Tag Archive for: selfish

Love Trauma & Overflowing Inbox

Here’s a fun fact: did you know that the word April comes from the Latin verb “aperir,” which means “to open”? Many people like to believe the name of the month describes the flowers and trees opening in springtime. I’m preparing as I speak to see the Cherry Blossoms in DC for the first time. Swoon!

Springtime is a period of renewal and rebirth. So in the spirit of growth, we wanted to touch on self awareness and the idea of opening yourself up to love.

And that’s why we’ve got certified dating & relationship coach, Lauren Zoeller, here to talk about how you can become aligned in love, personally and in your relationships. 


Mr. Owl, how many swipes does it take to get to the love of my life?:

The team at Shane Co. Jewelry conducted a study asking online daters how much time they spend on dating apps, whether they’ve met a partner from an app, and how long it took them to do so. According to this study, the average American will spend about eight months on dating apps and swipe on just under 4,000 profiles before finding a partner. Damona breaks down the other specifics within the study – and tells us why decisive action will be your best bet in finding a match online.


Lauren Zoeller is a certified dating & relationship coach, an author, and the host of The Aligned Love podcast. She is also the Founder of The Aligned Love Experience™ and an expert practitioner in reparenting, generational healing and Somatic Experiencing.

Lauren’s insights have been featured on The Drew Barrymore Show (holla!), The NY Post, Business Insider, NBC News, SHAPE magazine and other international media outlets. 

(10:00) What makes Somatic Therapy different?

If you’ve never heard of “somatic therapy” before, Lauren’s got ya covered. “Somatic therapy is therapy of the nervous system, which is completely different from what most of us are conditioned to think about when we think about therapy. And that’s traditional talk therapy, going to a therapist and verbally processing your trauma.”

(19:35) Feeling safe inside of your body…

Damona asks for Lauren’s top first date tips for tapping into your nervous system awareness. She asserts that you first have to understand what safety feels like in your body, because only then will you have a sense if someone is safe when you meet them. “Your person should feel like home, they should feel safe – but you have to find home within yourself first.”

Lauren also shares her hot take on feeling butterflies, and what it means if you’re still getting them on the 3rd date.

(26:30) Bullsh*t and breadcrumbs.

One of the things both Lauren and Damona hear a lot is that women want to be pursued by their match – but Lauren points out a key difference between pursuing someone and chasing them. “I think that both people in a partnership need to pursue one another. It’s not a one way thing.”

Lauren continues that many women put up with what she calls “bullsh*t and breadcrumbs,” AKA a lack of clarity in whether someone wants to date you.

Be sure to follow Lauren on Instagram @LaurenZoeller and check out The Aligned Love Framework Course.



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

Email from Snowed Under, Down Under – Hi Damona, I’ve been listening to your podcast here in Australia and I have a burning question. Without tooting my own horn; I get a lot of interest from guys on dating apps. The area in which I live and date is very skewed in the favor of women to men ratio. So I get inundated with messages and likes on dating apps. My question is how do I handle this influx of messages? I try to be respectful and answer every message, even if I am not interested – but it’s almost a full-time job!!! I get burnt out really quickly trying to siphon through the guys and trying to message them to give me and them a chance to determine if we should meet up. I don’t like to juggle conversations, but I can take on average 7 to 10 days getting to know someone via text/message, only to meet and the connection to be underwhelming in person! I wonder if my mindset of trying to cull the numbers and really focus on what it is I’m searching for is hindering me – or should I just wing it and just go and meet people without even really getting to know them in written communication first???

Relationshopping & Last First Date

Most of us have a relationship we wish had worked out differently. We think about the one who got away, we wonder how we got to a turning point in our relationships and we second guess everything. That is a normal part of the dating process.

But sometimes daters get caught up in patterns which consistently lead them to make choices that keep them single or unsatisfied in their relationships. If this is you, today’s show will remind you that you have the power to create the love life you want and deserve.

