Show Up To Dates A Few Minutes Early
Reading Into Their Words And Actions
A tendency to overthink your partners words and actions can also suggest relationship anxiety.
Maybe they dont like to hold hands. Or, when you take the plunge and move in together, they insist on keeping all their old furniture.
Sure, these could all be signs of a potential issue. But its more likely that they have sweaty hands or just really love that living room set.
Do Things That Are Important To You While Youre Away From Your Partner
One of the top tips for handling separation anxiety from a partner is to take action. I cant stress enough how important it is to take advantage of this alone time. You have extra time available to you right now grab that bull by the horns!
So after youve had a good cry, its time to do something meaningful something that matters to you.
Set aside some hours to focus on a personal hobby of yours. Or tackle a challenge youve been meaning to attempt. This might not be something crazily ambitious, but you could read a novel youve been putting off for a while.
Or maybe you can do something that helps you feel close to your partner AND deal with the separation anxiety at the same time. A great example would be getting some family photos printed and placed in albums. You can choose your favorite photos of you and your partner and get creative putting them in photo albums or framing them in your home.
Youll be thinking of them while you expend creative energy. This activity will make you feel warm and fuzzy inside, plus give you a sense of accomplishment, which will definitely help to reduce some of your anxiety.
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What Should You Not Say To Someone With Anxiety
What should you not say to someone with anxiety? Youre an anxious personNo one wants to be labeled for something that causes them immense stress and pain. Why would you be anxious about that?This response implies that they should not be anxious and their response is unjustified. Just dont think about it 5.
Clearly Communicate Your Expectations
Anyone who has anxiety has gotten stuck in thought loops: Those unwanted, repetitive thoughts you cant seem to escape even if you know theyre silly. That kind of thinking is particularly damaging in relationships. For example, maybe your girlfriend doesnt call you after work a few nights in a row like she usually does. Stuck in a thought loop, you figure shes bored with you when the truth is that shes on a project deadline.
You dont want to constantly ask your partner for reassurance, but when something is continually bothering you, talk about it. Say, I know youre busy, but I really look forward to your calls in the evening. When I dont hear from you, my mind gets stuck in a story that youre sick of me.
The person with the anxious mind ruminates, said Jenny Yip, a psychologist based in Los Angeles. Most people with anxiety will ruminate and imagine the worst possible thing happening. Rather than dooming your relationship, clarify and communicate what your expectations are from the start so that your mind doesnt have to ruminate to the worst possible places.
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Go To Therapy To Process Your Thoughts & Feelings
Therapy is a great way to dig deeper and uncover some of the negative thought patterns and experiences that could be contributing to your relationship anxiety.7 Working with a therapist can also give you a safe space to work through your anxious feelings and gain more clarity on how to identify and maintain a healthy relationship.
To find a therapist in your area, use an online therapist directory to connect with a therapist you feel comfortable talking to and can build a trusting relationship with. Remember, there is no shame in experiencing this kind of anxiety, and sometimes, the first step to healing is simply telling your truth and asking for help.
Signs Of Relationship Anxiety
Relationship anxiety can plague anyone, and experiencing it doesnt necessarily mean that youre in a bad relationship. Oftentimes, fear and worry stem from not wanting to experience a bad outcome or being reluctant to be vulnerable due to past hurts.
Seven signs you may be experiencing relationship anxiety are:
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Lean Into The Discomfort Its Ok
Okay, you might feel shitty at some point during your separation. The point of these tips is not to help you avoid all of those feelings, but to healthily deal with them and work through them, and to alleviate the painful feelings when necessary.
But, it is perfectly okay to let yourself feel sad. Sometimes experiencing and sitting with your emotions helps you process them. You know how they say a good cry can be really cathartic? This is absolutely true.
Let it out. Let yourself feel crappy.
Im almost certain that youll feel better afterward, and better able to manage your feelings. Sometimes, it even helps you redirect your energy. I know after Ive cried and felt mopey, I often feel refreshed and ready to redirect my attention to a more beneficial, productive activity.
Do: Manage Your Reactions To The Anxiety Or A Panic Attack
When youre dating someone with anxiety, during their breaking point, you may think that its a personal attack on you or its an act of rejection or selfishness towards you. But its not. Its not an attempt to create a distance to break your relationship.
Make sure youre aware of how to manage your reactions in front of your partner. It will be helpful to avoid shouting and avoid what triggers your partners anxious state. It helps if you could sit down and talk about supporting them the next time they get panic attacks. You need to be on the same page to make this relationship work.
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Understand That They Have Certain Triggers
Getting a handle on your partners anxiety means understanding their triggers. Usually, someone with anxiety knows the kind of things that set them off into an anxiety spiral.
Its not your responsibility to shield them from every single trigger, but helping them navigate their lives more sensitively around those triggers can be helpful. It can also help you to understand why your partners anxiety is heightened at different times.
Do: Encouraging Your Partner To Seek Therapy
If your partner has anxiety, of course, you want to be there for them. You want to give them support and be there for them all the time because you worry for them, and thats normal. But theres one thing you have to remember you are not their therapist.
Even though your profession may be a counselor or therapist, you cant be your partners mental health counselor. Why? Because you may have biased advice, and every issue will boil down to being personal. Also, it may be emotionally draining for you and your partner, and in the end, both of you may form resentment towards each other.
