Relationship Anxiety Symptoms

13 Relationship Anxiety Symptoms and Best Tips to Overcome It

Writen By: Sadia Mirza
Reviewed By: Huma Khan
Publish Date: December 28, 2023

Do you ever find yourself overthinking every move in your relationship? Constantly seeking reassurance? even though your relationship is completely balanced and healthy. There may be a problem naming ‘Relationship Anxiety’. Our relationships are a very important part of our lives, especially romantic relationships. Slight inconvenience in them makes us feel distressed and can manifest in the form of Relationship Anxiety Symptoms. 

When the relationship with your second half makes you feel a pit in your stomach rather than butterflies, then you may have relationship anxiety or gut feeling telling you that something is not right.

Let’s find out together whether you have just trust issues in a relationship or relationship anxiety symptoms. This blog will give you answers to all your questions regarding relationships. 

Relationship Anxiety

Relationship anxiety can be referred to as feelings of worry, doubt, and fear in a relationship. There is a constant fear that your partner will abandon you and you have continuous doubts regarding the relationship. 

Here is the turning point. According to the DSM-5, anxiety is not a disorder. While many professionals and doctors label the fear you experience in your relationships as Relationship Anxiety, DSM-5 doesn’t. However, it does recognize related conditions and symptoms that may be relevant to your experience such as Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Social Anxiety Disorder, Dependent Personality Disorder and more.

Many people tend to think, ‘Do healthy relationships also have anxiety?’ and the answer is Yes, as relationship anxiety can sneak into any relationship, no matter how stable or strong the relationship is. However, it’s important to distinguish between normal, occasional anxiety and chronic, overwhelming anxiety that significantly impacts the relationship. According to the study, 48.2% of participants experienced moderate to high levels of anxiety, highlighting the potential link between anxiety and relationship concerns.

Let’s come to the point of how relationship anxiety symptoms differ from normal worries and relationship concerns and here is the explanation regarding that.

Regular worries and concerns in relationships arise in response to specific situations and usually resolve with time but relationship anxiety is a constant cloud of worry, popping into your mind even when things are good. Normal worries in a relationship are manageable as both partners find solutions and ways to improve the relationship, while in relationship anxiety, the mind of one partner is focused on the negative outcomes, expecting the worst, and focused on the problem rather than seeking solutions.

So when you are so insecure about your relationship and have doubts, know that it could be relationship anxiety.

Relationship Anxiety Symptoms 

Relationship anxiety can be shown and manifested in different ways. Usually, most people feel fear and insecurity about their relationships at some point but these doubts and fears go away and don’t affect them too much. 

But when these anxious thoughts are continuous and don’t go away with time, it is known as Relationship Anxiety. It can affect your daily life. Let’s look at some symptoms of relationship anxiety:

  1. Questioning If you Matter to your Partner

One of the most common signs of relationship anxiety is wondering whether you matter to your partner or not. You may think and wonder that they are with you just because of what you do for them. You also doubt whether they miss you if you aren’t around. And you question in your mind if all the things relevant to you seriously matter to them or if they are just faking. 

  1. Worrying that they will End the Relationship

Relationship anxiety symptoms include not feeling safe, secure, and happy in the relationship as you constantly fear your partner leaving you. You become anxious about that and this shows up in your behavior, such as worrying a lot about them getting angry at you, even if they are not. You avoid bringing up issues and problems that need to be solved and sorted out through communication. You choose to overlook your partner’s annoying behaviors because you want to feel secure in a relationship. 

  1. Seeking Constant Reassurance 

How to know if you have relationship anxiety? Look at it if you want constant reassurance from your partner. Fear of rejection and the thought of being replaced may make you seek constant approval. Doubt can often creep into your mind, causing you to question your partner’s feelings and intentions. The need for reassurance is a way of seeking validation and alleviating your anxiety and fears. Research study shows that seeking reassurance is a common behavioral pattern in relationship anxiety. 

