People who can go out on date after date, never once doubting who they are, are incredible. For those with anxiety, like me, dating is a terror. Sometimes I even think of myself as a masochist, because going out and meeting new people, trying to find something in common, and hoping they enjoy their time, is nothing but stress and discomfort.
Still, you can figure out your own ways to cope with that anxiety. But there are some signs that show those coping methods are not working effectively, or that dating is triggering your anxiety, like the following:
1. You start overanalyzing everything
Whether it is the first date with someone or the tenth, anxiety has a special way of making you listen extra hard to the things they say verbally and physically. You begin to pick up on the little clues that might not even exist, like than slight downturn of your partner’s lips or the way they furrowed their brow.
You start to read into the words, hearing statements that they did not say. This is not just generalized nervousness. It is your anxiety causing this uncertainty.
2. You bottle up thoughts and feelings
There will be times when your partner tilts their head and asks what you are thinking about. When you suffer from anxiety, what is wrong is a loaded question. The answer is a swarm of angry bees raging inside your skull.
You do not know how to express what you are feeling and worry that what you say is going to make them dislike you somehow. So, you simply say you are fine or skirt around the truth to hide your feelings.
3. You fidget and are unsteady
For me, when I am suffering from anxiety, I am the epitome of a fidget spinner. I twitch my legs, scrunch my toes and fingers, twist my hair around my fingers, and do other kinds of odd ticks.
Then there is the moments when I go completely still, because it is my mind that is dissolving into dust. I can’t see clearly, so I avoid the other person’s gaze until everything goes back to normal.
Of course, this is often perceived by the other party is disinterest, boredom, bitchiness, or something along those lines. And even if they do not see it this way, anxiety makes me believe they are having a worse time than I am.
4. You feel painfully insecure about yourself
Most people with anxiety suffer from a severe lack of self-confidence, because it is common to question oneself repeatedly. Do I really like that? Why did I say that? What’s wrong with me? Who knows, you may even completely forget what your hobbies are, all because anxiety is lurking around the corner and mugging your thoughts before they can arrive.
And if you are fortunate enough to make it past the first or second date, the further your anxiety is triggered, the more you’re going to wonder exactly what makes this other individual so attracted to you. In a moment of insecurity, you may even assume that it is because they pity you.
You may find yourself in a crowded room, holding their hand, and yet while you should be incredibly happy, your heart is pounding against your ribcage for a different reason. Something about it just feels out of place.
Yeah, whispers Anxiety in your ear, you are what’s out of place.
5. You suddenly want to push them away
I’m guilty of this one; and I know many anxiety-riddled friends who have the same problem. Anxiety makes you fear commitment to the nth degree. See, beyond all the questioning, doubting, fearing, and overanalyzing, you are meant with a paralyzing deduction that either this person has a malicious ulterior motive or that they are simply too good for you and deserve better.
When your anxiety has been triggered, you are going to begin assuming that your date is eventually going to tire of your problems. You are going to begin fearing that everything you put them through because of your anxiety is going to drag them down and make them miserable. You want to hold on, to seek comfort from them… but then you go and do the opposite.
You start to become colder. Anxiety makes you say, “It is not you, it is me,” and you push them away.
These are five signs that your anxiety has been triggered by dating. Though the modern dating scene is already a minefield, anxiety adds bombs dropping suddenly from the sky.
Do not lose hope. One day, you will find the person who knows how to take your anxiety and negate it. Though anxiety is hard to control, have faith in knowing you are beautiful and can overcome the challenges.