Tag Archive for: healthy

Healthy Communication & Roasting for Romance


This week is all about discerning healthy communication patterns in response to conflict in all your relationships. Conflict is going to happen no matter what. It’s normal. Whether you’re self-partnered, dating, or in a relationship it’s important to look inside take a moment to prepare for healthy conflict. 

Marla Mattenson is an internationally recognized relationship expert specializing in working with entrepreneurial couples using her background in neuroscience and mathematics. Over the course of her 25+ year career, Marla has helped more than 12,000 couples including Academy Award winners, NBA players, and Grammy Awards winners!

She’s here to give us all the answers on healthy communication!

More on that later, first we have headlines!


Are you and your partner headed for a breakup?

According to Elite Daily, 55% of couples see moving in together as a step towards marriage. According to Marla, if your partner is giving you more gifts than normal this is a SURE sign you’re headed for a breakup.


Tim Tebow has tied the knot and FINALLY popped his cherry

Wedding Bells for Tim Tebow and Miss Universe Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters. No word yet on whether she’ll add another hyphen to her name.

Roasting for Romance?

Some new research from Appalachian State University indicates that roasting – sarcastic jabs at your partner – can actually be healthy and bring you and your partner closer together. Damona and Marla disagree.



Marla and Damona go in-depth on exploring your childhood conflict when it comes to healthy communication:

  • Fight, Flight, or Freeze
  • It’s not your fault, it’s your biology
  • Insightful knowledge as to how we handle conflict
  • Three key ways to effectively navigate the situation:
    • Acknowledge your childhood
    • Introduce awareness to the conversation
    • Press the reset button on all default settings
  • Introducing a safe word in your relationship to let you partner know when his/her “fight, flight or freeze” default setting is kicking in
  • Speaking your truth
  • Getting Unpleasant feedback
  • Why you need GEJF in your life (Grace, Ease, Joy, Flow)


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

  • IG – This guy I’ve been in a situationship with has been working a lot lately. He told me at his job someone was eyes him and asked if that person was flirting with him? But then he said he felt uncomfortable. Should I be concerned? Is he asking me how to read the signs?
  • EMAIL -I have been this guy long time – after a long period of being broken up, I have found him again on Facebook. I miss him, love him, and want to marry him. We haven’t seen each other in three months. He either changed his phone number or blocked me. I want another chance and to be with him for Valentine Day. I bought a Valentine’s Day present for him. What should I do?
  • IG – I’ve been divorced for about 10 years and I’m just getting back into dating. When I was 18, I needed an ileostomy to save my life and now I’m wearing an external pouch. My ex had no problems with it because it doesn’t interfere with intimacy. ButI’ve told guys after a few dates about my pouch and I’ve also waited to tell them. In most cases the guy ghosts me. Do I wait until there is a deep emotional connection and risk being emotionally hurt? Or do I tell them up front and lose the guy sooner than later?


Damona  0:12  

Hello lovers Welcome to dates and mates. Thank you for making this your go to dating show for the past seven years to all the new listeners who watch my dating profile polish on E Welcome to the fam I am here to love up on you and support you at all phases of dating and relationships and so is my guest for today. Marla Martinson is an internationally recognized relationship expert specializing in working with entrepreneurial couples. She uses her background in neuroscience and in mathematics to do this. And over the course of her 25 year career. She has helped more than 12,000 couples, including Academy Award winners and beyond. Players, Grammy Award winners millionaires, y’all. She’s the real deal. Please give big smooches to Marla Martinson. Thank you so much for being here.


Marla Mattenson  1:10  

Thank you so much. I’m super excited for this show!


Damona  1:13  

All right, this is the gold standard of advice, y’all. So, get your pen and paper ready because we are going to give you some really key advice about building healthy relationships, and communication. Even when things get a little bit uncomfortable, especially in a fight. We’ll be talking about fighting it’s gonna happen y’all. So we’ll tell you how to navigate through so that you both can get your needs met in the relationship. And we’ll also be covering this week’s headlines including What are the signs that you and your partner could be heading for a breakup and Tim t bow tie the knot and finally popped his cherry Garcia we have the decision about that was is it good for you to roast your partner will tell you the answer to that in a minute and then we’ll answer your question. Including, should you be worried that someone is flirting with your boo at work? And what do you do? If you want your ex back? Especially when you already have a Valentine’s Day present for them? Oh, is this gonna be a spicy one? Marla?


Damona 2:15  

Are you ready to dish though?


Damona  2:19  

All right. All right, our friends at elite daily gave us the skinny on the four signs that you may be headed for a breakup. I have to admit I did give a lot of the advice for this for this article. But I’m curious Marla because you work with you work with couples. And I’m sure you have seen a lot of these signs coming up. I’ll just go over some of the signs. Y’all should read it on your own. We’ll put the link in the show notes. But I told them to look out for a change in communication style and a decline in sexual intimacy, signs of annoyance or them needing space from you and I think those are just some of the signs, but I’m sure you’ve seen a lot of other signs and people want to know like, what is my partner thinking? What should they be looking for before things get into crisis? I love this article, actually,


Marla Mattenson  3:14  

I think it’s really fantastic. It’s a great sign post, there’s not a whole lot more to add to it To be honest, except gifts. If they start giving you more than you’re used to, then that kind of a change, also more than just in the communication style. If they’re starting to go above and beyond, it might mean that they’re trying to put in the extra effort, just in case maybe it will work.


Damona  3:39  

Oh, wow, way, way, way way. Wait, because I know a lot of our listeners are saying, Oh, this is great. Like my partner is really leaning in. And they’re they’re showering me with attention. And this is something that I see also in dating in the early phase that I tell people to look out for that when somebody is too too romantic. too aggressive with trying to lock down the relationship? I say that’s actually a bad sign. So that’s also a bad sign on the way our on and the relation. Yes, yes.


Marla Mattenson  4:10  

It’s sort of like a last ditch effort. It’s it’s, it’s actually something that I coach on as well in relationship is you want to put in your real hundred percent efforts that maybe you have been holding back because you’ve been waiting for your partner to show up and do the work. And they haven’t. So what I teach is you show up and you do the work. So you put in the extra effort and you see how your partner responds. And so because I know that I offer that as advice to my couples, if they’re having a lot of challenges, I know that sometimes that’s what’s actually going on, someone’s putting in one more big huge effort at the end to see is my partner going to change? Are they going to do anything different or they’re going to still be the curmudgeon? Are they still going to be you know, bitchy, are they still going to have problems and you know, complain, etc. Or they going to see me a new because the idea and relationship as you know is you have have to be able to see your partner with fresh eyes every day, every moment of the day. And if you can’t see your partner with fresh eyes, then you’re always going to be looking for the things that they’re doing wrong. You’re going to be looking for those problems, rather than looking for what’s new and fresh about my partner today. How can I honor and love what he’s all about today are what she’s all about today, rather than looking for all of the issues and the problems and the challenges,


Damona  5:25  

yeah, I like the idea of really focusing on the present and I talked to daters about this a lot. What about if we were to look into the past many of these, these cohabitation situations, which is really what this article was talking about, like signs, your partner may be moving out, not just breaking up with you. I think that some of the problems begin before the point of that this article begins. And according to the article 55% of people see moving in together as a step toward marriage. I actually hosted a TV series for a networks called a question of love were removed couples in together for the first time. And they had to go through this intensive experience for 30 days and see if they wanted to stay together or move out and break up. And I found that so many of the times as we move these couples together, they were like, yeah, I’m ready for a relationship. But the moving in together meant something different to each of them. Many of them hadn’t had conversations about like almost sort of a prenup of what’s going to happen if we break up. And it was it’s continually surprising to me with clients as I help them through the dating process. that so many of them are are focused on let me get to the moving in like then now I’ve now I’ve got something, but it’s so much more complicated when you’re living with someone. And I find a lot of these questions aren’t being asked early enough. The dating process


Marla Mattenson  6:54  

definitely you know, meaning making is one of the biggest challenges and relationships My partner, Julian, he could literally walk across the room and I can make meaning out of that. How he’s walking across the room, the look on his face what he’s paying attention to, you know. And so if you start paying more attention to the inner world of your own, and you start asking yourself, what meaning Am I making out of moving in together out of how he’s doing this, how she’s doing that, then you’re going to start to understand more about yourself, your own needs, your own desires, and then instead of waiting for your partner, to show up and be all of what you want, you actually know what you want, and then you can articulate it. And you can actually verbalize, you can say it, you can speak it out loud, and then you can see how it lands and how it lands matters, right? Because then you can feel the sort of reverberation of how it lands no matter what they say. You can feel the truth in the vibration of the tone of the vibration of you know, their body posture or their arms folded, look away. You know what’s happening as you’re saying Speaking your needs and your desires to your partner.


Damona  8:03  

Well, one person who seemed to be very clear about his needs and his desires was Tim Tebow. He loved love. We’re on board for this. He married Miss Universe Demi Lee Nell Peters. She has a lot of hyphens in her name. I don’t know she’s going to definitely mail Peters t bo. But here’s the catch with this story. Tim was very vocal for many years about his faith and about his desire to stay celibate until he was married, and only 3% of the US population waits until marriage. I was not aware of that. I was not either. But I I’m curious what you think about the faith aside about making this declaration of not having not being intimate until you get married, and if you’ve seen like any couples that have been successful waiting or unsuccessful in not been finding out later that they weren’t intimately compatible.


Marla Mattenson  9:04  

Yes, that I love the way you just said that. That’s really wonderful. I wonder if Tim did not have his faith if he would have been celibate. That’s my first wondering, because I believe that celibacy and faith tend to go hand in hand for our youth now, and there is a movement for celibacy in our youth that has nothing to do with faith that just has to do with I’m saving myself for the right time, but it’s not necessarily marriage. saving yourself for marriage is different than saving yourself for love. So celibacy till marriage is a completely different animal and I have to be honest, unless it’s your faith, please don’t do it. Don’t wait until you’re married to have sex. Okay,


Damona  9:55  

why Marla?


Marla Mattenson  9:56  

Okay, because exactly what you said which is sexual portability is a real thing. I mean, I have a client who a former client who she ended a relationship with someone she really loved because of the way his anatomy hit her on the inside, in a way that caused pain every time they tried to make love. And it was just him. It was it was just the way he curved to the left a little bit that hit her and they tried I gave them all kinds of coaching on that, you know, different positions this and that. And it was painful. She couldn’t enjoy sex with him. And so he was really big,


Damona  10:42  

right? No, no, he wasn’t actually okay. We don’t even Okay, we


Marla Mattenson  10:45  

don’t have to go there I go, there I go.


Marla Mattenson  10:51  

But it’s sometimes the anatomy is an issue and if that’s an issue, you do not want to be in a lifelong relationship with someone that is Going to have that kind of a problem that’s just starting with a foundation that’s really shaky. That’s very challenging, even when you love someone, so literally, there are so many issues in the sexual arena that have nothing to do with compatibility that have to do with taste and touch and the way you hold each other and you know, how, how rigid or contracted you are versus how much you can relax. There’s so many nuances to lovemaking that, you know, you kind of want to take the car for a test drive before you buy it.


Damona  11:36  

Yes, you know, just don’t like move the car in your garage before you know you know where you’re going to be driving it. There you go. Okay. As we are looking at different qualities that make a relationship successful beyond the INTIMACY COMPATIBILITY. Community communication is obviously something that you specialize in and something We’ll be talking about more later on in the show. There was an article Marla in the sun, obviously a very reputable source that said, roasting your partner every day makes the relationship stronger. I’m going to just go out on a limb here and say, this goes against everything I know about healthy relationships. And they were saying that it’s good for the the energy to kind of rip them on certain qualities that irritate you rather than nag them. But I kind of feel like if you’re having that much contempt in your relationship, you know, that’s what one of john Gottman four horsemen, you’re feeling those feelings towards your partner. I’m not sure that roasting them is the right way to


Marla Mattenson  12:48  

bring it to the surface. I’m so glad you feel that way. I can


Damona  12:52  

say on this lady, so I was ready.


