Are you dating someone with anxiety? From disrupted sleep patterns to a loss of appetite, there is a range of symptoms that are associated with this mental health condition. Anxiety affects millions of people every year, which means that it’s important to know how to support someone who is coping with persistent worry.
What Does It Mean to Have Anxiety?
Anxiety is triggered by a perceived threat, which results in physical and psychological symptoms. Anxiety is necessary as it helps us to avoid danger. However, when you experience persistent worry in the absence of life-or-death situations, you may be suffering from anxiety. These feelings of apprehension can have negative consequence for your personal and professional relationships.
What Are Some High Anxiety Symptoms?
Knowing what the symptoms of anxiety are, make it easier to understand what your partner is going through. Anxiety affects a person’s sense of safety, which triggers a fight or flight response. This physical response to persistent worry includes sweaty palms as well as shallow breathing. People who are suffering from anxiety may also experience an upset stomach. Other symptoms of anxiety include irritability, insomnia, headaches, and muscle tension.
Not only does this mental health condition have a physical effect, but it also impacts their emotional wellbeing. While it’s not the case for everyone, anxiety is often accompanied by depression. People with anxiety frequently find themselves fixating on the worst case scenario where they imagine a negative outcome to the situations that they face in their daily lives. It’s important to remember that anxiety is not a personal failing but a medical condition that should be treated by a professional.
What Can You Do When Your Partner Has Anxiety?
If you’re dating someone with anxiety, your relationship may face unique challenges. Here’s a list of ways that you can offer your partner the support that they need to overcome the difficulties that are associated with anxiety.
1. Do Your Homework About Anxiety
The first step to offering your partner the support that they need is to research anxiety and the effects of this mental health condition. Unfortunately many mental conditions, such as anxiety, are misunderstood. It’s important to get your facts right so that you can gain a better understanding of what your partner is going through. While researching anxiety is beneficial, every person’s journey with anxiety is unique. You’ll need to communicate with your partner, so that you can learn more about their individual experience. Asking them caring questions about their daily challenges with anxiety goes a long way towards making them feel accepted.
2. Understand How Anxiety Can Affect Your Relationship
Romantic relationships can intensify feelings of anxiety. Persistent worry may cause people to withdraw which can ignite emotions of abandonment and insecurity in their partners. Open communication can help you to check whether your partner needs some space when they feel worried. It’s also an opportunity to ask them how you can offer them support in the most effective manner.
3. Pick Up the Phone, Not The Keyboard
With the rapid advancement of technology, many people opt for instant messaging, rather than talking to each other. It’s important to take the time to talk to your partner whether it’s to resolve conflict or to offer them support. Another downside of digital communication is that the tone of messages can be misunderstood, which can lead to unnecessary misunderstandings.
4. Don’t Be Afraid of Their Emotions
Anxiety can trigger emotions that are difficult to deal with. Instead of trying to rationalize with your partner when they’re struggling with their emotions, make them feel understood by validating their feelings. Try to stay calm yourself so that you can give them the support that they need.
5. Learn How to Listen
Listening helps your partner feel loved and accepted in any relationship and this is particularly true for people who are struggling with anxiety. Anxiety can leave people feeling ashamed and isolated, which contributes to the cycle of persistent worry that they are facing. When you’re listening to your partner try to ask caring questions which show them that you want to understand their experiences. Avoid giving them advice unless they ask you for it. Unsolicited advice can make people feel disempowered and it can also shut down the conversation.
Loving Someone With Anxiety
While dating someone with anxiety requires patience and acceptance, it’s essential to take care of yourself too. Listening to your partner is helpful but it’s important to remember that you’re not your partner’s therapist. Encourage them to seek help from a professional while you focus on creating a supportive home environment. You may feel frustrated or angry at times but it helps to realize that your feelings are directed at anxiety rather than at your partner themselves. This change in perspective makes it easier for you to join with your partner in reclaiming your relationship from the effects of anxiety.
While you want to be supportive, setting boundaries is necessary if anxiety triggers insulting or critical behavior in your partner. Addressing unjustified criticism helps your partner to be aware of this negative behavior so that they can switch to a more positive outlook on life. Practice self-care and remember to ensure that your needs are also being met in your relationship. It’s important to set up a supportive network for yourself, which can include friends, family members, and your own therapist.
While there is no quick fix for recovering from anxiety, feeling supported in a relationship can go a long way towards alleviating feelings of persistent worry. While dating someone with anxiety can be challenging, offering your partner support during difficult times can strengthen your bond and create a healthy foundation for your relationship.