Finding love is not an easy task, and when you have social anxiety, the entire process seems almost foreign and traumatic. It can even induce phobia that stops people dealing with such stress from pursuing the person of their fancy.
As for the dates that don’t have experience with social anxiety or have never dealt with a person suffering from the same, your behavior can seem unnatural and rude. While you may be under extreme stress from the overwhelming feeling of meeting someone new, it might come off as indifference to your inexperienced date. This can even lead to dropping you off as a potential romantic partner causing you more anxiety and leaving you vulnerable.
Does any of it sound familiar?
If it does, you are in the right place looking for answers to your never-ending dilemma.
Research and numerous real-life examples show that people with social anxiety can have healthy and happy relationships. But before we jump into finding solutions, let’s understand the problem at hand.
What Is Anxiety Disorder?
It is a type of mental health condition quite prevalent in adults and even young adults. Generally, anxiety disorder causes excessive and constant stress and worry that has an impact on the person’s day-to-day activities. It is more common in today’s date, with extreme work pressure and societal pressure in general, than you would believe.
What Are The Difficulties That Anxiety Disorder Can Cause While Seeking Love?
Research shows that people with anxiety can often be aggressive with their love interests. Almost 45% of male daters with anxiety disclosed that they get easily frustrated and have a habit of letting off steam on their girlfriends. Usually, the aggression is verbal, but only in a few cases it advances towards physical offense, like slamming doors or flinging things.
Any person suffering from anxiety disorder will tell you how conscious their entire condition makes them feel. It is sometimes precisely the consciousness that causes even more anxiety giving birth to an endless cycle.
Lack Of Confidence
Meeting new people seems daunting to you, and even if you gather the courage to go on a date, everything almost seems alien. Is that not reason enough to hamper your confidence? Anxiety while interacting with new people can lead to stammering or saying the wrong thing at the wrong time. All of it might seem passable for people who don’t suffer from this condition, but people with anxiety have sleepless nights for saying something barely embarrassing in any public setting.
Takes A Toll On Romance
It is rather unfair how anxiety can take a toll on romance. It can cause problems in developing and maintaining relationships. A considerable part of this is because people with anxiety have trouble letting their guard down and being vulnerable enough to give or receive love. The higher your anxiety level is, the more tricky it is to be emotionally intimate with anyone, probably because you find it risky to open up and invite a possible heartbreak.
Now that we have a clear idea of how common yet impactful anxiety can be and how it affects a person’s daily and romantic life, let us move on to exploring some solutions.
No. One: Be Honest, Be You.
There is no shame in having social anxiety. You are just as valuable as any other person with your own skill sets and unique personality and ability that make you a catch!
But it is crucial to be honest with your date if your anxiety affects your day-to-day activities. They deserve to know who you are and what they are getting into if they decide to take things forward with you. Be polite but firm while explaining your situation and give them several instances of how it can affect your life as well as theirs. If they still want to take things ahead with you, congratulations! If not, accept it with grace and understand their position without getting angered or disheartened by their decision.
No. Two: Understand That Anxiety Takes Time to Work Through and Out.
Getting over life-long anxiety won’t be overnight. I guess it is predictable once we start calling the issue life-long. People with anxiety disorder often avoid situations that might remotely trigger their anxiety or make them uncomfortable. Having an anxiety attack in front of your crush or date is not exactly how you pictured your first meet-up to look; that fear can actually stop you from meeting them in the first place. And the more you avoid going on dates or any situation that makes you anxious, the deeper your anxiety takes root within your mind.
You won’t magically stop being anxious, even with the right help. Let’s not mince the facts. Initially, when you start forcing yourself out there and putting yourself in uncomfortable situations, things will look grim. But slowly, you will get the hang of it. While you can’t get rid of your anxiety issues, you can certainly manage it and get around it by living a normal life and building happy and utterly romantic relationships.
No. Three: Small Steps Can Take You A Long Way
If you have been cooped up in your home, keeping yourself busy with daily work, and specifically, avoiding your love life altogether, it won’t be wise to jump right back, even if it’s high time you do the same.
Anxiety can make you avoid going on dates or pursuing your love interest, but starting all of it suddenly can trigger your stress level even further and lead to avoidance behavior. The best course of action would be to take baby steps. For instance, start with registering on some online dating apps. Getting to know someone from behind the safety of a screen can calm your mind and give you a fair idea of the person before you finally meet them in person. Messaging your match and the wait for getting a reply can make you anxious but to a tolerable extent.
No. Four: Practice Calming Techniques
Practice makes perfect! In your case, practicing calming strategies is the best way to deal with uncomfortable situations without running away from them.
When you first start your journey of finding love or reentering the dating world, it can be overwhelming. To be perfectly honest, dating causes anxiety in people who aren’t suffering from this disorder. It gets the best of us; especially when you really like someone and feel constantly worried if they feel the same way about you. Having some calming techniques up your sleeves can relieve you of a lot of stress.
While you might already know how to calm yourself in certain situations, you need to develop strategies for when you are in a public setting, especially on a date. Having it well-practiced won’t make the entire calming process seem out of place. For instance, breathing techniques are very effective and subtle enough to not make you look weird on a date.
Breathing does not have to be complicated.
- Inhale slowly through your nose for 4 to 5 seconds.
- Hold it for three seconds.
- Exhale slowly through your mouth for almost 5 seconds
Continue this till you start feeling better. You can even keep up any regular conversation while focusing on your breathing. Speak your piece only when you start feeling calm again.
No. Five: Assume the Best, Especially When Negative Thoughts Creep up.
Social anxiety or not, people have a tendency of jumping to conclusions, more so when it is romance related. Just got back from a date, now it’s time to dissect every little thing that happened and stress about every word that came out of your mouth. Sounds familiar? It is time to stop doing that. It only increases your anxiety, and that too unnecessarily.
It can get the best of us if we start assuming how our date thinks or feels about us. Let them tell you, instead of making things up in your head. You are not doing anyone any favor by coming to a conclusion of your own making. Assuming the worst is not only unfair to you, it is equally unfair to your date.
Every time you start assuming negative outcomes, ask yourself a few simple questions:
- How do I exactly know what they thought of me?
- Is it fair to decide things for them?
- Am I labeling them as petty by thinking this way?
- Am I worthy of love?
Yes, finding love when you suffer from extensive anxiety is a challenge. And finding a partner who would understand you is even trickier. But it is not impossible. In fact, if you ask people with social anxiety about their romantic endeavors, most of them are happily committed and thoroughly in love and are loved.
Take conscious steps to get out of your avoidance bubble, and soon you will find yourself tucked away in your world of romance.
Note : Image credit to unsplash.com