The dating ‘dings’ make me anxious

Are you single? Coupled? Ready for a cold winter? Tell me your relationship issues and questions by filling out this form or by writing to [email protected]

Also, former letter writers (especially recent COVID-era writers), please update us. Let me know what's happening by writing to [email protected] and putting "update" in the subject line.

Hello! I am a listener of the podcast – a 28-year-old woman who lives in California. I have spent much of my 20s living my own life, traveling, working various jobs, meeting new people, etc. Even if I could go back in time I would do this all the same; it has made me well-rounded person.

During these times I always dated but was never serious about it. My last relationship was about two years ago. The end traumatized me a bit because he switched from being this seemingly perfect man to a very nasty person (at least toward me). Now I seem to have dating anxiety. It's always been easy for me to date and have fun, but now that I feel I'm actually looking for someone (in the midst of a horrible pandemic, healing past traumas, and while I reach my late 20s), my anxieties around dating apps are so high that I'm struggling.

Although I look forward to meeting my person, I also feel close to panic-attack mode whenever my dating app dings a reminder on my phone. Almost feels like everything is going wrong and I am just looking for that perfect man to face the end of the world with (mostly a joke). This is so odd and new to me. Any advice for someone struggling with such anxieties?

– Dinged

If the dings bother you, get rid of the them. Change your notifications. Maybe decide to check the apps at the same hour every day. I happen to think right after dinner is a nice time.

If you match with someone who makes it past the kind of talk you want to do an apps, switch to text. That will feel different.

I get it, by the way. The only alerts on my phone right now are food-related. I love you Globe and, but I’ve had to get rid of the news alerts for a while. My brain does better when I decide when I'm ready to consume information.

It also sounds like you might be feeling some pressure to balance your last experience with an ideal partner, and that's not fair to them or you. Your next try might be with someone who's good for a few walks and that's it. Maybe you're three or more people away from finding a better match.

The point is, your next romantic move feels too significant. Please lower the stakes. Remember that these days, you can take many more steps to get to a place of seriousness. There can be FaceTime dates. Picnics. You will have plenty of time to figure out whether someone deserves your investment.

– Meredith

Readers? Do you allow alerts from your dating apps? Do you check at a certain time of day? What is causing this LW's stress about the dating process?