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How to Deal with Relationship Anxiety

relationship anxietyRelationships can be one of the most pleasurable things on the planet… but they can also be a breeding ground for anxious thoughts and feelings. Relationship anxiety can arise at pretty much any stage of courtship. For many single people, just the thought of being in a relationship can stir up stress. If and when people do start dating, the early stages can present them with endless worries: “Does he/she really like me?” “Will this work out?” “How serious is this?” Unfortunately, these worries don’t tend to subside in the later stages of a romantic union. In fact, as things get closer between a couple, anxiety can get even more intense. Thoughts come flooding in like: “Can this last?” “Do I really like him/her?” “Should we slow down?” “Am I really ready for this kind of commitment?” “Is he/she losing interest?”

All this worrying about our relationships can make us feel pretty alone. It can lead us to create distance between ourselves and our partner. At its worst, our anxiety can even push us to give up on love altogether. Learning more about the causes and effects of relationship anxiety can help us to identify the negative thinking and actions that can sabotage our love lives. How can we keep our anxiety in check and allow ourselves to be vulnerable to someone we love?

What Causes Relationship Anxiety?

Put simply, falling in love challenges us in numerous ways we don’t expect. The more we value someone else, the more we stand to lose. On many levels, both conscious and unconscious, we become scared of being hurt. To a certain degree, we all possess a fear of intimacy. Ironically, this fear often arises when we are getting exactly what we want, when we’re experiencing love as we never have or being treated in ways that are unfamiliar.

As we get into a relationship, it isn’t just the things that go on between us and our partner that make us anxious.; it’s the things we tell ourselves about what’s going on. The “critical inner voice” is a term used to describe the mean coach we all have in our heads that criticizes us, feeds us bad advice and fuels our fear of intimacy. It’s the one that tells us:

“You’re too ugly/fat/boring to keep his/her interest.”

“You’ll never meet anyone, so why even try?”

“You can’t trust him. He’s looking for someone better.”

“She doesn’t really love you. Get out before you get hurt.”

This critical inner voice makes us turn against ourselves and the people close to us. It can promote hostile, paranoid and suspicious thinking that lowers our self-esteem and drives unhealthy levels of distrust, defensiveness, jealousy and anxiety. Basically, it feeds us a consistent stream of thoughts that undermine our happiness and make us worry about our relationship, rather than just enjoying it.

When we get in our heads, focusing on these worried thoughts, we become incredibly distracted from real relating with our partner. We may start to act out in destructive ways, making nasty comments or becoming childish or parental toward our significant other. For example, imagine your partner stays at work late one night. Sitting home alone, your inner critic starts telling you, “Where is she? Can you really believe her? She probably prefers being away from you. She’s trying to avoid you. She doesn’t even love you anymore.” These thoughts can snowball in your mind until, by the time your partner gets home, you’re feeling insecure, furious or paranoid. You may act angry or cold, which then sets your partner off to feel frustrated and defensive. Pretty soon, you’ve completely shifted the dynamic between you. Instead of enjoying the time you have together, you may waste an entire night feeling withdrawn and upset with each other. You’ve now effectively forced the distance you initially feared. The culprit behind this self-fulfilling prophecy isn’t the situation itself. It’s that critical inner voice that colored your thinking, distorted your perceptions, and ultimately, led you down a destructive path.

When it comes to all of the things we worry ourselves about in relationships, we are much more resilient than we think. In truth, we can handle the hurts and rejections that we so fear. We can experience pain, and eventually, heal. However, our critical inner voice tends to terrorize and catastrophize reality. It can rouse serious spells of anxiety about dynamics that don’t exist and threats that aren’t even tangible. Even when there are real things going on, someone breaks up with us or feels an interest in someone else, our critical inner voice will tear us apart in ways we don’t deserve. It will completely distort reality and undermine our own strength and resilience. It’s that cynical roommate that always gives bad advice. “You can’t survive this. Just put your guard up and never be vulnerable to anyone else.”

The defenses we form and critical voices we hear are based on our own unique experiences and adaptations. When we feel anxious or insecure, some of us have a tendency to become clingy and desperate in our actions. We may feel possessive or controlling toward our partner in response. Conversely, some of us will feel easily intruded on in our relationships. We may retreat from our partners, detach from our feelings of desire. We may act out by being aloof, distant or guarded. These patterns of relating can come from our early attachment styles. Our attachment pattern is established in our childhood attachments and continues to function as a working model for relationships in adulthood. It influences how each of us reacts to our needs and how we go about getting them met. Different attachment styles can lead us to experience different levels of relationship anxiety. You can learn more about what your attachment style is and how it impacts your romantic relationships here.

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What Thoughts Perpetuate Relationship Anxiety?

The specific critical inner voices we have about ourselves, our partner and relationships are formed out of early attitudes we were exposed to in our family or in society at large. Sexual stereotypes as well as attitudes that our influential caretakers had toward themselves and others can infiltrate our point of view and shade our current perceptions. While, everyone’s inner critic is different, some common critical inner voices include:

Critical Inner Voices about the Relationship

  • People just wind up getting hurt.
  • Relationships never work out.

Voices about Your Partner

  • Men are so insensitive, unreliable, selfish.
  • Women are so fragile, needy, indirect.
  • He only cares about being with his friends.
  • Why get so excited? What’s so great about her anyway?
  • He’s probably cheating on you.
  • You can’t trust her.
  • He just can’t get anything right.