That’s why we have dating and relationship coach, Sandy Weiner, on today to talk about the hidden reasons why we sometimes choose wrong in love, and to share the skills that lead to our best choices and ultimately, our last first date.


How dating became like shopping – and what you can do to get a good haul:

Our friends at GQ magazine state that the suggestion of pre-date questionnaires and follow up surveys could push dating culture into shopping territory. But according to Damona, the “shopification” of dating has been around long before Tinder’s swipe technology. Damona continues to break down how reviewing our dates takes away our self-discovery in dating, and why we should simultaneously embrace the efficiency that dating technology offers us.


Sandy Weiner is an internationally known TEDx speaker, dating and relationship coach AND the host of two podcasts – Last First Date Radio and The Woman of Value Podcast.

But that’s not all! Sandy is also the Chief Love Officer at Last First Date, where her team provides group and individual coaching. And her new book, “Choice Points in Dating: Empowering Women to Make Healthier Decisions in Love”, is available now.

(14:40) The paradox of choice.

Sandy divulges the inspiration for her new book, which revolves around our relationship to choice. Sandy had a first date with a man who had been widowed 15 years prior, but kept repeating that he hadn’t been able to date because of all his responsibilities – he had no choice. Although this date didn’t go anywhere, Sandy reflected that we usually have many more choices than we know. 

A big culprit of this disillusionment is what both Damona and Sandy refer to as “the paradox of choice.” They explain the concept further, while Sandy describes how you can turn around your fear of rejection by asking for clarity.

(26:25) What makes you feel safe?

Sandy recalls her own proposal and divorce story, having gotten engaged six weeks after meeting her ex (it involves a puppet named Rocco and an in-flight PA system). In her book, Sandy references a list of compatibility criteria she had when she agreed to marry her ex. And over the years, that criteria has shifted to help her coach her clients. “Now, when I take a client through this process, it’s really about how do you want to feel? Let’s take safety, because that’s a big one. Safety – emotionally, physically, financially. So you go through all those categories, and then you ask who that person has to be for me to feel that way.”

(32:50) Don’t be afraid to interrupt!

Being the host of Last First Date Radio, Damona asks Sandy for her top tips on first date success. Sandy puts a big emphasis on how you’re preparing for your first date. “And a lot of people put very little time into asking, what am I going to talk about? How am I going to frame my stories? That’s something I love working with clients on because we often overshare, we share in a way that feels scary to the other person. And people just say things that are self sabotaging on first dates. So prepare your stories.”

Women are also more stereotypically great listeners, and thus don’t end up participating as equally in first date conversation. Sandy spells out why we should all learn to interrupt more, or offer information without it being asked for.

Be sure to follow Sandy on Instagram @LastFirstDate1 and grab a copy of her new book, “Choice Points in Dating: Empowering Women to Make Healthier Decisions in Love.”



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

IG Message from Jean – Hi Damona, I met this guy on Facebook on December 3rd. We’ve exchanged numbers and have FaceTimed. I’m ready to meet but he wants to wait. Please see his message to me about why. Does he sound sincere? (Message from guy) “Good morning. I hope you made it safely to work this morning. A lot happened yesterday and I received a lot spiritually. I think we take getting to know each other very slowly. Let’s continue to chat and text & FaceTime to allow some more time and learning about our persons before we take any steps further. I am a very demanding and strong-willed, outspoken man that cares deeply and loves hard. The woman with me has to be able to understand and accept me as I do her without judgment, and not one second think I’d do her any harm or mean her any ill will. I LIKE YOU, and I do want to grow with you. BUT because of the man I am and things I’ve been through, it makes me a little more experienced and I don’t want that to ruin our opportunity. So I think it’s best we take more time learning and chatting before we start planning on anything sexual or having physical interaction.”

ChatGPT & Dating, Decoded

As Damona has been posting more dating advice on Instagram, we’ve been reading through the comments (as one does). And some folks are wondering, “Why should I take my dating advice from Damona? She’s a married lady, yet she’s offering online dating advice.” Which made us realize that many new listeners don’t know Damona’s background!

