Ways to deal with relationship anxiety
If your partner’s request to spend their Saturday night without you has got you worrying excessively about what they might be up to, you could have relationship anxiety issues. When overanalyzing takes a toll on you, you might end up asking yourself constantly, “How to stop worrying about my relationship?”
On social media, your relationship may seem perfect to the world. It may even be close to perfect in reality, but in your mind, you’re convinced something is wrong. Overcoming relationship anxiety will not only help you, but it will lead to a more fulfilling bond, the kind you can confidently say is exactly how it looks on social media.
Every relationship deserves to be the best it can be. We’re here to help yours become the best version of itself with the help of psychotherapist Sampreeti Das (M.A clinical Psychology), who specializes in REBT. Let’s unravel everything you need to know to help shake off relationship anxiety.
5 Signs You Worry Too Much About Your Relationship
Before we answer your question, “How to stop worrying about my relationship?”, let’s look at the signs and see whether it’s actually a problem you’re grappling with. If the only time you thought, “My relationship is stressing me out”, was when your partner was flirting with their ex, you should know that it’s not necessarily a sign of relationship anxiety and is a justifiable concern.
The only time your partner should be on their ex’s social media page is to show you how much better you are than them, not to try and flirt with them again. However, if you’re always thinking about how to stop worrying about your boyfriend cheating because his colleague at work is attractive, you might qualify as someone who has relationship anxiety.
“I can’t stop worrying about the future of my relationship. Every time my girlfriend doesn’t reply for half a day, my mind immediately assumes she’s trying to distance herself from me. She’s getting tired of the constant reassurance I need, and even though I don’t want to worry so much, I don’t know why my insecurities convince me that she and I are done for every time she’s busy,” says Jamal, telling us about how his constant worrying is taking a toll.
Just like Jamal, you could use a few tips about how to stop worrying about your boyfriend/girlfriend cheating on you. The first step, however, is to figure out if you’ve really got a case of relationship anxiety or if you’re confusing a valid concern with misplaced anxiety. The following signs should help you figure out if you do indeed make mountains out of molehills:
1. Questioning how much your partner loves you
Despite the numerous attempts your partner has made to reassure you of their love for you, somehow you’re still not convinced. “Not convinced” may be an understatement since you’re always trying to figure out how to stop being paranoid in a relationship.
Sampreeti says, “While having negative assumptions about the future of one’s relationship, imagination may get overexerted.” Asking “Do you love me?” shouldn’t be an everyday occurrence in your relationship. If your partner even jokingly responds, “No, I hate you”, you know you’ll end up stressing out about that for the next two days.
2. Trust issues
A girls’/boys’ night out shouldn’t have you on the edge of your seat, constantly worried about your partner cheating on you. Pretty soon the stress may affect your skin, which will then lead to you questioning if you’re attractive enough for your partner or not.
Trust issues in a relationship will plague it to the very core. Once you have substantial trust issues, it doesn’t matter how much you love each other, the relationship is destined to fail. How to stop worrying about your boyfriend/girlfriend cheating on you will constantly be on your mind, making it clear as day that you worry too much about your relationship.
Related Reading: What Is New Relationship Anxiety? 8 Signs And 5 Ways To Deal With It
“Am I good enough?” “Am I attractive enough for my partner?” “Does my partner think I’m boring?” These are all questions constantly troubling the insecure mind. Since trust issues stem from insecurities, you probably have both. Feeling as if you’re not good enough will eventually make you believe it
. When you start believing such self-deprecating thoughts, it’s not just your relationship that’s at risk, it’s your mental health as well. So, if you’re constantly thinking things like, “I’m scared my boyfriend will leave me for someone better”, you probably need to work on your insecurity issues to fix the relationship.
4. Overanalyzing the unimportant
A single text from your partner may have you hitting up all of your group chats, asking people if they think your partner is mad at you. The harmless “cool.” your partner sent you might have you worrying to no end. “But why did he use the period?? Does he hate me?”, your overthinking mind might say.