Voices about Yourself

  • You’re never going to find another person who understands you.
  • Don’t get too hooked on her.
  • He doesn’t really care about you.
  • She is too good for you.
  • You’ve got to keep him interested.
  • You’re better off on your own.
  • As soon as she gets to know you, she will reject you.
  • You’ve got to be in control.
  • It’s your fault if he gets upset.
  • Don’t be too vulnerable or you’ll just wind up getting hurt.

How Does Relationship Anxiety Affect Us?

As we shed light into our past, we quickly realize there are many early influences that have shaped our attachment pattern, our psychological defenses and our critical inner voice. All of these factors contribute to our relationship anxiety and can lead us to sabotage our love lives in many ways. Listening to our inner critic and giving in to this anxiety can result in the following actions:

  • Cling – When we feel anxious, our tendency may be to act desperate toward our partner. We may stop feeling like the independent, strong people we were when we entered the relationship. As a result, we may find ourselves falling apart easily, acting jealous or insecure or no longer engaging in independent activities.
  • Control – When we feel threatened, we may attempt to dominate or control our partner. We may set rules about what they can and can’t do just to alleviate our own feelings of insecurity or anxiousness. This behavior can alienate our partner and breed resentment.
  • Reject – If we feel worried about our relationship, one defense we may turn to is aloofness. We may become cold or rejecting to protect ourselves or to beat our partner to the punch. These actions can be subtle or overt, yet it is almost always a sure way to force distance or to stir up insecurity in our partner.
  • Withhold – Sometimes, as opposed to explicit rejection, we tend to withhold from our partner when we feel anxious or afraid. Perhaps things have gotten close, and we feel stirred up, so we retreat. We hold back little affections or give up on some aspect of our relationship altogether. Withholding may seem like a passive act, but it is one of the quietest killers of passion and attraction in a relationship.
  • Punish – Sometimes, our response to our anxiety is more aggressive, and we actually punish, taking our feelings out on our partner. We may yell and scream or give our partner the cold shoulder. It’s important to pay attention to how much our actions are a response to our partner and how much are they a response to our critical inner voice.
  • Retreat – When we feel scared in a relationship, we may give up real acts of love and intimacy and retreat into a “fantasy bond.” A fantasy bond is an illusion of connection that replaces real acts of love. In this state of fantasy, we focus on form over substance. We may stay in the relationship to feel secure but give up on the vital parts of relating. In a fantasy bond, we often engage in many of the destructive behaviors mentioned above as a means to create distance and defend ourselves against the anxiety that naturally comes with feeling free and in love. Learn more about the fantasy bond here.

How Can I Overcome Relationship Anxiety?

In order to overcome, relationship anxiety, we must shift our focus inward. We have to look at what’s going on inside us, separate from our partner or the relationship. What critical inner voices are exacerbating our fears? What defenses do we possess that could be creating distance? This process of self-discovery can be a vital step in understanding the feelings that drive our behavior, and ultimately, shape our relationship. By looking into our past, we can gain better insight into where these feelings come from. What caused us to feel insecure or turned on ourselves in relation to love? You can start this journey for yourself by learning more about the fear of intimacy and how to identify and overcome your critical inner voice.

Learn more strategies for overcoming relationship anxiety in our Webinar with Dr. Lisa Firestone: Understanding and Overcoming Relationship Anxiety.

60 comments

  1. Hi I have been feeling very anxious in my marriage for so tine now and are just about to end a 35 year marriage we were in 4th week of councilsing I am on medication for anxiety an I feel the need to run can anyone help s llewellyn

    • welcome to the club, I’m in a 9 year (marriage and relationship) and I have the same feelings as you Susan. Worst thing is that #9 retreat happened in my marriage where I fantasized about leaving my spouse for someone else, never reacted to tried to do something about it, but it caused a massive crack in my marriage for me.
      I do not want to feel this way about a many I loved just 6 months ago. I spoke to him openly about it and am going to therapy. I want my marriage to work, but my anxiety is killing me and my worrying about how I can develop a crush for someone else when I knew I loved my husband….
      I do not know what to do… I cry everyday..

      • *never reacted to it and tried to do something about it,

        • Hope I know what your going through Iv been there my biggest advise is work on your marriage and distance your self from the other guy if your still hanging around the other guy your marriage won’t work the more your around him the less he’ll trust and if his on your social media I would delete him all its going to do is drive him away or mess with his head til he leaves. I hope it gets better for you.

          • I’ve distanced myself from this person. But it is a close friend of my spouse. I never told him it was him. Luckily I don’t see this person more than maybe once a year, if I’m lucky once in two. I feel his friend is flirting with me but then again he is like that flirtatious. In short, I know my anxiety had been present from day one. I’ve a always had a very negative self critical voice. I’m doing therapy but I’m not to happy with it. Might change my therapist. I’m trying to deal with my emotions. I love my husband, this s split in my emotions is driving me bat shit.

          • Any other advice?

    • Don’t give up on the relationship over Something stupid

  2. Every time I feel that somebody has a crush on me I start to get anxiety and I feel like I need to retreat even before they ask me out. Even if I like them too. I get bad stomachaches and headaches and I cry and flip out. I feel like I can’t truly love someone because every time I feel like I start to, I just back away. Please help me.

