Tag Archive for: dating

Love on LinkedIn & New Year, New You

It’s January, and if there’s one thing we have heard more times than we can count this month, it’s the familiar chant of “New Year, New Me.” Now, you’ve probably heard Damona say it over the years too, but while we fully embrace self-improvement and growth, they should be a year-round focus, rather than an annual one.

That being said, we know that many of you are in that space right now, ready to make a change. So here to help us form new habits and keep them is speaker and best-selling author, Rainie Howard. She’ll be outlining the steps to creating change and and she’ll tell us the signs that you may be in need of a change, even if you don’t realize it right now.

But first, we have the Dating Dish this week, and it is spicy! There is a new hot dating site and you will never guess what it is!


Dating Dish (2:00)

Alright, take a seat because we’re delving into the latest buzz on the dating scene! Business Insider spills the beans that the unexpected star of the dating game is none other than LinkedIn. Yes, you heard that right. 

LinkedIn, the professional networking platform, is apparently doubling up as a rendezvous spot. People are blending business with pleasure and the DM feature is playing a significant role in turning it into a potential dating arena.

But tread carefully when venturing into professional inboxes. While LinkedIn brings credibility, using it as a dating platform raises eyebrows. 

Now, for those considering a business connection that could turn into more, here’s a LinkedIn DM tip: Keep the initial message professional but relevant. In the slower pace of LinkedIn, no need to rush the first comment on a post. Show genuine interest without diving into personal territory too soon. Go slow and stay open to unexpected connections! 

Rainie Howard (11:40)

Introducing Rainie Howard, a powerhouse in the realm of inspiration! She wears many hats – a sought-after speaker, a Best Selling Author, and a life coach. With a repertoire that includes impactful books like “Addicted to Pain” and “You Are Enough,” Rainie spreads her empowering messages not just through her writings but also as the host of “The Rainie Howard Show” podcast.

(12:26) How Do We Create Change?

Embarking on a fresh perspective, Rainie unfolds insights into personal transformation, challenging the conventional “new year, new me” narrative. Rather than externalizing goals of love and relationships, she advocates for embodying the qualities one desires in a friend and lover. Rainie’s approach involves radiating self-love, sparking a natural attraction – a brilliant shift in perspective.

Rainie underscores the importance of aligning actions with the desired character. Addressing the common pitfall of overwhelming to-do lists, she recommends prioritizing and focusing on one thing at a time for enduring change. Her advice? “Zero in on those small daily changes that lay the foundation for long-lasting results and stay grounded in realism about how we’re going to make it happen.”

 (15:45) Better Boundaries in 2024

Exploring the quest for improved boundaries, the discussion delves into a common aspiration shared by many. The prevalent issue of recovering people pleasers takes center stage, highlighting the necessity of learning valuable lessons from past relationships. 

Emphasizing the importance of taking time and setting protective boundaries, the conversation offers insights into avoiding the pitfalls of rushing into relationships without thoughtful analysis.

Damona echoes this sentiment, endorsing the concept of slow love and dating. She underscores the significance of stepping back during the in-between moments to assess feelings without getting caught up in momentum. 

The conversation underscores the need to be present and mindful in the unfolding of relationships, emphasizing the value of boundaries to protect oneself from potential hurt. 

 (18:50) Is This Relationship Toxic?

Navigating the intricacies of relationships, the conversation takes a glance ahead, exploring potential signs of toxicity. Rainie urges a keen focus on the emotions the relationship evokes, from walking on eggshells to subtle disrespect. Toxicity, she suggests, isn’t always overt; it can manifest in demeaning words that leave one questioning their worth.

In a follow-up, Damona digs into Rainie’s expertise on addiction to pain, as featured in her book “Addicted to Pain.” The discussion unveils a nuanced perspective, acknowledging a collective tendency to tolerate certain levels of pain. 

Rainie shares examples where individuals may accept disrespectful behavior or infidelity, inadvertently allowing patterns of pain. The exchange reveals a cycle of seeking highs and lows in relationships, akin to a dopamine-driven journey. Rainie advocates for breaking free from this cycle and for the pursuit of healthier connections.

(23:07) Rainie Shares Her Goals for 2024

Sharing aspirations for the year ahead, the conversation turns to personal goals, resolutions, dreams, hopes, and wishes for 2024. Rainie expresses excitement about her upcoming book, highlighting the goal of bringing it to life and connecting with readers. Beyond that, her perpetual focus is on self-improvement, currently honing the art of listening in various aspects of life, from conversations to business meetings.

Rainie introduces her engagement with the slow living movement, emphasizing the value of taking time for oneself and approaching projects with ease. Rather than succumbing to stress and overwhelm, she embraces a mindset of breathing through challenges and acknowledging that not everything needs to be figured out instantly. 

Rainie’s journey includes morning meditations which foster a deeper connection to her intuition and spirituality. These intentional practices reflect her commitment to personal growth in the year ahead.


Dear Damona (25:37)

Submit your questions on Instagram, X, TikTok or Facebook and hear Damona’s answers live on a future all-Dear Damona episode!

  • Instagram DM from E: Dear Damona, How do you know when you’ve been ghosted? And what do you recommend as a response? What if that person messages after some time has passed?


2024 Dating Astrology & Instant Exclusivity

It has been a whirlwind of a week here as we celebrate the launch of  Damona’s first book, “F The Fairy Tale: Rewrite the Dating Myths and Live Your Own Love Story”. 

Damona is so humbled by the support of this book and the responses to it. Some of you have said you couldn’t put it down; it’s the book you didn’t know you needed. It’s more than a regular dating book, and Damona wrote it with that intent and with you in mind, so thank you for reading, posting reviews on Amazon, and putting the writing on the pages into ACTION!

