Relationship Myths that Keep You Single

Relationship Myths that Keep You Single

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Relationship Myths that Keep You Single

As a dating coach, I know that we all have certain fairytale myths about love and romance lodged deep in our psyches. Unfortunately, these unrealistic expectations can set you up to fail when you’re dating and even when you’re in a committed relationship. I’ve met with many single clients who have bought into these relationship myths and are feeling totally disillusioned with the dating process. I’ve also met with many long-term couples in counseling who feel their relationships are missing some magic ingredient because they don’t measure up to our culture’s myths about love. 

To find true love, and to keep it, you don’t need fairy tales. You need both feet planted firmly in reality — that’s where the real magic happens. So, let’s bust some of these relationship myths and move you one step closer to finding the one

(Pssst…. If you’d prefer to listen to this one, I’ve also recorded an episode of the Love, Happiness and Success podcast on this topic, featuring dating expert Damona Hoffman. You can find it on this page (player below), or on YouTube, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts.)

Relationship Myth #1 — Love Is a Feeling

The Fairy Tale: Love is an intense emotion that strikes us like a bolt of lightning. It makes us do crazy things in a fever of ecstasy and excitement, like making out in the middle of a hurricane or crawling across the desert on our knees. The more passionately you feel about someone (and the more disruption and drama those feelings create in your life), the more you love them. 

Reality: True love is a commitment to the wellbeing of another person. It is often quite pleasant, but it’s not a wild roller coaster filled with peak moments from start to finish. The measure of your love for someone is not the chemistry you feel in their presence. Just like you still love your children even when you’re totally frustrated with them, you can love your partner, no matter what emotional state you happen to be in at any given moment. 

Feelings always come and go; love is sustainable because it is an action and a choice. But when people believe love is a feeling, they often end up on my couples counseling couch saying things like, “I love you, but I’m not in love with you” after three or four years of marriage, when the excitement has inevitably died down and they’re left with the reality of daily life with a flawed human being. And if they don’t develop more mature expectations of love, they are likely to divorce and to repeat this cycle with future partners.

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Relationship Myth #2 — You Should Follow Your Heart

The Fairy Tale: Your heart holds the compass to true love; follow its desires without reservation. Even if that means leaving a stable relationship for a sexy stranger who makes you feel fluttery inside, the heart wants what it wants. So go for it!

Reality: Sometimes your heart wants things that would ruin your life! You need to use your head when you’re dating to assess potential partners with clear eyes and to choose healthy relationships with healthy people. There is a time and a place for following your emotional guidance system, but dating is a time for reigning it in. Especially if you have a history of choosing toxic relationships, take what your heart wants with a grain of salt. 

Relationship Myth #3 — Relationships Should Be Easy

The Fairy Tale: Once the star-crossed lovers overcome the external circumstances keeping them apart, everything is great forever. They literally live happily ever after. The book ends and we can all go to bed. 

Reality: Dating is the easy part. When you throw commitment and responsibility into the mix, that’s when the work begins. And the fact that a relationship requires work does not mean it’s a bad relationship. The best relationships are between people who are willing to do things that are hard, and that don’t always feel good, because they love each other that much. That means being vulnerable for the sake of building emotional intimacy, making compromises, saying you’re sorry, initiating courageous conversations, and even being willing to have conflict when necessary, rather than avoiding it for the sake of short-term comfort. None of these things feel easy in the moment, but they create a loving relationship that is worth it in the long run. 

Myth #4 — You Just Haven’t Met the Right Person Yet

The Fairy Tale: Finding love has been a struggle, but once you meet your special someone, everything will be different. If you’re running into the same issues and frustrations, that’s a sign you’re with the wrong person.

Reality: You have probably met a dozen or so people already who you could have created a healthy, loving relationship with. That’s not to say that you missed your chance — only that there are more opportunities than you think. That’s because love is not induced by another person. It is co-created in relationships between people who are committed to being good partners for each other. When you’re dating, it’s much more productive to focus on your relationship patterns, emotional availability, relationship skills, and emotional intelligence, than to pin all of your hopes on meeting a special person. 

Myth #5 — Relationships should be a “hell yes, or a no” 

The Fairy Tale: When you’re with the right person, you’ll just know it, probably from the first few moments of your acquaintance. You’ll lock eyes across the room, exchange a few sentences, and then you’ll be overcome by this rock solid conviction that you want to spend the rest of your life with them. Anything short of that is settling!

Reality: “Hell yes or no” is a phrase that caught on a few years ago thanks to self-help guru Tim Ferriss. It’s a useful framework for time management, but it doesn’t work when you apply it to dating and relationships. As a couples counselor, I can tell you that many of the strongest, happiest couples begin with a “hmmm…potentially.” And as these couples continue spending time together, their love grows, until they’re ready to take the next step. 

