Dating is tough.

Dating as a single mom is tough.

Dating as a single mom with anxiety is tough.

I don’t fall hard. In fact, it’s a miracle if I go out on a date at all. I have very little free time, so I’m very picky about who I spend it with. More often than not, I’ll cancel a date because I’m usually hanging out with my friends beforehand, and I’d rather keep hanging out with them than to go out with some guy who I probably don’t even like that much (I’m really not as negative as I’m making myself sound).

When I do go out on a date, I’m nervous, as most people are. What will I wear? What will we talk about? Do I pay for myself? (I always offer). Then I take it one step further. Would my family get along with him? My friends? How does he feel about kids? About marriage? What will I do WHEN (when, not if)  it doesn’t work out?

These are the things that go through my mind before/during/after a FIRST date.

I don’t lose it, though. This is one of the few situations where I can keep myself collected. I know I’m getting ahead of myself. I’m not a stage-5 clinger stalker girl that you go out with once and become immediately obsessed with you. What I do is called catastrophizing, especially the part where I just assume it’s not going to work out. I go through all of these made up scenarios in my head and inevitably freak myself out. Then, if things do progress and seem to be going well, I get anxiety about the other person losing interest. I’m afraid to text them (not blow-up their phone by any means, like, one text) because I’m afraid I’m being annoying. I get this way with my friends, too. Last year on my birthday, I felt guilty because I ‘made’ them go out to dinner with me. (Meghan, they said, we want to be here. We love you).

I assume that I’m bugging other people by asking (indirectly) for their attention in the slightest, and this amplifies when I’m dating someone. I can hardly even bring myself to save a phone number in my phone because I’m convinced I won’t need it long enough to have it saved.

At the same time, I want to get married, and maybe have another child. And I’m well aware that my current attitude toward dating is not going to get me to those things.

It really is a vicious cycle.

It doesn’t help that society has trained me to try and be the ‘cool girl’. That, according to almost anything you see on TV, if you text a guy more than once, you’re obsessed and crazy. So I hold back, even if I’m wanting to talk to the other person for fear of coming off  as clingy. And then, on the flip side, feel like shit if I don’t hear from them. There’s something about dating that constantly makes me feel like I’m not good enough, no matter what anybody else tells me. That, whoever I’m seeing, will get bored and move on. I feel like I can’t win, even though it’s me who isn’t letting myself win.

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