In the age of online dating, polyamory, and complicated dating histories, being able to stay motivated and hopeful in dating seems to be a struggle for many. Recent years have proven to be a challenge for many to understand and fully comprehend how to navigate being single and on the market. With apps like Tinder launching in 2012 there was a sudden rise in “hook up” culture and singles everywhere were unsure if they were entering something casual or a passionate love affair. Further, recent studies have reiterated that younger generations are not committing to relationships and avoiding marriage altogether

So how do you navigate, if you’re looking for more than a FWB but, are not ready to dive head first into a life-long commitment?

Mindful dating. It seems that many platforms use the word mindful, but is it fully understood? Mindfulness is the act of doing something with intention and purpose. The key here is to make intentional decision, being forthright and upfront with your actions and words. By practicing this, there is less room for excuses or confusion. However, this is not be confused with expectations. When we put expectations on others or even ourselves and our lives, we could be setting ourselves up for disappointment and failure. Acting with intention proves for a life with fulfilled promises and hopes. With mindfulness we intentionally sit through the good and bad emotions that dating brings and open our hearts to more possibilities and less regret. Mindful dating is a practice that takes time but is feasible if we are patient.


Here are four ways to start your mindful dating journey:


1.         Know your “deal breakers” and “compromises”.

From the start, know what you want and what you are willing to bend a little with. Knowing your “deal breakers” or things you will not tolerate or must see in a partner, sets forth your own intentions of what you are looking for. Being upfront with these matters with a potential partner allows for your voice and needs to be heard. However, also take the time to recognize your wants or “compromises”. These are things you may want to see or have in a partner but are willing to bend. Being realistic with these areas is key. Take into considerations that you will also be confronting a partner’s needs and wants; sometimes these can correlate or clash, but remember to remain firm and intentional. 

2.         Place yourself at the “right place at the right time”.

Where do you see yourself meeting someone that would align with your partner goals? If you’re an introvert, would you really meet someone at a loud nightclub? Or if you’re a night owl, will you meet the love of your life at an early morning hike? Being intentional in what you do and where you go is very important to mindful dating. By aligning yourself physically, you are literally putting yourself in the way of a potential partner. Keeping in mind your “deal breakers”, choose places that you find will manifest an ideal partner and one that will continue to support your growth. This is not to say you shouldn’t be out of your comfort zone and try new things but be sure that new places produce people that you can see yourself become comfortable with.

3.         Removing social media influences.

Social media is addicting and false. Simply put social media creates falsehoods of what relationships “should” look like. The reality is no one can truly capture what a healthy relationship could look like. Creating our own realities outside of what we see daily while scrolling is imperative to mindful dating. Pictures and captions of other relationships create unattainable expectations and desires. Even when you start to date someone, social media can impede growth within a couple because of mismatched understandings of expectations and validation. Remove the expectations of what social media has to offer, enjoy the presences of others, and make a relationship grow that is true to your partnership.

4.         Honesty.

Finally, I want to make something very clear, dating is what you want it to be. If you want a monogamous relationship, an open relationship or just a casual hook up, that is totally up to you (see Tip #1)!  Relationships and human connections are beautiful, make of that what you wish. The only rule here is be honest! Be honest with yourself, your support systems and your potential partners. Mindful dating is being fully aware of all your sensations and feelings, which can always change. If changes do occur, recognize them, acknowledge and move on.

your own research and what your family brings to the table.

**** Written for Meridian Counseling by: Jessica Dirk, ACSW Registered Associate Clinical Social Worker (ACSW 81562)



Contact information:

Phone: (626) 759-4461

Email: jdirks2692@gmail.com

Website: jessicadirkstherapy.com

Supervised by: Sandra Kushnir, LMFT (99225)