Some anxiety is typical during a relationship, especially a new one. However relationship anxiety can often result in conflict. Relationship anxiety is full of ‘what ifs’, often leading the individual with relationship anxiety to reach the conclusion that being alone is a better option. Ending a relationship before it even starts may seem drastic but for somebody with relationship anxiety, it may seem like the only choice to keep their peace of mind.
What if her friends don’t like me? What if he finds somebody better? What is the point if relationships end anyway? Are just some of the things that people with relationship anxiety may think. Just as every individual experiences general anxiety differently, people experience relationship anxiety differently too. Some may attempt to push their partner away in hopes of avoiding the relationship, whilst others may become controlling in the hopes they don’t end up getting hurt.
What should you look out for?
As previously mentioned, the signs and symptoms of relationship anxiety can vary between different people, some of the common signs to be aware of include:
Trying to push them them away. Some people with relationship anxiety tend to act their worst to see how committed their significant other is. You might be left with the impression that they left because they simply weren’t interested but in reality you barely left them with a choice.
Getting angry/irritable for no apparent reason. Sometimes, your partner may say or do something to provoke your anxiety. Most people with relationship anxiety, aren’t angry because of what their partner did, they are more angry over their reaction to it.
Becoming ‘clingy’ and attached relatively quickly. When you have somebody who is there for you when you need them, whether to talk or cry or share good times with, it can be overwhelming. The problem with becoming too dependent on somebody is that they cannot always be there. You may forget how to cope alone which is essential.
Opening up seems impossible. Some people with relationship anxiety find it extremely difficult to be honest with their partners as they worry they will leave them. Everything is worth attempting to explain; at least you’re then giving them the chance to understand.
Insecurity and low self esteem. Many people with anxiety often feel as if they aren’t worth the person they are with. They may feel like less of a person for experiencing the things that they do. Some people with anxiety are often quick to pick up their own flaws, prompting them to think ‘why would they want to be with somebody like me?’
Can I have a stable relationship with relationship anxiety?
Of course it is possible to have a happy, healthy relationship but there are a few things you can do to ensure both of you are getting the most out of your relationship.
Talk about how you feel. This is one of the most important things you can do, tell your partner how you are feeling and if they aren’t already aware of your anxiety, tell them. Remember, you are not a burden and honesty is key in any given relationship.
Let them support you. It is extremely easy to want to get over any issues you may face by yourself. Yet, if your partner did not want to help you, they wouldn’t have offered. Be open minded to their suggestions.
Whilst letting them support you, don’t become overly dependent. Though it is important to allow your partner to support you, you must remember that they can’t ‘cure’ your anxiety. Before you get into any relationship, make sure you realise that although they can make you happy, your anxiety will not just disappear.
Show them you are trying your best. If you tend to display your anxiety through anger and irritability, this can often have an impact on your partner and put a strain your relationship. Instead, try to show them that even though you may feel anxious, you can keep your frustration at bay. It is also important you at least try to make an effort with his friends and family even if you are feeling slightly anxious.
Practise mindfulness techniques to keep you calm and collected. Always explore new techniques which work for you both. One common relaxation technique for anxiety is mindfulness, allowing you to better understand your surroundings and living in the moment instead of dreading any future events that could occur.
Always remember that you are worth being loved and valued and somebody with anxiety, of any sort, is worthy. It may be a long, difficult process but making it work on a mutual level with somebody you care about, is always worth it.