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The Truth about Relationship Anxiety

Table of Contents

Key Takeaways:

  • Couples can worry about their relationship, even when everything is going well
  • Constant worrying over a personal relationship is called relationship anxiety
  • Past traumatic experiences typically cause anxiety

The concept of relationships is a little strange when looked at more deeply. Two people simply decide they will hold each other in higher esteem than anyone else. It is a situation that’s both rewarding and challenging. 

Sharing your life with someone is a beautiful thing. You develop trust, honor boundaries, and learn each other’s communication styles to form a unique and loving relationship.

Occasional worries may appear no matter how well things are going. Even people in healthy relationships can find themselves questioning their partners, themselves, and their relationships.

There is a name for these relational issues: relationship anxiety. Feelings of worry, insecurity, and doubt pop up in a relationship, even if everything is going reasonably well. 

This guide explores relationship anxiety, including the signs and symptoms, tips for coping, and which therapies can help you through it.

What is Relationship Anxiety?

relationship anxiety

Relationship anxiety is the persistent feeling of unease, worry, or fear regarding one’s romantic relationship. It stems from a constant need for reassurance and validation, often driven by insecurities, past experiences, or attachment issues.

This emotional turbulence can lead to overthinking, excessive questioning, and a heightened sense of vulnerability, ultimately affecting the overall health and happiness of the relationship.

The Fundamentals of Relationship Anxiety

Relationship anxiety is entirely natural. Some people may feel it in the early days when a relationship is blooming. Others feel it later after they’ve been with their partner for a long time and have gone through personal changes. 

The real issue is all of the health concerns that relationship anxiety can provoke, such as:

  • Stomach ulcers
  • Emotional distress
  • Low energy
  • Lack of motivation

Relationship anxiety doesn’t have to result from something that happened in the relationship, but it can lead to actions that eventually create issues for you and your partner.

Recognizing Relationship Anxiety

It is important to be aware of the common signs that may indicate you are experiencing relationship anxiety. These can include persistent worry about the state of your relationship, an overwhelming fear of abandonment, and feelings of jealousy or possessiveness.

By identifying these symptoms, you can better understand and address your emotions.

Exploring the Root Causes of Relationship Anxiety

Understanding the underlying factors that contribute to relationship anxiety is crucial for addressing it effectively. Some of the common causes may include past traumatic experiences, attachment styles formed during childhood, and pre-existing mental health conditions. 

By exploring these factors, you can gain insight into your anxiety and work toward overcoming it.

Signs and Symptoms of Relationship Anxiety

Anxious thoughts can quickly flourish and will soon seep into your daily life. Relationship anxiety manifests in all sorts of ways. Symptoms become more apparent the more prolonged the anxiety becomes. Here are some potential signs of relationship anxiety:

Wondering if You’re Important

There is no need to worry when your partner prioritizes your needs and ensures you have quality time together. That doesn’t mean there is no worry, however. Wondering if you’re important to your spouse when all signs point to yes is a sign of relationship anxiety.

This worry is likely linked to poor self-esteem and needs to be addressed to alleviate related anxieties. It could stem from some experienced trauma or abuse. 

Expecting Something to Go Wrong

Expecting things to go wrong when there are no indicators of such is a symptom of high anxiety. People struggling with anxiety often feel that their situation is too good to be true and start waiting for “the other shoe to drop.”

People with past relationship traumas typically think there’s an opportunity for things to turn sour without warning when relationships rarely go wrong out of the blue. Facing the past and dealing with the lingering problems it caused helps stop anxiety.

Over-Analyzing Everything in the Relationship

Another sign of relationship anxiety is over-analyzing everything your partner says and does. Not every action or comment has a hidden or deeper meaning. Sometimes statements are just off-the-cuff remarks or said to pass the time without judgment.

