Dating apps are hugely popular ways to meet people, but for people with social anxiety, they may prove to be both a bonus and a problem. But experts tell Bustle that if you have social anxiety, using a dating app can be helpful because it takes the pressure off in-person meetings — at least initially. If you have social anxiety and are considering online dating, the results may be challenging — but that, in the end, may also help you grow. Social anxiety disorder, according to the American Psychological Association, involves anxiety around "being embarrassed, humiliated, rejected or looked down on in social interactions", and dating and meeting new people are serious triggers for anxieties even in non-anxious people. This, experts on social anxiety explain, makes sense.
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Dating anyone is a challenge. Relationships aren't easy and take a lot of work -- we all know this. But there is a special kind of challenge involved when it comes to dating someone with anxiety. When an anxiety spell is coming on, there is no reason to siphon; there is no way to calm down until you just do calm down.
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As someone living with generalized anxiety disorder , the idea of putting myself into an anxiety-inducing situation—from public speaking to a first date—can make me want to hide under the covers and stay there permanently. According to Lisa Shull Gettings, a psychologist at Long Island Jewish Medical Center, for some people, anxiety can make their dating lives almost non-existent. However, while this may reduce our anxiety in the short-term, it can inevitably leave us feeling isolated and unsatisfied. Psychotherapist Vanessa Kensing says that anxiety can pop up if we perceive a particular part of the dating process to be stressful.
Social anxiety disorder SAD is a common psychological disorder, and it can affect dating and intimate relationships in many different ways. In a study of adolescents, fear of negative evaluation FNE , one aspect of social anxiety in which you're afraid of being perceived negatively, was found to significantly predict male dating aggression. Researchers observed both physical aggression slapping, use of a weapon, forced sex and psychological aggression slamming doors, insulting, or refusing to talk to a partner. It's thought that in this case, the "fight or flight" response may reflect this aggressive tendency. Social anxiety can make online relationships and communication seem much more doable, but use caution.