Anxiety and Relationships: How to Stop it Stealing the Magic

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. 

    [irp posts=”1100″ name=”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.

    [irp posts=”974″ name=”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.

225 Comments

Michelle

Hello and thank you for this article. My anxiety has always been jealousy. I’ve read hundreds of articles but there’s something special about this one, like it’s written by someone who cares. Thank you for the gentle and optimistic message.

Reply
Danielle

I’m struggling to not project my anxiety onto my partner. It’s a challenge as I’m working through this sober.

Reply
Claire c

Met this guy he’s great and didn’t think anything of it! We have a great connection and we both like each other. I personal think it will go further than dating. Just in my head I always think the worst. I panic if he hasn’t text me in so many hours etc even though he reaches out to me. Hate my anxiety I don’t want to ruin a good thing I could potential have with him.

Reply
Nick

Thank you for publishing this article! I am usually on top of my anxiety with therapy and some medications here and there, but now that it’s fall/winter and I’m without insurance and consistent income due to the pandemic, it’s been flaring up a lot and harder to tame. This article gave me some tools I’m going to start using and lots of tips to help with my relationship. Thanks so much and wish me luck!!!!

Reply
Pablo

This is a great article as it clearly outlines the elements of the struggle that anxious people have to deal with, while at the same time offering constructive tips to cope with them.
We all ended up on this page for a reason. My reason is that for years I have been dating women who I was not really in love with because I knew I could manage the entailed emotional baggage. Recently, I have fallen in love with an imperfect but wonderful woman. Things have gone great for a few months, until my anxiety and suspicion led me to look for things I should have not found. Following such episodes, I have fallen victim of my own anxiety, and this has created a negativity spiral between us, pushing me to overreact emotionally and disappointing her deeply.
Currently, my anxiety is leading me to believe that whatever has happened between us is not fixable and that she does not see me with those heart-shaped eyes any longer. We basically live together, but then again my anxiety leads me to believe that we do not spend enough time together, hence pushing me to hold nerve-wrecking discussions on what is not going well between us.
Would love to hear from people who face/faced similar issues, and coping mechanisms they have adopted to mitigate them.

Reply
Natalie

I’m just at the ‘recognising’ stage of my anxiety journey.. I’ve hidden it so well for 30 years. Butreading this page, and your comment Pablo has got me in floods of tears because it’s all so familiar. I’m sorry that I’m not at a point to offer you any tips or coping mechanisms, but I wanted to thank you for your honesty because it’s made me hold up a mirror to look at my own behaviours.

Reply
Mick

I am having a problem with anxiety in the way of not exactly knowing what to do in a new relationship. I was married for 20 years but that ended in divorce. It’s been about 2 years and
I had met this woman about 2 months ago during bootcamp without any intentions of a relationship.
As time passed we got closer and moved into what I would call dating.
We’ve become quite intimate but my anxiety levels have grown so much.
I am worried if she finds out I suffer anxiety she will not want me.
I also have intimacy issues.
In my heart I feel I should open up to her and if she doesn’t like it she’s not the right person for me.

Reply
Kathryn

Hi, thanks for the article have found it has already calmed me today as I am currently feeling very anxious. I have recently started seeing my bf it’s been 4 months (but we were friends from work first so have known him for a couple of years). We have had an amazing romantic summer, and then on my flatmates birthday she drunkenly laid across him, and then I caught him checking her out. I know people will look at other people, but the issue I am struggling with is that it’s my flatmate so now my anxiety has been focused on this and getting worse every week. It’s not helped by the fact she wears quite tight revealing clothing (which I am not suggesting she should stop doing) but I feel like I’ve seen him look at her a couple of times since. He says this wouldn’t be the case as he wouldn’t want to hurt me and admitted to the first time and apologised. But as it’s not just a friend I see occasionally I cannot stop going over the looks in my head and feeling incredibly anxious about it all. I know it was something which i saw happen which set off my anxiety but now there seems to be no escape from it unless I end it or don’t let him come over (or manage to overcome it even if I think there is the odd look). I am falling for him which I don’t do often so it has really set off my anxiety and I know I need to try to stop it or will push him away, which I am already concerned I am doing. I am sorry if this sounds small in comparison to other posts, but it’s just consuming me and so any help/advice would be much appreciated. Thanks so much

Reply
Andrew

Reading this made my heart sink and my stomach drop. I hope you guys can work it out and I think having a conversation about it would ultimately make you a stronger person but I just hope that he is willing to understand the length of how this is bothering you.

thanks for sharing this too, I’m feeling very anxious which led me to this article and not feeling alone is pretty nice. I’m on a ship quarantined with almost 4,000 people so some days my anxiety shoots through the roofs.

