Three Ways to Reduce Anxiety in Your Relationship
Are you anxious in love? Are you anxiety prone? Is this anxiety interfering with your relationship? Did you know that anxiety may worsen everyday conflict? Are you wondering where the connection and intimacy have gone? Are you fighting or withdrawing? How can you dial down your anxiety so that you can reconnect?
Anxiety levels are at an all-time high, so if you think anxiety is getting between you and your beloved, you are not alone. In fact the distance between couples due to anxiety is such a problem in today’s stressful world that I have written a book, with Lissa Lorberbaum, called Anxious in Love.
Here are the first three steps to get you on the path to renewed intimacy.
Recognize the blocks.
The first way to reduce anxiety interfering with your love life is to recognize some common dynamics between people who love each other when one of you is anxious.When you share your anxieties with your partner, does he try to “fix” you with some logic-based solution? Does that seem unsupportive? At this stage of your relationship, has he also become anxious, or perhaps frustrated, even angry? Do you long for him to just “get you” the way he used to? Or does your partner protect you from his own worries? Do you worry that you are a burden to him? Does he seem withdrawn from you somehow? (The reason I am referring to the partner as a man is because this is one of the most common patterns I have seen in my work.)
If you recognize these issues, chances are anxiety is getting between you and your partner. The good news is that there is a tried and tested roadmap for getting back on track.
Recognize your type of anxiety and your triggers.
It is essential to understand that you can become empowered. Your second step is to recognize what type of anxiety you have. I outline the categories of anxiety in Anxious in Love. When it comes to anxiety, knowledge really is power. Triggers will vary for different types of anxiety. If you have generalized anxiety, you might suffer from a pervasive sense of anxiety. It might show up as frequent stomach upsets, headaches, backaches, or exhaustion. You may have a lot of “what ifs.” These are worst case scenarios running through your mind all day, such as “What if I lose my job because I was late the other day?”
You may have had one or more panic attacks, or suffer from phobias. You may feel extremely edgy in social settings, such as parties, so your social life together may come to a standstill. You may even avoid working outside the home or going to college classes, impacting even more aspects of your life. Perhaps you know you are obsessive and compulsive in your daily life (this may include a tendency to hoard as well). Perhaps now the most well-known type of anxiety is post-traumatic stress disorder. We tend to think of those who have been in combat for this type of distress, but there are a multitude of traumatic events that can set this off.
Take a time out to self-soothe.
Yes, timeouts are not just for kids. They are an essential part of overcoming anxiety. You can learn how to create a safe place to go (both physically and/or mentally) in which you can use the self-soothing techniques that I outline in Anxious in Love, Get Started Toolkit. In my decades of work with anxious people I have clarified the most effective tools for combating all types of anxiety. In fact I have put together an entire toolkit of techniques that are tried and tested. For you to gain the most benefit we can work together to put in place a custom plan for dialing down your anxiety.
Knowledge alone is not enough—you have to have a clear plan that you put into action. For the sake of your loved one, let’s get started. Let’s take that first step now!
Anxiety doesn’t only affect the person who has it, but everyone who interacts with him or her—and in a relationship, its effects can be even more damaging and profound, no matter how supportive the partner. “Anxious in Love” is a relationship guide for partners who have an anxiety disorder that offers readers proven skills for calming their anxieties and communicating with their partners.