Dating someone with anxiety can be very challenging.
When you witness your partner’s anxiety, you might be overwhelmed.
An anxiety attack often comes out of the blue. It usually has no apparent reason, making it hard for you to figure out how to prevent it. There also seems to be no soothing it until it subsides on its own. Therefore, you probably feel helpless, scared, and even frustrated.
You might be having second thoughts. Is the partner right for you? Will you be able to build a bond with them despite the anxiety? Could you have a fulfilling relationship when so much of it seems to be out of your control?
There is no need to doubt the future of your relationship.
Once you understand their disorder, you will stop fearing your partner getting anxious beyond control. The feelings of hopelessness and frustration from not knowing what to do or how to help will go away. You will be able to help them thrive and enjoy a rewarding relationship together.
This article will explain everything there is to know about dating someone with anxiety.
You will learn:
- What anxiety is—symptoms, causes, and treatments
- What to expect when you are dating someone with anxiety
- How to help your partner tackle anxiety and how to take care of yourself
he most common types are generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, and specific phobias.
Many people struggle with anxiety without an official diagnosis. Your partner may or may not have been diagnosed. In both cases, anxiety is a real and quite common problem.
Luckily, anxiety is also a highly treatable issue.
Marisa Peer, a world-renowned expert with decades of experience in treating anxiety and other mental issues, created tools and techniques that help people around the world resolve anxiety for good.
Therefore, dating someone with anxiety should not scare you. You merely need to learn how to deal with the symptoms of the disorder.
What is anxiety?—Signs and symptoms
Anxiety is a normal human emotion. It serves to warn us about the potential danger ahead. We all experience it fairly often—before an exam, a job interview, a date.
However, an anxiety disorder is different. Your partner feels that way most of the time.
Anxiety symptoms are overwhelming and very difficult to control. There is often no evident trigger; therefore it is hard to prevent. This makes dating someone with anxiety especially challenging.
However, when there is a palpable stressor (such as when you are in a large group of people, at a concert or a party), the reaction is extreme.
The same thing that would cause you to feel uneasy for a couple of minutes can push your partner into a full-blown panic attack.
Some of the symptoms of an anxiety spectrum disorder could be:
- Restlessness/feeling on edge
- Being easily fatigued
- Inability to concentrate
- Tense muscles
- Sleep problems
- Physical symptoms (such as sweating, hands or feet tingling, hyperventilation, heart palpitations, nausea)
What causes anxiety?
The causes of anxiety could be complex. Most probably, a variety of factors interlace to make someone vulnerable to the disorder, such as genetics, brain chemistry, traumatic events, or medical conditions.
Your partner may or may not understand what caused their anxiety. Do not push for a conversation about it unless they are ready.
In any case, what makes anxiety so elusive and persistent is that it often resides in the person’s subconscious mind. Anything could trigger the flight-or-fight response without the person realizing why it happened.
This is why Marisa Peer designed RTT® as a method that works directly with the subconsciousness to eliminate the root causes of anxiety.
This approach allows anyone to free themselves from anxiety disorder and other issues that are holding them back from fully experiencing life.
What to Expect When Dating Someone with Anxiety
Anxiety is a fluctuating phenomenon.
It will be more prominent in some periods, taking over your partner’s focus and emotions and then suddenly entering remission.
You will probably not know how to approach it or control it—nor will your partner, on most occasions.
Sometimes, your partner’s anxiety will make them behave in ways that stress you out and put pressure on your relationship.
Their minds go straight to the worst-case scenario. By attempting to prevent bad things from happening, they might exhibit behavior that seems irrational from the outside.
How anxiety in a relationship looks like:
Depending on the type of anxiety disorder and their personal story, your partner could be exhibiting different behaviors.
- Generalized anxiety disorder can make it hard for your partner to cope with worry and inexplicable apprehension. It can be hard to relate as you see things more objectively.
- Panic attack is happening when their heart starts racing, and they begin to hyperventilate. They feel as if they will die, have a heart attack, or pass out. At that moment, they are incapable of rational thinking. To you, this could feel terrifying until you realize that nothing bad will truly happen and learn to react calmly.
- Social anxiety disorder often leads to avoiding going out to clubs, restaurants, or socializing. It could be problematic if you like going out with groups of friends.
- Specific phobias mean being petrified of some objects or situations. It might feel awkward when your partner panics every time you walk near a dog, for example.
- Separation anxiety could be manifested as an extreme fear of abandonment. Your partner could be clingy and suspicious. On the other hand, in an attempt to prevent the worst-case scenario, they might start to withdraw and reject you. The real reason is their fear of intimacy, because closeness brings vulnerability. You will need to learn to see these behaviors for what they truly are and speak to the root cause instead of overreacting and making things worse.
It might feel as if anxiety is a third person in your relationship, taking away control from both of your hands.
Try not to make the mistake of believing that your relationship is a lost cause.
Loving someone with anxiety can be a confusing and unpredictable experience. Nonetheless, it also opens the doors for both of you to grow as individuals and as a couple.
How to Approach Dating Someone with Anxiety
When you love someone with anxiety, it is natural to have many fears and doubts. Your partner’s inability to control their symptoms could be a very scary thing to witness.
When you think of your future together, it could feel terrifying. What if you have children together? Will they be able to take care of them? Would they be able to work? What if you cannot take it any longer?
With that said, how do you date someone with anxiety?
Dating someone with anxiety is one of those experiences that can bring out the worst and the best of you. It is your choice which way to go. You can decide to succumb to your fears or to grow out of the experience.
This is a great opportunity to practice your relationship skills, such as open communication, empathy, and commitment. You will learn how to be together, and also how to be apart from each other.