Marla Mattenson  12:56  

I’m a hell no for that.


Marla Mattenson  12:57  

So it makes me question. I’m not The sun they’re just reporting but it makes me question the research and the ages of the participants. It makes me want to question how many people they interviewed it makes me want to question how long they’ve been in relationship it makes me want to question a number of things about the actual research and it feels very teenage It feels like a teenage You know, when you’re in middle school and you kind of negative each other like, you know, you can’t


Damona  13:27  

write boy makes fun of you, like sells your hair, then he likes you


Marla Mattenson  13:32  

Why is that a thing and that should not continue into a healthy adult relationship. So preamble also to just add on to what you said is, you know, I love dr. john Gottman and it’s if you are using sarcasm in your relationship in any way. Sarcasm, the definition of sarcasm is tearing flesh. I mean, it is not kind it’s saying something that you’re hoping somebody Going to get a message underneath of a truth. Why not just say the truth? And why don’t we because you know, we don’t want to deal with the actual reaction from our partner. So if we are sarcastic instead, then we can, if there’s a negative reaction, we can easily just say, oh, babe, I was just kidding. Oh, why can’t you just roll with it? You’re all you’re so serious, you know, rather than, you know, actually that hurt my feelings. I didn’t like when you said that. That doesn’t feel good to me. To me. Building a loving healthy lifelong relationship with your partner means you pour love and kindness into the union of your relationship the big week, right? You don’t pour sarcasm and jokes that are meant for little digs. Just to get some you know upregulation of hormones so that you can get horny for each other.


Marla Mattenson  14:51  

You know, that’s not that will keep you


Damona  14:54  

it’s not sustainable to now walking off into the sunset now. This is this is getting interesting, Marla, this is getting very interesting. And I know you have many more insights to share on how to build a healthy relationship, how to deal with conflict, like what we were talking about, and how to have this partner in crime that you you live with, that you love, and maybe even that you work with, that you can really build a long term standing relationship with. So yeah, we’ll be talking about that right after the break. But first, I just have to acknowledge one of our listeners who left this lovely five star review on Apple podcast. Darling Nikki says, Wow, I’m obsessed and I can’t believe I never heard this pod. I can’t believe you haven’t either. loving every app and don’t want to sleep just binge. Thank you, Nikki. We’re so glad that you found the show and we are so grateful you took the time to give us a review. Whether you’re a binge listener like Nikki or a casual fan of the show, please leave us a review on your favorite podcast platform so we can shout you out and give you some love on a future episode. More with Marla Martinson in just a moment.


Welcome back. We are here with Marla Martinson and we’re talking about dealing with conflict and relationships and building healthy communication. Marla. Now, you alluded to this in the first segment, but you also work with your partner, Julian colker. He’s a little under the weather today. So we’ll have to join us on a future show. But first of all, how is that because so many people tell me so many clients say I really want to find my partner in crime and somebody who’s going to support me through not just like, love but also life and business. You’ve done it. Yes. How’s that working for you? It’s amazing.


Marla Mattenson  16:38  

It’s amazing. And it’s challenging. It is challenging from time to time, right? You know, we’re just like any other couple, we get into the arguments that sometimes spiral down into the pit of hell. And then we come out together the other side, but really, we look at it like it’s kind of like an obstacle course that we go through together. So even when we’re spiraling down, we’re aware because awareness is always the first Step in any process that you’re going to master at some point, you become aware at some point in that conflict. Oh my gosh, wait, I’m in a conflict with the person I love the most on this planet. And when you can pause long enough to remember that that’s the point to insert a knowing that actually it’s not your fault. It’s your biology. Your biology is telling you lies about your partner. Wait, what does that mean? So this is like, this is inner game, inner game, baby. All ready to go in.


Marla Mattenson  17:37  

Okay, let’s do it.


Marla Mattenson  17:40  

So, when you’re aware that you feel like you want to attack your partner, verbally, just even in your mind, right? You’re saying really awful things in your mind about your partner, blaming them angry, you know, why can’t he or why can’t she just get it or whatever it is. for you in that moment, when you become aware that you’re thinking negative thoughts about your partner, that’s the moment to say, I must be activated. I must be activated about something. It may even not be about my partner, it may be about because, you know, we can’t pay this bill or you know, the mother in law just called or you know, something else is happening with the kids or something is going on in your life. You’re feeling stressed, you’re looking around. I’m not sure if you saw this burn a brown video of it’s hilarious. She talks about how she’s in her kitchen, and she accidentally drops a mug of coffee on the floor. And her husband is nowhere to be found. He’s not even in the house at the time and she yells his name out and blames him for it. And she dropped it and she dropped it.


Damona  18:50  

Right girls you know it,


Marla Mattenson  18:53  

like the closest person to like ttttt Oh, you You’re the problem. It can’t be me. Right because our ego Won’t let it be us as the problem. So as soon as you realize you’re in that loop, the crazy loop of I want to blame. I want to blame my partner for how I’m feeling right now, even if it is their fault. Okay, here’s the thing. One of our philosophies is it’s never you versus your partner. It’s never you, it your partner is the problem. It’s always the two of you versus the problem. Yes, right. Even if your partner is the problem, we still look at it like we’re sitting next to each other, rather than across from each other across from each other is actually very aggressive. It’s an animal aggressive state to be exactly opposite each other looking into each other’s eyes, rather than sitting next to each other at a table and looking out or going for a walk together and talking about a problem. So the thing is, is that our biology is telling us your partner is a threat. He’s a threat, he’s the problem, or she’s the threat. She’s the problem. The lies that go on our chemical. So your body is is telling you through cortisol through norepinephrine through all the chemicals flowing in your system when you feel attacked in some way. There’s no saber toothed Tiger anymore. We’re not running from a lot of wild lion anymore. But now the threat is can we pay our bills? Right? Is my partner having an affair? Are it does he really love me? You know, all of those things. And when you get into a conflict, it’s a mini microcosm of that old fight flight or freeze response that happens.


Damona  20:32  

Right? So talk to us about this fight, flight, or freeze. I’m sure people have heard fighter flight. The talk to us about what the freeze element means and then, you know, as we are just nothing but mammals. Yeah. How does it How is it really affecting us in relationships in our biology?


Marla Mattenson  20:53  

Yes. So, fight so if everybody has one major default In the fight flight or freeze response so as as everybody’s listening, you can listen for your own. And sometimes it’s a combination sometimes you go back and forth and sometimes it’s all three and that’s the like, you know, trifecta of horror, when they’re all three activated. So the fight is something happens. Your partner does something they say something they could load the dishwasher wrong in your eyes. Something happens to me, right once.


Damona  21:24  

No, no, on the regular rice, right? Because there is a right way to load the dishwasher according to each of us. Don’t we want the dishes to be clean? I don’t know. But okay, go on. Okay, and then we’ll and then we’ll come full circle back to analyze me later. Okay.


Marla Mattenson  21:42  

So the fight response is your first inclination is to lash out and to say something to take action. So if your first response is, I need to say something about that dishwasher. The first response is, hey, hey babe, may remember put the glasses on the top Remember, right? Exactly that okay, though, remember. So that’s also kind of like the nag, the nag and the fighter are kind of cousins. So that’s if you have your first response is some action. It can also be a passive aggressive action, which is, let’s say there’s a towel left on the floor every morning, okay? And so white response is, I’m going to pick up that towel and put it back on the hanger. that’s a that’s a it’s a lower level version of the fight response, because on the inside your mind is saying to yourself, that so and so why can he ever just pick up that’s how I’ve told him a million times? So even if he’s not even there, you can still have the fight response when there’s nobody listening. Okay, yeah. Okay. So that’s the fight response. The flight response is, you just want to exit the building, either actually, or in your mind. So these are people who sort of shut down. They they You know, hey, I gotta go handle these other things. They want to put everything on pause.


Marla Mattenson  23:04  

This is the people that ghost


Marla Mattenson  23:06  

these are the ghost tours, the fighters are they can’t handle conflicts they will avoid at all costs. They’re the ones who actually will use sarcasm and then pretend like it’s not a big deal to actually try to communicate. So the flight people will get the same chemicals but chemicals bond and they start reacting in the way that they learned how to deal with conflict by witnessing and experiencing from childhood.


Damona  23:29  

Oh, yeah. Okay. So let’s talk about that. Okay. A lot of people come into relationships with their own conditioning, and they think, I don’t want to do that. My parents did that. And that was uncomfortable for me. So I’m going to be different in my relationship. Do you find that people if they are able to consciously acknowledge what their childhood conditioning was? Are they able to rewrite it? Or do you find that they end up just falling into the same pattern?


Marla Mattenson  23:56  

You know, both. I’m just gonna I’m going to answer all of the above Because what happens is just because you’re aware of it doesn’t mean you have a new pathway. So typically, when you become aware, oh, I don’t want to recreate this pattern that my parents did. Typically we do the opposite, which is the opposite side of the same coin. So you’re still doing the pattern, you’re just doing the pattern, the opposite, it does not heal the pattern. To heal the pattern, you need to do something completely new, have a completely new response. And so part of the work that Julian and I do with couples and that we practice ourselves is really excavating family lineage patterns. Because Where did you come from? You didn’t come from nowhere. You came from somewhere, and you learned through experience. And up until the age of seven, we’re literally just open vessels receiving we have no ability to deny or reject or say no to anyone or anything.


Damona  24:50  

And you’re not talking just about parental relationship. You’re talking about lineage like what has been passed down generation Right, Andre, she says,


Marla Mattenson  25:00  

Did your parents do the work to excavate their material from their parents? Or did their parents or did their parents or their parents, everybody? You know, at one point, what your current parents taught you was very helpful. But that could have been five generations ago. But we’re still using those things today, because who has taken the time to look at their family lineage around, let’s say, pleasure? What did you learn about your family? lineage from pleasure? Like, what did you witness your family doing around physical pleasure? Guess what, it’s in your bedroom? Yeah. And we can excavate that. So really, taking a look at the biology of what’s happening inside of you, is really the most important first step. So becoming aware and pausing long enough to listen to your own thoughts before they fly out of your mouth. And that’s one of the hardest things to do. Right? Because especially those of us who are fighters who just want to say it and then also if you happen to be articulate as you are, as I am Right, you can say things in a way that are logical, they make sense and they’re obviously non combative. But are they building intimacy? are they building more connection? And there are plenty of times where what I say to Julian is not building intimacy and how it’s not about being perfect. It’s about how quickly can I become aware that oops, I just said something that is not in alignment with who I really am. That’s an old version of Marla. That’s the kind of Marla that’s the little hurt girl right? The one who just wants to be loved and doesn’t need us understand all I need a hug. All he needs, whatever, but how does he know that I need a hug when I’m throwing prickly, you know, dark energy out and him right? And he’s like, I’m just gonna stay away from that until that calms down. It’s like a porcupine, you know, right. All the plumes come up, and he can’t get close to me.


Damona  26:52  

And then what is his conditioning to is the other side of that Right,


Marla Mattenson  26:54  

exactly. So the Exactly, so the other side of the pattern is what is he conditioned to do and part of I’ll just share because we share all apartments cereal. Thank you, right?


Damona  27:04  

We’re open book. Yeah. Jason made? Yes.