Reply
Samuel

Well… I’m having a difficult situation. This girl Julia I had dated in Florida for a little while, we broke it off as she began to talk more to her ex and still had feelings there. As soon as I told her, hey lets just be friends. We remained in contact, but then as I left Florida back to California, she realized what she lost. We remained in touch with the intent to be ‘talking’, but we rarely spoke as I was working and she was visiting family in Brazil.

I ended up with someone else, and as that ended – I came back to Julia as a friend. But, it was too difficult for her to see me as a friend (this was over phone) and I still had old feelings… We quickly started becoming a thing, talking every hour throughout the day, facetiming, making plans, I bought a ticket to come back to florida (as I can work and live remotely) — well… after 2 in a half weeks, on a friday she went to a party and this guy whos in love with her (who dated her) kissed her. It messed me up for that whole night and the next day… Well I forgave her the next day, but she decided to go out with some random guy off instagram that apparently really wanted to hang out (just as friends… at 11pm-2am in Miami)….

She doesnt see how this bothered me at all. Yet, she and her bestfriends say that I’m the only one shes interested in dating seriously. Its just very confusing when she claims me hers (with pet names such as My Love)… her complaint is that she can do whatever she wants cause shes still single… I told her, her single life is getting in the way of me pursuing her.

Thoughts?

Reply
Who cares

Don’t be dumb. Get far away from that crazy noise. Tell her that what she is doing is hurtful and that you will stop pursuing and then go back home, and forget about her. Now ball is in her court. Time for her to pursue you if she really wants it

Reply
Lucy

I have always struggled with anxiety, but not the same anxiety I am dealing with now. I am a university student, and although I found the first few weeks of university terrifying and slightly debilitating, I got through it and absolutely loved university. I met really great friends and a really great guy whom made me feel so secure and happy, I have been with him now for nearly 3 years. I developed anxiety completely out of the blue in my final year, the second day I went back to uni. It was seemingly linked to lots of hormonal complications and stuff. I did not eat for weeks, I vomited every morning and throughout the day, I lost so much weight and I lived in debilitating fear that I would feel like this forever. I spent quite a bit of time at home, but then developed fears of not being at university and worried that my boyfriend would leave me or cheat on me, because how could he possibly enjoy being with me? I hurt everyone so much, my friends, my family, my boyfriend found it so hard to watch and it took such a huge toll on them because they are so sad that they couldn’t stop me feeling this way. I started CBT and it helped so much after 3 sessions. I went back to university the next term and stayed pretty much the whole term. I felt so accomplished. I came back for the easter break and I have just felt generally anxious. I don’t want uni to end, I don’t know what happens after, I don’t like the idea of the last term, I am so scared that things won’t work out. I am burdened with fears for my relationship, i cannot bear the thought of it ending. I tell these kinda fears to my boyfriend and he is generally supportive, having experienced some work related anxiety recently. He is fearful of me feeling that way again for sure. I worry about next term and how much he will want to see me, I worry about next year and seeing him, I worry about him potentially meeting someone else who is better than me, I worry that he will get bored of this issue, I get scared I won’t recover easily, I get worried about him working alongside other women and realising how much calmer and less complicated they are. I worry about everything, he doesn’t see why I do. This pain of anxiety is debilitating, I fear the mornings and get in this cyclical habit of being sick in the mornings because this fear overwhelms me. I have always been the person to make everyone laugh, to make people happy, to lift peoples moods and have always been the fun one, the sassy one. I feel I have lost so much of me with this anxiety, I want to be me but I am constantly living in fear, so how can I be me? I never really had such overwhelming fears before. Even in seriously tough conditions, I just felt I had so much strength. When people say dealing with anxiety takes strength, I do not understand it. I feel beyond weak, I feel close to overload and I am so overwhelmed I don’t see how it gets better (although I have pulled through a lot before). It is so cruel, I wonder if this is just the rest of my life, and if it is, can i bear that? I really do not think so. My life feels like a Hollywood drama, everything feels so big. I just want to feel normal and calm and functioning happily, the way I always used to.

