Dating With Intention: What It Means And How To Do It (And Change Your Love Life!)

You’re putting yourself out there and doing everything you can to find love. However, things just never really pan out. While you don’t want to be alone forever, you’re starting to think it might happen. Take a deep breath — it’s going to be okay. You just need to switch up your approach and start dating with intention. Once you do, everything will change for the better.

What does it mean to date with intention?

Dating with intention means approaching dating with a clear understanding of what you want to get out of it and being assertive in what you do and the decisions you make. It’s all about being mindful of your values, goals, and priorities, and making choices that align with them. It also includes being extra thoughtful about the people you go out with and the relationships you choose to enter into to ensure they fit into your present life and the life you envision for yourself.

This might seem pretty obvious, but it definitely contrasts with how most people actually approach dating. Because you want to find a partner and you believe in keeping an open mind, you may end up being a bit haphazard and lacking focus. You want as many experiences with as many different people as possible to increase your chances of coming across something (or someone) that sticks. Sadly, this ends up making it harder to do so. That’s where intentional dating can help.

What dating with intention looks like

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  1. Clarifying your values and relationship goals This is the first step towards dating with intention. While you might be anxious to get out there, take a breath. First, take some time to reflect on what’s important to you in a relationship and what you want to get out of dating. Consider things like your long-term goals, the type of partner you’re looking for, and what values you won’t compromise on. Having a clear picture in your head will go a long way in helping you find it.
  2. Communicating your intentions and expectations Don’t worry that the person you’re seeing is going to think you’re nuts or that you’re going to come on too strong. It’s important that you’re upfront about what you ultimately want in life and love and what you expect from a potential partner. While they might not be into it, at least you don’t waste your time (or theirs).
  3. Being selective about who you date Instead of going on dates with anyone who shows interest, be selective about who you spend your time with. Look for people who share your values, have similar goals and interests, and are compatible with you. Dating with intention means ruling out people who are obviously not a good fit from the get-go.
  4. Taking things slow The impulse to lock things down the minute you feel a spark with someone is real. We get it. However, it’s not going to do you any favors. You want to be sure when you do give someone your heart, it’s to someone who knows how to handle it with care. Slow down, take a deep breath, and take things step by step.
  5. Being patient This really is key and goes hand in hand with taking things slow. Building a meaningful relationship takes time and effort, so it’s important to be patient and not rush things. You should enjoy the process of getting to know someone and trust that if it’s meant to be between you, your connection won’t have an expiration date.
  6. Focusing on building a connection Admittedly, this is one part of intentional dating you may already be doing. Don’t get caught up in stuff that doesn’t matter. Forget about physical attraction or surface-level qualities. While these things are obviously important, it’s better to focus on building a deeper connection with your partner. This can help you build a more meaningful relationship that lasts.
  7. Practicing self-care It’s hard out there for a single girl. That means you need to make sure you’re taking care of yourself throughout the process of looking for love. Make sure you’re getting enough rest, eating well, exercising, and doing things that bring you joy and make you feel peaceful. Whatever self-care looks like to you, make time for it.
  8. Being honest with yourself and the people you date Nothing good begins with a lie. In addition to being upfront about what you want, ensure you’re being honest, too. Don’t play down your feelings or brush them under the carpet to keep the peace. Tell people the truth even if it’s easier to be dishonest. This can help you build trust and create a foundation for a healthy relationship.
  9. Learning from past experiences Dating withi intention doesn’t mean you’ll never make mistakes. However, when you do mess up, learn from it. Take the time to reflect on what’s happened and what lessons it can teach you. Identify any patterns or behaviors that may have contributed to the failure of these relationships and work to change them.
  10. Practicing active listening People want to be heard. When you’re on a date, practice active listening by fully engaging in the conversation, asking questions, and showing interest in what the other person has to say. This doesn’t just help you connect on a deeper level, but it can also give you a greater understanding of who they are and what makes them tick.
  11. Being open to new experiences Intentional dating doesn’t mean you have to be rigid or close-minded. Don’t be afraid to try new things and step outside of your comfort zone. This can help you meet new people, learn more about yourself, and potentially find a partner who shares your interests and passions.
  12. Setting boundaries It’s important to set boundaries and communicate them with your partner. This can help you protect your emotional and physical well-being and create a healthy relationship dynamic. And if the other person crosses your boundaries? Kick them to the curb immediately.

How can this help your dating life?

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  1. It clarifies your goals and values. This is 100% necessary if you want to be able to identify the type of relationship that you want and what you’re looking for in a partner. This can help you make more informed decisions and avoid wasting time and energy on relationships that aren’t a good fit. This is one of the biggest benefits of dating with intention, without a doubt.
  2. It increases your chances of finding a compatible partner.  By being selective about who you date and focusing on building a connection with your partner, you’ll increase your chances of finding a compatible partner who is a good match for you. It’s really that simple. The major goal of intentionality is weeding out all the nonsense and paring things down to what matters. Once you’ve done this, everything starts to fall into place.
  3. It improves your communication skills. Intentional dating requires good communication skills, which are essential for building a healthy and fulfilling relationship. By being clear about your intentions and expectations and actively listening to your partner, you’ll develop better communication skills that will make your connections, both romantic and platonic, that much better.
  4. It helps you learn from past experiences. Because you’re taking time to reflect your experiences and how your behaviors contributed to the outcomes, you learn a lot about yourself. When you identify those harmful patterns, you can actually work to change them. Not only that, but you’ll actually be able to change them. That’s pretty cool.
  5. It builds a foundation for a healthy relationship. By approaching dating with intention and purpose, you’ll build a stronger foundation for a relationship that’s built to last. You’ll be more likely to create a relationship based on trust, respect, and mutual understanding, which are essential for a long-lasting and satisfying partnership.
Jennifer has been the managing editor of Bolde since its launch in 2014. Before that, she was the founding editor of HelloGiggles and also worked as an entertainment writer for Bustle and Digital Spy. Her work has been published in Bon Appetit, Decider, Vanity Fair, The New York TImes, and many more.