Swipe left, left, left, left, left,…….ugh…OK maybe I’ll swipe right now. I can’t always swipe left.
The drain of dating in Washington, DC can cause significant anxiety. Someone once told me that they set up five coffee dates in one day so that they could at least “play the odds.”
Let’s talk about how to make dating at least less stressful and maybe even hopeful.
The Anxiety of Dating in Washington, DC
DC is unlike other cities in the US. There is an old saying that goes “People move to New York for money. They move to DC for power.” While this can’t be 100% true it does point to five main anxieties that make dating in DC particularly challenging.
- Competitive Dating Pool: DC is home to highly educated and career-driven people. It is so cliche to ask someone “What do you do?” Dating can feel like someone’s LinkedIn page comes to life. This can create an intense competition for attention. When people don’t get the attention they crave it can make us feel inadequate. It can make us feel stupid, ugly, not good enough, and worse.
- Time Constraints: People in DC typically work hard and play hard. If someone asks me to hang out, I know it will work in about 4 weeks from today. Otherwise, it has to happen in between my walk home, picking up my dry cleaning, and needing to be at a place with great happy hour menus so I can eat and hang, out before I get home to do more work. This lifestyle leaves limited time for building meaningful connections. It can also lead to anxiety about missed opportunities. This can be bad when the anxiety is focused on worrying that there are NO compatible partners at all.
- Political Polarization: Passions run high in DC for political points of view. That passion can lead to disappointment in the dating pool. The anxiety of keeping personally held political positions to yourself during a date makes it hard to be carefree. If this leads to uncomfortable conversations dating is going to be anxiety-producing!
- High Expectations: This can really clearly lead to a feeling of imposter syndrome in the dating scene in DC. I’ve also heard that everyone in DC was the valedictorian of their high school and college. While not true, it does point to the driven nature of people in DC. If you feel pressure to be a certain way and you “fake it until you make it” you are opening yourself up to feeling like an imposter. Wouldn’t you like to meet the valedictorian of emotional intelligence in DC?!?
- Transience and Relocation: People come and go through DC all the time. Political jobs change frequently. Service members move frequently. Consultants move on. People go to grad school. This can cause anxiety about investing time and emotion into a relationship only to have it upended by your crush’s plans to leave DC.
Strategies for Alleviating Dating Anxiety
- Effective Time Management: Developing effective time management practices will help you separate your professional and personal life. Set clear boundaries for self-care and recharge. And set clear times for you to date. Balance through time management is key.
- Open Communication: Of course being open-minded is helpful. But even more helpful is “talking about talking.” It is OK to ask someone how to disagree with them. It is even better to ask someone how they will know that you understand them, even if you disagree. Disagreement and agreement are OK forms of connection. Respect and understanding are stronger.
- Authenticity and Vulnerability: Choosing to be authentic and vulnerable in dating can foster genuine connections. This is also an anecdote about imposter syndrome. Being authentic is like being genuine. Be definitive and open at the same time. Being vulnerable is riskier because it can hurt if rejected. Be safely vulnerable to support your authenticity. But make someone show you they are ready for you to be vulnerable first. This can reduce anxiety around impression management.
- Embracing the Present: Be here now. If that means you need to exit an awkward date, then consider leaving. If it means that this coffee date is nice and I know we will never work out, take in the nice parts! Fixating on future uncertainties can cause anxiety. Focusing on what is nice right now can help reduce anxiety and increase enjoyment.
- Mindful Self-Compassion: Self-compassion can counteract the feelings of inadequacy arising from the competitive dating environment. Learning to appreciate yourself is vital. Imperfections are natural. They can even boost self-esteem and reduce anxiety.
Counseling for Dating Anxiety in Washington, DC
Is your dating life made up of apps, personal referrals, chance encounters, or whatever? We can help reduce any anxiety you feel. If we could, we’d bring you the right person! But then we’d be a dating service…
If you’re just starting out a relationship or want to move it to the next step, we can help you.
Relationships are what we do. Every day. All day.
Begin Therapy for Dating Anxiety in Washington, DC
Send us a text, email, or give us a call today. We offer free consultations for anyone interested in our services or who wants to know more. You can book your consultation on our website, by texting us at 202-998-ADHD (2343), or by emailing [email protected].
We offer free consultations because we want to answer your questions before we begin therapy for dating anxiety with you. We are your resource to make it easier, even if you don’t work with us.
Other Mental Health Services We Offer
Therapy for depression is only one of the services we offer. We also provide counseling for ADHD, PTSD and EMDR Therapy. We also offer mental health assessments and ADHD diagnostic evaluations if you need a diagnosis or aren’t ready to start counseling. Neurofeedback is also a great option if you don’t want to try medications.