Where the Science of Psychology Meets the Art of Being Human

Anxiety and Relationships: How to Stop it Stealing the Magic

228,314 views

Anxiety and Intimate Relationships How to Stop Anxiety From Stealing the Magic

Intimate relationships are a mirror, reflecting the best and the worst of all of us. They can inflame our struggles or soothe them. When they’re right, they can feel like magic. Even when they’re completely right, anxiety can steal the magic and loosen the connection between two people who belong together. All relationships require trust, tenderness, patience and vulnerability. People with anxiety often have these by the truckload and will give them generously to the relationship. The problem is that anxiety can sometimes just as quickly erode them. 

If you’re someone who struggles with anxiety, there are plenty of things about you that would make loving you easy. All relationships struggle sometimes and when anxiety is at play, the struggles can be quite specific – very normal, and specific.

Anxiety can work in curious ways, and it will impact different relationships differently, so not all of the following will be relevant for every relationship. Here are some ways to strengthen your relationship and protect it from the impact of anxiety: 

  1. Top up the emotional resources.

    You’re probably super sensitive to the needs of others and give openly and abundantly to your relationship. Sometimes though, anxiety can drain those resources from the relationship just as quickly as you invest them. This is completely okay – there is plenty of good that comes with loving you to make up for this – but it may mean that you have to keep making sure those resources are topped up. Whenever you can, heap your partner with attention, gratitude, affection, touch – lots of touch – and conversation around him or her.

  2. Let your partner see you as a support too.

    Your partner might feel reluctant to ‘burden’ you with worries, particularly if those worries don’t seem as big as the ones you’re struggling with. People with anxiety have so much strength – it’s impossible to live with anxiety without it – so make sure your partner knows that it doesn’t matter how big or small their struggles are, you can be the supportive one sometimes too. The tendency can be for partners of anxious people to dismiss their own worries, but this might mean that they do themselves out of the opportunity to feel nurtured and supported by you – which would be a huge loss for both of you. Be deliberate in being the rock sometimes too. Ask, hold, touch. There’s nothing more healing than the warmth of the person you love.

  3. Let your partner in on what you’re thinking.

    Anxious thoughts are supremely personal, but let your partner in on them. It’s an important part of intimacy. You will often be thinking about what you need to do to feel safe, what feels bad for you and what could go wrong. You will also have an enormous capacity to think of other people – anxious people do – but make sure that you let you partner in on the thoughts that arrest you. Keeping things too much to yourself has a way of widening the distance between two people. 

  4. Asking for reassurance is absolutely okay – but just not too much.

    Anxiety has a way of creeping into everything. When it’s left unchecked, it can make you doubt the things that don’t deserve to be doubted – such as your relationship. It’s completely okay and very normal to ask your partner for reassurance. Too much though and it could be felt as neediness. Neediness is the enemy of desire and over time can smother the spark. Make sure your partner has the opportunity to love you spontaneously, without prompting – it’s lovely for them and even better for you. 

  5. Be vulnerable.

    Anxiety can effect relationships in different ways. In some people, it might stoke the need for constant reassurance. In others, it can cause them to hold back, to lessen their vulnerability to possible heartache. Vulnerability – being open to another – is beautiful and it’s the essence of successful, healthy relationships. The problem with protecting yourself too much is that it can invite the very rejection you’re trying to protect against. Part of intimacy is letting someone in closer than you let the rest of the world. It’s trusting that person with the fragile, messy, untamed parts of you – the parts that are often beautiful, sometimes baffling, and always okay with the person who loves you. It’s understandable to worry about what might happen if someone has open access to these parts of you, but see those worries for what they are – worries, not realities – and trust that whatever happens when you open yourself up to loving and being loved, you’ll be okay. Because you will be.

  6. Be careful of projecting anxiety onto your relationship.

    Anxiety can be triggered by nothing in particular – that’s one of the awful things about it – so it will look for a target, an anchor to hold it still and make it make sense. If you’re in an intimate relationship, that’s where the bullseye will sit, drawing your anxiety into its gravitational pull. This can raise feelings of doubt, jealousy, suspicion and insecurity. Anxiety can be a rogue like that. That doesn’t mean your relationship deserves your anxiety – most likely it doesn’t – but your relationship is important, relevant and often in your thoughts, making it a lavishly easy target. Remind yourself that just because you’re worried, that doesn’t mean there’s anything to worry about. Worry if you have to, but then see it for what it is – anxiety, not truth. You are loved and you have anxiety and you are okay. Let that be the truth that holds you. 

  1. Analysis leads to paralysis.

    There’s a saying – ‘Analysis leads to paralysis,’ – because it does. ‘Is it love? Or lust? Or am I kidding myself? What if my heart gets broken into tiny jagged pieces? How will it ever work if we don’t like the same music/ books/ food/ movies? What if we book the holiday and the airline goes on strike? What if one of us gets sick? What if both of us get sick? What if we can’t get a refund? Or pay the mortgage? What if he gets sick of me?’ Yep. I know you know how it sounds. What you focus on is what becomes important, so if you focus on the possible problems they’ll absorb your energy until they’re big enough to cause trouble on their own. They’ll drain your energy, your sense of fun and your capacity to move. You probably already know this, but what to do about it. Here’s something to try … Set a time frame in which you can act as though things will be fine. So for example, worry from 10-3 each day and after that, breathe, let go and act as though things will be fine. You don’t have to believe it – just ‘act as though’. You’ll have another chance tomorrow to worry if you need to. Be guided by the evidence, not the worries that haunt you at 2am. 

    You Might Also Like
    The Things I've Learned About Anxiety - That Only People With Anxiety Could Teach Me

     

  2. Come closer. No. Go away.

    When you focus on every detail, things will get wobbly. You might focus on the things that aren’t right with your partner or your relationship, while at the same time looking for reassurance that your partner loves you and is committed. This can cause you to push your partner away, (‘You’ve disappointed me,”) then pull him or her close, (‘Tell me that you love me. You do love me, don’t you?’). Have a chat with your partner and if it is a familiar process, set up a safe way for your partner to point out when it’s happening. Agree on what that will look like. When it does happen, be careful not to hear it as a criticism – it’s not – it’s your partner asking for some stability with the way you love each other.

  1. The tough conversations can bring you closer.

    All relationships have to deal with tough stuff now and then but anxiety can make things more threatening and bigger than they are. The temptation might be to avoid talking about difficult issues with your partner, because of concerns about what it might do the relationship. Difficult issues don’t go away – they fester until they reach boiling point. Trust that your partner – and you – can cope with a hard discussion. Relationships are built on trust, and trusting that your relationship can power through difficult conversations is an important one.

  2. Let your partner in on what it’s like to be you.

    We humans are complex creatures and bringing someone in closer to you and your story – even if it is someone who has been with you for a while – is the lifeblood of intimacy. People change, stories change, and even in intimate relationships it’s easy to lose touch with the person who fall asleep next to at night-time. Let your partner in on what your anxiety is like for you. Talk about your thoughts, how anxiety is affecting you, your work, your relationship, your partner, and how grateful you are for the love and support. 

  3. Let your partner know what triggers you.

    Is there a particular situation that’s tends to set your anxiety alight? Crowds? Strangers? Difficulties of exit? Loud music in the car? Being late? Talk to your partner so that if you find yourself in the situation without warning, he or she will understand what’s happening for you.

  4. Be patient. The quick fix isn’t always the best.

    As a way to feel better and ease your anxiety, you might be tempted to press for a quick fix to a problem or issue within your relationship. You might become frustrated with your partner’s desire to wait or put off committing to a course of action, or their resistance to keep talking about the issue, but be open to the fact that your partner might see things differently, sometimes clearer. Breathe, talk, and don’t assume that your partner is taking time or pulling out of the conversation because of a lack of commitment or because the issue isn’t important enough. 

  1. Make sure you’re looking after yourself.

    Being in love is crazy good but it can take your attention away from looking after yourself and on to looking after your special person. We all tend to do this but for people with anxiety it can be particularly problematic because once you’re off-balance, the ripple can bring other things undone. Taking good care of yourself is so important. Eating well (a healthy diet rich in omega 3, low in processed carbs and sugars), as well as regular exercise and meditation will help to build your brain against anxiety. If looking after yourself feels selfish, think of it this way: it’s not really fair to expect your partner to support you through your anxiety if you’re not doing everything you can do to support yourself. Think of self-care as an investment in you, your relationship and your partner. Remember too that anything that’s good for anxiety is good for everyone, so talk to your partner about chasing a healthy lifestyle together – cooking, exercising and meditating together … nice.

    You Might Also Like
    When Someone You Love Has Anxiety

     

  2. Understand that your partner will need boundaries

    For the relationship to stay close, healthy and connected, boundaries built by your partner can be a great thing. Understand that boundaries aren’t your partner’s way of keeping you out, but as a way to self-protect from ‘catching’ your anxiety. You might be worried and need to talk about something over and over, but that’s not necessarily what will be good for you, your partner or your relationship. Your partner can love you and draw a bold heavy underline between the last time you discuss something and the next time you want to. Talking is healthy, but talking over and over and over about the same thing can be draining and create an issue where there isn’t one. Know that your partner loves you and that boundaries are important to nurture love and grow the relationship, not to push against it. Talk to your partner about what he or she needs to be able to feel okay in the face of your anxiety. Invite the boundaries – it will help to keep your connection strong and loving and will help your partner to feel as though he or she is able to preserve a sense of self without being absorbed by your worries. Worry is contagious so if your partner wants to draw a boundary (eventually) around your worry, let it happen – it will help to preserve the emotional resources of the relationship and will be good for both of you.

  3. Laugh together.

    This is so important! Laughter is a natural antidote to the stress and tension that comes with anxiety. Laughing together will tighten the connection between you and when there has been a stressful few days (weeks? months?) it will help you both to remember why you fell in love with each other. Anxiety has a way of making you forget that life wasn’t meant to be taken seriously all the time. If it’s been too long since your partner has seen the shape of your face when you laugh (which will be beautiful and probably one of the reasons he or she fell for you in the first place) find a reason – a funny movie, memories, YouTube … anything.

Falling in love is meant to be magical, but getting close to another person isn’t without it’s highs and lows at the best of times. From the ecstasy of realising that someone pretty wonderful is as moved by you as you are by them, to the agony of self-doubt and possible loss, to the security, richness and sometimes stillness of a deeper love, intimacy is a vehicle for every possible emotion. Anxiety does effect relationships, but by being open to its impact, and deliberate in responding to it, you can protect your relationship and make it one that’s strong, close and resilient.

Like this article?

Subscribe to our free newsletter for a weekly round up of our best articles

165 Comments

Hey Sigmund

Thank you! I’m so pleased you’ve discovered what works for you. It’s that openness to doing what it takes that is the key to happy, long lasting relationships.

Reply
John

Unfortunately a month too late for my ex fiancé and I. Though a great insight into how well apart. Wish We had read this together a few months ago.

Reply
lorri

Amazing article! Wish my ex could read this because he would agree. Its a diary of our 8yr relationship issues to a tee. Thanks, i will read this daily.

Reply
Noelle

Hey, thanks for this. Do you have similar advice for when anxiety affects a close friendship? I imagine there are many parts of what you wrote above that apply, but I’m just curious. I had an especially violent bout of anxiety recently that’s left me feeling like I’ve lost something with my closest friend, but I’m lost as to how to deal with it. Especially since the anxiety hasn’t fully receded and I’m not clear on what changes are good and what changes are losses. So advice regarding that would be cool.

Also, how common is it to have such intensely introspective anxiety that it becomes difficult to clearly describe to others? That’s often my problem, and between that and the feeling that what is worrying me is of crucial importance, I end up feeling like I’m being sucked into a black hole of terror and despair. The inability to fully analyze *or* communicate something that feels intensely real and important is horrifying. Not to mention the attempt to describe it to a loved one can be kind of humiliating. I know anxiety can be a lifelong tendency, but I’d really like to get past this particular level of it…

Reply
Hey Sigmund

I don’t have any posts about anxiety affecting friendships, but it’s a great idea for a post. What you’re describing with your anxiety is so common. Anxiety is really difficult to understand for someone who hasn’t been through it – you’re certainly not alone there. One of the ways people describe it is like the feeling you get when you miss a stair, or the feeling of falling when you’re almost asleep. The information in this article might help you to explain to people what anxiety is like. It’s written for kids, but don’t worry about that – go straight to the explanation of why anxiety feels the way it does. A lot of adults have read it to understand and explain anxiety – sometimes the simplest explanations are the best. http://www.heysigmund.com/anxiety-in-kids/ . I really get how it can feel scary not being able to explain how you’re feeling, but know that you’re not alone. I hope the information in the article is able to help move your forward.

Reply
Noelle

Thanks so much for your understanding. It’s amazing how comforting even a small affirmation can be. I’ll check that article out … looks like a great resource. I hope it helps me move forward, too!

Reply
Alice

Hey, thank you so much for your article. When I’m in a intimate relationship i have so much anxiety that i often end the relationship so that the anxiety end’s too. I started a new one and it’s happening the same and i new desperately to stop this fear and start enjoying love and live but i’m affraid i can’t…

Reply
Hey Sigmund

I really understand. With your new relationship, know that you don’t have to do everything differently, just start with one thing. What you focus on is what will become important. If you focus on the fear, that’s what will become real for you. Have a look through the list on the article and choose one thing to focus on. If you focus on too many, the risk is that it will become overwhelming. You’re experiences with your previous relationships are not wasted. Try not to think of them with regret. They are the things that have happened to give you the wisdom, strength and will to do something differently. Change comes at the point of frustration – when the force to change is stronger than the force to stay the same. Change is never easy, but it’s always do-able. You can do this.

Reply
Dee

My question is about how to respond to the push-pull. I know my anxious partner loves me. We’ve been getting closer over several years and when we are together it is amazing and loving. Periodically though he pulls away to ‘regroup’ and come to terms with new developments in the relationship. I understand and can manage the spaces in an otherwise wonderful relationship. But what I’m not sure about is how to support him during these times. I can mail, text, write thoughts, poems that show him I love him; he can’t respond instantly (or even in days) to these. I am not sure if I’m intruding in the space he needs to work stuff out, or if I’m making it harder.

Reply
Hey Sigmund

This will be different for everyone, so if you can have a conversation about this and let your partner think about what he needs, this will really strengthen your relationship. He is lucky to have someone who is so loving, supportive and understanding.

Reply
Annie

Thank you for that very insightful article. From my own experiences with terrible anxiety, these coping strategies are great for getting through day-to-day but doesn’t quite get to the root of where extreme anxiety comes from. Do you think seeking professional help would benefit?

Reply
Hey Sigmund

You’re very welcome. Yes, a counsellor would be able to work with you to help you find ways to manage your anxiety. Here is some info to help you understand more about where anxiety comes from http://www.heysigmund.com/dealing-with-anxiety/ and also some ways to manage it:
>> Managing Anxiety – 8 Proven Ways: http://www.heysigmund.com/managing-anxiety/
>> Anxiety: 15 Ways to Feel Better Without Medication http://www.heysigmund.com/anxiety-without-medication/
Hope this helps.

Reply
Amanda

This had been the answer to all of my relationship issues that have been occurring recently. I have anxiety and all of these tips are spot on. I am going to really utilize these in hopes of improving my relationship. Thank you so much for such great tips!!

Reply
Mariah

Thank you SO much for this! I face these issues in my relationship. When I talked about it with my best friend, she told me these emotions aren’t normal and I should break up with him, which makes me even more upset because he’s such a loving and supportive partner who tries his best to understand my GAD. So glad to see I’m not alone! I’m lucky to have him.

Reply
Bri

I’m so glad I found this article. I identified with doing all of the things you listed and it really helps to see the solutions you have given. My partner has been so overwhelmed and feeling boxed in that he tried to end our relationship as my anxieties over our relationship were really getting to him. I actually realised what I was doing because of my GAD and we are currently on day 2 of a week of space from eachother so that he can feel a bit more like himself again without the worry I project, and so that I can think more about the fear that I have (I obviously can’t get him to reassure me that he loves me every second). It’s tough but with all these tips you wrote, I feel more positive that this is going to really help. Thanks x

Reply
Hey Sigmund

Bri I’m so pleased this has helped you. I know how tough it is spending time away from the person you care so much about. I hope you are both able to work through it in a way that is good for you both x

Reply
kat

yesterday my husband told me he has anxiety . He finally let me in to his head, unfortunately-too late. We are about to separate. Now I finally have a clear answer to why I was emotionally and physically neglected for over 7 years which almost caused me to take my life as his distance and ignorance broke me to pieces. I just couldn’t get through to him. I am emotionally very open person. I always told him what’s on my mind and in my heart. I begged him to work on our marriage with no results. I believed that I must be ugly, stupid, not good enough. I felt so tired. No response from him. Barely any cuddles, barely any love making, a few kisses. No sign of affection. I am not saying he was a bad man as we haven’t argued either . So, after I grieved over our broken marriage I finally was ready to tell him, I want to go my way. After I read about anxiety and what he has told me (FINALLY) I have some understanding of it. If he was clear with me from the start we still would be happy together. He knows that too and regrets he wasn’t open with me but also knows that i need to go away. He signed himself up for therapy and counseling and said he will do this as it’s been way too long. I am proud of him and wish him all the best. I believe he will fall in love again and will be able to have a fulfilled and loving relationship. Sorry for a long post. I just wanted to say that even If you are scared to tell your loved one what you are against – you should. I am sure if they love you they have the capacity to understand and give you all the support you need. Just tell them early, before the other person is torn into pieces wondering what did they do wrong.

