Discover the beauty of mindful dating, fostering genuine connections and meaningful relationships through presence and intention.

You Need This Mindful Dating Guide

When you’re ready to pursue a real relationship, it’s important to be aware of your wants and needs going into the dating scene. Mindfulness is often associated with aspects of mental health like anxiety and motivation. Now, mindfulness is applied to numerous aspects of life, like dating. Because we love a self-aware queen or king here at Once, we’re here to guide you in your mindful dating journey to help you become more self-aware, have a more positive dating experience, and (hopefully!) find someone worthwhile.

What Is Mindful Dating? (meaning, definition, examples)

It seems like many people are only interested in casual relationships or just hookups nowadays. It seems like this, but we promise, it’s not everyone. Many attractive, like-minded singles, like yourself, are seeking healthy, authentic relationships.

So what exactly is mindful dating? How can you date “mindfully”? It’s about recognizing and being aware of your thoughts and emotions and understanding your values while being out and about in the dating scene.

Ana’s experience on dating apps got her down until she met Joshua for their first dinner date. “I accidentally went up to the wrong guy, thinking it was Joshua, and quickly realized 2 minutes later whoops! Turns out, he was sitting on the other side of the restaurant and noticed my mistake, we both laughed about it and I was instantly attracted to his warmth and friendliness. It felt so comfortable being honest, from which we realized that we had similar goals in life and that this was something worth really pursuing!”

By not only being truthful to yourself but also being honest with the other person, you set your boundaries, gain respect, and very importantly, don’t waste your time.

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Tips on How to Date Mindfully

How can you get from first date after first date after first date (so exhausting) to a first date that turns into something meaningful? It comes down to being more mindful and aware of what you want in a partner. Here are our top tips on how to start dating mindfully.

Know What You’re Looking for BEFORE Going to the Date

Figure out what you’re looking for in a partner even before agreeing to go on dates. It’s really helpful if you make a list of qualities that are “a must” for you, for example:

  • Must be kind, friendly, and adventurous
  • Must have a stable job that they also enjoy
  • Must honestly communicate with me
  • Must want/not want kids (thankfully people are more transparent about this on their profiles so you may know this even before date #1)

Setting a sort of “goal” to meet will give you a great baseline to start from so you’re not just wading around in shark-infested waters hoping something great will just appear. Understand your values and recognize what qualities are truly important to you for your ideal partner to have.

Set boundaries

Setting boundaries is HARD, especially when you’ve never done it before or if you’re a grade-A people pleaser. It is difficult but very necessary when trying to establish a meaningful relationship with someone. It’s ideal to make these known early on to avoid misunderstandings.

Did the other person invite you to their place after date #1 and you felt unease? Did they try to make physical contact with you too soon? Or, did they ask toooooo personal questions from the get-go?

Take some time to understand what you are comfortable with and what you are not.

Some boundaries can be:

  • No kissing on the first date
  • Taking responsibility for one’s actions
  • Honest communication always

Listen Attentively

Once you’ve set some goals and are on a date, don’t be the one talking the entire date (we know you’re nervous and that’s okay!). Try to relax and ask them thoughtful questions that will help you get some of the answers you’re looking for. Listen to what they are saying and take some mental notes on things you feel are important to them. Soft eye contact and leaning toward them will also show them you are fully present.

Date People with Similar Interests

Explore potential relationships with people who have similar interests as you do. We’re not saying they have to like absolutely everything you like, but a few is an excellent starting point. Having similar interests helps build on your connection and could be something you can do together.

You’ll see this on the Once app listed as “Vibes” and you can select several options depending on how you are as a person. Are you a wine-drinking beach lover? We have that. Are you a sensitive romantic who loves to cook? We have those too.

Date More than One Person

Dating more than one person is okay with some people and for others, it’s just too much. If the idea of seeing multiple people at once is too much or too complicated for you, that’s totally okay. We are encouraging this simply because it’s a great way to explore the variety of people out there and it can help you not get too attached to one person early on in dating.

You have the option to meet the adventurous Leo who loves surfing and puppies while also seeing George, the handsome, more reserved indie music lover. It can be fun to explore and date around, but of course, do what is comfortable for you!

Obstacles of Mindful Dating

While on your mindful dating journey, you may encounter some obstacles depending on factors like mood, self-esteem, or circumstance. Some obstacles include:

Negative Mindset and Complaining

Nobody wants to date a negative nelly. It tends to feel like a drag and brings your mood down. Mindful dating should be a fun and positive experience for both parties so it’s important to reflect on how you are feeling before going into the date. If you’ve had a bad week at work or are just mentally exhausted from family or friends, maybe postpone the date until you are feeling more positive and energetic. Your energy will not go unnoticed and of course, you want to make a positive impression on your potential partner.

Taking Things Personally (especially rejection)

Not taking things personally is a driving factor for success when mindfully dating. By “detaching” from taking things personally, you free yourself from over-thinking and questioning your value and strength. Rejection is not a nice feeling (we’ve all been there!) and it can leave you feeling a little worthless and asking yourself “What did I do wrong?”

Learn to come from a secure place when you go on dates and remember how great you are. Just because someone doesn’t see that, does not mean you aren’t amazing. Don’t be afraid to let go of someone who doesn’t see you for you. It is not your problem that they can’t recognize how great you are!

Know your worth.

Not Revisiting Why Your Past Dating Experiences Didn't Work Out

Reflect on your past dating experiences and make some observations. Why didn’t we continue seeing each other? Did we not have much in common? Were ethical views misaligned? Or something else?

Many times, we’re just not on the same page with each other due to lack of communication amongst other things. It happens. Make sure to reflect on the potential problems but also make sure you do some self-reflection, because sadly you are not perfect, none of us are! We're all just doing our best out here. See if there was anything that could’ve been better from your side (attitude, attentiveness, care) so you can rearrange and put your best self forward with your future mindful dating experiences.

Be Mindful Together

Meeting someone who you match well with is exciting! You like them, they like you, and you have similar interests and goals. Maintaining a positive relationship requires nurturing and there are many ways that you can be mindful together.

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Be Fully Present

When you’re together, be attentive and in the moment. Set your phone aside and limit other distractions so you can listen and talk to each other with little to no interruptions. This will promote a positive connection and show your partner that you want to really be in their presence.

Schedule Quality Time Together

Schedule a time that works for both of you to spend time together. Whether it’s watching a movie, going on a walk, or having a picnic together, the main thing is you two are together, nurturing your relationship in whichever way feels the most comfortable.

Do Activities you Both Love Together

Doing fun activities together is such a great way to strengthen your connection! Do you both like art? Take an art class together. Love sports? Go watch a game sometime or play the sport together. You can even make it a fun little competition and play against each other. Whichever activities you both love, find some time to enjoy them together.

Mindful and slow dating is going to be a wonderful experience that moves you into the next phase of your love life where you can establish meaningful relationships. This decision to date mindfully is a great opportunity to get to know yourself more, find what you want, and grow. Once encourages you to have meaningful relationships with only one match a day because we know hookup culture is out, being caring and mindfully online dating is in.

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