If you experience dating anxiety, you’re not alone — it affects approximately 1 in 5 people. Dating makes everybody nervous, but for people with dating anxiety, it can cause feelings of dread, overwhelm, and distress.
If your anxiety is making you avoid dating, know that you’re not stuck and you don’t have to let it hold you back.
You can learn to reframe your thoughts, think of dating more positively, and become a confident dater. Ready to learn how? Keep reading for practical tips that will help you in your journey to overcoming dating anxiety.
What does Dating Anxiety Feel Like?
Dating is challenging and nerve-wracking for everybody, but dating anxiety is more than just being nervous about your dates.
It’s experiencing anxiety symptoms like excessive fear, sweating, nausea, and difficulty focusing when either thinking about the date or while you’re on the date itself.
Dating anxiety can be caused by previous bad relationships, childhood trauma, attachment patterns, or how we feel about ourselves. Regardless of what causes it, it’s possible to relieve your symptoms and learn to enjoy dating.
Identify Your Thoughts
The first step to overcoming anxiety about dating is to identify your thoughts. Write down everything on your mind that makes you nervous or anxious about dating.
What are the common themes, and where did these fears come from? Are these thoughts rational? What are you assuming to be true?
When we’re experiencing anxiety, our minds can trick us into believing false things about ourselves. Be patient, kind, and gentle with yourself as you start to identify and question your beliefs. It’s only when you’ve identified and acknowledged your thought patterns that you can start to move forward
Have Positive Self Talk
How you feel about yourself affects how you feel about the date. If you know all of the things that make you loveable and you know that you are worthy and deserving of a good partner, there is less to be anxious about. But if you have low self esteem and self worth, that can create negative thoughts about what your date will think of you.
Without comparing yourself to others, write a list of all the things you love about yourself, and all of the reasons why you would make a good partner. Monitor your self talk, and take care to speak to yourself with the same love and kindness you would expect from someone else.
Practice mindfulness in your daily routine to calm your mind and nervous system. It’s also a good idea to apply these techniques right before your dates as well.
Mindfulness is all about stopping and slowing down so you can observe your thoughts, feelings, and emotions. This awareness is great for anxiety and depression because it allows you to alleviate some of your anxiety symptoms.
Take care of your mind through practices such as meditation, breathwork, and journaling. Recharge your body with yoga, or by taking a meditative walk or hike.
Have you ever considered trying therapy to help with dating and anxiety?
Working with a therapist can help you get to the core of your personal thoughts and feelings around dating. Maybe you’re an entrepreneur and you’re anxious about dating negatively impacting your career. Maybe you’ve never dated anyone before and you’re nervous about what to expect.
Therapy can help you to free yourself of these thoughts and to get unstuck so that nothing can hold you back.
Choose the Right Partners
A big part of how you feel is the people you’re with. Before you go on the date, assess whether the person you’re talking to actually makes you feel comfortable and safe to be yourself around them. If so, you’re much more likely to have a better experience.
It may also help to be open with them about how you’re feeling. Even if you don’t want to give all of the details, you could just say you’re feeling nervous. You might be surprised to find that they feel the same way, and it could even be something you both bond over.
Make Dating More Comfortable
Have you ever considered double dating? Find a trusted friend or family member to bring along on your date. This is especially helpful if you experience social anxiety in general because it takes the pressure off needing to make conversation. If you’re struggling to find things to say, there will be 3 other people to keep the conversation flowing.
Another way to make dating more comfortable is to do an activity date. Not only will the activity keep your mind busy, but it will also ensure that you don’t run out of things to say as the activity can fuel the conversation. The more adventurous the date, the better!
Avoid Outcome Attachment
Often anxiety comes from attachment to a certain outcome. In dating, this means that you’re attached to the outcomes of getting a second date and dating turning into a relationship.
If one of the things you’re anxious about is your date going poorly, release the pressure by changing the goal. Focus on simply having a good time on your date, rather than anticipating an end result.
This takes away the fear of being let down and will make it easier to be less anxious and more relaxed on your dates.
Overcome Dating Anxiety for Good
It might feel like it now, but romance and anxiety don’t have to go hand in hand. Identifying your feelings and taking positive action to feel better is the first step to learning to enjoy dating.
Practice makes perfect, and remember that it’s impossible to fail. There are no “bad” dates, only lessons and experiences, all of which will increase your confidence for future dates.
The Optimistic Counselling practice can help you to reframe your thoughts and build your confidence about dating. Contact us today to start your journey to happier and healthier dating life.