All you have to do is be supportive, make sure theyre not alone when they need it. Encourage them to seek professional help. Do not force them, but slowly introduce the idea. Tell your partner that a therapist can help them how to deal with anxiety.
If needed, you can go on a Couples Therapy. This is a great way to make your partner feel that you want to make this relationship work and have a healthy relationship.
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How To Deal With An Anxious Partner
On the flip side, if you notice these behaviors in a partner and want to help, realizing how anxiety affects their thinking and behavior is a great first step. More advice:
- Dont criticize them for having anxiety, or dismiss the issue.
- Dont try to be their therapist or fix them. Realize that you alone cannot solve the problem.
- Communicate to learn their fears, triggers, and values, and share your own.
- Help them to feel safe.
Practice Vulnerability In Stages
True intimacy is letting someone in and giving them access to parts of yourself that you hide away from the rest of the world. When you have anxiety, though, you might worry that exposing the messy, real, complicated side of yourself might make your S.O. like you less.
Dont fall prey to that kind of thinking: If this person loves you, theyll love all sides of you.
Plus, you dont have to share your deepest, darkest feelings all at once, said psychologist Stacey Rosenfeld. Experiment with small exposures, exercises where you try out being vulnerable with your partner and, as your confidence builds, work toward increased vulnerability over time. Fears associated with vulnerability should lessen with increased exposure.
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Dont: Act Like You Know Everything
Its good that you did your research about anxiety to understand better what your partner is going through. But dont act like you know everything about anxiety and everything your partner is feeling.
No one understands better the anxiety of your partner but themselves. You have to respect that, and you have to be there to listen, not to judge. Respect your partner on how they deal with their emotions, offer your support, dont enforce what you believe you know.
Also, remember not to take everything personally. If your partner is not in a mood to talk, dont think its your fault. Dont add fuel to the fire and react anxiously or angrily because this isnt healthy for relationships. Give your partner some space and wait for things to calm down before talking.
People with anxiety do not like change, so do not force your partner to change. In any case, that change is needed it must be done slowly and with support. Take little steps and always seek the help of mental health professionals.
My Story I Was A Separation Anxiety Girlfriend
Ive always been a sensitive, emotional person, especially as a kid. As I grew into an adult, in many ways, that part of me didnt change.
Sure, I grew braver about some things and learned to laugh at myself and be more confident and strong, but anxiety followed me into adulthood. Anxiety in relationships became par for the course. One of the particular ways it manifested was in separation anxiety in my relationship.
When my now-husband Nathan and I were first together, we were long distance for a good year and a half. This was really tough on me, but the toughest part was always the saying of the goodbyes the departure.
When Nathan was visiting me, I would start to grow terribly anxious when the end of the trip was growing near. Even a week before he was scheduled to leave I would get bouts of anxiety and nausea. And crying. Lots and lots of crying.
Flash forward to our separation, I would cry when it was happening, and for several days before. Frankly, it sucked, but generally, once wed said goodbye and were busy living our lives during the time apart, this anxiety would begin to dissipate a bit.
These days, I feel like I can deal far better with the temporary separation. But recently, we spent nearly 3 weeks apart, the longest since weve been married. As the date of Nathans departure grew closer, I found myself feeling that same familiar panic. That lingering anxiety and sadness about being apart from each other was still there.
A Quick Note
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Remind Yourself Of The Objective Facts
Focus On The Relaxing Time Together
Calm and relaxing time might be a definition of happiness for people with anxiety. If you are not sure how to help a wife with anxiety or husband with depression and anxiety, ask them what helps them relax. It could be spending time in nature, watching something together, or mindfulness exercises.
People suffering from anxiety often have low levels of mindfulness. You can do a body scan exercise together and bring more peace and calm into your lives. Take a look:
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Learning How To Better Communicate About The Anxiety
Anxiety can be scary. It can make you want to avoid talking about it.
Nonetheless, one of the most effective ways to cope with anxiety in a relationship is to talk about it openly, honestly and directly with your partner.
Having candid talks together on what they are feeling and validating those feelings is paramount, said therapist Daryl Cioffi.
To show your partner you accept their anxiety, you need to encourage them to open up about it. Try to listen without judging, becoming defensive or taking their anxiety personally. Provide reassurance and have empathy towards the situation.
If you start to observe that your partner seems more anxious you should address this with them. This might allow them to share with you why they feel anxious. said Bisma Anwar, LMHC
You Always Have To Make The Plans
People with anxiety do not want to make the plans. They are very indecisive and the smallest of choices, such as which restaurant, could put them off their appetite and even their entire upswing for the day.
You need to defuse the situation and just let them know what it is the two of you are doing that evening.
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Do Hone In On Ways To Keep Your Own Anxiety In Check
One of the best things you can do when you notice your partners anxiety intensifying is to avoid becoming reactive and stressed out yourself.
Experiment with yoga or try a progressive muscle relaxation exercise. Simple meditation practices can work wonders in reducing anxiety, too. For example, imagine overwhelming and anxious thoughts as separate from you, like a parade or a storm passing over you.
Figure out what works best for you, and then make time to practice your anxiety-management strategies every day. You may even want to practice together with your partner — you can be a good role model for handling your stress or anxiety in healthy ways.