Don't worry: Relationship anxiety is completely normal. Whether you've been dating someone for a short time, are longtime partners, or you've been married for a few years, feeling stressed about the state of your romantic partnership isn't at all unusual. To learn more about how to deal with this common relationship problem, we asked Alysha Jeney, a counselor who runs her own private practice, called Modern Love Counselingto weigh in on the topic.
Meet the Expert. According to Jeney, one of the root causes of anxiety is fear. When it comes to relationship anxiety, some of the fears whether they're conscious or subconscious could include "rejection, abandonment, fear of being authentic, fear of intimacy, or unresolved trauma from past relationships," says Jeney.
However, it is possible that what you're feeling might not be anxiety, but rather, excitement as the two trigger similar emotional responses, explains Jeney. How do you know if you have relationship anxiety? Fear is normal. Being excited or nervous about a relationship is normal," says Jeney. In that case, your relationship anxiety has reached an unhealthy level.
If you have relationship anxiety, there are some relatively simple things you can do to overcome it—and that doesn't necessarily involve ending the relationship you're in.
Instead, Jeney advises reflecting inward in order to address your anxieties. Jeney advises anyone experiencing anxiety to "check with yourself, understand your triggers, your fears, your excitements, and your needs, and then share them with your partner.
Finally, other ways to overcome relationship anxiety include "seeking relationship coaching or therapy, reading self-help books, and practicing emotional awareness and mindfulness at work," advises Jeney. Megan Beauchamp. Megan Beauchamp is a Los Angeles-based writer and editor with over seven years of experience in digital publishing in the home interior and lifestyle space. MyDomaine's Editorial Guidelines.
Related Stories.If you have an anxiety disorder, then you already know it can make life way more difficult than it needs to be. It likely impacts how you feel at work, while out with friends, and it may even keep you up at night.
5 Ways to Stop Relationship Anxiety and Paranoia
But anxiety can also affect your relationship by introducing stress, doubt, worry — and the mistakes and arguments that can come about as a result. When you see the world through an anxiety-riddled lens, it can be tough to know what's worth worrying about, and what isn't. This might lead you to feel insecure in your relationshipto shut down during arguments, or to come off as passive aggressive when communicating with your partner. While it's definitely not your fault, it's always helpful to bear in mind how anxiety might be coloring the way you see things, so that you can start shifting in a healthier direction.
If it feels like anxiety is truly holding you back, you might even decide to treat it — both for your sake and the sake of your relationship. One of the worst side effects of anxiety is that sense of being "checked out" or not fully present in your daily life.
And while that sucks in and of itself, it can also have a negative impact on your relationship. For one thing, it can make it "difficult for [your] partner to feel truly connected," clinical psychologist Dr. Paul DePompotells Bustle.
'I Have Relationship Anxiety—Here's How It Affects My Dating Life'
And as a result, you two might have a few arguments due to those feelings of neglect. It is, however, a problem that can be fixed. If you have anxiety, you can make a conscious effort to remain present whenever you're together, Dr.
DePompo says. You can also get support from a loved one or a therapist, who will teach you ways to cope with your anxiety, and feel more grounded as a result. Since anxiety can cause you to feel like your life is spinning out of control, it only stands to reason that you won't necessarily feel secure. And that can lead to trust issues in your relationship. Even though it's stemming from anxiety, this habit can still impact your relationship, and cause your partner to second guess things.
But that's just one more reason to look for ways to control anxious feelings and thoughts, so they don't become overwhelming.
And that can start to leak into your relationship, making you seem controlling or even manipulative to your partner. While that's obviously not your goal, it can be difficult for you both to deal with — especially if you're yet to go to therapy, to learn healthier ways to soothe yourself. Do you tend to overthink everything? This is a major sign of anxiety, and it can impact how comfortable you feel when it comes to opening up to others — including your partner.