  1. Pleasing the Partner 

One of the relationship anxiety symptoms is when you surpass your own needs and boundaries to just please your partner. Pleasing your partner and forgetting your own needs can be emotionally damaging for you and your relationship. You may find yourself constantly walking on eggshells to avoid upsetting them. For example, you may avoid sharing your opinion on something to avoid disagreement. 

A study published in the Journal of Experimental and Social Psychology showed that women may be more likely to engage in self-silencing behavior to please their partners. They may not express their opinions and feelings to their partner, fearing rejection.

  1. Avoidance or Withdrawal

Have you developed sabotaging and avoidance behaviors in your relationship? If yes, then you know it is relationship anxiety. You withdraw or distance yourself from your partner to avoid potential hurt or rejection. You become emotionally distant from your partner because you are afraid that they will say or do something that might hurt you. You push them away when you are in distress, insisting that nothing’s wrong.

  1. Insecurity and jealousy

Relationship anxiety can trigger feelings of anxiety and jealousy in you. You may become excessively possessive, monitor your partner’s activities, or imagine worst-case scenarios. You may also compare yourself to others and feel threatened by your partner’s interactions with others. 

  1. Overanalyzing and Overthinking

Overanalyzing and Overthinking in relationships is also one of the relationship anxiety symptoms. You over-analyze every aspect of the relationship, including replaying past conversations, actions, or behaviors. You may constantly search for hidden meanings, looking for signs that your partner is losing interest or being unfaithful. This creates unnecessary tension and stress in the relationship.

  1. Negative Self-talk

Negative self-talk is also among the symptoms of relationship anxiety. You may have a negative self-perception and tend to blame yourself for any relationship issues. You may have low self-esteem and you may fear inadequacy or being unworthy of love. Negative self-talk takes your confidence away from yourself and your relationship with your partner, affecting every aspect of it.

  1. Difficulty With Trust 

You struggle to trust your partner, even though there is no reason to doubt them. You may doubt their intention when they say that they are just friends with someone despite everything going right. You might also not trust them when they say that they care about you. You take everything they say as suspicious, not trusting them and doubting their intentions in everything they do.

  1. Not Enjoying The Present Moment

With relationship anxiety, you may find it difficult to enjoy the present moment. You may have constantly worrying thoughts about the relationship. For example, you could be on a dinner date with your partner that they have planned with great effort but instead of enjoying the relationship, you may be worrying about whether they are going to be with you in the future. 

  1. Loss of Personal Interests

One of the relationship anxiety symptoms is the loss of personal hobbies, interests, and activities you once enjoyed because now your focus is solely and overwhelmingly centered on the relationship. Maybe you enjoyed writing or painting before but with time, you give it up because you are too consumed with thoughts and worries about your relationship. 

  1. Physical Symptoms 

Physical symptoms often accompany relationship anxiety, including heightened heart rate, sweating, stomach discomfort, headaches, and muscle tension. These manifestations reflect the physiological impact of anxiety on the body. Recognizing and addressing these symptoms is crucial for managing overall well-being in relationships.

  1. You Pick Fights To See Their Love For You

Relationship anxiety symptoms consist of many unhealthy behavioral patterns. One of them is that you may confront your partner and pick fights with them to check on their love for you. After fighting, there’s an apology and it makes you feel secure as they prove and reassure you that they love you. This is a very unhealthy behavior that is damaging in the long run. 

It’s important to note that experiencing occasional doubts or concerns is normal in relationships. However, if these relationship anxiety symptoms persist and significantly impact your daily life, then you should seek professional help from a therapist or counselor.

Is It Relationship Anxiety Or Gut Feeling?

How do you know if it is relationship anxiety or gut feeling?

Relationship anxiety often stems from fear and uncertainty, while gut feeling is an intuitive sense that something may be off or not right in the relationship. Relationship anxiety makes you constantly doubt, fear, and feel anxious about your relationship. On the other hand, if you have a deep inner knowing and instinct that something is wrong or missing and your intuition is urging you to pay attention, it may be your gut feeling indicating a deeper issue. 

Remember, it’s important to trust your gut feelings and seek guidance and therapy to gain a better understanding of your emotions.

