Dating and Anxiety
You know what’s really difficult? Taking an already stressful situation and adding an inner monologue that tells you every little thing that can go wrong, over and over again. I’ve heard some horror stories in terms of dates, and know first-hand that they can go terribly, but the entire process usually sucks. So imagine trying to put your best foot forward when your brain tells you that you have many reasons to doubt that’s your best foot. Let’s go through the painstaking process together.
Meeting people in this day and age, outside the comfort of judgemental dating apps is pretty much impossible, so I think we can skip this entirely and move straight onto the soul sucking vortex of apps. Don’t get me wrong, I would love to bump into my soul mate while we’re both attempting to pick up the same book in *insert well known bookstore name here* but it isn’t going to happen as I order most of my books online, and would expect the love of my life to do the same.
The first thing you need to do, when starting on any app is to set up your own profile. This is where anxiety wave number 1 hits. It’s hard enough talking about yourself in any situation but to try and write something that would make someone think you’re interesting enough to fall for, is impossible. It has to be a little funny, informative, charismatic and maybe even a little cheeky, within 280 characters. WHO DECIDED THAT?! As if looking through every picture of myself and attempting to determine whether it looks “date worthy” wasn’t hard enough, I need to write a monologue worthy of Caesar. Great (about now is when I would drop an existential crisis, as well as ask myself if I would be happy being alone for the rest of my life adopting a cat every year. The answer is usually yes but I give in as I do like human company).
Once you decide on these pictures, monologue and push the save button to publish this information begrudgingly, its game on. As a woman, we have higher success rates on this thing (few upsides in being female so I’ll take the win) so be picky. Someone who hasn’t even bothered to write up a paragraph as to why you should date them, and instead just posted their Insta handle and star sign. IGNORE. Man surrounded by half naked women in every picture and booze. IGNORE. If I could just swipe left and get myself out of cheesy pick-up lines by creeps in bars in real life, I would.
You managed to get yourself a couple matches with half decent looking men that can hold a conversation. Congratulations you have made it to stage 2, the meet up. Here is where we welcome anxiety wave number 2. What do I wear? Is it too slutty? Am I meant to be a little slutty? Modest? Is this too much make up? Not enough make up? Should I wear my hair up? Is any guy worth this much effort? Maybe I should just cancel? Once you get through these stages and wipe the sweat from your brow several times and feel adequately presentable you make your way to this date.
The following thoughts ensue; What if he cancels? What if he doesn’t look the same? What if I fall flat on my face as I’m walking towards him (I have this thought several times a day, the fear of falling over is REAL, people!)? Hate to break it to you ladies, but chances are most guys are just as nervous and you’re both bricking it. Now realistically you have about a 20% success rate here, so we need to be realistic.
If you genuinely don’t see it happening, and as awful as it is, communicate this to them. We’re humans and ghosting is one of the worst things to do to someone! I’d rather be told someone doesn’t feel that spark there and would rather not see me again then just block me. We’ve put effort into this dating process and there is investment on either part so the least we can do is be honest with one another. If, however, this is one of the good ones and you have butterflies at the thought of seeing them again, we’ve made it to stage 3.
Stage 3 is an overwhelming combination of anxiety and excitement. Let us say you’re both into each other, you want to put your best foot forward, not make any mistakes… this is where the anxiety lies. Worrying you could have said or done something to put the other person off you, etc. Of course this is all mixed into the positive happy emotions that you’re having in this new found relationship with another being. Again chances here are slim but maybe you’ll get past it, find a routine that works for the both of you and grow together. Live happily ever after and all that jazz. Maybe you’ll date for 9 months and he’ll cheat on you with your friend Stephanie after they both have too much to drink at a party and you have to start all over again with an even more bitter heart than you had before. Who knows?
One thing is for sure, for someone with mental health issues it can be a serious drain. One that can be solved with one simple change of perspective. It’s gotten me through many of these dilemmas and is the only way I could delve back into the dating world. Here it is. WHO GIVES A FUCK WHAT THEY THINK. Dress the way YOU want to dress. Act how YOU want to act. Do what you want to do and the right person will love you for you. Insane traits and all. I would know, I can be a bit crazy sometimes and guys still occasionally fall for me… the flags were there so it’s their own faults.
Dating sucks, but if we put less pressure on ourselves to be perceived as the best version we can possibly be, then we won’t feel like we need to live up to unrealistic standards and instead can be loved for the already beautiful individuals we already are. It’s easier said than done and even I fall back into the “do I look too slutty” vibe, but I’m trying my best to ignore it and just do what I want to do ☺
Also, if given the choice, always go for the slutty look… because fuck it why not… we look amazing so may as well show it off!