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What are your dating fears? It’s easy to say that you haven’t met the right person or you’re not ready for a relationship. With the potential for great love and happiness comes the risk of disappointment. This week, Kim knocks out the Top 5 Dating Fears that keep you from finding love AND gives you actionable tips to conquer them. Whether you get uncontrollable butterflies in your stomach before a first date or cringe thinking about the prospect of meeting someone new or perhaps your palms get sweaty when you think about being vulnerable – chances are she’ll cover it on this episode.
Listen in to hear about how your fear of rejection or abandonment may be a self-fulfilling prophecy and what you can do to remove yourself from that negative cycle and get a different result. If you have a ton of anxiety around dating, chances are that its fear getting in the way which Kim will help you uncover. She first dissects parts of your fears and then kicks you gear to face your fear. Kim talks through different strategies to prepare yourself to tackle your fear head-on without letting your worst instincts hold you back. A lot of times, the fear we feel is derived from wanting to be perfect. Kim discusses how that perfectionist need can be tempered so you can let go, have fun, and flirt without the fear of making a mistake. The biggest thing you’ll learn from this episode is… EVERYONE is afraid and that you are not alone!
If you want to ensure that your fears are not holding you back from finding love, sign up for a FREE break through call with Kim here: https://meetme.so/kimbreakthrough. In 30 minutes you’ll learn where the fears are coming from and tips on how to address them.
Top 5 Dating Fears That Prevent You From Finding Love
What are your dating fears? It’s easy to say you haven’t met the right person or that you are not ready for the relationship but when it comes to falling in love, it’s almost impossible to get there without taking some risks and with those risks comes fear. With the potential for great love and happiness, also comes the potential for disappointment and frustration. Unfortunately, there’s heartbreak but no risk, no reward. You have to invest your time, trust, and emotions into the dating process for it to have a chance of working out.
Otherwise, honestly, you are not leaving yourself open to love. Everyone has their unique set of fears. It’s based on your biology, family history or previous dating experiences. All of that impacts what you fear but have you ever stopped to think that deep down you are scared and that is why your dates and relationships don’t pan out? In fact, being scared or worried about things like flirting or online dating, going out on a first date, and finding the right person, all of those are usually symptoms of an underlying bigger fear.
Do you even recognize that you have fears? There was this woman who I was working at as the perfect example. When she came to me, she was attracting all these unavailable men. She was so frustrated and fed up. She’s like, “Why are all of these men unavailable? Are all men at my age flaky? It seems like there are so many opportunities. These guys are going for the younger women.” She had a bad taste in her mouth of what men were, at least, who she encountered. As I’ve got to know her a little bit more, I saw some patterns.
I heard her history that she never felt very close to her father. Her father was pretty emotionally distant and she was always trying to do things to gain his love. He was a little bit narcissistic in his personality. She learned very early on that it was hard to get love and be intimate in a deeper sense. She developed this thing where she kept attracting people who were not available. It was replaying that old tape that I often talk about.Work on your self-esteem by recognizing your strengths. Click To Tweet
She was scared of getting too close and the men seeing her. She kept herself guarded. She was very closed off. She focused on them. The truth was that she wasn’t available. I will say that all the time. I will hear this over and over again. When I asked that question, “Are you available?” She had to stop and think. When she thought of herself as she was going out on these dates, I asked her, “Do you share things about yourself? Do you express your feelings?” “No.” Everything kept adding up. She wasn’t available.
We worked on her self-esteem. I helped her recognize her strengths. She was so used to recognizing other people’s strengths and the man’s strengths that she lost who she was independent of the man. Also, helping her dress in a way to see how sexy and beautiful she was and that overall, she deserved more but she had to fill herself up first. This was crucial. She was then ready to turn her cab light on and that she was open for business, so to speak.
Men are now flocking to her like bees to honey and they are all available to the point where she doesn’t even know what to do with it. The next step is now that you’ve got it, what do you do with it when you are not used to it? She is finally seeing the power of having her choose who was right for her and to open herself up for something deeper and more intimate. You have got to be aware that what stops you from change is fear and you need to face it to be open to finding love.
