Hey hopeful romantics,
In the writing community, people shout from the rooftops to “niche down.” For example: don’t be a fiction writer, be a romance-thriller fiction writer for women.
Appealing to the masses makes you sound blasé.
That’s how I think about my writing, but not because I necessarily want to make a lot of money or become famous. I write, specifically, about what I know. And over the past two years of doing just that, I realized something about myself (and all of you).
I’m an anxious dater. I assume you are, too. In fact, that’s where the whole idea of “hopeful romantics” comes from. Anxious people are more likely to be romantics than skeptical, avoidant people.
I’m sure why it took me so long to figure out I’m an anxious dater. Maybe it’s because I suffer from depression, and I didn’t think the two could go together.
Anywho, do you feel like an anxious dater? Whether you’re in a relationship or currently single, are you aware of the times that your anxiety is triggered?
I thought of this fun little activity that will help you know if you’re an anxious dater and, hopefully, make you feel less alone. They’re common scenarios that someone with anxiety comes across in love.
So my question is: Do any of the below make you go “Yes! That’s me!”?
That feeling when you’re on the verge of asking if things are OK for the fifth time today.
I’m not afraid to admit that I ask my boyfriend if he’s mad at me way too often. It could be because he didn’t respond to something I said or that he had a weird look on his face.
It’s common for anxiety to trick you into thinking that asking, just one more time, if things are OK between you two will put you at ease. Sadly, that’s usually not the case.
You can think of every worst-case-scenario easily, but convincing yourself of the best is impossible.
They’re sending short replies? Well, that’s probably because they met someone else. Or that one thing you said on your last date was dumb, and they’re not interested in you anymore.
But that they’re busy at work because it’s 10 am on a Tuesday? That’s definitely not the reason.
When you have dreams that feel so real, they affect you the whole day after.
Your partner left you for someone else. You watched them embrace another person and left you crying in the dirt.
Then you wake up, realize they’re lying next to you, and that it was all a dream. But that doesn’t make you feel any better. Just imagining that scenario leaves your stomach in a knot for the rest of the day.
One word could easily upset you.
Just the way they said, “no, I’m not hungry,” can make you feel personally attacked. Or a simple “K” can make you wonder for hours what they are really feeling.
You feel like you need to fix everything.
Not because you think something is wrong with the person you’re dating, but because you think there are fixes needed in any relationship. If you just tweaked your communication styles or talked about love languages one more time, everything would be amazing!
The slightest lull in texts makes you spiral with thoughts you did something wrong.
Haven’t heard from them in hours? Send in the happiness black hole known as thought spirals.
It’s a tricky thing your mind does that makes you believe that you can find the solution if you think about something enough. But that’s never the case. You only end up feeling worse.
I didn’t list the above to make you feel bad or make you feel hopeless. There’s a lot of power in people being honest about their struggles. It makes people who experience the same feel less alone.
Because, as the great writer James Baldwin once said,
“You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read.”
So, if you’re an anxious dater, welcome. It’s nice to have you here.
Of course, I’m not going to leave you hanging. I wouldn’t make this realization with you and then do absolutely nothing to aid you in easing your anxiety.
So let’s dive into my favorite tips for easing my own anxiety in the hopes they help you, too.
Remind yourself that your anxiety is making things 100% worse.
When you find yourself thinking, “if I’m rejected, I’ll never find anyone, and my world will be over,” recognize that’s your anxiety talking. At that moment, remind yourself that you will be OK if you’re rejected. Life won’t end, and you’ll continue to date other people.
Simply replacing an anxious thought with a rational one could be the key to putting out the fire of catastrophic thinking.
Try not to read your partner or the person you’re dating’s mind; ask questions instead.
If someone is acting weird, don’t assume they’re mad or that you did something wrong. That’s their responsibility to speak up. If you’re really worried, simply say, “Is everything OK?”
It’s a general question that doesn’t make the other person think you’re worried they’re upset with you.
Focus on the positives of your anxiety.
You might be thinking, “um, what!?” after reading this one but stay with me.
Your anxiety does have some positives. You care enough to make sure things are OK. You most likely feel and love deeply. You’re willing to solve problems when they arise. Those are all positive qualities.
Have a toolkit for relieving your anxiety.
In general, what makes you feel less anxious? If you can’t name at least five things, then it’s time to make a list.
Pull out your phone and open your Notes app. Now think about every activity, big or small, that makes you happy and distracts your mind. For me, drawing, watching a RomCom, going for a walk, and listening to podcasts does the trick.
Find what uniquely works for you: the more activities, the better.
If you’re in a relationship, have a weekly check-in.
My boyfriend and I started this at the beginning of our relationship because it made me feel assured that anything wrong would be brought up. While it’s great to always have an open communication line, having a set time to check-in allows you both the space to bring up even the smallest of concerns.
If this sounds like it would help you, bring it up to your partner. Even couples without anxiety implement this weekly talk.
Share more about yourself.
Anxiety gets us so caught up in our heads that were often the ones listening rather than sharing. You might even be scared to share too much because you’ll scare someone off.
But the opposite is true. Sharing parts about yourself helps you become closer to someone. Even if it’s small memories that you treasure, that’s a step in the right direction.
*Exhales* even typing all of that makes me feel a bit better. I hope it did the same for you. If you’re an anxious dater, and have more thoughts or want to share your experience, leave a reply in the comments, and we can get a conversation going!
Until next week my lovely readers.
All the love,
Content I Loved:
Articles I Wrote:
*If you're new to this newsletter and my work, I'm currently writing on a book, What I Wish I Knew About Love, that's set to come out early 2021 with Thought Catalog Books.*
I HAVE RELEASE DATES! Well, months. But still!
Pre-orders for my book will begin in January, and the book will launch in February. I’m beyond excited to share with you everything I worked so hard on.