauma can be vicarious. “It can be in your friend group. Like do a lot of your friends have a bunch of debt? Do they hide purchases from their significant others?” This all affects your FQ (financial intelligence).

Nicole also explains how to deal with a financial imbalance in your relationship (hint: there will be an imbalance in EVERY relationship).

(28:40) What to ask before move-in day…

The relationship expectations for moving in together have definitely shifted over the years – now everyone feels the freedom to go by their own timeline. But does this affect the kinds of financial conversations we should be having before merging homes? Nicole says the foremost thing to be aware of is knowing whose name the bills are under. “I’ve seen women in particular get screwed in one of two ways. Either the bills are under somebody else’s name, and so they’re not accumulating credit. Or the bills are under their name and they’re not getting paid, so their credit is getting screwed.”

(32:45) Setting yourself up for success.

So is there something more we should be doing to set ourselves up for financial (and in turn romantic) success? Nicole states that compound interest is our best friend, although we are familiar with it when it works against us through credit cards. Nicole also shares her favorite spending plan called The Three E’s – essentials, endgame, and extras.

Learn more about Nicole at NicoleLapin.com & be sure to follow her on Instagram @NicoleLapin for more investment tips.



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

Email from B – I met a nice guy on a dating app. We’ve had wonderful conversations. The problem is when we did our first video chat, I noticed he has rotten teeth. I do NOT see myself kissing him. What do I do?


Dating Dance Cards & Catch a Catfish

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

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


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

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

Dance cards: A classic ballroom custom

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

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


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

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

(14:50) Friends can catfish too??

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

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

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

(20:47) Dating profile red flags

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

 (29:00) What is the Texting Trap?

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

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


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



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

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