Shifting Your Mental State To Relieve Stress
Anxiety causes stress because we instinctively perceive it as a problem, nothing more. This evokes anger and fear.
Clinical psychologist Dr. Carol Kershaw recommended couples try to shift their mindset regarding anxiety. Rather than seeing it only as a source of stress, they can develop a curiosity about it. Trying to understand the anxiety makes it more difficult to become angry about it.
Curiosity can turn off worry and anxiety, Kershaw said. You cant feel two at once.
You And Your New Partner’s Attachment Styles Don’t Add Up
Attachment theory is rooted in the idea that your experiences with love from a young age will ultimately determine how you love now. There are three types of attachment styles: secure attachment , anxious attachment , and avoidant attachment .
“Ironically, people with anxious attachment styles usually partner up with people with avoidant attachment styles,” Reardon tells mbg, which, as you can imagine, might be a recipe for disaster. “As much as these styles match, they actually bring out the worst in each other,” Reardon says. “The anxious partner gets more anxious, the avoidant more avoidant, so in that sense, they are totally reacting to each other, and although they’re definitely bonding, it’s not in a healthy way.”
Anxiety And Relationships: How To Stop It Stealing The Magic
Intimate relationships are a mirror, reflecting the best and the worst of all of us. They can inflame our struggles or soothe them. When theyre right, they can feel like magic. Even when theyre completely right, anxiety can steal the magic and loosen the connection between two people who belong together. All relationships require trust, tenderness, patience and vulnerability. People with anxiety often have these by the truckload and will give them generously to the relationship. The problem is that anxiety can sometimes just as quickly erode them.
If youre someone who struggles with anxiety, there are plenty of things about you that would make loving you easy. All relationships struggle sometimes and when anxiety is at play, the struggles can be quite specific very normal, and specific.
Anxiety can work in curious ways, and it will impact different relationships differently, so not all of the following will be relevant for every relationship. Here are some ways to strengthen your relationship and protect it from the impact of anxiety:
Let your partner know what triggers you.
Is there a particular situation thats tends to set your anxiety alight? Crowds? Strangers? Difficulties of exit? Loud music in the car? Being late? Talk to your partner so that if you find yourself in the situation without warning, he or she will understand whats happening for you.
Read Also: How Do You Overcome Social Anxiety
Missing Out On Good Times
People with relationship anxiety are often so worried about things going awry that they miss out on all the good times in the relationship. All serious relationships will go through rough patches, which is why its so important to enjoy the good times when theyre here. Focusing on staying present in the relationship and not fretting about the future will help you cope with this relationship anxiety.
What Is Relationship Anxiety
Being a tad unsure about yourself, your partner, or the relationship is expected. Especially when you just start dating someone and are getting to know them.
However, not being able to develop trust and relax in a relationship can become disproportionate. When insecurity becomes overwhelming and starts to affect the relationships quality, we speak of relationship anxiety.
Although relationship anxiety is not officially a disorder, those affected and therapists alike agree that it can be a severe issue. It does resemble anxiety disorders in some aspects, such as the inability to soothe fear.
The magnitude of the apprehension is what makes the distinction between the butterflies in your stomach and full-blown dating anxiety.
Relationship anxiety can appear at any point of romance.
Some people are so anxious about the mere idea of a relationship that they avoid it altogether.
Those that are fairly aware that they are dodging romance often say: Its not for me, or, Im not into dating. While others may not realize that they are anxious. However, they never seem to find someone they would go out on a date with.
Other people experience relationship anxiety in the first phase of romance when everything is still undefined.
A flood of doubt starts to pour in once you start developing interest in someone. Will he like me? Is he a cheater/liar? Will we get along? Is this going too fast/slow?similar questions seem never to leave your side.
Recommended Reading: How To Get Out Of An Anxiety Attack
Different Ways Relationship Anxiety Presents Itself
Here are some ways to tell that anxiety is manifesting itself in your relationship:
- Wondering if your partner truly has feelings for you
- Looking for constant reassurance from your partner
- Holding doubts about romantic compatibility
- Over-analyzing simple words and actions for signs of trouble
- Constantly feeling like your partner intends to call off the relationship
- Spending more time worrying about the relationship than enjoying it
In other cases, relationship anxiety may take the form of deliberately sabotaging things with your partner. This can be seen where slight issues are blown out of proportion or where traps are laid for your partner to test fidelity.
