ATL 25 | Online Dating In 2018

 

Damona Hoffman, dating coach, TV host from A+E Networks as well as the host of the Dates & Mates Podcast shares her secrets when it comes to online dating in 2018. We’ll be talking about dating app addiction, post-date depression, as well as the slow-love principle. We’ll also discuss the pitfalls and pains when it comes to finding a great mate. Don’t chase the no’s, focus on the yes’s – rejection is your protection! How managing our expectations, building real connections, and laying the proper groundwork are key to any lasting relationship. Curious to know when it’s best to start having sex and move along in the dating process? Tune in and find out now!

Listen to the podcast here:

Dating App Addiction and Post Date Depression – Online Dating In 2018 with Damona Hoffman

I’m so psyched to have another amazing featured guest and expert in my show. I’m talking about Damona Hoffman. She is a dating coach and TV host from A+E Networks, FYI TV series Black Love and A Question of Love, as well as a lifestyle news contributor for CNN Headline News. She is the host of Dates & Mates with the Damona Hoffman Podcast. Damona and I are going to have a conversation about very interesting topics, dating app addiction and postdate depression. Let me welcome, Damona. Thank you for being part of the show.

Thank you for having me. It’s an important topic.

Why don’t you start by introducing yourself and tell us about your purpose? Why do you do what you do and what is your personal story?

I was in the same place probably as your audience. I was single, frustrated and maybe a little addicted to love but didn’t know quite how to find it. I discovered online dating back in 2001. At that time, I was working as a casting director for CBS television. I was teaching classes at night for actors on how to market themselves, how to have headshots, and have pictures that told your story and stood out in a crowd. While I was online dating, I realized that some of the things that I would tell actors about catching some someone’s eye and putting their best foot forward were applicable in the online dating space. I ended up meeting my husband online fifteen years ago and people would come to me after that and say, “I tried online dating and it didn’t work. What is this online dating thing? Show me your trick.”

I would do the same marketing thing to their profile. After many years of just doing it for fun, friends, family and people started calling me saying, “I met someone. I’m getting married. I’m having a baby.” I thought, “Maybe there’s something to this.” For a long time, I coached on profiles exclusively. About eight years ago, I became certified as a life coach and specifically as a dating coach so that I can help people through the entire process. Getting the dates, getting the likes, getting the right swipes is just one part of the process. What happens when you show up on the date? How do you continue to invest in a relationship and grow it to the point of fulfillment? That was what I felt like a lot of people were missing. That’s when I added those services to my roster. I’ve been very lucky since I’ve worked in television before. It was a very easy transition to do this kind of work on television. Now, I host my own podcast, Dates & Mates, where I help people through their dating and relationship dilemmas every day.

I’m sure you’ve got a lot of listeners. How hot is that topic? Dating, it never goes away. What do you think most people struggle most with? What are their fears? What are the general trends in 2018 in dating online?

I find that fear of rejection is the most ever-present fear. As a kid, I fear I’m going to be rejected by my friends, parents, peers and whatever it is. In that big dream and goal, you have the fear of, “What if I go for it and it doesn’t happen?” That is ever present for everyone. There’s no arena where it’s more present and feels dire than in dating. I’m in an interesting time where I’m shifting my perspective on dating apps and the way that I’m coaching people on how to use them. When I first started online dating and I first started coaching on profiles, it was still pretty new. It wasn’t saturated. People put time into their profiles and were invested in meeting someone and meeting someone with whom they had shared interests, values, qualities, and goals for the future.

We assume other people are looking for the same thing that we are and that they want the same relationship that we want to have. Click To Tweet

Dating apps have shifted that. Now, it’s so much about the initial attraction and that adrenaline boost of getting the match and, “Somebody likes me.” It’s creating a bunch of micro disappointments and micro rejections. I feel like we’ve hit a tipping point. I was talking to some of my other dating coach friends about it and I think we’ve hit a tipping point where we’re getting diminishing returns now because people are so fried and burned out from dating apps in the constant rejection and constant effort that it’s taking the joy out of dating.

This is what we’re talking about into the show, love addiction. In previous episodes, I also elaborated on the signs of a typical love addict who needs that next shot and that rush of pleasure. This high that we get when we swipe and we have a match. Dating apps deliver the perfect supply to feed the addict’s thirst. What is so addictive when it comes to dating apps in your opinion?

