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Banish Your Dating Anxiety: Swipe Right on Confidence

Is your perpetual singlehood the result of a bigger issue? Let’s talk about the common struggle keeping you from swiping: dating anxiety.
Editorial team
May 6, 2024
May 21, 2024
min. read
Table of Contents

Some people are confident Casanovas in the dating scene. They have no problem approaching someone they’re interested in, striking up a conversation, and turning friendly banter into hardcore flirting

Others use dating apps and play the numbers game, putting themselves out there and being authentic without fear of rejection.

And then there’s everyone else — arguably most people. Those of us who don’t always feel like the catch that all their friends say they are. Whether they were shell-shocked after a bad experience with someone telling them they weren’t masc enough or they clam up during conversations with strangers, there are many ways dating can turn even the most courageous among us into a stuttering, sweating mess who can’t even bring themself to swipe right.

It doesn’t have to be this way; with some self-awareness and effort, you can regain your courage and meet the person of your dreams. It’s not necessarily easy — for many, anxiety is a constant battle that they fight every day.

But the good news? When it comes to dating, specifically, overcoming anxiety is easier than you might think. Step one is understanding what it is and why you’re feeling it in the first place.

Signs of dating anxiety

How do you know if you’re experiencing dating anxiety? Anxious people often fail to recognize their anxieties, unsure of what the trigger actually is when they’re in a heightened state. Here are some tell-tale signs that dating leaves you with panic rather than pleasure:

Needing constant reassurance

A constant need for reassurance indicates insecurity. If you don’t believe that a partner or someone you’re dating actually likes you, that’s probably low self-esteem. You think to yourself, “Who would ever like me? There must be a catch.” So you ask them to keep reminding you.

There’s nothing wrong with asking a partner for reassurance when you aren’t feeling your best. Constant reassurance, however, can be exhausting for the other person.

Looking for issues where there are none

Are you always waiting for the other shoe to drop? Even when everything is going well, you think it’s going too well. You get suspicious, assuming the worst about minor things like not getting a text back or catching a look on your partner’s face. This anxiety is particularly insidious in dating because the anxious person can create their own downfall by trying to predict it.

Struggling to enjoy joyful moments

Rumination, or obsessing over negative thoughts, often renders people with dating anxiety unable to enjoy the good moments of their relationship. Their minds are too busy preparing for the worst-case scenario, certain they’ll be hurt or betrayed if they let their guard down. 

Whether you’re with this person for an evening or a lifetime, you’ll miss those moments of beautiful connection if you’re stuck inside your head, preparing for the inevitable downfall of your relationship.

Feeling insecure about your partner’s feelings

It’s normal for your partner’s feelings to wax and wane. He may sometimes be annoyed, upset, or even downright mad at you. But for the anxious dater, this feels like the kiss of death. They see any shift in a partner’s feelings, whether or not it’s about the relationship, as a sign of impending disaster. This makes them highly anxious, waiting to meet their doom as the sad, single person they think they deserve to be.

Common dating anxiety causes

Before you can focus on how to not be nervous on a date, you need to identify the cause of your anxiety. Like any mental health concern, there are many reasons dating anxiety can manifest. Some of these can show up as early as the first date, but relationship anxiety and fear can plague a person well into a long-term relationship, as well.

Fear from past relationships

Many anxious daters could be described as “once bitten, twice shy.” Their anxiety stems from past relationships that went poorly. Although this makes sense, it’s unfair to your potential dates or partners to assume they’ll treat you the same.


Social anxiety

Social anxiety is a widespread issue that often inhibits one’s dating life. If you’re already uncomfortable being around people, dating those people will only exacerbate the problem.

You’ll have to sever the tie between social anxiety and dating to overcome first-date nerves and find romantic success. One of the only ways to do it is to immerse yourself in what scares you. That could be the tall drink of water you’ve been eyeing for days on a dating app. Who wouldn’t want to immerse themselves in him?

Self-esteem issues

Anyone with low self-esteem will struggle with self-image, leading them to feel like they aren’t good enough for anyone else. Low self-esteem can keep you from achieving all sorts of goals, as your brain tells you your happiness isn’t worth the trouble or effort.

Finding “the one” is on top of many people’s list of things to accomplish, so a lack of self-love will certainly keep you from getting there. Fear of rejection is a primary reason people don’t ask out someone they like. Still, it’s something you can overcome to reduce anxiety and stay more present in the moment.

Body image anxiety

If you don’t like what you see when you look in the mirror, you probably aren’t keen on someone else seeing it, either. Those who take the term “bumping uglies” too literally might be more prone to experiencing dating anxiety. If you’re OK when everyone keeps their clothes on but feel anxious when things get hot and heavy, those jitters might be a result of body image anxiety.

Fear of rejection

Everyone wants to feel accepted to some degree. They want to find that one person who speaks their language, accepts them exactly as they are, and loves it when they’re the most themselves. But if you’ve lived a life where your authentic self was looked down on, you’ll probably have dating anxiety related to showing your true colors to someone you care about.

How to manage dating anxiety

Now that you know why you’re cowering in the corner instead of hitting it off with that hottie, let’s explore how to deal with relationship anxiety and negative thought cycles so you can find what you’re looking for.

Figure out what you bring to the table

Logical thinkers will love this. If self-love feels too woo-woo for you, get practical about what you have to offer. Try your best to be objective, and write down a list of some of your best qualities.

If that feels too hard, brainstorm with a friend or loved one. You’ll probably hear some amazing things about yourself you never realized other people saw. What if the person you were dating would feel the same? It’s more likely than you think!

Learn and practice self-love

Practicing self-love is easier said than done, especially if you don’t know what your love language looks like. However, investing time and effort into loving yourself gives you an incredible boon in your dating life.

As the mother matriarch herself says, “If you can’t love yourself, how in the hell you gonna love somebody else?” And she’s got a point, boots.

Talk to a therapist

Turns out every podcast in the past five years is right — we could all benefit from seeing a professional about our mental health. Whether you go to a mental health counselor or a clinical psychologist to work through your anxiety, talking with a professional who understands your triggers and how you approach anxiety can be instrumental in helping you conquer it.

If you think your dating anxiety stems from an anxiety disorder or other mental health concern, a clinical psychologist or a mental health professional can diagnose you and provide specialized treatment. Together, you can overcome negative thought loops and ease your relationship anxiety.

Try not to worry about external approval

Obsessing over external approval will dull your authentic self. That suppression only causes more anxiety as your true self fights to come out.

External validation is nice sometimes, especially from those you care about, but it can’t dictate your life. Internal validation is the only reliable way to feel comfortable in your own skin.

Ease your anxiety by starting the convo on Grindr

Invest some time digging deep into your anxiety. Acknowledging the feeling is often the first step toward managing it. 

Then, when you’re ready, take measures to keep yourself comfortable while you fight back against the anxiety that’s keeping you down. 

You deserve love and happiness. But most of all, you deserve a good dicking down from a handsome stranger you met at a martini lounge on a whim — and you’re never gonna get that if you don’t learn how to say hello.

It’s time to stretch out that swiping finger; the dating world has been waiting for you. Download the Grindr app now and get started.

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