Marla Mattenson  27:08  

So you know, part of his side of the pattern is he doesn’t want to be made wrong. Oh, well, isn’t that the perfect other side of the pattern? I get to be right and he has to be wrong. And so when I find that I’m feeling righteous, or justified or verified in my, because I have a long list of reasons why my way is correct, even if it is, that’s not going to build the intimacy and he will feel wrong. And so that will activate him. And so when he gets activated, and if I’m activated, we call that double activation. And that is the most challenging thing to go through. And that’s when you start spiraling down. And so when one of us has the courage to say, pause, hold on. We’re in it. We’re in it. This is it. This is the moment can we go through the rest of this together like that? Okay, oops, we didn’t do so hot the first five minutes. But How about now?


Damona  28:05  

Right now, it’s like kind of bringing it back to what you said earlier of having that moment. Living the moment again, and you’re you’re right there, you’re not like in what just happened five minutes ago, or what happened last week, or what is going to happen next week, it’s being in that moment with your partner and being on the same team, like you were saying, exactly. And


Marla Mattenson  28:26  

we actually have a technique for that. I can teach it in two seconds, teach it, it’s called the redo.


Damona  28:31  



Marla Mattenson  28:33  

redo it. And so what it is, is you ask for Rito. So if I’m the one who kind of started it, then I’ll say Wait, can I get a redo? If I, if I can be aware, and then we pause, and he’s, we’re both sort of calm enough that I can say, Can I get a redo, babe, I really did not. Start that the way I really wanted to. And he’ll go, Okay, hold on, give me a second. I gotta shake that off. First. They’ll shake it off. I’ll shake it off and then I’ll go okay. And the idea is You bring sparkly eyes, you bring your open heart, you bring your best self and you both reenact the same scenario. But this time you show up as your best self as your loving self as the self who wants to build love, intimacy and connection, even through challenges and chaos. And when you redo it, you’re literally rewiring your brain in the moment because when you think back on a memory, you remember what happened mostly at the end? Yes, okay. You remember the beginning and you remember the end, you don’t really remember the murky middle, okay? That’s all where it gets very subjective. And so when you redo it, you have redone it and you end smiling. So when you remember the beginning next time, you’ll also remember Oh, yeah, and we did the redo. And we went


Damona  29:44  

through it together, and we ended up smiling. Yeah. Marla, how do I get how do I deal with this dishes that you know, I know, how do I get the towels off my floor? I’ll tell you. I mean, of all the things it’s pretty a pretty minor thing. We’ve been together so almost 17 years, 16 years, I’ve, I’ve also just realized, like people sometimes have their patterns and limitations and like, I can be mad about the towel on the floor, or I can just pick it up and move on with my life and let it be over. Yes. And so that’s what I 17 years later decided to do. But honestly, I seriously don’t know you guys. Is that, is that what you recommend? Or is that like, is that a flight response?


Marla Mattenson  30:29  

Okay, let’s let’s chat about it.


Marla Mattenson  30:30  

Yeah, it depends. And the reason it depends is because it depends on your state of mind in the moment. So, next time, he leaves his towel on the floor, if you will, first of all, I’m assuming. So let let me not assume Let me ask a question. Have you mentioned this to him in the past?


Damona  30:49  

He like years ago, like years, okay, it’s been years and then now it’s just like, oh, there’s gonna be towels on


Marla Mattenson  30:55  

and so is it every day that there’s two or every time


Marla Mattenson  30:58  

I mean, it’s like 6040 Okay, 6040


Marla Mattenson  31:03  

So, okay, so there’s a couple of things. First thing is you can with a whole fresh new attitude and love in your heart, you can have a new conversation with him to say, you know what, I realized that I’ve kind of let this thing go, but it actually is still kind of a little bit of a thing for me. I wonder if you’d be willing to make an extra effort to hang up your towel after you use it every day. And then wait for the response and have a conversation about it. And you can also say, and I want to let you know that if you forget from time to time, it’s okay. But it’s still okay. Like it’s been okay this whole time and it’s also still okay. And I also just want to let you know, like, it actually would still feel loving to me, if you would make an even an extra effort, right now, how does that feel to you? And then wait for his response.


Damona  31:51  

And now let’s play out the different responses. Okay, everybody. So let’s say the response is like, you know, and just for listeners, like we’re talking about towels, with This could be anything in your relationships. Right? And it’s like a woman. Why are you talking to me about these towels again? I don’t think he would say that. But let’s just play devil’s advocate that


Marla Mattenson  32:10  

Yeah. Yeah. What is it about me asking you that bothers you? Oh,


Marla Mattenson  32:16  

so whenever someone that’s not that’s not.


Marla Mattenson  32:20  

That’s not a fight response. So know if you’re in a calm place, and you ask genuinely because you’re curious and you really want it like, ooh, up. Okay, that’s your reaction. I wasn’t expecting that. And that’s totally fine. I’m just curious, what, what is it about me asking you that feels so off. And you really want to know, and this is the thing is that we don’t really want to know certain things about our partners. And so we just don’t ask and we don’t ask. So I’m a big fan of asking.


Damona  32:53  

Yes, that is so important. Like in all we’re talking about conflict, but that’s just important at all phases. Building the relationship curiosity. Oh, yeah. Yo, you hear in her I curiosity comment is what I say for people when they’re dating, like be curious about so good about what you need to know about that person just like be curious on a date. So it’s the same thing in the relationship. And people always ask me, How do you keep the relationship feeling fresh and feeling new and discovery? Right? You still have to stay curious. You talk about something, a philosophy called gaggia. Yes. What is gaggia?


Marla Mattenson  33:32  

Okay, gaggia I just have to say I hated that word for many years. And it finally in 2020 is actually a thing. It’s a thing and Julian named it okay, but it’s our philosophy of grace, ease, joy and flow. So get GIF getcha getcha g JF gadget that it’s just easier to say yes. And so it’s like our philosophy is, you know, you can’t control what’s coming at you in life, you know, there’s always the UPS, there’s always the downs, you have no control over that. But you do have control over how you respond. You do have control over that. And if you respond with, I expect grace, ease, joy and flow, even through conflicts, even through challenges, and through the joy and through the happiness, then you start living your life that way. And then when something bad happens, you get a car accident, you know, life happens, right? Then you’re prepared because that’s what you’ve been practicing. I want to run one more thing, which is the freeze response. We didn’t get to that. Can I just say that really quick? The freeze response is and it’s so interesting that it almost is forgotten, you know, because the freeze response is literally like the chameleon just blending into the wall. It’s you know, the octopus that can turn into anything. It’s, you know, the the freeze response is feeling paralyzed. You have no words, no words will come out of your mouth. You’re not trying Two eyes out your partner but you just can’t find any words. Everything in your mind is confusion and your partner’s articulate and you have no idea what to say. So you just say nothing. So the freeze response is a really delicate response that is challenging for people. You know, I actually am an introvert people don’t realize that about me. But I can get into the freeze response. When I’m really activated. I go right into that little girl space where I’m like, I’ll just be like the silent little Good girl where I don’t know what to say. So I’m going to say nothing.


Damona  35:31  

Hmm. And so very fulfilling for your prey.


Marla Mattenson  35:33  

It is not they’re not


Marla Mattenson  35:34  

know and it’s trying to work through the GED. Exactly, exactly. And


Marla Mattenson  35:39  

so you know, then you find ways to sort of down regulate the emotions and allow those chemicals to flow through your system and pass through and give yourself a little bit of time and then you come forward again, and you go Okay, let’s, let’s try this again. Let’s do a redo.


Damona  35:54  

I love that. And I’m also married to an introvert who’s like Now he’s uh he’s like an introvert mascot yeah found power in introversion but yeah it’s it’s it’s hard when everyone else is is talking and everyone else is in like fight response if your tendency is to go inward and and shut down or we’re not be able to find the words like me right now


Marla Mattenson  36:24  

if you tapped into the introvert I did you tapped in


Damona  36:27  

like channeling him. This is all such such great information and I know you have insights that our listeners are going to want to hear in our next segment because we got a lot of questions. I so appreciate it y’all. I appreciate you. trusting us with your love lives. We have some very, very challenging questions, but I know Marla Martinson is up to the task so don’t go anywhere. We have more dates and dates right after this. Welcome back to dates and mates.


We have some Very challenging questions on this week’s show that have been sent to us far and wide from all different sources Instagram, email, Facebook, you can hit me up on any of the platforms at Damona Hoffman if you if you have a question for a future show. This one Marla comes to us from Instagram. This gal says this guy I’ve been in a situation ship with has been working a lot lately. He told me that at his job, someone was eyeing him. And he asked if that person was flirting with him. But then he said he felt uncomfortable. Should I be concerned? is he asking me how to read the signs? So this person it seemed in situation ships, so it’s kind of a new relationship. But the guy’s asking or like somebody seems to be flirting with me. I don’t really know. What do I do?


Marla Mattenson  37:58  

Yeah. How would you read this? This I think this is such a beautiful question because it’s very clear that he wants to move things forward with the woman who wrote that, because he wouldn’t say anything to her about someone flirting at work or potentially flirting. If he wanted to go off and flirt with that other person or start something with somebody else, he would he would probably just go do it rather than talk about it or ask about it. So it’s really beautiful that and it’s sort of a celebration that he is coming to you with this information. And so it’s it’s um, it’s kind of like a toe dip in like, how honest can we be with each other in this relationship? He’s checking to see if you’re going to greet him with love and affection. Or and this may be conscious or unconscious in him okay, but he’s coming to you with Are you a safe person to reveal the truth of my life too, or are you going to freak out, are you going to judge me? Are you going to blame me? What are you going to do with this information? So So the idea here is, in my experience and opinion would be to ask him a question, to get curious to get curious about him and say, Wow, first of all, number one, always when someone brings information to you that they wouldn’t normally bring or they don’t have to bring. The first response is always two words. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you for bringing this to me. I really appreciate you sharing this with me. What did that feel like to have that happen? What what Kate, what came up for you like if you become the open, curious space for this person to come and share this information, the number one, he’s going to bring more to you. And number two, you’re going to bond over the fact that you can get curious about this very benign situation because he wasn’t That flirting, if he was into that flirting, then he would have just gone into that flirting.


Damona  40:04  

Yeah. So well done. I agree with you. It seems to be a sign of desiring this to become more serious. I do wonder though, if there’s an element of, I’m telling you someone else’s flirting with me to let you know, like, I got options here. Yeah, so yeah, let down


Marla Mattenson  40:26  

this Right, right. Exactly, exactly. So. So before you nail it down, though, you want to make sure that he’s not just playing a game, you want to actually ask questions to see how he shows up in the response. So he’s checking to see how you’re going to show up. But you also want to check to see how he’s going to show up. So gathering more information through experience, not just through your thinking about it, but through actual questions and having him answer and having a beautiful conversation about it is what’s going to help the two of you together come to Oh, yeah.


Marla Mattenson  41:00  

Well, I don’t want anybody flirting with you at work,


Marla Mattenson  41:03  

I want to flirt with


Marla Mattenson  41:05  

flirting with you or you know, so you can get playful with your responses and show him if you want more in the relation. If you want the situation to be a relationship, then you can offer up a little bit


Damona  41:16  

more like playful. Okay, I need everyone. I just have to pause for a second because I need everyone to really hear what Marla just said. It is so important in the early phase of dating and getting to know people that you find that playfulness and that flirtatiousness as you are trying to figure out where things are headed. So a lot of times my clients get very stressed in that period of when we’re trying to DTR figure out is this going to be a relationship or not, and they don’t know how to find the words to really express what they want without feeling like they’re being raw and vulnerable and potentially getting going to get hurt. But you have to you have to get Curious, and you have to present it if you present it in the way that Marla said. It’s it keeps it light, but it keeps it also intriguing. I would say yes.


Marla Mattenson  42:12  

And if Also, if you’re not curious, if you’re not bringing curiosity to these conversations, then you’re bringing something else. You’re bringing your assumptions. You’re bringing what you think is going on,


Damona  42:22  

you’re bringing your assumptions, you’re bringing your desire to get married and have a baby yesterday into whatever outcome you’re trying to create. You’re trying to create an outcome, right? That’s kind of the bottom line. That’s right.