You’re fighting against biology, you’re getting an adrenaline boost and an immediate gratification of, “I swiped right and they swiped right. It’s a match.” Then your endorphins start going. I tell people, “It’s just a match. Don’t get too excited. It’s all about the communication and the process that happens after that.” How can you not? How can you not get excited that someone thought you were cute? It’s also that addiction to the possibility that, “This one could be different. This one could be the one.” That’s a lot of what I coach people on and have since the beginning is managing expectations. That’s a tricky thing to teach, but important when you’re in the online dating space.

If you are chatting with someone, you have this great banter back and forth over text. You have this picture in your mind of your ideal person and you are looking to take whoever you’ve swiped with and fit them into that ideal that you’ve created. It either aligns with it and further pushes them up on that pedestal or it doesn’t align and makes you want to push them away. It’s this false sense of connection because if you’re chatting and you don’t actually pick up the phone or meet in person, you don’t know what that real connection is.

You don’t know who that person is. I’m hearing a lot now from people, particularly people that write into my podcast because I have a lot of younger listeners and this is the environment that they’ve always known. Texting first to get to the date is the norm. It’s not having a phone call because a phone call to them feels intrusive. They don’t have that filter, so then they get the date and there’s no real connection there. I hear from a lot of people, “When is my relationship going to blossom? When are we going to take it to the next level?” Then I find out their relationship consists of texts every night, but they’ve never been on a real date or they’re not being courted or they don’t communicate on a level other than texting. To me, that’s not a relationship. I would say that’s not a real relationship.

I feel that if texting works and it gives me what feeds me, then I don’t want to risk it and take it to the next level because that might fail.

We’re back to the expectations and the rejection. We get addicted to that idea of a person and this concept that this person can be what I need them to be. It hurts the dating process and a big thing I coach on is to let that person be who they are. I have people move offline very quickly and they always have. Now with Tinder, it’s even faster. Even thirteen years ago when I started doing this, I would coach people to just chat. I would say three exchanges, that’s like three texts or messaging sessions or emails back and forth and then move to a quick phone call just to see if you have that chemistry. Then get offline within the first or two weeks. Two weeks’ maximum, because when you’re chatting, you form this false bond and then that expectation builds up. That disappointment is even more dramatic when you show up and you go, “I’ve been chatting with this guy for two months. Now, I realized he’s not at all who I thought he was.” You invested time and that’s a real disappointment when you’ve spent every evening chatting and there’s no relationship there.

ATL 25 | Online Dating In 2018

Online Dating In 2018: We get addicted to the idea of a person and this concept that they can be what we need them to be.

 

For me, I feel that sometimes it’s overwhelming because now we don’t just go out and we meet someone or two or three people, but we have a whole app full of profiles. I’m thinking, “How am I going to be efficient here? I need some criteria. I need to check the box and make sure that the minimum of values is there or whatever.” It’s overwhelming.

It can be overwhelming. You hit the nail on the head. When I coach people on this process, the first thing I have them do is get crystal clear on who is their ideal mate. I have different exercises, meditations, visualizations, and we vision board it. We figure out not just what color hair does she have or where does he live? That’s a big thing now. How many miles away is he? I live in Los Angeles and some people are, “If I have to drive more than half an hour, then forget it.” What if your dream guy is just 35 minutes away? We put these limitations on it, so I stripped that part away. I say, “What are the values that you hold dear? What values are important in the person that you meet and not even activities?”

For a long time, people were matching on dating sites based on what activities do you enjoy. You both love tennis, you tear your rotator cuff and suddenly you can’t play tennis and then what do you have in common? What’s your relationship built on? I look for the next level down of goals for the future, values, how you live your life, and get crystal clear on that. How do you want to feel in the relationship? That’s part of the visualization. It is different. We assume other people are looking for the same thing that we are and that they want the same relationship that we want to have. That’s certainly not true. We all have different models for relationships. We all have different goals.

