You are in a good relationship with the person you love and everything is going as you expected. You have boundaries as well as great communication between you. But still, at times you feel completely different about your current relationship. Like you can say an unnecessary doubt over your partner, what if he/she will leave me? Or is my partner right for me? Is he hiding something from me? And an unlimited number of questions might trigger you anytime throughout the relationship. All those questions drive you crazy often, then it could be a sign of relationship anxiety.
So, do I have to trust my partner blindly, and should never doubt him? Of Course not, we need to understand that there are situations that signal us for something which is not right, right. But when everything is going well and you don’t have anything to feel bad about, it’s just in your mind, that can be dangerous for your good relationship. You can relate it with anxiety while having anxiety which makes no sense at all, but still, we used to think that and worry over and over.
When this worry and anxiety start to develop in a relationship this is called relationship anxiety characterized by an intense worry and insecurity about the fate of a relationship and the fear of being cheated on.
Is anxiety in a relationship normal?
Yes, relationship anxiety is very common and two partners often find themselves worrying about their future and it’s not bad, as it’s human nature, sometimes it makes us realize the importance of another person, and encourages us to be with him/her more to not lose them.
Astrid Robertson, a psychotherapist, who helps couples in maintaining their relationships also says that relationship anxiety is so common among couples.
Related article: Breathing techniques for anxiety
Some couples feel this kind of anxiety before moving into a relationship with each other if their partner has an equal interest in them. Or either they are unsure if they want to continue a relationship with that person.
At the same time, committed couples too faced such feelings sometimes throughout their relationship. And over time the anxiety could lead to:-
- Emotional distress
- Lack of motivation
- Emotional suffering
- Upset stomach and other physical issues
Relationship anxiety does not result from the relationship itself, but the behavior of your partner that might ruin the relationship without any specific reason. The anxiety and emotional distress of your partner will create issues.
Relationship anxiety symptoms
Symptoms of relationship anxiety can be shown in various ways. Some couples feel insecure about relationships at some point, while some feel anxious in the early stages of a relationship or dating. Although they aren’t unusual until they affect your mental peace, so no need to be concerned about feeling doubts and a little anxiety, it’s however normal during forming a commitment or lack of communication.
Here are the symptoms of relationship anxiety:-
You worry if you matter to your partner
The common question that arises out of relationship anxiety is do I matter? Or are you there for me? Robertson says. For instance, you might feel the following worries:-
- You would worry that your partner doesn’t miss you enough when you aren’t around
- They won’t support when you need so
- They are with you just because they want something from you
Always doubting your partner’s feelings for you
You may exchange romantic texts with each other or go out for a movie or a lunch, spend quality time with each other, but still at some point you feel that they don’t love me.
Maybe they are a little slow at responding to physical affection, or they sometimes reply to you after several hours, and that time you feel distant and worry that their feelings for you have changed.
Every couple sometimes feels this way but these worries can become constant when you have relationship anxiety.
Worrying about break up
A healthy relationship involves love, security, and happiness. So, the anxiety of the breakup and any kind of disruptions might trigger you in the relationship. Which is normal at all and it is important though for a long-term relationship.
But getting over them is equally important because worrying more than necessary will only steal your mental peace and leave you exhausted.
But due to some reasons, the worry doesn’t disappear and the person will feel persistently that his partner will leave him. And you start becoming over conscious about the relationship and start doing some weird stuff.
you avoid being late, which is important for your relationship,
you start ignoring the behaviors or things that bother you like wearing shoes inside the home,
you feel a constant fear of your partner’s anger even when they are normal and nothing has happened.
Doubting compatibility in long-term
Having relationship anxiety can put you in thoughts like whether you and your partner are compatible enough or will we be compatible in the long-term. You start questioning yourself if you are really happy or just pretending to be.
Ruining the relationship
You will start spoiling your relationship by doing weird behaviors such as arguing about silly things, pushing them away, while you are in distress, and telling them that nothing is wrong with you. Or either you start checking on their reactions by doing things without their knowledge like having lunch with your ex without telling your partner.
And everything you do, you do it intentionally to realize how much your partner cares about you. But your partner stays unaware of this.
Reading into their words and actions
Overthinking about the partners’ words and actions can also show a big symptom of relationship anxiety. It may be possible that you overanalyze your partner’s words and actions repeatedly even after knowing about their nature. You just pretend that they are against you or they are not in your favor.
Or if they once used to talk with you all night and now they feel sleepy at night, maybe they are busier than that time or dealing with a big responsibility or you may know about it too. So, even knowing you start overthinking that they have lost interest in you and now you are not a priority for them anymore.
Omitting the good times
If you are still not sure about your anxiety, then ask a simple question to yourself: Am I worrying more than enjoying the relationship?
I mean it could be possible during rough times in a relationship, but in case you feel it often, then you can be dealing with the relationship anxiety.
Yep, it’s hard to accept that you are not ok mentally and dealing with anxiety without knowing so. I know you are wondering why do I feel so or why it’s happening to me?
Well, somehow your past relationships and experiences related to them might be a reason from which you haven’t gotten over.
So keep reading the possible causes of this anxiety.
Relationship anxiety causes
Past relationship experiences
Sometimes we finish a relationship but are not able to get rid of the experiences and memories which we had throughout the relationship. And those things reflect in the behavior when you come in again in a relationship. The memories and experiences could trigger you, even if you think you have moved on those.
You become more vulnerable to relationship anxiety when:-
- If you were cheated by your partner
- If someone has dumped you
- Used you emotionally
- Manipulated you about the relationship
Therefore, it’s now uncommon to have trust issues with your partner when you have been hurt- even if your current partner is not manipulative or toxic. Automatically, you will start relating things to your past relationship when certain triggers strike you.
If you or your partner have low-self esteem, then it can contribute to relationship anxiety and insecurity.
Some studies suggest that people with low-self esteem can more easily doubt their partner’s feelings while experiencing self-doubt. In more clear words, when you don’t feel good about yourself then how can you expect that your partner will feel great about you- even if they do.
Contrarily, people with high self-esteem tend to use affirmations about themselves when they start feeling self-doubt. Hence, it means the people with good relationships have good self-esteem which is making the relationship better.
The kind of person you have been from your childhood will affect you throughout your adolescence. Maybe your parents were very caring and supportive towards you and whenever you needed something they were always next to you. So, this kind of upbringing often makes the person sensitive and emotionally dependent to some extent.
And oppositely, if they left you growing independently, then chances are you might be less dependent on someone to make you feel good or worthy.
Insecure attachment style can help in developing relationship anxiety over time.
We can divide the attachment style into two types: avoidant attachment and anxious attachment. The avoidant attachment could lead to anxiety over the commitment you are making or make you doubt the relationship and deepening intimacy.
While in an anxious attachment style, you will feel a constant fear that your partner will leave you unexpectedly.
But not all insecurity types could lead to relationship anxiety. Anxiety is a big topic and it has to be diagnosed properly without running to any conclusion.
As you can’t change your personality all of a sudden, similarly it won’t be possible to change your attachment style. But you can try to change your reactions to it. Like when you feel insecure, try to not show it unnecessarily and ruin your relationship. Shortly, the insecure attachment style shouldn’t drive you overwhelmed too often.
The question is that everybody at some time feels anxiety in a relationship, so how is it different from relationship anxiety. So, a relationship anxiety test helps you in diagnosing your symptoms. You need to be truthful to your feelings while having a diagnosis or self-diagnosis online.
We try to give you some sort of questionnaire which you can answer and check if you have the same.
Relationship anxiety test
- Do you feel overwhelmed about your relationship often?
- Are you unable to concentrate on easy things that you do every day?
- Do you feel exhausted after the episodes of intense worrying and doubting?
- Does your mind run in two directions and you feel extremely confused?
- Do You want to focus on other things but you couldn’t?
- Are you over-conscious about your partner’s behavior?
- Do you feel an upset stomach or other gastric issues often?
- Do you feel a lack of performance at work?
- You don’t feel motivated enough about your relationship?
So, questioning is really important in overcoming relationship anxiety. When we question ourselves peacefully, we get accurate answers.
You need to ask yourself about all the possible outcomes that could happen before you act or make a big decision. When you find yourself thinking about each decision, you may be thinking about your relationship too, and it’s not a bad thing at all. When you self-analyze the situations and things it’s healthy and it gives you time to take the decision and calculate all the consequences and benefits.
But of course sometimes in chronic anxiety, we lose ourselves and we just can’t get rid of it without someone’s help. All the questionnaires we can practice during the initial phase of anxiety, or else it will grow and leech your mind. And when it gets out of control, better to take help.
How to overcome it?
Anxiety is a psychological issue that can be overcome by proper behavioral therapy or sessions. Whereas, the therapy includes more than just being told that your relationship is fine.
“I can tell someone their anxiety doesn’t necessarily mean there’s an underlying problem in the relationship, and indeed they may be well-loved,” Robertson says. “But until they have felt [a] sense that all is well, that they truly are safe and secure, the anxiety will likely persist.” – sources
Also, she encourages couples that they should manage their anxiety as soon as they appear and becomes a big problem.
Here are some tips on overcoming relationship anxiety:-
Maintain your identity
When you and your partner come close, you may find some key parts out of your identity, and individuality. Which makes room for your partner and the new relationship. And it happens naturally when you come into a relationship with your partner.
So, when you come into a relationship, there must be something great about you which they liked and vice versa. The point is that your partner has accepted who you are. So, holding onto the relationship and arguing with them or making unnecessary doubts will make them doubt you even if they don’t.
It usually happens when we feel less about ourselves. But why do we? Because we don’t know ourselves enough. We never spend time with ourselves and depend on someone else to always be with us, support us, and love us. So we need to spend time with ourselves more and try to groom and embrace our identities. And we can do this by living with our partners.
When we are more confident about ourselves, we don’t need to get the approval of being good.
Mindfulness is the door to the present, is aware of the things that matter in the present without any judgment. So, in more simple words it is like acknowledging the thoughts and letting them go.
Therefore you can use this technique of peace in any kind of matter, especially when some negative thoughts get over your mind. Moreover, it helps in maintaining priorities and regular experience with your partner.
Truthfully, no matter if your relationship will end in a few months or years, you need to be present each day with yourself and your partner. The rest is not in your hand, right. Rather than thinking about the future, work on the present and enjoy the moment, not duration.
Improve your communication
More than half of the problems arise when we don’t communicate well with our partners about our insecurities or anything else. We are always afraid of their reactions or what if he wouldn’t understand me? I think when two people are with each other, we should normalize the thing of speaking what we feel, rather than waiting for them to understand that you are not ok.
It’s just as simple as that. But how to initiate this? Well, talking against them on their face is quite a debate, right. But you can do one thing, rather than blaming or arguing with them, just talk nicely and calmly. Talk about yourself, not about how you want them to stay.
Maybe you don’t like their habit of using mobile phones too much and you doubt them over this. You can ask them simply, is everything fine, how was your day or what you both can do to make the evening special.
And you should feel free to ask to whom you were chatting or calling but politely. It should not seem like you are spying on them. But overall this anxiety comes from within which won’t go easily.
If you are really in big mental chaos, confront and tell your partner that you are not feeling secure enough in an assertive way.
For example, you can say, I think I’m dealing with anxiety about our relationship, and don’t know how to get rid of it. Please do something to make me free from this. And don’t blame them for your condition.