    • I think thats the case with most of the females.. but if u really wanna date someone then try to understand that everyone is human n they all will have some flaws, some things that u might not like in them but the important thing is that r they willing to change that thing for u? if yes then u need to acknowledge it n help them out with it.. see there’s still no reason to stick to a particular philosophy in life.. ive tried it n after a certain point of time it exhausts u, so keep a big heart and an open mind n love after u know about someone well enough.. dont get introduced with some1 because u think u need to date them.. be friends.. be hangout buddies n if its all really comfortable dont be ashamed or afraid of taking that leap of faith!

  3. I am currently going through a relationship anxiety. I have been in this relationship for four years now and my partner has broken up with me for about four different men before she came back to me. now we are both in different schools and I can’t stop worrying about what may happen. sometimes when I call her she acts strange and she doesn’t give attention. sometimes I send her messages but she doesn’t reply and when she is facing problems, she doesn’t discuss with me. please help me. what should I do? I actually want this relationship to work.

  4. I don’t think the anxiety is irrational. My belief is that romantic love is a myth and I embrace the feminist ideology that it was created to subjugate women. Bad experiences serve to further prove the unreliability of this romance myth so our subconscious tries to protect us from it via anxiety warning bells. Much like Santa Claus and god, romantic love isbut a social construct. If it makes you anxious and you don’t believe in it, find other lifestyles and beliefs. I don’t see why we have to accept romance as truth just BC it is the norm. Let’s be true to ourselves and personal beliefs!

    • Hello K,
      I’m going through a lot of anxiety with my guy at the moment and have been wondering just that. Do I even need/want a man? I seem to feel so much happier when I’m single, and like this “romantic” relationship is all just some fantasy that we’re both creating in our heads. I feel so much more solid and fulfilled when I’m alone, and I don’t just think it’s because I’m with the wrong guy.
      Do you know of any books/authors you could recommend so I could do further reading on the social construct that is romantic relationships? I’d love to delve deeper…

      • I feel the same way too.. After my divorce, being in a realtionship makes me so anxious… Im in my 2nd relationship and after 2 month with all the expectation from his side.. I became anxious once again… I lost my hobby, my focus etc and I now wonder if any guy is worth losing sleep and enjoyment in life, over.
        I was seriously a stronger, confident and happy person being single. Ps when I read your comment my anxiety disappeared for a moment 🙂

        • All of you make good points. I think “romantic love” is a fallacy & so do a lot of other people. But people keep looking for it anyway. I gave up on it, all it caused was a lot of hurt and disappointment. Do we really need that in our lives? Not really. Are you better off being single? Yes. Some people do find happiness in relationships, but I think they just got lucky. Like gambling. But people are always looking for love & they’ll always looking for love. But, relationships never made me happy. In order to be in a relationship, I have to settle which means no romantic feelings. But that’s what people did in the old days. So it’s a choice of settling for less or being single. I chose being single, I couldn’t bear the thought of being stuck in a relationship with someone I didn’t care about. Yet people will say that you can grow to love someone. It never worked for me, but I suppose I could try it again. To summarize, I believe that romantic love is only for the lucky ones. And I’m not one of them.

        • You will look back in years to come and realise all the missed opportunity you had to be with somebody who is GENUINELY interested in you. The attitude you have regarding feminism is flawed and will lead to your fears and anxiety controlling you. Not good.

      • I fele the same as you. Tricky….

  5. so I’ve been with my girlfriend for about a month then we broke you and we just got back together on the 30th. An shes been getting chest pains and she went to the doctor for it and they said it was because of the relationship. and i’m scared that if the anxiety gets to her I’ll lose her again and i don’t want that to happen. i don’t know what to do about it. someone help me.

    • Hi Cami!
      My anxiety got worse not long after meeting my boyfriend and the doctor said the exact same thing to me, that it was because of my relationship with him. I’m still with him and have been for nearly 5 years now. Do you both argue a lot? Or not see each other often? This was what was causing my anxiety and I used to get full blown panic attacks. We then decided to move in together but we’re living with my family which also put strain on my anxiety. I’m doing much better now and so is my relationship because we’re both putting in the effort. My advice to you is just be understanding, be there when she needs someone and if she really loves you, she’ll work with you so you can both help her 🙂

  6. I was with my guy for a couple of years from 2008-2010 and we broke up because I couldn’t handle the anxiety. In 2015 we started talking again and he asked to take things slow but I couldn’t. I kept calling and messaging all the time.I accused him if seeing another person…he said they were friends and he had built a life when we weren’t together. Anyway he is now seeing this person and I an devastated. I feel like I pushed him away. I caused it. Why couldn’t I trust that he loved me.

    • There is a book called thrive. By rob Kelly. Read it. It will explain how your cognition works and has exercises to show you your thought patterns which lead to this sort of behaviours

  7. Im in a relationship with a lovely woman for 10 months now. She is so good to me. Does my washing, cooks, she cannot do enough for me. I see her twice a week and sometimes at weekends. We are exact same age, like history etc but when i leave her I seem to go into single mode and wanty indipendance. I get anxious jyst before I see her but when im with her the anxiety seems to go away. We are taking this relationship very slow but im not used to doing this slow even though its the right way about it. I dont think about her all the time and she says she adores me and im worried that my feelings are mot the same. But shes so good for me and if i end it i know i will regret it big time… I kinda dont wanr to end it, but this is tearing apart.

