As wonderful as dating can be, there’s also no doubt it can be deeply stressful. If your dating life is going well, then you don’t think about it— everything is positive, you’re happy with where you are in the world, and you can see a pleasant future.
If things aren’t going so well, life isn’t quite so rosy.
Somewhat bucking conventional wisdom, studies have found that men feel more pressure to be in a relationship than women do. This pressure manifests itself in a variety of ways, from making you accept dates you already know aren’t going to work out to contributing to issues with your mental health. If your dating experiences aren’t going well, then you will quickly begin to feel out of control, stressed, and incredibly worried about the future.
So, let’s tackle these emotions head-on, because one thing is for sure: Letting these problems fester without addressing them is not conducive to reaching your dating goals. By dealing with the emotions that your recent dating experiences have made you feel, you can take a positive step into the future, as well as enhance your overall enjoyment in life.
With that said, here are seven ways to manage dating stress and help to help you feel more under control.
Tip #1 – Treat Dating Like an Experiment
My “100 dates” research experiment taught me a huge amount about dating. It gave me an insight into the way the mind tends to work on dates; for one thing, everyone tends to focus much more on their own insecurities.
If you find yourself on a first date with a woman, and you are stuck in your head worrying about small details, your date will feel your struggle. She will feel your lack of confidence. She will feel your nervousness and that you’re negating the actual enjoyment of the experience with her. If this is you, then I’d recommend you adopt a new approach to dating- an experimental one.
If you treat dating like an experiment, then you quickly learn to see dating in a different way. Instead of going into a date wondering: “how am I going to make her laugh?” or “what if she doesn’t want to see me again?”, you’ll merely see the date as one part of an overall journey.
If the date goes well and as a result you secure another date with her, then that’s great! If the date doesn’t go well, you can just move onto the next one and chalk the bad date up to experience, rather than letting it bring you down and make you over-analyze yourself and your behavior.
Tip #2 – Let Dating Come Naturally
This ties with the point above. Over-analysis is your absolute worst enemy when it comes to dating. It will surely cause you more dating stress. If you spend hours picking over everything you said and did, then you’re fighting a losing battle.
For one thing, you don’t have access to what the woman thought about your behavior on the date. For example, there’s every chance you could chastise yourself for telling a cheesy joke, but maybe she actually found it charming.
Secondly, analysis is only useful if it’s going to be beneficial in the future. If you have a bad date with a woman, and you know you’re not going to see her again, what’s the point in spending hours analyzing it? You can’t hop into a time machine and re-do the date, so you’re better to learn what you can, then move on.
When it comes to learning from previous dates, you should focus on overarching themes. It’s worth taking the time to analyze what went wrong, but keep your conclusions broad, or you risk slipping into over-analysis. For example:
Good-Analysis: “The conversation didn’t flow smoothly.”
Good-Analysis Solution: “I should take 15 minutes before my next date to review her online dating profile in order to keep the conversation flowing better.”
Over-Analysis: “I told a cheesy joke about when my friends and I were drunk at a bar and blah blah blah blah.”
Over-Analysis Solution: “I shouldn’t do that again.”
As a general way of discerning between the above, look at the solution to your good analysis. It’s a solid piece of introspective advice to help you with your next date, and it only took you thirty seconds to generate.
If the only solution is “I shouldn’t do that again”, then you’re over analyzing. If the solution is helpful for future reference, then it’s good, solid analysis. Back to that example:
“The conversation didn’t flow smoothly” = “I should review my dates online profiles, which will help me ask her questions and uncover more of her interests.”
Whereas “I told a cheesy joke” can only be rectified by “I shouldn’t do that again”.
It’s important to stick to useful, beneficial, actionable analysis, and let everything else pass you by. If you try and keep track of a list of things you shouldn’t say or do, your dating experiences aren’t going to flow naturally, because you’re going to be far too distracted with trying to remember all the things you’ve said you won’t do.
