CBaS cover art with Tracie Pinnock

The guest this episode is Tracie Pinnock. Tracie is a psychotherapist and relationship coach who helps women manage stress, thrive after breakups, and date better the next time around.

Tracie shares what you can do in order to thrive after a breakup. We also talk about what can make dating fun and how to avoid dating burnout.

We recorded this episode on August 2, 2022.

So you start with, how do I want to feel? What are things that are getting in the way of me feeling that way, or that I’m struggling with, or that I’m trying to overcome. And that’s how you start forming a plan for your present and your future.

Your Challenge Invitation

Tracie’s invitation is for you to truly sit with what it is that you want for yourself in the next six months, and the next year. This helps you look into the future even though you may be spending a lot of time thinking about the past or the present.

Consider how you are thinking now, and how would you like to feel in six months? What are the things that you’d like to be saying? What would I like to be doing? Write that down, because that is the beginning point of working backwards on how you get to that over several months.

So to summarize, you want to imagine what you will be saying, doing and feeling six months from now. Once you capture that, you can start moving towards it.

Contact and follow Tracie on TikTok, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.

You can connect with Damianne on the Changes BIG and small website, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube. You’re also invited to join the Changes BIG and small Facebook community.

When we over sacrifice, it can lead to resentment and resentment kills relationships.

Similar Episodes

Timeline of the Chat

[00:34] Critical thinking is important after a breakup
[04:31] The Three Stages of Breakup Recovery
[11:29] Set boundaries with your Ex
[14:57] Dating again after breakup
[17:49] Your Ideal Partner List
[22:00] How to date and avoid burnout
[25:27] Why you should date more than one person at a time
[34:13] How many dealbreakers is too many
[39:10] Making dating fun
[41:39] Invitation/Challenge
[43:55] Book recommendation

Enjoyed this episode? Please click this link to rate the podcast.

Compromise on your preferences, do not compromise on your deal breakers. When you compromise on your deal breakers, you are settling.

I like to use the prompt, imagine you had a magic wand, you were able to wave that wand, and the ideal person for you appeared.

Transcript of the Episode

Critical thinking is important after a breakup

[00:34] Damianne President: You mentioned that one of your specialties is relationships after breakup or thriving after breakup. I think there are lessons to be learned from a breakup, and I want to know what kind of critical thinking should people be doing a breakup?

[00:50] Tracie Pinnock: Yeah, that’s a really good question. I like that you are referencing critical thinking, cause I don’t think we do enough of that before getting into our relationships. So it is very beneficial for us to do, if a relationship ends. I think it starts from noticing your past relationship, the good, the bad, all of it. The things that you liked about the relationship or your partner, in theory those are the things you want to bring into your future, but also noticing the things that didn’t work, that you weren’t happy with, because then you ask yourself, well, what do I want instead? And that’s how you start the path of deciding how do I get that or how do I make changes or shifts in my behavior or my circumstances to be more likely to get those things.

 This can have everything to do with the type of partner you are with, your life’s circumstances while with that person. That is a big, critical thinking piece to actually look at what you want to bring into your future and what you want to leave in the past. Then also, there’s a thinking about you as a person and just noticing your behaviors and your feelings around various things. So do I notice certain patterns in my behavior? Do I notice that I tend to do this thing or that thing?

The post breakup situation is a lot of thinking. I recommend writing. We oftentimes do not give ourselves the time, the space, the silence to ask ourselves, especially while you’re in the relationship. You don’t do as much reflecting on what you might like to be different or what you could do differently for yourself. That’s another critical thinking piece.

And then another one [critical thinking piece] is really looking at your life circumstances in the future that you want. And that’s in every realm, finances, housing, parenting, relationships, health, you name it, but actually asking yourself, what do I want for myself moving forward? What is the life that I want to continue to build?

Tracie Pinnock

[02:47] Damianne President: Yeah, and you’ve given some examples of good questions already that people could think about after a breakup, as part of that reflection. Are there any other specific questions if people want to journal or think through it that you would recommend?

[03:03] Tracie Pinnock: Yeah. I always like to start with the question of how do I want to feel, how do I want to feel at this time in my life, and how do I want to feel six months from now? How do I want it to feel a year from now? Because by identifying how you want to feel, you can work backwards from there as to how to get there.

So, for instance, maybe after a breakup, you’re feeling sadness, anger, confusion, hopelessness. And instead, I would like to feel joy, peace, excitement, you name it. So you’re like, okay, what are the things that are most likely to lead me in that direction? That’s where you end up asking yourself questions around the circumstances about your life that are currently holding you back from feeling those things. After a breakup, an obvious one might be having ended your relationship, maybe you miss the person. Maybe you’re sad about splitting up your home. It can be all sorts of things, but then also what other aspects of your life, because your life is not only your relationship. So am I happy with my career? Am I content with my finances? Do I have any concerns around parenting? Again, the list could be endless. Think of anything in your life. And so you’re asking yourself, are you happy with where those things are? Because for any of those things where you’re like, no, I really wanna make some changes or some improvements, those are gonna be areas that you’re going to want to target. 