    • Just because someone is nice to you didn’t mean they are a good fit. Ne honest with yourself, do you want to be single or taken? Your not married, your not even in an official relationship.
      Take it slow.
      Being single is fun, but being in a loving relationship is too.

  8. Figure out what makes you happy and realize that no other person can do this for you. Identify the triggers that cause you to gown down this slippery slope. If being single enables you to feel true happiness then learn how to give rather than receive. I have realized after one divorce and being married again now for almost five years, it takes a strong man to work on understanding his wife or girlfriend so that he can better assist, love, honor, respect, etc. her in the most fufillig way possible. Let hints be natural and live in the now and not in the past or the future. Take things as they come and live and let live. Love has many shapeshifter sizes but you have to decide if your willing to learn to love the person your with or not. Just my on personal opinion from experience.

  9. Hey everyone, really interesting read. I’ve been struggling with my relationship for about 4 months now. By the sounds of it I do suffer from anxiety. Me and my partner have been in a relationship for a year now, but prior to that we were really good friends. We Hooke up and just decided we should give it a go. And it’s been going good. But not without its lows. I dunno, like if she’s not around I worry if she’s getting hit on by guys, or hitting on guys or giving guys the wrong impressions. She does have a lot of guy friends. And I’ve meet them all and they seem like good blokes. I guess I’m just really scared to lose her to someone else. It’s just the small stuff that makes me overthink things. Like she bumped into a guy that she sleeped with once ( before we dated) and started talking and laughing while I was standing right there. Sh tried to play it off until I asked if that was the guy she use to sleep with. Of course i got kinda pissed coz I Thort that was kinda disrespectful to me. That just made me think, “how often is she bumping into people she used to hookup with?” “Why was she try to play it off like it was nothing?” I don’t know. It’s nice to know that I’m not the only one with this problem. If anyone could just give me Some advice that would be awesome because I’m just tired feelings like this all the time.

    • I’ve just come across this article so sorry that it’s a few months down the line, but what I’d say to you on this matter is, tell yourself that she actively chose to be with you, not with these other guys. We all have a history. Out of all these guy friends and past hook ups, she didn’t see a relationship there yet she did with you.
      I’m going through some relationship anxiety myself at the moment, hence why I’m here, and I’m currently writing down what I’m thinking and feeling and getting it ready to share with my partner. Maybe writing it down could help you too? Obviously I don’t know how this has turned out for you in the past few months, but even going forward, when you’re with someone, it’s because you want to be. The same goes for them. They’re with you because they want to be. Best of luck 🙂

  10. Nice Article, thank you for sharing those ideas

  11. I have extreme anxiety and guilt because my love of my life and myself have gotten use to the normal sex we have. So I imagine interesting kinky past thoughts of exes and things I’ve seen in my head to spice things up and I think of them during the duration of sex to get myself going. I don’t actually fantasize being with the person, just the kinky moment that happened with that person. I’ve read everywhere it’s normal, and some close friends also said its normal. I obviously shouldn’t tell her right? Guys and girls please give me some positive feedback…

    • If you trust her, you will tell her how you feel. How do you know she’s completely satisfied with how you look and perform, and isn’t thinking of others during sex too? Approach it by being honest of your fear and anxiety of what you’re about to say, tell her you still find her attractive but your libido is hitting a cruise control and you rather shift gears of it’s possible. Options could simply include sex while you watch kinky porn, for example. She doesn’t have to become kinky herself, but she might! You will always worry until you first tell her about it.

  12. I don’t know it my last post went through but I have a serious anxiety problem with my girlfriend. I feel horrible because I think about past sexual experiences when I’m with my girlfriend. I don’t miss the actual person so it’s not that bad. I just think about a random hot kinky scene. I still feel horrible even though it’s super common from what I hear. I need positive feed back guys and girls. Help me feel better about this

  13. I was in a relationship for a year with a guy who who was always there for me in every way and things were going great but a few months before we turned a year i found some messages of him and some girl, the girl would send him hearts and stuff like that i got really mad at him and asked him what that meant and he explain to me that she was a close friend of him but got mad at me for checking his messages and changed his passwords for everything thats when i started getting really insecure and wouldnt trust him as much anymore things between us started getting more distant in each time and we started fighting more often until he took the decision to break up i was devastated and started blaming myself for everything that happened and at some point i made myself believe that he never really loved me. We werent together for almost 3 months and during that time he met a girl with who he went out for like a month and then broked up with her and came back to me telling me how stupid he was for doing that and for trying to replace me with someone else he said he loved and that he wanted to go back but start things slow and that i needed to change my attitude and trust him more 3months have passed by and i still get so upset when i see him texting other girls even thoe he shows me there just friends i dont know how to deal with the anxiaty, i really want things to work out this time

  14. K I never had the chance to try this with my girl because her step mother help3d to create anxiety saying to her that I was a cheater or whatever. I had given her the life 360 device that you can toggle on and off and kept it on as often as possible. Even with the evil step mother straight out of hello kitty we kept things together. It was only when I bombed my house did I finally lose her due to anxiety. I am wondering if house cameras would help the amxiety..? life 360 alone wasnt enough because the signal was not reliable enough and a regular car camera without a monitor server is a problem. Any advice?? we have a daughter together and I really want this relationship to work

