Thursday, June 13, 2024

How To Deal With Relationship Anxiety

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Feeling anxious about your relationship or your partner can sometimes make you want proof that everything is all right.

Its natural to want to reassure yourself, but resist the impulse to find this proof in unhelpful or harmful ways.

Pay attention to the difference between your usual behaviors and impulsive actions. Texting regularly might be normal in your relationship, and keeping up a steady conversation can help reinforce your sense of connection. But sending several texts in an hour asking your partner where they are and what theyre doing, when you know theyre hanging out with friends, can lead to conflict.

When you feel these impulses, try to distract yourself with some deep breathing, a walk or jog, or a quick phone call to a close friend.

Dealing With The Reasons For Your Anxiety

  • 1Examine your past and current relationships. Relationship anxiety is usually rooted in your past relationships. It may also be connected to fights youve had with your current partner. Reflect on the hurts youve experienced in the past, then consider how theyve made you insecure.XResearch source
  • It may be helpful to list out the specific things youre worried about.
  • In addition to romantic relationships, your relationship with your parents, relatives, and friends can also affect you.
  • Tip: If youve been hurt in the past, its understandable that youll be nervous about your current relationship. Try to remind yourself that this person is different, and give them a chance to prove to you that they are dedicated to your relationship.

  • 2Question the things your inner critic tells you. Another common cause of relationship anxiety is an overly critical inner voice. Your inner voice may tell you that you arent good enough or that your partner is doing the wrong thing. When this happens, examine the thought to see where it comes from. Then, question the accuracy of the thought and replace it with something else.XResearch source
  • Lets say your inner voice says, “He doesnt think I’m pretty anymore.” Look for evidence that this isnt true. For instance, you might remember that your partner called you “beautiful” that morning. Then, tell yourself, “He always tells me Im beautiful, so this isnt true.”
  • Focus On Your Thoughts

    Learning to manage how you think can be the first step in overcoming your relationship anxiety. Especially if you have negative thoughts or self-esteem issues, or if you have a tendency to make assumptions about your partners motivations and intentions, you can learn how to change your thought behaviors to better your relationship.

    Because relationship anxiety is so often a result of consistent, excessive worrying, therapy approaches like cognitive behavioral therapy can be very successful in building skills to heal your relationship.

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    Feeling Romantically Insecure How To Deal With Relationship Anxiety

    Is figuring out how to deal with relationship anxiety a struggle for you? Most couples wrestle to some extent with anxiety when it comes to their commitment. This can especially happen at the start of a bond when it can be harder to know where you stand in your relationship. You may worry about whether your relationship will last or your partner will be committed over the long haul.

    However, even couples in long-term, committed relationships experience anxiety in marriage. For example, they may fear their spouse or partner is no longer attracted to them or committed as they age. They may also wrestle with past hurts caused by the relationship or notice changes in how their partner interacts with them. This can cause them to worry things may not be as secure as originally hoped.

    And then you have the issue of awareness. Some couples are quite aware of their relationship insecurities, and their chief obstacle is figuring out how to fix them. Others struggle to adequately recognize when anxiety levels in their relationship have reached unhealthy levels. They may only be able to notice that their relationship feels off or stressed.

    Suppose youre struggling with anxiety in a relationship. In that case, you already know how easy it is to repeatedly ruminate over an aspect of your relationship that is worrisome. If worry is causing added harmful stress to your bond, here are some ideas on how to overcome relationship anxiety.

    Explore And Work Through Your Insecurities

    Separate Your Anxious Self From Your True Self

    How To Deal With Relationship Anxiety

    Him: will you marry me?Me: are you mad at me?

    Sophia Benoit

    A , Anxiety is literally just conspiracy theories about yourself. Dont let that negative self-talk sabotage your relationships. Instead of listening to your anxious inner voice, listen to your true voice, said Jennifer Rollin, a psychotherapist in North Potomac, Maryland.

    Your anxious self may tell you things like, If you open up to him about your anxiety and going to therapy, he will leave or think you are unstable, she said. Thats because you have anxiety, your mind often comes up with a variety of scenarios that often are not true. It can be helpful to practice speaking back from your true self.

    If your true self is speaking, it will probably say something far more comforting, like: Going to therapy doesnt mean youre crazy, it means youre taking proactive steps to becoming the best version of yourself.

    And worst-case scenario, if he does think it makes you crazy, it says a lot about him and nothing about you, Rollin said. You deserve to be with someone who doesnt judge you.

