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Relationship Anxiety: What It Is, 44 Signs, Feelings & Ways to Get Over It

Relationship anxiety can ruin even the best relationships. Learn to chill and take things as they come; love is never easy but you can overcome problems.  

relationship anxiety signs and ways to get over it

Those with a tendency to experience anxiety can have a hard time in relationships. Anxiety is something that can make even the best relationship tense and mistrustful. If you have been hurt in the past or have trust issues, you may be guiding the relationship anxiety in your current union.

Sometimes, the hardest thing to learn in life is that no matter how hard you try to control things or those around you, you can’t. Trying to hold onto someone with too much fervor will cause the other person to feel smothered.

Anxiety is a horrible feeling. It can make you tense and can distract you from being able to enjoy the life that you have with your significant other. [Read: What is a toxic relationship? 53 signs to recognize love that hurts you]

What is relationship anxiety? 

Well, it is like normal anxiety only based on your relationship. It can be caused by a fight, saying “I love you,” or really any sort of change in your romantic life.

If taking the next step in a relationship makes you more than nervous, perhaps you aren’t ready. 

Anything from meeting the parents, moving in together, or sending a holiday card can trigger relationship anxiety symptoms.

Even going from casual to committed can cause these symptoms. But, not everyone realizes that these symptoms are due to relationship anxiety. [Read: What it feels like to experience anxiety in a relationship

When there is more sorrow than joy

Anxiety in a relationship is perhaps one of the most daunting experiences in existence. It can leave a profound impact on both your relationship and your quality of life. Anxiety in a relationship happens when you feel that the relationship has you by the throat, almost suffocating you.

When you lose trust in a relationship, everything can go awry. Uncertainty becomes a major issue. It is like taking out a boat into the middle of the ocean, not sure of where you are going.

What does anxiety in a relationship feel like? See if you can relate to any of these unwelcome feelings. [Check out: Signs you’re lovesick and ways to get out of it]

1. As if your heart is being torn from your chest

2. You feel everything will, inevitably, end

3. It’s like continuing to linger where you feel you no longer belong

4. Like trying to find your way in the dark [Try: How to fall out of love when you see no future]

5. Harboring feelings of resentment over everyone’s happiness

6. Finding yourself in a manic loop of irrepressible feelings

7. Losing all hope in what you once held dear [Read: Ways to overcome the fear of losing someone you love]

Anxiety in a relationship takes a toll on your emotions. Each day becomes a struggle and needs to be dealt with using every last ounce of energy you can muster. It is very much like being left out in the cold, when the fire of your love has all but died down.

What are relationship anxiety symptoms?

We all know how it feels to get butterflies before a first date. We all know how it feels to get ready to meet your significant other’s parents. What do you wear? Remember to load up on deodorant and classy political references.

But anxiety is more severe than a few nerves. And knowing how to identify these relationship anxiety symptoms can help you realize when you need to slow down, talk it out, or take a step back. 

You know how relationship anxiety feels, but what are the other specific day-to-day symptoms? [Read: How to face relationship challenges and overcome them as a couple]

1. You are always waiting for the other shoe to drop

A relationship should have you enjoying every moment. Of course, there will be fights and bad days, but for the most part, you should be happy with your relationship. 

But, if you find you are constantly waiting for something to go wrong, whether it be infidelity, ghosting, or just a disagreement, you may have relationship anxiety. It often has nothing to do with your partner but is more likely due to past relationships.

Talking to your partner about this and coming to terms with the fact that you’ll never truly be happy if you aren’t enjoying the now may help. [Read: How to overcome the fear of losing someone you love

2. You always think about the past

Focusing on the past is a surefire way to ruin the future. It is hard to move forward with your relationship when you hold onto the past. Whether your past, your partner’s past, or maybe something that happened between you, dwelling on it is a symptom of relationship anxiety.

Worrying about something you can’t change only makes anxiety worse. Try to let the past stay in the past. Learn from it, but then let it go. [Read: How to leave your past in the past and live your future]

3. You’re always worried about the future

Similar to how the past can haunt your relationship, focusing too much on the future is also a sign of relationship anxiety. Always worrying about what is to come prevents you from living in the moment. 

