Tag Archive for: Valentine’s

Man Shopping & Psychotic Optimism: Love Month Part 3


It’s February and you know what that means – Valentine’s is upon us! And to celebrate the month of love, we’ll be doing something special. We have 4 of the top prior Dates & Mates guest love experts who will be joining me for the next 4 weeks. This is episode three of our Love Month #5QFeb!


Before we get into the show, just a quick shout out to our new listeners. We are so grateful to Apple Podcasts, Stitcher and Pandora for all featuring us or Valentine’s Day and we welcome you if you’re new to the show!

This week’s love expert is Bela Gandhi, founder of Smart Dating Academy and a weekly media correspondent. She is a relationship expert and has been featured on everything from Good Morning America, Steve Harvey, The Today Show, Fox & Friends and so much more!

She’s here to give us a whole new perspective on love that we haven’t heard yet!

More on that later, first we have headlines!



Why Shakira won’t marry her super hot baby daddy

According to their latest interview on 60 Minutes, Shakira and hunky soccer player Gerard Pique will not marry. ‘I don’t want him to see me as ‘The Wife’,” she says. “His lover, his girlfriend. It’s like a little forbidden fruit, you know? I wanna keep him on his toes. I want him to think that anything’s possible depending on behavior.” Is this manipulative behavior? Damona and Bela have thoughts.


Could Twitter be the right dating app for you?

The Bold Italic published a personal piece from comedian Ginny Hogan where she explains how Twitter became a dating app for her! Damona breaks down how to know if it’s right for you.


Everything you need to know about online dating today

From Damona’s most trusted resource, the Pew Research Center!


#5QFeb (20:32)

Damona asks Bela the 5 MOST IMPORTANT dating questions of our time:

  • What is the biggest challenge for daters today?
  • What is the best way to find love?
  • How can people change their patterns in love?
  • What are the elements of a strong, long lasting relationship?
  • Whose relationship do you admire and why?




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

  • What’s a reasonable age gap for dating? I started dating someone who is 7 years younger. My concern is we won’t be on the same page when we get down to having future talk. Is it worth dating someone that much younger?
  • Would you suggest speed dating? 
  • What do you do when you feel like giving up on dating?




Are you feeling overwhelmed with dating and relationships and looking for a little more support? then you are the perfect person to become one of my Friends with Benefits.  

We just launched a special patreon program for our listeners who want a little more love from Damona

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?

A private Facebook group where you can chat with me and other listeners of the show.

And you’ll have an opportunity to join me for private group coaching sessions.

Plus secret BTS content from our nearly 300 episodes of Dates & Mates.

And for my really special top-tier FWBs, you can even get a personalized dating profile analysis from me with tips tailored just for you on how to make a magnetic profile that draws the right kind of dates to you.

The Patreon is live on at patreon.com/datesandmates

And we have a special bonus for anyone who signs up at the Lover or VIP level – a free autographed copy of my book. But only if you sign up during the month of February.

Go to patreon.com/datesandmates to see which of tier is right for you. I look forward supporting you on a deeper level and inviting you inside the community as one of my Friends with Benefits.


Damona  0:00  

Are you feeling overwhelmed and frustrated with dating and relationships and looking for a little more support than you are the perfect person to become one of my friends with benefits? We just launched a special Patreon program for our listeners who want a little more love for me. 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 it allows you to get amazing listener benefits by participating. Our page is patreon.com slash dates and mates. What will you get if you sign up? First, we have a private Facebook group where you can chat with me and other listeners of the show. And you’ll have an opportunity to join me for private group coaching sessions. Plus, you’ll get secret behind the scenes content from our nearly 300 episodes of dates and mates. And for my really special top tier Fw B’s, you can even get a personalized dating profile. analysis from me, with tips tailored just for you on how to make a magnetic dating profile that draws in just the right kind of dates to you. The Patreon is live now@patreon.com, slash dates and mates. And we have a special bonus for anyone who signs up at the lover or VIP level during the month of February. You’ll also get a free autographed copy of my book but only if you sign up during this month of February. So go to patreon.com slash dates and mates to see which tier is right for you. I look forward to supporting you on a deeper level and inviting you inside the community. As one of my friends with benefits.

Bela Gandhi  1:41  

What does his text me so frustrated? He’s just not that into me. I’ve always been battle for attention.