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    Signs Of Relationship Anxiety

    You might feel anxious when you think about your relationship. There are different types of anxiety that can happen. Most people feel bad when they are in a relationship. They might not be sure if the other person likes them, or if theyre being rejected. People might also have trouble talking to their partners about things that bother them. This is not unusual, so dont worry about it. You should not feel concerned if you do not have a lot of doubts or fears that affect you a lot.

    But some thoughts can grow and take over. Here are some signs of relationship anxiety:

    Your Ex May Be To Blame For Your Anxiety

    In addition to your childhood, past relationships can also play a role in the way you behave in relationships.

    If you are experiencing the type of relationship anxiety where you fear being cheated on, or have lack of trust in your new admirer, this may result from previous relationship experiences that have been encoded in your brain. Our brain never forgets, said Forshee. Basically, your brain circuitry has become used to associating certain traits, smells, sounds and feelings with a previous lover and relationship experiences. Your brain has laid down a powerful pattern from previously learned experiences, and your brain retains traces of that circuitry, even after youve fallen for someone new.

    Your brain has laid down a powerful pattern from previously learned experiences, and retains traces of that circuitry, even after youve fallen for someone new.

    Finally, when you enter a new relationship, your body produces large amounts of powerful chemicals such as oxytocin, dopamine, cortisol and vasopressin. When combined, these love chemicals, facilitate bonding and commitment. While they make us feel highly passionate, they can also make us emotionally unstable, angsty and downright obsessed with new partners. When were around our partners especially when hugging, kissing or having sex this hormone production goes into overdrive.

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    A Tendency To Question

    A questioning nature can also factor into relationship anxiety.

    You might need to ask yourself about all possible outcomes of a situation before deciding on a path. Or maybe you just have a habit of carefully considering every decision.

    If you tend to ask yourself a lot of questions about your choices, even after youve made them, youll likely spend some time questioning your relationship, too. This isnt always a problem. In fact, its usually healthy to take time to think about choices you make, especially significant ones .

    It could become an issue, though, if you find yourself stuck in an endless pattern of questioning and self-doubt that doesnt go anywhere productive.

    Identify What Is Driving Your Anxiety

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    Is it fear? Low self-esteem? Lack of confidence? Or shame? Assessing the root of your anxiety and drawing connections to previous experiences or how you were raised can increase your awareness. Sometimes, we feel insecure because we lack confidence in the ability to choose healthy relationships for ourselves.3

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    What If Vs What Is

    One of the most common tools that I have my clients utilize when theyre getting wrapped up in their tangled web of anxiety is to check in on whether theyre using What if? vs. What is? thinking.

    What if thinking always produces anxiety. It puts your mind in the future, and places you in a fear-based, invented place.

    What is thinking brings you back to the present moment and allows you to see your situation for what is truly is.

    More often than not with people who deal with anxiety, our minds are simply fountains of noise, spewing off endless fears that are ultimately unproductive. Or, as Mark Twain once said, Ive lived through some terrible things in my life. Some of which actually happened.

    But how do you know if your anxiety in the present moment IS about the reality of your situation?

    Impact On Mental Health

    Living in a state of fear causes us to be more reactive and make decisions from a place of fear or a place of not wanting to lose someone or something.

    We therefore make decisions that aren’t usually from our heart, they’re more from our head, reacting to an imaginary negative outcome of the future. This state of being greatly affects our mental health, because it’s harder for us to experience joy and secure connection and attachment.

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    Breaking The Anxious Pattern

    Lets look at how this sort of pattern can be changed so that happier, healthier relationships can be formed.

    Well start with a brief one-question quiz:

    The key to breaking free from this sort of destructive anxiety is:

    A. Visiting a psychoanalyst five days a week, laying on the couch, and saying

    whatever comes to mind

    B. Burning incense, chanting, drumming, eating a strictly vegan diet for six

    months, and wearing paisley print bell bottoms

    C. Using a combination of clear communication and corrective experiences.

    The answer, get ready for it C. Clear communication was the giveaway, right? Absolutely. Had Brian or Alisha been clear about what they were thinking, the situation very likely would never have spiraled downward.

    But, it is worth noting that there are some people wherein clear communication would not be enough to save the relationship. This occurs when one, or both partners, have unusually intense fears about being in an intimate relationship.

    The anxiety is so deeply rooted that even with good communication the fear remains. It is similar to talking to someone with a fear of flying and telling him or her about the exceptional safety record of air travel.

    The information may be clear, accurate, and even accepted at an intellectual level. But at the gut level, that person just knows the plane he or she happens to fly on is surely going to fall from the sky and crash.

    Something more is needed in order to help that person get over the fear of flying.

    What Are Some Signs Of Relationship Anxiety

    Dealing With Relationship Anxiety

    Relationship anxiety can show up in different ways.

