Fear of Dating Again (FODA): How to Cope with Dating Anxiety?
Fear of dating (FODA) has taken its place in the lineup of pop-culture acronyms. Dating anxiety is unavoidable: if you've never dated, you're trying something new, which is understandably scary. We naturally fear what we don't know, so the lack of familiarity might be why you're scared of dating, or even just scared of meeting up! If you have dated before, you might be worried of repeating past mistakes or getting hurt again. The fear of dating again after a breakup or a bad experience is real and can be paralyzing.
Why You Might Be Scared to Date Again
Anxiety and dating seem to go hand in hand these days; there are several reasons why:
1) The anxiety when dating someone new is so common; you're still getting to know this person, how their schedule and interests fit with yours and, most importantly, if your quirks and shortcomings will be acceptable to them. It's natural to be nervous about things you don't know
2) Dating anxiety can be compounded when you've experienced rejection or hurt from a partner or potential partner. Because it's our brain's job to protect us, it will create coping mechanisms around activities or people that have hurt us in the past as a self-protective mechanism, and that's no different in dating. So actually, being Dating anxiety can be compounded when you've experienced rejection or hurt from a partner or potential partner scared to date again is natural as well.
How to Face the Fear of Dating Again
1) Understand that if you're fear of dating again is related to simply dating someone new, the anxiety will often subside on its own as you get more and more familiar with this new partner. All other things being equal, anxiety tends to have an inverse relationship with familiarity, so move forward at a pace that feels comfortable to you when dating someone new, trusting that you will move through the anxiety.
If your anxiety persists after you feel like you've got a good idea of who your potential partner is or if you don't feel after several months that you're able to get a handle on who this person is, that might be a red flag. Dating anxiety isn't necessarily something to be avoided or "healed;" it can be a signal to us that we need to slow down, have hard conversations or look deeper at why the anxiety might be there.
2) While it is important to honor your feelings, it is also important to keep them in their place and about the right things. If you're stepping into dating again after a challenging experience in the past, it is so important to see your new potential partner for exactly who he or she is. This means separately the past from the present and allowing this person to be different than your ex or the person who ghosted you after a few months. This does not mean you automatically assume better; staying neutral until you have definitive information from the present person/relationship (rather than triggers from the past) when you're trying to cope with dating anxiety is not just something to do to be fair to the other person. It also helps you practice not getting to attached to a story or to someone you don't know well enough yet.
"What If I'm Still Afraid to Date Again?"
One of the main ways people get hurt in dating is that they attempt to date people they aren't well-matched with either because they don't think they can find anyone better or believe there is someone out there for them or because they simply don't know how to find compatible matches. Iris Dating starts with mutual attraction based on the assumption that mutual attraction outweighs many of the things people might think are deal breakers. If you start off right, dating anxiety may not go away completely, but it doesn't have to take center stage anymore.