Bela Gandhi  1:48  

I’m ready for miracles but

Bela Gandhi  1:49  

I’m sure my

Damona  1:54  

Modern love Made Simple. This is dates and mates with damona Hoffman happy love month lovers. This is episode three of our special five to five love month series during which I will interview your favorite dates and mates guests and ask the most pressing questions about love. Today, we’re using the hashtag five q fab if you want to get in on the conversation and let me know what the big takeaways are for you from today’s episode. Before we get into the show, I also just want to give a quick shout out to our new listeners. We are so grateful that Apple podcasts and Stitcher and Pandora are all featuring us for Valentine’s Day and have sent us a lot of new listeners. So we’re so glad to have you here. And I just want to welcome you if you are new to the show, I’m certified Dating Coach damona Hoffman and I’ve been coaching singles on online and offline dating for about 15 years. I’ve made a lot of marriages and I’ve seen a lot of dating changes during that time. And one dating expert who has been in the love trenches with me for a lot of that time is Bella Gandhi. Bella is a data And relationship expert. She’s the founder of smart dating Academy and she’s a weekly media correspondent. You’ve probably seen her on anything from Good Morning America to the Steve Harvey show the today show fox and friends and so much more. But she’s so much more than just that resume. She’s a dear friend of mine and I am excited to give big smooches and welcome Bella Gandhi.

Bela Gandhi  3:23  

I am so excited to be here. This is amazing.

Damona  3:27  

You are amazing. Your advice is amazing. And I’m really excited to do this five q fab. These questions with you today. But I’m also excited to cover these headlines we have a lot of news to talk about, including why Shakira won’t get married to her super hot baby daddy, and how you can use Twitter as your dating app, plus some new research on dating from my most trusted source. And then we’ll be answering your questions including what’s a reasonable age gap for dating and what are the odds you’ll meet your match at speed dating All that and more on today’s dates and mates. Bella, are you ready for love month?

Bela Gandhi  4:05  

Girl? I could not be more ready. No Well then let’s do this 

Damona  4:12  

Now Shakira is making headlines not just for her very hot performance in the Super Bowl halftime show, but also because she and her boyfriend Spanish soccer star, Gerard PK are not getting married anytime soon. Now before you go thinking this is just, this is just too hot people getting together. It’s no big deal. No, they have actually been together since 2011. And they have two children together. So these two are really bonded. They are central essentially living as a married couple but they do not want to get married. Bella, here’s why she says on an interview for 60 minutes she said I don’t want him to see me as the wife. I want him to see me as his lover his girlfriend. It’s Like a little forbidden fruit, you know, I want to keep him on. I want them to think that anything’s possible depending on behavior. What do you think about that statement in the fact that she is not putting any any value on marrying the father of her children?

Bela Gandhi  5:20  

You know, I think, I think she came out of a pretty famously bad divorce, before she got together with pk. So I think it’s really normal after you’ve been through something that can be so traumatic, especially as a celebrity and when somebody was trying to you know, you know, take a legitimate part of your fortune that didn’t belong to them. Like I understand why she would be kind of have a lot of trepidation about getting into another marriage situation.

Damona  5:51  

It is understandable. I’m a big fan of marriage, but I also think it’s not the right fit for everyone. I do find though, when you start to build your life together, you have two kids. You have a home together, that sometimes we, we lose sight of the big picture. And we just think like, well, I don’t want to go, I want to go against the grain I don’t want to do what what I did before or what other people are doing. And that sometimes, like, as much as we want it to be, like passion filled and romantic, we have to be a little bit practical and pragmatic.

Bela Gandhi  6:22  

Oh, I think that that’s, I think that that’s so true. And I think, you know, keeping that spark going in a marriage, right, or even a long term relationship, it takes a lot of work, it takes a lot of communication, it takes a lot of negotiation, and it takes a lot of intimacy to get there and sometimes, you know, the the issue can be in a relationship, you know, especially when people can be have, you know, multiple partners or not married is the question is how truly safe Do you feel in this relationship without that official commitment, right and that can drive trust issues as well. Yeah,

Damona  7:03  

I got a little nervous I must admit when she said I want to keep him on his toes. I want them to think that’s any anything’s possible depending on behavior, which I’m reading into me and like his behavior and that she could maybe withhold something from him if she doesn’t like what what he’s doing. And that felt a little bit manipulative to me, but maybe I’m reading it the wrong way.

Bela Gandhi  7:27  

Yeah, I mean, I think you can read it that way. For sure. You know, and I think it’s also based on like, Okay, if you end up you know, pulling the wool over my eyes if you end up doing what you know, some other athletes have done to the people they’re in relationships with cheated on them, then there’s consequences for that behavior and peace out. I’m out if you do that.

