I was horrified when my closest friend confided to me, “My boyfriend gives me anxiety attacks!” I never expected to hear something like this, especially when she and her boyfriend should have been busy deciding upon their engagement venue!
Right from childhood, my bestie, Jenny, was obsessed with the romantic idea of falling in love with a ‘Prince Charming.’ She fantasized about her ‘meet cute’ and longed for someone who would vow to love her forever. And about a year ago, she was convinced that she had finally met her long-awaited prince.
Everything was perfect, or at least seemed to be. He was, what most people might consider, an extremely attractive man. He also belonged to a well-respected, wealthy family. And to top it all, he was a well-known, self-made, successful businessman. Yup. He definitely ticked a lot of boxes.
With a fairly stable income and everything else that came with the package, it was a cakewalk for Jenny to convince her parents that he was the one. However, after hearing Jenny’s words, “My boyfriend gives me anxiety attacks,” I sensed serious trouble in paradise.
I was determined to dig deeper into the situation. And while looking out for some advice for Jenny, I realized that relationship anxiety is more common than it seems. Her words, “My anxiety is ruining my relationship!” was truly a serious concern. And the follow-up question, “Why does one person cause me anxiety?” was baffling me too.
My curiosity compelled me to find an answer to all these questions. While searching for the answers, I stumbled upon some interesting and effective tips. And therefore, I decided to summarize my little research into these 8 expert tips that can come in handy to all the Jennies out there!
Does Your Boyfriend Give You Anxiety Attacks? This Is How To Cope
Persistent worry and constant fear of everyday situations are the most common symptoms of anxiety. It usually arises from stressful situations and can be an indicator of an underlying disease or overload of feelings and emotions. This feeling can percolate into your relationships, sometimes causing dating anxiety.
Some people find it strange that a person can trigger these anxious thoughts and feelings in them. They usually wonder, “Why does one person cause me anxiety?” But it’s important to note that it’s not really that one person per se, but the ideas and notions that one associates with that particular person that give rise to these anxious thoughts.
Here are some tips to keep in mind when your boyfriend gives you anxiety attacks.
1. Figure out your course of action
We all know that relationships are complicated. Your heart is screaming “My boyfriend gives me anxiety attacks!” and your brain agrees, wondering, “Why does one person cause me anxiety?” But before acting on any of these queries, you have to ask yourself two very important questions. Is the relationship worth saving? And if yes, are you willing to embrace certain changes to make this relationship work?
To deal with the first question, you have to keep in mind that not all relationships are worth saving. No matter how long you have been together, you can never keep an unhappy relationship afloat for long. When your boyfriend gives you anxiety attacks, it can sometimes be seen as a clear sign that you are not happy with him. And saving a relationship that does not make you happy will in turn increase your anxiety levels.
Let’s say you are hounded by thoughts such as, “My partner makes my anxiety worse,” or “My anxiety is ruining my relationship.” But have you ever considered that perhaps the fixing starts with you? Choosing to walk away from a relationship, or making some changes to keep your relationship afloat, is entirely up to you. If you are ready to embrace certain changes that can help you deal with your boyfriend and your relationship anxiety, then you have to be ready for an emotional roller-coaster ride!
Related Reading: 9 Signs Of Commitment Issues And 5 Ways To Deal With It
2. Determine if it’s your boyfriend or your relationship with him that is making you anxious
So, it’s settled. You find yourself in a ‘my boyfriend gives me anxiety attacks’ phase and you have decided to fix it. But have you ever taken a moment to reflect whether it is actually your boyfriend or rather, your relationship with him, that is triggering this anxiousness in your life?
Can a toxic relationship cause anxiety? This is, in all honesty, a valid question, but what’s more important is establishing the cause of your anxiety – is it your relationship or your boyfriend?
Many people experience anxiety due to a particular behavior or some annoying habits of their boyfriend. Some of these behaviors may include him being secretive about some parts of his life, physical intimidation, being mean and using nasty language, etc. Other issues that may not account for bad behavior, but can still trigger anxiety include your partner being ‘too much’ of something. He could be too rich, too handsome, too busy, or too talkative for you.
