Dating can feel like a floorless rollercoaster that ends with a disappointing final drop. Each time your anticipation builds in the hope that this one is the one, only to be let down when the date comes to a lackluster end. Technology gives us more options by shoving dating sites and dating apps in our face, but more isn’t always better. It’s easy to waste a ton of time dating because, the truth is, many people don’t know what they’re looking for. Instead, they take an “I’ll know it when I see it” or “whatever happens, happens” approach to dating. At least, that’s what people used to do.
Mashable recently published an article about how 2020 changed our dating habits, called The top dating trends of 2021, so far. I was pleasantly surprised to see that being more intentional in how we date is trending! Finally, the advice of relationship coaches worldwide has been heard, and people everywhere are directing the course of their relationships.
Intentional dating is like dating with a purpose. It means getting clear about what is important to you and making decisions that support what you want. An intention is more than a dream but not as inflexible as a goal. Instead, it’s a guidepost that navigates you through the dating world.
So what do you think? Is dating with intention for you? Below are four steps to help you go from randomly dating to intentionally directing your love life.
4 Steps for Intentional Dating:
Step 1: Define your intention
Defining your intention comes down to deciding on the essence of your ideal relationship. Intentions create a feeling and vibe around the type of relationship you want. For example, “I intend to create a relationship based on love, companionship, respect and support.” Since our thoughts control our actions, keeping an intention in your head keeps you on track to get it. However, it doesn’t limit you in the way a goal might. You can’t predict how love will arrive. With an intention, you leave space for the unknowns in dating, like attraction and chemistry, without compromising the type of relationship you want.
Step 2: Notice opportunities
Once you have your intention, opportunities to meet people will come up. They’ve always been there, but now that you have an intention, you’ve trained your brain to notice them. If you don’t see any, then it’s time to shake things up. Instead of your usual hangouts (virtual or in real life), try somewhere new. Take a chance and finally say “yes” to the work gatherings you always skip. Check out networking events, talk to different types of people and expand your online communities. We have so many ways to connect. Why not take advantage of a few?
Step 3: Be a whole person
The days of searching for your other half are long gone. The best relationships involve two whole people. Continue to be yourself. Do the things you enjoy. Keep learning and reaching for goals. Who knows, your perfect partner might be sitting across from you in that class you finally decide to take. Dating isn’t just about finding love. It’s a journey of growth where you cross paths with many things you don’t want, learn a few lessons and prepare yourself for the relationship you intend to have.
Once you find the love you want, keep being you. Losing yourself in a relationship brings on a new set of problems. Read about some of them here in Losing Yourself in a Relationship is Not Romance.
Step 4: Be clear with yourself and others
Following your intention means that, along the way, some people won’t be right for you. That’s okay. In fact, that’s the point. If you show up as yourself with the people you date and have relationships with, then you’ve done your part. Sometimes, telling someone that a relationship isn’t working and staying true to your intention can be tricky. Take comfort knowing that, in honoring what you need and want, you are making the right decision for everyone involved, even if it doesn’t feel that way at the moment. The old cliché is true–honesty is the best policy.
Anything important you do in life starts with an intention. Your love life is no different. Being intentional in how you date and love is deciding to take control of your future. It also happens to be the new trend. Even if you aren’t the trendy type, give this one a shot because you don’t have to leave love up to chance.