Scrutinizing everything in a relationship is exhausting and can cause hard feelings and trust issues. The non-anxious partner typically reacts to all these relationship anxiety symptoms with some degree of partner accommodation, where the spouse and other family members adapt to the behavior to keep the home atmosphere comfortable. 

Effective Coping Strategies

Implementing healthy coping mechanisms can help you manage your relationship anxiety and improve your overall well-being. Techniques such as practicing mindfulness, confronting insecurities, and seeking professional guidance can be invaluable in navigating this emotional challenge.

Tips for Coping with Relationship Anxiety That Really Works

Experts typically recommend couples therapy when the anxiety is strictly relationship-focused, although additional personal therapies are advantageous. Several DIY techniques are also helpful when anxiety hits.  

1. Couples Therapy

Research proves that certain talk therapy types can help with relationship anxiety. The most helpful types are:

Individual therapy, such as Eye Movement Desensitization, Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Reprocessing (EMDR), and Accelerated Resolution Therapy for anxiety may also prove helpful depending upon how deep the root causes of anxiety exist. 

2. Preserve Your Individuality

It’s not unusual to feel like crucial parts of your personality and independence have shifted to accommodate your partner and the relationship. It’s expected as you become accustomed to living with another person. The problems start when your sense of self is lost in all the changes. 

3. Don’t Be Impulsive

Spontaneity can be a lot of fun in a relationship, but you must be careful when you act on impulse. Anxious feelings can make you want to prove to yourself that everything is OK. It’s normal to want to assure yourself but avoid the impulse to find proof in harmful ways.

Pay attention to the difference between your usual behaviors and impulsive actions. Texting every few hours might be typical in your relationship, and maintaining a constant conversation helps reinforce your connection. 

Sending a bunch of texts in a short amount of time, however, asking your partner’s whereabouts and activities – when you know they’ve told you their plans – can understandably lead to conflict.

The main thing to remember is to be mindful. Trust yourself and how you’re feeling in the relationship, and make a concerted effort to disregard worries without basis. 

Considering the Impact on Your Partner

It’s essential to recognize that relationship anxiety affects you and your partner. Open communication and understanding are crucial for maintaining a healthy relationship dynamic as you work through your anxiety together.

Relationship anxiety is scary, and it can cause many other problems with your health and emotions. It can be conquered, however, and you can live a healthy and happy life. 

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Learn More about Relationship Anxiety and How to Control It Before It Affects Your Life

Controlling relationship anxiety is the first step to a different kind of life. The Counseling Center Group offers in-depth therapies for anyone who doesn’t feel as connected to life as they’d like. 

From eating and sleep disorders to addictions, anxiety, and relationship problems, there is a modality of therapy that can help you feel better in both group and individual sessions. 

Don’t hesitate to reach out for professional support if your relationship anxiety becomes unmanageable. Seeking assistance from a therapist or counselor can provide you with the tools and guidance needed to overcome your anxiety and foster a healthier, happier relationship.

Give us a call today to see how we can help you. 

Sources: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5177451/ https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.1111/famp.12175

Relationship Anxiety Frequently Asked Questions

How do I overcome anxiety in my relationship?

To overcome relationship anxiety, engage in couples therapy, maintain your individuality, practice mindfulness, confront insecurities, and avoid impulsive actions.

What does relationship anxiety feel like?

It feels like persistent worry, fear of abandonment, jealousy, possessiveness, and over-analyzing your partner’s actions, leading to insecurity and doubt.

Does relationship anxiety go away?

Yes, with the right strategies, support, and addressing the root causes through therapy, relationship anxiety can diminish over time.

Is it relationship anxiety or am I not in love?

Relationship anxiety involves fear and insecurity within a relationship where love exists but is overshadowed by anxiety. Not being in love lacks deep affection and desire without the presence of anxiety.

Can Therapy Help with Relationship Anxiety?

Yes, therapy, including couples therapy and individual therapies like CBT and DBT, can address the causes of anxiety and provide coping strategies.

We Can Help.