If you are constantly wondering where you’ll be in a year, how your anniversary will go, or how you’ll deal with something that hasn’t happened yet, your relationship anxiety symptoms are getting in the way. Trying to figure out something yet to happen doesn’t do anything but cause more worry.

4. You’re afraid to talk to your partner

A very common symptom of relationship anxiety is not communicating. Being afraid to share something with your partner due to fear can create a barrier between you.

Not sharing your true feelings, something you feel guilty about, or even something small with your partner halts your progression. Open and honest communication is the best way to release those fears. [Read: How to communicate better in a relationship starting now]

5. You think the relationship reflects on you

A relationship’s success does not reflect on you as a person. Putting all that pressure on your relationship is a reflection of your own anxiety about failing personally. 

Just because a relationship doesn’t work out, does not mean you are a failure. That sort of stress in a relationship is a recipe for doom. Knowing that you are your own person separate from this relationship is a great way to start releasing some of that anxiety. 

6. You can’t make up your mind

Anxiety can develop into indecision easily. You want to commit, but your anxiety haunts you. Or maybe you want some space, but you can’t decide when or how to mention it. 

Realizing that you can’t commit when your partner asks you to make plans because you can’t make up your mind shows you may have a level of relationship anxiety. Try to sit back and not think about anything else except how your partner makes you feel. [Read: The dangers of uncertainty in a relationship]

7. You want to spend extra time alone

We all need some time alone now and then. But, when you repeatedly cancel plans with your significant other to be alone or spend time with anyone else, that is a symptom of you feeling unsure about your relationship.

Avoiding time with your partner shows that something is not quite right. It may be time for you to end things instead of putting it off and feeling guilty for pushing them away.

8. You reach out to an ex

Risking your relationship just to reach out to an ex and see how they’re doing can say a lot about where your head is at.

Even if you have no intent on meeting up or cheating, simply being tempted to reach out is a sign you may be feeling nervous about your relationship.

This often happens when your relationship begins to get quite serious or too comfortable and is a form of self-sabotage. [Read: Is your past relationship holding you back from a better future?]

9. You can’t trust your partner

Trust is one of the most important parts of a healthy relationship, maybe even the most important part. But, having no trust in your partner is a sign that you are feeling anxious in your relationship as a whole. 

Sometimes this has nothing to do with your current partner. If you can’t help but lack trust, it may be a sign that you aren’t ready for a commitment. You may need more time to recover from past relationship turmoil.

10. You can’t trust yourself

If you have been fooled in the past, you don’t only lack trust in others, but you may not trust your own judgment. And lacking faith in yourself can be a sign that you are anxious about a relationship. 

Trying to rebuild trust in yourself is the first step to feeling confident in your current relationship. [Read: How to find yourself when you feel like you’ve lost your way]

11. You hold back

People who struggle with relationship anxiety show signs of holding back. That can mean holding back intimacy or communication. There is a fear of getting too close and getting hurt or being rejected for sharing your true self. 

In order to overcome that fear, plow through it. Just like someone afraid of heights should climb a tall mountain. Facing fear is the only way to come through it.

12. You always focus on the negatives

Focusing on the negative aspects of your partner shows you are not ready to be in a serious relationship. It is human nature to have tension and get annoyed by your partner leaving the toilet seat up or forgetting to take out the trash. 

But, if you dwell on any shortcomings your partner has, instead of appreciating their good qualities, you may be looking for an out. [Read: 20 signs of insecurity people can’t hide when they feel insecure]

13. You’ve been ignoring red flags

Both focusing on the negatives and overlooking them can be relationship anxiety symptoms. You may be so nervous and worried that a relationship will end badly that you ignore the reasons why maybe it should end.