Our guest this week is here for two reasons. First and foremost, she is one of the main inspirations behind Damona’s new book. Second, she is here for her annual astrological forecast on life and love! That’s right, it’s Vedic astrologer and relationship coach Carol Allen.

Dating Dish (2:31)

A new article from The New York Times tackles decluttering your dating life. Symptoms of a cluttered dating life include an outdated online profile, a match you keep messaging despite not seeing a future together, or being haunted by someone who ghosted you.

Damona challenges listeners to apply New Year organization aspirations to their love lives: Limit apps used, set intentional usage goals, and take conversations offline quickly. 

Start by identifying relationship goals, then clear clutter, close communication loops, refresh profiles, and show up fully for meaningful matches. Confront the chaos for clarity!

Carol Allen (12:23)

Carol Allen is a Vedic astrologer, relationship coach, and author of, “Love Is In The Stars: The Wise Woman’s Astrological Guide To Men”. Not only that, Carol is a dear friend of Damona’s and one of the main inspirations for F the Fairy Tale. 

(14:41) What is Vedic Astrology?

Carol takes us on an eye-opening ride through astrology’s ancient history. She notes Vedic astrology draws on past civilizations while adding its own zest – like a 27-sign lunar zodiac symbolizing the moon’s nightly visits with his varied “wives.” 

This intricate system landed in Greece thanks to a conquering Alexander and eventually mingled with Western motifs. But Vedic astrology uses different calculations, shifting the lens by a whopping 24 degrees. 

Carol reveals astrology arose from earthly needs like farming before evolving to illuminate personalities and soulmates. In the end, Vedic readings offer richer compatibility clues than the usual sun sign checks.

 (20:14) Damona and Seth’s Vedic Charts

Carol examines the Vedic astrology birth charts of Damona and her husband Seth and notes our host boasts a rare and auspicious combination, indicating an advanced soul here to enlighten the world through teaching and healing. 

This powerful arrangement seeds abundance, benefiting endeavors around counseling and uplifting others. Carol traces how these cosmic codes manifest in talents for uniting and guiding women in matters of the heart.

Delving deeper into the predestined forces underlying relationships, Carol spotlights a remarkable 15-point compatibility system. She determines the couple’s bond and checks every box, stacked with intellectual chemistry and effortless alignment. 

Carol suggests lasting love requires a meeting of hearts, minds, and spirits – a transcendent sense of fate. 

(30:00) The Best and Worst Days for Love in 2024

Carol scans the stars for insight into romantic forces in the coming year. She spotlights fortunate phases for connection: 

  • April showcases a powerful placement for the planet of love, Venus, making it prime time for mingling and dating apps. 
  • Mid-May through June also beams beneficent energies ideal for pairing up. 
  • Damona’s sign hosts lucky Venus from September to October. 
  • However, caution comes with Mercury’s retrograde, often bringing unfinished stories back into the fray. 
  • So while April offers Venus’ blessings, Mercury retrograde then tends to destabilize new bonds. 
  • August and November-December also see Mercury mixing things up. 
  • Intense eclipses in March-April can catalyze drama and change.

(42:40) Get Your Own Personal Success Calendar from Carol

Carol provides a chance to chart one’s own course ahead. She creates Personalized Success Calendars, mapping auspicious days for everything from communicating to making money, traveling, and dating. 

These individualized reports integrate your birth details to forecast the year’s energetic flows. Damona consults her own annual calendar for guidance on significant decisions. 

So, for those of you who are seeking insight into when the stars align for bold moves or new beginnings, Carol makes it easy to glimpse the personal potential the heavens have in store. 

Dear Damona (47:10)

Submit your questions on Instagram, X, TikTok or Facebook and hear Damona’s answers live on a future all-Dear Damona episode!

  • Text from Paula: Dear Damona, How do I handle situations where potential dates want to be exclusive right away? Sometimes, they bring it up before we have even met in person.


Master Class: The 4 Dating Myths & 4 Pillars

This week’s episode is brought to you by Damona’s new book F the Fairy Tale!


  • – Drew Barrymore says it’s the relationship book we’ve all been waiting for…hope with a roadmap!
  • – Dr. Drew Pinsky says it’s entertaining, smart and fun.
  • – Lori Gottlieb says it invites readers to take control of their love stories.
  • – John Kim calls it the cold shower and warm cup of tea singles need.


What will you say? It’s on bookshelves now or at F the Fairy Tale Book.com

There are many new listeners to the show this week, so let’s get started with a quick introduction to our host, certified dating coach with 17 years of experience, Damona Hoffman.  Damona embarked on this journey after meeting her husband online and having her friends come to her for advice on how to write a dating profile.

Today she writes for The Washington Post, LA Times, LA Magazine, and various other platforms. Damona is also the official Love Expert of The Drew Barrymore Show and a regular on NBC’s Access Daily with Mario Lopez and Kit Hoover.

The Dates & Mates podcast won Best Black Podcast at the Black Podcasting Awards and Damona has been nominated for a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Sonic Bloom Podcasting Awards. Additionally, the show has landed on esteemed top 10 podcast lists by Mashable, Huff Post, and Cosmo.

A few other fun facts about Damona – she is a vibrant Sagittarius, theater enthusiast, yoga lover, and an advocate of all things pink!

Now, the Dates & Mates podcast is typically a blend of headlines, interviews, and Q&A, but today, to mark the new year and celebrate the birthday of her first book, F the Fairy Tale,  Damona is shaking things up with a fan-favorite: a Master Class.

Oh, and don’t miss out! Damona wraps up the episode with her absolute hottest tip for dating in 2024.

The 4 Dating Myths & 4 Pillars Masterclass(2:40)

In her 17 years as a dating coach, Damona has noticed four common yet misleading belief systems being ingrained in daters by media, families, and communities. In her book, Damona pairs each myth with one of the four pillars of long-term compatibility. By unveiling these myths and applying the pillars, daters can reshape their dating perspectives for genuine connections.

