Tag Archive for: inter-faith relationship

Blended Family & The Bumble Buzz


If you met your ideal mate at one of the lowest points in your life, would you be prepared to accept their love?

My guests on Dates & Mates this week, Laura and Scott of The Only One In The Room Podcast, met in orientation on the first day of rehab.

You read that right. The first day of rehab.

More on that later, first Damona covers headlines!


The signs your relationship is getting serious

Women and Glamour weigh in on what makes a relationship serious, and Damona tells you which ones are the most important


A new dating show at FOX you have to check out

This new dating show might just top every reality show ever. Here’s a hint: BabyMama.


Why Bumble wants you to date long distance

Bumble is now allowing you to match with ANYONE ANYWHERE in the US. That’s right. You’re dating pool just got bigger ladies and gents. Damona breaks it down. 



“We got to meet at that place where everything was stripped away from us. And we were just Laura and Scott with this long backstory,” Scott says. “We’re both rescued from a shipwreck and we’re standing there looking at each other.”

I wanted this interview to be a part of my extraordinary love stories because Laura and Scott exemplify a few things that I find crucial in the development of a loving relationship

  • Not pretending to be someone you’re not in the beginning
  • Finding a relationship pace that works for you
  • Creating a healthy working relationship in everything they do


If you have ever met someone you felt a connection with, but it just didn’t seem like the right time, then this interview is for you.

Make sure to check out The Only One In The Room Podcast, one of Damona’s absolute favorite!


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

  • Email – I’m not your typical 53-year-old black woman: I have a lot of creativity, a master’s degree, I’m fit, I’m funny, attractive—I’m a catch! But I have always found dating online a real challenge. I feel like the cards are stacked against me. Each year for the past 3 years, I try out a new dating app, but after 3 or 4 months, I stop. I find I’m either dealing with scammers or pretty much no one at all. I reach out to folks and say hello, send a note, etc. I post a variety of pictures: here I am with friends, here’s a full body shot of me on my own, etc. I think I’m doing all the right things, but I don’t seem to get any play. What would you suggest I do to be more successful?
  • Email from Kevin – I’m an introvert, but am trying to learn how to approach in public places and to flirt. How can I know if the woman I’m attracted to is available?? I of course look for a ring, but it seems like it’s impossible to know for sure.



Best of all, it’s super affordable – Dates & Mates listeners like you get 10% off your first month with discount code DATESANDMATES 


So why not get started today? We all need someone to talk to right now. Go to BetterHelp.com/datesandmates so you can fill out a questionnaire to help them assess your needs and get matched with a counselor you’ll love.





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  • to get quality advice that is tailored to your dating challenges
  • and to become part of a community that will help you find the healthiest, most loving relationships this year



Damona  0:12  

I am so glad you came for your dose of love and inspiration, especially at a time when the world seems to be collectively in need of a great big hug. I’m here to support you and to remind you that someone cares. And we will get through this, even if we are apart. But together Together apart apart together. It’s been an exciting week over here in Dimona land, I’ve had some very compelling conversations about love and relationships post COVID-19 if we can allow ourselves to dream a little bit about what will happen in the next phase of this. You may have heard me a couple of weeks ago on the NPR show national conversation with all things considered. And if you listen to that, you heard me say that I think ultimately there is a silver lining, to this quarantine for dating and relationships. It’s going to help those of you who are coupled up truly see who your partner is. And it will expose the cracks in your relationship that you can choose to work on, or to walk away from. And for those of you who are dating, it’s going to result in us having to slow down, having to take our time and really see the person in front of us, instead of being caught up in the endless swipe. As part of our love story series. I have a couple today who were to ultimate practitioners of slow love. Laura Cathcart Robbins and Scott Slaughter relationship began in the most unlikely of places, and it’s taken 13 years for them to get to where they are today. But before we talk to them, I’ll be discussing this week’s headline Including, what are the signs that your relationship is getting serious? And could a strange new dating show at Fox have a future? Plus? Why is Bumble encouraging you to date long distance? And then at the end of the show, as always, I’ll take on your questions, including a voicemail I received which will ask how will video chat dating impact your overall dating success? And is your health affecting your dating options? All that and more on today’s dates and mates. And now it’s time for the dish

Unknown Speaker  2:39  

these dating dish.

Damona  2:42  

Yahoo just share the exciting news that Bumble is encouraging you to date long distance. Now many of you have heard me say on this show that now that we’re in the time of quarantine and we’re all virtual dating. Maybe this is an opportunity to expand your dating criteria because If I know in LA traffic is a problem, and people that I’ve worked with here have had a hard time dating someone across town because it may take them an hour to get from one place to the other. So if you’re willing to date across town, why not date across the country, Bumble has introduced a few new virtual dating features in recent months. And now they actually have a virtual date badge, which allows you to match with anyone in the US regardless of your location. If you’ve used Bumble before, if you remember previously, users could only match with people in 100 mile radius. And so that’s why we’re getting a lot of like vacation dating and people hopping from one city to another and dating around there. But now you can set your distance filter to the whole country. They also you’ve heard on the show before they’ve added video chat dating and you can get to the video chat by adding that virtual date badge. And then after you add the badge You’ll be able to filter matches who are willing to date via video chat. Beyond that, they’re also adding the ability to send audio messages and respond to specific messages that way, which I think is really exciting. And some of you who have DM me in the past know that on Instagram, sometimes I like to leave a personal message rather than typing so that you know, it’s really me, I’m really sharing this advice with you. And it really adds a personal touch, which can be really helpful for you, if you’re also in that dating space. You know, we’ve talked about ghosting, you could still get ghosted on a video chat date. But when you become a voice, this is why I’ve always been a fan of the phone call. When you become a voice, you become something real, you move off the page and off the screen, and suddenly, you’re a real person. It gets that person much more invested into seeing what’s going to happen with you. But that’s not all folks. There are other reasons Why you want to add this virtual date badge if you’re using Bumble, they also are donating for every user that adds the virtual data badge. They’re adding up to $10,000 $1 for every person to the World Health Organization’s COVID-19 solidarity fund. And this is actually in addition to another hundred thousand dollars that Bumbles already donated to the World Health Organization fund. So I’d say y’all, you should do it. Why not right now in today’s world? And we’ll figure this all out later, like people keep asking me, what is going to happen when we come out of quarantine? And are these relationships going to work? And the truth is, I don’t want to lie to y’all. I don’t know. I don’t know. But I would say if you’re already going to be dating across town or dating virtually, why not expand your criteria a little more? Why not unlock some of these other features like video chat dating, audio messaging and make a donation to the World Health Organization fund. Because you can date and do good at the same time. Speaking of dating Oh, there’s a new dating show at Fox we’ve been jonesing like bachelor’s back and love is blind just blew our minds. Now there’s a new dating show coming at Fox. And you know, I mean Fox has the loudest raunchiest reality shows. And so as soon as I saw this headline on variety, I was like, Oh my god, what is this show gonna be? It’s a pregnancy dating show. And strangely, it stars Sex in the City alum Kristin Davis. The show is called labor of love. And it’s going to be about former bachelor contestant Christy Katzman who will be dating around trying to find a man and somebody that she could father a child with. It’s funny because you know Being in this dating and relationship, TV show world as well as a producer and host. All the time when I’m taking meetings like people were saying that the bar has been raised like ever since pretty much married at first sight where the stakes were so high, the stakes were and they’re going to marry a stranger and stay married for six weeks and see what happens. That became the bar and I kept thinking, how are they going to raise the bar from that like marrying a stranger?

Have a baby with a stranger?

Damona  7:30  

Why not? And Christie is up for it. She’s 41 years old. She says she’s ready to start a family now. They’re not going to lock her into having a baby with one of these guys. It’s not not quite that extreme. That would be that would be almost to the point of being cruel because nobody wants to have a baby with somebody. They can’t. They can’t stand down the road. So you got to filter effectively. If you’re you’re jumping into the parenting pool with the rest of us because it’s murky in here, y’all I’m not gonna lie. It’s murky, and it certainly helps if you have a partner who can swim and not think, but she might come out of this reality show they’re saying with a decision to parent on her own. And that’s what Kristin Davis said, interested her in being a part of the show that she wanted to remind women that they have a choice and you can choose what you want your life to be. If you want to have a baby and you don’t have a partner. You have that option too. So I don’t know what’s gonna happen. It premieres may 21 I’m sure we’ll be talking about it again on the show because I know y’all are gonna be watching it. It sounds like another one of those, those salacious Fox reality shows that you just can’t turn away from the project’s been in development for three years, which in development time is a heck of a long time. So they either really wanted to make the show or they really didn’t want to make the show, but either way, it’s getting eight episodes premiering may 21.