14. You’re unhappy

Being unhappy in a relationship is a strong sign you are feeling uneasy. If you aren’t happy with yourself, you can’t rely on someone else to do it for you. And if you are happy yourself, but your partner takes that away, realize it won’t change in this relationship. [Read: The signs you’re settling in a relationship]

15. You think about your relationship all the time

If your relationship consumes your mind all day, so much so that you can’t complete work or accomplish goals, that is worrisome. Overthinking everything you say or do in your relationship proves your anxiety level is through the roof. 

You should be able to let your relationship be part of your life, not become the entire thing. [Read: Women’s relationship issues that all men must know]

How to let go of relationship anxiety

The only way to let go of the anxiety that you feel in your relationship is by learning that you can’t ever predict what is going to happen, nor can you control the outcome of any situation.

The only thing steering the ship is fate, and no matter how much we want something to happen, it will only happen if it is supposed to.

Keep these mistakes and tips in mind to get rid of relationship anxiety for good! [Read: Trust issues in a relationship – 22 why’s and ways to get over it together]

1. Stop trying to control everything

No matter how much we want everything to go a certain way, trying to micromanage every aspect of our lives and relationship isn’t going to help. Often, the behaviors that we exhibit get the exact opposite of what we want.

If you hold onto things too tightly, you are likely to squeeze the life right out of them. Loosen up and allow yourself to be along for the ride sometimes. [Read: 20 glaring signs you have a control freak in you]

2. Sometimes, there’s simply nothing you can do to change the situation

Anxiety comes from trying too hard when there is nothing you can do. If your desire is to keep the relationship together, the truth is that if it’s meant to be, then it will happen naturally.

If someone loves you, there isn’t a thing you can do to make them stop. Stop worrying about what will be, and just enjoy the ride.

3. Realize that your relationship anxiety is also hurting your partner

Anxiety often makes us push others away. When you are anxious, it affects not only you but also the people around you. Like standing next to constant turmoil, anxiety-ridden people are uncomfortable to be with, and they make interactions difficult.

Instead of being anxious about your relationship, take the time to see how your behavior can produce positive effects by just being yourself and going with the flow. [Read: Abandonment issues and how it affects your relationship]

4. Take a deep breath and think about your actions first

When you are anxious, you are more likely to react without thought. That can lead you to constantly overreact, which is a self-perpetuating cycle to be in. Take the time to rationalize any given situation before you respond to it.

Time is the best anxiety cure there is.

5. If you feel something, don’t let it build

The worst thing you can do if you are an anxious person is to keep everything bottled up inside. Like a pressure cooker, if you don’t let those feelings out as they come, they are likely to get out of control.

Before you know it, you are overwhelmed and screaming like a crazy person. Instead, it’s much better to communicate your fears with your partner than to try to constantly hide them. [Read: Stress ruining your relationship? Signs and quick fixes]

6. Write your own story

Anxious people have a tendency to let situations get away from them or exaggerate what is happening. The more they ruminate over things, the bigger they become, but only in their own mind.

Before you create an entire story in your head, try to separate what is real from what you have created. Don’t make a mountain from a molehill because of your relationship anxiety.

7. Stop overanalyzing

Putting meaning, intention, or assumptions into any situation has the potential to make it more dramatic than it needs to be. If you overanalyze things, simple words suddenly turn into emotion-laden ones.

Before you know it, you’re in a major fight with your partner, and neither of you has any idea what you’re even fighting about in the first place. [Read: How to stop overthinking]

8. Don’t wait for the shoe to drop

If you are always looking for signs that something is amiss, you may have relationship anxiety. This can make you feel like there is always something lurking to make things complicated. Even when things are calm, you are looking for something to go wrong.

But this may cause drama in your relationship where none should exist.

9. Don’t last the past creep into the present

It is difficult not to let a past event creep into your mind in a current relationship, especially if it was something traumatic.

No one wants to be hurt or disappointed. But if you are breathing all sorts of anxiety into your relationship, you are probably creating a self-fulfilling prophecy.

If you don’t put your past in the past, then it is going to destroy your future. [Read: How to let go of the past and be excited by the future]

10. Figure out what your triggers are

If you notice that certain topics or even people trigger your feelings of relationship anxiety, try to stop those triggers dead in their tracks. Often, when we get stuck in a fight cycle, it is because of triggers that cause anxiety and cause us to overreact.

