Romantic relationships can provide us with so many positive feelings and experiences, but they can also fill us with feelings of worry, insecurity, and panic. If these negative feelings sound familiar, you might be experiencing relationship anxiety.
Here we’ll discuss what relationship anxiety is, what causes it, and how to overcome it so you can start enjoying all of the positive aspects your relationship has to offer.
Relationship anxiety is the ongoing feeling of doubt, worry, insecurity, and fear in your relationship, even if the relationship seems to be going well.
This can cause you to act differently in your relationship, which can create tension that wasn’t there before.
Relationship anxiety can manifest in different ways for everyone. However, some key behaviors often appear. Here are a few:
Whether you’re picking fights with your partner, testing boundaries, or pushing them away, sabotage indicates that you’re feeling anxious in your relationship.
We all experience doubt, but consistently questioning whether your partner is still interested in your relationship, reading into everything they do, or wondering how much you matter to them are all signs of a bigger concern.
Out of fear that your partner might reject you, or just to avoid conflict altogether, you might stay silent about how you’re feeling, leading you to feel unsatisfied in your relationship.
This could be rereading messages from your partner and assigning new meaning to them, narrowing in on minor changes in their behavior, or detecting shifts in the way that they speak to you when in reality no major changes have occurred.
People experience relationship anxiety for different reasons, so it’s challenging to identify just one cause across the board. Here are a few common factors that might be the cause of your relationship anxiety:
With practice, it’s possible to overcome relationship anxiety and start leading a healthy relationship with your partner. Here are a few tools to help you get started:
Pinpointing what is triggering your anxiety can take time, but it can significantly improve your ability to self-reflect and communicate your feelings.
If you feel yourself growing anxious in your relationship, take a minute to assess.
What are you feeling? What is happening in this moment? When did you start to feel this way? Then, look back at past moments of conflict. What were you doing before you started to feel anxious? What was your partner doing before you started to feel anxious?
Taking time to understand your triggers will not only make it easier to self-regulate when you start to feel anxious, but it can also make it easier to communicate them to your partner when the time comes.
Opening up to your partner about your feelings, especially negative ones, can feel daunting. But with practice, it can be a very freeing experience.
Take some time when there is no conflict to discuss wants, needs, and potential triggers to look out for. This way, there’s no immediate pressure to find a resolution and you can both focus on hearing and understanding one another.
Talk therapy is a mental health service usually done with a licensed mental health professional that helps you to identify and change the thoughts, emotions, and behaviors that might be impacting your quality of life.
Connecting with a licensed mental health professional can help you overcome relationship anxiety by helping you identify your triggers, understand your attachment style and how it impacts your relationship, learn to communicate openly and effectively with your partner, and more.
If getting the ball rolling on your own feels too difficult right now, couples counseling might be a good place to start.
You can also pursue talk therapy on your own if you prefer to work through your feelings without your partner first.
Whether it’s with your partner or on your own, talk therapy is a great place to vocalize and process relationship anxiety.
If you’re ready to try out talk therapy to help your relationship anxiety, SonderMind can connect you with a therapist who can help.