March 15, 2019
Dating Advice with Dr. Donna
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How much should appearance matter in dating? How do you overcome fears of rejection and develop high self-worth? How do we address racism, colorism and discrimination in dating? Dr. Donna and Jess share their experiences and perspectives to help you feel better in your own skin and address your own biases.
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This is a computer-generated rough transcript, so please excuse any typos. This podcast is an informational conversation and is not a substitute for medical, health or other professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the services of an appropriate professional should you have individual questions or concerns.
Dating Advice with Dr. Donna
00:00:05 – 00:05:00
You’re listening to the sacs with Dr Jess podcast sex and relationship advice, you can use tonight. Hey, hey, your friendly neighborhood sexologist here. Jessica O’Reilly getting ready to talk about dating self worth self esteem body image and how to feel better about yourself. Whether you are single dating partnered or somewhere in between. I I wanna give a big shadow to desire resorts, they have clothing optional. Couples experiences in Mexico and in Europe, and Brandon, and I will be joining them on their Mediterranean cruise this September and the desire red carpet cruise in may twenty twenty I am not gonna complain about that. Joining me today to discuss dating in the age of social media in the age of left, and sometimes writes swipes and the age of filters, and heavy editing on just about everything is Dr Donna Oreo will a sex and relationship, educator and therapist and an international speaker located in the Washington DC metro area, thanks for being here. Thank you for having me. Now, you are a therapist. Why do clients come to you primarily, oh, there’s so many reasons, but the main one is that I actually see a lot of single people and they’re concerned about how they’ve been in these sort of repeat relationships again and again worried about having a little bit of anxiety. Maybe some depression around what it’s like today and what it’s like today now. Now, and what it’s like to date in their individual bodies, so working on some some level of body satisfaction. But then there’s also the color is that dealing with so discrimination based on their skin tone, as well as texture isn’t that they’re dealing with which is the same before hair this commission against a hair texture. And so how does that discrimination? How’s it manifested are people being overt about it? Are they small microaggressions? Oh, it’s a little bit of everything. It’s it’s such a joy how people can find different ways the compliment slash insult each other. So though here things like you’re pretty dark skin. Like, I’ve never I’ve never been with you. You know woman like us, and like, okay will what do you mean? Oh, I’ve never dated a big girl. And just you know sort of. Yeah. I hear that’s islands. And when people say things like this are they looking for cookie. Are they saying, well, you know, I’m here, and I’m doing a good thing. Charity dating. I’m doing you of favor by being seen out in public with you. And it just like this is ridiculous. The toll that this must take on your self esteem must be so significant how how do you work through that? So those aren’t even what I was thinking of with regard to microaggressions. I was quite blatant. How do you work through that the fear ’cause we all face a fear of rejection when we go on a date, but that fear is intensified? When you’re hearing that kind of nasty communication. Honestly, it’s a lot of undoing in that there be room, and it takes that undoing because they’ve taken it in at sometimes people think it as the gospel truth. So oh, I am lucky to be in this relationship. This person is nice to me. You know, we we talk about like nice guy syndrome, except for across of course, across X is like, oh, well, they’re nice. They don’t beat me. They don’t they don’t hit me. They don’t cuss me out. So they are nice person. I’m with the nice one. But the nice one is giving you backhanded compliments, and they’re hurting your feelings, and the gaslight you and just like no, this is not as actually what we want in a in the context of relationship. So the undoing part is helping them to sort of unravel those messages that they were getting within the context of the relationship while. At the same time, reminding them that they are and they are wonderful. And that they are great. And there’s someone that is dating them as though.