So here’s why Damona should be your go-to gal for dating advice:

  • Damona has over 15 years of experience in online dating and offline dating.
  • As a professional dating coach, she wrote her first online dating profile for a client in 2004 – so she’s been in the game for a minute.
  • Damona became certified as a dating coach in 2013, consequently the same year she launched the Dates & Mates Podcast.
  • She’s collaborated with all of the major dating apps, including Match.com, JDate, Tinder, Bumble, Coffee Meets Bagel, and now OKCupid as their Official Dating Coach and spokesperson.
  • Damona loves staying on top of all of the latest trends and tips on dating, both offline and online.

If that doesn’t convince you to listen to the rest of the show, we don’t know what will. Maybe it’ll be our guest for today, Hannah Orenstein. She’s the deputy editor of lifestyle and wellness at Bustle, and she has her finger on the pulse of modern dating trends. So she is the perfect person to help us decode the new rules of dating.


Will ChatGPT take over online dating?

Our friends at CNET published a captivating article this week, asking what happens when ChatGPT gets a hold of your online dating profile. To get you up to speed, ChatGPT is an artificial intelligence chat bot that can assist you with basic writing tasks. So Erin, the author of the article, decided to conduct an experiment in which she asked ChatGPT to write witty responses to classic dating profile prompts. For example, Erin gave the prompt “write a 500-character dating app bio for a woman who likes music, books and houseplants.” ChatGPT responded: “Music lover, bookworm, and proud plant parent… Seeking someone who shares my passions and is ready to join me on spontaneous adventures, cozy nights in, and trips to the local nursery… Bonus points if you have a green thumb!”

Damona dives into the ethics of using ChatGPT, the question of misrepresentation, and how ChatGPT is going to revolutionize online dating and communication.

(Funnily enough, ChatGPT’s response to Erin’s prompt above is almost the same as one of the prompts in Damona’s Free Profile Starter Kit. 😂)


Hannah Orenstein is the Deputy Editor of Lifestyle and Wellness at Bustle, where she covers dating, relationships, and sex, among other topics. 

Previously, she was the Senior Dating Editor at Elite Daily, where she still writes her advice column “Dating, Decoded.” She’s also the author of four novels; her most recent book, MEANT TO BE MINE, was praised by Vogue, Cosmo, BuzzFeed, USA Today, and more. 

(18:30) Am I normal?

After having written a dating and relationship advice column for so many years, Hannah says the most common theme within the questions she’s received is: am I normal? Although Hannah describes that one of the most scandalous messages she received was about a reader who had slept with her boyfriend’s best friend, and her struggle with what to do. Another reader had also messaged Hannah asking about how to feel comfortable in her own skin, after having gained weight and having her hair fall out.

Hannah shares a story on how she went about addressing such a layered question, while giving her thoughts on defining “self care.”

 (26:40) Dear Damona/Dear Hannah…

Hannah points out that many of the singles writing in to Dating Decoded are in college or in their early twenties. And when you’re trying to figure out dating for the first time, having an advice columnist to give it to you straight can be a really comforting thing. “I don’t know their lives. But I think sometimes you do need somebody from the outside to say, ‘hey, you seem okay, I think you could be doing better.’”

So if you’re in a relationship, what are the signs that it may be feeling like it’s stagnating? Number one, it’s a pretty clear sign if you write into an advice column for help. Number two? “Anytime you are dwelling on something or ruminating on it, and you just can’t get it off your mind, I think that’s a sign that maybe something is worth examining or worth being curious about there. Because if everything was totally hunky dory, you wouldn’t be obsessing about it all the time.”

Be sure to follow Hannah on Instagram @HannaHorens and check out her monthly advice column, “Dating, Decoded” featured in Elite Daily.



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

  • Email from Heidi – Hi, I’m a widow and I’m new to dating sites. I made a friend recently and he is so complementary that it makes me nervous and a little uncomfortable. Is this a red flag?

