How to Manage Anxiety When Dating Someone New

Dating someone new can be exhilarating as well as intimidating — often at the same time. This challenging blend gets escalated if anxiety is present. It may sometimes be called “dating anxiety,” but that’s not an official diagnosis. More likely, the person feeling stressed is dealing with a generalized anxiety disorder or social anxiety disorder. These conditions can impact all aspects of your life but may seem more intense and obvious during something like a first date.

Fortunately, there are many proven steps you can take to manage and ease anxiety when dating someone new. Frequently, the first move is to understand what’s going on and why.

Why Does Dating Exacerbate An Anxiety Disorder?

Connecting with another person romantically involves vulnerability. For someone with an anxiety disorder (especially social anxiety), it can result in them opting not to date at all. The stress feels too overwhelming and causes symptoms like rapid heart rate, sweating, shaky voice, dizziness, and more. Less obvious are feelings of shame and fear of rejection.

Factors Related to Dating Anxiety

  • Financial or employment-related concerns
  • Family issues that can cause embarrassment
  • General shyness
  • Dating and/or sexual inexperience
  • Health or medical problems
  • Low self-esteem
  • A fear of being judged
  • Safety concerns (particularly for women)
  • Traumatic relationships in the past

It’s highly recommended that those with dating anxiety speak with a therapist to dig deep into the underlying causes. Such an approach can go a long way in smoothing your future path. In the meantime, here are some fundamental tips.

How to Manage Anxiety When Dating Someone New

Examine Your Assumptions

What type of negative thoughts have you assigned to the realm of dating? Anxiety often causes you to make assumptions based on false evidence. These thought patterns must be unraveled, challenged, and replaced. A good start is to reject negative self-talk.

Identify Your Needs

Why do you want to date, and what kind of partner are you looking for? From hook-ups to marriages, dating goals can vary widely. Understand your “why” before moving forward. From there, you can begin listing your needs, wants, dealbreakers, compromises, and boundaries. Clarify to yourself what makes you happy and at ease. What attributes and values attract you?

Embrace Healthy Communication

Everyone is nervous about dating, so why not talk about it? Break the ice by disarming the tension. Be honest about your emotions and give space for the other person to do the same. You can build trust by demonstrating from the first date that you prefer honest and open sharing.

Practice Beforehand

If possible, recruit a friend to help prepare you for the first date. Go over talking points. Find topics that help you relax. Identify areas that bring out your confidence. Choose an outfit that feels natural and comfortable; it’ll make it easier to be yourself.

Be Mindful

Anxiety thrives on an insidious version of time travel. It has you dwelling on the past or fearing the future. Mindfulness practice (e.g., meditation, breathing exercises, etc.) guides you to be rooted in the present moment. Work this into the practice and preparation mentioned above.

Learn More About Managing Anxiety

As discussed, if you’re anxious on a date, you’re probably anxious elsewhere in your life. The holistic approach would be to address the big picture and reap overall awards. Anxiety disorders are the most common mental health problems on the planet. There is no shame in this struggle, and there are plenty of treatment options.

You do not have to feel stuck in limiting patterns. I urge you to reach out to get the support you need and deserve. Let’s connect and get that process started.

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