by Tammy Moran – counsellor and sex educator / kai – bodysex therapist and sex educator
If there is one inviolate of dating, then it’s simply there are no rules! Dating is not black and white. Dating is a mix of many colours. Consider some of these mindful dating tools. Give yourself permission to feel into the dating experience. Do what works. Don’t worry about what you’re not doing, or should be doing. Allow yourself to enjoy the experiences you are having. Follow your inner mind/emotional intuition – if something doesn’t feel right then, it’s usually the case. Remember to communicate your intentions clearly, openly and honestly with a degree of sensitivity. Maintain a sense of curiosity about the person you are dating. Dating should be fun and exciting. Respect your dates differences of opinion. Keep natural momentum flowing. It takes two to tango – so dance with it. Be kind to yourself and your date. Remember to thank your partner. If you’re on your first date, take a couple of slow deep breaths before you meet the person and smile.
Dr Jack Morin reflects on how couples should navigate sexually. “theories about how couples should behave are of little value and do great harm by setting up unrealistic expectations and distracting the couple from delicate adjustments, compromises, and inspirations that have the best chance of working”. This same idea applies to dating. You need to be open to navigating, adjusting, compromising and inspiring one another during your dating experiences. If you can’t do this and it’s not working for you consider moving on.
For a lot of us, it can be hard to know what we are up for until we experience something we really don’t want. Tammy Moran
Be mindful when dating, people who do not communicate their true intentions or are in avoidance states. These are people you may not want to attract. Some people who are dating don’t know who they are. This is ok. There can be many reasons for this. Some people are still struggling with sexual identity, holding on to trauma/pain from past relationships, unsure about where they are heading in life, have rules about dating, drug/alcohol addiction, and many other reasons. Sometimes it takes a dating experience to awaken these people’s consciousness and jump-start the questions they should be having with themselves.
If you are on the dating bandwagon and don’t know who you are? Then you should consider getting off. Start dating and searching for yourself. By putting yourself in a position of dating, you are telling other daters that you are emotionally available. When you may not be. When you are emotionally available to yourself, then you can be emotionally available to others. Dating requires you to become vulnerable. That is, you are putting most of the vulnerabilities about you on display. If you are consistently holding back, pulling away or blocking that vulnerability, it’s not going to work. Consider talking to myself or Tammy about these concerns.
Tammy – I love what Kai has said about mindful dating! It’s totally right you need to be able to know in yourself (if) and (what) you are ready for – and then the hard part is trying to honour that.
For a lot of us, it can be hard to know what we are up for until we experience something we really don’t want. A helpful exercise I like to do with my clients in a session is to run them through a process where I guide them to check into three core parts of themselves; their body, heart and then their mind. It can be a great process to help the person work out what they actually want? With the myriad of dating apps, websites and singles events it can be a great navigation tool to have with you.
The process can be straightforward to even do on your own. First find a comfy space, close your eyes and then take a few breaths. Drop into your body and think about the experiences that have really turned your body on. What did that feel like in your body? Once you have a sense of that arousal and what it feels like, think about the sorts of people or experiences that get you there and whether that is what you are looking for? Then you can move to your heart. Breathe into the centre of your chest and feel into what sort of feelings you have felt before and might be looking for again or if there is something new that calls you. Finally, take some deep breaths and bring your attention to your head and think about what kind of relationship you are looking for and what values in a person you are looking for. Then you can maybe write up what you came up with on a sheet of paper and see if you have a bit more insight into what calls you.
It’s entirely up to you what you do with this information! There’s no harm in being open to multiple experiences. No need to put limits on what you want to experience, but it can be beneficial to be clear in what you don’t want.
This exercise is also useful to do when you have started seeing someone and are trying to determine where you might want things to go or not go. Simply follow as above but this time let the focus be on how you feel about this person as you feel into your; body, heart and the mind. See if there is an alignment or potential for this connection to align with what your whole self is looking for.
All dating experiences have the potential to blossom/or flounder. Date consciously with truth and conviction in yourself. Becoming mindful during dating will give you the confidence to attract similar people. Wishing you warm fuzzies in your dating experiences.