But if there's one person on the planet you should be honest with, it's going to be your partner. While it can take some getting used to, and some major trust, try to stop "editing" yourself, Dr. It may be difficult at first, but with a supportive partner, you'll see it's definitely worth it. Another side effect of anxiety is that it becomes all-too-easy to jump to conclusions, assume the worst, and take things personally as a result.
But it's important not to let it get out of hand with your partner. It can help to train your brain — possibly with the help of a therapist — to look for these outside explanations first, before jumping to conclusions and picking fights with your partner. Relationships need to grow and change, in order to remain healthy. But this can be incredibly difficult for someone with anxiety.
If this is you, make a point to try things regardless of the certainty you will like them — let it be about the experience and shaking it up over the perfectionism of 'the right' choices. While your partner should definitely be aware of your anxiety, and be as supportive as possible, it doesn't help to put the pressure on them to cure it. That's up to you. By taking great care of yourself, adopting a few soothing hobbies like yoga or meditationseeing a therapist, or even taking medication, you can cope for yourself.
Since anxiety can lead to feelings of irritabilityyou might find yourself lashing out at your partner or responding to them in passive aggressive ways, Williamson says. You might also notice that you can't have a conversation with them without it quickly going downhill.Love is probably the most powerful emotion possible, and when you start to experience anxiety over that love, it's not uncommon for it to have a profound impact both on your relationship and on your quality of life.
Relationship anxiety is complicated and means different things to different people, but there is no denying that once you have it, you'll do anything you can to stop it. So many things can cause anxiety in relationships, and often that anxiety differs depending on what brought it on.
Abusive relationships cause anxiety for reasons that are completely different than those that develop anxiety because of problems raising children. Some people have anxiety first that leaks into their relationship in other ways.
It is such an immense topic that entire books have been written about how and why some people develop relationship anxiety and the challenges that they go through. When we talk about relationship anxiety, we may be talking about any of the following:. Many women and men experience anxiety as a result of the behaviors of their significant other. Some of these behaviors include:. 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 boyfriend, husband, girlfriend, wife has qualities that lead to anxiety. Successfully evaluating the quality of the relationship is critical for determining how to eliminate the anxiety. Some relationship anxiety has little to do with the partner and more to do with the fear of being in a relationship in the first place. Known as a "fear of commitment," it is very common for those that:. Some people have a fear of being in a relationship that cannot be easily explained.
This type of anxiety is a challenge not only because of the anxiety itself but also because of the way it may harm potentially good relationships. We explore this even more on this page, and we encourage you to read it if you're looking for tips to help someone with anxiety. But certainly, anxiety doesn't just stress the person that is struggling.
It can cause distress in the relationship as a whole as well. Dating someone with anxiety or marrying someone with anxiety can be confusing and it is not uncommon to need to learn ways to overcome it. For many, however, the issue can be placed on the quality and experiences in the relationship itself.
It is not necessarily about a single behavior of a partner or a broad fear of commitment. Sometimes, anxiety just arises over time as the relationship progresses due to a number of different factors. That is what we are focusing on here, below, as it is common in relationships of all ages, styles, and lengths. It can arise in happy marriages and it can arise in unhappy short-term dating. It is always a good idea to evaluate it to determine what the next steps may be.
There are very serious issues that cause anxiety and much less serious issues that can cause anxiety. Yet all anxiety is a struggle, and when you find yourself with relationship anxiety it's something that you want to cure. Some of the universal causes of relationship anxiety include:. Easily the most common cause of anxiety is uncertainty about the future of the relationship.Intimate relationships are a mirror, reflecting the best and the worst of all of us.
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.
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. This is completely okay — there is plenty of good that comes with loving you to make up for this — but it may mean that you have to keep making sure those resources are topped up. The tendency can be for partners of anxious people to dismiss their own worries, but this might mean that they do themselves out of the opportunity to feel nurtured and supported by you — which would be a huge loss for both of you.