Reply
J

Thank you for sharing your experience to help others. I fear/know I am much like your husband. I felt so much of this article resonated with me and several of the tips give me hope that even after years of having one foot with my wife and one with my anxiety as my partner, it may not be too late yet. (She sent me the link to this article.)

Now this post from you that could easily be written by my wife has given me a good hard push to pair with the ideas and the hope. I’m going to talk to her tonight. Thank you and I hope you find your way to someone who will let you in and share their love with you.

Reply
Sarah

I’m so sorry if this is too long, I’d appreciate all the help I can get and I need it,
I’ve been with this guy for almost 4 months now and I can safely say I’ve never felt like anybody was as right for me as he is. I even broke my rule against long distance (I always thought I’d never go through with a long distance relationship) because I felt like I hit the jackpot when I thought of the possibility of being with him. It wasn’t even love at first sight because I don’t exactly believe in that, it was more like, I was always attracted to this person (we’ve been friends for a year before that, but not close) and wanted to get to know him better. That never happened though because he was very distant and never showed any interest in me so naturally, my feelings never developed further and I never really thought about it. Anyway flashforward and we’re together and I’m happy and see a lot of possibility and a great future and then BAM anxiety kicks in. Do I love him? How long does it take to fall in love? Is it okay for me to be doubting this? Am I supposed to feel a certain way all the time? I also felt guilty about him having stronger feelings for me than I did for him although it does make sense because he never allowed me to get close to him whereas I was generally more expressive. Long story short, I tried and still continue to try and pinpoint the roots of my anxiety regarding this relationship because if there’s one thing I know for sure is that I’m NOT willing to give up on him and he’s worth every bit of effort. My thought process went as follows: started with a few questions that got intertwined and because I’m a worrier by nature, elicited immense worry until it started to ruin my whole day and the thought of him leaving me produced even more anxiety. Then that sort of abated and somehow it turned into a sort of dread towards him as a result of all the bottled emotions and I eventually reached an emotional blackout for a couple of days. It turns out I had subconsciously associated him with my anxiety which resulted in that dread or fear because all I really wanted was to avoid that anxiety, not him. That realization made me feel so much better and a lot more open and receptive of him and I know that if I keep this up I’ll hopefully be able to wholeheartedly love him, but I wanna know how to keep these thoughts away and not constantly question everything and let anxiety kick in again. I’m sorry if this is too long.

Reply
Hey Sigmund

Anxiety can really get in the way of a beautiful relationship can’t it, but you can be bigger than it. The key is to always be checking in with the facts and the evidence around you. Question your worries and remember all the time that your worries are there to check that you’re okay, not to tell you that your not. Let them come, and then let them go. Have a key word or image, maybe a text on your phone, that helps you to feel secure and sure about the relationship. Whenever your worries try to take over, go back to that anchor word or image or text and let yourself fall into the safety of that.

Reply
Smdp

Hello 🙂

For the last 6-8 months i’ve been dealing with a bunch of thoughts regarding my relationship. My partner and I have been together for 2 years and 11 months now and he is my best friend, my biggest supporter and the most caring person I’ve ever met. 6-8 months ago i started noticing that my “feelings” are gone and that i didn’t want to be intimate as often anymore, then the thought followed that i didn’t love him anymore and so i started believing it. I refuse to think that that would be the end of this relationship and that makes me feel panicky. Somewhere in me i think that i do love him and i care about him very very much. But on the other hand i have thoughts saying that “I’m just staying because i dont want to be alone” or “I don’t want to be here”. It got to the point where i started believing all this and started to think of ways to fix it. I do believe that i have a good relationship and a good partner and that i am worrying for nothing.
In the first 2 years i always thought this is the man i would be spending my life with and when i started to doubt and worry i immediately thought something is wrong. I want to get to the point where i can enjoy my relationship again and build that future. I feel like it’s ruining a really good relationship.

Reply
Marissa

This was a great read. Thank you. I’ve met the greatest guy and my anxiety tends to be a big douche and add thoughts to my head and then I worry. This made me feel better. 🙂

Reply
Hey Sigmund

You’re so welcome Marissa. Anxiety can have a way of making you question things – even the good things. I’m pleased the article has helped.

Reply
James

This is spot on to what I’ve been experiencing recently with my significant other of about a year now. From an approaching closing date on a new house, higher than normal stress at work, and the realization that I have developed deep feelings for what was supposed to be a very casual relationship, I have been absolutely plagued by anxiety, and it has affected my behavior towards her. I’ve become overbearing and am seeking constant affirmation/interaction, which is out of the realm of what was ordinary for us.

I’m hoping to be able to show her the article. I’m trying not to worry that I may have ruined it beyond repair. I’d really like to make it to the one year mark!

Thanks for writing this! Any further advice would be much appreciated.

Reply
Hey Sigmund

James it’s completely understandable that your anxiety might be driving you to seek constant reassurance. You’re certainly not alone there and plenty of people would have struggled with this. It’s great that you’re aware of what’s happening, what’s driving your need for reassurance, and that your need for reassurance might be getting in the way of your relationship. What’s important is your openness to doing things differently. No relationship is perfect, just as no person is perfect – we all come with our flaws – but what makes a great relationship (and a great human) is the willingness to be better for the people close to us. You sound as though you have plenty of that. There are more articles on this link that might be helpful for you, both in terms of understanding your own anxiety, managing it, and helping your partner to understand your anxiety http://www.heysigmund.com/category/being-human/anxiety/ . I hope this helps.

Reply
Beatriz

Hey there, thank you so much for this beautiful post. It sure helped me understand I am not alone in feeling trapped inside my own head and thoughts.
I am generally an anxious person, not really about social interactions or anything but more about being afraid I am making a mistake (in my relationship, in my work, where I live…).
My boyfriend of 2,5 years used to be one of my close friends, one day I started noticing I felt differently around him, another day we kissed and from there to dating things went fast. Since the very beggining I’ve had these nagging thoughts (Do I love him? Am I in love with him? Wasn’t I supposed to feel butterflies and see myself with him forever? Miss him so much I can’t even breathe? What if we are just friends? What if this is not meant to be?). I would always seek for reassurance and he was always loving and kind, up until a couple of weeks ago.
This has taken a huge toll on him and he told me he cant do this anymore, he doesn’t quite understand what I’m feeling and says he lost the hope that I’ll ever work out my doubts. He broke up with me, only to immediately regret it after, and we agreed to stay apart for a while so I can try to work with this and figure out what my true thoughts are.
I feel so lost and lonely right now, I think I messed everything up and feel pathetic for not knowing what my feelings toward him are.
No one talks about this and something deep inside of me is terrified “hes not the one” or that this isnt love,or that there might in fact be real red flags in this relationship, and that this isnt really anxiety but mt gut telling me to let go.
Any insight on this would be dearly appreciated 🙂

Reply
Hey Sigmund

Beatriz what you are describing makes a lot of sense. Anxiety has a way of keeping your mind constantly in the future and contemplating the what-ifs. The important thing to remember is that this is a normal part of anxiety’s warning system – but it is not a prediction. It doesn’t mean that there is actually anything to worry about. It’s just your brain being very overprotective and trying to keep you out of harm’s way. So, when you wonder if it’s love or if this man is right for you, this is your anxiety trying to keep you safe. It is an overprotection though and doesn’t mean at all that there is anything to worry about. I know how difficult this is, but the best thing you can do is to surrender to your relationship for a little while. By that I mean just let it evolve and see what happens. Give yourself a time limit if you want, say, 6 months, and decide that you will give it everything you’ve got and you won’t question it until that time is up. By the time the 6 months is up, you will have the evidence you need to feel more secure and more sure about your relationship. You don’t have to know what your true thoughts and feelings are. If it feels good, keep going – that’s all you need to know.

Reply
Mary

Thank you so much for this! I have recently started dating this amazing man that is aware of my anxiety and still is understanding.
My question is: Does anxiety also affect physical expressions of affection? I fear small things like a simple kiss and getting to close physically. I haven’t heard of anyone else who deals with this. How can I get over my fears of physical expression of love?

Reply
Hey Sigmund

You’re very welcome Mary. And yes – absolutely – anxiety can affect anything in relationships. Anxiety is a brain that lives in the future as a way to protect you. It is always looking out for the things that could go wrong, to warn you before they actually do go wrong. This is why anxiety is so intrusive and often doesn’t make sense. Your body’s warning system will be triggered when the brain thinks there is trouble, regardless of whether or not the threat is real. Physical expressions of affection can certainly bring on anxiety because of the unknowns and the what-ifs that come with it. To move through this, remember that your anxiety is just your brain being overprotective – it doesn’t mean there is anything to worry about. Move slowly and gently through the awkwardness. Talk about it with your partner and laugh about it! The more familiar it becomes and the more you face it down, the easier it will get. Let whatever happens happen, and remind yourself that if the worst thing that could happen in a kiss happens (whatever that might be for you), you’ll still be totally fine – you’ll be better than fine. Be kind to yourself and go gently. We all have our stuff and it’s completely okay that this is yours.

Reply
Jeroen

I have relationship anxiety as far as i know. This time i am in a relation of nearly a year and i am still there. However, my anxiety is a bit less then in the beginning, it is still there. Although the feeling, and the tension in my lower body is unbearable, i want to go on and get this over with.

I got over most of the triggers from the beginning, however the one or two that are still there still starts the anxiety everyday again.

What i would like to know is this; will the anxiety always leave if you wait long enough? I mean, the only thing that keeps me going is that the feeling will leave me, but will it..?

Reply
Hey Sigmund

Your anxiety can certainly get to a point where it is no longer getting in your way. Anxiety is something that might always be there in the background, but it can definitely be managed so that it doesn’t cause you physical and emotional pain any more. It’s great that you know your triggers. The thing to remember with anxiety is that it’s your brain being overprotective and trying to warn you just in case there’s trouble coming. It’s your body’s early warning system – we all have it but in people with anxiety, it’s more sensitive.

There are things you can do to strengthen your brain against anxiety – exercise (try for 30 minutes 5 times a week) http://www.heysigmund.com/activity-restores-vital-neurochemical-protects-anxietyepression/; mindfulness (start with 5-10 minutes a day and gradually work up to 20) http://www.heysigmund.com/overcoming-anxiety-mindfulness/. These will both change the structure of the brain in ways that will strengthen it against anxiety. Getting enough sleep is also important.

As well as these things, practice taking slow deep breaths – in for 3, hold for 1, out for 3. This will initiate the relaxation response which will reverse the neurochemicals that surge through you when anxiety is triggered. It is these chemicals and the physical processes they initiate that are responsible for the physical symptoms. Every physical symptom you have (racy heart, tension in the muscles, sick tummy etc) are there because of the fight or flight response. The neurochemicals are triggered when the brain things there is need for fight or flight. These are designed to make you strong, fast and powerful to deal with whatever your mind thinks the threat is. (The threat doesn’t need to be a real one – in anxiety it’s just an overprotective ‘just in case’.) The idea is that when you fight or flight, it burns the neurochemicals. When there is no need for fight or flight, (as in when you are with your partner) there nothing to burn the neurochemicals and they build up, causing the physical symptoms of anxiety. Deep, strong breathing reverses this. Try to practice every day. It sounds odd having to practice breathing, but when your brain is in the thick of anxiety, it won’t remember to slow down your breathing. The more you can practice it (try a few breaths a few times a day) the more automatic it will become.

This article explains where anxiety comes from. It was written with kids in mind, but the definition is also relevant for adults. http://www.heysigmund.com/anxiety-in-kids/ If you can understand where your anxiety comes from and what causes it, it will be much easier to manage.

Reply
Jeroen

Thank you Karen,

one thinks it’s about relationship problems, troubles from the youth, the wrong girl etc. and ends up in therapy, spiritual groups, yoga, thoughts about that there is something really wrong and then there is this little but clear info that it’s just an oversensitive run and flight thing. Everything makes so much more sense… also your healing tips i understand completely. I will do both. Moving and mindfulness. For the first time i have the feeling that this will actually going to work. Thank you. ( deep bow ))

Reply
Dave

Have a relationship with God at the center of it and you will enjoy each other best. Without God, the relationship will not last. Truely living your life with God first is the key to happiness because everything we need is written in the bible. Strength, guidance, sex talk, what is right, what is wrong, yet people, myself included struggle. God will keep us strong, so our relationship can flourish.

Reply
Raabi

Hello!

Thanks for this article i’m going to read it everyday to remind myself that it’s all anxiety and thoughts! It’s been 3 weeks. I’ve been questioning everything about my relationship with the most amazing guy i’ve ever met. He knows everything about me and he wants me despite of my issue. At first I had so many thoughts “Do I love him?” “Is he the one” “He isn’t good looking” “He is boring” “I feel overwhelmed by the relationship” I crashed down couldn’t sleep, couldn’t eat for 4 days after that I started to work on it with him. A lot of my thoughts are gone. I know now I love him and I want him but I still can’t shake this anxiety feeling idk why ;( I know it’ll take time. I always worry about our future together! I’m worried that my issue is going to ruin this for us and I don’t want that. I’ve always accepted that I have ocd/anxiety but when it targeted my relationship I hated myself even tho I know it’s not my fault and I thought of ending the relationship because I couldn’t handle it but I knew ending it wouldn’t be the answer! My boyfriend means the world to me we’ve been through too much and we shared everything for 3 years now. As my thoughts go away I can see that it’s getting better and i’m not depressed anymore! I know what I want now but I still worry.. I worry if we are gonna have fun if we go out or not, I worry what if I got depressed and he couldn’t make me happy, what if he couldn’t handle it and left me, what if I wasn’t good/strong enough. I know I deserve to be loved but I don’t wanna ruin this. Is this going to go away with time?

Reply
Hey Sigmund

Remembering that your worry is just the thoughts of an overprotective brain can be very powerful in managing your anxiety. An anxious brain lives in the future, which is why you might tend to question your relationship. It doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with your relationship – it sounds wonderful – it’s just your brain doing what brains were meant to do – keep us safe. Yours just does it a little too much at times. If you can practice being deliberate about where you put your mind and give yourself the opportunity to relax into your relationship, this will help to train your brain to stay in the present rather than spending too much time in the future. This can be really difficult with anxiety, but what can help is setting a time limit. Give yourself a certain amount of time to explore the relationship. It might be a few months – whatever works for you. That way, you’re giving yourself a safety net so you can remind yourself that there is no need to think about the bad stuff now, because you have set a date to think about things. Then, when the date comes around you will have evidence and reason to feel stronger and more confident. You will also have proven to yourself that it’s okay to relax. If you’re still not feeling relaxed, set yourself another time period.

Things like exercise, plenty of sleep, and mindfulness can also help to strengthen your brain against anxiety. Your anxiety might stay in the background, but it doesn’t mean that it will always interfere the way it does now.

Reply
stacey

for me having anxeity is like being in a bubble i cant get out of and i am scared, i have the best boyfriend in the world but i cant talk to him about how i am feeling because i dont want to burden him. i trust him 100% but i dont know how to deal with it. i feel like i am on my own.

Reply
Hey Sigmund

Stacey I completely understand how isolating anxiety can make you feel. We all have parts of us we wish were different, but your boyfriend would know for certain that your anxiety is only one part of you and there are so many other reasons why for him, you are perfect. Let him know how much he means to you and focus on the good in your relationship. This will be hard some days because the temptation will be to focus on the fear, but you have the strength it takes to push against this. There are articles on this link that will help you to manage your anxiety http://www.heysigmund.com/category/being-human/anxiety/. There is a lot info here but there’s no hurry to take it all in. Take your time over it. The information will make a difference.

Reply
Malia

Hello. My boyfriend of two years broke up with me about a week ago for reasons that I believe are related to my anxiety and that were warned about in your article. He said he was exhausted from my complaining and negativity, but wants to remain in my life and said he would be willing to try things again in the future. Soon after we broke up I realized that he was completely right about everything he complained about. I am seeking professional help and doing things to counter my anxiety, but I was wondering if you have any suggestions as to how to repair the relationship since there is still love there and he still cares about me. Thank you!

