Lots Of Date Ideas Are Off-Limits
Zero people are going to blame you if you turn down your romantic interest’s suggestion of going skydiving on the first date. But lots of situations that are no big deal to most people can cause a serious rush of adrenaline for someone with anxiety. Trying out that interesting new Indian restaurant in town? Ha, like I’d ever put myself in a situation where the waiter could laugh at me for mispronouncing the name of a food. Going out for a drink on a Friday night? Thanks, but people would probably touch or bump into me by accident, and quite frankly, nope.
It’s Hard To Find Someone Who Actually Comprehends It
The National Institute of Mental Health reports that up to 18 percent of adults in the United States live with an anxiety disorder, with up to 23 percent of those cases being classified as “severe.” This makes it one of the most common mental illnesses around, and yet, it’s still massively misunderstood and stigmatized But even worse than someone who doesn’t want to deal with your anxiety is someone who seriously just does. not. get it. They’ll say things like, “I have anxiety, too! My heart pounds a little faster right before a potentially life-changing job interview,” or, “I totally know what you’re going through. I start sweating every time I have to walk through a sketchy neighborhood at 3 a.m.”
Lots of folks don’t understand that having your mind and body respond appropriately to scary situations is not the same as freaking out over an everyday situation that shouldn’t be terrifying. It’s pretty much a miracle when you either find someone who actually gets what you’re going through or is willing to do their best to understand your anxiety and how it impacts your life.
Starting To Talk To Someone New Is Basically Hell On Earth
Once you’ve been dating someone for a while, you generally know enough about them to figure out if they just fell asleep in the middle of texting or if they actually decided that they hate you mid-conversation. When you’re talking to someone new, though, everything they do is enough to make your heart rate go up. Did they really think your joke was funny? Or are they secretly praying for this date to come to an early end because your attempts at humor are so pathetic? No smiley face emoji at the end of their message? Even if all the signs point to your new love interest genuinely enjoying your company, your anxiety will twist everything it can into convincing you that they’re just talking to you and spending time with you because they pity you.
You Start To Believe Your S.O. Would Be Happier With Someone More
All the paranoia, panic attacks, and physical health symptoms that plague you when you have anxiety can make you feel like you’re sometimes less than human. But here’s the thing: you’re not some freak of nature. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America has found that women are 60 percent more likely than men to develop an anxiety disorder in their lifetime, so if you’re dating a dude, it shouldn’t be a big surprise if you have the disorder and he doesn’t.
However, despite the fact that your partner has happily stayed with you thus far and tried to help you through your anxiety, you might start to wonder if they’re really as content in this relationship as they say they are. Maybe they’re just sticking around because it’s convenient… or worse, maybe you’ve accidentally manipulated them into thinking that everyone freaks out as often as you do. The rational side of you knows that your S.O. is well aware of what they sign up for every day when they decide to love you and not someone else, but there’s always that voice of doubt that makes you wonder exactly when they’re going to realize the “mistake” they made by dating you.
When A Relationship Ends, You Start To Believe That You’re Simply Undateable
I swear, every time one of my relationships ends for any reason, I can almost feel my anxiety doing a little dance inside me. Oh, wait. That’s just my heart pounding through my chest over the prospect that nobody will ever love me again. Being single isn’t bad by any means, but there’s a big difference in riding solo because you want to and feeling like nobody will ever even want to touch you with a ten-foot pole for the rest of your life.
Anxiety’s ability to manipulate situations around you really makes breakups even harder than they already are. Even if you and your now ex-partner ended the relationship amicably because you just weren’t right for each other, anxiety will make you feel like the real reason it ended is because of how generally horrible it is to even be in your presence. If it was a nastier breakup, or worse, if the other person simply ghosted on you, it will be a miracle if you’re ever able to enter another relationship again.