Taking your time to get to know someone and letting your feelings grow organically is a mark of emotional maturity. It does not mean that you’re settling for something less than true love. 

Support for Dating with Intention

I hope you found this article on relationship myths helpful, and that it brings you one step closer to finding a fulfilling, healthy relationship that can stand the test of time. If you would like support from a dating coach and relationship expert on my team, I invite you to schedule a free consultation

With love, 

Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby 

P.S. — You can find more free articles and podcast episodes in my dating advice content collection. I hope you’ll check it out!

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Music in this episode is by Carach Angren with their song “Once Upon a Time.” You can support them and their work by visiting their Bandcamp page here: https://carachangren.bandcamp.com/. Under the circumstance of use of music, each portion of used music within this current episode fits under Section 107 of the Copyright Act, i.e., Fair Use. Please refer to copyright.gov if further questions are prompted.


Does dating ever feel like you are just chasing endlessly this happily ever after that always seems out of reach?

If so, you are not alone. Many people who are looking for love are stuck. Following the old rules and getting hung up on these old ideas and feeling really frustrated because they can’t connect with that love, that healthy relationship that they’re looking for. And so if this is resonating with you, you are in luck today.

Our guest on the podcast is my dear pal, Damona Hoffman, who is a true dating expert. Um, she is a celebrity, the award winning podcast host of Dates and Mates. She is the official love expert of the Drew Barrymore show. She has written dating columns for LA Times and Washington Post, and she has a new book.

out called F the Fairy Tale, where she talks all about the myths and, and unhelpful ideas that may be holding you back that you don’t even know about yet. And she’s here today to tell us all about them. So Damona, thank you so much for spending this time with us today. Thank you for that illustrious introduction.

I feel very, I feel very fancy. Thank you. It’s great to be back. Fancy. Well, I’ve just been working very hard and for a long time. Like this is, you know, you and I have both been in this world for a minute and it’s really interesting to me to watch new trends unfold. So I’ve been tracking. A shift in people’s perspective and attitudes towards dating and the way people are approaching dating.

And I felt compelled to write a book to really capture the moment that we’re in. Yeah. And give people a roadmap to move through it. Yeah, because we can’t stay right here. We can’t. Well, geez, Damona, let’s just jump right into it because now I’m so curious to hear more. I mean, as, as you’ve mentioned, you’ve been doing this for a while and I did the do do do because you’ve earned it.

I mean, you have done So many things and you are a true, um, subject matter expert. I mean, you know, the world of dating inside and out, you’ve helped so many people, but you mentioned that recently you have noticed this new, new shift, this new energy, and I must know what this is. Well, I titled the book F the Fairy Tale because I feel like it captures the zeitgeist of dating right now.

There’s a lot of frustration. There’s a lot of overwhelm. There’s a lot of anxiety and for good reason. But I wanted people to understand, well, how did we get here? I wanted, I say it’s not a how to book. It’s a why, how book. Why are we here in this space where. Something that used to be so joyful, so much fun, so bring us so much positivity in our lives has come to be just the most dreaded.

aspect of our lives. And then how do we move out of this? How do we move forward with a roadmap with, with strategies that can get people unstuck? And as you said, I’ve been doing this for, I honestly stopped counting. I think it’s, it’s 17, 18 years. I’ve been doing this a long time. Um, I met my husband online 20 years ago.

Yes, we were online then. And, uh, I know in Hollywood years, that’s like 75, but, but we met online and soon after people started coming to me asking for my secret, how’d you meet this great guy online? And I realized that there was usually a mismatch between what people thought they were saying, what they thought we were, they were putting out into the world and what they were.

What they were really wanting and what they were actually saying. And so when I aligned that for people, they ended up finding love like me. And so that was my entree into dating coaching. I started originally as a profile writer and then. And then added, added different certifications and skills as my clients moved through the dating process.

And I’ve just really found that there is a, there is a system. There is a process that when you apply the steps, And you do it mindfully, and you do it strategically, it works. I’ve just, I’ve helped people of all ages in all different places around the world. So I know that it works. But I also do acknowledge that things have shifted even just in the last, Three years since I started working on this book, a lot of shifted and we have to acknowledge where we’re at and not be like Nostalgic for what dating used to be or what we read about in fairy tales or what we saw in rom coms We need to look at dating as it is today with all of the opportunities with all of the tools with all of the information Good or bad that’s out there on the internet with everything at our fingertips and we get the chance.