However, successfully evaluating the situation when your boyfriend gives you anxiety can help you uncover the real reason behind your anxious thoughts. Sometimes your fear of commitment or previous bad relationship experiences can flare up your anxiety. Other times, if you are concerned about the future of your relationship and are scared that he might leave you, you may feel anxious.
3. Tap into your past traumas
If you constantly fear “My anxiety is ruining my relationship,” then there is a possibility that your anxious thoughts are rooted somewhere in your past. You need to understand that it’s not necessarily your current relationship or your boyfriend that is triggering your anxiety levels.
While claiming “My partner makes my anxiety worse,” you might, actually be ignoring a more serious issue. Sometimes your past may come back to haunt you in different ways. And it is possible that it is your relationship that might end up scarring.
Your past might not dictate your future. But your past traumas definitely do. The emotional baggage that you carry, might influence all the actions and decisions you take in your life. We all have good and bad experiences. At times, the bad experiences leave a scar in the form of fear or anxiety.
We can’t help but carry this emotional baggage. But while doing so, we must try to manage the heavy emotions inside this baggage. Fears or anxieties, if left unchecked, can confuse your brain, flaring up anxious thoughts about your current relationship.
Commitment issues, emotional distance, serial dating, projection, or constant comparison might be some red flags that signal the damage caused by your past traumas. Due to things that you might have experienced, your brain might have adopted these habits as a defense mechanism. And these habits might be dangerous to your relationships.
Apart from giving you anxious thoughts, your past traumas might be responsible for your dysfunctional relationship. And the only way to deal with your emotional baggage is to face it head-on. It might be terrifying at first, but as you unpack all your emotions, you will feel relieved. And then this relief may become a base for the full and happy life that you always dreamt of.
4. Figure out what triggers your anxiety
When your boyfriend gives you anxiety, you may not have the time or energy to fully analyze the situation. Simply wondering “Why does one person cause me anxiety?” won’t help. You need to figure out what triggers your anxiety in the first place. Once you do, it will help you deal with it in a much better manner. There might be one particular thing or action that might cause you to conjure up such negative thoughts. Or there might be multiple triggers that could be responsible for flaring up your anxiety.
Sometimes, brooding about the distressing things that might have happened in the past might trigger anxiety. But at other times, worrying about the future might set it off. Feeling out of control about different aspects of life may give rise to some negative thoughts and emotions as well.
When you are in a relationship with someone who is instinctive and spontaneous, you might not have any control over what your future with him might look like and those thoughts might cause you to panic. However, this habit of constantly worrying about the future might hamper your present. This worry of the future can be acquired from a past experience or a past codependent relationship.
Then, there are those feelings of anxiousness that may have inculcated by others, since childhood. This might be due to the teachings they received as children. Looking at the ‘adult world’ as a hostile and fearful place as a child is one of the most common reasons for the anxious thoughts experienced by such people. My advice to you would be that at times when you feel ‘my boyfriend is giving me anxiety attacks,’ you should pause a bit and take some time to recognize what exactly pushes those buttons in you.
Related Reading: Should I Break Up With My Boyfriend? 11 Signs It Is Probably Time
5. Take some time for yourself
After realizing ‘my boyfriend gives me anxiety attacks,’ it’s only normal to work your way through it. You might feel the need to fix your relationship. And you may even chalk out a plan of action to deal with it. But being too involved in this entire process might take a toll on your mental health.
‘My anxiety is ruining my relationship’ is a myth as the relationship is not just yours! It takes two to tango. So, stop assuming all the responsibility in the world to save your relationship. Give yourself a break, and take some time for yourself.
Start by establishing emotional boundaries in your relationship. Sometimes, by breaking the chain of these incessant negative thoughts, you may break your pattern of overthinking and indulging in anxious thought patterns. So, to avoid burnout and maintain your peace of mind, take some time for yourself.
