How to Overcome Dating Anxiety

Nerves before a first date are perfectly normal, but for some, they can become really debilitating. Learn how to overcome dating anxiety and your path to love will be a smoother, more enjoyable journey.

Dating anxiety symptoms

Not everyone recognises anxiety; it could be it’s through the onset of disconcerting symptoms (both physical and mental) that you know something’s not quite right. These may include:

  • Sweaty palms
  • Shaking knees
  • Increased heart rate
  • Irritability
  • Sleeplessness
  • Restlessness
  • Struggling for words on a date
  • Racing or negative thoughts
  • A sense of dread

Is dating anxiety normal?

Yes. Most people find the prospect of meeting strangers and opening up to someone new, very daunting (even the most outgoing and extroverted personalities). Know that the way you’re feeling is very usual, but there’s plenty you can do to alleviate these disconcerting emotions.

There are the nerves that come with mingling and single networking, but there’s also the anxiety that can arrive as you launch into a new relationship. Each is especially likely to be present if you’ve not dated in many years, or at all.

Overcoming anxiety when dating someone new

So, what can you do about it?

Firstly, identify any unhelpful stories or mantras you might be telling yourself. Common ones might sound like:

“I doubt anyone will ever want to be with me. I’m not attractive, funny or clever enough”.

“I have so many friends who are unlucky in love, why should I be any different.”

“There just aren't enough decent singles out there”.

“The last date went really badly, I expect the next one will be just as terrible”.

“If this date doesn’t go well, I’m giving up.”

“It has to work out with this person because they’re perfect for me”.

“This person that I’ve just met is the one, I can’t lose them”.

“I can’t mess up on this date as I won’t get a second chance”.

Having too much riding on a particular person or event will heighten the stakes and leave you worrying that it could all so easily come crashing down. By all means give it your all and be hopeful, but don’t pin all those hopes on a single event, person or outcome; there are many paths to happiness. Keeping this in mind will enable you to approach dating with a more relaxed attitude.

Dating and feeling overwhelmed

Manage any sense of overwhelm with some very practical techniques. Practice meditation, deep breathing techniques and/or mindfulness on a daily basis to keep the physical and mental symptoms of anxiety at bay. As little as 10 minutes can make a huge difference, as you train your brain and body to let go and be still.

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Maybe it’s a lack of time that’s causing you anxiety. Life can be hectic and managing chats on dating apps can take up as much time as a part time job. If your schedule is rammed and you’re overwhelmed with everything you have to do, take the work out of finding a partner by signing up for some local speed dating nights.

Why am I so afraid of dating?

Maybe you’ve had a traumatic past experience that has stayed with you and as a result, you have a fear of dating. It may be you need to unpack this and work through the emotion before you’ll be ready to embark on a new relationship. Try journalling your thought processes. Seeing them in black and white can help you to be more objective and recognise where fears might be irrational or overblown. You can then write down some strategies to combat these thoughts when they arise.

Dealing with severe dating anxiety

If you have more severe dating anxiety (that’s preventing you from dating at all) do get some external help. This could be in the form of a dating or life coach, a counsellor or a cognitive behavioural therapist. There’s also a wealth of resources available for free online, via podcasts and books that teach you how to overcome this issue. Of course, your anxiety doesn’t need to be acute to seek support, but if it is, it’s important you overcome it, so you don’t miss out on the potential for a satisfying and happy love life.

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The less anxious you are, the more you’ll help the other person relax and increase the likelihood of the date going well. But, it's counter productive to worry about being anxious! Practice habits that calm you, keep the stakes low in your mind and know that you have plenty of options. Come along to one of our events, let our hosts put you at ease and see that dating is nowhere near as scary as you might have previously thought.

Related Questions

Why do I feel so insecure in my new relationship?

It could be that you have an insecure attachment style. Or it could be that the relationship itself lacks a firm foundation and that the other person isn’t giving you the assurance you need to feel secure.

How do I get out of my head when dating?

Overthinking can become a problem. Often the best way to overcome this is to think less and do more. If this is something that’s an issue for you, then try the fast pace of speed dating — it’s perfect for getting out of your head.

Is dating fun or stressful?

It can be either depending on your approach; so decide on and set your intention. Opt for date ideas that you enjoy, so even if it doesn’t work out with the person you’ve met, you’ll have had been doing something you like. Laugh about the things that don’t go as planned and take a light hearted attitude, with the belief that you will be successful in your search.

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