How to Cope With Dating Anxiety

If you’re single and looking for love, you’re likely familiar with the usual anxieties of dating. Most of us feel at least a little nervous when starting a new relationship. This is perfectly normal. But, if you have panic disorder or another anxiety disorder, the anxiety can be overwhelming. This leaves some people avoiding the dating scene altogether.

For those who muster up the courage to venture into a new relationship, the experience can be tainted by worry or panic attacks to such a degree that the encounter is hardly enjoyable.

Here are some dating tips to help you relax and have fun.


Participate in the Pre-Date Planning

Woman smiling at boyfriend, eating and drinking wine at cafe table
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Not knowing the details of an upcoming dating event will likely lead to more anxiety. Don’t be afraid to voice your wishes and participate in making the dating plans. If you’re nervous about going too far from home, you can suggest having a date nearby.

If you're really nervous about having your date pick you up and being without your own transportation, suggest taking separate cars. Even suggesting a “double date” with another couple you know may put your mind at ease.


Admit Your Anxiety

If you find yourself feeling anxious on a date, don’t keep your feelings a secret. Trying to hide your anxiety will only make you more anxious. Your focus on keeping your anxiety undercover will distract you from enjoying the situation at hand.

Telling your date you’re feeling nervous will ease your mind, and your date will probably respond positively to your disclosure, offering you words of support.


Deal With Jitters by Practicing Relaxation Techniques

Dating experiences, especially in new relationships, can result in a lot of anticipatory anxiety. By learning and practicing relaxation techniques, you will be able to reduce the level of your anxiety before embarking on your dating adventure.

Some techniques that may be helpful include:


Give Yourself a Break

If you don’t feel the date went well because you were anxious, don’t beat yourself up. Everyone has uncomfortable or bad dating experiences.

Any dating experience should be viewed as positive. You were courageous in your adventure, and the experience will be even better the next time.

If you or a loved one are struggling with anxiety, contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Helpline at 1-800-662-4357 for information on support and treatment facilities in your area.

For more mental health resources, see our National Helpline Database.

4 Sources
Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Panic disorder: when fear overwhelms. National Institute of Mental Health. Revised 2016.

  2. Understand the facts. Anxiety and Depression Association of America. 2010-2018.

  3. Yarns BC, Wells KB, Fan D, Mtume N, Bromley E. The physical and the emotional: case report, mixed-methods development, and discussion. Psychodyn Psychiatry. 2018;46(4):549-574. doi:10.1521/pdps.2018.46.4.549

  4. Anticipatory anxiety. Minnesota State University. 2005-2020.

By Sheryl Ankrom, MS, LCPC
Sheryl Ankrom is a clinical professional counselor and nationally certified clinical mental health counselor specializing in anxiety disorders.