Intentional Dating

Kelly SundayBy Kelly Sunday MS, NCC, LPC

Many women leaving past relationships, whether due to loss or attrition, have asked me, “How do I start over again?” I prefer to label it as moving forward. I usually ask two specific questions.

The first is, “Have you had time by yourself and if so, could you stand yourself?” If so, let’s proceed.
The second question is, “Did you clean out all of your closets both figuratively and literally?” Did you get rid of the presence of him.

You would be surprised what I hear when I ask women to tell me what is in their bedrooms/houses that remind them of their past relationships. Some still invest in the late night call to an ex for sex. Some will say that they have his clothes in the closet. They wear his old socks. They keep old text messages and past boyfriend’s phone numbers. They keep old cards and notes by the bed. These intimate items become reminders. They no longer belong to you. They keep you stuck.

Purging also allows room for refreshing, creating a new space and a new you. Think about it, can you say your home would be welcoming to a new man? Be mindful of making it welcoming, warm and all about you! You should feel content, proud and even excited about being in this space alone. When you are able to say that you have made some of these changes, I then proceed with often the most difficult of the questions, “What is your intention?”

By being “intentional” one has a purpose, a goal and a plan. It is your mission that guides you. Simply by creating a mission statement for yourself, you will see that it is quite powerful. Most often, the first idea that comes to mind will relate to the opposite of your last experience

For instance, if you were abused and disrespected your mission statement might be, “I want to find a man who is respectful, validating and kind. I want a man who will treat me well.” I ask that this statement be examined even more closely to include what you will do differently. For example, “I will open myself up to relationships where I am respected, treated kindly and where my needs are validated.” Sounds different and means so much more!

Once you are truly able to identify what it is you are genuinely searching for, it becomes easier to walk-the-walk, so to speak. Dating intentionally means specifically defining what you want, and acting in accordance with what you are looking for. You can then throw out, dismiss, or stay away from anything not in alignment with your ultimate goal.

For instance, “I want to be involved in a healthy committed relationship that may lead to marriage,” is a statement I often hear from women. If I inquire further, I routinely hear about the man who said they never wished to be married or the man who likes to occasionally visit his ex-girlfriend. Think about how many relationships you may have entered into knowing they were doomed to failure from the beginning.

I then ask these women, “Would things have been different if you would have worked in alignment with your intentions?”
Sometimes writing down your intentions, sharing them with friends or even shouting them out loud, give these intentions more power. By having only “expectations” about what we want in our next relationship, we can be disappointed.

Another caution is that we can sometimes set these expectations too high or too low. We can, at times, be unrealistic in our expectations. Intentions are about what you want and about what you are willing to accept. It is about no longer being in a fog and allowing things to happen whenever.

As a past coaching client of mine shared reluctantly after our session on intentions, “I looked at my emails from ex’s and realized I had saved more than I could count. I didn’t even realize that I had them all. Why was I hanging onto them? I deleted them all and felt like a weight that I didn’t even know I had was lifted.”

When we date with intention, we stop giving our power over to others. We are freeing ourselves from the endless excuses and rationalizations. We become in control of our successes and accountable for our failures. When this begins to happen, you will realize that you become more intentional about many other things in your life, as well!