Why this is important is because if you continue to attract all these patterns, whether it’s unavailable people, lopsided relationships, you have to look at how your own fears are blocking you from finding a healthy and intimate relationship. That’s not always easy to detect because on a superficial level, it might seem like, “I’m scared of flirting or online dating,” but I want to help you dissect the deeper roots of the fears where they are coming from and what to do about it.
I know what you are thinking. You are saying, “Kim, that’s great but I’m fine. I haven’t met the right person. I have done a lot of work on myself. I don’t fear anything. It’s that I’m not going to settle for something that’s not good for me. Quite honestly, it’s not the right time.” That’s totally true but you have to ask yourself and this is where I always say, “All of this stuff is normal but is this a pattern? Do you find yourself never finding the right person?”
With each relationship, you get more and more closed off in fear of continuing in a bad relationship. For instance, maybe you fear that the next person you fall in love with will change their mind about you all of a sudden because it’s happened to you in the past. It’s easier to say, “You haven’t met the right person,” because it’s a defense against that. It’s a way to almost save face. It’s the brain’s way of doing it. A lot of times, it’s subconscious. You are not even aware of it but you have to be aware of what stops you from changing because it is fear and you need to face it to be open to finding love.
What I want to do is something cool. Get out your pads, pencil, and pen, if you still use that these days, or get out your computer as I do. I want to go over the top dating fears and discuss a little bit of how to overcome them. As I go through it, we all have traces of these. That’s normal but what you are looking for are patterns and if these are things that surface in a way that can be debilitating or impact your dating life. These are coming out of working with thousands and thousands of people over time. I’m detecting a pattern of what people struggle with.You need to face fear to find love. Click To Tweet
Fear Of Abandonment
Let’s go over the first one. One of the most common ones is the fear of abandonment. The fear of abandonment is this overwhelming worry that people close to you will leave. From a therapist’s standpoint, it can be deeply rooted in a traumatic experience you had as a child or maybe it was a distressing relationship before. This paralyzing fear can lead you down to wall yourself off and get guarded because you want to avoid getting hurt or you might be inadvertently sabotaging relationships. There are different kinds of abandonment.
You might experience emotional abandonment. When those needs aren’t met, you feel unappreciated, unloved or disconnected. You can feel alone. Even if you are in a relationship, you still feel alone. If you have experienced emotional abandonment in the past, especially as a kid, you may live in perpetual fear that will happen again and again.
Another type of abandonment surfaces with anxiety abandonment. You might be afraid to let yourself be vulnerable in a relationship. You have trust issues, worry excessively about your relationship and that might make you suspicious of your partner. In time, your anxieties can cause the other person to pull back and that perpetuates the cycle. What does that look like?
Here’s an example. Maybe your fear is so significant that you don’t allow yourself to get close enough to anyone to let that happen. You may think, “No attachment, no abandonment.” You worry obsessively about your perceived thoughts. What other people think of you, you are the ultimate people pleaser and you could see this on dates.
You are worrying about what your date is thinking about you rather than being present and working on connecting with that person because you don’t want to take any chances that this person is going to leave. You are constantly worrying. Maybe you even get clingy when the other person asks for space. You could often get jealous, suspicious, or critical of your partner or date. These are the symptoms and characteristics if you suffer from a deeper fear of abandonment.
Fear Of Rejection
Number two is the fear of rejection. Who doesn’t feel that? We all have that. If you think about it, it’s one of the deepest human fears. We are biologically wired with the longing to belong. We fear being seen in a critical way. We all want that sense of belonging and that is normal. When it’s excessive, we fear being alone and dread change. That fear of rejection confirms our worst fear of perhaps that we are unlovable, destined to be alone, and have little self-worth or value.
Here’s the irony of this dynamic is that the fear of rejection often becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. What that means is that you might be setting it up, so you do get rejected. It’s the inherent fear of rejection that makes you more likely to be rejected. It sounds so silly yet it’s the way of brain-protecting yourself. How does that play out?
