Have you ever found yourself asking what is mindful dating? You’ve likely heard of the latest trends in mindfulness such as mindful habits, mindful eating or even mindful dieting. But have you ever heard of mindful dating? Mindful dating helps you approach the dating scene, as well as potential relationships in a new and potentially healthier way. This approach can help you better understand your feelings as you become more aware within the connections you make. Mindful dating may help you increase your self-awareness too. In this article we’ll break down what mindful dating is and how it can help plus 9 tips to help you become a more mindful dater to create harmony in your love life as well as your heart.
What is Mindful Dating?
Mindfulness in dating is the process of being present and focused in the moment while taking notice of your thoughts, feelings and physical sensations. Some consider it to be the practice of being good to yourself while actively dating. Dating mindfully means that you’ll be aware of and acknowledge your personal values, feelings, emotional responses and your behaviors while searching for a partner. It’s also about exploring romance thoughtfully, and at a comfortable pace. Finally, it’s about accepting rejection with grace and dignity should the relationship not work out, and empowering yourself to move forward to continue proactively dating.
Mindfulness In Dating: 8 Tips To Promote Harmony Within Your Heart
1 Take notice of your chemistry. Dating isn’t always easy, and when we’re anxious, excited, nervous or even scared it can feel overwhelming. In mindful dating, we make it a point to notice when our emotions are growing stronger- or perhaps growing weaker. While feeling “that hot spark” of chemistry can feel thrilling, there are actually 2 types of chemistry in a good relationship. These 2 types of chemistry may come as a surprise to you. First, there’s that electrifying spark which often compliments attraction and physical intimacy, but then there’s also the sense of comfort that comes from feeling safe in your date’s presence. It’s this aspect of chemistry that helps lay the foundation for good emotional intimacy. Take inventory of the chemistry you share with your date. Are both types of chemistry present?
2 Consider your (& their) actions. Body language can be an important indicator during a date. It can let you pick up on their vibes, revealing how they’re feeling toward you. Being aware of your own responses to their behavior may also offer you insight to your own feelings. Do you feel lightening race up your spine when they touch your hand? Are they leaning in when you’re speaking over dinner or are they seemingly lost in watching the crowd in the restaurant, barely aware of your presence? Taking notice of their behavior as well as your own may offer key insights to the atmosphere of your connection.
3 Allow yourself time to gauge your feelings. First dates can feel exciting but also unnerving, especially if you’re meeting for the first time. While some may experience a seemingly instant click together, that isn’t always the case. When making a meaningful connection with someone new, it can take several dates before you experience the initial feelings of emotional safety with them, let alone know whether or not you might consider a relationship with them. That said, in mindful dating it may be helpful to give yourself some time to see how you feel. Allowing yourself time to enjoy a few dates together can offer you both a chance to let your connection develop, as well as see how it makes you feel.
4 Be an active listener & communicator. When we practice mindful dating, we make an effort in awareness, particularly regarding communication. There is a difference between listening, and actually hearing when someone is speaking to us. It’s important to be thoughtful of our words, both given as well as received. Being an active listener reveals your interest in them, as well as their interest in you. Are they fully engaged in your exchange, or are they talking over you? Are you having trouble getting a word in? Or, are you finding a lack of interest in your date’s conversation topic choices? Making an effort in awareness goes hand-in-hand in being present, and a healthy conversation always consists of a balanced exchange.
5 Mind your mood & mindset. In mindful dating, we’re aware of our feelings. We want to put our best selves forward while still being authentic. How are you feeling during the date? And what about afterward? While dating can bring up all types of feelings, we want to consider how we feel when we’re with our date. Do you feel content, comfortable and excited about your time together? Or, are you finding yourself complaining, or are they? It’s helpful to be aware of our moods, especially just before, during and after a date because they can offer valuable insight on how the person makes us feel.
6 Let the ego… go. When spending time with another person, think about being on the receiving end of the words you’re about to speak. For example, when someone complains about their exes to their date, this can feel uncomfortable for the person having to listen to the stories of drama and criticisms about exes who are supposedly no longer in the picture – so why are they being brought up in conversation?
When someone speaks negatively about an ex, oftentimes this reveals that they still harbor intense feelings for the person. This may be a “red flag” for some, not to mention unpleasant to have to listen to during a date. While it may feel good for our ego in the moment to criticize our ex or offer agreement when our date is lamenting over theirs, it’s best to keep the conversation about the connection at hand (yours.) Besides, you don’t want your date to assume they’ll end up on the end of an old relationship rant just in case the two of you ever broke up!
7 Give yourself permission to be authentic. As the old saying gores, you only get one chance to make a first impression! So, of course you want yours to be stellar. However, it’s helpful to keep in mind that a little goes a long way with gilding the lily. You are you, and there is only one you. You deserve love and to be loved for being you. While it’s perfectly understandable to want to show off your best self, remember that you want to be comfortable being with someone who is also comfortable with you. You certainly can’t appreciate one another if you’re all wrapped up in trying to put on a show, or be on display. Be authentically you.
8 Be a proactive, rejection-proof dater. Rejection sucks. But as a mindful dater you know that disappointment and even rejection is an aspect of life. While it isn’t fun, rejection doesn’t have to get you down. Rather, it can build resilience and empower strength. Remember, there are billions of people in this world. You only need one. Your one. You don’t need 25 simultaneous relationships, you just want your one.
But, in order to find your one, this means you’ll have to go through billions of other people (or at least a few coffee dates) to meet them, and you may kiss a few frogs on the way. Being rejected can lead to feelings of sadness. It’s especially hard if you feel the connection is going well and they suddenly stop texting you, cold turkey. This is why mindful dating is helpful in the respect that we’re exercising active awareness. In mindful dating, we understand that rejection is just part of life, and we keep moving forward.
9 Last but not least, safety first! Mindfulness isn’t just about how we feel about ourselves or a relationship. It may also play a role in our ability to listen to our gut instincts when it comes to safety. With the advent of online dating and apps, not to mention new dating platforms springing-up often, it’s important to take your personal safety seriously. Always use good common sense. Examples can include meet in a busy, well-lighted public place, especially for the first date. Also, letting friends or family know where you’re going, with whom and when is an excellent safety measure. There are even safety apps available now to help streamline the process.
Don’t allow your first date jitters overtake your ability to think calmly and rationally. Do they look like their photo? Is there a previously unmentioned, rather noticeable differential in age? While appearances and age gaps are not necessarily dealbreakers and while it’s the person inside that really matters, ambushing you with something that should’ve been mentioned from the start may take you off guard. Pay attention to your gut instincts. Always be proactive about your personal safety.