Tag Archive for: thinking about your ex

Too Hot to Handle & Budget Valentines

It’s February, or as we call it here, LOVE MONTH, so it’s time to turn up the heat! We’re going to be talking about temptation, attraction, intimacy, relationship pacing and expectations. 

How can you practice slow love if you’ve never done it before? Does having sex on the first date reduce your chances of long-term love? Will waiting for intimacy make it hotter when you finally do the deed?

These are the questions that the cast of Netflix’s Too Hot To Handle, Season 4, contend with. If you haven’t seen the show yet, here’s the deal with Too Hot To Handle. They put 10 gorgeous singles on an island where they wear bikinis, live together, and fight for a chance to win a $200,000 grand prize by… get this… staying celibate.

The show has become so popular that everyone knows the game. So this season, they had to trick the contestants by making them think they were on a raucous hot new reality show called Wild Love. Surprise! Instead of Wild Love, you get to sleep in a bed with someone you’re wild about and you can’t do anything about it.

Too Hot To Handle is full of twists and turns that can actually teach you a thing or two about your dating journey. And that’s why we’ve got two stars of the show – James Pendergrass and Brittan Byrd – joining us today to share their love story and the surprising realizations that they had since the show ended.


Planning your V-Day last minute? Here’s what Americans are buying this Valentine’s Day:

Valentine’s Day has come around once again, lovers! But this round is not without strife – even with the impact of inflation on normal dating (or “infladating”), the National Retail Federation says that Americans will spend around $26 BILLION on Valentine’s Day this year. What are they buying, exactly? 57% are going for candy, 40% for greeting cards, 37% are picking flowers, 32% are choosing an evening out. This is followed by 21% for jewelry, 20% for gift cards, and 19% for clothing.

All these stats are fine and good, but the bottom line is to give your sweetheart a gift that is thoughtful and mindful. (AKA Don’t just throw money at the problem.) Think about the conversations you’ve had with this person and let that inspire your gift-giving. And if you’ve run out of ideas for outings, let us give you some inflation-friendly date ideas for V-Day (because eating out doesn’t have to be the default):

  • Get crafty. Try doing an at-home paint and sip night or get your hands dirty while playing with clay.
  • Engage with your inner child. Go to an arcade or visit a mini-golf course. **Hot tip: evoking feelings of nostalgia will automatically bond two people on a date, whether you have a long history or you’re newly matched.
  • Cook a meal at home! Cooking actually helps couples communicate AND will give you that sense of accomplishment when you’ve made something you can share together. Plus, the cost is a lot lower than going to a restaurant. 
  • If you are going to a restaurant, be smart about it. Many times you can use points for your meals. Or if you can’t use points to reimburse yourself, you can acquire points and use it to buy something else (like a free dessert). **Keep in mind that restaurants jack up the prices on Valentine’s Day because that is big business for them.
  • Celebrate your Valentine’s Day on a different day! It doesn’t have to be February 14th for you to celebrate love day. And that way, you may be avoiding some of the crowds that make it hard to enjoy your holiday more intimately.

If you’re on the online dating struggle bus, not to worry! We have a FREE resource called The Profile Starter Kit, which you can get your hot little hands on just by clicking here!



James Pendergrass and Brittan Byrd were contestants in Season 4 of the Netflix reality show, Too Hot To Handle. 

Off-screen, James is a physical therapist, model and basketball enthusiast. Brittan is a model as well (a cover-model to be exact). They’re beautiful but they’re also bright – and they are now officially a couple!

(14:22) PSYCH! You’re on Too Hot To Handle.

With a show like Too Hot To Handle gaining so much traction in so little time, many contestants have caught on early to the twist of the show (AKA you’re not allowed to be physical with other contestants, or money is taken away from the prize fund). So in James and Brittan’s case, they thought they had been cast in a show called “Wild Love.” James and Brittan share what went through their heads when they realized they were in the “sex jail” of reality shows – and how the show’s rules actually further led them to each other.

(Would you ever go on a reality dating show? What about if the show ended up being Too Hot To Handle? Let us know! 👀)

(20:37) The real world vs Reality TV

Damona asks the couple if they feel their relationship would have unfolded the same way if they had met IRL instead of on a TV show. Weirdly enough, James recalls how he and Brittan both lived in Hawaii (about 8 minutes from each other) and never crossed paths. “I think the way we access our relationship through the show compared to if we would have done it before the show, it would have been an entirely different route that I don’t think would have been as successful as it is now.” Brittan also comments how meeting on Too Hot To Handle helped them build a strong foundation that they may not have been able to if meeting in the real world.

Damona also asks for James and Brittan’s honest opinion on whether they recommend the Too Hot To Handle experiment to others…

(24:05) Don’t let the haters get you down.

We all know that to an extent, what we see on reality television is always “reality.” So is the couple actually in a relationship, or are the internet’s claims about faking their love story true? Brittan responds, “Honestly, we know our relationship, we know each other. And many of the experiences we share and the time we spend together are very private, it’s very intimate. And I don’t feel the need to go and share everything on social media like some other couples do.”


Be sure to follow James and Brittan on Instagram – @JamesPendergrass_ and @Brittan_Byrd.



