Everyone deals with relationship anxiety at some point in their lives. If you’ve ever experienced it first hand, you know how hard it can be to cope. Relationship anxiety involves constantly worrying about certain aspects of the relationship. You might fear that the relationship won’t work out, or it will slowly begin falling apart somehow. You have this pestering fear of abandonment, trust, and intimacy. A past relationship trauma can cause you to feel unsteady in your current relationship. No matter how hard you try to overcome this, it seems like an impossible struggle leaving you feeling like you’re walking on eggshells. This article will highlight everything you need to know to help you overcome relationship anxiety.
What is relationship anxiety?
Relationship anxiety involves the insecurities and doubts you experience in a relationship, even when you’re in a healthy and stable partnership.
Relationship anxiety can cause you to start questioning yourself and your partner from time to time about their intentions and plans. You constantly worry that something is wrong or fear that they’re going to leave and break up with you, even when there’s no evidence suggesting that. You may even feel stuck.
You might begin to stress yourself by asking several questions or doubting if the relationship will work or not. Fortunately, relationship anxiety is completely normal. It can arise from fears or pain, such as fear of abandonment, a trauma in relationships, or even not being ready for a relationship. If you haven’t had it easy in romantic relationships in the past, there’s a tendency to feel anxiety in your subsequent relationships to come.
As you start to question the relationship, your anxiety rises. As a result, shallow breathing becomes the norm as you start hyperventilating. The only thing that can bring your breathing back to normal is a guided meditation practice.
Eight Ways to Overcome Relationship Anxiety
1. Maintain your identity
It’s incredibly easy to get lost in who you are and compromise your morals and values for someone else, especially when you’re trying to find love with the right person. However, this tendency is precisely what can cause relationship anxiety and leads you to worry about several factors, even before a relationship begins. Deal with relationship anxiety before it worsens. You need to stay grounded in who you are and never let the core of who you are fade away. No matter how much you like them or how attached you are, the relationship won’t work if you lose yourself in your relationship. As you’re constantly compromising parts of who you are, this causes relationship anxiety, which contributes to the worry that your partner no longer wants you.
Long-term and even married couples will notice that their partners change over time. And that’s not a bad thing. The person you are at 20 will be completely different than the person you become at 30. The goal is to change together in your relationship in better ways. Maybe your hobbies or interests go in polar opposite ways. But as long as the core values of what you need from a relationship get better with time and you continue meeting one another’s needs, this growth and change will be positive.
2. Question your thoughts
If you tend to feel anxious towards the relationship, you need to learn to question your thoughts, especially when nothing is particularly wrong. The brain will develop hurtful beliefs and ideas, especially when your thought pattern is naturally inclined to lean towards anxious and insecure thoughts. While this is normal, you shouldn’t let yourself believe every thought because, most often than not, your thoughts aren’t always valid. You don’t even come up with them. They arise on their own from nothing.
Our brains evolved to be more pessimistic because that’s how our ancestors survived all these generations. Yet, in today’s world, pessimism doesn’t keep us alive; it stresses us out. Naturally, our thoughts are inclined to cause us to fear and doubt, so avoid believing every idea your brain throws your way. Instead, make it a habit to question your negative thoughts. If your mind convinces you that your partner no longer loves you and will break up with you, find the evidence that supports those thoughts. If you find none, realize that it’s just a thought without any merit.
Remember, practicing meditation or mindfulness will help you recognize thoughts as they happen. Consider using a guided meditation on the Declutter The Mind app to recognize which thoughts keep surfacing. Realizing that you are not your thoughts can be particularly helpful at curbing relationship anxiety.
3. Write down your fearful thoughts
If reversing your negative thoughts doesn’t work because of how convincing your anxiety can feel, you can also try writing your beliefs and fears down in a journal or on a piece of paper. The idea behind this is that the more you write down your thoughts, the better you can distinguish between what’s real and what isn’t. As you write down your anxious thoughts, include writing down the reasons behind why you think that way.
By observing your thought pattern, you can realize that your anxiety often comes from something that happened in the past or a particular fear or trauma, helping you better deal with relationship anxiety. The mind is a mighty thing, and when you dwell on your thoughts, you’ll never overcome your relationship anxiety, no matter how hard you try.
By writing your thoughts down, you might begin to realize how your conversations have been affected by your pessimistic musing. Becoming aware of your thinking is the first step to changing your life. As you begin to realize the thoughts that arise, you can start to change your behavior to become more positive. And thus, improve the quality of your relationship to prevent relationship anxiety.