So you start with, how do I want to feel? What are things that are getting in the way of me feeling that way, or that I’m struggling with, or that I’m trying to overcome. And that’s how you start forming a plan for your present and your future.

The Three Stages of Breakup Recovery

[04:31] Damianne President: I was thinking, what else might somebody do besides reflecting, and you’ve already answered that question partially because you’ve talked about how reflecting could involve creating a plan, and then presumably you would need to take some steps to put that plan into action.

[04:50] Tracie Pinnock: Absolutely. I think of the breakup recovery process as happening in three phases, I call it the survival phase, the maintenance phase and the thriving phase. 

The Survival Phase

[05:00] Tracie Pinnock: So the survival phase is obviously the earliest phase. It can be days, weeks, months after a breakup, but that’s where it’s really about emotional adjustment. So it’s dealing with the emotional aftermath of a breakup, the sadness, the guilt, anything that comes up for you. That’s where you’re doing a lot of just sitting with your feelings, which I think is the hardest part for a lot of people, because we don’t want to feel uncomfortable. So we stuff it or we ignore it. We’re like, I’m just gonna keep on trucking. I gotta do this. I gotta do that. And this is the part that is so important, though. It’s like, literally give yourself time to sit down and ask yourself, what am I feeling? So when it comes to the reflection or when it comes to the writing, this is when you’re journaling.

I like to encourage people to ask themselves, what are all the emotions that I’m feeling? Write down each emotion, anger, sadness, confusion, relief, any of the things that come up. Then, right next to each emotion, why you’re feeling it? The anger is because X, Y, and Z. The sadness is because X, Y, and Z, and then ask yourself, how do I soothe myself through anger? How do I soothe myself through sadness? So this starts bringing up coping tools. These are the activities that you do to help find relief because coping is just how we soothe ourselves through uncomfortable things. That is what coping is. So when you ask yourself that question, you ask yourself, well, what suits me?

The answer in a nutshell is self-care, but that looks different for everyone. Who do I need to talk to feel a little better or get advice from? Do I need to get some more rest and more sleep? Do I need to be thoughtful about how I’m fueling my body, food and nutrients and working out. Are there fun things I want to do. The list can be endless, but that’s the very beginning stages where you’re really trying to manage your emotions.

Maintenance Phase of Breakup Recovery

[06:48] Tracie Pinnock: Then going into the maintenance phase, that’s what I refer to as establishing a new normal. So this is where you’ve studied yourself a bit emotionally, and I wanna be clear, it doesn’t mean you stop feeling these emotions, doesn’t mean you don’t have really hard times. Absolutely, because you’re human. But in terms of your day-to-day life, it’s taken on a new normal without this person.

When you first break up, you’re just adjusting to the fact that maybe you’re not in the same home, or you’re not interacting with the person in the same way. All sorts of things could have changed in your life. Maybe, I don’t know, you had to get a new car, anything could happen.

[07:18] Damianne President: I would expect there to be some changes, a lot of the routines have changed. Like you pick up your phone to message the person, and you can’t. There are lots of reminders that you come across as you go through a life.

[07:31] Tracie Pinnock: Yes, for sure. So definitely, there can be a lot of triggers. So then, by the time you’re in the maintenance phase, you’ve established a bit of a new normal, maybe moved into a new place; certain routines are in place. And so that is the time when you are able to do a little more of the reflection on your actual life circumstances, like, am I happy with where I’m living right now? Do I like my job? How are things going with the kids, do I want to make new friends. In terms of steps that you can do, it is identifying those things and then starting to say, okay, do I want to institute like a workout plan? How do I go about doing that? Do I need to join a gym? Do I need to find a workout program? It’s that really concrete stuff of how you want to make changes?

[08:10] Thrive Phase of Breakup Recovery

[08:10] Damianne President: You mentioned the last step is thrive. For example, we see people making big decisions, such as moving to a new place or. Finding a new job. I guess those are two of the big ones. At what stage would that typically happen?

[08:27] Tracie Pinnock: It depends, because let’s say that you did need to move because of the breakup, like that might force you into moving or your partner moving. Maybe you guys need to sell a house together, all these sorts of things. So those type of things, housing, money, visitation for kids, that stuff tends to change pretty immediately. Maybe you have to get your kids into a new school, things like that, getting a new job because it had to happen cuz you maybe moved to a whole different location. 

The maintenance phase is when you are more settled, and you realize, oh, I need to increase my income, or I’m really not happy with what it is I’m doing right now. There are a lot of times where, because you were in a relationship, you didn’t make certain changes about your life because it would have upset the stability of the family too much. So maybe while you were in a relationship, you didn’t make that career shift because you and your partner had established a certain thing, or you had certain agreements, so you didn’t make the change, or you were concerned about how it was going to impact the household income. Maybe you’re in a place now where it’s that time to make the change. I mean, everyone’s circumstances are different, but these big shifts can be happening throughout. 

I think the difference between the maintenance phase to the thriving phase, or at least part of the difference, is that I refer to the thriving phase as the phase of hope. It’s where you have a much more hopeful outlook on your future, on your romantic future, on everything that you want for your life. And you are doing more of the action steps of really leaning into it. Maybe you’re really dating again, maybe you are taking the trips you want to take, all of these sorts of things.