I really see this as an optimistic book because I want people to walk away knowing that They get to write their own love story today, and that is way better than the situation that we were in even a few decades ago. Oh, for sure. Well, and I mean, that’s, you know, I love that about your message because it’s, it’s so hopeful.

And I think that just emotionally, that’s one of the hardest things for, for people who are in this space of just wanting something so much, I mean, wanting a partner that they can build a life with and feeling so, I think, helpless. This is the word that comes up to create that it feels like it’s always so out of reach.

And so for you to then come in and be like, there’s a process, try this and have it work for people is just so like, yes, please. Because I think that people are really eager to have that kind of leadership, right? To get those different results. Before we dive, dive into this piece, I’m, I’m still so interested to know, like, when you talk about this shift over the last three years, the way that you began describing it, it seems like dating has shifted from something that used to be fun, you know, and interesting, like meeting new people to this, I mean, you use words like dread that it has turned into this.

very like viscerally difficult feeling thing. What, what is going on with that? Can we just unpack this a little bit? Because I think it’s also helpful for our listeners here to feel seen and to help put language to their own experience and make sense of that, that why. So what, what is going on with that?

As usual, you’re an excellent listener and you did very astutely pick up those words that I was, uh, that I was throwing out because they’re words that I hear from my Dates and Mates podcast listeners, from my clients, that they’re dreading it. They’re frustrated, they’re overwhelmed. Uh, disappointed in dating their burnout.

And these aren’t new words, like it’s funny because prior to the pandemic, I kept getting asked to talk in media about dating burnout. And that was like the main topic. And then when the pandemic happened, everything shifted and everybody moved online and nobody wanted to talk about dating burnout anymore because Dating apps were sort of our lifeline to any connection, right?

And they were flooded with new users Some of whom knew how to use the apps some of whom were just kind of kicking the tires Some of whom had bad intentions some of whom just didn’t even know what their intentions were So what so well, I’m thrilled that dating apps have have become less stigmatized I Realize that there are a lot, there’s a lot of variety out there right now.

And my work has sort of shifted from just helping people navigate the apps and expand their dating pool, which is really, I think one of the best things to happen. Especially for women just to have so much choice and so much opportunity, but now you really have to have a level of clarity around what you’re looking for around what the signs are on people’s profiles.

And like I said, like. 20 minutes with my dating coaching class last week, dissecting the different selections of, of relationship goals. And if they said that they were only looking for hookups, does that mean, is that a red flag? If they selected, they are looking for short term, long term and hookups. Is that a red flag?

Like, Deep, you know, deconstructing all of these little micro choices. I mean, we, we have to make so many choices in our digital lives and dating is another place. Dating apps. And I speak of really the entire realm of. Online communication, because online dating isn’t just dating apps, it’s also social media, right, you know, it’s, it’s texting, it’s the DMs, it’s Facebook messages, it’s, it’s Instagram, it’s TikTok, it’s, it’s so many, it’s so many things and we’re living our lives online, but for some reason, we still think it should be like old fashioned and we apply Certain rules that we applied to IRL dating or, you know, prior rules of gender, gender roles to dating apps, and that ultimately causes a lot of the frustration because a dating app.

is not a human. Dating app doesn’t have feelings. It doesn’t know your life. I don’t think AI is going to become sentient. That is not at all what I’m worried about with AI. I have other worries that we could talk about at another time, but that is not what’s happening with the dating app. Yeah, but I feel like people have put so much, so many of their eggs in the dating app basket that now they’re putting so much of their frustration on dating apps.

Yeah. And I think there’s a way, there’s a both and solution here. I hear you, but that, that part, part of the dread and what sucked the fun out of it, you’re saying is that, that people have the, this, um, expectation or this mindset that is actually incongruent with what this really is. And so when they come into it with these expectations and mindsets, they feel frustrated.

It feels hard. It feels like work and that. Perhaps that’s where you’re trying to help people make those shifts is to understand how to use the tools in different ways that can not, not just help it be more effective, but maybe even bring some of the joy back. I want to bring the joy back, but I also want to be totally honest.

It is work. You hit the nail on the head. It is work. But when have you gotten anything of value in your life without working for it? You know, like, my house didn’t just land on my lawn with me living in it. Like, you know, this, this career that I have built from the ground up didn’t just exist. I had to do work to make it happen.

You had to go to school to learn your craft. Like, we work in other areas of our lives. And then somehow in dating, which You know, I feel like relationships really are the most important area of our lives because that affects everything else in your life from now and forever, right? And yet we throw up our hands and we go, well, I don’t want to do the work.

