How To End The Dating Mind Games

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For many of us, dating today rivals a complex and tactical chess match. And not the fun kind like when Screech played Chess on Saved By The Bell. With all of the moving pieces and strategy to keep in mind, we are getting lost in the game and forgetting one simple fact…dating is not a competition! It is about seeing if there is a connection between you and a potential partner. When you compete there is a winner and a loser but when dating games are being played nobody wins. If you are ready to ditch the dating game for a chance to truly connect with somebody, it might be time for you to try Mindful Dating.

Me? Playing Dating Mind Games? I Don’t Think So!

Now, you might be asking yourself, how YOU could possibly be participating in the dating mind games you hate so much. Well, the truth is that some game playing is intentional and some are not. The unintentional kind happens without thinking or planning. It is as if you are on automatic pilot because you have been conditioned to behave a specific way in certain situations. You know, like the way we were conditioned to sit still and be polite in school or church. Or the way we are conditioned to hold no prisoners when we find the perfect pair of jeans at a sample sale.

How Could I?

First of all, take a deep breath and show yourself some compassion and kindness! Dating can be hard and cause all kinds of emotions and thoughts to rise to the surface. You are vulnerable to rejection and uncomfortable feelings when you date. On the surface, it may not seem that threatening but take a minute to think about how it feels to be rejected. It’s awful. And if you start to think of dates in terms of being rejected or feeling crappy, your autopilot it primed to kick in as a way to protect yourself.

Not everybody behaves in the same way when their dating autopilot kicks in but some common reactions are to be guarded/withdrawn or to be the person you think your date wants you to be. Neither one of these responses is an authentic representation of who you are. And thus the games begin!

How Do I Change The Pattern?

Mindful Dating is a combination of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Mindfulness practices used to yield a more rewarding dating experience. I created and use this model with my clients. In simple terms, Mindful Dating teaches us to become more aware of how thoughts affect the way we feel, feelings affect the way we behave and behaviors affect the way we think while dating. We do this while learning to be in the present moment with our date and without changing, controlling or manipulating anything.

So when we start to have anxious thoughts about what our date is thinking, we become closed off because we are feeling vulnerable or we pretend we are totally into Mixed Martial Arts too so we are more likable, we can acknowledge what is happening and respond in a way we can feel good about. Mindful Dating can help you feel more empowered, see what games you are playing and focus on whether there is an actual connection

If you are ready to end the games, then it’s time to give Mindful Dating a try.



Chamin Ajjan is the author of Seeking Soulmate: Ditch The Dating Game and Find Real Connection. She is a licensed clinical social worker who did her undergrad work at the University of California, Berkeley, and attended graduate school at Columbia University. She has post graduate training in sex therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy and is a Diplomate of the Academy of Cognitive Therapy. She has been in private practice since 2004 and is the founder and Clinical Director of Chamin Ajjan Psychotherapy, a boutique clinic in New York City. In those years she has come to see that no matter what a patient cites as their reason for engaging in treatment, it usually all comes down to love. Romantic relationships and the attempt to find one continue to be the most talked-about subjects among her single clients. Chamin has blogged extensively about mindful dating on, and developed a unique mindful dating model that she uses in her psychotherapy practice. She lives with her husband, daughter and newborn son in Brooklyn, New York.

You can find her on Twitter: @ChaminAjjan, Instagram @chaminajjanpsych and Facebook.

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