Damona  7:53  

Yes, she is. Setting a firm boundary. I expect nothing less of Shakira, but I do You like this idea of keeping the romance alive and like I think there’s a way that even if you are married or you’re considering getting married, you can still have that have that essence of the girlfriend the lover the the romantic interest and still keep keep that that energy alive even though you are now the wife.

Bela Gandhi  8:21  

Yes, again, it definitely takes work right and it is because in a sense, like safety and excitement are two opposite emotions right? And the more attach them the more safe you feel with your partner, which is amazing. And you know, it’s the best feeling in the world. It becomes hard to keep that spark. So it’s really working on the balance of the two which is possible it just again, it’s it’s not natural.

Damona  8:45  

Yes, it’s not natural. One thing that’s also not natural, is meeting people on Twitter. I read this really fun article in The Bold Italic which of course will link to in the show notes by a comedian named Jenny. Hope Again, who is just frustrated with Tinder she says she signs on and off multiple times throughout the day. But one thing that’s been consistent in her life is her Twitter presence and she actually uses it as a place to try out her jokes and really show her personality. And she gets a lot of dm slides, Bella, I hear you

Bela Gandhi  9:20  

I know, I got married on Twitter.

Damona  9:22  

I know a couple who got married on Twitter as well who will not on Twitter but from Twitter. They are tweet hearts. It can work but like this this article, they she posted a lot of her dm slides that were less than less than exciting to receive. And less than savory. Less than savory to read.

Bela Gandhi  9:49  


Damona  9:50  

How do you look at that in terms of Twitter being a dating, a place for dating and Twitter as she says being her dating app in a way? How do you filter Through those dm slides and not get overwhelmed or, or like disappointed and find the real gems, if you’re going to use Twitter in that, in that function. You

Bela Gandhi  10:11  

know, Don’t I look at the entire world is fair game for dating, right? Whether it’s Twitter or Instagram, whether it’s work, whether it’s church, the synagogue, the train, you can meet great people everywhere. And the filtering mechanisms, ultimately, are going to be a little bit different just based on the context that you’ve met this person. But what what I liked about what she said is, you can really tell a lot about someone through reading their Twitter profile, and her Twitter profile was really thick. She had a lot and you could tell a lot about you could kind of make conclusions about her personality based on the things that she was tweeting. And you can also draw conclusions about other people based on what they’re tweeting. It’s like, in a sense, if you’re on Tinder or Bumble or match you can only look at that conversation that you’re having with that person. Here, you can look at the conversations that people are having with the world. Yes, it’s

Damona  11:08  

in a way, it’s taken down the filter of I’m here for dating, like people on dating apps always try to put their best dating face forward. But there’s so much more information if you can actually see that person in their natural habitat and what they would post on Twitter. It was a little confusing in that she’s a comedian. And she’s like, some of this stuff is basically just jokes. And so people are going to make certain assumptions, assumptions based on what they’ve seen on her Twitter profile. But it seems like overall, it’s been more successful for her than dating apps have been,

Bela Gandhi  11:44  

hey, if it works, keep doing it right. For some people. They meet on match for some people they meet on eHarmony Twitter, Instagram, I know you like me do this on a daily basis. You’ve seen it all. You’ve heard it all. Keep doing what works.

Damona  12:00  

I like that. And I like that it’s you’re not attaching meaning to a certain way of meeting someone. A lot of times people tell me Well, I don’t want my story that I tell my kids to be that we met on Twitter or Tinder or what have you. And ultimately, if you get the happy ending doesn’t necessarily matter where it comes from.

Bela Gandhi  12:19  

I hear it too to me. I’m like, then I don’t know that you’re truly ready to find love. Oh,

Bela Gandhi  12:28  

tough love. Yeah. Right. You should be open to meeting people anywhere whether you meet eyes across mangoes at Whole Foods, whether you meet them on Tinder or match or on the train wherever it is right that it’s finding the lid to your pot. There’s nothing better in life who cares where they came from? Be grateful for that outlet.

Damona  12:49  

Yes, well, I know you’ve been doing this a long time. As I have. I’ve I’ve written the way from online dating to dating apps and one source that I always look to for research on this area is the Pew Research Center. And they just released the 10 facts about online dating in America that I don’t think anything is shock is going to shock you or I, but it might shock some people that that now 45% of people are saying that dating apps are positive experiences, but they say they’ve had frustrations. Now, the majority of people under 30. Well, almost 50% of people under 30 have used a dating site or dating app. And those numbers are also growing in the 30 to 49 and the 50 plus group. So it’s really becoming a much more accepted way of dating then when I began coaching singles on dating apps before and people were like,

Bela Gandhi  13:47  

I don’t want to do that.