Reply
Hey Sigmund

Malia it’s great that you’re getting outside support for this. Anxiety can be hard to understand for people who haven’t experienced it before. If you recognise that you may have contributed to the breakup by being negative, start focussing on turning this around. Let him know what you are grateful for. This is healthy for you to do anyway. If you can keep a gratitude journal and name three things each day that you are grateful for, this will start to steer your focus towards the positive things in your life. What you focus on is key, as it sets the filter through which you view the world. Here is an article that explains that http://www.heysigmund.com/why-what-you-focus-on-is-what-becomes-powerful-why-your-thoughts-and-feelings-matter/. Also, getting into a regular practice of mindfulness will help you to be more deliberate in where you let your thoughts wander. Here is the link to the mindfulness articles. http://www.heysigmund.com/category/being-human/mindfulness/. Take your time over these and see what you can do to incorporate mindfulness into your life. A few minutes a day will make a difference.

Reply
Jenna

This article is really soothing. I’ve been in a relationship for nearly 4 years…I’m so at the end of my tether with my cycles of doubt and anxiety that I starting to believe that maybe it’s the relationship and a couple of differences we have – though I know I’ve had panic and anxiety before him – it’s seems worse and is getting frequent and debilitating – I guess it rout of the blue freaked out about sharing space. This is the first relationship where I feel truly secure and loved unconditionally – and at the same time scared out of my wits. I only have to have a doubt like ‘I wished he’d come out with me more’ or ‘are we in rut’ to spark remuneration and overthinking. I can talk to him about anything and he’s always willing to listen and compromise within reason – he have also experienced my cycles of anxiety and doubt several times now – he text me just today to say ‘everything will be fine as long as you believe it will. I’ll always be here for you’. I had to run in toilets at work and just cry. When I get in this state I do wonder if I should just surrender to my doubts, our differences (I’m very social and we have different passions and I wonder weather I would be better meeting someone of a similar ilk – but then I why should this define us and why do I feel the need to ‘feel’ like part of couple when I’m out, can’t I feel liberated that we have the freedom to do our own thing – I’m driving myself mad with extreme – like will we only be a couple when at at home? or am I really in denial about wanting break up? will breaking up provide relief from my recurring doubts? – but, oh my word, he is the most beautiful, kind caring person (it makes my heart swell how supportive he is and how it must hurt him sometimes when I appear on the fence) and I don’t doubt my love just weather we can go on with my anxiety chipping away at it. I wasn’t a love at first sight, a slow burn as he was a quiet man it took a while to get to know him – I fell in live with his kind heart. Only yesterday he agreed to come and see an live band – even though it’s not his thing, as I sometimes just want him with me to feel like a couple – but I just kept focusing on whether he was enjoying himself and getting resentful that he didn’t embrace it as much as me because he was sitting quietly while I was dancing – I got myself so upset and then he made me see how much I was overreacting – bout then I counteract that with – should I be with someone more outgoing – does that outweigh everything???? Am I just torturing myself my not getting that need met and call it quits, or should I learn more compassion – or is this just anxiety taking hold??

Reply
Karen - Hey Sigmund

Jenna the right relationship is the one that feels right for you, not the relationship that has nothing wrong with it. No relationship will ever be perfect. Strong, healthy relationships are about being able to work through differences or accept them. After four years, there are going to be things that you notice and there are going to be struggles – there would be in any relationships. It is for you to decide whether they are differences that you can live with, or that you can’t – but all relationships will have them. Does the relationship feel right? Does he feel good to be around? Does he make your life better or worse? Do you like the way you feel in this relationship? Do you like the person you are in this relationship? How do you feel about him and the relationship when you aren’t feeling anxious? Anxiety can make things confusing – I completely understand that. Thinking about these questions will hopefully give you some clarity.

Reply
Taia

I just started seeing someone a month ago and we enjoy each others company but he’s very busy with work and we live about an hour apart.
He has to cancel plans at times because of the nature of his job and the fact that he just started in his position.
I understand this in my logical mind but my anxiety kicks in immediately and i start to think about all the things he could be lying about to get out of spending time with me.
whenever he doesn’t call back right when he says or doesn’t answer a text message I start to doubt.
I had a full blown anxiety attack one evening after a miscommunication and was quite crazy. I calmed down and laughed at it and then told him how crazy i felt and he laughed with me and then came over to see me.
I know all of this is good but I can’t stop these negative thoughts and the anxiety that takes over my body when i have them.

Reply
Karen - Hey Sigmund

Taia what you are describing makes sense. Anxiety can really intrude in relationships but it can be managed. You have what you need inside you to do this. Find yourself an anchor – a text message, a photo, and focus on this when you start feeling anxious. Breathe and use your anchor to remind yourself that your anxious thoughts are just that – thoughts, not facts. They will come and they will go. He sounds like a wonderful man. He’s lucky to have you.

Reply
Jenna

This article is exactly what I’ve needed to hear. I am in a newer relationship with a very, very special someone and am in the midst of a full-blown panic. All of a sudden I am doubting everything and pretty convinced in my mind that this panic is because somehow we are not “right” for eachother. But he’s so amazing and loving! We have so much fun together! It’s crazy how anxiety can cloud things so severely. Thank you for the insight and hoping to get a better handle on this soon. I don’t want to let my anxiety take this relationship away from me.

Reply
ScottyQ

So I am in that class of needy and insecure and I have a lot of work to do to understand how to increase the value I bring to the relationship. I am in a rekindled romance after a 4 year break. When it re-started she was pursuing me like crazy. Then she backed off a little and that got me worried and I started acting needy. We had a talk and things settled down. Then we went on a trip and she said some things about me that really put me off and I considered ending it. She turned up the love sending endless texts. Two days later she went completely silent and that triggered a huge needy reaction. It was bad. I think she considered ending it. Then, she said she did not want to end it but I needed to keep my needy reactions in check. Easier said than done. So for the past couple days I have been sending a good morning message and responding to her texts but I am trying to keep the number of texts I initiate down to one or two a day. When I send a text, I make it relevant… otherwise I don’t send it. I am avoiding sending anything mushy right now with the hope that scarcity will raise the value she perceives. So, what I wanted to mention to those reading these comments (and the author) is that as hard as it is, reducing the amount of contact without cutting someone off is a good way to build up the value the other person sees in you, provided that person sees a potential future with you.

The other think I have learned recently is that needy and insecure behavior will build quickly if you seek reassurance. The euphoria fades quickly and you start longing for more. I think that is why, when she was texting non-stop how much she loves me, I got too high too quickly… and then when she cut it off, I panicked that the supply was shut off… feeling like the love shut off too.

And the last thing I learned is that if you’re insecure because you think she is falling out of love with you, cheating on you, or otherwise wanting you less… In reality you have no control if she makes up her mind to leave you. None. So accept that she can leave you at any time and that you will have to start over. It’s ONLY a fact that it “can” happen… not that it will happen.

Reply
Hey Sigmund

Thank you so much for sharing this! Your insight is wonderful and makes so much sense. You are absolutely right about insecure behaviour building the more you seek reassurance. As with any anxiety, the more you do of the behaviour that helps to lessen the anxiety, the more dependent you become on that behaviour. If it’s reassurance, then you will become more dependent on reassurance to feel okay in the relationship. It sounds like you have the makings of a strong, loving relationship. Write down your insights and keep them handy so you can remind yourself of them when you need. They’re powerful. I wish you all the very best with your relationship. You deserve it.

Reply
Sam

Hi, thanks for the article. I have had anxiety issues for the past 10 years. I have been married for 12 years and have three beautiful children. Things go well for a long time then I have a flare up. I get Jealous over something that is border line appropriate. My issue is I get mad and react first. There is much hope for our marriage, I sought out a councilor to help. It is encouraging to hear it can work out.

Reply
Danielle

my relationship seems to be falling apart.My anxiety puts a heavey weight on things. I do ask for much reassurance from him, I feel if i dont get it his feels have changed or he doesn’t care enough. Its making him feel terrible about himself. My anxiety gets worse by the day inlcuding panic attacks and I can’t sleep at night. I don’t know what to do anymore?

Reply
Vincent

I like my girlfriend don’t love her we get along good then we have a I fight and my anxiety gets worse and then I feel I have anxiety when I am with her and not sure I wanna keep going out with her all was good till fight I wanna try to make it work I don’t know if I really wanna be with her or is it my anxiety causing me to think like that

Reply
Paula

I used to cry a lot and freak out overthinking if I love my boyfriend just as much as he loves me and all these other doubts that crossed my mind. Now I feel like I don’t do that anymore so it just makes me feel hopeless into thinking that I don’t love my boyfriend anymore, I get upset and just think that one day I am not gonna care anymore. What if I am just convincing myself I have relationship anxiety but I just don’t love my boyfriend anymore? Im so confused and I hate thinking this way. I know my boyfriend is everything I ever wanted in a guy so why can’t I just be simply happy? I never thought this would ever happen to me.

Reply
Karen - Hey Sigmund

Paula you sound so confused! The way anxiety pulls people down is by pulling them into the future. Of course it’s important to think about the future sometimes and make plans, but worrying about the what-ifs will kill the wonderful things you have now. It may be anxiety putting worries into your head, or it may be your relationship. Sometimes even the good ones grow apart. Let go of having to work it out now and see what happens if you go with what is in front of you. Does he make you feel good now? Do you love being with him now? Do you feel loved, nurtured, excited by your relationship now? None of us can predict the future – it won’t stop us trying though.

Reply
Mia

Hey Paula! I feel the same… wanna chat? I’m just looking for people with the exact same problem because I think that if other people with problems have groups (like AA and the like) of community help… why shouldn’t people with relationship anxiety have it too? Just an ideia… why not ? Hope to hear from you… I would like to know how things evolved for you! If you wanna chat tell me and we can discuss it by email. :))

Reply
Emma

I’m in a long distance relationship with a guy I met when I was 14, we’ve only just started dating recently and over the years when we’ve been friends, i’ve noticed a connection. I used to suffer from GAD when I was younger and constantly worried about everything 24/7. I start university tomorrow and I feel like it’s triggered these anxieties within me again, I keep doubting my relationship and thinking I want to break up with him but whenever I think of doing it I get very upset. A week ago I was happy with him and everything was great, is it just the anxiety or am I truly doubting my relationship? I can’t really decipher between my real thoughts and these negative ones anymore. I can’t sleep or eat it’s upsetting me so much.

Reply
Karen - Hey Sigmund

Emma the key for you is to stay in the moment when you start to get your anxious thoughts. Anxiety pulls you into the future, and sets you to thinking about all of the possible ‘what-ifs’. Rather than labelling your thoughts as good or bad, try looking at them without having to analyse them or judge them. Let the thoughts come, and then let them go. Sometimes the more you fight your anxious thoughts, the more they’ll fight to hang on to you. You’ll find some articles on this link that will have information about why being mindful can help with anxiety, and also ways to practice it. http://www.heysigmund.com/category/being-human/mindfulness/

Reply
Mia

Hi Emma! I know exactly what you are feeling because I have had the same. Would you like to chat maybe? If so I can give you the email… let me know :))

Reply
Eva

I suffer with anxiety and I’m feeling that it’s obstructing my relationship with my boyfriend. We love each other but I always have these thoughts that my anxiety will be the thing that breaks us apart. My anxiety causes me to get nauseous whenever it’s triggered and I’ve ruined dates and had to go home. I’m definitely going to keep this article in mind thank you

Reply
Vincent bufis

I am full of anxiety I have lits of pain which causes more anxiety
I dated a girl last year we didn’t get along because of her drug problems we used to fight which gave me more anxiety
Recently about 2 mobs ago we started e seeing each other again she is off all that terrible drugs she was on and dtoing
we’ll buy we had fit 2 week ago my fault also Moy just hers sh bing up on me she got over it as I did things were going good with us now even though fight is over but my anxiety with her is back I don’t wanna Blane her we are very intimate sonetimes I feel I should leave her but so unsure I just don’t remember my anxiety being this bad
I have had it for like 7 yrs
Any suggestions thank you

Reply
Jason

Hi , I was married to the love of my life. When dating she told me she was on antidepressants and said she didn’t need them anymore. She has a history of cutting out all her hometown friends. Cut out all university friends etc. I was going to be the person she could love and trust. After getting married she would have these outbursts and irrational thinking, and would attack me. Example…she was shaking and shaking her fists telling me I was toxic like all her relationships and she could only count on her parents. Her father even told me she thinks black or white. I insisted on counselling…1 counsellor said she had BPD, 2nd councillor said she was anxious preoccupied. When I read about BPD I became frightened especially if starting a family. Was told Bpd couldn’t be fixed, and after reading your article…maybe it was just anxiety that could be treated, and this saddens me if this was the case.

Reply
Karen - Hey Sigmund

The symptoms of BPD (borderline personality disorder) and anxiety are quite different. Anxiety can be managed, but this only would have had the potential to change the behaviours that were actually driven by anxiety. It’s possible that not all of these behaviours you describe were. It’s impossible to say without knowing more, particularly when two counsellors diagnosed two very different things – and anxiety and BPD are very different. People generally don’t let go of important relationships without fighting hard for them first. It sounds as though you did that.

Reply
Aria

Hi ,I’ve just come across your artical ,and I just want to thank you fro publishing such and informed and helpful piece 🙂

I’ve been dating ym bourfriend coming up three months ,and have always been a sufferer of anxiety .However it wasn’t until one comment my mother said ,that my anxiety came up in this relationship .Both my partner and I arent keen on PDA ,and my parents not knowing this at the time came out with “Oh ,it just seems youre not really into him ”
Because I dont publicly displaye my effections .Ever since then that thought has constantly been running around in my mind .scared that I don feel anything or enough ,its got to the point where my anxiety is just controlling me ,and Im so tired of it ,and sometimes Its made me close to breaking point (cutting all ties) and yet every time I think about doing it ,I just cant it makes me feel sick ,and almost hysterical .When I’m with him ,my anxiety or worry almost totally goes away ,he makes me laugh so much ,and theres such moments created that leaves me smiling for days .And yet ,I just wish I knew how to get rid of these doubts ,replaying on arguements and thinking that their breaking points ,and just relax and enjoy the moment and the time spent with him .
Any suggestions would be great 🙂
Thank you ^^

Reply
Karen - Hey Sigmund

If your boyfriend feels wonderful to be with – which is what it sounds like – then that is enough. It is definitely enough! Your relationship is still in its very early stages. You are still learning about each other and learning how to be with each other. You don’t have to have all the answers yet. This is a lovely stage for any relationship. Learn about each other, explore your relationship and let things unfold without trying to label them as ‘enough’. He sounds like a wonderful man. It may be that your mother was curious, concerned, or looking for reassurance from you that this was what you wanted. That’s all okay, but don’t make her questions your questions. You are seeing this relationship from a completely different side. You are experiencing this relationship from the inside. Your mother is looking at it from the outside. Your views are completely different, so it’s important to be clear about which is her view and which is yours.

When the doubts come up, bring yourself back to the moment. They are dragging you into the future, and taking you away from the truth as it is now. Ask yourself – how does he make me feel now? How do I feel now? Do I want this relationship now? The greatest protection for this relationship or any relationship you have is knowing when to leave the opinions of other people at the front gate. That doesn’t mean that you don’t listen to them, but listen and then decide for yourself. Enjoy this wonderful relationship you’ve found yourself in!

Reply
MV

Hi!
I have been together with my boyfriend for more than a year, he suffers from anxiety…apparently it triggered from his parents -out of the blue- separation and financial issues. Things were great, until a couple of months ago he started not sleeping and worrying about money problems and that I might be losing interest in him (which is concerning bc i’m madly and deeply in love with him)…he tried councelling for while but then stopped. Finally he told me he wanted a break from our relationship. After that he’s been twisting good memories into bad in our relationship to justify this time apart but then he comes back like clear-headed with reality but I don’t know what to do to help him!

Reply
Karen - Hey Sigmund

Ask him what he needs from you. Does he need space? Reassurance? Does he want the relationship? Does he want it to end? It sounds as though there are a lot of unknowns here. There probably are for your boyfriend too. This can be a scary thing for both of you. Work through it slowly and be ready to say what you need, and listen to what he needs.

