My best friends have done it. My mom has done it. Even 13 year olds have done it. So why can’t I do it? Why can’t I go on a first date?
The answer is pretty simple. My anxiety stops me. When I was younger I thought I would be in an awesome relationship by 24. I never dreamed I would still not have gone on a first date.
The idea of going on a date terrifies me to the point that if I think about it, my anxiety gets of control. I can’t breathe, my head starts to spin, my heart races and I start to sweat like I’m running a marathon. Most people get butterflies in their stomach before a promising date. I don’t get butterflies; I get a stampede of elephants.
I think my fear of dating has come from my fear of the unknown and fear of failure. What if I go on a date and he likes me? What if he doesn’t? What if I have a panic attack or start to cry? I know it seems like a pretty irrational fear, but I can’t tell that to my mind when I’m anxious.
The closest I’ve come to a date was when I asked a guy to get coffee with me. I then freaked out about it, and when the time came to go, I hid from him in a bathroom. Yes, you heard that right. I had a panic attack in a bathroom at the church we were suppose to meet at and then proceeded to avoid him by running out the back door along the side of the building. When I worked up the courage to finally go to coffee with him, I made sure to take my anti-anxiety pills. The date actually ended up being a lot better than I thought it would be.
If you’re like me and your dating life stinks because of your anxiety, know that you aren’t alone. It’s a problem many people have but few are willing to talk about. I’ve read tons and tons of books on anxiety disorders, but I found that only one talked about the realities of dating with anxiety.
Getting anxious before a date is something that even people without anxiety disorders deal with. Try to remember that next time you’re going on a date. You can get through this and so will I. It’s OK if it takes baby steps at first. Remember you are putting yourself out there and trying something new – even if it feels painful at the time.
Who cares if the date ends up being horrible or you end up not liking the person? The fact that you went on the date in the first place is the real accomplishment. If you like them and they like you and you get an awesome relationship out of it, good for you! If not, then please know that you’re a real champ for even going on the date. Next time I go on a date, I will try to remember this.