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Relationship Anxiety

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This topic contains 12 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  anita 3 days, 19 hours ago.

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  • #202491

    Jen
    Participant

    Recently stopped dating a guy, it was only for a short period 2 and a half months  and I didn’t realise until it ended I had relationship anxiety. I’m struggling to move on. He has made it clear that he only wanted to be friends. I would have so many crazy thoughts are the back of my mind he isn’t interested in me any more, if doesn’t message me in the morning I would get anxious. It would get to the point where I would get so anxious waiting for a message I would need to turn of my phone because I was scared of what he would reply. I didn’t communicate this of course so he just thought I was weird. I would always try and break up with him to see if he really cared and continuously cause fights for no reason just to get attention. He got sick and tired of it and the last fight he basically had enough. I would over think every scenario, that he was lying to me as to where he was, or he didn’t want to see me. I would get these overwhelming emotions and say thing I didn’t mean for example that I hated him etc. The reason I was feeling this was was because I always thought he was going to leave and I’ll do things to push him further and further away. Felt this way because we dated briefly in 2016 and he left me for my ex. I was being so clingy and over bearing because of this. Now that we aren’t together, I just blame myself because if I had Communicated it to him maybe it would have worked out. I lost someone I truly cared about because of my actions and I don’t know how to move on.

    #202509

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Jen:

    Glad you posted.

    You didn't ask a question. Would you like to, or state your objective?

    anita

    #202511

    Jen
    Participant

    Hi Anita,

    What would be the best way to combat relationship anxiety going forward? I really don't want it to effect my next relationship.

    At the moment I feel super regretful with my actions and can't stop thinking about that guy, as I was friends with him before for 7 years.

     

    Thanks

    #202513

    Jen
    Participant

    I always found that when that I started to loose myself and continuously was focused on him. I am trying to love myself, but I was seeking happiness in him rather than being happy by myself in general if that makes sense. Sometimes I feel like i want find anyone new.

    #202517

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Jen:

    To move forward and have a functional relationship in the future, better first determine if this anxiety as it manifested itself in this recent relationship has history in previous romantic relationships, that is, if it was special for that one relationship or existed before?

    Was that your first romantic relationship; if not, what happened in previous relationships?

    anita

    #202525

    Jen
    Participant

    Hi Anita,

    It definitely stemmed from this relationship, this was my first proper relationship 2 years ago, then he broke up with me out of the blue to get back with his ex. I have dated other people in between then and now, but wasn't really bothered with the other guys i just dated to pass time.  We decided to try again 2 years later, I thought I addressed the issue of him just up and leaving the first time. Without going into to much detail, this time round I was always anxious when is he going to message, if he was online on whatsapp why isn't he messaging me, why isn't he arranging to spend time with him. He would have like a random model as his display picture on whatsapp and that instantly raise my anxiety levels, thinking that i wasn't good enough.I became so clingy when he didn't communicate with me. I would cause so many arguments out of no where, sometimes for no reason. I always thought there was an issue with him.

     

    #202527

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Jen:

    I read your most recent post. I need to be away from the computer for about sixteen hours. Will re-read your posts when I am back.

    I would like to know more about your relationship history before your “first proper relationship 2 years ago”, and that is, your relationship with your parent or parents. If you would like to share, please do.

    One term to childhood years is Formative Years. I like this term because we are indeed formed during our childhoods. Our experience with our parents, our relationships with our parents, very much form much of our relationship behavior in adulthood.

    This is why I asked you what I asked.

    anita

    #202551

    Mark
    Participant
    #202615

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Jen:

    First, a summary of what you shared here: you dated a young man briefly in 2016 and that ended with him leaving you for his ex girlfriend. Two years later you dated him again,  for 2.5 months. During these 2.5 Months dating months you worried a lot about whether he is interested in you or not, will he message you back, whether he lied to you about where he was. You were very anxious, fearful on an ongoing basis. You told him things like that you hated him. You “continuously cause(d) fights for no reason” and you broke up with him “to see if he really cared”.

    Second, your question: “What would be the best way to combat relationship anxiety going forward?”

    My answer:

    1. Distinguish between feelings and behavior. You cannot control how you feel but you can control how you behave. Next time, when you feel anxious and worried, do not tell the man: “I hate you” or any such verbal aggression. Do not cause fights (for any reason), and do not break up with the man (unless you mean it and then, just that one time).

    Once you feel anxious and angry, you will be motivated to say mean things to the man, you will be motivated to start a fight, you will really, really want to… This is why it will take you doing something else, instead. For example, you can take a very long, fast walk outside, or listen to relaxing music, or download a relaxing guided meditation, or write in a journal, etc. Take time out from the anxiety and anger.

