Struggling with relationship anxiety? Want to know how to deal with relationship anxiety so that it no longer has a hold? Then you’ve come to the right place. Here’s a tried-and-tested four step process to coping with relationship anxiety, and the key habits and practices that will help you destroy it, once and for all.
What Is Relationship Anxiety
So before we look at how to deal with relationship anxiety, let’s first make sure we’re on the same page with what relationship anxiety is. See ultimately:
Relationship anxiety refers to the feelings of worry, insecurity and doubt surrounding your relationship, that can dominate – even if everything is going relatively well.
It’s not just the odd, “Oh, my partners been in a grump with me all week now, what’s with that?!” Or the understandable uncertainty that one might feel at the start of a new relationship, when there’s still a lot of known.
Relationship anxiety – when it takes over – is excessive, constant in some cases even. It’s also, usually always, unnecessary, and is not so much about the person you’re with or the things they are or aren’t doing “wrong” – but instead, how you feel inside.
See yes, relationship anxiety can stir up from your partners behaviour, especially if you have poor communication skills. But it can also come as a result of negative past experiences, the attachment style that you have, or low self-esteem.
How To Deal With Relationship Anxiety
Now the good news is – as exhausting as it is – there are, luckily, things you can do to better deal with relationship anxiety. There are ways to overcome it.
Uh huh, you don’t have to feel this way forever.
It will however, take time, effort and commitment. You can’t just read this article and expect to be “magically cured”. You have to actually apply the things I’m saying.
And I know it’s easier said than done – you’re breaking some pretty deep-rooted fears here. They may not go away completely, straight away. But if you stick with it, this will work. Trust me.
So first up, I’m going to give you a four-step formula for how to deal with relationship anxiety.
After that, I’m going to suggest some extra things that you can work on alongside this, which will also help to relieve your relationship anxiety. Sounds good? Alright then.
Four-Step Formula To Overcome Relationship Anxiety
To begin with, I want you to try this strategy. This is something that can be done RIGHT NOW. That’s right, grab a pen and paper, let’s do it straight away.
It’s the starting point to deal with relationship anxiety. It can also be a coping mechanism when you need it in the moment.
So if you follow steps 2-4 when you feel your anxiety increasing and are likely to react, it can calm you down when you need to and instead, shift your behaviour.
1) Recognise How You Behave
So when it comes to how to deal with relationship anxiety, you need to first recognise how you behave. Here, have a read of this:
This is a great starting point for identifying your behaviour which relates to, or is a result of, feeling anxious in your relationship. What I want you to do?
- Have a read of that article, recognise the points that sound most like you and write them down.
- Below that, list some examples of situations in the last few days, weeks or months, when you’ve behaved like that.
How are you acting? What are you doing? What specifically is your behaviour, driven by some form of relationship anxiety?
Do you typically respond in the same ways for the same types of worries? And how long has this been going on? Has it become a habit even? Your natural reaction?
Once you know how you behave and are 100% clear on these behaviours that are coming from your relationship anxiety, then I want you to use that awareness to recognise it in the moment and instead of acting on it straight away, STOP before you act. Stop yourself in your tracks for a moment…
2) Identify How You Feel
Next up, I want you to break this down a little further. So you know what you’re doing, you know that – broadly speaking – it’s because you feel anxious in your relationship. But try to get even more specific.
- When you’re acting as a result of your relationship anxiety, how do you feel?
- What is the specific worry (or worries) in that moment that links to that behaviour?
- What sort of thoughts are going through your mind? This is a big one. What are you telling yourself? What is that inner voice saying?
Really get clear on what you’re saying to yourself. In fact, write it down if you can. You can do this not only for the behaviours identified above, as you work through it now – but also in the moment.
So for example, you get triggered, you feel the relationship anxiety increasing, you’ve already recognised how you typically behave and know that you’re likely to do the same again right now too.
But instead of acting – like we said above – you STOP. You BREATHE, you grab a piece of paper and you write down exactly how you feel. This is really important.
Don’t dwell on what you want to do, or lash out straight away. Instead of acting on those feelings immediately in that moment, get them out on paper. Know what’s triggered you, what you’re likely to do, but most importantly, why.
Where is this coming from? What are you trying to protect yourself from or avoid?
3) Challenge It
Now this one comes in two parts: challenging your behaviour and challenging those driving thoughts.
Challenging Your Behaviour
So first off, if you’re working through this process from the top, I want you to recognise the ways you typically behave when struggling with relationship anxiety and next to each behaviour, write down a couple of alternatives for things you could do instead of responding that way.
So for example, if your relationship anxiety makes you excessively worry – instead of feeling those worries and fuelling them with more “what ifs” and “risks” that only strengthen the concern, could you not try to get into the habit of trying to break the cycle by getting up, shifting your physical state and doing some exercise or something?
