Keep Anxiety Out of Your Relationship

Edited by Donna, Maria Quinney, Eng

How to Know What Type of Anxiety is Affecting You and Your Relationship

Anxiety can isolate you from interacting with your partner in a healthy way.

The symptoms of anxiety can be so rehabilitating physically and emotionally that having normal interactions with other people, including your loved one, is next to impossible. Anxiety is a complex disorder that can have physical, psychological and even environmental causes and it can manifest itself in a variety of different ways. The typical symptoms of anxiety include:

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  • Feeling tense or nervous combined with an irrational fear of the future
  • Anticipating a disaster or catastrophe that is not likely to happen
  • Obsessing about whether you forgot to do something and having repetitive thoughts about it
  • Constantly rechecking things that you know you have already done
  • Fidgeting and restlessness
  • An increased heart rate
  • Rapid breathing
  • Feeling dizzy, which is a side effect of hyperventilating as you breathe too rapidly?
  • Feeling cold, sweaty and clammy
  • Having problems focusing on what is happening in the present and being only able to focus on the horrible thing that you are convinced is about to happen
  • Experience very tense or even frozen muscles that make you feel paralyzed and like you cannot move
  • Digestive upset, diarrhea or ulcers
  • The feeling that you have a rock in your stomach
  • Vomiting
  • Blinking that you cannot seem to control
  • Feeling weak and like you cannot go on
  • Feeling disassociated and like you are floating away from reality
  • A feeling like you are being chased by something invisible and that you cannot get away
  • A desire to hide beneath the covers and hide from everything

Can Anxiety Ruin Your Relationship?

Anxiety can distance partners from each other.

There are several types of anxiety and the different disorders can different impacts on a relationship. For instance:

  1. 1
    Agoraphobia, a fear of public places or situations, can prevent the two of you from going out because you cannot handle crowds
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  2. 2
    Generalized anxiety disorder, which includes excess worry about daily or routine activities, can make your partner perceive you as being too controlling because you keep trying to control events so you that you can control your anxiety and even though this is not about your partner, he or she might experience it as being that way
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  3. 3
    Panic attacks, that are accompanied by fear and terror as well as shortness of breath and pounding heart can paralyze your ability to do anything with your partner as you always have the fear it will happen again
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  4. 4
    Selective autism is an anxiety disorder that causes you to fall silent whenever you feel distressed, making it impossible for your partner to communicate with you to find out what is wrong
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  5. 5
    Separation anxiety disorder, often caused by emotional abandonment as a child, makes it impossible for you to be without your partner for long, creating insecurity, codependency and control issues
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  6. 6
    Social anxiety disorder means that you fear social situations, which can make your partner resents you because the two of you are unable to attend parties, celebrations and other events together
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  7. 7
    Substance-induced anxiety disorder, caused by withdrawal from drugs or alcohol can cause terror, hallucinations, and tics that so debilitating that your quality of life with your partner is lowered in general
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How Anxiety Can Destroy Your Relationship

Anxious people become prisoners of their own mind.

Anxiety is detrimental to your relationship because:

  • It makes you appear needy as a child to your partner, which can make him or her feel more like a parent than a lover
  • Even if you are not insecure emotionally, you will appear that way to your partner, because anxious people feel less confident
  • You may seem spacey or like you are not present to your partner because you are always focused on your anxiety or fears
  • You may feel so overwhelmed by anxiety that you can't go out in public for long, thus preventing your partner from enjoying social activities with you
  • Anxiety attacks might be keeping you up at night, preventing you both from having sex or getting a good night's sleep
  • You may be suffering from separation anxiety when you are apart, which can make your partner feel smothered or like you do not trust him or her
  • Anxiety can cause emotional outbursts that frighten or appall your partner because they cannot figure out why you feel so panicky or clingy
  • You might be censoring your partner because the topics that he or she brings up cause you anxiety
  • Your partner might start resenting you because they have to tiptoe around you all of the time to make things work
  • You might repress your anxiety, in order to please your partner, only to make yourself even sicker later

How to Keep Anxiety Out Of Your Relationship

Practicing yoga can help you deal with the symptoms of anxiety.

Here are some ways to keep your anxiety from harming your relationship:

