This week’s topic is: How to Build Healthy Relationships and Effective Online Dating with Damona Hoffman
I am so excited to have my very special guest, Damona Hoffman, who is a Certified Dating Coach and Host of the Dates & Mates Podcast. Listen in as Damona shares myths and expectations around dating, how to attract a healthy relationship, and how to navigate your life within dating apps, and so much more!
- The most important decision that you will make…
- Principles regarding waiting to be intimate…
- Expectations around dating someone with a similar lifestyle…
- Attracting a healthy relationship…
- Quick tips to make the process of online dating more effective…
- How to pick the best dating app…
- Settling versus holding out for your dream partner…
About Damona Hoffman
Damona Hoffman is a dating coach & on-air personality who starred in two A+E Networks’ TV series: #BlackLove and A Question of Love. She’s a regular contributor to The LA Times, The Washington Post, The Drew Barrymore Show, NPR, CNN Headline News (HLN), BET.com<http://BET.com>, and more. Plus she’s the official dating expert of OkCupid.
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Damona Hoffman’s Interview
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Kimberly: Hi, my loves and welcome to our Monday interview podcast. We have a very special guest for you today. Her name is Damona Hoffman, and she is a dating coach. She’s a regular contributor to the LA Times and the Washington Post. She’s been on a million different TV shows, including NPR, CNN, and she’s the official dating expert of OkCupid. And what I love today is how we got into really some very practical tips and ways to really present your best self, but your most authentic self forward to help you find that soulmate, that special someone, if that’s something you’re looking for. And if you already have that person or you aren’t so focused on that right now, Damona and I talk about a lot of different relationship and human aspects. So I think you’ll love our interview no matter what. She is fascinating. She has a lot of amazing wisdom to share with us, and I really enjoyed my conversation with her.
Fan of the Week
Kimberly: But before we get into it today, I want to give a quick shout out to our fan of the week, and her name is ChanelleCamello. She writes, “So grateful. I’m so grateful to have found this podcast. It’s also cool to me that Kimberly lives in the same city and is also Filipina. She makes healthy living look so easy to maintain and live by, she does it all with grace and confidence and really cares for her supporters. This is an incredible podcast with a wealth of knowledge, and I recommend it to anyone.” Well, ChanelleCamello, thank you so much, [foreign language 00:01:41], and so much love to my Filipina sister. I have to admit, I am only half Filipina, but full love for the Philippines, which I have been to several times. And of course, so grateful for you, my love for being part of our community and writing a review. So, so much love and so much gratitude.
Kimberly: And for your chance to also be shouted out as the fan of the week, please be sure to leave us a review, and while you’re over there, please be sure to subscribe to our podcast. And that way you don’t miss out on any of these wonderful interview shows or our Thursday Q and A podcast where we take questions right from you guys, right from the community. And it’s super amazing.
Kimberly: I also want to mention that if you do write a review, which of course is free and easy, and you take a screenshot and you email it to reviews with an S, email@example.com, we will send you our free program, our program on affirmations on self-love. And I give many talks around these different affirmations and ways to work with them in a really effective way to help you reprogram some limiting beliefs. I work with affirmations in this way myself, and they’ve been part of my life now for over a decade, and they’ve really helped me. This is just something that’s really near and dear to my heart. So I’m really excited to share that with you. So again, just take a screenshot of your review, firstname.lastname@example.org and there we go.
Kimberly: All right, my loves, without further ado, let’s get into our interview today with the amazing Damona Hoffman.
Interview with Damona Hoffman
Kimberly: 00:01 Um, okay. We got, it sounds like John you’re on it. Okay, cool. Hey, Damona, it’s so great to have you on today. I’ve been so looking forward to talking to you. Thank you. My love.
Damona: 00:13 Thank you for having me. I’ve been looking forward to it. So,
We share our take on setting healthy boundaries
Kimberly: 00:18 So let’s talk about this whole topic, dating, finding partnership. We get so many questions on our podcast about relationships, about healthy relationships, healthy boundaries. Boundaries seems to be a big one right now with, you know, being stuck at home with COVID with, you know, just all sorts of things. What, um, let’s, let’s start there actually. What’s your, what’s your take on boundaries,
Damona: But you, you went in for like stuff right away. Yeah.
Kimberly: 00:50 But sometimes, you know, depending on our mood to it. Yeah. Let’s get right into it.
Damona: 00:56 So I would say, first of all, that, um, relationships really are the most universal thing in all of our lives. So whatever culture you come from, wherever in the world, you are, you have a primal need for relationship, whether it’s romantic relationship or partnership and business, or a relationship with your children, having relationships and knowing how to have that human interaction is really key. So I’m not surprised that you get a lot of questions about relationships, because it is something that needs to be talked about more, but for whatever reason, we don’t, we don’t discuss it. And we, we think that that’s the part of our life that should just kind of come together. When I find that when people are purposeful about dating and about their relationships, they are ultimately more satisfied. So when we’re talking about boundaries in a relationship that is really foundational, aye, aye, aye. I liken it to building a house, right? If you’re building it on a foundation, that’s shaky. If your boundaries are weak and flimsy, then you’re going to keep building on quicksand. But if you take the time to really lay the foundation of what are the rules of your relationship, what are your expectations? How are you getting your needs met? How are you showing up for the other person? And those are handled in a foundational way. Then you have something to build off of.
Kimberly: 02:27 Well, I guess to Mona, when you’re, when you’re talking to someone or, you know, people ask you these sorts of questions, even when I’m asking you about boundaries, I think, well, that sounds really powerful, but if we don’t have boundaries in our own lives and other areas like with our friends or with our families, we’re not going to do it in our primary relationship. Right. So maybe it should be, you know, how do we create healthy boundaries in our own life? Because sometimes, you know, we hear, oh, you know, I have no time to myself. Everybody walks all over me. I’d never say no to my friends. And maybe it’s a good thing to look at boundaries because you said that’s foundational in a relationship in our lives before we seek it in that romantic one.