Damona  13:48  

What are you seeing as someone that’s also been in this space for a long time, in terms of attitudes around dating, and dating online?

Bela Gandhi  13:58  

You know, I think there’s a certain reason Ignatius

Bela Gandhi  14:02  

people are resigned to it like they know that they need to do it. And it’s just the way life works. I don’t know that anybody comes to me, particularly jazzed about mind dating. But you know, I look at dating that with three major pipelines I do you meet somebody in real life, you get set up with them, or you’re using a site or an app to meet people, it really boils down to those three. So if you don’t use technology, you’ve just eliminated one major pipeline of candidates.

Damona  14:32  

Yeah. And the pipeline that really keeps growing. I mean, when I began doing this, they would say like, one in six relationships started with a dating site. And now those numbers are looking like more like one and four and possibly even one in three. I think the numbers actually underreported. So that’s really the trend. And even though you’re not maybe excited to use a dating app, I think sometimes people assign more meetings. To the vehicle, then they do intention to the process. Do you know what I mean by that?

Bela Gandhi  15:06  

Yeah, absolutely. It’s like, well, I don’t want to do the online dating. I said, Do you want to find love? Then you need to do the data. Do you want to do the dating? Most people don’t want to do the dating, right? They want to Amazon Prime there, mate. You know, I want to check off 17 boxes. He should be this tall. He should make this much money. He should be this funny. And I’d like him delivered prime to my mailbox.

Damona  15:29  

Yeah, I used to think that I actually felt that way about online dating for I still feel that way about online dating. I would call it man shopping. And I really feel like I ordered up my husband, but you know, I had to make a few returns. And that’s just part of the process. Sometimes you buy something it doesn’t really fit. So you got to take it back.

Bela Gandhi  15:47  

Exactly. It’s like Goldilocks man. She had to sit in three chairs before she found the one that was just right.

Damona  15:53  

Yes, yes, exactly. Just like Goldilocks. We’re all Goldilocks out here. What do you think in terms of the The qualities or the values that people are looking at, according to the Pew study, people were were focused on things like the type of relationship that the person was looking for whether or not they have children, hobbies and interests, religious beliefs. I’m going in, in descending order, racial or ethnic background, occupation, height still in there. And political affiliation. Those are all factors that people are sorting based on. Do you think we’re focusing on the wrong things right now?

Bela Gandhi  16:30  

You know, I think that we’re focusing on quantitative things, right? Things that you can put numbers to things that you can assign values to things that are that things that seem easy, right? height, interest, religion, race, political affiliation, right. But ultimately, it’s the qualitative stuff that is the beauty of relationships.

Damona  16:52  

Yes. So maybe it’s the maybe the maybe the religious beliefs if that’s really core to who you are. Maybe like the Children that’s kind of a hard thing to overlook if they have children and you’re not into that, but the superficial stuff like what’s your take on height? I feel like I keep going around and around with clients about the importance of height. What do you say to women that that are like must be six to our taller?

Bela Gandhi  17:20  

Now I tell them you’re kind of dating from your cave woman self like I get. we’re wired that way right? There’s evolution. 200,000 years humans haven’t evolved very much. And women still preference traits that they did you know back in the caveman days like I want you to be big caveman who can go out to jungle kill buffalo drag buffalo home to feed me and children. But I really rationally in today’s day and age, size doesn’t really matter height doesn’t really matter. If you look at the statistics, only 12% of men in this country are over six feet tall. The average American man take it A cross white, black, Hispanic, Asian is between five, eight and five, nine.

Damona  18:06  

And that’s a perfectly good height for most women who are what average five for the average American

Bela Gandhi  18:11  

woman. It’s about 5455. You know, and six feet tall. I tell my clients like, think about, I just put 100 age appropriate men in the room. Okay? Now if you say you want him to be six feet or over, you open the door, let 88 of them walk out of the room. Now you’re left with 12. That is what you did with just that one parameter.

Damona  18:36  

That is so interesting when you look at it that way and you really see the numbers of your dating pool going down and then and then all of the other filters that we put on it, suddenly we’re like there’s one guy or less

Bela Gandhi  18:48  

that we may be looking, it’s a percentage multiplier. Exactly. So if you have 12 guys left in the room that are six feet taller over, then if you’re like, I’d like him to be white and I’d like him to be Halfway right? There’s nobody left.

