Dating is daunting and for those of us who are scared of commitment, it’s a minefield of emotions we’re most definitely going to over-analyse. Yet despite feeling a little anxious, us over-thinkers genuinely want to explore the dating scene, we just don’t quite know how to date stress-free. So in order to avoid signing up for a panic attack-inducing dating experience, here’s a little how-to guide to dating when you’re afraid of commitment.
#1 Set The Pace
If you’re heading into the dating scene feeling a little worse for wear after an emotional breakup, or a long period of singledom, it can often feel a little overwhelming. Whilst there’s no golden rule in terms of how often you should see someone, there’s certainly a golden rule in terms of how to remain at a pace that’s manageable and comfortable – and that’s talking about it.
If you’re looking to gradually test the waters, maybe it’s best to keep your dates to a once per week kinda deal. Or maybe it’s best to integrate your dates into your schedule super casually, like catching a drink before you meet with friends (so you’re not skipping out on seeing the people you love, and the ‘officialness’ that comes with dating doesn’t feel so daunting).
Either way, if your date is a decent enough date, they’ll listen to your reasoning and be understanding about it. Essentially, keep true to yourself and your ideal pace because at the end of the day, you’re feelings are just as precious as anyones’.
#2 Talk About It
This one probably won’t come as a surprise – if it does, boy do I have news for you. Don’t underestimate the power of open communication, because it’s pretty much your golden ticket to relieving any pent up pressure you may be feeling (and for the over thinkers, this comes in all types of shapes and sizes). To ensure your date has a good indication of your intentions, the pace you’d prefer to take, and the direction you’re hoping things head…you need to talk about it.
#2 Minimal Texting
This one’s controversial and I expect a lot of people to disagree with this. Haters aside, constant communication can very often be perceived as intrusive and kinda ‘concreting’ the fact that you’re involved with someone. For those who are scared of commitment, this is an anxiety-inducing territory that can end in tears. By all means, keep the text lines open and fun, but don’t feel the need to respond if you’re busy, emotionally disengaged or simply not into it.
#3 Test The Waters
You’re just grabbing a drink, you’re not diving head first into a lifelong commitment. At the end of the day, dating is a bit of a ‘trial and error’ as you search for the ‘real deal’. How can you be truly grateful for the ‘one’ if you haven’t experienced a few duds along the way? Whilst you’re muddling through the initial weeks of dating, remind yourself that you don’t yet know if you like this person – this is the sole reason why you’re getting to know them. Test the waters and gauge your feelings…but most of all, give yourself time to actually feel the feelings.
#4 You Don’t Have To Feel How They Feel
If your date is expressing their interest when it’s pretty early days, don’t feel like you need to reciprocate their feelings simply because you feel you ‘should’. It’s important to stay true to yourself, and your true feelings, and if this means keeping tight-lipped when they’ve complimented you, or your compatibility, then that’s ok. Saying ‘thank you’ is a valid response that I feel is totally misinterpreted to mean someone’s not interested – it’s not, and you can respond with a ‘thank you’.
Essentially, the fear of commitment can often stem from feeling like you have to reciprocate feelings and emotions simply because your date feels them. Feel relief in the fact that you don’t have to reciprocate feelings, and you can feel a little unsure about something or someone. Uncertainty isn’t your enemy and you’re allowed to be the ‘less keen’ out of the two.
#5 Dating Isn’t A Job And You Don’t Need To Provide Results
For the fearful or hesitant dater, it can often feel like your new dating experience must be worth the time and effort; that it must lead to something exclusive. News flash: you’re allowed to fizzle out of the dating scene when you see fit and you do not have to make it worth your while. In the grand scheme of life and living, often it’s the things that haven’t worked out that teach us the most – the dating scene is no exception.
So to hell with those voices that urge us to abort the mission before it’s even begun. Date without self-induced pressure and remember, you’re not bound to any kind of commitment and can opt out at any time.
Source: Weheartit, Teen Vogue, Giphy.