Does Being in a Relationship Make You Anxious AF? Let’s Fix That
Starting a new relationship can feel very much like a rollercoaster ride, leaving you exhilarated and terrified at the same time. Every text you receive gives you a high, every moment full of new feelings and experiences. But just as every roller coaster has its peaks and valleys, getting serious with someone new can have its pitfalls, too. Do you constantly find yourself worrying that things won’t work out? There’s a term for this phenomenon: new relationship anxiety.
RELATED: How to Find a Relationship in 2019
To be clear, it’s fairly normal to feel anxious during such a vulnerable stage, but if left unchecked, that anxiety can fuel a slew of insecurities, fears and doubts that’ll control the rest of your actions.
“Everyone suffers from some degree of new relationship anxiety if they want the relationship to work,” explains NYC-based relationship expert and dating coach Susan Winter. “The higher the stakes, the greater the anxiety. And if your fears overtake your emotions, you can sabotage your chances at romance.”
Don’t stress, though — experts say there are ways to squash it. Here are a few common signs that you’re experiencing new relationship anxiety, along with some tips on how to overcome it.
5 Signs That You’re Experiencing New Relationship Anxiety
1. You’re Constantly Editing Yourself
If you find yourself deleting and rewriting your texts often, or otherwise editing what you say in front of your new partner, you may be experiencing some anxiety around your new relationship.
“You’re afraid to reveal your feelings, and afraid to show your hand,” says Winter.
This behavior often stems from trust-related issues, meaning you fear that if you just act like yourself, your new partner will bail out. So instead, you choose your words very carefully as a means of protecting yourself.
2. You’re Slowly Turning Into a Chameleon
If you’ve seen “Along Came Polly,” you know that pretending to be someone you’re not just to win your love interest over never works (especially if you have IBS and go out for Indian food). But if you’re experiencing new relationship anxiety, that may be just what you resort to doing. Deep down, you’re worried that they won’t like you, so you try to be what you think their ideal partner is.
“If they like hiking, you pretend you like hiking,” says Winter. “If they like spicy foods, you pretend you like spicy foods. You amend and contort your behavior to match your imagined version of what they want.”
This isn’t only self-destructive, it’s also ineffective. After all, your partner is bound to catch a glimpse of your true self eventually, and your dishonesty could be a red flag for them. It’s worth digging deep to ask why you’re so worried that you’re not enough. What would it feel like to date someone who likes you for you?
3. You’re Obsessing Over Whether You’re Doing Things “Right”
Does texting twice in a row make you seem overeager? Are you spending too much time together? Is it too soon to ask her to meet your parents? Letting yourself get stressed out over these kinds of questions is a super common sign of new relationship anxiety.
Sure, being cautious of how you act and what you say in the beginning of a relationship is fine, especially if you’re really invested in it, but constantly obsessing over what you “should” be doing can suck the joy out of this first phase. Not to mention, it’s super exhausting to give in to this kind of thinking. Note that there is no right or wrong when it comes to relationships, and each one moves at its own unique pace. Besides, one of the benefits of dating nowadays is that there are no rules.
4. You Never Disagree With Anything Your Partner Says or Does
Being overly agreeable is another sign of new relationship anxiety. Disregarding your feelings in an attempt to keep the peace typically means you’re concerned that being honest with your new partner could put the relationship at risk.
“You pretend you’re not bothered by them being late,” explains Winter. “You pretend it doesn’t bother you that there was a lapse in texting. You want to play it cool. So you edit your behavior and each step is taken cautiously, as though you’re walking on eggshells.”
Disagreements are healthy, so take note if you’re regularly avoiding conflict or otherwise hiding your opinions.
5. You’ve Turned Into a Social Media Stalker
Thanks to Instagram, Facebook and the many other social media channels at your disposal, it’s all too easy to know what your partner is doing at all times. While it may be tempting to constantly keep tabs, it’s best to keep that creeping to a minimum. If you find yourself checking their social media profiles on the daily, that can point to some new relationship anxiety.
“You’re operating out of fear of the unknown, hunting for clues that reveal red flags,” explains Winter.
Ask yourself what exactly you’re looking for. What are you afraid that you’ll find? Your anxiety might be bringing up some deep-seated trust issues, and it may be worth exploring where those stem from. Were you betrayed in a past relationship? Has your new partner given you reasons not to trust them? Understanding the source of your distrust will help you to tackle the anxiety that’s driving you to your social media sleuthing ways.
How to Try and Overcome Your Relationship Anxiety on Your Own
As the name suggests, new relationship anxiety isn’t likely to last forever. In fact, it may wear off on its own after you’ve been dating for an extended period of time and built up a sense of security. That said, there are some strategies you can use to reduce your anxious thoughts and feelings.
“Awareness is the key to dismantling new relationship anxiety,” says Winter. “You need to cut yourself a break while also utilizing tools to manage your fears.”
Winter suggests working on building up trust — for one, trust in yourself that you have the resilience necessary to explore this new relationship freely, no matter how it pans out. Also, it’s important to trust your partner enough to be genuine without fear that they’ll leave. If you lose someone just because you showed them your true self, they probably weren’t worth the anxiety anyway.
One of the most effective tactics you can use involves re-framing your thoughts. Winter notes that imagining a positive outcome rather than a negative one can put you in a positive mindset, thus helping to alleviate and even prevent some of your anxiety. For example, if you find yourself having an anxious thought along the lines of, “She must not have called me back yet because she’s lost interest,” try to mold it into a positive alternative. The more you make a conscious effort to rewire your thought patterns in this way, the more this kind of positivity will become second nature, and the less likely anxiety is to creep in.
It’s totally normal to have a little bit of anxiety when you’re dating someone new. Just don’t let it completely destroy your confidence in the relationship. After all, as previously stated, a new relationship is like a rollercoaster, and you deserve to enjoy the ride.
You Might Also Dig: