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Working through Relationship Anxiety - Stories and Advice


ImThatGirl

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Hi, I'm _________. I suffer from anxiety. The triggers of my anxiety are fear and doubt. I need to know what I can expect. I like things to be guaranteed. If there's any doubt, I get anxious, worry constantly, and am not myself.

 

I've been posting on the site for a few weeks. I know that there are many people that suffer from anxiety and I'd like to have opinions and advice on how to work through anxiety. I know this is long. The main point and plea is: If you've had anxiety that has ruined relationships (or anything else,) let me know how you worked through that anxiety successfully.

 

I have learned that anxiety can ruin a good thing. Fear and doubt in anything decrease or eliminate the chances of a good outcome.

 

I was single for a couple years, dating but never getting serious. I took time to evaluate myself, to determine my weaknesses. My self esteem was low. My ex made me feel like I was worthless. I was exhausted and running in circles because I commuted 2.5 hours to work.

 

I determined the needed to find a new job or move closer to work. I needed to be more well rounded person rather than only be able to respond that I'm a mother when asked about who I am. I needed to finish college. Those were 3 goals I made a few years ago. Three goals I knew I wanted to accomplish before getting in a serious relationship.

 

I finished college - an associates degree. Now I have opportunity for growth at my place of employment (of 6 years.)

I moved closer to work. My drive is 8 minutes. My children and I have gained 2 hours on our days.

I volunteered for Red Cross. I started visiting with friends and making new friends.

I then set a goal of being in a successful relationship.

I'm now in a serious relationship. I felt good about myself before I got into the serious relationship. Now, I'm hypersensitive, scared, doubtful, and barely able to be myself because of the anxiety of the lack of guarantees..

 

Last week I began worrying. I was a mess. Analyzed everything. Worrying about everything. Short with my boyfriend, questioning his jokes, his commitment, his goals.

 

I realized this - Because we moved quickly from dating to serious, I haven't had time to truly learn that I can trust him or that we can have so much belief in something that is so new. I plan to write him a letter tonight. To explain. I now know we shouldn't have rushed into things - and maybe we should slow down (I hate the thought of) or maybe not have so many huge discussions about our future at this point and just enjoy getting to know one another further.

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I hear you. Sometimes I have to repeat in my head, " he loves me, he is with me, over and over again. Which is true until it isn't. Right now me and my boyfriend are together and fine. We moved quickly too and then had to slow down. I try to take it day by day. The worst for anxiety is me beating myself up about stuff. If i need to express my anxiety, I my boyfriend up and say " I am feeling a bit anxious, i just wanted to hear your voice" and that makes things much better. Communication ofcoruse is big, if he can learn something about anxiety. Also ask him to go to a counselor with you. Hopefully you are seeing a counselor. Talking to someone objective helps. My counselor just gives me a pep talk each week. It also calms me.

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He understands that I "worry" as he puts it. This weekend he said "I'm going to have to get you meds so you don't worry all the time." I'm sure it was a joke and a comment to express that I need to stop worrying. Put lightly. To me it was = Great - there's my warning sign. He'll leave if I continue to worry - What good am I for this relationship.

 

He has a dry sense of humor - constant jokes. I need those to lessen a little. Until I feel more confident. I think he can be patient and work through this with me. I think he kinda understands.

 

I might think of going to a counselor. I have done better with anxiety. I know that if I am going through a big change (moving, son going to kindergarten, anything somewhat life altering,) I will be in a rush of worries and anxiety. If I plan ahead enough, I can lessen the worries - actually eliminate the worries. That's why I'm thinking we need to change something somehow (slow down / less jokes / even more communication.)

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I hear you. Sometimes I have to repeat in my head, " he loves me, he is with me, over and over again. Which is true until it isn't. Right now me and my boyfriend are together and fine. We moved quickly too and then had to slow down. I try to take it day by day. The worst for anxiety is me beating myself up about stuff. If i need to express my anxiety, I my boyfriend up and say " I am feeling a bit anxious, i just wanted to hear your voice" and that makes things much better. Communication ofcoruse is big, if he can learn something about anxiety. Also ask him to go to a counselor with you. Hopefully you are seeing a counselor. Talking to someone objective helps. My counselor just gives me a pep talk each week. It also calms me.

 

 

And Asch - Thank you very much for sharing.!

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I also have anxiety, I think everyone does. Its all about how you cope with it. You have to remember that you were fine before he came along, and if things didn't work out, you'd be fine without him.

Focus on you, your children, your job, your hobbies. Try to look at your b/f as an addition to your life, not a necessity. When you start to feel yourself losing control take a deep breath and remind yourself of how great your life is focusing on everything but him.