Damona: 03:09 You’re so wise, you’ve, you’ve gotten just to the heart of the matter, right? Let’s
Kimberly: 03:15 Just say Damona, I’ve had some ups and downs with my own relationships. So, uh, it’s a personal experience.
The most important decision that you will make
Damona: 03:20 Right. And we all have, and I, I, I also see that when you are willing to look at your life through that lens, like you said, every area of your life impacts the other. And particularly in relationship, I feel like it is the most important decision that you will make, who you choose to partner with, who you choose to blend your finances, your family, you know, share your emotional, you know, your raw emotions with like that impacts every other area. So I think it’s really wise. And one thing that I do with my clients and with my podcast listeners is to have them flip the script and say, okay, we can’t really see it. It’s the relationship area is, is a black box for many. Okay. You can’t see it there. How can you see it elsewhere in your life? And I will ask them, you’re feeling this when you’re dating or, or in your relationship, where else is that feeling showing up for you?
Damona: 04:17 I like to get into the feeling of let’s throw away the list. They like, he needs to be 5, 5, 11 or taller. He needs to make this much money. He needs to, you know, whatever the things are on your list that are superficial. I have my clients really throw that away or reduce that substantially and really drill down on how do you want to feel when you’re in this relationship? And then how is that feeling like we’ll visualize, we’ll do exercises that really help you clarify that feeling. So that then when you’re with that person, you know, because that feeling is repeated every time people, people ask me, how did you know your husband was the one? How do you, how do you know if it’s worth investing in? You know, if you’re feeling that feeling that you want to feel, if it’s constant friction and frustration and exhaustion, then you have to ask yourself, is this really how I want to feel in a relationship?
How to know if a feeling about a relationship is authentic
Kimberly: 05:16 Sometimes though Damona, we get excited in the beginning and maybe someone is really looking to make something work. So on paper, someone can, you know, check off the boxes, X, Y, Z, you know, we fit in, we did a duh, but then, so the field, like, how do we know if the feeling is, you know, we want it to be there, or if it’s authentically there, would you say only time can tell or are there other signs you would, you would suggest looking for?
Damona: 05:44 We absolutely get addicted to stories. We’ve been told stories since we were little, little boys and girls, there is a happy ending in most of those stories. And, you know, the, the couple makes and the fantasy comes true and our brain naturally wants to complete stories. So what’s happening in those moments when we are feeling the butterflies, usually we’re getting ahead of ourselves. We’re already telling the end of the story, because we think we know it. We think we know the story. We saw it in the romcom and we know it’s going to work out. And what I have people do is practice slow, love. It’s, it’s interesting because I feel like there’s been a lot of talk about this in the media lately, because COVID really shifted the way people entered into relationships, but I’ve been actually talking about it. I’ve been coaching people for over 15 years on dating, and I’ve been talking about slowing it down for a long time.
Damona: 06:37 I have my clients space out their interactions. You know, if a client tells me I had a great first date, we, we had a three hour dinner and then we went for drinks at another place. And then we went for a walk on the beach and, you know, I just decided to stay over and let me have breakfast the next day. And it was just a great first date. And then they’re, they’re confused when I say, oh, actually you didn’t have a great first date because you developed this false sense of intimacy. And then you start to, to form an attachment to this person and to the ideas that this person represents that may or may not actually line up with reality. And the only real way to tell if someone is an appropriate match for you, if somebody really is, is evoking, the right feeling is to get to know them over time and to see how their actions match their words and how their actions make you feel.
Principles regarding waiting to be intimate
Kimberly: 07:32 Right. Right, right. And it’s, you know, you really have to reign it in sometimes because you get excited and you are, you’re getting those flutters. You can, you know, some people may say I’m old fashioned Damona and I will say this publicly for the first time. But, um, I do personally, I like to wait before physical intimacy, um, you know, just so you, for me, it’s a trust thing. And maybe it’s, you know, this, some of my childhood wounds, like fear of abandonment, like I wouldn’t want to sleep with someone and then they back. So is that I know it’s different for each person, but in general, when you’re coaching people, do you have any general? I don’t really like the word rules, but do you have any principles about waiting? Is it a feeling for you, have you found, I don’t know if there’s research, like waiting a certain amount of time or certain amount of dates before putting out yeah.
Damona: 08:29 Uh, people want to know the rules, right? Everybody’s like, the standards, what other people are doing. And of course it’s different for everyone and I’m very, not old fashioned. I’m very new fashioned, but I like that one thing that I think is really important that you’re probably feeling in that moment is that to open yourself up to someone in that way requires actually a deep level of vulnerability and intimacy. Right. And you can, of course can have sex with somebody without all of those things, but really for, for you to experience what sex truly can be. Those other elements can’t be ignored. Long-term right. So, um, what I will tell my clients cause everyone wants to like the role, I’ll say for most of my clients, it’s somewhere between three and eight dates, which I know is a huge range. And that’s why, I guess that’s the new fashion in me to be welcoming to everyone’s different timelines. But the rule of thumb is that you want to be in a place where one, you still have built enough of a rapport and enough anticipation for what’s coming next. Like people will say to me, oh, we’ve only been dating for two months. And it already feels like we’ve kind of slipped into the like, you know, honey, where’s, you know, pass me the page in the newspaper. Like just like the boring phase.