It may also appear in instances where you purposely stay aloof and guarded with your partner, all to steel yourself against hurt and pre-empt difficulties.
Recognize That Your Feelings Are Valid But Feelings Arent Always Facts
Emotions come and go without warning and it can be easy to jump to a negative conclusion.6 Practice giving your relationships the benefit of the doubt and reframing your negative thoughts in a more positive light. Instead of saying, I always push people away and nobody loves me, say I attract love and people are drawn to my warmth and energy.
Recommended Reading: How To Practice Mindfulness For Anxiety
Manage The Things You Do
The things that we do also effects the anxiety that we feel. When you feel anxious, you may feel compelled to seek reassurance or check up on your partner. Whilst this may help you feel better temporarily, in the long-run it will keep you feeling anxious and may even effect your relationship. Managing the negative thoughts that you have that are creating your anxiety, whilst avoiding acting out of anxiety, will lead to longer-lasting and positive change.
Clearly communicating with your partner can also help you to manage relationship anxiety and strengthen your relationship, as it will give you the both the opportunity to express how you feel and what you need from each other. It might be tempting to avoid talking about difficult issues, however these generally don’t tend to disappear, and can cause resentments to build up.
Some people who experience relationship anxiety can get so caught up in their anxious thoughts that other areas of life get forgotten. Make sure that you schedule time, each day, to do the things that you need to do to feel good about yourself. Continuing with your own hobbies and interests, maintaining other relationships and doing the things that are important to you will help you feel good about yourself and better able to manage feelings of anxiety.
Accept That You Cant Control Everything Your Partner Does
Part of managing your anxiety involves letting go of the need to control things that are utterly out of your hands including some of your partners more annoying habits. It may annoy you that you lose half of your Sundays with him to the boys every football season, but take it in stride: You cant allow your anxiety to threaten your S.Os autonomy in the relationship.
For those who are anxious, its often common to want to control the situation, but you cant always have it that way, Yip said. You can communicate your wishes, but it doesnt mean that you have a bad partner if your wishes arent met exactly how you imagined. You have to celebrate your partners individuality you arent joined at the hip, after all.
Also Check: Is Online School Good For Social Anxiety
In Conclusion: What Does He Really Want
I think the best way to truly overcome relationship anxiety is to bulletproof the relationship so there is nothing to be anxious about.
Relationships are hard work and confusing. For women, trying to understand what men are really thinking can seem like an impossible task.
Common wisdom says that men only fall for exceptional women.
That we love someone for who she is. Maybe this woman has a captivating personality or shes a firecracker in bed
As a man I can tell you that this way of thinking is dead wrong.
None of those things actually matter when it comes to men falling for a woman. In fact, its not the attributes of the woman that matter at all.
The truth is this:
A man falls for women because of how those women make him feel about himself.
This is because a romantic relationship satisfies a mans craving for companionship to the extent that it fits with his identity... the sort of man he wants to be.
How do you make your guy feel about himself? Is the relationship giving him a sense of meaning and purpose in his life?
As I mentioned above, the one thing men crave more than anything else in a relationship is to see himself as a hero. Not an action hero like Thor, but a hero to you. As someone who provides you something no other man can.
He wants to be there for you, protect you, and to be appreciated for his efforts.
Theres a biological basis to all this. Relationship expert James Bauer calls it the hero instinct.
What If Vs What Is
One of the most common tools that I have my clients utilize when theyre getting wrapped up in their tangled web of anxiety is to check in on whether theyre using What if? vs. What is? thinking.
What if thinking always produces anxiety. It puts your mind in the future, and places you in a fear-based, invented place.
What is thinking brings you back to the present moment and allows you to see your situation for what is truly is.
