Relationship anxiety is not something that is often discussed amongst men. It is a taboo subject and most men want to keep such feelings well under wraps.
Anxiety is different to insecurity in that it is more acute. It is sharp and can cause immediate physical symptoms like shortness of breath, dizziness and head spins.
Insecurity is more likely to gnaw away at you over a long time rather than cause an acute episode.
But they are similar in that they stem from concern, fear and worry. Overcome the fear and worry and you prevent anxiety from affecting you.
Where Relationship Anxiety Comes From
A famous quote about anxiety comes from Richard Abell, "Anxiety is the space between now and then."
What that means is that anxiety is fear of the future. You cannot know exactly what the future holds, as you live in the present, but your mind projects what it might be like, and that causes anxiety.
In relationships anxiety is predominantly caused by fear of the relationship's future.
You worry if you will be happy. You worry if she will be happy. You worry that you will both just go through the motions. You worry you might do something to upset her or make you angry.
You fear that you might not be able to emotionally and finically support her. You fear that she might leave you.
So your mind starts spinning. You think of every possibility, every action, every reaction. Every word, every response. You can't concentrate, so you take a walk, but you can't turn your mind off. You can't sleep and all you want to do is switch off your brain but it won't stop. It's torture.
Eventually the acute episode does pass, but if there are underlying insecurities, as there often are, it can only be a matter of time before the fear triggers another bout of anxiety.
Overcoming Relationship Anxiety
Is It A Misperception Or A Truth?
The problem is that most of your uncertainties and fears are often based on misperceptions, not truths. If you are worried about what she is thinking then talk to her about it.
Don't guess and allow yourself to go into a spin because of it. You might have guessed wrong or read too much into something that wasn't there. There is no point continuing with incorrect assumptions.
It's easy for one person in a relationship to read something wrong, get upset and start acting different. This then triggers a reaction in the other partner because they feel unloved or shut out. This then triggers a further response for the first person, which just seems to confirm their original fear. However it all stemmed from a misconception in the first place, so if that can be cleared up things can be restored to equilibrium.
Talk About It
One of the keys to overcoming relationship anxiety is to sit down, have a heart to heart and discuss the issues. If you fears are unfounded then you can get over it. If the concerns are real then at least it's out in the open and you can deal with them from there.
Own It As Your Problem
If the same fears keep coming back again and again, even if she has reassured you not to worry, then you need to start looking within. In that case you have to accept that you need to change your way of thinking because there is an element of self destruction going on.
In this case it's important to accept that there is an issue you need to address and you are the only one who can address it. Things aren't just going to magically get better.
The good news is that once you commit to sorting this out, it can be reasonably straightforward to find the underlying issue and deal with it. The barrier to dealing with relationship anxiety is admitting there is an issue to begin with.
Write A Journal
When you are trying to work out what the underlying insecurity is that's bugging you, it can help to write your thoughts down.
Write without thinking and without judging and you will be surprised what comes out. It forces you to articulate your feelings in a way that you may not have if you left the problem in your mind alone.
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