I also read an interesting article on it. glamour.com I wanted to get away from all the news being COVID specific news. And this article caught my eye the signs your relationship is getting serious, according to women, so they asked real women, what the signs were. And I gotta tell you, I’m about 5050 on this article, there was some really terrible advice in there. And it made me really concerned for women of what they think is a serious sign. And then there was some really great advice. So I’ll just give you my take on the yeses and noes and then of course, we will put the link in the show notes and I want to hear from you what you think the signs are, that your relationship is getting serious. So a 27 year old woman said when you get a pet or pets together, I was just talking about how you don’t want to parent with someone that you can’t stand. And I have seen a lot of pet situations go wrong and having to deal with pet custody with somebody that you weren’t even married to is not really Something that you need to be dealing with. So I would say no to that one. Another person said when you start wanting to stay in no honey, that’s just laziness that happens to all of us. We just get tired. And then we’re like, well, I got somebody, I don’t need to put as much effort into it. When they start talking about love. 24 year old said this, maybe, but a lot of times people talk about love when they’re not really feeling it yet. And people throw that word around a lot. When you plan your weekend around time together. That’s another maybe for me. I guess that’s saying you’re putting your partner first. And weekends are precious. But now what’s time anymore, as we’re in the quarantine. And the last one I was not so sure about was when you meet the parents because that can be something serious, but it also can just be circumstantial. The ones that I really want you to pay attention to, are when conversations begin with we instead of i a woman named Taylor, who’s 34 said that and I thought it was really brilliant. And that’s a big mindset shift when you’re in a relationship and you stop thinking of each other as individuals, and you start to think of the two of you as a unit. That’s been a really big turning point for a lot of my clients. So look out for those we, and also look out for what the 61 year old woman said, when being together feels like coming home. I thought that was so poetic and beautiful. That feeling, especially now that feeling of home and I can just relax and be myself around this person. Another one I loved was when you embrace their family as your own. When you really start to see that your circles are not independent, but they are together that’s again that that sense of we that’s a definite sign that things are headed in a serious direction. And when their family starts to feel like their life Your own. And then the last one I want to leave you with before we go into the break. Amanda who’s 32 said when you realize you care about their well being. I know that was a turning point in my own relationship that my husband was sick. And to me it was like, of course I would take care of him when he’s sick. And believe me, folks, it was bad. It was very bad. I saw it all. And he thought, wow, if she’s willing to stand with me through that, then she really, really cares. And I think throughout this quarantine and pandemic, as we all of our worst stuff is coming out. We’re really seeing what we’re made of and what our significant others are made of and what we really need in a relationship. So hopefully this is a clarifying time for you. Those are the headlines for the day. But we have so much more dates and made when we return. I’ll have Laura Cathcart Robbins and Scott slaughter talking about their unusual love story. But first I want to thank those of you who have taken the time to review our show on Apple podcasts or on your favorite podcast platform. Shout out to Slingo Who says I’m so addicted to devote his podcast and advice. I take notes and even replay some of her shows often I love the masterclass series. She even responds to my i g dm, see, I just told you guys I respond to the DMS I might even leave you a voice message. So keep the messages coming. Thanks so much Slingo. A single also says, thanks to Mona I’m thinking I’ll be done with this dating real soon. I sure hope that for you and I hope that for everyone who’s listening but I want you to still listen for relationship tips. And for you to please keep sharing this show with your friends who need this kind of advice. We have a lot of broken hearts in the world right now. And we need to keep spreading our love and positivity. We will have more dates inmates in just a moment.

Today we are talking to Laura Cathcart Robbins and Scott slaughter and incredible powerhouse couple and one of my favorite couples in podcasting. together. They host the only one in the room podcast, but they’re also both individually super accomplished people. Laura is a freelance writer, a speaker and an advocate for diversity. You’ve seen her work in Huffington Post, she has several pieces that have gone viral there. And as the US contributor for Italian news magazine, Scott is also an accomplished individual himself. He’s an international traveler, producer, and photographer Laura and Scott met in the most unlikely of places in rehab. They both started on the same day, and Laura ran out of the room thinking that she hadn’t made the biggest mistake of her life coming there. And Scott ran after her, though they didn’t actually start dating and rehab. Which was a no no there that that chance meeting did lead to a deep friendship that ended up evolving into love. Please help me welcome them to the show and let’s get big. smooches to Laura Cathcart Robbins and Scott slaughter. Welcome to the show. I got to give two sandwiches today. Yes, you did. I’m excited. I’m so excited that you’re joining me. I had the great pleasure of meeting Laura at the podcast movement conference. And I mean, I can see what you saw and this lady Scott because the minute I met her I was like, she is a radiant source of light. She’s amazing.

Unknown Speaker  15:42  

I know she’s lovely moment. I saw her.

Damona  15:45  

So tell us a little bit about how you met your your love story how we got to today,

Unknown Speaker  15:51  

huh? I’m gonna let Laura lead on. I always get corrected when I tell the story.

Unknown Speaker  15:55  

That’s not true.

Damona  15:56  

Let’s do it. He said. She said okay, Laura. Your turn.

Unknown Speaker  16:01  

Well, ours is a pretty unique story. Just about 12 years ago, I was at the end of a battle with a really gnarly drug and alcohol addiction. I was in the middle of a divorce and I was looking at the possibility of losing custody of my two boys. So I decided to go to treatment

Unknown Speaker  16:27  

at a place called the meadows in wickenburg, Arizona,

Unknown Speaker  16:30  

and it was battling a heavy alcohol addiction um, some drugs but mainly alcohol at that time in my life. I was a about two years out of a Separation, Divorce, had two young girls and had a dear friend who was tired of seeing me drink myself to death. So she loaded me on a plane and took me to lo and behold wickenburg Arizona for treatment. And that same morning that Laura walked in, I walked in as well, unknowing who she was What I was about to experience when we were in that orientation class, and I heard her tell her story. I was struck with her immediately. But I absolutely felt like I knew her. Honestly, the minute I saw her, and I couldn’t really identify those thoughts. I just could not stop staring at her during the meeting. And when she got up to leave, I decided to just get up and leave as well. And I walked out and I followed her. And she was immediately annoyed. Yeah.

Damona  17:27  

That’s how all great love stories start, right?

Unknown Speaker  17:29  

Yeah, annoying, right. Oh,

Damona  17:31  

but she wasn’t annoyed with you. She was Yes. annoying.

Unknown Speaker  17:34  

Oh, she was okay. Okay. She tells us. I think I tapped you on the shoulder.

Unknown Speaker  17:39  

yet. Well, I feel you following me, which also annoyed me. And I thought you weren’t there. And then when you got up to me, I saw that you didn’t work there. And I was like, What does he want? And you tapped me on the shoulder and you said I’m really sorry to hear about your divorce and and then we talked Hot and you know, I, I my memory is money at this time there is certain things that stand out. And that’s one of them.

Damona  18:08  

I know a little bit about rehab, I do have some family members who’ve struggled with addiction for a long time. So I don’t know a lot, but I seem to remember one of the rules of rehab is that you’re not supposed to date people there.

Unknown Speaker  18:24  

We didn’t date in rehab, per se. We just kind of hung out. And

Unknown Speaker  18:32  

and I think I think that was a saving grace that something happened for us because we were able to bond his friends for so long. Yeah, for almost a month and get to know one another outside of this, you know, physical attraction or whatever that looks like at the time. But we were actually able to be there for one another in a way that I think normally we wouldn’t have listened to. Yeah,

Damona  18:55  

I think going through an experience like that with somebody who helps you along. The way it has to bond you for life, whether romantic or not, but you came you were living in different cities. So how did it work? After you left rehab? How were you able to form a relationship? Did you date long distance? Initially? Well,

Unknown Speaker  19:16  

again, dating is not quite the word I would use but because I was I was still not divorced yet. We were talking on the phone all the time. Yeah. After about 30 days back to Utah.

Unknown Speaker  19:29  

She came back to Los Angeles, we started you know, chatting.

Unknown Speaker  19:33  

It wasn’t just chatting. We were intentionally like he was my lifeline. I called him all the time I called him at night after I put my kids to bed. I didn’t know how I was going to stay sober. And that was the other thing is I had a lot on the line. Getting lost or getting loaded on a guy might have derailed my, my my agenda, which was to be the best mom I could be for my kids to keep custody of them. To have a decent relationship with my ex husband. And for either of those two work, I had to stay sober. So I knew that I couldn’t like lose my mind over this man.

Damona  20:11  

Yeah, but at what point did you start to have more than platonic feelings? Oh, is there a moment? Is there a memory that you have where you were like, huh?

Unknown Speaker  20:24  

and smiling. You can’t see that.

Unknown Speaker  20:27  

I, I would say, you know, how, like, you watch a reality show, and they’re, you know, sequester together for 30 days or whatever. And you think there’s no way they could have that much of a bond in that that faster time is just not reality doesn’t work. So I, the bond that I formed with Scott felt like those bonds that I see on reality shows when people kind of fall in love, so I definitely had those feelings for him in treatment. I think I felt bonded to him that way. I just, I felt like I loved him, but I didn’t know if it would if it would stand the test of reality, you know, being that we did live in two different states, we are vastly different in our backgrounds, you know, besides the fact that he’s white, and I’m black. He’s like an outdoorsman. And I’m the city mouse. You want nothing to do with the outside?

