Does dating make you anxious? If that's you just know that it's okay. You're not alone!
Yeah, online dating is tough and yet almost half of Americans do the date thing, according to Pew Research. With so many Americans out there online dating, it seems logical that people are having some level of success with it. However, that's not the case — at least it isn't for me.
I'll be frank here. Dating is hard even for me. I've been active and dating online at different times over the last couple of decades. For all the neat tools that are available, it's more difficult today in my opinion. Why is that? Again, I can only speak to my own experiences. The mere act of swiping (and not getting matches) weighs on the mind. Matching with someone and chatting with them only to have them go silent or unmatch is brutal. What's even worse is finally going on a date with a woman — things go well and we even share a kiss at the end of the night and then I still. get. ghosted! It tanks my confidence, folks.
Again, I'm not alone. Online dating actually lowers self-esteem and increases anxiety for many people (like me!). When I go on dates now I have a hard time staying out of my head. I think about whether or not my date is going to find me charming or if she'll want to go out with me again. Sometimes I need a drink to settle down. THAT'S NOT HEALTHY! Something has to change.
Overcoming Online Dating Anxiety
I'm not going to pretend that I have the answers. I can only share what has worked for me. Maybe it helps you, too.I get extremely nervous and anxious about dates these days. Having a drink before my date isn't a good pattern of behavior. I'm using alcohol to cope with a state of mind. That's not healthy.
Try CBD Oil
All the cool cats are doing it, so why not? I had lunch with a friend a while back. We dish on dating and self-employment related stuff. She confided that she has anxiety, too. She takes a natural CBD Oil capsule that helps with her anxiety. So I decided to try it, too. Did it work, though?
Perhaps it's the placebo effect but I took a capsule about an hour and a half before my date and I was fine before, during, and after. I know this because I didn't feel like running out on my date at any point.
Usually, that fight or flight instinct hits just before my date arrives. However, I noticed a relative calmness — in fact, I noticed it after the date was over. While there's no conclusive official research done on CBD (Cannabinoid), there has been extensive testing done to assess the benefits (of which there are many).
Do the Self Work
Often, for me, anxiety comes from a place of insecurity, it comes from past trauma. There's a voice telling me how I'm going to mess things up or how I'm going to not live up to a stranger's expectations. It's silly! It's maddening!
These days, there's more and more awareness around mental illness and all the things that go with it. Shoot, there's a whole month dedicated to mental health awareness!
I sought professional help when I realized I was getting nowhere fast. My therapist didn't give me the answers but helped me to understand why I might think the way I do. She also helped me come up with ways to reframe how I think about myself when I'm feeling anxious or downright shitty. Self-care is sexy. It's okay to treat yourself and talk to someone about the things you're stuck on.
Lay Your Cards on the Table
Also known as being vulnerable. Tell your date how you're feeling. Whether it's before the date or during, if you're feeling something really deeply that's negative let your date know how you're feeling. Maybe your date ends things early, running the other way or maybe your date shows empathy and understands where you're coming from — being vulnerable, showing/receiving empathy is a great way to let go of all that shit and knock down some barriers.
I once told a date that I was extremely nervous to meet her. She laughed and asked what I was so nervous about. Her profile read so perfectly and our exchanges were on point. I was scared I would say something and mess things up. She laughed. Her walls came down and she told me all kinds of stories about her messing up or failing at being an adult. It put me at ease, y'all. All because I was vulnerable. Vulnerability is a powerful thing if you're in tune with yourself.
What are some things you do to dial down the anxiety? Answer in the comments down below.