getting intimate with the role anxiety plays in relationships
Anxiety has a way of finding its way into everything –relationships included. This not only affects the person who lives with an anxiety disorder, but their significant other, too.
Some common relationship woes for those who struggle with anxiety include feeling dependent (*girl-raising-hand emoji*), overreacting to certain situations, letting insecurity takeover, and feeling fearful or defensive all too often. 
As a soon-to-be bride (March 2019, I see you!), navigating my anxiety disorders in my current relationship has proven to be crucial to our development as a couple and as individuals. All relationships take work, but when one (or both!) of you deal with regular anxiety, there’s a little bit of extra work you have to put in on a daily basis. Because no one ever said marriage was easy, right? 🙂
Before I dive into the steps that have helped me navigate myanxiety in my current relationship, I want to note that it takes being with the right person for this to be successful. I’m beyond grateful for my patient,understanding and supportive fiancé, Bobby. Love ya, babe!
With that, here are the steps we have taken in order to not let my anxiety and panic takeover our relationship.
- Educate yourself and your partner. First thing’s first – educate yourself. I encourage you to learn as much as you can about your anxiety/mental health disorder, including what triggers you and what helps you. Knowledge is power here. I highly recommend therapy, as a professional can definitely guide you in the right direction and help you find some answers. Once you know more, you can communicate your feelings to your significant other and work together on how you can better each other. I ask so many questions in my therapy sessions, and it allows me to understand my reactions and my ways. Also, my therapist recently recommended The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook, and that has taught me even more!
- Open up. This is a friendly reminder that you, your anxiety and your emotions are not a burden. These feelings may not be something you feel comfortable sharing early-on in your relationship and that’s totally OK (although, I did tell my fiancé on our first date that I was super needy … Oops?). Regardless when you decide to do so, open up about your emotions and the struggles you face even if they feel like “too much” to you. The right partner will listen and do whatever they are capable of to support and to help you.
- Be patient. Figuring this out by yourself takes time and hard work – so, adding in another person into the equation…? Yeah, it ain’t easy. Remember that developing a healthy relationship is a process with ups and downs, as is learning and healing from a mental health disorder. Be patient with yourself, communicate with your significant other regularly, and know that it gets better.
- Have some fun! Not everything needs to focus on your symptoms or struggles – don’t forget to have some fun together! Laughter really is the best medicine, especially laughing with someone you love. My fiancé and I go to a new place each year and it’s something that brings us so much joy! Find something you and your partner love (well, besides each other) and make it a priority in your relationship.
Of course, every relationship is different. Some of my past relationships worsened my anxiety (cue all the worrisome questions like, “does he even like me?!”) and some, like my current one, have helped me to progress in my mental health journey.
From my experience, anxiety does not have to make or break your relationship. It can be a catalyst for personal growth as an individual and as a couple, and even strengthen your relationship.
Do you struggle with anxiety or constant worry in your relationship? If so, what have you tried to ease these struggles?
Please note that I am not a mental health professional. Always seek the advice of your mental health professional or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding your condition.