How to deal with the anxious feeling when you first start dating someone new?
A common question I am asked when my clients meet someone new is:
‘I have met someone I like and I have this anxious feeling all the time. Does this mean they are the wrong person for me or is it just fear? Is this normal or is it a sign that I should run away right now?’
I want to reassure you that it’s normal to feel anxious when you finally meet someone you like.
You just don’t want to let that anxiety start to run wild and cause you to sabotage a perfectly good relationship.
Anxiety causes the voice in your head to tell you things like:
- ‘You have made a series of bad choices, you can’t do that again.’
- ‘’You can’t get hurt again, it’s just too painful.’
- ‘They’re not good enough for you, you can do better.’
- ‘You’re not good enough for them. They will find that out and leave. It’s easier to break up now and avoid that pain.’
Your subconscious mind’s job is to keep you safe and when you have been hurt in love before, it sees going there again as UNSAFE!
No wonder you feel anxious!
How do you stop that anxious feeling from ruining your new relationship?
You need to work out if the anxious feeling is your gut warning you that they are not compatible or if it is just a normal stage of working out if someone is right for you.
Seven Ways to Know the Difference and be Less Anxious
1. Being in the Present Moment will Stop You Feeling Anxious
Instead of thinking about what happened in the past and how your relationships haven’t worked, be in the present moment. Judge the person you are dating on who they are and not by the people you dated in the past.
It is easy to get caught up in ‘What if?’
instead of ‘What is?’ thinking.
That ‘What if?’ way of thinking is what will make you anxious. It lets you look at all the things that could possibly go wrong and is driven by your fears. You are living in the future rather than in the moment.
The fear makes you hypervigilant and see things that aren’t there. Or, as Mark Twain once said, ‘I’ve lived through some terrible things in my life. Some of which actually happened.’
When you stay in the ‘What is’ thinking you stay in the moment and see things as they are.
Judge the person on who they are and don’t bleed all over someone who didn’t cut you!
2. Don’t Put Pressure on Yourself
After a failed relationship it is easy to want to get it right the next time. You worry about wasting any more time with the wrong people or making yet another bad choice. This doesn’t work because all you end up doing is looking for things that are wrong or that you don’t like. In fact, you focus on them and what you focus on you see more of! It’s time to stop putting pressure on yourself to get it right.
3. Work out the Difference between Gut Feeling and Fear
How do you know if that anxious feeling is about what’s happening now or based on what happened in the past?
When the feeling is a real gut feeling based on your intuition, it is there to tell you something you need to know. I am sure you have experienced this in the past and it showed up as an anxious feeling when you have ignored it. This type of feeling happens when you meet someone and ignore what your body is telling you. It generally happens when the chemistry is strong. What is happening is your gut is telling you that you are incompatible. Your body is warning you to get out of there and it is a feeling that you want to have and acknowledge.
That Sabotaging Anxious Feeling
In contrast, the sabotaging anxious feeling generally happens for no reason. It causes you to blow minor things out of proportion. You will find yourself worrying that they are like the last person and you will find yourself looking for things that can go wrong! Finding yourself over analysing everything they say and not giving them the benefit of the doubt until they show you otherwise.
If you like them and you can see that you are compatible with the same values give the new relationship a chance. Don’t allow your subconscious mind to destroy the connection.
4. Actions Speak Louder than Words
You may have a genuine gut feeling when someone’s actions don’t match their words. Your body picks up on signals that you aren’t consciously aware of and that is what causes the anxious feeling. Many people are skilled at knowing what to say, yet they don’t back up their words with any action. Take notice of the person actions and remember the popular cliché words are cheap!
5. What Do Others Think
When you are having a hard time and you are drowning in anxiety, it’s hard to be objective. In fact, it can make it impossible to know if your feelings are right or not. This is the time to get an outside perspective. This will help you as chemistry shuts down the left-hand side of your brain related to judgement about the person you are dating.
When you are unable to see clearly, the people who care about you can. They are able to have an objective perspective that you simply can’t when you under the influence of chemistry. Spend time with your new person with the people whose opinion you trust to see how that feels and what they observe.
They will either tell you that you are being crazy and the person is perfect for you. Or they will let you know that you are not imagining things and the person just isn’t right for you.
This is not about relying on others to make the choice. It’s about getting insight from people who care about you and aren’t blinded by anxiety or chemistry. Feedback from others shouldn’t make or break your relationship. But if you see a pattern in the feedback (either positive or negative) then it’s probably worth listening to.
6. Rose Coloured Glasses
If you are feeling that the person is actually good for you and you can see it is your fear of getting hurt that is getting in the way, then I recommend rose coloured glasses.
The person you spend your life with should make your life better and inspire you to be better. Whereas, in the past, it may have been the opposite. It can be easy to get caught up in relationships that don’t inspire or support you as the drama can be more exciting and addictive.
I often advise people who are in on-again-off-again relationships to keep a list of things that they don’t like about the person in the front of their mind to stop them going back. On the flip side when you are leaning towards seeing the person as being good for you then do the opposite. When you are anxious just put on your rose-coloured glasses and see the positive, remind yourself of what you like and how good they make you feel.
What you focus on you will see more of! So, think about what is good about them. It could be how supportive they are, how kind, how they listen to you and how much fun you have when you spend time together.
7. Can you be Yourself
Does this person make you less or more than yourself? This is an important question. Are you free in the relationship to be who you are or are you fitting in with how someone else wants you to be? It should allow you to be more you and feel freer.
Take the time to honestly answer the question – ‘Do they bring out the best in me and allow me to be myself?’ If they do then it is probably a healthy connection that is worth finding out where it goes. But if you are feeling trapped, restricted, and not being yourself then it isn’t worth seeing where it goes.
It is important to know what matters to you – your core values and know if the person you are seeing matches them and is a good fit. You can always have different interests; however different values will lead to misery.
If you are still unsure, why not book in a coaching session?