10 Torturous Things About Dating With Anxiety

Anxiety has a way of making everyday life a living hell, and it’s even worse if you’re trying to find love. Dating is stressful enough as it is, but when your brain is constantly going a hundred miles an hour and scheming up all the ways things could go wrong, you might feel like you’re on the verge of losing your mind. Here’s why:

  1. You overanalyze everything. Emojis and punctuation and Facebook “likes” aren’t safe from your anxious mind. Your brain looks at the phrase “It’s not a big deal” as a challenge, and it isn’t long before a guy’s innocent actions or words are interpreted to mean the worst possible thing that a human being could imagine. It wreaks havoc not only on your already fragile mental state, but also the way you interact with the people you date.
  2. Even when things are good, your brain tells you that they’re not good. Most people get a bit anxious when things aren’t going well with the person they like, but when you have anxiety, there’s no such thing as “going well” in dating. You might think that he told you that you’re beautiful because he’s trying to throw you off the trail of his cheating ways, or maybe you think that all the happiness you’re feeling is just a ticking time bomb waiting to blow up in your face. Anxiety doesn’t let you fully enjoy anything, including dating.
  3. You freak out about things that really aren’t worth freaking out over. Overreacting is your specialty. Seeing your partner tagged in a picture with another girl is enough to send your heart rate through the roof and maybe even make you burst into tears. You probably feel a little ridiculous when you learn that the girl was just his cousin, but it’s not going to stop you from freaking out about something equally inconsequential in the future.
  4. You get irrationally upset over the “what ifs”. Sometimes, nothing even needs to actually happen for you to get your feelings hurt. Even if he didn’t ghost you, you start thinking about how much it would suck if he actually did such a thing. Having a panic attack over what a guy could POTENTIALLY do sounds crazy, but it’s not abnormal when you live with anxiety.
  5. You always feel the need to apologize. Anxiety has a way of convincing you that you’re constantly messing things up. As soon as the guy you’re dating seems even a little bit upset, you assume that it’s your fault even when you’ve done nothing wrong. In your mind, you’re always making mistakes that you feel will push him away, so the word “sorry” comes out of your mouth way more than necessary.
  6. You come across as at least a little nuts. To be perfectly clear, having anxiety does NOT make you crazy. But you know that your worried nature can give off the wrong impression to potential partners. The worst thing, though, is that you don’t know how to stop. You’re well aware of the red flags you throw up whenever you start worrying about something that most people wouldn’t even think twice about, but it’s such a constant in your life now that you don’t even know what it might be like to NOT be this way.
  7. You’re always ready to bail at any given moment. After living with anxiety for a while, you learn to create defense mechanisms to protect yourself “just in case.” In the dating world, this often means maintaining a mindset that things can and will go wrong at some point, and when they do, you need to be ready to run. Any disagreement you have with your partner sends your brain into emergency mode, and all the alarms in your head start screaming “I knew it.” Your first instinct isn’t to work things out rationally, but to head for the hills before you get your heart broken.
  8. You automatically think every guy has ulterior motives. To be fair, yes, there are a lot of people out there who just want to use other people for sex or to get back at an ex. But to an anxious mind, EVERY guy has plans to do you wrong. Even when the man you’re dating shows every sign of being a gentleman and all-around great human being, all you can think about is that he’s really good at hiding his true intentions.
  9. Guys who take too long to text back are basically your worst nightmare. It doesn’t matter if he’s at work or asleep at home or simply isn’t checking his phone all the time — if a guy takes forever to text back, it gives your anxious mind all the time in the world to think about all the women he could be sleeping with or how much he hates you. You probably feel better once you finally get that text back saying, “Sorry, my phone died. I miss you too!” but by that time, you’ve probably already cried over the idea of finding him dead in a ditch somewhere.
  10. Most people eventually get sick of your issues. It takes a lot to be able to date someone with anxiety, and while you know and accept this, it doesn’t make it any easier when things don’t work out time after time. You know that the right person will love and accept you for who you are, anxiety and all, but until then, you’re going to have to date a lot of people who can’t deal.
Averi is a word nerd and Brazilian jiu jitsu brown belt. She's also a TEFL/TESOL-certified ESL teacher and an equine enthusiast. Originally from Pennsylvania, she lived in Costa Rica for a while before moving to Australia. In addition to her work as a writer and editor for Bolde, she also has bylines with Little Things and regularly writes for Jiu-Jitsu Times.

You can follow Averi on Instagram @bjjaveri or on Twitter under the same handle.