Relating Mindfully – is it possible to mindfully swipe left?
We all have a basic need to feel connected and for some of us that is with a single partner, for others that is with more than one partner. Some of us view long-term relationships as an archaic social construct demanding we abandon our freedom of choice. This desire for choice and agency has given apps like Tinder an essential role in our love lives. But is this fuelling mindless relating? Are we missing out on the natural progressions of love or has human chemistry just found itself a better-connected medium?
There is still a strong social pressure to be “paired up” but technology, app dating and new schools of thought are changing our attitudes towards monogamy and love.
Advice from Dr Anna & Elena
As our lifestyle has evolved and adapted to the technology that is at our fingertips we have more and more opportunities to do many things at once, for example have a conversation and at the same time be checking messages on our phone, or another example would be watching television while swiping left on tinder. The concept of mindfulness is helpful in this situation. Are we present with the person we are with? Are we present and aware of our values and goals as a person? Are we present with the device with which we are interacting? – Yes, it is possible to mindfully swipe left.
While the way in which we meet people may be changing, the aspect that hasn’t changed is our need to be present and aware of the people we are with or want to be with. Using mindfulness to bring you in contact with your goals and values can help you to begin to figure out what it is that you want, what suits you and what you are comfortable with in your life – rather than just bending to society’s pressures as to how we should be living our lives. We all need attachments – be it friendships or intimate relationships – and mindfulness can help us to get the most out of the opportunities that are available to us.
Mindfulness can also help you develop awareness of patterns in your relationships. For example – what sort of people are you attracted to, what happens when you get close to someone, what happens when you have time away from that person, what do these events trigger in you? We all have ‘schemas’ that are triggered in our lives and this includes in relationships. Understanding this can help you be aware of what is attracting you to a person – is it a schema based attraction or one that is healthy and healing. So next time you sit down to think about going on a dating app, or are being intimate with your partner – try and do it while you have no other distractions, really focus on what you are doing and what is important to you and the person you are with. Being present and mindful will allow you to be more aware of you and your partner’s experiences, desires and choices.
On the subject of sex and relationships, Balance magazine investigates the idea of conscious sex and what defines modern intimacy. Are you aware of your erotic self or are you switched off when it comes to your partners and sensuality? They suggest that we need to rethink or reflect on the way we conduct ourselves in the bedroom in order to explore why we do it and who we do it with.
Headspace is a reliable and easy to use app to begin a mindfulness practice.