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Listen, dating is already hard. You know what, let’s be honest, most of the time, dating absolutely sucks. The effort and energy it takes to get to know and open up to yet another person can be fun but also very exhausting. Now couple that with those of us who suffer from anxiety, and it can make the actual act of dating ten times harder. But you are not alone in this struggle. Anxiety disorders are the most common psychological disorder in the United States, affecting 18 percent of the entire adult population. Even more, social anxiety disorder (SAD), is the third-most-common psychological disorder, affecting 15 million men and women in the United States alone.
Meaning, those tense feelings of discomfort and shyness isn’t something to be ashamed of. And it shouldn’t deter you from trying your hand at dating or meeting new people. The fact is, it taking you a little bit longer to open up to a new partner is more common than those who go into new relationships with absolutely no walls up. And that there are ways you can go into a new relationship better equipped in handling those strong feelings of anxiousness.
Challenge those negative thoughts, they are literally just in your head
At least give yourself a chance to have a good time! Once you feel those negative feelings creeping up: identify them, address them and then replace them. You are assuming your date is judging you because you are judging yourself. But guess what? Your inner critic was not invited to your date, and therefore should not have a seat at the table.
If you are anxious, just say that
I know this might sound crazy, but telling your date or new partner that you are feeling nervous can actually make the situation and yourself less tense. They will probably respond positively to your disclosure and offer words of support and relation in return. And again, if you spend the whole date focused on how nervous you are, you won’t be able to actually enjoy yourself.
Fill up your self confidence tank
We know this is easier said than done, because we are our own worst critics, but you need to love and believe in yourself before letting someone else. When a person goes into the date feeling good about who they are, what they have to offer and how they look; no matter how the other person responds, they will leave feeling the same way. Also, your date can feel and will positively respond to that strong energy and confidence.
Grant yourself some grace
The likelihood of meeting your soulmate on your very first date back on the market is so small. So if you don’t feel the date went well, don’t beat yourself up about it. You might have been a little too quiet or said something corny out of nervousness, but the biggest battle as someone who suffers from anxiety is actually going on the date in the first place. No matter the outcome, be proud of yourself for pushing past the negative thoughts and putting yourself out there to begin with.