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How to Stop Feeling Anxious About Your Relationship

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How to Stop Feeling Anxious About Your Relationship

We’ve all been there – lying awake at night worrying about our partner and whether they truly care about us. Or constantly checking our phones to see if they’ve messaged, and overanalyzing every word of their texts. Feeling anxious and insecure in a relationship can be exhausting. But there are effective strategies you can use to gain more confidence and calm those fears.

In this post, I’ll share my top tips for reducing relationship anxiety based on principles from cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and mindfulness. We’ll discuss why anxiety tends to crop up, common cognitive distortions that fuel worry, and practical exercises to build healthy thought patterns and a more secure attachment style.

By the end, you’ll understand the root causes of your unease and have actionable steps to feel more at peace with your partner. Let’s get started!

Understanding the Causes of Relationship Anxiety

The first step is recognizing where anxious thoughts and feelings are coming from. Relationship anxiety often arises due to:

Low self-esteem: If you don’t feel good about yourself independently of the relationship, you may constantly seek validation from your partner and fear abandonment. Work on boosting your confidence from within.

Previous hurt: Past experiences like a parent’s divorce or unhealthy relationships can condition you to expect the worst. But your current partner is not your past.

Attachment style: We form attachment patterns as children that influence adult relationships. Anxious styles involve constantly worrying a partner doesn’t care enough. Find ways to self-soothe rather than rely solely on your partner.

Cognitive distortions: Things like “catastrophizing” (imagining the worst case scenario), “mind-reading” (assuming you know what they’re thinking), and “filtering” (only noticing negative details while ignoring the positive) fuel anxiety. We need to identify and challenge these thoughts.

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Lack of trust: If the relationship is new or you’ve experienced betrayal before, it’s natural to have some doubts until trust grows over time through honest, consistent actions. Communicate needs respectfully.

By bringing awareness to our drivers of discomfort, we can address anxieties at their root rather than just dealing with surface worries. The inner work of self-esteem and attachment is key.

Common Relationship Anxiety Thought Patterns

Now let’s explore some cognitive distortions that are particularly common in anxious thinking patterns about relationships:

“What if they leave me?”

Fear of abandonment often stems from past experiences but can easily spiral out of control when projected onto current circumstances. Remember – your worth isn’t defined by whether someone stays, and they are with you now because they choose to be each day.

“Do they really care about me?”

Relying on apartner for 100% emotional fulfillment is unrealistic. Trust that they care in their own way and focus on filling your own cup too through other meaningful relationships and pursuits.

“I’m not good enough for them.”

We all have strengths and weaknesses. Stop comparing an idealized version of yourself to your real human self. Your partner sees your virtues – make an effort to see them too.

“I’m smothering them by needing reassurance.”

Healthy communication is key, not mind-reading their reactions. State how you feel and what you need plainly once, then listen non-defensively to understand their perspective too. Compromise respectfully.

“They seem distant – are they losing interest?”

People need alone time, and interest ebbs and flows in any relationship. Don’t project your own feelings onto them without checking in first. Distancing behaviors are often a self-fulfilling anxiety prophecy too.

By becoming aware of anxious thought distortions, we can challenge them more objectively with a rational perspective grounded in the present moment realities of our relationship, rather than worst-case scenario imaginings. Let’s move to specific tactics.

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Tools to Calm Relationship Anxiety

Now it’s time to learn practical strategies based in cognitive behavioral therapy and mindfulness to manage relationship anxiety. Here are some of the most effective:

Thought Record

When you notice anxiety rising, take 5-10 minutes to fill out a thought record. Document the situation, anxious thought, rate anxiety 1-10, then rationally evaluate evidence for vs against the thought. This externalizes rumination.

Mindful Breathing

Focusing completely on the breath brings present-moment awareness that counters mental time travel to imagined fears. Breathe in for 5 counts, out for 7 when worry strikes.

Self-Validation Statements

Prepare a set of calming affirmations about your worth separate from the relationship, like “I am a caring partner” or “Difficult emotions will pass.” Refer to these daily.

Limit Reassurance Seeking

Healthy relationships involve trusting rather than constantly testing a partner. Set limits to avoid obsessive checking and ask for reassurance only on important issues, not daily fluctuations in mood.

Build Outside Sources of Self-Esteem

Feeling secure comes from within, so nurture hobbies, friends, career or volunteer work too. Rely less on a single relationship to meet all needs.

Check-In-Then-Drop-It Conversations

State calmly how you feel once without accusations, then listen openly to understand their view. Agree on a compromise together or to check back in later if unresolved. Then drop it for now.

Schedule Quality Couple Time

Predictable stretches of undistracted togetherness foster connection to reduce anxiety during separations. Plan regular quality time each week for intimate conversation and shared experiences.

Making relationship anxiety management skills a daily practice generates lasting change over worrying reactions. With time and effort, feelings of security will follow. Remember to be gentle with yourself through the process too.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Here are answers to some common questions people have about reducing relationship anxiety:

What if my partner isn’t as anxious – will they understand?

Share your feelings respectfully without accusations. Compromise by meeting their needs for space too. Most caring partners will support working as a team through difficulties, even if the anxiety is one-sided. Communicate from a place of seeking understanding, not pressure.

How do I stop constantly checking my phone for texts?

Silence notifications for a set time each day. Redirect fixation by planning alternative activities like calling a friend instead of rereading past messages repeatedly. Trust that checking obsessively won’t change anything and your worth isn’t defined by immediate responses.

When is anxiety a sign the relationship isn’t right?

Feelings of insecurity alone don’t mean the relationship is doomed. But if concerns aren’t lessening over time despite open communication and good faith efforts on both sides, or their actions consistently trigger anxiety despite attempts at reassurance, it may be best to reconsider compatibility. No one should feel chronically stressed.

What if I have trauma history – will I always struggle?

With persistent effort, even those significantly impacted by past trauma can overcome relationship anxiety triggers. Don’t assume challenges mean you or any relationship is “broken.” Try counseling to process trauma emotionally and build a strong support system. Focusing on self-care and skills mastery leads many to find security possible.

By addressing relationship anxiety from multiple complementary angles including thoughts, feelings and behaviors, you empower yourself to form secure bonds built on trust rather than constant worrying. With daily small acts of courage and compassion, feelings of reassurance can become a habitual lived experience.

ALso Read: What is True Happiness in a Relationship?

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