Reply
Emily

Hi Lucy, reading your thoughts and worries felt as though I was reading about my own life! Unfortunately, I can relate so much to your anxiety and worries. In a way it feels a relief that someone out there is similar to me and I don’t feel as alone or loopy. My anxiety also becomes so intense that I throw up and lose my appetite completely. A lot of my anxiety comes from my worries of my relationship, I can drive myself insane sometimes, the over thinking feels like my brain is running at 1000mph and will not give me a break. When I do find myself relaxed and switched off, I recognize that and I instantly feel panic again. I have been anxious for a very long time, I almost have forgotten what it feels like to feel “normal”. I suppose, I too, have lost myself along the way. Reading your comment made me want to tell you that everything will be okay, you will find yourself again and not let this awful feeling take over your life. I feel very hypocritical saying this to you when I can’t take my own advise, I hope to kick anxiety in the ass one day and I hope you will too. Take care and I hope you’re okay!

Reply
Katherine p

Hi, Lucy. I’m so sorry you feel this way. I know the feeling. Like I was drowning every second of every day. It feels hopeless, I know. I wish I could hug you. You seem like a kind, beautiful soul. I think that the people that get anxiety generally are. We feel just a little too much. I know people have probably made you feel like its no big deal and they just totally get where you are coming from because they “were so nervous when they went on their first date” or some lame thing like that. When in all reality it feels all consuming. But it wont be forever. I promise! I was so deep and lost that i had no idea how i would make it through. But I have….its been 6 months since my last panic attack. 1 year since my last depressive episode. But I can leave the house now. I can go to the store. I can even go out if town (although that one is still pretty iffy). It gets a tiny bit better every day. PLEASE go to the dr, do research on youtube, get medicated, exercise. You deserve this, you can get better. one small tiny step at a time i promise to you it can get better. You can reach out to me if you want to talk. Wishing you the best.

Reply
Cassie

I feel exactly the same way. My boyfriend and I are different in that he goes on nights out quite a lot, and he likes to drink and have fun with his work friends. EVERY time this happens, I have so many negative thoughts which consume my brain – he’s having so much fun with them, he’s probably talking to that much prettier girl, they stay out later and later and I literally can’t sleep until I hear him come back at 4/5am. I want to be a couple who trust each other but my whole body refuses to let me do this. When he gets back i can’t help but ask questions, almost like i’m waiting for him to slip up on some tiny thing and find out that I was right to suspect something. I know that this is unfair but i can‘t switch this negativity off.

I know he’d never intentionally hurt me but I guess i’m So terrified it might happen…I can tell all these thoughts are impacting our relationship and we’re trying to communicate more but I find that i’m ashamed of the things I think because they all suggest that I see him as a bad person. Which I don’t! It’s the anxiety which is making my brain think all these thoughts but i just don’t know how to convince myself that it’s not necessarily the truth.

Reply
Samantha

I have just started dating this wonderful guy after three years of being single.

Cut a really long story short…

My last partner I chose based on being the complete opposite to my husband whom was very abusive in very sadist ways, I thought I would be safe BUT as it happened the totally tire me apart and destroyed my life in so many awful ways. Being single protected me from making this mistake again!!!

However, I’ve turned my life around completely and dating someone I know in my profession… He’s the nicest person I have ever met yet I already fear EVERYTHING and can’t get my head around whether or not I deserve this happiness at all…

I’m so fearful of being hurt and so anxious my “inner critic” is enjoying what could possibly be the best time of my life…

I don’t know how to manage this I don’t want to loose this person because I want to run… Likewise I don’t want to loose this person unconsciously by being relationship anxious…

Any advice would be great… I love this article so much and vowel if I get through this to build the confidence to share this with others….