(4:32) The List Myth

The List Myth emerges when seeking specific qualities in a match, leading to a mental scorecard during dates. Those following this myth often feel pressured by societal timelines for love or marriage.

If you have ever said this, you may be caught up in The List Myth

  • I’m just really picky and that’s why I never meet anyone.
  • There’s no one online that I’m interested in.
  • Everyone I’ve dated seemed great on paper, at first.

Damona shares how to reframe The List Myth and get your mindset right to create a permanent fix.

(8:00) The Rules Myth

The Rules Myth influences those who view dating as a strategic game and often adopt a mechanical approach to meeting people and going on dates. It dominates modern dating culture, fueling the hunger for content in books, Instagram, and TikTok, where everyone seeks shortcuts to love. This myth emerges early in dating, hindering genuine connections from forming.

If you have ever said this, you may be caught up in The Rules Myth:

  • I never imagined I’d meet my person online.
  • He has to ask me out first or I’m not going.
  • I’m matching with people but once we start texting I lose interest.

Damona reframes The Rules Myth with by advising daters to search for values and tools over rules. Tasha’s story is shared as an example of overcoming The Rules Myth and the success that can come from following Damona’s advice.

(12:45) The Chemistry Myth

The Chemistry Myth insists on immediate sparks for a successful long-term relationship, amplified by the rapid pace of modern dating. Seeking shortcuts often leads to overlooking crucial relationship indicators, causing doubts in dating and relationship decisions.

If you have ever said this, you may be caught up in The Chemistry Myth:

  • It was a nice first date, but I didn’t feel the spark.
  • They aren’t right for me, but we have such great chemistry.
  • They give me butterflies. It’s amazing!

Reframing The Chemistry Myth take a change of focus. Damona talks about breaking free of The Chemistry Myth with clear concise advice.

(16:00) The Soulmate Myth

The Soulmate Myth is the idea that you have one perfect match out in the world waiting to meet you.

If you have ever said this, you may be caught up in  The Soulmate Myth:

  • Love will find me when I’m not looking.
  • If it’s meant to be, it will happen.

These pervasive ideas, while hopeful, can be more damaging than uplifting. They set up this anticipation of perfection, expecting someone flawless to seamlessly walk into your life, aligning perfectly. Yet, reality rarely mirrors that ideal.

Successful relationships often unfold differently than expected. It’s about how you engage every day, choosing to make someone your soulmate through continual actions, not just seeking a perfect match.

Damona explains that reframing The Soulmate Myth starts with a growth mindset and shares an exercise for you to try the next time you are questioning your soulmate story.

Hottest Dating Tip for 2024 (21:54)

This Sunday, January 7th, marks Dating Sunday, the pinnacle of online dating for the year. On this day the apps are loaded with fresh individuals and new dating prospects entering 2024 with renewed intentions and clarity. This is a prime moment to explore new connections, so spend some time on the apps between 7 and 10 pm local time. Don’t let this valuable opportunity slip by.

Dear Damona 

There is no Dear Damona segment this week, but you can still submit your questions on Instagram, X, TikTok or Facebook for a future segment!

Dates & Mates podcast listener success story finding untraditional love. New Years resolutions for your love life

Minisode: A Dates & Mates Love Story

Greetings, Happy Holidays, and a warm welcome to all the new listeners joining Dates & Mates from Excuse My Grandma, The Angry Therapist, Lovers & Friends, and more! In this special minisode, Damona has a delightful treat lined up.

For anyone who felt Santa’s deliveries were missing that extra touch of love, worry not! Damona has an inspiring story to share that will fuel your romantic journey. Joining the show is a fantastic guest, ready to unveil a love story woven into the fabric of Dates & Mates.

And stay tuned till the end for quick, actionable advice on creating a New Year’s resolution for love.

ROBIN (2:30)

Today, the focus is on the remarkable love journey of our guest, Robin, who discovered dating success by implementing advice from “Dates and Mates.” Robin’s story serves as a testament to the potency of setting clear goals and values while seeking a partner. 

(3:33) The Power of Clarity and Communication 

Robin shares her love story and how Dates and Mates played a significant role in her journey. Robin highlights the importance of clear communication and setting shared goals and values in a relationship. She mentions how she applied the advice from the podcast, such as getting off dating apps and focusing on building communication through phone calls. Robin also emphasizes the significance of prioritizing how someone treats you over external factors like income or profession. “I remember the shared goals and values that really registered with me and making sure that I was identifying those as early on as possible in dating.” 

(7:03) Navigating Nontraditional Romance

Robin’s love story takes a nontraditional path, as she met her current partner on a dating app after freezing her eggs. Despite societal expectations, Robin and her partner decided that marriage wasn’t their immediate focus. Instead, they prioritized milestones like buying a house and starting a family. Robin’s story challenges the notion of traditional relationship milestones. 

(9:40) Overcoming Challenges and Finding Love

Robin shares her experience of navigating challenges in her dating journey. After a challenging breakup, she took time to reflect on her goals, values, and the lessons she learned. “The breakup was devastating for me. I thought that I was with my person. And I told myself there are three things I want to be sure of before I start dating again.”  She emphasizes the importance of being clear about what you want and not settling for someone who is ambivalent or unsure. Robin’s story shows that when you do the work and have clarity, you can quickly align with the right person. 

 (16:05) Making Your New Year’s Resolution for Love Come True 

Damona provides three tips for making your New Year’s resolution for love a reality:

  1. Write down your goals and visualize them daily.
  2. Share your resolution with a friend or support system to hold you accountable. 
  3. Seek guidance and using available resources, such as her book “F the Fairy Tale,” to navigate the dating process more effectively. Damona’s tips empower individuals to approach dating with clarity and intention in the new year.