Ask, hold, touch. Anxious thoughts are supremely personal, but let your partner in on them. You will often be thinking about what you need to do to feel safe, what feels bad for you and what could go wrong.
5 Causes and 5 Solutions for Relationship Anxiety
You will also have an enormous capacity to think of other people — anxious people do — but make sure that you let you partner in on the thoughts that arrest you. Keeping things too much to yourself has a way of widening the distance between two people. Anxiety has a way of creeping into everything. Because you will be. Anxiety can be a rogue like that. Worry if you have to, but then see it for what it is — anxiety, not truth. You are loved and you have anxiety and you are okay. Or lust?
Or am I kidding myself? What if my heart gets broken into tiny jagged pieces? What if we book the holiday and the airline goes on strike? What if one of us gets sick? What if both of us get sick? Or pay the mortgage? What if he gets sick of me? I know you know how it sounds. You probably already know this, but what to do about it. So for example, worry from each day and after that, breathe, let go and act as though things will be fine.
When you focus on every detail, things will get wobbly. Agree on what that will look like.Relationships can be one of the most pleasurable things on the planet… but they can also be a breeding ground for anxious thoughts and feelings. Relationship anxiety can arise at pretty much any stage of courtship. For many single people, just the thought of being in a relationship can stir up stress.
In fact, as things get closer between a couple, anxiety can get even more intense. All this worrying about our relationships can make us feel pretty alone. It can lead us to create distance between ourselves and our partner. At its worst, our anxiety can even push us to give up on love altogether. Learning more about the causes and effects of relationship anxiety can help us to identify the negative thinking and actions that can sabotage our love lives.
How can we keep our anxiety in check and allow ourselves to be vulnerable to someone we love?
How To Identify And Overcome Relationship Anxiety
The more we value someone else, the more we stand to lose. On many levels, both conscious and unconscious, we become scared of being hurt. To a certain degree, we all possess a fear of intimacy. This critical inner voice makes us turn against ourselves and the people close to us.
It can promote hostile, paranoid and suspicious thinking that lowers our self-esteem and drives unhealthy levels of distrust, defensiveness, jealousy and anxiety.
Basically, it feeds us a consistent stream of thoughts that undermine our happiness and make us worry about our relationship, rather than just enjoying it. When we get in our heads, focusing on these worried thoughts, we become incredibly distracted from real relating with our partner. We may start to act out in destructive ways, making nasty comments or becoming childish or parental toward our significant other. For example, imagine your partner stays at work late one night.
Can you really believe her? She probably prefers being away from you. You may act angry or cold, which then sets your partner off to feel frustrated and defensive. Instead of enjoying the time you have together, you may waste an entire night feeling withdrawn and upset with each other. When it comes to all of the things we worry ourselves about in relationships, we are much more resilient than we think.
In truth, we can handle the hurts and rejections that we so fear. We can experience pain, and eventually, heal. However, our critical inner voice tends to terrorize and catastrophize reality. It will completely distort reality and undermine our own strength and resilience.
Just put your guard up and never be vulnerable to anyone else. The defenses we form and critical voices we hear are based on our own unique experiences and adaptations. When we feel anxious or insecure, some of us have a tendency to become clingy and desperate in our actions. We may feel possessive or controlling toward our partner in response.
Conversely, some of us will feel easily intruded on in our relationships. We may retreat from our partners, detach from our feelings of desire. We may act out by being aloof, distant or guarded.Anxious In Love? Tips To Cope If You Are An Anxious Attachment Type...
These patterns of relating can come from our early attachment styles. Our attachment pattern is established in our childhood attachments and continues to function as a working model for relationships in adulthood.
It influences how each of us reacts to our needs and how we go about getting them met. Different attachment styles can lead us to experience different levels of relationship anxiety.
You can learn more about what your attachment style is and how it impacts your romantic relationships here.But, then, it starts to preoccupy your mind and you start feeling anxious and wonder if he still likes you. Does this sound familiar? Your anxiety worsens and you start getting paranoid. It becomes a becomes a self-fulfilling, self-sabotaging prophecy. However, the real problem might not be your new partner. When something happens in your present dating life that triggers a memory of abandonment that happened in the past, take the time to look at your emotional responses.