I have endured some of life’s toughest ventures but I feel totally rocked by this…

Reply
Theresa D

Hi Samantha!

Your comments struck me. Obviously, we all found this page for a reason, but I also have been hurt in past relationships and I KNOW myself when I am independent. I like to move, I like to control things, I like to know the outcomes and that I can protect myself.

About once a month, I have an anxiety episode… I know… it’s exhausting. They used to be 10 days long, then a week, then days, and now a little over a year later they last for one day. I sure hope that it keeps decreasing with time!

My best advice would be to seek counsel through a therapist, BUT one that you trust. Don’t be afraid to shop around a little. I’ve definitely talked to some that heightened my anxiety and made me feel like they wanted my relationship to end. But now I have somebody that recognizes my patterns and reassures me constantly that I’m doing the work to enjoy my life! She also warns me if she sees any events coming up (anniversaries, trips, family meetings, etc.) that she thinks might shift my emotions and we come up with a game plan. It’s been INCREDIBLY helpful. She’s a somatic psychotherapist. She focuses on bringing me out of painful thoughts that immediately tense all my muscles and make me want to throw up and start grieving because I don’t see a way out, to finding support, regulating breath, and finding my heart.

I wish you luck, and that you give yourself patience and compassion.

Reply
MS

My anxiety reaches a peak when my partner pulls away because she can’t deal with her own emotions. I’m a talker and being ignored is an issue from my childhood. I end up acting like a lunatic and texting novels saying how whatever is wring will be ok. It ruins relationships and idk how to stop. I try but I just keep texting.

I know the day or two they need is a healthy boundary but when we’ve just had an issue and haven’t talked about it and they pull away, it makes me crazy. I hate it and I hate myself after.

Reply
Fidel B

I’m 17 years old and a senior in high school. I’ve known my girlfriend since about the 8th grade and we’ve always been just good friends. However recently we figured we’d venture into a relationship. I do love her and want to be with her. We’ve been together for about 3 months and I always find myself drifting into a place where I want my space and feel that my anxiety pushes her away because of worry and maybe the reality that because of life and college that we wont be together. Whenever we’re together we have a great time and we really do click. However I always find myself in silence whenever we get around certain people or certain situations and sometimes envious of her. How do I fix this its just something I cant seem to change ?

Reply
Miss Linda

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 . 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.

Reply
Rebecca F

My fiance and I have been together for the past 2 years. Last year really started to test my anxiety and the relationship. My grandfather passed away. Recently my parents and I have not been on speaking terms due to our engagement. They started name calling him to me and it made my anxiety worsen. I have had so many anxiety attacks lately I can’t even keep track. He has delt like my rock even on the bad days. Unfortunately its come to the point where our relationship is being held on by a string. He loves me which he has shown me everyday but lately it’s been difficult for him to feel the urge to stay something he’s spoken to me about. I am desperate need to repair what’s left of our relationship because he is worth every moment of it something I feel I have taken for granted. It hurts so badly knowing that after two years i allowed myself to get this bad to where i didn’t face my problems on myself but rather put it all on him. I fear that i waited too long to accept my anxiety issues and work on building our relationship. I have a lot of triggers from my past that we have had to work through before. I want him to be happy but I don’t know how to make him feel happy again in the relationship when I can’t even repair myself. I fear for what is to come. Even writing this brings tears to my eyes.

Reply
Annoymous

I know exactly how you feel, right now my boyfriend needs a break from me because the last couple of months have been hard.
How can you show someone that the last couple of months haven’t been yourself?
I have just signed myself up for counselling so i am feeling positive on getting this under control – i hope my boyfriend will be able to see that im trying.

Reply
Anonymous

I’ve been dating my S/O for two years now. I suffer from extreme anxiety, I am always scared of her dying, falling out of love with me and in with someone else, her cheating on me, or her not wanting to actually be around me but just doing it spare my own feelings. I feel so bad that I constantly ask for reassurance from her but it’s literally the only thing that makes me feel slightly better. However, no matter how many times she tells me how much she loves me or that I’m the only person she wants to date, I always start second guessing everything like 20 minutes after her telling me. I hate it. I want this anxiety to go away so badly so that I can enjoy my relationship again. I know that I’m pushing her away slowly but surely, and I don’t know how to stop it. Someone please help me.

