We all get nervous when it comes to dating and relationships. That is probably part of the reason you’re looking for advice. But a few nerves are normal. But if you have these relationship anxiety symptoms, things may be a bit more serious.
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. 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]
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.
#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 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: 9 ways to overcome the fear of losing someone you love]
#2 You are always thinking 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 are always worried about the future. Similarly 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.
Being afraid to share your true feelings, something you feel guilty for, or even something small with your partner halts your progression. Having 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 your anxiety of failing personally.
Just because a relationship doesn’t work out, it 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 anyone else except how your partner makes you feel. That should help release some of those uncertainties. [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. Trust me, I am a big fan of alone time. But, when you repeatedly cancel plans with your significant other to be alone or spend time with anyone else, that is a symptom you feel unsure in 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 comfortable. [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, lacking that trust is a sign that you are feeling anxious in your relationship.
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 need more time to recover from past relationship turmoil.
#10 You can’t trust yourself. This is my area of expertise. 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 by 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 look for the negative. 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 can’t stop thinking about it. 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: How to give space in a relationship without drifting apart]
Some of these relationship anxiety symptoms can be easily worked through with time, talking, and care. Others may require therapy, reflection, and a bit more focus.
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