  15. Hi, I need help. Ive been in three disasters of a relationship in the past 4 years. They were really cruel and mentally abusive and one just completely lost interest in me, refused to tell me about it and just ignored me till I figured it out myself that the relationship was over. Ive started seeing a very wonderful man and l cant fault him in the least. I’m suffering really bad with anxiety, im scared he is going to leave me, I keep thinking he is loosing interest in me and hurt me in the end. I know this is probably not true and I am trying so hard to keep myself from either becoming too clingy or becoming aloof and im struggling to find a balance. I don’t feel like I can talk to him about my feelings as it hasn’t been all that long since ive started seeing him, however he has shown me more affection towards me then anyone else ever has and I don’t want to loose him. Someone please help….

  16. I’ve finally entered into a relation with the girl
    I’ve loved after like 8 years.. we were in 9th grade back then n i had waited all these years n she always knew about it.. but i also did mess up 2 times in between.. once slept with her friend and then last year there was this girl who used me to make her bf jealous n get back at him n the worst part is that i realised all this n i didn’t stop it.. but finally she’s accepted my initial proposal n she has known all about what stupidities i had done n she keeps telling me to move on from it.. but i dont know y they keep coming back at me n now when i think about all those mistakes it makes me feel even worse.. I really feel very down when I get these thoughts in my head.. n i dont want to tell her about it again n again… also we r in a distant relationship so its even harder i think cus i just think i need her to hug me. damn this all looks so stupid (according to the genuine male stereotyping) but this is it. I dont know if its something to be really concerned about but this is the most important thing in my life n i dont want this to go bad no matter what! m i crazy?

  17. So, I’ve been attracted to this guy for a while and and we already vot a little physical twice but not all the way. After the second time hanging out, I suddenly got incredibly anxious ever since. Been asking myself what am I doing wrong? It doesn’t help that my anxiety shows very easily and I try too hard to fix things on my own which can make things worse. How should I approach this soI don’t ruin a relationship that technically hasn’t even started yet?

  18. Ive been in a relationship with my girlfriend now for 6 years we have a son together too , she cheated on me about 2 years ago now but I’ve never gotten over it , I’ve gotten bad anxiety from this. She has changed and I know she has but still I question everything she does or say. Anytime I check her phone there’s noting suspicious or out of the way , I’ve drove her away over my anxiety and we are currently on a brake 😖 Which is driving my anxiety threw the roof now thinking is she seeing someone else while we are on a brake ? Can someone please give me some advice ? Any good techniques? Or maybe medicine from the doctors? I don’t know , any help I would appreciate thank you .

  19. I understand your anxiety, there is nothing quite like been cheated on by someone you love. But honestly, when continuing a relationship after such a trauma, you can either forgive them or don’t forgive them. There is literally no in-between. You can either forgive her and never mention it again, like it never even happened or you dont forgive her and break it off. The ‘in between’ state you’re in is unhealthy and its torturing the both of you. If you’re dead set on trying to make it work, then try relationship counselling. But ill be honest, you cant keep checking her phone, you’ll suffocate her and it wont do anything to ease your mind.

  20. Hi, i want to share some of my problem,im 23 yrs old, a college student and in my case, i never been in relationship before, and i feel anxious that in the future i will not find my mrs right, please tell me how to deal with it, because everytime i see my friends with their gf/bf i feel lonely, i start to pitty myself and i feel sad

  21. I’m 29 year old male and I’ve been completely incabable of forming romantic relationships. I’ve been on only a handful of dates (if they can even be called that) and suffice it to say they went nowhere. As I grow closer ti my 30’s I fear I will never experience romantic love. It’s soo bad that I hardly feel attraction at all anymore.

  22. My husband works in the Natural Gas industry. We live in PA, and he transferred to New Mexico but flies home every two weeks. I was livid when he decided to transfer, we had just bought our home last year. We don’t have any children together, but I have a son that lives with us and he has a son from a previous relationship who lives with his mother. I have always experienced a little anxiety with this man when he goes out of town for work. And, now that he’s working in Texas and New Mexico and staying in man camps the anxiety is just crippling. I want to call or text all the time but I resist because I know it just looks crazy. I guess I just miss him, but I’m worried I will eventually have to move down to Texas or New Mexico. Cause this part time spouse thing is just not working. Sometimes I fantasize about his job getting cut and then he would be home all of the time. Sorry for the novel of a post…as you can tell I am having an anxiety induced crazy episode.

  23. Hello, I was wondering if anyone on here has any advice. I’ve been in a long distance relationship for 2 years now, and my girlfriend have had a few troubles. Most of the time we’re okay and we can resolve things, but I have the feeling that I have a deeply rooted fear of intimacy and I can’t tell if I’m struggling with Jealously, or if I should feel uncomfortable about the things I do.

    Basically my girlfriend does romantic and sexual ‘roleplays’ with other people online. It’s basically where you get a character and describe to one another, like writing a book, what you are doing. She assures me it’s fantasy and I’m not frightened that she will fall in love with someone else. But at the same time I can’t stand the idea and have become very anxious about it, including a panic attack at one point. I came clean fairly early in the relationship and tried to explain this to her, that it didn’t feel ‘monogomous’, that I felt uncomfortable and that I wanted her to stop. She agreed, but it turns out that recently she had broke the promise, and she said that she, at the time, had been desperate to just stop me from being upset so agreed even though she was unsure. She admitted she knew it would upset me – starting the roleplays (romantic and sexual ones) again, and she said she should have told me about it, but she had done it anyway.