Reply
Phil

Hi have just read this article .
I have been with my partner
For 13 years
I love her more than anything in the
World. We got married this year
In Greece it was the most beautiful
Day of our life .
We have two children which I love .
I should be the happiest man on earth .
But I can’t sleep at the moment
I am so frightened of something happening it is taking over my life.
I can’t find myself to trust my
Wife,
Even though we have just got married?
And been together for 13 years .
I’ve looked through her phone
And even listened in on conversations.
I hate myself for doing this but
I just can’t seem to stop . I have
No real reason for this that I can explain , if she goes out at night I am beside myself with worry (anxiety) or jealousy. It’s not making any sense I don’t even have a reason for this ?
I’m almost trying to make her
Leave me
But if that happened I would be heartbroken.
I know she loves me
But I just can’t help myself.
I hope it is something that can be
Made better because
If it doesn’t it will
Destroy our marriage.
Please help .
Should I see someone?

Reply
Karen - Hey Sigmund

Phil if you feel as though the way you are feeling is really intruding on your life, it would definitely be worth speaking to a doctor or a counsellor to bring things under control. If it is anxiety that is driving this behaviour, it is definitely manageable.

Reply
Britt

Hi I have been dating my boyfriend for a little over a year. He is literally everything I’ve dreamed of in a man. I came from two toxic Relationships that failed. Due to those past relationships I find myself getting anxious about old problems thinking that my bf might do those things to me and he’s never done anything that would make me question his intent..But of course My mind starts going into overdrive with thinking of him leaving me, not being attracted to me and so on. Is there anything I can do to stop my anxiety going to these extreme levels. It is mentally draining and I’m sure its the reason why I have depression.

Reply
Karen - Hey Sigmund

Try to establish a regular mindfulness practice, or any time of meditation. Mindfulness has been found by an overwhelming amount of research to change the structure and function of the brain, so it is more able to cope with negative thoughts and feelings. Here is a link with articles about mindfulness that might be helpful for you http://www.heysigmund.com/category/being-human/mindfulness/. This isn’t a quick fix, but there is no quick fix because the patterns of thinking that are keeping you stuck have taken a while to build. Try to start with at least 10 minutes a day and work up from there, eventually getting to at least 30 minutes a day. Mindfulness is a way to train your brain to let go of negative thoughts before they become negative feelings or negative behaviour.

Reply
Liz

I am in my first relationship for over 10 years and since being diagnosed with anxiety.

It is so good to see that all my worries about being in a relationship with anxiety are perfectly normal. I know I need to be honest with him about it all but he suffers with his own mental health issues (ptsd) and don’t want to put pressure on him.

Any advice?

Reply
Jg

Hi …I’ve been so thankful to read your posts and articles…but I’m in a relationship and anxiety is killing it…I don’t kno what to do…he says I need to get out of this funk I’ve been in because it makes him mad and he don’t want to be mean but he said I wish you would just stop thinking everytime we do something you hv anxiety and you will die…and i want him right by my side all the time…and to be honest I hate it too I just want anxiety gone because I want my life and relationship back….what do I do or tell him to fix this?

Reply
Karen - Hey Sigmund

Let him see that you are working on your anxiety. Meditation, exercise, diet, sleep – they are all really powerful and can help to strengthen and protect the brain against anxiety. Decide which ones you will try and be consistent with doing them. Meditation and exercise are the big ones and have been proven by tons of research to help with anxiety. With exercise, try for 30 minutes, five times a week. And with meditation see if you can start with 10 minutes a day and work up from there. If will be much easier for him to support you and give you what you need if he can see that you are also doing things to help with your symptoms. Have a look through the articles on this link. They will explain why meditation and exercise are so important and will also have some other things to try http://www.heysigmund.com/category/being-human/anxiety/. All the best – hope this helps.

Reply
Jg

Oops I meant or how do I fix this with him…I don’t want a sec9nd relationship to be ruined by anxiety…I had anxiety before and I got over it but recently I had a anxiety moment and since then I let it control me and my boyfriend that I’m with currently has not seen this side of me that’s why we fight so much lately..

Reply
Shauna

Thank so much for this article. I’ve had severe anxiety for almost 4 years and it’s just getting worse. I worry about everything, everyday as well as daily panic attacks. Ive been with my boyfriend for over 5 years now and I feel my anxiety is not only tearing me apart but our relationshup and life together as well… I try to just rememeber everything will be okay. I’m gonna try to keep all of this in mind. Thank you again. -Much love

Reply
Mittens

I have both bpd and crippling anxiety. And it’s destroying my life and relationship. Reading this has helped a lot. My boyfriend is really lovely. Supportive, kind, loving, smart, gorgeous, knows about my mental health issues and still loves me all the same. We’ve been together just over a year and a half, we’re long distance from September to about April for university, with visits every 6-8 weeks. I love it. I love him. But lately, the butterfly stage ended and I’ve been having troubling thoughts about if I really love him as much as he loves me, if I’m worth it, and loads of dreaded ‘what ifs’. Reading this article has really helped me understand what I can do other than just bombard him with “lets do all these couples’ therapy things to bring back my butterflies”, and I do think it can help. But I also know it’s easier said than done and I’m so scared I’m going to ruin everything. I love him and want to be with him, I want a long enduring marriage with him one day (which we’ve talked about briefly), and I want the butterflies back. I don’t want to lose him. But my anxiety is making me crazy… crazier I should say

Reply
Shelby

I feel like I’m ruining my relationship constantly thinking I’m not good enough pretty enough smart enough and always doubting myself. I always tell my bf when I’m having anxiety and he doesn’t understand why I feel this way. I’m afraid he’s going to find better or lose interest because I’m pushing him away with my anxiety. He says I’m not but I feel like it’s really affecting our relationship

Reply
Scott Quitadamo

If you feel it is affecting your relationship with your BF, it is affecting it, no matter what he says. Most people are wired to be nice to others. To make them feel good. So he’s probably not going to tell you it’s a real bother because it’s probably just a nuisance right now. But by letting you off the hook he is enabling your behavior. Almost encouraging it. And that means it may get worse over time. Eventually he will say something about it but by then it might be too late.
I cannot tell you how to fix it but I can tell you from experience that it’s not going to get better until you let go of the strong fear of losing him for any reason. Accept the fact that all things in life are impermenant. Like it or not, that’s the reality. Don’t concern yourself with what might happen. Anything “might” happen. Just worry about what “is” happening. Remember, you need to constantly make the distinction between your reality and reality itself. Don’t read into his behaviors. I spent a lot of wasted time thinking X means Y. It does not. X = X.

Reply
Michelle

This article has been really helpful and actually answered some of my biggest fears, but there are a few things I am still worried about.
Currently I am in a happy, 2 year long distance relationship with an amazing loving guy who I think may be the one. Around the end of August, I told him how I felt and was delighted to find out he felt the same. However, a few days afterwards I started having these doubts and worries about whether I love him or love the idea of him, or if it’s just lust, whether we will work out, etc. It continually got worse. I lost sleep over it, would go into hysterical melt downs, and a few times got close to cutting ties with him. But honestly I don’t want to lose him, and these thoughts scare me. I’m thinking there may be an outside source influencing my stress and anxiety (college and distance) but I am worried that my heart may be trying to tell me something. I honestly don’t know. Some days are good others aren’t as much. For example I’m currently looking into getting some Christmas shopping done for him (I need to look early on since it takes 3 weeks to ship to him) and sometimes I wonder whether the things I choose for him are just forced because I might not love him and I just want to get him something to make him happy is all, and not really in the spirit of celebrating Christmas together.

Reply
Sarah Garcia

Its only when I’m in a relationship that I remember how anxious I can be, and these behaviors and thought patterns arise. At the slightest sign of a problem, I get so insecure and scared of losing my boyfriend that I need constant reassurance and become threatened by anything that is time away from me and our home (work, friends, etc). Even though I love how independent he is, and respect that he needs and wants some alone time, its hard for me to give it to him. Instead I want him to shower me with attention and spend all his time with me so I feel secure. I try to calm myself down, so I don’t sound too needy or possessive, but its hard. The more I act fine and let him have his space, he actually is more affectionate and loving, but its still hard to control my thoughts all the time and not feel stressed and sad about things I’ve invented in my mind.

Reply
James

Hi, Im 20 years old, I have generalised anxiety disorder and I started going out with my girlfriend 7 months ago.
My problem is that recently I’ve begun to feel anxiety about the relationship and commitment of it! I don’t know why I’m feeling like this because I truly love this girl, shes so amazing and supportive and we have a wonderful time together, even when I’m feeling anxious about the relationship, its never as bad as when shes around. So why do I feel the way I do? I’m sooo frightened of losing her and especially worried that the only way to rid myself of this anxiety is to end the relationship but that just worsens my anxiety, makes me even more physically ill and just makes me so upset! I’ve been afraid of telling people this incase they say that I should end it!
I just can’t believe I feel this way now, we’ve had such a wonderful relationship so far and want it to keep going! Any suggestions or thoughts? I have started mindfulness meditation and am hopeful about it! As I said I do have GAD and have suffered with anxiety most of my life so its not like it all started when I met her, far from it!

Reply
James

I should note after reading over this that I meant, my anxiety is never as bad when shes aroud! As in i do feel better with her!

Reply
Karen - Hey Sigmund

James I’m so pleased to hear that you are practicing mindfulness. Mindfulness can be a really powerful way of training your brain to come back to the present when you need it to. Anxiety tends to pull minds into the future – ‘What if I lose her?’ ‘What if I mess things up?’. Remind yourself to focus on what is happening now. The truth is that none of us really know what is going to happen in the future, but the more we try to control that, the more we might struggle. Right now, you are with an amazing girl who obviously thinks you’re someone pretty wonderful too. Surrender to that and be present with that truth, because it is the only one that matters right now. When you start to feel yourself stumbling with the ‘what-ifs’, slow down, breathe strong deep breaths (it calms down the nervous system and enlists the part of your brain that is able to think clearly and rationally and calm down big emotions) and focus on what you have now. Perhaps have a sentence or a word that can anchor you – whatever feels right for you, but perhaps something along the lines of, ‘I am safe and I am loved’. What you focus on is what becomes powerful, so try to be deliberate in focusing your mind on what you have, rather than on what might happen. The more you do this, the easier it will get. It sounds like a wonderful relationship, and you sound like a wonderful partner who is very deserving of someone special.

Reply
James

Thank you for your reply, I really appreciate it! I really want this relationship to work out, more than anything, but just can’t figure out why I’m going through this anxiety! I’ve read that the things I feel are actually quite common but I wasn’t aware that they were and because of my GAD I tend to let things blow up in my hear appear far worse than they actually are! So I am confident about the mindfulness but Im aware its not a quick fix so patientemce is key!
Thanks again, and to anyone else reading this I wish you all the best of luck with your issues! 🙂

Reply
James

So, here’s a bit of my story. I’m a 34 year old gay man. I recently came out (last year after the gay marriage ruling was announced) and I’ve entered into a serious relationship that’s been going on for a little over three months now. We’ve become really close so freaking quickly, he makes me laugh, thinking of him puts a big smile on my face, he’s so kind, and he’s done wonders for my self-esteem. However… One thing I’ve come to realize since entering into this relationship is that I have quite a bit of anxiety.

When we first started dating it was stuff like “Does he really like me?”, “I’m too fat, he can’t possibly be attracted to me…”, “What if I’m just a rebound guy”, “What if he goes back to his ex?” to “Why hasn’t he called me? Has he decided he doesn’t want to be with me!?” Lately it’s taken the form of “oh my gosh… what if he is with another guy…”, “Does he want to go back to his ex?”, “Did he really have to work over that night or was he with somene else?”, and since I’ve admitted to him I’ve been dealing with anxiety it’s “Oh gosh… What if I’m too clingly!? What if my anxiety drives him away!?”

My mind takes the smallest things and turns them into a giant snowball that crashes through my mind until the next time I see him. Here is one example of how my mind can take something and turn it into something it’s not:

The incident: My boyfriend and I were getting stuff out of the car and he asked me to get a box of coffee off of the floorboard that he got for his dad. I got the box of coffee and noticed a bag of coffee beans and ask if he wants me to get that too (though my hands were pretty full…) He says a simple “Oh no don’t worry about it…” My mind instantly became suspicious and I kept wondering who the coffee could be for. Later, when we left his parents to go back to my house I asked “So who’s this for?” He responds “Oh it’s for me…” My mind instantly says (He doesn’t drink coffee! Why is he lying!?) I say out loud “You don’t drink coffee, why in the world did you buy it?” His response was “I get a bag for free every month (he works at Starbucks), I just liked the bag.” I let it go with him, but my mind is reeling and I keep imagining him buying this bag of coffee for some other guy and start thinking that he’s secretly cheating on me (some history, he was in a relationship with his ex for 5 years who cheated on him multiple times, plus he’s extremely introverted, so the chances of him having an affair are slim to none… Not that I’m saying he couldn’t, because he’s a total catch… just that he wouldn’t)…

Now, granted, this incident happened right after Trump was elected, so my anxiety was ramped up to the max because of that. I literally laid next to him in bed crying quiet tears because of my anxiety about the stupid coffee, but also because of my anxiety about my anxiety and how stupid my thoughts were. I told him when he woke up that morning that I had some anxiety issues that night, but I was too embarrassed because of the ridiculous reason to tell him about why.

When these nonsense thoughts are going through my head, there’s the other half of me screaming “You’re being dumb! Stop doing this to yourself! He hasn’t done a single thing to deserve this!” and a majority of the time, it’s not like this. But these times keep cropping up. Most of the time they’re done and over with quickly and just being with him calms me down, but I hate dealing with them at all… Even for brief periods of time… and I don’t want him to start feeling like I’m some burden or that he can’t come to me when HE needs support.

Since I’ve come to realize the level of anxiety I have, I’ve started thinking back about my life and have come to realize that I’ve been dealing with anxiety for a long time, and it’s a primary reason for so many of the problems I’ve had. I didn’t come out of the closet until I was 34 years old and it’s because of my anxiety. I believed, with all of my heart, that I would lose all of my family and friends if they knew I was gay (which is ridiculous considering my family that matters, and all of my friends are generally fairly liberal when it comes to social matters…) When I finally came out I didn’t get a single negative reaction, but I realize now that fear of being discovered was the form my anxiety took before I came out.

I now know that it’s been a constant weight around my neck that has kept me from being happy, and frankly, I’m tired of it. I am so happy right now. I love my boyfriend so freaking much, I have a good job, I’m finishing up school, and I have a great support system behind me. I just want these stupid thoughts to go away and leave me to my happy life.

But… I’m not sure exactly what to do to control my anxiety… Should I talk to my doctor about medication? Go to therapy? Medidate? I’d love to know some healthy ways of dealing with this stuff without being super clingy to my boyfriend and driving him nuts with unfounded paranoia and a constant need for reassurance (trust me… he gives me plenty of reassurance that he loves me in the form of little presents here and there, touch, words etc…) What are your suggestions? I’d love some advice.

Reply
Karen - Hey Sigmund

James I love the insight you have around the role your anxiety is playing in your relationship. There are some really powerful ways to manage anxiety http://www.heysigmund.com/anxiety-without-medication/. Medication is one way, but even if you do speak to a doctor about medication, it is important while you are on medication to do the things necessary to strengthen your brain against anxiety. There is so much research about the benefits of mindfulness and exercise. They change the structure and function of the brain in ways that can settle anxiety. Here is one that explains how mindfulness works http://www.heysigmund.com/overcoming-anxiety-mindfulness/, and exercise http://www.heysigmund.com/activity-restores-vital-neurochemical-protects-anxietyepression/. It’s also really important to understand why anxiety feels the way it does. Here is an article that can help with that http://www.heysigmund.com/dealing-with-anxiety/. All of the anxiety articles are on this link http://www.heysigmund.com/category/being-human/anxiety/. There is plenty of info there, so take your time over it, but the ones I have given you are probably the best ones for you to start with. I hope this helps.

Reply
Mike

I’m having an anxiety issue in my relationship. We are a newer relationship (3 months) but have a very strong connection. Both have been in long relationships 5+ years so we know what we are and aren’t looking for. 29 YO. My problem comes with her Ex. They are over a year broken up now. He wasn’t around until I came into the picture. They live in different states but he started texting and calling all the time after we started dating. By the feel of it she would respond when I wasn’t around. I know they say things like they miss each other but she tells me its not like that and I shouldn’t be concerned. (I know by her accidentally opening her text in front of me) I told her I don’t want to get into to a relationship like this, where there is some other guy lurking in the back ground. I wouldn’t say jealous is the right word to use but when ever he is texting her my anxiety boils over and I basically shut down, shaking, cold sweat, heart palpitations, etc. I mentioned this to her and she said would tell him to stop but this is still continuing. I bring it up that she said she would do this and she keep saying she will but the timing doesn’t work to talk to him about it. I have no interest in being in a relationship with her if they are in communication, I can’t put myself through this feeling all the time. Any advice on how to bring this up without it being too persistent and ruining/ building resentment in the relationship? I truly love her and I know she feels the same, but I also don’t want to be blindsided/crushed by this if I’m wrong.

