Loving someone with anxiety can be difficult at times. You might not understand why they do that things they do or why they are worried about something that isn’t a big deal to you. There will be bad days where your loved one might be inconsolable or easily irritated, and then there will be good days as well. Those goods days won’t always outweigh the bad, but there are some ways to lessen the impact of your partner’s anxiety on themselves. Here, Psych2Go gives you 10 things that anxious people need in a relationship.
Your loved one is already frustrated with their anxiety and how it affects their daily life and relationships. They don’t need anything adding to that frustration. What they do need is patience from you. Allowing them to make decisions on their own time will help. It can take awhile for someone with anxiety to make a decision because they are more than likely looking at every aspect of that decision. Making sure that they have all of the information before they can choose something is a big piece to the puzzle. This might be a bit of an issue when the decision is time sensitive. If it isn’t, it is a great opportunity to just reassure your loved one that taking their time is alright and that you’ll just wait for them.
2. Remember that they are much more than their anxiety
Anxiety is just one part of who your loved one is, it is not the whole picture. Anxiety is an illness and like any illness it needs special care and attention. This flows over to your loved one and should be reflected by how you treat them while they are in the midst of their anxiety. For the most part, anxiety often presents like nervous energy coupled with a feeling of unease. It can also go so far as to become a full blown panic attack. In either instance it is important to remember that your loved one is suffering and needs you there to support them.
If you find yourself in a relationship with someone who has anxiety and you feel overwhelmed by something, speak up. Be kind and courteous, but make sure you express your feelings to them. Anxiety is a big thing in their life and therefor will be a big thing in yours. Moreover, you can not keep feelings bottled up. They will find a way to come out at some point and without the right guidance from you, those feelings could hurt your anxious loved one. Just be open and honest with them. Communication is key from both sides.
This can come in the form of telling your loved one that things will be alright. Show them that you aren’t going anywhere because of their anxiety. You can also suggest that they do their breathing exorcises. All of these things can help them remember that they are in the moment and know what to do.
5. Don’t become anxious as well
If you have anxieties of your own, then by all means share that with your loved one. It can be a way for you to have common ground a bond even more. Furthermore, if you don’t have anxiety don’t let theirs cause you to. It is easy for people to emulate behaviors that they are around, so keep that in mind. Don’t adopt their way of looking at the world and becoming anxious because of it. This might be hard but over time you should be able to recognize if you are absorbing their behaviors and triggers. If you catch yourself in this spiral just remember that you don’t have their anxiety. Remember to be gentle with your loved one so as not to make them feel worse. This will only add to their own list of fears and frustrations.
6. Don’t vent your frustration with anxiety to them
Sitting down and having a discussion with your loved one is a good way to talk about any frustrations you have, just don’t vent. Venting can come off as accusatory, even when you don’t mean it too. Having an emotional reaction to a situation you feel you have no control over is completely natural though. There will be times that the may anxiety takes precedence over everything else. Not to mention the fact that you you might feel that you are being pushed to the wayside because of the anxiety. There might even be a time where you see your loved one as selfish because of their anxiety, though true selfishness is rarely ever the case. If you do feel those things, it is best to calmly and compassionately speak to your loved one about how you feel.
Make sure that you make them understand that they are not being personally attacked for their anxiety. This can lead to the sufferer becoming even more anxious as well as feeling like they can’t confide in you. A vicious cycle will start and both of you will only become more frustrated as time goes by. Open and honest communication about these struggles, from both side, will help the both of you feel better about the situation.
Anxiety can stop you and your loved one from having fun. It can cause people to be leery of crowds, travel, new experiences, and many other things. Don’t let anxiety take all of the fun out of everything, adapt. Change the way you think a relationship should be. Upend the idea of date nights needing to be in public places. Then change the plans to be less intrusive on your loved one’s mental wellbeing. Take the time to explore other options in your relationship and keep moving forward. Finding new ways to have fun and be together might just put a little extra spark in the whole relationship.
8. Don’t take it personally
Your loved one is having a bad day because of their anxiety and chances are you had nothing to do with it. One of the many symptoms of anxiety is anger and it is often misplaced. Those with anxiety are overwhelmed by their feelings and very often have no outlet for them. In light of this, these feelings can manifest in the form of sadness, irritability, and sometimes anger. Keep this in mind and remember that your loved one isn’t mad at you, they are mad at their anxiety.
Those with anxiety don’t often know how to accurately convey their feelings, especially in the middle of a panic attack or after an anxiety filled day. Just remind them that they are safe and can relax now. This could prompt them to do their breathing exorcises. By the same token, you might suggest watching their favorite movie. Helping them get out of their head will allow them to get a handle on the feelings that were so out of their control earlier.
9. Just listen
Having an ear to bend can benefit anyone, but it can especially be helpful to those that have anxiety. Listening, without the intent to respond is an effective way to show your loved on that you are there for them. If they ask for advice, please give it to them, but if they don’t then just hold back and wait for them to finish. Being able to get frustrations and fears off of their chest can lighten the hold that anxiety has one them.
If they are coming to you that means that they trust you enough to talk about such a hard subject. Keep that in mind and give them your full attention. Talking might be all they need to shake the panic attack that is rising inside of them. It also allows them to focus on specific situations that are bothering them. Examining things can lead the person to see that the situations aren’t as big as they had built them up to be.
This doesn’t have to be romantic love; you may not be at that point in your relationship yet. No, this can be anything from absolute love to friendship or just loving them as a person. Sometimes anxious people feel that they are too much for someone else to handle. They worry that they aren’t worth the time it takes to get to know them and to work around their anxiety. However, showing them that they are worth the trouble can change their outlook and make them feel better. Loving someone with anxiety won’t “fix” them, but it will help them to see themselves in a different light. Everyone deserves to know that they are worth something.
Do you have any dating tips that pertain to anxiety? Drop them in the comments below!
Other readings from Psych2Go:
Borresen, Kelsey. “14 Things To Know If You Love Somebody With Anxiety.” The Huffington Post, TheHuffingtonPost.com, 30 Mar. 2017, www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/what-to-know-if-you-love-someone-with-anxiety_us_58dbecdfe4b0cb23e65da659. Retrieved October 26, 2017
Reid, Heather. “14 Things to Remember If You Love an Anxious Person.” Lifehack, Lifehack, 20 Nov. 2014, www.lifehack.org/articles/communication/14-things-remember-you-love-anxious-person.html. Retrieved October 26, 2017you