Finding love without stress: 9 tips to ease early dating anxiety
Here are nine expert-approved tips to help you navigate early dating anxiety, ensuring that your journey of finding love is as smooth as possible.
The early days of dating can feel like an emotional rollercoaster, an exciting journey full of anticipation and bonding, but also punctuated by moments of self-doubt and anxiety. People who date often feel scrutinised, have to meet new people and may worry that they will say or do something embarrassing. Dating only adds fuel to the fire of anxiety. The potential for awkward conversations is high, and there are countless unknowns: Will she show up? Will he think I'm cool? Do I say anything? How much is too much? What if I spill my drink? Will I get rejected? - Many people often see dating as overly scary and decidedly undesirable.
The feelings of excitement and apprehension that come with meeting someone new are normal. But sometimes these can overwhelm us and prevent a relationship from blossoming. This kind of anxiety and shyness can also make a person avoid meeting new people, feel lonely and lose hope of ever finding a compatible partner. (Also read: Are you sabotaging your love life? 7 bad dating habits to ditch for a healthy relationship )
9 tips for managing early dating anxiety
Talia Koren, a popular dating coach and podcaster, took to her Instagram platform to share invaluable insights about the dating world. In her recent post, she highlighted nine useful tips for managing early dating anxiety.
1. Be aware of your negative thought patterns
Do you ever feel like your mind is just spiralling? Maybe they didn't text you back as promptly as they normally do. Or you're ruminating on how it can go wrong. Or maybe you're worried they'll ghost you like the last person you were so into. Be aware that your thoughts are not reality. And it's totally normal for your brain to do this, but it doesn't mean you need to act on these thoughts.
2. Interrupt negative thought patterns
When you feel overwhelmed with negative thoughts consider writing it down on a notepad and then move on. Do an errand, make plans with a friend, go work out, do some chores, focus on work etc. The more often you successfully interrupt negative thought loops, the less they'll affect you.
3. Show yourself compassion
Stop getting mad at yourself for having anxiety. Recognize that it's a way your brain is trying to protect you. Remind yourself of this when you start to get upset.
4. Focus on the facts
When you feel out of control in your early dating situation, zoom out and focus on reality. What are they actually doing/what have they done? Are you creating problems that don't exist yet? Or is this actually a problem now? (Usually, it's not). Focus on the facts, not the what-ifs.
5. Assess the situation
Sometimes, in early dating, anxiety is triggered by a lack of information like not knowing where you stand with someone after dating for a few weeks. It's worth assessing the real problem or issue (if there is one) to see if action needs to be taken. If yes, make a plan to resolve it.
6. Give yourself reassurance
Many times, we want reassurance and affirmation from external sources (like who we're dating) when we have the ability to give it to ourselves. Tell yourself everything will be okay, that it will work out, and don't forget that you always have you.
When you feel like you're in a highly activated, anxious state, practice the pause. Take a breath. Don't act or do anything when you're in this state of mind. Tell yourself you will handle it when you're more clearheaded.
8. Consider therapy
One of the best and most efficient ways to learn to manage anxiety is to work with a therapist. A therapist can help you find the root of the issue faster and provide more personalized methods to manage anxiety.
9. Prioritising your peace of mind
Ending a relationship with someone whose behaviour consistently triggers your anxiety early on can be a wise decision. Seeking a partner who brings you a sense of calm rather than activation is essential for your well-being.