00:05:01 – 00:10:01
It is a favor. Is not as probably not the person for them because people are not collector’s items. And now. And so if you have perhaps lowered your standards because it sounds like that’s what they’re doing to address these messages that devalues yourself on every day. We see in in media communications. We don’t just see it in the datings fear. How do you not just overcome that? But how do you sift through potential dates to find someone who’s going to honor? You who’s gonna see you as as the person you are? I think that I you have to notice it in yourself, and I say that because oftentimes we lower our standards because we feel some type of way we don’t feel that we’re worth someone that treats us that she says well that treat us like we’re worthy cheeses, like we’re gorgeous that treats like we are these shit as though we sort of down play all those things, and we get into space where you can be desperate to be in a relationship because the side has told us that if you’re not something is wrong with you. So now, you’re willing to accept anybody. That comes your way instead of keeping your standards high. Because we’re worried about being alone were worried about what it says that we’re alone, and that somehow we lost value in the eyes of the people that are around us, so friends family and society at large that while you’re not with anybody. So you have time to do this extra. Thing at work, or I don’t know what you’re complaining about or. I mean, there’s so many things that sort of devalue you in the process that just makes the whole thing more difficult. So if you don’t know that you are awesome. And it’s going to be difficult for you to be in a relationship with someone where they also treat you like, you’re awesome. Amp for you to accept it. You bring something up. That’s very interesting. And that’s about workplace treatment of single folk versus coupled folk, and we see this with parenting, if you don’t have a child, you may be expected to stay later to do more. And if you have a child, you have the excuse for leap, not excuse you have a reason to leave earlier on. I haven’t thought about it from a couple versus single perspective probably because I’ve had couple privilege pretty much my whole adult life. I’ve been in this very long term relationship. And so it was this something that that falls upon single people where the onus of responsibility becomes heavier because they’re not expected to need to go home or they’re expected to work harder because they’re single is the something you observe. I can tell you that that has been my personal experience as well. As something that has been spoken about by very many of my clients, the this idea that will you’re single, and you don’t have kids. I don’t understand why you can’t. Can’t do XYZ except was not even just workplaces. That will say it. It’s family that will say, oh, well, can you can you pick this up? Can you go here? Can you do? This was not like you got anybody where you going. That type of thing. I’m just like. Wow. Way to devalue, my whole life down to having a partner and or kids and saying that’s my life laps as much significance as yours. Adult have someone special at home to go to and the special someone I wanna meet at my house. Oh my goodness. I would love night alone at my own house. I am a special person. Let me tell you how much I like my own company. So, you know, most of these people that you are seeing I presume they’re dating online, and I often hear online daters lament the notion that dating is now so superficial because you’re just looking photos very quickly. And so I like to get your perspective on that is online dating superficial. Or does it depend on what side or app, you’re using? I think it depends on the person doing the dating who’s looking because I feel like the dating apps they really can’t turn it into almost like Karsh opping where you’re looking at the make the model the body the color, and you haven’t even taken the time to look at the specs what what they have. They also have to offer within the context of a relationship. So it’s like, I don’t like this. I don’t like the body on this one. It’s why oh I don’t like this on that list. So it turns into how many traits can I like I have an idea. Of what beauty looks like in my head. How many how close can I get to that ideal in my mind beauty? Without having to look at the rest.
