How To Tame Relationship Anxiety: 3 Valentine’s Day Tips

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Anxiety is love’s greatest killer. It makes others feel as you might when a drowning man holds onto you. You want to save him, but you know he will strangle you with his panic.”

Anias Nin

You find yourself in a relationship, things are going well, there’s no warning signs but you still have this underlying nervousness. You might think, “What if they leave me?”, “What if they’re dishonest?” or “What if they’re a shady person and I’m not realizing it?” Over time this anxiety continues to grow and trust issues start to arise….or perhaps codependency issues. You wonder….”How did we get here?” or “Why do I feel this way?”

Let’s discuss:

  • What is relationship anxiety?
  • Reasons why we feel relationship anxiety.
  • New relationship anxiety
  • Why is it so hard to be happy in love?
  • How do I deal with anxiety? 3 ways to help yourself
  • What are relationship anxiety symptoms?
  • Can anxiety ruin my relationship?
  • How do I get over relationship anxiety?
  • Can a toxic relationship cause anxiety and what’s the difference?
  • Separation anxiety and 3 ways to cope

What is 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.

Reasons why we feel relationship anxiety:

  • Many times it can come from previous relationships that didn’t work out well.
  • It can be a result of having generalized anxiety disorder or another anxiety disorder.
  • New relationship anxiety can develop when you first start dating someone.
  • Long- distance relationships cause a natural strain due to lack of contact. This easily contributes to anxiety and numerous other issues. Put simply, not all couples are made to go the distance.

New Relationship anxiety

In all transparency, when we first enter relationships, we don’t necessarily know what the long term could be like. The unknown is known to be terrifying….

There is always a growing period, but especially after the honeymoon period ends. This is really when you start to decide if this is right person for you and whether you are willing to tolerate their downfalls.

If you want to be in a relationship for a long amount of time, constant worrying about the health of your relationship will cause increased stress on yourself and your significant other. This often becomes a deal breaker. Ultimately leaving your loved one feeling not trusted and at the same time, giving false affirmation to any feelings of inadequacy you may possess.

Why can’t I be happy in love?

There’s a certain pressure from society to feel excited, happy and very in love when you first start a new relationship. It seems natural to be when some one you meet tickles your fancy.

Unfortunately, not every one feels this way. This is ok. You may have been burned before. You may not be a very excitable person. You may be experiencing underlying anxiety. You may not actually like he person as much as you thought. Or maybe other things in your life are interfering. Whatever the reason may be, you’re not the only one.

relationship anxiety
Although 70% of couples report overall relationship satisfaction, there is a daily fluctuation in relationship quality associated to the wives’ anxiety with 17% reporting the husband makes it worse.

You might want to feel excited and joyous, but you’re noticing that you’re spending your time feeling the opposite. This can potentially make you feel guilty. It’s important not to do that to yourself. Your feelings are yours and need to be given the attention they deserve, regardless of their origin.

This pandemic is not helpful either, because most people are not seeing each other as often in person anymore. That can potentially take its toll if you’re already worried.

So what to do?

How do I deal with anxiety?

At Makin Wellness, we take a three-pronged approach.

  1. Recognize what your triggers are. What is it about this person that is triggering you to make you feel anxious or what is going on in your mind that triggers the anxiety. Do they say or do certain things? Does this relationship somehow bring back old memories from other relationships that’s making you feel triggered? Spend some time and write down what all of your triggers are.
  2. Challenge these triggers through implementing a coping skill or challenging the negative or illogical thought. An online counselor at Makin Wellness can help teach you about cognitive distortions, which are essentially thinking errors that can lead to anxiety. For instance, if you just started dating someone, you’re in a new relationship, they don’t text you back within 30 minutes or however long and now you start feeling a little bit anxious. You may think, “What if they’re with someone else?”, “What if they’re gonna ghost me?” or “What if they don’t like me anymore?” You’re doing the anxiety spiral. It’s important to challenge this thought in the very beginning of its existence and every time it rears its ugly head. You can challenge it different ways. An example of a challenging statement could be “Well I don’t really like that they didn’t text me back right away but I’m sure they’ll get back to me later.” or “Maybe they’re busy at work right now or maybe some situation came up and I’m sure they’ll go back to me.” instead of feeding the negative and the what-if thoughts.
  3. Go the extra mile to be mindful. Actually implementing coping skills or challenging these thoughts can be easier said than done, but stay and aware and try your hardest to not be hard on yourself. Consistency will pay off.

If you notice that you try this approach but you are still overthinking your relationship, I would highly recommend that you connect with a counselor online or in person. A qualified professional can dive more deeply into your underlying anxiety and help you create a plan for reducing it.

