Hi. It’s Jenny at AnxietyBoss.com. Our question today is from Amy in San Carlos, California. Whenever I start to become close to a potential significant other, I always start to distance myself, not on purpose, but for an unknown reason. This ruins many potential relationships. Could anxiety over relationships be the culprit of this?
Yes. Relationship anxiety is a very real thing and can definitely take a toll on not only yourself, but also your potential significant other. Typically, relationship anxiety can be caused by childhood experiences or past relationships that went wrong.
Examples of this may be a parents’ divorce, a previous abusive relationship, or even watching your best friend have a broken heart. Either way, you may feel a severe lack of trust when entering a new relationship. Unfortunately, there is not much of a relationship without trust. This distrust may stir great uncertainty in your potential relationship causing the other person to distance himself or herself or vice versa as you stated.
You may have experienced fighting in the past, whether it be between loved ones or between you and a past love interest. Fights lead to anxiety which leads to overthinking which leads to assumptions which leads to anxiety and so on. In a new relationship, it’s important to remember that fights are healthy now and then, but if you find yourself constantly walking on eggshells, making sure that you don’t do anything wrong to cause an argument then that’s unhealthy. Tense relationships can also cause anxiety and even anxiety disorders.
Moreover, relationships are complicated. There’s no doubt about that. But if you always let yourself be consumed by your negative thoughts and assumptions, nothing positive will result from that nor will you enter a healthy relationship.
In this case, you’re the only one standing in your way. In order to establish a healthy relationship, you need to be able to control these unhealthy thoughts and be willing to change your negative ways of thinking. Regardless of the circumstance, anxiety is anxiety. Coping mechanisms that work well with other situations also apply here, breathing exercises, meditation, exercise, etc.
Next time you enter a relationship, focus on yourself. Make sure that you are the best partner that you can be and don’t allow negative thoughts or irrational suspicions ruin what could be the best relationship you’ve ever had.