00:10:01 – 00:15:01
I like, I just wanna make sure they look I. Right. And if if online dating gets boiled down to physical appearance whom does this advantage and whom does this disadvantage because there are some people who are going to fall into the cultural standards of beauty more than others. Yep. So generally, speaking, Asian men and black women are considered to be the least desirable in online dating situations. Asian men have been a sexualize and black women are seeing as you know, nobody wants to date a black woman. Unless you look for certain way. If you can’t have a question of, well, what are you? Then nobody’s really checking for black women that way, they said they’re difficult to deal with that that oh, we’re not as we’re not as beautiful as other women. And that’s generally because we’re going by eurocentric standard of beauty where we’re talking blond hair. Blue eyes, white skin. Then an able able-bodied so you really start to like cut people out. When we’re going by that sort of ongoing by that model and hoping that everybody was fit in it. You know, there was an Asian actor Canadian guy, and I have to look up his name. He’s on a show called Kim’s convenience, which is a Canadian comedy victory. Very attractive, man. And he called this out on national television in Canada a couple of weeks ago, and he was in front of a live studio audience, and they were talking about sexual stereotypes. And he says, let’s talk about Asian male sexuality or something along those lines and the whole audience burst out laughing, and he called the mountains that you know, that wasn’t a punchline the fact that you are laughing speaks to the fact that we have been de sexualize that we have been painted as a sexual as Unix. There are all these negative stereotypes. And I thought that that was going to go more viral around the world. And I I mean, he’s a very very attractive. But because he’s Asian. He is seen as attractive for an Asian, and I’ll tell you, so I’m I’m Chinese mixed and growing up. I looked a lot more Chinese and over the years. You know, you’re finished just changes. And now people just can’t tell what I am. But I remember people telling me that I was pretty for a Chinese girl. And and so it certainly stuck with me that I I was pretty, but I couldn’t be as pretty as my white friends. And we are in this boat together. I was pretty for an African pretty for dark skinned girl and the pressure to change the way you look, I think about I had a student who I remember eyelid surgery. She was she was Chinese shed eyelid surgery because she needed to have bigger eyelids. And there are things that we do every single day to conform to more eurocentric standards of beauty. And so I guess the question is how do we overcome that not only how do we feel more beautiful in our own skin? Which it sounds like you, that’s this is a lot of what you do in therapy. But how do we deal with if you’re dating how you deal with with people rejecting you without even taking a look at you. Honestly, I would say the main thing is to remember that person is not for you anybody that’s going to reject you before they actually get to know you as probably not the person, you were seeking in the first place, and you certainly don’t wanna spend all your time trying to grab their attention. So that they can see you as worthy because then you’re always going to have to be trying to prove yourself as worthy in. There is no one has time for that. This is that moment where you stop. And you consider how how do you want to live your life? What does that look like what are the traits that you have in yourself that new? No makes you everything. And when you go out with people listening to them because they’re going to some people will show their complete ass. And when you go out on a date with them. That’s when they will tell you about their preferences. That’s when they’ll tell you a little bit about that dating history. And sometimes you’ll recognize that you are an international bedpost that you are just another person that they’re adding to a notch because they’re they are trying to date everybody from every nation. And so that they can say they don’t discriminate or something of that nature or make themselves feel better. And I’m saying that you gotta know yourself. And when you do go out, you’ve gotta listen, you gotta be present.
00:15:01 – 00:20:13
And you’ve got to say, no when you know that whatever they’re about to serve you is not loves whatever, you know, that what they’re gonna give to you is nowhere near what you want. So I say always start with knowing what you want. What do you want out of a relationship? Why do you want it? How does it serve you? And how do you also live up to it? Because can’t last people had this uniform shopping lists one hundred items deeds, and they only have two of it themselves. No, no, no. Mission that you also live up to this list that you have and then no yourself. I mean, honestly, I can’t stress that enough. Knowing yourself to me is one of the best ways to go about it. Because when you know yourself you accept yourself in you love yourself other people they either have no choice, but to do the same or to get out of your face. You said so much there that I wanna follow up on you mentioned a number of questions that you need to consider first. And then ensure that you bring it to the table to you said, what do you want out of a relationship? Can you canoe repeat a couple of those for me again? The what do you want out of relationship? Why do you want it? Yes. How does it serve you? And how do you live up to it? I like that. I think that’s a good standard for absolutely everyone. I like that you bring it back to you are self because we are often good at talking about what we want in a partner, and then we get into a relationship, and we talk about what our partner lax or what our partner is doing wrong. And if we could bring it back full circle to ourselves to begin with. We’re going to be fifty percent of the way there, but moose of us. Don’t do