Can I have a stable relationship with relationship anxiety?  

Some anxiety and nerves are typical during a relationship, especially a new one. However relationship anxiety can often result in conflict or even cause the relationship to end. Relationship anxiety is full of ‘what ifs’, often leading to the individual with relationship anxiety to reach the conclusion that being alone is a better option. Ending a relationship before it even starts may seem drastic, yet, for somebody with relationship anxiety, it may seem like the only choice to keep their peace of mind. Having relationship anxiety is not your fault. You should not blame yourself or completely avoid any emotional attachments due to fear of getting hurt. Instead, explore ways you can overcome this. Many people with any form of anxiety can find fulfilling relationships.

What if her friends don’t like me? What if he finds somebody better? What is the point if relationships end anyway? Are just some of the things that people with relationship anxiety may think. To start solving the problem first identify the signs and triggers of relationship anxiety, before attempting to overcome it. Just as every individual experiences general anxiety differently, people experience relationship anxiety differently too. Some may attempt to push their partner away in hopes of avoiding the relationship, whilst others may become attached and controlling in the hopes they don’t end up getting hurt.

 What should you look out for?

Some of the common signs to be aware of include:

  • Trying to push them them away. Some people with relationship anxiety tend to act their worst to see how committed their significant other (testing them, in a way). Following this, you might be under the impression that they left because they simply weren’t interested but in reality you barely left them with a choice.

  • Getting angry/irritable for no apparent reason. Sometimes unintentionally, your partner may say or do something to make you anxious. Most people with relationship anxiety, aren’t angry because of what their partner did, they are angrier with their own reaction to it. They do not want to be upset that their partner did this, but it cannot always be helped. They are frustrated that they find it difficult to keep their feelings at bay and therefore may express this anger towards their partner, which only makes things worse.

  • Becoming ‘clingy’ and overly attached. When you have somebody who is there for you when you need them, it can sometimes be overwhelming. You can feel loved and supported. This can often lead to feel as if you are relying on this person to feel the way they make you feel. The problem with becoming too dependent on somebody is that they cannot always be there 24/7. You may forget how to cope alone, which is essential, especially if you are experiencing anxiety or other mental health conditions. It may also harm your relationship.

  • Opening up seems impossible. Some people with relationship anxiety find it difficult to be honest with their partners as they worry their partners may leave them. This is especially the case if you have put in a lot of work to find ways to cope with your anxiety. You might be concerned that they think your ideas for coping are ‘silly’ or they may not understand how you feel. You need to remember that they are not going to know how you feel unless you tell them. It’s always worth at least attempting to explain; at least you’re giving them a chance to understand.

  • Insecurity and low self esteem. Many people with anxiety often feel as if they aren’t worth the person they are with. They may feel like less of a person for experiencing the things that they do. Some people with anxiety are often quick to pick up on their own flaws, prompting them to think ‘why would they want to be with somebody like me’, ‘what if his friends or family don’t like me’, ‘what if she leaves me for worrying all the time.’

Can I have a stable relationship with relationship anxiety?  

Though it may be harder when one or both individuals in a relationship have relationship anxiety, of course it is possible to have a happy, healthy relationship. There are a few things you can do to make sure both you and your partner are getting the most out of your relationship.

  • Talk about how you feel. This is one of the most important things you can do, tell your partner how you are feeling and if they aren’t already aware of your anxiety, tell them. Tell them how they can help you feel more comfortable. Remember, you are not a burden and if you let them, they will do everything in their power to ensure you feel comfortable and at ease in their company. If not they were not worth your time anyway. Even if you are fully aware that they cannot do anything to help you feel better, being honest is still key in any relationship. This will at least allow them to understand why your mood may seem a little ‘off’ at times.

  • Let them support you. It is extremely easy to want to get over any issues you may face by yourself. Sometimes not wanting to be a burden to your partner can play a part. Chances are, they want to help you and it will make them feel better. If they did not want to help you in the first place, they wouldn’t have offered. Be open minded to their suggestions.

  • Whilst letting them support you, don’t become overly dependent. Though it is important to allow your partner to support you, you must remember that they can’t ‘cure’ your anxiety. Before you get into any relationship, make sure you realise that although they can make you happy, your anxiety will not just disappear. Becoming dependent on somebody can make it difficult to deal with any anxiety outbursts or linked symptoms when they are not present. They cannot be there 24/7, so whilst it is key to build that bond and allowing them into your life, keep practising your own skills which allow you to cope better.  

  • Show them you are trying your best. If you tend to show your anxiety through anger and irritability, this can often have an impact on your partner and strain your relationship. Instead, try to show them that even though you may feel anxious, you can keep your frustration at bay. This is a good way to show them how much your relationship means to you. It is also important you at least try to make an effort with his friends and family. If it is constantly them going to your family events and you never even attempt to go to any of their social events, this can make the effort in the relationship seem one-sided. Explain you are feeling anxious and that you may unexpectedly need to leave but always give it a go!

  • Practise mindfulness techniques to keep you calm and collected. Always explore new techniques which work for you both. One common relaxation technique for anxiety is mindfulness, allowing you to better understand your surroundings and living in the moment instead of dreading any future events that could occur. There are numerous different guided apps which could benefit you. You can even work the techniques into your daily routine with your partner which may also create a further bond!  

Always remember that you are worth being loved and valued and somebody with anxiety, of any sort, is worthy. It may be a long, difficult process but making it work on a mutual level with somebody you care about, is always worth it.

Sam GlassComment