Marla Mattenson  42:35  

That’s right. So you’re not actually available for what the real outcome is. And the real outcome unfolds, you can’t control it. It actually just kind of naturally organically comes together more and more, the more you’re open and vulnerable, rather than what a lot of people try to do. And I know you’re a master at this is, is helping people understand that if you try to control the dating process, you could actually end Up engaged to someone who doesn’t really know you. Because you’ve been showing what you think they want to see every step along the way, rather than who you really are


Damona  43:11  

or manipulating the outcome or


Marla Mattenson  43:13  

exactly, exactly, exactly. So curiosity. No, we don’t want that for you don’t do that.


Damona  43:17  

Okay, that’s actually a perfect segue in. Okay, this was an email that was sent to me, I’m going to kind of paraphrase hope it’s okay to the listener who’s on this question. But basically, she was with this guy for a while. They broke up, they got back together. They were together for a few years. And then, about three or four months ago, they broke up again. But she’s saying, I miss him. I love him and I want to marry him. We haven’t seen each other in three months. He either changed his phone number or blocked me. I want another chance to be with him for Valentine’s Day. I bought a Valentine’s Day present for him. What should I do to get him back


Marla Mattenson  44:00  

I have a little yikes on that when I noticed, I don’t know go easy. So I don’t know how to say this in, I’ll just say it in the most gentle kind way I can. If you want to give a gift to someone, a gift is a one way direction. It is not a two way direction. It’s you want to give a gift. And it’s received by the other person and the person can do whatever they want with they can throw it in the trash, they can cherish it forever, they can do whatever they want. Right? I


Marla Mattenson  44:30  

love that.


Marla Mattenson  44:32  

Or, and then if they want to respond or reciprocate than they can, but there’s no no guarantee obligation at all for them to have to respond. So if you’re giving a gift with the hopes of getting something in return, then that’s the first question. I would ask yourself. Why do I want to give something to someone who I can’t even get ahold of right now? Like what is it in me that wants to still Reach out and give to someone who I have not received from in months and that I literally don’t really even have any way to get ahold of that. So to me, that tells me that there’s something in you that needs nurturing, and need love and needs attention and affection from someone who loves you, meaning you, you, you need to love yourself first, more than wanting to get married to this particular person. So if you start fulfilling your own love first, you know, then the way the universe works is you shift yourself, then that sends the vibration out to the universe. And then if he is meant to come back to you, he will and if he is not, he will not.


Marla Mattenson  45:54  

But let’s look at let’s just look at facts. I mean, they were together for a year I said I was going kind they can No, and then they got back here.


Marla Mattenson  46:01  



Damona  46:02  

I’m glad that you went kind. But I do want to also just realize the reality of the situation. He is being very clear about how, what he sees in the future for this relationship. If he blocked you or he changed his phone number, he’s not responding to you. He is saying, I need a clean break here. And there. I just like you said, I don’t see an positive outcome in chasing a relationship that one person does not want to be in.


Marla Mattenson  46:37  

Okay, I’ll say something more about that. That so I appreciate that. So the thing is, is


Marla Mattenson  46:43  

you either want harmony in your life, or you want suffering, and it’s conscious or unconscious. And when we chase after someone who clearly is sending the message, no, you’re asking for suffering. So if you you know what would happen, let me let sort run through some, some scenarios. My background is in mathematics and neuroscience pattern recognition is my thing. I can run through all the iterations of what might happen, let’s say spreadsheet, let’s


Damona  47:07  

do it. You’re talking about language. Okay,


Marla Mattenson  47:10  

so what if you dropped off the package at his house and you saw him? Get out of the car, from you know, kissing somebody else? Oh my gosh. And then what you’re standing there with this present, just dropping in a suffering, you’re going to suffer, everyone’s gonna suffer? What is going on inside of you? That you want suffering? And it’s obviously unconscious, because nobody consciously wants suffering. That’s not that’s not what we do. As humans. We don’t consciously want suffering, unconsciously we recreate family patterns. So ask yourself, can you actually receive love from someone who actually loves you? Who wants to build a life together because as soon as you can really let go of this particular person, in your mind, in your heart, and your soul in your body, go do some cleanses or something like go on a on a solo journey, take a trip by yourself get go to the local park and look at the flowers, take some time for yourself, and then start loving more and more of who you are. And then that’ll shine out. And you’ll actually attract someone who values who you really are


Damona  48:19  

so true. Yeah, and just just just to cap it off. I hear this all the time, like I want. I was in love with this person, and I wanted to marry them. And I just have to remind you, if you’ve said that to a relationship that has ended, you’re not in love with that person. You are in love with the idea of that person. They may are in love with the time you invest in or the idea of marriage or the idea of marriage, but you are not in love with that person. Because if that relationship was going to fulfill all your needs, it would be happening. I’m so


Marla Mattenson  48:49  

glad you said that because people fall in love with the idea of a person.


Marla Mattenson  48:54  

And we have to really I’ve been married in my


Marla Mattenson  48:56  



Damona  48:59  

But it was so Different when I met my husband, and then you look, I swear, you look back at those other relationships and you’re like, how could I thought that that was going to be it for me? So so if you look at it from that perspective, maybe that’ll give you a little bit of hope to that something greater. Yeah is out there for you if you do the work that Marla is recommending, we do have one more question. I want to start. Okay, this is this a little bit different. Jenny says I’ve been divorced for about 10 years, and I’m just getting back into dating. She says when I was 16, I needed an ileostomy. I’m not sure exactly what that is. But she said she needed this position, this medical procedure to save her life. And now she has to wear an external pouch for you know, digestion. So she said her ex had no problems with it. And it didn’t interfere with intimacy. But she’s told guys after a few dates about the pouch, and she’s also waited to tell them in some cases, but in most of the cases, she’s told them the guy ghoster she says, Do I wait until there’s a deep emotional connection and risk being emotionally hurt? Or do I tell them up front and lose the guy sooner than later?


Marla Mattenson  50:12  

So you think it’s a great question. I think this is a really like beautiful vulnerable question. Absolutely. And


Damona  50:18  

I’m sure a lot of people like maybe you don’t have the the pouch like Jenny does, but maybe you have another mental medical condition or,


Marla Mattenson  50:27  

or feeling shame around certain part of your body or something


Damona  50:29  

body shame, mental health challenge, whatever it is. Everybody has their something.


Marla Mattenson  50:34  

Yeah. How do you do this specific thing is a special case scenario really is.


Marla Mattenson  50:41  

I would say,


Marla Mattenson  50:43  

it depends on who you are. So knowing yourself, so some people are a little more shy. So Jenny, if you’re more of the shy kind of a person, then I would say wait for a significant amount of time before you share that bowl. detail about your life. If you’re more of like a bold, brazen kind of unapologetic person, then then I would say it very early on, I would go very early because if somebody can’t handle that about you, then they can’t handle you.


Marla Mattenson  51:15  

So, bye. Bye, Felicia,


Marla Mattenson  51:18  

we don’t need any of that. Right, right. We need people in our lives who accept and love us for who we are. So if you’re the bold, I’m more of the bold type. So I’m the type who, hey, I’m just gonna lay it on the table right now from the beginning. And if you don’t dig that about me, that’s okay. We won’t be friends. And that’s okay, too. You know, we should doesn’t mean literally like,


Marla Mattenson  51:38  

No, no, no. No, right. Okay, thank you. I appreciate that.


Marla Mattenson  51:44  

don’t deal with it. Hey, what about this?


Marla Mattenson  51:47  

You know, and there’s a way to do it, obviously, I’m sure you’re very way more nuanced than what I just tried to say. But really knowing who you are because this is not just about Jenny right? This is about everyone who has that one thing that they don’t Really want to share the beginning they’re not sure. I mean, I actually just wrote an article about, you know how to have difficult money conversations with your partner early in a relationship. And, and so that is it’s so tender to talk about the things that we keep very private, that are just for us that are just for the people who really love and know us. And then we’re opening up to the possibility of a new relationship. You know, on some level, you want to test the waters First, make sure this is someone who’s worthy of that kind of information, not just somebody that you met, that you may be interested in, you know, you want to make sure that it’s on the other side, like there’s one side of it is, who are you? Right? You’re bold, or you’re more shy, where are you in that sort of spectrum? That’s how long you should wait and then also, who’s the other person? Are they worthy of hearing these details? Because you don’t want to just share this with someone who’s gonna go post it on Facebook or Instagram or Snapchat or you know,


Damona  52:58  

or Yeah, or judge you and Fairly for it like, right. our listeners have heard me say that on dates early on, people have to earn information that’s right from you. So is it something that you would share with like your coworker on the first day at a new job? Is it something that you would tell the person on the bus next to you? If it’s not, then maybe you wait until that you feel that you’ve you’ve earned a little bit of trust in that person? Yeah, they have earned a little


Marla Mattenson  53:26  

and also you can be playful with it. Yeah, right. Yes, like transform it into a superpower. Like, oh, oh, you still use some digestive juices to digest your food. That’s amazing. Because mine totally goes into a bag. Yeah. I’m saying like you could do or whatever your particular bag is. You know, some people have a philosophy bag. People have different things. So you can use your quirky thing as a way to be playful with it.


Damona  53:57  

Yeah, and some people like her situation. is sort of invisible until she becomes intimate, right? There are people I know that are dealing with very, very visible disabilities challenges, like I had a client who had a very pronounced stutter. That got worse when he was attracted to someone or, you know, sexually, you know, interested. And what we worked out with him is for him to acknowledge it just right right away, but to also turn it into a compliment. So he’d say, I’m sorry, I, I have a stutter. And and I actually stutter more around beautiful women. And so then it became sort of brought them it’s almost going back to what you were saying about putting your partner on your team it put your date on your team. Yeah. So that you acknowledge the elephant in the room, but at the same time you brought that person into it?


Marla Mattenson  54:46  

Yes. And then it’s not made into a problem. And here’s the thing. The other piece that I want to say is, if you make your own and it doesn’t sound like you are Jenny, I’m just saying, if if you’re making your own thing, A problem, then that’s the energy that’s going to come through how you communicate it. So before you communicate it, you want to make sure that you’ve made best friends with whatever issue it is that you have, so that you can bring it to the table as not this big huge issue. But as just this is just me,


Damona  55:19  

this isn’t is it? You know, it’s just a thing. Yeah. Yeah. This is such great, great advice. Marla, I’m so glad you could be here to share all of your wisdom with us. And this is such valuable information for people who are both dating and in relationships. And if you go into a new relationship, using some of the tools and techniques that Marla just shared, I’m telling you guys, you’re going to have a completely different experience of it. You can find Marla and Julian colker on social media at the intimacy experts. You can find her online at Marla martinson.com will also be sure to put those links in the show notes. Thank you so much for being here. Marla.


Marla Mattenson  55:59  

Thank you so much. Much. Also don’t forget,


Damona  56:01  

you still have time to find a date for Valentine’s Day. So if you are ready to date differently in 2020, but you don’t know how to get started, the 30 day dating playbook could be your solution. I’m just going to go out on a limb and say it is your solution. And it has worked for so many of my clients before and it works quickly. 90% of my clients last year, left my programs dating someone exclusively in as little as eight weeks. So give yourself this gift, get yourself launched into a relationship and maybe even snag a date before Valentine’s Day. You can find that at 30 day dating.com. And that has all of the five steps that I lead my private clients through that help them to go through their dating funnel figure out where they’re looping and get themselves into the relationship that they dream of. And it’s 30 days it’s self led so you have no excuses go to 30 day dating.com And I’ll put the link to the 30 day dating playbook in the show notes as well. And for those of you who want more love support, but maybe you’re not ready for the playbook. We will be launching a Patreon Friends with Benefits Program in February. So please stay tuned for that we’d love to welcome you into the community. I hope you enjoyed Episode 294 updates and mates again, I’m at damona Hoffman on all of the socials. And we’d love to have you join in on the conversation. You can send me your questions for future episodes and you can leave us a review like darlin, Nikki. And also don’t forget to share this episode with a friend who needs to hear Marla’s unbelievable relationship advice. Thank you so much for listening until next week. Wish you happy dating

New Year & Healthy Dating Habits


Welcome to the first Dates and Mates episode of 2020! 

