Here's The Reason Dating Makes You So Anxious — And What To Do About It
I've been a bundle of nerves for as long as I can remember. Whether checking my schoolbag obsessively to make sure I brought home the right books for homework as a kid, or worrying that I'll miss my flight, lose my keys, or catch bird flu as an adult, you can say my brain has always been a tad bit in overdrive. And when it comes to dating ... well, let's just say it's not exactly my strong suit.
If the very idea of dating puts your stomach in knots like me, you might want to check out the latest episode of The Bustle Huddle, hosted by moi. It'll help you feel not alone — as I learned from this week's guest co-host Michelle Toglia, Bustle's senior lifestyle editor who oversees our sex and relationships coverage, even dating editors have anxiety when it comes to dating!
Talking with Kathleen felt like my own personal therapy session, so I just had to ask her the big question my friends always debate whenever we talk about my dating life: Should I try to find my soulmate on Tinder?
Michelle has always come off as cool as a pickle (her favorite vegetable), and I would never think she had a single worry about dating. But she quickly reminds me that even though she covers sex and relationships regularly as part of her job, she still feels the same nervous feels I do when it comes to waiting for a text back. This week on the podcast, we spoke with Kathleen Smith, Ph.D, a therapist specializing in dating anxiety, who helped us realize that we have more control in this game than we think we do — but it all starts with us. Talking with Kathleen felt like my own personal therapy session, so I just had to ask her the big question my friends always debate whenever we talk about my dating life: Should I try to find my soulmate on Tinder?
Kathleen notes that Tinder can be a great thing, but beware the "ego boost" that can end up baiting your anxiety. "It's a very human thing to do," Smith tells me. "We do that in tons of ways, whether it's social media or asking for reassurance from our friends and family, but a dating app is just another way of building up yourself. But, it's kind of precarious because it can tear you down just as quickly."
Thanks to Kathleen, you'll learn ways to fill your time with proactive habits, instead of waiting by the phone for a text back or going onto their Instagram. She even gives us advice on how to speak confidently about your anxiety with the new person you're seeing.
Think your anxiety is not just specific to dating? We also talked with Mark Freeman, mental health author and advocate who specializes in treating Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). Even if you're not coping with OCD, the techniques from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) are useful when managing all kinds of anxiety in a healthy way. As Mark says, dating is essentially all about the unknown. "We love to find easy, quick solutions, but with relationships, it's really about being able to sit in the emotions, Mark tells us. "Being able to sit in that uncertainty."
Check out our full convo in this episode of The Bustle Huddle on iTunes and Spotify, where you can catch up on every episode from season 3.