Unknown Speaker  21:26  

And you know, and I think demonic like that is one of the things that’s really curious that, that I, I’ve looked at as we go along in this relationship, and I see other people is that the things that I was attracted to her were not the normal things that I would be attracted to, and in a relationship that didn’t work from the past. And I was curious about who she was, without all the other stuff, you know, where she had come from, what she did what she looked like, I didn’t know that at the time. And I think that that’s why we were like, you know, you were like Oh, I can see what you were attracted to. And you would think I would look at her and be like, holy cow. She’s so beautiful, which was one piece of it. But there was this other just deep curiosity about who she was. That that didn’t check all the boxes right off. Oh,

Damona  22:16  

yeah. All my listeners right now are nodding their heads because they’re like damona always talks about being led by curiosity. So you thank you for being my guest. But at a certain point, curiosity gets you so far, and then you have to get into the reality. And you each have kids, you’re in different places, blending of family and deciding to be together and take that next step from like, sort of fantasy to everyday reality. What was that like for you?

Unknown Speaker  22:52  


Unknown Speaker  22:54  

it’s still happening. Right.

Unknown Speaker  22:58  

So squatters don’t. So Scott moved to Los Angeles about a month or two after we left treatment and stayed in a sober living

Unknown Speaker  23:09  

a year and a half.

Unknown Speaker  23:10  

And then and then moved to another.

Unknown Speaker  23:14  

Another house after that.

Unknown Speaker  23:17  

I stayed in my home, or I have been with my husband and my kids. My husband was not there anymore, but I stayed there. So we that’s when we started dating. We dated for six years. Well, living in separate places. Yeah.

Damona  23:32  

Slow love again. Ding, ding, ding.

Unknown Speaker  23:35  

I’m always talking about that.

Unknown Speaker  23:36  

Oh, and people would tell me like, you know, you’re going to want to move in, you’re going to want to say like, anytime that I went through the insecurity of where it was our relationship, I would always feel like, you know, he let’s move in, because that’ll make it you know, so that we’re together. But I would resist that feeling and we would continue to put our family first. In perspective recoveries first before we put ourselves first or our needs first. That seemed to guide us for a long time. First, there were a number of times where I wished that we lived together. But I was glad we didn’t make that move, because it really allowed us to get to know each other in a way that I don’t think would have happened if we had jumped in out of a financial convenience or an emotional and security like,

Damona  24:20  

yeah, let’s talk about that, too. Because a lot of times on the show, I’ve talked about moving in together and like I hosted a show for ad networks, called the question of love, where we did just what you’re talking about, we moved the couples in together for 30 days to work with me and determine if this relationship was going to make it or if somebody had to move out like super high stakes. But I always said and when I blogged for that show, I talked about all of the questions you need to ask yourself and your partner before you decide to move in and what a disaster it is to move in together out of the reasons that you said like financial convenience or because Well, you’re getting tired of the commute to their house. So what was your thought process when you finally decided to move in? And Blender families? How did you set yourself up for success? Well,

Unknown Speaker  25:17  

I say one one thing right off the bat is Scott and I are each financially independent. And we keep it that way. So that is helpful for me.

Unknown Speaker  25:30  

It’s so there isn’t any

Unknown Speaker  25:34  

any need to rely on him that way or vice versa? You know, I had a terrible experience growing up with a stepfather who wasn’t who didn’t like me and and maybe took advantage of every opportunity to show me that it Scott is so not that guy. He’s not that guy at all, but I didn’t want to Post anyone on my boys who were still, you know, tender from the fact that their parents weren’t living together anymore. They were like eight and 10 then so you know, it was really easy to, to put them first and that way and created an environment where they felt really safe and and kind of let them get to know Scott through visits or dinners. We started taking trips with his daughters and my kids, we started putting them down. We started blending them that way, like what once every summer we short trips, short trips. And then they got longer and longer and then our kids started asking for them. And they became started asking to see one another. And they became this tradition. You know, we started driving from one end of the country to the other during the summer with our families.

Unknown Speaker  26:51  

Either way, yes, a Chicago down to New Orleans for Wow, yeah, we would each get a van and stay in a hotel. All together. So we Yeah, that became we did that for years.

Unknown Speaker  27:03  

For years. We just we just haven’t done it the last couple years because college and high school schedules haven’t allowed it. But But yeah, we, we so we, we did it really slowly. So I don’t know for me that there was one moment where I was like, it’s time, let’s blend.

Unknown Speaker  27:20  

I think that meeting and rehab gave us was the ability to not be in a relationship based on the other’s potential. We didn’t see each other as you know, she’ll be a great partner or that we were absolutely kind of opened up at the core of who we were. And I think we bonded at that place. So we knew we already knew each other at a place where I had never known anybody else. So as we got to know one another, we always had that point of reference, right? Like most relationships work the other way where you present yourself in this really formal fashion, your agent,

Unknown Speaker  27:57  

your representative into the relationship.

Unknown Speaker  28:00  

Were they presented like, here’s what I do. And here’s what I have. And here’s what I like. And here’s what I want. And here’s, you know, and then as you get to know them, you get to you get closer and closer to the real person who, here’s where I am when everything is terrible, do you still love me? And we got to meet at that place where everything was stripped away from us. And we were just, we were Lauren Scott with this long backstory. And I honestly think is as big as our lives have gotten in the last 12 years, we still have that place. Like you said, that strong place that we bond like, like a shipwreck, right? We’re both rescued from a shipwreck, and we’re standing there looking at each other. Like, Tell me your story. How did you get here?

Damona  28:39  

There’s also something to be said for secrets in a relationship, right? A lot of people ask me, when should I talk about my divorce or when should I reveal my struggle with addiction or whatever deep dark thing that we have shame around that we’ve locked away that we don’t want To let out on a first date or a second date, or even years into a relationship. So there’s something to be said for putting all the messy stuff on the table in the beginning, and then sort of rebuilding working backwards from there. Absolutely. I mean, that’s exactly what it was. We were, you know, totally stripped down.

Unknown Speaker  29:23  

You know, me literally, like, no one to do my hair or my nails.

Unknown Speaker  29:28  

Kind of like right now, right? It’s just

Unknown Speaker  29:31  

the other day this is the only other time in my life that I haven’t gotten my nails done for this longest when I was in treatment, or my rooms

Unknown Speaker  29:40  

and you know, I honestly like this has not been you know, I think all of us been quarantined with the person we love. It’s been really a challenge for everyone. It’s new, right? We normally have a place to run an escape but I there are moments when I absolutely Look at her and say I’m so glad that I’m doing this with you.

Unknown Speaker  29:56  


Damona  29:58  

Oh, I feel the same way. And I, like I said to my husband last night, if we can make it through this, we can literally make it through anything. Now let’s let’s move that’s fast forward in your relationship, because I know you’re both creatives. And you have this wonderful podcast, the only one in the room. Thank you. Work together. Yeah, no, it’s it’s fantastic. And just for those of you who haven’t gotten a chance to hear it yet, it’s Laura and Scott having these really deep, intimate conversations with someone who has that has had that experience of being the only only one in the room. Laura, can you talk a little bit about what inspired that podcast and then also, I want to hear from both of you about the creative process of working together because that adds a whole other layer

Unknown Speaker  30:54  

Isa days. Yeah. So the the The short answer is the I wrote an article for huffpost in October of 2018, about being the only black person at a 600 person retreat, and the article went viral. And when it did, I started immediately getting comments and direct messages. I counted there were 568. Total in about a week. And yeah, it was I had never experienced anything like that. I haven’t experienced anything like that sense that a lot of the the comments and messages were hashtag the only one in the room. Also, most of them weren’t from black people, which shocked me. I thought this was going to be an article that black people would say, Oh, yeah, I’ve been that. I understand that feeling. That well. What happened was everybody It seemed to be the majority of the people took my race out of it and just identified with the feelings of being or feeling others. And so I was in a class at the time of podcasting class. I just wanted to learn more about podcasting. So, for my class project, I did the only one in the room as as a an idea for a project and recorded a trailer for it. That was our the culmination of the class at kcrw W, which is a local public radio here and in Los Angeles, and, and someone I posted a picture of me recording the trailers. A good friend of mine from a long time ago site asked me if he could be a guest on the show. When I launched and I like, I don’t know if I’m really doing a show. And he says, Oh, you should you should talk to my friend who has a podcasting network. So I set up a meeting With her name is Alison Marino, and she is she and she does the advertising. She sells advertising for our podcast and about 16 others. And I was sitting in bed with Scott, you know, emailing her back and forth and I turned to him and I’m like, hey, if I do this, you’re gonna have to produce it for me. And he was like,

Unknown Speaker  33:24  

Okay. I Well,

Unknown Speaker  33:26  

no idea what I was getting into.