 I wanna be clear, these things can happen in the other phases by all means, like life is happening. It doesn’t go in these perfectly segmented phases, but these phases are more of a condition of checking in with yourself on where you are. You are going to tend to be less emotionally overwhelmed in the maintenance and thriving phases than you might have been in the survival phase.

This is not to say you’re not gonna have emotions because you’re human. So you are always going to have emotions. And I sometimes have to remind people of this; I’m like, I haven’t met a robot yet, or I haven’t done work with a robot. Everyone I work with is human. Everyone has feelings. The way that you manage those feelings tends to shift over time as you work through these phases.

So you might be more emotionally overwhelmed and heightened on a regular basis in the survival phase, but that’s not to say that you might not be in your thriving phase and have a moment where something hits you, and you’re like, oh my gosh. That moment, it’s called triggers. It’s called life. It’s called holidays and events that come around and all of these sort of things.

But overall, you do start to see this progression over time of feeling more settled and happy and well in your post relationship life. Maybe you get into another relationship, so there’s always something to come, but you do see this general shift over time.

 The work is that reflecting. It’s checking how I feel and letting that happen. It’s making social contact with people that help support me. It’s making changes to my circumstances that I identify I want to make. It’s that type of very deliberate, thoughtful action that we take. 

[11:29] Set boundaries with your Ex

[11:29] Damianne President: The three steps, are there linear?

[11:32] Tracie Pinnock: So they are generally linear in that over time, you would move from one phase to another. But in terms of healing itself, it is not linear. So I always say that you can think of healing kind of like a heart rate monitor. It’s not the straight line that goes straight up. It’s like the ups and downs and peaks and valleys of looking at a heart rate monitor, because you’re gonna have your good days and your bad days, your good moments and your bad moments, you’re gonna be trucking along, having a great time and then have something that comes to you, and you’re like, oh my gosh.

This is where I feel strongly about this idea of setting boundaries in your breakup recovery process. And what I mean by that is being thoughtful of what contact you do need to have, and don’t need to have with your ex. If you don’t have any children, and you don’t have any assets tied together, or any of that, likely you don’t really need to have them in your life and being really thoughtful about like, okay, how do I create that boundary? 

I’m a big fan of unfollowing on social media, all of this sort of stuff, because that is not information that you actually need. Even if you have children with someone, you need to be able to maintain communication and contact with them for the sake of your kids. You don’t necessarily need the ins and outs of what’s going on for them on social media, because these sorts of things just leave you vulnerable to unnecessary triggers that set you back emotionally in those places that make it harder for you to then climb back up the hill. 

You’re going along, feeling good, you have this thing pop that was not actually necessary for you to see. And now you’re working on doing that emotional work to bring yourself back up the hill. The thing about that is why add unnecessary triggers for yourself. Cuz there are plenty that you’re not gonna be able to avoid, especially if you are parenting with someone. 

[13:12] Damianne President: When you think about recovery after breakup, there are layers, right? There’s the emotional layer, which we talked about looking more like a heart rate monitor. And then there’s the mindset element where it could be survival, where you’re more frenzied, and it’s harder to get into a calm place with yourself, whereas maintenance, maybe you’re triggered occasionally but most of the time you might be in a more comfortable space. And then when you’re thriving, I think it’s where maybe triggers are very rare, and you’re in a mindset of maybe acceptance or moving on.

[13:51] Tracie Pinnock: Yes. Acceptance, moving on, even being able to see the positives of a situation that you may have left that at the time you didn’t maybe want to. There’s a big part of this too, for a lot of people, they end up really having to acknowledge how discontent they were in their relationship, even if they didn’t want the relationship to end.

 Everyone wants their relationship to work out. No one wants to be in a position where they have to go through the upheaval of a breakup, but also people can acknowledge that they may stay in relationships they’re not actually very happy or content with for comfort, for a lot of reasons. Of course, there are a lot of practical reasons and emotional reasons why we will stay in not just a relationship, but really any situation, a job, all sorts of things that we’re not necessarily happy with.

 By the thriving phase, you could maybe even really fully lean into the idea of like, that was a part of my life, a phase of my life that served a purpose that I have so many benefits from and can acknowledge that it also is not the phase that I’m in now. And that can be a very positive outlook.

[14:57] Dating again after breakup

[14:57] Damianne President: After a breakup and when people are starting to date again, what are some of the common mistakes that you see people make?

[15:05] Tracie Pinnock: So I think just from the starting point of people getting comfortable dating again, and of course this varies for everyone, there’s some people who are totally comfortable from the beginning. Because also something to think about is everyone is in different places in their feelings and mindset upon any relationship. What I mean is sometimes people have emotionally left the relationship well before the relationship has actually ended. So where they are once that relationship officially ends may be different than someone who’s still very much emotionally invested in that relationship. So that would also impact how comfortable you feel with dating and when and all of that. 

But I always tell people, there is not an objective amount of time, like you are ready to date three months after you’ve broken up or a year after you’ve broken up. This has everything to do with your emotional state, your life circumstances.

