Although you are in a long-term relationship where trust and boundaries are established, you find yourself questioning your partner, yourself or the entire relationship. You’re not sure if things will last, you don’t know if your partner is the right one for you and you’re not sure you can maintain this committed relationship. We have news for you: you suffer from relationship anxiety. All those insecurities and doubts that pop up in your relationship, even when things are going well are caused by this extremely common relationship issue.
While some people experience relationship anxiety in the beginning of their relationship when things are not very clear and they don’t know their partner too well, others can have these feelings even after they committed in a long-term relationship.
Relationship anxiety is characterized by emotional distress, lack of motivation, emotional exhaustion or fatigue, upset stomach and many others physical symptoms but it can also lead to more unhealthy behaviors that might distress both partners.
What are the signs of relationship anxiety?
Relationship anxiety can show up at some point of the relationship, in the early stages of dating when people are concerned about all sorts of passing fears and doubts but it can also creep into a more secure partnership where love, trust, honesty and openness are part of the equation.
Here’s what’s happening with you when relationship anxiety strikes:
You may begin to wonder if you matter to your partner
This fear is related to a fundamental need we all have to belong, connect and feel secure in our partnership. So if you mostly worry that your partner doesn’t miss you too much when you’re not around or that they might not come to help you if something serious came up or that they want to be with you for the things that you can do for them, you probable suffer from relationship anxiety.
This means that you are doubting the way your partner feels for you and no matter what happens in your relationship, you can’t shape that nagging doubt. If your partners seem a little distant or if they are slower to respond to physical attention you immediately wonder If their feelings have changed.
Sometimes, these worries can be normal but if you have relationship anxiety, they will become your fixation.
You may begin to worry they want to break up
We all love that emotional safety and security we get from a good relationship and it’s perfectly ok to want to hold on these feelings. But sometimes the persistent fear that our partner might leave us and disrupt this sense of equilibrium can take a toll on the relationship. So, if you begin to adjust your behavior so you’ll make sure that your partner will continue showing affection, you should know that your anxiety reached a problematic level.
Here are the most common mistakes people make to keep the relationship intact: they ignore when their partner bothers, they avoid bringing up the issues that are important to the relationship, they worry a lot about their partner getting mad at them, although they don’t seem to be angry.
Doubting long-term compatibility
Even if things are going great in the relationship, some people question whether they’re truly compatible with their partner, whether they’re actually happy or they just think they are and slowly they start focusing on the little differences overemphasizing their importance.
Some of them begin sabotaging the relationship by picking arguments with their partner, pushing them away, testing their boundaries just to determine how much does their partner care. Because deep down they believe that if that partners resists their efforts to push them away, that proves that they are loved.
Reading into their words and actions
Another behavior that suggests relationship anxiety is the tendency of overthinking everything the partner thinks or does. So if you find yourself losing control over negative thoughts and ruminating about every gesture your partner does, you might need to step back and reevaluate the situations, leaving your fears aside because you’re missing out on the good times while retreating from our partners and acting out distant, guarded or aloof.
What causes it?
Relationship anxiety is determined by our early attachment patterns. Most people continue to function in the same way and after the same model they received from their parents. Our childhood attachment can influence the way we react to our needs and what we do to get them met. It also impacts our present romantic relationships.
Basically, all those past memories and experiences continue to affect us, even if we think we’ve gotten over them. If our attachment style is insecure, we might experience anxiety about deepening intimacy or we can fear that our partner may leave us unexpectedly. Both attachment styles, the avoidant and the anxious one are doomed to always live with relationship anxiety.
Relationship anxiety can also be triggered by a past experience we had with another partner. If the significant other cheated you in the past, lied about their feelings, dump you unexpectedly or misled you about the nature of your relationship, it will be hard for you to trust your new partner even if he doesn’t show signs of dishonesty or manipulation. There triggers that will remind you about your past experience and cause insecurity.
Relationship anxiety can be a cause of low-self-esteem. When we are disappointed of ourselves, we project our own fears into the others instead of affirming ourselves through our relationship.
A general tendency to question everything before every decision we take can make us overthink all the choices we make, especially the significant ones and block us in an endless pattern of self-doubt. Not only this habit of carefully considering every decision is unhealthy but it will not go anywhere productive.