Relationship anxiety is a real issue that people struggle with. It isn’t just a fear of commitment but actual stress and worry that arise at any stage of a relationship. This anxiety can actually hinder love lives no matter how badly the person experiencing the anxiety would like to find love. The worst part is, relationship anxiety can actually grow worse as a romantic relationship becomes more serious. The mind is very complicated and some minds respond negatively to one of the most enjoyable aspects of life; love. Rather than taking in every moment, those with relationship anxiety are plagued with worry, fear, doubt and insecurity. If this describes you, you’re certainly not alone and relationship anxiety help is available.
Relationship anxiety symptoms
Those with relationship anxiety can experience a wide range of symptoms, all of which can compromise romantic relationships. Let’s go over some of the common symptoms:
1. Fear of being judged by a partner: Those with anxiety pertaining to relationships may have low self-esteem. Due to low self-esteem they fear negative judgement by their partner. Unlike others, negative judgement will take a huge toll on those with this issue.
2. Fear of being left by a partner: This would be the ultimate rejection and intensify fears.
3. Fear of intimacy: Emotional vulnerability presents difficulty.
4. Neediness: Always wanting to be around your partner and the need for constant affection.
5. Causing conflict in the relationship when everything is going well: This is also called push-pull behavior. After causing conflict those with relationship anxiety encourage closeness.
6. Inappropriate jealousy: This is an extreme form of jealousy that goes beyond simply guarding a relationship you cherish.
7. Feeling compelled to test your partner: This is done in an attempt to test a partner’s love and commitment. Passing the test serves as reassurance.
8. Emotional instability: This can be in the form of increased sadness, impulsivity, irritability or anger.
9. Need for constant reassurance: Those with this type of anxiety need reassurance to ease negative feelings but the effects are only temporary.
10. Unnecessary defensiveness: Negative behaviors may present themselves as a result of overwhelming anxiety.
11. Anxiety attacks: Anxiety attacks may occur as a result of being flooded with negative thoughts and emotions.
12. Socially withdrawn: Becoming so consumed and concerned with a romantic relationship can cause a person to pull away from others close to them.
13. Lack of trust: The inability to trust a romantic partner caused by intrusive worries of being betrayed.
14. Inability to sleep: Worry can affect sleep cycles.
15. Decreased sex drive: This is a direct result of the stress caused by relationship anxiety.
Like other forms of anxiety, relationship anxiety has an underlying cause. This can be anything from being hurt in past relationships and can even go back to childhood. Perhaps there was a lack of affection in the household or a fear of being emotionally vulnerable developed as a result of being exposed to negative relationships early on. Although true, issues within a current relationship can also be the culprit of relationship anxiety.
Anything from a loss of trust to the way two people communicate can also cause relationship anxiety. Fortunately, imperfections in a relationship can be eliminated by taking the necessary steps to improve them. This can be done by establishing more trust, making sure that both partner’s needs are met, making an effort to avoid negative language in the relationship and of course, continually working at improving communication.
How to get help
Although not an official disorder, there is help for those with relationship anxiety. The best way to start is by helping yourself. You understand you the best so commit to taking time to work on yourself. Many find anxiety reduction strategies helpful.
One really helpful strategy is plain acceptance. To ease your anxiety, you just have to accept it. By accepting your relationship anxiety, you become more in tune with your mind and more specifically, your thought cycle. Deep breaths, although overlooked, is a great tip for getting through those tough times. Taking a series of deep breaths encourage the body to relax.
Another effective strategy is going against your anxiety filled thoughts. Developing the ability to know when your mind is playing tricks on you is a step in the right direction. When the negative thoughts start coming in, question the thoughts rather than allowing yourself to be engulfed by them. Those that need additional help should also consider seeing a professional.
Like anxiety, relationship anxiety can be treated with counseling and in more extreme cases, medication. When any form of anxiety begins to interfere with daily life and becomes difficult to manage, never hesitate to get help. Relationships are tough and we all have our worries, fears, doubts and insecurities but they should never hinder love.