THE LO-DOWN: What it’s like dating with anxiety

How I manage my relationships and mental health


Makenna Roy

Graphic by Makenna Roy. Illustration by Tara Gnewikow.

Lauren Vannucci

LOL dating for anyone is hard. Dating in the midst of a pandemic? Even harder. Dating with anxiety? Hell, I would rather sew my head into a f*cking carpet.

I have severe anxiety disorder.

It’s something I have struggled with accepting, but I have done a lot of self reflection and finally came to terms that this is who I am. Although I might struggle at times, it’s what I have to deal with. 

Every day I wake up with the intention to do the best I can. 

I take my silly little meds and do my silly little workout and then go to work, do my homework, pay my rent, maintain a social life and everything in between!  

I have found ways to take control of my life despite my disorders and illnesses. But one area of my life that I have always struggled with is dating. 

What it’s like dating with anxiety 

I fear not being understood. 

My worst nightmare is feeling like I’m too much to handle. I don’t want my partner to freak out when I pull out my medicine bag in the morning. If I feel even the slightest disconnect from someone in my life, I freak myself out and wonder if I did something wrong or if they’re mad at me. 


I have learned that for intimate relationships to work, there needs to be mutual understanding of the person’s wants, needs and desires. The most successful relationships are built from trust. If I trust you, I’m all in. 

I might be overly sensitive at times, but I am also compassionate and loyal AF. When I love, I love hard.

I want my significant other to make me a better person. Someone who holds me accountable. And someone who makes me happy! 

I need all the serotonin I can get!

Dating someone with anxiety 

Anxiety is complex. 

If you’re dating someone with anxiety, it’s important to let them know you’ll be there for them. A person with anxiety knows their own triggers. Don’t take it personally if they ask to be alone or need space, it’s just their way of coping. Reassure them! Oftentimes a person with anxiety fears losing their partner. 

Hugs are amazing! <3

Let them know if you see any progress from them! Don’t forget that your partner wants to understand you too. Let them know what’s going on in your life. Include them in your activities. Open up their minds to new and different things. Maintain your own sense of identity. 

Recently, I had a meaningful conversation about my mental health. 

I had an anxiety attack unfold because I was worried about the way I had handled a situation. The more the conversation unfolded, the more I realized these thoughts were one-sided and that I was totally freaking myself out.

I opened up to this person (shocker for me I know) about my struggle with my anxiety lately. I said that I have found ways to manage my overall wellness, but at the end of the day, my mental health issues don’t go away. 

And want to know what that person said? 

“What can I do to help next time?” 

UGH! Be still my heart. I’m not even kidding you when I say my heart literally burst. 

What dating with anxiety has taught me about myself

I need to take a step back from always thinking about the next step in life and focus on the now. My quality of life has improved so much because I have started to focus on what is making me happy in the moment and making the most out of it. 

My significant other should love me for who I am and accept me that way! And just because the way I go about things might not be labeled as “normal,” I have found healthy and effective ways of coping with my daily struggles. And my S/O should respect that and accept what works for me.

YOU CANNOT LOVE SOMEONE ELSE UNTIL YOU LOVE YOURSELF! This is so evidently true. You need to realize your own strengths and weaknesses before you find someone else to balance you out. Your significant other should bring out all the best sides of you. Don’t go seeking a relationship to find happiness. That needs to already be there in order to have a happy and healthy relationship. You’ll know. 

Communication. Is. Key.  I used to be so closed off in relationships. I would expect the other person to just read my mind. Well, I quickly learned that’s not how it worked, and I was being really difficult to work with! 

I am trying to learn how to be vulnerable with my feelings. Really hard conversations make me want to stick my head in a blender, but in the end, those are the conversations that make your relationship stronger. 

Chill TF out and try not to sweat the small stuff! Be intentional with your words and actions. I know from my own experience how easy it is to get worked up over something dumb and take it out on others. Last week, I had a full-blown meltdown when I got home from Target and realized I purchased shampoo instead of conditioner and stormed off to my room. 

Act out with kindness! If you had a bad day, reflect on it first. What was bad about it? Was it really as bad as you thought it was, or was it just bad because Chipotle left the guac off your burrito bowl? Is it worth unleashing all of this frustration to your loved one? 

If you or anyone you know is experiencing anxiety, know that you are not alone. I have attached a really helpful anxiety guide aimed at college students. 

College Anxiety Guide for 2020

Be kind! And be awesome! You’re all hot, ily <3