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I don’t think any human being who’s attracted to fellow human beings can claim that they’ve never felt anxious in a relationship, but relationship anxiety takes things to a whole other level.
What is it, exactly?
It’s 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 you’ve 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 partner’s feelings toward you.
If you think that what you’re experiencing might be relationship anxiety, these telltale signs should help you to identify if this is truly a problem for you.
Speak to an accredited and experienced therapist to help you overcome your relationship anxiety. You may want to try speaking to one via BetterHelp.com for quality care at its most convenient.
Signs Of Relationship Anxiety
1. You believe the end is nigh.
No matter how well your relationship is going, you can’t shift the nagging feeling that it’s all about to go a bit “Titanic” and hit an iceberg before sinking with you on board.
Even the most insignificant disagreement between you and your partner has your stomach churning with fear that your chances of a happily-ever-after have well and truly bitten the dust.
2. You’re jealous.
Jealousy is a pretty standard emotion, but no relationship can survive if it gets out of hand.
You showing signs of jealousy won’t necessarily mean that your partner will change their behavior, and it may well push them away. But if there’s one thing for sure, it’s that it will definitely make you miserable.
If you’ve been betrayed in the past, it’s no wonder that you get jealous, but it will definitely make you anxious.
3. You’re controlling.
Your anxiety means that you’re desperate to control your relationship to stop yourself from getting hurt. You feel that if you’ve got a handle on exactly what’s going on then everything will be okay.
4. You’re too accommodating.
It might sound counterintuitive, but one way in which you control things is by always going the extra mile to please your partner and be the person you think they want you to be.
That way, they can have no good reasons to bail on the relationship. After all, they get what they want every time, so what is there to complain about?
5. You’re reluctant to commit.
This one is all about self-preservation. While it might not seem all that logical, you may be reluctant to lower your protective walls and take steps toward a more serious relationship.
This might be because you’re scared that the relationship will end and you don’t want to risk getting hurt.
Perhaps you’ve been burned when you’ve committed to someone in the past, and this is feeding your anxiety now.
6. You question your compatibility.
Relating closely to your commitment phobia, you try to find reasons why you and your partner are simply not compatible.
Sometimes, the things you come up with are so small that they could easily be overcome, but you don’t see them that way. You see them as landmines just waiting to be stepped on.
(Of course, your anxiety may also be based on genuine differences that could prove too big to reconcile, such as beliefs around marriage or children or where you want to live in the long run. These anxieties are slightly different to the more general and vague ones this article mainly discusses.)
7. You get angry.
You’re constantly on edge, which means it’s easy for you to lose your temper when something happens that really triggers your anxiety. You’re always expecting something to go wrong, so when it does, it’s difficult not to explode.
Because you’re insecure in the relationship, however, after you’ve lost your temper, you probably worry that your outburst is going to change how they feel about you.
8. You ask a lot of questions.
You’re never content to accept an explanation. You ask question after question and analyze the answers, turning over their words in your head to try to find hidden meaning in them.
9. You don’t enjoy sex as much.
Your anxiety about the relationship makes it difficult for you to truly relax in the bedroom. If you’re a woman, you struggle to achieve sexual satisfaction as often (if at all), and if you’re 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.
10. You come across as cold.
Your relationship anxiety might mean that your partner thinks you’re cold, stand-offish, or distant. You’re defensive, and don’t like to show cracks in your armor in case they manage to penetrate through, and then hurt you.
11. Or you’re too clingy.
On the flip side, your relationship anxiety might mean you go entirely the other way. You might need constant physical and verbal affection and reassurances that they still love you, and haven’t changed their mind since they last said it 5 minutes ago.
12.You’re afraid that your partner wants to break up with you.
You find it hard to trust your partner, so you constantly think that they’re going to leave you. When they’re away, you think that they’re cheating on you. Even if they’re not having an affair, what’s stopping them from breaking your heart any moment now?
You drive yourself crazy with these thoughts and always assume that your partner doesn’t care about you enough to stay. Even when they tell you that they love you, you can’t believe them.
13. You overanalyze everything that they do and say.
There are probably no hidden messages in the way your partner behaves and in what they say. Yet you still analyze everything that they do and say until you find a hidden message. Searching for hidden meaning means that you don’t really trust your partner. You doubt their feelings for you, so you constantly search for proof of your doubts.
