You are aware that every time you have to go to your parent’s house you get a sudden stomach ache and an anxiety attack. You know that every time you let things pile up you suddenly shut down and have the urge to go to sleep instead of working on what you have to do.
You realize that maybe your anxiety has taken control over huge chunks of your life. But, have you ever wondered if your anxiety is ruining your relationship? Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) can have a negative impact on your life if not managed well.
According to the Anxiety and Depression Society of America (ADAA), GAD is characterized by an excessive worry about a number of different things, which can include essential things and trivial things. This means that someone with anxiety could excessively worry about how the planter outside is sitting and excessively worry about getting into an accident on the road.
This constant worrying will make you develop anxiety-motivated behaviors that might get in the way of your job, your family, your friends, and even your romantic relationships. So, how do you know if your anxiety is ruining your relationships?
If you are avoiding the other person in any way, your anxiety might be in the way of your relationship. When it comes to avoidance, anxiety can manifest as not opening up to your partner, avoiding serious or deep topics, not communicating, or not getting into relationships at all.
According to an article on VeryWell Mind, what people with anxiety are trying to avoid is negative feelings, feeling more anxiety, and getting hurt.
“A person who is avoidant of close relationships may be experienced as cold, emotionally unavailable, lacking empathy, or even stand-offish, even though they may long for closeness”, says VeryWell Mind. It also happens that they may come off as passive-aggressive in an attempt to avoid people.
People suffering from anxiety can also turn to avoidance in order to spare their partner from their problems, thinking that they will burden their partner if they share anything.
An article in HeySigmund says explains that “the tendency can be for anxious people to dismiss their own worries, but this might mean that they do themselves out of the opportunity to feel nurtured and supported by you – which would be a huge loss for both of you”.
Depending too much
On the other side of the coin is codependency. In this case, the person suffering from anxiety has a dependency on their partner for support and assurance. They also have a deep and constant desire for closeness whether that be physical, emotional, or mental.
VeryWell Mind states that “along with being overly dependent, people with anxiety may find themselves prone to overthinking, planning for all worst-case scenarios, being indecisive, fearing rejection, seeking out constant communication (and getting anxious if a partner or friend does not respond quickly)”.
The anxiety can quickly turn into anger and can lead the person suffering from anxiety to act out in ways that threaten to break up the relationship.
Other behaviors you may find in people who suffer from anxiety may be being controlling, being distracted and having trouble focusing, coming across as overly critical, and being a perfectionist with everything, according to an article in TalkSpace.
Most of these behaviors are triggered by the constant questions and ruminating that people with anxiety tend to do. Some things that they may be thinking about can be:
- What if they don’t love me as much as I love them?
- What if they’re lying to me?
- What if they’re hiding something from me?
- What if they’re cheating on me?
- What if they want to cheat on me?
- What if they like someone else more?
- What if my anxiety ruins our relationship? (anxiety about the anxiety)
- What if we break up?
- What if they don’t text me back?
- What if I’m always the first one to reach out?
- What if they ghost on me?
From which they go round and round in their minds, creating negative, impossible, and worst-case scenarios in their minds which at best will put them in a bad mood. At worst, they will come to believe these scenarios which might lead them to make some negative decisions or act in explosive ways.
How to help
If you are a partner of someone suffering from anxiety, remind them that you’re there for them and that whatever it is that they are going through you can handle it. Maybe you can even help solve it.
Encourage them to seek therapy, whether individual or in couples. And maybe seek therapy for yourself to learn more about how anxiety works and better help yourself and your partner.
If you are suffering from anxiety, get help by going to a therapist. Try to slowly open yourself up to your partner and lean more on them if you’re one who tends to avoid them. If you’re a person who tends to be overly dependent, look into yourself and realize that you are more than capable to work on some things on your own. You don’t need to depend on others all of the time.
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A. (2019, 2 mei). How Your Anxiety Disorder is Affecting Your Romantic Relationship. Discovery Mood & Anxiety Program. https://discoverymood.com/blog/generalized-anxiety-disorder/
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) | Anxiety and Depression Association of America, ADAA. (2022). Anxiety and Depression Association of America. https://adaa.org/understanding-anxiety/generalized-anxiety-disorder-gad
Meek, W. (2022, 6 juni). How Anxiety Affects Relationships. Verywell Mind. https://www.verywellmind.com/how-anxiety-can-cause-relationship-problems-1393090
Rosenblatt, K., MA, & Anwar, B., MA. (2022, 2 juni). Dating Someone with Anxiety – Talkspace. Talk Space. https://www.talkspace.com/mental-health/conditions/generalized-anxiety-disorder/relationships-dating/
Young, K. (2020, 7 augustus). Anxiety and Relationships: How to Stop it Stealing the Magic. Hey Sigmund. https://www.heysigmund.com/anxiety-and-intimate-relationships-how-to-stop-anxiety-from-stealing-the-magic/