Reply
Karen - Hey Sigmund

Mike your feelings on this sound very justified. Your relationship is new, and in the early stages of any relationship, it is the time to build trust and intimacy. The risk with texting an ex and saying things like how much they miss each other, is that it can interrupt that process of trust and intimacy building, even if she doesn’t have feelings for her ex. The reality is, it is difficult to open yourself up to someone completely when there still feels as though there are old relationships – ‘relationships’ not friendships – that are getting energy in the way this one is, specifically by talking about how much they miss each other. If this was just a friend, it may be different, but being an ex, the boundaries are different. Be honest with her about how you feel. Let her know that you respect her right to have friendships with other men, but that the texting between her and her ex feels risky for you. Your relationship is still new, and the ground rules, trust and the expectations you have of each other may take some time to establish. Give it time and gentle conversation.

Reply
Cody

Hi.. My name is cody . i was married to my wife for 25 years. The last 2 years. She became ill . from cancer. I noticed that i couldn’t stay no more than 4 hours after breakfast. I got to a point . that it came to a point that i couldn’t breathe. I had to leave . i would see my mom for an hour . it was ok. For a while and than it would come back . but i noticed that when she became very ill on hospice. The anxiety left me . i spent 22 hours a day with her . Because i had to shop for 2 hours . now after my wife passing. In the first month my anxiety came back . i had to leave my moms place and than back to my place . it was odd. I always talk to her and now my anxiety came back to me tonight. So i think she is still with me . and my spiritual body feels her. It really makes me very sad. Because i say to her . Please come back to me . do u think she visits me . but why does it cause me anxiety. ????

Reply
Karen - Hey Sigmund

Cody what I believe is that the people we love are always with us in some form. We are energy – we all are. You can feel the energy of people when you walk into a room, or the energy change when people leave a room. Energy might change form, but it never dies and it never gets destroyed. That’s what I believe, and I believe it with all my heart. As for your anxiety, anxiety happens when your brain believes it might be under threat. That doesn’t mean that there is a threat. It happens in a primitive part of the brain that acts on instincts more than it does factual information. If something is happening to you that feels unfamiliar, this may be enough for your brain to worry and to initiate the fight or flight response. The important thing to remember is that this doesn’t mean there is a threat. When you start to feel anxious, remind yourself that you are safe. The anxious part of the brain is instinctive, and it operates without much thought. A way to think about it is like you have to remind it that you’re safe, and that there is nothing it needs to protect you from. An easy to do this is to breathe strong, deep breaths. Breathing calms the nervous system and starts to neutralise the neurochemicals that are surging through you because of the fight or flight response. These neurochemicals are the reason you feel the way you do when you have anxiety – racing heart, clammy skin, nausea etc. You might need a cue somewhere near you, perhaps words, to remind yourself to slow your breathing. Everything you have described makes sense. Your body, mind and spirit are still adjusting to a very big loss. This can take time sometimes, but know that you will be okay. I wish you love and healing.

Reply
Everything is great

Shes with you right now and always and you just get emotional like me its ok.

Reply
Robin

Me and my girlfriend have been in a strong relation ship for awhile now but the thing is, she has anxiety and depression. We’ve been drifting apart and it almost feels like we’re strangers now. She keeps pushing me away. I know she loves me and it hurts her when she pushes me away, I can read her like a book. And I know when she’s hurting but I can’t comfort her because she wont allow me to. Due to her child hood issues, she doesn’t like to be touched. And thats the only way I feel I know how to comfort is through affection. What can I do to let her know she can be vunerable with me, how do I gain her trust?

Reply
Karen - Hey Sigmund

You sound like such a wonderfully supportive partner. There are certainly other ways to comfort her, though I understand why touch feels so important. Being fully present with her when you are able to, listening to her, checking in on her to make sure she is okay and whether there is anything she needs, letting her know that you are there when she needs someone, letting her know that you are happy to be there for her without her needing to speak – these are all ways of showing support. Anything that is done without expectation of return will feel safe. Be patient and also make sure that in this, you are looking after you.

Reply
Dee

Hi im a 29 year old female and ive been with my fiance for 8 years off and on but sjes constantly telling me she wants to be by her self not in a relationship and she diesnt have feelings towards it anymore , then its we need this or we need to start doing this im so confused because i jist don’t wanna leave her cuz i dont know if its really her true feelings or the anxiety talking but its been almost a week now that weve been going thru this whay do i do and how does this sickness really effect things

Reply
Ella

Hi there.
I’ve only been in a relationship for 6i this but it all started very differently. We met at festivals and spent all summer working together and subsequently, living together (or at least in the same tent) and we met each others parents and stayed at each others houses pretty much consistently between festivals (usually only one or two nights). Since moving back to home and working (we live about 2 hours away) we only see eachother on weekends and it’s messing with my head. We rarely talk over texting (because we both hate it) but my brain is constantly telling me that he doesn’t care and I shouldn’t care as much as I do. Even though I know neither of these things are true.
I’m at a loss because he is the best man I have ever met and I just don’t know what to do. I don’t want to lose the man I’ve fallen in the deep end for.

Reply
Ki

For the majority of relationships I have been I always get to the point where I question my feelings or intentions. One thought I’ve always come back to is my sexuality. I’ve always said I was bisexual but with time I felt that wasn’t the right term for me and have finally settled on being pansexual. Bi meaning both men and women, Pan meaning men, women, trans etc. This happened to settle best for me. Today I have been in a relationship with a man for 3 years. When I first started dating him he new I was frightened. Not use to relationships, or how they work. Feeling ” claimed “, was not a word I took lightly. He new coming into the relationship I was into women but he wanted to take his chances regardless. Unbelievably scared I braced myself for this relationship and for once felt like I was actively dating someone. My last relationship I felt like I wasn’t really there. I feel I was dating him for the wrong reasons. And I wasn’t exactly sexually attracted to him but I feel I clung to him because my parents divorced right when I was graduating high school so I stayed with him as I adored his family. But I don’t think I ever loved him in the way that I love the guy I’m with today. The love that I have for my current boyfriend of 3 years I’m absolutely enthralled in his love. I had a lot of first real experiences with him. I no longer felt like auto-piolet in a relationship but 100% in. Now being 3 years I feel I question my feelings, my thoughts, my boyfriend has always known I was an anxious person. He knows of my sexuality that I question often and my feelings. I feel I have severe intimacy issues and that auto-piolet or not-in-the-moment feeling has come back and I don’t feel like I’m paying attention. I have anxiety at night when he comes to sleepover and we created this joint back account putting our money in together to create our lives and I’m just so frightened. Frightened by the ideas of merging our lives more seriously together. I question on repeat the love I feel. I also believe I have intimacy issues in the bedroom. After orgasm I loose the light, loving feeling. I loose the interest. And this has gone for majority people I ever dated. I fear I may be one of those sexual abuse cases as even when my Mother plays with my hair or a hug an old male relative fear or discomfort overcomes me. Masturbation isn’t always joyful. Or quick-lived ectasy. Some moments are simply incredible with my boyfriend. But than sometimes I just loose myself in anxious thought and discomfort. I really feel like he could be the one. But I’m clouded by all my fear, worry, confused. I know this is a lot and I do see a therapist but I feel like you may be able to help me breakdown a clear understanding of whats happening to me. And my boyfriend and I have open communication and he knows about everything but how can I relax? I always jump to breaking up but I don’t think that’s what needs to be done here I feel that’s only a jump reaction. Not one made with detail thought. Even though I feel like I’m thinking clearly there is a lot of ” I don’t knows ” in my head.

Reply
Sparkles

Hi I have a boyfriend we’ve been dating for a year and a month now. He has anxiety. He keeps thinking about me leaving him when the time comes. He Thinks I don’t love him. I gave him everything I could. I supported him in any way that I can. I’ve always been there for him when he needed me but the problem is, we’re both young and still going to school and the hardest part is we’re in a long distance relationship. So we see each other 2-3 times a month. At first I thought it was just because he misses me and he wants me close to him but now its getting worse. He said his bad feelings go away only when we’re together because he feels happy. But again we’re still young and our parents are strict, both sides. Sometimes he cries without any reason, we’re okay. I’m always sweet and clingy and I show affection to him as much as possible but then sometimes he pushes me off and I get hurt. What should I do?

Reply
Karen - Hey Sigmund

Talk to your boyfriend about this article. Here are some clues that someone might be struggling with anxiety http://www.heysigmund.com/subtle-signs-of-anxiety/. Talk to him and see if any of these feel familiar for him. If they do, there are a few things that can be really powerful and strengthening an anxious brain. Two of the main ones are exercise and mindfulness. These articles will explain more about that – maybe they are something you can do together. Here is the article for mindfulness http://www.heysigmund.com/overcoming-anxiety-mindfulness/ and exercise http://www.heysigmund.com/activity-restores-vital-neurochemical-protects-anxietyepression/. Finally, here are some ways you can support him, if he thinks he might be struggling with anxiety http://www.heysigmund.com/how-to-help-with-anxiety/. I hope these help.

Reply
Dave

I have been in a relationship for over 4 years. I have anxiety and depression. I feel like we have drifted apart and I feel anxiety is a big reason why. I am in my twenties and ever since I was young, I felt like a lot of opportunities I have had have been ruined by my anxiety. Particularly with women. Even though I am in a committed relationship that for the most part I am happy with, I feel there are still some things I would like to experience that I have not been able to. I’ve recently had “opportunities” come about where I could potentially meet some of my wants, but I’d be taking a chance on ruining what I have. My anxiety through this situation is making it hard to sleep and get through the day. I have no idea what to do. I have talked to my partner briefly about it, but how is it possible to bring up being interested in someone else only sexually and is it just my anxiety causing me to have conflicted feelings? Any help would be appreciated. I’m in a difficult spot.

Reply
Karen - Hey Sigmund

Dave rather than letting your anxiety drive your behaviour, which could very understandable ruin what you have, try working on your anxiety. If your partner is someone for whom commitment and monogomy is important, it is unfair to expect her to change in the name of supporting your anxiety. There are other ways to deal with your anxiety that will be less harmful to your relationship and less harmful to your partner. Anxiety often creates safety behaviours. These might be constant checking, cleaning, avoiding. They are the behaviours that people do to make them feel safer and to relieve their anxiety. These behaviours stop being helpful when they get in the way of life and cause other problems. The other risk is that if you turn to sex outside your relationship to ease your anxiety, this will be the only way you will know to feel safe.

The important thing for you to know is that there are other, very powerful ways to ease your anxiety that will not hurt your relationship. Mindfulness and exercise are two of the most powerful. Here is an article that explains how mindfulness can help with anxiety http://www.heysigmund.com/overcoming-anxiety-mindfulness/ and here is one that explains how exercise can help http://www.heysigmund.com/activity-restores-vital-neurochemical-protects-anxietyepression/. Research has shown that both exercise and mindfulness can be powerful in relieving anxiety, and they will be healthier options both for you and your relationship.

Reply
Dave

Thanks for the reply. I have tried my best to work on my anxiety and have had several issues. I am going to a local mental health facility within the next week to try and discuss several of my issues. I also believe in monogamy and I find it morally and ethically wrong to cheat on a partner. I did hangout with the other person, but made it clear that nothing would happen with them until I end my current situation and they explained that they respected me more for it because it shows them that I am trustworthy. I am still conflicted however due to several reasons. I often wonder if I would be happier on my own for awhile to focus on myself. I am also not sure if I want to end my current relationship or not and if I want to take a risk on losing what I have and get something worse or better. It is all I can think about. As far as your recommendations… I have been exercising everyday for about 3 months. I have lost weight and my self confidence has increased. This is part of the reason I feel I have other “options” romantically. I have heard exercise helps anxiety, but it has not really helped my relationship at all and only has helped my anxiety somewhat. I will give mindfulness a shot as well. I do try my best to enjoy the moment, but my brain overthinks and overanalyzes everything and it can be horrible and draining.

Reply
ilirijana

Dave, your issues may stem deeper than general anxiety. Now, I don’t know you personally, but I’ve felt similar things, and once even acted on it… I have a hard time forgiving myself to this day, though my partner and I managed to work through things. I am a stronger person now.
My problems stemmed from commitment issues, intimacy fears, and were also magnified by my sexual trauma.
Sometimes it’s hard to learn how to relax with one person…
If the person is someone you are in love with, you can make it work.
How the person treats you and if they love you, that also matters.
Is this someone you feel safe with?
Is this someone that you can share your deepest fears with?
This matters in a long term relationship.
Even if you already took the plunge and made whatever decision, know that it is never too late to work on you.
Relationship, or no.
You are not a bad person.
You can only live through your own perspective, and you can only control yourself.
So whatever has or hasn’t happened, make sure that you try your hardest to make sure that you meet your needs, and to consider your partners as well.
If she isn’t willing to even consider your needs, then you might be better off with just you.
I wouldn’t recommend starting a new relationship until you are in a more emotionally stable and peaceful place.
If you are still in a relationship, then it is your choice whether or not you want to work things out.

Reply
Worried

I’ve been in a long distance relationship for a little over a year. I thought it would be very difficult (different countries and major time zone differences), but we’ve managed to talk every day and have actually grown closer. I’ve never felt like this for someone. However, he’s been unable to find a job in his country, much less to be able to get a job in mine and get a visa to come back (we met in my country). He’s decided his only option is to become a musician on a cruise ship. My anxiety is sky rocketing. I made the mistake of researching cruise ship gigs and it brought up the massive partying and hookups. He’s not the hookup or partying type, but I can’t seem to get it out of my head. Plus, it’s going to mean only an email a day, if that, because of his not having easy access to wifi at sea. I’m not sure we’ll survive this, which may be my anxiety talking. I really don’t know what to do!

Reply
Susie

This article was so helpful, and right on the mark in regards to how my anxiety affects my relationships. I’m with a new partner and my anxiety is completely taking over, and I think I’m doing what you describe as projecting my anxieties onto the relationship. I find it really hard to tell what is a genuine issue that needs to be discussed and what is just my anxiety trying to identify what it is anxious about! For instance, he is often online on Facebook but doesn’t reply to my messages for what is sometimes 8 hours, and that sends me into a spin in combination with his generally quiet personality. I find myself constantly needing reassurance that he still wants a relationship, as I’m picking up lots of “he’s just not that into you vibes”. I can’t tell the difference between those vibes and my anxiety that I’m not good enough anymore! Any further advice on this particular issue would be amazing. I do a lot of meditation and as much exercise as possible, but these anxieties creep up so often as I always have the facebook messenger app on my phone and it seems to constantly remind me that he’s not into me. I try deleting it but goodness that doesn’t last long!

Reply
Liz

I’ve been in a relationship for almost 7 months now, I was taking birth control and my doctors think that it has led to my anxiety and depression. I’m 21 and I’ve never had this before. I can’t help but think that I’m not happy because of my partner, but up until 10 days ago, I wanted to see my boyfriend every single day and never thought that we were drifting apart or I didn’t love him anymore. I get anxiety about the thought that I don’t love him because I fear losing him all the time, when I’m with him I am fine but I only see him on the weekends. I don’t want to lose Him and he hasn’t done anything for me to want to break up with him. I just want to go back to the way I felt before all of this. I feel that that “spark” is missing. I don’t want to hurt him

Reply
Karen - Hey Sigmund

Liz what your doctors have said makes sense. Anxiety has a way of really intruding into relationships and steering you towards doubts that don’t deserve to be there. Have your doctors changed your birth control? It may take time to adjust and for your symptoms to ease. In the meantime there are things you can do to strengthen and protect your brain against anxiety and anxious thoughts. Exericse and mindfulness are the big ones. Tons of research has shown that both of them can change the structure and function of the brain in ways that help protect it against anxiety. Here is an article that explains why mindfulness is important http://www.heysigmund.com/overcoming-anxiety-mindfulness/, and this one explains the importance of exericse http://www.heysigmund.com/activity-restores-vital-neurochemical-protects-anxietyepression/. I hope these are helpful for you.

Reply
Nicole D

I have been with my boy friend for 6 years this summer, I have always been completely in love with him & spending time with him & dreaming of our future together. The last half of 2016 was extremely difficult ( financially) & I started to struggle with work, I wasn’t happy there anymore then one morning I woke up & doubt everything about my life (this was 2 weeks after being taken off the birth control pill after being on it for 6 years) I doubted that I was happy with everything including my relationship & it made me cry uncontrollable every day. My doctor put me on anti depressants & thinks I have depression & anxiety. I have been on them for 3 weeks now and my boyfriend just finished a week of nights but now that’s he is home I am just feeling sick/nervous, sweaty & afraid. I’m afraid of losing him but I’m also afraid because I feel so disconnected from him right now, my head is cloudy & it tells me I don’t love him anymore & he would be better off without me. Is this the depression mix with anxiety??

