Anxiety is a buzzkill and when it comes to dating and romance, anxiety can get in the way from finding your soulmate. Take it from me. 10 years ago, I was diagnosed with both anxiety and OCD, it was a confusing time for me and my family.
It was like my mental illness deterred my social life. I developed low self-confidence and poor self-image. Plus, I was a young woman and I wanted to enjoy the world of love and romance, but I was scared to death.
Quarantine, an introvert’s dream
Fortunately, quarantine was my saving grace. I didn’t have to worry about this person and that person. Whether “so in so” like me or found me attractive. My home became my castle, and when I shut off the outside world, I tuned into my internal world. I felt a sense of peace, I was no longer restless.
Online dating wasn’t an option for me. Sure, you can find someone online, but to me, those aren’t genuine connections. How can you tell the vibe by photo? I was enjoying quarantine, but now that the world is opening back up again, I can feel my anxiety rising, and I feel like running away!
Everytime, I see a cute familiar face, I feel like I’m about to faint or worse have a heart attack. Even in my college days, when going out with a guy, I’d be so nervous, I would literally stop talking, or freeze because I didn’t want to vomit all over my date!
Tips to manage anxiety while dating
If you have ever experienced these types of feelings before you are not alone. I have these feelings and sometimes these feelings can be so intense that I need to call in some extra help. Last month, when I felt my anxiety getting out of control, I reached out to my therapist about my dating life. I would like to share a few tips she gave me that helped me muster up the courage to get back in the dating game.
1. The person you like is just a human being
It seems when we are attracted to someone or have a “crush”, we put them on a pedastal. They can do no wrong! And everything they do is extra cute even when it is not. To us, they are perfect. When the truth is that they are a fantasy! I hate to burst your bubble but your romantic interest is a regular human being like you with habits that may irriate the heck out of you. You don’t even know if they pick their nose when no one is looking or not. The next time you see someone hot just imagine them sneezing, trust me, you will see them in a different light.
2. Confront the elephant in the room
If you like someone, just say it! I know, I know…it could be gut wrenching to confess your true feelings for someone! Rip the bandaid off! The faster you rip it the faster you will heal from whatever happens after! The worse thing they could tell you is “no”. Hopefully, they aren’t rude! Even if they are rude, there are billions of people living on this planet! Do me a favor, let out your feelings, once you let it out, you can move on.
3. Start with a “Hi.”
People who are imaginative (like me), sometimes have the habit of thinking too far ahead. What I mean by that is meeting someone you like and then thinking about baby names. Stop it. Dont think that far ahead! Concenctrate on saying the word “hi”. The more often you greet them the warmer the conversation will come. It works every time. Sometimes we need to get to know someone before we begin to think they would make a good partner.
4. Laugh at yourself
Stop taking what you do too seriously and laugh! Anxiety can make us do silly things and what better way than to show yourself some grace and compassion. Anxiety isn’t you, it is just a part of you. Tame it! On it! Show anxiety who is in control.
5. Set boundaries (FYI it is okay to take things slow)
Make a list of what things you are looking for in mate and also make a list of things you are willing to put up with and things you are not. Hold this list to your heart and maintain your boundaries. Setting these types of boundaries will help you navigate the dating world and help manage your anxiety. Stick to your guns at all times and don’t bend or apologize for it either. I think sometimes we get so caught up in “love and romance” we forget to stay true to ourselves.
As for taking it slow,
Practice, taking things slow with your romantic interest, this will help your nerves and your thoughts from going hyper active mode! Take time to think things through and go at your own pace. Dating isn’t a race!
Anxiety doesn’t have to be an obstacle in your dating life, in fact it can be an advantage. I hope these tips help!
Photo cred: Getty images