As always you can submit your questions for Dear Damona on Instagram, X, TikTok or Facebook and hear our answers live on the show! 

Dates & Mates podcast interview with Paul Keable from Ashley Madison about Gen Z joining the app

Decoding Gen Z & Financial Secrets

It’s no question that with every generation the world of dating evolves and changes. Sociologists say baby boomers enjoyed the sexual revolution, Gen X experienced an individualized dating experience, Millennials launched us into the era of online dating, and now Gen Z are really taking things to the next level. From LAT relationships to being monogamish,  Gen Z is looking for relationships that fit their needs while encouraging their growth.

And here to discuss it all with Damona is Paul Keable, the Chief Strategy Officer for Ashley Madison, the world’s leading married dating website.

Now we know what many of you are thinking – “Ashley Madison?! I am looking for a single partner!” And we get it! We are not here to encourage infidelity, but we are here to learn! 

The team over at Ashley Madison has been hard at work compiling invaluable data about its users. So Paul joins us to break down the company’s recently published study, “Decoding Gen Z: A global report on non-monogamy, sex, and the desire for discretion”. 

Dating Dish (2:39)

But first, we have the dating dish and WalletHub’s Financial Secrets Survey reveals intriguing insights:

WalletHub’s latest survey exposes the hidden truths people hold about money in their partnerships. From who’s more secretive to the generational honesty divide, the data is eye-opening. 

Did you know 76% more men harbor financial secrets than women? And surprise, baby boomers top the charts for honesty. But here’s the kicker: nearly one in four people believe their partners don’t deserve financial transparency. 

Yet, as Damona explores, these secrets aren’t just about money—they’re often a stand-in for deeper issues, impacting communication and trust. With 17% unwilling to forgive financial deceit, she challenges us to rethink the risks of hiding financial truths in relationships. There’s more to uncover in this insightful WalletHub study—tune in for the full scoop!

Paul Keable (7:45)

Paul Keable, the Chief Strategy Officer at Ashley Madison, joins the conversation to discuss the company’s recent study on Gen Z relationships and dating. With over seven years of experience at Ashley Madison, Paul sheds light on intriguing insights about the dynamics of relationships among the younger generation. 

(09:46) The Evolution of Ashley Madison and Its Appeal to Gen Z 

Paul Keable shares the evolution of Ashley Madison, which was born in the early 2000s when traditional dating sites like EHarmony and Match were grappling with married individuals pretending to be single on their platforms. The founders of Ashley Madison saw an opportunity to create a space specifically for married people looking to have affairs.

Since its launch in 2001, Ashley Madison has grown to over 80 million members, with a significant portion being Gen Z. Paul believes this is because Gen Z values the discretion that Ashley Madison offers. He also mentions that Gen Z has a greater awareness and acceptance of their own sexuality and sexual activities. He says they no longer feel the same pressures and shame associated with sex that previous generations experienced.

 (13:43) The Changing Dynamics of Relationships

Paul and Damona delve into the changing dynamics of relationships and the unrealistic expectations placed on one person to fulfill all roles in a partnership. Paul explains how Ashley Madison provides a space for individuals to be more honest and open about who they are and what they want in relationships. Damona asks Paul why platonic relationships can’t fulfill those other relationship needs.

The episode also touches on the trend of non-monogamous relationships among Gen Z daters. Paul mentions that 56% of Gen Z individuals surveyed expressed interest in non-monogamy. This reflects a shift in the definition of partnership, where individuals seek multiple partners who fulfill different aspects of their personality and interests. “This doesn’t boil down to just getting in the bedroom and having sex every other day with ten different partners… a far greater portion of people are just saying I want to have a level of intimacy, a connection with people that suit different parts of my personality.

(28:33) The Role of Ashley Madison in Exploring Desires

Paul emphasizes that Ashley Madison is not for people in happy monogamous relationships but rather for those who are seeking emotional validation or are not satisfied sexually in their current relationships. 

He challenges the stereotype that men cheat solely for sexual desire, stating that many men on Ashley Madison seek emotional validation. 

On the other hand, women on the site are often looking for good sex and orgasms that they are not getting from their partners. “80% of the women who came to Ashley Madison said they were there because they were in a sexless or orgasm-less marriage, and you know that really holds true when I speak to my members.”

Read the full Ashley Madison study, “Decoding Gen Z: A global report on non-monogamy, sex, and the desire for discretion”, yourself by visiting ashleymadison.com/insights

Dear Damona (40:34)

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

  • IG Message from Molly: Hi Damona! I broke up with my ex 10 months ago because of a lot of issues within the relationship. He was a nice person but the puzzle pieces did not fit well for us. I guess for me I am having trouble “letting go/moving on completely”. I have gone on a few dates this year but question if this other person is someone whom I want to build a life with for the next 40 years? How do I move on from my ex?


Dear Damona: Much Younger Match & Saying I Love You

The questions have been pouring in and so we are doing an all-Dear Damona episode of Dates & Mates today! Time to ease your minds and get you back on track for love in the new year.

In case you’re new here, our podcast episodes typically happen in three parts – headlines of the week, interviews, and a Dear Damona Q&A segment but we love shaking things up! It’s always to help you understand yourself and handle the ups and downs of modern dating.


If that resonates, be sure to pick up a copy of Damona’s new book, F the Fairy Tale, out January 2nd! Enter our pre-order giveaway at DamonaHoffman.com/giveaway for a chance to win two VIP tickets to The Drew Barrymore Show, a $500 travel voucher, and a $500 shopping spree at Democracy Clothing. 

damona hoffman f the fairy tale book giveaway drew barrymore show

Now…let’s get to these questions!

