What Is Dating Anxiety and How Do I Treat It?
Everyone gets nervous before a date, and it’s natural to feel those butterflies stirring during the early days of courtship. But what happens when your butterflies’ become hurricanes, and even the thought of talking to a potential date sends you spiraling into anxiety? Dating anxiety is a real thing, and although it might not have a formal diagnosis, it can seriously impair your love life. Getting over it takes time and patience, but you can do it. So, first things first, pause and take a deep breath. You’ve got this. With the help of this article, you’re going to learn a bit more about what you’re going through and get some helpful tips and tricks on how to overcome it.
Signs You Have Dating Anxiety
Unlike the typical nerves plenty of people experience when getting to know someone new, dating anxiety can put a screeching halt on your love life. Some people are completely avoidant, shutting down any potential romantic interactions the instant they appear. Others may come on too strong, and their fear of being rejected becomes a reality. Some signs you might have this condition are:
- You have an immense fear of rejection.
- You spend hours analyzing interactions and things you or your date said.
- You’re always worried about when or if someone will talk to you again.
- Constantly doubting someone’s feelings for you.
- Testing a partner by making them angry or ignoring them to see how they respond.
- You always expect the worst outcome to a dating scenario.
- You can’t be fully present on dates because your mind is filled with worries.
There are also many physical symptoms that can impact your ability to relax and be fully present on a date. This could be a racing heart, hot cheeks, a stomachache, jittery hands, etc. One way you can look into treating these symptoms is by asking your doctor about beta blockers for anxiety. These prescription medications decrease the severity of physical symptoms, making it easier for you to combat any unhelpful thoughts and stay in control when you feel anxious.
Start By Accepting Your Anxiety
One of the reasons people suffer so much from their mental health problems is that they refuse to accept them. You know you’re struggling, but you can’t bring yourself to fully accept the reality of it without feeling ashamed or wrong. But there is no shame in having anxiety or any other mental health condition. It can happen to anyone.
Just giving yourself the compassion of acceptance can make a world of difference. You’re no longer fighting yourself, just the problem you’re facing. Acceptance also opens up more room to embrace your strengths despite your anxiety. You can still be smart, kind, funny, creative and compassionate with anxiety. You might struggle to express those qualities because of your symptoms, but they are never diminished by your anxiety.
Address Attachment Issues
Do you have a fear of abandonment or fear of intimacy? If you think you might, then talking to a therapist could help you recover. Healing takes time, so be patient. The most important relationship you’ll ever have in life is with yourself. Putting a pause on relationships is okay and oftentimes necessary. As you work through your struggles in therapy, you’ll find yourself more confident when you eventually date again.
Recognize Your Value Outside of a Relationship
One of the reasons people are anxious in dating is that they feel they need the approval of their dating partner. This doesn’t stop after they enter an official relationship, either. Ask yourself what are these thoughts really telling you. Are you overly invested in a practical stranger’s approval? For many, the desire to date is really a deeply unmet need of feeling wanted and loved for exactly who you are.
This need often makes it difficult to appreciate the little moments and take things at a slow, healthy pace. Instead, you may be prone to falling fast and getting trapped in a cycle of intense, short-lived relationships. The secret is finding value in who you are regardless of your relationship status. It doesn’t matter if you’re single or happily married to your soulmate; you’re still you. That person has to be recognized and affirmed by the only one who really can: yourself.