Causes of Relationship Anxiety

There are many causes of relationship anxiety. Understanding these causes can help you navigate the anxiety and stress you might be feeling in your relationship. 

Attachment Style

Attachment styles form in our childhood years. When an individual has been neglected in their childhood by their parents or caregivers, they may feel insecure in their adult relationships. When you have an anxious attachment style, you may question your partner’s feelings for you or whether you can trust them or not. This behavior is rooted and developed in your childhood, as you didn’t get that support and love as a child. You may wonder about your self-worth, and worry about losing people you love.

Past Experiences

Your past negative experiences make you insecure and anxious about your relationship. Any time you feel a similar threat or fear, you give the same anxious response. If you have had any trauma in the past, you carry the resulting fear into your relationships. You may experience relationship anxiety symptoms if you have been cheated on and manipulated before. 

Communication 

If you can’t communicate properly and effectively with your partner, it can be frustrating and overwhelming at times, as poor communication affects every aspect of your relationship. It can cause anxiety in a relationship. Communication problems often create misunderstandings and the individual may feel frustrated when they aren’t able to communicate their feelings to their partner.

Low Self Esteem

Individuals with poor self-esteem and low self-worth are more likely to experience relationship anxiety symptoms. According to research, those who have low self-esteem are more likely to question their partner’s feelings.

When you are not confident in your ability to handle situations and feel insecure in a relationship, it can have a great impact on your overall life. When you have low self-esteem, you could continuously question how your partner feels about you, how much you deserve in a relationship, and how much you can trust them. 

Negativity

Continuous negativity in relationships also causes anxiety, as many times both partners criticize each other and talk with an unfriendly tone. There are happy moments but they also get spoiled due to disputes and are shattered due to negativity. This results in relationship anxiety. 

Constant Questioning and Self-Doubt 

A questioning nature can also cause relationship anxiety. If you ask yourself a lot of questions about your choices and decisions, this is going to manifest in your relationship too, as you will spend time questioning your relationship too. It could become a problem when you find yourself stuck in an endless pattern of questioning and doubting. 

Unrealistic Expectations

Often influenced by societal portrayals or personal ideals, individuals may set high, unrealistic standards for their partner or the relationship. This might involve expecting constant romantic gestures, perfect communication at all times, or believing that love should always feel a certain way. When reality doesn’t meet these lofty expectations, it can lead to disappointment, dissatisfaction, and anxiety within the relationship.

External Stressors

External pressures from work, financial strain, familial issues, or health concerns can impact the relationship dynamics. Stress from these sources might cause partners to be less present or emotionally available, leading to feelings of disconnect or strain in the relationship. Coping with these external stressors together can become overwhelming and contribute to relationship anxiety.

Insecurity About the Future

Uncertainty about the future of the relationship, such as concerns about where the relationship is heading or doubts about commitment can trigger anxiety.  Fear of not meeting personal or societal expectations, uncertainty about the longevity of the relationship, or doubts about a partner’s commitment can lead to significant anxiety and affect the present dynamics of the relationship.

Comparison and Social Pressures

Social media, societal norms, and comparisons to other seemingly ‘perfect’ relationships can create a sense of inadequacy or pressure in one’s own relationship. Feeling like your relationship doesn’t measure up to those portrayed online or in social circles can generate anxiety about whether your relationship is successful or ‘good enough.

Impact of Relationship Anxiety 

Anxiety can cause excessive worry, anger, and irritability. This creates tensions between partners, affecting their mental health and also affecting the relationship.

Impact of Anxiety On Relationship

A 2016 research study shows that adults with anxiety disorders are likely to experience poor relationship quality. Here are some ways that anxiety may affect your relationships:

  • Constant anxiety about your partner’s fidelity can take away trust in relationships, creating doubts and insecurity. 
  • Relationship anxiety also results in unhealthy communication patterns. You need constant reassurance; your behavior becomes possessive and you misinterpret your partner’s actions. Seeking constant reassurance can be frustrating for both partners and can contribute to disputes, arguments, and misunderstandings.
  • Anxiety can create an emotional barrier between partners. You withdraw emotionally to protect yourself from rejection and also fear vulnerability. It can hinder intimacy and connection in your relationship. It can be seen as trying to hug the cactus; its pricks push everyone away.

