If you find yourself dating someone with anxiety, you may have some concerns that are understandable. Watching someone experience anxiety can be disturbing, and can even make you feel anxious or upset, regardless of whether you are prone to anxiety.
You may also be worried about the future of your relationship. How will your partner’s anxiety affect your daily life together? If they start experiencing anxiety spirals or panic attacks, what can you do for them? Can you handle all this?
Let’s take a look at the ins and outs of dating an anxiety patient-knowledge about anxiety, how anxiety affects intimacy, and how to be a support partner for an anxiety patient.
Take some time to understand anxiety
If you are dating someone with anxiety disorder, then one of the simplest and most helpful things you can do is to learn something about anxiety and anxiety disorders.
Many of us know that the meaning of anxiety may be inconsistent with the actual situation, so it may be helpful to figure out some situations. Understanding anxiety will also help make you more empathetic.
First, it is helpful to understand that anxiety disorders are very common. Almost all people experience anxiety disorders at some point in their lives.
The National Institute of Mental Health estimates that in the past year, 19% of adults have experienced anxiety, and 31% of adults will experience anxiety in their lifetime. In addition, compared with men, anxiety disorders are more likely to affect women.
Suffering from anxiety is not a weakness, nor is it caused by a wrong choice. Anxiety is not “all in your mind.”
People who experience anxiety usually have a genetic predisposition for the disease, and anxiety usually has a family inheritance. Environmental factors and chemical imbalances may also play a role.
Anxiety manifests itself in different ways to different people. Not everyone with anxiety is considered a “stressed” person. Some people who experience anxiety may even seem calm on the surface, but feel their symptoms more easily in their hearts.
Although anxiety can make it difficult for some people to function in their daily work, others may suffer more high-functioning types of anxiety.
Symptoms of anxiety can be physical, mental, and emotional. Some of the most common symptoms of anxiety include:
- Difficulty breathing
- Upset stomach
- Muscle tension
- Racing thoughts
- Feeling of panic or imminent doom
- Flashbacks of trauma or difficult experiences
- Unable to stay still
- Obsessive thoughts or behaviors
Types of anxiety
Knowing that there are several different types of anxiety disorders can also help. For example, not everyone with anxiety disorder will experience a panic attack. Although some people with anxiety disorders have social difficulties, others do not. It all depends on what kind of anxiety disorder you have and how you experience it.
The most common anxiety disorders are:
How to support your partner’s anxiety
When you have people with anxiety disorders around you, you may not know how to help them. Usually, you know that what they are experiencing is irrational, and their current view of reality may not be entirely accurate. Do you tell them this? How can you make them feel better without reducing their emotional experience?
You can take some practical measures to create a “safe space” for people with anxiety disorders. Here are some tips.
Realize that they are not an obstacle to them
In your own mind, when you interact with your partner, try to think of their anxiety as something separate from them. Yes, this is something that adds color to their lives, but this is a disorder, not a state of existence.
People who experience anxiety are not just their anxiety. Treating them as a whole person who happens to also suffer from anxiety is a more compassionate way of dealing with things.
Let go of the blame game
Remember, anxiety has genetic, biochemical, and environmental components. So your partner did not choose this feeling. Anxiety is not something they use to manipulate or disrupt plans.
People who have experienced anxiety want it to disappear like you, but suffering from anxiety is not something that a person can control.
Understand that they have certain triggers
Controlling your partner’s anxiety means understanding their triggers. Usually, people with anxiety disorders know what will cause them to get into a whirlpool of anxiety.
You are not responsible for protecting them from every trigger, but helping them to live their lives more sensitively around these triggers can help. It can also help you understand why your partner’s anxiety can increase at different times.
Be an open-minded listener
One of the best gifts you can give to people who experience anxiety is a pair of kind, listening ears. Managing anxiety can be isolation and humiliation.
Having someone you can honestly talk about what you are going through and how you feel will be very positive and soothing, especially if this person can listen without judgment and with empathy.
As a listener, remember that the important thing is to help them, not to provide suggestions, suggestions, or try to “solve” or “fix” anything for them.
What to say when your partner is anxious
When you are helping your partner cope with an anxiety attack, you may not be sure what to say. After all, you don’t want to say anything that makes your partner more anxious.
Here are some thoughts on what to say at these moments:
- “I’m here, I’m listening.”
- “I know you feel overwhelmed.”
- “Nothing will happen.”
- “You have too many things to deal with now.”
- “I know how strong you are.”
- “Do you want me to sit with you?”
- “I’m here, you are not alone.”
- “Is there anything I can help?”
What not to say
At the same time, there are some things you may want to say, but these words are not helpful at all, and may even increase your partner’s anxiety.
Here are the types of things to avoid:
- “Don’t be so scared of everything.”
- “It makes no sense.”
- “calm down!”
- “You are terrified for no reason.”
- “If I were you, what would I do…”
- “Your feelings are not rational.”
- “It’s all in your head.”
how to respond
Research reveals the link between anxiety disorders and increased relationship stress. But research also shows that resolving anxiety through communication and support can be of great help.
It is also important to understand that helping your partner manage anxiety is not something you can do alone: getting mental health support for your partner and yourself can be very beneficial.
Encourage your partners to ask for help
If your partner’s anxiety affects their lives and your relationship, you may want to consider encouraging them to seek help. You want to express this as kind and understanding as possible.
Your partner does not need to be “fixed”, on the contrary, what you want to convey is that getting help will be a powerful and positive thing so that they will feel better.
The two most effective ways to treat anxiety are treatment and medication. Some people benefit only from treatment; but usually, treatment combined with medication is most helpful.
The most common therapies used to treat anxiety are cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and exposure therapy. Medications used to treat anxiety disorders include anti-anxiety drugs, such as benzodiazepines, antidepressants (SSRIs), and beta blockers.
Address your feelings about your partner’s anxiety
Dating with someone with anxiety can be difficult, and you may find that you have a strong reaction to what happened with your partner. This is normal and understandable. It is vital to spend some time practicing some self-care and compassion for yourself.
If you find it difficult to cope, or if you find yourself responding unhelpfully to your partner’s anxiety, you may want to consider counseling or treatment.
Consider group therapy
When you build a relationship with someone with anxiety, communication is key. Sometimes, you may need a little outside help to solve communication problems.
Group therapy or consultation is a good choice. It can help you and the person you are dating learn more open and understanding and learn more effective communication skills.
Very good sentence
Some of the most creative, sensitive, and caring people also have anxiety disorders, and you are likely to find yourself dating someone with anxiety disorders at some point in your life. Although it is sometimes difficult to build relationships with anxious people, there are many rewards for working hard to do so.
In fact, learning how to understand and communicate more effectively with anxious people can deepen your bond and build a more fulfilling and intimate relationship. Don’t let anxiety stop you from pursuing a promising relationship.