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 Marie – Hi Damona! I just turned 30 and feel like at this point, I’m not sure if I want kids due to a few reasons (financial & environmental resources depleting). I’m not sure how much weight to put into this decision so early on when I have a “prove to me that I want kids with you because we will be good at raising them together” outlook. When I’m swiping if I see “don’t want children or unsure” I think oh that’s a positive and if they have “wants kids” selected, I cautiously proceed. I recently went on a first date with this great guy knowing his biggest goal is to have a family and he mentioned it again in person. I tried thanking and releasing after the date, but we found ourselves talking again. So now I feel like I’m in limbo. Would a mindset shift help when swiping?

Getting Unstuck & Profession Confession

New love is exciting and so it’s not surprising to find yourself a little love drunk at times. But similar to a situation where you’ve had a martini-too-many, we don’t tend to think straight in these moments. 

So, HOW do you prepare yourself for those moments of intense attraction? You make a plan AHEAD of time. Without a plan, you’ll likely find yourself stuck in one of the five dating loops. Could be the mindset loop or the sourcing loop….

Whatever it may be holding you back, it’s time to overcome procrastination, acknowledge anxiety as your superpower, and learn to let go of the outcome.

That’s why we’ve got author and licensed psychotherapist, Britt Frank, joining us today. She will be talking about her new book, The Science of Stuck: Breaking Through Inertia to Find Your Path Forward.


Supporting women’s rights is a top priority for female daters:

We’re coming in hot with some new data from the desk of the OkCupid blog! In light of the 50th anniversary of Roe V. Wade last week, OkCupid decided to take a look at how reproductive rights have changed the dating landscape thus far and what’s to come. According to the stats:


✅ About 87% of women on OKCupid are pro-choice

✅ About half of women on OKCupid say a difference in opinion on abortion would make them rethink dating someone

✅ 69% of women feel they should have legal decision making power in abortion matters

✅ 4 in 10 women would move out of their state if abortion became illegal in their state


Damona illustrates how this data reveals that we are currently in a sex recession, and the (albeit obvious) reasons why we should ALL be making women’s rights a top priority.


Britt Frank is a clinician, educator and trauma specialist. She speaks and writes widely about the mental health myths that keep us stuck and stressed. 

Her new book The Science of Stuck: Breaking Through Inertia to Find Your Path Forward is available NOW.

(9:00) The book on adulting you never had.

We all bring our life experiences with us through adulthood as a sort of guide. But what if those life experiences don’t really paint a full or realistic picture? Britt goes into her inspiration behind writing “The Science of Stuck,” sharing how she basically wanted to write a book that acted as the manual on adulthood she never had – from drug addiction to relationship messiness.

Bottom line: you are not broken! There is always a reason for why we do what we do, and “The Science of Stuck” is Britt’s step towards helping people figure out their “why.”

(14:00) You need a plan to find your man!

We all know the definition of insanity, right? It’s doing the same things the same way and expecting different results. So if we want to do something differently, we have to say yes to different things. For instance, Britt says that we should be saying yes to creating a dating plan. She continues, “I jumped into the dating pool knowing I wanted to feel these things, but having absolutely no concept [of how to get there]. And a lot of the shenanigans of the dating world can be largely reduced by coming up with a plan.”

Britt also explains the chemistry around when our brain “goes into Spring Break mode” (aka feeling love drunk).

(19:37) Your anxiety can be your superpower.

Along with all the usual trials and tribulations of dating, dating anxiety feels like it’s at an all time high. Well Britt is here to spill some major truth tea – that having anxiety isn’t a bad thing. “Anxiety feels awful, but it is not the problem. It’s a signal pointing towards the problem. Figure out what your anxiety is trying to tell you… because anxiety is either preventing you from something, or it’s helping you feel bonded to other people.”

Damona also shares how her relationship with her anxiety transformed once she began her relationship with her husband, Seth

(24:35) A healthy relationship won’t feel like the movies…

Britt and Damona shed light on the misconception that drama or tension in a relationship means that it’s alive. Because much to the dismay of some rom-coms, relationships are usually more of a slow burn. Britt affirms that “the pace of authentic love is always slow and steady, because how do you build trust? Through consistency over time.”

 Damona points out that instagram contributes a lot to these “shoulds” about what a relationship should look like – that we should be feeling incessant butterflies and consistently infatuated. So how can we reprogram our brains to let these things go? Britt shares her take.

(28:45) We want to get from stuck, to GO.

Ah yes, the feeling of being stuck in singlehood. Many of us have experienced this phase, but had no idea about how to get unstuck or move forward. Britt breaks down how procrastination plays a role in us feeling stuck, and clarifies the two most common types of procrastination. (Hint: Britt states that “the procrastination spell is broken the second you say yes to anything of any size in any direction.”)


Britt has one of the best damn psychologist Instagrams on the planet – you’d better be following her @BrittFrank and grab a copy of her new book The Science of Stuck: Breaking Through Inertia to Find Your Path Forward.




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 Bren – I am 60 years old and new to online dating after divorce. The biggest question for me is as a medical professional, I am hesitant to put that I am a doctor on profiles due to fear of predatory practices on dating sites. It’s a tough issue, because, of course, I’m proud of what I do, and being a professional woman, but very very hesitant to put it out there that I’m a doctor. I think my main concern is those targeting women who are professionals (presumed to have money) for financial schemes. I feel like if I do not say that I am a doctor, that might weed out those looking to take advantage of a woman based on their perception that she has money. Am I being paranoid? What’s your advice on being completely transparent about your profession in a dating profile?

This Is Supposed to Be Fun & Conflict Styles

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

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


Can thinking about your ex improve your relationship?:

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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





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

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


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