Don’t sit and stew over these trigger points. Instead, take a deep breath, change the conversation, or remove yourself from the situation.

11. Find a vent buddy

If you’re feeling anxious, don’t poke the bear. If you start to feel a breakdown coming on, pick up the phone and call a friend who understands your struggle with anxiety and loves you.

Knowing that you are just overthinking and freaking yourself out, they will know how to talk you out of whatever scenario you have created in your mind. [Read: Good friends are like stars]

12. Find some distractions

The worst thing for any anxious person is idle time. Idle minds truly are a devil’s playground. If all you have to do is sit around and overanalyze everything and compartmentalize your relationship, you are never going to have any peace for yourself or your partner.

You know that being anxious and scared all the time is a horrible feeling, so find something to fill the empty spaces you feel so that there isn’t room for negative thoughts to creep in and start you down the wrong path again. [Read: How to make the absolute most out of your alone time]

13. Don’t put all your energy into one thing

Most anxious people typically have one focal point in their life and ignore the peripheral of the situation. If all you are doing is focusing on your relationship, then you are going to overanalyze and overthink it. A healthy relationship is full of friends, family, good times, and laughter.

If all you can think about is the state of your relationship, not only is that obsessive, but it isn’t healthy, either. Put your energy into many things in your life, including yourself.

Instead of worrying so much about where your relationship is headed, think about how you can take steps to make yourself a better person and happier all around. [Read: Fear of being alone – How to let go of your fear and find peace]

14. Let things go

If you find that you’re constantly looking for something from your significant other and they simply can’t give it to you, learn to let it go. Stop feeling like your better half is trying to create conflict intentionally or push your anxiety buttons.

The reality is that they are probably walking on eggshells trying not to set off the intensity that comes from your relationship anxiety. Learn to pick your battles and give up the need to “win” all the time. [Read: How to fight fair in a relationship and grow closer]

15. Learn when it’s time to walk

If you can’t resolve your issues, know when to give up and walk away. It isn’t healthy to stay in an argument that’s going around in circles. Know when something isn’t going to get resolved and when it’s time to just wave the white flag and walk away.

16. Don’t self-medicate

If you are anxiety-ridden about your relationship, drinking or doing drugs to self-medicate is only going to make matters worse.

Alcohol will loosen your inhibitions, but it will steer you out of control. This can lead to even more problems within your relationship.

17. Be active

Anxiety is driven by a hormone called adrenaline. Thus, there are sometimes physical and chemical reasons for your relationship anxiety.

Once you get that rush of adrenaline or feelings of anxiety, a ten-minute walk can help it to move through the body and relax your parasympathetic system enough to start thinking more rationally.

Exercise is one of the best ways to overcome your anxiety. [Read: 25 inspirational tips to get motivated and work out]

18. Be honest

The more you try to hide how you feel, the worse it will get. If you can’t talk to your significant other about your emotions, it may be worthwhile to see a therapist. Sometimes, the anxiety you feel is a symptom of something much greater than the state of your relationship.

If it gets to the point where it’s ruling your union and is also overriding your quality of life, it may be time to take bigger steps to overcome it.

19. Know you aren’t alone

Anxiety is something that everyone feels. You don’t have to hide it or be ashamed of it. Relationships can make you feel vulnerable and bring out your greatest fears.

Take heart, you are not the only one going through tough times. It will get better if you can just ride it out, breathe, and try to relax a little. [Read: Why do I feel so alone?]

20. Realize that nothing lasts forever

Unfortunately, there is nothing in life that is certain. Stop predicting if you will make it in a relationship with your new love or if it will end.

There is no way to control the future, so stop trying and just live in the moment. Enjoy whatever time you have together. Don’t spend it worrying about what you might lose. [Read: 31 moments of bliss most of us overlook]

21. Be you and don’t hide your pieces away

When you start a new relationship, everyone is on their best behavior. The problem is sometimes it isn’t really who we are. And, if you fight to keep the new relationship face too hard, it makes you feel like a fake.

