3 Ways to Deal With Dating Anxiety During the Pandemic

Synthia Stark

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The circumstances of today are definitely not that normal when compared to the past. Yet, we are expected to make do with what we have and make the most of out it.

From time to time, we used to take many things for granted, like the hugs from grandma, and being able to go to fancy restaurants. Yet, times have changed. Life has permanently make sure that social norms are changing, and while it feels like the end of the world.

It’s not really the end — it’s the beginning of new territories. As we enter new relationships, we have to make sure to follow the rules and laws of our area, alongside the social norms of online dating.

There are plenty of cities where we’re not allowed to go out due to curfews or strict stay-at-home orders, and there are also cities where you can socially distance outdoors, like 6-feet away. Whatever you end up doing, make sure you’re following the rules of the land.

For now, we have our phone and our computers. We have apps that help us get romantically connected to others virtually and we have apps that allow us to see the faces of others.

For example, maybe you have installed Bumble and Tinder. Maybe you have a proper and virtual date on FaceTime, Messenger, or even Zoom. Whatever the case it may be, it is challenging to be navigating a whole new set of social norms.

On the upside, we don’t have to:

  • Show off our cars or houses
  • Take our dates to restaurants because the restaurants are likely closed
  • Visit people in-person if we don’t want to

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. It’s okay to be using these apps for now. For now, just go with the flow and make the most out of it.

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Make agreements to have many virtual dates with one person. Take some time to get to know them. There’s no rush to meet them and be intimate — our society is at a bit of a standstill when it comes to that.

Assess and examine how much your personality may or may not match with your partner. Figure out how much of your beliefs are similar to the other person.

For example, are you both:

  • Looking for the same thing?
  • Have similar ideologies?
  • Express open-mindedness to new ideas?
  • Asserting healthy boundaries?

It’s okay to be overwhelmed. I promise you that dating is the same as it always has been —but now you have the comforts of the virtual space to consider. Think of it this way:

  • You can escape a hostile date easily with the click of a button
  • You can spend more time exploring each others’ personality
  • Worry less about being pressured into being intimate

Think of the pandemic as the greatest excuse to not do certain things. Take advantage of this. For now, let’s get ourselves started these some tips:

1. Don’t Push Yourself Too Hard

Just because everyone is dating these days doesn’t mean that you have to date someone in a hurry. If you enter a prospective date with this mindset, you’ll likely crash and burn.

When we buy food at the grocery store, we only buy the things that we need, not the things that others ask us to buy. Basically, you’re happiest when you are able do what you need and want.

So let’s frame it this way — we have standards. Let’s stick by them. We’re not going to jump onto the first person we match with, because that might scare them away. Just take it easy and go with flow.

If you need to, you don’t have to use these dating apps all the time. Take it easy. If you’re anxious, maybe you need some time alone away from the judgemental eyes of others.

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As the days pass on, perhaps you’ll feel emotionally ready to get back into dating. To be invested in a relationship, you’re going to need as many emotional reserves as you can get. I mean, relationships take a lot of work, even when the sparks fly.

Plus, this pandemic has certainly made society much more tired, collectively. It’s okay to pace yourself and take it easy — the rest will follow.

2. Finetune Yourself Creatively

Sometimes we think that the sole purpose of our lives is to be in a relationship. The reality is that we have many purposes, goals, needs, and desires. Relationships can be a big part of it, but don’t force yourself to fit a mold.

Of course, when you are planning to date someone, you’re going to have to finetune yourself. Yes, you will be you, but you have to be creative in what you share about yourself.

You can explore many more hobbies and habits to add onto your self-care regimen. If that means learning more about a specific craft — that’s great. Maybe your prospective partner might be into that very same thing.

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In the first few online dates, you’re going to share some things here and there, same as the other person. As time goes on, you can share more things about yourself and the partner will do the same.

In due time, maybe you will learn that you have similar interests. Maybe you will watch an episode of your fave show together on Zoom. Maybe you will play a game of chess and crack jokes over something silly and mundane, but it’s your shared joke.

However, remember, you will need to be vulnerable during this emotional time. If you’re already too low in these emotional reserves, then you going to have to pace yourself.

3. Be Honest

Sometimes when we’re anxious, we come across as flaky. Maybe we’re stuttering and shaking a bit. Maybe you’re looking away from the camera a lot and fidgeting. It might throw some people off. Someone might think you’re being mysterious or catfish-like.

Let the person know that you’re feeling a bit anxious about starting a date, especially on Zoom, because you haven’t done this sort of thing before. You’re new to this whole situation, so hopefully they may understand.

The person might be secretly stressed too and maybe even secretly relieved that you told them. Plus, this is a socially acceptable time to be stressed about the state of the world. Society has collective fatigue associated to the pandemic.

Take advantage of this. Plus, if they can’t accept that you are feeling the way you are, then maybe it was good that you found out now and not later on, when you were far too deep into the relationship.

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When you’re having a Zoom chat, you can also present yourself in other helpful ways. For example, there’s a little mirror image of you for when you chat with others. You can casually check in your face discreetly, compared to real life, and not be obnoxious about it.

Maybe you can use this mirror to help you see how you come across. It helps to have that self-awareness.

Also, you’re going to have to upload photos of yourself on some of these dating apps. You’ll have to create a profile page and fill it with details that make you unique and awesome. Of course, hairdressers and salons are closed, but you can make do with what you have.

Most partners are understanding. I mean, if they can’t take you when you feel the “worst”, do they deserve you at your best?

Overall, while it’s not easy to overcome anxiety while dating in unfamiliar landscapes like dating apps and video conferencing software, you can take it easy, get some practice, and move on. I’m sure your confidence will build in no-time, even if takes some time to get socially adjusted.

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Mental Health Professional | Crisis Responder | Science Writer


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