Relationship Anxiety is extremely harmful to you and your relationship, yet, not many people know its signs, could you be affected by it?
Imagine this – you’re in a relationship, but something is hindering you from being genuinely happy. Could that be because you’re experiencing relationship anxiety?
Thoughts like “what if my partner is not really in love with me and I’m just a convenience or a pastime?” appear every now and then.
Sometimes these unwanted thoughts are inevitable, especially when you and your partner are just in the beginning phase of the relationship.
Of course, you have expectations and nobody wants a broken heart. Normally these thoughts will gradually disappear in time once you become comfortable.
However, for some people, these thoughts last even after months or years of being together and they are so extreme to the point of causing conflicts within the relationship.
This is what is commonly known as relationship anxiety.
What Causes Relationship Anxiety
As we all know, anxiety is our body’s way of telling us that something might be wrong or that we might be in danger. We feel worried, scared, or tense when we experience anxiety.
Although it’s a normal reaction, anxiety can cause problems by interfering with someone’s functioning when it becomes excessive.
This can also happen in relationships, whether it’s with your family, friends, or a romantic partner. You might doubt their intentions or you might fear their potential reactions.
Now, when you enter a romantic relationship, anxiety is normal in the beginning and can be good. It gives you an idea of what you want for your relationship.
The problem begins when the anxiety stays throughout the relationship and becomes unbearable. It may cause emotional distress that can, later on, turn into conflicts.
But, why do people develop relationship anxieties? There are several factors that can contribute to it and these are the following:
1. Childhood Experiences
During our childhood, we develop a certain attachment style depending on how we perceive our primary caregivers’ responses to our needs.
If, as a child, we felt like our needs were met and our caregivers were consistent in providing them, then we won’t have serious problems with our relationships later in life.
But, when our needs are not met and our caregivers are inconsistent, we may develop destructive attachment styles which may also, later on, cause severe relationship anxieties.
2. Traumatic Childhood Experiences
Whether it was physical, sexual, verbal, or emotional abuse, these can all result in excessive fears.
The extreme worry that you might experience them again can be quite overwhelming which can make you feel wary of relationships or develop guarded behaviors toward a new partner.
3. Low Self-Esteem
Feelings of self-inadequacies such as not being good enough, not being pretty or handsome enough, or not successful enough can also lead to relationship anxieties.
You might have constant worries and fears that your partner will look for someone much better than you and will leave you for them.
Signs Of Relationship Anxiety
Regardless of what’s causing your anxieties, they can all manifest in destructive thoughts and behaviors that can negatively affect your relationship.
If you want to know if you have relationship anxiety, here are some signs to look out for:
1. Doubting Your Partner’s Feelings
When you have relationship anxiety, you’re always asking yourself whether your partner is really in love with you or if they truly like you for who you are.
At the beginning of the relationship, it’s normal to have these doubts because both you and your partner are still trying to familiarize yourselves with each other.
However, relationship anxiety will make you doubt your partner even after being together for a long time, no matter what they do to reassure you that their feelings are true.
2. Questioning Your Partner’s Motives
Of course, being in a relationship means that both of you will exert unlimited efforts to make each other feel loved and adored.
Unfortunately, if you have relationship anxiety, you will not only question your partner’s feelings but you will also doubt every little thing your partner does for you.
You will overanalyze every I love you’s and I miss you’s. You will overthink whenever your partner fails to hold your hand or answer your calls.
Every good thing will be discredited while every bad thing will have unnecessary and uncertain meanings.
3. Waiting For Things To Go Wrong
Relationship anxiety will make you feel like good things in your relationship are not real, or even if they are, they won’t last for a long time.
You think that your partner or your relationship is too good to be true so you start looking for imperfections and you fixate on those “bad things” instead of focusing on what’s going well.
It’s like you are looking for reasons to break up because you believe that your relationship won’t last and it will eventually come to an end.
This is because people with relationship anxiety often have fears of rejection and abandonment.
And in order for them to avoid situations that will possibly trigger these fears, they are the first to reject and abandon their partners.
4. Deliberately Damaging Your Relationship
Since people with relationship anxiety have doubts and overwhelming fears, they often do undesirable things to either prove or disprove their point.
Essentially, they display sabotaging behaviors like treating their partners coldly to see if their partner really cares or trying to control their partner to keep the relationship going.
Tragically, these behaviors don’t just reinforce the anxiety, but they are also causing irreparable damage to the relationship.
How To Deal With Relationship Anxiety
We all experience anxieties in our relationships because they are inevitable and they are part of our lives. However, if they are causing strain in the relationship, then it’s a bad sign.
Relationship anxiety will only cause conflicts and damage in your relationship, so it’s necessary that you stop feeding your worries and fears.
The best thing you can do is to communicate with your partner. Open up about what makes you scared in your relationship and why you think you have these certain anxieties.
And If you struggle to communicate, therapy may be able to help you with that.
Relationship coaching may help you communicate better and find a solution to the problem together, but you will also have to work on it individually. You can read more about coaching here.
Be mindful of your thoughts and emotions and try to always acknowledge the good things.
You see, if you only focus on your anxieties and you don’t try to recover from them, you are only hindering yourself from being happy and fulfilled in your relationship.
Relationship anxieties and their signs are only normal for a limited amount of time. They are most common during the beginning of a relationship.
However, if after quite some time (like a few months or years) you’re still doubting your partner’s feelings and motives and you need constant reassurance, take a step back.
The same goes if you or your partner starts to notice behaviors that are detrimental to your relationship.
Recommended: What Is Relationship Coaching & Is It Right For You?