So, for example, if you are still very emotionally heightened, triggered around mention of your ex or relationship, you wanna imagine yourself on a date with someone else and them asking, what would be typical questions to ask? Oh, you know, tell me a little bit about your relationship history or, you know, what was the last relationship you were in, et cetera. And you find yourself being in an emotionally overwhelmed place where you’re gonna spew and vent and all of that. That might be a sign, alright, maybe not now. 

But also life circumstances. Do I have childcare in place so that I can freely engage in dates and enjoy it? Do I have whatever finances I would need in order to be able to date whatever that looks like for me, transportation, clothing, things like that? Am I using dating apps? Am I going out and meeting people? So actual circumstantial things as well are an indication of whether you’re ready to date or not, because what you don’t want is you don’t want the dating process to be more of a chore than it might naturally be. And so this is where we bring up the topic of dating burnout, where people can kind of just be over it. And they’re like, okay, I’m done here. I think there are some ways that we can be preventative about it, which I’ll mention.

[17:03] Damianne President: Okay, let’s get into that later.

[17:06] Tracie Pinnock: But yeah, a lot of it is about how we choose to invest our resources in the process. And there’s some key things that we can do around that.

[17:14] Damianne President: Do you have experiences with people dating too quickly or getting into relationships and ending up with the same kind of patterns that they have before, any of those kinds of habits?

[17:27] Tracie Pinnock: Yes, I would say people dating too quickly. It’s more about them not having done that reflective work on what was not good about my previous relationships or my previous partners. Have I really done the thought work of identifying what tends to be issues that come up for me with the people who I’m involved with.

[17:49] Your Ideal Partner List

[17:49] Tracie Pinnock: One of my favorite things to have people do is create what I call an ideal partner list, which is not revolutionary. It’s literally making a list of the various personality traits, life circumstances that you would want in your ideal partner. I like to use the prompt, imagine you had a magic wand, you were able to wave that wand, and the ideal person for you appeared.

The point here is to really list and almost like draw or create this person from your ideal perspective so that you can then start working your way from there. Meaning, like, obviously everyone’s human, and you have compromises you make and things like that. But even that idea of compromising, it can be a tricky one. 

I always say compromise on your preferences, do not compromise on your dealbreakers. When you compromise on your dealbreakers, you are settling. So, for example, that ideal partner list might have 50 items on it. It could have a hundred items on it. All of those items are preferences that you have. Like, if I could have it my way, this is what I would have in an ideal partner. Great. But then you’re also going to go down that list, and you’re gonna note the preferences that are actually dealbreakers for you, where, from your perspective, if these things aren’t there, even if a whole bunch of these other things on a list were there, I couldn’t see myself being content.

I’ll just use an example. To be clear, dealbreakers are high value items to us. So maybe it’s very important to you that you have a bunch of kids. And so that would be like a dealbreaker item for you, meaning you could meet someone who has all these wonderful qualities that are on your preference list, but they are like, I know I don’t want kids. That is a dealbreaker. And that is something that it is not a good idea for you to compromise on because either person compromising on that, it’s gonna leave someone not content, and this can breed resentment. When we over-sacrifice, it can lead to resentment and resentment kills relationships.

So by creating this list, It gives you a really good roadmap for who to engage with on your dating journey, because what you’re doing is kind of holding this list in the back of your mind, and you’re saying who checks off what, and how much of what someone checks off, which helps you to gauge how much time and energy do I give to this person versus this person based on how they’re lining up on my list. Because I do not want to ignore the list that I put together, and then jump into a relationship with somebody just because, okay, there’s maybe a lot of chemistry and that’s something they check off on my list and that’s all wonderful and great. But are our life circumstances aligned in a way that we’re both gonna be content?

So to your question about people jumping in too soon, I think they haven’t done that identification piece. Or they’re doing what I call falling into relationships. They meet someone, there’s good chemistry, there’s attraction. We hang out and have a good time. We start spending more and more time together. So before we know it, we kind of just feel like we’re in a relationship together. There haven’t been any explicit conversations on what our understandings and agreements are, but then we get more and more entwined, whether it’s we start moving in together or we have kids or our money starts getting joined or, you know, our families and friends, all of those things that intertwine us more and more with someone. And then, what happens is, at the point in which one or both people start to realize there are significant concerns, they are already so emotionally and practically invested that it is hard to get out. And then that’s where we have ourselves in relationships where there really isn’t a lot of contentment, and we’re just keeping the peace at that point.

We’re comfortable. This has been our life for a while. Again, maybe we have kids, maybe we have a house together. And so now we’re just kind of trying to make it work. That’s where a lot of people end up going to couples counseling. Statistically speaking, couples wait too long, about six years after things have not been good, to enter couples counseling. And that is less effective than if they’d entered much sooner.

[21:38] Damianne President: Yeah, that’s interesting. In a couple of previous episodes, I was talking with some researchers about satisfaction versus commitment and what you were talking about here is where the satisfaction is not there, but there’s still very strong commitment. And there are lots of different reasons that people end up in those situations.

