Last time we talked about how low self-esteem and unrealistic expectations can make you anxious enough to undermine a trusting relationship. When you don’t believe you’re worthy of a good relationship, it can make you difficult to be with. Your worries become a self-fulfilling prophecy. But, what if the cause of your anxiety is not self-generated, but the result of your partner’s behavior? Here are some reasons your partner may make you feel anxious:
She can be mean. Oh, she claims she’s just joking, which is her way of leaving you helpless to call her on her mean words. Or she thinks she’s being funny when she’s really being funny at your expense. Or she puts you down to make herself feel more powerful. Whatever her reason, cruel words should set off alarm bells in your head and cause you to be anxious. Rightfully so.
He’s hiding stuff. He takes a phone call in the bathroom. He watches what you suspect is porn surreptitiously. Sometimes when he texts, he tries to hide it from you. Or he doesn’t really answer when you ask him where he’s been. You’re not actually sure he’s hiding stuff, but your instincts tell you that you don’t have the full picture and something’s wrong. If you have a nagging feeling something’s amiss, then it probably is.
She’s physically intimidating. Women can be physically brutal as well as men. No matter the gender, if your partner gets up in your face and yells at you, or if she threatens to hit you, that’s a red flag bound to give you anxiety. Because threats often lead to actual physical violence.
You might also be anxious if you’ve had bad experiences in prior relationships. Or maybe you’ve never had a serious relationship at all, and that makes you worry. You might have an issue with commitment. If you stick with one person, who else is out there that you’re missing? The reasons you have relationship anxiety can be many, and sometimes they’re difficult to identify.
You’re just anxious but don’t know why.
If you have relationship anxiety you may develop symptoms of people with an anxiety disorder—shaking, sweating, depression, insomnia. You have to ask yourself if your relationship is worth saving, and if so, you have to be willing to make changes to save it. Remember, you can only change yourself. Even if it’s obvious that your partner needs to make changes, too, you can’t make him do it unless he wants to.
Tips for Controlling Anxiety
A major tip for controlling any kind of anxiety is exercise. Take a walk, go out in nature, go for a bike ride. Do whatever your favorite activity is, but don’t sit and mope. Exercise can be as good or better a cure than medication. When your mind starts wandering into a negative place, find a way to keep it busy on something more positive. Read an engrossing book, watch a thriller movie, or play a challenging game.
You can try to engage your partner into working with you to improve things. Sit down and ask if he’ll be open to starting over with you. Pretend like you’ve just met and are starting to date for the first time. Begin to rebuild trust. It can be a long process. While you’re at it, be physically affectionate. This can just be holding hands or giving hugs, but staying physically close helps reduce anxiety.
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