that. We look at outside. Sources we look at other people. Yeah. And we have this notion that this relate. Ship that we need going to complete us. It should be a relationship you want. And you are ready a complete person. Both people should be bringing their all to the relationship. Fifty fifty. We’ll get you in trouble. Right. Because then you’re only one person. Do you? Remember, the Seinfeld where George in Jerry had to date one woman together. I don’t know if that’s before your time. I can’t say that ever really watched Seinfeld. I’m only few episodes, everyday Seinfeld. Reference comes up for me. And I think about the next generation not knowing the Seinfeld references because every day something comes up because it was really a show about nothing, but a show about every day exactly ship about everyday life. Now, Uber up a an important word, which is references. And a recently wrote a piece for posting magazines, which is a Toronto based circular here about racism in dating in Toronto and up here in Canada. We love to pretend. Okay, folks, love to pretend that we are post-racial off guard. Right. And they say things like I don’t care I date black white Asian blue purple. And here’s the thing. One of these blue and purple people that their bathing here. Eggs and to grow to throw the rest of us in with these blue and purple people unless you’re dating Barney. I mean dinosaur saw unto about inter species dating right right unless it’s furry unless you’re into the furry, which which is kinda cool. So there there are people who kind of as you said are collecting notches dating people of color as badges of honor. And I got into a little saying on Facebook with somebody the other day because they were claiming they couldn’t be racist. But because they had had partners from various backgrounds in the pack, right? And you know, it’s it’s you know. We need to remind ourselves that we all every single one of us carries these biases, and we need to work against them. We are swimming upstream against them. And so how do we even begin to dismantle this because I’ll tell you. I don’t wanna be fetish is I think if I was dating, and it was a white person. And he kept talking about how he had all these Asian partners, it it would be a massive red flag to me as someone who hasn’t been on date and eighteen years. I’m like, I love what you just said. For me preferences, just a cute way to say biases is a little bit more accessible, and I really therapist. I always encourage people to go back to therapy to sort of examine those preferences. And to just sometimes I really just do not understand. Why you think that just because you date people outside of your own race that now that means you’re not racist? That is not what that means that all you not any less races because you are still participating in white supremacist.
00:20:13 – 00:25:01
Beauty standards in how you date people. You are literally dating people to be able to say, oh, yeah. I dated an Asian. Oh, yeah. Dated a black prison. Yes. I dated these different these different people. So obviously, I can’t be racist. Yes. You can and people often. So are. And why are we so afraid we I’m a person of color who often passes as white and I carry racial bias because I was raised with racial biases. I’m not talking about my parents specifically, although that’s a part of it too. And because I live in a world in which racial bias shows up in everything we do. How how can we get people to just acknowledge that we carry racial bias because we can’t overcome racism unless we call it. What it is. Nobody wants to call it what it is. Because it makes people uncomfortable. And I would say part of that is going to just be simply having conversation. And I know sounds really simple. But it’s not and having condos with people who are not just going to confirm some of the nonsense that we’ve already got going some of it is a simple as Google search do some research. Learn what these biases are an open your eyes to the possibility that you have been said something that may not belong to you. That’s probably one of the most difficult parts of reminding people that everyone wants to believe that every thought that they had is original and their own without recognizing all the all the factors that have influenced them. So I try to get people to come outside of risk for a moment. And just think about what did your parents say. Say about reading versus how you feel about reading versus how now you talk to others about reading that’s influence. Like constantly being able to say, okay, or even looking at intergenerational trauma, and how that impacts one person to the next generation to the next generation the same thing goes for race. The same things goes for the so-called references, we get them from somewhere. And sometimes they’re not were Ganic to our families than not we’re Ganic to our situations into our little club of people. But nonetheless, they become part of our nomenclature and become a part of how we talk to each other. And how we think and how we interact with other people anyone who is saying that they are immune to society’s biases is being blind. And or they’re lying to themselves in order to sort of lift themselves up as someone who is so special that they couldn’t possibly be impacted by anything anyone else’s saying, which is cute. And and frustrating, so and I’m sure even people listening it’s easy to get your backup. Because either your advantage by the system, nobody really wants to admit privilege or because you don’t know where to begin. So if we were to to end, their if you are dating, or if you’re just a person moving through the world, and you want to address your own bias into you mentioned having conversations. And so it’s interesting we were Brennan, and I my husband, and I were in Chicago the other day, and we were going on a walking tour in architectural walk into our that was self guided, and we’re walking through these beautiful fancy neighborhoods with our phones, and we’re looking at houses and pointing