We love this time of year and everything it symbolizes. You know we’re all about staying proactive and evolving your approach to dating and relationships year around – but we also like the idea of a fresh start and some motivation to reach your goals this year. 

Coming through the holidays you might just be feeling like you can’t even with dating & relationships right now but what my guest for today would say to that is to Deal With It.                                                                                                                                                                        

Joining me in studio in a moment will be Tracy Crossley – a Behavioral Relationship Expert and host of the “Deal With It! Podcast”, who specializes in treating individuals with unhealthy dating and relationship patterns. 

More on that later, first we have headlines! 


What does Wilmer Valderamma’s engagement mean for Demi Lovato

Wilmer popped the question to model Amanda Pacheco this New Year’s Day! You may recall that Demi and Wilmer dated for six years. Damona’s take: “When you know you know. When a guy is ready, he is really ready. And when he’s not ready he will gladly take 6 years of your time to figure it out.”

Peak Dating Season launched yesterday!

Dating Sunday was yesterday. Everything you know for this year’s quest for love.

Science says emoji users have more luck in love and we’ll tell you why

We’ve been telling you this for years and we just love when Damona is right. 

DEAL WITH IT (14:60)

Tracy Crossley, a Behavioral Relationship Expert and host of the “Deal With It! Podcast”, joins us to talk about how to flip unhealthy dating and relationship patterns.

In addition to her mentoring services, Tracy offers her successful digital coaching program called “The Insecure Attachment Cleanse” where clients can start taking the steps to rid whatever roadblocks keep them from having healthy relationships.

Tracy is here to help us usher in the new year with some great advice to get us all started on our new years resolutions!



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

  • (From Instagram) Hi Damona, The guy I’m seeing still hasn’t officially made me his gf yet nor have I met his family but they do know about me. His uncle even calls me “his girl.” Me and my guy had a convo as to if I was someone he saw in his future. I asked is there a light at the end of the tunnel, was that the right choice of words? This conversation happened on the phone and I feel like I didn’t get a straight answer out of him. What should I do?
  • (From Facebook) My fiance wants to get a gym membership but only for him, which I don’t approve of. I’m having doubts about it because last time he ended up flirting with his personal trainer. I had her blocked on his social media and blocked her number from texting him. I don’t understand why he needs a female personal trainer and not a male? Am I wrong to be concerned? Should I let him go alone to the gym?


Damona has THOUGHTS on the “22 Convention” – which we are referring to it as the mansplaining convention. Here’s an article wit the breakdown if you’re curious!



Damona  0:12  

Happy New Year lovers. Welcome to the first dates and mates episode of 2020. I’m your certified Dating Coach damona Hoffman here to give you the scoop on how to date and mate in the new year. I love this time of year and everything it symbolizes. You know, I’m all about staying proactive and evolving your approach to dating and relationships year round. But I also like the idea of a fresh start, and some motivation to reach your goals this year. Coming through the holidays, I know you might be feeling just like you can’t even with dating and relationships right now. But what my guest for today would say to that is to just deal with it. Joy Me in studio in a moment will be Tracy Crossley. She’s a behavioral relationship expert and she’s the host of the deal with it podcast. She specializes in treating individuals with unhealthy dating and relationship patterns. And she’s going to be doing just that and helping us rewrite our rules on love for 2020. But you know how we do? We have to discuss the headlines first. Today we’re talking about Wilmer Valderrama pops the question, but what does that mean for Demi Lovato and peak dating season launched yesterday? Everything you need to know about how to find love online this year. Plus, science says emoji users have more luck and love and we’ll tell you why. And then we’ll be answering your questions like how to get a guy to commit when even all his family knows that you’re kind of dating. And could your fiance be at the gym flirting instead of doing flies will tell you the signs in a little bit. And then I will leave you with my first damona is done. tribe of the year, and I’m fired up about something. Producer Leah, are you fired up? 



I’m fired up!



Are you super fired up?






Let’s dish!


Damona  2:14  

Wilmer Valderrama is engaged to Amanda Pacheco. He is a ripe 39 years old. She is just 28. And he popped the question on New Year’s Eve, very popular to pop the question on holiday. But first, I just have to mention his AX, Demi Lovato with whom he was involved for six years. And they were never engaged. And now he’s been with Amanda Pacheco, not like we’re counting but only since April. And he’s already popped the question. Here’s the thing, producer Leah. All the time people ask me like how do you know when it’s the one or my boyfriend won’t commit to me but I really feel like he’s the one and Should I stick it out? Demi Lovato put in six, six years hard time years and got nothing to show for it my rehab. And here comes Amanda Pacheco, what like eight, nine months later, she’s just like, okay, I’ll take those. Right. Yeah. My feeling is that when you know, you know, and when a guy is ready, he’s really ready. And when he’s not ready, he will gladly take six years of your time to figure it out.


Leah Schell  3:25  

That hurts to hear, but it’s hard. Yeah. No, I mean, we need to hear it also, like it shouldn’t be hard. Like, it seems like Demi and Wilmers relationship was really tumultuous, and I feel like the right relationship shouldn’t be hard.


Damona  3:39  

Yeah, I mean, she was definitely dealing with some things. Yeah, you’re exactly right. When you’re in the right relationship, all of these other questions and concerns and challenges. They really don’t arise in the same way. So I have to say I’m happy for Wilmer that he found somebody that he does want to spend his life with and Demi has said in the news that she’s cool with it and she wants what’s best for them and they’re still friends. Right? And I do believe you can be friends with your ex after you’ve done some healing they’ve they’ve been broken up for over a year. It’s been a minute like it’s been a while. Yeah. And he’s been supportive of her and in her relapse and keeping her sobriety. So he’s gonna move on, he has to get his life together. I don’t know about doing it on New Year’s New Year actually was on New Year’s Day. I said New Year’s Eve, but it was on New Year’s Day. And then he made a big post about it. I just don’t like engagements happening on holidays. I feel like these are stressful, right?


Leah Schell  4:37  

Yeah. And then like, I don’t know, just like, every year from now on, it’s going to be like, you’re some sort of like anniversary and like that. That holiday too. So it’s just kind of adds to the stress to me also like it, I don’t know, it makes the holiday less special. So


Damona  4:54  

yeah, I have no idea when my husband proposed to me know it might have been June. Yeah, I mean, I remember the moment and it was when we moved into our first house, but I wasn’t checking the clock like that. But I’ll tell you because there was such a focus. Like we hear all these stories of engagements like this. I was stressed out every time there was a holiday, or we did a trip together because I thought he was going to like, make this grand gesture thing. Yeah. And then stop and then I just like spent every holiday for a year just off it didn’t happen. You know what somebody asked me actually this week, they said, How do you do you believe in women proposing to men and I was like, in theory? Yes. Yeah, I totally do. But I don’t know why when it was my turn. I couldn’t do it. I was a little old fashioned about that. I guess all evolving.


Leah Schell  5:44  

I know. Yeah. Sam, I just like I don’t know. I’m feminist. I consider myself self feminist, but I don’t think I would have the guts to do it. Like, do that. 


Damona  5:57  

Well, I don’t know if you would have the guts for a proposal. It would You have the guts to go online for dating Sunday? Yes, yes. resounding yes. this past Sunday was the biggest online dating day of the year. Let me explain why. This is the time of the year when the dating app see a huge surge in new members, starting with last Sunday night. That’s when everybody goes online to try to set up their dates for the first date of the year, right. And now we’re in a mad dash to Valentine’s Day. I’m really not trying to stress you guys oh yeah, not for nothing but the clock is ticking. But everyone is feeling everyone’s feeling the way that you all are. If you’re single and you’re like, New year, new boo, you’re ready for a change everybody flocks to the dating apps and this is when you’re going to see the most number of new people online. You know, everybody’s like, I go online, I see the same people I see the same people on Bumble And then they’re also on hinge and then they are they’re also on Tinder. If you have said that. This is the Day, this is the week, this is the time that you need to go online refresh your dating profile. If you haven’t gotten my free profile starter kit, do it. It’s on the website, we’ll put this link in the show notes. But it’s going to be bigger this this peak dating season is going to be bigger than ever. All of the apps are growing at rapid rapid numbers. And so if you ever wanted a chance to find a match is now pace right now. Did that was that stress, though? I made? I added stress didn’t I


Leah Schell  7:31  

know I? Okay. I mean, no, I feel like it’s just important knowledge for people to know.


Damona  7:37  

Okay, thanks, Russell. Yeah, let’s flip it. I’m adding opportunity. This is your best opportunity. And while you are on the apps or while you are moving into these new relationships, I have another tip for you because the Kinsey Institute came out with a study that said people who use emojis have better luck on dating apps. Now for the longtime listeners of this show, this is not going to surprise you. But I love it when science backs up what I’ve said on the show. The reason is, according to the author of the study, she says specifically for emojis were particularly interested in them as a way to signal effect or emotion in an effort to better connect with someone in the context of online dating. Now she said it in the scientist way, I’m going to bring it down to earth for you. I’ve always said emojis or mood modifiers. The problem with communicating through text, and especially communicating with people that you don’t know through text or through chat is that we can’t tell the context. We don’t know what you mean. If you use emojis sparingly for effect, as she says, you actually can make a better connection. People can understand your sense of humor, they can understand your personality better, and you’re going to do better according to the Kinsey Institute on these dating apps.


Leah Schell  8:56  

Yeah, I have something to add. I just Like I’m personally not like the hugest user of emojis, but I prefer gifts instead. Um, so like, if you’re like a person who like is still like not obsessed with like emojis, maybe try gifts and you can go to the app store and get the gift keyboard for free and it’s just like, I don’t know, there’s it’s super easy to use if like, you’re just not using emojis.


Damona  9:22  

gifts are really great. Yeah, we’re showing personality and showing sense of humor. rashly and memes. So they’re great to use in tandem with words. Yeah, I do not recommend them in new chats. Oh, really? Don’t know. Yeah. As the only text Right,


Leah Schell  9:41  

right. Totally. Yeah, no, yeah. As like a text like a joke and then like a GIF to reinforce that.


Damona  9:48  

Yeah. Producer Leah, was like, honey, I got this. I’ve been doing this.


Leah Schell  9:52  

I’ve been doing that. It’s good for people to know like, you know, it’s good, you know, information.


Damona  9:57  

I know some of our some of our more mature listeners are probably listening to that, like, What is she even talking about? Like, it’s the video, you know, with a funny saying, yeah. So don’t panic. If you don’t know about this stuff yet. Don’t panic. Just stay tuned, I’m going to keep giving you all of the guidance and advice and we’ll just ease you into it. It’s 2020. We are starting the year fresh. But don’t worry, we’re going to baby step into it. We’re going to get you going. And we’ll be talking later with Tracy Crossley, a behavioral relationship expert and the host of the deal with it podcast. But first, I just have to tell you if you want to date differently in 2020, let’s talk I am hosting a very special webinar just for the single ladies and the single guys called why online dating doesn’t work for you. And we’ll be doing a presentation plus a live coaching and QA. And if you have a dating dilemma that you want to talk to me about this is your chance. This is the time where you can get free coaching from me on your specific problem plus, you’ll get all of the online data tips that I have been sharing on this on this podcast. And on TV I was just on E news doing a profile makeover, and then more. It’s a whole webinar about online dating dating apps and how you can really master them for this year. So you can sign up at the dating secret.com it’s free. Again, the website is th e dating secret calm we’ll put the link in the show notes and on our blog at dates and mates. com. Stick around we have Tracy Crossley coming right up plus your questions being answered and technically dating see in a moment. We are here with Tracy Crossley. She is a behavioral relationship expert and the host of the deal with it podcast which specializes in treating individuals with unhealthy dating and relationship patterns. In addition to her mentoring services, Tracy offers her successful digital coaching program called the insecure attachment cleanse you know I’m always talking about attachment styles. So we will get into that. And a little bit but in this program, her clients can start taking the steps to rid whatever roadblocks are keeping them from having healthy relationships. And it’s the beginning of the year. And I know many of you are looking at your dating patterns of the last year, maybe two, maybe more. And you’re thinking this is the time that I need to make a new year’s resolution around dating around this relationship that is not serving me and you want to clear out that roadblock so today I’m going to give you a little taste of what Tracy does. First, let’s start out with giving her big smooches, big smooches to Tracy Crossley.