[21:58] Tracie Pinnock: Right. Yeah.

[22:00] How to date and avoid burnout

[22:00] Damianne President: So let’s say that it’s after a breakup, and you think you are ready for dating. What do you do? You jump in two feet first? Is there an approach that you would recommend.

[22:13] Tracie Pinnock: Pretty much. You do jump in, or you dip your toe in the water. You think of things like, do I wanna do any online dating? Do I wanna keep it strictly in person? My general rule is open up your options. I very much encourage online dating, and obviously encourage meeting people in person, because you start doing online dating doesn’t mean you stop deciding to engage with people who you might meet out at the grocery store.

[22:36] Damianne President: Oh, I’m sorry. I can’t go out with you because I’m online dating. 

[22:41] Tracie Pinnock: I do sometimes feel like some people take up that idea of thinking like, well, I’m not gonna online date. I wanna date people in person. I’m like, you should, because ultimately your relationship is going to be in person.

 At some point, you gotta meet people, but you definitely open up your options when you have online dating. And I think it’s a great way to practice dating because the reality of the situation is that for a lot of us, especially in this post COVID world, our worlds get very insular, and it’s very easy to just be at home and do everything virtually and not meet new people; that is very easy to do just as an adult.

As we get older, it tends to be harder to make friends; your circle gets smaller. And then if we put on top of it, the fact that you can do everything virtually… If you’re like me, you’re having your groceries delivered, you are doing electronic banking. I work from home; it’s very easy to be isolated.

And so, by the online dating piece, you do get more access to people, just more access to people. And then you can set up dates to go out and meet people and learn how to engage again with people and flirt and all of these things.

 That’s where we get into starting with just foundational basics. I talk with women about just have like your date prep, like have a few outfits that, you know, are gonna be your go-to outfits to put on so that you are not having to put a whole bunch of thought into what am I gonna wear? That gets exhausting after a while. So I know these are my like three to five outfits. I circle them around first date, second date, that sort of thing. If you’re somebody who likes to wear makeup, have a general basic routine that you go to where you’re not having to think about what looks good on me, what doesn’t. Try out some things that look good on you, boom, that’s what you do. Have your hair and easy styles. Or if you love doing your hair, great. If you’re like me, and you don’t, then you want these go-to styles that it’s easy; you don’t have to think twice. Because what you want to be able to is capitalize on your date opportunities. 

If someone invites you on a date, or you want to go do something with someone, it’s an easy, boom, boom, boom, yes. I don’t have to put a lot of thought into those things. So that’s basic prep stuff. There’s also, like I mentioned before, the logistics or the circumstances of your life, do I have babysitters who I reach out to? Is it friends? Is it family? Do I have hired help? There are all sorts of apps these days that allow you to get various services with convenience and to test things out. Then the next piece of this, how you date, and there are a couple of things here. 

[25:06] Damianne President: I think a lot of dating burnout is frustration with the whole process of online dating. It sometimes feels like you’re in a meat market, I guess. But part of it is also in terms of feeling like you’re going on dates and they are a waste of time, or you’re going on dates and you’re not finding somebody that you’re really jiving with. 

[25:27] Why you should date more than one person at a time

[25:27] Tracie Pinnock: You’re absolutely right. This is that part of how you date. So there are a few things here. I am a proponent of what I like to call dating like a man, because this is what a lot of people throw out to you when you are relationally dating, which is dating more than one person at once.

 I wanna be clear, again, how you date, this is not carrying on relationships with more than one person at a time, which is where I think a lot of people’s minds immediately go. Part of that is because, just as I mentioned before, people slide into relationships. So there’s not enough actual dating going on, in general.

[26:00] Damianne President: Are you enjoying listening to this podcast? Please take a minute to review it wherever you’re listening. This helps other people find the show.

[26:11] Tracie Pinnock: Dating is when you actually get to vet people and romantically interview them, as I like to say. So you can determine if you actually should commit to a relationship with them. People kind of go to meeting, being attracted, hanging out and then being committed. And there’s a whole big piece in the middle there that is missed, and that is called dating.

So if you are rotationally dating, you are ultimately casually dating a few people. You’re going on dates with multiple people. This is before any sort of commitment stage. This is not you lying to people, none of that. It’s meeting people. You might meet someone at the grocery store. You might meet a couple people on an app and you go out on dates.

You can do coffee with this person, drinks with this person, movie with this person, because you are getting to know one another, you’re talking, you’re asking questions. You’re seeing what the chemistry is like. You’re seeing if you vibe and if you don’t. 

One of the reasons to the point of dating burnout, why relationally dating can be helpful is it really does help you limit your emotional investment in people so that you are not emotionally investing too soon and too intensely. If you’re putting all your focus on one person, it is going to be much easier for you to become emotionally attached to that person quicker before really being able to vet them and determine if they’re ideal for you and them determining if you’re ideal for them. 

If you’re dating a few people casually, initially what you do is you start to what I like to call sort and sift. You use that ideal partner list and say, okay, if this person’s matching up in this way, this person’s not so much, I think maybe it doesn’t make sense to pursue anything more with this person. I’m gonna focus over here on this person or that person; that is the work. And I say work because I do think people don’t tend to think of romantic relationships or love or all of that as needing to involve some work, but it does.