Unknown Speaker  33:28  

And, you know, the thing about Scott is, he is exactly the opposite of me, in that he is this empath. And, you know, he leads with his heart. In his head, he has, you know, he can sense someone’s state of mind from when they walk into the room without even really looking at them. He can just tell how they’re doing. I’m I’m cerebral. I’m you know, I work out of In my head, I do everything that way. So he’s a good Yin to my Yang, and that. And he’s also super organized. And, you know, I came from film, film and television years ago, and I know that the best producers are people that are organized. So

Unknown Speaker  34:18  

I thought it’d be a great idea.

Unknown Speaker  34:22  

And was it a great idea as a team player? So I said, Yes. Some days, it’s a good idea. Some days, I’m like, this is my job. I guess what I didn’t understand was that producing is every great idea you have you have to put into play. And I didn’t know that. So I’ll come up with some great idea. And she’ll be like, Yeah, why don’t you go do that? Ah,

Damona  34:47  

it’s a lot of work.

Unknown Speaker  34:47  

But I think that I there was a point where I was trying, I was really a little bit jealous of what was going on because she was getting so much attention. She was pursuing the things that she wanted, and I had the chance of whether or not was whether or not I was going to be a part of that. Or I was going to go do my own thing. And through the course of some soul searching, I decided that being a part of it would be more of a blessing, like the challenges of learning how to work together might be easier than me heading off in my own direction and trying to do something for myself.

Damona  35:21  

Wait, and I just want to pause there, Scott, because you said something really profound and you kind of breezed over it. So I don’t even know if you realize how profound it was. But you said, you were feeling a little bit jealous, which is a very brave thing to admit, in a relationship. And sometimes partners get into this dynamic where they are in competition with each other and you had a choice to either be in competition with your lady or to support

Unknown Speaker  35:53  

her. That was absolutely where I was, and I have a few men in my life that are evolved and when I change Turn to them and ask them what I should do. They were like, why wouldn’t you want to help support her? And I thought, and I had to get honest, like you said, with myself and say, is it just that I’m insecure? Or is it you know, that I’m afraid of being a part of something bigger. So I sort of have determined that my job in life my goal, my true ambition is to lift others out. And I saw this as an opportunity to lift her up.

Unknown Speaker  36:26  

This is why I love him.

Damona  36:28  

It’s amazing. You both are amazing. I, I am so honored that you took the time, especially right now, to sit down and chat with me about your story. If we could leave our listeners with just one piece of advice. There are a lot of people listening, men and women who are single and right now feeling rather lonely, and maybe not the most optimistic that love will be there for them on the other side of this and you both have been, you’ve come from a very dark place to be able to find love and build this beautiful relationship. I’d love to get just one piece of advice from each of you. For our listeners,

Unknown Speaker  37:12  

go to rehab.

Unknown Speaker  37:16  

No kidding,

Damona  37:17  

just find a thing.

Unknown Speaker  37:22  

I’ll tell you that.

Unknown Speaker  37:25  

Because of the way Scott and I met,

Unknown Speaker  37:29  

I had to fight every instinct that I have, I think to protect myself. By fronting by showing them something or it’s showing them versions of myself instead of the whole me. Because of how we met I wasn’t able to do that and I still fight

Unknown Speaker  37:48  


Unknown Speaker  37:50  

to be be myself That sounds so trite, but it’s true. I fight not to keep part of myself hidden or see critter edit myself in front of him when I’m with them, and it’s really obvious to me that is a battle worth fighting because when he sees me the way that I am, he loves me even more. And it’s really evident. So I think for me, my advice would be to, you know, obviously not to vomit all over somebody during the front date and tell them first date and tell them everything. But to resist that urge to edit yourself into front and to present a version of yourself that might be more attractive or more palatable to whoever it is that you’re interested in and, and just be who you are and be confident about that confidence. Is that the sexiest thing ever.

Unknown Speaker  38:48  

It is

Damona  38:48  

and you you basically Yeah, summed up my tagline love as you are. That’s what it’s about. Be yourself and let that attract the right person for you. And sometimes the timeline is Short, sometimes it’s 13 years. But Scott, what about you? What what wisdom Can you impart? Well, I think I just have

Unknown Speaker  39:08  

to go with what she said, I think, you know, my as a man, I think what we do when we come to relationships is we try to protect authentically who we are. And I think the gifts that I got with Laura was to be who I was authentically and give her a chance to make a choice of whether that was good or bad. You know, I think when you withhold who you are authentically from anyone, you’re not giving them the choice to to love you or to or to not love you. And every time that I showed a piece of who I was to her, she embraced it more. And, And to me, that’s true intimacy. You know, I think men often think that intimacy is sex and I think intimacy is trust, you know, it’s and it, like I said earlier, it’s either you’re going to get there in the beginning or you’re going to wait a long time to get to that place where you have to be out there. don’t recruit someone and you have to be loved. And it seems at this point in my life to be more courageous and be authentic in the beginning.

Damona  40:08  

Yeah, it can be very scary, but seems based on your story that it’s well worth the reward. Thank you so much for being here. Laura Cathcart Robbins and Scott slaughter. I hope everyone will check out the only one in the room podcast and keep speaking your truth and sharing your stories. Thank you so much. Thank you, damona. I’m back and here with answers to your questions. Here’s the first one which came to me in a voicemail.

Unknown Speaker  40:42  

Hi Dimona, this is Debra from Raleigh, North Carolina. And my question is, do you think getting to know someone via video chat will have any impact on long term relationship success compared to the usual way of dating in person first, thanks a lot.

Damona  41:00  

dabra This is such a great question. And I wish I could predict the future. I mean, I can a little bit but I don’t do it on this show too often. I’m not sure overall, how it will impact our long term relationship success. But the best predictor of what’s going to happen in the future is what happened in the past. So if we look at how relationships have been successful, we talked about it on this show. We’ve talked about it on previous episodes. Slow love does win. So the fact that we are having to take it slower, and we’re having to have these deeper conversations without having physical intimacy, Y’all better not be having physical intimacy with people that you’re just meeting because you’re supposed to be quarantined. I think you are, but assuming that you’re still just chatting back and forth, or video chat dating. There still is room for surprise now The possibly negative side of this you’ve also heard me say on the show that sometimes when you are chatting with someone on the phone or messaging back and forth just over emails, or DMS or text or what have you, you start to develop an impression of the person that may or may not really exist in real life. And that could be that could be problematic, because once you move offline, the person is then competing with this fantasy idea in your head of who they might be. And it’s different video chat can’t quite get you the same feeling as you would get being in the same room with this person. Because remember, part of building chemistry is also eye contact, which is not ever great over video chat. And it’s also that physical contact. You’ve heard Talk I think on my flirting masterclass, I talked about how to escalate through physical touch, and you don’t have that. But what you do have is if you’ve built a deep connection, you have that desire that’s built up. And that anticipation of meeting that may fuel the the adrenaline and the oxytocin and all those great love hormones on the first date. So I don’t know, but I can tell you from clients I’ve had who have dated long distance and literally followed this exact same path, which was meet online, start talking on the phone first and then move very quickly to video chat. So you can see that that person really is who they say they are, and that you still have a rapport face to face, and then meet in person I try to say as soon as possible most of my successful international couples have met within the first eight weeks Updating which we’re still looks like potentially going to be within that window. And I have many, many success stories that have worked this way. But you have to do you have to do what I what I recommend in terms of setting up those video chat dates for success and setting them up like a real date. If you want more details on that I go into it in much more depth. In the Patreon group I just posted a couple weeks ago, a video chat dating tutorial. So if you want to join into the Patreon group, it’s only five bucks to join at the entry level and you’ll get access to that video, and many more videos patreon.com slash dates and mates. One more question before we go for today. Danielle says Hi, I love your podcast. Hi Danielle. She says I’m 44 and I’ve been divorced for 34 three years. I almost said 30 years. She said she’s been divorced for three years. And she has two teenage sons. She says I have a few year long relationships and lots of flings, but nothing lasting. I have a serious medical problem that I’ve been dealing with. Over the last two years, I’ve had two life threatening pulmonary embolisms, and now I’m on long term blood thinners. It’s difficult for me to know at what point I need to disclose this health issue when dating, if I say it too soon, I feel like I’m asking for someone to take care of me which I’m not. And if I wait too long, I found find out that they may not be up for it. And then I’ve wasted my time. In this time of the COVID-19 quarantines it has been especially difficult as part of my symptoms are dry cough and fatigue, which then scares people off what would you suggest? So Danielle, wow, this is a very specific situations so I’m gonna, I’m gonna break it down for you. But I’m also going to broaden it out first. For anyone who was dealing with a health condition, a disability

or a mental health challenge, anything up an STI, anything that is essentially private health information.