Reply
Devon

I too am going through the same thing but with my boyfriend. We are long distance till January and it’s killing me. I feel exactly how you feel. He’s the only one who makes things better but that anxious feeling never goes away. Is he cheating, will he cheat, is that girl who trained him at work I love with him? Is he going to leave me. Im trying so hard to just be normal. My my brain is sabatoging me all the time. He went away for work and he was busy I knew he was working but because he couldn’t talk as much I felt like he didn’t want me anymore, that things change, and our love has died. I know its all in my head, he’s so amazing & constanly reassures me. But I’m scared he’s going to get tired of me & I sometimes wish I never met him so I didn’t feel this pain. I’m scared of pushing him away but in reality I’m pushing myself away from him. I can feel my feelings for him disappearing, because I’m protecting myself from getting hurt. Its a strange thing anxiety, I need to do better.

Reply
Amya

Hi Im going through the same thing with my bf I keep questioning Everything I’m scared he gonna leave or I’ll push away I don’t know what to do but I hope everything gets better for you just gotta tell yourself she loves you and isn’t leaving and tell yourself ur okay

Reply
grace

i’m going through the same thing right now. I have a boyfriend i’ve been dating for almost 2 years. I love him more than anything but just recently I had such an empty sad feeling. I felt like I was falling out of love or at least that’s what my anxiety is telling me. today he said that he felt a loss of love between us and that caused my anxiety to spiral and think that it will never get better. it’s hard to distinguish whether your gut or anxieties is telling you something. my anxiety was so bad today I was nauseous and I was giving myself headaches because I felt like I will forever be in this stuck state. i’m feeling a lot better right now just because i’m trying to look at the positive outlooks because this past week all I have been thinking is what if nothing gets better what if he finds someone better and it sucks. I hope you find the help you need and get better.

Reply
Ryland

I understand exactly where you are coming from. When it comes to these situations, and second guessing and the “What If” thoughts, it’s extremely stressful. I’m dealing with the same thing right now. My best response (and I don’t know if you are a religious person) is to pray. Take some time to tune out the world and make time for you and God and just pray. Best of luck

Reply
Ellen

I’ve been seeing this wonderful man for several years. He just cut me out of his life completely. I know he loves me. I tried talking to him, sent emails etc. But it’s been over a month and he’s still in the grips of an anxiety episode. It’s breaking my heart and I know his too. He’s so angry and shutdown. I’ve always supported him. I love him unconditionally. So afraid he will never talk to me again. We get along great and after all these years ,no major issues. He does have intimacy issues and doesn’t communicate about what’s going on in his head. I know that the communication part needs to improve. Any suggestions?

Reply
Noam

Hi. My girlfriend has Anxiety and her brain causes so many prob to her. I am trying to help – but I can do nothing. shes now going to a therapist and hopefully it will help even in the long term.

She make Projection on the relationship and ppl are trying to talk to her . Will it be smart to send her that article ? thanks

Reply
Martina

I wish this article was helpful, but I had a relationship ruined by my anxiety and my ex trying to fix my anxiety. My fiance doesn’t even know that I have an anxiety disorder because I am sure he will leave me. People in society also say they wouldn’t date anyone who is mentally ill and tell people not to date mentally ill people. Mentally ill people need love too and I have found it best to hide my mental illness so I can be sure to find love and get married.

Reply
beckah

I personally have hid my anxiety disorder from people before in efforts to make sure I will be loved regardless of my anxiety disorder or not. But in hindsight that hurt me more in relationships because the man I was with at each time I did that when I ended a relationship because of other reasons he told me I never opened up to him. Both of the two guys I dated told me that when I ended our relationship. I just started a newer relationship with his guy I work with and want a future with him so bad that I have promised myself to be completely open and venerable with him as much as humanly possible the more things I am open to him about, that I normally could not see myself being open with the more confident I feel in what I have with him and the possible future we could have.

