Women's Dating

Mindful Dating: 5 Ways to Adopt This Mentality Plus 4 Sites to Try

Rachel Dack • 6/14/17 •
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Mindfulness is a way of approaching and experiencing the world, being present and aware, making decisions and life choices, and being in a relationship with yourself and others. You don’t have to meditate to be mindful (although, you certainly can), and you can access a mindful mentality in a quick second.

Jon Zabat-Zinn, Mindfulness Expert and Founder of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR), defines mindfulness as “awareness that arises through paying attention, on purpose, in the present moment, non-judgmentally.” Basically, being mindful is about being present and acknowledging your thoughts and feelings without judgment.

Research finds numerous physical and mental health benefits of mindfulness, and being mindful can do wonders for your love life.

As dating tends to bring up nerves and insecurities, it’s common to seek protection from rejection by not actually being open and present and, instead, act distant or indifferent. Being in protective mode hinders availability for true intimacy and connection, which is where mindfulness comes in. Mindful dating involves being completely present, available, and authentic throughout the highs and lows of dating, even when anxious, insecure, or excited.

In this article, I’ll take you through five ways to apply a mindful approach to your dating life as well as four mindful dating websites you can use to stick with this new mentality.

Being Mindful | Mindful Dating Sites

5 Ways to Adopt a Mindful Dating Approach

A mindful approach to dating extends deeper than going through the motions by responding to online dating messages and saying yes to dates. It’s about openness and understanding that simply showing up for a date and participating in small talk is not enough. It’s about getting clear on what you’re looking for and taking deliberate action that’s in line with your values and goals. It’s about going on dates with appropriate matches and not playing games. It’s about letting go of judgment and gaining comfort in being yourself.

1. Deepen Your Understanding of Dating

You should also deepen your understanding of how you feel in the presence of potential matches. Understand that finding a partner is not about checking off boxes, finding someone who looks good on paper, or just showing up to a date. It is about connecting in the present moment through being vulnerable, taking the time to get to know someone, and exploring how you feel around them (without judgment, of course).

Once you understand yourself and what you want out of dating, the whole process becomes easier. You just need to have that ah-ha moment.

Tune in to how you feel around someone new instead of convincing yourself to like or not like someone based on how they appear on paper or what other people in your life will think. Ask yourself “How do I feel around this person? How do I feel after spending time with this person? Do I like who I am around this person? What does this person bring out in me? What feelings were provoked?” Use the answers to the above questions as emotional clues to determine how you feel and let go of any shoulds or supposed-tos.

2. Get Clear On Your Dating Desires and Goals

Start by considering the type of partner you want to attract and reflecting on what is important to you in a relationship. Spend time fine-tuning who you’re looking for, examining the type of relationship you hope to gain, and digging deep into your values.

Think of dating as you would anything else — you need to go into it prepared if you want to have success.

Then be deliberate about who you ask out or say yes to dates with. Remember being mindful is the opposite of dating without a purpose, playing games with potential partners, and keeping score.

3. Take On a Mindful, Non-Judgmental Approach to Your Thoughts and Feelings

Be aware of your beliefs, thoughts, feelings, projections, assumptions, and history as these all affect how you relate to others. Be an observer to your thoughts and feelings and take an objective approach. Don’t judge yourself for how you feel. Instead, let your emotions come and go without attachment.

Don’t let negative thoughts hinder you — practice breathing exercises to let those feelings flow right out of your mind. Photo source: Fox2Detroit.com.

Use your breath as an anchor and let go of urges for rumination and obsessive thinking. Understand your thoughts are simply thoughts (and are not necessarily accurate) and you don’t have to buy into them or investigate them. Imagine your thoughts and feelings passing, changing, and shifting like clouds in the sky.

4. Be Present and Stay in the Moment

All too often we function on autopilot, which significantly blocks connection in our relationships. Notice yourself zoning out or getting caught up in your thoughts and utilize your five senses to get back into the moment.

We’re all busy, but try to be present when you’re online dating or on a date instead of wanting to quickly move to the next thing.

For example, if you notice yourself getting caught up in anxious thoughts on a date, redirect yourself to the present by truly tasting your food or drink, listening actively, observing what is around you, etc. Also, be aware that getting ahead of yourself and moving too quickly can also result in dating challenges and lack of success. Remind yourself to slow down. For example, if it’s July and you’ve been on three dates with someone, don’t plan to spend Thanksgiving together. Bring yourself back to what is happening now and growing your connection in this moment.

