Love Me, Love Me Not – The Silent Battle of Relationship Anxiety

Ever felt like your heart’s playing ping-pong with your brain when it comes to relationships? Welcome to the club! Relationship anxiety is the uninvited guest at the party, whispering doubts and fears into the ears of otherwise happy couples. It’s more common than you think. Most of us have been there…I Know I have! Sweating over texts not replied to within five minutes or overanalyzing a partner’s words like we’re cracking the Da Vinci code. The silent battle wages on in the minds of many of us, often without anyone in the outside world being the wiser.

What is Relationship Anxiety?

So what’s up with relationship anxiety and how’s it different from the garden variety anxiety we all know and don’t love? While general anxiety is like having a worrywart sitting on your shoulder, relationship anxiety zeros in on your love life.

You might have a constant worry over the relationship’s future, even when things are going well. You find yourself wondering if they’re about to ghost you for no good reason, or you’ll hesitate in being too vulnerable, scared that opening up might just scare them off. Then there’s the classic overthinking—a master at turning a harmless comment into a four hour analysis session about whether your relationship is on the brink of doom. If any of this sounds familiar, you likely have relationship anxiety.

Root Causes of Relationship Anxiety

Past relationship traumas are the usual suspects in the cause for relationship anxiety. If your ex treated you poorly, chances are you’re going to be on high alert in your next relationship. It’s your brain’s way of saying, “Let’s not go through that shit-show again,” by preparing you for the worst at all times.

Then there’s the beast known as low self-esteem. If you’re constantly doubting your worth, you might find yourself wondering why your partner is even with you. This can turn into a self-fulfilling prophecy of doom and gloom for your relationship.

And then there’s also attachment issues. Thanks to our early experiences, we all have our unique way of connecting (or not) with others. If your style leans towards anxious or avoidant, it can crank up the volume on relationship anxiety. Unpacking these triggers is step one on the road to chilling out and enjoying the love you’ve got.

Impact on Relationships

Relationship anxiety doesn’t just mess with your head, it can easily derail your entire world and the way you function in daily life. It screws over any chance of proper communication. You’re either holding back for fear of being too much or over-sharing and then stressing about it later. Intimacy becomes a minefield too. Getting close means being vulnerable, and when you’re anxious, vulnerability feels like showing up to a duel without a weapon.

Then there’s the joy it brings to your personal well-being—spoiler alert… it’s zero joy. Sleepless nights, endless worrying, and that constant tension can turn you into a walking ball of stress.

The cycle of anxiety in relationships feels like a merry-go-round you can’t get off. Withdrawal, clinginess, even sabotage become part of it all, as you unconsciously push your partner away or cling too tightly, all in an effort to manage the chaos brewing inside. It’s a rollercoaster that no one signed up for, but understanding it is the first step to getting off the ride.

Managing Relationship Anxiety

  • First thing’s first, communication is key. It’s the golden rule for a reason. Share your concerns and feelings openly rather than letting them stew. Think of it as letting fresh air into a stuffy room – things begin to clear up almost magically.
  • Next, boundaries are your best friend. They’re not for building fortresses around your heart but instead setting clear parameters that define what’s cool and what’s not for both of you. You can’t have respect or understanding without boundaries.
  • Now, don’t overlook self-care and personal growth. Engage in activities that boost your self-esteem and happiness. Whether it’s hitting the gym, meditating, or indulging in hobbies, remind yourself that you’re a whole person outside of any relationship anxiety.
  • But here’s the deal. Sometimes, the anxiety isn’t just noise, it’s a signal. If deep down, you feel something’s off because trust isn’t solid, it’s imperative to listen to that intuition. It might be time to assess whether the anxiety stems from genuine concerns within the relationship.

And for those moments when the weight feels too heavy, remember that reaching out for professional support through therapy or coaching is a sign of strength, not weakness, and I’m here to help with that as well.

Bottom line, relationship anxiety isn’t the boss of you. It’s totally manageable, and getting a handle on it can actually pave the way for stronger, healthier relationships. If you’re ready to ditch the anxiety but feel like you’re a bit short on directions? I’ve got you. Let’s have a real talk. Hit me up for private coaching and we’ll get to the bottom of it. Whether it’s the big fears, the minor stuff, or those sneaky in-between anxieties messing with your mojo, we’ll sort it out together.

Until next time,

Ash Pariseau

1 Comment

  1. Two comments on this one, Ash:

    1. People aren’t who they are because of the relationships they have. People have the relationships they have because of who they are. If the former were true, from a relationship perspective, the way to deal with someone with relationship anxiety is to not be like past traumatic partners. You don’t have to be good, you just don’t have to be like them. It’s the basis of NAMALT/NAWALT. But, those seldom work. Why? Those reverse cause and effect. Once I figured that out, a whole lot about a previous relationship fell into place.

    As H. L. Mencken put it, “For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong.”

    According to the literature, a person’s relational template is set by the time they get to adolescence. An attachment style can be changed, but takes time and effort.

    2. In one of her works, Dr. Marion Solomon contends that when many people enter therapy, they’re not seeking true change, they’re looking for a way to become comfortable in their current pathology. If you don’t address the root cause, it’s like painting over a rust spot. It might hold but it probably won’t.

    Only about 10% of an iceberg is visible above the surface and it’s what you don’t see that sinks you.

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