My body is under stress. My hands shake and I grind my teeth. It feels like I’m about to run out of breath. I feel sick. Am I sitting in the fastest roller coaster and have eaten a 3-course meal beforehand?
This situation sounds like an exam exam or like I’m getting married to the love of my life and my shoes haven’t broken in yet.
But really, I’m only in for one thing: a simple first date.
Fun? No way. Meeting a person for the first time makes me feel so uncomfortable that I would rather crawl into bed, turn on my Comfort series and just fantasize about my acting crush.
But not everything is like in the movies. My great love will probably not meet me romantically in the library or be named Nick Miller. And even in my DM’s I don’t have to look for my dream partner, but be active. At least that’s what society tells me… and sometimes my closest friends.
So for the tenth time, I download a dating app and let my fingers have the power to decide if I want to meet someone or not. After a few hours, I have the first matches in my inbox and then after a few more days, I have a date on my calendar.
When the Time Comes
The urge to cancel again is strong.
Not because I don’t want to meet the person, but because I already got scared three days before the meeting. On the day of the meeting at the latest, I can’t get a bite down. I run to my roommate every five minutes and mention how scared I am.
The date starts, my fear slowly disappears. My body calms down a bit and the nausea crawls away again. After two hours I think to myself: Oh, it wasn’t so bad. And then the same fun starts all over again.
So now I’m sitting at home again and asking myself what I’m so worried about.
And only one word comes to mind: expectations. I not only have far too high expectations of myself, but also of my counterpart.
My parents have been happily married for 25 years and have always set the example of great love for me. Only this play is doomed to fail in this day and age. And yet I have the pressure inside me that I have to be absolutely sure on the first date whether I want to marry this person.
This thought pattern is not only unfair to myself, but also to the other person. So it’s no wonder that I don’t enjoy dating.
Ok, now what?
I don’t think there is a cure-all for this dating anxiety. What has helped me is to be aware that I have these thoughts, where they come from and then work on affirmations that take the pressure off me. I also talk openly with friends about this issue. And depending on whether I feel comfortable, with my dates as well.
Maybe I don’t even need to find the love of my life at 24. Maybe I don’t have to be in a relationship at all or constantly chasing validation. Maybe I can just meet a person without imagining our future in advance.
It’s easier said than done in any case. But what would an adventure be if you know how it will turn out?