14. You think that you’re not good enough.
The reason you don’t believe that your partner loves you might be because you don’t consider yourself good enough to be loved. You don’t love yourself, so you don’t believe that anyone else could love you either. Your self-esteem issues are standing in the way of you experiencing love.
15. You need constant reassurance.
Your partner always has to reassure you that you’re lovable and that they care about you. You still find it hard to believe them even when they do. Maybe you sometimes wonder what they see in you. They try to explain that you’re an amazing person, but you just don’t see yourself that way. So, you doubt that it’s true and this won’t stop until you work on yourself and overcome your anxiety.
How To Get Over Your Relationship Anxiety
Relationship anxiety is a horrible thing to experience. It means you aren’t able to enjoy the magic of being in love, because you are so worried that your partner will fall out of it.
Ironically, all the negative energy you’re exuding while worrying about your relationship might end up being the reason your partner decides to end it.
Luckily, there’s plenty you can do to calm your thoughts and start readjusting your mindset so that you’re able to relish your relationship rather than living in a constant state of stress.
Here are some simple ways to help you overcome relationship anxiety.
Seek help from a professional.
Talking through your thoughts and feelings helps many people to deal with them and, in your case, calm the storm that’s raging in your mind.
You could talk to your partner (as we’ll discuss shortly), but maybe you don’t feel comfortable enough for that just yet. It might be easier for you to speak to someone who is entirely impartial and trained to help people like you with their relationship challenges.
A good option for many, as a starting point, is the online therapy from BetterHelp.com. When you connect with one of their therapists, you’ll have a caring ear waiting to listen to you, and once they have heard your concerns, they’ll be able to provide tailored guidance to help you manage this anxiety and reduce it to something that doesn’t affect your life so much.
If you’d like to explore this option further, speak to someone now.
1. Remember that it’s all going to be okay.
When you’re in the midst of a relationship that is falling apart, it can easily feel like the end of the world. With all those hormones rushing around, it can be incredibly hard to keep things in perspective and see the light at the end of the tunnel.
It’s as simple as remembering that, whatever happens, it’s all going to be okay. Think back. You’ve probably experienced heartbreak before, and you got through it.
You were absolutely fine before you met your partner, and, tough as it might be, life will go on after them should things ever go south.
Your life will not end if your relationship does, and being in a relationship is not the be all and end all. A relationship can be a wonderful thing, but it never defines you.
If someone doesn’t want to be with you, there’s nothing you can do about that. You deserve someone who would move heaven and earth to be with you.
When panic starts to rise, just whisper to yourself that everything will be okay. If you say it to yourself enough, sooner or later you’ll start to truly believe it.
The less you fear the end of the relationship, the more you’ll be able to relax into it and just enjoy it in the moment.
2. Talk to your partner about how you’re feeling.
A lack of communication or miscommunication is often a trigger for relationship anxiety, so it’s best to be proactive in talking to your partner.
If you’re making plans to see each other, be the one to push for concrete details such as when and where. This doesn’t mean you always have to make the decisions (though you’ll want to share that responsibility), but it does mean being the organizer in your relationship.
You might say that this is merely an extension of being too controlling, but it’s not. You’re not driving every single little thing by yourself, but you are giving your thoughts on the direction of travel.
If your relationship is more established, but you still feel anxious about its future, speak to your partner from a place of honesty and openness.
Explain how you feel and tell them that it’s not them that’s causing it, but rather your past experiences. Try to give examples of situations that you find difficult and how they might be able to allay your fears.
If they are serious about the relationship, they will want to do what they can to give you peace of mind.
Expressing your feelings might also help them to react more compassionately when your anxiety causes you to do something that upsets them. They will know that you don’t necessarily mean what you say (or do) all the time and that they can help you overcome your feelings by not adding fuel to the fire.
And the very act of telling your partner about your anxiety can make you feel better straight away. You’ll feel like a weight has been lifted from your shoulders, and if they respond positively and with love, you’ll feel more confident that they aren’t going anywhere.
3. Nurture your independence.
When you’re in love, you can feel like you’d quite happily live in your partner’s pocket if you possibly could, but losing yourself in your relationship is a sure-fire way of upping your levels of relationship anxiety.
