Do you find yourself anxious about your relationship status and where it’s going?
Do you feel sick to your stomach when having a difficult conversation with your partner?
Do you swallow your feelings because you’re afraid that expressing yourself will sabotage the relationship?
If so, you’re not the only one with this anxiety disorder. In today’s article, Jill Weber, author of Be Calm: Proven Techniques to Stop Anxiety Now outlines 4 ways not to let anxiety dominate and destroy your romantic relationship. The link above offers her take on relationship anxiety and mental health.
1. Stop seeking reassurance (or at least cut it down by a third!).
Confidence is the most attractive trait there is in every relationship – regardless of gender. Without confidence, you’re sunk. With it, you can do anything. Where people struggle is the gap between internal confidence and external validation. We all want our partners to find us smart, funny, sexy, interesting, kind. We all want our partners to love us unconditionally and promise to stay together forever.
Confident people assume that our partners DO find us attractive and WILL want to stay together forever. Insecure people or those with relationship anxiety assume the opposite. The key is in people with low self-esteem realizing that insecurity is unattractive and doesn’t make people want to stay – and recognizing that if he’s your partner, he DOES like you and has every intention of staying.
If you have anxious thoughts because you don’t feel attractive, validated, or safe, it may be a sign of a lack of confidence. But usually, it’s a sign that you need a new partner or someone else who can understand your attachment style.
2. You are not your thoughts.
My favorite book on this subject is The Untethered Soul by Michael Singer. In it, he points out that your anxiety (the negative thoughts inside your head) is meaner than any person you know. You’d never be friends with anyone who says to you what you say to yourself.
Realize that this voice of self-doubt is not “you,” but rather a voice that must be separated from yourself and tuned out. If you ever suffer from relationship anxiety because you feel you’re not good enough, unworthy of love, etc., it’s not REAL. It’s just that negative voice of naysayers throughout your life – and you can’t listen to it anymore.
3. Learn to sit with difficult emotions.
In a relationship, people are NEVER going to do exactly what you want, when you want it, how you want it – yes, even your partner, the man who loves you and cares about you.
Just because your partner disagrees with you doesn’t mean he’s wrong. Just because he sees the same situation differently doesn’t mean he’s selfish – no more than you’re selfish for having a different take than he does. And just because you disagree doesn’t mean your relationship is doomed; it just means you need to listen to your partner’s feelings and either agree, disagree, or compromise.
It’s not whether you will disagree; it’s what you do about it afterward. Listening, validating, not attacking, looking for points of agreement, assuming the best intentions: these are the hallmarks of healthy communication and a successful relationship.
I wrote about it here (and have an entire week on it in Love U), and there may be nothing more important than learning to communicate to ease your anxiety. Attraction is easy in relationships. But navigating thru life with one person is a lot trickier – especially if you don’t have the skills and the self-esteem to do so.
Your thoughts on the original piece – and my two cents on relationship anxiety – are greatly appreciated.