Maybe you had the experience of being left alone for too long as a child, which later made you prone to bein overly anxious in relationships as an adult. There is a point where an event like being left alone for too long as a child becomes too much for the mind to bear and so we split it off.
This is what psychologists mean when they speak of dissociative experiences. One of the potential long-term problems with a traumatic experience is that it leaves you with triggers — like sudden noises, shocks, fears, feelings of anticipation or anything that stirs up old memories — that can be activated at any time. So how do you stop these old traumatic wounds from resurfacing again and ruining things in your new relationship? How do you break the cycle of relationship anxiety and deal with your emotional baggage?
Consider working on these things confidentially with a psychotherapist. You need to feel safe and in a confidential space to explore these things. Try to become more aware of what happens to you in these present moments when the abandonment fears flare up. Try to trace the experience and journey you go through, including the moments when you slip into the altered anxiety-filled traumatic state. By doing these things, by following the thread of thoughts and associations around the labyrinths of consciousness, you can become better at knowing what happens to you that can turn you from a calm person into full of anxiety.
You start spotting various moments when things changed and veered from one thing ordinary and non-threatening into something anxious. When things break down in ordinary social ways which may involve some guilt, you may frequently use faulty memory as the reason.
There will be times when people forget things and not all memory lapses mean something. But, there is a possibility for you to be more honest about the choices you make. You might tell your friends that you forgot, but you can be clear with yourself. If you are serious about being able to manage your emotions better so you can develop your relationships and not have them break down at the first sign of anxiety, then it helps to develop a more thorough and honest approach to yourself.
This guest article originally appeared on YourTango. Find help or get online counseling now.Here's how one woman learned to dial hers back. My last boyfriend was an adrenaline fiend and seemingly never ruffled.
I am often drawn to men who move through the world with ease. But it also made explaining my irrational fears to him somewhat challenging, especially when they related to our relationship. I like regular texts, phone calls, and dates. There are many reasons you might have relationship anxiety; for me, two manipulative partners early in my adult life set the tone for future fears.
Ivankovich also cites anxious attachments to parents, toxic exes, poor communication, and bad advice as triggers. Facebook doesn't help. If you have relationship anxiety, your first instinct will probably be to cover it up—especially if you know your fears are likely overblown. After all, no one wants to act emotional for no reason or seem overbearing. Is the relationship lacking an emotionally intimate connection?
Is the relationship lacking a physically intimate connection? As a partner, this is where I fell short. Anxiety can be hard to put into words; it feels messy, frantic, confusing. When I was experiencing a medical crisis earlier this year, I downplayed the severity of the issue to my long-distance boyfriend.
Ivankovich says when you are experiencing a trigger for anxiety, you may behave in ways that can exacerbate the problem and actually push your partner away. I did try talking to my ex about my relationship anxiety—but in whispers, not direct requests.
I had no idea where to start. Tell them what you think you need to feel more secure. Offer your partner insight into your thoughts. I ultimately did—way later and after lots of unnecessary, damaging worry. Ivankovich says relationship anxiety is your problem, too, since the repercussions affect both partners.
That means listening closely, asking questions, always being honest, and communicating more often than might seem necessary to you. For us, that was certainly the case. Whether it was the wrong person or the wrong situation, my ex-partner never felt all in for me.
We had a three-hour time difference, busy lives, and demanding careers, so the odds were stacked against us. In the demise of our relationship, I learned an enduring lesson about what I need in a partner. By acknowledging that I am prone to relationship anxiety, I've realize that unstable bonds are the opposite of what I need. I plan to speak up about my needs earlier when dating someone new—and look specifically for a partner who wants to be consistently all in. By Jenna Birch August 06, Save Pin FB ellipsis More.
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