Anxiety sucks. Full stop. The end. And many people experience it to some degree, so you may wonder if you're someone who suffers from anxiety in a low-grade, day-to-day way or if it's something more like an anxiety disorder. Because it manifests in so many ways, it can be difficult to pin down, but wherever you fall on the anxiety spectrum it is tough. It's tough for you as person and it's tough on your relationships.
The same worry, circular thinking, panic that affects you is going to affect your partner, both directly and indirectly. Some of your anxiety will probably be about the relationship, but in a more general sense it will inform your behavior, which can also cause problems. While a lot of this may feel out of your control— a lot of being anxious is not feeling in control of your thoughts— you can control, to some level, how cope in the aftermath of the thoughts and worries that run off with you.
Sometimes this means talking to your partner about anxieties, sometimes it means trying to ground yourself, and keep some perspective. You may not be able to control the over-thinking, but you can remind yourself that you're over-thinking, and try to get some clarity through that self awareness.
Here are seven mistakes anxious people make in relationships:
1. Second Guessing How Much A Person Likes You
It can be really difficult to accept that someone really likes you, let alone relax into that feeling and just... enjoy it, trust it. I'm terrible at this. But no matter how patient your partner is, it's going get tiring for them to constantly reassure you every second that yes, they do like you. Try to take some of the responsibility for it, and remind yourself that they are with you, so they're obviously into you.
2. Not Wanting To Look Too Eager
Along with not being sure that the person likes you, comes with not wanting to jump in with both feet because, in your anxious version of things, you're going to end up looking foolish. This can often lead to being too reserved, and your partner not realizing how much you care about them because you're worried about ending up with a pie in your face. It helps if you remember that everyone has their insecurities, and you shouldn't be making your partner feel unloved or unsure— exactly the way that you feel— because you're worried about looking too eager. Talk openly about it and you'll likely find you're both on the same page.
3. Over. Analyzing.
WELCOME TO THE WORLD OF EVERY LITTLE THING MAKING YOU FEEL LIKE CRAP. Potentially. Even the things that weren't meant to make you feel like crap. Even things that were meant to make you feel great, but then a little part of your brain decides to willfully misinterpret. "Oh, she thinks I look great today, so normally she hates how I look. I'm not good enough, she knows it. Sh*t." Take a step back, take a breath, do some yoga, or take a bath, whatever makes you feel better.
4. Getting Too Stressed About Timings And Bumps In The Road
This used to be one of my worst habits. It's still one of my bad habits, but I've managed to get it under control a little bit recently. If you're really worried that people running late or any timings are off, it can be a source of major stress. If someone was late I had trouble not assuming either that they hated me or that they were being really selfish and not caring about my time. Or both. But neither of those things were the case. If you're anxious it's easy to take small slights as very personal, and then that breeds unnecessary resentment.
5. Not Dealing Well With Changes
I find that routine helps when I'm feeling really anxious. It calms me and let's me just power through. There's just something comforting about it. But it's not realistic that you're constantly going to be able to do the same routine — life just gets in the way. And as relationships develop, things shift. It's totally natural, but can be difficult if you're an anxious person. Talking about these anxieties with your partner is a great way to cope, between getting it off your chest and giving them a chance to help you handle it, it's a lot better than staying quiet and letting those anxieties bubble over.
6. Avoiding Talks
If you get all tied up into a knot anyway, the idea of a big deep and meaningful chat, or worse— a confrontation— can twist you up into a complete pretzel of nerves. But they're an essential part of any relationships, and every deep and meaningful chat isn't about something horrible and antagonistic. Take a deep breath, try to do it in a setting that makes you feel safe, and have those talks that need to be had.
7. Jumping To Conclusions
Sometimes anxiety means running through a million ways things can go wrong in horrible, gnawing, obsessive thoughts. But sometimes, it means jumping to the worst case scenario right off the bat, and fixating on that. "Ah I asked him if he wanted to go see my favorite band and he hasn't replied, he probably hates that band and now hates me for liking them— it's over." Now the jumpy, compulsive nature of these thoughts make them really difficult to control. You may not be able to stop yourself from getting there in the first place, but try to ground your thoughts and give your partner more credit, or else they're just going to assume you think they're a jerk. They deserve better than that.
Want more of Bustle's Sex and Relationships coverage? Check out our new podcast, I Want It That Way, which delves into the difficult and downright dirty parts of a relationship, and find more on our Soundcloud page.