Can dating cause anxiety? 5 tips to help

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Does dating cause anxiety?

Do you struggle with anxiety? Is dating making it even more difficult? You’re not alone! Here are five tips to help

You’ve likely heard the distressing statistics on the prevalence of anxiety in our culture. Nearly eight per cent of Brits suffer from mixed anxiety and depression – and they’re the most common mental disorders in the country. And there were more than eight million documented cases of anxiety in the UK in 2013.

Imagine how many more undocumented cases there are.

Unfortunately, if you’re prone to anxiety, dating can exacerbate your susceptibility to it.

Dating is nerve-wracking

By its very nature, dating generally causes nervousness, even if part of those nerves is excitement.

If you already have a generalised anxiety or panic disorder, the experience of interacting with new people (especially as quickly and frequently as it can happen with online dating) can trigger unpleasant feelings of stress or even a full-blown attack.

Start dating differently

Add a series of less-than-stellar dates or a rough break up to the mix and you have a recipe that exacerbates anxiety disorders.

So, can you overcome anxiety when it comes to dating?

Yes, you can. But you’re probably going to have to work at it. Here are some tips:

1. Accept that dating makes you vulnerable

And that’s okay. Real human connection requires vulnerability. And vulnerability requires courage. Reframe how you approach opening up to people. Don’t assume you’re going to get hurt. Go into that first date with a positive outlook, open to the possibility of connection, and a willingness to be yourself.

Because when it comes to love, don’t you want someone who accepts you and likes you just as you are?

2. Get some guidance from a therapist

If you’ve been diagnosed with anxiety, you may already be talking to a therapist – if not, consider doing so. He or she can teach you how to cope with anxiety so that you don’t deny yourself the opportunity for deeply meaningful life experiences and relationships out of fear.

3. Kick the negative self-talk

Work on loving yourself as much as your best friends do and try to kick the self-criticism that we all tend to heap on ourselves. A therapist can help with this, but another simple way of addressing the negative inner voice is to practice talking to yourself the way a loving friend would. Replace things like, ‘You’ll never be happy in a relationship’ or ‘You’re not good enough’ with ‘You’re worthy, you’re fun, you’re smart and you’re an inspiration.’

Start dating differently

And keep in mind that if you’re negative toward yourself, your date is going to pick up on that. Humans are naturally attracted to confident, optimistic people. Be one!

4. Remember there are always options

Don’t assume the worst just because you’ve had a string of lackluster dates. Shake things up. Strike up a conversation with a handsome man in the supermarket checkout line or ask that beautiful woman in the library what books she’s reading and would recommend.

If the dating app you’re currently using hasn’t panned out, try a different one. Love can show up in unexpected places. Be open to that.

5. Take care of yourself

Poor physical and mental health will take its toll on your dating life. Before you can be someone else’s dream date, you have to be your own. Look at how you’re eating, determine if you’re getting enough exercise (to get those endorphins pumping) and work on getting sufficient sleep.

And make time for the things you love. Have you always wanted to learn to paint? Sign up for art classes. Do you love to walk? Get out there every weekend for some time in nature. Become the person you’d want to date and magic will start happening!

Once you feel like you’ve overcome your anxiety about dating, get to work on finding the perfect match. eharmony can help. Sign up today and find that partner who loves you for you!


If this article gave you the confidence to find your match, try eHarmony today!

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