Dating in today’s world can feel challenging to just about anybody with all the huge variety of apps out there. It’s difficult to know where to start. The process can be even more nerve wracking for someone who deals with anxiety. The good news is, it doesn’t have to feel like a chore. Dating can be fun! It’s a great way to get to know other people, and to understand ourselves on a deeper level. We’ve outlined three helpful dating tips for anxious people to help with the dating process.
1. Keep your options open
As the old saying goes: don’t put all your eggs in one basket. It’s easy to romanticize people and see their best in the early stages of dating. However the reality is, there are a ton of fantastic people out there who may not be a good partner fit for you. And that’s okay!
In the book Attached by Amir Levine and Rachel Heller they describe those with an anxious attachment style as having a tendency to settle on partners very early on — even if those partners aren’t necessarily the best match. How do we avoid this? By keeping an open mind and taking the time to get to know people before we laser focus on them. If you’re only seeing one person, you can put too much weight into that relationship. You lose your ability to tell whether someone is objectively a good match for you.
Instead, approach dating from an abundance mindset, or the ‘plenty of fish in the sea’ mindset. Getting to know more than one person will help you determine what works for you in a partnership. So you can weed out what doesn’t, without your attachment system clouding your judgement.
2. Know your love languages
The 5 Love Languages is a New York Times Bestseller by Gary Chapman that describes the 5 ways people give and receive love. 29 years after its publication, we’re still talking about it — and for good reason. It’s one of the best ways to discover if you and your partner are speaking the same language, or if it’s time to brush up on another. When you’re first getting to know someone, learning their love language is a way to make a real connection and understand them on a deeper level.
It’s also key to know your own love languages to avoid unnecessary worry and anxiety. For example, if quality time is the most important thing to you but your partner shows affection through gifts, you may never feel loved in the way that you need. Communicating your love languages can lower anxiety in the long run by equipping your partner with the knowledge to show affection in a way that can be best received by you. And vice versa.
Not sure what your love languages are? Take a short quiz.
3. Communicate your needs
Communicating your needs has two important benefits. First off, clear communication helps you stay in touch with your own authenticity — which leads to positive feelings like happiness and self-trust. Second, communicating your needs is the quickest way to find out whether or not your partner can meet them. If not, you can dodge wasted time and put that time and energy into dating someone who feels comfortable fulfilling your needs.
Now, we know modern dating often encourages acting ‘cool’ or stoic. You may have heard this term floating around lately: “If they wanted to, they would.” But the fact of the matter is, people aren’t mind readers. So the real question is: do they even know? Have you told them so they can act on your needs?
As we saw with love languages, people give and receive love differently. So while a need may be a given to you, it might not be for the other person. Not only will communication help you develop a stronger bond with the person you’re dating, but it’ll decrease anxiety by making you feel heard, validated, and cared for in the way that you desire.
Dating doesn’t have to be difficult
Navigating dating as an anxious person can be nerve wracking. But it shouldn’t stop you from getting out there and finding a partner who’s right for you. While these dating tips for anxious people are a start, we recommend speaking to a counsellor for support. A counsellor can help you determine your needs, get clear on your communication style, and set boundaries that help you find a partner who’s right for you. Wellin5 pairs you with a registered counsellor in as little as 5 minutes — one who really meets your unique needs. If you’re ready to approach dating with a counsellor’s guidance and support, get started today.