There are a lot of exciting feelings that will come your way when you start to date someone new — some good, some bad, but all very intense. That means that it can be useful to take stock periodically and make sure that you know yourself going in. A surprising amount of people won’t know that that’s an option available to them, and they will run headlong into the equivalent of a burning building. Here’s how to stop overthinking when dating someone new and avoid doing just that.
- Center yourself. It’s so easy to get swept up in the moment and not take a minute to yourself to reflect on what you’re getting yourself into. Focus on past relationships and present needs and think about what you want. Your expectations going into a relationship very much set the terms because those are the terms against which you assess what your new partner does or does not do. This will help you to troubleshoot future relationship problems by knowing from the start what you want. Don’t be that guy who waits for someone else to tell him what he wants and then complains that his girlfriend leaves him for being indifferent.
- Assess your needs. But actually mean it this time. I know that it can be easy to dismiss feelings or think about the future as something that is assured and will happen either way. No! You have to take your own agency over the situation and advocate for yourself. That’s the only way you will know what to ask for and how, in turn, your partner will be able to meet those needs. We all have those moments when we wonder why we feel so unsatisfied in a relationship, and it’s only because we never asked for specific things that we wanted. There’s always time to ask.
- Talk to the person you’re dating. If you’re overthinking, be kind to yourself. It’s a vicious cycle and causes a spiral of negative thinking. That can be really hard to live with yourself during moments of overthinking. Know that it is normal and that everyone overthinks – don’t blame yourself. Next, calmly talk to your partner. They’re dating you so they want to make you happy. They won’t want to judge you, only to work together to accommodate you. Think about actionable ways you can talk to them about helping you.
- Ask your friends for advice. Or your family. Chances are, they have a really good insight into the situation. It will help you to feel less alone and to realize that everyone is in this together. We all have similar lived experiences and we can share our resources to help make this world a little less bewildering. Once you have been dating your partner a little longer, it will help to contextualize these feelings. Some things that you were worried about might come to rear their ugly head, true, but many won’t. That fact and knowledge will reassure you as you go forward in this relationship and others.
- Talk to a therapist. If talking to friends about your overthinking problems seems a little too intimate or intense, try talking to a therapist. I know that might sound like a scary word, or a big word, or a word that you aren’t worthy of. Let those thoughts go. Accept what you need. Talking to a therapist when you’re experiencing stress in a relationship will help get to the bottom of it. That will future-proof future relationships, and, more importantly, it will center you.
- Unpack your trigger points. Think about all the reasons you react to stress the way you do. Focus on what you want to feel instead. Set goals and material outcomes that can make you feel better and more in control. Dating is all about control in so many ways, don’t let it be an internal struggle with yourself too. Think about how you can make a difference with yourself and track past behaviors so that you can improve your future prospects.
- Stop comparing the person you’re dating to your exes. Nothing good comes of that. Identifying past patterns in your behavior is not the same as comparing what other people did. Take responsibility for what you did or didn’t do, but don’t linger on that. Don’t use that as an opportunity to blame the person you’re dating. You’ll drive yourself crazy.
- Don’t be afraid to get the hell out of a relationship. If you need time for yourself or you aren’t ready for a relationship yet, that’s enough reason to take a pause. If your overthinking tendencies are crippling you, don’t add another person into the mix. The only person you owe anything to is yourself. Never forget that, okay. Relationships are hard, you aren’t alone, and it will get better if you put the effort in. But, as soon as that becomes a drain on you, get out.
There’s no magical way to stop overthinking when you’re dating a new person – it’s hard, and I won’t pretend to have all the answers. But there are so many ways to grow and improve your experience. Take that time.