Managing Dating Anxiety

This topic contains 8 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by  mariposa 2 months, 1 week ago.

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  • #1752

    mariposa
    Participant

    This blog post from Sasga Cagen arrived in my inbox today and I could really relate to it. While I wish I was someone who could take dating lightly, I’m just not, and there are some good reminders of how to avoid those negative thinking patterns that I tend to fall into pretty easily. Wanted to share it here in case others find it helpful too:

    What to do if he or she doesn’t call. . .or, how to manage dating anxiety

    #1754

    courtney550
    Participant

    This is great! What resonated with me most was “You didn’t do anything wrong. You can’t make someone like you.” This is essentially what Sara is saying throughout her book, but it feels like it has the most truth behind it. When I was online dating I went on at least one first date with 28 different men (I ended up keeping track because I was a little confused when dates 7 or 8 rolled around and I hadn’t found “my person” yet lol). Also these were just dates- they didn’t account for the multitude of other men I had messaged with for days or weeks, but never ended up meeting.

    So after a year of online dating I was genuinely perplexed that nothing was working out despite my best efforts. I read all of the big dating books. My hair and nails were always “date ready.” There’s almost no way I could’ve scared someone off through texts because I was afraid of coming off too eager and I would re-read my messages several times before sending them.

    I tried to figure out what I was doing wrong and I truly believe I found the answer: nothing. There was nothing wrong, I just didn’t have feelings for the person I went on the date with OR they just didn’t have feelings for me. Nothing more, nothing less.

    So, I thought this was a great blog post and it re-affirmed things I believe to be true.

    #1756

    beachbum
    Participant

    @courtney550 Your story resonated with me because I dated approximately 28 men over the course of a year, mostly through online dating, with the same results. It wasn’t because of anything I did wrong, but it honestly made me question myself, because I thought, “Wow, there must be something really wrong with me if I can’t make it work with 28 different guys!” I feel like throughout my life I’ve found it relatively easy to forge connections with family, coworkers, and friends. Intimacy comes easily to me. I’m good at relationships. Then why couldn’t I build connections with these men I met? That’s ultimately why I stopped online dating. It made me question myself, I became exhausted by the endless cycle, and I wasn’t really having a good time.

    I’m curious how you’ve been meeting guys lately if you haven’t been online dating. Or maybe just taking a break from dating in general?

    #1759

    mariposa
    Participant

    Count me in as another member of the “you didn’t do anything wrong club”. I too went through a period where I was online dating pretty regularly and couldn’t figure out why it just wasn’t clicking with anyone. @beachbum, I can really relate to what you wrote about that endless cycle of questioning yourself after each disappointment, and how exhausting it is to maintain over long periods of time. I geniunely believed for many years that I had some fundamental flaw that I just to wasn’t able see within myself, and I was desparate to figure out what it was and what others had that I was missing. I now know, thanks to Sara’s book and a lot of thinking and questioning my beliefs about myself and others, that nothing is wrong. And that has been so freeing.

    The other ones that resonated with me were “Separate these emotions from the person you just met” and “Don’t let all your emotions go into the gutter.” I find that now that I’m moving into the second half of my 30’s, my experience with dating has changed. On the one hand, I’m doing a lot less of it (partly by choice due to the reasons we’ve all mentioned, and partly due to life circumstances), but I haven’t completely given up online dating. It just feels like the stakes are so much bigger now because the clock is ticking, and as a result my hopes are higher and my lows are lower. I know I need to work on just relaxing into whatever happnes, but it’s hard not to feel that stress when the next few years are so critical. I sometimes wonder if I’m going to turn 40 and suddenly all the pressure will be gone and dating will actually become fun again. Who knows? Wishful thinking maybe, but in the meantime I need to figure out how to lose some of that pressure now.

