Encouraging Your Partner To Work With A Therapist Or Try Couples Therapy
When you care for someone, its tempting to support them by trying to act as a surrogate therapist. The problem is youre not a therapist. Trying to play that role will be emotionally draining. It could make you resent your partner.
You are not responsible for providing therapy to your partner. This is why you should gently guide your partner toward working with a therapist. A therapist can help them improve how they deal with anxiety, in and outside a relationship.
If youre in a serious, long-term relationship, consider couples counseling. Some of the anxiety issues might be based in your relationship.
Working with a couples counselor can take the pressure off your partner. Rather than encouraging them to do something on their own, you are inviting them to join you in therapy.
What happens in couples counseling?
In couples counseling, you and your partner will gain insight into your relationship, learn how to effectively resolve conflicts, and improve your overall relationship satisfaction through various therapeutic techniques. Therapists will often assign tasks to the couple so that they can apply the skills learnt in therapy in their daily interactions. Most couples conclude therapy with a better understanding of their relational patterns and heightened communication skills, allowing them to continue their relationship in a much healthier, more fulfilling way.
What Is Relationship Anxiety
Relationship anxiety comes from a variety of sources. It is an unconscious reaction in our relationship that develops from the environment in which we grew up in. Approximately 95% of what we experience as we grow developmentally affects us behaviourally, emotionally, and unconsciously later in life. This early conditioning that forms in our childhood environments determines our relationship anxiety. Relationship anxiety is influenced by the homes we were raised in and those we have constant contact with like family members, friends, caregivers, and teachers to name a few.
These experiences that take place in our childhood environments with regards to relationships form an unconscious relationship map. This map becomes our template for relationships. Individuals can unconsciously copy it or choose to rebel from it and do the opposite. Overall, in any case it is a reaction and not a conscious choice an individual makes.
Signs That Anxiety Is Affecting Your Life
You may be wondering whether relational anxiety is creating problems in your life. It can be difficult to know. After all, everyone experiences anxiety to some degree, so how can you know whether it has gotten to the point of impacting your relationships with family and friends.
The following questions may shed some light on whether this is a problem:
Do you often worry that your partner will leave you for someone else?
Do you trust your partner when he or she is out with friends?
Do you frequently require reassurance of your partners love and devotion?
Do you become extremely anxious at how your partner will respond to a mistake you have made?
Are there certain conversations that you avoid having with your partner because you worry that he or she will become angry with you?
Are you frequently worried that your partner is being unfaithful?
Are you someone who easily becomes jealous?
Are you controlling of your partners time, needing to know in detail where he or she has been and with whom?
Do you resist relying on your partner?
Do you feel uncomfortable when you partner emotionally relies upon you?
Have a number of individuals said that you are difficult to get to know?
If you would like to get a clearer sense of how anxiety is affecting your life, you can complete a three-minute Brief Anxiety Quiz found on the following page.
Recommended Reading: Do Internal Medicine Doctors Treat Anxiety
Signs You Have Relationship Anxiety
When you first start dating someone, youre bound to feel some anxiety . After youve been together a while, these feelings usually start to subside as you become more comfortable. That said, there are times when someone might still feel overly anxious in a relationship, so much so that it starts to put any positive aspects on the back burner.
Here are 20 signs you might be experiencing relationship anxiety :
Causes And 5 Solutions For Relationship Anxiety
- There is more than one type of relationship anxiety, as well as different parts of relationships that may cause anxiety
- Anxiety can be a barrier in relationships, potentially leading to lack of trust/intimacy
- Partners of those with anxiety also have their own struggles
- Those that already have anxiety may be more prone to anxiety in relationships
- The strategies to address relationship anxiety are diverse
Don’t Miss: How To Deal With Health Anxiety
Why Cant I Be Happy In Love
Theres a certain pressure from society to feel excited, happy and very in love when you first start a new relationship. It seems natural to be when some one you meet tickles your fancy.
Unfortunately, not every one feels this way. This is ok. You may have been burned before. You may not be a very excitable person. You may be experiencing underlying anxiety. You may not actually like he person as much as you thought. Or maybe other things in your life are interfering. Whatever the reason may be, youre not the only one.
You might want to feel excited and joyous, but youre noticing that youre spending your time feeling the opposite. This can potentially make you feel guilty. Its important not to do that to yourself. Your feelings are yours and need to be given the attention they deserve, regardless of their origin.
This pandemic is not helpful either, because most people are not seeing each other as often in person anymore. That can potentially take its toll if youre already worried.
So what to do?
Ways To Overcome Dating Anxiety
Anxiety disorders are the most common psychological disorder in the US, affecting 18 percent of the adult population. Social anxiety disorder is the third-most-common psychological disorder, affecting 15 million men and women in the US.
Anxiety disorders are the most common psychological disorder in the US, affecting 18 percent of the adult population. Social anxiety disorder is the third-most-common psychological disorder, affecting 15 million men and women in the US. The DSM-5 defines social anxiety as the persistent fear of one or more situations in which the person is exposed to possible scrutiny by others and fears that he or she may do something or act in a way that will be humiliating or embarrassing. Those who are shy, if not socially anxious, tend to experience social situations in a more reserved, tense and uncomfortable manner, especially when meeting new people. It may take longer to open up and share, which can affect ones ability to form close relationships.
AcceptanceThere is an alternative to being guarded. By focusing on ones sense of self-acceptance and self-worth, it feels less intimidating to share with others. When a person feels good about who they are, their values and what they have to offer, and sees their own experience in a compassionate way, it bolsters them against judgment. By calming their harshest critic, their own inner judge, it opens the door to experiencing closer connections with others.