If it is not something that is visible like if you have there are some disabilities that if you don’t address it, people will start to wonder or get uncomfortable about it or have questions and you don’t want the questions to get out ahead of what you have to say. So if there are questions, you think that would come up? I would say go ahead and answer it. I think I’ve talked about on the show before how I had a client who had a pretty pronounced speech impediment. And so I would say to him to use that as part of it like I’m sorry, I I have a speech impediment and I stutter around beautiful women, which then gives that person explains so there not asking the question but it also gives them the the compliment and the sense that they are, you’re really excited to be speaking with with them. And that there’s something special about this connection that’s making you share that. Now, if you have something like, I don’t know a lot about a pulmonary embolism, but it sounds like it’s something that you deal with silently. That is not something that they would necessarily know unless they were spending a lot of time with you, that I believe falls under the category of information that needs to be earned by the right person. And you’ve probably heard me say on the show before, that when you go on a new date, you can’t just put all your stuff out on the table. There’s this feeling like we got to put it all out there. And if they still like me after all that, then it’s true love or if they run away, then it was meant to be and you have to remember that people need information. On a timeline that makes them care about the information they care about, you want to do the right thing. So if it’s too much up front, I’m not surprised that you’re saying, Daniel that sometimes they are like, I’m not up for this, and they run away. Because what they’re really saying, Let’s really break this down what they’re really saying, when they say I’m not up for that is, I’m afraid. I’m afraid that if I fall in love with you, and then something happens, what will that mean for me? And so then it’s like, this is a risky journey to take. And I mean, you know, because you live it every day. Yes, there are risks and yes, it’s it’s scary, but it’s a situation you’re in no matter what you didn’t get to choose. So if someone gets to choose, like, if you got to choose whether you have this situation or not, would you choose it? And I imagine the answer is probably no, but you’re in it now. So you need somebody that is willing To go the distance with you, and gets invested in the outcome of the relationship. So I can’t give you an exact timeline on when to share that. But I would say that’s a little bit further down the line that’s maybe four or five dates in or if there’s a situation where like, they need to know if you’re going out. If you’re going, let’s project to the future, we’re able to leave our houses, you’re going on a weekend trip and something could potentially happen and you need them to know what to do. If that happens, then it would be important to share that information but you share information on dates on a need to know basis, if it will increase intimacy, if it is something that would change the outcome of the date. If it’s something that they must know to be able to date you. Then you share it, but if it’s something where it could potentially push them away, and it isn’t something that you would share with a stranger at a cocktail party Then maybe it’s not something that you should be sharing on a first or second or third date. But, Danielle, if you’ve had a few year long relationships, and you’ve been divorced for three years, and you had you have two beautiful teenage sons, so you had a, you had a relationship that worked for a time, you’ve had other relationships that worked for a time, I’d say, girlfriend, you are doing something, right. And a lot of times people come to me frustrated with dating and saying, Well, I haven’t met the one. And I’m no good at dating. And then I look at their relationship past and they say, Well, I had this long term relationship. And I met this person on a dating app and we dated for six months. Those are successes. So don’t be afraid also to celebrate your successes, but then look at the areas in which you can improve and look at times in the past, look at the past behaviors when you did share that information, how it came came across, and how it was received. And see if you can then iterate the way that you say it. The timing that You share it. And when the right one is in front of you, not only will they understand Danielle, but they will embrace you for it and let you know that they’re going to be there for you. No matter what.

That’s it for today’s episode. I hope you enjoyed. I am at damona Hoffman on all the socials. I would love for you to send me a DM and it could be a comment on the show or a question. But it’s really what keeps me going and keeps me making the show in quarantine because I know I know y’all are counting on me. You’re counting on the show, to keep giving you that uplifting love story and the advice and so I’m going to keep doing it as long as I can and as long as you keep showing up for me, so do DM me or you can leave me a voicemail as Deborah did. You can leave that at 424-246-6255 even better yet why not become I’m a part of the Patreon community. And I have tons of bonus content, I’ll be doing some live q&a, I’ll be doing also a lot of additional content, you get access to the library of dates and mates, which is seven and a half years deep on most of the podcast platforms, you can only access the last hundred episodes. So if you want to go deeper with me, I invite you to join the community that’s just for our dates and mates, podcast listeners and those people that are really ready for more and ready to see what can happen in their love life if they’re willing to go to the next step. That’s at patreon.com slash dates and mates. The link will be in the show notes and I hope you will join me there until next week. I wish you good health, lots of love and of course, happy dating

Prenup Regret & International Love


According to a new study by Rapid Visa, 21% of married couples are born to a foreign-born spouse and most of them were long-distance at some point or other.

In light of these stats, the week’s episode of Dates & Mates is dedicated to encouraging daters like you to consider an international, multi-cultural, and/or long-distance relationship.

More on that later, first Damona covers headlines!


You could have had it all, Adele.

Have you heard the rumors about Adele’s insanely expensive divorce settlement? According to recent reports, Adele will pay her ex, Simon Koneki, $140 million of her $190 million net worth. This is why we always get a prenup, friends.

Will your new relationship survive the pandemic?

We read this story in Glamour from a woman who is concerned about communication and emotional connection right now. Listen, things are difficult for dating right now but it doesn’t mean that your new relationship can’t flourish. Damona gives tips on how to keep the romance alive.


Damona covers a few interesting stats from this RapidVisa study:

  • Over 55% of these married couples met online
  • Many met over social media – around 80% of these couples met on Facebook
  • Where people meet IRL
  • And more!

Then we talk to 3 different couples who now live here in the United States but met the love of their lives in pretty unorthodox places

  • A bar in London.. on Valentine’s Day
  • A work trip to Nicaragua
  • A personals ad in a foreign country

Since all dating is long-distance dating right now, you might as well learn something from these insanely inspiring couples.

There is a lot to be learned from the love stories of couples like Alex and Kate, James and Pria, and Dr. Tonny and Lillian, we’ve decided to kick off a whole series with dating advice from couples who are not certified experts in love.

In the next few weeks, I’m going to deep dive into some pretty interesting love stories and get down to the bottom of why their relationships work.

Next week’s couple? They met in rehab.

We am so excited for you to hear these unorthodox love stories and really break down the lessons that you can apply to your own love story.


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

  • Email – I’m not your typical 53-year-old black woman: I have a lot of creativity, a master’s degree, I’m fit, I’m funny, attractive—I’m a catch! But I have always found dating online a real challenge. I feel like the cards are stacked against me. Each year for the past 3 years, I try out a new dating app, but after 3 or 4 months, I stop. I find I’m either dealing with scammers or pretty much no one at all. I reach out to folks and say hello, send a note, etc. I post a variety of pictures: here I am with friends, here’s a full body shot of me on my own, etc. I think I’m doing all the right things, but I don’t seem to get any play. What would you suggest I do to be more successful?
  • Email from Kevin – I’m an introvert, but am trying to learn how to approach in public places and to flirt. How can I know if the woman I’m attracted to is available?? I of course look for a ring, but it seems like it’s impossible to know for sure.



Best of all, it’s super affordable – Dates & Mates listeners like you get 10% off your first month with discount code DATESANDMATES 


So why not get started today? We all need someone to talk to right now. Go to BetterHelp.com/datesandmates so you can fill out a questionnaire to help them assess your needs and get matched with a counselor you’ll love.





What is Patreon?

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

Our page is Patreon.com/datesandmates

What will you get if you sign up?

There are three different tiers. One for our loyal listeners who want to connect with others and keep this show going strong for another 7 seasons.

Sign up at patreon.com/datesandmates for: 

  • an opportunity to work with Damona directly
  • to get quality advice that is tailored to your dating challenges
  • and to become part of a community that will help you find the healthiest, most loving relationships this year



Damona  0:12  

Hello lovers. Welcome to Dayton mates. Well, we’ve made it. Well, we’ve made it this far at least, the Hoffman household has officially been quarantined together for a full month. And everyone’s still here. You know, my husband and I looked at each other last night and we said, if we can get through this, we can get through anything. And I offer that to you my listeners as well. I’m here for you. And we are going to get through this together. Every week, I’ll be making more dates and dates, and maybe even doing some special content for my patreon friends with benefits and special bonus episodes. So keep tuning in. stay subscribed, and I have more love common attic because everybody needs more love right now, the next few episodes are going to be a little different than usual. Rather than talking to experts and giving advice, I want to inspire you with different kinds of love stories. I’m choosing to look at Corona time as we call it in my house as a unique opportunity to expand outside our comfort zone. And today, I’m hoping to inspire you to explore dating and relationships in unexpected places, perhaps even on the other side of the world. This year, census data showed us that 21% of married couples in the US are married to a foreign born spouse. So we’re going to talk to three couples who will share their amazing love stories and we’re also going to break down a study that tells you exactly how to find your own foreign But first, we’ve got headlines. Today I’ll be dishing about the week’s news including what you can learn from Adele’s expensive divorce. And can your new relationship survive Coronavirus? Then we’ll be answering your questions including Why do you keep striking out on dating apps? And how do you know that the person you’re attracted to is available? All that and more on today’s dates and mates? Let’s hit these headlines.

