Have you ever been in a happy and loving relationship, but at the same time, you find yourself questioning yourself, your partner, or your relationship? That’s called relationship anxiety and refers to all the worrying, insecurities, and doubt that can pop up in your relationship even if everything is going well.
Signs of relationship anxiety
Relationship anxiety is completely normal and more common than some might think. And it doesn’t only affect new relationships where you might be wondering if the person is just as interested in you or invested as you in the relationship. It can come up in long-term relationships as well. And while your anxiety might not be from anything specific in your relationship, it can lead to repeated behavior that leads to issues later down the road for you and your partner.
Here are some things that might be signs of relationship anxiety
- Wondering if you matter to your partner
- Doubting your partner’s feelings for you.
- Constantly worrying they want to leave you/break up with you.
- Starting to doubt long-term compatibility and focusing on the trivial things instead of the important matters. (For example, having different tastes in music or tv shows.)
- Intentionally sabotaging your relationship.
- Overthinking and reading into your partner’s words and actions.
- Spending more time worrying about your relationship than enjoying it with your partner.
Remember that while the thought of doubt, worrying, and overthinking can be dangerous, it’s important to exercise healthy communication instead of acting on those negative thoughts and emotions. Seeking reassurance is not a bad thing in your relationship, but when it becomes compulsive, that can lead to conflict.
Try to distract yourself from those impulsive moments with breathing exercises or meditation. (I would say distract yourself with TikTok, but then you’ll end up wasting five hours of your day.)
Causes of relationship anxiety
Like most things, finding the reason behind your relationship anxiety takes self-exploration and self-reflection. It’s a journey that can take some time, but you’ll start to see the progress with a little hard work.
Trauma from your past can lead to developing relationship anxiety. For example, maybe an ex cheated on you or dumped you out of the blue leading to a sense of fear in the future of relationships that you aren’t enough. Being vulnerable and learning to trust after something like that can be extremely difficult even when your current partner shows any dishonesty signs.
Attachment styles could be a whole article on their own, which, now that I think about it, they probably should be. But for the sake of this article, I’ll keep it somewhat brief. Attachment styles affect our relationships and how we deal with things in them. Insecure attachment styles are more likely to aggravate relationship anxiety. Avoidant attachment may lead to anxiety about the level of commitment, whereas anxious attachment might fester fear about an unexpected break-up.
Lack of confidence/low self-esteem
With a lack of self-confidence comes insecurity which can later lead to doubt. You can start projecting it onto your relationship and your partner’s feelings for you with doubt.
Dealing with relationship anxiety
I don’t know how many times I’ve written this statement or said it out loud to myself, but nothing in life worth having is easy. And overcoming relationship anxiety in a healthy relationship is not easy. It can be easy to get swallowed up in the identity of your relationship and lose sight of who you are as an individual in the relationship, which can start to affect your confidence. It can also be easy to expect your significant other to be responsible for your happiness which can be detrimental to your mental health.
So to avoid losing your identity, relying on others for your happiness, and overcoming your relationship anxiety, you have to practice mindfulness. Be present at the moment without judgment. Learn to prioritize your daily experiences with your partner instead of spiraling in negative assumptions and “what ifs.” And above all, practice healthy communication.
And if you need a little more guidance or help, try reaching out to a professional. Therapy is a great tool that most of us just can’t afford. But, thanks to organizations like RAD, therapy is becoming more accessible.