Or, let’s say you constantly seek reassurance when struggling with relationship anxiety. Instead of asking your partner countless questions to try to feel better (and then only worrying more if they don’t say the exact response you were looking for), could you not create a strategy for reassuring yourself? Or shift your focus away from your concerns and back onto you and your mental wellbeing?
Whatever you’re looking at, whatever alternatives you come up with – know that they don’t need to be perfect or even necessarily the “best thing” or something that will 100% work. Right now, you’re just seeking alternatives – pushing your mind to think about what you could do instead.
You recognise that right now, you’re not in the healthiest place, and acting in these ways aren’t especially helpful. So you’re searching for things that are healthier and worth potentially giving a go. It’s a brainstorm!
Challenging Your Thoughts
Moving onto challenging your thoughts now – this is something that can be done not just initially as you work through it for this first activity, but every single time you stop and identify how you feel.
So those thoughts / feelings that are driving your relationship anxiety – you should have written them down. You get them all out on paper to slightly reduce their grip on your mind.
However, you don’t stop there. Next to each thought that you have, I want you to question it.
- Is it reasonable? Fair?
- Is it valid?
- How do I know it’s actually true?
- What things could suggest this isn’t true?
- What other factors come into this, that challenge this thought / belief?
- Also look at your state. How are you mentally right now? Are you worked up? Would you still think this way once you had calmed down?
- What would others think / say about this? Would they think it’s fair, reasonable or true?
- What else could you think or believe about this instead?
Break it down. Pull it apart. Look at the situation from other angles – more positive angles.
See you’re not overthinking the situation. You’re challenging your thoughts so that you can potentially see the situation in a different way.
You want to take away the negative power / strength that it has over you and so you must explore how valid it is, instead of letting it all take over and getting yourself worked up.
4) Take a Step Back
When relationship anxiety takes over, it can become all-consuming. It completely takes over. So the final step to deal with your relationship anxiety, is to not fuel it and instead shift your focus.
See, there’s always going to be things out of your control, not only in relationships but also in life. There’s also far more to life than just that one relationship itself. AND, there’s far more to you.
You are not defined by the person you’re with. You also shouldn’t put your validation or worth on your relationship status or the romantic love you receive.
It’s really important to remember this – not to take away from your relationship (it’s still a super wonderful thing, and something to appreciate and value), but you shouldn’t give it so much value that it completely takes over to the point of obsession or reliance.
I want you to ask yourself (and really be honest now)…
- Have you got the balance right in your relationship?
- How much is your relationship taking over your mind?
- Are you thinking / worrying about your partner more than you’re thinking about yourself?
- Is your focus solely on your partner and how they’re acting, what it could mean and how they feel?
See, instead of focusing on your partner, what they’re doing and how they feel – focus on you. Focus on what you can control. Focus on how you feel, and being the best partner that you can be. Remember:
So take a step back. When you feel relationship anxiety taking over – do everything that you can to tackle it head on, to cope with it better. Then try to shift your focus. Refuse to fuel it.
Get out and grab some fresh air, try one of the coping mechanisms I’m about to run through with you now, give yourself a good talking to, get determined working on something else.
Do whatever you need to do, but do something positive instead of letting your relationship anxiety escalate.
How To Cope With Relationship Anxiety
So what else can you do to better deal with relationship anxiety? Well…
1) Talk To Your Partner
Talking to your partner is a great way to deal with relationship anxiety. You’re a couple, a team.
Now what you don’t want to do is put the responsibility on them to make you feel safe, calm and secure. Ultimately, you’re doing most of the work here. That my friends, is on you.
However, they can be there to support you. See, if they understand you, they can work with this on you in some ways too.
So talk to your partner about how you feel and what you’re struggling with. Don’t put any blame or demands on them. (This is really important.)
Simply express why you act the way you do and what’s driving it. Be open and honest. It’s okay, trust me. This isn’t a “flaw”, it doesn’t define you. It’s simply something you’re working through.
Talk To Your Partner About:
- What your partner could potentially do to make it easier – how you could work together on this or deal with certain triggering situations differently.
- What you yourself will be doing differently. By talking to your partner about this, he can hold you accountable or remind you of what you said, when you need. Team work, makes the dream work as they say! Just make sure he calls you out on it in a way that’s rooting for you as opposed to slating you.
- Where this is coming from. Open up to your partner, help them to understand you. See the more you share, the closer you will become. And this isn’t something that needs to be talked about constantly but one heart-to-heart about it will make the world of difference. It will also show you that they love you for you and will stay.
- What you both want. Generally speaking, it’s also good to have check-in conversations. It eases your relationship anxiety and shows that you are both on the same page – happy with where you are and excited for everything that’s to come. This leads me onto my next point…
2) Work On Feeling More Secure
I want to bob you over to this article now for: How To Feel Secure In a Relationship. It will open in a new tab so you won’t lose your place here.