One way you will see it is phoniness. Many people who are afraid of rejection develop this carefully monitored and scripted way of life. If you fear that you will be rejected if you show your true self to the world, so you wear a mask. I did a whole episode on this. This is what I call the shape-shifting thing that goes on. You seem to your date a little bit phony, unauthentic, and rigid because you are so stuck in the script because you fear that if that person sees who you are, you won’t be liked.
The other way it gets played out is not being assertive. People who fear rejection often go out of their way to avoid confrontations. You might refuse to ask for what you want or speak up for what you need. A common tendency is to try to simply shut down your needs and pretend that they don’t matter. “It’s no big deal,” even though you are freezing in the car while your date is blasting the air conditioning. It’s little things like that that seem so small on the scale but big in the context of this dynamic.
A third way that this plays out and is huge, is passive-aggressiveness. This is complete discomfort and showing off your true self but you are unable to be direct with your needs. You will do it in passive-aggressive ways. You might procrastinate, “I forgot something or I forgot to keep my promise,” or you will complain, or you will roll your eyes. I see this even non-verbally, too. That is the product of not being direct.
An example of all this is, on first dates, especially blind dates that are scary for anyone. If you fear rejection, you may quickly become overwhelmed rather than focusing on getting to know the person and deciding whether you would like to be on a second date. You might spend all your time worrying about whether the person likes you. You might have trouble speaking. You are thinking about your appearance constantly. You have this nervous demeanor about you. That’s how the fear of rejection plays out. That’s number two.
Fear Of Success And The Fear Of Failure
Number three and I’m putting these lumped together because sometimes their insight out of one another is the fear of success and failure. I’m going to go through both of them but they do overlap. I almost feel like they are one and the same but sometimes they do manifest themselves differently. The fear of success stems from the lack of growing up in an environment that encouraged that success with enthusiasm and praise. It was followed by something painful.
Every time you tried to get praise from your parent, it was almost not recognized. Maybe there was the sense of punishment or it still wasn’t good enough, so then you would try to do something else. That fear results in success much more than the success itself. That’s what’s so interesting about this. It isn’t the success, it’s the result of the success. Sometimes the excitement of success can feel like anxiety. It’s like, “What will they do? If they liked me, what would happen?”
On the flip side, we have the fear of failure and this is where the motivation to avoid failure exceeds your motivation to succeed. The fear of failure causes you to sabotage things so that you are not successful. You see this a lot in terms of how it shows up with shame. When you are scared of failing, it feels shameful to you. You are trying to manage basic emotions that come out of that like disappointment, anger, frustration and that accompanies that failure symptom.
You might see that you are worried that people will lose interest in you. You are worried about how smart or capable you are. You will worry about disappointing people whose opinions you value. You tend to procrastinate. You can see there is some layering of these spheres. On the other side of success, you are worried that success will complicate your life. You are worried about other people’s opinions. Success means more responsibilities you think you can’t handle.Let your motivation to succeed exceed your motivation to avoid failure. Click To Tweet
For example, how that gets playing out in the dating field, you might become overly dependent on the outcome. You get anxious. You either shut down or run yourself ragged. Flirting is a complete anxiety provoker for you and likewise, with dating. It’s extremely hard when you have this fear because you are worried about what other people think of you, so you either hold back, avoid or hesitate and miss opportunities. That’s the third fear.
Fear Of Imperfection
The fourth fear, I learned this word. I didn’t even know this word existed. It’s called atelophobia. I labeled it as the fear of imperfection, which is what that means. I didn’t know there was a psychological name for it. What that tells me is that it’s common. It’s that notion of not being good enough. Especially nowadays, I’m seeing this be prevalent in modern society with perfectionism usually seen to be something celebrated in this world.
We look at social media and Photoshop with the filters. Everyone is trying to be perfect. Here’s the difference though, with this, it’s painful. The idea of doing something incorrectly, that’s not perfect is absolutely terrifying and maybe even paralyzingly so. It only becomes a problem when it gets into that spectrum. It’s causing you to avoid things and have a significant amount of emotional distress.
How that plays out is a couple of ways. You might be terrified of your flaws. You are constantly looking in the mirror. You never have the right dating outfit on. You don’t think you look good enough, so then maybe you won’t go out on the date. You have a zit on your nose. There’s no way you are going to go out. Any little imperfection is terrifying for you.
