Dating With Intention Is The Mindset Shift You Need In An App-Focused World

There are things no one admits they like about being single. One study conducted by Pew Research Center found that 50% of single adults in 2020 were uninterested in a committed relationship, and another 10% of singles were only looking for casual dates. But even the most independent singles hop onto a dating app every now and then to test the waters for a potential match. When you're ready to leave the single life behind and start searching for your better half, consider dating with intention.

Ineffable Living defines intentional dating as "knowing what type of person you're looking for and what you want out of dating them." We're not here to play games — dating with intention is the future of dating. This is where singles commit to being direct, honest, and open with potential partners. Entering the dating pool with this mindset will help you weed out potentially bad matches while keeping your sanity intact.

Be clear about what you want

When you commit to dating with intention, you enter into a contract with yourself that you will be authentic and honest while pursuing a relationship. Creator @love.understood shared a video on TikTok explaining his intentional dating mentality. In this hypothetical scenario, he states wanting a partner to share his life with, and the assumed reaction is, "Woah, that's coming on strong." But he challenges this idea, claiming that he is looking for something meaningful and long-term, but doesn't assume that every person they meet will fit those criteria.

Being clear about your dating intentions actually takes the pressure off. Instead of subconsciously trying to figure out what your potential partner's values are, it is clear from the beginning of your relationship whether or not your intentions align. The TikTok creator states that you can have fun while dating intentionally, while still understanding that you won't sacrifice your long-term wants for short-term enjoyment with someone who doesn't have the same dating mindset as you. It can feel scary to be so direct with someone you hardly know — you might even feel the impulse to diminish your own desires in order to make the other person comfortable. But intentional dating will save you a lot of heartbreak down the line.

Don't look for perfection (spoiler alert, you won't find it!)

It is easy to get swept up in the idea of your "perfect partner" — imagining how tall they are, what color hair they have, and how much money they make is a fun way to pass the time. But dating with intention reminds us that there are more important things than looks and salaries. Hosts of the podcast "Men Know Nothing" (we can't stop giggling at the title) shared a clip of their dating discussion on TikTok. The podcasters state that when it comes to dating with intention, it is important to "be picky," and they aren't talking about only dating blondes.

When you decide to intentionally date, your standards of perfection will most likely shift. You may have only dated finance bros with six packs because those were "your standards," but now you value someone who is punctual, thoughtful, and wants to have a family in the next five years. When you begin to date with intention, what you consider the "total package" will most likely shift from superficial attributes to core values and measurable actions.

As Hannah Montana once sang, "Nobody's perfect." But finding someone who is perfect for you might be easier than you think when you lead with an honest, intentional dating mindset.

Be ready to ask the tough questions

Being vulnerable is key to healthy dating, and the first step is being open and honest with yourself. Before you head out on any dates, figure out what exactly you want out of your next relationship. Are you looking to jump into a commitment right away or do you still need time to heal from your last love? Do you have the energy for a long-term relationship right now or should you stay focused on your career?

Once you're ready to say yes to a date with that cutie you've been chatting up online, have your key questions ready to ask them on the first date. Don't wait for months to have the "what are we" conversation. Ask them what type of commitment they're looking for, and let them know honestly if they match your criteria. If your faith is important to you, ask them if they have a spiritual nature. Discuss their past relationships and find out if they are still holding on to trauma that might affect your future together. Talking about favorite colors and middle names is great first date chatter, but have some deeper questions on deck to make sure you will keep vibing after the pleasantries have subsided.

Remember, it's not "too forward," you just don't need anyone wasting your time. And if you aren't clicking, let them know and move on, because you both deserve to find exactly what you're looking for.

How to authentically date while on the apps

Online dating is one of the most popular ways for singles to meet new people and find happily ever after. A Pew report shared that three in ten Americans have used at least one dating app, and 12% of users ended up in a committed relationship that began on an online dating site. But dating profiles aren't always the ideal place to be direct and intentional. A Tobbi Technology report used eye-tracking to determine how long people actually peek at dating profiles. They found that on average, women spend 84 seconds looking at a profile, whereas men take only 58 seconds to decide whether or not to swipe right. So how do you clearly state your dating intentions in less than one minute?

Use your profile pictures to your advantage. Choose photos that showcase your personality, your hobbies, and your genuine smile if you are looking for a long-term commitment. Choosing to post your beach trip photos and sultry selfies will definitely show off how stunning you are, but it might also communicate that you are looking for more of a hookup. Dating app Hinge has gotten on board with the intentional dating trend, now featuring a place for you to set exactly what you're looking for right onto your profile. You can choose between options like "long-term, open to short-term," and "life partner," and it allows you to share a bit of your dating history with a new "backstory" feature.

As your mindset shifts, be on the lookout for these dating profile red flags

When you begin to date with intention, you might quickly realize that many people are not on the same wavelength as you, especially on dating apps. To save yourself some time as you swipe through potential matches, be wary of these red flags on people's dating apps that indicate they might not be as intentional about dating as you are.

TikTok creator @chloeamelix shared her observations as a straight woman looking for love on Tinder. She noticed some major red flags in men's dating profiles, ranging from putting their height in their bio (because they're usually not being honest anyways) to only having group photos on their profile with none that showcase themselves. This often indicates that they are insecure or unserious about dating.

Some red flags, however, might just be personal "icks." TikTok user @brogan_black shared some extremely valid points on her list of dating red flags, such as a blank bio and a are overly affectionate while messaging. But one that stood out to us as particularly funny was her hatred of men who put "pineapple belongs on pizza" in their dating bio. The age-old debate continues to rage on, even in the dating sphere.