How Relationship Anxiety Exacerbates Other Problems
Anxiety can compound itself. This means that relationship anxiety may exacerbate other forms of anxiety.
For example, you might experience sleep disturbances, appetite changes, or physical tension. You might also have anxious thoughts about other areas in your life, like your work or health.
Relationship anxiety may trigger you to engage in problematic responses like:
Withdrawing from other relationships or activities.
Neglecting your physical or emotional health.
Pretending that everything is okay .
Frequently engaging in escape behaviors like substance use.
Anxiety Robs You Of Joy
Experiencing joy requires a sense of safety or freedom. Anxiety makes us feel either fearful or limited. Also, a brain and body trained to stress may have a much harder time enjoying sex and intimacy. Negative thoughts and fears impact a persons ability to be present within a relationship, potentially sucking the joy out of a moment.
so dont take yourself too seriously. You can use your sense of humor to overcome anxiety. Remember to laugh and play with your partner. Joy physically heals and comforts your brain in ways that are vital for a healthy relationship.
What Can We Do To Reduce Our Relationship Anxiety
Here are 9 pointers that can help
Remember That No Emotion Lasts ForeverMany, especially those who are sensitive to relationship dynamics due to past unhealthy relationships, can get super anxious in our relationships. When feeling any form of deep heartache, or pain in or about your relationship, you may worry that this feeling might last forever and ever.
In reality, emotions can be fleeting. They visit us and they leave We hold on to the hurt because of the stories we tell ourselves about what happened, or because we are afraid of being hurt again.
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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 go through a breakup or being reluctant to be vulnerable due to previous hurts, like if youve been cheated on in the past.
Here are seven signs you may be experiencing relationship anxiety :
How Can I Overcome Relationship Anxiety
In order to overcome, relationship anxiety, we must shift our focus inward. We have to look at whats going on inside us, separate from our partner or the relationship. What critical inner voices are exacerbating our fears? What defenses do we possess that could be creating distance? This process of self-discovery can be a vital step in understanding the feelings that drive our behavior, and ultimately, shape our relationship. By looking into our past, we can gain better insight into where these feelings come from. What caused us to feel insecure or turned on ourselves in relation to love? You can start this journey for yourself by learning more about the fear of intimacy and how to identify and overcome your critical inner voice.
Learn more strategies for overcoming relationship anxiety in our Webinar with Dr. Lisa Firestone: Understanding and Overcoming Relationship Anxiety.
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Relationship Anxiety: 9 Common Signs And How You Can Overcome It
byLachlan BrownJuly 3, 2019, 2:09 am
Love is a very complicated thing.
Because it can be our reason for living and our cause for hopelessness. Its a pure, universal emotion that can turn us from lovers to bitter, jaded people.
And for many, the double-edged sword of love causes something else:
What exactly is it?
Its a form of anxiety concerning romantic relationships. Instead of being happy, one constantly doubts the strength of their love.
According to Karla Ivankovich, Ph.D., a clinical counselor at OnePatient Global Health in Chicago, its when one or both people in the relationship spend more time in anxious thought about the relationship than tending to the relationship itself.
But if its normal to have concerns about ones relationship, how can you be so sure that what youre experiencing is relationship anxiety?
Well, there are several notable signs to take note of:
My Husband Or Boyfriend Gives Me Anxiety
Many women and men experience anxiety as a result of the behaviors of their significant other. Some of these behaviors include:
- Mean language.
- Hiding things .
- Physical intimidation.
These are all potentially problematic issues that need to be addressed in a relationship for it to work, and all potential causes of anxiety.
In some cases, the anxiety may be for other, unrelated reasons. Some people are afraid that their partner will leave them. Some people experience anxiety because their partner is “too” something – too rich, too good-looking, too busy, too talkative, etc. The partner has qualities that lead to anxiety.
Successfully evaluating the quality of the relationship is critical for determining how to eliminate the anxiety.
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Address Conflict Or Differences Of Opinion
Not addressing relationship conflict can lead to resentment and the breakdown of the relationship. While conflict is unavoidable, its important to manage and deal with it in a healthy way. It may be difficult to express yourself, but start by focusing on using I statements and taking responsibility for your part in the conflict.
New Relationship Anxiety: Signs You May Be Experiencing It
Meeting someone and forming new relationships can be a whirlwind experience! While this can be a thrilling time, it’s okay to feel some pangs of concern over whether or not this relationship will last. At times, it’s normal to have questions or worries about your new love connection, and it’s perfectly natural to wonder where things are headed or if your partner or friend will truly understand and support you.However, if these thoughts start to seep into other areas of your life, youll want to do something about it.
