If you often keep telling yourself, ‘my anxiety is ruining my relationship,’ you are not alone. People tend to overthink and imagine the worst scenarios when they love someone deeply.
For instance, you might think about your partner constantly and fear the worst. Or worse still, negative thoughts can cloud your mind and take away your peace of mind.
If you often question your own sanity or your relationship, read on as we talk about how anxiety can ruin your relationship and what you can do about it
Can Anxiety Ruin Relationships?
When you suffer from anxiety or anxiety disorder, you exhibit certain symptoms that can stress you out. If you are in a relationship, you project your anxieties on your partner. As a result, they are stressed as well. When your partner has been bearing the brunt of your anxious thoughts for a long time, it would not be long before the relationship begins to fray.
How Anxiety Ruins Relationships?
According to the Anxiety & Depression Association of America, around 40 million adults in the US suffer from anxiety disorders (1). If it continues for long, it can slowly cause your relationship to disintegrate.
1. You stop trusting your partner
Paranoia is a common side effect of anxiety. When you are anxious, you start losing trust in your partner. You may not respond to their needs and even create scenarios where your partner cannot get close to you. You are often so worried about what might happen that you forget to live in the moment. This can make your partner feel neglected.
2. You think and speak in different ways
When you are anxious, you are often worried about your partner’s thoughts. To hide what you think, you may speak differently and not articulate your mind. Anxiety also distorts your decisions, so you often remain quiet when you have to speak and rush in when silence is required. For both you and your partner, this is likely to cause communications to become confusing and not meet the needs for a healthy and honest relationship.
3. You become selfish
Anxiety is another name for selfishness. You don’t do it on purpose, but you behave selfishly. This could be a major put-off for your partner. There is a certain degree of worrying in every relationship, but when your anxiety goes overboard, it might reduce your ability to be compassionate towards your partner. You can also react in egotistic ways as you have some resentment due to the anxiety.
4. You stop accepting
Anxiety prevents you from accepting the status quo. You might go through many feelings that do not allow you to relax even when you know nothing can go wrong. In your anxiety, you might push away things that might benefit you. You can even stop acting on something good for you because you are anxious it might be bad. You reject all the new things that you see, and this attitude often makes you unapproachable.
5. You become negative
Anxiety fills your life with so much negativity that you fail to see anything positive around you. This happens because anxiety makes you feel trapped. You feel scared of the unknown and cannot spread your wings. With such negative feelings, you cannot experience the little happy things in your life. Consequently, you are unable to enjoy good conversations, relaxing with your partner, or having sex or intimacy. You fail to be in the moment, which makes your partner feel unseen.
6. You overthink every little thing
“Does my partner love me?” “Do I really love them?” Such questions often occur in your mind when you have anxiety. There is always a voice in your brain that tells you that you are not doing enough for your relationship. This causes you to overthink everything you or your partner do for each other and you measure it against an unseen and often unrealistic standard. This cannot help but impact the quality of your relationship (2).
7. You send mixed signals
You and your partner need to remain on the same page when you are in an intimate relationship. However, anxiety will cause mixed signals that need to be attended to. One day, you might be the epitome of a caring partner, while on the next, you might be standoffish. This blow-hot-blow-cold attitude is very unhealthy for a relationship, causing more arguments than necessary.
If you notice these signs in your relationship, it might suggest that your anxiety is more than normal, and is harming your relationship.
How Can You Prevent Anxiety From Ruining Your Relationship?
Even if you have serious anxiety, a couple can work through a path for change and hopefulness.. With some preventive measures, you can salvage the goodness of your relationship and put it back on track.
1. Do not use your partner as a therapist
While being open with your partner is a good idea as they need to understand what is going on inside of you, it is also necessary for such anxiety to be discussed with an appropriate therapist. There are certain boundaries that a therapist will guide you through. It is more productive to discuss your triggers and reactions with a professional. Talking to a third person about your feelings will allow you to look at all your emotions objectively.
2. Be mindful of your partner’s feelings
Even if you have anxiety, you must try to be mindful of your partner’s feelings. When you feel anxious, take deep breaths before starting a conversation. Treat your partner with respect so that you receive respect in turn.
3. Be attentive
It is easy to think about yourself and forget about your partner if you have anxiety. However, in a relationship, your inattentiveness can cause your partner to drift away. Try to be attentive towards your partner’s needs to feel loved and drawn toward you.
4. Stop asking for reassurance
Every person needs reassurance to feel motivated and loved. However, when you have anxiety, seeking reassurance becomes second nature. You want it every time, and once you get it, you want more. You need to consciously stop this habit so that your partner does not feel pressured to compliment and reassure you for the littlest things.
5. Learn to handle emotions
Every relationship comes with its own set of emotional baggage. You may feel happy, sad, angry, and worried in turns. You need to find a way to calm yourself when you feel anxious. If you speak about your problems the moment you feel them with your partner, you might push them back. Instead, control your emotions before you talk to your partner to be more receptive to your issues.
Communication is key in any relationship. The more transparent you are with your partner, the more successful your relationship will be. However, you also need to set boundaries and respect them so that your partner doesn’t feel overwhelmed. You need to be clear about what you want from your partner to know how to act when you are anxious.
Anxiety and anxiety disorders are a part of many people’s lives. However, with proper handling and care, you can overcome it or prevent the symptoms from ruining your relationship. Recognizing the signs of anxiety and how it ruins relationships can go a long way. Hopefully, you will never have to say, “My anxiety is ruining my relationship.”
- If you are constantly anxious, it may eventually spill into your partner and destroy the relationship.
- Anxiety can turn you into an overthinker, insecure, and negative person.
- Try not to burden your partner with your issue, understand their feelings as well, and seek out professional help if needed.
- Facts and Statistics, Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA);
- Anxiety disorders in intimate partners and the quality of their relationship, ScienceDirect;