Dear Damona (3:22)

03:27 IG DM from Aaron

Hi Damona, I started dating someone just under two months ago. It’s going well; the conversation flows. I feel secure and calm when we are together. He told me he loves me a little over a month in. Is that too fast? I’m pretty inexperienced with long-term relationships. How should I know when to say “I love you”?

7:02 Voice memo from V

Hi, Damona. I’m a big fan of your show. Thank you for everything that you do. It’s been so helpful. I do have a question. I’m wondering if you have advice for the ladies out there who are the ones being engaging, keeping a conversation going, asking the questions, and doing the heavy lifting because it’s getting tiring. I find myself in this position. It’s frustrating that it feels like a lot of guys I match with don’t know how to pass that ball back and forth in a conversation. It feels like a dead end. And, frankly, I’m feeling so over it. So, I would love to know your thoughts on if I should just move on

15:57 Email from Montie

Dear Damona, I hope you know that you are my bestie (in my head)!!! You’ve always given such great advice; sister don’t fail me now; just shoot me straight! I’ve been divorced for 12 years, and while I’ve had a couple of significant relationships, nothing has ever stuck as my forever relationship. I’m currently seeing someone who is much younger (I’m 57; he’s 39…gulp!). We click, we vibe, and the relationship is relaxed and easy. We are monogamous, and he’s wanting a forever future with me (we’re approaching 4 months together). I adore him, but I often wonder if I’m excited about being off the market finally or if we really will fit long term! Help!! Or realize that this could just be one of my deal breakers? Honestly, the thought of dealing with it stresses me out.


21:48 DM Voice Memo from C:

Dear Damona, I’ve mentioned before that I’m dating in my 30s. And, you know, it’s a priority for me to have a family. I’ve been going on lots of dates. But yeah, I just have not found, honestly, anyone that I’ve been really excited about. There hasn’t really been any man who I’ve gone on more than four dates with. And, yeah, I mean, look, I have to say it’s always me who’s ending it. I’m really struggling, in all honesty, in finding men who are emotionally mature. Just what I consider a basic level of maturity is just so difficult to find for some reason. And so, and I think that’s partially contributing to my disillusionment. But yeah, if you have any tips for sourcing men who are more emotionally mature, that would be great. I’m open to it in real life. I’m open to online. I must be just looking in the wrong places. I don’t know. Thanks!!!

Have More Questions? (33:37)

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


Good Jealousy & Dating App Etiquette

As 2023 draws to a close and the holiday season approaches, you may be experiencing a wave of strong emotions. Perhaps you are introducing your loved ones to your new partner for the first time or fielding questions on why you remain blissfully single. Or you may be contemplating whether to take a relationship break and start fresh in the new year.

Whatever your situation, emotions can run high! That’s why today’s episode features an insightful chat with sex and relationship coach Dr. Tara. She’ll share her secrets to improving conflict resolution through empathetic listening. Dr. Tara will also reveal whether jealousy can play a constructive role in relationships. Additionally, she’ll discuss trends she expects to see in 2024, drawing from her extensive experience as a tenured professor of sexual and relational communication.

But first, this week’s spicy Dating Dish explores the latest dating app etiquette trends you can’t miss.The Dear Damona question is: How do I get my boyfriend to be honest with me? Let’s get started!



It’s the giving season, and with all your time spent on others, now is the time to give back to you. For those who pre-order the January-releasing book “F The Fairytale,” our exciting giveaway offers prizes like two VIP Drew Barrymore Show tickets in NYC plus $500 shopping/travel vouchers. Over 30 runners-up can win a 3-month OkCupid Premium membership.

Our publishers. Seal Press and Hachette,  are calling this their biggest book giveaway yet! Be sure to enter to win by preordering your copy today at DamonaHoffman.com/giveaway.


The New Dating App Etiquette

A Washington Post article featuring Damona outlines the new dating app etiquette:

  1. Keep profiles light and fun
  2. Send a real message
  3. Create momentum
  4. Share how you like to communicate
  5. No therapy in the DMs
  6. Pause before you post

Damona elaborates offering unique insights like her #1 ghosting alternative and how to confidently avoid the endless texting trap.


Coming up this Thursday, we’re hosting a virtual cocktail party with top dating experts to deconstruct fairy tale myths and provide pillars for the relationships you desire, whether dating or committed. Incredible authors like Catherine Woodward Thomas and love astrologer Carol Allen will join live panels inspired by Damona’s upcoming book “F the Fairytale.” For one night only, these legends, who rarely collaborate, will answer your questions to walk you into new love. Sign up free now at DamonaHoffman.com/forum to engage live or watch recordings later.

DR. TARA  (11:47)

Joining us today is award-winning sex researcher and Cal State Fullerton professor Dr. Tara, host of the “Luvbites” podcast. As a tenured expert on sexual and relational communication, author of “Sexual Communication Research in Action,” and resident sexpert on the British dating show “Celebs Go Dating,” Dr. Tara’s wisdom has been widely featured from Cosmo to PopSugar.


(14:35) The Younger Generation: What Do They Want to Know

College students ask Dr. Tara about alternatives to all-or-nothing monogamy versus complete openness, unaware of relational options between the extremes. Though craving lifelong partnership, Gen Z’s divorce exposure makes them wary, hence the interest in primarily monogamous bonds with some flexibility to periodically push boundaries. “In class, we have a whole unit on relational structures where we talk about different ways you can be in a relationship, and their minds are blown because all they’ve heard is either completely open, polyamorous, or monogamous forever.

(18:36) Online Dating Trends and Predictions Going into 2024

Dr. Tara has observed much dating fatigue and choice overload on apps lately, but millions still use them. Looking ahead, she expects rising demand, especially among more mindful Gen Z users, for specialized matching based on compatibility and quality over sheer quantity. Compared to her 20s experience feeling overwhelmed by expansive possibilities on early apps like Tinder, Dr. Tara sees today’s focus shifting to self-care through intentional matching with better-suited potential partners.

