We all have at least one special talent. That thing we do better than literally everyone else. Mine's anxiety. Especially when it come to relationships. But, as with most things in life, the things you worry about in your relationship are usually a huge waste of energy. I know this, both through experience and training. I studied healthy relationships at length, and worked as a Domestic Violence Victim Advocate and Planned Parenthood Certified Responsible Sexuality Educator. My wife has the pleasure of my constant blathering about communication and compromise and blah, blah, blah.
But I still worry. Because anxiety is a hell of a disorder. One of the techniques I learned in therapy (because saying "don't worry" to someone with anxiety is laughable and sometimes insulting) is to play out your anxieties to their worst possible conclusions in your head, so you can see that even if things go terribly wrong, you'll survive. Because you always survive.
And your partner will be like "hallelujah" because you no longer make secretly serious jokes about wrapping them in bubble wrap every time they leave the house or start crying out of the blue and begging them not to go camping and get eaten by a bear when all you're doing is watching Netflix. Here are some other things you don't have to worry about in your relationship. Trust me.
1. That Your Partner Is Going To Leave You
When you've finally found the one, your perfect match, the cheese to your macaroni, it might be hard to accept that they want you, and they want you for a long, long time. Especially if you've been hurt before. But you don't have to worry about that. Because you're awesome and your partner loves you. Like, a lot. And if they do leave you, your track record for surviving breakups is 100 percent, so you got this. Plus, the next person you meet might make this partner look like a hot mess.
2. That You're Not Good In Bed
This is a common worry, but it's one you can put to rest. If your partner didn't like having sex with you, they wouldn't have sex with you. And healthy relationships are based on communication, anyway, so if you were doing something wrong in bed, your partner would tell you to try something else or let you know what they like. And if they aren't doing that, tell them that's what you need to reassure you that they're enjoying the sex. Problem solved.
3. That Your Partner Doesn't Like Your Body
Let me just tell you. Your body is a piece of pure, sparkling magic. Your partner loves your body, and if they don't love your body, they don't deserve to bask in the glow of your pure, sparkling magic. Plain and simple. You have too much to worry about in this life besides whether or not the person who is sworn to love you thinks your hips are too big. Your hips are just fine. Glorious, even. Your partner agrees.
4. If They're Cheating On You
I got cheated on, so this hits close to home. And the cheating happened out of the blue on a regular day while I was planning our wedding after seven glorious years together — with someone who I thought really, really loved me. So no matter how much my wife tells me she would never do that to me, I still worry. But worst case scenario, it happens again. If it does, it does, and worry isn't going to stop that. Plus, I survived it before and came out on top. And you will, too.
5. That Your Partner Will Fall Out Of Love With You
No need to worry if your partner is going to fall out of love with you, because I am here to tell you, they will. And they'll fall back in love with you a million times, too. That's just how relationships go in the long term. The love isn't always overwhelming, or even present in exactly the same way, all the time. It's impossible. But it comes back, especially with communication and kindness and nurturing of each other's needs. So just take care of each other, and you'll get through the rough patches.
6. That Life Will Get In The Way Of Love
Sure, you're hot and heavy now, and madly in love, but what if one day you wake up with three kids, a whopper of a mortgage payment, jobs you can barely stand, and a bad habit of forgetting to have sex for months at a time? And then one day you realize that you were so busy making a life together that you forgot about why you started a relationship to begin with! And you're strangers now! Calm down. Just making sure your communicate, stay friends, and communicate some more, and you won't have this problem.
7. That You'll Mess Up Horribly
Worrying that you will screw up your relationship is kind of like a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you and your partner are on the same page, and you have your major issues mostly in check, you should be fine. If you're that worried about it, some therapy will help you tremendously. And if you do screw up, odds are your partner loves you enough to forgive you. For most things.
8. That You'll Grow In Different Directions
Listen. I'm not going to tell you this doesn't happen. It does. All the time. But two people growing in different directions can still find common ground together and keep their love strong. And if you grow in directions that aren't compatible, you'll find someone who is going your same direction, and you'll be even happier than you can imagine. Again, not to sound like a broken record, but communication is key.
9. That One Of Your Children Will Be A Serial Killer
Hey, I watch Criminal Minds, too. No judgement. I've also wondered what would happen if we spawned something terrible and let it loose on the planet. It would basically be kind of our faults that countless people were murdered in horrific ways. But let me paraphrase to you what my therapist said about that. The odds of this happening are astronomically low, and if it does happen, you're smart enough to notice that your child needs psychological care before he mass murders your neighborhood. OK, odds are not everyone has this particular anxiety of mine — but the idea is the same. Those irrational worries you have (and we all have them)? Same concept. And my therapist had the right response to remind yourself of whenever those thoughts come up.
10. That You'll Lose Everything
I saw this worry a lot with people who chose to stay home and care for children while their significant other worked outside of the home. If the relationship went bad, they'd potentially have less education, less career experience, and possibly zero income. This is a gamble. But there are legal forms you can have drawn up about who has the right to your shared money should that happen. And you can take online classes, even if it takes you 12 years to graduate while you raise the kids. Plus you an go back to school or start a new job track at any age. Where there's a will, there's a way.
11. If You're Settling
If you worry that you're settling, you probably are. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but maybe this will help you: Almost everyone, at some point in their relationship, wonders what it would be like to be single, or to have dated someone different. That's a normal, natural thought process that happens, then usually gets dismissed. As long as your relationship brings you happiness, you don't have to concern yourself with whether your partner is funny or rich or attractive enough. But if you have a nagging feeling that you're unhappy, and it never goes away, that's when you can worry. Because that's when you need to move on.
See, not so bad, right?I mean, I'm not going to get rid of my bubble wrap or anything, but I feel better. I hope you do too.
Images: Pixabay (12)