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Anxiety and Relationships: How to Stop it Stealing the Magic

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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. 

     

  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.

     

  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.

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213 Comments

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

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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!

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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.

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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

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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.

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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…

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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.

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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?

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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 https://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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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. ):

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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 🙁

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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.

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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

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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?

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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 https://www.heysigmund.com/overcoming-anxiety-mindfulness/ and here is one about exercise https://www.heysigmund.com/activity-restores-vital-neurochemical-protects-anxietyepression/.

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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?

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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.

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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….

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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??

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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 https://www.heysigmund.com/activity-restores-vital-neurochemical-protects-anxietyepression/, and here is one about why mindfulness is so powerful https://www.heysigmund.com/overcoming-anxiety-mindfulness/. Here are some ways to practice mindfulness https://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 https://www.heysigmund.com/apps-for-depression-and-anxiety/. I hope this helps you to find some comfort.

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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

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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 https://www.heysigmund.com/overcoming-anxiety-mindfulness/, and this one explains the importance of exericse https://www.heysigmund.com/activity-restores-vital-neurochemical-protects-anxietyepression/. I hope these are helpful for you.

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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!

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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!

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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.

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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 https://www.heysigmund.com/overcoming-anxiety-mindfulness/ and here is one that explains how exercise can help https://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.

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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.

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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?

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Karen - Hey Sigmund

Talk to your boyfriend about this article. Here are some clues that someone might be struggling with anxiety https://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 https://www.heysigmund.com/overcoming-anxiety-mindfulness/ and exercise https://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 https://www.heysigmund.com/how-to-help-with-anxiety/. I hope these help.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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?

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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.

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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. ????

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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.

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Everything is great

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

Reply

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Hey Warrior - A book about anxiety in children.








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Our kids are going to make bad decisions. Hopefull Our kids are going to make bad decisions. Hopefully they’ll make plenty - it’s one of the ways they’ll learn and grow. We won’t always be able to love them out of a bad decision, but we want to be the ones they come to when the mess unfolds. 
When they get it really wrong, they’ll know it. They’ll also know exactly what we think. Of course we’ll be tempted to remind them over and over of what they’ve done and the fallout from that, but it will be useless. There is no new wisdom in telling them ‘I told you so’, and it also runs the risk of switching them off to our influence and guidance at a time they need it most. 
There will be wisdom in the mess for sure, and the best way to foster the discovery is to make a safe space for this to happen - and there is no safer space than in their connection with you. 
When we prioritise connection above lectures, criticism, or judgement, we clear the path for self-reflection. This is where the magic happens. When they feel safe with us, and free from shame or disconnection, we have enormous power to facilitate growth - ‘Can you tell me what happened? I know you’re a great kid and I’m wondering what made this feel like a good decision? What can you do differently next time? I know you didn’t mean for this to happen but it has, and I’m wondering how you might put things right? Do you need my help with that?’ When we strip it back to bare, discipline was always meant to be about teaching, and this will never happen when there is shame or when they feel disconnected from us. You are their everything. They don’t want to do the wrong thing and they don’t want to disappoint you - but they will, lots of times. 
With every one of their bad decisions is an opportunity to guide them towards growth, but only if we keep them close and hold their hearts gently amidst the breakage. When we keep their hearts open to us, they will open their minds and their mouths too. They will talk and they will listen, and they will know that even when their behaviour is ‘questionable’, they are our everything too.

Our kids are going to make bad decisions. Hopefully they’ll make plenty - it’s one of the ways they’ll learn and grow. We won’t always be able to love them out of a bad decision, but we want to be the ones they come to when the mess unfolds.
When they get it really wrong, they’ll know it. They’ll also know exactly what we think. Of course we’ll be tempted to remind them over and over of what they’ve done and the fallout from that, but it will be useless. There is no new wisdom in telling them ‘I told you so’, and it also runs the risk of switching them off to our influence and guidance at a time they need it most.
There will be wisdom in the mess for sure, and the best way to foster the discovery is to make a safe space for this to happen - and there is no safer space than in their connection with you.
When we prioritise connection above lectures, criticism, or judgement, we clear the path for self-reflection. This is where the magic happens. When they feel safe with us, and free from shame or disconnection, we have enormous power to facilitate growth - ‘Can you tell me what happened? I know you’re a great kid and I’m wondering what made this feel like a good decision? What can you do differently next time? I know you didn’t mean for this to happen but it has, and I’m wondering how you might put things right? Do you need my help with that?’ When we strip it back to bare, discipline was always meant to be about teaching, and this will never happen when there is shame or when they feel disconnected from us. You are their everything. They don’t want to do the wrong thing and they don’t want to disappoint you - but they will, lots of times.
With every one of their bad decisions is an opportunity to guide them towards growth, but only if we keep them close and hold their hearts gently amidst the breakage. When we keep their hearts open to us, they will open their minds and their mouths too. They will talk and they will listen, and they will know that even when their behaviour is ‘questionable’, they are our everything too.
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