5. Date With Intention and Be Conscious of the Energy You’re Putting Out

Think about who you want to be and be that person during the inevitable challenges dating brings. Have compassion, be kind, and be patient. Practice being less reactive in high-stress situations or when things don’t go your way by pausing and checking in with yourself before acting.

Instead of letting quickfire reactions take over, take time to analyze every dating situation and the best way to handle it. Photo source: TinyBuddha.com.

Get centered by focusing on your breathing and being mindful of your breath. Stay present and aligned with yourself to attract a good match and make dating a calmer, more enjoyable experience.

Mindful Dating Sites to Try

Mindful dating isn’t limited to your interpersonal thoughts and in-person interactions with others — the tips above also apply to your online dating life. Below are four dating websites that are not only great options for finding a match but also for maintaining a mindful mentality.

1. Match

Match is the most well-established and respected dating site on the web. It was launched in 1995 before any other, and it has created more romantic connections than any other. Strictly for dates, relationships, and marriages, Match is a go-to for mindful daters.

Match.com is a well-known and trusted dating site, having led to more dates, marriages, and relationships than any other site. Full Review »

Overall Rating ★★★★★ 4.9/5.0
Gender Ratio M: 49% | F: 51%*
Popularity 13.5 Million*

In addition to its reputation, Match has the numbers to back it up — more than 30 million members and 13.5 million visitors every month. And with numerous search features, you won’t have any trouble finding someone who has a similar mindful mindset.

2. Elite Singles

Your chances of meeting mindful men and women on Elite Singles are very high — over 2,500 members a month find love through the site. Another priority to its members is education, as 82% hold a bachelor’s, master’s, or doctorate degree. If that’s a priority for you as well, give Elite Singles a try.

Elite Singles is the premier dating site for educated professionals. Most members are upper-income with college degrees, and its impressive Fraud Detection system ensures no-nonsense dating. Full Review »

Overall Rating ★★★★★ 4.9/5.0
Gender Ratio M: 43% | F: 57%*
Popularity 290,000*

The site offers a free membership that never expires, so you can test drive everything it has to offer and fully commit only when you’re ready.

3. eHarmony

Thanks to its backing by psychologist Dr. Neil Clark Warren and an in-depth personality and matching questionnaire, eHarmony is a fantastic choice for mindful singles, as it’s straightforward, game-free atmosphere will lead them to their ideal partner.

Accounting for 4% of U.S. marriages, eHarmony's compatibility-based system and commitment-minded user base are ideal for those seeking a serious relationship. Full Review »

Overall Rating ★★★★ 4.3/5.0
Gender Ratio M: 48% | F: 52%*
Popularity 4.1 Million*

Something else you might like about eHarmony is how easy it is to use. Once you fill out your profile and take the test (which could take as few as 10 minutes to as long as an hour), the site will do the rest for you. Compatible match suggestions will appear in your inbox every day, and eHarmony even helps with the communication process if you’re nervous about breaking the ice.

4. MeetMindful

It’s in the name itself — MeetMindful.com is dedicated to daters with a cognizant outlook on every aspect of life. “Where mindful living meets online dating,” MeetMindful was created around 2013 and has been encouraging people to form meaningful bonds ever since.

MeetMindful is one of the top dating sites for singles who want to be more mindful in their actions and are looking for those who feel the same.

You can take MeetMindful when you’re on the go as well — just download it on the App Store. It’s free to do so, and the app is compatible on phones and tablets.

Being a Mindful Dater Starts With Being Mindful in Life

Remember mindfulness is always available to you. You can practice mindfulness everywhere and through everything life brings. By engaging in a mindful perspective to dating, you will date with more intention and focus, be more open to appropriate matches, be less likely to judge yourself and others, and be available for greater connection and, in turn, increased dating success.

About The Author

Rachel Dack is a licensed clinical professional counselor (LCPC) and relationship coach specializing in individual and couples psychotherapy. Rachel's areas of expertise include relationships, dating, mindfulness, anxiety, depression and self-esteem. To connect with Rachel or to learn more about her psychotherapy and relationship coaching services, please visit www.RachelDack.com or follow her on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and Instagram. Buy her book "Sexy Secrets to a Juicy Love Life" on Amazon.