Tip #3 – Focus on Your Life Purpose
When dating is stressing you out, distraction is always a good technique. Turning your attention away from the dating scene and focusing on one of your life purposes is one of the best ways to achieve this.
There are two benefits to focusing on your life purpose. First and foremost, the distraction element; if you can channel all the energy you’ve been spending on dating into something useful, then your life as a whole is going to benefit. Additionally, if you’re busy, then you’ll have less chance to over-analyze any bad dating experiences.
Secondly, women like a man with purpose; a man who has a direction and a path in life he is trying to follow. Be it school or career goals, the mere fact that you’re actively engaged in trying to improve your life and build a good future is a huge boost to your appeal to women.
Tip #4 – Stay Busy with Friends and Family
The cure to dealing with dating stress isn’t necessarily trying for a good date— sometimes, it’s beneficial to just step back, and spend some time with the people who are important to you. Take a road trip with your friends or fly across the country to see your sister’s new baby, and remember that dating is not the be-all and end-all of your life.
Dating should enhance your life, not dominate it. If you spend too much time trying chasing women or worrying about your personal status, then your sense of control will begin to slip. By surrounding yourself with people who love you, you’ll be able to achieve a much-improved sense of self, and bring your stress levels under control.
I know spending time with your family isn’t always your first move on a weekend, but it’s one of my favorite ways to manage dating stress and will definitely help to balance out your life. Try it!
Tip #5 – Do 1 New Thing a Month
As we’ve established, spending too much time thinking about your dating woes is a surefire way to cause yourself unnecessary mental turmoil. To keep yourself focused on other things, set down and write out a bucket list. It’s useful to ensure you include a few items that are easily achievable, too— wanting to climb Everest is great, but it’s not something you’re going to be able to achieve in a single weekend!
When you have your list, try and tick one item off it every month. The fact that you are making progress will help improve your stress levels, provide that all-important distraction, and ensure you feel content that an area of your life is advancing just as you planned. The sense of control this will give you cannot be underestimated, and spending time outside your comfort zone is always beneficial.
You will find that the further you progress down your bucket list, the more relaxed you’ll start to feel about dating. Your time is being taken up with plenty of worthwhile activities, and your sense of self-worth will undoubtedly improve.
Tip #6 – Join a Group
As a child, you were likely in all kinds of groups, but over time, your group or club membership has likely dropped to zero. This is a real shame, as belonging to a group can provide a relaxed, sociable environment that is the perfect antidote to the stresses and strains of dating.
There are thousands of different groups you could consider joining: an adult softball league, a wine club, a book club, a fitness group… the list is literally almost endless. Find a group that participates in something you’re passionate about and promise yourself that you will attend.
Not only is joining a group beneficial for your sense of self and life experiences, but you never know, you might meet the woman of your dreams in this new social setting!
Tip #7 – Work on Eliminating Your Negative Self-Talk
Negative self-talk is something we all experience from time-to-time. It’s that little voice in the back of your mind, the one that whispers that you’re not good enough, or you’re a romantic failure, or you’ll never get that promotion at work.
Tackling negative self-talk is crucial to your self-esteem and your stress level. The best way to fight back is to drown the negativity out with positivity; daily affirmations are a good way of achieving this.
You shouldn’t have to listen to an endless inner monologue that disparages you and your work, so fight back, tell yourself you’re doing well, and cut that negative voice out of your life. This is another one of my favorite ways to manage dating stress.
Tell yourself before your next date “I’m going to have a great time with this new woman whether she likes me or not. I’m going to enjoy the experience of meeting someone new and give it all I got.”
Final thoughts on Ways to Manage Dating Stress
There’s no doubt that dating is stressful, and can make even the most assured person feel out of control. The general tips above should hopefully help you battle some of these issues.
If you want to truly tackle your dating stress issues head-on, then please do get in touch and book a new client session with me, for tailor-made coaching that takes into account your specific life circumstances. Dating should be fun and enjoyable, not stressful and negative, and I’d be delighted to help you enjoy your dating life once more.