“My partner just went on a trip with her friends and wasn’t able to contact me for a day and a half. In that time, I assumed he had already cheated on me and left a million calls and messages on his cell. When he finally got back to me, he told me how his cell reception gave way. Why can’t I stop worrying about my relationship?” Janet told us, talking about how her tendency to overthink often leads to anxiety.
5. Sabotaging the relationship
When you have convinced yourself that you’re not good enough and that the relationship isn’t going to last, you might end up not respecting it as much. In your mind, it’s destined to fail. When you’re constantly thinking, “My relationship is stressing me out”, you might as well just go and indulge in self-sabotaging behaviors, right? Wrong! Sabotaging the relationship with reckless acts is a common denominator amongst those who suffer from relationship anxiety.
“Dealing with relationship anxiety will require a lot of introspection, insight, and acceptance of things that may have never consciously surfaced before,” says Sampreeti, talking about what it will take to rid you of the doubts about your relationship that always creep into your mind.
If you’ve been struggling with thoughts like “I can’t stop constantly worrying about my relationship”, you mustn’t let your insecurities and your paranoia diminish an otherwise wonderful relationship. Let’s look at some practical steps that can finally help you stop saying “my relationship is stressing me out”.
Expert Tips To Stop Worrying About Your Relationship
The truth is, experiencing relationship anxiety may not really be completely your fault. If you suffer from anxiety, it’s understandable how it might find its way into this aspect of your life as well. Since you know how bad it can be in other spheres, you dread letting it take over a perfectly healthy relationship.
That’s when you might start thinking things like “I always worry my boyfriend will leave me” based on made-up scenarios in your own head. Nobody should live with any sort of anxiety. It eats up your day, leaves you incapable of accomplishing the things you set out to do. To help you overcome relationship anxiety, the following 8, expert-approved tips, should set you on your way. In no time, you’ll be jokingly replying, “Stop being obsessed with me!”, instead of a fearful “Do you love me?” every two days.
1. Improve communication in your relationship
Improving communication in a relationship is something everyone could benefit from. To have judgment-free conversations where you can tell your partner exactly what you’re thinking is a must if you want them to understand what’s going on with you.
Sampreeti shares her insights on how communication can help your relationship. “Taking the partner as an equal and beginning with communicating how we feel and why we feel that way can be a good start. This will help the partner with a better understanding of the situation and what follows may be healing in itself.”
Communication doesn’t always have to be interpersonal, some introspection can do you good as well. By just asking yourself something like, “Why am I freaking out about my relationship?”, you might be able to get to the bottom of these emotions, and why they spring up in the first place.
Related Reading: How Can I Overcome Feeling Insecure In Relationships?
2. Work on your anxiety
Everyone has a bit of anxiety. Some just have an abnormal amount that leads them to ask, “Why are you mad at me?”, when their partner says “hey.” Common ways of working on your anxiety include mindful practices and being more observant of your thoughts. Catch any patterns that may trigger your anxiety, so you can work on the root cause instead of symptom-curing through copious amounts of Nutella. The first step toward a healthy relationship is by working on your anxiety.
Sampreeti believes finding the root cause of your stressful feelings will help you indefinitely. “Working on oneself can be a good start. Behind every emotional turmoil and behavioral reaction is a thought. The longer this thought has existed in our mind, the stronger the potential for it to become a belief that’s hard to shake.
“The origin of this thought may have been direct or indirect. At times, it could stem from traumatic experiences we had with people, or in relationships. Regressing to those thoughts triggered by current instances potentially points to the fact that things were buried unresolved. So, self-resolutions would be a good starting point,” she adds.
Instead of giving in to thoughts like, “I can’t stop worrying about the future of my relationship”, try to think about what caused this anxiety.
3. Don’t get stuck in the past
It’s an unfortunate experience if you’ve been the victim of infidelity in a relationship in the past but you cannot let it define your current one. The more you dwell on your past and how your trust was betrayed, the more you’ll keep thinking things like “My boyfriend/girlfriend gives me anxiety attacks”, every time they’re out with friends.
“To keep that in check, what one can try is to base every assumption on concrete evidence from one’s own relationship. Drawing assumptions about one’s relationship based on examples of what happened to others may turn out to be very harmful,” says Sampreeti, on what you can do if you’re comparing your relationship to your past/others around you.