And that’s one of, I think, our mistakes, is thinking like, okay, it just happens. We just fall into it. You can. But a lot of times we realize that what it takes to have a happy, fun, enjoyable attraction and casual relationship with someone is not the same as what it takes to have a healthy, thriving, committed, lifelong relationship with someone. That is where a lot of practical aspects come into play that we don’t get to really see or feel until we are farther along in the dating process with someone. But again, if we’ve already emotionally attached or intertwined certain parts of our lives together, that becomes a harder thing to unravel from.

[28:31] Damianne President: I had a recent experience where I met this guy online and then we ended up chatting. I knew that I did not want to give my WhatsApp number, but a friend of mine encouraged me to give my WhatsApp number and I did. And this person, he was sending multiple messages a day and I’m like, you are not my best friend. You are not at the stage where you should be sending me multiple messages a day. And so I think part of what contributes to burnout is that initial meeting step where some people seem to jump in too quickly. And then I had to create boundaries. I tried just replying once a day and it being like, okay, that’s really subtle; they’ll get the message. And they did not. And eventually I was like, okay, I don’t like chatting that much. It would be great if we can arrange to meet, but my intention with WhatsApp is not for us to be pen pals. I didn’t say it that way, but that was what I was thinking.

[29:28] Tracie Pinnock: Yes. You bring up a very good point and this adds on to how you date. I am a strong proponent of meeting in person as soon as possible. And for a lot of people, that sounds odd. They’re like, I wanna get to know them first, that sort of thing. And I’m like spending time getting to know someone through an app or even on the phone for too long can really set you up for disappointment and absolutely set you up for dating burnout. Because if you are weeks or let’s say even a month or a couple months into talking to someone on the phone and chatting back and forth and building this picture of them in your head and you go to meet this person and there’s just poor chemistry or there’s odd things, or you just don’t hit it off for whatever reason, you have invested a lot of mental and emotional energy to only find out that this is not gonna work.

[30:12] Damianne President: And even just physical energy, like just time.

[30:15] Tracie Pinnock: Yes, everything, everything. So instead, my go to is you meet on an app or you meet wherever, in the grocery store, whatever. You obviously need to exchange some form of contact so that you can reach the person again. But the main point being that, just so we can set up a date, right?. Then what I suggest is just go out for coffee or a drink, something that’s easy and casual and in quotes, easy to get out of you. Finish your coffee, and if things aren’t good, you can leave. It doesn’t need to even be a sit down formal dinner, but you do that as an initial meet just to get the initial vibes of someone. That helps you save a lot of time and energy. 

You may find after the first meet, like, oh no, not interested, not really, no thanks. And you can end that and cut that off rather than you’ve been talking to him on the app or in the DMS, all of that for however long.

 And this is where this brings me to another point. People get really upset because then you’ve also put a lot of pressure on the dating process. And I cannot stress enough, not putting pressure on hoping that each date will be the one. Instead, go out on dates purely from the perspective of, I want to go meet a new person, have good conversation, have a good time.

Maybe try a nice meal or a new restaurant or a new activity and see how it flows from there. If I am doing that with some amount of frequency, I will get exposure to new people, exposure to new things and places, and also hopefully be enjoying myself in the process, and also being able to quickly sort and sift who I should give my time and energy to.

I always say with a date, worst case scenario, you have a weird, odd, funny story to tell. Best case scenario, you hit it off. Either way I can take something from this experience and I can have things to share if it doesn’t go great. And if it goes well, then I’ve met another person who I want to continue to see, but I’m a proponent of meeting early.

[32:10] Damianne President: If you’re going to go on more than one date with one person, what do you think about doing the same type of activities versus having a variety of different activities for your dates?

[32:18] Tracie Pinnock: Yeah, I think this depends on the person. So, for instance, one of the key things for you is adventure or things like that and if you want your partner to join you in these type of things, then you might want to try different things cuz you wanna see how each person reacts and responds in these different environments. But honestly, if that’s not really your thing, maybe you’re very content with going to dinner or that sort of thing repeatedly, because that is just you as a person, your personality leans towards that. So this goes back to that ideal partner list because you will have identified, like I want someone who’s adventurous or I want someone who’s social. 

You’re listing all of these traits, so kind, respectful, but also someone who likes to drink or doesn’t drink or someone who likes to travel, or all of these type of things are being put on this list because you are checking with yourself and what you look for in a partner, so that as you were dating, and they’re telling you, oh, I love to travel and you love to travel too, it’s like, okay, great. Or they’re telling you, I’m not really a big traveler, but you know, that’s important to you, then that’s something that you’re gonna wanna be aware of. So varying the activities up, I think, is a personality thing, and also can yes be used to help vet, to see how people behave in certain situations, in certain places.

So this goes into what I was saying about vetting. With dating burnout, people aren’t necessarily vetting people well enough. They are engaging with people, not paying attention to their own ideal partner list. They probably haven’t even created the ideal partner list, but then they’re not paying attention to it and noticing, okay, this person lines up with this, that, and the third, you know, getting a sense of the energy that someone gives them.

