· By Case Kenny
How to deal with dating anxiety
Do you find yourself more anxious than normal while dating?
Now more than ever, dating is rampant with triggers that leave you confused, stressed and anxious.
Can you relate to these anxious dating thoughts?
- You go on a date and they don’t text you after. "WTF. I had a good time. Did they not have a good time?"
- You text them and they take 3 days to respond. "WTF… is this person playing me?"
- "They didn’t have a great answer for what they're looking for. RED FLAG."
- "They didn’t invite me to meet their friends. They aren't serious about me."
- "I kept hearing his phone go off. It must be someone else he’s seeing."
It’s OK to have questions while dating… the problem arises when you give into the assumptions your anxiety suggests are the answers.
The problem arises when you allow those assumptions to become truths in your head.
They lead you to think someone isn’t interested in you (even though they are). They lead you to think someone is playing you (even though they aren't). They lead you to think you’re not good enough. They lead you to distrust everyone around you.
If you give into those assumptions, you very quickly can become a glass half empty and worst case scenario type dater. Most of all, when you become obsessed with those things... you’re not IN the relationship.
When you're not IN the moment… that is how your anxiety can literally get in the way of the relationship.
- It can lead you to distrust someone and assume someone is saying one thing and doing another.
- You start to think that not receiving a goodnight text means they’ve lost interest in you.
- You start to think that YOU need to prove yourself even more.
- You start to worry that someone is going to reject you and so you self sabotage out of fear.
The funny thing is… while you’re running wild with assumptions, on the other end is someone who literally has no idea there is any issue at all.
On the other end is a person who is totally into you and has no idea you’ve assumed they're not.
Consider anxious thoughts like...
“I haven’t heard from him in 3 days. He hasn’t texted. He must've moved on. He must not like me. I must not be good enough. He’s a f*** boy."
While you're jumping to those assumptions, on the other end is a completely different story.
- On the other end is someone who doesn't think 3 days without a text is a long time and they’re actually super into you.
- On the other end is someone who really likes you but doesn't want to seem overeager because they've been told they try too hard in the past.
- On the other end is someone who caught the flu and has been in bed all week.
And there you are. Stressed to the max.
You're stressed because you've allowed your totally normally anxious thoughts to convince you to anticipate the worst in someone and to see things through the lens of poor intention.
SO how do we prevent those thoughts from taking over? How do we control the assumptions we're so tempted to arrive at?
Here’s my light bulb moment for you.
Realize that just as YOU have expectations, that other person also has expectations and sometimes they're different… but sometimes they're the same BUT maybe they’re nervous, maybe they're afraid of rejection, maybe they’re unsure about how their actions might be interpreted, etc.
For instance... I hear this all the time:
Why can’t men just be more forthcoming with how they feel? Why can't men just say they like me? Why do they have to dance around it? They don’t want me… they’re just toying with me.
Yes, sure that’s true sometimes. OR maybe the reason that they're not delivering on an expectation YOU have is because they were hurt in the past.
Maybe he told someone he really liked them in the past and he was brutally rejected and told off? Maybe he’s not playing with you.
Maybe the fact that he hasn’t texted you in 2 days is because he’s worried about being too thirsty as he was told before.
We don't have to assume the worst. Those assumptions can kill a relationship before it even begins.
Don't give your anxiety fuel in the form of expectations to analyze.
Date with no expectations BUT high standards and judge things through that lens. When you date from a place of no expectations and high standards you actually allow yourself to be in the relationship instead of observing it, interpreting behavior and analyzing expectations.
Instead you actually immerse yourself in the relationship instead of being up in the clouds looking for possible negative intentions.
You allow the story to unfold however it might unfold - whether it follows a path you expect or one that’s new to you. You don’t give into the negative assumptions your anxiety suggests to you.
You listen to them, BUT you check yourself by having patience.
When you start thinking "he hasn’t texted me and that means this or that" - instead of coming to a conclusion, you simply wait.
Having patience doesn’t mean you’re opening yourself up to be hurt. You’re not awaiting around for people who are unsure about you... you’re simply making a conscious to decision to NOT create drama in your head out of nothing.
You address what is bothering you, you bookmark it and you wait for the story to unfold - no expectations.
Your anxious thoughts are anxious thoughts. They're a dime a dozen.
But if you can learn to practice patience and a healthy dose of high standards and no expectations... you'll be amazed by how in the moment you can become.
And good things happen when you’re there.