I am a super type A person. I was very career-oriented. I was working with a coach before I met my husband and I visualized who would fit into my life. What kind of life do I want? How can I build a relationship and a family to support the things that are important to me and the life I want to have?” I said, “I want to be a career woman. I want to have children but if I’m going to do that, I should probably meet someone that is very family-oriented and who’s going to be an equal partner in raising the kids, someone who is going to support the fact that I want to go out into the world and be prolific in a different way.” I work with a lot of women like me but they say, “I want a guy who is also high-achieving and high-earning.” They put all of these expectations on the person without thinking about what that looks like when you’re ten years down the road.

I have built a life that I want. My husband is an equal partner. We have two children and he’s an equal partner. He doesn’t do some of the other things that he’s not super gentlemanly. He doesn’t open doors for me. A lot of women say they want the chivalry factor. I don’t know why that’s come back in such a big way. I don’t give a damn about chivalry. How he treats me and my kids behind closed doors, that’s what’s important to me. It’s putting yourself forward into the future and saying, “If I want a relationship, how can I have a relationship that enhances my life rather than what do people tell me that I should want? What do the magazines tell me? What do Disney movies tell me should be my ideal marriage?” I’m not living that, but I’m living something that I think is much better because it’s right for me.

We have to understand how much influenced we are by everything outside of us. Click To Tweet

That’s so important. We have to understand how much influenced we are by everything outside of us. I always say just tune into your heart and what matters to you. Don’t be too shy to demand that in a nice way, not in demanding boss-kind-of-way but have as much respect for yourself that you don’t compromise on such levels. For me, these are falls compromises. They don’t result in something fruitful.

They are not coming from internal self-discovery. They’re coming from external forces telling you what you should want and what you should have. This process is not easy. You have to go deep and I know you’ve done a lot of the difficult work. To go in there and stir it up and say, “What should my life look like? What relationship mistakes have I made in the past? What do I want to keep from repeating again?” That’s another thing I hear all of the time. People are like, “Why do I always date jerks? Why do I always attract gold diggers?” It’s the same pattern again and again because you haven’t stepped back and said, “Why am I attracting that? Why am I allowing myself to be mistreated in a relationship again and again? You have to examine, “What is that point where I went off the rails last time? What was that moment where I allowed something that I should have said no to?” When you’re in that situation again, you’re not going to make the same choice.

How difficult it is to say no to something that seems tempting, but you know it’s not going to be lasting? This short-term gratification is crazy. People want the now, “I want to now,” and then they risk everything down the line instead of going backward and say, “I’m going to say no to that. I’ll say yes to myself. I hope that becomes something is going to be more fulfilling down the line.”

ATL 25 | Online Dating In 2018

Online Dating In 2018: Everybody wants to blame it on the dating apps, but the dating apps are just a manifestation of our current societal behaviors and the way that we are communicating today.

 

It’s not our fault and it’s not the dating apps’ fault. A lot of people like to blame dating apps for the instant gratification. On my podcast, I cover articles at the top of the show and breaking news. They were saying, “Dating apps are the reason for a rise in STDs.” I’m like, “Unprotected sex is the cause of STDs.” Everybody wants to blame it on the dating apps, but the dating apps are just a manifestation of our current societal behaviors and the way that we are communicating now. Everything is instant gratification. Facebook or Netflix is instant gratification. I try to explain to my kids and they want to hear a song, I look it up on apple music, and we play it. This was so different from when I was a kid and you wanted to hear a song, you’d have to go to the record store, buy the album, come back home, put it in your CD player or cassette player, and they have no frame of reference for it. They’re like, “What do you mean? I want to watch the show and it comes up.”

Our whole technology has shifted our expectations for everything. In the dating process, one of the elements is that we are now expecting immediate gratification. It all comes down to the connection as well. When you’re just texting someone, they’re just an icon or a picture on your phone. They’re not a real person. This is why I’ve gotten great results. My clients don’t get ghosted. People are not blowing off dates with my clients. Not every date is amazing and not every date is a match, but this is a big epidemic. People are not even showing up. I have them do the phone call where it’s a scheduled phone call like predate not because they’re checking them out and making sure, “Can I sit across from this person for an hour?” They’re forming a connection because when you’ve had a phone call with someone and you’ve heard their voice, you’ve built anticipation for the date. You’re going to have more investment in showing up for that person than if they’re just a name on your screen.

Our whole technology has shifted our expectations for everything. Click To Tweet

You make it more personal and more accountable through that. You can’t just swipe them off. Is the addiction factor different for women than guys when it comes to dating apps?

