What is Dating Anxiety Disorder
Have you asked yourself these questions when you’re meeting someone new? “Will he like me?” “Will he show up?” “What if he thinks I’m weird?” “What if I talk also much?” And then you start to answer those questions? You end up convincing yourself that it’s also scary and not worth it because he’s not going to like you. You’re probably suffering from Dating Anxiety Disorder.
The DSM-5 (Diagnostical and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition) defines a social anxiety disorder: “the persistent fear of one or more situations in which the person is exposed to possible scrutiny by others and fears that he or she may do something or act in a way that will be humiliating or embarrassing.”
Dating is one of those situations where you could feel scrutinized, and that is why you’re in constant fear that you’ll do something embarrassing. The awkward conversations and all the unsure make dating something to be feared and totally unappealing.
Dating Anxiety Disorder will lead you to avoid meeting new people altogether, so you’ll feel isolated and you’ll have no hope in the prospect of finding a suitable partner. This type of anxiety disorder often starts in the pre-teen years and it can be hard to recognize. That is why people wait so long to seek help and get treatment. They have lived with the disorder for so long that it feels normal for them. It’s not normal and it can be treated.
Dealing with Dating Anxiety and depression
Sadly anxiety and depression co-exist. When you’re dating the anxiety could feel like the third person in the relationship and it can make things difficult for the couple especially if you don’t understand what’s happening or how to cope with it. Add depression to the mix and things look up the hill.
If you have suffered both anxiety and depression or are in a relationship with a person suffering from both illnesses you know it can put a strain on the relationship, so what can you do? How can you deal with it so you both have a chance? Here are some tips or things you can do, take a look.
1. Try to understand and accept and show support
When your partner opens up and tells you that he suffers from anxiety and/or depression, you need to listen to him because it wasn’t easy for him to tell you that. There’s a stigma when it comes to mental diseases. If you don’t want him to be embarrassed, then try to accept what he’s telling, accept the fact that he suffers from dating anxiety and depression.
Then you need to understand that sometimes he can’t control it (especially if he’s not under treatment) and offer comfort whenever needed. Don’t judge or take it personally, just let him talk.
2. Encourage him to seek help, to work with a therapist
As much as you love him and want to help, you can’t be his therapist. First, you’re not trained to be one, and second, it could be draining and it could make you resent him. Understand that you’re not responsible for his therapy.
You can help by guiding him gently to seek the help of a therapist. Therapy can help him deal with dating anxiety. If you are in a committed relationship you could suggest that you both go to couples counseling, it may take the pressure off him.
3. Manage your reactions to his anxiety and depression
Don’t get upset when he’s talking about his anxiety and depression in regards to your relationship. From your point of view, it may seem like selfishness or an attempt to create distance, but for him it’s real. It’s counterproductive to tell him things like “Get over it” or “Don’t worry about it”.
Remember that it’s not about you, so don’t get upset you may say something mean and make things worse. Take a moment to calm down so then you can address his feelings. Try for a more compassionate answer like “I’m sorry you feel that way” or “It must be hard, what can I do to make you feel better about that?”
4. Set some boundaries
It’s essential to set some boundaries so there’s some balance. By observing how anxiety and depression influence his behavior you can know when to cut him some slack but there should be a limit. His mental illnesses don’t give him a license to be cruel or hurtful.
Behaviors like insults, threats, or accusations are not acceptable and you should be very clear with him about that.
5. He’ll try to push you away, don’t allow that
Because of the depression opening up to you could prove very hard, so he’ll try to push you away. Don’t let him build up that barrier, it’s not an easy task but if you love him you have to try. This will show him that you care and are willing to help him.
Dealing with Dating Anxiety after Breakup
Breakups are tough, they can drain you emotionally, mentally even physically. It doesn’t matter if you were with him for 2 months or 2 years, at the end you’re going to feel scared, nervous, anxious… “Will there ever be another love?” “Will I feel like this forever?” All these feelings are normal but if you’re suffering from dating anxiety, your condition could worsen.
But there are some things you can do to deal with your condition.
1. Spend time with yourself
Don’t jump into the dating pool right away. This is the perfect time to reflect, to acknowledge all the good and bad things about the relationship, You can learn a lot about yourself this way. Get yourself to the gym, or find a hobby, seek the company of your friends, start a blog, just don’t dwell on the past.
