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Online Dating Magazine > Columns > Date & Relate > Facing Dating Fears

Date & Relate
by Sara Hodon

Facing Your Dating Fears

No matter where you may be on the dating scene, there’s some fear that goes along with it. 

I think that having some fear is healthy.  It keeps us on our toes and jolts us out of our comfort zones every once in awhile.  Most of our fears come from facing the unknown and getting into a situation that’s out of our control.  But unless you plan to lock yourself in your house for the rest of your days, never having new experiences or meeting new people, fear and having to face the unknown are part of life. 

I know a lot of people who thrive on change.  Not knowing what’s going to happen from one day to the next gives them an adrenaline rush that they thrive on.   I admire them.  I wish I could be a little more spontaneous and a little less cautious. I think I’m pretty middle of the road.   I’m flexible (to a point), but I like to have a rough plan in place and know what I’m dealing with, if possible.  And finally there are those types who thrive on order, routine, and planning out every moment of every day.  Don’t even think of messing with their carefully built schedule—the planner is full, possibly color-coded, and there’s just no room for moving things around. 

Most couples in exclusive relationships naturally fall into their own patterns, which can be comforting no matter how impulsive you are.  But then that relationship ends and your whole life is turned upside down.  If you like order, it’s the worst possible thing that could happen.  Suddenly your whole routine is out of whack and the future is full of scary possibilities. 

First, there’s the fear of getting back on the dating scene.  Here’s my usual inner (or not so inner) monologue:  “Where am I going to meet someone?“ , “What if I never meet anyone else?”,  “I’m never going to find someone.”  As scary as it is to try to meet someone new, it’s even scarier to imagine staying single.  So—we get back out there.  Back to the clubs and bars for Singles Night, back out to the setups and blind dates, back to hoping we’ll accidentally bump into a guy with the cart in the grocery store, strike up a conversation, and hope romance blossoms.  Back to obsessing over what to say in the online profile and what picture to post. 

The “winks”, icebreakers, and emails start rolling in, along with a new wave of fearful thoughts:  “Are these guys for real?”, “Are they exaggerating in their profiles at all?” Is that really him in the picture?”, “What’s wrong with him—why is he single?”, “What did he like about my profile?”

You might find one or two guys who appeal to you, and you start getting to know each other.  It’s exciting to think that you may have actually found yourself a new boyfriend.  He seems just as interested in you.  If you’re a reluctant optimist like me (someone who tries to be positive, but can’t quite shake the nagging fear that something could go wrong at any time), this is a crucial time.  You suggest meeting.  He agrees and sounds totally excited. 

My typical thoughts at this point? “What am I going to wear?”, “How will I know it’s him?”, “What if he’s not as great in person?”, “What if we have nothing to talk about?”, “What if he’s a total jerk?”  But—it could be awesome, so, off I go to my date, my stomach churning with nerves but some excitement, too.  This could be it!

Worst case scenario?  No attraction or, worse yet, nothing to talk about.  If it doesn’t seem like he’s interested, just hope for a civil goodbye at the end of the night.  The tricky part is when he clearly likes you, and there’s zero interest on your part.  Being the bad guy who has to break the bad news is always scary.   You don’t want to lead them on, but you don’t want to crush them, either.     

For me, if I meet a guy and we hit it off, then the fear really kicks in.  Getting to know someone new after a long time off the dating scene is always scary.   I have to get used to a brand new person’s quirks and habits.   We have to decide when to share certain things with each other.  I worry that the baggage from my last relationship will follow me into this one, and vice versa.  Then there’s meeting the family and friends, which is a whole other stressor.  Of course, it’s more important that the guy like me, but I don’t want his friends and relatives to hate my guts—that could make the holidays very unpleasant!

And of course, if things continue to go well, there’s the biggest scary thought of all:  a future together!  Marriage.  Kids.  Buying a house.  Decorating the house.  Career ups and downs.  It makes me want to hide under the covers, to be completely honest with you.  But when I really think about it?  The future seems a lot less scary when there’s someone by my side, facing the same fears right along with me. 

Putting yourself out there is definitely scary, no doubt about it.  But if you’re serious about meeting someone and building a future as part of a couple, even the most fearful person needs to put the nerves aside and do it! 



Date & Relate is published every Thursday by Online Dating Magazine columnist Sara Hodon. She can be reached at

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