All relationships come with a fair share of challenges. Communication and being able to support each other is key to a thriving relationship, and so much more if you are dating someone with anxiety.
Anxiety can feel so overwhelming on the person dealing with it. It can also be hard on their loved ones, and those close to them. With a few pointers, this second-hand experience of anxiety need not be as bad, and you and your partner can enjoy a mutually fulfilling relationship.
In this article, we will take a look at what you are likely to experience when dating someone with anxiety, the simple do’s and don’ts to consider, and of course, how to ensure that anxiety does not ruin your relationship.
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Dating Someone with Anxiety: What it’s Like?
A partner with anxiety will spend so much time going over the worst-case scenario, that is, everything that could go wrong in the relationship. If there is already a real issue, then you can be sure they will overthink and overprocess the said issue.
What if they’re lying? What if they are cheating? What if they don’t really love me? What if they’re not really busy and just don’t want to talk to me? These are only some of the anxious thoughts that your partner will be stressing about. And here is another one; what if my anxiety ruins the relationship. Yes, your partner will be anxious about their anxiety.
While most people in relationships will have any one or more of these thoughts at some point, it is quite different for people with anxiety. Someone with anxiety will have these thoughts more frequently and the experience will be more intense.
unfortunately, these intense and frequent anxious thoughts can manifest in physiological symptoms. Your partner’s anxiety may cause them insomnia, and when it all becomes a bit much, an anxiety attack and all that comes with such may be in the offing.
Anxiety-motivated Behaviors in Relationships
Among the things to know before dating someone with anxiety is that more often than not, anxiety may drive your partner to act in such a way that will put a strain on your relationship, and stress you. Among the common anxiety-motivated behaviors that you may notice include your partner being:
- Irritable and unreasonably angry
- Distracted and lacking concentration or focus
- Passive-aggressive behavior
- Overly critical of just about everything and expecting perfection
Getting it Right: Do’s and Don’ts When Dating Someone with Anxiety
These are some of the factors that you may or may not consider when dating someone with anxiety. These factors are mentioned below.
1. Be Informed
Do your research and consume as much information as you can about anxiety. One of the things that you will come across in your research is the fact that anxiety is among the most common mental health disorder affecting millions of Americans, and many more globally. That alone, should tell you that there are many out there who are in a spot similar to yours.
Understand the common symptoms and check against your partner’s experience when they are anxious. You will also realize that if severe, anxiety can be so debilitating that someone may not be able to function or live a full life. This should give you some perspective on the fact that your partner may be better off than other people with anxiety to begin with. You will also find out that there are so many, who, despite dealing with anxiety and related issues, have great relationships and lead a full life.
Most importantly, research on some of the best ways that you can help your partner to ease their anxiety. This applies to when they are having anxious thoughts about your relationship, as well as other issues.
2. Learn How to Manage Your Reaction to the Anxiety
It’s easy to take it personally when your partner’s anxiety drives them to act not quite right with you. You may feel rejected, and if you allow it, resentment may start to take a hold of you, as your own insecurities come to the fore.
Your partner shares their anxiety about you cheating. How do you react to that? Don’t get riled up or upset. Be calm and go against everything that tells you to jump to the defensive. The key to managing your reaction is realizing and reminding yourself that these anxious thoughts are more about your partner and less about you. Instead of feeling insulted, and trying to defend yourself, be empathetic and compassionate. “I’m sorry you feel that way” followed by comforting reassurances will go a long way in such a scenario.
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3. Support. Support. Support.
A solid support system can do wonders for anyone with anxiety. whether you are dating someone with anxiety and depression or dating someone with anxiety and PTSD, the most fundamental way of showing your partner you support them is by being there.
Listen more. Ask your partner about specific ways you can help and step up to it. Do it all compassionately and without judgement.
As you try and do what you can to be there for your partner and help them cope, you will want to avoid some common pitfalls, which include the following:
1. Trying to Fix It
No. You cannot “fix” anxiety in your partner, any more than they can do it themselves. You may want to do one thing or the other hoping that it will be a quick fix, but in reality, it doesn’t really work that way. If you are dating someone with social anxiety, for example, don’t imagine that getting them to go out more will fix it. There are, of course, ways to manage and treat anxiety disorders, but it doesn’t happen overnight.
2. Taking It All on Yourself
Being a listening ear is all good, but you can only do much. Getting professional help will benefit your partner, and you should be able to the see the positive impact on your relationship. You are a partner, and not a therapist. Do your part and let the expert do their part.
3. Not Taking Care of Yourself
Dealing with and being a support system for a partner with anxiety can get overwhelming sometimes. If you are dating someone with anxiety and bipolar for example, you will find yourself oscillating between highs and lows, and it can all get emotionally and mentally draining. Remember to take care of yourself so you’ll be able to take care of your partner. Have your own support system, know how to cope, and if need be, see a professional.
Taking care of yourself also means setting boundaries. Understand how your partner’s anxiety affects their behavior and have a conversation about what is acceptable and what is not, such as threats, and insults. Anxiety should not be an excuse for bad behavior in a relationship.
A Deeper Relationship
Why dating someone with anxiety is the best? Are there benefits to dating someone with anxiety? You may no doubt have such questions as you consider whether to start or continue dating someone with an anxiety disorder.
Learning more about your partner’s anxiety, how it affects them, and doing your best to support them can help you develop a deeper relationship. Instead of looking at it as a stressor in your relationship, this anxiety and related issues can help you build a stronger foundation for your relationship. You will learn what it means to be there for each other through the good, and the not-so-good, and come out on the other side as better partners.
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Find out more about how best to support your partner and have a more fulfilling relationship when you are dating someone with an anxiety disorder. Your partner will get professional help for anxiety disorder treatment.
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