Want to learn how to have great communication in relationships? SilverSingles take you through the key factors.
Dating, at it’s best, is fun, exciting and can be great for your self-esteem. When it goes well, it can lead to romance and even love. For most people, dating anxiety is a normal, healthy side effect of negotiating the ups and downs of love and life. Relationship anxiety, relationship OCD, or simply dating someone with anxiety can cause bumps or hinder relationships. Whether it’s you, a friend or a partner-facing these issues, we’re are here to help! Here are 11 things to look out for when it comes to relationship anxiety, and what you can do to combat it.
1. Always Waiting for Something to Go Wrong
Looking ahead for potential downfalls in a relationship is a normal, smart thing to do. However, if these feelings are all-consuming and affecting your day-to-day life or your relationships, it might be time to start asking some questions. Why are you expecting the worst to happen?
In all likelihood, your anxiety has nothing to do with your partner. It might be a symptom of relationship OCD which could lead to an anxious-avoidant relationship. The best way to proceed is being honest and open with your partner, addressing your fears, and going a little deeper into why you feel this way.
2. Avoiding “Normal” Relationship Steps
Another sign of anxiety in relationships is being scared of or avoiding typical relationship steps, such as introducing your partner to friends and relatives, saying “I love you”, having sex, or planning for the future. When you’re dealing with relationship anxiety, these steps can feel very big and final. However, being at the receiving end can be painful.
These kinds of actions are strong indicators that the person is afraid of rejection. Why bother introducing your other half to the parents when they’re going to break up with you anyway? Get to the bottom of this by working out where these feelings come from and addressing them.
3. Comparing the Other Person – Classic Relationship Anxiety
The key to a healthy, stable relationship is looking for the best in your partner. Unfortunately, when we’re feeling unstable or anxious in a relationship, sometimes we compare our partner to another person: an ex, a friend, or someone we admire. Of course, knowing what characteristics you find admirable in the people around you can be a good way of picking a partner. However, obsessing over these similarities or differences can quickly leave you feeling like your partner can never measure up and your partner feeling inadequate.
What was it that attracted you to your partner in the first place? Going back and revisiting this can help comparisons with others.
4. Worried About the Future
Relationships should be a pleasant experience that you look forward to continuing. If you find yourself overly concerned or fixated on the future, such as anniversaries or events, it could be a sign that something is wrong.
How are you and your partner doing in general? If you or your partner question or fear other aspects of your lives, it could be an indicator of depression or other trauma. The best way to help would be to open up and speak to a professional.
If it is just the relationship, this could be a sign that it’s time for the relationship to come to an end. In any case, an open discussion with your partner will be the first step to diagnosing the issue at hand.
5. Hot and Cold Behavior
No one can expect you to be on your best behavior all the time. Fallouts and irritations happen in even the healthiest relationships. However, being hot and cold with your partner can leave both of you feeling hurt and confused.
What is it that triggers these ‘cold’ bursts? Usually, the trigger is only loosely related to the real issue. Mindfulness, love, and patience is a good way to progress. Taking some space and making a note of what triggers the swings is a good idea. Be humble and acknowledging rude or mean behavior.
6. Staying Away From Your Partner
A clear indicator of relationship anxiety is avoiding your partner altogether. Why is it that you no longer want to spend time with this person? Is there something that you’re keeping from them, or don’t want them to know? The answer may not be as straightforward as not wanting to spend time with them.
7. Sabotaging the Relationship
Are you or someone you know sabotaging their relationship? Sudden breakups, picking fights, or other subtle actions could be signs that a person is dealing with anxiety.
8. Lack of Trust
Relationship anxiety is commonly caused by a lack of trust in your partner. Previous relationships, particularly where trust was broken, can make it hard to create and maintain trust in future relationships. Working through these issues with someone openly is a great step to building trust.
9. Focusing on Negative Aspects
Constantly focusing on the bad can not only just be an indicator of relationship anxiety, but of depression and general anxiety. Can the person in question escape from these negative thoughts? If not, it may be time to get professional help. If this always happens with your relationships, maybe it’s time to get to the root of the problem.
10. Keeping Secrets
Secrecy breeds mistrust in relationships, and while it’s normal to want to keep one or two things for yourself, brooding secrets are never healthy. What is it that you don’t want them to know? This could be a sign you can’t fully open up with your partner.
11. Being Too Attached
Being needy, jealous, or too attached to your partner is a clear sign that you’re scared of something going wrong. This can, of course, backfire, as feelings of claustrophobia or dependence can put a strain on a relationship. The cause of this behavior is the fear of being rejected or hurt. Does your partner give you the impression that the relationship is unstable, or are you overthinking it?
If any of these relationship anxiety signs relate to your current relationship then you’ve taken the first step – recognizing that something isn’t right. Don’t worry, there are lots of ways to solve these issues. There’s no one size fits all solution but communication with your partner is usually the best way to kick start change. Perhaps some couples therapy is the best path? Or individual therapy to get to the root of these problems? Maybe just regular check-ins with your partner is enough to solve a lot of these issues.
Whatever, the fix, don’t stress because these issues are very common in lots of relationships. The most important thing is starting fresh with a better perspective.