    Most people feel a little insecure about their relationship at some point, especially in the early stages of dating and forming a commitment. This isnt unusual, so you generally dont need to feel concerned about passing doubts or fears, especially if they dont affect you too much.

    But these anxious thoughts sometimes grow and creep into your daily life.

    Heres a look at some potential signs of relationship anxiety:

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    Triggers For Anxiety In Relationships

    There wont always be a specific behavior that will trigger relationship anxiety. Sometimes the anxious thoughts and feelings will appear seemingly out of nowhere.

    Stressful past experiences may play a role in future relationship anxiety, such as:

    • A previous partner cheating on you
    • Being repeatedly or significantly lied to
    • Past relationships ending unexpectedly or sudden breakup
    • The sudden death of a partner
    • Physical, emotional, or sexual abuse

    Having had a poor relationship with your parents or parents divorcing may increase your risk of developing relationship anxiety or separation anxiety .

    Manage The Way You Think

    Recognising the thoughts you have that are causing your anxiety is important. This may be negative thoughts that you have about yourself and your worth or a tendency to âmind readâ or make assumptions about what others are thinking. Make sure that the perspective you have is based on the ‘facts’ or reality of the situation rather than interpretations you have made based on habitual thinking patterns and past experiences.

    Relationship anxiety is often the result of excessive worrying. We tend to worry in response to situations where the outcome is uncertain. In order to give us a sense of control, the mind focuses on the potential negative outcomes that ‘could’ happen. Mindfulness practices can help us to recognise this tendency of the mind. By noticing our thoughts and feelings with an attitude of curiosity and acceptance, we can watch them come and go whilst giving up any attempts to prepare for, or control, what happens in the future. This allows us to experience life without getting caught up in past stories of pain, or imagined future worries.

    A short course of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy can help you to develop a more balanced perspective of yourself, improve your self-esteem and learn how to view your relationship more realistically which, in turn, will help you manage how you feel.

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    Wondering If You Matter

    If things are going well in your relationship, and your partner is paying attention to your needs and prioritizing you and your time, then theres no need to worry about whether or not you matter to your partner! If youre still worried, it might be linked to lower self-esteem. Addressing any self-esteem or self-worth issues isnt easy, but its necessary to get your relationship back on track .

    When And Why Does It Happen

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    At the start of a relationship, you might suffer from anxiety about whether you even want to commit to someone, whether you’re a good match, or wonder what your loved ones will think of them. This is all standard and healthy, says Sommerfeldt.

    And throughout the relationship, regularly checking in with yourself about the person you’re partnered with is all good, too, she adds.

    However, things get trickier “if anxiety hindering the relationship or impacting mental or emotional health, and impacting partner. That’s when it gets problematic,” she adds. There’s more reason for concern when the anxiety leads to doubt and stress.

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    In long-term relationships, anxiety is more likely to pop up because of a personal experience. “If person is facing their own insecurities and facing self-esteem issues, they project that on their partner,” Sommerfeldt says. Take abandonment issues, for example. One partner might have dealt with absent parents growing up, which has manifested into a fear that their partner will break up with them.

    Oftentimes, how you treat your partner stems from the example set by loved ones during childhood, says Sommerfeldt.

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    Abusive Behavior Or Language

    Any type of abusephysical, verbal, emotionalcan lead directly to anxiety. Physical abuse is never OK. Please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline if your partner is harming you physically. Verbal and emotional abuse wears people down or instills fear through words. If your partner routinely jokes about your faults or pretends to be mean more often than they are genuinely kind, you could suffer relationship anxiety from this type of emotional and verbal abuse.

    Ending Relationships Before They Become More Serious

    Some people purposely end or sabotage relationships at the beginning because they think they fear commitment. Often, the fear isnt so much about commitment- its more about committing and then losing that commitment and having to deal with the painful aftermath.

    Of course, its reasonable to end a relationship if you arent compatible with the other person. But if you perpetually struggle with maintaining relationships, it could be a sign of anxiety.

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    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 :

    Relationship Anxiety: The Basics

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    • Relationship anxiety is, as its name suggests, a type of anxiety that may affect the way you feel about your relationship with your romantic partner.

    • Unlike generalized anxiety disorder or specific phobias, relationship anxiety isnt listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. However, its a fairly common issue that can affect people of all ages and backgrounds.

    • If you have relationship anxiety, you may frequently seek reassurance from your partner that things are okay, or engage in selfsilencing behavior.

    • While its generally possible to overcome relationship anxiety on your own or with your partner, you may also benefit from treatment options like individual therapy.

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