Mindful dating is a great way to approach the dating scene if you’ve been on many dates over the years and noticed that things aren’t working out. This dating approach can help you become more aware of how you approach the dating process to gain a better grasp of your emotions and behaviors. In this article, we’re going to break down what is mindful dating and share ten tips to help you date mindfully.
What is Mindful Dating?
Mindful dating is the process of being aware on dates. It’s about recognizing your emotions, values, and behaviors to select a partner who is truly the right fit for you. It’s also about handling rejection neutrally.
Mindful Dating: 10 Tips for Dating Mindfully in 2021
1. Don’t Give In To Emotions
When we feel lonely, we often feel higher levels of emotion. Maybe there’s a hint of desperation– a craving of being loved. However, mindful dating is all about recognizing when your emotions are growing stronger. Sometimes, our emotions make us crave relationships with people who aren’t the best fit for us. We crave the intimacy, companionship, and love so we cling onto the first person who gives us attention. However, the most successful relationships often don’t start with passion. The best relationships often start neutrally. When you look at a person objectively rather than a ‘he/she is the one’ mindset, you push yourself to actually get to know the person.
You might be surprised in a couple of months when you realize that the love of your life was someone you weren’t sure about in the beginning. Mindful dating isn’t about being passionate about someone. It’s about truly getting to know the other person really well. So, if you feel neutral about a person you’re on a date with, that’s a healthy sign that you’re dating mindfully.
2. Analyze His or Her Actions
When you’re on a date, body language is important to help you read the other person. Rather than always listening for words, you always want to listen for actions. What is this person’s behavior towards other people you interact with such as restaurant staff. Are they respectful or disrespectful towards you? For example, did they speak for you when you wanted to order your meal? Be attentive to how they treat you. Notice any behavior changes from the first date to the tenth date. Does a person’s behavior change after the first date? A change isn’t always negative. For example, you may find a person is more closed off on a first date and they may begin feeling more comfortable around you on the third or fourth date. A first date isn’t always a good predictor for long-term success. A lot can change in the coming dates. Sometimes the change is positive and sometimes it’s negative. In mindful dating, you want to notice all of these changes.
3. Notice How You Feel Throughout the Date
A date with a stranger can be a nerve-wracking experience. You may notice different sensations arise throughout your first few dates. You may feel a sensation in your stomach as you feel nervous just before your first date. Notice this sensation. Still, remember that it’s not a sign or a bad omen. I once ran into an ex-boyfriend a mere five minutes before meeting my current husband for our first date. That ramped up the stress level. Now, it’s sort of a funny story I tell. Things worked out with that date even though I had an awkward run in mere moments before meeting my current husband for the first time. You may feel different sensations throughout your date. Maybe excitement, happiness, empathy, frustration, disappointment, or anger. Rather than choosing to react simply notice the feelings that arise throughout the date.
4. Listen More Than Talk
To practice mindful dating, you want to be mindful of the words you use. You also want to ensure that you’re actively listening. Avoid listening to respond. That isn’t the best way to get to know somebody. Throughout the date, you may notice that he or she says something you don’t agree with or believe in. Notice this. However, keep in mind that people come from all walks of life. There may be more to the story that leads them to believe one thing over another. Ask questions that help you dig into their back story to truly learn who they are. Gain as much context about this person as possible. Keep in mind that first dates always scratch the surface and little more. As more dates come up, you’ll begin to uncover more about this person by listening to their needs, thoughts, and words.
5. Know What You Want In a Life Partner
It’s impossible to date mindfully if you’re unsure of what you want in a life partner. It’s only fair and respectful to the other person if you decide what you’re looking for in a marriage before you set out on your first few dates. Another aspect of mindful dating is ensuring that what you think you want in a life partner is actually what you mean. For example, wanting to marry someone who is college educated is a superficial value. What is it about someone who’s college educated that you like? For example, maybe you prefer people who are ambitious. Thus, rather than looking for people who are college educated, you look for the value of ambition in people you date. To date mindfully, you need to know which traits you actually value to help you find the right person.
Everyone wants to lead a happy life, but what every person values in their ideal happy life is different. Figure out what you want in a life partner and stick to seeking that.
6. Date Many People
While you do want to give careful attention to each person you date, dating multiple people can help you understand what you need in a partner. By exposing yourself to different personality traits, quirks, habits, and so forth, you begin to see patterns in what you need out of a person and what you can live with. You should aim to date only one person at a time so you can ensure that you’re able to focus on getting to know people thoroughly. However, you still want to get to know many people so you can better understand yourself and others. You’ll see traits you value emerge and you may discover pet peeves that you didn’t notice before. Meeting many people can help you get a crash course on a wide-range of personality types to help you find your most compatible mate.