If you begin to define yourself only in terms of your relationship, you put too much pressure on it to succeed in the long run. After all, who would you be if you were to break up?
Make sure you consciously do things just for you and keep a life that is separate from your partner. Work to preserve the things that make you unique and were probably the reason that your partner was attracted to you in the first place.
Your partner is not your “other half,” and they don’t complete you. You’re already complete just as you are. Being in a relationship is fantastic, but it’s not essential to your happiness.
4. Consciously stop yourself from analyzing their every move.
People make throwaway comments. They don’t consider every word they say or analyze the ways in which every text message they send could be interpreted by your anxious brain. So, you shouldn’t allow the small things to affect your state of mind.
Don’t search for hidden meaning in what your partner says and does. People don’t usually think that much about what they say and do. If you’re in a relationship, you should be honest and trust one another. When you have that, it’s pointless to consider what your partner meant or wanted to say. They’ll just say what they mean, and odds are, they already do that.
You just find it difficult to trust them because of your anxiety. So, you spend a lot of time analyzing a simple text message that probably doesn’t require you to read between the lines.
People aren’t always straightforward, so their words and actions can have a hidden agenda or meaning. However, this is usually not someone who is in a relationship with you. In addition, stressing about deciphering someone’s messages and behavior is pointless and exhausting.
5. Remember that you control your mind; it doesn’t control you.
You’re not at the mercy of your mind. You have the power to steer it, shape it, and train it. Once you’ve realized that, you may well still experience anxiety, but you’ll be able to recognize it for what it is and allow it to pass, rather than allowing it to consume you and guide your behavior.
Acknowledge that you have relationship anxiety and recognize it when it happens. When it does, remind yourself of all this and know that it will pass. You don’t have to believe in the thoughts that your anxiety is making you have. Recognize them as symptoms and let them go.
It can be easier said than done, but you have to try to be in control of your mind. Challenge your negative thoughts when they occur, and you’ll learn how later on in the article. For now, remember the signs of relationship anxiety and know how to recognize them when you experience them.
You’re not crazy for thinking that your partner wants to leave you, but why do you think that? Did they really do or say something that indicated that they want to break up? Or are you letting your mind wander off to the worst-case scenario at the first sign of trouble?
6. Identify the root of the problem.
Why are you having these anxious thoughts in the first place? Identifying why they happen can help you put an end to them. Usually, the root of the problem lies somewhere in the past.
Were your past partners loyal to you? Did your family show you enough love growing up?
During childhood, we develop our attachment style. Those that were lucky enough to grow up in a loving home usually develop a secure attachment style. If your needs weren’t met consistently, or you were encouraged to grow up independently, you might have developed a less secure attachment style. If you’re afraid of commitment, you likely have an avoidant attachment style. On the other hand, you might have developed an anxious attachment style if you always fear that your partner will leave you.
Think back to your past relationships too. If a previous partner cheated on you or betrayed your trust in some other way, it makes sense that you find it hard to trust your new partner.
Dig deep and seek the help of a therapist in overcoming your prior traumas. You don’t have to let your past define your future or your present. Change can be difficult, but with effort and persistence, it’s always possible.
7. Self-soothe when anxiety happens.
Your anxious thoughts can lead to physical reactions such as feeling lightheaded, experiencing chest tightness, or having an increased heart rate. Find ways to self-soothe when this happens. Yoga, meditation, and deep breathing are just some of the techniques that you can use.
Find what works best for you though. Maybe taking a hot bath, listening to a certain song, or drinking a glass of wine will remind you to stop and breathe. Don’t turn to bad habits such as smoking or drinking too much. As long as something’s not bad for you though, you can use it to self-soothe when the anxiety happens.
Maybe you could go for a walk or sweat the stress away in the gym. Working out is good for your mind and for your body. It’s one of the ways to deal with the anxiety that can benefit you in more than one way.
You can also try venting to your friends, but don’t overwhelm them with your problems. If they repeatedly tell you how you can deal with the situation, and you still complain about it, they’ll get tired of listening.
8. Work on trusting your partner.
You will have to learn to trust your partner if you want your relationship to succeed. Work on your trust issues with a therapist in order to achieve this. Communicate with your partner openly and honestly about your fears and anything else that may be of concern to you.
