Dating has changed. There is so much more to think about when it comes to finding a partner. Just the thought of a potential date brings up a barrage of questions such as “When should we have the talk?,” “Are they dating other people?,”“When should we delete our dating apps?,``''I think we are exclusive, but unless we talk about it I can’t expect exclusivity, right?.” Building a healthy relationship and the mystery around modern dating etiquette causes many singles mental confusion which can lead to overanalysis. The unpredictability of dating is enough to make anyone sweat, so how should someone with anxiety approach dating?
So often I hear about how exhausting dating can be. Online services, dating apps, and social media have changed the way we view dating as a culture. We have seemingly endless options and opportunities to meet new people, but even the great options can provoke anxiety. Being true to yourself and not letting your anxiety consume you will enable you to feel up tp the adventure better. By conquering your anxiety first you might even enjoy the dating scene!
Break the cycle of anxious dating
Most people have had their fair share of bad dates. So we often lead with the notion that the upcoming date will be bad also. So many ‘what ifs’ come to mind. What if they don’t answer my text? What if they are boring? How should I plan the right first date? Should we go for coffee or drinks? Should we get dinner, what if we don’t hit it off? What if we have nothing to talk about? So many questions! We create so much pressure in anticipation of meeting someone we don’t know much about! There is so much emphasis on having a great first date, that we take away all the fun and excitement of the dating process. Allowing yourself to focus on the negative possibilities of the date start you off focusing on things that ultimately will not matter. Can you see the unhealthy cycle? Just remember, nerves before the first date are completely normal.
There are techniques you can use to help with anxiety around dating. Stepping back and taking a breather can help disempower feelings of anxiety. Try asking yourself what you would tell a friend in the same situation; this can help you to recognize how you may be overthinking things.
Get Out of Your Own Way
With the right mindset you can enjoy dating, even when it seems hard or disappointing. Stay aware of your thought patterns. When you feel negativity creeping in practice reframing your thoughts in a more positive light. Over time, you will notice the negativity slip away. For example, telling yourself someone won’t text you for a second date or ceaseless wondering about why you haven’t heard from him or her isn’t helpful. Try reframing by using positive phrases such as, “I hope I hear from him/her” or “I am going to text them to say hello.” It can also be helpful to remember the other person may be having the same thoughts or insecurities. Don’t be afraid to take the next step. If you want to ask something, ask for it! If you have something to say, say it! Although it may seem stressful to allow someone to see you as vulnerable, as you do you will learn and grow.
It Can Be Fun!
Dating is just part of the process to find someone you can enjoy life with. Sometimes it may result in a lifelong partner, other times you may have just met a great friend. Going out and meeting new people is a great way to figure out what your wants, needs, and desires are in a partner. There is no right or wrong way to date. Make a practice of not overthinking each interaction and reframing any negative thoughts in a positive light. Even the dates that don’t work out are apart of your journey. The most important thing is to be yourself and don’t let anxiety get the best of you. There is someone out there who can’t wait to meet you and they’re probably just as nervous as you are!