Reply
Anymous3

I am just having my first anxiety episode during menopai3 have been married 28 years and I’m driving my husband away with constantly accusing him and questioning about cheating and the suspicions and lack of trust. I over think things I think he is hiding things I have fear of whobhe might be. I have to constantly retell myself its my anxiety. I saw a therapist didn’t help taking natural anxiety medication but I feel I’m pushing my husband away and creating non existent problems.

Reply
Nicola banks

I’ve been with my boyfriend 5 months now, I think the world of him, but he’s struggling to open up about his problems, I say to him il never leave him, and don’t deal with your problems on your own but he says his problems are his and finds it hard to talk about them, which is putting a strain on our relationship, as I want him to trust to communicate, find his anxiety very difficult sometimes, as I’m scared to say the wrong thing please can someone advise me what to do to understand what to do, as I don’t suffer from it myself

Reply
Olivia A

hey im olivia, im in your boyfriends position in my relationship, i have sevre anxiety and today i had an anxiety attack about my partner cheating on me or / and leaving me. Your boyfriend could be going through that too, he will be scared that if he opens up to you about your problems you will reject him. you need to let him know that he can trust you with the fragile messy untamed parts of him. hes worried that youll judge or maybe even leave him if you have access to these parts of him. you need to let him know you wont, and that he can trust you and whatever he tells you, you will still love him, and it will be okay.

Reply
Natalie

I would say just be there for him as support but don’t push him to share what’s bothering him too much. Guys tend to want to solve their problems on their own. Just let him know that you are here for him and make yourself a safe person to confide in.

Reply
Bobbie

This has helped me a lot. I definitely do the push/pull method frequently and now I know its due to my crazy brain wiring. Luckily my bf is patient with me. I just need to calm my brain down and embrace the journey that I’m instead of constantly worrying what if all the time. I got this. Thanks 🙂

Reply
Gary

I had met someone 5 months ago at 49 and and she was mid 40s and I really fell for her, we shared a love of music and going to gigs and planned to do loads of things throughout the coming year and for the first month we saw each other a couple of times a wk , things were going great , anyway during that time she told me that she’s suffers with anxiety and has done for a while and it really affected her life , I thought I was listening and offering help when I could but all I was doing was annoying her more and more over the coming weeks , she started say I was self centred and other stuff along the same lines like I didn’t make her feel good about her self , which I couldn’t understand . As I alway told her she was best thing that’s happened to me , then early this year she had some problems occur in her life , she got a bad virus/cold which kept her off work for a few wks, and I think her employers wouldn’t pay her all the sick she was owed, then her daughter was going through a tough time with her boyfriend, and then her ex husband had been stealing money from his family and they came to her for help to sort him out and get him back on track , then she had a grandparent die , all of which would put pressure on a strong confident person let alone her with her anxiety,But I thought I’d give her space and support and let her know I would always be there for her if and when she needed anything or help, I’m by no means perfect and it’s all I could think of to do and I thought she was slowly coming round to wanting to spend more time with me again. But I was wrong I was making her feel worse. And just last wk she blocked me on social media and blocked me from calling and texting her . I think the world of her and want to help her , but I cannot contact her and we don’t have any mutual friend to help . But I respect her wish to exclude me from her life as she cannot deal with her anxiety at the moment and I was stressing her out . I just hope one day she will let me back into her life . Always hope I suppose .

Reply
Tiffany

Gary,
I really hope you got in contact with her by now! I too suffer from anxiety and I hope that if I try to explain to “MY GARY” , yes my boyfriends name is Gary, he will be just as understanding as you are. Thank you for your story. I’d find her for you on social media if you haven’t found her by now!

Reply
Lulu

My eyes are welling up as I am writing this message. I constantly check for clues whether my partner is cheating on me or not and I always watch my phone looking for messages from him and if he does not text me for the entire day I always assume that he hates me and wants to end this relationship but has not found courage yet.

I am 26 year old receptionist for a very busy restaurant and my boyfriend is in the transport industry. He is always out and about and has many other small businesses that he is running on the sides. Basically he is always not there even when I need him the most.

We had a fight about two weeks ago where he told me that he is tired of me blackmailing him emotionally and from then on I could not stop worrying that he must have been suffering in silence and I do not know how many times my anxiety might have creeped in to our relationship because sometimes this happens without me even noticing.

