Dating with Anxiety in the Digital Age

A few months ago, I found myself thrust back into the dating world. I decided to take some time and truly focus on myself and just casually date people. Being a certified relationship person, this was a hard adjustment.

I have always opted for the “old school” version of meeting people. I usually meet someone through friends, classes, or work. I have toyed around with dating apps but never stuck on them very long; I find the conversations give me anxiety. Dating apps have always seemed so forced and shallow to me. I know there are algorithms behind them and that statistics can back up their success but it all causes my head to spin.

I have also recently gone on three of the best dates of my life. I know you are going to say, “see dating apps work!” But, I met this guy through friends. He listened, went to a museum with me (didn’t make fun of me when I geeked out), was a complete gentleman and even took me to see a giant wheel of cheese. For anyone that doesn’t know me; I love cheese to an unhealthy level. It’s been great. So, that’s where the story ends right? Nope. I decided to honor what I said before and casually date.

So here I am, I signed up for Hinge. I decided to avoid Tinder, the negatives seem to outweigh the positives with that app. I also decided to avoid Bumble. While I like that women are the first to initiate conversation there (keeps the weird pickup lines at bay), I couldn’t handle the stress and anxiety that goes with starting a conversation. Hinge it is. I made my profile (location is wrong since I made it while I was in the city – whoops) and started trying to figure out the app.

Almost instantly I felt a huge wave of anxiety crash over me – I got my first match. I believe people like my profile for two reasons: my dog and they are impressed that I won a taco eating contest. But here I am, first match… What do I say to this person? Am I supposed to act like myself? I’ve been told I talk to much. Should I answer vaguely. I am not a “mysterious” person by any stretch of the imagination. I generally talk a lot. I talk when I’m happy, talk when I’m nervous and hell, I even talk a lot when I am mad. The more comfortable I am with you, the more in depth and calm my talking will become but at first my talking almost seems neurotic… which it might be.

I find that even opening the app causes anxiety. I am now up to 11+ matches and I can’t even open the app. I read an article that said to stop matching at 7-9 people because anything more than that is too overwhelming for the human brain. They are right. For me, I believe anything more than 3 is too many. How did I get to 11+? I don’t even know. I stopped liking new people, but somehow matches just arrive in my inbox.

People say that I should trust this and that dating apps work… Hell, I know people that are happily married, and they met on Tinder. I’m just not sure the online dating world is for me currently. I am not going to rule it out entirely. But seeing as opening the app gives me anxiety, I’m not sure it’s such a good idea.

Any advice?


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