Alleviating the Pressure of Dating in Your Twenties

By Hannah Tishman, LMSW

Dating in your twenties is not so easy. Clients come to me all the time stating their concerns around not being in a relationship and with the fear of being alone permanently. I’ll begin by saying: if you want to end up in a relationship, you will. It might not happen in the exact time frame you would like or expect, but it will happen if it is something of value to you. Twenty-somethings often put an enormous amount of pressure on themselves to find a partner by comparing themselves to those in a relationship seen on social media or their parents who met and became married at a young age. It’s important to consider if putting this pressure on yourself is helping to lead you towards finding a partner or if it is adding more distress to your life.

Dating is different today as compared to even 20 years ago, prior to the existence of dating apps and online connections. Dating opportunities are at the touch of our fingertips now, but this can often add more stress than it seems. Having hundreds of more options than in the past may easily overwhelm those looking to date. It increases the pool, allowing for more competition and to potentially be taken less seriously, making it more difficult to settle down. Despite these difficult factors, dating does not have to be as stressful as we may make it for ourselves. Remind yourself of the following things when you are considering dating:

  • Part of attracting a relationship requires being confident and comfortable in your own skin. Being content in your relationship with yourself is essential to being in a serious relationship with another individual. Get to know yourself and embrace what it is like to be alone before jumping into a partnership.

  • It’s okay to not go on a date every week or even every month. Pace yourself. There are multiple ways to meet people: through friends, organizations, on the street, online, and more. Adding more stress by forcing yourself to date so often that you end up hating the process will not help. Take it slow and date when you want to.

  • Dating is a process. Remind yourself not to have expectations for each date and to take away what you do and do not want in a partner from each experience. If you can look at dating this way, it will decrease a lot of stress and make the process more enjoyable.

  • Ask yourself why you want a partner. Write down those reasons and make sure it is not out of fear of being alone, but rather for wanting to commit to another person, sharing life experiences, and creating space for love.

Finally, there is no rule book as to when you have to date. Society often sends us messages to become married young and have children quickly. Explore your interests in your 20s and date if you want to, but when you catch yourself saying, “Will I ever find someone? Will I be alone forever” change those statements to: “I would love to find someone as a partner and in time that will happen. I just need to be patient. I know I will find someone who is compatible with me at the right moment in my life”.

Hannah Tishman is a therapist at Cobb Psychotherapy. If you are looking for support in finding solutions to enhance your overall wellness, contact Cobb Psychotherapy by calling 718-260-6042 or emailing reception@cobbpsychotherapy.com, and see how therapy can help.

Elizabeth Cobb