Many, many things in life are stressful. Work, finances, family drama... dating shouldn't be one of them. Sure, it's not always going to be rose petals and long walks on the beach, but at it's core, dating should be fun, not some drag on your resources-emotionally, mentally or financially. As someone who has spent way too many days of her life stressed out based on my relationship status, or lack thereof, I finally realised that if dating was making me want to curl up in a ball of stress and shut out the world, something had to change. Here are five ways to prevent dating from stressing you out.
1. Be Selective With Your Time
I disagree when people tell me that dating is a numbers game. If you spend all of your free time going on date after date, and when you aren't on an actual date you're talking to potential dates, you're going to burn-out. All of a sudden, your dating life has turned into work, and work sure is stressful from time to time, isn't it? To prevent this from happening, it's important to be selective with how you spend your time. Don't line up six dates in one weekend - instead, focus on planning and getting excited for one great date with someone you're genuinely interested in. Your goal shouldn't be to cram in as many coffee dates as possible, because despite what you might have heard, dating isn't a job interview. Quality over quantity will get you closer to love in the end.
2. Plan, Plan, Plan!
So much of the reason why dating can be stressful is because so much is unknown. You don't know if you and your date will have chemistry, if there will be awkward silences and, in the case of a first online date, if they will resemble their photos or not. You're nervous and stressed for good reason! The best way to combat stress surrounding a first date is to plan ahead as best you can. It might seem basic, but try it out! Suggest a date-friendly location to meet at, for example a wine bar is always a better choice than a thundering nightclub, and check up on their prices and menu so you're prepared. Next, consider the weather, as studies have shown rain or shine can have a distinct impact on your love life...not to mention, it's important to know what temperatures to dress for! That mini dress only looks cute in the warmth of your own home, not when you're shivering out in the cold, you know? When you're uncomfortable it shows, so take note of Mr. Weatherman and plan accordingly. Lastly, do some (light) research on your date! I'm not telling you to go full on Google stalker, not at all...but an innocent scroll their Instagram feed might reveal things you have in common or talking points for your date.
3.Spend Time Alone
I know, I know, you're trying to meet someone special, why would I tell you to spend time alone? Well, consider this. Every time you go out on a date, or flirt with someone new, or spend one minute stressing over why some guy (or girl!) hasn't called you back, you're giving up some of yourself, whether it be time, emotions, energy or D, All of the Above. Spending time alone will give you a chance to recharge your batteries so to speak. I'm not suggesting that your time spent alone needs to be a huge deal, either. You don't need to turn your phone off and sit in your room alone in the dark with your thoughts. It could be something as simple as an afternoon run, a spa date or an evening at home with Netflix and gelato. The point is to to not forget about yourself when you're trying to date and find love. If you treat yourself with the utmost care and respect, potential suitors will have no choice but to as well.
4. Manage Your Expectations
Another one of the main reasons that dating causes singles so much stress is the fact that there is always the potential of getting hurt. When dealing with matters of the heart, it would be difficult to not stress out a bit, nobody likes to be rejected or broken-hearted. With that said, there are two main ways to prevent fear from making your dating experience an anxious one. First, it's important to understand and accept that if you're going to date and put yourself out there, that there is always the risk of getting hurt. You can't control it, prevent it or plan for it. If you're dating, then you run the risk of falling in love with someone who is unavailable, or developing a crush on someone who's taken, or just going on one bad date after another. It comes with territory, and it's not just you who has these bad experiences, so while it feels personal, do your best to roll with the punches.
How, you ask?
By managing your expectations upfront. This doesn't mean that you are a total pessimist negative Nancy, it just means that you aren't setting yourself up to be let down each time you plan a first date. Think of each date you plan as an opportunity to get to know him or her better, and go from there. Don't walk into a first date thinking that you're about to meet your soulmate, or the one you've been waiting for. It might happen, but it also might not, so it's better to be pleasantly surprised than disappointed. Taking the pressure off the dates you go on can ease your stress levels dramatically! As for bad, no good, terrible dates? Shake them off. It happens. The best way to deal with a date from you know where is to grab your best friend and a bottle of wine and commiserate together, and then keep taking it one day at a time, one date at a time!