What are relationship anxiety symptoms?

Having a heightened amount of negative thoughts about your partner causing:

  • An increase in stress levels
  • An increase in anxiety levels
  • Feeling jittery or shaky
  • Irregular heartbeat or heart arrhythmia
  • Unusual sweating
  • Fatigue. You can feel easily drained throughout the day due to the bodies release of cortisol. A natural side effect of anxiety.

Can anxiety ruin relationships?

Relationship anxiety is inherently destructive.

The partner struggling with anxiety will be:

  • Looking through a filtered lens of anxiety or nervousness.
  • Having a hard time being mindful or enjoying the immediate moment with their partner.
  • In some cases, experiencing reduced sex drive and libido.
  • Struggling with communication challenges.

The partner experiencing the other end will:

  • Feel less than trusted, confused, and maybe even offended.
  • Find the experience too stressful too make the trip, feeding back into the anxiety.
  • Start feeling stress and perhaps traumatized, depending on the circumstances.

These situations can easily snowball into much bigger deals than necessary, leaving both lovers involved wondering how they got there and how to get out.

How do I get over relationship anxiety?

There’s a lot of different approaches for reducing this and other anxieties. The biggest thing I would recommend is for you to connect with a counselor. They will use cognitive behavioral therapy, which is a research-backed approach that is effective for reducing relationship anxiety.

It essentially boils down to what you think affects how you feel, which then affects how you behave. It helps you to restructure your thoughts so you don’t feel anxious as often.

Can a toxic relationship cause anxiety and what is the difference?

If you’re tuning in today, there’s a huge difference between feeling anxious about a relationship and truly being in a toxic relationship. This is important to understand and can be crucial to your long term well-being.

anxiety spiral

If you are in a toxic relationship, the person can be manipulative, controlling, threatening, use money against you or isolate you from your friends, family, and loved ones.

A toxic relationship will make majority of people feel extremely uncomfortable and anxious.

There’s a huge difference between an unhealthy partner versus being with a partner who cares about you, is supportive, kind, lifts you up, loves you and makes you a priority in their life.

With this case, they’re not necessarily doing anything wrong or hurting you or manipulating you, but it is your relationship anxiety that is causing the distress.

If you’re still not sure if this is a toxic relationship or relationship anxiety, please connect with an online counselor and they’ll be able to assist you further.

How to deal with separation anxiety?

We’re living in a time where we’re still dealing with the pandemic.

You might not be seeing your partner as often as you were if you aren’t living together.

People are now dealing with separation more than we’re typically used to.

Here are some tips to coping with the absence of your significant other:

  1. Utilize technology. If you’re able to do video chats or video conferences more frequently instead of just calling, do so. It’s not the same as seeing someone in person, but you still feel a closer emotional connection when you see someone’s face and are able to actually physically see them instead of just hearing them. That’s your number one goal. To feel connected.
  2. Implement coping skills at the onset of your anxiety. For this particular area, it’s important to consider that everyone finds different coping skills that work for them. To get your brain thinking….. Do deep breathing, exercises where you count to 10, use a high quality CBD oil, go for a walk or stretch, write down what you’re worried about, write down positive things about your partner, and be creative in how you choose to cope. The sky is the limit.
  3. Talk to your partner. There’s something very freeing that comes with expressing your feelings and letting out what’s truly going on. Keeping things like this a secret will eventually make our anxiety worse. It’s important to talk about it.

You’re not alone….

If you notice that you’ve already implemented a lot of what I’m talking about and you’d like a more direction or support, our online counselors at Makin Wellness would love to assist you on your healing journey towards being a happier you again .

Give our team a call at 833-274- HEAL. Our online counselors specialize in mental health, relationships and addictions. We are all about helping you heal and make them happy again.

Follow us…..

Thanks so much for tuning in to this video! Our team hopes that you have found this to be helpful. Please leave in the comment section below….

“What do you recommend for reducing relationship anxiety?”

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We look forward to connecting with you next time! Thanks everyone!

Sara Makin MSEd, LPC, NCC

Sara Makin MSEd, LPC, NCC

All articles are written in conjunction with the Makin Wellness Research Team.

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. Tex Hooper

    That is true that people have been getting more anxious during this pandemic. My son has been having severe depression for the past couple of months. I’ll have to consider getting a therapist to help him get better.

    1. Makinwellness

      Thanks for the input Tex. We hope you found this article helpful. Depression can be very out of the blue but therapy is a wonderful, safe place to start the healing process. Let us know if you need any sort of guidance. We are happy to help.

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