I don’t want to do the work. I just want it to happen. Well, if that’s. That you’re, you’re entitled to that opinion and you’re, you can, you can do that, but then it’s going to be a mixed bag. What you get back. Yeah, totally. But that, that’s it, you know? And like, I mean, then that’s what you go into in your book.

Like these, these myths, these ideas, these stories that people are telling themselves that really get in their way. And maybe that is even one of the first and most important one is that falling in love and finding your person, it should be magic, right? And it should feel easy and it should be just. Like this kind of experience and that when people have that as their frame of reference around what it should be to then be presented with the fact that it really is, as you say, not just work, but, but something worth working on.

Um, you know, there’s that disconnect that makes them feel like it’s, it’s, it’s hard when it’s, it’s actually what it is. Yeah, and look, I don’t want to sugarcoat it. It’s not easy. It really isn’t easy. But it also shouldn’t be something that you’re working on for your entire life. And that’s where I think a lot of the burnout and and the frustration comes from because we think well I I have been doing the work.

I have been on dating apps, you know, I’ve had clients come to me one of the One of the clients I talk about in the book, she’d been dating, she’d been single for 12 years. She had hired dating coaches. She’d hired matchmakers. She had, she’d been doing it. And then especially when we layer in all of those digital communication tools we were talking about, you can feel like you’re dating because you have 10 open threads on Bumble.

There’s people messaging you and you’re trying to get to the date with. 10 different people. And by the way, you’re not just on Bumble, you’re also on Hinge and you’re on OkCupid and you’re on Match and you’re on all of these apps simultaneously. During the pandemic, I think the average was like three and a half apps.

Like, I know you can’t have a half app, but people were on multiple, multiple apps at the same time. And then you’re also on Instagram. And then you’re also on TikTok. And then you’re also on Facebook. And then you’re also getting emails, and you’re on Slack, and you’re on text, you’re getting inundated with all of these options, and each of those requires some focus, some of your attention, some of your time, some of your energy, and it’s no wonder you feel burnt out by this work, this drudgery, because it’s just, It does take time and effort, and if you’ve been, if you’ve been doing effort in the wrong directions and giving time to the wrong people, or just doing it because everybody else was doing it, because you thought you’re supposed to, and everybody else was online, or, you know, just without the clarity, ultimately, on what you’re looking for, what, what you’re even, what you’re doing there, what you’re looking for, both in terms of like your relationship goals and also, you know, You know, I talk in the book about clarifying your values, your values and your goals, or those are the two biggest factors in long term compatibility.

And so, you know, it’s nobody’s fault who’s listening right now. It’s not your fault that this is happening, that you’re burnout, but I want you to recognize That this is an opportunity like I would love for this to be a wake up call For people that are feeling frustrated to really do like an audit do an energetic audit How have how have you been spending your time with dating and are you doing it mindfully?

Are you doing it up out of obligation? Are you doing it? Haphazardly, are you chasing chemistry? Are there things that you can do after you buy at the fairy tale the book? But you know, are there things that you can do that can protect your heart conserve your energy? And end up being more efficient and more effective for you.

Yeah. This, this is making me want to hear a story of transformation, Damona. So you mentioned that, that you, you discussed a client in F the Fairy Tale and obviously without going into identifying details, or, you know, put. Being being inappropriate. Would you tell us the story of what was going on with this woman that you were trying to help?

So where was she when you two started? And what were some of the things that you helped her realize and shift? That helped her get different results after 12 years of trying. Tell us the story. Well, first of all, my techniques are magic. No, it’s, it’s, it’s actually better than magic because it’s not, it’s not by chance.

It’s very deliberate. So I take everybody through the same steps when I begin a dating program. The first is mindset. We have to get clear on who you are, what you have to offer in a relationship, what you’re looking for, what are those predominant thoughts about dating that you’re having. Sometimes we need to clear out the cloud webs a little.

I was really, uh, fortunate. This particular client had done a lot of self work. She actually had started like a health and wellness journey. She had lost something like a hundred pounds and yeah, she was just coming to dating from a, with a fresh. Slate from with a fresh perspective, and she really allowed me to push her to lean into, you know, her feelings of worthiness and her feelings of not judging what she was looking for.

A lot of times people will come to me and I ask them what they’re looking for and either they have no clarity or they have a list a mile long or they know what they want. But they’re kind of afraid to speak it because they’re like, well, what if does that make me picky? Would that make me judged? Would that make her see me in a different way?

Would that make my dates see me differently? She was really just, she had done so much of the work and she was so ready for love and ready for. Her next transformation having just gone through a major transformation in her life. Yeah, and then we work on The the preparation, you know in my program, I call it sourcing in the book I call it the the the preparation for the date and that’s like all of the I call it the search Where are you finding dates?

