Back in May, I came across a tweet from @stephaknee_ saying, “I was on Plenty of Fish and met my boyfriend!…but I haven’t seen him in two months.” I always love a great success story and I could tell this one was extra special. These two were managing to stay connected virtually despite the pandemic and many anxieties following this time of uncertainty. My curiosity led me to find Stephanie’s blog that discusses her personal experience with anxiety and dating and I was eager to know more. Plenty of Fish had just released insights from Pressure Points: Dating from a Distance report, that indicated 82% of singles report their typical level of anxiety ranges from moderate to very high and nearly ¾ of singles agree that if others were more open about the topic, it would make them feel less alone.
Here is a glimpse into how Stephanie has challenged her anxieties and met a wonderful man named Kevin, who has been with her every step of the way!
When did you two meet on Plenty of Fish?
Who messaged who first and what did you say?
Kevin messaged me first. He asked me “what music are you into?” It honestly just went from there. We talked until 3am almost every night after we first messaged each other.
What did you do for a first date?
Funny story, when I stepped out of my car, the first sentence I said was “wow you’re short” (laughs) I thought it was done after that…but it wasn’t. I think it was just my nerves that made me say that. We sat down to dinner, we ended up having wings at Chicken Coop – casual and low pressure!
Stephanie, I know you have a blog devoted to speaking openly about your anxiety which I think is very admirable. Did you bring up your anxieties with Kevin early on in your relationship?
Oh yes, it was something I brought up in the beginning, even before our first date. We talked back and forth through Plenty of Fish and then moved over to text. It just came up naturally in conversation. I really thought he wasn’t going to accept me. He ended up telling me that he dealt with anxiety in the past and he knows how I feel.
A lot of men I’ve come across don’t want to deal with anxiety because it may hold them back. I never experienced someone try and understand my anxiety until I met Kevin. He literally has had my back from the beginning – I couldn’t ask for anyone better. He understands and doesn’t push me. He makes me feel comfortable which is most important. I really never thought I would find someone who would be able to deal with me and my anxiety.
Kevin has seen me at my worst with my anxiety and he was there for me through it all. He knew me for only two months when I got rushed to the hospital with a severe panic attack. He came to the hospital and that is when I knew I loved him.
You can read more about Stephanie’s journey on her blog Little Lungs Heavy Heart.
Why did you choose to start blogging about your anxiety?
I’ve been holding all my anxieties in since I was 16 – that’s not an easy thing to do. I really didn’t want to hold it in anymore. I know there are others struggling just like me and that’s why it’s important to talk about it openly and honestly.
Are there any tips that have helped you along the way to alleviate feelings of anxiety?
If you have a specific fear or general anxiety, take it slow. It took me 18 years to sit in a movie theater without any anxiety. These small steps take time but they are achievable. I used to just avoid places completely that gave me anxiety like the theatre until I addressed it head on. My next steps are sitting-in at restaurants and so far, this year I’ve gone twice!
How have you two been managing dating during social distancing and staying at home?
It’s been almost two months since we’ve seen one another but we know it’s best for the both of us to stay safe and healthy. We both have underlying health conditions so it’s important we follow the rules.
Have you and Kevin had virtual date nights?
We talk on the phone, FaceTime and play video games together to stay connected which has been fun.
What are some tips you would give to single Plenty of Fish members looking for their special someone?
Whatever you do, don’t give up – it took me time but I found a great guy.