Tracy Crossley  12:37  

Well, thank you and big speeches to you.


Damona  12:39  

Thank you. I will take all this mooches especially this time of year, the year starting out. Everybody is kind of like clean slate. I’ve been through the holidays. It’s stressful for everyone regardless of your relationship status. And you want to start new you want to start fresh. What are Some of the steps that you find people can do at this time of year to set themselves off on a new on a new foot. It’s 2020 New Year new you, what’s the like the first thing that you should be doing?


Tracy Crossley  13:13  

Well, I believe most people get caught up in the season. And on the one hand, they’re thinking, I can go to all the parties, I can drink, I can eat, I can do all these things and let loose. And then January 1, all of a sudden, I can’t do any of that anymore, because now I need to get it together, right? So a lot of times we have expectations of ourselves that actually set up a downfall to me because you get into a mindset through the holidays and and if you’re struggling through the holidays, of course, you have this idea that maybe once the holidays are done, things will be better. So it’s always an expectation you’re having of some kind of future that you want to have happen. And there’s pressure with that. And so I say stay in the moment, stay in the moment as much as you can. Enjoy where you are, or if you’re even suffering where you are, except that you’re not in a great place, but that that will pass and it does pass. But a lot of times we have expectations, we really get caught up in, it needs to be this way. I want things to be this way. And instead, it’s so much better just to stay in the moment and be where you are.


Damona  14:20  

And you brought up an interesting point about this all or nothing philosophy. Like I was totally an indulgence in December and now it’s January. And I can’t do any of that I have to I have to be very rigid with myself or for some people like dating Sunday is coming up. This is when the most number the highest number of new users will be on dating apps and will be swiping Sunday night, y’all this week. So it can also go into a state of overwhelm where you’re so focused on it. You’re gripping it so tightly. And even brief. How do you help people find that balance and set up their expectations where they want something, but they’re not crushing it to death?


Tracy Crossley  15:10  

Well, that still comes back to being attached to an outcome, right? And a lot of times we put pressure that we have to have it now, like when I was dating before my husband, one of the things that I did was I stopped doing this thing that I did every year, which is I can’t be alone for the holidays. I can’t go through another holiday alone, right? And so that creates a lot of that pressure. And I just said, You know what, whenever it happens, it happens for me, as long as I am doing things that are going toward getting into a healthy relationship. So I gave myself a break, and I stopped with the craziness. And I you know, I did not put a time limit on it because I figured when I was ready, it would show up. And that didn’t mean I was sitting on my couch eating bonbons, but it was I was actively moving in that direction without Bunch of this has to happen by this date this has to happen here there. I took all of that off the board, because really all you’re doing is making yourself a crazy person.


Damona  16:08  

So what did you do in that time when you realize that your relationship patterns were not serving you,


Tracy Crossley  16:16  



Damona  16:18  

you have to do something right to shift out of that mindset. And to prepare yourself to, to be ready for the next relationship, the different relationship.


Tracy Crossley  16:30  

And I did I you know, I’ve been doing the work in my business for 12 years at this point. And I was also growing along with my work. So about six, eight months before I met my husband. I came I was standing in my bathroom, and I realized, oh my gosh, I am afraid to go out on a date. I had a huge wall of fear, and I knew that I had to do something. So I really took myself in hand and I committed Committed to dating to get to a relationship whenever that would happen, which was totally different than how I did it before I always had one foot in and one foot out, oh, I’ll go on a date. And I’ll see what happens, oh, gosh, this guy’s a loser or always finding a problem with the person. And I realized that a lot of the problems were with me and how I was doing it how open I was not.


Damona  17:21  

As in I was closed.


Tracy Crossley  17:23  

So I went through all of these different iterations with myself and it kept growing, kept going on on dates, made myself be vulnerable in places where I would never in a million years have done like instead of ghosting somebody actually saying to them, hey, look, this isn’t gonna work out for me. So about two months before I met my husband, I started writing letters to him. And so two months later, he showed up and again when I did the letters, I had no okay, this has to be by this date sort of thing. I just wrote them and i was growing along with my letters. And they were I mean, they were letters where I looked at them and I thought, How did this happen three months after I met him, I’m like, Oh my god, this is so him and weird things that I never in a million years would have asked for or said, but for some reason I wrote them in the letters.


Damona  18:17  

Hmm. I had a similar experience before I met my husband of like writing down all of these qualities that I was looking for, and thinking that that person didn’t exist. I won’t bore our listeners because they’ve heard the story a couple of times, but it sounds like what you’re talking about is manifestation. And I know that’s that’s also that’s a program that you have about manifesting your your honeybun the love of your life. Okay, a lot of people are just heard me say that word and they backed up and they’re like, Oh, that sounds that sounds like witchcraft or something. How do you define manifestation? And how do you think we’re


Tracy Crossley  19:01  

Well in a non woowoo way, and this is very true, its commitment to what you want most of us, like I was just saying we have one foot in one foot out, I actually committed with both feet, that means riding the roller coaster of whatever is going on, whether it’s inside of you, whether it’s the dates, it’s really being committed to that end result that you want. And its intention. If you have an intention, and you take action towards that intention, you’re going to arrive there at some point, but we have a lot of doubts and a lot of other crap that we put in the way. And then we end up in these cycles where we never get where we want and we’re lamenting about our situation. And I stopped doing that. And so for me in how like in the course that I’m teaching the 30 day course on manifesting your honeybun it’s really showing people how to write letters because one of the things whenever people talk about attracting, they feel that they have to be perfect or only show their positive side In these letters, I would say things like I am having a bad day. Now, I was being very honest and open with who I was. And I kept growing through the process and taking responsibility for the things I was saying the things I was doing. And just like I said, when he showed up in my life, I didn’t immediately go to the letters and go, Oh my gosh, is this the guy? But a couple months later, I looked at the letters and I was like, Oh, my God,


Damona  20:25  

this is the guy. That’s how it happens. Because if you think if you recognize it in the moment, then sometimes it goes back to what I was saying earlier. That’s when you start to squeeze it like, this could be the one this could be the one and it, it’s it. It kind of takes the magic out of the moment. And I’m so glad that you said really staying present and staying in the moment. This is what I’m always telling people about dating. I mean, longtime listeners, how many times have I said it’s not about projecting that person into the future as your husband or could they meet my friends are My mom, but it’s it’s about being there with them and listening and responding authentically. So I like this, I like this method. I, I don’t want to just brush the past under the rug, though. And I’ve been in situations where I found it useful to advise clients to write a letter that they’re never going to send to an X that they feel they have unresolved issues with. Do you think that letters to the past have have a place in this process? Or is it more about just looking towards the future?


Tracy Crossley  21:37  

Or is there something else you recommend and healing through there? I mean, there’s a quite a few different things that in my work that I do to help people and it’s always backwards and present, because we don’t want to create the future from our past.


Damona  21:52  

Right. So so it’s a present letter to this person, just to clarify the letters that you were writing daily. It’s a present Letter to that person, even though you haven’t met them yet,


Tracy Crossley  22:03  

right. And it was really about the things on a deeper level that I wanted. I mean, there were some things that were surface level too. But it wasn’t, you have to be this height This way, you have to have this job. I wasn’t like that I made it more about, where’s my connection going to be to this guy, it’s going to be from my heart, because my head should not be in a relationship. romance and your mind really don’t get along when it comes to that. And so I look at it from the perspective of what is the heart one and that was very difficult because I was closed for a long time and I didn’t realize it. I had done all this work on myself. And I thought, No, I’m in a good place. But really, it wasn’t until I got to. I’m not in relationship I am afraid of dating. And I had to go through all the things I feared which to other people may or may not be fearful, but for me it was and so it was really getting to Who am I authentically when it came to dating Being my most authentic self, when I dated


Damona  23:02  

What were you afraid of?


Tracy Crossley  23:04  

I was actually afraid of being in a relationship. I had been divorced. This is my second marriage. But I had been divorced for a number of years. And I had dysfunctional relationships. I had, you know, my own attachment issues that I had worked through. I call it using the Laboratory of past relationships, and basically experimenting with my own growth through the relationship. So I had a lot to work through. And when I got to that point, about six months out, I had been working for years, but it was that recognition of, Hey, I haven’t really wanted a relationship up until now I’ve been too afraid of that.


Damona  23:44  

Hmm. That’s a big moment to acknowledge that acknowledge that fear. And I think probably everyone listening that is wanting a relationship and is not in it right now. There’s, there’s something there’s probably a fear component. attached to some element of dating or being in a relationship, or maybe even being in the wrong relationship and knowing it, and being afraid to leave that. So let’s talk about like healing and moving out of those relationships. You were just about to give me some very juicy, juicy exercises or tips on, on moving out of the past. Maybe it’s writing this letter to to your ex that you never send. What What is it that you recommend for people?


Tracy Crossley  24:35  

Well, there’s, I mean, as I started to say before, I went off on a tangent there, but I basically look at it from the perspective of when you look at the past, you want to find where the root of your pain is, whatever your fear is, is attached to some old pain, usually from childhood and what you want to be able to do is know where the root of it is, and you want to feel Your feelings around it as well. Like I have a big thing about feeling your feelings most people are in their heads. Again, your head is not your heart. And so to do the past work, you need to get into your feelings. You need to not be afraid of your feelings. So many people are afraid of them. You have anxiety for a moment, and you’re thinking, I can’t handle this. I don’t want anxiety again. But you can handle it. You can live through it. And it’s not the anxiety that really is going to give you the answers. It’s what’s that past pain. And then as you feel your past pain, you can make a choice, you can make a choice to do something different. But you have to do it and feel it. You can’t just think it because we just think it you’re not really changing anything.


Damona  25:41  

Hmm. And many times we end up in what I call snack relationships or just snacking along the way. And we’re full because I mean, we’ve been eating all day, but at the same time we would really like to have a meal actually we really need a meal to sustain ourselves. And you talk about something similar in not settling for bread crumbs. How do you know if you’re even settling for bread crumbs.


Tracy Crossley  26:09  

So I have a very easy way of knowing. And that is, if it feels like hard work, and it’s not easy on any level, you are in a breadcrumb relationship, because you’re always in a state of struggle always wanting more, not having more. And a lot of this, of course comes from inside in your own value. But when you’re looking at that other person as they don’t do enough, they don’t do what I want a list of complaints. You’re basically in a breadcrumb relationship because your needs aren’t being met, first by you, and then by the other person in a healthy relationship. It’s easier. These aren’t even issues that I have in my relationship. I don’t nag at my husband. He’s not nagging at me. It doesn’t mean it’s perfect. But there are not those components of working like a dog to make it happen. Mm hmm.


Damona  27:00  

What about those people who are dating, they’re not even necessarily in a relationship, but they’re just going from date to date to date. Just feeling unsatisfied. I just hear this from so many listeners like, well, I’m out here damona I’m doing the online dating thing, and I’m swiping, but I’m not meeting anybody that’s at my level.