Are you are we? We have to be, I was gonna say, are we using dating apps? We have to be using dating apps. Okay, and don’t, y’all don’t turn off the podcast yet because I’m not done when I just said I, I require all of my clients to at least be on one dating app. Even if it’s just for practicing of dating skills.

And dating is a learned set of skills, like any other, like any other practice, if you don’t use it, you lose it. If you’ve been practicing other skills, those are the muscles that are going to be stronger. The other muscles get weaker and we got to build them all up to be balanced. So we put her on the dating apps, got new photos taken.

And totally rewrote her profile and just presented her fresh and new. And she was open. It’s so funny. I talk about this in the book, but I can tell you one story from the book. Uh, she had. Been searching like she was so open. I asked her how far are you willing to go for love? She lived in it like a kind of small smallish town and she was like, oh, well The next big big city is two hours in each direction So I could go to that city or I could go to this city.

I’m open So we were searching far and wide and this was back in the day when I could do a keyword search Now like most of the apps have gotten rid of it and we can have a whole other conversation about All of the things that have changed with app infrastructure and, and features that make my job harder, but, uh, back in this, and this wasn’t that long ago, this was like 2019.

Um, I did a search. She had just gotten a motorcycle and. I really, I know. And I asked her about the motorcycle because she was like, I want to like find riding groups because we, then we think about, well, beyond online dating, where else might you be able to meet someone? She’s like, Oh, I want to find a riding group.

And I’m like, and what does it mean to you to ride a motorcycle? It’s, it’s like the freedom to explore. And she had. She’d been a single mom and her son was going off to college. So she’s like, this motorcycle, it’s more than just a bike. It is, it is sort of the, a touchstone of this new phase of my life.

And so I did a search. I was like, well, okay, we, if somebody. Has that same mentality. Maybe they’d have a motorcycle too. So I did a search for motorcycle and in her area four guys came up. I pinned them for her and She ended up going out with one of those guys. She actually was going out with a few people but this is like the second date she had in in Doing this process with me and one of those guys is now her husband.

They got married I think it was a year, about a year and three months after the time we started working together. So that’s why I say like, it takes, it can take a lot of time, but I don’t want you doing the search forever because when things are aligned, it can happen really quickly. And it was so funny because he lived.

Within five miles of her house, they had gone to the same high school, but they were five years apart. So they never knew each other. They had even worked at the same company in different divisions and different headquarters. And so they were right there under each other’s noses, just crisscrossing their whole lives.

And it really took the app and it took a different sort of process to really think about, okay, let’s be strategic about how we’re using the app. Not just like go on and swipe, swipe, swipe, swipe, swipe, but how can we make the app work for us? Yeah. I hear you. So then just a question, part of it certainly was her learning how to use the app more intentionally and get more clear about what it was that she wanted.

But what would you say was one of the mindset pieces that she did not even know was standing in her way until you helped her identify it? A core belief, a limiting belief. Well, I think we, we all start to tell these stories about our own lives and especially if you’ve been single for 12 years, you’re divorced, you are a single mom, you are a successful woman in your career, you’re, you know, an executive that has taken care of yourself for so long.

Sometimes it’s hard to create that space, to open up that space. And I run into this, not just with this client, but with a lot of clients where we have so much that we have built that we don’t want somebody coming in and taking our stuff. You know, we don’t want to, we, we sometimes don’t want to adjust our routines or, um, You know, compromise on anything because we have been able to live a solo life that we have built around the life that we were living.

And sometimes you have to shift some of those factors to create space. You know, on the flip side, I don’t tell this story in the book, but in the flip side, I remember I had a client, um, who was. You know, vice president or job, absolute workaholic. And I said, I need you to carve out three hours a week for dating, which I thought was actually pretty modest.

And when I said three hours a week for dating, I was like, just put this block in your schedule, like this is your date time and. If it’s not used for a date, you can use it for swiping. You can use it for messaging. You can use it for talking on the phone or video chat or, or going to a party or going to a bar or what, whatever it is, just three hours a week of dating time.

And this person said to me, Oh, I can’t do that. I can’t do that because my boss really counts on me. And what if my boss calls me? And sometimes my boss gives me work on a Sunday evening, so I can’t carve out Sunday evening. Okay, well, how about Monday evening? No, no, no. I can’t do that. Well, how about, how about later in the week?

Could you do an hour here? Could you? No, I, I, I really can’t. Cause I might, I might have to work and. I said to her, I, I don’t think we can work together because if you can’t create that space in your life and people will say, well, I, I’ll, I’ll do it when they arrive. No, because when they arrive, they’re not going to feel that you have space for them.

