Picture this: You're on a date, and you're really smitten with the person sitting across you. You're laughing, and having a great time. But as the night wears on, you're starting to feel like you need to take a step back and check in with yourself. That's where self-care comes in. It's all about taking a moment to pause and ask yourself, "What do I need right now?". Daters today are taking control of their own happiness and not relying solely on a match to fulfill their needs, and this shift towards self-care and fulfillment in dating is helping build more healthy relationships. In fact, on Tinder bios in India between January 2021 and January 2023, mentions of self-care have increased by 16x.
Loving yourself is an ongoing process that requires patience, commitment, and self-care. But the rewards are immeasurable - a life filled with joy, fulfillment, and meaningful connections. Here are some insights on how to strike the right balance of self-care and self-love when navigating the world of modern dating.
- Identifying your needs and goals: Young daters are placing a growing emphasis on self-care and fulfillment. A study of 4,000 actively dating singles between 18-25 years of age in the US, UK, Australia and Canada conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Tinder found that personal self-care is a top priority when dating, and 79% of those surveyed were expecting potential partners to do the same. To start this journey towards self-care, take the time to reflect on your past experiences and relationships, explore your personal values. Define what you want from a relationship, whether that's a long-term commitment or a short-term connection. Be honest with potential matches about what you're looking for, so you can both be on the same page from the beginning.
- Cracking the love language code: Love is a complex emotion, and everyone experiences it differently. If your love language is words of affirmation, you may feel most loved and appreciated when your match tells you how much they appreciate you. On the other hand, if your love language is physical touch, you may feel most loved when your match hugs you, holds your hand, or cuddles with you. Everyone has a unique way of experiencing and expressing affection, and it's important to understand and communicate these preferences to your match. You can experience deeper emotional fulfillment and build stronger, more meaningful connections with those around you.
- Mental health matters: While dating can be exciting and fun, it’s imperative to approach it with a healthy and positive mindset. Be clear and firm in communicating your boundaries to your match. If they respect and care for you, they will honor your boundaries. If you're using dating apps to meet new people and someone is making you uncomfortable emotionally or mentally, you can use safety features like block profile to prevent them contacting you further or to report any suspicious behavior. Remember, your mental health matters, and taking care of it should always be a top priority.
- Practicing positive self-talk: It's easy to get caught up in negative self-talk and criticism. One of the best ways to combat these negative thoughts and feelings is through positive self-talk and affirmations. This also involves accepting and loving your body, no matter what shape or size it may be. Remember to be kind to yourself and speak to yourself with love and positivity, just as you would to a good friend.
- Maintain your individuality: It's easy to get caught up in the excitement and passion of a new connection and let go of your own interests, hobbies, and sense of self. While it's natural to want to spend time with your date and share experiences, it's important to remember that you are your own person with your own unique identity and values. Maintain your own interests and passions, and continue to pursue your own goals and dreams. It's okay to say no to activities or events that don't align with your values or interests.
By prioritizing self-love, you'll attract the kind of match who is worth your time and attention and help you build a connection of mutual understanding and respect. Your relationship with yourself sets the tone for all other connections in your life, including romantic ones. Put yourself at the top of your to-love list and make self-love and care a non-negotiable!
Swati Jagdish, is a Sexuality Health Educator who contributed to Tinder Love and Care, a dating wellness guide for women daters in India