Damona: 09:54 That couples slip into usually later in the relationship. And a lot of times that’s because we’ve taken, we’ve like pulled the rug out from under the, the magic and anticipation. Once you have sex, you can’t go backwards. Like you can’t pretend like we didn’t, we didn’t have sex. It’s already happened. So I say, why not extend that period? That magical period of your relationship that you won’t ever get back right, right longer until you really feel like I can trust this person. I can be vulnerable with this person. I can talk to this person about serious issues. Like peoples tell me that they’ve, they’ve, they’ve had sex with somebody, you know, on the first or second date. And they’re like, when should I talk about like SDIs or, you know, accidental pregnancies or, and I’m like, wait, you should have talked about that before. Yeah. Those are the consequences of the action that you already took. Yeah. You didn’t feel comfortable saying it, but then you felt comfortable having that person in your bed.
The myth today that men respect women less if they have sex earlier
Kimberly: 10:57 Do you you think it’s true to Damona? Do you think it’s a myth today that men respect women less if they have sex earlier or, I mean, obviously it depends on the man. It depends on the interaction, but have you heard that a lot again? I’m covered, like I’ve heard it. Yeah.
Damona: 11:14 I don’t necessarily believe that it’s true. Of course, like everyone is different, right? Sure. A man who would feel that way. Sure. But I think it kind of comes back to the feeling, right. Is, yeah. When you, when you rush into intimacy without having built the foundation, you let’s just look at it from a biological perspective, the biological drive is gone. So if you have, you’ve eliminated that feeling of anticipation, that feeling of, of needing to show up for you in a certain way to earn your trust and right. And sex being part of that, if that is gone and you haven’t built the other foundation, then what do you have? What do you have to look forward to?
Kimberly: 12:07 Yeah, yeah. That is, that’s a really clear way of looking at it because it’s all energetic. So like you said, if you’re putting this before and then you hadn’t built a strong enough bond, it’s not solid.
Damona: 12:21 So I really liked what you, you just said about the energetic principle of this. When someone also says to me, like, you know, I work with a lot of datas that are like, I’ve been trying online dating for a long time. I’m so burned out on it. I haven’t met anybody. And, uh, I, I just, I don’t feel like dating. Like it’s my job. I don’t feel like putting in that much effort and work. And a lot of times, you know, they’ll have like a friend with benefits, you know, an F buddy they’ll, they’ll have casual relations with people that they, they meet, you know, first or second date. And ultimately they don’t feel fulfilled from that. And yet you’re getting somewhat of a need met. And so you’re almost depriving yourself of your, of your chance to feel something deeper and something greater. And then you’re depriving yourself of the drive and the focus and the, the energy to then go out and be open to something greater or pursue a deeper relationship. So it’s like snacking, you know? Yeah, no, I know you’re into like health and wellness. So if you’re always having snacks, then when the, a meal with all the nutrition comes, you’re like, oh, but I’m full.
Myths and expectations around dating someone with a similar lifestyle
Kimberly: 13:33 Exactly, exactly. That’s such a, I love talking about this in energetic terms because I really do see everything as energetic and connected and are our four cornerstones. Damona our food body, emotional wellbeing and spiritual growth. Because when I started out, I was focusing on food because you can see it’s more dense energy, but then you realize, oh my gosh, our emotions really impact our hormones and our inflammation and our, the way we feel and spiritual growth, which I define as more awareness and connection we’re talking about. You have to have healthy boundaries, you have to connect with yourself. You have to love yourself to really have a healthy relationship with anyone else. Um, and I love how you talk about feelings. So I want to share the Damona of just a little bit about my husband, who I met at a dinner party. And when we met, I wasn’t looking for anybody.
Kimberly: 14:24 I was open, like you just said, I was in an open space. And when we started talking, I had a feeling, but if I paid attention to the outside, we would never have gotten together. He’s very different from the neck down. His body is pretty much covered in tattoos. He’s into like MMA fighting and motorcycles. You said you where’s a grill at his teeth and all this stuff. If I felt this connection, and I really felt this, you know, the spiritual connection, this emotional connection, and then, you know, the physical connection eventually. So it didn’t come from doing the same things. It just came from that. So when I think sometimes people think they have to date someone who has this, who likes the same activities, or we both do yoga, or we both ski. Can you speak a little bit about that? Because sometimes people get together with similar interests in sometimes like me and my husband, it’s very polar opposite, but somehow opposites attract for us.
Damona: 15:19 Yes. Oh man. It’s coming back to the list and I’m actually in the process of writing a book on this topic right now called the modern love myth. It won’t be out for a little while, but the, so I’m like deeply entrenched in, in unpacking this because we, we, we do get caught up in these stories, these expectations that a lot of times aren’t even our own like that is passed down to us. Yes. Generation to generation. I am a biracial female. Cis-gender female. You know, I have my different beliefs because of the, the skin that I live in. And I’ve realized also with a lot of my clients, like I’ve had to unpack things, beliefs about race and about religion and, and these expectations that actually, when you really dive down deep into, into your soul, aren’t, aren’t even things that you hold. There are things that society has told you that you need, or that your parents have told you, or that you saw somewhere and formed a belief around. And what I try to get people to do is to strip all that away and believe me, I had the list too. I had like, you know, he has to, he has to go to, he needed to go to a, uh, elite college and he had to look a certain way. And then when I really stepped back,
Damona: 16:51 I was like, actually, none of that is important. And what I had codafide as, as college means that he is intelligent. Actually, wasn’t the same thing as I wanted to be intellectually stimulated. That’s how I wanted to feel when I was with him. But we’re looking for shortcuts. So we put a shortcut on it, or like, we think it will be uncomfortable if they have a different culture or if they have different hobbies, like, will that impact my ability to still live my truth or experience my hobbies. And when you’re in the right relationship, that has the foundational elements that we were talking about before, like you, you have the same values or you have the same goals for the future, the things that really are important, then you start to realize that some of these superficial things don’t necessarily matter. And looking for someone that is your carbon is a recipe for frustration.
