Let's be real: Dating can be exhausting. Whether you're slogging through a mountain of seemingly interchangeable profiles on three different dating apps or struggling to remembering if your date tonight is with Sam from Hinge or Sam from Bumble, it can be, uh... a lot. Intuitive dating is a new technique designed to keep dating burnout at bay and help you stay open-minded and energized. It's intended to focus your mind on what's truly important to you, and to help you prioritize the relationships that will make you happy.
The concept of “intuitive dating” was coined by Julia Bartz, LMSW, a therapist based in New York City. It means that instead of just trying to meet someone (anyone!) ASAP, you actively take time to think about what you want in a partner or fling. “Intuitive dating can be life-changing in that it centers you and your needs, instead of focusing on your ability (or inability) to find someone else,” Bartz tells Elite Daily. “Intuitive dating can include figuring out your dating goals, being intentional about the time and energy you spend on dating, solving any unresolved relationship issues, and figuring out how to give yourself the care and pleasure you’d want from an ideal partner.” Instead of diving full speed ahead into six dating apps at once, you’re taking a more measured approach to meeting people. This can ultimately lead to a more fulfilling single life, and a more satisfying partnership once you do meet that right person.
So, how do you reevaluate your dating priorities and rely more on your intuition? It’s all about developing a balanced routine. Bartz refers to this as a “daily practice” of dating. “Steps include figuring out your dating intentions, setting limits on your time and energy, and checking in with yourself frequently to see if you're feeling drawn to others,” she explains.
First of all, decide what type of relationship you are actually looking for. Something long-term? Something more casual? Make your goal concrete by writing it down in a journal, jotting it down in your Notes app, or telling a friend.
Then, pursue your goal with intention. In her Psychology Today article on intuitive dating, Bartz suggested setting limits on how long you’ll spend focused on dating each day. Rather than mindlessly swiping while you wait in line for your morning coffee, and then doing the same thing while you’re watching Netflix at night, set aside 15-20 minutes during which you’ll check your dating apps with no distractions. Then, once that time is up, move on to other things.
Bartz also suggested implementing a mindfulness practice to use before and after your allotted dating app time. It could be as simple as taking a deep breath and reminding yourself why you’re ultimately on dating apps in the first place. This will help you prioritize only those matches and conversations that fit with your ultimate end game.
If you’re trying to meet more people IRL, you can use intuitive dating in a different way. Rather than constantly staying attuned to every possible chance to interact with a cute stranger (which can be exhausting), Bartz advised choosing specific times to socialize with the intention of meeting a romantic partner. “This is not to say that you can’t be open to someone who crosses your path, but it can be tiring to be constantly vigilant to ‘find’ that person,” she wrote. Sometimes, you just need to hang out with your pals without worrying about who you’re trying to flirt with that night.
Bartz tells Elite Daily that every so often, a clean break from dating could be necessary to refocus your energy. “Dating burnout is extremely common,” she says. “Sometimes the best option is to take a complete break from dating to realign through rest and a renewed focus on what brings you joy and pleasure.” You may still have unresolved hurt from past relationships that you need to address before jumping into a new one. This can be done by spending time with people you love, going to therapy, or developing a solid sleep or exercise routine to care for your body. Also, make an effort to treat yourself with the love and care you'd expect from a romantic partner. In many cases, this can help you feel less reliant on other people for your well-being.
Then, once you feel excited to date again (and after you've set clear intentions), ease into it slowly. “For people who want to keep dating, one of the most empowering actions is to cut down on the time and energy you're putting towards dating — for example, by limiting the amount of time you’re on the apps, or by only meeting up with people you're truly intrigued by,” Bartz suggests. “Following these steps will ensure that you’re coming to dating from a place of enjoyment, which will have the added bonus of drawing in partners who are in a similar grounded place.”
If dating stops being fun for you, you’re in the wrong headspace. Step back, take a break, and breathe. Intuitive dating can help you stay attuned to your needs while dating in a way that truly brings joy to your life.