“I’m scared my boyfriend will leave me for someone better, just like my previous one did,” Kate told us, “I don’t know if I should tell my current partner just how scared I am. I don’t want to come across as too clingy but I also want to make sure he knows how scared I am.”
In such situations, try to tell yourself that your past doesn’t define your future, and letting it define your current state of happiness is almost criminal.
4. Understand that your partner’s actions are not yours to change
When incessant trust issues get in the way of love, it may lead to a toxic relationship where one partner becomes controlling. Before you know it, the relationship ends in a bitter breakup. To avoid this, you need to understand that you should never have anything to do with your partner’s decision-making.
Of the many qualities of a healthy relationship, trusting your partner without a speck of doubt is right up there. If you constantly worry about “I always worry my boyfriend will leave me”, you won’t even get time to appreciate the good things about your relationship.
5. Be comfortable in front of your partner
Don’t let your anxiety convince you that you must always be perfect in front of your partner, lest they leave you for someone “better”. Let your hair down, put on your PJs and leave the deodorant in the bathroom. When you’re your true self in front of your partner, you’ll start feeling more comfortable with your bond since the emotional intimacy will increase.
“I couldn’t stop constantly worrying about my relationship, and I thought I had to constantly do things to impress my girlfriend over and over again. After some time, she confronted me on why I always feel the need to do so much and suggested that I try to make myself believe that she will love me regardless of the exuberant gifts or the gestures that were burning a hole in my pocket. The more I started to believe that she’s truly in love with me for who I am, the less I thought things like why am I freaking out about my relationship,” Jason tells us.
Related Reading: 25 Most Common Relationship Problems
6. Stop overanalyzing
It’s time to get a reality check: there’s not always a deeper meaning behind what your partner says. Sometimes, “k” is just an okay, “hmm” is just a nod, and the thumbs up emoji isn’t a passive-aggressive threat, it’s a friendly agreement. Try working on the root causes of your stressful thoughts.
That way, you’ll be able to tackle why you’re so prone to overthinking. Trying to distract yourself from your mind will only work for so long before your thoughts lead to deafening noise, leaving you unable to think about anything else. Focusing on the bigger picture, practicing mindful exercises, and taking a step back can all help you if you’re having an overthinking episode.
7. Get on the same page about labels, expectations and boundaries
Discussing boundaries in a relationship, managing expectations, and being clear about the labels will all help establish peace of mind. When there’s little left to uncertainty, you won’t have to worry about what might go wrong. You won’t be saying “I’m worried about the future of my relationship” in your group chat with your besties since you’ll have all the expectations in check.
Sampreeti shares her insight on the importance of being on the same page as your partner. “At times, the gut may be true. The partner may be on a different plane than one is. The more expectations are seen as remaining unfulfilled, the more it hits hard on one’s existential self. A perceived lack of reassurance and attention also points to the presence of unresolved issues. “
If you find yourself constantly asking yourself, “Why can’t I stop worrying about my relationship?”, it might be because you’re expecting way too much out of it.
8. Consult a therapist for your anxiety
Talk therapy and/or anxiety medication has helped millions of people around the world. In a day and age where mental issues are more widely discussed, there is no longer any stigma attached to consulting a therapist. “In case you have an overwhelming surge, working on it yourself may not help you as much as you need it to. That’s when the best gift we can give to ourselves is a professional.
“Visiting a clinical psychologist, an authentic therapist can have multiple reasons. Ranging from seeking understanding of a situation to getting help for serious mental health issues. In short, if we feel like we need a professional, we need a professional,” says Sampreeti, on the importance of allowing yourself to go seek therapy. If it’s professional help you’re looking for, Bonobology’s panel of experienced therapists is only a click away.
We hope you won’t be stressing out and asking yourself, “How do I stop worrying about my relationship?”, once you follow these tips. Battling anxiety is never easy. But when it starts affecting real-life aspects like your relationship, you can’t turn a blind eye to it anymore. Overcoming relationship anxiety will lead you to a more loving relationship. You may even find that it always existed and that you were just too busy thinking “my relationship is stressing me out” to truly appreciate the bond you have with your beau!