It can often be concerning when you find out that your partner is displaying signs of anxiety. Signs such as unnecessary paranoia, nervousness and general insecurity can often signal anxiety, which can often go medically undiagnosed. Sometimes, this can feel that you are dealing with a third person in the relationship, holding your partner back and adding confusion to the relationship. Unfortunately, there isn’t a silver bullet that can “cure” or solve anxiety, like other mental conditions, but there are ways to mend it and lessen its effect over a relationship. This means that anxiety isn’t a deal breaker, but can sometimes be a thorn in the side which can sour the relationship over time. Thankfully for you, we have found some of the best tips for dating someone with anxiety.
Before going on with these tips, you should confirm beyond reasonable doubt that your partner is dealing with anxiety. That way, these methods will have maximum effect, as they directly target anxiety as a mental condition. Sometimes, they are medically diagnosed with anxiety, and other times, they will show symptoms. Eventually, there is usually a point in the relationship where the person with anxiety discloses it in one way or another. During this time, it is important not to judge, but rather use compassion and empathy since it is already difficult for them to disclose that they have a mental illness. If the anxiety is not noticeably affecting the relationship negatively, simply relate to them and thank them for the information. If it is affecting the relationship, try and discuss ways to integrate and minimize anxiety in the relationship. However, if you suspect that your partner is suffering from anxiety and isn’t coming out to you about it, here are some common signs that your partner has anxiety:
Feeling of dread, impending doom (often irrational):
The signature symptom of anxiety, the mental condition of feeling as though something bad is going to happen in the near future. This may lead to them irrationally fearing for their lives, preparing for something that won’t happen or look over their shoulder every other second. If your partner is constantly bugging you about things that seem way too overcautious and irrational, this may be a sign of this symptom. However, this is not a definitive symptom since the body sends a signal of “impending doom” for many medical conditions, and may therefore signal something more severe, such as an impending stroke.
This is defined as a period of significant bodily stress which can result in increased sweating, shaking, shortness of breath, chest pain, nausea, feeling hot/cold, numbness and choking sensations. If at least 4 of these symptoms apply, they are likely having a panic attack, which you can reduce by calming them down. This is not completely indicative of anxiety, but is a product of heightened anxiety, making it a signal that your partner needs mental support in one way or another.
A traumatic past can directly result in various mental conditions, including PTSD, which is a larger development of anxiety. Coupled with the other symptoms, a traumatic past such as parental, social abuse, or military experience can be a clear indicator that your partner is suffering from anxiety-like conditions.
Ways to Handle Anxiety in a Relationship
After you’ve confirmed that your partner is suffering from anxiety, there are multiple steps that you can take to improve the situation, depending on how severe the anxiety is. These can also depend on how anxiety is affecting the relationship, and how you and your partner have agreed to move on from there.
Attending Therapy (by yourself or with your partner):
Seeking professional help is often one of the best ways to deal with all types of mental illnesses since trying to deal with it on your own can be ineffective and can affect your mental health in the long run. Start by looking for local or online therapy and counseling for people dealing with anxiety. They will be able to give you specialised tips on how to deal with anxiety better than any general article on the internet, so apply these tips in your dating life. After you have accustomed to professional therapy, if you think it is necessary, nudge your partner to get therapy themselves. If they are comfortable, it is even better if you have a group therapy session with a professional, so that some level of general understanding can be reached. Note that therapy is not always necessary, but if you feel as though anxiety is raising questions and/or concerns for you, it can never hurt.
Educate yourself on the effects of anxiety and how to minimise it
By looking and reading this article, you’ve already started to do this! However, if you really want to better handle the situation, it would be wise to read/watch additional information on the root causes, symptoms and treatments for mental illnesses, in this case, anxiety. A great place to start would be documentaries on Youtube and on TV channels about mental illnesses that interview experts about the subject, Additionally, articles on .edu and .gov platforms are generally very accurate and informative about mental illnesses, which will teach you how to manage anxiety in a relationship. Remember to take notes while watching/reading about anxiety, which will help you absorb the information to help you deal with anxiety in the relationship.
Keep an open mind when talking to them about it
The worst thing you can do is to worsen the mental condition of anxiety by causing additional trauma, which could deteriorate into a myriad of different problems. Additional trauma could confirm to them that their unreasonable sense of impending doom is justified, which could lead to them distancing themselves from a relationship. Do not berate or view your partner in a negative light when talking about anxiety, lest you provoke a panic attack which causes physical and relationship damage in the long run. Last but not least, keep an open mind when listening to their mental struggles, even if they sound outlandish, since they will be true to them more often than not.