Tracy Crossley  27:23  

Right? But see, here’s the thing. First of all, we don’t know the package that it’s going to come in. And a lot of times we think we know, but we’re really going on someone else’s checklist or we’re going on our past. So we’re not really open to what else there is out there. I wasn’t looking for a specific package. I was looking for somebody who was kind, okay, so somebody who’s kind and I’m attracted to that was basically what I was looking for.


Damona  27:50  

Tracy, that’s like, that seems like that could be anybody. Like people say to me, I don’t want to lower my exercise. But in a way that’s that’s pretty is that it sounds kind of modest, those expectations, but is it that hard to find someone that is kind?


Tracy Crossley  28:12  

Well, because you have to also be able to be kind to yourself to some degree, a lot of us aren’t very kind to ourselves and we’re very judgmental and not accepting. And so when we meet people, we apply those same strategies. Oh, this is wrong with this person that’s wrong with this person. And then we never feel good inside because we’re judging ourselves in the same way. So you have to have some level of self acceptance, that you’re just a flawed human being and that’s okay. We don’t know why we’re here. So nobody is saying to us, will you you need to do this and everybody in the world is agreeing upon it. There’s all sorts of different opinions. There’s all sorts of different subjectivity when it comes to someone’s perception. So why are you needing somebody to be perfect for you? When there’s no such thing you need a human being


Damona  29:00  

So glad that you said that I hope all of you are taking notes. Because you just said something extremely profound. First, the acknowledgement that you are flawed because I think we’re all trying and we look at social media, and we’re trying to live up to this idea of perfection. But that when you Okay guys, you don’t get, don’t get, don’t close up on me because I’m about to just repeat something that Tracy said that I really want to make sure you hear. When you are finding something wrong with every other person with every person that you’re dating, you have to stop and look at the way that you’re judging yourself, girl that is that is profound. And that’s something that I think most of us never do it look at like how, what is that self talk that that you’re saying to yourself? And then how are you applying that to someone else?


Tracy Crossley  29:57  

Right, because that goes back to the checklist. So When you were saying all the different characteristics someone is looking for, the reason that they are is because of their own shortcomings. Why do you need somebody to, let’s say, earn a certain amount of money? What does that mean to you? Why is there a meaning in it? I’m not saying it’s wrong or it’s bad. It’s where does it come from? A lot of times, it’s some kind of compensation for how you feel about you. Mm hmm.


Damona  30:22  

Yeah. And if you feel like I will, I can make that much money. I don’t need someone with that much money because I’m taking care of myself. But some of it is also these societal restrictions, whether it comes from comes from your parents, or it comes from the belief that the man is supposed to be the breadwinner, then then we start filtering things through these really arbitrary social constructs. not to get too esoteric,


Tracy Crossley  30:51  

but no, but it’s true. Because the thing is, I noticed that most of us do not know what a sense of well being is. We don’t know how to be happy. Happy inside. And we think that having these attributes in a partner that’s somehow going to make us happy, and it doesn’t, you’ve got to take care of your own happiness and bring that to the relationship rather than you need to make me happy. Mm hmm.


Damona  31:15  

Okay, I hope you all are listening and taking notes because this is really profound. We’re talking about New year, new year new you new relationship. What are some things can you give us like maybe one or two exercises that people can do to to get to get set up to bring in the right relationship? This time we talked about writing the letters. I’d love to give people like one more tip to take into dating Sunday that is coming up so that they’re not repeating that same pattern.


Tracy Crossley  31:49  

So there’s actually a couple things that come to mind. I mean, I have several but I’ll just start with these two. Number one is you have to be you and everybody says that but nobody really understands what that is. When you are being you, that means you’re not apologizing for you. That means you’re not trying too hard as in, you’re putting in extra effort. You put in enough effort in. In other words, if I want to go out on a date, and I want to wear a certain outfit, it’s because I feel good in it. I’m not thinking Oh, my dates gonna like this. Because if I think my dates gonna like it, and then I go, well, it’s kind of uncomfortable, but I know it looks good, but I don’t feel my best in it, then what am I doing? I am not being true to myself. So there’s all these ways that we show up to dating, where we sort of give ourselves away when we’re not actually taking care of ourselves. So being you is a big one. The other thing is when you go on a date with somebody, you want to focus on how you feel. This is a big one for most people, because most people go on a date and their whole focus is on the date. What’s that person like? What’s that person doing? I don’t like how they park their hair. I don’t like how they choose their food. There’s this critiquing going on, right? And so there’s no connection to the feeling you’re having of, am I enjoying this date? How do I feel without it being a reaction to the other person and what they’re doing? It’s, I’m here to be open, am I being open? Like I would check with myself when I was dating and go, am I being authentic? Or am I trying to get a second date? What am I doing? And then I would dial it back when I realized, Oh, I am trying to get a second date. And I would say something that was meaningful and honest about me to that person at that point. And I would always feel so much better, because I was just being me at that point. And that is so much easier.


Damona  33:38  

I I love that you said that and that it’s about how you feel on the day, I was just having this conversation with a client. And she can be very analytical and have a checklist. And I said, let’s put the checklist away and focus on feeling how, just how do you feel when you’re with this person? Let’s not think about the future or mechanics or anything, just that, that feeling. You’ve talked earlier about how people are afraid of their own feelings. And in a way, it’s almost like sometimes we’re afraid of feeling good. And I’ll admit, I even had this experience when I met my husband. And it was so good. And I had been used to such drama. Before that, there’s a part of me that almost was waiting for it to turn bad. Because it was such a foreign feeling of just feeling good. So even just being able to differentiate between like, this feels really comfortable. And this feels like I’m in my head. There are certain people that would trigger those old patterns in you, and others that will let you be more authentic.


Tracy Crossley  34:45  

Oh, I think so. I mean, when I met my husband, just to give you an idea, I was also doing online dating, and had been the whole way through when I was writing the letters and before and what’s funny is, I was attracting all these things. Different men, because I realized I was open, I didn’t get a better profile. I didn’t do anything differently, except open myself. And on an energetic level, because we are all human beings were made of energy. There’s just something it’s like when you walk in the room at the party, right? And you can read the room and tell who’s in a bad mood, who’s somebody who’s approachable. It’s that kind of energy that as human beings that we give off, or we can tell things are going on. So when you’re open, it’s different because you’re now experiencing yourself. And you’re not so concerned with, okay, what’s gonna happen to me But anyways, back to I had I think, like six guys. And yeah, it was really funny because it’s not at one time. And it never had been that way before. And one of the funniest things was one of them. I thought, Oh, this guy is really interesting. And then I felt that feeling and that feeling of Oh, if you go down this road with this, dude Here, you are going to be in the kind of relationship you’ve been in before and that this wasn’t my husband. This was some other guy. And it was only through a conversation I had with him. I didn’t even go out on a date with him. And it wasn’t because I was judging him. It was knowing the feeling I was having inside and going. And then and then and no Red Flag Warning.


Damona  36:18  

Oh, yeah, that’s something you will pick it up energetically, you will pick up that feeling of this is familiar but familiar in a bad way sometimes. But it could be also familiar in a good way. Like this person makes me feel comfortable, like when I’m around my friends, but just tuning into that can be a big shift. We’ve been talking about some very deep and heavy things. Just logistically, are there good or bad places to go on a first day in your opinion?


Tracy Crossley  36:49  

I really don’t think so. Because you mean obviously don’t go to a strip club or something. Like that sort of a you know, I guess if you both are into that, that’s fine. I mean, I’m talking about something where it’s super distracting and you’re not actually paying attention to the other person on a date. Like, I don’t think a great first date is a movie. But that’s my opinion, just because you’re not really learning anything about that person. And I think that that is important when you’re dating because you’re going in the store. You’re trying on the shoes. Oh, these shoes fit great are these shoes are a little tight. And that’s what dating is to me. So how can you tell if you’re distracted?


Damona  37:26  

Good point. What if you’re already in a relationship at this point, and you’re just not sure. This is the person for you that this is this is the right relationship right now. Are there things that that our listeners should be doing to assess that?


Tracy Crossley  37:44  

So you want to again, pay attention to yourself when I started dating my husband as an example, I realized I was smiling all the time. Okay, that’s unusual for me. When it came to dating or relationships, I was usually in some state drama, some kind of struggle. And I wasn’t struggling, that was one thing. And it felt easy. And I was smiling, I was having fun. I was the biggest goofball I’ve ever been. I mean, I was really


Damona  38:14  

me, that’s important, bringing out the humor and the fun side of you.


Tracy Crossley  38:19  

And it was really interesting, because I never felt when I was dating my husband that he was judging me and I wasn’t judging him. And that was also different. So those are signs of a healthy relationship. And that’s what you want to look for when you have the drama. And I hear this all the time, because I have a call in where people will ask me questions. And a lot of the questions are trying to take something that’s dysfunctional, and make it functional, but they’re the only one that’s wanting to make it functional. They’re not including like the partner in making it functional. So when you’re starting off there, unless both of you are committed to making the relationship good, you’re probably in a dysfunctional relationship that’s going to remain that way. doesn’t mean you have to remain that way you can do work on yourself. But it’s really knowing that you’re in a healthy relationship. It’s just it’s easy. I don’t know what your experiences, but that’s my experience. It is easy.


Damona  39:12  

Yeah. And I’ve told people about that before on the show that I think we’re addicted to that feeling of drama. And it should be easy and it should be a communication based. Like if you are afraid to really express how you feel or you feel like the communication is off like that is a really big red flag. And that’s a lot of the questions we get to is just like, I feel like they don’t understand me or whenever I say something, then it turns into a big to do and it doesn’t mean like that person’s a bad person or you’re a bad person. It’s just like, maybe this isn’t the right match for you right now in your life. And I believe in There being different relationships potentially at different parts of your life, I think there are different matches that there isn’t just one possible match for you. So sometimes you have to just take stock of what you have new year. And, and maybe what you have is not the relationship for this for the, for the immediate future.


Tracy Crossley  40:21  

I look at it that way too. And I always tell people, especially again, going back to my own dating story, but what I also share with clients and people that I talked to, it’s a journey. And when you allow it to not have an expiration date, I have to have something by this date, or it has to be in this package, and you allow it to be the journey. every relationship every date always brings you closer to having that healthy relationship. So you want to allow yourself to have experiences that’s another big thing. People do not want to have the experience. They want to either learn it in a book, think about it and go Oh, you know what, I don’t want to do that and then they never go have the experience or They think they know and they don’t go have the experience. But it really is about becoming resilient to disappointment. Allowing yourself and that’s emotional resilience. But allowing yourself those things you grow as a person, you grow as a partner, so that as you’re on that journey, and you finally get to the healthy relationship, you’ve picked up all these tools, and you become more yourself and more available.


Damona  41:23  

And then no matter what comes your way, you know how to deal with it. Just like you say, in your podcast, deal with it. What What made you title your podcast, deal with it? So


Tracy Crossley  41:36  

So the reason I named it deal with it was my literary agent. I had submitted my book title to her, and it was part of my book title. And then we’ve actually changed the book title. And, but But the thing is, I’m always saying that I will say deal with it. We’re all expletive. We are all screwed up. We are all messed up. We are all in That’s okay. And you can be happy anyway. Because the bottom line is happiness to me is what’s really important. Not being perfect, not trying to be what somebody else thinks you should be. And therefore, if you just deal with the fact that you’re just a flawed human being, okay, so what it becomes not a non issue to me,


Damona  42:22  

I say it actually to my daughter all the time, like, you know, she’ll, she’ll be railing against some something went wrong, and I’m like, Okay, now we know that’s the situation now we have to deal with it. Like, we can’t just stay in this state of crisis. We have to take action, and we have to process what’s going on. So I love that you’re doing that on your podcast, and you’re helping people deal with it on a daily basis. We have questions that have come to us from our listeners. They’re trying to deal with it, Tracy. So hopefully you can help them with these questions. All right, first question. Hi damona Hello. The guy I’m seeing still hasn’t officially made me his gf girlfriend yet, nor have I met his family but they do know about me his uncle even calls me his girl. Me and my guy had a Convo as to if I was someone he saw in his future. I asked, Is there a light at the end of the tunnel? Was that the right choice of words? This conversation happened on the phone? I feel like I didn’t get a straight answer out of him. What should I do? So she’s trying to figure out is this is this relationship going somewhere? I would say if she didn’t get the answer that she was looking for. It probably wasn’t the right choice of words at that moment because she didn’t get her answer out of it. How would you recommend she go forward now to get the answer about where this relationship is going?