Use this period to do things that you love. Go on a vacation or a shopping spree. Watch those series that you have been wanting to for so long. Read that book. Try that new café. Or just go out on a nature walk. Being alone and doing what you love will definitely help you calm those nerves down!
6. Can a toxic relationship cause anxiety?
“Can a toxic relationship cause anxiety?” is actually quite a common question. And the answer to this is a loud “Yes!” But before discussing this any further, you need to know what makes a relationship toxic? Loss of trust, constant fights, negativity and stress are some of the most important elements that add toxicity to any relationship. They can not only weaken your
bond, but also affect your mental health.
Practicing good communication skills can help you overcome these issues and help reduce your anxiousness. Effective reduction strategies can help you control your anxiety. Being honest and talking about how your partner can support you to reduce the prevailing tensions in your relationship can be a great start. Explaining what triggers your anxiety and how it affects you will help your boyfriend to avoid anything that may set off your anxiety.
Increasing physical touch, challenging your fears, being more open to his views, incorporating more couple activities, and spending more time with each other can be some ways of improving communication with your boyfriend.
7. Avoid acting on your feelings
You are quite sure that ‘my boyfriend gives me anxiety attacks’ is not just a random thought or phase, but your truth. You are now ready to make all the necessary changes. But before acting on any of your feelings blindly, you should understand why does one person causes you anxiety. And particularly your boyfriend.
Identify what you are feeling and try to understand what made you feel this way in the first place. Measure the effects of your feelings on others. And analyze if there is a better way to cope with them – i.e. without hurting others.
After accepting your emotions, track them to figure out the best way to express them. Expression of your emotions is crucial to establishing healthy communication with your partner. If you act on all your emotions blindly, it may not only be tiring, but might end up causing unnecessary friction and fights.
The best way to avoid negative thoughts to seep into your relationship is to refrain from concentrating only on problems. Constantly using phrases like, “My boyfriend gives me anxiety attacks”, “My anxiety is ruining my relationship” or “Why does one person cause me anxiety?” can prove to be destructive to your mental health as well as relationship.
Related Reading: 7 Steps To Find Peace After A Toxic Relationship
8. Beware of other areas or people that are driving anxiety in your relationship
“It’s not you, it’s me.” In this context, this phrase means that it’s not your boyfriend, but you who is actually bringing the anxiety into your relationship. When you worry, “My anxiety is ruining my relationship,” it is a real concern indeed. And due to the various insecurities and stresses you bring into your relationships, well, you might be the one who needs to reflect on
your personal worries.
Anxiety knows no bounds. And it is possible that your anxiousness in one area of life may percolate into the other areas as well, including the relationships in your life. If you are feeling any sort of stress in your life, there are chances that your relationship might have to bear the brunt.
Separating your personal worries from your relationship worries can be a great way of reducing your relationship anxiety. This will stop your anxiety from other areas of life from bleeding into your relationship.
So, these were my points from my little research to help Jenny. I hope these 8 helpful tips on coping with a boyfriend who gives you anxiety attacks will not only help you deal with your anxiety but also be of use when dealing with your boyfriends.
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Many times, the anxiety we feel around other people is a reflection of the way we perceive ourselves. This may be called projection and it can be seen as a common defense mechanism against the people who make us feel uncomfortable. If a particular person reminds you of something that is traumatic or triggers your anxiety, then it is possible that you may feel uncomfortable around them. In such cases, you may notice an increase in your anxiety levels or apprehensive thoughts around them. Even though a particular person cannot be said to trigger your anxiety; the ideas, things or notions you associate with them might induce those anxious thoughts in you.
Overcoming relationship anxiety may not be an easy task. It may take a lot of time and efforts from both the people in a relationship to make it go away. However, by managing relationship anxiety, you can strengthen your bond. By trying to be more mindful, practicing good communication, avoiding acting on your feelings, and reflecting upon your own thoughts and actions, you can reduce your anxious thoughts. Tracking where your anxiety comes from and how to deal with your insecurities is a crucial part in managing your anxiety. Also, relationship counselling can be a great option to understand the root cause of the problem and eradicating the troublesome anxious thoughts from your relationship.