4 Tips for Mindful Dating: How to Go from Dating to a Relationship

Sand Heart

Dating is a dance of harmony and attraction. Being attracted to someone physically is a subjective matter. While matching your desired criteria has become electronically possible through computer software, it certainly does not guarantee you a harmonious relationship. That part is up to you.

In my own life, and in my work with others, I have found a simple process for personal transformation that can be applied to any area where you are facing obstacles — divorce, layoffs, addictions, and even dating.

My process follows the acronym D.A.N.C.E :

1. Discover Your Emotions
2. Awaken to Your Beliefs
3. Name Your Patterns
4. Cancel Your Polarities
5. Embrace Your True Self

So what does it take to move the dating pendulum from casual to a more long-term relationship? Let’s apply the DANCE process to dating:

1. Believe You Are Lovable

All of us desire to be seen, loved, and live harmoniously with a significant other but few of us believe we can. The reason is that deep down we have experienced some level of rejection, abandonment, hurt or disillusion. It could have come from our parents’ relationship, family conflict or our own past. This deeply held belief, without even being aware of it, is actually hindering our ability to attract and keep our dream partner.

It is important that you stop and pay attention to that little voice inside your head. Is it telling you negative things about yourself? Is it amounting to a belief that you are not good enough, not lovable enough? If you become consciously aware of these negative beliefs, you will have the power to replace them with their opposite: you are good enough and you are lovable. Affirm this belief every morning when you wake up and every night before you go to bed: “I am lovable and I can create a great relationship.” This can apply to whatever you want to create in your life.

2. Clear your Emotional Triggers

The emotional dating cycle starts with being absolutely clear on the criteria you would like to see in your partner and accepting to live with them. If you swear that you will never fall for a handsome guy again because your handsome husband cheated on you, you are letting your past trigger your future. You may become unsatisfied and anytime a handsome guy asks you out, it could trigger your negative emotions. You don’t want to be in a situation where you blame other guys for things your husband did. Do you feel like you’ll never be able to move on? Do you wonder why the same recurring behavior is being replayed over and over again with different partners? If so, I encourage you to identify your emotional triggers and transform them.

We can identify emotional triggers by working with what I call your “emotional logo,” which will help you unearth patterns of repetition that cause the same behavior to replay with different partners. It will also help you shift childhood attitudes and behaviors in the present, decreasing defensiveness and increasing empathy towards the other. Once you discover your emotional logo, you will be able to release your triggers. You will then become empowered to develop different dating criteria based on what really matters. Rather than focusing on whether someone is physically attractive, you will be able to identify the patterns of behavior you want, and do not want, in a partner.

3. Be Authentic with your Stance

Integrity starts with you. Be authentic with what makes you comfortable, with what you want, and state it clearly to your partner. You may both want a casual relationship, based on honesty, and could be happy this way for a long time. It breaks down, however, if you are not honest about where you really stand. If you think there is no future with someone, let him or her know, even if you are scared of losing that person. Remember that as long as you hold on to what does not serve you, there will not be space for what does. What goes around comes around. Cheating is not limited to being intimate with someone else while you are in a committed relationship; you cheat whenever you hold the truth from someone with whom you are intimate.

4. Define the Space Between the Two of You

Moving from companionship to friendship to a more intimate relationship is only a question of defining the space between the two of you. To determine when and how you want to move the relationship forward has to do not only with your self-awareness but also with your social competencies. It is important to recognize the readiness of both parties, read the signals and feel your partner by developing your empathy barometer before you jump in.

Once you and the person you’re dating feel ready to move forward, take the lead and invite him or her to define the space of your relationship. If your partner is not ready, he or she may be dealing with his or her own emotional triggers that you have to respect and accept. By defining the space, you may also define the length of time that you are willing to wait for your partner. If they don’t want to move the relationship to the next level, you may want to move on with grace since your goals are no longer aligned. Don’t hesitate to discuss this space and agree on it to keep the relationship going and know its terms. If the time comes to look for a more long-term relationship, you will prevent unnecessary pain and suffering. Remember, it takes two to dance!

Dating is indeed a dance between two partners: a dance of harmony, desire, compatibility, and more. Applying these four tips will help you become a conscious partner and make dating a more enjoyable experience. Then when you are aligned with moving from dating to a long-term, intimate relationship, this process will happen more naturally and be more joyful. Happy dancing!