Kimberly: 17:54 Well, I also think it ties into what we were saying earlier about energy because energy is beyond these labels, right? So before, you know, when I was living in New York, I dated other yogis people that were plant-based and people that, because I wanted someone to be spiritual, I wanted someone to be open and to be connected, but that’s an energy beyond the label of, you know, I do yoga or not, I’m a Yogi or not. So when I met John, I was in a really open place where I hadn’t been in the past and I was open to his energy. You know, just like the one when I was, you know, used to talk about food. Um, and I still talk about food Damona but, um, but more this formless stuff is what my focus is now. But I would say, don’t just look at numbers and just count calories because 500 calories of avocado digest differently with different energy transferring your body than 500 calories of potato chips. Right? So it’s like when you go beyond, you can see the energetics, which is why I really like you talking about feelings because how many people pick a partner because, oh, we will, we both went to Dartmouth and you know, where my husband went to school [inaudible] oh, there are no accidents here.
Attracting a healthy relationship
Kimberly: 19:05 I have had those lists and there’s a certain pride, I think when you go to a party and you have someone in your arm and you’re like, oh, such and such in this, but to be really happy, I’ve had so many different relationships like that, but now I feel so fulfilled because we connect on that energy level. And so I think that anybody working on a relationship or wanting to attract a relationship, that’s, that’s what I would say to them is go to this energy, go to this feeling place, go to your heart instead of evaluating so much on the surface, what do you say
Damona: 19:37 That’s so wise and it’s, I just want to acknowledge for your listeners. It’s a really hard place to get to. And, you know, I too met my partner after a lot of deep work to not even like self love work, but really honestly, self exp acceptance. And I’m thinking again about boundaries, where we started this conversation. I got really clear on boundaries for myself. Like I had, I had this like on and off situationship that I probably would have gone on, who knows how long it would have gone on if I had allowed it. And through the coaching work that I was doing, I, I found my voice and I was able to set the boundary and my expectation for that relationship and find out it, it couldn’t, it couldn’t get there. Like he was like, I can’t do it. Like I can’t, I can’t be that guy.
Damona: 20:36 And of course it was devastating to hear in the moment. But in another way, it was also liberating because I was like, now I have clarity. That’s what I’m always in search of. I think for myself and for my clients in their relationship journey, clarity is, is worth so much, so much more than, you know, what, whatever you think that you, that you want in the relationship. Like, yeah, that guy on paper, I was like, he, he checks all the boxes, but I didn’t like how I felt. He made me feel. And to have that clarity of this is what I need. And I now know with a hundred percent certainty that you cannot be, that you can point to. That’s never going to do that. You don’t have that aspiration that freed me up to be able to meet the man. Who’s now my husband and we’ve been together 18 years, if you can believe it.
Damona: 21:36 I really don’t know if I would have been open to use your word. I wouldn’t have been open to him if I was still in that other place. Or if I hadn’t been able to really find my voice and have that clarity on who I was first outside of the relationship and that I still had value and I still was worthy. Even if he let’s just use the word rejected me. People like oftentimes will write into my day to mates podcast and say like, oh, I’m so afraid of like sending out the first message or, or, you know, going out with the person. And I’m so afraid of being rejected. And I, I just don’t look at it that way at all. It’s not a rejection of you. It’s a rejection of the situation that you’re offering. You know, the, the life that you could could build together, it’s not right for them, but you can still build it just, they might not be in that story.
Damona shares how she started on this journey towards helping people with their love life’s
Kimberly: 22:30 Yeah. I think, I think that’s a really tough way of looking at it. Like taking it really personally, if we go back to the energetics, it just means it’s, you know, the energy doesn’t match up and there’s nothing wrong with you. There’s nothing wrong with them. It’s just a different, you know, just doesn’t vibe. So Damona, I have, I have a two-part question for you. Um, number one, you said you’ve been with your husband for 18 years. You said you’ve been giving advice for 15 years. So I wonder how did you get into this where you’re, you know, really working with people on their love life and number two. Um, are you, are you seeing more people now writing in just more conversation around dating, trying to find a mate, or is it equal to being in a relationship and working on improving the relationship, deepening it, strengthening it
Damona: 23:16 All great questions. And yes, my husband was a large part of how I moved into this business. Right. Um, the short story is I’ll try and make it as brief as possible. I was working as a casting director television. Yes, I was working for CBS at, during the day. And at night I was teaching classes for actors and how to brand themselves market themselves have headshots that would stand out to a person like me and get them called into an audition room. And I was online dating at the same time. And I had the realization that basically what I was telling actors about letting their story be told through their photos and making it very clear, kind of clear and memorable, um, visually making themselves clear and, and memorable visually was really the secret sauce to getting them where they wanted to go. And w was actually applicable to online dating.
Damona: 24:15 So online dating profile, photo headshot, first date audition. There were a lot of girls there. So after I met my husband online, I would get initially friends and relatives people saying, well, I tried online dating it didn’t really work. And I’d say, well, let me see your profile. What’s the story that you think you’re telling. And here’s what I see. And I realized that this was really a system. This wasn’t something that I had done by chance. This was a process that I could teach other people about how to first get clarity on what they were looking for, what they needed in a relationship to also get clarity on what they were bringing to the table, how they wanted to feel in the relationship and then to develop a plan and a strategy to actually find that match in the real world. Wow. So that’s where I began this journey. Um, I have, yeah, I’m like an online dating dinosaur.
Damona: 25:17 I’ve studied the, the whole evolution of dating sites to dating apps. I work with OkCupid now as their official dating coach. And so the majority of the work that I do, I’m really passionate about helping people in that predate process and in the dating process to meet the person and figure out if it’s a match. Um, there are a lot of great resources and a lot of great people out there that offer coaching and marriage and family. I definitely believe in therapy, marriage and family therapy is great. It’s not what I do. I really focus on dating and relationship strategy, and I love helping people develop that foundation so that they can build their own relationship off of that.