Here are some signs of new relationship anxiety:
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Developing A Robust Emotional Vocabulary Helps You Feel More Understood And Allows For More Fulfilling Relationships
You can start by finding an emotion chart online to refer to when you start to experience big feelings. Identify the emotion and practice just observing it, seeing if the label sticks, without trying to change it. Often in our efforts to change our emotions, we actually do the opposite and the heaviness sticks with us even more. When we can find the words for the emotions that resonate with our inner experience, we can notice how they counter-intuitively ease up and soften as they are validated and embraced.
8. Cultivate CourageTaking accountability for your relationship patterns and your part in the way you show up is a big step towards a more meaningful life. Courage is a trait that youll want to strengthen in order to achieve that. Think of people who personify courage to you, and channel their strength. Engage in behaviors or activities that highlight your own inner courage contribute to a cause, engage in a physical sport that makes you feel capable, or listen to music that reminds you of the strength in humanity. Pave a brave path for yourself. Courage is needed in every successful relationship.
9. Notice Your Stuck Points Everyone has stuck points that tend to trip them up in relationships. Once you notice your own, you can create a plan that will help to shift the course of these ingrained patterns. One step is all it takes to start shifting the way you show up in the world.
Educate Yourself On Anxiety
Anxiety can be complicated to understand. Its often tricky and insidious, and it can convince you that terrible things are imminent.
Reading about anxiety can be a great first way to start. Learning more about the condition, understanding the common symptoms, and exploring new coping skills provide you with an essential foundation for moving forward.
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What Thoughts Perpetuate Relationship Anxiety
The specific critical inner voices we have about ourselves, our partner and relationships are formed out of early attitudes we were exposed to in our family or in society at large. Sexual stereotypes as well as attitudes that our influential caretakers had toward themselves and others can infiltrate our point of view and shade our current perceptions. While, everyones inner critic is different, some common critical inner voices include:
Critical Inner Voices about the Relationship
- People just wind up getting hurt.
- Relationships never work out.
- Men are so insensitive, unreliable, selfish.
- Women are so fragile, needy, indirect.
- He only cares about being with his friends.
- Why get so excited? Whats so great about her anyway?
- Hes probably cheating on you.
- You cant trust her.
- He just cant get anything right.
- Youre never going to find another person who understands you.
- Dont get too hooked on her.
- He doesnt really care about you.
- She is too good for you.
- Youve got to keep him interested.
- Youre better off on your own.
- As soon as she gets to know you, she will reject you.
- Youve got to be in control.
- Its your fault if he gets upset.
- Dont be too vulnerable or youll just wind up getting hurt.
How To Stop Anxiety From Destroying Relationships
There is an abundance of information about how anxiety impacts our healthmentally, emotionally, and physically. Anxiety can cause periods of panic, feelings of fear or overwhelm, and a general sense of unease and tension. It can take over your thoughts and bleed into many areas of your life. Have you considered how anxiety destroys relationships with those closest to you?
If you are feeling a strain on your relationship, anxiety may be playing a role. Could your anxiety be putting your relationship at risk?
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Identify Your Stress Triggers
When you identify and acknowledge your stress triggers, you start to regain control over your life. Once you know what triggers your stress, you can examine each trigger and decide to:
Change the situation
Or, perceive the situation differently
Youll each have individual stress triggerslike a challenging boss or financial concernsas well as triggers that set you off within the relationship.
For example, your partner is never on time, drives too fast, or looks at the computer while youre talking to him. Sometimes, even small annoyances regularly repeated can automatically send you into a state of distress or fuel a stress-riddled argument.
Choose a quiet time when youll be free from distractions. Sit down together and individually make a list of your top five stressors. Then individually make a list of your top five relationship stressors. If you dont have five, thats okay. Just list the ones that come to your mind.
You can make both lists in the same session or address them at different times.
When youre done, share some or all of your triggers with each other in an honest, caring, and authentic way. Brainstorm ways you can help each other respond differently or change a situation thats triggering stress.
Making lifestyle modifications takes time. So, go easy. Decide on one thing you want to change and just start there. When you accomplish the first one, move on to the next.
You Have A Bad Temper
Do you know what makes relationship anxiety awful?
There are several reasons why, but this one is a major factor:
You hurt not only yourself but also the people you hold dearly even if they dont deserve it at all.
No matter how much they express their love and affection, you cant help but make them feel terrible.
Why do you get angry so easily?
