Disclaimer: I am not a therapist or licensed mental health professional. If you are in need of professional help, please talk to a doctor, therapist or sign up for Online Therapy. Everything I talk about in my blog is simply advice from my own personal experience. I never state that these methods will definitely work for you as everyone is different.
Hey fellow anxious ladies. Are you struggling to dip your toes into the world of relationships, and do you always worry that people you care about are going to get fed up with you and leave?
Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered when it comes to overcoming relationship anxiety, and these kinds of thoughts. Wave goodbye to the struggle because I’m going to be diving deep into:
- How to start dating when you have social anxiety.
- The importance of talking about your relationship anxiety.
- How to start combating your fears.
What is relationship anxiety?
This kind of anxiety is reference to the doubt, and insecurity that you may feel about a relationship that you’re in. It pops up a lot with partners, but it can also hit platonic relationships too.
Relationship anxiety can hit even if you clearly have nothing to worry about. It can happen to the best of us, and especially those who struggle with anxiety in general, and self-critical thoughts.
Relationship Anxiety Symptoms
There are varied amount of signs and symptoms of relationship anxiety, as we are all different and therefore have different triggers, and coping mechanisms.
Here are a few signs that you may notice in yourself or someone you know:
- You constantly worry if the person actually likes you or is just putting up with you, and you overthink everything they do way too much. This could be triggered by them not answering a phone call or taking longer than usual to answer a text.
- You assume they are going to leave you. This can result in you not having any self-respect and doing whatever they want to make sure they stay. A dangerous and toxic mindset.
- You may start trying to sabotage your relationships. Although the ultimate goal is actually to see if your loved one cares enough about you to stick by your side.
Causes Of Relationship Anxiety
The causes of relationship anxiety are usually different for everyone. For a lot of people, it could be deep rooted from your past experiences and take a lot of talking, self-discovery and uncovering.
When for others, the moment the anxiety started and how is clear. Some causes of relationship anxiety could be:
- Negative past experiences – Maybe you dealt with fake friends throughout your life. You could have been in a toxic relationship in the past, or someone who you cared about just ghosted you.
- Self-esteem issues – Your self-esteem has always suffered throughout your life which makes it difficult to believe that someone could like you or be attracted to you.
- Anxiety and depression – These mental illnesses in general can really highlight those negative thoughts that keep you up at night worrying about your relationships.
How To Stop Relationship Anxiety
Now that we have covered the ins and outs. It’s time to get into the main point of this blog and start learning how to start overcoming our relationship anxiety.
Mention Relationship Anxiety in your Therapy sessions
If you are currently going to therapy I would highly recommend talking about your relationship and the anxiety around it with your therapist.
They will not judge you and will help you as best as they can.
I brought this up in my first Cognitive Behavioural Therapy session as something I would like to conquer throughout the 8 weeks of therapy.
I used the methods that my therapist taught me and implemented it when I felt those negative thoughts about my relationships taking over.
Let them help you is all I can say.
It is worth it.
Switch Off For A Day or Two
Social media, and being on our phones in general can be a big cause of relationship anxiety. You may keep on checking if the person has replied to your message for example. The longer it takes, the more upset you may become.
That’s why it’s so important to switch off and learn to live without our phones, and being in constant contact with people.
I would definitely recommend doing this for as long as you need.
There are plenty of other things you can do in the meantime. Try practicing some self-care. You will be surprised how amazing this will make you feel.
It will remind you that you don’t need to be talking to friends or a partner all the time to be happy.
Own your independence and enjoy yourself!
Talk To Your Friend or Partner
Communication is always key., when it comes to overcoming your relationship anxiety.
Your friend or partner needs to know how certain behaviours can effect you. Be completely honest with them. Especially if they have unintentionally hurt you in this way.
Try not to just let it slide because they may do it again without realising.
Don’t ever blame yourself or disregard your own feelings. This is your anxiety and trust issues talking. It isn’t you.
Please do not bottle up your emotions even if what triggered you was really small.
Make the people you are involved with aware of that. If they really care about you they will try not to do anything that triggers you. They should also help you through it.
Communicate, communicate, communicate! I can’t stress this enough.
Let Go Of Any Toxic People In Your Life
Tolerate absolutely nothing.
Be really picky about who you choose as friends and/or lovers. This past year, I have told myself that I will not make an effort with anyone who doesn’t make an effort with me.
I can tell you now, I feel so much better in the process, and therefore know that you will too.