(25:20) Conflict Resolution with SALLY

When fighting with your spouse, Dr. Tara advises remembering the “SALLY” method to facilitate conflict resolution: Slow down, Ask questions, Listen empathically, List wants, and Yes to doable actions while giving them the benefit of the doubt. Naturally, continued disrespect crosses boundaries, requiring a bigger conversation. But in one-off conflicts, this simple yet evergreen advice can work wonders.

(27:56) Empathetic Listening: Thinking Outside the Textbook

Dr. Tara suggests envisioning your partner as a five-year-old you aim to uplift with warmth and compassion. She proposes unarming yourself by letting go of resentment and judgment in order to deeply listen and connect. In her view, self-acceptance enables empathy for others. So Dr. Tara advocates nurturing self-care to hold space for struggles with empathy, thoughtfully questioning negativity rather than compromising dignity. Ultimately, she chooses empathy’s high road, for it can empower and uplift.

(30:39) Jealousy’s Not So Bad After All

Dr. Tara argues some jealousy can be healthy, revealing care in a relationship. She distinguishes bad explosive jealousy from good jealousy, which opens constructive communication. In her view, everyone experiences innate jealousy to some degree – low self-esteem exaggerates it, while self-confidence lessens it. Ultimately though, she believes handled compassionately, jealousy has the power to foster greater intimacy.

Follow Dr. Tara on Instagram
@luvbites.co and check out her podcast, Lovebites with Dr. Tara, wherever you listen to Dates & Mates!




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

    • Email from K: How do I get my boyfriend to be honest with me?

A One-of-a-Kind Virtual Event for Anyone Seeking Love: F the Fairytale Forum!!

FINALLY, get the secrets to unlock the relationship you’ve been waiting for. On December 7th from 4 PM to 7 PM PST, an incredible lineup of bestselling authors, renowned relationship experts, and insightful voices are coming together to demystify modern dating in a first-of-its-kind virtual event called “F the Fairytale Forum.”

This FREE livestream is packed with 6 powerhouse panels designed to provide you with fresh perspectives and actionable insights around forging meaningful connections. We’ll tackle all facets of writing your own unique love story – from mindset to meeting people IRL to maintaining healthy partnerships for the long haul.

Damona Hoffman will be moderating and discussing the biggest themes from her forthcoming book, “F the Fairytale,” along with other great minds in the world of love and dating, such as: 

  • Katherine Woodward Thomas: Author of “Calling in the One”
  • Arielle Ford: Author of “Turn Your Mate Into Your Soulmate”
  • Evan Marc Katz: Acclaimed dating coach & author
  • Jonathon Aslay: Mid-Life Dating & Relationship Coach
  • Jack A. Daniels: Damona’s  co-host from #BlackLove docuseries

Together, these panelists have over 100 years of accumulated wisdom when it comes to dating, relationships, and self-discovery. Now, we’re bringing these great minds together for YOU in this totally FREE virtual gathering.

The best part? This is 100% interactive. You’ll be able to submit your most burning questions about writing your own love story, and we’ll answer you directly in real time!

So join us from the comfort of your living room on December 7th at 4 PM PST for amazing insights, paradigm shifts, hope, and the tools/mindset to take ownership of your romantic future in 2023.

Attending part of the evening or all 6 panels is totally up to you. Just be sure to register for your free pass today before we reach capacity. This is a ONE-night-only event not to be missed! 

We hope to see you there! 

damona hoffman f the fairy tale book giveaway drew barrymore show

Win Amazing Prizes in the “F The Fairy Tale” Preorder Sweepstakes!

To celebrate the launch of Damona’s new book, “F the Fairy Tale: Rewrite the Dating Myths and Live Your Own Love Story,”  we are hosting hosting an incredible preorder giveaway.

By preordering Damona’s book before January 2nd, you’ll be eligible to win truly amazing prizes like:


Grand Prize

  •  VIP tickets to The Drew Barrymore Show in NYCA
  •  $500 styling and shopping spree from the incredible inclusive fashion brand Democracy
  •  $500 airline gift card 

39 Second Place Prizes

  • 3-month subscription to OkCupid Premium

In “F the Fairy Tale,” Damona draws on nearly 20 years of experience as a celebrity dating coach to help you break free from the myths and mindsets that may be unintentionally sabotaging your search for lifelong love.

This book provides the pillars, tools, and psychology-based guidance to start co-creating the healthy, happy partnerships you desire on your own terms.

Preorder your copy before January 2nd, 2023 and  enter the sweepstakes for a chance to win! 

Purchase links and full rules/details can be found at  https://www.hachettebookgroup.com/landing-page/f-the-fairy-tale-preorder-sweepstakes/

Wishing you love and luck!

Animal Attraction & Love Abroad

Welcome to Damona’s BIRTHDAY WEEK episode on Dates & Mates! 

After celebrating another journey around the sun, Damona has been reflecting on the life path she has forged. She remembers that inner love cynic who cast doubts on her dreams of an amazing partner, a fulfilling career, and a happy family. This week she shares how that skeptic once served a purpose in protecting her heart, but how she came to a point in time when she had to bid those doubts farewell. We know many of you have similar cynics holding you back—that’s why you tune in. 

Damona’s birthday wish? For you to shed those doubts and craft your own love story. 

Her new book ‘F the Fairy Tale’ serves as a roadmap for this journey, and the biggest gift you could give Damona is pre-ordering the book at FTheFairyTaleBook.com and sharing how it empowered you in the new year.

