Relationship anxiety is not uncommon. Anyone who has been in a relationship would have gone through this situation at least once in life. It can be a major source of stress that keeps you awake at night and makes you overthink. If you worry a lot about where your relationship is heading and whether it will come to an end all of a sudden, you may have relationship anxiety. In this article, you will find everything you need to know about relationship anxiety and how to overcome it. Keep reading.
In This Article
What Is Relationship Anxiety?
Relationship anxiety is defined as an intense worrying feeling that you get when you are in a relationship. It is often described to be similar to social anxiety disorder and is characterized by a constant fear of being abandoned by your partner. Additionally, people suffering from relationship anxiety may find it hard to trust or completely rely on their partner. Relationship anxiety can set in at any point in the relationship. Some may experience it during the initial stages of the relationship, and some may experience it much later in long-term, committed relationships.
Even though mental health professionals consider relationship anxiety as a form of anxiety, there is no set of guidelines or rules to diagnose and treat this form of anxiety. Relationship anxiety often creates problems in a relationship that eventually lead to its untimely end.
Relationship anxiety may also make you self-sabotage where you constantly test the strength of your relationship. If you spend more time worrying about the relationship than you enjoy it, you may be dealing with relationship anxiety.
Relationship anxiety can be very harmful to a relationship. There are a few reasons that may cause such anxiety. Let’s take a look at some of those reasons.
Why Do We Feel Anxious In Relationships?
1. Previous Social Anxiety
If you experience or have experienced social anxiety previously, chances are you may also develop relationship anxiety. Social anxiety may cause self-doubt and make you worry about other people’s opinions of you, which includes your partner’s opinion of you. This kind of insecurity can make you worry about the state of your relationship.
2. Past Abuse
If you were a victim of physical, emotional, or verbal abuse in a past relationship, it may lead to relationship anxiety in your current relationship. Abuse of any kind is harmful to the victims mental health. Thus, it may instill fear of relationships in the victims mind. While physical abuse is easy to identify, emotional or verbal abuse can be very hard to distinguish.
3. Past Relationship Experiences
You may develop relationship anxiety if you have been in a toxic relationship before. It is easy to carry your past experience and trauma into your new relationship, especially if you were cheated on or constantly lied to. This can make it hard for you to trust someone and, in turn, make you develop relationship anxiety.
4. Low Self-Esteem
People with low self-esteem are believed to suffer from relationship anxiety more than people with high self-esteem. This is because people with low self-esteem tend to doubt and belittle themselves. Due to this behavior, they may feel like they are not good enough for their partner.
If you are an over-thinker, you may fixate on every small thing and get lost in the labyrinth of constantly questioning and doubting every single thing that your partner does. This may contribute to relationship anxiety.
Unlike physical problems, mental health problems are very hard to diagnose. And when it comes to relationship anxiety, a condition that has not been clearly defined by the medical community, it can get a bit tricky. However, there are a few signs that you can look out for to determine if you have relationship anxiety.
What Are Some Signs And Symptoms Of Relationship Anxiety?
1. Seeking Reassurance
It’s normal to seek reassurance from your partner every once in a while. However, constant reassurance-seeking may point toward relationship anxiety. Seeking reassurance constantly may indicate that the person relies heavily on their partner’s approval and acceptance. It also indicates that you doubt their feelings for you despite their efforts to express their love and care. Relationship anxiety could make you constantly worry that your partner will leave you, making you try to change yourself to be worthy of more love, affection, and attention from them.
Self-silencing is a common sign of multiple mental health conditions. It involves not expressing your opinions or feelings to your significant other. This is a common behavior seen in women who are not good at accepting rejection (1). Basically, you may be refraining from expressing your thoughts and feelings in front of your partner because you fear that it may give your partner a reason to end things with you.
If you believe that you suffer from relationship anxiety, here are a few ways in which you can overcome it.
How To Overcome Relationship Anxiety
One of the most important things in a relationship is good communication. Telling your partner about your anxiety and concerns may help in dealing with the issue together. Additionally, your partner’s response to your anxiety may also help you decide if they are the right person for you.
Sometimes when things get overwhelming, you need someone who will listen to your concerns without any judgment and help you in guiding your emotions. In such situations, seeking the help of a therapist can help you tremendously. A therapist can help you understand your feeling of anxiety and teach you how to control and overcome it.
Loving yourself is the best way to reduce your anxiety about the relationship. Relationship anxiety can be a result of self-doubt. If you learn to love yourself (even if the process takes a lot of time) and learn to see how amazing and beautiful you are, you will slowly stop seeking the approval of your partner. Try being more mindful and focus on being aware of the present moment. No matter the relationship’s fate, you should still be able to appreciate it for what it is in the present, enjoy it without self-doubts, grow from it, and look back on it fondly. So, appreciate what you have, start falling in love with yourself, and you will see what an amazing catch you are.
4. Assess The Relationship
While relationship anxiety could be a result of your own fear, past trauma, and self-doubt, you also need to figure out if there is a legitimate external cause for your anxiety. Assess your relationship and figure out if your partner is truly supportive and accepting of you. Make sure they are treating you with respect and are considerate of your feelings. A failure on their part to do these things can make you feel anxious about your relationship with them. You can then either consider going for couples therapy or figure out if you want the relationship to continue.
When you start experiencing relationship anxiety, it may be difficult to predict their course and duration. Read the next section to learn more about it.
How Long Does Relationship Anxiety Last?
The timeline of relationship anxiety varies greatly among individuals and may be due to factors such as lack of communication within the partnership, and individual coping mechanisms. It may be a transient phase linked to newness or big changes in the relationship, or it could persist due to deeper insecurities or past experiences. Mild anxiety might dissipate with time, open communication, and the building of trust. However, chronic anxiety may require professional intervention, such as couples counseling or individual therapy, to address underlying issues. Timely, honest conversations with your partner and self-reflection can contribute to resolving relationship anxiety, promoting a healthier and more stable connection over time.
Relationships bring a rollercoaster of emotions and experiences, may feel anxious sometimes due to the uncertainties involved. Past relationship experiences and low self-esteem may trigger this anxiety even more. However, you are not alone in this suffering, and there are many ways to deal with it. For instance, you can enlist expert help, focus on self-love, and communicate your feelings, issues, or troubles to your partner. Remember, self-silencing is not a constructive way to deal with relationship anxiety, and you should not shy away from getting all the help you may need.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I stop overthinking in a relationship?
Be clear with yourself, find out what drives you to overthink, enjoy the current phase in your life, and do not take things personally. These may help you to stop overthinking in a relationship.
Is dating someone with anxiety hard?
Yes. Dating someone with anxiety can be hard. You may experience intense emotions and reactions to what is going on with your partner.
Do hugs help anxiety attacks?
Touch can have a calming effect, and hugs may help people with anxiety attacks.
- You may have relationship anxiety if you are always concerned about where your relationship is going and whether it may end abruptly.
- If you have or have had social anxiety in the past, you are more likely to develop relationship anxiety.
- If you’ve been the victim of physical, emotional, or verbal abuse in a previous relationship, you may experience relationship anxiety in your present one.
- Although relationship anxiety can be devastating, addressing it can help you and your spouse emerge stronger.
Watch this video detailing the concept of relationship anxiety, what it is, and how it can negatively affect partners. The video also provides 8 effective tips to overcome the challenges of this affliction and to foster healthier connections.
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