    So now we’re at the point of resolving and working out what to do. I’m not sure if how I feel is healthy and normal, or if the way I feel is rooted in jealously and a fear of loosing her. Realistically, I’m not going to lose her, but I get so upset knowing she can get pleasure from other people and be comfortable indirectly having sexual relationships with other people, even if it is through a ‘character’ and not her. Then again, I feel like it is outside my boundaries of comfort – interacting with another person sexually just feels so wrong. I can’t decide for myself what I feel.

    I acknolwedge it’s a hobby she loves, and I don’t want to alienate her and I honestly want to let her do the roleplays, but I get so anxious about it and feel so betrayed that I don’t know if I could manage. For now she’s not doing it until we work things out. I have a paranoid habit of checking on her friends accounts to see what she is up to, and sometimes get upset when I see she is liking things that are sexual.

    I also have a phobia of sex (and often a very strong phobia, to the extent that I have spent a great deal crying over sexual feelings I’ve had). Maybe I’m afraid of her enjoying sex because I’m scared that she wants to do that with me? She has absolutely no problem with never having sex with me or anyone else, but while I never have thought it explicitly, maybe I’m afraid of her doing the roleplays because I, deep down, am afraid that it’s compensating for what I can’t give her?

    I honestly don’t mind her expressing herself how she likes – she could write porn or watch porn of any given type, but when she’s interacting with another person, even fictionally.. I don’t know. Am I being unreasonable? I feel like I am, but for so long I’ve felt uncomfortable with it, my ideal relationship is one in which we only do anything romantic or sexual – whether online or offline – with one another. It feels too ‘open’ a relationship for my liking.

    I feel terrible about the idea that maybe I’m just being jealous. I know she is willing to work through this with me so I don’t plan to leave her, and I don’t think I would leave her if she continued the roleplays – I think I’d just have a hard time emotionally. I’m just frightened. I am so terrorfied of sex and terrorfied of her being aroused or feeling loved by what someone else sends her.

    Someone please help. I know this is something I’ll have to sort through with my partner but It would help to talk to someone as she is not available right now.

  24. Hi my past relationships haven’t been very good, they have left me with trust issues and feeling insecure. I have met someone and been with him a few months but I feel that my issues are going to ruin things and push him away. He’s very understanding and patient and has not given me any reason to feel so insecure with him. I feel that if I don’t get any advice or help I’m going to loose him and that’s the last thing I want I’ve never met anyone who’s so good to me. I don’t know if you can help I know it’s something I need to work on. I so afraid os messing something up that’s so good.

  25. does relationship anxiety ever go away???

  26. I’m in a new dating relationship of sorts we are just gettin to know each other but I have high anxiety and he tends to delay responses he is guarded and very shy and I needed a answer because he thought I was full of drama as it was in actuality no… I was in physical pain and I expressed my feelings and tried to help him understand me and what I needed and he thought I was lecturing him. He became more distant even after I apologized today I needed to see him face to face to discuss something I heard at work and he said to tell him by text and he’s done with drama I told him and then asked what he meant by done I waited over five minuets and asked again differently and said ild appreciate it if he would just answer he didn’t respond I said I had a right to kno if it’s me causing this I wanted to fix this he said to calm down geez. I said if I could just see he outside of work tonight he gave me a sense of calm no drama…work was drama tonight and my adult son and me get into fights I didn’t want to go home he said no landlord dog wakes everyone up. I said does that mean I will never go to your house a minute later said good night. And now my head hurts my stomach is in nots and I’m sweating it’s enough myvtruck keeps firing and I can’t afford repairs and my adult son starts crapbat home all the time.. I did tell him I have anxiety issues and I’m not perfect and I apologized. He doesn’t kno that I can’t afford meds and in between being able to even get insurance I am care to expensive as I am in border line and employer insurance is even more. I don’t kno what to do anxiety is ruining my life. I actually have physical painful attacks blood pressure up and done fainting and stomach problems all at once come at me out of blue causing sever pain.

  27. I told my friend I loved her and it was reciprocated…. and ever since I have this overwhelming anxiety. We haven’t even started out and it’s literally crippling me. I literally cannot think straight. I cannot stop my thoughts from running away with me. I never expected to feel like this and I think it might be easier being single!!

    • Martin, please don’t give up! Slow down & realize she reciprocated!! That’s wonderful! I’m reading this because my “boyfriend” of one year, that I loved & saw also 20 years ago, has NOT reciprocated… for a year! Ugh, my anxiety is high & I use prayer constantly to ease my mind a little, but it stays high. Why do I go on you ask? Because I have been in love with this man for 20 years, he may not reciprocate the way I want him to, but we still spend 2 days a week together, every week. We still have a unique closeness, unlike I’ve ever had before, it’s limiting & some days overwhelming to me & even debilitating… but I love him, so I choose patience & love in the hopes one day he will be brave enough or lose whatever this fear of his is of not speaking about his feelings. As I read, sometimes I wonder if he senses all of my fears & I do tend to cling onto him a little longer than he likes, for my fear of it being suddenly taken away from me. I pray so hard, that is not the case. But I really have no control. My point dear Martin is, you took the leap, she reciprocated, hold on & give it your all. Don’t be afraid of the possibilities.