The other way it plays out is that you will avoid situations where you might make a mistake. You stay clear of situations where you might not come across as perfect. You also set impossible standards for yourself. You are highly critical of your own work. As a result, you are usually on the lookout for mistakes constantly. If you do something well, you are like, “When is the ball going to drop or I don’t think it’s good enough.” You also would rather do nothing than do something incorrectly. You will find creative ways to avoid scary situations.
Here’s an example. You might be looking for the right words to say. It’s often the fear of what other people think. It may be something as simple as trying to find the perfect dress for the occasion or whether it’s the perfect place to take your date, to be good enough, pretty enough, desirable, or skinny enough. It goes on and on, and a lot of conversation happens in your head when you have this fear of imperfection.
Fear Of Intimacy
Finally, number five, and honestly, there are other fears. These are the top five that I see and it’s the fear of intimacy. The fear of intimacy is often a subconscious fear of closeness that frequently affects people’s personal relationships. The fear of physical and emotional intimacy tends to show up in people’s closest and most meaningful relationships. It’s often triggered by positive emotions, even more so than negative ones.
That’s a shocker. A lot of people don’t think about that. In fact, being chosen by someone like you truly care for and experiencing their lovely feelings and deepness scares you. That’s when the guard goes up. Somebody who’s healthy and positive conflicts with the negative way that you view yourself and that’s a tug of war. What does this look like? You might withhold affection, react indifferent or adverse to affection.Have an internal conversation with yourself about the fears that are stopping you from doing things. Click To Tweet
You are adverse to even positive acknowledgment. Compliments are painful for you. You might become paranoid or suspicious of a partner. You lose interest sexually, be overly critical of a partner, feeling guarded or be resistant to being so close. This was the case of the example that I talked about at the beginning of the show. She was so fearful of that closeness because she didn’t believe it. She didn’t buy it, so it was much easier to keep men at an arms’ length and that’s why she wasn’t available.
Here’s the fallout of that. You may engage in casual relationships, so you can keep your distance. Whenever you sense someone getting too close to know the real you, you run or sabotage it. You might say a lot, “I don’t have enough time” and logistically account work. You probably enjoy long-distance relationships, to be honest, or part-time because it’s a way of keeping things at an arms’ length.
What do you do about all this? I don’t want you to listen to this and be like, “I’m doomed. This is all me.” Maybe one hits you hard always and you know my message by now. I’m always bringing these to the surface only so that, first of all, you can feel that you are not alone because these are very common fears. Also, know that I have helped many people through it and be successful in their love life that you can overcome them.
Each fear has different ways that you can overcome them, which is why personal coaching is helpful to address those in ways that may be affecting you because that’s a personal thing. What I want to do is I’m going to quickly go over some general ways to start thinking about how you can get over the fears in general. The first and foremost is to have that awareness. Define what those fears are and maybe you did that for yourself, so congratulations.
Also, assess things. What is that fear about? You have to decide whether or not you want to face that fear. Have an internal conversation with yourself about the fears that are stopping you from doing things, finding love, and going out on a date or flirting. Do any of those things that are stopping you are so much of a problem? Are you fed up? Is it painful that you have to do something about it or are you okay with it?
Maybe it’s serving you in some way or protecting you in a way. I remember when I’ve first got divorced, I definitely was not available. I fully admit it. I was in no way ready for a relationship. Instead of being healthy about it, I remember engaging in these like disconnected little interactions. I had some long-distance relationships. I was protecting myself.
It did help me not get into another relationship that wasn’t good for me but when it goes on too long when there’s a pattern and it keeps happening over and over again is when you know you have to do something about it. “Are your fears causing you to lead a less fulfilling life than the one you hope for?” That’s what you’ve got to ask yourself.
Number two is to evaluate the risk level. Sometimes fear comes from simply not knowing. Now you know, hopefully, after reading this but keep in mind that because something feels scary doesn’t mean it’s risky either. People equate fear with risk but educate yourself about the facts and the risks you face by doing these things that scare you.
