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Why is dating so stressful? 7 Tips to Navigate Anxiety

Anxious woman
Learning to deal with dating anxiety

The stress of dating can be overwhelming, but with a more intentional and targeted approach, you're less likely to trigger anxiety - and the process may even be fun.

Ever wondered 'Why is dating so stressful?' the truth is that there are many factors at play: from the pressure to put yourself out there, waiting for responses and indeed - dealing with rejection or ghosting.

In this article, we'll look at some of the steps we can take to date with a calm demeaner - and in tern, enable ourselves to make sound decisions.

Here are seven tips to help you to navigate the online dating game.

It's a case of 'trial & error'

When you’re talking to someone - or out on a date with them - your goal should be to get to know them. Sure, you may ultimately want to get married and have kids, but the reality is that meeting lots of people who aren't right, will ultimately help you to know when you've met a date with future, long term potential. That's part of the process.

It's not the end of the world as you know it if a date doesn't work out - and it's important not to catastrophise or make this part of any 'I never meet anyone nice!' narrative. There is usually no need to become anxious about your perceived failures: they do not define you.

It's easier to remain calm about your date if you don't have such great expectations of them. Approach everyone with an open mind. If you're solely focused on a future with someone who you barely know, you’re also objectifying them, as you’re using them to fill a role in your life (i.e. to get married).

This also increases the chances you will end up in an unhealthy relationship triggered by your own panic and stress, as you will be more prone to ignoring misalignments or red flags.

Know what you're looking for yourself

A key cause of anxiety further down the line in a relationship can be the sudden realisation that your intentions are mismatched. You may genuinely not care if someone does or doesn’t have kids or is a different religion from you at the moment. But it’s important to get clear on the things you do care about - to prevent issues at a later stage.

You may not figure out what you do and don’t want until you have specific experiences related to those things. But it’s important to get as clear as you can on your wants, needs, and deal-breakers. If you’re not clear on what you want, you’ll end up spending too much time with people who have the characteristics and aspirations for the life that you don’t want.

it's easier to fall into the wrong relationship than it is to leave the wrong person.

Tell the truth - from the offset

Many people are tempted to embellish the truth or indeed, full-on lie about various elements of their personality, work or lifestyle. This might help you to secure swipes, likes, and even dates - but if you've said that you're 6ft 2 on your profile when you're in fact only 5ft 4? That's going to cause some serious pre-date stress for you (and awkwardness for your date) when it comes to meeting up in real life.

If you're totally honest from the start, then you won't have to anxiously wonder when the time is right to confess the truth (or hide the fact that you're not actually part of the cast for Magic Mike Live!..).

The truth really does set you free - especially when it comes to dating. Full disclosure from the start removes any anxiety and means that you can actually look forward to an honest and open relationship, based on complete transparency, balance and trust.

Trust your gut - if it feels wrong, you're probably right

When it comes to dating, quality is always better than quantity. Both your time and energy are valuable. If you’re messaging multiple people with whom you’re not feeling a connection, then it’s best to un-match and move on - anything else is just cruel and a waste of everyone's time.

If you’re getting a bad vibe from someone or you feel anxious about talking to them, go with your gut and un-match or send them a message saying that you're no longer interested.

Following a dating hiatus, you may well receive a huge dopamine boost - along with a jolt of anxiety shoot through your body at the thought of getting back into dating. Just make sure that you don't jump too willingly into any date just to prove to yourself that you can.

It’s good to stay open to possibilities outside of your 'type' - and we're all for Open Casting - but draining conversations or bad feelings are reasons to un-match. And any signs of disrespect should be an immediate pass. A comment like “You have a beautiful smile” has a completely different vibe from “Nice legs.”

If it doesn’t feel good, and you feel more stress following your interaction than you do excitement, then it's probably time to move on.

Don't put off a proper date for too long