Avoid the triggers
So, when you are in anxiety you repeatedly assure yourself that everything is fine. And it could lead to impulsive behaviors like texting or calling, again and again, to know where they are and how they are doing. It’s not bad to text every day to your partner but there is a difference between communication and investigation. So, texting them every hour won’t make you feel better but more anxious.
This is why you need to avoid those triggers which don’t serve you well. Try to distract your mind when you start feeling urges to check on your partner or you start thinking bullshit, that doesn’t make any sense. Listen to music, go for a walk, jogging or Zumba anything.
When you can handle the mind, handle it.
Seek for therapist
When you are having hard times overcoming relationship anxiety, seek a therapist, who might give you clarity about your condition and its underlying causes. When nothing works a therapist can be your best option to go forward with.
Your therapist helps both of you in understanding each other’s feelings and your own feelings better without any judgment or defense. And will recommend some exercises or relationship tips you can follow to calm your anxiety and stay happier.
And studies suggest that most couples don’t need long-term therapy and usually get better after one session.
Frequently Asked Question
What is relationship anxiety?
Relationship anxiety is relationship-based anxiety, happens between intimate relationships due to various reasons. It’s not a recognizable and diagnosable condition. The treatment however involves talk therapy such as behavioral therapy and mindfulness. The person in this condition gets overly conscious about their relationship and worries what if their partner leaves them.
How do you stop relationship anxiety?
When you observe relationship anxiety as a big milestone in your relationship, you need to overcome this. You may not know if you have anxiety until you focus on your mental state. Talk to a therapist about it, and with your partner too. Your therapist might help you in understanding each other’s feelings without judgment and defensiveness. So, somehow you need to accept that you are not ok and go after treatment without hesitation.
What triggers relationship anxiety?
Triggers can be the fear of being rejected or left. Maybe you had bad experiences with people growing up or you have been an emotionally sensitive person who cares too much. Or it may be possible that you have been raised with great care and love, and now you aren’t getting the same, maybe your partner isn’t very expressive about feelings and you have insecurity about their feelings for you.
What does relationship anxiety stem from?
Often, relationship anxiety comes from the attachment style of the person developed from childhood. So a prototype will develop over years with the person that knows what to expect from others depending upon their early emotional experiences.
Is worrying a sign of love?
Well, it could be a sign of love, as you want them with and can’t accept the distance. But on the other side, you are not able to trust the person or yourself, and you are confused about the feelings. It’s contradictory to each other. So, we can say that you are in mental confusion and overthink about the situations rather than enjoying them or letting them go.
Is worrying about someone bad?
No, worrying is not the solution at all. Fear, worry, anxiety, anger, resentment, all are killers of humans. They damage your cells and ability to function better. Although, it’s really difficult to control emotions and change yourself all of a sudden. But with introspection and a peaceful routine, you can overcome it.
Why is worrying not a sign of love?
Worrying is a psychological function of the brain which is meant for good outcomes like increasing your productivity. But often we worry about unnecessary things which only drain our energy, leaves us fatigued due to the excessive production of the stress hormone- cortisol. So, worrying is not a sign of love because being worried doesn’t add value to your life nor your relationship, it will only ruin the relationship and will create misunderstanding.
Does relationship anxiety go away?
Yes, it can go away over time and effort. The disappearance of relationship anxiety depends upon the severity of the condition. You can overcome it by yourself or can take help from a therapist. On the positive side, anxiety is normal and can be overcome with support and talk.
Can anxiety ruin relationships?
Yes, anxiety can ruin relationships because anxiety creates negative thoughts and feelings associated with them. Negativity only drains you and your relationship. You might start to argue with your partner or behave rudely because of your insecurity about which they have no idea. It would be better to tell them what you feel.
Why is it so hard to date someone with anxiety?
It’s totally hard to date someone who has anxiety, as their state of mind and feelings can affect you too. It’s difficult to make them secure and empathize with them often. Well, it’s not impossible as well, you can support them in their therapies and treatment and they can get well soon out of anxiety because of your love and anxiety.