Quick tips to make the process of online dating more effective
Kimberly: 26:02 Well, it seems like your work is very needed today. Damona. Can we talk about online dating for a moment? I have never personally been on, um, online, like an online dating app just because I happen to meet some people naturally, but I have dozens and dozens of friends as I’m sure you do, and all your clients that are on those apps. And it just seems like there’s so many new ones always popping up. So let’s say you are a single woman and you are interested in meeting a life where, you know, either a serious part or maybe not a serious part. You’re, you’re just wanting to find that person. I know you have a lot of resources and you have your podcast, which we’ll link to and everything else. Could you just give us a couple of quick tips to, um, to make the process a little bit more effective for anyone looking that’s a great way to phrase it effective?
Kimberly: 26:56 I know it’s like the deep, deep, deep down, but I guess just like top line stuff, like easy, you know, what, low hanging fruit, some things we can start to like streamline,
Damona: 27:04 Well, let’s start with the mindset because a lot of people who listen to the database podcast will say to me that I never really imagined meeting my spouse on a dating app. I never really thought about doing dating apps or I’m just, I’ve been unsuccessful with dating apps. I think we’ve put a lot of pressure on dating apps too, that we have our own ideas about what the dating app is. So the thing for everyone to remember, first of all, is that the dating app is just a tool. It’s just, it’s just a portal through which you can meet matches. It does not have feelings. It is not, it is not conspiring against you. And also it is representative of the way that we live our lives today. Like, I didn’t imagine that I would be carrying a phone with me through the streets, everywhere that I go and like having maps and like all the, you know, all the things that you use your phone for, I never could have imagined that 20 years ago. So of course you didn’t imagine meeting your match on a dating app because it didn’t exist, but now you do everything
Damona: 28:18 Online more than likely you shop online, you communicate with your friends online. So why not embrace that as a tool to be able to expand your community and your dating pool and social circle? That’s it, the beginning, that’s the beginning part, right. Is just handling any limiting beliefs around that. Once you’re on the dating app and you’re dating with the mindset of, you know, an abundance mindset. Well, hold on. Damona sorry.
How to pick the best dating app
Kimberly: 28:50 Hello. I want to pause there. How do we pick the best dating app?
Damona: 28:54 Okay. This is also one of, one of the most asked questions. Um, and again, I do work with OkCupid, so I’m not going to just tell you, you should try OkCupid, but I love OkCupid because it gives you a lot of options. They have critical mass and they have lots of different ways to search, but is it the right app for everyone? Not necessarily. The important thing is to find an app that works with your lifestyle. You get overwhelmed by many options. You might do better on an app, like a coffee meets bagel that just sends you a match a day or any harmony that’s curating the match, or you might do better with a matchmaker. Who’s bringing matches to you. For me, I like choices. So I always liked using apps that gave me lots of options. And let me filter through, I see you also need to be on an app that you, you like the selection.
Damona: 29:44 These are the two major criteria you like the selection of, of matches. Just go online, create a quick profile just to, just to search a little bit and see, do I like the matches here? And do I like the functionality because red using the app every time, like, you know, I don’t feel like I have enough information a lot of times on just swipe apps to make a determination. And yet we are using that as our primary filter, like, oh, I don’t like their first photo, you know, swipe left, swipe left, right? So we need, we need, I need enough information to see if this person is, is appropriate enough to, to engage with. So those are the things you should be looking at. Um, also you should be on probably two apps at the same time. I find that three’s a little too many to manage. And one just, Y if you could be on multiple apps and you could have a wider dating pool, why not? Why not expand? It’s like being at two dinner parties. Right? It’s true. So read it out. Yeah,
Damona: 30:53 Exactly. So that’s, that’s how to choose the right dating app and then how to think of the dating app and use a dating app. And then I’ll just give some like top, top line profile tips. And I do have a free profile starter kit on my email@example.com. So I’ll just mention that as well. So Mona, I can’t, I don’t even know what you’re talking about. I don’t know where to begin. I just made it free and really easy for people to just get online and just get started. Cause I find that that’s often the biggest hurdle. Yes. Create a profile. And then like within three or four days, they’re like, oh, I’m overwhelmed. Or I didn’t like it. And then they just pull off the site and say it didn’t work and runaway, um, okay. Profile pictures. That is your calling card. That’s how you bring the matches in.
Damona: 31:42 So you want to have four to six photos that tell your story. You have to have a mix of headshots and at least one body shot. You have to have what I call the three CS color context. And character color is really important for that primary photo. Because you know, as you see I’m wearing pink today, um, I always really love colors. It’s it’s bright. It catches the eye and the scroll, right? Yeah. Yeah. Okay. Think of it. It’s it’s psychology. Uh, and you want to catch their attention while they’re swiping through context. This is telling your story through your photos. This is kind of what we were talking about, what I used to do with actors and this isn’t like, so like knock you over the head telling your story, but just indicate like, if you are outdoors or you like hiking have some outdoor shots, also natural lighting, always good. The sun is sunny is your best taking these photos. And then character is the one that most people miss. This is really showing your personality and not just choosing pretty pictures. This is not Instagram. We’re not going for like glossy, glossy, uh, filtered shots. We’re really going for
Kimberly: 32:56 That feeling again. Yeah. You’ll
Damona: 32:59 Like to be with you. And could I connect with this person? And that’s what gets people to actually take action and then, right.
Kimberly: 33:05 Do you think those like filtered overly, like retouch, those don’t perform as well? Cause people can say, what does she really look like?
Damona: 33:12 Well, there’s like the really filtered ones. They don’t perform well. Cause people are like, this looks fake. Yeah. Trust me. Y’all we can tell, like, I’ve been photo wondered like so many times and like friends, photos with friends, guys, we can tell you have no expressions on your face. Okay. So we can tell that actually, a lot of apps like Bumble now has a feature where they’ll they’ll eliminate any filtered, heavily filtered photos. They will not. Wow. Yeah. So
Kimberly: 33:43 Instagram started doing that. Can you imagine
Damona: 33:46 The Kardashians would be sunk and there’d be no photos left. Um, but you want to have it, uh, naturally look like you because while you might actually get some swipes on it, what is the goal? It’s remember, it’s just the tool that’s bringing you into connection with another person. The goal is to get offline and meet in the real world. And if you don’t look the way that you look in your photos, it’s false advertising in that person is going to be disappointed.
