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Dating Anxiety (7+ Helpful Approaches)

by Sonya Schwartz

Whilst relationships are a source of pleasure they can also be breeding grounds for anxiety. Anxiety does not only subside as the relationship progresses but has the tendency to build up. People begin to question things more, does he really like me? Is he committed to me? Is he seeing other people

Unfortunately, this worrying does not provide any solution but further alienates you from your partner. As someone who has dealt with anxiety disorders before, I know how difficult It can be to keep putting oneself out there especially when you have experienced bouts of unsuccessful relationships. 

The dating scene is often seen as a scrutiny ground where people have to appear perfect without crimson before they are kicked out the line. It does have a way of triggering the self-doubt when starting new relationships. We find ourselves worried about what they think of us, did I eat too fast? should I have laughed at that joke? Or, How can I appear cool? 

Studies show that a lot of women and men experience social anxiety disorders and many of them don’t seek professional help. You are not alone, we have all felt that anxiety attack at some point in our lives.  Here are some coping tips to help you deal with such unhealthy feelings and get your life back on track.

8 Ways To Overcome Dating Anxiety

1. Challenge your thoughts

New relationships are one of the reasons we tend to overthink things sometimes. We have thoughts coming up in our heads that are negative most of the time and borders on us being insufficient, inept, and not good enough. 

A renowned clinical professional Petrik Garder once said that our emotions, behaviors, and thoughts are linked to our brain so if we think of anxiety, we get anxious. We need to be able to address these opinions formulated in our heads, challenge them, and then replace them with positive thoughts. For example, why do I feel he wouldn't like me? 

Challenge your thoughts

Why do I feel like I am not good enough? If this doesn't go as planned it has nothing to do with me and I am more than enough. It is important to learn to dial down negative feelings and replace them with positive ones’. 

2. Express your feelings

Ever realized that once you talk about a problem, a burden is lifted off your shoulders? That same concept can be applied to your love life. If you have a date and you want to share how anxious you are, please go right ahead. Dating is about being vulnerable and open with the other person and sharing a deep issue you have such as anxiety makes you more real.

Expressing your feelings with your partner tends to alleviate some of your fears, he might be anxious too. People are not looking for Miss Perfect; they want people who can feel different things and have had different life experiences, this might even bring you both closer.

3. Reduce the judgment threat

Someone with social anxiety will not disclose much about themselves during dates for the fear of being judged. They care so much about how the other person perceives them that it is difficult to relax and be themselves. 

After the date, they run through the scenarios that might have gone awry so many times, wishing they hadn't said something or done something or reacted in a certain way. 

They often feel the other party judges them in an exaggerated way. This is one reason why anxious daters try to close themselves off to dating again, this happens especially when they are struggling with low self-esteem. 

They judge themselves too harshly and think that other people are doing the same. It is important to live free from self-judgment, everybody has flaws and has made mistakes, so what?

4. Be prepared

Coming prepared will help ease some of the anxiety, you can take a timeout to think up one or two questions you might want to ask. There's no harm writing them down, when the conversation seems to be getting dull, you can swoop in with the questions prepared. 

Some general questions could be what shows he's presently watching, what he thinks about specific events happening in the world now, and what kind of songs he likes to listen to. On a personal level, you can also prepare by doing something nice for yourself.

Couples and sex therapist Jennifer Seip states that ladies should do anything that would help them feel more confident. It could be getting your hair and nails done or picking out a new dress. Whatever it is, come prepared, it will help ease the anxiety.

5. See it as a casual hangout

The word dating has a serious knack to it, it's no wonder it raises a lot of anxiety and brings a lot of pressure. It will help if you see some of these 'dates' as just casual hangouts between two friends or you, leisurely getting to know someone. You can decide to go to a bar rather than a fancy restaurant to dial things down a bit.

Feel free to decide however you want the hangout to go, this way you would be able to relax, be yourself, and interact better.

6. Mindfulness and emotional intelligence

Mindfulness encompasses our daily lives, and one of the ways to stay mindful is to spend time with our family, read books, meditate on happy thoughts and quotes whether while walking or taking a shower. Mindfulness is the conscious effort we put in to be present and it helps us stay in the moment and not live in our heads. 

Mindfulness and emotional intelligence

You can focus on how good the food tastes, what you can smell, and what you can see. As girls, we often tend to think further into the future and back into the past. When this happens, it's easy to conjure some negative thoughts along the way. The ability to be mindful increases our emotional awareness which in turn increases our emotional intelligence. 

If we are stuck in the future or the past, it might be difficult to decipher how people are feeling presently. That’s why mindfulness and emotional intelligence is important for a successful relationship.

7. Rejection doesn't matter, just keep trying

Many people get anxious about dating because of rejection, it might not work out with guy A, that doesn't mean we should feel discouraged and cast down. The dating scene is like a game we just have to keep playing till we get it right. It is normal, and a part of life to get rejected, not everyone will like or accept us. 

Also, it is important to notice and address when we start having catastrophic thoughts. Thoughts like “I would never find love again” or “nobody likes me,” are normal with people with anxiety when dating. This can end up causing unnecessary panic attacks, if you feel you are close to experiencing these panic attacks, take a deep breath, and kindly remind yourself that it's just dating. 

All these negative thoughts are exaggerated and false, this will help in easing the anxiety that comes with meeting new people.

You may also be interested in: 3 Easy Ways to Find Out If He's Cheating On You

8. Go on more dates

The more you are exposed to situations that make you anxious, the better you get at it. Going on more dates will open you up to the world of meeting and interacting with guys and facing the fear of dating someone new. The more you meet and go on dates, the less anxious you will be, you’ll eventually get used to it.

FAQs

Why does dating give me anxiety?

Anxiety often stems from the fear of being judged, the thought of a poor evaluation from a prospective partner is the cause of anxiety in the dating scene. This fear makes us overthink things, exaggerate things said and make us close up to people.

How do you deal with dating anxiety?

Focusing on the positives is important in dealing with dating anxiety, this is because it often stirs up negative thoughts. You might be wondering what he thinks about you if he is just tolerating you and the likes of it. It is important to quell the negative thoughts with positive ones like how much of an amazing person you are.

Is it normal to have anxiety in a new relationship?

Yes, it is normal, anxiety doesn't just stop at dating but can be exacerbated in a new relationship. People tend to question the actions of their partners and how committed he is to them. Sometimes it also stems from knowing that your partner has a vested interest in you. 

How do I tell my boyfriend I have anxiety?

Being open and vulnerable in a relationship brings the two partners closer. Sharing your anxiety struggles with your partner can also help you feel better. You can share over dinner or whenever you both spend time together, you can also look at it as a bonding experience for you both.

Is worrying a sign of love?

While worrying might indicate how deeply you care about a person, worrying is not a sign of love. If you find yourself constantly worrying about the whereabouts of your partner or who he's talking to, then that is a sign of lack of trust. Love does not come with such negative thoughts.

In Summary

Dating takes courage and bravery and kudos to you for trying to put yourself out there in the dating pool. With the practice and application of these tips, dating anxiety would be less of a problem. Anxiety will only get in the way of our love lives if we allow it. 

If you enjoyed reading this list, kindly share it with others. I would also love to know what you think so drop your comments in the section below.

You may also be interested in: 3 Easy Ways to Find Out If He's Cheating On You

Sonya Schwartz
A hopeless romantic that struggled for many years to find her Mr "Right" and made all the mistakes you could think of while dating. Known for always choosing the wrong guys or messing up relationships, Sonya was finally able to change her approach and mindset when it came to dating which helped her eventually find the man of her dreams and become happily married. You can read more about me here...

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