Anxiety And Relationships: 10 Tips For Making It Work

Updated August 18, 2023by Regain Editorial Team

When you hear the words "anxiety" and "relationship," a couple different dynamics may come to mind. First, there is the dynamic in which a relationship may stir up feelings of nervousness and anxiety for someone. Second, there is the dynamic in which someone’s anxiety may impact their relationship. In both of these dynamics, various challenges can arise, but there are steps you can take to help navigate these challenges and make the relationship work. Read on for a few tips for handling both of these situations.

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How To Cope With Anxiety In A Relationship

Before we dive into the tips, let’s clarify what we’re referring to when we talk about relationships and anxiety. As noted by the American Psychological Association, anxiety is “an emotion characterized by feelings of tension, worried thoughts, and physical changes like increased blood pressure.” 

While experiencing occasional anxiety is natural, there is a difference between having occasional anxiety and having an anxiety disorder. For individuals with an anxiety disorder, there is a persistent feeling of nervousness and anxiety that can interfere with daily life.

In the first dynamic that we’ve mentioned above, what may be happening is that certain aspects of your relationship or the fact of being in a relationship is bringing up feelings of anxiety. In the second dynamic, we’re talking about how having an anxiety disorder may impact various aspects of your relationship. Below, we’ll explore several tips for both of these situations.


Reducing Feelings Of Anxiety About Your Relationship

If you're in a relationship that seems to be stirring up feelings of anxiety, it can be helpful to start by determining where the feeling stems from. Many different things could be causing your anxiety. It could be that you have differing opinions than your significant other, handle finances differently, or have different dreams that you want to pursue. Some people are experiencing new relationship anxiety and might take some time to feel perfectly natural. Learning to trust another person can also be difficult and bring about nervousness.

In addition to doing this reflection, you can try some of the following tips:

  1. Start talking. Sometimes all it takes to ease feelings of anxiety around a relationship is to talk about it. Have a conversation with your partner to talk through why you’re feeling anxious. Having an open dialogue about it can help you to see things in a new light. You may realize that you were anxious about the things that you didn’t need to be concerned with. If things could be changed to improve the relationship, talking about it can help you both see that.

  2. Look for good things rather than problems. If you are insecure about yourself or your relationship, you may project these worries onto your relationship, which can cause unnecessary problems. If you find yourself overanalyzing every word and action of your partner and searching for problems even when there are none, consider challenging yourself to focus instead on good things your relationship and things you’re grateful for.

  3. Manage your expectations. If you came into the relationship with unrealistic expectations, those may be causing you stress. No one is perfect, and if you're trying to make your partner meet all of your very high expectations, then you're likely going to be disappointed. Instead, try to love them for who they are and relax into your relationship together.

  4. Improve your communication skills with your partner. Feelings of anxiety in a relationship can also stem from having frequent miscommunication or other communication difficulties. It could be that you argue often, or that you feel like neither of you are fully hearing the other’s needs. Learning how to communicate with each other can help you improve your relationship and feel more at-ease.

  5. Set boundaries. Setting and respecting each other’s boundaries can help a relationship thrive. An overcommitted schedule could cause you to feel stretched-thin and on-edge. Try to do some thinking on your boundaries and what you need in the relationship, and then let your partner know if you need to make some adjustments to feel more comfortable in the relationship. 

A Note On Abusive Relationships: If you are feeling anxious in your relationship because you are experiencing abuse, this information does not apply. Abuse of any form is never acceptable. If you are experiencing or witnessing abuse of any kind, the National Domestic Violence Hotline is available to help. Call 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or Text "START" to 88788. You can also use the online chat.

Managing Anxiety Symptoms To Have A Successful Relationship

If you're living with an anxiety disorder that is impacting your daily life and relationships, you may want to seek help in managing this condition through individual therapy. A therapist can help you get to the bottom of your anxiety, learn how to overcome it, and live a healthier life.

In addition, if your anxiety is impacting your relationship, you can also try the following tips to help your relationship thrive: 

  1. Be open with your partner. Try to be open with your partner about what you’re experiencing. This way, they can better understand what you’re going through. If you know something they can do to help, you can also express that to them directly. 

  2. Work on building your self-esteem. If you are also experiencing low self-esteem, try to work on doing things that improve your confidence and boost your self-esteem, such as practicing positive self-talk. Make sure that you acknowledge and celebrate the success that you have each day.

  3. Do some journaling. Many people find journaling to be helpful in processing emotions and handling difficult situations. It can be an effective way to get your thoughts on paper, clear your mind, and maybe even gain a new perspective on a situation. 

  4. Remind your partner that it's not about them. If you live with anxiety and had it before starting your relationship, it can be valuable to inform your partner of this reality. They may be worried that they are doing something to contribute to your feelings. If this is not the case, try to reassure them that it’s not about them. 

  5. Try couples counseling. In addition to seeking individual therapy, you and your partner could also seek help through couples counseling if you would like support in managing the impact anxiety is having on the relationship and strengthening your connection. In fact, research has found online therapy to be effective for improving both relationship satisfaction and mental health. For individuals with anxiety, seeking help in person may feel intimidating, and being able to seek help from the comfort of home may feel a bit easier—with online therapy, you can meet with your therapist wherever you have internet. 

Need Help Managing Anxiety In Your Relationship?


Anxiety and relationships can affect each other in multiple ways. Whether your relationship is stirring up feelings of worry and anxiety, or your anxiety is impacting your relationship, there are steps you can take to make it work. You can start by trying some of the tips above depending on your situation. For further support with managing anxiety in your relationship and strengthening your connection, online therapy can help.

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