Are you struggling in your dating life? Do you worry you may be ruining your dating life? Maybe you’re overthinking.
You are incredibly accomplished in your career and every other aspect of your life beyond the realm of intimate relationships. Yet, you still find yourself questioning every little thing that happens, drilling down to examine motives for every conversation, event, or lack thereof.
What is ruining your dating life?
If you resonate with these statements, you might have an “anxious attachment” love style, or what I refer to as “Nervous Nora.”
Don’t know what your love style is? Take the Love Style Quiz to find out your strengths and weaknesses! Nervous Nora is prone to overthinking, and it tends to seep into every aspect of her life. You may worry it’s ruining your dating life.
Here’s what overthinking looks like:
“He texted me three days ago, but I haven’t heard back. Also, his last text was three times shorter than his previous text. Is he getting bored? Should I text him back? What if he sees that I’m trying to type back, but then I don’t send anything? What would he think?”
“He didn’t say anything about my new haircut. He hates it! Is it that terrible? Maybe if I tie it back—or wear a hat, I can just hide it completely!”
“Should I have sent that cute baby animal video? He didn’t respond. Maybe he thinks I’m childish! He’s going to break up with me.”
“What if he doesn’t like my idea for a date? I need a backup plan. What if he doesn’t like any of my ideas? Is he bored? Am I boring? Maybe if I do/wear/say this, I can get his attention …”
“Why did he blow off the art opening to watch the game? Should I stay home and watch the game with him? Does he like football more than me?”
Why do we overthink?
Overthinking can happen, especially in the early stages of a relationship. When you’re getting to know someone, it’s easy to fill in the blanks and imagine what’s on their mind. However, if you’re nervous by nature, you’ll probably try to anticipate anything that might go wrong and have a response or a defense at the ready when (not IF) it does. Above all, you don’t want to be blindsided or feel like you’re not in control! This type doesn’t have to ruin your dating life.
However, when you start bringing negative thoughts or self-doubt into the equation, you rob yourself of the opportunity to get to know your partner on a more meaningful level.
Overthinking isn’t just taxing for you; it’s also unfair to them. For example, maybe you’re projecting past relationship hurts onto someone who’s nothing like your ex. The truth is, they’re not your ex, and they probably don’t think the same way you do, either. You need to keep an open mind, acknowledge that you’re different people, and don’t lose track of yourself along the way.
Signs you're overthinking:
Here are a few signs you might be overthinking in your relationship:
You can’t stop worrying
You constantly revisit what you think were “mistakes” in things you did or said
You relive uncomfortable moments over and over in your head
You can’t stop thinking, “what if?”
You can’t turn your brain off, and it’s affecting your sleep
You think about all the things you didn’t say or should have said
You look for hidden meaning in everything they say
You dwell on things they do or say
You worry too much about things that haven’t happened (and might not ever happen)
Do you see yourself there? Now, the question is, how do you turn it off?
How to Stop Yourself From Overthinking
If you’re an overthinker by nature, changing the behavior might not be all that straightforward.
But if overthinking is taking up too much of your time and energy (it’s exhausting, isn’t it?), you need to find a way to slow it down.
Here are some tips to stop yourself from overthinking:
Don’t race ahead mentally in a relationship. When you focus too much on the future, you rob yourself of experiencing the present—which is the only part of life that is ours to shape. This aspect of the human psyche has been explored in philosophy and psychology for as long as we’ve studied human behavior. We can’t change the past because it’s already happened. Likewise, we can’t change the future because we don’t know what it will be. And while it’s important to make plans, practice being present and mindful in the moment, and you’ll feel your anxiety start to ease. Just think—if you’re so focused on the future and the outcome you imagine (good or bad), you might miss something even better that’s already right in front of you.
Remember that other people don’t always think like you. One of the incredible things about being human is that we’re all so very different. Even if you have a similar cultural background, the way you approach the world will vary from the way others do because of their family, education, and myriad other factors. Be open to new ways of thinking and don’t automatically think that others will react to something the same way you would. If you don’t know their worldview and their way of relating to others, you can’t presume to know what’s on their mind. In other words—give them (and yourself) a break!
Don’t dwell on the past. This includes what’s been said and done—you can’t change it. If the outcome was terrible, such as saying something insensitive, make amends, and ask forgiveness. Then move on. Your true nature shines when you own it—and it’s so important to be true to that in a relationship, or you’ll constantly be questioning yourself or doing things to try to avoid being who you genuinely are.
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.