YEAR OF THE TIGER
It’s February 1st – not only is Valentine’s Day hot on our heels, but today is the Chinese Lunar New Year! So happy New Year part two! (Don’t worry, I’m not going to say another Dating Sunday is coming. You already had enough of those.)
2022 is the year of the Tiger, which not only symbolizes power, but tigers are also known to be adventurous, ambitious and never back down from a challenge. I want you to take that energy into everything you do, just as my friend and our guest today, Alix Strauss, does.
Alix is a writer and frequent features contributor to the New York Times. She has spent a large part of her writing career interviewing couples with long-lasting marriages, and today she’ll be sharing everything she’s learned along the way. Plus, she’ll reveal whether or not you should let your mom set you up, based on the many essays she’s edited on the topic…
DATING DISH (3:33)
(3:33) Are you a romantic or more aromantic?
Have you been losing your drive for dating lately? This article from Scary Mommy gives us all the deets on whether you’re burnt out on romance, or you may be something called aromantic.
If you’ve ever heard of asexuality before, it’s a similar concept on a different spectrum. Basically, being “aromantic” means you don’t experience romantic love and do not feel romantic connections. But because aromantics are still capable of feeling non-romantic love, it can be easy to confuse aromanticism with a lack of attraction.
Here are some of the signs you might be aromantic:
- You tend not to like romantic gestures such as kissing or hugging.
- You don’t get romantic crushes.
- You don’t relate to romantic stories, movies, or books.
- Your vision of happiness doesn’t include you in a romantic relationship.
- You don’t consider sexual attraction and romance to be linked.
(6:27) Is there a West Elm Caleb lurking in your love life?
If you haven’t heard about the West Elm Caleb phenomenon, let me get you up to speed.
Recently, a woman on TikTok shared her experience about going out with this dude named Caleb who she dated briefly. She said that he seemed to be really, really into her, but then poof, he suddenly disappeared.
In the comments section someone posted, “is this the West Elm Caleb?” It turns out that the same experience had happened to someone who watched the video. From there, TikTokers started to flood the comments with their own similar West Elm Caleb experiences.
West Elm Caleb has now become this infamous archetype. He’s the guy who ghosts after having seemingly amazing first dates, with no explanation. This is called love bombing – when a date showers you with compliments, gifts and affection in order to gain immediate trust, and then they disappear.
Now your first reaction to being love bombed might actually be filled with butterflies and giddiness, like you just met this AMAZING guy. But butterflies are more about chemistry than compatibility, and when a relationship starts out of the gate that fast, it’s only bound to fizzle out more quickly.
Plus, you end up skipping the important moments of discovery that help you figure out if this person is a well suited long term match for you or not. Slow love is the key, y’all.
Think you may be getting love-bombed? Look for these signs:
- They profess their love to you immediately, like immediately after the first date (specifically over text).
- It seems too good to be true.
- The compliments they’re giving aren’t really about you, they’re just kind of general.
- Right away, they are wanting to make plans all the time. This is also the difference between a love bomber, and a catfish or a scammer (scammers want to delay in-person for as long as possible).
And as a BONUS, here are the signs someone is two-timing you:
- If they can only see you at specific times – like they say the weekends are totally off limits, or they can only meet you after 10pm.
- They don’t post what they’re doing or who they’re with, like ever.
- They are almost always active on the dating app and often miles from where they are supposed to be.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN (15:37)
Today my guest is writer Alix Strauss. Alix is a frequent features contributor to the New York Times, and covers topics ranging from trends in beauty, travel, and food to celebrity interviews.
She’s been featured on ABC, CBS, CNN, and The Today Show. Her articles have also appeared in The Financial Times, Time Magazine, Condé Nast Traveler, and Departures (among others).
Alix is a 4-time published author, whose work includes Death Becomes Them: Unearthing the Suicides of the Brilliant, the Famous, and the Notorious, and Have I Got a Guy for You, an anthology of mother-coordinated dating horror stories.
(17:00) Making romance a priority in 2022: Alix wrote an article before the start of the new year all about creating new year’s resolutions for your relationship. She interviewed four relationship experts (including yours truly), and got all their tips on how to improve your relationship throughout 2022.
One thing Alix notes in writing this piece is that people are always looking for a way to reconnect, or to connect in a better, healthier way. She continues, “there’s so much that we forget, and we really do forget to check in with each other.”
Alix also mentions that nostalgia can be a very useful tool in helping people connect. But there is a very big difference between connecting nostalgically, versus asking “what did we learn last year, and what are we going to say goodbye to?”
Whereas 2020 was the year of reconnecting through nostalgia and recreating normalcy, 2022 will be the year of letting go of the things that don’t serve your relationship anymore, and moving forward anew.
(19:35) Not every moment is a romantic moment: One of Alix’s interviewees was Julie Schwartz Gottman of the Gottman Institute, who stated that couples haven’t had the chance to examine the inner landscape of their relationship and build or rebuild connection.
Some couples may just be realizing that they’ve shapeshifted a little bit, and wondering how do they get back? Or how do we make us both happy and fulfill both our needs? Off of Julie’s advice, Alix recommends making sure you and your partner are both on the same page, and are really contemplating what you learn about each other.
Alix and Julie also advise couples to check in weekly with each other – or even twice a week. Now this may feel a bit transactional, but Alix says “you’re not going to have a romantic moment every moment. I honestly think that some of the hard work is to sit down maybe every other week and say, let’s just check in with each other.”
(22:15) Marriage is really the management of differences: Dr. Anthony Chambers, another one of Alix’s interviewees, says that the central task of marriage is the management of differences. This doesn’t mean that you and your partner aren’t allowed to disagree, but just that you make the effort to hear and understand each other in a respectful manner.
Alix shares a tip she learned from actress Holly Robinson Peete, who said that if you’re in an intense fight or moment of extreme tension with your partner, try holding each other for 20 seconds. She says that there is something extremely centering about holding your partner, listening to each other breathe, and hearing your heartbeats.
(25:34) Mother should know best, right?: Has your mom ever tried to set you up and it went horribly wrong? Well Alix knows that feeling all too well.
Her book Have I Got a Guy for You is a collection of essays from many others who have suffered this fate (but coincidentally, ended up with a reaaally good story). Alix’s main inspiration for her book was when her mother set her up with someone who was still MARRIED.
Alix recounts how this guy took her to a restaurant called “Good” (which she adds was not), and how he went on to say unflattering things about his current wife. To top it off, Alix says this guy had terrific road rage.
So per Alix’s experience, here are some takeaway tips for your blind dates:
- Pay attention to their selection of restaurant.
- If they talk about their ex in a negative light, that’s a red flag.
- Consider, are you the one being set up, or is the other person the one being set up?
DEAR DAMONA (34:07)
- IG Message from L – I am struggling to date because I have a vulnerable thing – I have two missing back teeth. How do I overcome this and get back into dating?
- Email from Jess – In my 20s I had quite a few disastrous relationships after which I stopped dating, partially because I wasn’t ready and partially because I didn’t have time between work and taking care of my sick grandmother. She’s been gone for a few years now and I know it’s time to get back out there, but I’m having such a struggle with it. How do I hype myself up to start dating again?