The path to finding love isn’t always a straight line—it often has many turns and road bumps along the way. While this is a shared experience among daters everywhere, it can still feel frustrating. If you’ve been on the search for a partner for a while and you feel like your dating expectations aren’t being met, you might need to take a new approach to dating. It might be time to start dating mindfully.
Just like practicing mindfulness in your everyday life, dating mindfully is all about being present, checking in with yourself, reflecting, and tapping into your emotions as you go through dating experiences. Think of it less as an art that you need to master and more as a holistic approach with small, attainable steps along the way.
Oh, and speaking of steps, we have 8 tips for mindful dating so you know exactly where to start.
1. Identify Your Goals
Understanding your ultimate goal of dating is a simple but important first step in dating mindfully because you’re setting the intention. Why are you dating and for what purpose? Do you want to find a lifelong partner? Are you dating casually without expectations of commitment? Are you not sure about casual vs. serious dating quite yet?
Try to answer as many of these questions as you can; you can find the answers to the rest as you go on dates, meet more people, and check in with yourself.
Entering or reentering the dating world with a clear purpose will help you prioritize your time and energy.
2. Date People Who Share Similar Priorities
Some of the frustration with long spells of not meeting people you’re interested in points to simply not being conscientious about who you’re meeting. While you don’t want to be too picky, it can help to at least make sure that some of your dates include people who share similar interests and priorities; in other words, date with intention. You might be more likely to connect and have a positive dating experience with someone who has several similarities.
But finding people who you can connect with goes beyond sharing similar hobbies or music tastes. To make meaningful, long-lasting connections, you should date people who share your core values. This could involve lifestyle, family, finances, career, and so forth.
Learn more about how to start dating with intention.
3. But Be Open-Minded
Date lots of people, even if, on the surface, they might not seem like someone you’d normally be interested in. Getting to know various types of people will help you better understand what you do and don’t want in a partner. For example, perhaps you thought that as an introvert, you’d need a life-of-the-party person to balance you out. But only dating extroverts might not be the answer. Keeping an open mind might mean dating a fellow introvert to see if your temperaments and personalities do indeed align.
Say yes to new experiences. Go on that date with the person you just met. Learn about different perspectives. You never know who you might fall in love with!
4. Stay Present During Each Date
Oftentimes people go on dates and start checking off items on their mental list of needs and wants. It’s also easy to get lost in futuristic thinking, like “Okay, this is going well. I wonder how many dates we’ll go on” or “I’m not sure I’m into them, so when I get home, I’ll start looking for the next person.” While these thoughts are by no means bad, they can add to dating anxiety.
Instead of stressing about the future, try to be present and ground yourself in the moment. Relax and let the conversation flow. Ask questions. Have fun. Then, when the date is over, you’ll have all the time in the world to reflect and process.
5. Reflect on Each Date
It’s easy to get caught up in the current dating environment, where people have a plethora of options literally at their fingertips and could go on a date every night if they want to.
While dating lots of people can be helpful to better understand what you want, make sure that you’re setting aside enough time after each date to reflect and process. Think about what you liked about the person, how you felt when you were with them, any red flags, and so on. Was there any chemistry? Did you feel respected? Were they present?
Also, practice some self-reflection, like how you handled certain questions, if you communicated your wants and needs effectively, or things you could do a little differently next time. Reflection, including self-reflection, is one of the cornerstones of dating mindfully.
Dating feedback is built into the Tawkify matchmaking experience, so learn more about how our matchmakers can help you navigate the dating process.
6. Learn How to Handle Rejection
Rejection is a part of life—and dating. It can sting, but it doesn’t have to set a negative tone for your dating life. Learning how to deal with rejection is crucial for mindful dating.
The most important thing to remember is to not let a rejection lower your self-esteem. While rejection is personal, don’t let it become a personal attack on who you are and how you view yourself. Remember that both people need to feel a connection, and sometimes it isn’t there for one person for any number of reasons.
7. Stay Positive
One or two bad relationship experiences or rejections can make you feel jaded. Instead of giving in to some of the negative aspects of the dating process, try to stay positive—both with yourself and while you go on dates.
Avoid complaining about an ex or recounting a bad breakup on a first date with someone, as this can set a negative tone and be a turn-off to a potential partner. Instead, try to take a more sunny outlook on your dating experiences, which will help you stay positive in future ones.
Now, this doesn’t mean shrugging off bad behavior or hurt feelings. But dating with intention by practicing positive thinking can help you be happier with where you are in life, hopeful for the future, and grateful for the dating experiences you have.
8. Keep Doing the Things You Love
You know how some people say to “date yourself”? Well, we’re on board with that idea, too! It doesn’t necessarily mean taking yourself to a candlelit dinner and a movie (though, that does sound nice). Dating yourself should simply involve continuing to do the things that make you happy while you’re dating other people.
Set aside time each week to cook a favorite meal, go on a solo walk, meet up with your buddies for a drink, get lost in a book—you get the idea. The benefit of taking time for yourself is threefold:
- You’re bringing joy into your life by doing something that makes your heart full.
- It provides time for self-reflection and debriefing with trusted friends or family.
- It’s a refresh and a reset during what can be an emotional dating process.
Dating mindfully is all about setting intentions, reflecting, processing emotions, and staying in the moment. We’re not saying it’s easy, but even just practicing one step at a time will help you get on the path to dating success.