There are many reasons someone might experience anxiety, from social situations to taking tests. One area people experience anxiety in is with relationships.
While not a formal diagnosis, relationship anxiety is a phrase used to describe anxious thoughts and feelings about romantic partners, friends, and even family. People with relationship anxiety may have an anxious attachment style, causing them to push people away or display "clingy" behavior. They may worry that others don't feel the same way or will leave them.
Relationships are an important part of our lives as human being. Let's look at how you can better manage relationship anxiety so you can start living the life you want.
Signs of Relationship Anxiety
The first step in overcoming relationship anxiety is to recognize the signs and know why relationship anxiety happens in the first place.
Why do we get relationship anxiety?
The reason someone experiences relationship anxiety differs from person to person. Here are some common reasons:
- Emotional neglect, abuse, or trauma
- Having caregivers who were too intrusive or too distant
- General anxiety
- Low self-esteem (potentially caused by one of the above)
What are signs of relationship anxiety?
- Fear of commitment
- Trouble displaying vulnerability
- Ending relationships before they become too serious
- Fear of expressing needs and desires lest the person leaves you
- Questioning your partner's motives or intentions
- Doubting your compatibility
- Overthinking you or your partner's words and actions
4 Tips for Coping with Relationship Anxiety
Anxiety makes us not only doubt others, but ourselves. Keep in mind that while your feelings are valid, they aren't always fact. Anxiety is good at convincing us that this is just the way things have to be. But changing the way we frame our view of relationships puts us on a better path, especially in connecting with others.
1. Work on Building Trust
Trust is a crucial part of healthy relationships. When we have relationship anxiety, it can make it hard to trust others.
Make an active effort to build trust with your partner. This includes practicing:
- open communication
- being vulnerable
- being honest
- showing gratitude
- setting boundaries
- taking accountability
- active listening
Remember, trust isn't built overnight. It takes time and consistency—so be patient!
2. Face Conflict
When you don't address conflict, it can lead to a communication breakdown and resentment in your relationship. It can also exacerbate your anxiety.
Conflict is unavoidable. And while it may be uncomfortable, addressing conflict in a healthy way is crucial to reducing relationship anxiety. This is how you'll learn to express your needs and desires so you're not sacrificing your happiness. It'll also help mitigate any overthinking about motives because it's an opportunity to be clear and get on the same page.
3. Express Appreciation
Take time to share your appreciation of the supportive people in your life. Gratitude is a small habit that makes a big difference.
If not directly telling someone you appreciate them, try writing it down in a gratitude journal. Note the positive elements of your relationship, what you're grateful for, and the positive impact those things have on your life.
4. Go to Therapy
Many people go to therapy for anxiety and find it extremely beneficial. Attending therapy helps you uncover the source of your relationship anxiety and the negative thought patterns that stem from it. Therapy helps you work through your fears and feelings in a safe space, while learning how to better identify what a healthy relationship is and how to maintain one.
Is relationship anxiety holding you back from finding happiness? Reach out today to learn how I can help you gain the confidence to have the connection you want with others.