Managing Relationship Anxiety

Abby Grant

| 4 min read

Lesbian couple getting relationship counseling by therapist
Building a romantic relationship with a partner can bring joy and happiness to many people, but they can also cause anxiety levels to rise. Relationships bring their own challenges and there are a lot of uncertainties that can be difficult to manage for people with anxiety. Romantic relationships can be the catalyst for anxiety for some people, and other times one or both partners experience anxiety even prior to being in the relationship. Regardless of the situation, anxiety can be difficult to manage while in a relationship. Understanding how anxiety can manifest in relationships is the first step in learning how to manage anxiety while in a relationship.

Signs of anxiety in a relationship

Anxiety can look different for everyone, but there are some common ways that anxiety may present itself in a relationship. Some anxious behaviors in relationships include:
  • Overthinking conversations or text messages
  • Fearing rejection from their partner
  • Displaying self-conscious behavior such as worrying that they are not enough
  • Questioning their own feelings about their partner
  • Worrying that their partner is unhappy in the relationship
  • Self-sabotaging the relationship by pushing their partner away or starting arguments
  • Avoiding commitment all together
These are just a few examples of ways anxiety may be displayed in a relationship. These signs may be alarming, but anxiety in relationships is not always a bad thing.  Experiencing anxiety in a relationship can spark difficult conversations about each partner’s feelings toward one another. These difficult conversations can help each partner reach a common ground. However, when anxiety begins to control or monopolize the relationship it can become problematic. By learning and understanding the different ways anxiety may present in a relationship, anxiety can become easier to manage.

Ways to manage anxiety

It can be overwhelming and isolating to experience anxiety while in a relationship and it can be even more difficult to navigate the anxious thoughts throughout the relationship. However, it is helpful to know that others are also experiencing the same worrisome thoughts and displaying the same anxious behaviors. It is also important to know that there are ways to cope or manage the anxiety that may arise when starting a relationship.
  • Communicate: Communicating anxious thoughts can be intimidating, but it is the first step in learning how to manage anxiety. Anxiety can act as a critical inner voice that says to hide the anxious thoughts from others. However, it is beneficial to be transparent with your partner about the ways in which you may be feeling anxious. By communicating thoughts and worries with your partner, you are able work through the anxiety together and build a stronger relationship.
  • Embrace the anxiety: Dealing with anxiety daily can be exhausting and the effects of the anxious behaviors can seem detrimental when in a relationship. But one of the best ways to cope with anxiety is to embrace it. Understanding how anxiety impacts decision making and internal thoughts and feelings can help get emotions in check. Being able to regulate anxious thoughts can help you recognize how anxiety is impacting your relationship and be prepared to manage your anxiety when it becomes burdensome.
  • Reach out for help when needed: Sometimes anxiety becomes too difficult to manage. When it feels like it is not possible to manage the thoughts and emotions that come with anxiety, don’t be afraid to reach out for help. It may be easier to reach out to a friend or family member when anxiety becomes hard to regulate, but it is also beneficial to speak to a therapist. Therapy acts as a safe space to let go of the negative thoughts that you may be feeling. A therapist can help you understand your own mind better, which can be helpful when you are feeling anxiety while in a relationship. Therapists can teach ways to cope with the critical thoughts and provide solutions to the problems you may be facing.
Even though anxiety can feel burdensome, experiencing anxiety while in a relationship is normal. It can be difficult to feel comfortable enough to express the anxious feelings that come with anxiety, but there are many ways manage and cope with anxiety.
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