How To Approach Anxiety At The Beginning Of A Relationship
By: Lindsay Hamilton
Updated March 20, 2020
The beginning of a relationship is fragile and can be anxiety inducing for everyone. For those who suffer from relationship anxiety, however, it doesn't go away with time. In fact, it can get stronger the more attached they become to their partner. So, a new relationship that already makes them stressful becomes doubly so because they know how much worse their anxiety can get. If this sounds like you, then you've probably thought that it's just easy to be single, right? Eliminate the source of the stress, and the problem is solved!
But that means you miss out on finding someone truly special for you. While love can't solve all of your problems, you, too, can overcome your relationship anxiety and find love and fulfillment in a relationship. It will take work, and it won't be easy, but it will be worth it when you find the right person. The first step is to approach a new relationship with a renewed sense of confidence. Knowing how to approach your anxiety will be the first step to not letting it control your relationship.
Be Mindful Of Your Anxiety
You know your anxiety better than anyone. You know what it feeds on, how it works, where it manifests in your life and your mind. By acknowledging that it's there and you have to deal with it, you separate yourself from those feelings so that they don't consume you. Those feelings of anxiety, hopelessness, and fear aren't real. They don't control the decisions you make in your life. Of course, this is easier said than done. Some days you will be able to do it, and some days it will feel like all you can do is put one foot in front of the other. Do the best that you can. That's all anyone can expect.
Maintain Your Independence From The Relationship
You might be tempted to throw everything you have into the relationship. Don't do this. Give yourself a couple of things that are just yours that you can go back to when anxiety begins to spiral. When feelings of insecurity, comparison, and fear take hold, you will have a place you can go to build up your strength again. Maybe you're creative and like to paint, or read, or dance. Maybe your confidence lies in school, or with family, or in some other talent that you have. You can share your accomplishments with your partner, but allow them to be your thing. Don't let the relationship be tied up in it. Because when the relationship gives you anxiety, that's where you can go to recharge. This will also help you remember who you are so that you don't change yourself just for the sake of the relationship.
Don't Seek Reassurance From Your Partner Constantly
Relationship anxiety comes in the form of insecurity, of the relationship, of yourself, of the past or the future. Making plans about the future might be hard for you. Trusting your partner might be hard for you. Sharing yourself with your partner might be hard for you. Knowing this, you might feel the constant need to apologize for your fear. Or maybe you need to be constantly reminded that you are loved. It's hard to stop asking for reassurance once you've started getting it, but you mustn't rely on your partner for reassurance every time you feel anxious. That's why it's important to have places that you are independent. You can reassure yourself when things get hard. Asking your partner for reassurance constantly will hurt you, and it can also hurt the relationship. Constant reassurance starts to get old, and your anxiety could come off the wrong way to someone who doesn't understand what you're going through. Your partner may start to feel insecure or even used. Drawing from within for your strength will help eliminate that.
Stop Comparing Yourself Or Your Partner To The Past
If your relationship anxiety stems from experience, it will be really easy to compare yourself and your partner to what happened in the past. This is unfair to both your partner and yourself, as what happened in the past isn't happening again. Your partner is a unique person with their own sets of good and bad traits. Getting to know them will help you to see that this relationship isn't like the last one. Trust might be hard for you, but give yourself some time to let it build. You don't have to trust right away, but you can believe that trust will come, eventually.
Don't Let Your Anxiety Make You Lash Out
Does anxiety sometimes make you angry? When you're afraid, do you act out? Are you mean when you don't know what else to say? Unfortunately, it's so easy for people with anxiety to take out their fears on the people they care about. Fear can turn into anger quickly when your partner doesn't understand what's going on and fails to help you the way that you need. Know that it's okay to make some space for yourself. You can walk away from a situation to regroup before the anger comes out. When you are calm, you can explain how you were feeling and what your partner can do differently next time.
Talk To Your Partner
Communication is so important when you have relationship anxiety. Your partner won't know what to do with your need for reassurance, unwillingness to trust, and moments of panic. They may have the instinct to "fix" the problem, and we all know that it doesn't help when someone tries to "fix it," right? Especially in a new relationship, you need to communicate what you need from your partner. Only you can know for sure how someone else can truly help you. Whether you need space, or a hug, or a distraction, it's okay to ask for it. Your partner will do their best if they truly like you. They may not always succeed, but they will try. The longer you are together, the better you two will become about communicating what you need. It takes time, but it's worth the work.
I Don't Have Anxiety… But My Partner Does
If you aren't the partner with anxiety, there are a few tips that you can benefit from as well. The biggest thing you can do is listen to your partner. They may not always make sense, and it might be frustrating at times to see them in so much pain and not be able to do anything, but know that you truly are helping just by listening. Anxiety isn't something that you can put a band aid on to fix. It takes a lot of inner strength and self-work to get back on the right track.
Another thing you can do is be a source of encouragement. Remind your partner how strong they are. Tell them that they are going to be okay, no matter what. You will realize that there are right and wrong times to tell this to them. Sometimes they will hear it loud and clear, and other times it will fall on deaf ears. They also might try to cling to your reassurances. If you start to see that they are relying on you for your assurance, help them find it on their own without giving in to the false need. Finally, you can encourage your partner to get help from a professional.
If relationship anxiety is too hard to work through on your own, a counselor or therapist is an option worth considering. Anxiety likes to manifest in ways that don't make sense, but it leaves you feeling like the world is going to end anyway. There's no reason for you to go through this on your own. Therapists and counselors are there to help you.
If the thought of in-person therapy is too much for you, have you ever thought of chat therapy? ReGain is an online counseling program that connects patients with independent and licensed therapists and counselors for chat room-based therapy sessions. When you join, you are matched with the right therapist for you and given a secure chat room to discuss whatever you need. The sessions aren't in real time but are used like actual chat programs where you can start the chat at any time you want, and the therapist will join the conversation at pre-determined times that you both agree on. There are also options for video and phone sessions that are in real time if you request them.
ReGain as a program allows you to join on your own or with a partner. When you join as a couple, you both have access to the same chat room so that you and the therapist can chat all together. If you are using the chat room together but wish to discuss something privately without your partner, a new chat room can be opened for that specific conversation.
Chat therapy is a great option for anyone who needs counseling but would prefer not to talk face to face. Whether you have relationship anxiety or need to talk, ReGain is there for you.
To get started, go to www.regain.us/start today.