Anxiety can be kept in check, treated, and healed.
How to help your partner tackle anxiety
Helping someone with anxiety can be a challenging task to take on. However, when you learn therapist-approved strategies to improve your relationship, it can serve as a rewarding experience and a great relationship skill to have.
Below we’ve listed powerful tips for dating someone with anxiety.
Acknowledge their unique experience
Open the channels of communication. Abandon all your assumptions about what your partner experiences—and why. Genuinely try to understand their personal experience from their perspective.
Individuals with an anxiety disorder often report that they have difficulty getting others to understand how they feel. This is mostly because of the undefined nature of their worry. Therefore, try to be the one person who truly listens to them.
Let your partner know that you are there without judgment. Ask about what triggers them and what you can do to help.
When they do start talking about their experience, remember to be open-minded and open-hearted. It can be very difficult for an anxious person to open up. Therefore, appreciate this gesture of closeness and ensure that they feel safe with you.
Be mindful of the way you communicate
Anxiety can sometimes be made worse by inadequate reactions. Knowing what not to say at times is contingent on you knowing your partner intimately.
First, avoid reinforcing your partner’s unhelpful thinking patterns.
For example, your partner is in the midst of an anxiety attack because their boss criticized them. Avoid showing support by saying something such as: “Wow, that must have been horrible! I can’t believe your boss said that!”
Your partner probably has vivid images of a worst-case-scenario that you could not even conceive. They are catastrophizing, which is a form of cognitive distortion.
What to do instead?
State your support and care:
“Would it help if I took you for a walk?” or simply, “I am here for you if you need anything.”
Suggest getting help
If your partner is ready to address anxiety once and for all, you can suggest seeking professional help.
In today’s day and age, our understanding of psychology has led us to discover tried and tested methods that have proven to be very effective in addressing many forms of anxiety disorder, such as cognitive-behavior therapy (CBT) and EFT tapping.
With 30 years of experience helping thousands of people conquer their anxiety, Marisa Peer developed a powerful therapeutic method called Rapid Transformational Therapy® (RTT®).
RTT® is ground-breaking in its approach as it combines CBT, NLP, neuroscience, and hypnotherapy, all-in-one. It combines multiple therapeutic approaches that work synergistically with one another and has been proven to help get to the root cause of anxiety and help release it.
If your partner is ready to find help for their anxiety, suggest that they partner up with an experienced RTT® specialist therapist.
Suggest listening to self-hypnosis audio
People with anxiety are often reluctant to seek help. However, loving someone with anxiety naturally comes with the desire to help them.
If you are afraid of pushing too hard or think that they are not ready to work with a therapist right away, you can suggest trying out self-hypnosis to help their anxiety.
Studies revealed that hypnotherapy for anxiety delivers both immediate and long-term relief. Marisa Peer also created an ‘Overcome Anxiety’ self-hypnosis audio which utilizes the power of the listener’s subconscious mind.
It is designed to reprogram the mind and code in a powerful sense of calmness and control. If your partner listens to it regularly, they will enter a state of ease, comfort, and confidence. It builds their coping skills and self-confidence, and frees them from anxiety.
How to take care of yourself when dating someone with anxiety
Dating someone with anxiety can be tough and consuming at times. For you to help them, you need to take good care of yourself, too. Here are a few tips on how to do so.
Do not disregard your own needs or neglect your interests. Make sure you see your friends and family as much as you want to.
Get plenty of sleep, eat a healthy diet, and exercise regularly. Being well can help you feel more centered and cope better with your partner’s anxiety.
Being in a relationship with someone with anxiety might open the doors to codependent behavior. In order to avoid it, stay away from abandoning your habits and hobbies. Your partner will benefit from seeing your confidence and autonomy if you model healthy behavior.
Setting healthy boundaries
Loving someone with anxiety might make it challenging to recognize where healthy boundaries lie. However, it is an essential aspect of any relationship.
Although you probably want to be there for them in the way they need you, you also need to maintain your individuality. Otherwise, you might find that you, too, got absorbed by the disorder.
Always make sure that you express your love and presence. Nonetheless, when you need some space, be assertive about it. Your partner might be anxious about separating from you.
You can say something like: “I love you, and I am here for you. I merely need to take a moment. I will be back tomorrow, and I will be thinking about you in the meantime.”
Rapid Transformational Therapy® (RTT®)
Dating someone with anxiety might awaken many sleeping fears in yourself. You could find yourself feeling exhausted, mentally and physically.
Compassion fatigue is a well-known phenomenon affecting those who care for people in need of intense support.
Seek professional help. An RTT® specialist therapist can help you, too. Marisa Peer trains the RTT therapists to deliver a completely individualized approach to every client.
They will recognize the significance you are attributing to your problem and work with you to tap into your growth potential.
Join the 21-Day Meaningful Relationship Challenge
If you are dating somebody with anxiety and want to take meaningful, productive steps toward learning how to create a respectful and supportive relationship with your partner, then you should consider joining the 21-Day Meaningful Relationship Challenge.
The challenge, designed by popular therapist Marisa Peer, will help you remove your negative beliefs surrounding relationships, and help teach you the steps to cultivate a meaningful and intimate connection with your partner. After taking the challenge, you will be more in tune with your partner’s need concerning their anxiety, as well as give yourself the confidence to flourish within your relationship too.
Click the banner below to find out more about the challenge and to secure your spot.
Dating someone with anxiety is a challenge, for sure. However, we all have some issue that challenges our relationships. Anxiety is a common problem that can be treated with the right kind of help.
With your love and support, and the expertise from Marisa Peer and the RTT® specialist therapists, you and your partner will thrive together—as individuals, and as a couple.