I suggest you read "Captivating; Unveiling The Mystery of a Woman's Soul" is by a Christian author couple, John and Stasi Eldredge.-it explains why women are the way we are, and that its ok.

Good Luck

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maybe it's time to have a talk with him about your need for more communication. I asked my boyfriend to cool it on the sarcastic remarks . I know his intentions were to be funny but they got on my nerves sometimes.

Also I really tried to avoid it, but i take lexapro now. i only want to do it for a little while and see if i don't need it all the time. But I want to do whatever it takes to have a great relationship. If taking a pill once a day helps me calm down enough to be able to really be with my boyfriend. i think it's worth it.

Tomorrow I may feel differently. No matter what i am trying to be easy on myself, not too many committments, too many places to go, to much slef criticism. I am trying the best I can. That's all I've got right now.

I'll bet you are doing the best you can, especially with a son ( I can't imagine having another life that is my responsibility ) . Do see a counselor though.

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Thank you rodeo! I realize that - and actually believed it until I was hit with this overbearing anxiety last week. It's clicked for me though. I've gained control of the anxiety just have to decrease the triggers a bit.

 

I pray alot too.... Probably need to a little more to get through this!

 

Asch - I try to be easy on myself too - like moving closer to work, less commitment to friends and family during the week, etc. I've thought about lexapro but know that it will make me feel and act differently. I just want to be me - without the anxiety.

 

I did so good with all our changes - moving (away from family,) kindergarten, my daughters father having a new son this year. Nothing really phases me or makes me go into the rush of anxiety anymore. Except this relationship and the fear the unknown. And you know, I will be perfectly fine if it doesn't work out. I know I'll be okay and get through that. It's not like I depend on this relationship to keep me happy. I am a typically happy go lucky gal. Just this fear is such pressure... aahhh...

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I'll keep that in mind Asch. Maybe talk to my doctor. I read something today that gave information about "exposure." That exposure to a specific anxiety issue will make someone less anxious and help learn to cope. That's what I've been banking on...... I think I'll get more comfortable with time. But then I worry that I don't have "all the time in the world either."

 

I talked to him for a few minutes tonight. He says - he doesn't worry. That even if something could happen, he refuses to worry about it because worrying does no good.

 

I acknowledged that I have been worrying for the past week. And that I knew it wasn't good for our relationship. And that I'm working on it.

 

I absolutely hate this. Hate it. I have found someone that is wonderful with my kids and I and I'm on the verge of ruining it. He's wonderful and I'm a mess. . . .

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Thank you much Rodeo! I copied this to a word document and printed it. I will be holding onto it tightly for the next few days (or maybe longer.)

 

My perception is that he's become a little more quiet and that he may be questioning whether this is worth it. I could be completely wrong. Maybe I'm dillusional at this point! lol

 

In any case, I've decided that only time will tell. I'm going to hope for the best but prepare for the worst. I'm going to stop verbalizing my worries. I'm gonna find a way to block out the worries. I know that by talking about my worries constantly, I may be pushing him away. Like I said before - I hate dealing with the wrath of my anxieties and I can't imagine anyone else can be too patient or tolerant of it either.

 

Anyhow - If I stop the worries and can be who I really am without the worries, that puts the ball in his court. He will have the opportunity to treasure me as a whole (without the constant worries) or to cut ties. At least I will know I tried my best.

 

Thank you for all your help everyone.

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I have a few things to say - hope I don't ramble. First, I think you are totally right in not sharing your anxieties with him too much. However, I would share - at appropriate times - specific examples of things he does, says, doesn't do, that concern you (I wouldn't even use the word "anxious"). Things you believe he can do something about that, in turn, may lessen your anxiety.

 

Second, I would be careful about writing letter instead of face to face communication. If it is hard for you to talk about, maybe write it out and read it to him? To me letters, especially on that topic, make the issue seem much more serious than it really is.

 

Third, cut yourself slack because you have so much on your plate even without him in your life - and you're doing great - what a juggler you are!

 

Fourth, I find that anxiety is "addictive" in the sense that it makes you want to keep focusing on it - going round and round in your head - it "seems" like you're trying to analyze the problem but the anxiety doesn't allow it. So, I find that distractions like exercise, talking to a friend (not about the anxiety or the relationship, something else), etc really helps. I also like the book "Out of the Box for Life" which has some good exercises to do to lessen anxiety.

 

I know it is tempting to share this with your bf - because, after all, he cares for you and you need reassurance. I am impressed that you realized that that isn't a great idea and that you are acting on it by not discussing it with him as much.

 

All the best to you.

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  • 2 years later...