Tracy Crossley  43:51  

Well, okay, so I have a little bit of a different spin. My question to her is, what is she actually communicating to him besides what she said? In other words, when you’re in a relationship with someone, and supposedly other people know about you, in this case, that’s what’s happening. But the problem is, she has confronted him with this. I don’t know how long they’ve been going out. But there’s an expectation. And it doesn’t sound like they’ve been communicating all the way along. Usually in a healthy relationship. You’re talking about this stuff, it’s not that you have to pull it out of a guy to get there. And if you’re having to pull it out of the guy, then you have to ask yourself, how hard am I working at this? And in what she said to him in a healthy relationship? Again, the guy would still answer you, the guy would still be like, oh, what do you mean, or, you know, wanting to elaborate on that so that you guys come to a really, you know, clear communicative point in your relationship. But it just sounds like to me, he’s not completely coming forward. I also think when you put it on the other person to describe what the future is, you’re kind of taking yourself out as a partner, where you’re a partner in this as well. You have the power of choice and you’re just leaving it up to the other person to make all the choices.


Damona  45:05  

You’re so so right about that. And it’s, it’s crazy how much power we do give away in relationships. And it sounds to me like this might be a newer relationship that that she is wanting to become something and kind of pushing it in that direction. And maybe also, you know, holiday time tends to bring out that sort of stress and obviously family knows about her but she’s not really sure what the relationship is. And this is a this is a pattern that I’m seeing a lot just culturally of people being in these situation ships and not knowing where they stand. So I it sounds like our advice is if you want the relationship to go somewhere, you have to be brave enough to share that desire for for things to be exclusive and


Tracy Crossley  45:57  

be clear because that’s what I think a lot of Women don’t do is that they are hoping they can just hint around or say things and then the guy is going to go Oh, well, here, this is what’s happening.


Damona  46:08  

Yeah. Yeah, guys, you’re not you’re not so into the subtlety.


Tracy Crossley  46:12  

Now. And the thing is, when you really are taking care of yourself, you’re going to ask as a direct question, because again, you have a choice in it. So if you’re asking, Hey, where do you think this relationship is at right now? Like right now, not in the future, because a lot of times we get caught up in what’s going to happen in the future that causes anxiety, it causes pressure, and it starts to drive a wedge in the relationship anyways, but it’s to be clear where you are now Hey, where do you feel like this is headed right now? What? What is going on with you because I know where I am. And this is where I am. Right? And then you can make a choice. Otherwise, you’re sort of in this Limbo land, waiting for somebody to come up with something. Well, maybe if I manipulate him this way, he’ll give me the answer I want meaning maybe I’ll be really nice or I’ll do something special. And then he’ll go oh my god, I can’t live without you. I want to be with you the rest of my life. But that’s all manipulation. And that’s not really being true to yourself either.


Damona  47:06  

Mm hmm. That’s great advice. That’s great advice. And I’ve done the other. Go, I have to. It doesn’t work, y’all. Okay. This is someone that that seems to have a little bit more clarity in communication, but still not going the way that she wants. This woman says, My fiance wants to get a gym membership, but only for him, which I don’t approve of New Year everybody’s thinking, fitness. Right? Well, here’s why she says I’m having doubts about it because last time he ended up flirting with his personal trainer. I had her blocked on his social media and blocked her number from texting him. I don’t understand why he needs a female personal trainer and not a male. Am I wrong to be concerned? Should I let him go alone to the gym? A big trust Yeah, trust issue here.


Tracy Crossley  47:56  

Yeah, and control and the thing is when you are trying to control Your partner, you are in a losing battle, you’re in a struggle that you’re going to be in the rest of your life, because it’s probably not just that. So let’s say that he doesn’t join the gym without her, then he may do something else. And she’ll have the same issue, she’ll find an issue somewhere else. It’s like when women get into this place, and I’ve had clients do this where they meet somebody, and then they have a time limit, well, it’s been six months, or it’s been a year we should move in together. And then if it’s not happening in that time, then they’re upset and they’re focused on that. And then it happens. And then it’s like, okay, when are we getting married? So it’s, it’s always shifting that focus. And the truth is, either you’re going to be able to trust your partner is committed to you or not. And then if not, you gotta ask yourself, why am I in a relationship with someone that I don’t feel as committed? And then asking yourself, Am I committed? So if this guy is committed, and he’s he’s saying her fiance so


Tracy Crossley  48:49  

the committed to something? Well,


Tracy Crossley  48:51  

yeah, words are wonderful, but it’s really about Is he really emotionally committed? I’m not saying he is or he isn’t. Okay? Because We don’t know. We’re not that it’s her perception of him and what he does when he’s not with her. So he could be flirting with somebody at the grocery store. He could be flirting everywhere he goes. But that’s neither here nor there. It goes back to how uncomfortable Are you in trying to control what he does or doesn’t do


Damona  49:18  

it? It’ll make you crazy. If you’re, if you’re worried about every place, he goes, who he’s going to be talking to, it will literally make you crazy.


Tracy Crossley  49:27  

Yes. And that’s why why do it? Well, now you might be attached, maybe you’re afraid of losing him. And I’m not saying that you shouldn’t have any fear of losing somebody, but you want to be with somebody because you love them and because you feel good. But this doesn’t sound like it feels good. And so you don’t want to be controlling him. You’re going to need to let go of that outcome and let him do what he does. And if he ends up disappointing you, if he ends up having another female trainer or what have you, then you got to make a choice. At that point. Do I want to be with somebody who makes these kinds of choices? Or not. And it’s pretty much that because it doesn’t sound like you’re going to be able to change him. And one other thing, he probably is in a state of rebellion on some level, if he feels that you’re trying to be his parent here.


Damona  50:13  

Yeah, that definitely happens. Nobody wants to be controlled and and then when you get resistance, then you push back. Even harder. It sounds like, we’re just gonna have to deal with it. We’re gonna have to rip the band aid off and deal with it, just as Tracy does on her podcast, deal with it. Make sure you check that out. We’ll put the link in the show notes. And you can also find Tracy on Facebook at transformative coach and on Twitter @TracyCrossley, Again, that’ll be in the show notes for you. And also, if you’re ready for a change in the way that you move into relationships, maybe you need an insecure attachment cleanse, so you can do that 30 day program with Tracy, thanks so much for being here.


Tracy Crossley  51:00

Well, thank you for having me. This has been great. I’ve really enjoyed it.


Damona  51:03  

Before we wrap this up, I need to talk to you all about something. It’s been a while since we’ve done a de monas diatribe, because there’s a lot to say about this. There’s been controversy about this topic. All right. There is this convention happening in Orlando on May 1. If you got nothing better to do, you should go to the 22 convention, which media has affectionately referred to as the mansplaining convention? It’s being put on by a guy on Twitter called beach muscles, who calls himself the president of the manosphere. Obviously, I was joking, you should not go to this conference. But if you want to know what you would get for the low, low price of $2,000, you can sit in a convention center in Orlando, while men mansplain femininity to you. It’ll cover topics like feminism versus femininity, getting pregnant, being wiped up and getting fit because he says women’s health is in a major crisis today. Don’t believe the hype ladies do not buy into this idea that you have to change Who you are to become more dateable. It’s 2020. You can be a boss and still be a lady. You can choose if you want to have kids or not. You can delay marriage until you get your career together or skip it entirely. And you can be beautiful in


Tracy Crossley  52:13  



Damona  52:14  

body. Thanks for the help beach muscles. But no thanks. I think ladies are doing pretty damn great just as they are right now. I’m sorry, I got a little worked up producer Leah.


Leah Schell  52:26  

But now this is a topic that deserves such a response.


Damona  52:31  

I cannot believe that in this day and age. He thinks that he has the right to come into a convention to create a convention for women to teach women how to be women.


Leah Schell  52:42  

Also, I want to know who’s buying these tickets like I can’t


Damona  52:45  

I can’t even believe that this thing exists. And of course it’s getting tons of press. So I just had to throw my two cents into it and say Don’t even think about doing this workshop. But if you want to do an actual workshop That will help you please join me for why dating apps won’t work for you. It’s a virtual free webinar for anyone men and women I don’t discriminate, and you can sign up. Sign up at thedatingsecret.com and keep coming back to dates and mates. I’ll keep giving your love life a boost all throughout the year. We will put all the links from today’s show in the show notes at dates and mates calm and we’ll also show you how you can get a hold of Tracy Crossley my amazing guest for today’s show. Also, if you are really ready to get started and date differently in 2020, the 30 day dating playbook could be your solution. I’ve taken the five steps to find your match that have worked for hundreds of my clients. over the many years I’ve been coaching and created an easy to follow 30 day program that will lead you to the love that you deserve all before Valentine’s Day. You can find out more at 30 day dating calm and again that link will be in the show notes at dates and mates calm as well. I hope you enjoyed episode. 291 of dates and mates. Again, I’m at damona Hoffman on all the socials. Please join in the conversation. Send me your questions for future episodes and share this episode with a friend. Until next week, I wish you happy dating

Self Love & Vulnerability

Love Yourself First

Have you ever heard the phrase, “You have to love yourself before you can love someone else”?

If you remember a few episodes ago titled “Marriage Boot Camp & Bad Advice,” Dr. V’s opinion was that you can’t love yourself in the same way that your partner would love you. Which is true.

BUT it got us thinking: there is some value in being able to understand yourself and take care of yourself in order to be more prepared for a healthier relationship. We dedicated this episode to understanding self love as it relates to dating with Jonathon Aslay. Here’s the rundown:



Wendy Williams is dating after filing for divorce

The divorce has finally happened! Should Wendy be dating already after her divorce? Damona and Jonathon have thoughts.

A new way to teach millennials how to date

CNN reports that South Korea is teaching university students how to date through a “Gender and Culture” class. Is this the most effective way to teach dating? Damona breaks it down.

Match announces a new service, a one-on-one phone call with an expert dating coach

Match is personalizing the world of online dating! What does this mean for you?


Jonathon is America’s leading Midlife relationships expert and he has just published a fantastic guide to self love as it relates to dating called, “What the Heck is Self Love Anyway?”

Self love is an antidote to potential chaos,” Jonathon explains.

Chaos in your life is going to come in a variety of forms – whether it’s a relationship transition, job stress, family stress, etc.

“You have to learn to take care of yourself before you take care of anyone else,” Jonathon explains. A good self love and personal development practice will help you be ready for your next relationship.

In this episode, Jonathon explains:

  • How to allow yourself to feel your feelings
  • How to begin a daily personal development practice
  • How to “Shift away from the mundane and fill your own cup with love.”

Get Jonathon’s book today!


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

  • How to be vulnerable again in a relationship?
  • Why not talk about politics, religion, and money on a first date?
  • How do you get motivated to date again?


Have a hot date this weekend or another event that you want to glam it up for? Let Glamsquad help you out with Damona’s code! If you’re new to Glamsquad you can get $20 off your first service with my special code Damona20.