My friend called me the other day because she was feeling a ton of anxiety around a guy she went on a few dates with, and he seemed to be pulling away.
They had planned to catch up over the phone one weekend, and Sunday rolled around...with no phone call.
That's when she called me.
She asked, "What do I do now?"
I said, "Just text him and say, 'How about that phone chat? Up for it later today?"
But she was terrified to send it. "I got vulnerable already and told him I would be willing to chat this weekend. Why do I need to do that again? This feels terrible and I can't stop thinking about what I did wrong."
I told her:
Dating and finding out if someone is right for you is ALL about vulnerability. The less you get vulnerable, the less clarity you have on whether a man is worth your time and energy.
She said, "I know you're right, but I feel like I'm exposing myself to be hurt. I don't think I can't do that."
And I gently responded, "You can. It is in your highest good, I promise."
So she did, and it took him several hours to write back.
What occurred for my friend during those hours was a TON of anxiety and some panic in the space between her texting and him answering. She kept checking her phone, her heart was racing, and she couldn't focus on anything else she was trying to do.
It felt like a total waste of energy.
And I know for a fact she isn't the only woman who experiences this.
When someone we like starts pulling away (whether real or perceived), it can send us into a panic.
What's triggering us (and causing anxiety) in that moment are 3 things:
1. LACK of certainty
2. Venturing into the unknown
3. Fear of experiencing hurt or pain
So what do we do in these crazy moments that can easily hijack a day, a week, and lots of moments by filling us with SO much anxiety?
Here are 3 steps you can take:
Gratitude. To life (the Universe or source
This is about feeling a connectedness in the world. (A trick I love to feel this is to sprawl out onto the floor and feel the earth holding you.
Literally laying flat on the ground and feeling how the ground HAS us).
Getting a "Hit" of Love. Conjuring up a memory with a loved one (family or friend) where you can feel (viscerally) how loved you are and how much he/she cares for you. Do this as many times as you need.
Love Yourself MORE. When we don't get a response from a guy that we wanted or expected, the blizzard of thoughts come pouring down. "Does this mean I'm not pretty enough? He's probably not attracted to me. I probably said the wrong thing. He thinks I'm crazy."
Truth is what HE thinks doesn't matter.
When you feel the anxiety take out a pad of paper, and WRITE out everything you LOVE about yourself. When you can tap into knowing you are just as important as him (not smaller), something shifts.
The exercise above is a great way to calm those anxious moments that can show up when we're playing the "dating game" and it really helps us connect in with what matters!
I can tell you from personal experience that when you make the transition from feelings of lack and not being good enough to attracting the right man for you - there's no better feeling!
I remember when my husband and I weren't doing so well before we were married, he called me and said he was feeling down or "off" that day.
I panicked and left work (I told my boss I felt sick) and went to make sure he was okay - so I could be okay.
Deep down, I was afraid he was going to pull away and potentially leave me. Now, I feel totally secure in my relationship and it has nothing to do with being married.
It's the level of connection we've created, and that was all about me getting vulnerable A LOT - and reaching back to these three steps as often as I could.
So next time you feel that hit of "WHY isn't he responding the way I want him to?" - bring yourself back to these steps.
And let me know in the comments below, have you experienced dating anxiety like this? What helps YOU get through it?