I read through your posts and I so feel for you because I have been there myself. There is hope. I'll say it all briefly and you can get back to me if you want more:

From what you talked about, I would strongly recommend going to the "ocdonline" website. Google it. Dr. Philipson does a great job of addressing whats called pure-o obsessional thinking, especially in terms of relational anxiety. There is a good overview article posted called "Thinking the Unthinkable".

There is so much that has been done to help people like you and me. Finding a counselor that has experience in anxiety and OCD will need to be a part of your treatment. At first I reacted against that, against the idea that I was one of "them" (people that needed therapy). It has been one of the most humbling and good experiences for me to see myself as just human--needed help and no better than others I used to look down on.

Bottom line: it can get better. its takes utter perseverance, and a bias to hope. But for me the alternative is to go back to a life lived in fear. And I believe I am meant for more.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I created a top rated website that comes up first on Google when doing a search under "Dating Advice for Women" , giving a man's perspective to trying to help women find the right man and to deal with the anxiety and many other problems that come from relationships. It covers many different facets of dating and relationships. I think it could help. Good luck.

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  • 1 month later...

I just want to say how relieved I am to have read this thread...I have such bad relationship anxiety right now...we're about a month into it and things have gone serious fast. This has never happened to me before and I have the fear. I'm just glad to know that this is more common than I realized.

 

I'm on meds already for anxiety and depression...I also see a counselor. I just have to work on it. I mentioned how I worry about certain things to him last night and he said "don't worry"...so I have no need to do so. I just do. But anyway, thank you to the previous posters for addressing this problem I'm going through.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Really glad to see a topic like this.

 

I wouldn't sit there and say "I suffer from anxiety" but I'm at ends with myself over a stupid anxiety I have with relationships.

 

About 8 or 9 months before my boyfriend and I broke up, I went through this awful phase where I thought things between us just weren't right. I got so worked up about it, that I nearly convinced myself to break up with him. It was horrible, and the worst part about it was that I didn't even know what caused it. I kept saying to myself "What if things aren't right?" But it passed after a few months of ignoring it and that was that.

 

That was over a year ago and now we've been broken up for 7 months.....7 months, and I still can't ever picture myself being with someone else. It was a pretty bad break up and I was absolutely devastated. After getting over it, everything turned to the anxiety end of things. I know it's nothing to do with him, because I'm not in love with him anymore but I always, always allow myself to think:

 

1. What if I never actually get over him fully?

2. What if I'm that one exception in the world and I'll never move on?

3. What if I meet someone else but convince myself that I'll never be as happy with them as I thought I was with my ex?

4. What if I never hold down another relationship?

5. What if I just don't have it in me to love someone again?

 

 

It's so annoying, because sometimes I'm fine....and other times I concoct and believe all these crazy ideas in my mind. I always compare myself with how fast other people move on from their relationships and I worry that I'm falling behind. I also have a tendency to believe that I HAVE to meet someone now, before it's too late.....????

 

 

I feel so complicated

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This is an extremely relieving thread for me to read as well. I am experiencing much of what everyone else is describing pretty seriously for the second time.

 

The first time was a few years ago. I started dating a girl I had been friends with for a while. It felt pretty serious pretty quickly, and a few months into it I all of sudden started to panic. I was convinced she was distancing herself, convinced she wasn't as into me as I was into her, and found myself analyzing every comment, action, or lack thereof as if she was on trial and each was potential evidence for the verdict of whether she was still into me or not. It drove me nuts for another 4 months or so - I started individual therapy for the first time, which felt like a crutch but not a cure, and tried Lexapro for a week, at which point she broke up with me. It was a brutal day, and the next day I was fine. As if a weight had been lifted from my shoulders. I was unhappy to be single, but really felt okay.

 

Months after the break up, she wrote me a note telling me that she did think in retrospect that she pulled away and explained that maybe it had to do with other things in her life and that she felt awful and I didn't deserve it.

 

Fast forward two years, I enter another relationship, again with a girl I was friends with for a while. We dated for 5 months before she left for Europe to study abroad for 4 months. We both seemed totally set on the idea of staying together for this period of distance. A few weeks in she told me a guy tried to kiss her at a club, and it took her a second to react because of alcohol, and since that day I have been in a very similar state to the one I was in during the prior relationship. I feel extremely anxious almost every day almost all day. For the first few weeks I had very clear worries - either a) she's not being faithful or b) she is losing interest in me and is not as into me as I am into her. I would usually be worried about one and not the other, but it would often switch back and forth. The past week or two I am less focused on those specific worries, but still feel a general unease that I'd like to think is anxiety. I am constantly craving communication - even moreso than when she's in the United States, and in fact I think we may talk more than we do when she's in the U.S., even though much of it is over the computer now.