And you’re always, you’re always going to put something else in front of that person. You’re going to put the work that you’ve always you’ve given so much of yourself to and it’s no wonder that your boss count your boss counts on you because you’re always there and you know, I think this is a terrible thing that happens in the workforce to single women.

Is that you know? They get dumped on because they’re available and if they don’t have kids to get, that they have to get a home by a certain time for, it’s like, Oh, well, so and so will just stay late and they will, they’ll continue to stay late because that is the thing that they’ve put their attention into and that’s the thing that’s giving them love in return.

And I do talk in the book about my own journey with this. I just dove headfirst into my work and I. I was really getting a lot of validation from that, but I knew that I had to make space if I wanted a relationship. I had to make space for that person to arrive. Yeah, that makes perfect sense. It’s like, um, energetically you are already occupied.

There’s, there’s nothing in that that is restricted. to having somebody else come in, right, that it’s so well defined. And I think especially getting, you know, even into midlife, into your thirties, that you have this identity that’s been built around all of these other things and that there’s literally no space in terms of your time, but also within your, um, like.

The flexible inner self to accommodate another person and then like going back to the story about the one woman you were talking about who’s gone through a divorce and single parenting. I mean, there are a little bit of trauma in there. Like, I mean, somebody who’s legitimately had bad experiences with this around.

Why should I, that it even on a subconscious level feel so much safer in some ways to just be self contained and even if intellectually would like a relationship the way that they are energetically and emotionally, it’s that there’s a lot of almost self protection there. Yeah. You’re talking about it.

You’re exactly right. Of course. A very, another very astute observation. Uh, it’s also just in being a, an attractive sexual being when you’ve been in mom mode. I like, I get it. I’m, I’m a working mom. Like when you have been in a certain role through most of your day and through most of then five years, 10 years, 12 years, that is the practiced, that is the practice persona.

That you are putting out and sometimes it does take, like, you know, she did a boudoir photo shoot. She was like, I feel great, like just, you know, and sometimes it’s, it’s an action that you have to take. And you know, for some clients, I might say a boudoir photo shoot. I had another client that I talk about in the book who is really anxious and, and dealing with just.

Constant anxiety, not just about dating. And we had to build in a mindfulness practice. And then she had the practice already so that when she met her person, she was like, this is a really important practice in my life. This keeps me centered. This keeps my anxiety at bay. And she was able to start meditating with her partner.

Yes, and he also was very anxious so they could come together and be calmer together, but Yeah, it’s it’s all it all comes down to storytelling. And what’s the story you’ve been telling yourself? What’s the role that you’ve been playing and acting out day after day after day? And then how do you create space for a new role to emerge and some of it is Is a mental shift as you were saying, but you know, some of it is literally physical time I’ve I’ve I’ve had conversations with clients who say oh, I matched with this person But then I you know I told him I couldn’t meet this week So we set a date for next week and then by the time we got to next week they unmatched me or they ghosted or whatever like time is really of the essence here and That’s the thing with having all of our dating pools expanded and so much more opportunity.

Is that You have, there are, there’s the opportunity for the other person to meet someone else who captures their attention too. In that interim space, if you’re like, I’m busy, busy, busy, busy, busy, and you’re not keeping the line of communication open, you’re just pushed further and further down in the thread.

And then, you know, what I hear from Dates and Mates listeners is like, well, I want to be, I want to be pursued. I am the prize. I want them to really see me and value me. And it’s like, they don’t even know you yet. You’re a picture in a phone. They don’t even know you yet. And how will they? And how will they?

Well, and that also speaks to, like I say the same thing about rejection. Like, we, we sometimes get scared to even send that first message or swipe right. Initiate anything because we’re like, well, what if I get rejected? How could you be rejected if they don’t they don’t know you yet? They what are what are they rejecting?

Yeah, I get it. Oh so much good stuff to Mona. So I love it but going into this mindset, but like really this Self awareness on such a deep level. I mean, I’m imagining that most of your clients really don’t even know these things about themselves before they begin Seeing it, you know, getting that feedback, acknowledging it and then tying that into, you know, making some behavioral shifts and doing some things differently.

That’s when the door start to open up. But the other thing that I love about your approach and what you also talk about in your book is that it’s not just about. dating, right? It’s also about using really solid principles of healthy relationships. Cause the goal is not dating. The goal is to build a partnership, a love, an enduring relationship.

And I think. I think that you do such a nice job of talking about what those pieces are, like what really matters, because it’s easy for there to be a lot of noise, especially if you throw in some chemistry or if you’re like, you know, um, making decisions based on the wrong things or not having that clarity because, you know, the other outcome is that you can date and wind up.

