Relationships challenge us in so many ways. When we think about relationship challenges, we think about conflict, compromise or difficulties cultivating connection and intimacy. These are all real challenges that anyone can face at any time in their relationships.
But one relationship challenge that we don’t talk about relates to how anxiety can show up in an otherwise safe, healthy and loving relationship. People who have a sensitive or anxious pre-disposition can often experience that. Relationship anxiety can also show up at any time. That is from the dating phase, after the ‘honeymoon phase’ is over, after a marriage proposal and even years into a marriage.
Relationship anxiety is a different type of relationship challenge. That is because it is more internalised and usually felt by one partner over the other.
There is also not necessarily anything concretely ‘challenging’ in the relationship. It’s more of an internal feeling. It’s also something that feels taboo in a society that preaches that ‘doubts mean don’ts’ and seeks to eradicate ambivalence and uncertainty.
What does relationship anxiety look like?
It looks like waking up in the middle of the night wondering whether we made a mistake.
It looks like intrusive thoughts that you can’t shake off. Those thoughts usually start with the ‘what if’ statement (although not always) and sound like:
‘What if he/she never comes back (after going to pick up something from the grocery store)’
‘What if I don’t love them enough’ or
‘What if I am not attracted to him/her/them’ or even
‘What if it’s not meant to be’
And it can feel like someone is sitting on your chest and you can’t breathe, it feels like your head is about to explode.
It feels like you can’t be yourself around your partner because you feel like a fraud for having those thoughts or feelings.
So just like anxiety symptoms, relationship anxiety can be a physical, emotional or cognitive experience.
How do I know I have relationship anxiety?
Anyone can experience intrusive thoughts about their partner or relationship.
However, if you get hooked onto them and stay stuck in your head and in anxiety as a results, then it’s likely you’ve entered the realm of relationship anxiety.
The tragedy here is that there is so much misconception about relationship anxiety and how to productively and safely work with it.
Relationship anxiety really is only another manifestation of anxiety. It is not the sign that something is fundamentally wrong with your partner, your relationship or yourself for that matter.
So many of us stay stuck in anxiety because we try to move away from the discomfort and thoughts, which leaves us feeling isolated, disconnected from ourselves, and also from our relationship.
We can even withdraw or end a perfectly loving relationship with a well-matched partner because you don't know how to navigate it.
But there is another way, and one that involves:
Navigating your way through, until you reach the other side
Getting curious about why the anxiety is showing up in the most personal, vulnerable and intimate aspect of your life?
Being willing to explore with curiosity and compassion what is going on internally for you . What is being activated by this safe and loving relationship? What are you ready to let go of that is no longer serving you?
Seeking the right kind of support, someone who understands and is equipped to work with anxiety, and the subconscious.
Are you ready to uncover the projections, stories and beliefs that are causing you to feel anxious about your relationship?
Are you ready to work from the inside out to find grounding, inner peace?
Do you want to find clarity on what you want from your relationship and find a way to create connection and intimacy with your partner?
If you answered a big YES to any of those questions, I’d love to hear from you.
I am offering a limited number of free 15mins consult to help you gain clarity on what you can do to start feeling better and use this as your opportunity to create the most fulfilling & connected relationship you've ever experienced .
You can sign up here by simply answering 3 quick questions!