I did an episode on single men and it’s called The Mind of Men. I talked to guys about their behaviors. These are real single guys with dating apps and one of the guys told me that he swipes right on everyone. For men, most of them get so few matches that they’d rather just engage when they have a match then put all this effort into the selection. I’m speaking specifically on dating apps, not on dating sites where you can message first, but on dating apps where you have to have a mutual match. It’s easier for them to go based on, “Who did I match with and let’s begin a conversation.”

Which is why from the women’s side, and I’m doing an episode for women, they’re going, “What the heck happened? We matched and he never messaged me.” It’s because a lot of times they just write swiped on everyone, but there isn’t actually a connection there. Basically, the whole system is broken right now. There’s something that we could learn from dating sites and there’s something that makes dating apps so accessible that there’s a very low barrier to entry. All you need is an account or a Facebook profile and you’re on. It used to be before. In the eharmony heyday, its personality profile takes over an hour to fill out. Then you might still not get any messages. They built the anticipation for when you finally get a match. It’s more of the appreciation factor as opposed to anyone can open up any dating app right pretty much other than like The League or Raya where you have to apply. You can open up a Tinder or Bumble profile and you could have matches literally within fifteen minutes.

Tune into your heart and what matters to you. Click To Tweet

Dr. Helen Fisher is a Chief Scientist at Match and I work with Match.com a lot. I’ve talked with her a lot about this Slow-love Principle. This is something that she believes it was amazing. To build a relationship, it has to develop over time. Not only are we addicted to this instant gratification, but then things were moving way too fast when we get offline. When a client tells me, “I had a great date with this guy and I saw him on Saturday. He said, ‘What are you doing Sunday?’ Then we had brunch on Sunday and then that turned into an all-day date. He asked me to stay over so I stayed over and I’m actually going to see him on Tuesday.” It’s like they’re telling me this was a great date. I say, “It’s not because you need time to let the anticipation build. You need time to get to know that person and develop intimacy.” This is another problem with texting. People will reveal things about themselves that that person hasn’t earned yet. It’s a level of intimacy that hasn’t been developed because it’s easier to say it when you’re typing and characters than it is to say it if you’re looking someone straight in the eye when. You’ve got to slow down.

I was just writing about this in an episode about how to avoid to fall for guys too quickly. One of the things there is that we’re jumping ahead. We’re not allowing the natural unfolding of establishing an adequate connection and that’s troublesome. It’s so set. There are so many tasty and sweet little detours that we can take with someone but if we’re jumping ahead, we’re missing all of it. We’re missing all the fun.

I always say, “Don’t be in a hurry to get to the end of the story.” That’s something that is in human nature. We hear a story, we want to complete it. We want to figure out, “How is the story going to end?” Then we do that in our own lives and we just jump ahead and skip a bunch of steps. Then we think that the story is going well because it feels like we skipped a couple of steps. I promise that if you don’t lay the groundwork, it will come back. I have a client and she was ready. She was 38 and she was crystal clear on what she wanted. She was determined to get engaged or married within a year. It was her mission.

What I do is that I help people put a process around it and demystify finding love. Everybody wants to seem like, “I don’t know. It’s so hard dating in Los Angeles. It’s so hard dating in New York. It’s so hard dating.” If you say it’s hard, it’s going to be hard. It’s only hard because you don’t have a framework. I’ve done this for thirteen years. I know a system that works consistently every time. A lot of it is getting people to step back from the emotion of it. It’s a practice. It’s the same way when you’re trying to develop a meditation practice or a running practice. It’s a practice that you have to do time and again. I have people look at dating analytically. “How many dates have you been on? How many of those dates turned into second dates? What were you wearing on that date? What did you say on that date?” We analyze it with a process that gets them closer to their match.

ATL 25 | Online Dating In 2018

Online Dating In 2018: You don’t want to just let lust drive you forward and then not get your needs met.

 

This client of mine emailed me and said that she got engaged to this guy that she just started dating. I’m like, “It’s fast, but you can do it quickly if you’ve already done the groundwork and if you’ve already gotten clear on what you need and what your long-term goals are.” Throughout the course of the program, I was coaching her to slow it down because her nature was like, “What’s the next thing? He should stay over. We should have sex.” It snowballs. You’ve got to put the brakes on yourself. You can get caught up in the momentum, but you have to be conscious about practicing slow love and do it again and again until it feels natural and the progression feels more real to you than the swipe date chaos loop that we’ve been caught in.