      If you are a prayerful man, I could use the extra prayers for Mary & Drew. I need to stop these irrational fears of mine, no matter how rational they feel at the time. Good luck, Martin.

  28. Ive never been in a relationship before im 17 and a boy asked me out it makes me so uncomfortable to think about that because i dont know how to do a relationship and it scares me bc hes had many before and idk what to do

  29. hey guys, have enjoyed reading these stories & am happy to realise i am not alone! I recently accepted that I have quite a bad case of anxiety, when in a committed relationship. I had dated people but not really been in a serious relationship for a good few years & this is where the cracks have started to show. I’ll start by saying the best thing is to acknowledge that there may be a problem & making whatever necessary steps need to be taken. It all started over…and don’t laugh…when I went over to my new boyfriend’s after we went for dinner, and found that he had washed his bedding. Now looking back I can see this is a ridiculous thing to get anxious about but I immediately assumed he was cheating (didn’t say this) but since I have just lost all trust & been ‘acting out’ by shouting & not replying/calling him names. I’m quite astounded as to why I’ve even reacted in this way & now it seems he has had enough as this has been happening for months. I hate feeling ‘damaged’ or ‘in need of therapy’. I can only assume it is from my dad having cheated on my Mum for about 10years from when I was a teen, before she found out (i knew but wasn’t able to disclose). And when it did blow up I had to help my Mum through her suicidal thoughts. I am so so fearful that this could be me & almost sabotage the relationship whenever I get a whiff of what could potentially be that. Any helpful ideas!!!!?

  30. Hi, I have been in a relationship with my boyfriend for 8 years and we have been fighting for a two months prior to me being diagnosed with Generalized anxiety disorder. I was crying for three days straight and my mind kept telling me that I don’t love when I do and I don’t want to loose him. I am a very sensitive person and take things to the heart easily and we have had some huge issues. The year has been very stressful for me, I have started a new job, not really happy there and my boss I honestly hate. I have no excitement but I can feel happiness. My mind is never quite, it’s like its trying to hurt me on purpose. I have been given medication for my anxiety disorder but this is really worrying me, I don’t want to loose him but my mind keeps feeding me negative thoughts like I don’t love him. I also get stressed easily and over obsess about everything and overthink almost everything.. My desire to have sex has reduced as well… Please give some advice to get some piece of mind I don’t want to loose him and I want my feelings to come back to me like they were in August 2016. I can’t turn off my mind…:-(

    • Hey there Lauren, I am currently going through the same situation as you! For me this anxiety comes and goes. I know I love him and I don’t want to lose him but sometimes I feel like I don’t love him. I question whether I think about him enough or if I love him as much as he loves me. I’ve had this for about 4 years now but it’s not constant. For some time I feel like I’m in love with him and others I just feel like I’m not! I am overthinking everything and it’s giving me so much anxiety!
      I would suggest for you to look at yourself and reflect on what is truly bothering you about the relationship. Maybe he’s not satisfying some of your emotional or physical needs?
      I suggest to try to talk to him about the issue, it will ease your anxiety.

    • I’m 16 and had this same issue with my last relationship. The relationship had a lot of issues, but I certainly didn’t help. After about the 6 month mark my mind continued to convince me I didn’t, and the underlying complications in the relationship eventually caused us to split. We were together for another year and 6 months before I finally decided to make the break.

      I am now dating my best friend – have been for about a month. He is the perfect guy for me, but recently these feelings have returned. Im petrified that Im going to make myself as miserable as I did when I was with my first boyfriend and destroy the relationship. Knowing that other people are going through what I am is comforting, but hearing that it isn’t going away is less so. Is there any advice you can give?

      • Hi guys,
        I’m also currently going through this too! It sucks when you realise you’re not 100% infatuated like you were once previously, or you find yourself thinking about him less. This anxiety has caused my relationship to go downhill but I am slowly getting better and we are building it up again. A few tips, look within yourself. Really see if anything has changed within the relationship, for example, have you passed the ‘honeymoon stage’? Have you reached the ultimate comfort-ability with your partner? Are you/ is he becoming more independent than you once/ he once was? I’ve found that becoming more comfortable and less reliant on my partner has caused me to question all kinds of silly things! I used to make my partner my whole world instead of part of my world and realised it was extremely unhealthy and wearing us both down, but trying to get to that mature and healthy relationship we both want has caused this anxiety. A bit ironic! Just remember to persevere. You fell in love with this person for a reason, don’t lose sight of that! Good luck.

  31. Uhm, I’m basically new to this whole relationship thing and it’s probably odd considering that I’m 18. Most people I know have already been in numerous relationships and have lost their virginity but I’m still the odd one out.
    But recently I’ve met this guy and we’ve talked and such. He’s even told me to my face that he likes me back (while literally sitting in his lap, mind you) but I still can’t help but think that he’s lying or just trying to just get into my pants because everyone wants to bang the virgin. I’ve become distant and quiet when he’s around, I barely even look at him because of it and I’m sure he’s noticed it. I’m afraid he thinks I don’t like him anymore.
    I’ve been struggling with anxiety for a while now and lately I’ve been having little bouts of depression here and there, too. I don’t want to seem like I’m whining I just don’t know what to do.. I can’t help but overthink everything. He could do something small like give me a look or sigh and my mind will already be in gear coming up with thoughts like “he thinks I’m boring” or “he doesn’t want me anymore”.
    Any advice is appreciated, I just need a little help with this…

  32. I was in a very loving relationship that was great until one day she broke up with me for no apparent reason (she wanted to see if she could do it). Ever since then relationships make me nervous (lose my appetite) and now it is very hard for me to trust people I am in relationships with. It is also difficult for me to find someone after that incident.