So kind of to your point, even with the guy who was sending a lot of messages, am I noticing that I’m overinvesting in the communication and contact and that person’s not giving me back that same energy? Is it the other way around? Just noticing how people show up. Do they follow through on what they say. Hey, let’s go on a date this day and they show up and they do it. Or if they need to cancel, it’s done respectfully; all of these sort of things matter.

[34:13] How many dealbreakers is too many

[34:13] Damianne President: So when we talk about the ideal partners list, and then part of that is also deal breakers. Is there such a thing as having too many deal breakers?

[34:24] Tracie Pinnock: Generally speaking, my answer is no. But I do say that people can kind of maybe check in with the, how realistic their list is. So I’ll have people make their list. They, we go through all of that and I’ll ask ’em the question, so there are, what, about 7 billion people in the world now, seven, 8 billion people in the world now, when you look at this list and the things that you have on it, of the billions of people on earth, do you think that these are qualities that some people on this earth possess.

And people are generally are like, yes. Because you’re not asking for the person to be able to fly or like breathe underwater. Like, we’re doing human qualities. So then what I ask people is okay, of the people who exist on this earth with these qualities, do you think that you can meet them? And this is a very important question because a person’s answer to this question says a lot about things in their life and the ways that they’re dating and all of that. Because if they’re like, yes, that generally indicates that they are like, I have to say swimming in the right pools for themselves, like they’re interacting with and being in the places with the type of people who fit this list.

If people say no, then it can be an indication of like their dating pool, not being ideal. Maybe they’re looking for, I don’t know, like a professional who, you know, has this income or does this, that sort of thing. And they’re not in those circles. So this starts bringing up a conversation around, okay, how are we meeting people, how we’re engaging.

After you’ve decided of the billions of people on the earth, people do possess these qualities. And I maybe even think that I come in contact with these type of people. Another question is, do I think these people engage with me or want to engage with me. This also starts to bring up almost like a self-confidence or a self-worth question around do I feel that I attract the type of person that I’m attracted to, and that in theory, at least, I want in my life. And what is involved in interacting with, or forming an actual union with this type of person, like these type of deeper questions come up when you ask those various questions. 

[36:30] Damianne President: And I guess there is also a readiness element to it too, in terms of, how many of those qualities do you need to have yourself in order to be able to attract that or not?

 I was having a conversation with a friend and we were talking about what do you do on a first date? And she mentioned going out to dinner is to be able to vet the person’s finances because the place that he chooses for dinner or what he suggests indicates his financial status. I had never thought about that before, because I’m just like, let us go to the local Starbucks, well, not necessarily Starbucks. I would prefer to go somewhere local, but let’s just do that because it’s not such a big time investment and we can see whether or not we wanna meet up again.

[37:14] Tracie Pinnock: So this is very interesting. This is a fun question for me because yes, it can vet his finances if he’s being honest and upfront and truthful about his finances to himself and to you. So let’s say it’s a confident person who knows what they have or don’t have, they’ve done that work for themselves. Therefore they’re going to choose to live within their means, whatever those means are. Then yes, you might get a clear indication of where that person is financially based on what they pick. But also if they’re trying to impress or over impress, you might not get a clear indication of what that person’s coming with.

So the vetting process, and this is exactly what I say, dating, actually truly dating someone is important because you need to see date 2, 3, 4. You need to see how they behave around maybe their friends or your friends, at some point, if you guys go that far. It’s all of these different things. Also, to be clear too, that like, a guy maybe may have finances in order and not initially choose a fancier place because honestly he’s vetting you as well. And he is deciding, is this gonna be someone who I want to see again? So again, to the whole like coffee drink, that sort of thing, I see nothing wrong with someone suggesting coffee or something casual the first time we meet, because we literally don’t know. We are literal strangers. So I’m cool with us doing something short and sweet, getting a general read. And if we want a second date, we want a second date. And that is where someone may choose to invest those things a little bit more over time.

I’m not offended at a guy being like, Hey, let’s do coffee. As a matter of fact, I’m usually relieved because I don’t know if I’m going to like you sir, to be honest. So let’s make it an easy exit. And then it’s great when you realize you’ve had a first date, and you’re like, I wanna see this person again and they wanna see you again. And then it’s like, all right, let’s do it. So that’s kind of my take on the situation.

[38:59] Damianne President: It’s like, you don’t have to plan something right after, just in case you wanna extend that initial meeting, but you’re not committing to too much to begin with.

[39:08] Tracie Pinnock: Exactly. Exactly.

[39:10] Making dating fun

[39:10] Damianne President: Talking about fun, are there any other strategies- you’ve shared a few- that can make dating more fun and fulfilling?

[39:20] Damianne President: You’re listening to Changes Big and Small with Damianne president Big and Small will help you take action in your life with intention and purpose. In each episode, I invite you to accept unexpected challenges that will help you take action to live the life that you want. 

[39:40] Tracie Pinnock: Yeah, I think it can be cool to kind of ask each other what their interests are and the type of things they like to do. So, if someone is more adventurous, it might be, hey, do you wanna try a new thing? I remember one time I went like rock climbing. I hadn’t done that before. And to this day, it’s one of my favorite memories.

