Dating Someone With Anxiety: Real Facts To Know

It is vital to understand some important facts about anxiety if you are dating someone with it.

Reviewed by Michele Waldron, Psy.D, LADC-I, CSCT Michele Waldron Michele WaldronPsy.D, LADC-I, CSCT facebook_iconlinkedin_iconinsta_icon
Written by , MA (English Literature), Certified Relationship Coach Shivani Chandel MA (English Literature), Certified Relationship Coach Experience: 4 years
Edited by , BSc Shatabdi Bhattacharya BSc Experience: 2.5 years
Fact-checked by , Integrated MA, Certified Relationship Coach Sneha Tete Integrated MA, Certified Relationship Coach linkedin_icon Experience: 4 years
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Dating someone with anxiety requires truckloads of patience and empathy. People can be anxious about many things, and anxiety can manifest in different ways. For example, past experiences may trigger anxiety, and the thought of experiencing similar things in the future may make a person anxious.

A study was conducted in 2021 on 3320 individuals, of which 390 participants aged between 16 to 29 years were 28% more likely to have one or another form of anxiety. This rate decreased steadily with age, showing that people aged 70 and over (960) were only 5% likely to develop any form of anxiety.

Your partner will need all the support you can provide, so it is crucial for you to understand the insidious nature of anxiety and how to deal with it (1). Keep reading to learn how to manage your partner’s anxiety.

Types Of Anxiety

Types of Anxiety
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Generalized Anxiety Disorder: Persistent worry about various aspects of life.

Social Anxiety Disorder: Intense fear of social situations and judgments.

Panic Disorder: Sudden and repeated episodes of intense fear, often followed by physical symptoms.

Separation Anxiety Disorder: Fear of being separated from attached individuals or things.

Specific Phobias: Extreme fear of specific objects or situations.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: Anxiety following a traumatic event in life.

Agoraphobia: Fear of places that may cause panic, leading to avoidance.

The types should be able to help you identify your partner’s type of anxiety. Let us now see how anxiety affects your relationship. Check out the section below to know more.

How Anxiety Can Impact Your Relationship

1. Worrying About Everything: Anxiety may make your partner worry about every situation, even the past. They can become anxious about things that could happen even if they are unlikely to occur.

2. Being Overly Sensitive: The way your partner is wired, they may get more nervous and easily upset about the smallest of things in the relationship.

3. Causing Them To Be Needy: Anxiety may make your partner become over-dependent on you. This means they may need constant reassurance and time with you to feel comfortable.

4. Being Overwhelmed: It can often be best for anxious partners if they have some alone time to recollect themselves emotionally. They might require more space and time than others to feel grounded.

5. Worrying About Your Feelings: If you are dating someone with anxiety, they will often worry about your thoughts or feelings towards them. This might make them jump the gun and reach conclusions, especially in cases of poor communication.

6. Fear Of Rejection: An anxious partner may not always be comfortable opening up, even if it means that the relationship is suffering due to a lack of communication.

7. Fear Of Failing At A Promise: An anxious partner may be fearful about not keeping promises or meeting expectations. It is important to help them relax by talking openly about what might go wrong so you can prepare together. This will help them be more comfortable with the situation and the fact that they didn’t let you down.

8. Dreading Social Situations: Your partner may want to avoid social activities, such as large gatherings or parties. Being constantly unsure of how things will turn out may make them overthink about social events. They may even avoid business trips or vacations because of their need to feel safe.

protip_icon Did you know?
Anxiety can manifest differently in each person, and understanding your partner’s unique anxiety triggers can foster empathy and support.

9. Being Overly Jealous: If your partner has anxiety, they might also be worried about other people interested in you. They may overthink about you cheating on them, making it difficult to relax. As a result, they might be jealous and possessive of you.

10. Blowing Things Out Of Proportion: Anxiety can make your partner blow things out of proportion in their head. Even small problems or doubts may seem like bigger issues for them than they are. It is best to help them feel comfortable by talking about their concerns.

Here are a few tips that will help you better manage the anxious behavior of your partner, rather than let it take over your relationship.

How To Cope With An Anxious Partner

Have an open, ongoing discussion about relationship anxiety and the feelings associated with it. Set aside a fixed time once a week to:

  • Talk about anxiety and how it impacts your relationship.
  • Set boundaries and “truths” of the relationship to avoid repetition.
  • What can each of you do to manage behaviors that may be difficult for the other person?
  • How does the relationship change when a partner suffers from anxiety?
  • Who will take on different roles in managing anxiety?

2. Make Efforts To Understand Your Partner

Figure out what can trigger your partner’s anxiety and how you can support them when these triggers occur. For example, if your partner doesn’t feel comfortable attending parties and get-togethers alone, maybe you can accompany them. This will help them feel better and not be anxious due to social triggers.

3. Learn To Be More Patient

Patience is key to a healthy relationship. Don’t expect your partner to change overnight. Acknowledge that everyone has their flaws. It is important to give them time and not get easily angry. Understand that anxiety may trigger chaotic thoughts in your partner.