Kimberly: 34:16 Well, so many people have told me, they met someone and they’re like, first of all, they were like 15 years older. They lied about their age. They don’t look like their picture. And it’s like, where are you going with this? Because you meet the person. And then you have to reveal that you lied essentially. So that’s not a great way to start. It’s not a great way to start.
Damona: 34:37 I’m all about authenticity. And I’m not a fan of lying about anything in your profile that said the majority of people do fudge their profiles a little bit I’ve I had had knock down, drag out conversations with clients that were like, I have to say that I’m 45 and not 55 because they have, again, these belief systems they’ll say, well, I feel like 55 year old men don’t look like I do. They don’t take care of themselves in the same way. And so if I say I’m 55, then I’m going to get like 60 five-year-olds that are trying to say they’re 55 and then I’m not going to be dating in the right pool. And then also there is a very real thing that happens, tends to happen at five-year intervals. It’s changed a little bit in apps now being searchable based on like your actual age and not your age range.
Damona: 35:36 So a lot of times people will now you now you sh you choose like five years younger or five years older than you. It used to be like when it was 35 to 55, there was a big drop-off at each of those five or 10 year intervals. And so I, what I, how I get around this, because people do tend to search aspirationally and I’ll just leave you all to interpret that how you want. But when they’re actually matching, they’re matching based on people that they feel they’re attracted to. And they feel that they could have a connection with they’re physically attracted to. So even if you are a 55 year old woman and you look great, and that guy is attracted to you, even if he was searching for 30 to 45, he sees your picture. He’s going to message you. But the way that I teach people to go around this is to make sure that they are being active.
Damona: 36:30 You’re initiating messages, whether you are a man or a woman, but particularly for women. And again, I’ve been saying this for 15 years now, is the data coming out to support that women are starting to be more proactive in initiating sending messages and, and matching more, more broadly and sending them the first message once they’ve matched, because when women initiate one you’re, you’re in control, you’re, you’re doing the choosing instead of waiting to get chose. And to me, that’s a much more empowering position to be in. And then it’s less frustrating because you’re not getting all, you’re not caught up in like all of the Hey girl messages that are landing in your inbox from people you don’t actually want to meet. You’re really being proactive and searching out the kind of people that you’d like to connect with.
Kimberly: 37:16 Well, Damona back to the, um, you know, just to play the other side, back to the old fashioned part of me, what about the woman that is saying, but I want to be courted and I want to be, I want the man to be, and of course, like, I know it’s not as linear as this, but I’m like, you chivalry. And I want a man that’s going to pursue me and open the doors and, you know, just be more of this initiator. And if I start this where I’m chasing, I’m not chasing him, but I’m initiating, I take away. I changed the energy a little bit. What would you say to her?
Damona: 37:50 I literally just talked about this on some nights. So I understand, I relate to the story that we are telling ourselves, because it has been told for generations and generations, but again, the dating app is just a tool. It’s just the tool to connect you. And it doesn’t have feelings. It doesn’t, it doesn’t have the capability of being chivalrous. Right. It’s just going to dictate the whole relationship. No, no, but this is why boundaries are really important early in the relationship. So you can initiate a message. And really, if you look at it throughout a lot of history, women have initiated, like whether you made eye contact at the dinner party with your husband and you, and let him know that, that it would be okay to ask for your number. I don’t know how it played out here at camp, but something like that. Yeah. He had to know.
Damona: 38:45 That the advance was, um, going to be accepted. So we’ve always given permission or not given permission. And there’s a whole conversation that I’m sure we don’t have time for around the impact of the me too movement. Yes. Dating, because it is real. And, uh, I’m not giving guys a pass or an excuse, but there are a lot of men who would err on the side of being respectful and will not pursue. Right. Cause they don’t want to, uh, put you in an uncomfortable position, which then it’s like, it’s great because we are setting a boundary there, but it does put the responsibility a little bit more on us to be able to let them know when we are interested. And there’s just this whole feeling. Now I feel like, uh, I’ve been seeing a lot of people wanting to play it. Cool. And they’re like, ah, I don’t want to let them know. I’m just so too interested. I want to play it. Cool. And we’re all playing it so cool that it’s like, everything was nothing happens. Do you think it’s just, do you think it’s a myth? Damona that, you know, men have to be this like, you know, initiator, they always have to be this, you know, so forward. Um, I guess it’s the myth, you know, men, men have obviously feelings, chill. Men can be very shy about initiating men are very scared of rejection. They
Damona: 40:09 Have feelings too. We’ve been talking a lot about feelings. Men actually have feelings, right? Men
Kimberly: 40:14 Are, aren’t always so confident. Men can be really scared of being said no to.
Damona: 40:19 Yes. Yeah. And I just, I really feel like we are sort of imprisoning ourselves in a, uh, uh, a story around gender roles that just doesn’t apply in the world that we, we live in and I married a massive feminist right. Cases, way, way more feminist than I, you know, and his mom is a feminist. So I guess she kind of passed it onto him, but he didn’t even like the, he didn’t like the concept of a wedding ring or like my parents were, are a little bit more traditional. And they, it was really important to them that he asked for my asked for my hand in marriage. And he was like, that is assuming that you are not your own individual with freewill. You are a, you are basically property of your parents. And I must ask their permission for them to, you know, pass on their property from themselves.