I’m like, I did that once. Like it wasn’t something I tried before. But also, it helps you gauge personality with someone. Like, okay, this person’s someone who’s open to new things. This person’s not so much. And again, everybody has their different personalities of what they’re looking for.

 I love, I call the spring and summer dating season. I just think it’s like the ideal time to date because it’s just easier if you’re in places where it snows or it’s cold and stuff like that during the winter, it’s just easier to go out and go to a park and see what you see and people watch because you get commentary from the other person on their thoughts and opinions about things; it’s a great way to kind of get a read of where a person’s mind is.

 I really am a big proponent of taking advantage of dating season and really going out on as many dates as possible. They can be casual things but yeah, I just think this idea of checking in on like, oh, so you like to, you know, do this type of thing. Let’s give it a try or let’s both go try an activity that neither of us has done before. I think having many adventures can be really fun.

[40:51] Damianne President: I’ve talked to friends that said, well, where I live, you must put on fake lashes and you must get your nails done and you must have your hair a certain way, like there is a lot of maintenance that we have to do in order to even get to that first date, in order to attract somebody. What are your thoughts on that?

[41:08] Tracie Pinnock: At the core of it, it really is about who you are trying to attract. You are going to attract a certain type of person with certain types of behaviors and certain types of looks. So I don’t think there’s one wrong way. It literally leads you down different paths based on the type of partner you are wanting to attract. So it puts you in certain, like categories in terms of how you might need to dress, or the places you may need to frequent, the etiquette and behavior you may need to have. These things do matter.

[41:39] Invitation/Challenge

[41:39] Damianne President: As our time is winding down, do you have an invitation or a challenge for listeners for them to be able to thrive in wherever they are in their relationship status.

[41:50] Tracie Pinnock: Yes. So my invitation is for you to truly sit with what it is that you want for yourself, let’s say in the next six months, and the next year. I say that because when going through a breakup, it is very easy to be stuck in the past and even the present of things, because understandably you have feelings about things; your life circumstances have likely shifted and oftentimes not for the better, at least initially, for a lot of people. And so it’s very easy to be past focused and focused on the things that aren’t going well right now. And by all means, you need to take time to reflect on those things, as I mentioned before, but the way you thrive after a breakup is by looking to the future.

And I think in the beginning, that can be very hard to see; hopelessness is a very common feeling after a breakup. I’ll never find the one or my life won’t be what I want it to be. So I’m not suggesting that you take this false positive outlook on everything’s gonna be great if that’s not where you’re at, if that’s not how you’re feeling. But instead, literally say if this is how I feel now, how would I like to feel in six months? What are the things I’d like to be saying? What would I like to hear coming outta my mouth? What would I like to be doing? And just writing that down, because that is the beginning point of working backwards on how you get to that over these months, over these years. So literally asking how do I want to feel, what do I want to be saying and doing six months from now, a year from now.

[43:21] Damianne President: I have a friend who, every time he and his wife goes on a trip, they seem to take stock of their lives and create visions of where they want to go in the next few years. I guess you don’t have to go on a trip, but when you have space to be able to do that kind of thinking is what counts.

So even if you haven’t gone through a breakup, if you’re in a relationship or happily married or whatever, as the case may be, thinking about where you wanna go and then having a conversation with your partner to see if you’re aligning on that vision could be helpful here as well.

[43:54] Tracie Pinnock: Absolutely.

[43:55] Book recommendation

[43:55] Damianne President: Are there any books or other resources that you recommend for listeners?

[44:00] Tracie Pinnock: For me personally, this is like an overall mindset thing. It’s not specific to relationships, but I’m a big fan and proponent of the law of attraction. It’s very much around what you manifest. How you think and how you feel plays into to these things that you manifest. The very first book that I read on it is called The Law of Attraction by an author named Michael Lozier. It’s a small book, very practical. Here’s how you do these things for anyone who’s new to this concept, because I think it can be a very wild and woowoo concept for a lot of people, but there are very practical aspects of it. And that honestly was part of the beginning journey for me for breakup recovery going back about seven or so years; that really started it for me. So it’s a good mindset shift.

[44:43] Damianne President: Thank you. And where can people go to connect with you? Share with us all of the places people can find you.

[44:50] Tracie Pinnock: So Instagram and Twitter at the_bettercoach and mainly YouTube. If you type in my name, Tracie Pinnock, that’s T R A C I E P I N N O C K, you’ll get all my weekly videos that I release around breakups and dating for women.

[45:06] Damianne President: Great. And I’ll have those links in the show notes as well. 

Is there anything else, Tracie, that I haven’t asked you that you wanna share or anything that is on your heart on your mind that you wanna make sure listeners come away with?

Statistically speaking, couples wait too long, about six years after things have not been good to enter couples counseling. And that is less effective than if they’d entered much sooner.


I think of the breakup recovery process as happening in three phases, I call it the survival phase, the maintenance phase and the thriving phase.

About the Author
I'm a curious problem solver.

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