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7 Ways to Shift Your Dating Mindset

Why your dating mindset matters and how to improve it.

Source: VGstockstudio/Shutterstock

It’s no secret that your mindset can impact your health, relationships, and mood. Your mindset can also impact how you feel about dating, the subsequent actions you take, and the results that you get.

For example, imagine that you go on a bad date and think to yourself “I’ll never find anyone,” or “Dating is too hard, I’m going to be alone forever.” How would you imagine feeling if you’re experiencing these thoughts on a frequent basis? Probably pessimistic and sad. As a result, you might then turn off your dating apps or decline when friends try to set you up. Without putting yourself out there, you don’t have evidence to contradict these negative beliefs, which further strengthens them and the subsequent feelings that follow, creating a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Dating requires a certain level of vulnerability to establish a connection with someone. If you’re frequently experiencing these types of thoughts and feelings, you’ll likely feel more guarded over time and start looking for reasons why a potential relationship won’t work. It can feel particularly difficult to shift your dating mindset when you are feeling stuck. It may not feel realistic to tell yourself enthusiastically that you will find someone or that your dating luck will turn around. Consider the following tips instead:

1. Take a break from dating if needed to recharge

If dating is starting to feel like a chore and you’re feeling burned out, you’re not going to have the capacity to form an authentic connection with a potential partner. Decide how much time off from dating you’ll need and different ways you can recharge, then re-evaluate whether you’re ready to resume dating once that time comes.

2. Focus on positive examples that inspire you

Think of the couples you know that met their significant others through a dating app or another method you have been using. This can serve as a good reminder that positive outcomes can and do occur.

3. Think of ways to reframe some common negative beliefs you experience about dating

Take a piece of paper and put a line down the middle. On one side of the paper write down the negative beliefs you often experience about dating and on the other side of the paper, write a more balanced dating belief. If you feel stuck, consider what a friend or someone you trust might say to you in response to the negative belief you wrote down or ask them directly for some inspiration.

For example, instead of thinking “That date was such a waste, she was a jerk,” you can reframe this thought as “I’m glad I discovered this deal-breaker about her earlier rather than later—it saved me time.”

4. Get back in touch with the reasons why you are dating in the first place

When you are honest with yourself about why you’re dating and what you are looking for, it can help you weed out those partners that are not on the same page and also help you get through the times of irritation or stress that may arise when you are dating. Visualize how you want to feel when you have a successful dating experience that is aligned with what you want and audio record yourself discussing it or write down what you envisioned. This can serve as a powerful reminder of the reason why you’re dating in the first place.

5. Conserve your dating energy

Many people scroll dating apps all day long which can drain their energy and cause them to feel overwhelmed. Try to limit the number of matches you are talking to and consider turning off the notifications so it doesn’t feel like your phone is buzzing all day long. There is no hard and fast rule here but the people who often feel the most dating burn-out are those that are pushing themselves to use the dating apps frequently and go on a certain number of dates per week, which can feel like too much pressure and lead to them crashing and burning.

6. Limit the amount of time you spend complaining about dating

It’s great to have an outlet to express frustration with friends who understand what you’re experiencing but if you spend the majority of your time complaining about dating with them, it may impact your ability to shift your mindset and contribute to engaging in worst-case scenario thinking.

7. Practice mindfulness when you’re feeling pessimistic about dating

When you’re feeling anxious, sad, or pessimistic about dating, it’s likely that you’re experiencing negative thoughts about the future or things that have happened in the past, which can take you away from the present moment. When you practice mindfulness, you can find ways to tune into the present moment and feel grounded (e.g., meditation, a quick physical activity, deep breathing, or engaging your five senses in different ways) which can help you learn to disengage from these thoughts and change your relationship with them over time.

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Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. This article is not intended to be a substitute for professional or psychological advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your mental health professional or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding your condition or well-being.

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