Damona  2:36  

Now you may have heard that Adele and her baby daddy aka ex husband are officially over but did you hear about the terms of this divorce settlement? If you heard them, they may not be so correct because the the documents have been sealed at Adele’s request, but Rumor has it that he’s getting 140 million dollars of her reported 190 million dollar net worth. Here’s what I’m wondering all. Now if you she was already big when she married him. If you already had that many assets and you had that much that you’d worked so hard to build, why wouldn’t you want to protect it? I cannot understand being so madly in love with someone that you would just throw caution to the wind assume you’re going to be together forever and not do a prenup. I know a lot of my listeners, y’all been working, you have put money away you have assets that are yours. You don’t want somebody coming in and taking that from you. So this is going to be a hard learned lesson for Adele. But you know if she was signing any kind of an agreement for her music, she would have her lawyers on that in a second. So we want to stay positive And hopeful about love. But we also want to be realistic when there’s so much money at stake. And I’m sure this is going to be a very difficult time for Adele and for Simon, but maybe they can dry their tears with all that money. I read this very interesting article and glamour, one of my favorite publications Will my new relationship survive the pandemic. Of course, with all stories, we will put the links in the show notes at dates and maids calm. But this was about a woman who started dating a guy a couple months ago and I’ve heard a similar story from many of my listeners who’ve written in to the show. Their last eight happen right before everything shut down. This is a hard time to start a new relationship. So I want to give you a couple tips if you find yourself in the situation of this author. Texting is a lousy way to build a relationship. You have heard me say on the show before that texting is for information and not conversation in the earliest Part of the relationship but I just want to clarify, I don’t just mean pre first date, or even after first date, I mean as you are getting to know someone. So try to get off texting as much as you can if you’re finding yourself in a new, new relationship. And also remember that slow Love is the way to go. We have a lot of time ahead of us that we need to fill. So why not take it slow with someone new, and see what can happen in the end and it may not work out. But don’t project ahead to where you think it’s going. Try to stay in the moment, just as I say on a first date. Try to stay in the moment of now and look for the moments of magic. Practice that slow love. You’ll hear more about slow love with our couples today. And in the next segment, I will prove to you that long distance relationships really can work. But before I give you a super important tip for loving the time of Corona I want to shout out a couple of our listeners who took the time to write to me this week about how much they love the show. Nicole says she listens while running. She’s probably listening to this in her headphones right now running down the street. And she says that the show is so helpful to her. Dave also wrote to say that he heard the most recent episode, and all of the episodes and see originally learned of dates and maids. Hello, Dave. And Casey, thank you for tagging me on your story about your dating challenges. Casey says she hates memes from guys that she doesn’t even know I don’t know if you agree. I’m kind of a fan of memes, Casey. But I get it if you don’t know that person yet. And you don’t understand their sense of humor or vice versa. It can be too much too soon. How do you listen to dates and mates? What tips have been helpful for you? I would love for you to DM me or post a story like Casey and tag me at damona Hoffman and now before we share these inspiring long distance love stories, let me give you some important advice.


In today’s world, you might find love in unexpected places. You’ve heard me say on the show before that, not only do you have more choice in dating than ever before, your dating pool has expanded from your local community, to anyone anywhere in the world. Over the past 30 years k one fiance visas have increased by an unbelievable 75% and recent census data reveals that 21% of all married couple households in the US have at least one foreign born spouse. Today I’ll be sharing the stories and advice from three couples who met someone who lived in another country and are now building a life with them together in America. Just a little context. Before we begin on international relationships, this is based on a study by rapid visa. I know you’re wondering where are people meeting someone abroad, you assume that they’re meeting them online, which is largely true 55% of applicants first met online. But when you’re saying online, we’re just talking about dating sites and dating apps. We’re not even including social media in that. And it turns out that Facebook supports over 80% of all social media meeting stories. And that means a couple of things that they are a part of people meeting but also that they’re a part of people communicating. So a lot of times when people talk about online dating, they forget this whole other world of social media being a connector. There’s another online world that you’re probably not including when you think of online dating, gaming. There are a lot of couples now who are are meeting through gaming and through through online games where you can connect country to country. This is happening a lot. According to the rapid visa data from Europe and Canada. Those couples tend to trend a little younger, but those relationships are strong just the same. Then of course, there’s IRL, the guddle in person meeting. This is a common pathway for K one applicants who have met through business trips or being on vacation or through family or friends. I know we’ve seen some horror stories on 90 day fiance, which is a great show, a show I love personally, but many of those stories make great television because they’re outliers. And if these rapid visa stats don’t convince you that you’re dating, Destiny might be International. Maybe some of these couples will our first couple Priya and James met while he was in the Air Force, stay In London, they met at a bar on Valentine’s Day, but she was there with another guy.


Unknown Speaker  10:08  

It’s not as bad as it sounds, I promise.


Unknown Speaker  10:11  

Oh, I thought they were together but they weren’t. They both start talking talking to me. We sparked up a conversation. She went to the bathroom. He was basically like, Whoa, we’re not together. So if you want to talk to him, you can talk to him.


Damona  10:29  

Wait, who was that guy? I have to


Unknown Speaker  10:30  

ask. It was just a friend,


Damona  10:33  

just a friend. He went to the bar and you’re, you’re like, we’re going to drown our single sorrows together. And then here comes this guy. Did you know right away Did you feel the sparks with James immediately, um,


Unknown Speaker  10:46  

I may have had a couple of drinks beforehand. And it was Valentine’s Day. So


Unknown Speaker  10:53  

I saw him and I thought, Okay, he’s,


Unknown Speaker  10:55  

he looks okay. I think he was probably a little bit more into me than I was. Was into him at the beginning. Unless you tell


Damona  11:04  

James, what’s your side of that story?


Unknown Speaker  11:06  

Actually, they start talking to me first. So I think the feeling was mutual. And that’s my story and I’m sticking to it


Unknown Speaker  11:12  

six years on, we still argue about it. So


Damona  11:16  

However, for our second couple, Kate and Alex, it’s a little different. They met in his home country of Nicaragua, while Kate was on a teaching expedition and he was their interpreter. Alex swears that it was love at first sight.


Unknown Speaker  11:32  

So this was like a more of a meta was love


Unknown Speaker  11:34  

at first sight.


Unknown Speaker  11:37  

Because when I say hello to her, you know, the first time I could feel like law, Dodge my heart


Damona  11:44  

and Kate, when you were working together, obviously it’s a it’s a tricky situation. If you’re working with someone you’re also visiting and you’re in another country. At what point did you bridge the conversation that there was something special that there was a magic there between the two of you.


Unknown Speaker  12:01  

Yeah. So it was a little different for me. I mean, at first, I didn’t feel like a super strong connection. But as we spent those days together working, and there was time as well, just to kind of enjoy and he came with us on excursions. I remember this very specific moment where we were walking down a street in this beautiful colonial city called Granada. And Alex just had this amazing piece, and like positivity, like just no worries in the world, like air about him. And I remember watching him walk and just thinking, Oh, my God, I want more of what he has. I want to be around this guy a lot. Because I want to feel what he feels. And that was the moment for me where I was like, wait a minute, this guy’s special.


Damona  12:55  

Oh, I’m so glad that you said that because my listeners have heard me say on the show before And my clients always hear me say, get into the feeling of what it’s like being with this person forget about the list and all of the boxes that you’re checking in your mate and really get into the moment in that in that instant that you’re with them. What are you feeling? Oh


Unknown Speaker  13:18  

my gosh, well, it’s funny because immediately when you think about like that list of like what you’re looking for in a guy, um, he didn’t really like align with what I had in my mind as what I thought I wanted. But just like you said, I couldn’t get over this beautiful feeling I had in his presence. And for once I decided to just follow my heart and follow what I was feeling versus what like the little voice in the head was saying and worked out pretty well.


Damona  13:51  

Our third couple Dr. Tony path, and Lillian met pre dating apps through an old school personals. Add their love story is 20 years in the making.


Unknown Speaker  14:03  

I saw that newspaper. It’s called buy and sell magazine at that time 20 years ago. And then


Unknown Speaker  14:12  

yeah, this is 1998.


Unknown Speaker  14:14  

Yeah. And then, and then when I read this name, I cried it out, put it in my purse, and I decided to go to church and pray for him. And then after that, I wrote to him already and we started writing to each other.


Unknown Speaker  14:33  

So we were writing letters that was using paper and a thing called a pen. Our communication was about every 10 days for


Damona  14:45  

Priya and James there was an added roadblock with James’s military service. Unfortunately, that magical dating honeymoon period was cut short when James was deployed for six months after just five months of them being together very early On they had to learn to keep the romance alive, long distance.


