Like anything worthwhile, dating comes laden with potential risks and rewards.
Whether she expresses them or not, every woman has fears associated with the pursuit of a new relationship. Fears can be legitimate and extremely helpful—a big CAUTION sign indicating the need for vigilance and discretion. Conversely, fears can be unwarranted and impede an otherwise promising relationship. What hesitations and worries do you have? It might be helpful to know some of the most prevalent dating fears among women. Here are five at the top of the list:
Fear #1: She’s afraid her new man is going to turn out just like her ex or former partner. It may not be fair, but it happens often: Women worry that history is going to repeat itself. Different guy, same results. In a perfect world, none of us would have to deal with the baggage left behind by previous partners. Unfortunately, the world—especially the dating world—is far from perfect. Thankfully, many women have the emotional intelligence to find healthy ways to deal with lingering hurts so that emotional baggage does not permanently drag down new relationships.
Fear #2: She’s afraid she’s not beautiful or sexy enough. You can chalk this one up to demeaning messages she got from someone in her past (see Fear #1) and our society’s obsession with airbrushed, flawless beauty. Women today feel profound pressure to possess the allure of a celebrity, the figure of a supermodel, and the glamour of fashion designer. The fear of not measuring up to societal standards — even though those standards are absurdly unrealistic — can breed intense insecurity, jealousy, and low self-esteem.
This fear even comes with several bothersome byproducts: Suspicions that her man is checking out every good-looking woman who passes by, fear that he is going to leave her for someone more eye-catching, feeling threatened by other attractive women, and exaggerated dread of the aging process (not to mention swimsuit season).
Fear #3: She’s afraid her new partner isn’t what he seems to be. One of the charms of dating is that, especially in the beginning stages, we put our best foot forward. One of the pitfalls of dating is that, especially in the beginning stages, we put our best foot forward. Thus, a common fear among women is this: “Everything seems fine now, but after the first blush of romance has faded, who will this person be then? Beyond the smooth and polished exterior, who is the guy deep down? Will the kind, considerate man of the early courtship stage turn self-absorbed and critical a year from now?”
It’s true that some men are a lot like politicians, who make grand promises to get elected and then ignore them once in office. But most guys have no interest in playing the fake-and-phony game; they at least try to be genuine and upfront.
Fear #4: She’s afraid she’ll compromise and settle for the wrong guy. It’s happened to her friends. It may have already happened to her. Rather than holding out for Mr. Right, she settled for Mr. Mediocre, or even Mr. Flat-out Wrong For You. No one, of course, sets out to compromise in this way, but it happens frequently. Why? Because there’s a large percentage of singles who have the attitude that says, “I just want to get married, and once I’ve got my spouse, then we’ll work things out.” Feeling lonely, pressured, and worried they’ll never marry, many singles are so intent on getting to “I do” that they start lowering their standards.
Fear #5: She’s afraid her boyfriend will want to date endlessly. Women are afraid of men who are afraid of commitment. After all, men as a whole have a reputation of being commitment-phobic. But as with most stereotypes, it’s unfair and unwise to lump everyone together. Sure, there are plenty of guys who drag their feet and panic at the thought of being “tied down.” But there are many more guys who will happily and eagerly commit to the right woman. In fact, USA Today recently featured a nationwide survey that included 12,000 men and women ages 15-44 and asked the question, “Is it better to get married than go through life single?” The results: 66 percent of men agreed compared with 51 percent of women. What’s more, 76 percent of men and 72 percent of women agreed “it is more important for a man to spend a lot of time with his family than be successful at his career.”
Do any of these fears resonate with you? Identifying your source of anxiety is the first step in determining if they are justified or not. Then you can view your fears as either helpful allies or a waste of energy that could be channeled in more productive ways.