4. Communicate with your partner
Individuals prone to relationship anxiety need a partner who communicates well on their behalf, especially when they’re feeling overwhelmed with everything they’re thinking and feeling. To overcome anxiety in relationships, sometimes it’s as easy as communicating your needs with your partner and saying everything you fear happening. Most likely, when you communicate effectively, your partner will assure you that these fears of yours aren’t going to happen and they’re not going to leave you. Your partner can’t help you if they don’t know what you’re thinking and feeling, so being transparent with them in the relationship is the best way to put those fears aside. These fears may resurface, but your fears will be set aside through proper communication in the meantime.
Being explicit about your needs and relationship goals will help your partner realize how to best communicate with you. Be sure to outline what walking on eggshells feels like to you when your partner says certain statements or shows certain behaviors. By having a relaxed discussion about your relationship anxiety, your partner can help calm your worries.
5. Use distractions
Relationship anxiety can get overwhelming to deal with, making it easy to act on your feelings and take impulsive actions, but you must resist this. Otherwise, you could potentially do things you regret because of your insecurities, fears, and rash behavior. Don’t hesitate to use distractions to take your mind off the things you fear in your relationship. Whether it’s video games, meditation, watching movies, or even hanging out with friends. Do whatever you can to avoid dwelling on your thoughts. As intense as your thoughts may get, you only give power to your fears when you dwell on them further. Spending time on the things you love will help you realize that anxiety in relationships only lasts as long as you focus on that feeling. However, when you do everything you can to take yourself out of that feeling and stay grounded in the idea that your thoughts aren’t real, then the anxiety will fade eventually.
The goal of a successful relationship is to live presently with them. By spending your time enjoying yourselves and one another’s company, there won’t be any fears. Can you try mindful dating with them to be in the moment with your significant other? Rather than obsessing with how to deal with a breakup, focus on being a supportive, affectionate, praising partner.
6. Let go of your need to control
It gives you unnecessary relationship anxiety when you do everything to control or change your partner, which usually is what pushes them away. This behavior is prevalent when you’re someone with a strong personality or tend to control specific areas of your life. You need to realize that your partner isn’t someone you can overpower or change because you can’t love someone into their potential. If you’re not happy with who they are, then maybe dating them wasn’t the right decision for you. You can lift the burden caused by your relationship anxiety by accepting things the way they flow and stop trying to micromanage everything, even your relationship. The easiest way to deal with relationship anxiety is to let go someone you love and of your need to control.
Life doesn’t always have to go the way you want it to, which isn’t a reflection of the relationship’s failure. It doesn’t mean you’ll be loved less, or someone will break up with you. It just simply means there are things beyond your control – and that’s perfectly okay.
There’s a famous quote, “Sometimes things fall apart, to make way for better things.” Think of all the times that things haven’t gone well in your life and how they worked out for the best. Remember, while relationship anxiety is scary, a failed relationship could be the best thing to happen to you. Maybe staying together in some cases would be more destructive to you. The goal isn’t to make you more worried about what will happen, but to accept what does.
7. Stop comparing or measuring your relationship
It would help if you avoided your tendency to compare your relationship with others because this is one of the primary causes of relationship anxiety. Every relationship is different, and you need to come to terms with that realization before trying to deal with relationship anxiety. Just because your relationship looks different doesn’t mean that you’re automatically settling for less or that someone doesn’t love you as much as you thought. Stop comparing yourself to other relationships. Especially those you see on social media, it will rob you of happiness and contentment faster than anything. You need to realize that social media is a facade you can’t rely on, and none of it is an objective basis of what relationships are supposed to be. For instance, just because your partner doesn’t post photos of you doesn’t automatically mean he no longer loves you. Thinking this way, consider your partner’s other behaviors, like how much effort he puts in or how he spends time with you. Realize that measurements and comparison aren’t good ways to prove someone loves you.
People show love in different ways: touch, words, service, spending time with you, or through gifts. Not everyone expresses their passion in the same way. Someone might not even realize how they express love, but it’s likely one of those five ways. You can start to notice if one of those behaviors is given by your partner to determine that’s how they express their affection towards you.
8. Realize love will always be a risk
No matter what angle you see things from, there’s always a risk that comes with falling in love. However, the more you focus on your fears and insecurities, the more likely it’s going to happen eventually in your relationship. By focusing on the very thing you fear, you’re increasing the possibility of your worst fears happening – which is the opposite of what you want. Realize that love will always come with a risk, and only by taking the leap of faith can you counter the constant relationship anxiety you most fear. The worst that can happen is a relationship not working, and it’s not always as devastating as it sounds. No matter which angle you look at it from, relationships are risky, and you’re not resolving anything by focusing on your anxiety. The best thing you can do at this point is to trust your partner and see where life takes the both of you.
This article aimed to able to shed insight into everything you needed to know when trying to deal with relationship anxiety. While it’s normal to feel this way, you need to understand that your anxiety is far from valid and your fears aren’t real. With the methods mentioned above, you can effectively manage your anxiety in relationships better.