Let’s get this out of the way right off the bat. Relationship-related anxiety is normal. Everyone experiences it. That said, it can transform into dysfunction if not addressed. Relationship anxiety can also cause you to unconsciously sabotage your connection. You feel so anxious that you begin to imagine that breaking up is the only source of relief. Picking fights or testing boundaries might be a sign that anxiety is the culprit.
But there is good news. Anxiety over a relationship is common and very much can be managed. The first step is to identify its presence in your life.
A Few Common Signs of Relationship Anxiety
If relationship anxiety is normal, how can we tell when it has crossed the line into something more serious? Here are a few red flags to watch for?
Doubting Your Partner’s Feelings For You
You’ve both said, “I love you.” You’ve committed to being a couple. Yet… there is a nagging doubt. Does she really love me? What does it mean when he looks at me a certain way? If all is going reasonably well, this is not normal anxiety.
Fearing a Break-Up
Every couple has rough patches, disagreements, and conflicts. If such situations cause you to fully believe you’re about to be dumped, anxiety may be ruling the day.
Planning a Break-Up
Do you spend a lot of time and energy looking for reasons to break up? Those reasons might not exist but anxiety sure does. Thus, as mentioned above, you view splitting up as more palatable than living under so much stress.
- Overanalyzing everything your partner says and does
- Needing constant reassurance
- Comparing your relationship to other couples
- Not trusting, e.g. checking their phone, etc.
If any of this sounds even remotely familiar, you must immediately address it. The longer you wait, the harder it is to manage relationship anxiety.
4 Ways to Manage Relationship Anxiety
1. Accept the Situation Without Shame
Relationships are challenging. If you feel into a pattern of anxiety, accept it. But do without self-shaming. Be honest with yourself and your partner and accept the need to make changes. This is an excellent opportunity to work together as a team.
2. Identify Your Triggers
Displaying anxiety of any kind can often be an outward sign of a deeper issue. Do the work to identify:
- What external behaviors cause you to act in an anxious manner
- The root issues that created this cycle
3. Enhance Communication Skills
So much of your anxiety is probably triggered by you wondering “what if.” Commit together with your partner to improve your individual and collective communication skills. The more often, more directly, and more frequently you talk in person, the less likely that misunderstandings occur.
4. Practice Mindfulness
Relationship anxiety can be driven by regrets about the past or fear of the future. Meanwhile, the present moment is where we all live. Mindfulness practice guides us to stay present. In this state, it is much easier to appreciate your relationship as it is happening.
Getting Help for Relationship Anxiety
Anxiety is the most commonly diagnosed mental health issue in the world. You are not alone but you may not be able to manage it alone. That’s why so many people choose to heal from anxiety via therapy. Working one-on-one with a skilled therapist is a proven path toward recovery.
Your weekly sessions are the ideal setting for recognizing patterns and causes. From there, you are better positioned to discover new approaches and solutions. You can absolutely thrive in your relationship so please do not hesitate to ask for help. We’d love to support you on this journey with couples therapy.