Damona  19:04  

What can people do to expand their dating pool right now beyond just taking away some of those, those filters that you and I feel are non essentials? What are some other ways that people can open up to love,

Bela Gandhi  19:18  

you know, with every inch that you come down closer to your height, I’m five, three on a really big hair day. And my husband’s five, six on a really big hair day. Right? And, and the closer you can come to your own height, every inch screens in hundreds, if not thousands of good prospective candidates for you. You know, so really think about you know, I tell my clients like everybody’s the same height line down. Yeah.

Damona  19:47  

That’s what everyone’s going for anyway.

Bela Gandhi  19:50  

Right. Right. And, and I get how we’re wired right and, but understand the math of what you’re looking for. Know what’s really non negotiable to you. To your point earlier, if religion is a big deal for you, then that has to be in there, but you’ve got to be able to give on something else. Because if you do that percentage multiplier and you’re not getting good candidates in your pool, you might just be constraining too many parameters and the sites don’t have someone for you. If you’re not getting good matches, take a look at yourself and say, What if I asked for? Is it realistic based on the demographic on this site?

Damona  20:32  

Yes. Is it realistic and is it even really what I need? Yes, it really that important when you really think about the long term goals that you have and the values that you have and what you really need in a partner. Okay, we are going to take a quick break when we come back we’ll be doing these five q fab questions with Bella. So Bella, get ready because we’re going to go deep in the next segment, I’m ready. We are back with Bella Gandhi of smart Dating Academy. So if you’ve been following this month, we are asking five big questions of for dating experts and getting wildly different responses, but all very illuminating. So Bella, Here’s your first question for five q fab. What is the biggest challenge for daters today?

Bela Gandhi  21:23  

Man? I have to pick one. Just one. And like,

Damona  21:27  

Here, I’ll I’ll narrow it down. Not one of the ones that we’ve talked about before. In the first segment.

Bela Gandhi  21:34  

Yeah, I think relying too much on chemistry. Right. We feel like like there’s a lot in that one statement. I think that with dating apps and sites and this abundance of people that are seemingly out there for us, what happens is we go out on a date, and we’re not feeling fireworks chemistry butterflies were like men Let me see who else is in my inbox. I don’t think we’re a match. You know, when you throw that person back to the pond, it’s such a big mistake. For example, I knew my husband, we were friends for six years before there was a spark, right? And we work with our clients. I don’t care if you’re feeling chemistry on the first or second or third date because good love can be a slow burn. It’s such a mistake what people are doing today expecting to be bowled over electrified by a person. In fact, if my clients are feeling really heavy chemistry with somebody on the first date, it’s a total red flag to me it’s a red flag meaning I think this person that you have all this chemistry with me just remind you of someone that you dated that was bad for you.

Damona  22:42  

Oh, yeah, I remember you saying that on Good Morning America segment that that those heavy butterflies are actually a bad sign and not to keep going back to the same well, but I talked to a few weeks ago about love at first sight and how it can’t exist because you I don’t really know that other person but I never really thought about it from the perspective of it may be your reaction to that person reminding you of an of something familiar and we tend to attract the familiar, right? Even if it’s something that’s not good for us, we we tend to repeat

Bela Gandhi  23:17  

the same pattern. Hey, I believe there’s lust at first sight, but love at first sight know lust comes after lust, attraction, and then attachment and love,

Damona  23:28  

like those difference, like how is there a certain amount of time that it takes you think to develop that slow love?

Bela Gandhi  23:36  

Yeah, for sure. I mean, you have to, you have to grow emotionally intimate with the person, right? You have to feel like this person is good for you. They’re stable. They make you feel safe, secure. They’re a cheerleader for you. They’re supportive. They’re kind, they’re generous. They love your people like those things take time to unfold. And this is where so many people Fuck is, you know, I would say lust is nature’s way of tricking us into love and attachment. And you really have to vet who the hell you’re dating. Yeah,

Damona  24:11  

yeah, that’s it. That’s a easier said than done, you know, when we get caught up in the feelings and and then and it’s not even just the feelings Bella, we get caught up in the story, this that happy ending that we want. And the story that we’ve told ourselves he’s going to be six to he’s going to make this much money. He’s also like you said going to be like Catholic and this background and whatever. And then you get there and realize the story that you were telling yourself isn’t the story that’s in front of you. Yeah, question to the story into getting that happy ending even though the facts aren’t necessarily there in front of us.

Bela Gandhi  24:46  

And yeah, yeah. And it’s focused on the right things. I tell people be picky, but be picky about the right things. Be open to the story.

Damona  24:55  

Huh? Yeah, yes. And so and sometimes, the story goes in and unexpected directions and you have to be willing to, to go with the flow. So for those people that are still looking for their love story, here’s the second question, what is the best way to find love today?

