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How to be in a relationship when you’re anxious AF

Relationships and dealing with anxiety on a daily basis (or at the drop of a hat) are definitely not a match made in heaven. So, how do you stop your anxiety from ruining your relationship and are you still loveable in spite of being a little ball of tension?

Ask for understanding, don’t justify the way you feel

You don’t need to justify why you feel anxious about everything and anything, and giving another human a deep psychological analysis of why you act out in certain situations isn’t always necessary (or wise). Instead a simple explanation that certain behaviours or situations don’t sit well can be enough to flag it with your partner so they know to be extra thoughtful in the future, is a great compromise.

Making a point of communicating in an honest and simple way when it comes to your specific anxieties will go a long way to prevent conflict in the future.

Feelings are feelings

Remember that your feelings are your own and you don’t need to beat yourself up for having them. Also understanding that feelings are volatile in nature is important when trying to weigh up whether to act (on a whim) or wait it out until your rational side reemerges (from the pit of emotion and vodka its buried itself in).

Your anxiety is yours

No one single person can alleviate your anxiety. Sure, those people that love you will do their best to minimize your anxiousness in certain settings i.e not making you cross the road half way in traffic when it scares you. However, you can’t rely on anyone else to heal your anxiety in any form of granularity, or on the whole. Also important to remember is that you should not wager your anxiety on the actions of others i.e – “If he doesn’t call in 8 minutes I’ll stop being anxious.”

Don’t catastrophize

Unfortunately, anxiety has almost become a reflexive crutch, or, reverse buzzword over recent years and its misuse is worrying. Whilst I fully believe the grasp of anxiety can be both damaging and limiting and it’s a real experience that many of us deal with frequently it’s become far too tempting to automatically catastrophize shitty situations and blame anxiety. Or, to use your anxiety as an excuse for otherwise unsavoury or irresponsible behaviour. Use your emotional intelligence to label your feelings correctly and then go from there. If you’re jealous, call that jealousy and act accordingly, if you’re tired, hungover, irritable or disenchanted then slap on those labels and reach for the appropriate tonic. (Gin sold separately).  

Don’t make it personal

Don’t, or really try hard not to let your anxiety rule your life to the point where you make personal jabs at others. Anxiety is so clever in its dissemination that it will, and can manipulate you to the point of targeted blame.

Get to the bottom of it

Usually in relationships when anxiety arises (and sometimes is the catalyst behind actions generally out of character) it’s because there’s a (basic) need not being met. The thing is, nobody can meet your needs or predict any of your wants, emotions, stresses or reactions without you first knowing. Work out your own needs before anything, then refer back to point one.

Tread lightly and love with care.


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