You have found the right person. They are kind, caring, funny, and they are the perfect complement. The only thing that seems out of place is their anxiety. You try to cope with it, you try to help them through their most anxious moments. Sometimes, though, it feels insurmountable.
If you are with someone who has anxiety, it can easily feel like the third wheel in your relationship. Anxiety can bring about discontent, fear, and confusion. Ultimately, it begins to affect everyday life with your partner.
Anxiety is a mental health condition. While many people suffer from occasional anxiety or stress-induced anxiety, others are debilitated by its hold. It can be difficult to understand if you have never faced anxiety yourself.
If your partner is currently dealing with anxiety in any form, there are some steps that you can take to ensure that you are moving forward together, coping with the symptoms and supporting one another through even the most difficult situations.
Take Time to Learn About Anxiety
If you feel frustrated by the fact that your partner is dealing with this issue, or frustrated that you cannot fix it quickly, it might be worthwhile to learn more about what’s actually going on. You may be surprised to learn how common anxiety is. While General Anxiety Disorder affects about 3% of the population, 2% to 3% suffer from panic attacks, and 7% report dealing with social anxiety.
Occasional anxiety is very real, and there are a multitude of related issues and symptoms that coincide with – or bring on – feelings of anxiety. Post-Traumatic Stress, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, phobias, depression, and more can trigger anxiety, or can tie in with General Anxiety Disorder. Before you try to “fix” things, it’s important to understand what your partner deals with.
Anxiety isn’t a choice. Coping with anxiety is complicated, so it is critical that your partner feels loved and accepted. Listen to what they tell you and encourage them to describe their thoughts and actions to you, without judgment. Be a receptive ear to them.
It is also appropriate to ask questions. If there is something that confuses you, or if you are struggling to understand an aspect of their anxiety, invite them to elaborate so that you can work through things together if they choose.
One way to get to the core of their anxiety is to ask about their triggers. Know what brings on a panic attack so that you can prepare yourself to help them when the time comes. Ask questions such as, “what can I do to help?”
Don’t Assume It Is About You
If you are dating or married to someone who suffers from anxiety, it may be easy to assume that a mood shift is somehow connected to your relationship. There is a strong possibility that this is not the case.
Instead of assuming that it is you who must change, or that your relationship is in trouble, be open. Ask them about their feelings and concerns. Instead of immediately jumping to thoughts of rejection, envision these moments as opportunities to show your support.
Recognize Your Own Feelings of Anxiety
Even someone who has never dealt with anxiety before can become swept up in a partner’s anxiety. Those thoughts, fears, and feelings are highly transferable.
It is important to realize that this type of anxiety stems from your partner, not from you. In moments of struggle, you need to find coping mechanisms in order to be there for them. Indulge in self-care or stress-relieving activities. It is easy to burn out, but prioritizing your own emotional well-being and keeping energy in check may give you peace of mind and help you more effectively deal with what you face as a couple.
Get Help If Needed
If you and/or your partner are currently dealing with anxiety, Susan Block, LMFT might be able to help. Susan provides a safe, nurturing environment for individuals and couples to share their thoughts, and she can assist with techniques to cope with or overcome anxiety. We offer marriage counseling, couples counseling, relationship counseling, and individual counseling and therapy. For a free consultation, call 954-675-1936, or visit our site for more information: https://coralspringscounselingcenter.com/.
Susan Block is a licensed marriage and family therapist specializing in marriage, family and individual therapy. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education from Florida Atlantic University in 1997 and completed her Master’s Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from Nova Southeastern University in 2004. Also an active member of The American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT), Susan Block offers Couples Counseling in South Florida, as well as online therapy throughout the state. Click on the link to find out more: https://coralspringscounselingcenter.com/counseling-specialties/online-therapy/