Bela Gandhi  25:13  

Hey, now I’m going to hark back to the three wells that I talked about right in, in real life getting set up and going on online dates, right? I mean, the best way is to make a plan that includes all three of those pipelines, and then optimizing it, everything that like finding love, there’s nothing more important than you will ever do in your life, then find the right partner for you. And the best way to do it is to take those three pipelines into consideration and then make a plan you have to know where you are right? And then you have to know where you want to go. You need two points to have a path where I am and where I want to be. But it’s hard right it that that’s the

Damona  26:00  

Renee brown calls that’s the messy middle.

Bela Gandhi  26:03  

It’s the messy middle. It’s like anything, right? It’s like changing careers. It’s like starting a business. It’s like having children. The middle is always messy. Right? And the journey is never a straight line up. It’s a lot of mess in between ups downs, plateaus, downs, lower downs, high ups, right and coming back to the mean.

Damona  26:22  

Okay, so for those that have identified that they are not necessarily on the path that they want to be on. Our third question is What? How can people change their patterns in love?

Bela Gandhi  26:35  

intervention, you need help. It doesn’t come naturally. Right? You can an intervention, meaning you might go out and buy a book that resonates with you, if you’re a person that’s a DIY, or you can Google it, you can read it. You can put your plan together and do it then do it. Right. If not, you need a supportive team. Maybe it’s a therapist, you know, maybe it’s a village of friends. Maybe it’s a co You need to change patterns requires a lot of work, a lot of mindfulness and a lot of Conscious Dating.

Damona  27:09  

Oh, but that’s tough. Because that also, it does require an acknowledgement that that something is broken. And that’s the place that I find a lot of people get. Talk themselves out of, right? How do you know what the right next step should be like? I had someone who I think follows me on Twitter, who was like already for a dating plan. We’re talking about dating plan, and then all of a sudden, she’s like, actually, I just decided that I’m going to do a like a man cleanse and I’m going to have just no just no men this month instead. And it was like, Whoa, like in between day one, I wanted to do it day two, I am just actually going to retreat from the whole thing. How do you know what the right path is at the right time?

Bela Gandhi  28:01  

It just it depends on how you feel right? If the thought of going on a date excites you, then go on the man plan. If the thought of going on a date, you know, makes you want to vomit, then it’s time, man. It’s

Damona  28:15  

good. It’s a good point, like, Where are you right now. And so many times people come to me and they’re like, I’m just super frustrated with dating apps. And I feel like I’m banging my head against the wall. And I’m doing this than the other thing. And I just I hate it. I’m all about you dating from a healthy, happy place, right?

Bela Gandhi  28:34  

Look, if you’re tired of anything, it’s not going to work for you. You have to, you know, the mindset that I espouse is called psychotic optimism, right? You have to believe in your gut, in your toes. Every part of you, like love exists for me, it’s when it’s not an F. Right? And like once you start to adopt this mindset, side of you know, the FDA psychotic optimism, then you’re going to start to be in a good mindset today. If you’re telling yourself, you know, the bad stories, I’m too old. I’m too fat. I’m too damaged. There’s nobody good out there. How well do you think you’re going to date? Huh?

Damona  29:21  

Yeah. And you have to be dating from that place of psychotic optimism. But in a way that’s like faith in the face of it, even when does the story that you see doesn’t add up to that it’s just like having the faith in spite of what you might be getting right now and knowing that the right now is not necessarily the future to get a leap of faith.

Bela Gandhi  29:51  

Everything is a leap of faith right and it requires hope, massive amounts of hope, and hope springs eternal when you live Take on that mindset of love will come to me. It’s a when it’s not an if I’ve just guaranteed you guys that you’re going to find love. Now all you have to do is go out and date like hell define this person. So go forth and conquer.

Damona  30:16  

Yes, yes. Okay, so now we found the person. Now the fourth question is what are the elements of a strong, long lasting relationship?

Bela Gandhi  30:27  

commitment, shared commitment to each other. Right. And a shared partnership. You know, I, my husband and I have been married, it’ll be 23 years this year. And we have work committed to each other and we’re committed to each other’s happiness. And we’re committed to running this crazy business that we have called home. And yes, and being supportive of each other’s dreams and wishes and you know, being Continue to give more than you take and you cannot go wrong.