Its because your mind never gives you time to rest from your dark thoughts. You know its irrational, but the fear of losing the one you love ruins your mood again and again.
In other words:
You become so mentally exhausted that all it takes to go berserk is a minor inconvenience.
If your partner comes home late due to work or school, you think its the end of the world that you are no longer important in their life.
If they fail to reply to you within a day, you shout and accuse them of cheating or being an ungrateful partner.
Therapist Kayce Hodos told Bustle that anger is rooted in fear and fear is just another word for anxiety.
Relationship anxiety fools you into thinking that things must always go according to plan. You think only in ideal terms instead of being realistic.
Once your partner says or does something that fails to meet your high expectations, you feel that your relationship has become strained.
And once you feel bad, you say painful things or lay a hand on your lover.
They might forgive you, but remember this:
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Change Starts With One Step
Notice your patterns are keeping you stuck? One step is all it takes to shifting the way you show up to the world. Therapy with an attachment informed therapist will help identify the areas that youre getting tangled in, and help you untangle the confusion or messes youve gotten stuck in. If you notice youre lonely beneath the facade, that is also something to address in therapy. You need connections, and you can learn ways to cultivate them.
You Are Demanding Or Controlling Of Your Partner
This is another sign of relationship anxiety that can be related to a mismatch in attachment style. People with an insecure attachment style will often act controlling toward their partner. The controlling behavior is often possessive and jealous and stems from personal insecurities, especially about the relationship. Addressing your attachment issues will help you cope with your general relationship anxiety.
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Can Anxiety Ruin Relationships
Relationship anxiety is inherently destructive.
The partner struggling with anxiety will be:
- Looking through a filtered lens of anxiety or nervousness.
- Having a hard time being mindful or enjoying the immediate moment with their partner.
- In some cases, experiencing reduced sex drive and libido.
- Struggling with communication challenges.
The partner experiencing the other end will:
- Feel less than trusted, confused, and maybe even offended.
- Find the experience too stressful too make the trip, feeding back into the anxiety.
- Start feeling stress and perhaps traumatized, depending on the circumstances.
These situations can easily snowball into much bigger deals than necessary, leaving both lovers involved wondering how they got there and how to get out.
A Therapist Who Specializes In Anxiety Treatment Can Help You Further Understand Anxiety And Help You Stop Harming Yourself And Your Relationship
© Copyright 2022 GoodTherapy.org. All rights reserved. Permission to publish granted by Kristine Tye, MA, LMFT, Anxiety Topic Expert Contributor
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.
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How Does Relationship Anxiety Affect Us
As we shed light into our past, we quickly realize there are many early influences that have shaped our attachment pattern, our psychological defenses and our critical inner voice. All of these factors contribute to our relationship anxiety and can lead us to sabotage our love lives in many ways. Listening to our inner critic and giving in to this anxiety can result in the following actions:
- Cling When we feel anxious, our tendency may be to act desperate toward our partner. We may stop feeling like the independent, strong people we were when we entered the relationship. As a result, we may find ourselves falling apart easily, acting jealous or insecure or no longer engaging in independent activities.
- Control When we feel threatened, we may attempt to dominate or control our partner. We may set rules about what they can and cant do just to alleviate our own feelings of insecurity or anxiousness. This behavior can alienate our partner and breed resentment.
- Reject If we feel worried about our relationship, one defense we may turn to is aloofness. We may become cold or rejecting to protect ourselves or to beat our partner to the punch. These actions can be subtle or overt, yet it is almost always a sure way to force distance or to stir up insecurity in our partner.
Ways To Control Relationship Anxiety
With that in mind, controlling your relationship anxiety has more to do with you than it does with them, and you can’t expect them to contribute. The following are basic strategies for making sure your relationship can heal:
These are both relationship tips and anxiety tips because in some ways they’re very similar.
However, you want to also address your anxiety like it is its own separate condition because in some ways it is. Even when has to do with your relationship, anxiety is still anxiety, and so it’s important that you figure out how to control it and improve your quality of life.
Relationship anxiety is quite common. An individual may already have anxiety in relationships, or it can manifest that way over time. Often this type of anxiety needs to be addressed in two parts â first, addressing the relationship, and second, addressing the anxiety itself.
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Ask How You Can Best Support Them
How can I support you right now?
This question is so simple, but it allows your partner to reflect on precisely what they need from you. They may want practical advice. They might just want to vent or express how they feel. They might want you to take a specific action.
In some cases, they may not even know what they need. Thats okay, too. This question eliminates your need to guess how you should help and identifies what they most want.