Tips to Cope With Relationship Anxiety

We have many types of relationships in our lives – friendships, romantic partners, spouses, work colleagues, and family members – to name a few. Relationships can be a source of love and support, and they can also be a source of anxiety for some people.

While it can be normal to sometimes feel anxiety in certain relationships, anxiety may be problematic if it starts to interfere with the health and well-being of the relationship or individuals involved – including you. Have you ever felt like worry, doubt, or insecurity are stealing the joy from an important relationship in your life? Perhaps you constantly analyze your behavior in relationships because you are concerned that you’ve upset someone or feel consumed with worry about what others may think of you. This could particularly resonate when considering friendships or romantic relationships.

You may experience relationship anxiety if you:

  • Fear being abandoned

  • Often do not feel ‘enough’ (smart, pretty, funny…. ‘enough’)

  • Are hesitant to voice your wants or needs

  • Try to constantly keep your partner happy

  • Need reassurance to feel secure

  • Feel clingy or dependent

Impacts of relationship anxiety can include:

  • Worry

  • Feelings of low self-worth

  • Questioning yourself

  • Self-criticism

  • Low mood

  • Difficulty focusing on other things

There could be many reasons someone may feel anxious in relationships. How we show up for relationships as adults has often been influenced by the relationships we had during childhood, most prominently with our primary caregivers. Throughout development, important relationships and other life experiences can continue to shape how we show up in relationships. As these experiences accumulate over our lives, our confidence and self-esteem may be negatively impacted and possibly worsen anxious symptoms.

we consider a few tips that may

help decrease relationship anxiety.

Practice Mindfulness

When we practice mindfulness, we aim to focus our attention on something specific in the present moment, such as our breath. Increasing our ability to purposefully direct our attention to the present moment is important when attempting to break an anxious cycle.

Why? Have you ever noticed where your thoughts are when you’re anxious? Very likely they’re telling stories of the past or the future – anxious thoughts are typically anywhere but the present. Reliving the past or fearing future scenarios can quickly increase our anxiety. Mindfulness can help us return to the present moment, pause, and choose how we want to react (if at all) to any anxiety that may be showing up for us in that moment. Mindfulness can be a good first step to breaking the pattern of relationship anxiety.

Improve Communication Skills

Relationship anxiety can stunt our willingness and confidence to communicate. For example, we may fear the other person leaving so we don’t want to ask for what we really need, such as more quality time together. Or, we could avoid any conflict because we want to “keep the peace” and keep our partner happy.

Over time, not communicating our feelings, wants, or needs can lead to resentment, unhappiness, and an unsatisfying relationship. Anxiety can also worsen without an opportunity to communicate about the many important things that may require ongoing communication in a relationship. Learning assertive communication skills can help us express ourselves well, set healthy boundaries, and create and maintain the balanced and fulfilling relationships we desire. Assertive communication kindly says ‘my needs matter and your needs matter,’ rather than one person’s needs being prioritized over the other.

Decrease Personalization

How often do you notice yourself taking things personally? For example, if a friend cancels a plan you’ve made or the person you like doesn’t return your text – is your first assumption that it’s something you did or something about you that made them cancel or not return the text? These can be examples of taking things personally.

Taking things personally, or personalization, is one of several ways that our thoughts can be ‘distorted’ or unbalanced. When we take the behavior of others personally, it can really impact our mood, views of self, and how we relate to ourselves (as in we may be more likely to criticize and judge ourselves if we take things personally). Yet, the behavior of others is often not a reflection of us. It’s often not personal. Just as we show up in relationships based on our experiences, available resources, and current capabilities – so do others, typically. Practicing not taking things personally can help relieve relationship anxiety. Imagine after your friend cancels the plan you think, “I get it. She has a lot going on right now.” What does it feel like to not personalize the cancellation?

Relationships can be challenging. If there are ways you would like to experience relationships differently, it’s okay to ask for support in reaching your relationship goals.

Learn More

Therapy can be a great place to both learn more about yourself in relationships and learn new skills that can help you improve your relationships and decrease relationship anxiety. If you would like support as you make efforts to improve your relationships with yourself or others, reach out for a free 15-minute informational consultation. Let’s connect and see if Grow True is right for your needs.

Disclaimer: Please note that visiting this website does not constitute a doctor-client therapeutic relationship. The information and resources included or linked on this website are for informational purposes only and are not intended to assess, diagnose, or treat any medical and/or mental health disease or condition. The information obtained from this site should not be considered a substitute for a thorough medical and/or mental health evaluation by an appropriately credentialed and licensed professional. We do not know the specifics of your situation or have the facts to provide this type of evaluation and recommend that you seek an appropriately credentialed and licensed professional to establish a doctor-client therapeutic relationship. This website also includes links to other websites for informational and reference purposes only. This website does not endorse, warrant or guarantee the products, services or information described or offered at these other websites.


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