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A lot of people get nervous before they go on dates, but, for some of us, it goes way beyond that.
We experience genuine fear and get very anxious and upset when it comes to dating and relationships.
This is something that can stem for a huge range of issues – and it’s something you can work on and overcome.
If you want to stop being afraid to date and reach a stage where you can enjoy getting to know new people, we’ve got 10 amazing tips for you.
1. Ease yourself in.
You don’t need to sign up to every dating app and plan a new date every evening!
You can start small and ease yourself into dating – or back into it if you’ve taken some time off.
It’s important to remember that you’re in control of how you date. You can choose if you want to message someone for a week before you meet up for a first date, or if you want to jump straight in and embrace all your fears with a date on the same day you match with someone on Tinder.
We all have fears for different reasons, so we all need to deal with them differently. Do what works for you and remember that you’re the one calling the shots.
If you like something, keep doing it. If you don’t like the situation, you can leave. Just make sure you’re being safe and see what makes you feel good!
2. Remember the good times.
You might be working yourself up and getting stressed about previous dating experiences. This is totally normal, but it can really impact how you feel about dating someone new.
Instead of getting worried about things that didn’t go very well, remind yourself of all the times you’ve had great experiences.
Maybe you had some really lovely conversation with people, or you’ve had a few dates that made you feel really confident and sexy.
These are the things to focus on as you start dating again, and will really help you stop being afraid of dating.
Our brains form their own patterns and, over time, our thoughts become almost automated by our minds! If we think X, we feel Y. If we go on a date and don’t enjoy it, we feel sad.
This becomes second nature and our minds start to send those signals, even if we’re not actually feeling anything in the moment.
So, if we think about dating, our mind automatically tells us “Wait, dating makes you sad, so you need to be sad now” – it wires itself in accordance with behavioral and emotional patterns, which is why we might now feel sad about dating!
Makes sense, right?
By starting to associate dating with happier memories and good feelings, our minds will start to learn that there is nothing to be afraid of.
The new message will be “Wait, dating makes you feel good, so you should be excited about going on this date!”
Keep focusing on the positives…
3. Value yourself.
Take some time to remember how amazing you are.
Dating can make us feel lots of different emotions and it can all get a bit much.
We start questioning if we’re attractive, if our Tinder profiles are funny enough, if we’re interesting on a date – the list goes on.
Set aside some time to hype yourself up! You’re amazing, attractive, and exciting to be around, and anyone would be lucky to spend time with you.
The more confident you can feel about yourself, the less dependent you’ll feel on a date going well, and the less importance you’ll place on it.
You don’t need to rely on a good date to let you know how amazing you are – and, as a result of being more confident and less anxious, the date will automatically be way more fun. It’s a win-win.
4. Take a break if you need to.
Remember that you can take some time out whenever you need to.
You can start seeing someone and decide to take a breather. You can be messaging a bunch of people on a dating app and then decide to pause for a while and enjoy some alone time.
You’re not under any obligations to act in a certain way, so you can really take things at your own pace and cool off for a few days or weeks if it’s all getting too intense.
Dating phobias are definitely a real thing, and you don’t need to try to rush to find a solution.
Do what feels right, remember to tap out if you need some space, and enjoy it.
5. Chat to loved ones.
If you’re still feeling anxious about dating and relationships, chat to the people who know you the best.
Speak with friends or family you trust and can be really honest with. Sometimes, you just need another perspective to help you figure out how you feel.
You might need some tough love from someone who’ll hug you afterwards, or you might need someone to confide in you that they also get really anxious about dating!
It’s a very common thing, especially in our society where there’s so much pressure to be on dating apps and to be actively seeking out a new relationship almost as soon as you’re single.
Share your worries and voice your feelings – you’ll feel so much better just for getting it all out!
6. Be rational.
What’s the worst that could happen? You might get hurt, you might be rejected…
Okay! That’s not so bad.