Impact of Anxiety On Individuals

Relationship anxiety affects an individual’s mental and emotional health. It stirs up doubt, fear, and negativity in individuals. 

  • It becomes a mental and emotional burden on an individual, making them feel depressed. It feels like carrying a heavy weight on your shoulders, draining your energy and joy. 
  • It also affects people physically in the form of headaches, fatigue, and even weakened immunity. It’s like your body is constantly on high alert, taking a toll on its systems.
  • It can also lead to social withdrawal, as the fear of judgment and rejection makes you limit interaction. You build a wall around yourself, shutting out the support system. 

Relationship anxiety can cast a long shadow on both the relationship and the individuals involved. One should seek therapy if it is getting more severe with each passing day.

How To Deal With Relationship Anxiety?

Relationship anxiety can be a tricky beast, but there are ways to tame it and cultivate a healthier, more fulfilling relationship. Here are some professional help and treatment approaches that one can adopt to help you cope:

Professional Help and Treatment Approaches

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive behavioral therapy can help you identify and replace negative thought patterns with more realistic and adaptive ones. It changes your thought pattern. This can significantly reduce anxiety and improve relationship dynamics.

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT)

ACT can help you in overcoming relationship anxiety. This approach helps you accept difficult emotions and thoughts without letting them control your behavior. It allows you to completely accept your thoughts without judging. This can be particularly helpful for individuals who struggle with excessive worrying.

Couples Therapy

Couples therapy can provide a safe space for both partners to address concerns, improve communication, and build emotional intimacy, as therapists can help both partners communicate effectively and address the root cause of relationship anxiety. It can be valuable in navigating relationship challenges and strengthening the bond. 

A research study showed that a session of couple therapy decreases levels of reassurance-seeking and self-silencing in individuals with relationship anxiety. 

Resources and Organizations

There are many resources, organizations and websites about relationship anxiety that can help you in terms of relationship anxiety therapy.

Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA)

 ADAA provides information and support for individuals struggling with anxiety, including relationship anxiety. 

National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)

NAMI offers support groups and resources for individuals and families dealing with mental health conditions, including anxiety.

Psychology Today

Psychology Today provides a directory of therapists and counselors specializing in relationship anxiety and other mental health concerns.

The Gottman Relationship Coach App

The Gottman Relationship Coach offers exercises and tools to strengthen communication and connection in your relationship.

Remember, you’re not alone in this. Many individuals experience relationship anxiety, and there are effective tools and treatments available to help you manage it and build a happy, healthy relationship.

Tips For Managing Relationship Anxiety

Dealing with relationship anxiety takes some time but is able to be overcome. It should be addressed as soon as possible before it becomes a big problem. Let’s study tips for managing relationship anxiety: 

1. Understanding the Root Cause 

You should understand and explore the root cause of your anxieties. It could be due to past relationship experiences, fear of losing control, or insecurities. Knowing and reflecting on these triggers can help you address the anxiety constructively. Confronting your anxiety and embracing it can help you recognize these issues and tackle them. 

2. Address External Stressors 

Collaborate with your partner to manage external stressors impacting the relationship. Find ways to support each other through difficult times, whether it’s financial challenges, work-related stress, or family issues.

3. Challenge Negative Thoughts

As anxiety thrives on negative thought patterns, you should identify and challenge those worries with evidence-based reasoning. You can ask yourself, “Is this thought helpful? Is it realistic?” and try to do it every time when an anxious and negative thought comes into your mind.

4. Set Realistic Expectations

Avoid idealizing the relationship or expecting perfection. Understand that conflicts and imperfections are a natural part of any relationship. Accepting this reality can alleviate unnecessary pressure and anxiety.

5. Mindfulness and Relaxation Techniques

Mindfulness practices make you aware of what’s happening in the present moment without judging. When negative thoughts appear, you accept them and move on.