Dating Up & Toxic Relationship Fix

Finding love is a journey and as you date, you are bound to encounter some people who are not good for you. But with the right mindset and approach, you can find and maintain a healthy, loving relationship.

It all starts with awareness and the ability to identify narcissism and toxic behavior in your matches. Don’t worry though, these behaviors are not as common as the TherapyTok trend might have you think. Even still, they exist and can cause you tremendous pain.

And that is why I have licensed psychotherapist, Sherry Gaba, and certified Life and Dating & Relationship Coach, Carla Romo, here today. They will be talking about how to avoid toxic relationships, trust your gut and find and keep healthy love. 


Is “dating up” really a bad thing?:

A recent article from Essence Magazine dove into the details of “dating up” when looking for a life partner – i.e. dating someone who has access to more resources than you. The article begins by calling back to a trend around getting your “MRS Degree” (AKA a woman going to college to pursue a man with the potential to be rich or successful in the future). The article continues by dropping some stats in support of dating up regarding the gender pay gap.

Well, you KNOW Damona has some thoughts to share – one being that “dating up” puts too much of a focus on dating someone above your status, versus someone who could be your equal. And what qualities really connote someone being at a higher level than you? If you are so fixated on dating someone above your level, at least be sure you’re asking yourself if it’s really something you want, or if this is a story that was told to you about what a secure partner should be.

THE LOVE FIX (10:32)

Sherry Gaba is a licensed psychotherapist, life coach, author and co-host of the podcast, The Love Fix. Sherry has appeared on Vh1’s Celebrity Rehab, CNN, Inside Edition, Access Live, and E! News. She has been featured in Cosmopolitan, Women’s World, the LA Times, the New York Post, Zoosk, Psychology Today and other leading publications.

Carla Romo is a certified Life and Dating & Relationship Coach, author of “Contagious Love” and co-hosts The Love Fix podcast with Sherry. She has been featured on or partnered with Simon Business School, Milwaukee Bucks, BRAVO, Bumble, Lifetime, and Bustle.

(12:25) Toxic red flags (and have we heard them all)?

Being a hot topic on their own podcast, The Love Fix, Damona asks Carla and Sherry for their take on the signs of toxic behavior. Carla states that oversharing can be a red flag (less in a vulnerable way, more in the let-me-dump-my-childhood-trauma-on-you kind of way). She also points out that it’s good to look for consistency in their behavior, AKA if they’re telling you one thing but their actions are communicating another.

But contrary to what a lot of people feel about dating culture and the individuals on dating apps, Carla doesn’t think the majority of people are toxic. Sherry then covers what she learned in her training about the cycle of abuse.

(24:00) Healthy doesn’t always feel like attraction…

Damona shares that in her dating journey (before meeting Seth, of course), she really has to deprogram what she defined as a healthy relationship – “I find that for a lot of people, when they’re used to that sort of chaotic relationship, a healthy relationship can feel like nothing’s happening.” Sherry continues that if you grew up with a certain amount of trauma, your nervous system experienced a lot of activation which can create a lack of regulation.

Carla adds how she advises her clients to go on a second date, even if the first date felt boring. “Go on that second date, go on the third date, just get to know people. And you don’t have to define if you’re going to marry this person. Like, the point of dating is that you need to go on multiple dates.” Sherry also gives us some of the indications of healthy conflict vs. toxic conflict

(32:35) Wholeness is in your body.

Damona mentions how employing our intuition can be a really useful tool in being able to suss out the signs of toxicity. But if we’ve been in abusive relationships in the past, we’ve often been taught not to trust our intuition, let alone ourselves. Sherry states that part of this is how trauma shows up in the body: “If you haven’t worked through your early trauma, and it’s still lodged in your body, you’re going to be responding from that place, instead of the place you need to be responding from – a wholeness.”

Sherry states that you can discharge that trauma using processes like EMDR or doing somatic work with a trauma therapist. And if being able to afford this kind of treatment feels like a financial stretch, Sherry and Carla share their tips on finding resources.