Do your best to stay rational when you approach dating again, and remember that, while you might be upset about someone for a little while, it’s not the end of the world.
You will find someone who likes you as much as you like them; it’s just a case of getting through some dates that don’t really go anywhere until you go on one that does!
If you can create a more positive, open mindset, you’ll enjoy dating a lot more and you’ll have a much better, less stressful, time.
7. Address the underlying issue.
If you’ve got a dating phobia and are genuinely afraid of relationships, you’re not alone in how you feel.
This is something that affects a lot of people and can be for a huge range of reasons.
In order to genuinely move past your fear of dating, it’s worth taking some to consider where it comes from.
Have you been hurt in the past? Maybe you’ve been rejected by someone you really cared about, or you feel like you’ve embarrassed yourself on a first date before and are worried about doing it again.
These are valid reasons, but they will continue to hold you back and you’ll keep being afraid of dating unless you address them.
You need to try to make peace with what has happened and focus on the fact that not everyone’s the same – and not everyone will treat you the same, either.
Remember that one person has hurt you, but so many others have probably been really interested in you.
You might forget how many other people have wanted you over the years, but, if you think about it, you’ll quickly realize that you are desirable and you’ve not been rejected by everyone!
8. Stay positive and manifest something good.
It can be easy to get a bit bogged down and start getting upset or frustrated that things aren’t working out as you’d hoped they would.
This is completely normal, especially if your phobia of dating is getting in the way of you actually finding someone you love.
Rather than wallowing in your worries and focusing on your dating fears, manifest something amazing!
Think about how great your next date will be and how happy you’re going to feel when you meet someone wonderful.
There’s so much power in our minds that, although we can’t necessarily change things, we can hugely alter how open we are to receiving things and how we interpret events and interactions.
If you tell yourself that you’re excited about getting to know someone, you’ll be hyped up and attentive. As a result, you’ll be great company, you’ll be super engaging, and you’ll make your date feel comfortable opening up, meaning that you get to see the best side to them and are more likely to like them.
9. Stay focused and present.
It’s so easy to get really scared about dating and suddenly feel overwhelmed.
If your brain goes into overdrive, it might be because you’re thinking way too far ahead.
A date is one event, so you don’t need to overthink it too much. It doesn’t mean you’re making a commitment or that you’re promising anyone anything!
Do your best to just enjoy it for what it is, calm down your anxieties, and see what happens.
You’ll have a way better time if you can just be present, focus on the person in front of you, and take it for what it is in that moment.
There’s no point trying to guess what the future holds as you won’t ever know for sure and it’ll just take away the enjoyment of the present moment.
You can overthink and stress another time – enjoy your date, see how you feel, and go from there.
10. Seek professional help.
We want to round this off by saying that professional help is a good idea if you are genuinely struggling to get past any kind of phobia.
Some people don’t seek out help for dating anxiety because they don’t think it’s a ‘real’ problem. But if it’s something that is affecting you and your happiness, it’s worth seeing someone about.
There are free therapy resources online, phone and video counselling options, and loads of professional experts who are trained in relationship and dating phobias.
You’re not alone in how you feel and help is available if you need it.
The dating and relationship experts from Relationship Hero are a good and affordable choice if you do think you need additional help overcoming your fear of dating. Click here to chat with someone online now.
Be kind to yourself! This whole process is about learning more about yourself and working toward a better, happier place in your life.
You might be struggling with dating anxiety because of the way an ex has treated you, or because you’ve had a lot of body confidence issues in the past.
Maybe your relationship with a parent never taught you how to accept and give love in healthy ways, so you’ve always struggled with emotional intimacy and dating as an adult.
Whatever the reason, it needs to be honored and acknowledged before you try to move on.
If you don’t address what’s going on and why, you will struggle to break the habit and mindset behind this phobia.
Do your best to be honest with yourself and have patience as you work through your issues.
You can rely on your support system to help you through any tough times, and you’ll come out the other end healthier, happier, and ready to start dating – and enjoying it!
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