I have a burning question, and I’m sure the readers have the same question because I’ve been talking about this with my girlfriends. Damona, when do we have sex?

In my book, I say no sooner than date five. Steve Harvey says, “90 days.” Especially in this world, with 90 days, good luck to you on that. If somebody is invested in you then they will wait 90 days, but you don’t want to make it a game. The bigger question is, “How connected do I feel to this person? Can I deal with any consequences that might come from this choice? Can I speak openly about my sexual health, history and what I need to be satisfied?” If you’re having sex with somebody and you don’t feel comfortable telling them what you like, then I think it’s too soon. You don’t want to just let lust drive you forward and then you don’t get your needs met. The relationship doesn’t blossom. You want to do it when you are able to bond with that person.

I’m still a modern dating coach so there are certain people and there are certain times when it’s like, “Get it in.” I’ve had one-night stands. I’m not villainizing that at all if that’s what you need. If you’re a love addict or you’re a sex addict, that’s a different thing. Every once in a while, you’re just like, “This relationship isn’t going to be something but I have a primal need right now. Let’s just have sex.” It’s okay. If you’re wanting to build a relationship, I still believe in slow love and I think our biology hasn’t caught up to what’s happening societally. You’ve got to lean towards biology in that because you will bond with them.

I’m also saying this in my show a lot, when we orgasm and what happens on a neurochemical level. The feel-good hormones that get released that make you bond and that makes you want to repeat all of this again and it makes you blind. I’m always saying, “Go slow.”

Slow it down and build the anticipation. I’ve never had a client say, “I wish I had had sex sooner.” I’ve never heard that. I’ve heard countless times in the thirteen years I’ve been doing this, “I wish I had waited a little bit longer.” Even though it can work out great if you have sex on a first date, I do know people that say, “We had sex on the first date and it was fine.” That can work. Why would you risk it? If this is a relationship you think could be something, I don’t know why you would choose the riskier option.

How can we use these apps a little more safely and more responsibly? What’s your take on that?

In this shift of how people are using dating app, go against the grain. Don’t look at the dating apps as a way to fill your calendar with a different date every day. Focus on, “If I can get one to two quality dates per month, that’s good quality, not quantity.” I prescribe a different process for each person, but overall you want it to be of quality. The big thing that I see the dating app’s missing is that communication piece. If you can be someone that focuses on fostering meaningful communication, just remember that cannot happen in the app messaging. It has to happen offline, but continue to move things forward to that point.

Be crystal clear on what you want and go on apps with purpose, not just trying to fill time. Click To Tweet

Anyone that doesn’t seem serious, not responding to your messages, blowing you off and not calling you when they say they were going to call you, they’re not serious. They’re not the person that you want to invest in. We’ve gotten to this point where we’re like, “I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt.” Stop giving the benefit of the doubt. Be crystal clear on what you want and go on apps with purpose, not just trying to fill time. Also, I recommend not being on more than two apps at once. I think two apps is good because it increases your chances of making a match if that person is not there. A lot of people are on multiple apps, so chances are you’ll see them on a different app. Don’t get into app overload.

Some of the guys I had on Dates and Mates were saying that they have six apps on their phones. You can’t meaningfully connect with people on six apps. It’s work, creates clutter and diminishes your ability to connect with someone. Move offline quickly and move into a real connection. I’ll give you my other secret. Keep the first date short. I like a one-hour date. We’re overstaying our welcome and we want slow love. We’ve established that. You want to leave the date feeling like it’s ending in the middle and leaving them wanting more and for yourself too.

“You leave on the high,” that’s what I always say. Even if I go to a party, I say, “I leave when it’s best.”

You do because then you want to come back it’s like the conversation is just getting started. People get addicted to that adrenaline, connection and those endorphins and then they overstay their welcome. What do you remember most about a date? I can tell you about all the dates I remember the way it started. I remember my first impression and I remember the way it ended. Even with my husband, I can’t tell you one thing we talked about on that date. I swear I have no idea. I remember the moment when I first saw him and I remember him walking me to my car. That’s it. You want to make sure that those moments are special and if you overstay, you’re welcome, the energy will drop. What they’ll remember is, “I liked her at first, but then it fizzled out. I thought she was okay but I don’t know if I want to see her again.”