If they wanted to cheat on you or leave you, they would have already done that. How can you know that they won’t do it eventually? Well, you can’t know, you must trust. Relationships are built on mutual trust and respect.
Think of it this way. If your partner wants to cheat on you or leave you, they’ll do it whether you stress about it or not. So, there’s no point in worrying about it. They’re with you, so they probably don’t intend to do these things anyway.
If they have given you no reason to question their loyalty and feelings for you, don’t doubt them. If you do, you might push them away with your lack of trust.
Try not to jump to conclusions when something happens. When they don’t answer the phone, don’t immediately assume that they’re with someone else. Maybe they’re stuck in traffic, or they’re not near the phone right now. When you’re having doubts, consider whether they are really the most likely explanations.
9. Give yourself and your relationship the benefit of the doubt.
What if your anxious thoughts aren’t true? Always ask yourself this when you experience them. Maybe you can’t yet fully trust your partner, but you can give them the benefit of the doubt. Instead of jumping to a negative conclusion, consider the alternatives and try to see things in a more positive light.
Give yourself the benefit of the doubt too. Are you really as bad as you think you are? Is your partner going to leave you because you’re not good enough, or is that just what your insecurities are making you think?
Whenever you come to a negative conclusion, think of other possible explanations that might not have crossed your mind right away. Always try to consider whether you came to a certain conclusion based on actual proof or based on your fears and insecurities.
As already mentioned, you should control your mind, not let it control you. Always try to look on the bright side of life because your mind might be making things darker than they truly are.
10. Work on your self-esteem.
You’ll need less reassurance from your partner once you boost your self-esteem. Work on your self-esteem because you deserve to feel good in your body. Be your own biggest fan and encourage yourself to grow and improve. Give yourself credit and reward yourself for your progress. Set realistic goals and work on achieving them.
Put time and effort into taking care of yourself too. You might be feeling so bad about yourself that you think it’s pointless to invest time and energy into taking care of yourself. This is just your low self-esteem talking, and you can increase it with effort.
Regular exercise could make you feel better in your body, and not just because of the physical results. Also, try to avoid stress and find happiness in doing things that make you feel fulfilled. Find what you are good at doing and do it as often as possible. Turn it into a hobby that will make you feel more accomplished, and in turn, more confident.
Remind yourself of all the things that you’ve accomplished so far too. You’re probably not giving yourself enough credit, so think about what you’ve been through. You probably accomplished a lot even if doesn’t seem that way. Maybe you finished school, made friends, got a job, made a delicious meal, or helped a stranger. Make sure to think of everything, even the little things, and let it increase your self-esteem.
11. Look for evidence and alternatives to your assumptions.
Don’t overthink things to the point that they overwhelm you. When you make an assumption, such as that your partner is going to leave you, look for evidence. Is there anything that backs up your theory?
When you think of some things, consider whether there’s actual proof. It could be that your mind is overthinking and imagining worst-case scenarios.
Before you believe the evidence, consider alternatives to your assumptions. Could another explanation be equally or even more possible than the one you first thought of?
When you see your partner talking to another person of their preferred gender, your mind might jump straight to cheating. Could it be that this person is their relative, their coworker, or even a salesperson trying to sell them something? It’s not what would first cross your mind, so don’t believe your first thought. Most importantly, don’t let it consume you without actual proof.
If your partner is clearly flirting with this person, that’s a small but valid reason to doubt their fidelity. However, if they’ve given you no reason to doubt them, don’t constantly assume that they’re cheating or trying to leave you. Look for other possible explanations and consider whether they’re even more realistic.
12. Stop the negative self-talk.
You should talk about yourself the way you would talk about a best friend or someone else that you love. However, you probably don’t love yourself; instead, you engage in negative self-talk. Stop doing this.
Recognize the negative self-talk, challenge your thoughts, and let them go without letting them consume you. Make a conscious choice to talk about yourself in a positive way. Focus on everything that’s great about you. If there are things that you don’t like, don’t let them make you feel bad. Work on them instead because you can be the person that you want to be.
You’re probably already just fine, and you’re the only one who thinks otherwise. Don’t be a prisoner of your own mind. Learn to feel good about yourself and love yourself for who you are.
