Fears and insecurities can be perfectly normal in relationships but you know what isn’t normal? Constantly having nightmares that something is going to go wrong, constantly working yourself up in to an anxiety attack over a made-up scenario that may never even happen and making someone reassure you every minute of every day until you’re close to pushing them away and ruining the very thing you’re scared of losing. I know this first hand because I’ve been there.
I’ve played over situations in my head that might happen to me and then dwelt on them to a point that I felt sick and angry. It’s as if I’ve had this overly-protective mechanism that forces me to feel exactly as I would feel if the worst thing possible happened in the relationship, despite it not ever actually happening. Perhaps the anxiety stemmed from being in past relationships that did turn bad, my previous “I’m too anxious to stand up for myself, so walk all over me” personality made me a target for narcissists who did cheat, did humiliate me and did abuse me in a multitude of ways. When you go through that and you finally have something good, it does make it almost impossible to believe it’s genuineness.
I don’t think relationship anxiety just comes from bad experiences in relationships themselves though, I believe it can come from all different places and there are lots of different faces to relationship anxiety such as jealousy/insecurity, anxiety over being abandoned, being vulnerable with someone and a weird one for me was even worrying that it was a set-up and I was part of some horrible practical joke… which sounds so silly now but at the time, I felt so undeserving of this person that I couldn’t see why he would love me for real. I also even worried that he would get in an accident or wouldn’t wake up one day, it was like living in constant fear that I would lose him somehow.
If the thoughts “they’ll find someone better than me” and “I’m not good enough for them” sound familiar to you, I might be able to help with that…
First of all, things you must absolutely refrain from if you’re going to improve your relationship anxiety:
- Always looking for evidence that something is going on behind your back.
- Testing your partners faithfulness/love/attraction towards you.
- Getting angry at your partner for something that hasn’t even happened.
- Treating your partner as if they’ve broken your trust when they haven’t.
These things only make the situation worse and will only end up pushing you and your partner further away from each other, which is the one thing you’re trying to prevent in the first place.
Here’s some things you can do to help alleviate your relationship anxiety:
Determine the route cause of the anxiety
What specific things are you anxious about? Are you worried your partner will cheat? Leave? Do something really horrible to you? Can you determine why it is that you’re worried about that particular scenario? If it’s related to a past experience, do you really deep down in your heart think that your partner is capable of doing the same? If it’s because it’s your first relationship, are you worried about screwing everything up?
It’s good to get to the bottom of the issue at hand before you try and work on it, maybe brainstorm some of your usual thoughts and feelings on a notepad to get some clarity on the situation.
Step away from social media
Social media can be the biggest killer of relationships in our modern technological world. It’s full of things that make us feel insecure and not good enough. Do you always worry when your partner has a new friend on Facebook? Or wonder who they talk to on Snapchat? Do you browse through their Twitter feed or look at who they’re following on Instagram? It’s time to take a step back because that shit will drive you completely up-the-fucking-wall! Take some time off from social media and be PRESENT in your relationship.
Do things for your self-esteem
Low self-esteem breeds insecurity and anxiety in relationships. I’m not saying you need to change to feel less insecure, as it’s more about changing your mindset so that you feel secure being who you are – after all, your partner chose you for a reason. There’s always little things you can do to help your self-esteem in the mean time though; Exercise is a great boost, as well as doing something nice for yourself.
Keep your independence
It’s important in any relationship not to rely on your partner to be the only thing that makes you happy, it’s also equally important that you don’t lose your identity in the relationship. Make sure you always do things for yourself, see your friends, do things alone, be an individual as well as a partner and let them do the same.
Fully deal with your past pain
If your insecurities come from things that have been done to you or have happened to you in the past, you need to face that pain and work through it. You and I both know that it’s unfair to treat a current partner with distrust, based on how another person has treated you previously. Your current partner is not the same person and deserves to be treated as such. To separate them with the experiences you’ve had before, you need to deal with your old experiences and by carrying the experiences you’ve had with other people into your new relationships, you give the people who hurt you wayyy too much power.
Talk to your partner
It’s imperative to talk about these feelings with your partner if you’re ever to truly heal your relationship anxiety. Don’t expect to set unhealthy limitations for them to make you feel better, just open up about how you feel and be honest. You have to recognise this as something that is your responsibility, your partner can’t walk on eggshells to help you trust them – this is unreasonable to ask of anyone but it will also enable your anxiety even more. Your partner can help you though, by being open with each other, you build on your trust.
Make relationship anxiety part of your therapy
If you’re going to or planning to go to therapy for your anxiety, make this part of your recovery. The best way a therapist can help you, is for you to open up about everything that makes you anxious and if your relationship is making you anxious, then you should absolutely tell your therapist this.
Treat your anxiety overall
Relationship anxiety can reduce if you treat the core of your anxiety. If you’re generally an anxious person or have an anxiety disorder, treating this will give you more confidence in all aspects of your life, including your relationship.
How does anxiety affect your relationships and how do you deal with it? Feel free to share in the comments.