In a relationship that is not a good relationship or this, this cycle. I mean, I’ve seen that a lot with my clients, like they date, they meet somebody at last eight months and then rinse and repeat and they do that over and over again. So the problem is in dating, but it’s like the kind of relationships that they’re getting into.

Can you say a little bit more about that piece? Yeah, I actually, I may, I could tie it back to the question, your original question about like how do we make dating fun again too. I also look at dating as one of the greatest opportunities for self study. You will really, you know, some of my clients come to me clarity on what they’re looking for.

And then as they go through. The dating process, they get new clarity or they see themselves changing and evolving. And I love that process. And I, as long as it’s not a harmful and abusive relationship, I feel like there is value in most relationships or dating experiences to learn more about what you need, about how you are.

Interacting with the other human across from you and how you can then apply that to your relationships going forward. So I think that’s why we can’t just talk about dating without also talking about relationships. But it’s ultimately all in service of building the best relationship with yourself as well.

And what I want people to know from reading the book is to realize that they have. They are holding the keys to their dating destiny, you know, we do have more control Over what happens in our lives than we give ourselves credit for of course if you are living free And you’re in you know, you’re living in a country where you have free will first of all hashtag gratitude like just just have gratitude for that first and foremost, but then Use that, use that, that agency, use that power that you have to create the life that you really want to be living, whether it’s with a partner, whether it’s single, whether it’s in this dating discovery.

Period for longer, you know, I don’t look at an eight month relationship as a failure. And I, and I want people to know that there is this system that when you follow it will lead to the results that you’re looking for. And I can’t promise the timeline, but I do know that it works. And if you get to the end, it’s, this is why I say it’s like, um, I talk about dating loops on my podcast all the time.

It’s a loop. If you get to the end and you, we talked about, you know, the mindset, the search, the date, and then the, the last section is the future. And if you get to the end of the road with somebody and you’re like, Oh, this person is not my future. It’s okay. Yeah. Now you have new information. We go back to mindset and then we go into the search and maybe we apply differently.

Like you were saying with your clients, maybe you learned something new. that you need in a relationship. Maybe, maybe they need you to help them realize those things that they are repeating and that they don’t want to repeat again, but you always get a chance to start fresh and maybe not with that person, but maybe you can learn it.

On the next go around. Yeah. No, I love that. Um, that, you know, uh, provided that you’ve learned something about yourself that helps you grow or get increased clarity around what it is that you want, or it’s given you an opportunity to evolve in your own way of doing relationships that really every relationship or, or dating encounter is a success.

Um, And I really share that philosophy that you do with relationships. And I see this a lot, like in my work as a marriage counselor is that there is no other situation that you will be in that will show you as much about yourself that will hold up that powerful of a mirror as being in a relationship with somebody, especially somebody who.

Cares enough to give you feedback or to help you be in experiences where you can see yourself in a new way because so much of our lives, you know, without that level of intimacy and knowing we stay stuck, we don’t have a chance to understand ourselves differently. And even those, those moments can be so uncomfortable, right?

That like, Oh yeah, I did that. Um, boy, what a gift. And so I love that. That that’s the approach that you’re coming is like, how can we use all of these experiences as vehicles for our own growth that are carrying us forward? We’re going somewhere, even if the road is maybe a little bit more twisty and turny than, than what we would like it to be, which is just jumping right into the one, right, the relationship.

It’s always twisty and turny, even, yeah, even when you have your person and, you know, as I said, I’ve been with my husband for 20 years. I feel like it’s still a constant, a constant, uh, practice of discovery. Yeah, self discovery and also discovery about him, you know, I I want to ask you a question. Can I ask you a question?

Of course What do you think of this phrase of relationships are work?

I Have mixed feelings about it. I think that to expect that you’re going to be in A beautiful, healthy, fun relationship forever and ever without putting in any intention or effort. It’s like, you know, I’m going to get in a car and drive to where I want to go without ever touching the steering wheel. You know that, that, well, that’s coming.

That’s going to happen. It’s happening right now. I didn’t even think about that. But it does come with its risks. Right. Exactly. We’re not quite there yet. But you know, just this idea that it should happen automatically, that doesn’t work for anybody. But I think what I do struggle with sometimes is that people don’t understand the definition of the word they think it means.

Doing things, bringing flowers, like kind of the, the work of relationship, helping out around the house when really what I view as being the real work is like what you were talking about with your relationship with your husband, 20 or so. My husband and I have been together now for 30 years, believe it or not.