Practices like deep breathing, meditation, and yoga can help calm your mind and manage stress. Adopting these techniques can be helpful in managing anxiety at the moment, as they teach you to pause and reflect for a moment and take deep breaths when anxiety and panic attacks overcome you. 

6. Open Communication

Talk to your partner honestly about your anxieties, fears, and worries. Share your feelings and vulnerabilities to foster understanding and support. Remember, communication is key. You can tell them and explain to them what you are thinking and how you are trying to deal with it. By speaking up clearly with your partner, uncertainties in your mind that can encourage anxiety can be avoided. Opening up and communicating can strengthen bonds with your partner. 

7. Maintain Individuality

Make time for hobbies and activities you enjoy outside of the relationship. Having strong individual identities strengthens the bond when you come together. Many individuals start to lose their sense of self in the relationship or change themselves according to their partner but it does not help in the long run. Do painting, sketching, writing, or anything else you like to do that makes your self-esteem and confidence grow, makes you happier, and makes you feel that you are a person with a separate identity outside of your relationship. Cultivate your hobbies, interests, and passions, not just the things you enjoy together. 

Take responsibility for your own well-being, not depending on your partner to fix you. Take regular self-breaks, meditate, and spend time with other loved ones.

8. Set Boundaries

You should set boundaries in the relationship. Learn to say ‘no’ and prioritize your needs. Not being able to establish healthy boundaries also develops relationship anxiety. Healthy boundaries create a safe space for both partners to thrive. Every time we say ‘yes’ when we want to say ‘no’, we create an unresolved tension in ourselves that could manifest into anxiety.

9. Limit Comparisons 

Avoid comparing your relationship to others. Recognize that every relationship is unique and has its own set of strengths and challenges. Focus on nurturing your own relationship rather than measuring it against external standards.

10. Seek Professional Guidance

If you aren’t able to address relationship anxiety on your own, then you should seek professional guidance and therapy for that. A therapist can provide insights, tools, and strategies to implement in the relationship that can facilitate growth and healing in the relationship.

The tips given above can help you tackle your anxiety and address the issues that are causing it. 

How to stop overthinking in relationships?

Overthinking can reduce joy in your relationships. There are ways to stop it.

  • Start by recognizing the situations or thoughts that lead to overthinking in your relationships. This could be insecurity, past experiences, or fear of rejection. 
  • Practice open and honest communication with your partner. Share your feelings, doubts, and concerns. This can help alleviate your worries and create a space for understanding. 
  • Take care of yourself physically, mentally, and emotionally. Engage in activities that bring you joy and relaxation. This can help you stay grounded and reduce anxious thoughts.
  • Be aware of your thoughts and challenge any negative thoughts that come your way. You can ask yourself if there is a need to worry and overthink about this. Try to convert these thoughts into positive ones. 
  • Focus on the present moment. Practice mindfulness and being present in your relationship. Remind yourself to enjoy the current moments and not get caught up in overthinking future scenarios.

How to set boundaries in a relationship?

Setting boundaries is about creating a healthy balance in a relationship that respects both individuals’ needs and emotions. 

  • Have an open and honest conversation with your partner about your boundaries and expectations. Clearly state your needs and concerns, and be open-minded to listening to theirs as well. 
  • Specify the exact boundaries you want to establish, whether it’s regarding personal space, time spent with friends, or privacy. Make sure to communicate the consequences if these boundaries are crossed
  • Consistently reinforce your boundaries by maintaining them and not accepting behavior that violates them. This may require establishing consequences or enforcing limits as necessary.

Books on Relationship Anxiety Relief

There are many books available that can help you in overcoming relationship anxiety. 

Relationship Anxiety Symptoms

Relationship Anxiety: 7 Steps to Freedom from Jealousy, Attachment, Worry, and Fear

This is the book by Amy White which gives you insight into the symptoms of relationship anxiety. This book teaches you :

  • How to rebuild a foundation of trust in your relationship
  • How to effectively resolve conflict in your relationship
  • Healing from an insecure attachment style and so much more.
Relationship Anxiety Symptoms

Anxiety in Relationship: Free Yourself From Anxiety and Fears, Stop Suffering, and Enjoy Your Love Relationship With Your Partner

This book is by Patricia Peterman. This book will guide you step by step to overcome your anxiety and fears.