 

But it's really tough. If I'm not worried that something's off, I'm worried that everything's fine and my anxiety and worry is going to ruin things. I just really wish I could be happy with what I have and enjoy the fact that I'm with this girl I adore who is really a great girlfriend to me. She is amazing with communication considering she's in Spain, I do feel like I could tell her anything (even though I am trying not to make it clear that this is an everyday worry for me). She does make jokes occasionally about us breaking up or about me needing to buy a dog or there being a lot of hot guys out there that flirt with her. These really bug me, I take them extremely sensitively, and I think it's because of the lack of confidence. But other than that, I can't really fault the girl, she's pretty great to me.

 

Responses are more than welcome. It's very nice to see a thread about this. I have felt like I'm the only one who has this focused sort of anxiety and have been starting to wonder if therapy (I've started seeing someone again) or medication can even help me.

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But it's really tough. If I'm not worried that something's off, I'm worried that everything's fine and my anxiety and worry is going to ruin things.

 

Amen!

 

 

Isn't it mad how you know you're the one making yourself feel this way....yet it doesn't make an ounce of difference.

 

 

I always find that I need to worry about it and analyse every detail, because I convince myself that I'll eventually come to a conclusion...but I never do.

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Wow Im another one that thought he was alone in this. I feel the same way its as if every relationship iv had this problem in is the same. As soon as a trigger sets off my anxiety I cant figure out how to stop it and get back to where my mind belongs. I know its my own mind tearing it apart and nothing more but I just cant seem to break the cycle. Iv talked with my current girl friend about it and she offered on her own my own prying eye into whatever I want. Phone messages online messages anything. I found that clearly nothing is going on and wont look anymore because I want to build trust in the relationship but I still cant seem to shake this feeling of anxiety that something is going to happen. Im hoping that chatting with people on here will help.

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This is a very good topic. I suffer a lot from anxiety, it is almost paralyzing. I have phobias and sometimes get anxiety attacks.

 

I have also pondered how much my anxiety has ruined things for me. Mainly, anxiety has been the cause for much discomfort in the workplace. I have lost jobs because of it, and could have done so much better in my own business if had have been relaxed. My "worst case scenario" mentality has caused me to be paranoid, insecure and afraid. I do not like this feeling.

 

I'm not sure how my anxiety has ruined my relationships, but i'd say it would have.

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I was casually browsing this thread and after reading through it, i found someone I knew very well doing these same things --- Myself!

 

I never knew there was a name for it but Relationship Anxiety fits the bill perfectly....

 

It's amazing because I can see all of the same things mentioned here as things that I do whenever I get involved in a new relationship: you overanalyze, re-read everything and replay conversations in your head trying to find that one statement or clue that you were wrong all along and can do what I call "pre-empt" the eventual break-up in your head so that you won't be surprised when it happens.

 

Unfortunately, this anxiety usually is the cause of the breakup because your SO can sometimes feel the discord in you and they start to distance themselves from you which starts the cycle mentioned above. Very tragic!

 

I'm in a situation now that although we aren't officially dating we will be pretty soon but the anxiety will appear if she says the wrong thing or doesn't return my texts/calls in a timely manner. My mind starts to wander and I start to doubt that she likes me -- although she has told me many times that she does.

 

I hope that I can find a solution that will allow me to enjoy this potential relationship and also be OK if it doesn't work out....

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Solutions.... What has worked for everyone?

 

Couple things...

 

The guy I wrote this thread about.... we've spent a little time together off and on since our split January 08. I have determined that no matter what, if around him, I will be anxious.

 

I still have the other anxiety with dating in general. So I kinda just don't date too much. I am contemplating dating someone now though so we'll see how the anxiety goes.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Wow, I'm so glad that I found this thread. I have been suffering with this sort of relationship anxiety for years, and in every relationship I've been in it flares up with great intensity. I constantly worry, fret, and over-analyze every single thing that my boyfriend says. Every text message, every post on twitter or facebook.. It's nuts!!

 

I'm always questioning his true feelings. "Does he love me as much as I love him? Why didn't he respond to my text message the way that I would expect him to? Why did he comment on his x's thread?" Even though I hear "I love you" from my boyfriend many times a day, and hear many references to the fact that he wants to continue our relationship, I have the hardest time trusting it, and believing it. I don't know why. It's the craziest thing in the world.

 

What's even more ridiculous is that he's a straight shooter; if he's got something to say to you, he won't hold it back. He's an extremely honest individual with a big heart and a very good morals. Still, for some reason it is so hard for me to believe that he actually loves me, and wants to be with me.

 

No matter how much I realize that this whole thing is almost certainly JUST my anxiety, and something JUST fabricated in my own head - I still worry to the point of nausea and sickness. I spent an hour in the woods today hiking trying to sort out my thoughts, rationally, decisively.. and still I'm left with anxiety.. It is such a monster!!

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