What is dating anxiety? Causes and tips for dealing with it
Dating anxiety occurs 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.
Dating anxiety can feel awkward, overwhelming, and stressful. It can also affect other areas of a person’s life and may cause them to avoid dating altogether.
A person with dating anxiety may experience physical symptoms such as sweating, shaking, and rapid heart rate. They may have repetitive negative thoughts related to fear of shame, embarrassment, and rejection. However, there are ways to manage the condition.
It is important to note that dating anxiety is not an official condition in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.
This article discusses the causes of dating anxiety, how to deal with it, and when to talk to a medical professional.
Usually, dating anxiety occurs before a person has a first date with a new person, although it can occur at any stage of the meeting.
This happens for a variety of reasons, which can be related to a person’s health, education, and relationship history. A study 2021 suggests that people with dating anxiety may fear rejection and rejection of others.
People with social anxiety disorder (SAD) may not feel comfortable meeting new people or engaging in social situations, which could cause them to avoid dating. A study 2021 describes findings from older research, which found that people with more social anxiety were not as likely to have a romantic partner.
A person may experience anxiety when they start dating again after a long-term relationship, especially if they have experienced rejection or emotional pain. They may also experience stress related to finances, employment, and family circumstances, which can affect their self-esteem.
Dating anxiety is often linked to:
A person can learn to manage and overcome dating anxiety. They can examine the causes of their anxiety and how it affects their well-being.
Below are some tips a person can use to manage their dating anxiety.
Establish values and needs
A person needs to define their goals, values, and dating needs so that they have a clear understanding of what they want from their dating experience. They can make an honest assessment of their relationship patterns, strengths and weaknesses.
A person can decide whether they prefer casual encounters or a long-term commitment. This can help them establish healthy emotional and physical boundaries.
Learn more about what makes a healthy relationship.
Use clear and effective communication
A person can establish open and honest communication with their date. This communication should flow from mutual respect and consideration.
Individuals need to be clear about their standards and expectations, which can include deciding factors for a relationship.
A person should decide what helps them feel most comfortable. To the best of their abilities, they must ensure that their potential partner is trustworthy, understanding and supportive.
People can also set up dates in places where they feel comfortable. Some may prefer to go on a double date or a group activity.
Also, some people are more comfortable if they come up with a plan for their date. This may include duration, transportation options and who will pay.
Be open and share
A person can gradually build trust, understanding, and connection with self-disclosure. It is when someone shares information about themselves with another individual.
According to research 2016, increased self-disclosure helps alleviate social anxiety and increase motivation to reconnect. This suggests that people should be open and honest about themselves when dating.
To feel more comfortable, a person can practice sharing information with a trusted friend.
Learning to practice mindfulness can help a person learn to regulate their emotions and change negative thought patterns. An individual can develop mindfulness to observe their thoughts while minimizing their reaction and attachment to them.
They can also use meditation, breathing exercises, and relaxation techniques to center and focus on the present moment.
A person must learn to love, forgive and accept themselves to practice self-love. People should strive to be patient and kind to themselves, especially if they’re nervous about dating someone.
Choose not to go out with you
Some people, such as those on the asexual or aromantic spectrum, may feel pressured into dating due to societal or family expectations.
In this case, a person may take a break or decide not to go out at all. Some may want to take the time to focus on themselves and their goals.
A person can contact a medical professional if dating anxiety is affecting their overall mental health and quality of life. They should also consider seeking help if they have ever experienced debilitating trauma or anxiety.
It is important for a doctor to diagnose anxiety disorders, so they can create a treatment plan, which may include therapy and medication.
A person can work with a mental health professional to identify and address underlying issues that are impacting their dating experience. Common types of therapy may include:
A person who has experienced trauma or who has post-traumatic stress disorder may benefit from eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy.
Therapy can help a person learn to:
- manage your emotions
- improve self-awareness
- develop a strong sense of self
Dating anxiety involves feelings of fear and worry that are more intense and longer lasting than typical nervousness.
To reduce dating anxiety, people can look at the root causes of the condition and make positive changes to overcome them.
A person may benefit from speaking with a healthcare professional about their dating anxiety, especially if it is affecting their mental health.