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Rachel Leviss Swears Off Dating for a Year as She Reflects on 'Smiling' Through 'Painful Traumatic Memories'

"As I'm describing these things and recounting these memories, I don't think it's funny and I don't enjoy it," Leviss shared as she corrected the misnomer that she is not taking her past issues seriously

<p>Steve Granitz/FilmMagic</p> Rachel Leviss arrives at the KIIS FM

Steve Granitz/FilmMagic

Rachel Leviss arrives at the KIIS FM's iHeartRadio Jingle Ball 2023 Presented By Capital One at The Kia Forum on December 1, 2023

Rachel “Raquel” Leviss is diving into the reason why she is smiling through her pain.

In response to fans’ criticism of her seemingly light-hearted on-air demeanor, the Vanderpump Rules alum, 29, invited psychologist Dr. Hillary Goldsher onto the latest episode of her iHeartRadio podcast, Rachel Goes Rogue, to discuss the behavior.

“Listening back, hearing me laugh about especially the Graham situation for me, like that's not a funny thing, and I want to know why,” she explained, referring to the custody of her dog with ex-fiancé James Kennedy. “Like what is this thing that my body does without me even knowing?”

“Honestly, I'm excited to have a professional tell me why this is happening, because, yeah, it's not normal,” she added. “The average person isn't smiling through their most painful traumatic memories.”

Related: Rachel 'Raquel' Leviss Owns Her 'Betrayal' but Wonders While Picking Up the Pieces: 'Did He Ever Really Love Me?'

<p>Cindy Ord/Bravo via Getty Images</p> Rachel Leviss at Bravo 2022 on October 15, 2022

Cindy Ord/Bravo via Getty Images

Rachel Leviss at Bravo 2022 on October 15, 2022

Leviss also corrected the misnomer that she is not taking the issues — including her affair with her former VPR costar Tom Sandoval — seriously.

“As I'm describing these things and recounting these memories, I don't think it's funny and I don't enjoy it, and so I feel like the messaging maybe [is] getting lost a little bit,” she added. “But then when I talk to my family and I talk to my close friends, I have more of a serious demeanor and I'm not smiling through it.”

After discussing how her childhood could have led to this behavior, the former reality star admitted it is no longer serving her.

Related: Rachel Leviss Vows to Be 'a Better Friend' in 2024 After 'Bad Decisions' Led to Vanderpump Rules Affair

“It doesn't work for me any longer,” she said. “In fact, I see it as a protection for myself. And in the trauma therapy center that I spent 90 days learning and doing intense therapy, there's a term called ‘wall of pleasant’ and it's a wall that you have up which keeps you from being intimate with other people, and therefore you're not as relational and people can't connect to you on a deeper level. And so I recognize that I have that ‘wall of pleasant’ that I can't seem to help but to come up.”

Leviss also discussed her decision to take a break from dating nearly 11 months after Sandoval split from his girlfriend of nine years, Ariana Madix, following Madix's discovery his affair with Leviss.

“I'm not dating for a year, and in doing that, I'm just focusing on myself and after this talk, focusing on my emotions that come up for me, like what are my own needs that I need met, and not adding an additional person into the equation, so that it is just focused on me and other people as well my friends and family and the people that are in my inner circle that are safe friends,” she shared. 

<p>Tammie/AFF-USA/Shutterstock; Cindy Ord/Bravo via Getty Images; Charles Sykes/Bravo via Getty Images</p> From left: Ariana Madix, Tom Sandoval, Rachel Leviss

Tammie/AFF-USA/Shutterstock; Cindy Ord/Bravo via Getty Images; Charles Sykes/Bravo via Getty Images

From left: Ariana Madix, Tom Sandoval, Rachel Leviss

Leviss has been using her podcast, as well as her return to social media, to reflect on her past decisions and move forward. In a post on Instagram before the new year, the Vanderpump Rules alumna vowed that 2024 would be "epic" as she learned from her previous mistakes.

“2023 hands down has been the hardest year yet,” Leviss wrote, captioning a photo of herself. “My life had become completely unmanageable and I was so far down the rabbit hole of making bad decisions that I NEEDED help.”

“I’m so blessed I was able to get the help I needed," she continued. "Now, I finally feel like I’m seeing the light at the end of the tunnel."

She went on to open up about her goals for the next year, while also thanking her supporters. "As we set intentions into the new year, I vow to be a better friend to the ones close in my life," said Leviss. "To those that have stood by me through my darkest days, I will always remember and cherish you."

"Eternally grateful for a second chance," wrote Leviss. "Here’s to an epic 2024! 🦋”

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Vanderpump Rules season 11 premieres Tuesday, Jan. 30 at 8 p.m. ET on Bravo.

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