You drive towards the second date, you’re going for not the first date, you’re going for the second date because that’s when things start to happen. I have a three-date rule. If you’re not sure, we’re also very quick to dispose of people. We’re swiping right, going on the first dates going, “Nah.” A lot of times, people are not themselves on the first date. You need to get past that hump, get to the second date, and see what’s in there. You don’t need to know if they’re going to be your husband by the second date. You just need to know that you would want to spend another hour with them and there’s something interesting about that’s left to be discovered.

If by the third date, you’re not feeling the romantic chemistry and you’re not feeling like you want to spend more time with them, then I think it’s time to let it go. We’re too quick to dismiss and we’re going based on a checklist rather than based on the feeling. That exercise, I talked about how you want that to feel when you’re with that person. That’s the thing to focus on, not, “Do they enjoy tennis? Are they also from the East Coast and do it? Do they also speak another language?” or whatever’s on your list.

Do you think that chemistry and feelings can develop? A lot of people go on dates and say, “I’m not feeling it, I don’t want to give another chance.” Is that something, in your experience, that can develop or not?

Absolutely, chemistry develops over time. Think of a lot of times when you spent enough time with a person like maybe we’re doing a project with them and then you were like, “I like this person now. Maybe I’ve developed romantic feelings.” Being in proximity to someone usually will increase your feelings of bonding toward them. I do recommend slowing it down. I think that’s why a lot of people are dissatisfied with dating apps because they’re only thinking about the first date and they’re just swiping on in real life. You should not feel that your world is going to end if you can’t be with this person on the first date. You should not have that intensity of feeling. You should approach the date with curiosity. If you just don’t find them at all attractive or they say something that offends you or you have a core value mismatch, then it’s to not have a second date.

ATL 25 | Online Dating In 2018

Online Dating In 2018: You should not feel that your world is going to end if you can’t be with the person on the first date.

 

I didn’t know my husband was going to be my husband on the first date. I didn’t even know if I was going to have a third date with him. I just said, “This guy’s intelligent.” That was the thing that hooked me for him. “This guy is intelligent and I’m curious about his brain and the way that he thinks.” I’m inspired to spend more time getting in there and seeing what he’s about. On the second date, I’m still not sure. It’s funny. I did bring him into my apartment on the second date. It didn’t go too far, but my roommate afterward was like, “You’re going to marry that guy.”

I was like, “With this guy? Why would you say that?” She’s like, “No, you’re going to marry him.” It wasn’t until the third date when I started to look at him differently and said, “Maybe she’s right, this could be something.” It took years. We didn’t get married for over three years. It takes time for that connection to develop and for you to see how your lives will blend together. I’m hoping to help people get married and/or form a relationship whenever they want that’s for life. That’s my goal. It’s not to just fill a hole for right now, but to find someone that you can grow with, you can learn from, and you can blend your life with. That to me is the most fulfilling kind of love.

I was also wondering about postdate depression, how real is that today? What does it mean?

It’s super real and it’s very valid. It stems from this expectation that when you put your heart into the idea that this person is “the one.” By the way, I do not believe in soulmates. Let’s get that out of the way. If you have a fixation on finding one person who is your soul mate in the universe, you’re going to have a lot of disappointment. If you look at it as many possible matches, then you stay open to the possibility. It’s not looking for a needle in a haystack. Postdate depression has its place in different phases of the relationship. After a first date, you’re feeling this rejection of, “This person wasn’t a match for me.” It’s very important to step back and say, “It’s not something is wrong with me. It’s not, ‘I’m not good enough. I’m not worthy of a relationship.’ It’s, ‘This person was not a match for me right now.’” That would be the first step.