Anxiety may trigger chaotic thoughts in your partner. Approach them from a stance of neutral curiosity to understand the anxious thoughts, behaviors, etc.

4. Identify What Makes Your Partner Feel Loved

Ask your partner what they need and what helps them feel loved and reassured when they are anxious. Asking how you can help and what they need, or even hugging them often and telling them how proud you are of them can be beneficial.

Despite the anxiety, they are working hard to be a good partner and friend. Anxiety can bring a lot of change to your relationship. Both of you must remain open-minded about it to manage anxious behavior and deal with it positively.

protip_icon Quick tip
Learn about anxiety disorders and coping mechanisms together, fostering a sense of shared understanding and partnership.

5. Show That You Care

Remind your partner that you are there for them and you care about what they go through. However, it does not reinforce the cause of their anxiety. Remember that anxiety is a normal emotion that we all feel. It is okay for you to feel occasionally frustrated or angry but refrain from taking out these negative emotions on your anxious partner. It will only make the situation worse.

6. Don’t Judge Your Partner

You need to be aware that the lack of control associated with anxiety can cause erratic behavior. Even your smallest actions may seem like a big deal to them, so don’t judge them for it. Just talk about it and try to find a solution (without being condescending).

7. Realize That Anxiety Is A Real Disease

Remember that your partner’s feelings are not simply caused by worry or overthinking. Anxiety isn’t something that can be easily overcome with positive thinking or willpower. Everyone has a different experience with this illness, and not all anxiety disorders are the same.

8. Consider Seeing A Couples Counselor

If nothing seems to be working, couples counseling is your best option. Therapy may help you work together on your relationship while learning about anxiety disorders. This can benefit the relationship in the long run.

9. Find Ways To Mitigate Your Anxiety

Support the anxious partner and motivate them to get help from a therapist for a proper diagnosis.

Anxiety often means that your partner is constantly on edge, fearing what something could lead to. This means that they may become irritable or easily upset. Whatever the case, it always helps to talk openly about how you feel while reassuring them that everything is going well.

Here are a few ways things to keep in mind while dealing with a partner with anxiety issues:

What You Should Not Do If Your Partner Has Anxiety Issues

  • Don’t pressurize them to talk about it. Give them proper time and space to come out to you.
  • Avoid making assumptions about your partner’s feelings and experiences. This may only make you look insensitive.
  • Try not to make things all about you. It will show them that you are concerned about their well-being and do not take them for granted.
  • If your partner feels like they need professional help, do not oppose the idea. Be supportive and realize that it does not mean that the relationship is in trouble or won’t work out.
  • Do not blame your partner for their anxiety.
  • Do not try to be their therapist. Not only do you not have medical experience, but it will also make them feel uncomfortable to open up about personal matters with someone they are romantically involved with.
  • Don’t lose your temper or patience just because it flares up. Remember how hard it is for them.
  • Do not try to fix your partner. They might already feel like they are broken and want to find ways to improve their situation on their own.
  • Never suggest drugs for their anxiety without consulting a doctor.
  • Don’t support resorting to alcohol or drugs or self-medication.

Dating someone with anxiety needs a lot of patience, and it can be challenging. Always check with your partner and offer your support to deal with the situations that trigger anxiety. Initially, the anxious behavior of your partner may cause some issues in your relationship. But, with time, you both may develop a stronger bond by overcoming all initial hurdles. Having an open discussion with your partner regarding the anxiety issue and its impact on your relationship may help you deal with situations better. Additionally, consult a mental health professional to start medical intervention to improve anxiety issues.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can anxiety push your partner away?

Yes, relationship anxiety may lead to actions like calling multiple times a day, clinginess, and toxic behavior, which can push a partner away.

How do I trust my partner with anxiety?

It may be challenging to trust a partner with anxiety as their behavior may make them seem unpredictable. However, with enough support and good communication, you may have a good relationship with your partner. It is important to remember that while anxiety is not in itself a red flag, you should not overlook other red flags in the relationship.

Key Takeaways

  • Dating someone with anxiety can be challenging since it needs a lot of tolerance and understanding.
  • Determine what causes your partner’s anxiety and how you might help them cope when these triggers occur.
  • Assure your partner that you are there for them and are concerned about their problems.
  • However, if you are worried about addressing your partner’s condition, ask them how they would like to be supported and respect their choices.


If your partner has anxiety, providing a supportive environment and being empathetic to their needs can help foster a strong relationship. Check the video below that aims to address uncertainties that you may face while helping your partner recover from anxiety.

References

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  1. Partner support in depression
    https://www.researchgate.net/publication/341763564_Partner_support_in_depression
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Michele Waldron

Michele WaldronPsy.D, LADC-I, CSCT

Dr. Waldron is a licensed clinical psychologist, certified couples counselor, licensed alcohol and drug counselor, and sex therapist. with 16 years of experience. She received her Psy.D from Antioch University, New England. She has a group practice that supports adults’ relationships and sexual health. Dr. Waldron is passionate about reducing sexual shame, which causes significant mental health challenges. She helps...read full bio

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