13. Work on leading a fulfilling life.
It’s easy to let your mind wander when you don’t have a lot on your plate. So, fill up your schedule and occupy your mind with things that you enjoy doing.
Learn a new skill, discover a hidden talent, cook, exercise, read, and go out with friends. Don’t make your whole life revolve around your relationship worries. Your love life is only one aspect of your life, so make sure to dedicate some time to other things as well.
Your anxiety makes you obsess over your relationship, or the possibility of it ending to be precise. When you work on finding your happiness outside of your love life, you won’t obsess as much.
You might be letting your relationship define you, or you depend too much on your partner. Have your own life, separate from the relationship, and make sure that it’s fulfilling.
While it’s normal to think of your partner a lot, it’s okay to sometimes forget about them and focus on yourself. Do what makes you happy and realize that you’d be okay in life even without your partner. Don’t rely on them for your happiness.
14. Learn about your partner’s love language.
Maybe you don’t believe that your partner loves you because they don’t show you love in your preferred way. They might still be showing you love, just in a way that you don’t recognize.
People have different love languages, which is the way they prefer to give and receive love. While some people cherish words of affection, others appreciate acts of service much more. There are also physical touch, gifts, and quality time as the other three love languages.
You and your partner can learn about your love languages because they might be different. Once you know how your partner shows love, you’ll be able to recognize it, even if it’s not your preferred way.
15. Let your partner know about your triggers.
What triggers your anxious thoughts? Let your partner in on how your mind works. Do certain actions make you feel insecure in the relationship? Talk to your partner about them.
For instance, maybe you start thinking that they’re having an affair whenever they don’t respond to your text. Let them know that you want to trust them, but that your fears and insecurities get the best of you when you haven’t heard from them in a while.
You can agree to work on your problems together, but for now, your partner can try to avoid engaging in triggering activities.
If you explain your problem to them and emphasize that they’re not the ones causing it, they should be able to understand. They’ll try to avoid triggering you, but this is not a permanent fix for your problems. Instead, you need to work on your issues and triggers, probably with the help of a therapist.
16. Don’t confuse feelings for facts.
Emotions can be overwhelming and lead our thoughts. We can be so overwhelmed by a certain emotion that we stop being rational. So, don’t confuse feelings for facts.
If you have a feeling that your partner’s cheating on you, it’s not the same as catching them doing it. Don’t react to a feeling as soon as it occurs, because your anxiety might be causing it.
Unless you know something for a fact, don’t let it drive you crazy. You should trust your gut, but when it’s an anxious gut, it might not be so rational. Process your feelings before assuming that they’re accurate.
17. Talk to a therapist about your past experience.
As already mentioned, something from your past is likely causing the problems in your relationship now. It can be difficult to dig deep enough all on your own, so don’t hesitate to ask for help.
A therapist can assist you in overcoming relationship anxiety, improving your self-esteem, building trust in your relationship, and dealing with past traumas.
Use their help to have the kind of relationship that you want to have, find peace and happiness, and learn to love yourself.
A good place to get professional help is the website BetterHelp.com – here, you’ll be able to connect with a therapist via phone, video, or instant message.
While you may try to work through this yourself, it may be a bigger issue than self-help can address. And if it is affecting your mental well-being, relationships, or life in general, it is a significant thing that needs to be resolved.
Too many people try to muddle through and do their best to overcome issues that they never really get to grips with. If it’s at all possible in your circumstances, therapy is 100% the best way forward.
Here’s that link again if you’d like to learn more about the service BetterHelp.com provide and the process of getting started.
You’ve already taken the first step just by searching for and reading this article. The worst thing you can do right now is nothing. The best thing is to speak to a therapist. The next best thing is to implement everything you’ve learned in this article by yourself. The choice is yours.
You may also like:
- 17 Warning Signs That Overthinking Is Wrecking Your Relationship
- 10 Ways To Deal With New Relationship Anxiety
- How To Trust Again: Learning To Let Someone In Despite Past Hurt
- What To Do When Your Partner Gives You Anxiety
- When Love Turns Into Unhealthy Emotional Attachment
- Why Do Relationships Have To Be So Hard?
- 20 Signs Someone Has Abandonment Issues (+ How To Overcome Them)
- 7 Ways To Safely Show Emotional Vulnerability In A Relationship