Luisa Tam
SCMP Columnist
The Naked Truth
by Luisa Tam
The Naked Truth
by Luisa Tam

Conscious dating: how to find the perfect partner by using truthfulness, integrity and common sense

  • If you communicate with honesty and clarity you’ll be more comfortable with yourself, and develop a greater connection with the person you are dating
  • Be willing to listen, take responsibility for your own choices and trust in the process

Timing is everything either for a relationship to begin or go the distance with a chance to flourish and last. In the pursuit of love, and perhaps even great sex, the right timing puts us in the right space to meet, to court, to explore , to experience and consequently to be connected with someone.

When the timing is off and one or both parties are simply not ready to be in something deeper, no matter how hard you try, your efforts will be futile, not to mention heartbreaking and soul-crushing. The fundamental issue is to nurture a healthy relationship, we need to strike a balance between give and take, which means both sides have to contribute physically and emotionally in equal terms.

A lot of times, even when we know deep down the person we are with is incompatible, or may not even deserve our love, we tend to ignore the signs and carry on, hoping the problems will fade over time and everything will miraculously fall into place.

In fact, if you are unsure of your relationship, you need to make a conscious decision on the way forward, and whether it’s worth fixing or even repairable; if not, you need to call it quits.

Only after letting down your defences and trusting others will you be able to find the right person to love. Illustration: SCMP Graphics

According to Sonia Samtani, a Hong Kong-based clinical hypnotherapist and life coach, people are increasingly realising that the conventional way of dating does not necessarily produce promising results. “We are getting tired of wearing masks that hide our personalities to please others so as to avoid rejection.”

She says the new way of dating focuses more on awareness, hence it’s called “conscious dating”. Conscious dating is both refreshing and authentic because it is dating with a greater level of self-awareness, truthfulness, and integrity.

One of the benefits of conscious dating is that you get to be more comfortable with yourself and feel less influenced by others. Photo: Alamy

The benefits of conscious dating are many: you get to be more comfortable with yourself and feel less influenced by others, so you can develop a greater connection with the person you are dating. Ultimately, a deeply forged personal connection opens up many new positive avenues into a relationship, including productive conversations, mutual growth, and even better sex.

“When you are dating consciously you are more aware of who you are, what you are looking for, and have enough self-confidence to say what is acceptable and what is not. Being more conscious in dating also allows you to recognise what makes you feel good and what triggers you, while understanding your date may not operate in the same way,” she explains.

This awareness makes a “conscious” person develop greater self-esteem and able to take responsibility for their choices without feeling like a victim, she adds.

Conscious dating requires a consistent commitment to be mindful and aware throughout your dating journey
Sonia Samtani, a Hong Kong-based clinical hypnotherapist and life coach

One obvious benefit is that people who are consciously dating are more true to themselves, but can also be vulnerable without the fear of being judged, and are able to confront issues instead of avoiding them, she points out. “In some cases, this would mean a shorter courtship since the parties are able to say ‘no’ to what they don’t want, and move closer to what they do.”

However, the difference between conscious and normal dating is relative because there is no clear boundary between the two. Basically, the more aware and authentic you are, the more you are dating consciously, Samtani says.

“Normal dating refers to times when you have less clarity and your dating behaviour is influenced by your conditioning, obligations, default behaviour, decisions made from past pain, or rules of what should be. Conscious dating requires a consistent commitment to be mindful and aware throughout your dating journey.”

To get started, you need some “inner” work done, such as understanding the difference between what you actually want and what society or conditioning dictates are your needs. You also have to overcome the fear of “not fitting in” if what you want is different from the norms. Ultimately, you need to step out of your comfort zone. Even taking baby steps is fine – it is a good start to make one small shift at a time, Samtani adds.

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You also have to accept that there is no universal “right” or “wrong”. This is because each person has a unique filter of perception based on their experiences. Be willing to work on differences and not try to change your partner’s mind; you must truly believe that a conscious relationship works.

When you practise conscious dating, it makes a big difference if both partners have made the choice to do it together.

“If one person is aware and conscious, while the other chooses to be unaware, there is a misalignment in values which could result in a dysfunctional relationship,” Samtani says.

Practising conscious dating can also heal past issues and traumas because of your attitude and ability to take responsibility for your life.

When dating consciously, you need to step out of your comfort zone. Photo: Alamy

10 tips and tools for conscious dating

Be clear of what you want.

Communicate with honesty and clarity. It does not need to be done in a harsh or rigid way; you can be considerate and yet firm about where you stand.

Come from a space of mutual respect and be willing to listen and honour your partner’s opinions, even if you disagree with them.

Understand that relationships cannot complete you but are a complement to your own journey of self-completion.

Have the courage to say and hear the word “no”, and treat it simply as feedback rather than associating it with rejection or failure.

Accept being conscious is not a one-off decision. but a way of life.

Operate as a responsible adult and understand that you are fully responsible for your own choices and consequences.

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Trust in the process that you will be OK in this journey no matter what.

Be in the moment and notice what’s going on, without evoking the past or worrying about the future.

Constantly ask yourself “if I were operating at a high level of consciousness right now, what would I do?”

Luisa Tam is a correspondent at the Post