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Breaking Expectations: Dating

For months, a friend of mine as been pushing me to try online dating. I’ve always been hesitant, because I didn’t want to let go of any possibility of getting back together.

But after seeing a comment made on Facebook about a possible new leading lady in his life, I lost it. I began to hyperventilate and dry heave. It was the worst panic attack I’d had in a long time.

After spending hours searching for more evidence, obsessing over every possible angle, I decided to eliminate the source. I deleted my Facebook.

The minute I clicked “deactivate account,” I felt a wave of relief. I wouldn’t have to see anything that would cause more anxiety. I won’t be able to spend hours looking for reasons to be upset; it would force me to move on. I was tired of feeling like shit.

Anxiety makes you very self-aware. I know what will set me off and what I should avoid, yet sometimes I chose to ignore those thoughts and indulge in my vices. By eliminating my vices (well, at least some of them. I’m not quite ready to rid myself of my chocolate addiction), I hope that I can eliminate some of my anxiety.

However, avoiding things that set you off will make you miss out on life. Just like indulging in your vices, you have to occasionally indulge in your fears.

So, I did it. I created an online dating profile and let things happen.

While yes, most were just looking for sex, some seemed genuinely interested in dating.

I took a chance, gave a guy my number, and met him for coffee.

One thing I’ve noticed about myself is that, if given the opportunity to back out of a possible anxiety-driven activity, I will, so I’ll bribe myself, either with a trip to Target or a new pair of shoes if I successfully complete the “task.” I am more likely to partake in my irrational fears, like dating, if there is a reward waiting.

I was terrified. The entire time I was focused on what he was thinking: could he tell I was shaking? Was he silently judging me because I wasn’t the perkiest of people (coming across as uninterested)?

The date was a huge step in moving on with my life. Though he isn’t my soul mate, he did calm my fears about getting back into the dating world. He unintentionally helped me get over the hump that I had so long been avoiding because I was scared of what the result would be.