Overcoming anxiety in your relationship

“You just don’t get it,” I explained to my wife once.  “I know you’re not leaving.  You’ve told me ten thousand times.  I know it in my head.  But I don’t know it in my heart.”

anxiety relationshipsYou see, I grew up with this huge fear of abandonment.  My mother left when I was very young, and until well into adulthood, I didn’t know how to handle it.  I was convinced I was going to be left behind.  This may be a familiar feeling to you, or your situation may be completely different.  But regardless, you’re likely here because you’re suffering from anxiety in your relationship, or from a relationship you’re considering.

According to PsycheAlive, “Relationship anxiety can arise at pretty much any stage of courtship. For many single people, just the thought of being in a relationship can stir up stress. If and when people do start dating, the early stages can present them with endless worries: ‘Does he/she really like me?’, ‘Will this work out?’, ‘How serious is this?’ Unfortunately, these worries don’t tend to subside in the later stages of a romantic union.”

What causes relationship anxiety?

Meeting someone and falling in love challenges us in a lot of ways we don’t expect.  From changing to find compromise with someone else, or understanding the other person’s special quirks, these challenges can cause stress.

Then, throw in the lies Satan tries to tell us:

  • “You’re too ugly, fat, or boring to keep his or her interest.”
  • “You’ll never meet anybody.  Why do you even try?”
  • “You can’t trust him.  You know he’s going to cheat on you.”
  • “She doesn’t really love you.  Get out before she hurts you.”

When we believe these lies, it causes separation from those we want to be closest with.  We may begin to argue and fight with our significant other, or we may withdraw completely.  Instead of enjoying your time together, it becomes a time of stress and anger.

What thoughts lead to relationship anxiety?

These lies, Satan’s way of creating a wedge between us and others, lead to anxiety in our relationships.  Stereotyping, poor attitudes and false beliefs can all create barriers in our relationships that keep us from enjoying those we care about the most.

Sometimes, we brush these lies off as our “inner voice” or “inner critic”.  Do any of these sound like you?

Lies about the relationship:

  • People just wind up getting hurt.  I have to keep them out to survive.
  • Relationships never really work out.  Nobody can be truly happy.

Lies about the other person:

  • Men are so insensitive, unreliable and selfish.
  • Women are so needy and indirect.
  • He only cares about hanging out with his friends.
  • You can’t trust her.
  • He’s probably cheating on you.
  • He just can’t get anything right.  Why do men have to be so bone-headed?

Lies about yourself:

  • You’re never going to find anybody who understands you.
  • You’re not worth loving or being cared about.
  • He doesn’t really care about you.
  • She’s too good for you.
  • You’re better off on your own.
  • You’ve got to be in control.
  • If he really knew you, he wouldn’t want to be around you.
  • It’s your fault he gets upset.
  • Don’t be too vulnerable or you’ll just wind up getting hurt.
How are we affected?

Do me a favor.  Look at all the traumas you’ve experienced over the course of your life: parents who abandoned you, or neglected you, or who were addicted to drugs – perhaps it was someone who abused you – physically, emotionally or sexually.  Maybe it was some combination of all of these things – or maybe it was something else. Regardless of what happened, we carry these issues from our past into our present.  Those issues come forward as harmful in our present relationships.  anxiety relationships

We see things like:

  • Being clingy
  • Being controlling
  • Rejecting the other person
  • Withholding affection from the other person
  • Punishing the other person unfairly
  • Retreating or withdrawing away from the other person
How do we overcome relationship anxiety?

Without trying to sound too much like a Sunday School answer, it really is simple: Jesus.  Jesus wants to be at the center of everything we are and everything we do.  Until we fully learn to trust and accept the love of Jesus, we can’t give that love to others.  You can’t give something away if you don’t have it yourself.

If you’re struggling with traumas and setbacks from your past, Jesus is asking you to give those to Him.  He’s asking you to pray, to share your hurt with Him.  He knows and understands exactly what you’re going through and exactly what you are.  He is ready to help you through the hurt, but you have to be willing to give it up to Him.


Are the hurts of your past or worries about the future keeping you from enjoying your relationships in the present?  Feel like you can’t give up those hurts?  It’s okay to ask for help!
Message us on Facebook to chat right now, or make an appointment in Owensboro, Hartford, Henderson, or online.  Let us help you get your life back.

Use this trick to make your discussions more effective.

Relationship CounselingWhether you realize it or not, in most relationships and marriages, there are two different kinds of communicators.  More often than not, one of you is the pursuer and one of you is the distancer.  Not knowing these things about yourself and your spouse can make it hard to have an effective conversation if the discussion is serious in nature – and it can make it even more difficult, maybe even impossible, to resolve a disagreement.

Before learning how to solve these issues, we must first learn what and who the pursuer and the distancer are:

PURSUER:  The person who moves “inside the relationship” to solve a problem.  When an issue or problem arises, this person typically wants to jump right in and have a conversation immediately with the other person.  The pursuer wants to fix the problem “right here, right now”.

DISTANCER: The person who moves “outside the relationship” to solve a problem.  This doesn’t mean the person is running off to have an affair because they can’t deal with their problems — it simply means the distancer is looking to find a way to process the issue in a way that’s comfortable to them, such as a hobby, exercising, talking to a trusted friend, etc.  This person doesn’t want to solve the problem immediately like the pursuer does.  They want to take time to “file their thoughts” and figure out a good solution.

NEITHER OF THESE PEOPLE ARE WRONG.

So, how do we solve this communication barrier in our relationships?

First, find out if you’re the pursuer or distancer.  It’s not a difficult answer to find.  Just think back on the last few disagreements or serious discussions you’ve had with your spouse.  Did you want to solve it immediately, or did you prefer to take your time to “hash it out” in your head?

Do you find it infuriating when your husband or wife doesn’t want to sit down with you and work out the problem as soon as you realize there is one?  Or do you get aggravated when your better half keeps pressing you for thoughts and solutions you just don’t have?

Sometimes, if people in a marriage or relationship are very similar, they can go back and forth on being the pursuer and distancer, depending on the situation, however it’s not extremely common.  Again, it’s not difficult to find out if this description fits you.

After you’ve identified who’s who in the relationship, the easiest way to solve the issues and problems you face is to table the discussion.  Yes, you read that right.  PUT IT ON PAUSE.  BUT, you must set a time to come back to the discussion to come to a resolution.  This could be a couple hours, a couple days, or whatever time the two of you agree on.  This assures the pursuer that there will be a resolution to the issue at hand, but it gives the distancer the time to sit down, think, and process the information and come back to the table ready with solutions.

Not convinced?  Put this into practice with an issue you’re facing, or the next disagreement you have.  See if both of you feel like you were able to have a more productive conversation with each other.


Continuing to struggle communicating in your relationship?  Remember, it’s okay to ask for help.  Even if you can’t convince your spouse to come with you, relationship counseling can be beneficial to giving you the strength and hope you’re looking for.  Schedule your appointment online here.

10 Communication Tips to Improve Your Relationship in Just One Week!

“The reason you don’t understand me, Edith, is because I am talkin’ to you in English and you’re listenin’ to me in ‘Dingbat’!”

Although blunt (and funny) Archie Bunker, the character in the TV show All in the Family had it right, didn’t he?  Sometimes the things we say and the way they’re heard can be completely different.

Let’s face it, relationships can be hard, but communicating with your significant other shouldn’t have to be.  We’ve prepared a free resource for you so you can better communicate with your better half.

Click here to get your copy of 10 Communication Tips to Improve Your Relationship in Just One Week!.  We’re confident if you put these tips into practice, you’ll be on your way to healthier communication.