Everyone gets anxious from time to time—a job interview, a school test, a speaking engagement. It’s perfectly normal. But people who have an anxiety disorder suffer on a different level. And there are plenty of people who suffer. About one-third of adults in the U.S. will have an anxiety disorder sometime in their lifetime. So, even if you don’t have it, chances are that your partner may have it, and that can affect your relationship significantly.

Marriage Counseling, Couples Therapy, Relationships

It Helps to Understand


Your own experience may make you feel you know something about anxiety—we all feel it sometimes. But to be truly empathetic, it’s a good idea to educate yourself about anxiety disorders. There are several different types:


GAD, or General Anxiety Disorder, is chronic worry about all sorts of everyday issues and situations. Those who experience GAD are often restless, irritable, fatigued, and have trouble concentrating and sleeping.


Social Anxiety Disorder, or a deep fear of social situations. Everyday interactions cause severe self-consciousness and embarrassment. There’s a fear of being judged negatively by others.


Panic Disorder usually involves frequent and unexpected panic attacks that erupt for no apparent reason. People who suffer from panic attacks feel a terrible wave of fear and a sense of losing control, and it’s possible to experience a few panic attacks without developing a full-blown panic disorder.


Separation Anxiety Disorder is an intense fear of being separated from friends or family that is so great it interferes with daily activity and normal functioning.


Agoraphobia is an extreme fear of being in places or situations where it may be hard to escape. People who suffer from this may be anxious about having a panic attack in public places, and they often become housebound as a result.


Specific Phobias could be about almost anything, but some common ones are fear of flying, fear of heights, and fear of insects. These are irrational fears that involve going to extreme lengths to avoid a specific thing.


Anxiety Affects Your Relationship

If your partner has an anxiety order, you have special challenges in your relationship. Your partner may be dealing with physical pain like stomach aches, headaches, a racing heart rate, and nausea. On top of that, they can seem indecisive, irritable, overly negative, and in constant need for reassurance. This means you have to deal with all this on top of the regular everyday issues that couples face.

Next time we’ll talk about how to meet these challenges.

Nancy Travers is an Orange County Counseling professional. If you need safe, effective counseling services, please get in touch. You can reach her here: https://www.nancyscounselingcorner.com/contact