Date With Your Mind Body Soul

Women's Dating

Learn How to Date with Your Mind, Body, & Soul

Chloë Hylkema

Written by: Chloë Hylkema

Chloë Hylkema

Chloë Hylkema uses her writing skills to create useful and up-to-date content for DatingAdvice.com. Chloë is an Emory University grad who is familiar with what it means to date in the modern age, and she works to write material that is engaging, truthful, and as helpful as possible. Being on the front lines of the dating scene, Chloë is committed to staying engaged with the ever-changing world of dating to provide the most useful content to readers.

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Edited by: Lillian Castro

Lillian Castro

Discuss This! Discuss This!

The Short Version: Welcome to dating with your whole self. Somatic practitioner Maryanne Comaroto, PhD, talked to us about somatic therapy, the wisdom of the body, and how a well-practiced mind-body connection can elevate the dating experience. 

Several times throughout the day, I find myself on autopilot. Whether taking out the trash, washing the dishes, or driving to the grocery store – autopilot moments happen when I’m doing something routine and my thoughts begin drifting away from the task at hand.

I may be washing dishes, but I’m thinking about everything I have to get done in the day. I’m driving to the grocery store, but I’m also thinking about a friend I’ve lost touch with and how I absolutely need to start calling my grandma more.

People with busy lives often find themselves on autopilot. But if we stay on autopilot too long, one vital connection suffers: The one between our minds and bodies. 

Autopilot puts our bodies in a disconnect – our minds aren’t actively participating with our bodies. For tasks like washing the dishes and taking out the trash, this can be harmless. 

But when this disconnect extends into other areas of our lives, like our relationships with others and ourselves, it often becomes unignorable and damaging. 

In dating, the mind-body connection is essential.

Maryanne Comaroto, PhD, is a relationship activist, author, and somatic practitioner. She talked to us about somatic therapy and how its principles and approaches can be handy tools for singles looking for an intentional dating experience.

“Somatic work is about employing the agency that’s available inside your being– your body, mind, and soul,” Maryanne said. “Each person has an intuition, a wisdom that lies inside their body.”

Treatment that Sees the Whole Self

Maryanne began her career as a chemical dependency counselor and told us she never looked back. Throughout her experiences in the field, she began to investigate how therapeutic approaches operate and how they address emotional challenges.

“I became passionately interested in moving away from the theoretical or analytical aspects of understanding how we thrive,” Maryanne said. “Because when we don’t embody the kind of information we get in therapy, we’ll be in the same patterns.”

Different somatic practitioners will have differing approaches to therapy, as will different practitioners of other modalities, like talk therapy or cognitive behavioral therapy. 

somatic therapy
Somatic therapy listens to the body’s knowing.

Maryanne said these approaches, which have been helpful for many individuals, don’t incorporate the body like somatic therapy does.

“The body is involved always, even in these analytic and psychological approaches,” Maryanne told us. “But there wasn’t an emphasis on it like there is now. Somatic work is about employing the agency that’s available inside your being– your body, mind, soul.”

Unlike approaches that focus on changing thought or behavior, somatic therapy focuses on the whole self. Somatic therapy taps into the knowledge and experience the body already holds.

“It’s not necessarily a mechanical approach,” Maryanne said. “It’s a body-based approach to understanding your experience. It doesn’t count out all the other ways of understanding. It’s a more holistic approach.”

Somatic Therapy Taps Into Your Body’s Wisdom

Somatic therapy looks a bit different from traditional therapeutic approaches but shares many other elements. 

“Let’s say you were in a session with me, and you’re talking about something,” Maryanne said. “You would start by giving me the narrative about that, and then we would talk about how that felt.”

This sequence probably sounds familiar to you if you’ve done other kinds of therapy. Maryanne said that after a client establishes the narrative and verbally expresses how they feel about it, the somatic approaches begin.

A somatic practitioner may pause after a client expresses feelings and ask them to point out where in their body they feel those sensations. Practitioners help their clients connect the thoughts and feelings in their minds with the physical emotions that accompany them. 

somatic therapy
Somatic therapy helps individuals connect sensations in their minds and bodies.

Somatic therapists help patients discover the connection between their body and mind and guide them through exploring this connection. Paying attention to and nurturing the mind-body connection can have great therapeutic effects, but it can also transform one’s dating life.

“Somatic work is empowering,” Maryanne said. “Usually, we just climb over what we know and feel, and we go up into the head and do the things we think we should. In dating, knowing what’s already within you and being able to speak the language of your own body is huge.”

A strong mind-body connection can manifest in dating in knowing what you want – and what you don’t. 

“So many times, I hear people say, ‘I knew he wasn’t the right person for me,’ or ‘I knew I shouldn’t have done that,’” Maryanne said. “But they felt it and didn’t pay attention.”

A strong connection between the mind, body, and soul allows people to trust themselves more deeply. It allows them to listen to themselves and the wisdom their body can provide. 

Trust Your Knowing for Empowered Dating

Somatic therapy aims to uncover the knowledge many of us have felt. You can call it a gut instinct when the body tries to express its knowledge. Maryanne said trusting your body’s knowledge in dating can prevent unnecessary negative experiences and heartbreak.

“Some people’s gut instinct is in their heart, or it comes through this really soft knowing,” Maryanne said. “There are so many different ways people experience their knowing. It’s about getting back and aligning with that knowing so we can use it.”

Alignment with the body’s knowledge helps singles enter dating with intention and empowerment. When people get in touch with their body’s way of knowing and expressing that knowledge, they can trust themselves more deeply and navigate dating with more confidence.

trusting yourself in dating
Trust yourself in every stage of dating.

Trusting your gut is an important aspect of dating, especially when a relationship is new. A feeling of uncertainty or trepidation about a person or a relationship in the early dating periods usually doesn’t come out of nowhere. 

It could be your body’s way of telling you that this person or relationship reminds you of past experiences, which perhaps didn’t turn out great. Somatic therapy encourages patients to investigate their gut feelings and see what they are trying to tell them. 

Anxiety can make it difficult to trust your gut. The question arises: “Is that my gut instinct – or is it anxiety?”

“Some anxiety is good anxiety, and it can tell us about our healthy fears and what to avoid,” Maryanne said. “Sometimes you might be anxious for good reason.”

And then there’s closed-loop anxiety. “Closed-loop is the anxiety that’s going to say the same thing over and over. The neural network says the same thing no matter what.” This kind of anxiety still aims to protect us from something, but it’s gone haywire and can trap us in a cycle of uncertainty.

Somatic therapy doesn’t just connect the mind, body, and soul. It teaches the whole self how to listen, hear, and trust what it has to say.

“Trust in oneself is critical,” Maryanne said. “I’ve seen through somatic therapy that there is a path to becoming whole again, and it works like nothing I’ve ever seen.”