Relationship Anxiety: What It Means & How To Cope With It
Published on 21st February, 2023
Romantic relationships are commonly seen as a great source of happiness. However, they can also be a breeding ground for anxious thoughts and feelings. Just like how people may feel anxious when facing health issues or financial concerns, relationship issues can also be a source of stress and anxiety.
No matter how long you’ve been with your partner, anxiety can creep up on you at any point in the relationship, especially when there is a lack of communication. Your anxiety may also be exacerbated if you struggle with negative past experiences or low self-esteem. You might find yourself questioning your partner or the relationship itself.
The constant worrying in a relationship is commonly referred to as relationship anxiety. It refers to those feelings of doubt, insecurity, worry and the need for constant reassurance that can pop up in a relationship, even if everything is going relatively well.
It is normal to have a certain level of anxiety when it comes to relationships. However, relationship anxiety might become a problem when the worrying becomes so crippling that it takes a toll on your relationship and prevents it from flourishing. Relationship anxiety might lead you to act on impulse and do harmful things like checking on your partner’s phone. It can increase stress and affect how you interpret your feelings and emotions.
We will examine the possible causes of relationship anxiety and the appropriate ways to navigate this feeling.
Causes of relationship anxiety
If you worry about your relationship more than enjoying it, you might be dealing with relationship anxiety. Here are some of the common causes:
- Negative past experiences
Memories of negative experiences in a past relationship can continue to affect you, even if you think you have gotten over them. Feelings of fear and anxiety in a relationship might stem from not wanting to go through another breakup or being reluctant to be vulnerable due to being hurt in the past.
If you have been through a relationship where your self-worth, attractiveness, and value were called into question, this might lead to an intense fear of partnering with another person who might produce the same effects (Plumptre, 2022).
- Poor communication
A lack of honest communication regarding the relationship's current state or future can lead to anxiety or constant worry as you are unsure of where the relationship is going. Failing to communicate about important matters can leave a vacuum in the relationship.
- Low self-esteem
Having low self-esteem has been found to be strongly linked to anxiety and depressive thoughts (Nguyen et al., 2019). This can play out in relationships, where you constantly doubt if you deserve your partner's love and question your partner's feelings towards you.
Ways to overcome relationship anxiety
Although feeling anxious may be uncomfortable, there are several ways to help you cope.
- Communicate your feelings
Although you may not want to express your feelings at the height of your anxiety, expressing your feelings is important. Healthy communication involves listening to your partner, negotiating, and making sure that your issues are not being communicated in an accusatory or aggressive way.
Healthy and honest conversations with your partner about your worries, expectations, or the future can help to deepen your relationship. Clear communication with your partner helps to eliminate doubts that can encourage anxiety, leaving room for a healthy appreciation of the relationship.
- Avoid comparing or measuring your relationship
Avoid the natural tendency to compare your relationship with others, as this might trigger relationship anxiety. It is essential to acknowledge that every relationship is different, and people show love in different ways. Consider your partner's behaviours and appreciate the unique ways they show their affection.
- Seek professional help
If you constantly feel anxious about your relationship, seeking professional help might be the best option to learn how to regulate your emotions. Psychotherapy services can help you receive the proper guidance to alter the negative thoughts you have about yourself or your partner. Therapy can also help with teaching you the appropriate methods to manage your anxiety to prevent damaging your relationship.
Emotions come and go without warning, making it easy to jump to negative conclusions (Powell, 2022). When you care deeply about someone, it is normal to worry about them from time to time.
Overall, it is essential to remember that relationship anxiety can be overcome. Thankfully, there are several ways to get your relationship anxiety under control. Individual counselling for adults in Singapore might be effective in helping you find a healthy way to regulate your emotions or to get to the root cause of your anxiety.
Plumptre, E. (2022). Learning How to Cope With Relationship Anxiety https://www.verywellmind.com/learning-how-to-cope-with-relationship-anxiety-5186885
Nguyen DT, Wright EP, Dedding C, Pham TT, Bunders J. (2019). Low self-esteem and its association with anxiety, depression, and suicidal ideation in Vietnamese secondary school students: A cross-sectional study. Frontiers in Psychiatry. 2019;10:698. doi:10.3389/fpsyt.2019.00698
Powell, A. (2022). Relationship Anxiety: Signs, Causes, & 8 Ways to Overcome https://www.choosingtherapy.com/relationship-anxiety/