Relationship anxiety can easily create uneasy feelings in your love life. One minute you’re doing well and the next, you’re overwhelmed with worries. These feelings constantly keep you on edge and can contribute to some of the issues that can unravel in your relationship.
In situations where partners have these experiences, it can lead to a pattern of events unfavorable to their mental health and the success of the relationship. This is because of the behaviors that develop, such as jealousy and clinginess. These behaviors are often the result of the fears that arise when someone experiences relationship anxiety. To help you better understand, here are 7 scenarios that can spark relationship anxiety.
What Is Relationship Anxiety?
Anxiety is considered a normal feeling, as it serves to protect you from danger. Under certain circumstances, anxiety can be crippling, especially when your fears aren’t proportional to the supposed threat. One form of anxiety is relationship anxiety (RA). Those that experience RA display anxious patterns surrounding their relationship. They may experience relationship anxiety symptoms, such as needing constant reassurance or taming their feelings to save the relationship.
The signs of RA can look similar to relationship OCD (R-OCD) because they have overlapping symptoms; however, they differ in a few ways. While both cause uncertainty that can lead to feelings of disconnection in the relationship, R-OCD additionally presents with obsession and compulsion. In some cases, a person with R-OCD may be prompted to engage in certain rituals to ease the intrusive feelings.
A person with anxiety in a relationship or concerning the relationship struggles with difficult feelings that arise because of certain situations and seeks answers to these feelings by requiring reassurance. However, they don’t experience compulsion or obsession. For instance, they may get anxious and develop uncomfortable thoughts when they’re not with their partners. Unlike RA, those struggling with R-OCD can spend extensive time ruminating on situations. Often, these thoughts are incessant, disrupting to personal life and the relationship.
Which Situations Can Trigger Anxiety in Relationships?
Some interactions can act as triggers for anxiety in relationships. These situations create thoughts that you prematurely form when you’re faced with relationship concerns, whether they’re major or minor. Accepting these thoughts leads you to confirm the fears you initially had. These are a few scenarios that can lead to constant anxiety in relationship dynamics.
Being Influenced by Outside Opinions
This is the first scenario in which you can experience RA. For instance, you’re happy with your partner and everything seems to be going well and you generally don’t have complaints outside of regular relationship disagreements. However, after a night out with a friend group, one of your friends tell you that your partner seems disconnected from you the whole night.
Now, you constantly focus on your partner’s interactions with you ranging from the way they look at you to the way they touch you. Overall, you’re concerned with reading your partner’s body language. You’re left overanalyzing and questioning the flow of your relationship in this instance. This is a way to seek reassurance because you’re trying to eliminate the fears you’ve created because of the friend’s opinion.
A Change in Your Partner’s Behavior
When things start feeling unfamiliar, anxiety can easily creep its way in. There are a few situations in this scenario. Let’s take long-distance relationships as an example of this situation. You can develop long-distance relationship anxiety when the interactions between you and your partner change. Maybe, they’re no longer enthusiastic over the phone or they take longer to return your phone calls over a period of a week.
You’re not used to experiencing this with your partner, so it can bring doubts and anxious feelings. Instead of considering schedule changes or other personal things, they may be going through, your anxious mind may lead you to believe that your partner no longer cares. Instead of communicating, you may self-silence in fear of making them uncomfortable about your feelings. However, this is the opposite of what you should do. Regardless of how difficult the conversation may seem; it is important to bring it up to avoid feeding into your fears.
You’re In an On-and-Off Relationship
In this scenario, you’re scared that it could be off at any time because your partner is the one that initiates the breakups. These relationship patterns, also known as cycling and churning, greatly impact mental health.
This can bring on anxious feelings because of the tumultuous nature of the relationship. Additionally, if the on-and-off-again nature of the relationship is due to uncertainties, it further creates worries that challenge your feelings toward the relationship.
Your Relationship Is One-Sided
One-sided relationships are stressful and can create insecurities. Whether it is a form of codependency or a manipulative situation, it creates a toxic relationship environment. It can also further reinforce self-silencing, which is a symptom of relationship anxiety, further promoting the worries you have.
One-sided relationships can heighten feelings of anxiety in relationships, especially if your partner’s behaviors are ongoing. The fears you develop when experiencing relationship anxiety aren’t always irrational.
When you make all the efforts and your partner can care less, it can make you feel as if there’s no interest, especially when your partner doesn’t take your concerns into consideration.
A Relationship Without Titles
You can develop new relationship anxiety when there is no clarity, especially if this is something you need. This can occur in the early stages of dating. The interactions you have with this person feel like a relationship; however, the lack of a title makes you feel anxious when you’re around them.
The feelings of uncertainty can make you feel uneasy with the new relationship, as you’re wondering whether you’re on the same page or if the person you’re seeing does not want to move forward. Clearing the air by communicating your feelings is the first step to take in this situation.
Changes In Your Appearance
Anxiety in relationships can also be due to personal changes you experience. For instance, your body may have changed during your relationship. This can create fear around and manipulate your perception of the relationship.
If your partner does not criticize your physical appearance, then the anxious thoughts are more than likely because of your insecurities. This is a situation in which you validate your insecurities by constantly worrying about what your partner must think of your physical appearance.
Your Partner Asked for A Break
Taking a break does not signify that the relationship is over. While it can lead to a breakup, it does not mean that things are done. Some couples believe taking some time away from one another can give them the space they need to work on different aspects of themselves and the relationship. Nonetheless, relationship anxiety can distort the way you look at this situation.
In this situation, people struggling with relationship anxiety can unknowingly create further distance because they’ve leaned into the fear that things are done. This is a form of self-fulfilling prophecy that takes shape when anxious feelings start taking over your actions. For instance, telling yourself this break means that your partner no longer wants to be with you can lead you to become withdrawn and guarded.
If you think about it, relationship anxiety is completely normal. Of course, you fear losing someone you care about and want to create forever with. It is a scary feeling that you try to dispel; however, it can, unfortunately, present with some damaging behaviors.
Relationship anxiety can lead you to become critical of yourself. It is a form of self-sabotage that takes form when you allow your inner fears to take control. The cycle is vicious and constantly promotes unhealthy thoughts that make you worry about your relationship. If you think you are experiencing anxiety about relationships or while in relationships, this article discusses a few scenarios in which they can develop.