Every relationship comes with its own set of challenges and issues that people need to work through and grow together from. However, dating someone with anxiety can be unpredictable, especially if you don’t understand them. Think about it this way; your partner always feels as anxious as you get when you wait for a text back or results for a test. This anxiety never subsides for your partner.
You can help your partner feel understood and cared for by educating yourself on anxiety and learn how your partner’s anxiety manifests itself.
Anxiety disorders are one of the most common mental illnesses in the United States and affect approximately 40 million adults. That means every year, 18.1% percent of people over the age of eighteen in America have anxiety disorders.
Here’s what you should know to help strengthen your relationship.
Research and Learn About Anxiety and Your Partner
Learning about the disorder can help you understand why your partner feels the way they do. To you, anxiety may be a normal emotion, but it’s consuming for your partner. Start by researching online and reading about people’s experiences.
Understand that there’s more than one type of anxiety. This can include phobias, social anxiety, generalized anxiety, etc. If you know the type, read up on it.
Anxiety is most recognized by behavioral change, but it can also have serious consequences on the body. It affects their central nervous system, cardiovascular system, digestive system, immune system, etc.
It takes on a physical form – the fight-or-flight mode.
Listen To Your Partner
Research helps, but your partner’s the expert here. Each person’s anxiety is different. Ask your partner questions and listen to them. Check in on them before making a decision. Learn from them what their panic attack looks like or how their anxiety manifests itself.
It’s important that you’re there for them and ask them what you can do to help.
Learn About Their Triggers
When you and your partner discuss their anxiety, work together to understand it better and where it stems from. It’s good that you understand what sets their anxiety off. Let them feel comfortable and supported by taking care of their triggers. Understand what strategies worked in the past for them and what you can do to make them feel better.
Don’t Mistake That Their Behaviors Are Directed Toward You
Try not to take your partner’s anxiety personally. You may think their worries are centered around your relationship, but that might not be it. Don’t let this make you feel rejected or isolated.
Take Care of Yourself Too
You’re not your partner’s therapist; rather, you’re here to support them. Don’t be reactive or stress yourself out, or let go of your support systems.
See a Therapist
Suggest your partner seek expert help. Third parties can objectively help them. You can also get couples counseling to navigate this together.
Chronic anxiety usually stems from traumatic childhood experiences. Therapy is, therefore, the most effective treatment for anxiety.
Azizeh Rezaiyan is a licensed therapist with expertise to help you understand the underlying causes. In our anxiety therapy sessions, Azizeh identifies sources of anxiety and then teaches reframing techniques.
Visit our website for anxiety therapy or couples counseling in Palo Alto.