Look, show me someone who says they’ve never, ever had tension with their partner and I will show you someone well-versed in DECEPTION. Kidding, but really fears, doubt, pass agg muttering are all normal parts of a relationship. You can’t have the rainbow without the rain, baby. However, if anxious thoughts are starting to steal the magic and you can’t seem to stop stressing over the small stuff, it might be time to take a step-back and do a vibe-check on your inner world.
Anxiety can really throw love’s young dream off course because there’s nothing sexy about brainworms invading your adorable loveshack with neg vibes. “Why haven’t they replied to my text? Did I say something weird? Do they hate me? Are they HAVING A SECRET RENDEZ-VOUS WITH THAT PERSON I SAW THEY FOLLOWED ON INSTAGRAM?”
If this sounds…. Familiar, know that it’s common, but you don’t have to lose your mind everytime it doesn’t feel 100% cruisey on the love train. You just don’t. Breaking long-standing thought patterns is hard, but stifling a relationship with emotional dysregulation is infinitely harder.
What is relationship anxiety?
According to experts, relationship anxiety can be defined as “intense worry and fear about a romantic or friendly relationship that hinders a person's ability to function in that relationship.” Even if things are going well, a person with relationship anxiety may start some major self-sabotage as a result of constant doubt. It’s also disproportionately linked to codependence and low self-esteem. Negative childhood experiences can also lead to someone developing relationship anxiety, so yeah, all the easy-breezy stuff really.
Anxiety vs regular concerns
As previously mentioned, almost all relationships take work. Pretty much no one is walking around in a gorgeous fuck-bubble of bliss 24/7 with their partner and if you are DM me your secrets because how? We are instinctively protective of something important to us, which makes it hard to tell if what you’re experiencing is “normal” or not. Some common signs are:
- Needing excessive reassurance
- Self-silencing one’s thoughts and opinions to please or accommodate a partner
- Constantly doubting the relationship’s long-term potential
- Doing things that may sabotage the relationship
How to deal
Much like pretty much anything in life, it’s complicated. Cracking the back of habitual thought patterns takes time and patience. Boring I know, but worth it. There’s no magic solution, but there are things you can do that will make you feel much, much better.
- Become aware of your patterns. Really get under the hood of where your mind goes just before you fall into the freak-out spiral. This works even better if you feel comfortable enough to open up to your partner about what’s going on with you. It’s all about communication.
- Join the self-regulation nation. Look, a brisk walk around the block isn’t going to inspire immediate inner-peace, but it can get you out of your own head for 10, which does a lot more than you think.
- Have a mantra moment. Find mantras that resonate with you, and repeat them to yourself. Think something along the lines of “I am safe” and “I love myself” and SHOUT IT FROM THE ROOFTOPS BABY.
- Be honest with yourself. If these intrusive thoughts are affecting you more than you’d like to admit, there is so much power in talking it through with a professional in a judgement-free zone and remember, the most important relationship is the one you have with yourself.
Article Written by Ianthe Jacob
Article Image Credit @delaneychilds