Also Check: Why Do I Feel Anxiety In My Stomach
Talk About Itand Each Other
Solomon talks a lot about power dynamics in relationships and references research done by Dr. Carmen Knudson-Martin and Dr. Anne Rankin Mahoney on the subject. When contemplating your anxiety or bringing up fears with your partner, think about who holds the power in your relationship. Unbalanced power, like one partner always giving in to the needs of the other at the expense of their own, can fuel anxiety.Trying too hard to be calm about your rocky emotions or not wanting to stir the pot isnt any way to maneuver through a relationship. Often, especially at the start of something new, we avoid confrontation in an effort to appear totally chill and put together. This is a recipe for disaster.Pro tip: Even if there are only inklings of relationship anxiety prickling here and there, bring it up immediately. Start conversations now about both of your worries, needs and wants so if things do get harder later , the language already exists to tackle new anxieties.
Types Of Relationship Anxiety
Researchers at Case Western University discovered these four behaviors associated with relationship anxiety:
- Cold: emotionally deep- someone who avoid intimacy
- Nonassertive: do not have the ability to express needs, wants, and desires
- Exploitable: self-sacrificing and pleasing
- Intrusive: contacting someone constantly to alleviate feelings of anxiety
You May Like: How To Improve Social Anxiety
What Triggers Relationship Anxiety
Now this is an important question to ask yourself. Just because you may have an anxious attachment style, doesnt mean you always have to react in that way. Especially in healthy relationships.
So what triggers relationship anxiety? The answer is, relationship anxiety is triggered by uncertainty and a loss of control.
Every time you feel like you cant control your partners behavior or feelings towards you, you find yourself excessively worrying and seeking validation from your boyfriend.
Thats why for someone who has an anxious attachment style, dating a man who is more on the avoidant spectrum can be triggering. But lets not get into this now, because that deserves its own article.
Dealing With Anxiety Following Arguments With Your Partner
I still remember the first time I had an argument with my now husband.
Having met in college, we didnt become serious in our relationship right away. Something about him, though, I knew that if we did end up moving to the next levelit was going to be a very important relationship.
He was the first person who seemed to accept meeven the parts of me I though were weird and undesirablewe laughed together, we were able to have really deep discussions, we had a lot in common and also enough differences that it kept things exciting. He was a good person and I did NOT want to bring any unhealthy dynamics into our relationship. I didnt want to lose this guy.
And let me tell you, I had experienced unhealthy dynamics in past relationships. When relationships are dysfunctional, each partner plays a part. And I knew my part wellmy anxiety can get the best of me.
I had that kind of anxiety that can worm into your brain and get you replaying and overanalyzing interactions, that kind of anxiety that tells you your biggest fears are truths, that kind of anxiety that tells you negative things about yourself until your heart is pounding and your chest is tight. That kind of anxiety that tells you YOU NEED TO FIX THIS NOW! YOU NEED TO GET ANSWERS NOW!
And when this kind of anxiety pops up in relationships unchecked, it can be very overwhelming for our partners. And really painful for us.
Don’t Miss: How Long Can Anxiety Last
Signs You Have Relationship Anxiety + 5 Ways To Overcome It
Get expert help to overcome your relationship anxiety and truly enjoy the experience of being with your partner. to chat online to someone right now.
I dont think any human being whos attracted to fellow human beings can claim that theyve never felt anxious in a relationship, but relationship anxiety takes things to a whole other level.
What is it, exactly?
Its the direct result of feeling insecure in your relationship. You worry about all kinds of things that could negatively impact or end your relationship.
If youve had bad experiences in the past, your brain will have learned to respond to them in a certain way and expect patterns to repeat themselves.
You might live with constant levels of underlying anxiety about your relationship, or small, seemingly insignificant things might trigger waves of it. You doubt yourself and you doubt your partners feelings toward you.
If you think that what youre experiencing might be relationship anxiety, these telltale signs should help you to identify if this is truly a problem for you.
Communicate Your Struggles With Your Partner
If there is one piece of advice that is always true in relationships, it is this: communication is key. Sharing your struggles with your partner can help you to understand one another and bring the two of you closer together.
Showing vulnerability is not only essential for cultivating a serious relationshipit also shows that you trust them. If your partner loves you, they will want to show you that they are worthy of that trust by helping you when they can.
Another reason to let your partner know that you suffer from anxiety is that they might not know! Telling them gives them a chance to support you. It also gives them insight into your behaviors.
You May Like: Can Anxiety Go Away On Its Own
The Myth Of The Perfect Partner
Constantly wondering if theres someone else out there better for you than the person you found is incredibly detrimental. News flash: Your perfect match does not exist. Esther Perel, relationship therapist , adamantly repeats this fact to her clients. This means that neither you nor your partner can ever expect to handle every situation ideally or rationally. It also means when youve found a great thing, dont worry about greener grass in some other yard.
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.
Don’t Miss: Can Anxiety Cause Rheumatoid Arthritis
Dating Someone With Anxiety: What You Need To Know And Do
Dating someone with anxiety issues or an anxiety disorder can be horribly stressful. Sometimes it can feel like the anxiety is a third person in the relationship, someone who wriggles in between you and your partner. This person constantly sows doubt and confusion.
No one prepared you for this, and you cant choose who you fall for. Theres no high school class on dating, much less dating someone with a mental health condition.
Nonetheless, anxiety doesnt have to break your relationship or put a strain on it to the point where its hard to enjoy. By understanding anxiety in general and how it affects both your partner and your relationship, you can love each other more deeply and connect in a new way. Educating yourself can also relieve a lot of the stress.
This article breaks down everything you need to know and do when dating someone with anxiety: how to support your partner, understanding how the anxiety can impact your relationship, looking out for your own mental health and more. Keep reading if you want to make sure anxiety doesnt become a third person in your relationship.