at architecture, and I said to you know, if. If I’m a person of color, but if we were if we were darker skinned if you were black, especially a black, man. Probably couldn’t walk through in point houses the way we are doing right now. And so these things come up all the time. And I think if we go back five years, and I wish Brandon were here. He’s he’s usually here. But we had a dental surgery today. He would say five years ago, I wouldn’t have been able or ten years ago to acknowledge that in the same way. But he’s like that’s just it’s absurd that the way I moved through life gives me every single advantage. And so I think that’s a place to start just to recognize the privilege that we have and I feel that every single day because I live a really nice lifestyle. And we’re else can people begin if they want to address their own biases? So you mentioned a Google search. You mentioned having these conversations are there specific even websites. I know brand inferences subscribes to different websites because it’s not my job to explain it to him. All there, so many different places. One is like race matters.
00:25:02 – 00:30:04
I don’t know if that’s that our or dot com, but they have a lot of information there. They even have a test on racial implicit bias, which is available online. So you can learn if you’re bias for or against people of color, are I think it was actually black people or against white people. So I I’ve been on that website. I I’m constantly trying to make sure that I’m taking in information from some very many of my friends who are constantly talking about racial implications body implications color is in textures, everything within the context of sexually and trying to get myself to a space where I’m able to think about things outside of the small bubble that may be my own so one of those places, of course, is, you know, get on the internet. But then for me. I said, I’m therapist always so people go get some therapy. I truly do believe in it because it can help you to address so much within yourself. And it helps you to sort of opening is to how you see the world around you as but as as long as you don’t have it. They’re just going to confirm that you don’t have privilege and all that jazz. Then it’ll be even more helpful for you to open your eyes and go out and really see the world as it is. And how others can see it. And in one last question for people who are going to say, well, what if I’m just not attracted to a person an individual. And of course, there are going to be individuals. You’re not attracted to when we look at a appearance. How much should your appearance matter in dating how much does it matter? I think that right now it probably matters a little bit more than it should now. And I think it also depends on the person is should matter at least a little because I mean, obviously, we want sexual attraction and all that. But it’s just find yourself being just friends, but at the same time, I think right now, we’re putting a lot more weight on how someone looks and not enough weight on what else they bring to the table besides there because overtime looks will fade, and you can’t eat your beauty. So what else is there that this person is offering other than just there because what that means to me is all your look. As looks at some point. You’re going to have to change out that person because at some point they’re going to stop being so beautiful to you. Which means that now you’re going to be right back on the dating market. You’re gonna be right back out there on the dating scene with. So if something happens to them, do you stop liking them do you stop loving them? And is that the type of life? You wanna live? Right. And if you only like the beginnings of things when they are attractive. You will always be dating you won’t you won’t commit for the long term. And if you don’t want to commit for the long term, that’s your prerogative. But I do think it’s important to note that sexual attraction can be cultivated over time. It’s not always attraction or chemistry at first sight. And I know there are people that will disagree with me on that. But I see it in the couples that I work with who have been together for thirty forty years people who are much older than me who have insights that I cannot possibly gain on my own at my age. So I appreciate you gotta change that visual diet. If you’re constantly saying the same things MRs money because it came from Sonali Russia to our love her. She thought about changing the visual diet that you’ve got to expand. What you’re looking at. If you are constantly looking at the same sort of person in your social media, you know, like what? Ever that is going to be biased toward that. And think that that is the only beauty. So if you don’t match you’re going gonna hurt your feelings, but beyond that, it means that now you expect other people around you to look like that to be like that to act like that. So you got to expand that visual diet. So that you’re taking in a little bit more because the more you see the more you’re going to see what’s the tractive in it. I love that. And more you see images that are that are either beautiful or sensual sexy where Roddick that feature people have different body types of different skin tones with different textures, the more you big into associate that with being beautiful. But we have a very limited diet as you put it and very limited images of what we have been told is beautiful on often differentiate between cultural beauty standards that have been dictated to us by our dominant culture versus in Malysz desire. What you actually would enjoy if you let your mind wander beyond. Magazine beauty. Now, you you have a number of tools, I wanna share with people. You have cocoa butter and hair grease a self love journeys through hair and skin, and this is a a workbook for and that activties where they get to think and write down their thoughts and feelings related to issues around their skin their hair where can people access this cocoa butter in hair grease.