Unknown Speaker  15:04  

That was very hard. So it was mainly using FaceTime and WhatsApp WhatsApp is what we use the most for communicating sending pictures, video and voice calls, and Texas, and that’s about it. I know a lot of people use special apps and play games. But that’s not something that we really got into


Damona  15:31  

Katyn, Alex also shared with me their tips on keeping the romance alive.


Unknown Speaker  15:35  

Everyone’s heard of the languages of love, right. And I think that one of the keys to success if you’re going to have a long distance or international relationship, is that you know, you really have to rely on like the words of affirmation and words of love and like language to express your love because you can’t show up. physical affection and you can’t necessarily show like acts of service. So, for us, I’m just being super open about everything that we may be feeling and being super communicative. And I am spoiled because I got this beautiful, romantic Latino man who has no problem expressing his feelings. So that was always I think something that helped was being romantic and being intentional with with your communication, rather than just the like, hey, how’s your day? Hey, what you doing?


Damona  16:42  

What’s that different for you, Kate, then with prior relationships, did you feel like American men were not as able to express


Unknown Speaker  16:50  

I think it’s easy to just say, Oh, it’s an American thing. I don’t think it is. To be honest. I think it’s very specific for the man but I’m lucky that I Got one.


Damona  17:00  

Alex, what advice do you have for someone in an international or long distance relationship right now?


Unknown Speaker  17:07  

Keep in touch with your partner because it made me feel like I’m giving her my support all the time. It made me feel like I was I was telling her that I was fighting to her to be together,


Unknown Speaker  17:24  

fighting to be together. Yeah, that was really, you know, great. You know, to hear, you know, men don’t usually open up a lot, but he was really opening up to me a lot. And you always say, like, Oh, this is really hard for me to be away from you. You know, and that makes that made me feel really good.


Damona  17:42  

Something to note about these relationships is that technology is crucial, but not always available. Tech that we take for granted in the states isn’t always standard elsewhere.


Unknown Speaker  17:54  

This long distance relationship there. We didn’t. We didn’t email much because Her cell service wasn’t good. And we weren’t texting all the time because her cell service wasn’t good. And, and so how what’s a long distance relationship like and Lillian summed it up the other night, she said,


Unknown Speaker  18:16  

it sucks. Now that I’m here in the US, I think the connection internet connection is not a problem anymore.


Damona  18:24  

One key element that I really want you to note is that all of these couples were forced to slow down and get to know each other. You know, I’m always talking about slow love.


Unknown Speaker  18:35  

And the


Damona  18:36  

time it takes to complete the visa process meant that not only did they have to commit to one another at the beginning, but they had to keep choosing each other day after day, even when they were apart. Now, obviously, these stories have happy endings, because you can hear babies in the background of two of these couples, but it wasn’t always clear that they were destined to be together.


Unknown Speaker  19:00  

There were a lot of roadblocks, um, basically, the I think the biggest one being the actual k one visa process that added a lot of stress and tension between us. And it was it really took a toll on our relationship for for a while. That’s what I think the biggest thing was, is that dealing with that frustration, and trying to communicate through it, and I think we kind of lost that. And in the process a little bit. So that was a big, big thing for me.


Unknown Speaker  19:33  

Yeah. Especially after a long day at work. Or if you’ve got other stressors and just having that luxury of just coming home to someone and just being able to talk through your day. It’s not the same over the phone, then it would be face to face as well. The biggest struggles I had was, it was special days and no Valentine’s Days and anniversaries and birthdays where you’re single, but you’re not single at the same time. So everyone’s going on the day. getting treated special then you’re with someone so you can’t go for dates but at the same time they’re not there with you. So I think that’s what I found the most difficult.


Unknown Speaker  20:11  

What I would say is make sure you you you really want it when you make this decision because it is it is hard and you also got to know yourself like you got you got to know that you’re going to be going home by yourself every night. Can you deal with that? And you know, stay true stay faithful it means is it’s a hard thing to do. So you got to know you got to know yourself. But if you found that person that you want to you want to be with and it just so happens they’re from a different country. I don’t think that’s a good enough reason not to pursue it.


Damona  20:47  

And even after they’re all together, the challenges don’t stop there. Priya. Have you experienced any challenges just coming from different cultural backgrounds and from different countries where The the norms are very different. How, how has that played out for you? And how have you been able to sort of expand your horizons in being in a relationship with someone who’s from a very different background?


Unknown Speaker  21:14  

Luckily, we speak the same language. So that always helps us communicate. And but to be fair, coming from London, I was surrounded by people from different cultures and religious and racial backgrounds, different languages, so I think I was able to come into this country and open up, open up my arms and just try to embrace the American culture. Things I have found difficult was mainly as you know, James and I are very, very different. You know, I’m Indian, he’s African American, we’re complete different interests. Everything about us is completely different. So I think getting used To being married to someone from a different background was pretty tough at the beginning, I grew up believing I’d be marrying someone he was Indian. And


Damona  22:09  

was it an adjustment period for your family as well? Did they have an expectation that you would marry someone who was Indian,


Unknown Speaker  22:16  

of course, that was probably the most difficult things that I faced, it was harder than me coming to this country totally alone. It did take a while for my family, to get used to the idea that I was going to be leaving the country away from them where they couldn’t protect me as a Indian female. I believe that the families think about a woman should be protected and stay at home. I broke out of that mold. Got my own place.


Unknown Speaker  22:48  

But yeah, when I did come over here, they weren’t too thrilled about it.


Unknown Speaker  22:54  

I was going to different countries marrying someone who’s African American who didn’t share the same values that are I was brought up with


Damona  23:01  

I don’t know if either of you can answer this question but with so much stacked on the surface stacked against you so many factors that you had to navigate through from the visa process to the cultural differences to the moves, what made you stay in it? How did you know that this was the one


Unknown Speaker  23:21  

you know, even even though the time that we spent together at first was a short period of time? We I think I can safely say speak for both of us we we wanted each other and we wanted to do this and that’s that’s like half the battle you know what it’s like when you’re together. So what you what you when you have to deal with these hardships and all the cars stacked against you and this happened and that happened in law this long distance. You know, you’re waiting for something great. So, basically, you can choose to just throw it away when it gets hard and you know, go your separate way. Just so it can be easier now or do you want to really go through it and then your life can be great later so that’s that’s basically what it was for me


Unknown Speaker  24:09  

I’m stubborn so I just probably wanted to ride it out


Unknown Speaker  24:14  

a lot of people get stuck in oh I want this type of person this person has to be exactly like me or it’s not going to work. I think you can find common ground with a great person as I did you know, um, if you if you just broaden your horizons a little bit you know, if you if you look at me and Priya, you is with two totally, completely different people. But we make it work and it is great you know, I believe in the term opposites attract she teaches me the best parts of myself and and some of the things that I do well rubs off on her And we make it work that way. So just


Unknown Speaker  25:04  

take down the barriers and you know, sometimes just gotta let it have


Damona  25:08  

Kate and Alex shared their challenges too. So this has probably been a very big transition for you, Alex, not just in moving into a marriage but also in uprooting your life and basically, you know, starting over in a new country, what if some of the challenges been that you maybe didn’t anticipate before you were married?


Unknown Speaker  25:34  

One of the also where there are a lot of challenge. For example, the food is


Unknown Speaker  25:43  

the type of food that I have never, you know, try it.


Unknown Speaker  25:46  

It’s funny, like if I make him a sandwich for lunch, which is so American, he’s like, what is this?


Unknown Speaker  25:52  

I don’t want to eat this.


Damona  25:55  

Surely you must have found some good food in New York is taking me


Unknown Speaker  26:00  

Time to


Unknown Speaker  26:03  

you know, to get a custom Yeah, get a golf team to do it.


Unknown Speaker  26:07  

I think one of the other challenges Sorry, I can just add for that for you, honey. Um, you know, the we’ve talked a lot about is American pace of life and we live very quickly, not currently because of the terribly sad COVID situation where everyone’s kind of on lockdown, but typically we live a very fast life. We’re very scheduled we have a lot going on. And and you know, that was kind of hard for Alex and you know, the concept of like rushing somewhere doesn’t really exist in Nicaragua. Like if you are not going to be on time no one cares. Like even weddings can start two hours late and no one cares. Yeah.


Unknown Speaker  26:53  

So everything is playing in here that so everybody has a plan for the for what you are going to Today what we’re gonna do tomorrow so the everybody has a plan but we don’t have planning the car over. And you’re we are just leaving the present you know,


Damona  27:10  

maybe that’s why you have that that joy for life.


Unknown Speaker  27:15  

That’s exactly Yes.


