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Author Topic: Anxiety over first date!  (Read 105 times)

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Offline asuka07

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Anxiety over first date!
« on: May 28, 2014, 09:28:48 AM »
One of the things that drive me crazy about myself is my inability to do what is normal to everyone else.  Be in a loving and committed relationship.  I'll be very honest here, I am very inexperienced when it comes to relationships and intimacy, and that inexperience causes me great anxiety when I start talking to someone I could potentially date.  Its to the point where all i can think about is how that person will react when I tell him about my non history.  I always picture that person running for the hills.  Thats when I start sabotaging the relationship before it even starts, finding faults and reasons not to date.  I've even wondered if maybe I'm just gay and don't know it, but I've never felt any attraction for the same sex.

Tomorrow I have a coffee date with someone I met on Match.  When we were first chatting I felt good about him, but now that the date is tomorrow I have all this anxiety and negative thoughts.  What if I can't get over my nervousness?  What if I don't like him?  What if he doesn't like me? What if I never find someone?  What do you do when the "what was your last relationship like?" question comes up? I am a ball of nerves over a coffee date and I hate it.

So if anyone has any advice I'd greatly appreciate it :)  I'd really like to give this date a chance!
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Offline Myocdragon

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Re: Anxiety over first date!
« Reply #1 on: May 28, 2014, 10:04:37 AM »
I think you should eventually read the book When Panic Attacks, by David Burns.
But for your date,  google Cognitive Errors or Cognitive Distortions.
Print out the list.
Then write down a list of declarative statements regarding your anxieties, such as, "He will think I'm pathetic for being inexperienced."
Then look at the list of cognitive errors and write out what errors apply to your statements, such as, "I'm fortune telling and catastrophizing."
Finally write out a realistic and positive statement which contradicts your thought, "I have no way of knowing what he'll think. It's possible he not only won't care, but he might find it charming!"
Or whatever.
Have fun!
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I'm not crazy, I've just lost my mind

Offline CarrieAnn

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Re: Anxiety over first date!
« Reply #2 on: May 28, 2014, 10:15:49 AM »
Hi, it's ok to be nervous on a first date, give yourself permission to feel so!  Well, I don't know what you mean by 'experience' but I think there is nothing wrong with not having a lot of experience either.  Don't be so hard on yourself----I'm guilty of the same thing at times---I tend to be hard on myself, but I'm getting better at forgiving myself for not being perfect in every situation....I'm just as human as the next person  :yes:

Turn you catastrophic 'what if' thoughts around by thinking of a more positive situation and outcome for your date.  Like, tell yourself, 'I'm a good person, there is a lot I can offer in conversation on this date etc.

Take care! :)
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Offline asuka07

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Re: Anxiety over first date!
« Reply #3 on: May 28, 2014, 12:41:45 PM »
Thanks for the advice and positive tips.  They are definitely helpful. 

I never realized that so many of my thoughts were "catastrophic".  I spend way too much of my time predicting the worst outcomes instead of just letting things happen.
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Offline CarrieAnn

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Re: Anxiety over first date!
« Reply #4 on: May 28, 2014, 01:21:14 PM »
I understand because that is one of the things I do (catastrophic thinking), and in doing so I generate almost crippling anxiety for myself----mainly when I have to do something social, like parties, weddings etc.

But, in actuality the terrible things I envision happening never happen at all---in fact I always end up having the time of my life.  So, even if you find yourself thinking the worst, rest assured in knowing things are never as bad as we think they are.

Hope you have a great time!
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Offline Myocdragon

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Re: Anxiety over first date!
« Reply #5 on: May 28, 2014, 01:41:44 PM »
Identifying our cognitive errors is a huge first step toward managing our anxiety. And I think basically everyone with anxiety catastrophizes. It's also nice to realize that we are not our anxiety. It's something we have, not something we are. It's like arthritis, we have it, it effects us, we treat it and manage it. But it's better than arthritis because we can overcome it.

Try to train yourself to recognize your anxious thoughts and identify the cognitive distortions. The more you are able to do that, the easier it becomes to dismiss them. And don't forget the emotional reasoning distortion. I find that that sabotages me more than anything. I identify something as catastrophic, but then I still feel terribly anxious, so I dismiss my accurate characterization because I feel so strongly that my original distortion must be true.

It takes a lot of practice.

I'm 43 now with a wonderful wife and kids, but when I first went to college I'd never been on a date because I had such low self esteem I predicted rejection at every possible romantic interaction. I assumed that any girl I liked couldn't possibly be attracted to me. I didn't understand cognitive distortions back then, nor did I realize I had pretty entrenched OCD, anxiety, and depression. But some part of me knew that exposure therapy was a good way to go. So I was honest with the women I was attracted to that I felt I had a connection with (I wouldn't just walk up to strangers and say, 'you're pretty, wanna go on a date?'). I was rejected plenty, but I lost my fear of rejection. It felt good to be sincere. I'm still friends with a healthy percentage of the women who rejected me, because I truly liked them and never built up resentment.

I know it's different from a woman's perspective, but my point is that if you face your fear-meeting new people, going on a date, whatever- it's hard at first, but it gets easier pretty quickly, and then not only is it easier but you feel good about yourself.

You're going to beat this anxiety and it will open up your life in wonderful ways, I just know it.
Good luck! Have a nice date. And try not to worry about he's perceiving you, focus on how you perceive him.
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I'm not crazy, I've just lost my mind

Offline asuka07

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Re: Anxiety over first date!
« Reply #6 on: June 01, 2014, 12:03:11 PM »
Well here's an update on how things went.

The date went as well as can be expected for me.  (Thanks again for everyone's advice, it really helped me out) I never fully relaxed though, which I think is an indication that there may be something there because whenever I go on a date and I know its not going to work out I immediately relax.  So now we have a second date set up for next weekend and I feel a mess about it.  I really want this to work out, but I am terrified my anxiety will sabotage it. 

Throughout my life I have had close male friends, but have never been in a true relationship.  I know it sounds weird coming from a woman in her thirties, but unfortunately thats just been my life experience. I guess I was a late bloomer and by the time I was ready to enter the dating scene I was already having these thoughts of who would want me?  So I concentrated on my career and figured I'd find someone eventually,but unfortunately, without even realizing I was doing it, I ran away from potential relationships.

So now I've finally realized how messed up I am in this part of my life.  My anxieties are now focused on the dumbest things related to dating.  I am trying to push past this and its super hard because I know that in order to get over this I can't fall back on my usual running away tactics.  If I do the anxiety will be gone, but the depression will still be there because of another failure on my part.

I guess this just means I am going to have to work extra hard on what everyone has suggested here. Also a month ago my therapist suggested I should consider going on meds to deal with my anxiety.  We later decided I was coping well enough without it, to not need it, but since that last session I feel I've gotten worse.  I still don't know if I should give them a try or not.   Thankfully I see her again tomorrow

   
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