These feelings and thoughts can cause us to do weird things, sometimes sabotaging our relationship when that was the very thing we were trying to avoid!
It doesn’t have to be this way, though! You can work with your anxiety at the beginning of a relationship and have a fun and exciting experience instead of living with this anxiety about dating.
Here are five signs you may be experiencing new relationship anxiety and tips on how to manage it.
1. You’re really, really jealous (and may become controlling)
If you have dating anxiety, you may notice that you’re jealous. This may show up as jealousy over your partner’s friends, exes, or possibly family members.
If you’re experiencing new relationship anxiety, everyone your partner spends time with, that isn’t you, can feel like a threat to your relationship.
If your partner isn’t with you every second, that must mean something is wrong, right?WRONG.
Your partner had a life before you came along, and healthy relationships require two whole partners that have their own lives, too.
You care about your partner because of who they are, and their family and friends are part of why they are who they are!
Tip: Try to take a few deep breaths when you’re feeling new relationship anxiety. Instead of acting on your jealousy, try to slow down and remind yourself that you care a lot about your partner and what makes them happy.
Ask yourself some powerful questions: Is jealousy the right expression of how much I care? Could there be a better way to express that I appreciate my partner’s time and want more of it?
If I am choosing to believe there is something to be jealous of, what does that say about what I think about myself, my relationship, and my partner?
2. You check up on your new partner… a lot
Sometimes, when experiencing anxiety over dating someone new, we try to quell that anxiety by checking in on our partners often.
You may say things to yourself like, “I just want them to know I’m thinking about them” or “I just want to make sure they’re ok.”
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to let someone know you’re thinking about them or wanting them to think about you!
But, if this is coming from your relationship anxiety, it can be overexpressed. This can lead to your partner, interpreting that you don’t trust them.
Tip: Try setting some communication boundaries for yourself and your partner. The best relationships start with open communication, so ask your partner what right looks like for them.
Maybe it’s a text or a call on their lunch hour, or perhaps they like texting back and forth all day long. The more you communicate on what works for both of you, the more you can manage your new relationship anxiety.
Relationships are like water; if you squeeze too tightly, you might watch it flow away.
“Try squeezing a handful of water, and see how quickly it disappears. But relax and let your hand flow in the same water, and you have the experience of the water as long as you like…” -Wayne D. Dyer
3. You actively doubt your partner’s feelings for you
When we experience anxiety over a new relationship, we can open the door up for doubt. Doubt comes in like a wrecking ball and sprinkles anxiety all over the relationship.
When we allow doubtful thoughts, we tend to believe them. Then, we start looking for evidence to confirm our doubt-driven thinking.
This evidence doesn’t make our thoughts right, but it can certainly feel that way. We end up linking anxiety and dating, and then feeling anxious about our partners and relationships!
We ultimately get locked into a story that we created, that makes us feel terrible about ourselves and our relationship.
Our feelings impact our behaviors, so if we feel awful, we may do things that reflect our awful thoughts. This can be tough on a new relationship.
Tip: When you feel terrible, make a deliberate effort to reframe your thinking.
If you are currently thinking things like: “I don’t believe my partner cares as much as I do,” try thinking, “I’m willing to explore the possibility my partner cares as much as I do.”
Or: “Why are we even doing this, this will never last” try something like, “I don’t know where our relationship will go, but I’m happy right here right now.”
4. You sabotage your relationship (and yourself!)
When you experience anxiety, dating can be a challenge. We do extreme things in the “name of love” but really, it’s in the name of anxiety.
When we care a lot and are experiencing new relationship anxiety, our thinking can get muddled. This usually leads us to do things that actually hurt and not help our relationship.
If you find yourself self-sabotaging, picking fights for no reason, breaking promises, or acting out, perhaps, it is the new relationship anxiety calling for your attention.
E.g., If your new relationship anxiety is pushing you to pick a fight to see if your partner will stay with you even through an ugly argument, ask yourself if this is the right way to test your partner’s love for you.
Is it possible your anxiety is trying to tell you something else?
If you feel disconnected or frustrated about the state of your marriage but want to avoid separation and/or divorce, the marriage.com course meant for married couples is an excellent resource to help you overcome the most challenging aspects of being married.
Milica Markovic has graduated from the Faculty of Philosophy with a degree in Clinical Psychology. She has 7 years (and counting) of Psychotherapy and Coaching education (both Transactional Analysis and Psychology of Personal Constructs) and experience in working with clients. Throughout her career, she has had remote clients around the world facing various personal, academic, or professional challenges.
She finds her primary duty is to establish a trusting environment in which clients can feel safe enough to discuss anything that might be troubling them and grow closer to their goals. She believes that whether you are experiencing a personal, relationship related, or professional challenge, the journey to surpassing it can be made easier with the right help by your side.
Milica is also a strong advocate of lifelong learning and continuous improvement.