Relationship Anxiety Symptoms

Recovery from Relationship Anxiety and Overthinking

This is a book by Linda Hill. This book will teach you how to break free from anxious, unhealthy attachments and how to annihilate unfavorable thoughts that may or may not come true. 

Conclusion 

Relationship anxiety symptoms can be overwhelming and have a significant impact on our mental and emotional well-being. They have the power to weaken even the most solid bonds and cause us to doubt our deservingness of love.

Relationships should bring you happiness, support, and personal development rather than cause you to worry, constantly need reassurance, overanalyze, overthink, or misunderstand each other. 

Don’t let anxiety hold you back from experiencing the love and happiness you deserve in a relationship. With patience, understanding, and the right tools, you can overcome relationship anxiety. Take the necessary steps to overcome relationship anxiety and embark on a journey towards a happier and more fulfilling love life.

FAQs

Is relationship anxiety normal?

Yes, it is a common and normal experience for many people. Some people may experience it during the start of a relationship. It’s become a problem when it’s severe.

What does relationship anxiety feel like?

It feels like a constant feeling of worry, doubt, insecurity, and the need for constant reassurance from the partner.

Why do relationships make me so anxious?

Your relationships make you so anxious due to the insecure attachment style you have developed because of past experiences. Anxious attachment results in fear of your partner and the person you are in a relationship with leaving you.

Is it relationship anxiety or not in love?

Relationship anxiety often stems from fear and worry, while a lack of love is indicated by a lack of affection and indifference. Through proper communication and professional help, it is possible to navigate these feelings. 

How to communicate with a partner about relationship anxiety?

Start the conversation by expressing your love for your partner. Let them know you’re sharing because you value the relationship and want to strengthen it. Focus on your own feelings and experiences instead of blaming your partner for your anxiety. For example, say “I feel anxious when…” instead of “You make me feel…”. Ask them for the support that you need to manage anxiety. 

How to build trust in a relationship?

Building trust in a relationship is essential for it to be healthy and strong. Open and effective communication is key to building trust. Being open and honest with your partner about your thoughts, feelings, and intentions helps establish a sense of transparency and reliability. Consistency in words and actions is also crucial in building trust. Follow through on your promises and commitments to show that you can be relied upon. Trust takes time to develop, so be patient about it.

How to let go of control in a relationship?

Letting go of control in a relationship can be challenging, but it can greatly improve the dynamics and happiness within the relationship. Here are some steps to help you let go of control:

Reflect on your controlling behaviors. Take a step back and analyze the reasons behind your need for control. Communicate with your partner about your desire to change your controlling tendencies. Identify and challenge your fears by understanding the underlying fears that drive your need for control. For example, you may fear being hurt, abandoned, or losing someone’s love. Practice trust. Give them the space and autonomy they need to make their own decisions. 

How to heal from a breakup caused by relationship anxiety?

Healing from a breakup caused by relationship anxiety can be a gradual and challenging process, but with time and self-reflection, it is possible to move forward and find healing. Firstly, it is important to give yourself permission to feel and process your emotions. Allow yourself to grieve the end of the relationship and acknowledge any pain or sadness you may be experiencing. It can be helpful to seek support from friends, family, or a therapist who can provide a safe space for you to talk about your feelings and receive guidance. 

During this time, it is important to practice self-care and engage in activities that bring you joy and fulfillment. This can include hobbies, exercise, or spending time with loved ones. Consider engaging in mindfulness or meditation practices to help manage anxiety and promote a sense of calm. 

How to help someone with relationship anxiety?

Helping someone with relationship anxiety involves providing support, understanding, and reassurance. First and foremost, it is important to validate their feelings and let them know that their anxiety is valid and understandable. Encourage open communication and be a good listener, allowing them to express their fears and concerns without judgment. Offer emotional support by being present and empathetic, showing that you care about their well-being. Encourage them to seek professional help if needed, such as therapy or counseling,