    #1760

    Angel88
    Participant

    How timely, Mariposa. Thank you!
    I was just ghosted two days ago after three weeks of everyday contact and weekend dates. Quite abruptly. I was minding my own business and finally ok with the prospect of being alone permanently. I quit online dating last October after a bust of an experience that allowed me to realize it’s just not for me. And then this guy just danced his way into my life. I was quite surprised that he approached me and kept contacting me and asking to see me because frankly, that was a first for me. I let my hopes up a bit but I also felt somewhat grounded. And then pff vanished. I feel on the one hand, it’s probably for the best and I’ve been spared, but it still stings. I was doing fine, why did I let this happen?! And then my mind went to “it will never work for me. It just never does, that’s a sign”. That part of the article resonated. I definitely tend to go to the utter negative once things turn out crappy yet again.
    It’s quite exhausting for us,sensitive souls to be let down over and over again. I definitely don’t like dating at all. I don’t really see the fun in it that everyone talks about :/
    But oh well. Life goes on, I suppose.

    #1761

    courtney550
    Participant

    Beachbum, Mariposa, and Angel88- I’m found myself reading your all of your comments and nodding along!

    Beachbum: You asked if I had taken a break from online dating. Well, the very last guy I met online I am actually still going on dates with. But, as I learned from my past, unless a commitment is made and put on the table, I know dating is still dating. I’ve had quite a few past experiences like Angel88 described, where someone comes into your life, seems promising, and then they vanish. So I’m trying to keep my expectations in check. I also signed a year lease on an apartment by myself two months ago and fully furnished it, so I’m still very much living a single life. The person I’m dating and I aren’t talking about moving in together, so we’re definitely still just in “dating” mode.

    Mariposa: You mentioned pressure surrounding certain age milestones and I agree with this. I’ll be 30 soon and many people have told me, “That’s so young. You’re fine. You’ll find someone in no time.” But think about timing. You date someone for X amount of time. Then you live with them to see if you’re compatible for X amount of time. Then you may get engaged and plan a wedding, which is another X amount of time. Then after the wedding you have X amount of time before planning a family if that’s what the couple wants (via pregnancy, adoption, etc…)… So yes, I may be about 30-years-old, but until I actually have made a commitment with someone, I feel there are still years of planning laid-out before me. I’m the only single person in my friend group right now (single in the sense of not living with someone, engaged, etc…). But there is a part of me that fears those age milestones.

    What’s difficult is thinking back to when I started college at 18-years-old. I felt like I had my life planned out. I would date during college, graduate, get a post-college job, get engaged to someone, get married, buy a house, and start a family by the time I was 30. So far I can check “graduate” and “get post-college job” off that list- nothing else. This bothers me almost every day and sometimes I feel like I failed…

    But here’s the reality. I didn’t fail. None of us have failed. How can you fail at something where there literally isn’t a guarantee or even a “measurement” of success? Dating is not like studying for a test, memorizing the facts that will be on the test, and then receiving a 100% and passing. You can put all of your effort into dating and there is no magic formula that you will end up with your desired result. And sometimes I think we have to be gentle with ourselves and know in our hearts that’s okay. We didn’t do anything wrong. If anything, we’ve went above and beyond and what we thought we were capable of, persisted, and still maintained lives outside of it all. To be honest, I think that’s pretty amazing.

    #1763

    mariposa
    Participant

    @angel88, I totally hear you on the ghosting…so frustrating and so discouraging. I’m sorry that happened to you, and I can definitely relate to the experience you shared. It’s really hard when someone seems promising and then they’re just gone with no explanation.

    And @courtney550, thank you for what you wrote. Wise words and good for us all to remember.

    #1764

    Reds10
    Participant

    There’s this nice opinion piece in the Times today. These help with my dating anxiety.

    • This reply was modified 2 months, 4 weeks ago by  Reds10.
    #1773

    mariposa
    Participant

    @reds10, thanks for sharing that piece. I love reading things that challenge my own belief and the norms within our culture. Definitely validating for those of us who are waiting for the right partner, and I thought it was a really interesting point about how statistics can be skewed (and crazy to think that so many studies on the benefits of marriage don’t include people who are divorced). That definitely makes me question what other information I have taken at face value to be true when the research itself might flawed. Thanks for an interesting read.

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