When someone feels that way, it brings on a whole lot of anxiety. It is okay to be a better version of yourself during the beginning parts of your relationship, but it also is important to still be you.

Express what you want, and what you don’t. Otherwise, you won’t feel genuine, leaving you feeling anxious. [Read: New relationship mistakes new couples make all the time]

22. Have the attitude that if it works, it’s meant to be

Fate is a pretty incredible thing, yet, at the same time very hard to accept. To do away with new relationship anxiety, go into the relationship knowing that sometimes what we want and what is good for us, or meant to be, are not the same thing.

Fate will do what fate wants. So, adopt the attitude that if it doesn’t work, then it wasn’t meant to be. That way, you won’t worry so much about losing your new love. If it doesn’t work, you believe something better is out there waiting for you. [Read: Warning signs to look out for in the first few dates]

23. Stop playing games

There is nothing more anxiety-provoking than playing games. If you twist, turn, and play all sorts of games in your new relationship, you create a whole lot of drama for yourself and probably cause the churning anxiety within.

If you want to stop feeling anxious, stop plotting and planning your next move. Just put yourself out there, flaws and all. [Read: How to stop playing relationship games]

24. Forget the rules

Texting rules, dating rules, social media rules… it is all anxiety provoking, right? So forget them. Text them when you want, or ask them out the same night if you feel like it.

Stop being guided by what the rules say. You aren’t going to lose someone if you are honest and upfront about how you feel and what you want. And, honestly, if you do, then they aren’t worth the anxiety to begin with.

25. Stay off social media

Social media is probably to blame for the death of many, many, many a relationship, whether in the beginning stages or well into the relationship. If you are on their social media page checking things out, stop.

You only find reasons to be anxious. If you want to find out about what they do or who they are, ask, don’t check their status. [Read: The happy couple’s guide to social media]

26. Don’t snoop

If you’re worried that they aren’t that into you, we will give you the best piece of advice—don’t snoop. Yes, it is super alluring to see their cell phone and think, “Well… I’ll just give it a little peek.”

But don’t do it. You feel guilty no matter what you find. And, snooping is never a good way to squash anxiety. It is only an excellent way to stir it up.

27. Know you are worth it

If you are anxious in your relationship, then there might be something making you feel as if they are out of your league.

Know your own worth to be with someone else, or you won’t ever find the security just to sit back, relax, and be yourself. Know who you are and that you are worthy of love and goodness.

Do this, and you will be amazed at how quickly that anxiety melts away. [Read: Reasons to love yourself first before falling in love]

28. Take it slowly

Don’t get so caught up in the puppy love moment that you jump head over heels too quickly. That leaves you feeling way too attached without any real connection, which causes anxiety.

If you want to do away with the new relationship anxiety, make sure to take it slowly and not get caught up in the heat of the moment.

29. Put the phone away

If you constantly look for them to blow up your phone, wondering why they aren’t answering you, or thinking their lack of answering you is a sign, you’ll only make yourself miserable. Leave your phone behind, and see them when you see them.

Texting and instant gratification are too much when you first start out a relationship, and the constant need to feel connected via messages does no one any favors. [Read: How to stop being codependent and have a healthy relationship]

Relationship anxiety sucks, but there is a way past it

Relationships are meant to bring fun and fulfillment into your life. While it’s not sunshine and roses all the time, they’re certainly not supposed to make you full of anxiety and misery.

Relationship anxiety can be conquered but it takes time and effort. Take it a step at a time and remember that with every small win, you’re heading in the right direction.

[Read: How to feel good about yourself and kick ass in life]

Anxiety is one of the worst feelings you can experience, especially if it never goes away. If you are experiencing relationship anxiety, it will likely not go away on its own, but with effort, you can kick it out of your life.

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Vinod Srinivas Serai
Vin Serai
Vin Serai is the founder of LovePanky.com, and has delved deep into the working of love and relationships for almost two decades. Having dipped his feet in almo...