Damona: 41:19 To me, that’s ridiculous. So he kind of found the middle ground and he was like, I’m calling to let you know that I plan to ask Damona to marry me. Yes. They both interpreted it as he asked my, he was like, I definitely wasn’t asking permission, but he was trying to be respectful. Yeah. So I think it comes down to that. Right. It’s mutual respect. And that’s what I, I, this isn’t right for everyone. But for me, I am interested in an equality, a partnership. I had total clarity on that from when I, the time when I was single, I was like, I know I’m going to be career focused. I’m not going to be able to be a, full-time stay at home parent. I’m going to need to find a partner that believes in equality and believes that they have 50% responsibility in raising the kids that we hopefully one day we’ll have. So that was like paramount to me that was over like how much money does he make? How tall is he? What school does he go to? I swear, I didn’t, I don’t even think I knew at Dartmouth. How funny is it that I said that of all the colleges
Damona: 42:27 It’s funny, but there, there are no accidents that are connected to energetic transfer. But, um, what was really important was that we had common goals. Like he saw building a family in the same way that I did now. I have friends that love being stay-at-home parents. That is their calling. That’s what they want. I could never be married to their husbands and what that, what their husbands vision of, of a successful relationship doesn’t fit for my worldview. So the important thing around all of this gender roles chivalry, is that you’re telling the story that you want to tell, because I take issue when people come to me and say, well, I want a traditional relationship. I want him to be chivalrous, but also I want to be the breadwinner and I want to call the shots. And I want to, you know, they, they want to be in a traditionally more male role, which I think is great that we have the ability to do that now, but they don’t want to accept anything else that comes with that. So I think we just have to take a step back and look at the whole picture, right?
Kimberly: 43:36 Cause then it’s like, I want this and this. And how does that really work in, in everyday life? You know? And just that clarity kids,
Damona: 43:45 The nanny, I guess, because if it’s not going to be you and it’s not him because you demand that he, I hear this so much that people, I feel like gender roles are shifting, but at the same time, there’s still an emasculation of men who are homemakers or, you know, stay at home parents. And I just think it’s, it’s not, it’s not fair. And it’s not really sustainable. Like we, we have to, we have to be willing to give in certain places and start to choose how we want to build our life in a way that works for us and not necessarily worked for, uh, our parents at a time when women couldn’t even couldn’t even own property. Like in our, in my lifetime, a woman could not be like the sole name on a mortgage. She would have to get her dad to be the primary person or co-sign on a mortgage or a credit card. Right. Right. Not that long ago in my lifetime. Uh it’s it’s,
Kimberly: 44:51 I mean, it’s amazing to think about all this, you know, the shifts and the changes. And my mother is actually from the Philippines where I believe it’s still illegal to get divorced. So you’re in a, you know, in a bad relationship. I mean, it’s just like a whole, you know, thing, there’s a lot of affairs. There’s just like a lot of stuff going on because you know, there’s just a lot of, you know, imposition from the government on that is tied to, you know, that’s a whole other conversation, but there are parts of the world that are still like that.
Damona: 45:23 Yeah. And that’s, you know, I assume we’re talking to mostly in north American audience, um, but shout out to all the people. Well, yeah, we haven’t, we have actually viewed as all over the world. We’ve got a lot of all over the way.
Kimberly: 45:34 A lot of Australians, a lot of Germans,
Damona: 45:37 All of those countries, for the most part, you do have free choice. And that’s something that I think is important to remind people of in this conversation. Like it’s easy to crap on dating or on relationships, or, you know, um, get frustrated or disappointed with what the options you see out there. But I try to keep reminding my dates, inmates, listeners, and my clients that you have choice today. And this is something that a generation or two ago you didn’t have. And in other parts of the world, as you said, you might not have. And if we can just take a moment to acknowledge that freedom of choice and opportunity, it can make us a little bit more appreciative for what is possible for you in your love life.
Settling versus holding out for your dream partner
Kimberly: 46:31 So that prompted I could, I could pick your brain all day, I have two more questions for you. Let’s go for the heavier one first, she’s talking about these choices, right? We all want that. We have this idea in our head of our ideal mate or the feelings that we want. Do you, what do you say to someone that’s like, well, it’s pretty good. And then they, you know, like it’s not there and then they go another, he’s pretty good. Where’s the line between settling and, you know, just, you know, not being a perfectionist like this, person’s pretty good. And then we could work on some of the stuff. Do you know what I’m trying to ask? Like, like instead of waiting for the exact perfect person versus well, okay. It’s not really great, but I I’m lonely. So I’m going to make this work, you know, settling versus holding out for your
Damona: 47:20 Dream. Great question. Uh, and I would say there, there is no perfect person, of course, unless you’re a perfect person and you come to the table as an absolutely perfect, perfect, you know, fully formed. Yeah. Vulnerable, authentic person, a perfect match versus settling. Right, right, right. But I’m saying
Damona: 47:41 Like, we got to turn that around on ourselves. Are we coming to the table? Perfect. Well, no, probably not. So if we’re not coming to the table, perfect. And how can we demand perfection from another human? Sure. I try to drill down to four core principles of longterm compatibility. I mentioned two of them earlier. It was common goals for the future shared values. And then we want to look at communication and conflict resolution and then trust, trust, trust this person. If you have those four things, I don’t care if like, you know, you, you didn’t feel the butterflies. And you know, the, the, the sky was not raining down Stardust. When you met, if you have those four things, you have something very, very special.
Kimberly: 48:31 Right. Do you want to say them again? Say them again. It’s so important. It’s common
Damona: 48:35 Goals for the future shared values. Yes. Communication and conflict resolution compatible styles and trust. Ah,
Kimberly: 48:46 So not, you didn’t say anything about attraction.