I now have less people to worry about. Plus these few friends I have are true friends. I know they would never hurt me intentionally and I would never doubt any of them for a second. To be honest, I can currently count the friends that I have on one hand and I absolutely love it this way!
It makes overcoming relationship anxiety ridiculously easier if you don’t have to worry about the people constantly triggering it without a care in the world.
Really think, pinpoint who your true friends are and who makes an effort.
Don’t worry about anyone who doesn’t even try.
It’s not worth it.
Dating With Social Anxiety Tips
If you have social anxiety, going on dates must sound like an absolute nightmare. It certainly does for me. Even getting a message on a dating app about meeting up made me feel sick.
I would personally ignore these messages or change the subject a lot.
My anxiety around dating and relationships could have potentially stopped me from having something great with someone.
Therefore, to help you with overcoming your relationship anxiety even more, I have decided to share my favourite tips on how to handle social anxiety before and during a date that I have discovered over the years.
Before even accepting a date with anyone, tell them about your social anxiety. Then they will understand if you are slightly awkward or shy at first.
It is usually the initial thought of acting this way in front of a potential partner and not being able to explain yourself which can trigger anxiety.
My first thought is that they may assume I’m not interested or something.
That’s why it’s best to let them know in advance.
If they don’t understand and laugh at you when you tell them (this has happened to me) then you have dodged a bullet.
You don’t want to be with someone who laughs at your valid feelings and emotions.
You can do better!
Get Encouragement From A Friend
Dating with social anxiety is difficult and I’m sure your friends will understand that and have your back.
Call them or text them before the date and let them throw some well-deserved encouragement your way.
This can be an amazing and simple way to get over your nerves. They will help you to realise what an amazing human being you are and that you have absolutely nothing to be scared of.
The horrible feeling in your stomach will at least stop whilst you’re talking to them.
My friends have been there for me before and after dates and I’ve never been more thankful for them.
It’s nice knowing a friend is on the other side of the phone if a date isn’t going well too. Send them a message to rescue you and I’m sure they will think of something quickly.
Keep It Simple
When it comes to dating, it is perfectly okay to keep it simple.
Don’t assume that you need to dress up in your best dress and go to a super fancy restaurant. This is very unlikely to happen anyway.
Go for a walk, meet in a coffee shop for an hour, go to the cinema. Anything simple like these can be amazing first dates and much less daunting.
This way you don’t have to make too much of an effort to look amazing beforehand. Dating with social anxiety can really make you doubt yourself
I would find myself looking in the mirror after working so hard on my outfit and makeup and not being able to ignore my brain telling me that I looked stupid. All that time and effort just went down the drain and I ended up just not wanting to go.
That’s why you need to think of an activity that you will both enjoy and that won’t require too much extra planning and effort.
Your social anxiety will thank you for that, and you will be able to relax more before, during and after the date.
Think of something simple and within your comfort zone. Your date will and should understand.
Make Your Date Aware Of Your Limits and Boundaries
If you struggle with relationship anxiety, then it’s always important to make potentials aware of any boundaries before a date.
If you just want to meet them in a public setting and then go your separate ways for the first date, then tell them that. Maybe you feel uncomfortable with public displays of affection, like myself? Make sure to tell them. I’m sure they don’t want you to feel uncomfortable.
As well as telling them about your social anxiety, it’s definitely so important to make sure they respect you and your limits before going on any sort of a date with them.
If they don’t then walk away. They will not be any good for your mental health and it won’t be worth your time or effort in the long run.
Everyone has boundaries and they need to be respected. End of.
Start A Journal
Journals are a godsend. I recommend that you write a paragraph in it before any date to lessen the effects of your relationship anxiety.
You can either write a list of things that you love about yourself and all the reasons why your date will think you are great.
If you strongly believe these things, they definitely will too.
Alternatively, you can start a gratitude journal and write down everything that you are grateful for.
This way, if the date doesn’t go to plan, you can look at the journal and know that you have more important things to lose and this doesn’t matter!
Get yourself in the right mindset and everything will be okay.
Now that you know how to start overcoming your relationship anxiety, a time will come when you will never feel nervous before a date again. Doesn’t that sound amazing?
Want to know more? In my new e-book “Supercharge Your Happiness”, I talk a bit about relationship anxiety and how I got through the worst times by focusing on myself. There are ten other great tips that will help you on your road to recovery too. You can check it out here!