Feeling secure in a relationship works hand in hand with relationship anxiety. In the above article, you’ll find 8 Steps to Build Security in a Relationship. It’s a real game changer!
Wondering where you relationship is REALLY at? How healthy your relationship actually is? And whether everything stems from you or your doubts / concerns could actually be valid? Then click here below for a Relationship Review…
3) Stay Present
Relationship anxiety very rarely happens when you stay present.
It thrives when you’re letting the pain of your past influence your current relationship, or letting the fears of the future take over from being able to fully enjoy the here and now.
Therefore, to keep your anxieties at bay – practice appreciating what you have in this moment, right now. Try mindfulness or guided meditations. The best app I recommend to get you into this is Calm.
And no, this isn’t sponsored or an incentivised plug. It’s just something that I’ve used and something that is widely recommended in the industry. So check it out. It makes mindfulness far, far easier!
4) Address Your Demons
Now there may be deep-rooted reasons that are driving your relationship anxiety.
This means that you could be doing all the right things to try to feel more calm, safe and secure – but it’s a constant battle.
Your subconscious mind could still be wired to feel vulnerable in relationships due to your upbringing or negative past experiences.
This makes everything harder. Honestly, everything. Which is why you have to get to the bottom of it.
How to do this? Well, the fastest, most effective way, is by working through it with a therapist or a specialist coach. Work with me even! I help men and women with this kind of stuff, every single week!
The alternative? Working through it on it. Read into things, learn more about it all, aim to understand yourself and your challenges better so that you can then work through them.
The internet is an amazing things and there is endless information right at your fingertips!
Whats more, there’s so incredible books written by specialists – the hardest part is understanding what specifically the issue is, then being able to implement what you need to with lack of accountability but “where there’s a will, there’s a way” as they say, so books are always a great starting point.
Recommended Relationship Anxiety Books:
Disclosure: Please note that the links below are affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. I will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase, but it will be at no additional cost to you.
Here’s some books I recommend reading when it comes to dealing with relationship anxiety and / or tackling those deeper issues that could come into it:
- Attached by Dr Amir Levine & Rachel Heller: A practical relationship book that promises to help you find and keep love by understanding the science of adult attachment. Click here to find out more.
- Love Me Don’t Leave Me by Michelle Skeen: A therapy-based coaching book that guides you through the process of overcoming your abandonment issues and insecurities which – in many cases – drive a lot of relationship anxiety. Click here to find out more.
- Anxious in Love by Carolyn Daitch and Lissah Lorberbaum: Tips and techniques to reduce anxieties and improve communication, building on many of the things we talk about in this post. Click here to find out more.
- Anxiety In Relationship: Another highly-rated comprehensive book that goes into Relationship Anxiety in more depth. Click here to find out more.
- The Unlimited Self by Jonathan Heston: Looking at how to destroy those deep-rooted limited beliefs that have been developed as a result of difficult past experiences. Click here to find out more.
- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Made Simple: The key CBT strategies used by many therapists (and highly recommended when it comes to dealing with Relationship Anxiety) – broken down into easy-to-understand and applicable strategies. Click here to find out more.
5) Keep Building On Your Sense Of Self
We mentioned briefly above about the fact that – when it comes to how to deal with relationship anxiety – taking a step back and focusing on YOURSELF instead of worrying about the feelings, actions or behaviour of your partner, is incredibly beneficial.
However, I want to build on this further, because the more relationship anxiety takes hold – the greater the impact it has.
You can start to lose your sense of self worth, start to lose yourself and your identity because you’re too wrapped up in worrying about your relationship.
You need to take a step back, put things into perspective and shift your focus before. But alongside this, do small things every single day that are entirely for yourself.
Focus on self-care, self-improvement and becoming as happy as you can within YOU.
Do more of the things you love, the things that make you feel good. Because this, my friends, will make the world of difference and lighten the load on your relationship.
So a few challenges / recommended reads to leave you with:
- 30 Day Self Care Challenge
- 30 Day Self Love Challenge
- The Self Improvement Challenge
- How To Create a Happiness Plan
- How To Recreate Yourself
Have a mooch, take your pick, but make sure you give at least one of these a go. Implementation is key remember, implementation is key.
Do the things you need to do, and start by taking a small step or commitment today.
How To Deal With Relationship Anxiety
So there’s the fundamental process for how to deal with relationship anxiety.
From recognising your behaviour and the thoughts that are driving it, right the way down to taking a step back and focusing on yourself.
Know that you’ve got this, you can work through it. I know you can, so make sure you believe it too.
Also know that, no matter what – you will be fine. No matter what happens in your relationship, you will be okay. Keep telling yourself that.
You are strong, brave and beautiful and wherever this relationship anxiety came from – it does not define you and it most certainly will not beat you.
Reclaim your power. Fight back. And if you need me at any point along the way, don’t forget, I am here to help.