And to further empower you, we will be joined this week by esteemed guest, Dr. Wednesday Martin. She joins us to illuminate the evolving landscape of female sexuality within this dating jungle. Her expertise in cultural studies, anthropology, and psychology promises to expand our understanding of how our primal instincts adapt in this new normal while maintaining connections and passion. 

We also bring back the Dating Dish and finish up with another amazing question from a listener in Dear Damona! Let’s get started!!


Get ready for an eye-opening look into 2024’s dating scene straight from Bumble’s recent survey of over 25,000 users! Uncover the shift in age preferences, the newfound importance of shared political views, and the rising allure of mindfulness in relationships.


And check out our episode with matchmaker and dating & relationship coach, Rachel Russo, titled “Age Gap Crap & Solo Mom” for more on the shift around age and dating.


Dr. Wednesday Martin joined us with a background spanning anthropology at the University of Michigan to a doctorate in comparative literature and cultural studies from Yale. Her accolades include becoming an instant New York Times bestseller with ‘Primates of Park Avenue’ and her recent groundbreaking book ‘Untrue: Why Nearly Everything We Believe About Women, Lust, and Infidelity Is Wrong and How the New Science Can Set Us Free’. 

Her insightful writing covers gender, parenting, motherhood, and female sexuality for renowned publications like The New York Times, The Atlantic, and Harper’s Bazaar. With appearances on major networks like CNN, NPR, and NBC News, Dr. Martin’s expertise is second to none.

(13:43) A Dating Evolution

Dr. Wednesday digs into the lightning-speed changes tech brings to dating. She highlights the clash: our longing for connection versus the surge in app-based dating post-COVID’s upheaval. 

“We had a big collective trauma, whether we processed it that way or not. We are still reeling and recovering as a dating and mating species. And, we’re adjusting to a whole new ecological niche, which is swipe culture.”

She underscores our innate drive to connect, even digitally, sparking those feel-good vibes.

(15:35) Are Dating Apps Going Away?

Dr. Wednesday brings a positive spin to dating apps, seeing them as this new world we’re getting used to, and they’re not going anywhere! She appreciates how they kept us connected during tough times, feeding our need to reach out. 

She cheers for how these apps let women and everyone else be clear about what they’re after, making space for everyone’s desires. But she also nods to the grumbles we often hear about these apps, acknowledging that despite their perks, dissatisfaction can sometimes remain. “We can develop a dating ecology, but we can’t determine how people use it”.

(23:15) Reality of the Dating Desert

Dr. Wednesday delves into the challenges faced by heterosexual women in today’s dating scene, referring to it as a “dating desert.” She says, “So what we find is that in most big cities, men are the limiting sex. So men have the power in dating because there are fewer of them relative to women.”

She points out how cultural norms around emotional expression create a disconnect between men and women, affecting their connection in relationships.Her insights offer a window into why women, encouraged for emotional intelligence, might find it hard to connect with men raised to suppress emotions. This mismatch in emotional expression, she notes, shapes the dating landscape, making it tough for women seeking aligned connections.

(36:36) Construct an Ecology in a Dating Desert

Dr. Wednesday delves into crafting unique dating spaces within the dating landscape, likening them to finding oases in a desert. Exploring environments where gender ratios align with preferences is key, particularly in heterosexual scenarios where women often hold sway. 

Reflecting on our innate attraction to novelty, she suggests venturing into new social circles for fresh connections. Ultimately, she champions authentic connections, urging individuals to break societal norms for personal happiness in dating.


Follow Dr. Wednesday on Instagram @WednesdayMartinPHD and grab a copy of her book, “Untrue: Why Nearly Everything We Believe About Women, Lust, and Infidelity Is Wrong and How the New Science Can Set Us Free”.




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

  • Email from Caroline – Can you be a committed dater when you are an adventure seeker and or may be moving?

Measuring Matches & Return to Singlehood

In a fast-paced digital age, finding genuine connections can sometimes feel like searching for a needle in a haystack, but could the antidote to your trouble be to lean in, even when you feel like throwing in the towel and date with more intention?

That’s why the word of the week is CLARITY.

Finding love may seem unpredictable to some. “I’ll know it when I see it,” people say. But we call BS on leaving love to chance alone. After 17 years of coaching and writing dating profiles, Damona is convinced intentionality is key to romantic success. To be intentional, you first need clarity – a focused mindset. 

We talk A LOT about intentionality on the podcast and have given some examples in the past of ways to log and analyze your dating data from stat sheets to journaling. Today we are going to introduce ANOTHER way to understand and track what’s really happening in your love life so you can chart your way to the relationship you want.


Jillian Romero Chaves was a successful automotive industry professional whose experience with a devastating breakup led to a journey of learning, healing and reflecting.

Motivated by her personal experiences, she channeled her passion into creating Clara for Daters, an intentional dating journal app designed to empower individuals to make informed choices and nurture healthy relationships.

(4:20) Clara for Daters is born!

After investing ten years with a cheating partner she had hoped to marry, Jillian Romero Chaves created the reflective journaling app Clara for Daters to empower single people to date more intentionally based on her own experience. 

Motivated by heartbreak, Jillian researched attachment styles and realized she lacked dating self-awareness, often letting attraction cloud her judgment. She designed Clara for Daters with the help of psychologists and experts to help singles be conscious about their relationship choices by tracking insights over time. This provides a framework for singles to learn from the past, take control of their love lives, and build healthy partnerships.

(10:40) Intentionality is key in dating

Jillian explains that Clara for Daters helps singles embrace a slow, intentional approach to dating even when they feel anxious and want a relationship right away. She acknowledges that at 35, her desire to marry and have kids makes it hard to act patiently. But the app allows her to track her dates so she feels closer to her goals, even without the outcome. Jillian says that just because you haven’t met the right person yet doesn’t mean you aren’t getting closer. 