Reply
Karen - Hey Sigmund

It may be depression and anxiety. Antidepressants can take six weeks or so to start working, so be patient. There can also be side effects so stay in close contact with your doctor if something starts not feeling right. It’s really important if you are on medication to also do the lifestyle things that will help to strengthen your brain and protect it against depression and anxiety. Exercise and mindfulness are the two big ones. Here is an article about exercise http://www.heysigmund.com/activity-restores-vital-neurochemical-protects-anxietyepression/, and here is one about why mindfulness is so powerful http://www.heysigmund.com/overcoming-anxiety-mindfulness/. Here are some ways to practice mindfulness http://www.heysigmund.com/different-ways-to-practice-mindfulness/. Here are some apps that have been developed by clinicians and which have shown great results with depression and anxiety http://www.heysigmund.com/apps-for-depression-and-anxiety/. I hope this helps you to find some comfort.

Reply
Marie

I’ve been in a relationship for 8 months now, and during the first couple months I was convinced this was the guy I wanted to spend my life with. I never connected with any guy like I did with him. I knew he was special. However the last couple of months I’ve been anxious about our relationship. I’ve broken up with him a couple of times because the anxiety was just too overwhelming. I am asking questions in my head all the time like is he the one? Would I marry him? Should I stay with him if I am not gonna marry him? How do I know if we’re meant to be? Like I’ll get really anxious when he’s done nothing wrong but be a great boyfriend to me. I can’t tell the difference from anxiety and what my gut feeling is. I just don’t know….

Reply
Broken Hearted

Like so many others posting here I am in a new relationship with someone with anxiety and am realizing that, I too, have some serious anxiety issues. She was assaulted when she was young and has been abused by most of her boyfriends since so she has issues with touch and physical intimacy. I was in a marriage where my wife withheld affection for 5 years, so we are naturally having challenges. It’s been almost three months and she still won’t sleep in the same bed, kiss me with an open mouth, or even cuddle. She acknowledges there’s a problem but doesn’t seem to have any intention of doing anything about it and no matter how much I ask, she won’t do more than occasionally stroke my hair. Feeling completely taken for granted and out of control I insisted that she talk to me, threatened to have her move out in order to try to get my own needs met. (not sex, just affection, intimacy, and closeness) This was totally the wrong thing to do and she told me that she didn’t feel safe anymore and that she wanted out of the relationship. Her feeling is that she needs me to be perpetually understanding and available without any consideration of my need for affection. I don’t want her to leave, I don’t want to be this manipulative controlling person, and I don’t want to be held at a distance indefinitely. The anxiety is causing my ulcerative colitis to act up and I’m tired of crying myself to sleep. Any suggestions about how to take care of myself while still being supportive for her?

Reply
Karen - Hey Sigmund

I can really hear how upsetting this is for you. If you feel as though your needs aren’t being met at all, the question to ask yourself is, is this about anxiety or is it about the combination of the both of you, particularly if it is also triggering your own anxiety and causing problems with your physical health at such a relatively new stage of the relationship. We all have needs and all healthy relationships are based on give and take and compromise. There will be periods where one person needs more support, and then the roles change. Even if one partner needs more support long term, the relationship can still be wonderfully healthy and connected, providing that that partner is do what they can to also invest emotionally in the relationship. When one person is receiving all of the support, and the other is unwilling to invest, the cost of compromising can become too high. Have a think about what you need – the minimum, and let your partner know what this is. It is then for her to decide whether or not she is prepared to meet you on this, and if she isn’t, then it is for you to decide whether you want to still be in the relationship on those conditions. You may or you may not, but that is something that only you can answer.

Reply
Kelly

Iv been in a relationship for about half a year now. He is great. Prior to I was in & out of flings, dating guys who I knew there was no future with & that made it “safe” for me, lack of commitment I suppose. I noticed a change in myself months ago. I had a shot at a big internship for my dream job, I contemplated things that could go wrong & postponed applying for almost three weeks. I also notice I feel more isolated, more in my head. I worry about saying the wrong thing, or even what to say, if a new acquaintance likes me, if the arguement my bf & I got in early in the week makes him love me a little less; things like that. I never worried so much before, at least not enough to put a barrier between my bf & I. I want to correct it because connections as a social worker are crucial & I love my bf & miss feeling so much closer to him, not to mention this nonstop worrying about every single thing is exhausting & emotionally draining. I always feel on edge. I want him to understand & not see me as “unstable”, but I fear he won’t regardless that he’s already accepted me for who I am. He doesn’t know all this. How do I go about approaching it & what do I do in the moments of chronic worrying about our relationship?

Reply
Karen - Hey Sigmund

It sounds as though your anxiety is creeping into different areas of your life. Your relationship is just one. If this is the case, it’s important to work on your anxiety generally. Mindfulness and exercise are both really powerful ways to manage anxiety and calm an anxious brain. Here is an article about how mindfulness can help http://www.heysigmund.com/overcoming-anxiety-mindfulness/ and here is one about exercise http://www.heysigmund.com/activity-restores-vital-neurochemical-protects-anxietyepression/.

Reply
Dan

I have recently split from a long distance, long term relationship (4years) with a girl who suffers with anxiety. I have never suffered with anxiety and would describe myself mostly as secure (with a slight avoidant attachment) I was aware that she had abusive relationships before, but didnt understand the extent to which they had affected her. I was unaware of these problems for the first few years, until i spoke to a Relate counsellor in sheer desperation. And she explained to me it sounded like anxiety attachment disorder. When i spoke to my partner, she admitted she had indeed been medically diagnosed with this condition several years before. I felt like it was something had i had known, i could have prevented myself from reacting by being cold and dismissive. Having read hours and hours of articles both here and elsewhere, its clear to me how much her anxiety has seeped into my everyday life. I now feel anxious and severely depressed as i have allowed my boundaries to be pushed for a long time. I tried to give conditions, but thats when irrational and manipulative behaviour came into play. And unfortunately for me, iv allowed this behaviour to become acceptable. And that has transformed me into an abusive, angry frustrated man. And i hate myself for that. I cant describe how much i love this girl. I have put so much energy into helping her anxieties that i have neglected to take care of my own needs. Im now left feeling empty, angry and severely depressed. I have all the symptoms of a massive depressive. I have held onto the hope that i would suddenly be treated the way in which i expected. But that never happened. I still love her and wish i had a magic wand to make everything better. I understand now why things have happened in the way they have, but im still left wanting to be with her. I cannot break the cycle. Iv now come to the conclusion that she will never help herself. She doesnt pro-actively show any signs of self management. Its like she hides from the reality. But for me its all too clear. And it affects me greatly. We have been apart since xmas, and i was truly horrible and abusive when i broke up with her. Which i feel truly awful for. I dont want to believe that there is no hope for us, but i feel like i know she could never be any different. It really breaks my heart as i know deep down she has a wonderful heart and soul. And im left feeling like iv given so much and got so little back. Im torn between my heart and my head. I apologise for the lengthy message but i could really do with some helpful advice in how i can move forward in my life (ideally with her) Thanks in advance

Reply
Ruby

Hi,

I just broke up with my boyfriend of 10 months because I was having doubts. I began questioning my feelings for him because I felt like they were not strong enough, but I was scared to continue the relationship thinking my feelings were not going to increase. When I was with him, I never felt more like myself. I felt like I could be completely myself with him and weird and he was totally accepting of me. However, I was really judgmental of him.For example, I thought he bowled weird, I hated that he ate with his mouth open, I thought he talked too much at times or sometimes his jokes were not funny and I found myself getting annoyed with him. I began to focus on these small things and they affected how I saw him or what I felt for him. Sometimes I would have a great time on the date and the next day I would doubts for the entire day.

For half the time we would be having a great time on a date, but then my doubts would surface. For the most part he has the qualities I want in a man- he knows how to have fun, he likes to try new things, open minded, incredibly intelligent. His sense of humour was also improving.

Reply
Kenzi

I’ve decided my mental instability is negatively impacting my life and specifically my relationship with my fiancé

I intentionally devote time to dwelling on negative ideas inspired by a small reality.

When I’m spending time with Josh everything is good, but when he is away or gone for a period of time I start to develop self induced fears and worries about our relationship. During this time I have a doomed perception of my reality and express a ranging set of emotions often imposed upon those around me; specifically Josh. He is confused by my emotions.

I experience this kind of thinking as apart of a cycle. This is typically the breaking point. At first I will want to confront Josh with my worries, which he perceives as being accused. Then he pushes back, insisting that I have fabricated my emotions and shows he’s upset with me. Yet, he has the ability to snap me back to reality and convince me that I should seek help for mental instability.

Now I have taken his advice and am planning for my next dr appointment by documenting this….after smoking pot because I realized I needed to chill out. I have taken his advice to write this note to document my instability.

PS  A little part of me still wonders if I’ve been tricked. Am I really as unstable as Josh says I am? Should I trust him?

See, the Catestrophic thinking never actually goes away. There is always a tiny bit of doubt in my mind.

I DO want to be better. I am aware that this is not normal behavior.

After rereading this note, all I can say is…. WOW ANXIETY 🙁

Reply
Jay

I have been head over heels in love with a girl I dated previously. After about 2 years apart I finally told her how I truly felt about her, and she felt the same way back. So finally after the patience and pursuing, it appeared that our relationship was finally going to happen, so I was SO OVERJOYED. But for some weird reason, I woke up one day and just didn’t have that “spark” anymore. I actually felt really queasy just thinking about her and our relationship. And this makes no sense because I love her so much. I wasn’t sure if this was my anxiety trying to find something to latch onto (I do have an anxiety disorder), or it’s simply just my emotions dying down and me panicking for no reason because emotions can come and go. What should I do? We are long distance at the moment.

Reply
Stefania

I feel the same way, I can’t stop freaking out. I also struggle with anxiety, and now I’m scared it’s going to jeopardize my relationship. ):

Reply
Maria

I’ve been in a relationship with my fiancé for nearly 5 years. We’ve been so incredibly happy together, it’s been the best times of my life. He took on my son from another relationship when we got together and we had a daughter together. Last year was a difficult year for us, he got confused and felt the spark had gone from us this lead him to start messaging a girl from work, cause he felt like there was something wrong with me and him she showed him attention and he liked that. Nothing physical happened between them, after a few months of it he stopped it and he was honest with me about everything. It was a horrible time, but we stayed together. I didn’t want to lose him and I wanted us to get through this together. This past year has been difficult with ups and downs sometimes caused by what happened. I’ve been trying to work on trusting him again. A few days ago I suddenly had these fears pop into my head, that me and him weren’t gonna work, that no matter how hard we tried we weren’t gonna get through this. I love this man, previous to this I knew I wanted to spend my life without him. I’ve never doubted our relationship ever. It’s killing me that I feel this way, I just want us to get through this with him. We took a few days apart recently because I just couldn’t work out my feelings, I thought that if we were apart I’d realise what I wanted but it didn’t help. I hated being away from him, it was excruciating! I couldn’t think, I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t sleep. All I kept thinking about was him and that I couldn’t lose him. We’ve come back together now, and we’ve decided we’re gonna work and get through this together. I want more than anything for us to move forward from this together. I want us to just go back to how we were. I’ve had moments where I just feel empty I don’t feel anything. I’ve had panicked moments where my worries get the better of me and I’m questioning everything. This is affecting our relationship so much. I’m currently struggling to sleep or eat. I overthink everything and I always have. I have always been a worrier too, like I worry about things that I have no control over. I love this man, I want me and him to move forwards in this relationship and get through this. I know that I don’t want to throw away our relationship, we’ve built a life together and it’s wonderful it’s always been us against everything suddenly I’m feeling like this. I’ve never felt like this in my life, I’ve never known what I’ve wanted but at the same time questioned everything. I’d be grateful if anyone could help me with this, I want more than anything to believe me and him can get through this like we have everything else that life’s thrown at us.

Reply
katy

i just want to say that this is basically my story too. I’m really struggling with it at the moment. The anxiety has reared its ugly head and is eating me up. glad to know I am not alone when I feel so terribly alone

Reply
Stefania

I have been struggling with anxiety for about a year and a half now. My anxiety ranges in triggers, from going too far away from my home (my house is a safety zone), to thinking too much into the future, or pains in my body that scare me.
I recently just got into a relationship a little over 2 months ago… and everything was going great, I couldn’t get enough of him, I loved him and all I wanted was more.
A week ago today, it wasn’t the same, I don’t feel the same.. I feel like an emotionless stone, there’s nothing and I can’t find it in me to even say I love him anymore. I’m so scared, I finally found someone good in my life and now I have no clue as to what happened.
I don’t want to break up with him! I don’t want to hurt him! All I want is to regain those feelings, I just want them back ):
It’s been a very hard week, and I know that might be nothing but in comparison to the rest of it… it’s just scary.

Reply
Kole

Hi,
I have been with my girlfriend for about 14 months now. She is a wonderful woman and she means the world to me. She is intelligent, funny, beautiful, independent, and driven.

We met in the last semester of my freshman year of and spent nearly everyday together. We then proceeded to move in together over summer break and into the next semester.

She graduated the first semester of this past school year. We both left school and returned home to live with our parents.

It has been about 3 months since this has happened and on more than one occasion I have let my anxiety creep into our (now) long distance relationship.

I have projected my insecurities and stresses on her while we are apart, getting jealous, getting insecure, and requiring reassurance.

It doesn’t happen often, but before we left for home things were sort of rocky in our relationship. This amplified my stress and insecurities.

We almost broke up (for other reasons) and decided to take space from one another. Things got better after that and we have been rebuilding and improving things ever since.

What I am worried about is my inability to deal with my anxiety on my own.

I am currently working full time, am without a vehicle (i’m saving up money), am taking online classes, and living in a household that is very stressful.

The other day (while stressed) I noticed that she followed some attractive person on Instagram. Seeing this, while being apart really set me off. I immediately felt threatened that my girlfriend was interacting with this person this way because I am not around (it turns out that he is her manager at work).

She has been loyal in the past but the distance is really testing me. I am not a person who trusts easy. She expects me to trust her 100%, and she has not given me any reason not to.

I know it is healthy to give her to freedom to speak to whom ever she chooses and that making a big deal about it was just going to work against me. I want this dynamic in our relationship.

Well, I decided to call her and I asked about it. I wasn’t accusatory, but I ended up telling her that I don’t trust her.

She was really offended by this and she told me she was annoyed by it. She said “i don’t want to be with someone who needs to be reassured that I am going to be faithful to them all the time when I haven’t done anything to imply otherwise.”

This really made me feel bad. All of this conflict came from a place of anxiety from another part of my life that I projected onto my relationship.

When I am feeling good about things and confident with how i’m spending my time or what I am doing, something like that (the instagram thing) would not even bother me.

I just don’t want to allow my other stresses to affect my relationship. I want to be able to communicate how i’m feeling without making some big deal of it.

Things have been going really well recently between us. Now, I feel guilty about my behavior which is causing me even more anxiety!

I feel like it would be a lot easier if we weren’t long distance. But, this is sort of just where we are at right now. I am having a hard time accepting that some days, especially when I am feeling very anxious.

Our interactions are limited to social media and the occasional visits. For some reason, I just feel like when we take steps backwards like this it takes longer to rebound from them.

I just want to keep moving forward with our relationship. I want to keep things healthy and make the best out of our situation.

It doesn’t help that I just don’t like social media in general. I don’t like texting or messaging. It sucks.

I love my girlfriend to pieces. But, I hate this. I hate the long distance and the feeling of being disconnected.

I am being forced to have faith and be trusting because it is the best thing for our relationship. But, on top of everything else it is a really challenging habit to form.

Part of me, just wanted to get this off my chest. So I don’t get a reply that is all good.

I really just want to know how to prevent these things from happening. I want her to feel happy about us, and not frustrated with me for succumbing to my insecurities and anxieties.

It would break my heart if I lost her. She means everything to me.

Reply
Karen - Hey Sigmund

Long distance relationships can be tough – you’re not alone there. I hear you when you say that you’re not keen on social media, but if you can get into texting or messaging, it can be a really lovely way for you both to easily connect long distance. Your insecurity is understandable given the distance between you, but it sounds as though you have a wonderful girlfriend deserves to be trusted. Finding little ways to connect in between visits can be a great thing to help both of you feel more connected and more secure.

Reply
Dave

Hi,

You article is amazing and thought provoking.

I am in a relationship with my partner and have been for almost 4 years. The last two years I have been plagued with anxiety to my detriment as well as our relationships and most likely hers.

It started two years ago when there was a lot of stress about money and debt in our lives. We discussed it a lot and when she didn’t get what she wanted I was bombarded with insults, ultimatums and horrible hurtful comments.

We had just purchased a house and got engaged. She wanted to get married and get married sooner rather than later whist I wanted to pay off the debt and have a level playing field in which to move our relationship on to.

