As Haddaway, the musical Shakespeare of the mid-90s, once asked, “what is love?” Well, it could be a multitude of things, depending on who you ask. Maybe it’s a many-splendored thing; maybe it’s madness, or perhaps it lifts us up where we belong. But whatever the definition, one thing is clear: no two people love in exactly the same way. Read how you can understand your love style below.
What is your love style?
This brings us to love styles. Understanding your love style is the first step. I’ve been able to simplify the different styles I’ve seen in my 20 years as a psychologist, counselor, and author down to four main categories:
- Secure Independent
- Avoidant Nervous
- Anxious Confused
The category you fit into is a product of your attachment style (the way you form bonds with others) and level of expressiveness (the degree of effort you put in when communicating emotions with others). Put them together, and you’ve found your love style.
No matter which love style you fall under, there’s nothing wrong with you! In fact there’s freedom in understanding your love style. We know from childhood psychology and development theories that the ways you connect and express yourself were probably established before you could walk. But understanding your love style—and how it affects your relationships—can help you better know yourself, as well as any current or future love interests.
Nervous Nora & Nervous Nick
Today, we will specifically focus on people who fall under the ‘Nervous’ love style. I like to call these folks my Nervous Noras and Nicks. Does this sound like you? If so, let’s take a look at some of the nervous traits that might be taking a toll on your love life and how you can work at avoiding them.
Getting Ahead of Yourself
It’s okay to picture yourself falling in love with someone after a couple of dates or imagine what a future might be like with them. The problem arises when you mistake these hopes and fantasies for reality. You simply can’t predict or pre-meditate the future, especially when it involves another person. As a result, you may find that you fall head-over-heels very quickly or immediately take on a lot of emotional baggage relating to that person. And while things might be passionate or intense initially, they may fizzle out or not live up to your expectations, leaving you feeling hollow and disappointed.
Ah, expectations. We find ourselves building up an image in our mind, and it’s hard to shake. We have expectations about what we should be like, what our partner should be like, what our love life should be like, where we should be in this stage of our lives, etc.
Or maybe you experience gut-wrenching anxiety when you think about love and dating. It just seems so intimidating: will I like them? Will they like me back? When do we call it ‘official’? What will we do on dates? When is it okay to say the L-word or move in with them? What about… And it goes on and on.
So What's The Issue?
Sound familiar? The problem with these nervous traits is that you’re putting too much pressure on yourself, your date/partner, and your love life in general. Anxiety, expectations, and overthinking can all be signs that you’re setting yourself up for disappointment and failure. It might also be a sign that you’re insecure in yourself and your relationships.
When anxiety strikes, it can quickly turn into a downward spiral of fear and negativity. It’s hard not to let it rule our lives. We might even convince ourselves that overthinking is helpful or necessary for making good decisions. But that’s not true. Instead, anxiety and overthinking can cloud our judgment, overwhelm us, and put us into a state of misery and indecision. And unfortunately, it can have a less-than-desirable effect on our mental health—and our dating life. No matter what stage of a relationship you’re in, anxiety can drag you and your partner down the rabbit hole.
The first step to enjoying your dating life more is getting out of your head, relaxing, and enjoying yourself. Before your date, you can try to get some exercise like yoga, meditate, journal, play the music that makes you feel good, and just take a few deep breaths (try to keep breathing deeply and evenly through the date).
If you need help getting out of your head, take my Nervous Nora/Nick counseling course. I’ll teach you how to take the pressure off, live in the moment, and just have fun.
Are you ready to stop overthinking? This course helps Nervous Noras find success in relationships.
Dating is hard! But if you are a Nervous Nora or Nick, it’s easy to question and second-guess every little thing. Just know that you’re not alone. If you feel that your attachment style is giving you grief, there are strategies you can apply that will open up new doors to happiness.
Take our Love Styles Quiz to find out more about what makes you tick. And when you are ready to break up with anxiety and move on from overthinking, try one of our online courses and break out of the cycle.