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At the same time, you might find yourself constantly questioning yourself, your partner, and the relationship. Will things last? How do you know if this person is really the right one for you? This constant worrying has a name: relationship anxiety. It refers to those feelings of worry, insecurity, and doubt that can pop up in a relationship, even if everything is going relatively well.
Some people experience relationship anxiety during the start of a relationship, before they know their partner has an equal interest in them. Or, they might be unsure if they even want a relationship. Your anxiety may not result from anything in the relationship itself. But it can eventually lead to behaviors that do create issues and distress for you and your partner. Most people feel a little insecure about their relationship at some point, especially in the early stages of dating and forming a commitment. They always seem happy to see you and make kind gestures, like bringing you lunch or walking out of their way to see you home.
When they suddenly seem a little distant, you wonder if their feelings have changed. Everyone feels this way from time to time, but these worries can become a fixation if you have relationship anxiety. A good relationship can make you feel loved, secure, and happy. This anxiety can become problematic when you adjust your behavior in order to secure their continued affection.
Relationship anxiety can make you question whether you and your partner are truly compatible, even when things are going great in the relationship. You may not do these things intentionally, but the underlying goal — whether you realize it or not — is usually to determine how much your partner cares. You might believe, for example, that resisting your efforts to push them away proves they really do love you. Or, when you take the plunge and move in together, they insist on keeping all their old furniture.
Sure, these could all be s of a potential issue. During rough patches, this might be the case. You might even have a hard time identifying potential causes on your own. This can happen as a type of projection.
In other words, feeling disappointed in yourself can make it easier for you to believe that your partner feels the same way about you. People with higher levels of self-esteem, on the other hand, tended to affirm themselves through their relationship when they experienced self-doubt. The attachment style you develop in childhood can have a big impact on our relationships as an adult. If your parent or caregiver responded quickly to your needs and offered love and support, you probably developed a secure attachment style.
You might need to ask yourself about all possible outcomes of a situation before deciding on a path. Or maybe you just have a habit of carefully considering every decision. It might not feel like it in the moment, but relationship anxiety can be overcome, though it does take some time and effort.
And doing so usually involves more than simply being told that your relationship is fine. As you and your partner become closer, you might find key parts of your identity, individuality, or even your independence shifting to make room for your partner and the relationship.
This often happens naturally as you and your partner become a couple. And while some changes — such as getting used to sleeping with the window open — may not have a big impact on your sense of self, others might. If you start pushing down parts of yourself in order to hold on to the relationship, you might begin to feel less like yourself. When negative thoughts come up, you acknowledge them and let them move on. It can also help you to prioritize your day-to-day experiences with your partner.
After all, maybe the relationship will end in a few months or a few years, but you can still appreciate and enjoy it in the meantime. Even if you know your partner truly does love you and that your anxiety is coming from within, it can help to loop your partner in. Feeling anxious about your relationship or your partner can sometimes make you want proof that everything is all right.
Pay attention to the difference between your usual behaviors and impulsive actions. Texting regularly might be normal in your relationship, and keeping up a steady conversation can help reinforce your sense of connection. When you feel these impulses, try to distract yourself with some deep breathing, a walk or jog, or a quick phone call to a close friend. One study suggests that even a single session of therapy can help couples dealing with relationship anxiety.
Concerned about the cost? Our guide to affordable therapy can help. You may not be able to entirely avoid all relationship anxiety, but there are things you can do to Being scared in a new relationship the constant questioning and spend more time actually enjoying what you have with your partner.
Crystal Raypole has ly worked as a writer and editor for GoodTherapy. Her fields of interest include Asian languages and literature, Japanese translation, cooking, natural sciences, sex positivity, and mental health. A lack of communication can bring down even the most picture-perfect relationships.
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How to deal with new relationship anxiety, because it can be scary af