Here are a few steps that I have found to be helpful in my intentional dating journey.
Before we begin to date, we should evaluate if we are truly ready for the commitment. My generation and the generation following often view relationships as sexual encounters/casual hookups. I approach dating with intention and purpose. My intention and purpose; to discern if I am called to marriage with another. I'm not saying I have to know if I am going to marry someone after the first date, but keeping marriage in mind helps me to be more intentional about the men I pursue and allow to pursue me. I save myself from drama, heartbreak, and stress by doing personal inventory before I begin dating. Loneliness, Attention-Seeking, Problem Solving and Shared traumas are not good intentions to date.
After my self assessment is done I like to make a list of qualities I'd want for my future spouse. Having a "list" can cover a spectrum of desirables, but essentially it's to determine my non-negotiables. My non-negotiables are things that I am not willing to compromise on, no matter what. Ranking my non-negotiables at the top of the list helps me to prioritize by level of importance.
Making a list might seem a little foolish but there is purpose behind it. Setting standards helps to bring me clarity as I discern dating someone and helps to evaluate the relationship as it develops. It stops me from settling for less than I deserve and keeps me from compromising on the things I feel are really important to me.
Evaluate who you're dating
Once I have checked my intentions, set my standards and non-negotiables, it's time to evaluate who I'm dating. Doing this helps to properly discern if dating is a viable option if I'm interested in someone. Reviewing the list of non-negotiables can be very telling. Getting to know someone first by pursuing a friendship can also help when I am unsure about some of qualities he possess.
It is also very important to make sure that we are both on the same page about what we are looking for in a relationship. Casual dating, A friendship or commitment? Whatever the case, make sure you both are aligned on what you want to avoid wasting each others time.
Forward with Clarity and Intentionality
Once I have determined whether or not the person I am interested in aligns with who and what I am looking for it's important that I remain transparent and clear about my interest. If he meets the standards I set, and my intentions are pure, I will allow pursuit! At times I will also pursue. There is nothing wrong with a woman equally playing a part in pursuit.
If the person is a poor match, it's extremely important that I acknowledge that pursuing a dating relationship would not be beneficial for either of us. Having a conversation like this can be challenging but it ultimately helps to avoid a relationship that could be harmful to us both. There is nothing worse than finding yourself in an unhealthy, toxic and emotionally unbalanced relationship that will essentially going nowhere.