An Insight into Dating Someone with Anxiety

For people who haven’t experienced anxiety, it can be difficult to understand. For people who have anxiety, it can be even more difficult to understand and explain. The best way to explain my anxiety is this: imagine you’re driving a car 100 mph downhill when you realize that the brakes don’t work. Your initial reaction is to, obviously, freak the fuck out. There’s a million things running through your head, you’re hysterical, and all the while the cars just gaining more and more speed, the anxiety is getting worse and worse. You’re so panicked that you can’t even think about the end; eventually this car is going to stop gaining speed and run out of gas, eventually you will calm down. I envy those who can just jump to this realization, but for me this isn’t the case. One incident, one thought is enough to cut the brakes and send me straight into an anxiety attack. I cry hysterically, cough until I throw up and usually end up sobbing myself to sleep just to make it stop. The worst part of this is trying to make others understand something that I barely understand myself. I don’t exactly know what you should do if your significant other is experiencing anxiety, but I can tell you exactly what not to do.

If someone ever confides in you about their anxiety, I beg you not to dismiss it. Part of what makes anxiety so powerful is how little it’s talked about. No one talks about having anxiety, therefore a lot of people, myself included, are scared to reach out and ask for help or support. Your partner is supposed to be your secret keeper, your non-judgmental rock. If someone has chosen you to confide in about their anxiety, it’s for a reason. When you dismiss a person with anxiety, you break their trust and drastically decrease the chance that they’ll attempt to tell another person.

Dismissal can come in many different forms, but it all stems from a general decision to not even try and understand. When someone tells you that they’re suffering from anxiety, it doesn’t mean they want you to start studying for the MCAT, become a psychiatrist and cure them of their anxiety. You don’t have to understand why it’s happening, you don’t have to understand the symptoms that come along with it, all you have to do is be supportive. It’s not about understanding anxiety, it’s about trying to understand it. Make an attempt to understand what your partner is going through by listening, no matter how long that takes. When I’m shaking, out of breath and crying uncontrollably it’s hard to make audible words, but just the sound of someone breathing on the other end of the phone makes the end come that much sooner. Be patient, don’t try to rush the symptoms away, especially if you’re the cause.

Anxiety isn’t tangible, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t real. How you would react to your partner being in extreme physical pain is how you should react to your partner suffering from anxiety. Anxiety is like physical pain but doubled, it affects mental health and usually shows physical symptoms as well. This isn’t something your partner can just “get over,” it’s not spilled milk.

Different people experience different types of anxiety for different reasons. Try and help your partner to understand what the cause is and possible ways to help. For myself, a lot of my anxiety comes from my relationships. I allow my significant other to hold a lot of power over me. It’s not rational, but that’s anxiety. I 100% believe that anxiety is something couples can work though, but the key word in that sentence is “work”. Overcoming anxiety isn’t something that happens overnight, sometimes it’s just managing one symptom at a time. If you suffer from anxiety and find yourself in a relationship with a person who won’t even try to understand this beast, I urge you to end the relationship as soon as possible. You deserve someone who wants to see you through dark times, rather than insisting you just flip on the lights already. If you don’t suffer from anxiety and find yourself in a relationship with a person who does, I encourage you to support them through it. Whatever form support may be, find it and use it. Don’t lose someone that you love because you’re too lazy to put the work in.

Post Grad Dating

If you thought finding a boyfriend in college was hard, you’re obviously still in college because trying to find a boyfriend once you’ve graduated is near impossible.
In college you’re constantly being exposed to new people, even if none of them fit your criteria for prince charming, at least you’ve got options. Once you’ve graduated, a lot of these outlets for meeting people disappear; so how’s a gal supposed to find a boyfriend now? The options don’t seem too promising: you can start dating one of your friends, hope to be introduced to a friend of a friend, meet someone randomly at a bar, or resort to apps like Tinder and Bumble. Neither of these options guarantees you’ll end up with a winner either.

Most of my guy friends would probably make great boyfriends, but that doesn’t mean I want them to be my boyfriend. We’ve gone through a lot together and that isn’t necessarily a great foundation for a new romance. I don’t need my boyfriend and potential husband knowing all of the dumb things I’ve done over the years.

Another con of dating one of your friends is upsetting the balance of your friend group. What happens when you fight or god forbid break up? You have to be prepared to be exiled from that friend group; worst case scenario or best case scenario, you share the friend group and alternate weekends out like the child of divorced parents. I won’t even suggest you both stay in the friend group because that’s just awkward and torturous for all parties involved. Some people are just better off as friends.

Possibly the most promising of the post grad options for meeting a man is through a friend of a friend, but this also leaves the most up to chance. Friends of friends can be a great resource for post grad dating. In my eyes it would be ideal to date a friend’s friend. You don’t have to worry about your date being a serial killer and they’re far enough removed from your life to not know too many dirty details.

The only kink in this plan is that it depends explicitly on your friends having other friends that you’d want to date. First, you need the friend with suitable friends, then you need them to make the introduction, then you need the guy not to be a weirdo. It’s a delicate situation, especially if it turns out that you don’t like the person all that much, you risk offending your friend.

Before going away to college was the norm, people pretty much depended on meeting their spouses randomly. My parents met at a bar, my dad and his buddies went to my grandparent’s house the next day for a barbecue and the rest was history. I can’t even put into words how strange I would find it if someone I met at a bar wanted to come to my parents house the very next day. It’s not hard to start talking to someone you don’t know at a bar, but it can be risky. You never know who you’re talking to; is this guy going to be the answer to your prayers or is he going to unwantedly follow you around for the rest of the night. Even less likely that you’ll find a potential suitor at a bar, imagine meeting a stranger at a coffee shop. I can’t help but think about how utterly strange that would be not to mention unlikely.

Thankfully apps like Tinder and Bumble let you be proactive in post grad dating so you don’t have to hold your breath for coffee shop guy. However, finding someone you’d even consider boyfriend material on these apps is like finding a diamond in the rough. You’ve got to be persistent, you’ve got to have patience and you’ve got to use up a lot of data every month. So you swipe for what seems like eternity, send out a few messages and then wait. Getting an answer is only half of the battle though because from there you have to materialize a conversation out of thin air. If the connection is there you can take the relationship off of Bumble and eventually into real life. Just be prepared to tell everyone you encounter for the rest of your life a fake story about how you met, perhaps at a coffee shop?

If there’s one thing I’ve learned since graduation, it’s that I don’t want to settle for anything, especially not for a love interest. Sure my contestant pool took a devastating loss after graduation, but that just means I’ll be more likely to recognize and commit to a good thing when its right in front of me. In college it was hard to keep someone’s interest, now it’s hard to even find someone worth interesting. Post grad dating is basically a waiting game. Wait for one of your friends to express interest, wait to get introduced to somebody, wait to meet someone randomly, wait for him to message you back on Bumble. As much as I want this waiting game to be over, at least the few prospects I have now are keeping me entertained.

Good luck out there ladies.