People who suffer from relationship anxiety have an overabundance of unfounded concerns that their partner will dump them, cheat on them, fall out of love with them. They are constantly worried that their partner may find someone “better”—richer, prettier, smarter. Or they are convinced that once their partner gets to know them—the real person under the façade—their partner will dump them. Or maybe their gnawing concern is that their partner will lose interest in them and fall out of love.
Sometimes, to be sure, anxiety is justifiable. People do lie and cheat and leave their partners. But if you have relationship anxiety without any evidence that your partner is anything but solid, then you should consider taking a look at how you feel.
Are you checking his phone, email, and social media surreptitiously? Are you abusing substances in the false hope that it will ease your anxiety? Are you accusing her of being unfaithful when you have absolutely no rational cause to think so? Are you engaging your partner in fights about his other friendships? It’s entirely possible that obsessing about your partner leaving you can result in the very thing you fear. You fulfill your own prophecy.
Why are you like this?
Everyone is different, and therefore, everyone has different reasons why they feel anxious. But there are some common causes that you might recognize if you suffer from relationship anxiety. Here are a few:
Low Self-Esteem. You don’t believe you are worthy of being loved by your partner. The old trope, “I wouldn’t want to join any club that would have me as a member,” applies here. You feel unlovable and that could be for a number of reasons. Perhaps you were neglected as a child, or abused, or emotionally or physically abandoned. Whatever the cause, you made it to adulthood feeling like you don’t deserve to be loved. That makes you suspicious of anyone who actually does love you.
Low self-esteem can cause you to get into relationships because the other person seems willing enough, not because you love and care for each other necessarily. You took what you thought you could get, and you didn’t think you could get much because of your childhood experiences. Then you stay in an unhealthy relationship because you don’t think you could do better, or even find someone else who would have you.
Negativity. You don’t have much of a positive outlook. Everyone cheats and lies, your partner included. So why wouldn’t you expect them to be betraying you? Your glass is half empty all the time. Sometime in your childhood you learned that you can’t trust people, and that unfortunate mind-set accompanies you into your relationship.
Unrealistic Expectations. You romanticize love relationships and wait for the perfect, blissful union. When you think you’ve found it, you’re abruptly disappointed when you discover you and your partner don’t always see eye to eye. In fact, you have arguments. If your partner is imperfect, then what else may be awry? Is he cheating; is he seeing someone else? Does she find another guy more attractive? The fact is, no one is perfect and no one relationship is perfect. But it doesn’t warrant obsessive worry.
What can you do about it?
Mindfulness can help. Try to be more aware of how you’re feeling and why. Instead of confronting your partner, starting a fight, or spying on your partner’s online activity, take a breath. Think about why you’re feeling vulnerable. Be aware of your emotions. Acknowledge them.
Understand that you can’t control your partner’s every move and try to come to peace with that fact. The more you try to control, the less you can enjoy your relationship. A certain amount of acceptance is in order.
When your worry consumes you, ask yourself if it’s reasonable. Ask yourself if you have any concrete evidence of his betrayal. Try to put yourself in his shoes and see the situation from his point of view. Essentially, calm yourself and wait until you can think more rationally. It is not easy to dispel anxiety and it may help to find a therapist who can work with you. Remember, you deserve a good relationship.
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