(12:18) Let’s get technical about dating

Jillian describes the scores in the Clara for Daters app as deliverables that show progress. By logging dates and answering questions, you get closer to understanding what you want. “ I can’t hold that person that I’m going to be with in my hand yet. But I can hold this one deliverable, I can come back, refer to Clara, and see that I’ve been logging the dates, and I’m getting closer to understanding what I’m looking for and who that person is.” 

When reflecting on a date, the app often asks yes or no questions, then provides a space for notes. For Jillian, it asked if she found a certain date’s eyes attractive. She had had previous reservations, but said yes to this question. When she began elaborating in the notes section, she realized she had taken his expressive eyes for granted. This process of calling things out and reflecting intentionally builds attraction and self-awareness. 


(20.01) Can an app shift your values and intentions about dating?

Jillian explains that going through a difficult breakup and then intentionally reflecting on her patterns with Clara has absolutely shifted her values and intentions in dating. She realized her attraction to her “bad boy” ex was actually based on unhealthy patterns from her past, like people pleasing and trying to perform to keep him happy. It wasn’t real chemistry.

(24:22) Roster Dating 

Jillian explains that “roster dating”, or dating multiple people at once, and using the Clara app to log each date has helped reduce her anxiety and the pressure she feels for a date to work out. 

(26:53) How can we put the loneliness epidemic behind us?

Jillian advises viewing dates as opportunities for social connection which benefit mental health. “So then getting a relationship is not the outcome. It’s me exercising my social connection ability.” Just interacting with new people and avoiding isolation is a win with the loneliness epidemic. Even lackluster dates exercise social skills.

Jillian sees many inconsistent daters endlessly deleting and redownloading apps. She recommends staying consistent but focusing on self-improvement metrics. Define success by getting stronger at identifying what you want, building boundaries, learning your attraction levels – not forcing a partnership. Strengthening your relationship skills is the real “win.”
Be sure to follow Jillian on Instagram @jillianromerochaves and check out the Clara for Daters App!



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

  • Email from Marsha – Hi, Damona. I’m a 67 year old African American woman who hasn’t dated in seven years, the idea of putting myself out there is doubt and anxiety producing. I’m a totally different person now than I was seven years ago. Is there hope for me?

Dear Damona: STI Sitch & Solo Parent Singles

F the Fairy Tale Pre-Order Giveaway (0:00)

We have some amazing news to share about Damona’s upcoming book “F the Fairy Tale” which will be released on January 2nd: It’s actually available for pre-order AND if you order now you’ll get the Black Friday deal of 25% off and free shipping on orders over $25 now through November 28th. Visit FTheFairyTaleBook.com to pre-order the book and get this awesome deal.

An All Dear Damona (2:10)

We are so excited to welcome any new listeners who may have seen Damona’s recent appearance on The Drew Barrymore Show! Damona has been an OG Drew Crew member since Season 1 and this time, she got to do an epic Girl Talk segment on the largest couch ever with Drew, Tiff Bera and Hannah Burner. They answered audience questions and Damona did her best not to get swallowed by that huge couch.

Whether you found Damona through Drew or have been listening for years, her mission is the same – to help with your love dilemmas!

There’s so much to dive into during today’s jam-packed episode! By popular demand, the Dear Damona segment is back and producer Lindsey joins again for an all Dear Damona episode to tackle your questions about bots on dating apps, safeguards for online dating, commitment issues, dating as a single mom, and more!

Dear Damona (4:51)

(04:58) IG DM from M

What’s the best way to handle guys you are not interested in? Swipe left and the next day they show up again in your like list as a “new here” member. I have several repeat offenders that are constantly liking my profile as a “New Here” member. It seems they may be signing up with new accounts every few days to recirculate the profile pool. It’s really disturbing. Thank you for your time.

(08:51)  IG DM from L

I’m wondering if you’re able to address the topic of how to not date “bad people”. I seem to be a magnet for psychopaths and narcissists. And although I’m getting better at identifying them earlier, I’ve been in a number of very scary situations. How can I avoid these people to begin with? 

(15:57) IG DM from Donna

I’ve been widowed for six years, dating for three. I used a matchmaker at first, but I’ve recently entered the world of online dating. I actually love OkCupid. It’s a great app for me. 

I recently met a man that I really like. We went out and hit it off. But on the first date, he revealed to me that he has herpes. I am unsure about continuing our relationship.I am crazy attracted to him and he seems like a good person. 

It’s so early on in the relationship. I’m leaning towards ending it though. Should I find more out about it and continue or realize that this could just be one of my deal breakers? Honestly, the thought of dealing with it stresses me out.

(21:46) IG DM from Rose:

I am 45 and single. I’m currently struggling with dating. I recently realized when I’m interested in a man that I will go overboard with affection in order to show them how I like to receive affection when their actions do not line up with my expectations for interest or the affection that I want, I start to question the whole relationship.

Currently, I’m in a situation where I’ve done everything he’s mentioned that he needs to feel safe, but I don’t feel like I’m getting the same in return. He told me that I want full relationship interest and affection and that he isn’t there yet. He said he’s open to a relationship with me but doesn’t want to be locked down just yet. In my new understanding of myself, I’ve taken a step back to allow him to show me how he shows interest. But now I’m getting nothing. No flirting, no cute texts. We haven’t even seen each other in over two weeks. Should I save my heart and run? Your thoughts are greatly appreciated!

(29:25) IG DM from M 

Can you please tell me the best way to online date as a single mother? How do I convey to other singles in my online profile that my child and I come as a package and that I don’t have babysitting options such as family or ex partners? And how can I do it all without seeming too pushy or needy?

Have More Questions? (36:38)

Submit your questions on Instagram, X, or Facebook and hear Damona’s answers live on  the show!