I feel sorry for him because when I am angry I can not control myself and I have picked up a very unhealthy habit of calling him a million times if he does not pick up. How do I stop myself from doing this as I do not want my partner to be driven away because of things that exist in my mind only.

Reply
Luna

Oh wow. I cannot believe how much similar your situation is to my own situation.
With my bf, we have a long distance relationship. And whenever he doesn’t call or text for more than a day i go through an incredible tumult and cannot sleep nor enjoy anything around me.
The worst is that i have a lityle 3 year old girl and she sees me going through intense mood swings deprnding on how much time has passed without me speaking to my boyfriend.
I am so scared that once i start not caring if he calls or not i wont love him anymore and he will end up living. As though i was maintaining him with me only by force and emotional blackmail.
As if it can never be his decision to ” want” to talk to me without me acting up when he doesn’t.
I feel empty and depressive whenever i text and dont get a response until the next day so now i am scared to even call or text because the anticipation of him not ansewring litterally haunts me all day.
I hope their is a way out of this fear.
I wish their was a way for me to be sure he will ALWAYS come back to me unless he specifies very clearly that we are over.
I wish i could rest in the confidence that once i let go of my grip he won’t run away without notice and disappear on me.

Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Follow Hey Sigmund on Instagram

Anxiety is a sign that the brain has registered threat and is mobilising the body to get to safety. One of the ways it does this is by organising the body for movement - to fight the danger or flee the danger. 

If there is no need or no opportunity for movement, that fight or flight fuel will still be looking for expression. This can come out as wriggly, fidgety, hyperactive behaviour. This is why any of us might pace or struggle to sit still when we’re anxious. 

If kids or teens are bouncing around, wriggling in their chairs, or having trouble sitting still, it could be anxiety. Remember with anxiety, it’s not about what is actually safe but about what the brain perceives. New or challenging work, doing something unfamiliar, too much going on, a tired or hungry body, anything that comes with any chance of judgement, failure, humiliation can all throw the brain into fight or flight.

When this happens, the body might feel busy, activated, restless. This in itself can drive even more anxiety in kids or teens. Any of us can struggle when we don’t feel comfortable in our own bodies. 

Anxiety is energy with nowhere to go. To move through anxiety, give the energy somewhere to go - a fast walk, a run, a whole-body shake, hula hooping, kicking a ball - any movement that spends the energy will help bring the brain and body back to calm.♥️
.
.
.
#parenting #anxietyinkids #childanxiety #parenting #parent
This is not bad behaviour. It’s big behaviour a from a brain that has registered threat and is working hard to feel safe again. 

‘Threat’ isn’t about what is actually safe or not, but about what the brain perceives. The brain can perceive threat when there is any chance missing out on or messing up something important, anything that feels unfamiliar, hard, or challenging, feeling misunderstood, thinking you might be angry or disappointed with them, being separated from you, being hungry or tired, anything that pushes against their sensory needs - so many things. 

During anxiety, the amygdala in the brain is switched to high volume, so other big feelings will be too. This might look like tears, sadness, or anger. 

Big feelings have a good reason for being there. The amygdala has the very important job of keeping us safe, and it does this beautifully, but not always with grace. One of the ways the amygdala keeps us safe is by calling on big feelings to recruit social support. When big feelings happen, people notice. They might not always notice the way we want to be noticed, but we are noticed. This increases our chances of safety. 

Of course, kids and teens still need our guidance and leadership and the conversations that grow them, but not during the emotional storm. They just won’t hear you anyway because their brain is too busy trying to get back to safety. In that moment, they don’t want to be fixed or ‘grown’. They want to feel seen, safe and heard. 

During the storm, preserve your connection with them as much as you can. You might not always be able to do this, and that’s okay. None of this is about perfection. If you have a rupture, repair it as soon as you can. Then, when their brains and bodies come back to calm, this is the time for the conversations that will grow them. 

Rather than, ‘What consequences do they need to do better?’, shift to, ‘What support do they need to do better?’ The greatest support will come from you in a way they can receive: ‘What happened?’ ‘What can you do differently next time?’ ‘You’re the most wonderful kid and I know you didn’t want this to happen. How can you put things right? Do you need my help with that?’♥️
Big behaviour is a sign of a nervous system in distress. Before anything, that vulnerable nervous system needs to be brought back home to felt safety. 