  33. Hi
    Someone once told me something that made sense in many, many ways. The day that sex became more easy to find, love(the right partner) became harder to find. The true test will be to withhold that side of the relationship. This will either break or make you as a team/couple. If it breaks, you know it was not the right one. If someone is willing to wait for sex, and first focus on building the relationship, and get to know each other, it is meant to be. But even that could have its challenges. Do not hump like bunnies from the start, give yourselves time to grow.

    Nothing good comes easy. From hard work and conforming to each other will write your chapter together. Most important, be able to compromise. Without this, a relationship is not worth building on. Both parties must be able to put in effort. Effort should also not be something that should be constant. A healthy relationship should have its up and downs, not only its downs…

  34. My name is Elizabeth and I’ve been in a relationship with a guy for four months. All was well, until I got into an argument with my mom and didn’t know he was there. He seemed almost upset but I couldn’t tell. He started deleting photos of me on his phone and changed his screensaver. I asked if he wanted to break up with me and his reply was no, he said that he wanted to put the good photos on his laptop to save storage, but I’m not sure that I believe that. I have very bad anxiety over this relationship because I like him and he’s been my crush forever. my family is coming up Sunday and he would like to see them but I’m not sure if I want to because I’m not sure that he will look at me the way he did before. What should I do?

  35. Hi,

    I’ve been in a 10-11 year relationship with my boyfriend. We’ve been engaged for one year but ever since he proposed a year ago, I’ve been high high anxiety that’s affecting my feelings for him. He’s a great guy- generous, caring, affectionate and loves me a lot. The two main issues I have with him is his high volume of debt and his refusal to change his lifestyle. He justifies his expense that he can eventually make that money back and questioned what is his incentive to work so hard when he can’t buy himself nice things. He doesn’t believe in deferred gratification. Having financial security is very big deal to me because I’ve been very responsible in handling money at a very young age, since I was brought up that way. I do notice it may be cultural upbringing differences which I cannot change. He’s been told of my anxiety and recently I told him how my anxiety hasn’t improved and also affecting my feelings for him. We broke up or at least spending time apart for me to figure out what I’m feeling. I don’t know what to do because I’m a very pragmatic romantic. I would like to start a family within 2 years but I know he may not be financially ready until 5-6 years later. If I wait for him to get back on his feet, there might be a chance that I’ll be in high risk pregnancy when we decide to start a family. Also, his way of handling money makes me uneasy which makes me worry about how we should merge our finances and also his personal debt in our life. Do I leave him because of our uncertain future together and also because of his spending style/debt? He’s an excellent boyfriend because he treats me very well but this anxiety is not allowing me to move forward with him. All advices would be appreciated.

  36. So the whole anxiety problem is rooted in our own inner voice according to this article?

    Well what if our partner is using dating apps and getting messages from other guys but won’t show what’s going on? Anxieties are not always created by a “weak” or “problematic” inner-self/voice…

    From what I can read in this article, the best advice it gives to the reader is to “look into your self” to solve the anxiety problem – but what about your partners role in this? Also respecting your anxiety and insecurities by being more transparent with own feelings and activities? Anxieties are not always a result of bad experiences mixed with current feelings – In my opinion it’s too easy to put the blame on one individual having anxiety by addressing his/her previous experiences and bad inner-voices of current problems in relationships. Sometimes anxieties are built on “the unknown”. This “unknown” can also be “the unknown” of your significant others current and future “reality”, a subjective reality of thoughts and feelings that should be transparent for you to work with and melt together with towards a common ground of reality. If this fails to happen in a relationship, sharing realities/horizon, there will be no real intimacy and compassion.

  37. Hi everyone,,
    Am 19years old and am afraid of being in a relationship.The responsibility that are in a relationship are hard for me to cater for.I dont know what to do because sometimes i feel like i need someone to be with to share my experiences in life. But just as i mentiomed earlier bout the responsibilities i think thats what is holding me back…….Advice

  38. Hi everyone

    I have been married 3 times and getting married again in 248 days but I’m beginning to be very paranoid and anxious. Found out my partne cheated on my last year but she doesn’t know that I know.. we say we love each other loads of times but it doesn’t seem enough. Looking for some advice

  39. Am in a relationship for about eight years now. We had so many problems that at a point in time I lost my feelings for him. But somehow we settle our differences and I was introduce to the family of the guy. Somewhere along the line I met guy who’s always ready to listen to me. He’s actually a friend that anyone would like to have. We’ve been friends for two years and I have began to have a very strong feelings for him and he also confessed to me that he’s in love with me. The kind of feeling am having is something I’ve not felt for the past five years. I don’t want to hurt his feelings even though am feeling that am in love with him. Please I a help, what do I do?

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