I find this to be true with most people that what’s in your head and what you are thinking about is this huge storm and it’s way bigger than reality. It’s not until you do the third step, which is to create an action plan that the anxiety starts going down and you see things clearer and you have a different perspective on it.
The key to facing your fears is to take one small step at a time. When I create action plans for people, you hear me talk a lot about this on the show, sometimes it starts with red lipstick. Sometimes it starts with a high-heel shoe. Sometimes it starts with a wink and a smile. Those small steps and wins add up to the bigger picture. It’s helping you get over and conquer these fears. Going too fast is bad for you because it can backfire. The most important thing is to do something and create movement. The worst thing you could do is stay stagnant.
Finally, step four is to seek guidance. It’s like beating a dead horse. If your fears are that debilitating and it’s costing you a lot, you definitely need support. We all need support. If you are trying to lose weight, you hire a personal trainer or a nutritionist that can help motivate you. If you know you can’t do it on your own and you have already proven to yourself that you can’t do that, why wouldn’t you get guidance from somebody? Ask yourself, “What is the cost of doing nothing and staying in this pain versus the cost of hiring someone who can help you feel better and conquer those fears?”
Overall, remember that these are general tips and this is why getting clarity on specific tools that are specific to you and you can have with your own fears will help you tackle the fears directly. I want to read a letter that I’ve got. It’s perfect for what we are talking about. She said, “Kim, I have a lot of anxiety and a strong fear of abandonment.” She says it right away. Obviously, she’s had some therapy I can tell.
“My brain is always thinking about the worst-case scenario and somehow I find ways of provoking it right away. I have self-sabotaging tendencies, which I have been told, so I will ruin things, even when they go well. I was dating someone who wasn’t responding to my texts right away and found myself getting anxious, so I cut it off telling them that we were in a different place. I know it was harsh and irrational to do that but I’ve got scared they were going to lose interest and it was better for me to nip it in the bud. Was I wrong? How do I stop these fears from getting in the way of a relationship? Anxious Annie.”
Annie, that sounds debilitating and exhausting. I was reading this loop that you are in and being in that hamster wheel is exhausting, especially when you know exactly what’s happening and why it’s happening but you don’t know how to overcome it. It’s always that how and the now what that is the debilitating thing.
The truth is that you are also using your knowledge and awareness as a crutch. What I mean by that is I feel like you are a little bit stuck in your story and I can tell you have had therapy, and that’s great. I love when people have that awareness but at what point does this become analysis paralysis? It’s time to start doing something about this and put yourself into action. You’ve got to move.
Here are a couple of tips that I would do. Number one, cut yourself some slack. Stop the story, the harsh self-judgment of yourself, and remind yourself of all the positive qualities that make you who you are. That self-esteem builder that I did with the client that I talked about at the beginning of the show is that when you build yourself up, you are not going to be so dependent on how others view you and what others can do for you.
The other thing is to talk to the person that you are texting, having a relationship with. You are dating around some of the fears that are coming up. You don’t have to have this big drama conversation but be direct. You could say things like, “Sometimes when I don’t hear from you right away, I find myself getting a little anxious. I know this is something I’m working on,” especially if you are dating somebody for a while and it sounds like that was the case with this person. It’s way better to be direct and address it than run.
Finally, work on maintaining relationships and building your support network. It should be people, strong friendships that boost your worth and sense of belonging and not people who sap your energy, who are takers, who constantly are asking things of you. That’s going to spike your anxiety. I hope that’s helpful. I know once you get used to owning up to it rather than sabotaging it, it’s also going to give you the confidence to build your self-esteem and learn to overcome it.
Each fear has different ways to address them. It’s important to understand what’s right for you. You hear that there’s a lot of overlap with some of the fears but there’s usually one that’s more predominant. You have to be aware that what stops you from change is fear and you need to face it in order to be open and find love.
I hope that was helpful. Thanks for joining me. Remember you can build confidence, make connections and find love from the outside in. If you want to make sure that you are not having your fears hold you back and find love, sign up for a free breakthrough call with me so I can help you understand what those fears are, where they are coming from and how to address them. Stay tuned until the next episode with more tips on how to feel and look fabulous every day.