Be sure to follow Sherry and Carla on Instagram @TheLoveFixPodcast and listen to their podcast, The Love Fix, wherever you listen to Dates & Mates.



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

IG Message from R – What do you think about putting your HSV+ status on your dating profile to weed out anyone that isn’t in alignment with you???

Selfish Romantic & Audio Attraction

Do you struggle with setting boundaries in a relationship? Do you feel guilty for putting yourself first? Well, what if we told you that prioritizing yourself was actually a key to dating success?

Today we are going to redefine the word “selfish” and explore how being “selfish” is actually an essential part of self-love and self-care. We’ll explore practical ways to prioritize ourselves in romantic relationships, how to set healthy boundaries, and why it’s crucial to avoid losing ourselves in the pursuit of love.

And we will do it all with the help of five-board accredited body confidence coach, author, and speaker, Michelle Elman. She will be joining Damona today to talk about her latest book, “The Selfish Romantic: How to Date Without Feeling Bad About Yourself.” 


The dos and don’ts of Hinge audio notes:

If you’ve been in the dating app scene recently then you know about Hinge’s audio prompts, which the app introduced in November 2021. Although the option for audio prompts didn’t revolutionize the way we swipe, hearing someone’s voice on their profile can become a key piece to whether you’re attracted to someone or not. And it limits the amount of information you share which can be important in the early phases of dating when it doesn’t take much to flip from someone peaking your interest to giving you the total “ick” (which we talked about in a recent D&M ep).

That’s why we were so grateful to see this article from Mashable, featuring tips on how to make the most of your audio notes from Hinge’s Director of Relationship Science and friend of the pod, Logan Ury. In the article, Logan shares Hinge’s top 5 most popular voice prompts and some CRUCIAL do’s and don’ts. But all in all, Damona thinks you can never go wrong with the more creative route. The more you can showcase your character in your profile, the more you frame yourself as a real person instead of just a face to swipe on.


Michelle Elman is a five-board accredited life coach, broadcaster, and public speaker (but you may know her as the queen of boundaries). What you might not know is that she had 15 surgeries before the age of 20, and is a leading expert on body positivity.

Michelle has been featured by Stylist and Glamour, and has appeared on The Today Show, Teen Vogue, E! News and MTV. Lastly, she’s the author of two best-selling books and her most recent book, The Selfish Romantic, is out now! 

(9:24) What inspired The Selfish Romantic?

There seems to be a fine line that is walked between selfishness and self care or self love. But Michelle notes that in order to have self love, you are required to be selfish. “The practicality is you cannot be higher on your priority list unless you start saying no to other people around you. And it’s the same in your dating life. So if you’re putting someone else’s opinion above your own, you aren’t going to make decisions in your love life that are good for you. And so you do need to be more selfish.”

Michelle also talks about her surgery scars, self-consciousness, and how she reframed the relevancy of her scars in her own dating life.

(20:20) Is your focus on dating stunting your growth?

Michelle brings up a pretty life-changing session she had with her life coach. In this session, the coach called Michelle out for making a guy she was dating for 3 weeks her #1 priority (and Michelle was even writing her first book at the time). Michelle says this convo was the catalyst for deciding to reset her dating life by remaining “consciously single” for three years.

Michelle goes into why being consciously single is NOT halting your love life (at least not as much as you think it is) & how she went about her dating detox.

(26:45) The myths & lies about singlehood.

Speaking of Damona’s book and dating myths, Michelle has a lot to say about the myths around being single. “People seem to think that being single is something that accidentally happens to us. That it’s like this illness that gets thrust upon us, or it’s a waiting room until we get our next relationship… We all came into this world single. Being single is the default, being coupled is not the default.”

First of all, treat yourself and get this book The Selfish Romantic out NOW. Second of all, treat yourself again by watching Michelle’s inspiring content on IG @MichelleLElman.



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

Email from Allison – How can I pursue a relationship rather than friends with benefits? My usual pattern has been to like a guy, sleep with him, then fall hard for him – only to find out that he doesn’t want a serious relationship.