It’s safe to say that dating and relationships are often not easy. Dating can be exhilarating, exciting, and pleasurable. It can also be confusing, frustrating, and downright irritating. Therapy can help you sort through the range of emotions and come out on the other end with a better understanding of who you are and what you want out of dating.

What are dating issues?

The nature of dating means that you’ll have some wins and you’ll have some losses. It’s inherently a social activity, which comes with anxiety or stress for many people. Many people find themselves feeling depleted after periods of dating. Others begin to feel negative emotions, such as diminishing self-worth or confidence – especially with rejection, which is bound to happen to all of us. After a while, you may find yourself burnt out from dating.

When you regularly find yourself feeling anxious about upcoming dates or sad about past dates, you may be ready to talk with a mental health professional about dating issues. When the negative impacts of your dating life begin to hinder your daily life – at work, with friends – then talking with a therapist might be the healthy next step.

Origin of dating issues

There’s no one reason why some people have negative emotional reactions to dating. Depending on what you’re looking for, you might highly value finding a relationship (romantic or sexual, monogamous or polyamorous), which means that you invest a lot of time or effort into the endeavor. When it takes longer than you hoped, you might start to feel disappointed or confused.

Those with insecure attachment styles may have a difficult time engaging in relationships with others, even in the early stages of dating. This includes individuals who have commitment issues or abandonment issues. However, you might also be on the receiving end of any of these, even when you yourself are secure in your relationships. This too can result in negative emotional reactions.

Symptoms of dating issues

It’s normal for dating to come with a negative side in addition to the positive side. When the negative side becomes all-consuming and you find yourself stuck in a negative headspace, therapy can help. Some signs of being ready to speak with a therapist about your dating life include:

  • Replaying past dates or interactions over and over again in your head
  • Having trouble focusing at work because of a preoccupation with dating
  • Feeling disconnected from your authentic self
  • Feeling confused about what you want, which impacts the relationships you form while dating
  • Engaging in risky relationships, including toxic relationships
  • Feeling burnt out and exhausted, both physically and emotionally
  • Missing out on healthy eating practices or routine exercise because of thoughts about dating

Therapy for dating issues

Many therapists specialize in helping clients with relationship issues – including budding or future relationship issues. When in therapy for dating issues, your therapist might help you determine what exactly you’re looking for and why. This could include completing a values clarification exercise to get at the heart of how you want to live your life and where a relationship might fit into that. You might also further define your self-identity and practice self-affirmations.

Your therapist will be there to help you gain perspective on any dating experiences or interactions. They’ll validate your feelings, though they might challenge you to push yourself out of your comfort zone or look at a date from a different angle. Therapists who help with dating issues teach clients how to put aside any shame or self-judgment and how to recognize the cognitive distortions that impact the experience of dating. The goal of therapy for dating issues is to regain a sense of positivity around the experience and to approach dating with a sense of intentionality.