Anxiety and Partners

If you are lucky, you have someone special in your life. Your sexuality, gender, race doesn’t matter if you have someone special and you are happy that’s awesome. If you or your significant other has anxiety, it’s a test on so many levels it’s hard to boil it down to a few key situations. Anything can trigger anxiety, from the way someone closes the door, to how glasses clank at a restaurant.

I found a good article that discusses how anxiety affects our relationships.

From the article: “Because an anxiety disorder can be consuming, it can be best to start by talking with your partner about the ways anxiety affects daily life, like sleeplessness, says Jeffrey Borenstein, president and CEO of the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation in New York. Something as simple as using the word “stress” instead of clinical labels can help too. “Often people may feel a little more comfortable talking about stress as opposed to … anxiety [disorders],”

The key is to be as up front and open as you can about anxiety. Have no fear at some point in your relationship anxiety will manifest itself in an unattractive way. Just like acne, anxiety will rear itself when you don’t want it and it’s a big moment in your life. Relationships that stretch through time give many opportunities to experience situations with someone else. This presents the issue of anxiety influencing how you or someone else feels.

Let’s face it, people who do not suffer with anxiety don’t understand that there are times when it can be debilitating to the point you don’t want to go out, or even get out of bed. How do you explain that to someone you are starting a relationship with? How do you explain that to someone whom you are in a relationship with and it affects plans you had? There will be resentment, anger and disappointment.

What to do? From the article: “Even if the perspective of the other person absolutely makes no sense to you logically, you should validate it,” Try to understand your partner’s fears and worries, or at least acknowledge that those fears and worries are real to your partner, before addressing why such things might be irrational.

It’s critical that if we are in a relationship with someone whether we have the anxiety, or they do that we talk about it rationally. Often labels are used because the individuals involved don’t have a better way to communicate what they are experiencing or observing. Over time through shared experiences and good dialogue you can really enhance your relationship. It takes time of course but living with anxiety doesn’t mean you have to be alone, it just means you must work harder at it.

That means taking the time to listen and, on the flip, side being understanding when someone doesn’t “get” your anxiety issues. Investing time, understanding and compassion = a better relationship long time. When you are kind to your partner, they are kind to you.

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