  1. 1
    Start putting yourself and your needs first and put your relationship second to finding out what is affecting your health. You need to find out what is causing this anxiety and attend to it immediately. This should come before any need to appease anyone that is in a relationship with you by pretending to be well when you are not. That kind of suppressive behavior will only make you sicker and more anxious and possibly prevent you from getting the treatment that you need.
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  2. 2
    Stop drinking and doing street drugs. Recovering from a bout of recreational drug use can cause extreme anxiety. People who frequently experience hangovers also often also suffer from chronic anxiety, as well as the kind of irritability that makes it impossible for their partners to relate to them. If you know your anxiety is caused by an addiction, then you might not need to go to a doctor to have several tests to see what is causing it. You can deal with the problem yourself, by quitting the bad habit, and if necessary, joining a support group to help you deal with the habit.
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  3. 3
    Go to a doctor and make sure that your anxiety is not caused by some underlying physical problem. Common ailments that produce anxiety as a symptom include heart disease, thyroid problems, diabetes, allergies, drug abuse, withdrawal from drugs or alcohol, chronic pain or cancerous tumors that produce cortisol. Anxiety can also be caused by symptoms of menstruation, perimenopause, and menopause. There are many kinds of drugs that can be used to treat anxiety including antidepressants, low-dose antipsychotics, and anti-convulsant medications.
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  4. 4
    Once physical causes have been ruled out consider seeing a psychologist or psychiatrist to rule out any psychological disorders. Your anxiety becomes a psychological disorder if it prevents you from leading a normal fulfilling life and conducting your interactions with people as usual. People who suffer from paranoia, phobias, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, autism, attention deficit disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, bulimia, anorexia, mania, and depression can experience anxiety and panic attacks for no reason. If you are diagnosed with this type of disorder, you will usually be prescribed medication along with other protocols such as psychotherapy, biofeedback or cognitive-behavioral therapy to help treat the problem.
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  5. 5
    Consider finding a therapist who does eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy. This therapy is effective or people who are stuck in their fears and involves training the eye to do certain movements while the patient talks about the trauma. This helps the brain process the event causing the anxiety or panic attacks to happen less frequently or disappear. This type of therapy is very effective for people who keep having toxic relationships because of some past trauma in childhood, such as child abuse or rape.
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  6. 6
    Consider making dietary changes to help minimize your anxiety. Sugar, salt, fried foods and starchy foods irritate your pancreas and trigger your adrenal glands to produce more cortisol, which can give you a fuzzy, nervous feeling. This is especially true if you have insulin resistance, diabetes or are a woman with polycystic ovarian disease (POCD).
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  7. 7
    Take time to meditate for at least twenty minutes at least three times a day. The point of each period of meditation is to regulate your breathing and empty your mind of all thoughts. Training your brain to be absent of all thoughts can help train your brain to dismiss anxious thoughts when they come up during the day.
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  8. 8
    Go for a run, a swim or a job for at least thirty minutes a day, but preferably a whole hour. Aerobic exercise helps create endorphins that can make you feel happier and more relaxed.
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  9. 9
    Embark on a program of Tai Chi or yoga every day to master control of your thoughts and your body. These practices can help ground yourself physically and mentally and the fact that your mind is required to be empty of thoughts during these disciplines can help prevent anxious thoughts from taking root.
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  10. 10
    Have a warm bath in Epsom salts at east once a day. Epsom salts contain magnesium, a mineral that helps relax and calm you. This is an especially good thing to do if you find that your body is trembling or tightening up because of your anxiety.
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  11. 11
    Unless directed otherwise by a doctor (because you are on a medication), drink three to four cups of chamomile tea a day. Chamomile is a natural relaxant that can help calm your nerves. Note that chamomile is not a recommended anxiety remedy for those who are allergic to ragweed, as chamomile is a plant that is in that family.
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  12. 12
    Feel calmer and slow down a rapid heart rate by drinking a cup of green tea. Green tea contains L-theanine, a substance that helps slow down a speeding pulse, bring cortisol levels down and clear up the fogginess that can be caused by anxiety. You can drink as much as a quart of green tea a day without experiencing bad effects.
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  13. 13
    If your anxiety is very much out of control, try taking 50mcg of valerian, either by dropper or as a pill. Valerian is a natural sedative that, when taken in lower amounts, helps reduce anxiety. You can also take valerian at night to help you sleep through the night, which will be helpful if your partner sleeps with you.
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  14. 14
    Stop bringing anxiety into your relationship by talking about it. Challenge yourself not to talk about the anxiety attack while it is happening to you. The condition of anxiety is one that is self-feeding and the more you mention it, the worse it can become. Your partner may also feel anxiety, irritability, and rising anger because he or she becomes frustrated with you for not being able to handle it.
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  15. 15
    Diffuse essential oil of lavender in an aromatherapy diffuser or put a few drops on a hankie and inhale the scent when you feel anxious. Lavender contains constituents that elevate your mood and also help you feel more relaxed. You can also keep fresh or dried lavender in your bedroom and other spaces that you may share with your partner, to help keep you calm and relaxed.
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  16. 16
    If your partner notices that you are having symptoms of anxiety, offer reassurance through touch. Touching your partner on the hand or arm, just lightly, can go long ways towards grounding you as well confirming to your partner that you are still with him or her and living in the present.
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  17. 17
    If a situation is making you anxious, try and find the humor in it. Resolve that from now on you are going to take life less seriously as it is being too dramatic and grim about things that raise your cortisol levels and makes you anxious. Joking about things also shows your partner that you are willing to allay your fears by making light of it. You might also find, that when it comes to anxiety, that laughter can be the best medicine.
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  18. 18
    If it is your partner who is causing the anxiety, then tell him or her what your concern is. Sometimes, being able to talk about the problem can get rid of the anxiety entirely. It eliminates the anticipation of how your partner might react if you told him or her what is on your mind because you will have the reaction. If the reaction is not good to what it is you have to say, then you might have to accept that the relationship was toxic and perhaps a source of your anxiety.
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Tips and Tricks

Cuddling can help with anxiety.

  • Sexual intimacy can help relax you because your brain releases endorphins so do not push your partner away if you feel anxious
  • If you are suffering from anxiety because of your partner and fear to see him or her then it might be time to take a break from that relationship
  • If your anxiety is caused because a partner is making light of a physical problem or denying that you have it, then it is time to leave that person
  • You are more at risk for anxiety if you have suffered from a traumatic relationship in the past
  • Fighting a very serious illness for months can also cause you to experience free-floating anxiety
  • A major traumatic event, such as a death in the family, can cause ongoing anxiety
  • If you are environmentally sensitive to plastics, fumes or other pollutants in your environment, you might be more at risk for anxiety.
  • If you have suicidal thoughts or behaviors because of your anxiety, see a doctor immediately.

If you have problems with any of the steps in this article, please ask a question for more help, or post in the comments section below.


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Categories : Relationships

Recent edits by: Maria Quinney, Donna

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