    Think before you act, avoid the compulsion to act destructively. Then don't.

    2. Share with the man your anxiety responsibly. Don't go on and on about it, burdening him, giving him the message that it is his fault and something for him to fix. Let him know you had this anxiety before you met him. Hopefully he will feel empathy for you and accommodate you reasonably, for example, messaging you back within an hour of your messaging him.

    3. If this relationship anxiety continues in the next relationship, and if the man is indeed a decent man, then you might need to attend quality psychotherapy so to look deeper into your anxiety, learn skills (to calm yourself/ regulate your emotions, as well as interpersonal skills, how to communicate responsibly and effectively to a boyfriend) and help you along the way.

    anita

    • This reply was modified 4 days, 16 hours ago by  anita.
    #202697

    Jen
    Participant

    Thanks Anita for the advice. I really wish I could undo all the wrongs because at the time it was just spiralling out of control. I have deep sense of regret, I take full accountability of what I’ve done. I just had deep insecurities that he was going to leave like last time and I would try and break up with him to see if he really cared. At the time I didn’t even realise I was doing it. I can’t concentrate and I can’t fer it out of my mind. I have exams in 6 weeks and I can’t concerntrate or get it out of my mind. I feel like I’ve lost an amazing man, because I he didn’t do anything wrong apart from I felt I was always bothering him all the time. But if I look back it was all in my head.

    #202701

    Jen
    Participant

    Thanks for the article Mark

    #202749

    Jen
    Participant

    Hi Anita

    I forgot to mention initially I didn’t relise I was suffering from anxiety. I knew it wasn’t normal and I didn’t realise I was just taking it out on him.  Now he just thinks I’m crazy, we don’t speak anymore.

    #202771

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Jen:

    Your most recent sentence is: “Now he just thinks I'm crazy, we don't speak anymore.”

    I suppose your behavior, as you described it, was indeed crazy. But this kind of crazy is not a life sentence, doesn't have to be, not at all. You have exams in six weeks, better be sane so that you can study for these exams. Better not carry on this… crazy into the future.

    The behavior you described was fueled by fear, by ongoing, intensely felt fear, overwhelming. Your brain/ body reacted to it in drastic, ineffective ways, illogical, destructive. The way I finally forgave myself for … my own crazy behaviors of the past was by embarking on the healing process, healing from that anxiety that fueled my then behaviors. Beginning the process and persisting in it is what earned me self forgiveness.

    Regarding the origin of your anxiety, your understanding is that it started in 2016 when after a short amount of dating he left you for an ex girlfriend. If so, if you believe this is the first time you felt anxious, will you share about the experience of 2016, the nature of the relationship then and the breakup?

    anita

    #202843

    Casey
    Participant

    Hi Jen,

    I read your story and felt compelled to share my own. I also have relationship anxiety, and I know how difficult it is to overcome this. In the past, I never felt that strongly toward most of the men I dated, and I never really worried about what they did. The turning point for me was after my first serious relationship which turned out to be a very controlling, manipulative, emotionally abusive relationship which lasted two years. Shortly after leaving that relationship, I met my now boyfriend. In the beginning of our relationship, I used a lot of the same behaviors you described. I would pick fights over silly things and get very angry and jealous for no reason. I didn't like the way I was acting, so I'm sure he didn't either. After much meditation and introspection, I realized that for me personally, I was reacting so severely because I had dealt with so much disrespect from my ex, that I was afraid of being disrespected again, and I perceived any inconsistency or innocent mistake as an act of blatant disregard for me and my feelings. I no longer behave this way, but I do still have a lot of anxiety around our relationship-even as I type this. We have been dating for two years now, but I am still always very afraid that he will get fed up and leave me. When I underwent my introspection, I made a decision to consciously try to explain the way I was feeling in a coherent, understandable way. For me, this also meant explaining to him the effects of my abuse. He has always been very kind and loving, and he has never made me feel bad for my anxiety, but I am still afraid that someday it will be too much for him and he will leave. I am telling you this because I want you to know that you are not alone, and you are definitely not crazy. It made me feel a bit better to explore where these fears were coming from, and it's also helping me to be a bit more compassionate with myself and forgive myself for the anxiety itself and my past behaviors. I've been reading a lot on overcoming anxiety lately, and I have found something that might help you. Most of the things I have read say that the best way to combat anxiety is not to fight it at all, but rather to try to accept it and sit with the anxious feelings when they arrive instead of trying to force them away or suppress them. It's an ongoing process, but I am hoping that this will help me to relax and let myself be loved–maybe it will have the same effect for you.

    Luna

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