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What is Relationship Anxiety?

Jonathan Riley

“It’s scary how happy someone can look when they’re dying on the inside” ~ Anonymous

Do you find yourself constantly questioning yourself, your partner, and the relationship? Is the relationship going to work? Is this person really the one I should be dating? What if they’re hiding some dark secret? Relationship anxiety is the term used to describe this constant worry. Relationship anxiety involves feelings of intense worry about a romantic or friendly relationship. Relationship anxiety encompasses some features of social anxiety disorder. More specifically, both conditions can cause a person to experience significant discomfort about rejection.

It’s perfectly healthy to have some level of anxiety about a relationship. However, anxiety becomes a problem when it interferes with your relationships by making you overly dependent or avoidant. Relationship anxiety can manifest as a persistent fear of your partner abandoning you, and this fear of losing your partner’s love can become so intense that you will go to any length to maintain it.

Here are some symptoms of relationship anxiety:

  • You wonder if your partner truly has feelings for you
  • You constantly seek reassurance from your partner about their feelings for you.
  • You constantly monitor your partner’s movements and interactions.
  • You are clingy and want to be close to your partner at all times.
  • You have doubts about your romantic compatibility
  • You over-analyse simple words and actions for signs of trouble
  • You constantly suspect that your partner is planning to end the relationship
  • You spend more time worrying about the relationship than enjoying it
  • You intentionally sabotage things with your partner by exaggerating minor issues.
  • You distrust your partner and look for signs of infidelity or dishonesty.
  • You get anxious when you think about your relationship.
  • You go out of your way to please your partner, even if it means sacrificing your own needs.
  • You don’t express yourself or express your feelings when you are with your partner.
  • You criticise your partner or are demanding and controlling.
  • You test your partner’s feelings for you by pushing them away.
  • Your partner perceives you as emotionally unavailable, distant, or defensive.
  • You are hesitant to be in a serious relationship because you are afraid of being hurt, disappointed, or betrayed.

When you find yourself constantly doubting the security of your relationship or the depth of feelings your partner has for you, it’s possible that it stems from your childhood relationship with your parents or other caregivers. When a child’s parents or guardians consistently show them love and affection, a secure attachment style can develop in these relationships. However, when a child is shown love and care on some occasions but shame and abandonment on others, he or she may form an anxious attachment to the people they love and trust. People with anxious attachment styles frequently doubt their own worth and are constantly on the lookout for the first signs that their partners are losing interest in them. Furthermore, if a person has been betrayed, rejected, or abandoned in a relationship, this can cause anxiety about being in another relationship. In order to avoid the pain of being rejected again, some people will take extreme measures to avoid relationships at all costs.

Finally, relationship anxiety is quite common and can have a negative impact on happiness, enjoyment, and the longevity of a relationship. Being in a relationship with another person is never without its ups and downs and falling in love is no exception. There are two aspects of dealing with relationship anxiety: first, addressing the relationship, and then addressing the anxiety itself. Anxiety has an impact on relationships, but by being aware of it and responding to it, you can protect your relationship and make it stronger, closer, and more resilient.

My Practice provides affordable counselling and all profits are reinvested into the organisation to continue providing low-cost counselling and mental health services to our community. If you’re interested in scheduling a free 15-minute consultation with us, book online today.