Damona  31:05  

Oh, I love that you said that give more than you take,

Bela Gandhi  31:07  

give more than you take and make a gratitude list about your partner, right? We talk a lot about gratitude and it’s linkage to happiness, right? It’s irrefutable, we all know it’s true. Make, you know, make a gratitude list about your partner. If you find yourself in that rut for those of you that might be in new relationships that are listening, or in relationships, think look at what this person does for you see them, notice them, tell them, watch your relationship change for the better.

Damona  31:41  

Hmm. I love that gratitude and everything. Gratitude, gratitude, also, and dating. That’s something I do with clients at the beginning of the process of making sure that they appreciate what they have, rather than focusing on what they don’t have. Yeah, I have one final question for you for five key fab. And that’s whose relationship do you admire? And why?

Bela Gandhi  32:02  

Well, you know, I am really lucky. I know we can’t pick our families, but I really will. I respect and admire the relationships of both sets of my parents, my own parents as well as my husband’s parents. Both of them are have been married 51 and 52 years respectively. And they have been through high highs. They’ve been through low lows. They have had children together, they have had success in careers they have had, you know, bankruptcies, they’ve had health scares, they’ve had people close to them die, and they have held each other’s hands through this journey called life.

Damona  32:47  

Do you think having a successful relationship yourself, how much do you think having that relationship role model in each of your parents impacted your ability to form a successful relationship and be securely attached?

Bela Gandhi  33:05  

Yeah, I think it’s really important. You know, I think that in general, our parents and the relationships that they modeled for us can have a profound impact on how we choose our own partners. Right? You can either repeat or you can repel. It’s usually one or the other.

Damona  33:22  

Hmm, yeah. And then there’s hope still, for those listening who, like me came from a divorced, divorced couple. There is hope, right?

Bela Gandhi  33:33  

Oh my gosh, you guys. I mean, every client of mine, we’ve had thousands of clients over the last decade. Most people come in with divorce, death, trauma, abuse, you know, one or two narcissistic parents. I believe me, I see the absolute beautiful, Rainbow laid and happy endings for people That’s why earlier when you asked what do people need, they need intervention with the right intervention and the right amount of hard work and doing things and being patient positive and perseverant, you can overcome that it does not have to be your destiny as well.

Damona  34:17  

Well, thank you for sharing your insights with us for five q fab. And for answering my questions, but that’s not all because our listeners have also sent in their questions and we are going to keep you keep you here for technically dating. How are you liking five q FEHB. This is a totally new format for love month and I want to know what you think of it so far. So you can tweet me at damona Hoffman with the hashtag five que FEHB FBB. And tell me what your big takeaways were from my interview with Bella. So she’s answered my questions, but now she’s going to answer yours. If you have a dating question. By the way, I love giving love Advice. And you can send me a question anytime on any platform at damona Hoffman or you can leave me a message through dates and maids.com or email me or send me a voicemail at 424-246-6255 I triple dog dare you because people are so scared to leave their voice. But I promise you, I won’t buy I’ll be compassionate as I always try to be on the show. But I would love to hear your voice. I’d love to have you submit a question via voicemail. So however your questions get to me, we will be answering them. We have three questions queued up for Bella to answer in the next segment. We are back with data mates and here’s what’s on your mind today. Every week we take questions that you’ve submitted through Instagram through Twitter in my email inbox, and we get the questions answered by highly qualified experts like Bella Gandhi. Okay, Bella, this one Lady asks, What is a reasonable age gap for dating? I started dating someone who is seven years younger. My concern is we won’t be on the same page when we get down to having future talk. Is it worth dating someone that much

Bela Gandhi  36:14  

younger? Look, I’d have to know what the ages you know, if one is 18 and the others 25. That’s a big age difference. But if one person is 35 and 42, those age differences whittle away as we get older,

Damona  36:28  

I did actually do a little follow up research and found out the ages are 33. And I think she said 20. She said 26. So there’s six years, almost seven, right? Yeah.

Bela Gandhi  36:40  

Not necessarily. I mean, it’s person specific. You know, I know the average age for men to get married in this country still 29 years old, right? So 26 is not a baby.

Damona  36:51  

Mm hmm. But at the same time, there are some questions that they should ask each other or figure out Throughout the process of dating about where they are in the timeline, right, 100% and

Bela Gandhi  37:04  

soon Don’t wait a year to ask those questions.

Damona  37:08  

Yeah, so that’s that. That’s something I just want to seize on for a minute in her question. She said, Is it worth dating someone that much younger? And to me that sounds like we’ll meet, you’re playing ahead to the end of the story. before you’ve you’ve actually read it. What do you think about that?

Bela Gandhi  37:28  

Yeah, you know, I have the conversation, right? You don’t catastrophize it just because it’s different than other people. Some of my best friends are, you know, one of my best friends has a husband who’s seven years younger than her and they’re now married and they have three kids.