2. Compile a list of things you’re grateful for
You may feel that you’ve got nothing to look forward to, but that’s not true. Open your tunnel vision, you have lots of things to be feel good about: family, friends, a great job, and yes your future. Make a list if it helps, and name it “The Gratitude List”, it’ll help with your anxiety.
3. Don’t cling to the past
You need to move forward, don’t entertain the idea of getting back with him. Just remember that you break up for a reason, accept that your relationship had good and bad times. After a breakup, anxiety can make you see things more favorably if you focus solely on the good times (it’s like you’re looking through rose-tinted glasses), but don’t get confused. good memories are just that… good memories, they are not a glimmer of hope. Face that reality, you’ll deal better with your anxiety.
Dealing with Dating Anxiety after Divorce
Some changes are good and exciting, a new job, a new home. But some changes caused a lot of stress and anxiety, divorce is one of them. Understandably, the ones affected are going to feel anxious. If you’re going through the process of divorce some factors could increase your level of anxiety.
For example, the change in routine, even if your marriage was going down it was a routine. Also the process of the divorce, your stress levels definitely go up thus your anxiety. After a divorce, you’re going to worry about the future and that would contribute to even greater amounts of anxiety.
What can you do to deal with it?
1. Seek counseling
You can reduce your anxiety level after the divorce by seeking treatment. It helps to able to vent your frustrations to a professional, this person will offer both counseling and behavior training so you can cope better with the aftermaths of a divorce.
2. Seek social support
You need to reconnect with your friends, social support is very essential if you want to lower your levels of anxiety. With them, you can engage in fun activities that could distract you from the pressures of a divorce, they can be a shoulder to cry on also. Spending time with good friends is a very good way to deal with and cope with anxiety after your divorce.
3. Occupy your time with a hobby
Find something you enjoy, focus on what you want, that’ll keep your mind off the divorce. Maybe you have an artistic side, explore it! Or return to a passion you had before your marriage, maybe writing? You can start a blog and grow from there.
4. Find and develop new routines
You need to find balance again and the best way to do that is routines. You had a routine with your ex, now it’s time to find new ones, as long as they’re healthy ones. For example, going to the gym, doing exercise regularly, or setting a friend’s night to hang with them, or taking a weekly class of pottery.
Dealing with Dating Anxiety in Texting
Now that we have many ways to communicate and reach out to your significant other (or potential SO) it’s kind of nerve-racking when he doesn’t get back to you right away. He may be liking your Instagram stories or FB post but he’s not texting you back. And there goes your anxiety, “Why isn’t he texting me back?” “He doesn’t like me,”
That texting “silence” can hurt, you start imagining so many scenarios that your level of anxiety can go through the roof. And that happens because you have attached so much to the outcome, you’re thinking way ahead and the truth is you don’t know this person. Besides, you can’t micromanage his timelines, just because you text immediately back doesn’t mean he’s going to do the same.
How you can deal with the anxiety?
1. Don’t jump to conclusions
You’re creating all these stories on your mind and they might have nothing to do with reality. The problem here is your ego, Maybe the reason he’s not texting back has nothing to do with you. If you remove your ego from the equation you’ll cut through your anxiety.
2. Structure of the waiting
Remember those times when you were little and you had to wait for Christmas morning or your birthday. This waiting was positive, there was an eagerness for what was about to come (presents!), that you didn’t have to jump to negative outcomes. You didn’t know what was coming your way, they kept you in suspense but you embraced this. Do the same when you’re waiting for his reply, embrace the enjoyment of not knowing.
3. Focus on the present
Remember those outcomes we talked about? You’re attaching them completely on his reply, so if he hasn’t texted you back all those plans that we’re working in your head come crumbling down. You’re the one sabotaging your plans, when you live in the future you are condemning yourself to catastrophe. Get yourself to the present and stay there, you’ll start to calm down and your anxiety levels will lower considerably.
Dating anxiety can become a constant third wheel in your relationship, you either tolerate it or do something to remedy the situation, You have learned that there are things you can do to deal with it. Therapy is at the top of it, so seek it and talk with your partner about it so he/she can understand what’s happening and can help you deal with it.
We hope that you learn to deal and cope with it, whether you’re the one suffering the anxiety or are with someone who’s suffering it. It isn’t easy but it’s doable if you want to make the relationship work.