When you have agoraphobia, should you have a go at dating? Should you overcome your condition first before you start dating? Most people appear to argue that agoraphobia at least makes it very difficult to date and unless it is resolved, there is no need to worry about dating. They reason that an agoraphobic, if he or she tries to date, is likely to be rejected. The rejection will then feed into his or her anxiety and further undermine self-esteem.
What I want you to know as part of my dating guide is this: in this imperfect world, we all have problems. If it is not agoraphobia, then it is something else. If we make the resolution of these problems a condition for doing things for ourselves, then we will never do some important things because some problems at least take long to resolve. In many cases, agoraphobia takes long to resolve. Some people, although they may be able to control agoraphobia from time to time, the condition may persist with them for the rest of their lives. So what then for such people: are we saying they should be single and lonely for the rest of their lives.
I know that most agoraphobics become very self-conscious or very nervous and may even have panic attacks if they venture outside their homes. And as long as you are fearful of leaving home, dating will remain a pipe-dream. So as part of my dating guide to you, I encourage you to learn to challenge yourself and in small stages, try and condition your mind and body to accept that being away from home is not such a big deal; by venturing outside your home even for a few minutes at a time. In fact, what happens if you run short of food in the house and there is no one you can send to the shops to buy it for you. Do you starve? The point is, you owe it to yourself to try and break the psychological chains of agoraphobia that constrain you from dating. Maybe, for a start, you could choose to be out of home when there are not many people out on the streets:- maybe early in the morning or late in the evening. Maybe, the places you visit initially must be quiet and not full of people. Maybe, when you start venturing out, you could ask someone close to you to accompany you for moral support and comfort. As you do this more and more; you might begin to feel less fearful and anxious even when you are away from home.
Also as part of my dating guide to you, I want to assure you this: somewhere out there is a man or woman, agoraphobic or not, who might be worthy your attention. So do not condemn yourself to a life of apprehension each time you think about dating. Why not look around in the area in which you live for support groups for people with anxiety or agoraphobia. Attend the meetings or forums organized by such support groups to associate with people in similar circumstances as you. Who knows, if you keep on frequenting such meetings, you might one day bump into somebody who does not only love you but also understands what it feels like to have an anxiety disorder.
Another thing I want you to remember as part of my dating guide to you is; be comfortable in your own skin. Do not be so self-conscious that you are agoraphobic and put yourself down. Successful dating is all about showing the person you are interested in that you have something of value to offer in the relationship. So, for example, if you are good with your hands, try and make her or him see this positive in you. Try and make him or her see by the way you look after yourself, or others, or your car or your house that you care. Of course, be careful not to appear to be trying too hard; otherwise you will turn him or her off.
Yet another piece of advice I offer as part of my dating guide to you is, do not hide that you are agoraphobic. If you are preparing a dating profile, to send to a dating agency, be balanced: perfect creatures do not live on earth. Be sure to mention those nice things about yourself that you think will attract your date first but do not be silent about the fact that you have agoraphobia. You do not have to use the word agoraphobia. Perhaps, you can just say that sometimes you find going out difficult and sometimes you are shy and nervous when in public. Talk about the things you have been able to do or achieve despite being agoraphobic. Talk about your ongoing efforts to manage your condition. The point is to make him or her see that the 2 of you can have a worthwhile relationship in spite of you being agoraphobic.
Do not hide your condition for fear of being rejected. Even those without anxiety get rejected. Rejection is a fact of life for everyone in as much as falling in love is a fact of life too. When you are rejected, don't be overly sensitized by it and start looking at yourself as scum of the earth. If you keep trying, you will meet somebody who will love you for who you are. There are many couples who have very fulfilling relationships, despite the fact that one of them or both could be agoraphobic.
Mind you, when you mention to your date that you have agoraphobia, don't sound overwhelmed or self-pitying. Mention it with confidence and let your language and tone of voice make him or her see that you don't see your agoraphobia as an insurmountable problem; that you have not capitulated to the idea of being an agoraphobic forever and that you are fighting it. Statements like, 'You know, I am agoraphobic', may leave your prospective date with an unsettling feeling that you have accepted your condition and have resigned yourself to suffering. Whereas a statement like, ' Although I have to fight agoraphobia at times, I still am able to go to work and relate well with others', will make your prospective date see that you are not a sitting duck for agoraphobia; you are resilient and fighting it.
So do not hesitate any longer. Start looking for dates, Take the plunge. Nothing tried; nothing gained. Seek and you will find.