7. Look for Like-Minded People
A study by mathematician Gunter Sachs showed that, on average, people of the same zodiac sign are more likely to marry someone from the same sign– with a few notable exceptions. This study showed that people tend to marry people like themselves. Finding someone who is similar to you can help create a stable relationship.
Dating someone who is similar to you can be a healthy sign that you love yourself as you may choose a partner who mirrors your best and worst traits. You don’t need to be identical in every respect. However, having a few similar, key traits with someone can help you better understand one another. Sometimes, people try to force compatibility with people they’re attracted to but that’s not how love typically unfolds. True love comes from full acceptance of one another. The love needs to be mutual for it to last.
8. Ask Questions Based On Compatibility
An important practice of mindful dating boils down to the questions you ask on your dates. As you begin to get to know someone, you should aim to ask questions surrounding the topic of compatibility. On most dates, many ask superficial questions about people’s interests, hobbies, and day to day life. And while it can be comfortable getting to know someone that way, it doesn’t dive deep into who that person really is.
While your first date may be about getting to understand the general gist of who a person is, you should use later dates to ask more personal questions. You might dive into questions about people’s upbringings to help put the pieces together of important life events that helped form their personality. Asking questions about their relationship with their family or values that you cherish are also important to ask.
9. Limit Complaining
It’s impossible to practice mindful dating if you find yourself complaining on the date. Often, we complain when we’re unhappy. Maybe we’re unhappy that we’re single. Maybe we’re unhappy our previous partner broke our heart. Or life is currently kicking us while we’re down so we’re feeling hurt. Complaining on a date is a sign that you’re not quite yet ready to date yet. It’s a sign that you’re still in pain and struggling.
Mindful dating is also about being aware of your readiness to be dating in the first place. Getting to know another person is a fun experience. And it’s true, we all have baggage. However, you need to resolve emotional baggage on your own. Bringing that baggage into a new relationship puts strain on it. It’s also unfair to burden a stranger with this emotional baggage. We are responsible for healing our own hearts. If you find yourself complaining on a date, notice it, and change the behavior. After the date, honestly ask yourself if you’re in the right mindset to be dating. If you are, practice mindfulness on future dates and avoid complaining. If you aren’t, take a breather for a couple months to regain your happiness on your own. It’ll only make your next relationship that much stronger.
10. Avoid Revealing Too Much of Yourself
Mindful dating is free of ego. Often, when we reveal much about ourselves we do so to put ourselves up on a pedestal. We share intimate details with others because we want them to like us. Answer questions that your date asks honestly. However, don’t overshare information that they didn’t ask about. If the other person hasn’t asked about past relationships, don’t talk about them. Share the information the other person wants to know. You may notice a pattern of the types of questions they ask, this may help you understand what type of person they’re looking for. Aim to be humble as you discuss who you are. Instead of bragging about accomplishments or achievements, share who you are at your core.
You also don’t need to reinvent yourself or change who you are for the other person. Be mindful if you feel the urge to put on a personality for the other person. Be yourself because the person you want to find should get to know the real you.
11. Reject and Be Rejected Mindfully
Ultimately, only one relationship will end in marriage. That means that all but one person you date will end up as a life partner. In the event that you are rejecting a person, be mindful of who that person is. If the person made you feel uncomfortable, aim to remember that they’re still a human being who may still be figuring life out. Be accepting that some people have different values and life experiences that shape them. Avoid ending a relationship via text, email, or some other impersonal method. Be honest about the incompatibility you’ve noticed and wish them well on their dating endeavors.
Likewise, if someone rejects you, don’t take it personally. Remember that not all match-ups will work out. Ultimately, you’re now one step closer to finding someone who is compatible with you. Relationships need to be mutual for it to last. If one person made the difficult decision to be honest with you, knowing that it would hurt you, remember that the decision was made in your best interest as well. You will find someone you’re compatible with one day, but that means not all dates will progress.
Mindful dating can help you become aware of your dating habits. It can also help you ensure that you’re dating a person you’re compatible with to ensure the long-term success of a relationship. By dating mindfully, you’ll notice how you feel on a date, how you approach dating, and how to prevent making the mistakes you’ve made in past relationships. You’ll be more likely to approach dating in terms of getting to know someone to allow both of you to mutually fall in love. May you find great love with this practice of mindful dating.