00:30:04 – 00:34:15
It is coming soon. So it will actually be released in April, but you can sign up for information on it at cocoa, butter and hair grease dot com. It will to my website. So that you can actually go ahead and put that information. I’m really excited about it. It’s it’s sort of beautiful right now. Really? Perfect. I’ll preorder and you also you have a sex talk parent edition webinar. And this is really interesting because I know a lot of people listen to this podcast for themselves. But many are parents so where can they access the sex talk parent webinar, the sex talk parent webinar is that one hub say this whole thing. So the easiest way to get there is a nod right dot com. Eight an OD R, I T dot com and backslash webinars. It’d be the first one on the page perfect. But yeah, that is where to get it. Okay. Wonderful. So not right dot com. We’ll be linking to that as well. On our on our Instagram. You can go take a look on stories, and you can swipe up to access. Well, thank you so much Dr Donna for being here with us. Really? Appreciate it. Thank you. I really love having this conversation with you. Thank you have a great one. You. I know the talking about race. Inner editing and confronting our own biases can feel very uncomfortable. But that discount firt pales in comparison to the fear the pain the rejection the suffering faced by those who are disadvantaged by societal by. So as our job to push through this discomfort. I really appreciate Dr donnas perspective and really admire her work. And if there is one action item, you can take out of this discussion. I encourage you to right now. Notice the good in yourself either in your head or write it down on paper or say it out loud. If you’re not on the bus, tell yourself what you like about yourself. What do you admire about yourself? How would your best friend describe you take stock of why you’re so great and just own it? You know, you don’t have to prove yourself to anyone. You don’t have to prove your worth. In fact, you should be on the lookout to make sure the people in your life. Give you the love and respect you deserve. When I try this. If I were right now to think about what I like mice like about myself. I think the first thing that comes to mind is that I try to make other. Feel good. But then automatically I have this positive thought. And then I start thinking about what’s not good about me how I screw up. Sometimes the ways in which I fall short. And you know, I realized just in this moment that this type of thinking it’s not good for me. You know, it comes from a desire. I think to be humble, which is cultural on my part. But I shouldn’t have to offset every positive thought with a critical one. I I should learn to kind of marinate in the self light king and in noticing the good in myself as Dr Donna recommended so I’m going to do that now. And I really hope that you do the same. I hope you take a minute or two just take stock of what makes you a great catch whether you’re singled or partnered because it makes for happier relationships and happier life, and yet could advice from Dr Donna. So thank you to Dr Donna for insights. And all that sage advice. Thank you to you for listening. And thank you too. Desire resort. Check them out on Instagram and be sure to follow me to at sex with Dr Jess and subscribe to this podcast. If you haven’t already have a great week wherever you’re at. I’ll be back with Brandon next Friday and every Friday morning. You’re listening to the sex with Dr Jess podcast, improve your sex life, improve your life.