This will happen most powerfully with relationship and connection. Breathe and be with. Let them know you get it. This can happen with words or nonverbals. It’s about feeling what they feel, but staying regulated.

If they want space, give them space but stay in emotional proximity, ‘Ok I’m just going to stay over here. I’m right here if you need.’

If they’re using spicy words to make sure there is no confusion about how they feel about you right now, flag the behaviour, then make your intent clear, ‘I know how upset you are and I want to understand more about what’s happening for you. I’m not going to do this while you’re speaking to me like this. You can still be mad, but you need to be respectful. I’m here for you.’

Think of how you would respond if a friend was telling you about something that upset her. You wouldn’t tell her to calm down, or try to fix her (she’s not broken), or talk to her about her behaviour. You would just be there. You would ‘drop an anchor’ and steady those rough seas around her until she feels okay enough again. Along the way you would be doing things that let her know your intent to support her. You’d do this with you facial expressions, your voice, your body, your posture. You’d feel her feels, and she’d feel you ‘getting her’. It’s about letting her know that you understand what she’s feeling, even if you don’t understand why (or agree with why). 

It’s the same for our children. As their important big people, they also need leadership. The time for this is after the storm has passed, when their brains and bodies feel safe and calm. Because of your relationship, connection and their felt sense of safety, you will have access to their ‘thinking brain’. This is the time for those meaningful conversations: 
- ‘What happened?’
- ‘What did I do that helped/ didn’t help?’
- ‘What can you do differently next time?’
- ‘You’re a great kid and I know you didn’t want this to happen, but here we are. What can you do to put things right? Do you need my help with that?’♥️
As children grow, and especially by adolescence, we have the illusion of control but whether or not we have any real influence will be up to them. The temptation to control our children will always come from a place of love. Fear will likely have a heavy hand in there too. When they fall, we’ll feel it. Sometimes it will feel like an ache in our core. Sometimes it will feel like failure or guilt, or anger. We might wish we could have stopped them, pushed a little harder, warned a little bigger, stood a little closer. We’re parents and we’re human and it’s what this parenting thing does. It makes fear and anxiety billow around us like lost smoke, too easily.

Remember, they want you to be proud of them, and they want to do the right thing. When they feel your curiosity over judgement, and the safety of you over shame, it will be easier for them to open up to you. Nobody will guide them better than you because nobody will care more about where they land. They know this, but the magic happens when they also know that you are safe and that you will hold them, their needs, their opinions and feelings with strong, gentle, loving hands, no matter what.♥️
Anger is the ‘fight’ part of the fight or flight response. It has important work to do. Anger never exists on its own. It exists to hold other more vulnerable emotions in a way that feels safer. It’s sometimes feels easier, safer, more acceptable, stronger to feel the ‘big’ that comes with anger, than the vulnerability that comes with anxiety, sadness, loneliness. This isn’t deliberate. It’s just another way our bodies and brains try to keep us safe. 

The problem isn’t the anger. The problem is the behaviour that can come with the anger. Let there be no limits on thoughts and feelings, only behaviour. When children are angry, as long as they are safe and others are safe, we don’t need to fix their anger. They aren’t broken. Instead, drop the anchor: as much as you can - and this won’t always be easy - be a calm, steadying, loving presence to help bring their nervous systems back home to calm. 

Then, when they are truly calm, and with love and leadership, have the conversations that will grow them - 
- What happened? 
- What can you do differently next time?
- You’re a really great kid. I know you didn’t want this to happen but here we are. How can you make things right. Would you like some ideas? Do you need some help with that?
- What did I do that helped? What did I do that didn’t help? Is there something that might feel more helpful next time?

When their behaviour falls short of ‘adorable’, rather than asking ‘What consequences they need to do better?’ let the question be, ‘What support do they need to do better.’ Often, the biggest support will be a conversation with you, and that will be enough.♥️
.
.
#parenting #positiveparenting #mindfulparenting #anxietyinkids

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This