Unknown Speaker  27:16  

For example, I want to I want to be seen my friend Amy country in my country if I want to be seen my friend, I just you know, and I just go and say I want to go to PC my friend right now and I go to his house, no problem by here. I got to so I had to get an appointment to get taken, you know,


Damona  27:39  

and show up.


Unknown Speaker  27:41  

Yeah, but another challenge is there the weather because we only have the summer and winter and now I have four seasons. And


Unknown Speaker  27:54  

we should clarify when he says winter. He means like 75 degrees Yeah. Yeah,


Unknown Speaker  28:04  

guys a little a little


Damona  28:05  

bit rainy maybe? Yeah,


Unknown Speaker  28:07  

a lot of rain. Yeah. And


Damona  28:08  

you went to one of the snowiest places in the United States. Yeah. New York.


Unknown Speaker  28:15  

Yeah. So and when I got here, I will say the reason you know, and I and I’m freezing all the time.


Unknown Speaker  28:22  

It’s so funny. I used to get invited to snuggle up and I’d be like, Honey, what are you wearing? anytime I’m like, wool socks, flannel pajama pants, a wool sweater like all in bed? Yeah, I think that honestly one of the biggest challenges we’ve had, even though he speaks English, and I’m fluent in Spanish. There’s still just a lot of cultural, like hidden meanings in the way we communicate. And there’s been certain things that like I would say, as an American, that wouldn’t seem offensive, but he finds them offensive, or things that he would say to me in Spanish that he doesn’t mean To be rude at all, but I find them very rude. So we’ve had to have a lot of moments where like, we just pause and have to say like, honey, you know, like, that didn’t feel good to me because X, Y and Z. And then he’s like, Oh, I didn’t know I’m sorry, or vice versa. So that’s been something that like I never really anticipated as to be a challenge and in this like, bicultural relationship, but


Damona  29:26  

we’re working through it every day. That’s such valuable advice, Kate, even for people that are not in a bicultural relationship. They’re we’re so quick to jump to a conclusion. We’re so quick to say that you you tried to hurt my feelings by saying that and so it’s almost a plus that you can take a moment and say, where’s this misunderstanding coming from? Maybe it’s the language maybe it’s the culture without being too cheesy. I just want to say that love overcame all in these offices. Don’t let any of these deter you from trying long distance or international or even a


Unknown Speaker  30:06  

multicultural romance. People are the same everywhere. They all want to be happy. They all want to find true love. They all want somebody that they can grow all with just knowing to be patient. Number one, be patient. Because there is a process and it will test you. There. There’ll be some frustrating and some crying moments. But if you’re patient, you will have the best thing you could ever have. I think in a relationship.


Unknown Speaker  30:41  

Yeah, for me, I think if you found someone and you decide to commit yourself to that person, and I think you will work on that, because I believe that everything happens for a reason. And I always remember what Tony told me that the highest power has brought us back together. So I always believe that prayer is very, very powerful. So, if there are couples out there, they should trust that one up there to make the relationship work.


Unknown Speaker  31:20  

If you feel it’s right, then you definitely have to go for it. There’s so many things that could get in the way was going to be, it could be a long hard road, but no relationship relationship is easy. If you can get through this, you can definitely get through so much more as hard to find someone that you love. And sometimes they might, they might not be in the same country. They might not speak the same language. They might have different values, but you just need to work together and in the end, I think you can have a happy ending.


Unknown Speaker  31:53  

Having an international relationship can seem scary. You know, because you have to rescue a lot and you don’t know how it’s going to work out. But all I can say is take the risk because it’s probably gonna be worth it in the end and it might be hard but


Damona  32:11  

you will see the the beautiful gifts if you can persevere and make it through. Thanks to Priya, and James, Kate and Alex and Dr. Pop and Lillian for joining us today, we’ll put up pictures of the couples on our blog at dates and mates calm and a little bit more info on their stories if you’re interested in reading more about them. And a very special thanks to rapid visa for conducting a study on international dating, which inspired this whole topic and for introducing us to these couples. During this pandemic, it seems like all dating is long distance dating. I hope that you’re walking away from this segment with some inspiration and a new outlook on long distance relationships. But that’s not all folks. We’ve got more dates in May answers to your love questions are coming right up. Stick around. Welcome back to dates and mates. If you have a dating question, don’t hesitate to DM me, email me, or leave me a voicemail at 424-246-6255 I love hearing your voices. I love getting your messages. And if you are having some love trouble, chances are someone else listening right now is going through the same thing. And now it’s time for your questions. This one came to me in an email. She says I’m not your typical 53 year old black woman. I have a lot of creativity, a master’s degree. I’m fit. I’m funny, attractive. I’m a catch. But I’ve always found dating online to be a real challenge. I feel like the cards are stacked against me. Each year for the past three years I try out a new dating app. But after three or four months, I stop. I find I’m either dealing with scammers, or pretty much no one at all. I reach out to folks and say hello, send a note, etc. I post a variety of pictures here I am friends, here’s a full body shot of me on my own etc. I think I’m doing all the right things, but I don’t seem to get any play. What would you suggest I do to be more successful? Okay, so I’m going to address First of all, the fact that she’s a black woman. She’s over 50. And she has a master’s degree. These are all things that if you read the media, and you believe what OkCupid has told you about their stats, or you believe what society tells you about educated women, if you believe what the media tells you about black women, not being found attractive by other races, or black men dating outside their race, or being a woman over 50, or being a woman who’s educated Then I can see why you would feel like the deck is stacked against you. And according to statistics, maybe it is. But I have to tell you that my clients do not have the same experience. And I have, I actually have a testimonial I’m going to share with everybody soon. I have another black client who’s over 50 that I worked with one year ago, like today, one year ago, she thought the exact same thing that you’re thinking right now. And I just got a picture of her engagement ring. And she’s now going to be married to someone that she didn’t think existed a year ago. So let me tell you what we did different. And maybe you can apply some of those techniques to your own dating experience. First of all, if you haven’t done the profile starter kit, it’s free. It’s a dates and mates.com. That’s a great way to get started and choose the right photos. One just without even looking at your profile, I can tell you, we don’t want the pictures of you with friends. We do need a full body shot. And we have to be using the three C’s color, context and character. I won’t belabor it, you can hear more about it. If you do the free profile starter kit.


I like the fact that you have been sampling different dating apps and that you’re really giving it a chance. A lot of times people tell me, they tried online dating and they were on an app for like two weeks and it didn’t work out. So this person is giving three to four months to each each app and it’s not working. So that tells me Okay, let’s go back to you guys know my five step dating funnel. If you don’t, I’ll review right now. One is mindset. We talked about mindset earlier. We have to come from an abundance mindset that these people are out there and believe me, I know. I know that that’s hard, especially when the results you’ve been getting have been difficult. But I’m remembering my episode with Bella Gandhi. If you haven’t heard that from February, she said, You have to be psychotically optimistic. Now I’m not saying you should be psychotic, I’m just saying I have that amount of optimism that if you do it differently if you follow my dating plan, it’s going to be different for you like it was for my client and so many other clients before her. The second step in the dating funnel is sourcing. Where are you looking for dates, I don’t know which apps you’re on, it could be that you’re on the wrong fit for you. screening, how are you screening through dates to get further along, it sounds like you’re getting stuck in the sourcing phase. So you haven’t really gotten to screening, or the fourth step presentation, or the fifth step, follow through what is really crucial, and this is for all women of all ages and all backgrounds, but especially for women over 50 and for black women. Make sure you’re sending as many outgoing messages and initiating contact You can, what always happens is people start out the first two weeks, and they’re really, really motivated with the dating app. And then they start swiping, and then they’re not really liking what they’re getting. And then they stop checking the app. And then they’re pushed further down in the algorithm, they’re not getting as many matches. And then they say it’s not working, because they’re not really committed to the tool. So I don’t know if that’s what’s happening with you. I’m happy to take a look at your profile. And for all of you that are listening that are like, Oh, that sounds like me, and maybe my profile is not sending out the right message to be able to to attract the right kind of people. I did just add in my patreon friends with benefits, an option for a profile Polish I have actually haven’t done profile Polish polishes all a cart for many, many years. It’s all been wrapped in my one on one coaching program, but I really want to be of service to my dates and mates listeners, and maybe just getting that right profile picture. bio and having the right approach could change all of this for you. It’s amazing to me when I work with clients one on one, how little actually needs to change. Like, it’s just little tweaks sometimes that I’m doing in one of those five steps in the dating funnel. And then the next thing we know, like my client, de, you’re engaged. So please stay positive, especially now I know it’s really hard to do that. But try to stay positive. If you keep listening to the show, I’ll keep giving you inspiration. And if you want to have me Look at your profile and give you my two cents, it’ll give you more than two cents. Check out the patreon.com slash dates and mates and sign up at the top tier where you can get a profile polish and become a part of the community. Moving on to an email from Kevin, can you tell that that was like my favorite topic ever that I love talking about online dating. This whole show would be about online dating. If I could talk about that.