Damona: 48:50 I didn’t say anything about attraction because I’m talking about long-term compatibility. And I believe that those things, yeah. I think yes, more attracted to my husband now, 18 years later than I was when I first met him when I first met him, but we’ve built so much more life together. There’s so much more deeper attraction, but be attracted to. Right. Exactly. I trust him so much more. Not that I didn’t trust him at the beginning. I did it builds and builds and builds. And as your life builds together, those, those let’s say, look at them as meters, those meters rise. Right. Um, so there’s no way, first of all, to tell if you have all those things, you know, in two months or three months, people will say like, how did I know? How do you know it’s the right one? You don’t know, you have to stick with it. You have to let, let those, you have to be in situations where you’re going to see how those qualities unfold beyond that. I, I feel like, yes, you have to have some level of attraction to that person. If you, if, if you don’t have attraction, that’s sort of a given, but
Kimberly: 49:57 No, that’s how you get built. You even get connected on the dating app. There has to be something. And then you build
Damona: 50:04 Exactly. But if you have repulsion, if you have, you know, Dr. John Gottman has a lot on, on relationships and you could probably steer you much better on the, on those factors that, you know, if you have contempt for them, or if you feel that they, um, you know, are going to be about trust. But if you feel they’re trustworthy, those are things that you can’t really move past. And we could have a whole conversation about infidelity and you know, how to, how to repair after that. But then you also need to know what your own baseline is. And you can read up on attachment theory. And I think that it’s much more nuanced than most of the research and writing that’s out there on it. But if you know your pattern, like in general, you don’t have to be an expert on attachment theory to know, do I always have this pattern of like chair person apart and finding something wrong and a reason to move on to somebody else, right? That’s your pattern. Then you need to go deep inside and figure out why do I keep setting myself up? Because I keep feeling the same way at the end. And again, I come back to the feeling, how do you feel when these relationships ended? Or how did you feel within the relationship? If you’re having that feeling be re repeated and you want to change that feeling, then you have to change the factors that go into how you ended up there in the first place. [inaudible]
What is overtexting and the do’s and don’t’s
Kimberly: 51:32 Beautiful. Well, my final question for you Damona, and this is a lighter question is a little bit more fun, but when you get excited, you start to connect to someone and you mentioned the beginning, spacing things out, but where’s that line like, I’m so excited. I want to text him and tell him, you know, I was excited or like, you know, initiate the next date. Can you over like over text in the beginning? I guess you can. The answer is yes, but what is over texting? And if you’re authentically excited, should you hold back? Or should you go with your feelings?
Damona: 52:07 It is such an epidemic that I even have a title for it. I call it the texting trap fell up this false sense of intimacy because it’s asynchronous communication. It’s not real-time conversation like you and I are having right now. We are vibing off of each other. I can see your facial expressions. I can see your body language. It’s a, an exchange of energy to go back to what you were talking about earlier. And when you are texting, you don’t have that same energetic exchange that is manufactured. And the right and the conversation is time shifted oftentimes. So that person can think of something very clever to say, or you also have that screen that you’re hiding behind. So it’s easier to say something sort of vulnerable and just toss it out into the world and not worry about how it lands. Versus if you were in a face-to-face conversation with that person, it might feel a little bit more vulnerable to share some, some details.
Damona: 53:05 So I try to save all that juicy stuff for your in-person interactions. It’s so much more worthwhile. The texts are snacks. There are snacks. We want the meal. And when you are caught up in the texting trap, you you’re, you’re really you’re feeding into adrenaline because your, your brain does get a boost of adrenaline. When you see, oh, you got a message from, you know, hot QT. I got a message. Ding, I have an alert. And, and that lights up, you know, that same part of your brain again and again again. So that’s why we get addicted to it. But it’s a false attraction. It’s a, it’s a false high. Yeah, because then when you get in person and you’re like, oh, they didn’t seem that clever. Cause I didn’t feel, you’re not feeling the same feeling that you did when you were on text.
Damona: 53:57 So just save it. Just say like, oh, I can’t wait to tell you more about that when I see you or like, oh, I’m so looking forward to our next date and you don’t owe them an exfil explanation in the early phase, you don’t have to say like, some of my clients will tell me. I said, oh, my dating coach says, I can’t talk to you. Or I only like to do two, two messages before a date, you know, because Damona Hoffman. Oh my God. I said, don’t do. I’m like, no, no, no, no. We don’t need to give the whole explanation. Just like, right. You just set the boundary very casually, but add anticipation. It’s everything. Plus anticipation. It’s like, here’s the boundary. And I can’t wait to talk about it when I see you.
Kimberly: 54:40 Amazing. I love that clearly spoonful of sugar, right? Yeah. That’s a very clear, digestible answer. I love that. And thank you so much. Damona for being on here with me. I just love your vibe. I could talk to you all day as you questions. Um, I know you’ve mentioned your, your podcast, which I’m definitely going to check out where else can we find out more about your work?
Damona: 55:02 Well, you definitely want to get the profile starter kit if, if you are dating. Um, and all of that, all my goodies firstname.lastname@example.org. And then of course, I’m on all the socials. And I do take questions for my podcast every week. So you can DM me your question at Damona Hoffman and, um, yeah. I’d love to just help people in love. So thank you for the opportunity.
Kimberly: 55:27 I love it. I love your vibe. Thank you so much for coming on and can’t wait to chat more. Same. Thank you.
All right, my loves, I hope you enjoyed today’s interview as much as I enjoyed being part of it. Damona is amazing so be sure to check her out over at her Dates and Mates podcast over at damonahoffman.com. We’ll have links over and in our show notes at mysolluna.com. Including other articles I think you would enjoy, other interviews, meditation, so on and so forth.
Kimberly: And if you haven’t yet checked out our app, our Solluna app over in the app store, I recommend you go over there, check it out. It’s a great way to access meditations, recipes, information. And of course our amazing Solluna Circle membership program, which is also very close to my heart.
Kimberly: All right, my loves take great care of yourself. I’ll see you back here in just a few days for our next Q and A podcast. Until then, take care and so much love.