WRITTEN BY Felicia Kashevaroff

Intentional Dating: How to Build an Equal Partnership in Today’s Dating World

Explore the art of intentional dating with the insights of experts Felicia Kashevaroff and Lauren Fondriest. Learn strategies for fostering equal partnerships and empowering yourself in the modern dating scene.

What is Intentional Dating?

Introducing Intentional Dating

Today, we’re going to talk about the concept of intentional dating — a mindful approach to relationships where clarity, equality, and mutual respect are at the forefront. Whether you’re embarking on a new relationship or navigating the complex dynamics of dating in today’s world, understanding how to date intentionally can lead you toward healthier and more fulfilling partnerships.

What is Intentional Dating?

Intentional dating is the practice of dating with purpose and clarity. It involves understanding your values, desires, and expectations in a relationship and actively seeking partners who align with your goals. This method encourages singles to move beyond surface-level attractions and engage in meaningful connections that are rooted in mutual understanding and respect.

Expert Insights on Modern Dating Challenges

I interviewed Lauren Fondriest, a women’s dating and empowerment coach, on my YouTube video podcast, The Art and Science of Tending, where she sheds light on the modern dating landscape.

We discuss how societal norms and individual experiences shape our approach to relationships. Lauren explains the emotional and practical aspects of dating, emphasizing the importance of being proactive:

“In today’s society, growing up as girls and as women, we’re not actually taught how to date in a healthy way… I felt called to help shepherd the next generation of women through healthy dating.” 

Lauren further highlights the journey many women undertake to date with confidence, aiming to attract partners who are not only emotionally available but also equally invested in nurturing a balanced relationship.

“Many modern, empowered women have already created amazing lives all in their own right. They’re building their careers. They’ve traveled the world. They’ve surrounded themselves with an incredible community of friends and family and their hobbies. And so what they’re looking for in a partner, it’s no longer for financial stability or the steadiness necessarily. That, maybe, was the case in the past. Now they’re looking for someone to complement their lifestyle and be their sense of home as they build their dream lives.”

Building an Equal Partnership

One of the central themes of intentional dating is creating an equal partnership. This involves shared decision-making, equitable distribution of emotional and practical responsibilities, and mutual support. Lauren and I both emphasize the importance of starting relationships with a clear understanding of each partner’s needs and expectations. Using practical tools like shared calendars and decision-making strategies helps ensure both partners contribute equally to the relationship. Lauren shares how she and her husband successfully integrate a shared calendar into their lives, 

“We have a shared calendar which I live and breathe from… We check it every single day, and this puts the onus on both of us to know what are our plans on any given day.” 

This strategy has the practical effect of allowing Lauren and her husband to share the mental load of their daily lives more equitably.

Navigating Relationship Dynamics

The dynamics within a relationship can often be influenced by external pressures and internal conflicts, starting from date number one. As you all know, relationships do not exist in a vacuum—they are influenced by larger societal structures and personal histories, and that impacts how we show up in our relationships.

Intentional Dating: Navigating Relationship Dynamics

Understanding these factors can help couples navigate their interactions more thoughtfully, ensuring that their relationship stands on a foundation of mutual understanding rather than societal expectations. Lauren notes that many women are doing the “inner work” through therapy and coaching to bring their best selves into a relationship, and they want partners who are doing the same work on themselves.

Advice for Empowered Women in Dating

Lauren is an expert at supporting women to become empowered as they navigate the dating world. She stresses the importance of dating with intention and clarity, focusing on attracting a partner who respects and values their independence and contributions. Lauren advocates for women to build their sense of self-worth and ensure their needs are met in a relationship, avoiding the pitfalls of diminishing their desires in the hope of retaining a partner.

Advice for Empowered Women in Intentional Dating

When I asked her how to navigate the anxiety and confusion that often comes up in modern dating, she offered advice that encompasses both our own needs and the importance of communicating to get clarity.

“Let’s say you’re having a day where you’re flooded with anxiety and confusion. You know you had your date 3 days ago, and maybe you’re not receiving the level of communication that you would hope for.

This is a great opportunity to pour that energy back into yourself. Do something that makes you feel loved and cared for, whether that’s some form of self-care, some form of movement, meditation, or journaling. Call a friend that’s going to make you laugh. Do something to put that energy back into yourself and remind yourself that it’s okay. You are loved and cared for by so many people in your life, and putting so much of your mental energy into this one person is probably distracting you from all the other things that you want to get done that day.

The other is in terms of communicating back with that partner and or that date right? Maybe it’s a simple text check-in like, “Hey, I’m really enjoying the time that we’re spending together. You know, I would love to have a conversation about how you feel it’s going or if you’d like to proceed” and open up that door. So it gives them the ability to have that two-way dialogue, whether it’s in the next date or even over text message so you’re not just sitting there wondering and waiting.”

Creating Lasting Connections

Both of us agree that the key to successful dating lies in communication and honesty. We encourage daters to express their needs clearly from the start, avoiding misunderstandings later in the relationship. By setting the stage for open dialogue, you can foster a relationship that respects individual desires while promoting shared goals. And that is exactly what you deserve!

Conclusion: Embracing Intentional Dating

Intentional dating is not just about finding the right partner but also about being the right partner. It requires self-awareness, mutual respect, and a commitment to growth both individually and as a couple. By adopting the practices that Lauren and I discussed today, daters can increase their chances of building fulfilling relationships that are equal, supportive, and enduring. Lauren’s final piece of advice?

“Go for it! Go for it, right!? Don’t hold back on seeking that equitable partnership and finding that partner who will share the mental and emotional load with you because you deserve that. Don’t don’t take yourself out of the running, thinking that that’s not possible for you because it absolutely is!”

Engage with Intentional Dating Today

Are you ready to transform your dating experience? Embrace the principles of intentional dating and empower yourself to build relationships that are not only fulfilling but also equitable, by connecting with Lauren Fondriest on her website or on Instagram

Remember, true partnership is built on the foundations of mutual respect, understanding, and intentional action.