Damona  37:44  

Yes. I found out today that Shakira has a boyfriend. I almost called him husband she would she would kill me. Sorry, Shakira. Her boyfriend is 10 years younger than her. She’s 43. He’s 33. So get it, girl. Get it girl. If it works, why not? But yeah, she’ll have to go through the process right of figuring out like not just not focusing so much on the age gap but in terms of future goals and the path that they’re on right

Bela Gandhi  38:12  

yeah, you like you know what if this goes well I would like to be engaged in a year and married in two years and I’m looking to have a couple of kids right so I’m not looking to drag this on for the next eight years. Like how do you feel about that? And having those direct conversations and he will

Damona  38:29  

run if he is not up for that he will run so fast Exactly.

Bela Gandhi  38:33  

If you’re the right person for him. He will stick around

Damona  38:38  

Yes, it’s amazing when when they feel ready to commit guys will commit but man when you when you try to force it. I know you fellas are like, Nah, we’re not down for that. I have a couple more questions Bella, before we let you go. This person this is a sometimes people messaged me on Instagram. Very simple. direct question. This one is would you suggest speed dating?

Bela Gandhi  39:05  

Hmm, sure, why not?

Bela Gandhi  39:10  

Why not? I have a client that got married through speed dating. Not a lot of them. But definitely, I can think of one off the top of my head. I like, you know, look, do whatever it takes for you to feel good about dating. And for some people, as part of their plan, they want to get out there. And they want to meet people IRL in real life. So if that’s you, go for it do the speed dating.

Damona  39:36  

Yeah, I find it funny. A lot of people will say to me that they, they don’t like online dating, but then when I suggest speed dating, that’s too much work. So it’s like somewhere in between. I don’t ever want to leave my couch and I can’t actually get dressed up to meet 10 guys that may not be a match for me. It’s like finding that middle ground. Sometimes very tricky. I found speed dating was more popular when I started doing this. And like I did some speed dating events that I hosted with, you know, speed dating companies like, it’s been a minute. It’s been like, you know, eight or 10 years, since that really seemed like a very popular option, but at the same time, it’s like it’s all in the pool, right? You get in the pool, and then you see who’s there and maybe what if your perfect person is there, and you just didn’t show up that day? Yeah, that’d be a bummer.

Bela Gandhi  40:34  

That would be a bummer.

Damona  40:36  

Yeah, so I suggest trying it sounds like we’re both on the same page there. Yeah. Love alright. Last question. Bella. What do you do when you feel like giving up on dating?

Bela Gandhi  40:47  

Become a psychotic optimist!

Bela Gandhi  40:54  

you have to know Look around you, right? Not every person That’s in a relationship is perfect size zero, you know, whatever it is you think it takes to get into a relationship and that you feel like you don’t have. And you have to know that this is what you’re wired for. You’re wired for love, right? And you just have to get back on the bike and keep doing it. If you need to take a break, go into do a 30 day dating, detox, that’s fine. And then by that, I mean shut it down. Right? Don’t like peek at your apps, like delete everything, and go into a total like, I’m going to rebuild myself and self care for that month, and really do the things that bring me joy, and make me feel good again and then go back into the dating pool.

Damona  41:45  

Yes, so now we’ve convinced everybody to stop dating. But then everything will be better later. No. Yeah, that’s like if you’re, if you’re at that place, you could stop dating But otherwise, you should keep keep moving forward. You should work Bella and smart dating Academy should keep listening to this podcast and become a psychotic optimist and then you’ll be all right. Amen. Thank you so much for being here Bella, I love having you for our love month five q FEHB. keep spreading the love out there in the world. Thank you for having

Bela Gandhi  42:15

You’re doing such great work.

Damona  42:18  

Thank you You too. If you love Bella Gandhi as much as I do, please follow her on Twitter at Bella Gandhi we’ll put the link in the show notes. You can also find her online at smart dating academy.com I hope you enjoyed Episode 297 of dates and mates coming up on that three hundo again, I’m at damona Hoffman on all of the socials and I really really do want to hear your love questions. Don’t forget to leave us a review on Apple podcasts or Stitcher or wherever you are listening to this show. We love our listeners. We love to know what you like about the show. What you want more of what You want less of so thank you so much for all of your feedback. Keep it coming. We will be back again next week with our final episode of this special love month series. We have easy dating coach Mike Goldstein, who will be giving us the male perspective on the five questions about love. Can’t wait for next week. Until then, I wish you happy dating