With recent events, many single folks have been experiencing isolation and loneliness. A global pandemic doesn’t exactly set a helpful tone for romantic relationships. But you want to date. You want to find love – and you deserve that love you’re seeking.
However, you may be struggling with dating anxiety and fears. What do you say? How do you stop giving up on this one thing you’ve always wanted? There’s a way. It starts withunderstanding yourself.
Keep reading to know a little more about anxiety when dating someone new and learn some tips on how to overcome dating anxiety. It’s called sarmassophobia.
What is dating anxiety
Dating anxiety is when a person has excessive fears or worries before, during, and after a date. While nervousness is expected when meeting a new person, dating anxiety is more intense and long-lasting. A 2021 study suggests that people with dating anxiety may fear being rejected and rejecting others.
People who have social anxiety disorder (SAD) may avoid dating because they may not feel comfortable meeting new people or engaging in social situations.
Major signs of dating anxiety
Dating anxiety symptoms can manifest in various ways, affecting individuals differently. Some common signs include:
Excessive worry and overthinking before and during dates
Physical symptoms like increased heart rate, sweating, nausea, and restlessness
Avoidance behaviors such as canceling or avoiding dates
Negative self-talk and self-doubt
Lack of confidence in social interactions
What may cause dating anxiety?
Dating anxiety can be caused by various factors such as fear of rejection and rejection of others, social anxiety disorder (SAD), fear of negative evaluation (DFNE), fear of positive evaluation (FPE), fear of rejecting others (FRO), previous relationship experiences, low self-esteem, attachment style and more.
5 ways to overcome dating anxiety
It’s not easy. This fear can prevent you from being open and willing to share about yourself. Dating anxiety can make you appear awkward to others, and it can inhibit your ability to form relationships.
So, how to deal with dating anxiety? Let’s find out.
1. Start with yourself
To truly connect with another person when you’re already scared to date again, you must be honest. While there are plenty of gimmicks and pick-up lines available to try, they are not sustainable for long-term relationships. For overcoming dating anxiety, practice being truthful and vulnerable.
This is a thousand times easier said than done, but the rewards are endless. For example, if you’re on afirst date and feeling nervous, instead of pretending you’re not nervous, say, “I’m Nervous!”
This vulnerable act levels the playing ground and shows who you are. There is no need to present a false persona while dating. Certainly, don’t divulge all your secrets on a first date but keep it as real as possible.
Your date, who is also probably hiding some nervousness and anxiety, will feel relieved and more connected if you’re honest about how you’re feeling.
While it is difficult to be “seen,” it is the kindest and most intentional act you can engage in. Does your date look stunning? Tell them! Disclosing who you are, what you think, and how you feel is the best way of dealing with dating anxiety and engaging with a partner.
2. Everybody judges
It’s true. Every single person is constantly making up their mind about others. Some people click, and some people clash. This is a reality you must accept. However, just as you tend to be preoccupied with your thoughts and assessments of others, most people are doing exactly the same thing.
When you disclose bits and pieces of who you are, you are offering yourself up for judgment. Judgment is not a bad thing, though. It is the way humans determine who is and isn’t aligned with their own values and perceptions.
So, how to calm dating anxiety?
You may feel excessive fear about being misunderstood or perceived negatively by your date– the beauty ofbeing honest is that the ones who are aligned with you will stay. Honesty provides a space for you to determine who is with you and who isn’t. Some people will fall away, and that is always okay.
If you haven’t taken the time to jot down all your amazing qualities, do that today especially if you get too anxious before a date! Maybe you’re an artist, a whiz with math, or the kindest friend in your group.
Take time to acknowledge how remarkable you are and realize that you’re not auditioning for love when you go on a date. You’re only looking for who iscompatible with you.
You have gifts and talents that the right person will acknowledge – and here is the most important part: when that person sees what you have to offer, they will reciprocate.
It’s a dance.
You’ll both be engaged and active, and you’ll experience harmony together. If you walk into dating without knowing who you are and all the killer abilities you have, you’ll feel insecure and unworthy. But you are worthy.
The video below discusses tips that will help you realize why you are good enough. It’s not so much about what you feel but what you do with that feeling that matters more.
So, if you have anxiety about dating, take that time now and write down why you’re worthy so you can feel strong and secure when engaging with others.
4. Gentle reminders
Overcoming fear and dating anxiety is no easy task, especially when you put your heart on the line.
If you are dating with anxiety, remind yourself of your worth. When your brain interjects with a thought that spells catastrophe, realize it’s just a fear-based defense mechanism. You can rewire your mind withpositive affirmations.
When you’re thinking, “They won’t like me; I’m so scared,” replace that thought with “I am worthy whether or not they like me; I am proud of myself for being courageous.” You have to be your own best friend.
These thoughts and feelings that overwhelm you can be combated with awareness and self- love. Notice when you’re spiraling and make a conscious effort to bekind to yourself. Connection is a vital part of the human experience.
5. Take it slow as you focus on yourself
Start by taking small, manageable steps in dating. Begin with casual outings or group activities to ease into the dating scene. Gradually expose yourself to more challenging dating situations as you gain confidence.
Prioritize self-care activities that help reduce stress and anxiety. Engage in activities that bring you joy and relaxation, such as exercise, meditation, spending time with loved ones, or pursuing hobbies.
Here are some more powerful tips to overcome the fear of relationships and dating:
Carole Cullen is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in Wake Forest, NC. She is a Certified Gottman and Emotionally Focused Therapist specializing in working with couples in crisis. Carole has over 20 years of experience helping couples using practical tools to create a lasting love.
Carole Read more and her husband Chris have been married 16 years and love spending time with their 2 children, Matthew and Sophia. You can learn more about working with Carole at mytherapistnc.org.
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.