More often than not with people who deal with anxiety, our minds are simply fountains of noise, spewing off endless fears that are ultimately unproductive. Or, as Mark Twain once said, Ive lived through some terrible things in my life. Some of which actually happened.
But how do you know if your anxiety in the present moment IS about the reality of your situation?
Read Also: How To Overcome Overwhelming Anxiety
As Anxiety Weakens Your Relationship Strengthens
Building trust within your relationship may reduce the power of anxiety. By understanding how anxiety impacts your relationships, you can create positive change within a relationship dynamic.
A therapist who specializes in anxiety treatment can help you further understand anxiety and help you stop harming yourself and your relationship.
The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by GoodTherapy.org. Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.
You Dont Enjoy Sex As Much
Your anxiety about the relationship makes it difficult for you to truly relax in the bedroom. If youre a woman, you struggle to achieve sexual satisfaction as often , and if youre a man you might struggle to perform in the first place.
Your sex drive might dwindle because of these bedroom disappointments and the intimacy in your relationship might suffer as a result.
You May Like: Can I Get Disability For Depression And Anxiety
Work On Your Communication And Emotional Intelligence Skills
The great news is that you did not have to be born assertive or emotionally intelligent. These are both sets of skills that can be learned.
Understanding Anxiety And What It Is Doing To Your Partner
Learning some basic facts about anxiety will help you better understand and support your partner. Psychologist Dave Carbonell, Ph.D. and therapist Dr. Helen Odessky, among other mental health professionals, recommended you keep these ones in mind:
- Anxiety is a real problem, not something made up. It is a mental health issue.
- Anxiety is normal. Everyone has it. It only becomes an issue or disorder if it is severe.
- Anxiety can be a debilitating illness that prevents people from functioning and living a normal life.
- Anxiety makes people experience fight-or-flight reactions and stress to issues that are not life-threatening, including worrying about whether a partner will cheat or leave.
- You cannot fix or cure anxiety.
- Most people who have anxiety wish they didnt have it. They worry about their anxiety being a burden to others.
- There are millions of people who, despite dealing with anxiety, have great relationships and are happy.
- Symptoms of anxiety can occur in waves, consistently or both. People with anxiety disorders or issues can have periods of time when they dont experience symptoms.
- Anxiety is not logical or rational. It causes people to worry about something despite there being no evidence to suggest it is worth worrying about. It also causes them to sometimes act irrationally. Your partner most likely knows this.
- Anxiety is not a weakness.
- Anxiety is treatable. Psychotherapy can relieve symptoms and teach people how to better cope with it.
Also Check: How To End Anxiety Forever
Eat Your Feelings Sort Of
Foods that are high in zinc, Vitamin D, Omega-3 fatty acids, Vitamin B6, and magnesium may positively impact anxiety. Those nutrients all affect your nervous system and mood. Try loading up on wild salmon, dark, leafy greens, oysters, and avocados to reap the tasty health benefits.
Eating a generally healthy diet with lots of veggies and fruit, lean protein, and whole grains should help with overall mental health.
Why We Feel Anxious In Relationships
The tendency to feel anxious about relationships is often a result of the attachment patterns we experienced with our parents or caregivers when we were young. These influence how we understand our needs and go about getting them met. If we experienced anxious-type attachment patterns, we are more likely to experience higher levels of relationship anxiety.
Low self-esteem and a long-standing negative view of yourself can also contribute to feelings of anxiety in a relationship. If you have beliefs that you are not good enough or don’t have as much to offer in a relationship as other people then you will likely think that this is what your partner thinks about you as well.
Low self-esteem and a long-standing negative view of yourself can contribute to feelings of anxiety in a relationship.
Previous romantic relationships will also effect how we view our present ones. When we form relationships, we place a great deal of trust in someone else which can lead us to feel exposed and vulnerable. If a past partner was unfaithful, ended the relationship suddenly or was dishonest then you may grow to expect this from future partners.
The relationship itself can also cause you to feel anxious. It would be natural to experience anxiety if your partner was secretive, critical, controlling or abusive. If your partner is threatening or abusive, details of organisations that can support you can be found at the bottom of the page.
You May Like: How To Reduce Anxiety To Sleep