You want a deep, meaningful relationship – with someone who sticks by you. But all you’re meeting are people who can barely make a commitment for next weekend, let alone a lifetime.
You’re tired of going on dates and coming up empty. You’re tired of the devastating cycle of getting your hopes up over somebody only to have everything come crashing down again and having to start over.
SOMETHING has to change. So let’s change things right now, beginning with your mindset.
“It seems essential, in relationships and all tasks, that we concentrate only on what is most significant and important.” – Soren Kierkegaard
Related: Do’s and Don’ts of Mindful Dating
Mindful Dating: The Critical Mindset Shift That Attracts Love
As long as you view dating as a chore, you’re going to hate it. And you’re going to show up from this negative stance, which is not conducive to getting the results you want.
First, negativity isn’t attractive. And people will sense it, even if you’re not directly communicating how much you dislike dating. Second, staying stuck in negativity takes your focus away from what truly matters in finding love.
“It is the same way with dating. The time you are most prepared for dating is when you don’t need anyone to complete you, fulfill you, or instill in you a sense of worth or purpose.” – Myles Munroe
You’ll start relationships with unsuitable people simply because you want to stop dating, and you’ll lose sight of what really matters to you. I know it can be hard to be positive about something that has brought you so much grief, and it’s hard to know where to start.
That’s why, after working with hundreds of single patients over the past 40+ years, I’ve developed a 3-step process that automatically shifts you into a positive mindset about dating AND primes you to find the love of your life.
The 3 steps are:
- Knowing who you are
- Knowing what you want, and
- Knowing what to do (and what to avoid) from the first moments of connection
This 3 step process – although seemingly simple – can completely TRANSFORM your dating experiences. Let me explain a little more about each one.
3 Steps To Mindful Dating To Avoid Disappointments When Dating
1) Knowing Who You Are
The most important person in this dating game is YOU. Before you become intimate with anyone, you must have an intimate relationship with yourself. And by that, I mean that you need to sharpen your self-awareness – including what has made you the person you are, what you have to offer a partner, and even what you need to improve.
This complete package is what you are asking another person to love, so YOU need to love it first. With a clear understanding of who you are and what you bring to a relationship, you also need to know how to present your “package” to potential partners.
I have sat with countless wonderful people who came to my office very unsure of themselves, with a vague understanding of who they were. These same people inevitably would get involved in relationships that never quite got off the ground.
When you embrace your whole self, you will be able to show up with confidence, strength, and compassion – instead of getting thrown off by the pressures of modern dating.
“Dating is about finding out who you are and who others are. If you show up in a masquerade outfit, neither is going to happen.”- Henry Cloud
2) Knowing What You Want (And Don’t Want)
You may have heard that you find love when you’re not looking for it, but that’s not exactly true.
When you have a solid goal of having a great relationship AND you develop the skills you need to create that relationship, you change your vibe from fearful and searching to hopeful and curious. That’s when love finds you.
For this to happen, you need a careful balance of knowing the kind of partner you want while allowing yourself to be surprised.
Another pitfall of modern dating is that you end up overthinking everything. Instead of living in the moment and allowing the adventure to unfold, you get locked into fixed mindsets and preconceived ideas.
For true romance and love to bloom, you need to get your thinking out of it. Yet, like any great adventure, you also need some clear parameters of what you’re willing and not willing to explore.
So, we’re not talking about whether your mate will have blue eyes or blond hair.
Instead, you need to have a clear idea of the kind of relationship and lifestyle you want for yourself, and that includes any dealbreakers – like whether it’s ok if your partner doesn’t want children or already has them. Or whether you can handle someone who needs to be very social when you’d rather stay in.
When you know your deal-breakers up front and commit to sticking to them, you prevent yourself from being blinded by early chemistry.
“Date someone because you already see a future, not because you want to see if you would work out.” – Sarah Moores
3) Knowing What To Do (And What To Avoid)
There are ways to interact from the first few moments of connection that will set the stage for an authentic, lasting relationship.
I’m talking about asking specific questions as early as the first date – questions that you previously would have avoided because you thought they were too forward or intrusive.
The reality is that people are MUCH more likely to tell you what they’re all about when they haven’t yet invested in a relationship. The irony is that as they “spill the beans,” you’ll be accomplishing two things:
- You’ll create a connection that is much more profound than you’d normally experience so early on – the kind of connection that lets two people know that something special is happening. And this kind of connection is like crazy glue that will hold you together.
- On the other hand, you’ll also be able to tell very early – before you get your heart involved – if this person does NOT have what it takes to create lasting love with you.
The Critical Importance Of Your First Few Dates
How you handle the early stages of dating is critical to your happiness in love. After 40 years of counseling couples in crisis, I’ve seen over and over that the majority of their struggles could have been prevented had they practiced smart dating skills early on.
In fact, many of the problems that are making them question their love and compatibility can be traced back to their first few months of dating.
Written by Randi Gunther Ph.D.
Originally appeared in Heroic Love