Eventually the pressure she put me under made me crack and broke me as a person. However loyal as I am I didn’t want to hurt her feelings and decided to stick with her and try and make things better. Along with my loyalty I have self confidence issues so initially when I thought about leaving her I was worried about, affording my house, hurting her, would I find someone else, am I too old to start again if I want children etc…

Now it’s almost 2 years down the line. The relationship got better, she would behave badly and my doubts would creep back in out us.

I am 34, my birthday is October. I want children and I am to scared to make a decision either way about my relationship? If I leave her, I’ll be 36 before I have my children and I worry that this is to old. Am i making the right decision? How do I know if it’s the right decision? All these questions are leaving me feeling very confused.

Please help me…

Reply
Karen - Hey Sigmund

It will be the right decision when it feels like the right decision. Decide what’s most important to you, and then decide on the best way to get there. Think about whether the path you are on at the moment will get you what you want, or whether it’s time for a redirection. There’s no easy way to make such a big decision. Be brave and listen to your heart and your head.

Reply
Dave

Thanks for the reply Karen.

Is there a cure for anxiety if so what is it? My worries as I said are about having children and being an “older” dad and whether or not leaving my other half will be a mistake or not…

Is there anything you can suggest I do? Read? Listen to that will help?

Or is it a case of man up and make a decision either way?

Reply
Karen - Hey Sigmund

Big decisions will tend to come with a degree of anxiety – that’s very normal and very understandable. Anxiety in these cases is a warning sign, not a stop sign. It means go forward carefully and make sure you’ve thought about the options. It’s there to protect you, not to stop you from taking an important step forward for you. Remember too that making no decision is still making a decision to stay where you are. There are ways to manage anxiety and there is a lot of information about that on this link http://www.heysigmund.com/category/being-human/anxiety/. It’s likely though, with such a big decision to make it might never feel easy. The main thing is that you act with courage and strength and do the thing that is right for you, not necessarily the thing that is easy for you.

Reply
Ruby

Hi,

I need some relationship advice.

I broke up with my boyfriend of 10 months because I was having doubts. I began questioning my feelings for him because I felt like they were not strong enough, but I was scared to continue the relationship thinking my feelings were not going to increase. When I was with him, I never felt more like myself. I felt like I could be completely myself with him and weird and he was totally accepting of me. However, I was really judgmental of him.For example, I thought he bowled weird, I hated that he ate with his mouth open, I thought he talked too much at times or sometimes his jokes were not funny and I found myself getting annoyed with him. I would go through waves of irritation. I began to focus on these small things and they affected how I saw him or what I felt for him. Sometimes I would have a great time on the date and the next day I would doubts for the entire day.

For half the time we would be having a great time on a date, but then my doubts would surface. For the most part he has the qualities I want in a man- he knows how to have fun, he likes to try new things, open minded, incredibly intelligent. His sense of humour was also improving.

I don’t know if i have some fear towards relationships or if it something else. I have dated in the past but this was longest relationships. I think about him a lot and wonder if I did the right thing.

He really wanted to work through the doubts and we talked about them a lot but I could not see a future if I felt the doubts every single day.

We have been talking since we broke up but sometimes I feel like I need space. When I’m not talking to him, I think about him and I want to know if these issues can be work out.

Any advice you could give me would be helpful.

Thank you for your time,

A.M

Reply
Karen - Hey Sigmund

Ruby I wish there was an easy answer for you, but you’re the only one who can know whether or not this relationship is right for you. Sometimes as much as we wish we could have deeper feelings for someone, and as much as everything seems like it should be a formula for a happy relationship, the feelings just aren’t there. It’s for you to decide if you love him enough to keep trying with the relationship, or whether you are trying to force something that isn’t there.

Reply
Katta

Hello Karen,

what a lovely article! Respect for that… and I see from the flood of comments that others struggle, too. And some with similar issues as I.

I know that nobody can make decisions for me, but what I really struggle with is to understand or notice WHERE/HOW exactly fear comes into play to begin with and how this in turn affects my feelings.

For instance, yes, it is well possible that sometimes you just don’t feel it… and hence should just leave. On the other hand, what if these doubts, these “I don’t FEEL it anymore” are just the noticeable symptoms of deeper, underlying fears around commitment, loss, dependency, abandonment etc.? Fears that I may not even be aware of at a conscious level.

AND HOW CAN I KEEP THIS APART?!

I’m 38 now and have never met someone where I felt as connected and safe as I imagine/assume others with stable relationships to feel like. So maybe the problem is me, not wrong partners? In fact my current partner brings sooo many qualities to the table which are important to me that I question my own sanity and motives for not being head-over-heels (at least not stably, that is)

My specific problem is (and always has been) that I “swing back and forth” between “in love” and “out of love” … and the latter scare the shit out of me for various reasons of course: I don’t wanna hurt my partner, I see my chance of lasting happyness slip away once again, yet at the same time I don’t wanna “waste my time” with the wrong partner either, etc….

The fact that I never seem to be STABLY in love (the swings often happen in time frame of a few days), constantly keeps my heart/head “on their heels”… I don’t trust my feelings anymore and any loving period never seems to last long enough or reach deep enough to “overwrite” the doubts, the fears and to “cure” me and to allow me to believe in a happy ending.

It’s easy to “run away” again (new relationship of 7 months), stating that this just didn’t feel right/good enough. And as a longterm sufferer of this bullshit struggles I’ve also spent enough single times to know that I can be alone and that no man is irreplaceable …. BUT is it wise?

Do you see any means/tricks/questions to ask oneself in order to better distinguish between
“this is simply not the right relationship/sometimes you just don’t feel it” on one hand
versus
“this is just fears shutting you down/stealing your loving feelings….just a misguided and completely disguised attempt of your subconscious to protect you from ____InSERT HERE, e.g. a closeness and intimacy which you THINK you crave yet also deeply fear at an unconscious level” on the other hand??

Cause I guess one of the biggest challenges is the fears that run unnoticed and stealth-sabotage.
Back in the days when I suffered from panic attacks at least that part was easier: I knew that the panic attacks were fake, that they were the “hoax”… It sure felt much more right to flee from them at times, though.

With my partners I have no such “pointers” as with the panic attacks, so how could I ever make good decisions??? Maybe I run again this time just to then stage the exact same play a few months/years later with a different actor in the same role.

I’d appreciate your thoughts!

Reply
Karen - Hey Sigmund

Thanks Katta. Anxiety can make things so confusing can’t it. The clue is exploring how you feel in the moment. Anxiety takes your mind into the future and has you worrying about the ‘what ifs’ that may or may not happen. When you can, experience your relationship in the moment and explore what that means for you – does it feel right? Is it lacking? This is where your truth will be.

Reply
Mel

What an article- almost everything in this speaks to me.
I’ve been in a relationship for almost a year now. My boyfriend lives about 2 hours away (inc travel time) so we see each other on the weekend. At first, everything was great and he was sweet and kind and I thought he was amazing- as the months have gone on however, he is turning out to be the complete opposite of what I once thought. At this point in our relationship he is completely riddled with anxiety. Whenever I go out with my friends, he is constantly worried, constantly texting me asking me questions of my whereabouts, telling me he hates when I go out at night and that he sits at home with shaking hands and a fast heart rate. I try to compromise with him by texting him at very specific times (never even a minute late because that angers him) to update him on the night. I tell him that he doesn’t need to worry and that I’m completely safe, yet I’m always met with the same “you don’t care” comment; I’ve gone out and done something purposefully to upset him and I should know better as I know what he’s like. He gets anxiety when he travels home from my house too, being put on edge by everyone around him, always thinking the worst is going to happen. He hates when people look at me and makes it known that he does not like this, always commenting on the fact that men have looked at me. At the start of the relationship he did not care about these things- he laughed them off and didn’t care. Now everything has changed. I asked him why, and he told me he only started to care when he really got feelings for me- again, something which was hurtful to me as I opened up to him a lot, before the relationship official began, and during, so him saying this felt like a stab. I had given him my ALL for 4 months for him to turn around and tell me he didn’t care.
I’m really struggling because he never sees anything from my perspective, and I always get blamed for his anxiety. I am a very compassionate person; I feel lots of empathy for people, I am kind and I have a good nature (this can be seen as a good thing, but I’m not naieve. I recognise me being too kind and constantly feeling guilty is one of my massive downfalls). I will help him as much as I can, but I don’t think it’s fair for him to expect me to change the fundamentals of how I live my life, to fit his idea of what it should be like. As the article states, I know me giving in too much is not good for him. He knows he has a problem, but he lacks the enthusiasm to do anything about it, and it’s wearing down on me and my happiness. I love him dearly and I’m at a loss of what I should do

Reply
Alejandra

Hi I have had anxiety for the past 5years I started to get anxiety during my senior year in college I was a full time student and had two jobs I had to take it easy I had panic attacks on a daily and thankfully I managed to control it by working out. Soon after that I started a new relationship I love my boyfriend to death he’s the sweetest man I know and I would do anything for him, unfortunately I have experienced a tough past in my past relationships being cheated on and betrayed. My anxiety increases the most when I’m in a relationship and lately I’ve been having more anxiety in my relationship we’ve had a rough patch and somehow I feel like that has made a toll on me, I panic when he takes forever to reply to me i get nervous when he goes somewhere after he gets out of work it’s rare for him to do that he’s a predictable man and when things aren’t in “routine” I panic and get anxious and start assuming the worst. I feel bad I know he doesn’t deserve it but I can’t seem to get control of it help ??

Reply
Gab

I have been suffering from extreme relationship anxiety. My boyfriend is an absolute angel he is so good to me and always makes sure to reassure me that he loves me and if he isn’t around it’s because he is working. Even with all his reassurance I still feel anxious when he takes lo to text back or has to work overtime. I fear that it’s beginning to annoy him but he does his best not to show it and always wants to help. I really feel hopeless because I cry myself to sleep every night when I should be feelin so lucky that I have such a great boyfriend. Anyone have any tips that keep these thoughts away when your significant other isn’t around?

Reply
Lynn

I am the same way. I know he cares so much for me but the demons creep into my head. I promise myself I’ll be laid back and just go with the relationship, but my mind goes to strange places and I end up shutting down and giving up. I get all crazy and nervous when I know he’s just working. I don’t know how to stop it and I’m losing a great guy! 😒😒

Reply
Andy

I’ve only been in 2 relationships both lasting about 3 months. I felt so trapped I could barely breathe. Every time she tried to hold my hand or touch me, I would literally jump. Both times I ended up in hospital from stress. Outside of those 2 times I have never had any signs of anxiety or mental illness. I’m 40 and too scared to try dating again in case it has the same effect.

Reply
Elaine

Hi, I just say your comment. I’m 41 and find getting into a relationship hard. It freaks me out. I question everything, mostly I question am I into it, am I faking it just to be in something. But you know what I think that’s all just bullshit thoughts. Deep breaths, time outs, meditate, what ever gets you through the day. Eventually it will help u to differentiate between noise and reality. Another tip is to keep trying. Repetition reduces fear as you will see the same worry patterns emerge and common sense tells you they can’t be true every time. Lay tip, run, bike, hike or something. Whatever gets you up and out of your head. Hope that helps
E

Reply
Melisa

Hi my name is Melisa and I’ve been in a relationship for almost 3 years. Things started off great. I was an undergrad student, completely focused and would be graduating with honors. Then, I started to go on a decline, losing motivation, feeling lethargic and it just took a complete toll of everything, including my relationship.

Fast forward 2 years later and things have gotten worse. I’ve tried to be completely transparent and explained the triggers, ask for him to point out any signs of the anxiety and yet, while I go thru it and battle instead of compassion, he gets extremely defensive and angry. Small minor misunderstandings and misconceptions of what I’m trying to express (in a very non-combative way), get taken far left and now I’m the one who is in the wrong for having feelings. I understand that my feelings are just that, feelings. They very well be doubts and fears that deserve absolutely no time or focus, yet when I’ve asked to be corrected or reassured, all I get is instant defensiveness. He takes the things I express as personal attacks and then says, “I’m so tired! I’m not doing this and I’m not doing that! Nothing will ever be good enough for….etc”!

I have literally took the time and placed effort into my approach and I never say things like that! I never say “you…., or you….”. I always say “I would like this…..or it would really mean a lot to me if….” I don’t yell or attack him. I’m very gentle in my tone and I listen to constructive criticism because I do want things to be successful, and always am ready to stand to be corrected. A lot of times, I will say, “this is the way I feel; however, maybe I’m in my feelings and could be wrong. If that’s the case, please let me know”. No response. Just silence or then aggressively saying, “well if that’s how you feel, what you’re basically saying is this…”. It’s like at that point, I don’t know if it’s my anxiety getting the better of me, or if my feelings are in fact valid. All I have to go off of, is my feelings and nothing more. No facts, no contradiction, reassurance in anything.

I am lost and although I know my anxiety gets the best of me at times, this is not what I want. I’m trying my best and I literally believe that I already do some of the things listed in this article, but maybe I’m doing something wrong. All I’m asking for is for him to listen to understand rather than simply to respond. I may need compassion and some reassurance during these times. Am I really asking for too much?

I’d also like to state, we do not live together (15-20 min distance). We only get to see each other maybe once a week (Sunday or one day during the week), and that is ALWAYS in the evening (after 9pm) and stay the night. The next morning, we get up (6am) and we are both off to assume work….etc. Although, I appreciate every moment spent together, I’ve expressed the need for more quality time and how it’s important for relationships in bonding….etc. Seeing someone once a week for 2-3 hours (only at night then you go to sleep), is great and acknowledged, but face-to-face interaction is vital. When my anxiety builds, I don’t always have that hand to hold mine or a simple hug, because the lack of quality time, so at times it reinforces and/or amplifies my level of anxiety that I’m literally trying to quash. I’ve explained this, I’ve asked for patience and understanding…..and I’ve taken the gentle approach to saying, “when we are together, we have such a great time and I’d like more of it and it would mean a great deal to me if we could both set aside that time for one another”. Please keep in mind that I’m not the one who’s consumed, as I’m constantly free, yet I include myself in saying, “if WE can set aside time”. This is to avoid the misconception of me attacking him. Seriously……am I wrong for feeling like wanting to spend time with man is wrong? Am I wrong for wanting an actual date during the day??

For all readers, I do not think he is cheating. He works 12 hours a day, 5-6 days a week and is a widower with 2 boys (ages, 9 and 7). Given that said, my requests always consider those aspects in his life, and it’s also important to note that we spent more time together before, so why the lack of it now? Work is the same, schedule is the same and he has family members that are available to watch the boys, as they have before.

So I say all of this to say, yes! I do believe my anxiety is hindering my ability to cope and deal with things in my life, especially my relationship. I’m aware of it very much and I don’t like it. I try very hard to be as open about it 100%, yet I don’t know if it’s just that, that’s having such a detrimental impact within my relationship. I feel like I’ve reached the point of no return and it’s all my fault. I get made to feel like, #1 my feelings are complaints, #2 I’m wrong for having feelings, #3 my feelings are always personal attacks, #4 I’m wrong for asking for more quality time that is not just me/him coming over late pm to leave early am AND I’m unappreciative when I express my wants/needs and #5 I’m the cause of this all because he’s just tired and just needs “peace”.

I feel like an utter failure.

Reply
Karen Young

Melissa you are NOT a failure! From what you are saying, your needs and wants sound very reasonable and very understandable. We all have our ‘stuff’ – the things we need to grow through, and the secret to a successful, loving relationship is being with someone who can support you through your stuff, not make it worse. Of course, we all have a responsibility to continue to grow, but the people we choose to be with can make this harder or easier. It’s easy to take it personally when things don’t happen in a relationship that you need, but sometimes it isn’t about either of you separately, but about the combination of you. No relationship is perfect, but the ones that work are open to each other and to the needs of the relationship. Keep talking about what you both need, and listening to each other about what you might be doing that is getting in the way of the relationship moving forward. Then, it is for you to decide whether or not the relationship is able to work towards giving you both what you need.

Reply
Tatyana

Hi, I’m only 15 but I’ve been struggling with anxiety for 6 years. I was getting a lot better and my life felt a lot clearer and I met a guy through friends who I’ve fallen in love with and he loves me too, I felt a lot stronger around him. But recently I relapsed and now I feel a lot weaker around him, he’s had previous relationships with people who have anxiety/depression and it’s had a large impact on him. I’m really scared of hurting him, and I’m scared of not being able to improve again because of how much I care about him. I don’t want to drag him down, but I don’t want to lose him. Do you think taking a break for a short time would work? So I can get back on my feet? Because everything I used to love about being around him I now hate, everything feels dislocated.