I always say, “Rejection is your protection.” I know it sounds corny and may be hard for some people reading this to wrap their head around this, but if you can say, “If that person rejected me,” just look up to the universe and say, “Thank you because that showed me that person was not the one and that person wasn’t going to cherish me, appreciate me, and blend with my life and build this life with me.” You are saved from a lot of heartaches if you force that relationship to happen. When you can step back and do that, it puts things in perspective. I’m so thankful now. I’m so thankful for all my past breakups. There’s one guy I chased for years. If I continued to chase him, I wouldn’t have found this great guy that’s so much more than even what I thought I needed, wanted, deserved and so much better. Something better is waiting for you. You can’t chase the nos. You have to stay focused on the yeses.

We need to keep that in mind. I have two things that I’ve heard from you. First of all, there’s dating intuition and second of all, you said, “Use your loneliness as a purpose for action.” I’m finding both very interesting. Which one do you want to pick?

Dating intuition is a whole other ball of wax, but that’s basically about trusting your gut and knowing that you know what you think you know and not letting expectation talk you out of what is in your gut. That’s the cliffs notes on that one. Using your loneliness as a purpose for action is about moving out of this snowball of emotions of when you have a pattern and relationships and relationships that keep ending in the same way. Then you throw in the towel and say, “I’m just not meant to date. I’m going to focus on something else because this isn’t working for me right now.” When we step out of the possibility of something happening, everyone says, “When you’re not looking for it, love will just happen to you.”

I don’t think that’s true at all. I’ve found with my clients, when you focus on finding love, you make it a top priority in your life, and you proceed with dating mindfully and with purpose, that’s when love finds you. When have you gotten something from walking away from it? I don’t know. It’s some of those cases where people were in a time where they needed to do some self-work and that led them to the match. Walking away from it and throwing in the towel is not the answer yet.

Not every date is amazing and not every date is a match. Click To Tweet

That’s a game changer when you’re saying that.

I try to inspire people to take action because the action is what makes things happen. We can talk about your past, we can talk about your parents, and we can do a deep dive on why you’re in the place that you’re at, but now what are you going to do about it? That’s the big difference for me. I work with a lot of therapists. A lot of therapists refer people to me after they’ve done their process with therapy. I’m a big believer in therapy. People are like, “Are you a therapist? Are you a counselor? What is it?” For me, I’m a coach. I’m the person on the field in the game that’s telling you, “Did you see how you kick the ball time? Next time kick it like this.” I take all of that work that you’ve done, then I put a process in place, and I give you a voice that tells you to keep going and you know. Whether it’s working with a coach like me or it’s getting a friend that’s your dating advocate or coach, it can be lonely to do it all alone.

There’s a lot of shame around singlehood. People are not wanting to tell someone that they need help or they need their support or they would like an introduction to a single person. We’ve got to let that shame go. Get yourself an advocate. Get someone that when you are feeling, “That one didn’t work out.” That will pick you up and say, “Let’s keep going. The other person is still out there. Rejection’s your protection. Don’t wallow in loneliness. Let it inspire you to take action.”

Thank you so much for all the insight and the new imprint you’ve given us about dating and how to safely navigate our online dating world. I want to give you the chance to also let our readers know what you’re currently working on, how people can reach out to you, and in what ways they can work with you.

Thank you for this opportunity and thank you for a wonderful discussion. The big thing that I’m doing is the Dates & Mates Podcast. It’s been around for six years. It’s been on every week for six years. I’m making an investment and I have some online programs that you can access through DamonaHoffmann.com or DatesAndMates.com. For me, the biggest gift is people hearing me here, listening to my podcast, and letting me know what you think. Leaving a review, subscribing and telling a friend. I made it my goal this year to offer as much free advice, content and tools to people as I can. Thank you for giving me an opportunity to do that here as well.

Thank you for sharing yourself in this way and also for your time. I appreciate it.

I appreciate you.

I wish you all the best.

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About Damona Hoffman

ATL 25 | Online Dating In 2018Damona Hoffman is a certified dating coach, radio host, and TV personality. Damona starred in the TV series #BlackLove and A Question of Love on FYI TV (A & E Networks), she hosts the Dates & Mates with Damona Hoffman Radio Show & Podcast, plus she is the Love Expert for BET.com. Damona was also a finalist for iDate’s Best Dating Coach of 2014 and 2016, has been named one of the top dating experts in LA by DatingAdvice.com, and she’s made hundreds of media appearances on NBC, Fox, Animal Planet, SiriusXM, Woman’s Day Magazine, Essence Magazine, People Magazine and more.

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