I know it’s crazy, but it’s this growth process where the you’re working on yourself. self. You’re not even so much working on the relationship, but thinking about how can I evolve and grow and be more, more loving and more lovable and more accepting and really like, as a partner, help my, my person grow into the person that they’re destined to become, as opposed to the work.

That we, I think can get confused about when it comes to having a healthy relationship, like what you talked about this constant push and pull and dynamic and evolution and learning new things about each other. To me, that is what a healthy relationship feels like. And what I get sad about sometimes is people.

Especially who come into marriage counseling who they are having that kind of experience. They’re having these, these growth moments in their relationship, but they’re interpreting it as something being wrong that, yeah, that it’s not supposed to be that way. There’s this effortless like cruising into bliss forever and ever, but that these moments when it does feel more challenging are the invitations to growth that, that people don’t Don’t understand what they are.

So they think that things are wrong. They think there’s something wrong with the relationship They wouldn’t have this problem if they were with somebody else, you know Like all this kind of thinking that is problematic in my view. That’s very interesting yeah, it does I and I have strong feelings about this too because I I I, you know, I say in the book, like relationships, I think it’s another myth.

It’s not, it didn’t get its own chapter, but it’s a myth that relationships are work, but they do require focus. And so you’re so right. Like what is the definition of work? Yeah. If it means that you have to show up and be, be thoughtful and deliberate about your words and your actions, and that you might have to make some shifts and that you might have to.

Listen more than you talk, you know, I, then, then, yeah, okay. Yeah, it’s work, but if it’s, I guess it’s, I like to think of us as on the same team and like a win for him is also a win for me and so whenever we have any kind of friction, I look at it as, like you said, an opportunity of like, okay, help me understand because.

It’s not, it’s not you versus me. It’s like, we’re part of the same organism here and everything is connected. And we need to, we need to clarify, like, maybe that’s something that I’m doing. That’s making the organism not function as well. Maybe it’s something he’s doing. Maybe it’s something that is usually, I assume somewhere in the middle.

Right. I always want to try to first understand and then. then look at solutions, not just fix or make it go away. Yeah, exactly. And I mean, and I think, I think we share that too. It’s like that, that word work. Like, I think what we’re really talking about right now, Demona is, is love. That is what love actually is.

It’s what it looks like because, you know, I mean, love can be a feeling, but really what you’re talking about is that your husband’s experience is just as important as, and valid as your own. And really like digging in yourself to find that, that love that supports his wellbeing. Right. His wellness, his growth and yours too.

But so, I mean, maybe, maybe that’s the real answer to your question. Are relationships work? You know, relationships require love, I think. That’s poetic. I like it. Because I think sometimes people don’t really understand what love means in the way that we’re talking about it when it comes to long term relationships.

It’s not a feeling. Interesting. Yeah, you’ve given me new perspective. Oh, no. That’s why I love talking to you. Mona. Well, well, this has been such a fascinating conversation, and I really appreciate, just as always, how generous you are with your ideas, and you come and I think give people so much. Right, because going back to that, that idea, you know, relationships are so important when they, when we have them, we, we build our lives around them.

And it is so hard to be in the space of wanting that and feeling like it’s just such a struggle to create it. Um, and through your work, your programs, your book have really, I think, just given people clarity and guidance that it’s not hopeless and that they do have a lot more. Power to create their own destiny.

And I just, I love that about your work. So thank you again for coming today and sharing your message. Thank you so much. I really appreciate you giving me the time and space. And your new book, F the Fairy Tale, tell our listeners where they can find out more about that and about you. Yeah, you can get F the Fairy Tale wherever you get your books.

You can find out more at F the Fairy Tale book and it’s just the letter F, the fairy tale. Which I just learned from my publisher is two words. I was like, no, it’s one word. They’re like, no, no, no. That’s the adjective. Um, anyways, get F the fairy tale. Listen to dates and mates podcast. I do headlines of like, what’s the latest.

dating news, what are the newest features on dating apps, what are the latest trends and surveys and then I do Q& A too because I love hearing what, you know, what’s happening on the ground. The folks that are out here on the love battlefield, I want to know what you’re, what you’re going through and what you need.

And so thank you for, um, letting me share that with your audience. And of course I’m on the socials at Damona Hoffman as well. Wonderful. Well, thank you again so much. Thank you for having me. What a wonderful conversation. It’s always so fun to talk to you, Dimona. Oh, same, same. Girl, you’re so deep. So are you doing your, um, oh, is it uploading?

Do we need to? Yeah, let me see. Because I know I do Riverside too, so I know.

Marriage Counseling Questions | Couples Therapy Questions

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