7 Signs Analysis Paralysis Is Causing Issues In Your Relationship
If you're guilty of overthinking everything your partner or a potential partner says or does, you may have analysis paralysis. According to experts, it's a fairly common thing that can affect all aspects of your life. But it's especially important to pay attention to it if you want a healthy love life.
"Analysis paralysis is the state of over-analyzing (or overthinking) a situation so that a decision is never made or action isn't taken," Rachel Wright, MA, LMFT, co-founder of Wright Wellness Center, tells Bustle. In turn, this eventually paralyzes the outcome.
This is something that can happen to us in all parts of life. Whenever you think something through but never actually take action, that's analysis paralysis. If you're looking for love or you're already in a relationship, overthinking and indecision can affect it in negative ways.
"Overanalyzing can stop you from ever putting your self out there as a single person, or can hinder the progression of an established relationship," psychologist Kelsey M. Latimer, PhD, CEDS-S, founder of Hello Goodlife, tells Bustle. "Whether you're dating or in a relationship, it will likely stop you from getting to the right answer for you."
Everyone overthinks or gets indecisive from time to time. But here are some signs that analysis paralysis may be impacting your relationship, according to experts.
1. There's An Approach-Withdraw Pattern In Your Relationship
"What can happen when one partner gets into analysis paralysis mode is that it can set off an approach-withdraw pattern with couples," licensed psychologist and couples therapist, Heather Z. Lyons, PhD, tells Bustle. This happens when overthinking causes one partner to withdraw, which will then cause the other to feel hurt or neglected. If you're not communicating with each other, this can cause hurt, anger, and resentment to build in the relationship. According to Lyons, a show of anger can make overthinkers withdraw even more so the cycle continues.
2. You And Your Partner Have Different Memories Of The Same Event, And Yours Are More Negative
"Naturally, our memories are colored by our personal perspectives and past experiences," Lyons says. But if you have completely different ideas of what happened during a specific event and yours tend to be more negative, this is a sign that you may be more in your head than the "real world."
3. You Feel Like Your Relationship Isn't Going Anywhere
When you're too in your head, you may worry about the pacing of your relationship more than you should. If you're concerned about this, Lyons says it may be a sign that you're not talking enough and taking the necessary risks to grow your relationship.
4. You Have A Hard Time Trusting Reality
"Overthinking can veer on the edge of hyper-vigilance or even paranoia," Lyons says. While it's helpful to be thoughtful about your relationship, turning inwards too much can mean you're not relying on "external or objective data." Instead, you're relying more on your own perceptions, which may or may not be based on reality. If this is the case for you, it may be worth it to talk to a loved one or a therapist about it.
5. You're Not Playing An Active Role In Your Relationship
You may overthink a lot because your relationship is important to you. But it can become a problem if you're worrying so much about what your partner will think that it stops you from fully expressing yourself. "Overthinking can cause us to freeze," Lyons says. "When this happens, all your partner sees is inaction. Not affection and not interest in them." In turn, this can leave your partner thinking you're not really into them.
6. Your Behavior Is Making Your Partner Feel Like They're Not Good Enough
"Overthinking in relationships usually boils down to uncertainty and our quest to feel secure about aspects of our relationship," therapist Ashley L. Annestedt, LCSW, tells Bustle. One thing some people with analysis paralysis tend to do is compare themselves to others. You may not mean to do it, but if it's a habit, your partner will notice. According to Annestedt, "It can impact the quality of the relationship and could cause your partner to feel as though they aren't good enough."
7. You Take A Lot Of Things Personally
This can happen whether you're single and dating or already in a relationship. According to Mayla Green, sex and relationship coach, it's so to pick apart someone's words and body language and then apply meaning to it. "The mind can play tricks on us too so if we have a suspicion that someone's mad at us for example, we construe their actions into negative signs against us," she says. As a result, contempt builds and we feel like there's something wrong with us or the relationship. But more often than not, your partner thinks everything is fine.
If you're an overthinker and it's hurting your relationship, getting out of this mindset is possible. For one, communicating with your partner can help to ease any worries you may have. Following your intuition can also help.
"Your intuition is essentially where your heart and mind meets," Latimer says. "It's known as your 'gut reaction.' These make for much more balanced decisions in the long run, as over-utilizing either emotions or logic will lead to flawed decision making."
It's not easy to get out of your head. But if you can learn to trust your intuition more, your relationship can really benefit from it.