Reply
Karen Young

Tatyana – I know it’s been said a lot but communication really is key. It’s so important to let him know how you are feeling. Try to do this from a position of strength, perhaps something like … ‘this is how I’m feeling – just wanted to let you know but I don’t need you to do anything about it. I’m working on it and I’m going to be just fine.’ This will help him to understand what’s happening for you, without feeling the need to ‘fix’ it, which can sometimes be overwhelming.

The truth is that in all relationships we have to learn about each other and what works and what doesn’t. The only way to do this is by talking about it what you need, what the other person needs, and what can make the relationship work better for both of you. You have so much insight and clarity around what you are feeling – that’s so wonderful! Self-awareness is such a healthy, important thing, but it can be difficult. The more aware you are, the more you can see your impact on people, understand their impact on you, and do things in a way that strengthens you. Anxiety is something that happens to you sometimes. It doesn’t define you and it doesn’t define your relationship. You are strong, insightful, brave and open-hearted – remember that.

Reply
Yvonne

After nearly 30 years in a relationship that was toxic I have taken the decision of ending this marriage. I am now starting a new relationship with an old friend , we always felt something special between us, but I was married and he respected that. As soon as he found out that my marriage was broken, he just walked in my life. I feel very anxious because he is with someone else and he is telling me that he will end it to be with me. We have been together for the last 5 months and I am starting to be anxious about the situation. In addition, at the moment I am with a lot of problems starting the process of separation and divorce in a not amicable way with my ex, I also started a new job, etc. I feel I am at my worst moment and he has been my fantasy for many years and I can’t believe this is happening to me. What can I do not to get anxious every time he doesn’t answer my text, the phone?. He has told me that is going to take a while for him to sort out his life and also mine. Should I stop asking him to leave his partner?
I have found your article very interesting and I have made notes about it, but I would appreciate any tips to help with my anxiety, because I don’t want to appear as a needy person to him. I also have many battles at the moment and they are all very complicated, feeling like a single mother of two children, not only emotionally but also financially in addition to the above. Thank you.

Reply
Karen Young

Being in a relationship with someone who is also in a relationship with someone else is going to create stress and anxiety, if there is any expectation of exclusivity. Having said this, it is not for you to ask him to leave his partner. The decision about whether or not to end the relationship is one for him and/or his partner. If he leaves because you told him to, rather than for reasons that feel right for him, there is a lot of potential for fallout. It’s a risky game for you if he gives up his relationship ‘all because of you’ or ‘does that all for you’. In relation to your anxiety, the strategies for dealing with anxiety in your relationship can only go so far if you are looking for security and certainty in a relationship, and you are in one that feels fragile or uncertain. You will find many ways to deal with anxiety on this link http://www.heysigmund.com/category/being-human/anxiety/

Reply
Ivonne

Thanks very much for your reply. Our relationship seems to be going forward, he is there for me when I need him and he is being very supporting and caring. I haven’t ask him to leave his partner. I have told him only that I wouldn’t like to be her. It seems he had his own plan and he is now starting to open up with me and sharing his future plans. He is going to move out and he is planning to live in his own house. I am not asking much and it seems to work because he is talking about his feelings towards me. I really don’t understand how he is managing to come and visit me so often and her not being upset with him. Is it appropriate for me to ask him how are things with him and his partner? Shall I wait for him to tell me? I did said to him that he is finding it very difficult to tell her what’s going on, but he said no to my surprise, because six months ago he said that he wasn’t sure what to do because the 10 years that they have been together, have been good. I am not feeling so anxious about us. We both look forward to be together and we have a really nice and fun time.
Two months ago, I thought of leaving him, because I don’t like to be the lover and I don’t like to be the cause and the problem of his relationship.It goes against my way of thinking. He said to me that he always fancy me and he is feeling fire in his stomach when he is with me. Do you think that leaving him will work in my favor?
Thank you very much for your help in this important matter.

Reply
trad

Who ever is reading this..i hope will be able to give me some insight..

I started dating this woman 3 months ago. It was basically love at first site..she fell into my world unexpectedly. She told me she loved me about a month ago. I said it back of course. She truly is great. She isn’t as emotional as me and sometimes I over think.
I think it may be anxiety/insecurities. I think rediculous things..like if she doesn’t have an orgasm while i have sex with her i’m not as good as her ex boyfriend, or if we don’t have a plan to see each other right away or if i cant come give her a hug and kiss before i go to work it means maybe she doesn’t care to see me. Sometimes after sex i wonder if i satisfied her enough. The other night we were having sex and she asked me after i came if i could start back up right away. For me it wasnt going to work i need time in between and she kinda blurted ” IS IT GONNA WORK?” i felt like crap. Then i was apologizing after. She said you think that matters to me? Basically assuring me it was going to be ok.

(WE TALK ALL THE TIME THROUGH TEXT) If i bring up the fact that im feeling anxious..she tells me that its going to be “ok”..or i feel she just gets fed up and tell me to “stop tripping”. Like i stated above, sometimes ill offer to come giver her a hug and kiss before work but she says “not like this” meaning she thinks shes too ugly to be seen by me, which she has lots of self confidence issues with that way she looks, the way she has sex with me. She says shes not confident sexually with me yet. Even though i tell her shes beautiful all the time. Then when i send her emotional messages i feel like an idiot because i realize i’m acting to emotional for her maybe and lessening her love for me? She tells me to tell her anything that’s on my mind, but i feel she cant stand some of my anxious thoughts when i need to share them with her.

Everything seems to be fine when we are hanging out with each other. We hold hands when we drive, in public, cuddle lots when we are at home together. She HATES when i stare at her..and will literally push me away. I look at her because she actually is stunningly beautiful and I like to take in what is sitting in front of me. Her safe place is when she jumps on to me lets me hold her in my arms while shes got her legs wrapped around me. I rock her back and forth and give her lots of kisses. (Not sure if thats relevant or not).. I picture her being my long term girlfriend..sometimes she drops subtle hints about the future…like she didn’t want to scare me but she was looking at wedding dresses the other day..or her dad will eventually call me his son in law..she shows love in the opposite way that i show. We are kind of ying and yang.

I realize space and distance is important. I sometimes feel like i’m not doing enough for her, even though i know i am. I feel like my world is stable and im usually well organized in my life. But sometimes my thoughts get the worst of me and i need reassurance. I want to feel like i can gain reassurance from her if im feeling anxious without her thinking im some sort of nut. She asked me “seriously, how does your brain even get to these places?” as if shes at the end of her rope. We always talk through text when we are apart but suggested we start talking on the phone. Sometimes i read text messages differently and unsure of her tone. I’m constantly overthinking and am trying to stay positive when i have my anxiety moments. Its probably once a week where i feel unsafe in my deep thoughts..

One thing to keep in mind about her is that she tells me to “be patient” with her.
She is currently not working and suffers from fatigue and anxiety and depression. She says shes gotten better. I figure shes trying to become independent as well and get back on her two feet without me constantly trying to tell her im there for her etc..

Anyways..I feel better that I’ve ranted..

Can someone help me out and give me some decent advice on how to manage this?

Reply
Pete

Karen,
I have been in a relationship with a girl for 8 months. For the most part we have a great relationship. We never fight and work well as a team.

During the 8 months we have been dating, there were four similar incidents I have let anxiety get the best of me. The fourth one was last week. I was getting paranoid that my girl friend was having inappropriate texts with some one else. When I confronted her she showed and explained to me the content of the communication, and of course it was all very normal. I let my imagination and anxiety get the best of me causing damage to my relationship trust for something that didn’t exist. The worst part is this was the fourth time it has happened, and she expressed that my insecurity is ruining the relationship. I know she is hurt and offended that I had to ask her to explain her communications. Any suggestions?

Reply
Karen Young

An anxious brain will pull you into the future and have you wrestling with what-ifs before you realise what’s happening. Keep in mind your anxiety is only a thought, not a prediction and not a truth. When you start to feel your imagination taking you to dangerous places, breathe, settle yourself, imagine your thoughts as traffic (or clouds or bubbles or whatever works for you) and then imagine yourself letting them go. Remind yourself they are only thoughts – they will come and they will go, but don’t let them take you with them. Then, think of the three things you are grateful for about your partner and the way you feel with her. Gratitude helps to squeeze out negative thoughts.

It’s also important to understand how anxiety works. Here is an article that explains how anxiety works, and why it is so persuasive http://www.heysigmund.com/dealing-with-anxiety/. And here is another article that might give you some strategies to help find calm when you are starting to feel insecure or worried about your relationship http://www.heysigmund.com/dealing-with-anxiety-anxious-mind-calm/. Be patient and kind to yourself. Your brain has been doing its thing for a while, and it will take a while to retrain it to stay calm when you need it to, but for sure you can do this.

Reply
Mackenzie

Hello everyone. I’m looking for advice on my relationship anxiety.
I have been dating my boyfriend for about 3 and 1/2 years now and love him with all my heart but I have terrible anxiety. I find myself being very controlling and clingy. I was never like this before until I started to really start having feelings for him. I am super jealous when it comes to other girls. I hate being in front of large crowds and am always tapping my boyfriend and freak out on him if he even looks in the direction of a girl. I find myself doing this whenever I am in public. I don’t know why I do it but it just happens and he hates when I do it and it always leads in to fights. Even on tv or movies if there is a hot girl I am making sure he isn’t looking. I just feel like I deserve respect and want to be the only girl he looks at. I’m also very clingy and am always with him at all times when he gets home from work. He is always wanting to hang out with friends but I started to have trust issues because he would always lie about It in the past. So we really don’t hangout with friends. I just can’t stop thinking about him and am always wondering what he is doing and feel like I need to be in control. I hate that I do it but I just can’t help it. We even track each other on our phones to see where the other is at.
Please help me. I don’t want this relationship to end but I feel like he doesn’t care about me anymore. Help me please.

Reply
Aly A

Hi Mackenzie, thank you for telling your story. Hearing about other peoples’ experiences brings validation of my own feelings of anxiety.

As for you, I have seen this kind of situation occur in the past with couples who had been dating for a number of years, and it was always the lack of trust that broke them apart in the end. I don’t know your exact situation, but it sounds like your partner is secure in your relationship, although he is not always happy with the constant paranoia on your part (this is how it is in my relationship of over a year). You are both clearly able to love and be loved greatly, and want to put in effort to prevent and fix problems since you have been together for so long. I know it’s much easier said than done, but you have got to exercise faith in your relationship knowing that you have overcome adversity together, probably many times, in the past.

Start with baby steps to relinquish control of each other. For instance, allow your partner to go out for a guy’s night and fight your urges to text or call him in anything short of an absolute emergency. Go out for a night with your family or some girl friends and tell him about it in person once you get home. From there, you can take bigger and bigger steps: Staying out for a night with friends, taking small family trips without each other, etc. By becoming independent of each other, you will be happier as individuals and as a unit.

I hope that this helps…

Reply
Andi

Hi.

Thanks for this article.
I’m 41 and started seeing a therapist last week. This isn’t the first therapist I’ve seen, but the first one I’ve gone to and admitted that I am suffering from anxiety.

After our first session I’ve been thinking back and I’m realizing I’ve been suffering from anxiety from as far back as age 17.

I’ve coped by taking on other things. By trying to help people. By making career choices that would distract me from dealing with myself. I’ve fooled myself at points into thinking I’m suffering from illnesses that I didn’t have. I could go on and on.

I’m in a weird place right now. I feel a sense of relief that I can now admit that I’ve been distracting myself from dealing with this for decades but I’m also very sad that I’ve wasted the most productive years of my life on worry.

Yet, I’m pressing on and am looking forward to getting better and finally tackling this illness.

Reply
FM

Hi, i came to this article because like many of us here i have some anxiety issues and i just accepted this. I am the type of person who cries when frustrated, when i cannot control a situation – and now it s filtered into an already complicated relationship.
I feel anxiety because i dont know what will happen, because i am pretty scared about not fulfilling my relationship goals.
I have been in a relationship that has demanded the most work and the one that has made me learn the most about myself. This relationship is with a man that has his own emotional luggage so from start i knew it would not be a walk in the park. Sti ll i decided to take a chance to know hom and maybe fall in love, and i did. I got to see a wonderful guy but also a man whose problems would just take over everything. I gave him and the relationship all i could until i had no more to give. I felt – more often than i like to admit – the only constant or sure thing was disappointment and loneliness.
So it ended about 6 months back – and i have been doing a lot of reading here and a lot of meditations to move forward and let go. About 2 months ago we started to talk again, me filled with distance and skepticism as all trust was gone, so what could possibly be built or rebuilt without it?
But i have at least opened myself to the possibility – with my heart more than happy and hopeful, but my mind terrified…and this fear is just always in the back of my head telling me it will never work, nothing has changed and putting the handbreak on how i feel or when i feel hopeful.
The fact that i dont see progress and concrete actions are really scaring me. I receive a lot of promises and beautiful words, but no actions or proof that these are true and genuine.
So i feel trapped in these insecurities and in this uncertainty. I dont know how to handle this situation. I wish i could mind read him! Unfortunately that is far from happening and actually not the solution to how i feel since this has more to do with me than with him.
Even though i do love him with all my heart and mind, sometimes i wish i didnt and wish i could just erase it all. But even then a tiny little piece of me wont let go, feeding that anxiety…a vicious circle it seems.
Just putting my thoughts to words is already a weight less.
Thank you for reading me ☺

Reply
Aly A

Thank you so much for this article! I am a high school student in a long-term relationship, and I’ve been struggling with anxiety and depression for many years.
One thing I’ve found that helps me (and is not listed in this wonderful article) is to not constantly look at online magazines for signs of potential “problems” in my relationship. Every relationship is different, and what might make one couple want to break up is perhaps what fuels another.
Stay calm, stay grateful, and remember that the future is never as bad as you think it will be.

Reply
Madison

Hello lovely humans (:

I have a whirlwind of a story to throw your way so I hope you’re ready.

I am 22 years old and I am engaged to the love of my life. I just spent two months working at a summer camp and I went from dating someone from back home who was nice and sweet and could have offered me a very nice life and I decided to follow what my heart was telling me and take a leap of faith to entering into a relationship with someone who was also staff with me. He is the perfect match for me and is my best friend. I was the happiest I have ever been being away from home and being in that environment. My home was very far away and I felt free. I return home to not the greatest relationship with my parents due to the fact that I seem to have been erratic and for lack of a better word insane. My fiancee then decided to come and spend a few weeks with me before he has to fly home due to his Visa expiring. Currently I am getting ready to properly move out of my house tomorrow and then start my last year of undergraduate study and my practicum on Monday. I am having terrible feelings of anxiety and this pit in my stomach that won’t go away. I keep questioning our relationship and myself to the point where I have panic attacks. I hate looking at this man who I know is everything I have ever wanted and either questioning if I love him which I know I do (most days) or if he and I are going to work when all he is giving me is unconditional love and support. I was on certain birth control medication to ease ovarian cyst symptoms but that eventually just made me feel numb. I don’t want these thoughts to proliferate our love especially with him leaving for awhile but I also don’t want to feel nothing at all. I want to be back to myself and to get back to him. I have always felt as if I had anxiety but I brushed it off and pushed through since I also have a thyroid condition. It just all seems so heightened since coming home from being away for two months and not being completely anxiety free but feeling so much better. I love this man and I just want us to be whole again so our marriage can start in a place of joy and not stress.

Thank you all for reading this that did – I am hoping someone tells me something other than “that voice inside you is your conscious telling you you are doing the wrong thing” as my mother likes to point out.

Reply
Sarah

I don’t have a diagnosis, but my doctor has told me that I do suffer from anxiety attacks. And of course it’s about my relationship. We have been together for 10 months, and I love him so much, and I know it deep down, and when we’re together there’s no problem, everything is just great. But when we’re not together, I get all these horrible thoughts, and they’re though to let go of. Thoughts like “do I REALLY still love him?”, “would he be better of without me?”, “Should I just give up?”, “Is it true love or just something else?”, “Am I just convincing myself that I love him and lying to myself?” and so on. It can be tough for me from time to time, but I just don’t want to give up on him, and again all of it comes when I’m alone, without him. I’ve found out that saying things out loud helps, cause the worries does the most damage in my head, but it can be a tiring battle. He has drawn the line for how much I can vent to him, and that’s okay, cause I don’t want to burden him and I want to learn how to deal with it myself. But I feel like I’m not getting anywhere and I am so so scared that it will end up ruining the relationship, if I don’t learn how to deal with it when we’re not together! Plus the internet is a HORRIBLE place to seach, and confuses my worries and doubt even more…Is there anyone who can help me? I don’t want to lose him.

Reply

Leave a Reply

We’d love to hear what you’re thinking ...

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Stay Connected



Contact Me

karen@heysigmund.com














Hey Warrior - A book about anxiety in children.













Pin It on Pinterest

Share This