It Can Make Or Break You: What It's Like Dating Someone With Anxiety
Whether you’re dating someone with an anxiety disorder or dating someone suffering from milder forms of anxiety, it isn’t easy to keep it all together.
Often, it will seem like the relationship is falling apart, your partner is falling apart and you, yourself, are falling apart.
But what can you do? You’re in love with this person. The best thing you can do is to be prepared. Be prepared for what is likely to come, and be sure to know your limit.
Here are 10 ways dating someone with anxiety affects your relationship:
You have to remember it’s not your fault.
Those who suffer from anxiety disorder, or even those suffering from milder cases of anxiety, feel the way they do for reasons that have absolutely nothing to do with you; it’s not your fault.
Your boyfriend or girlfriend’s mind is literally fighting with itself. He or she can’t come to a clear decision as to whether or not he or she should do what he or she wants to do or avoid doing anything all together.
Then, your partner will worry about the fact that he or she is worrying, and things really turn ugly.
Sometimes all you can do is watch from the sidelines.
If your partner is wrestling with his or her own thoughts in a fit of uneasiness, there isn’t much you can do.
You can offer to help, a listening ear or embracing arms, but more often than not, they will want nothing more than to be left alone.
Those who suffer from anxiety aren’t proud they do. They don’t want to feel the way they feel, nor do they want to have their thoughts running rampant around their minds.
Often, they’re simply embarrassed. Offer a helping hand, but if they continuously refuse, leave them be.
Patience is key -- even though, it will get hard at times.
Relationships are never easy -- ever. Many will argue they are unnatural. At the same time, romantic relationships are not that different from other relationships; all relationships take work to maintain.
If you’re dating someone with anxiety, your relationship will take a bit more work to maintain. Well, not necessarily more work, but more patience.
You’re going to have to learn to let a lot of things go. It isn’t always easy, but all loving relationships require patience and nurture.
Panic attacks happen… you need to find a way to deal with them.
You’re going to get used to finding yourself in awkward situations. Arguments out of the blue, in the middle of a crowded train or coffee shop? Yup. Crying and weeping for absolutely no apparent reason? Yup yup. Panic attacks and mood swings galore, I’m afraid.
Those suffering from anxiety will get panic attacks -- it’s part of the deal. Some will be mild. Others, incredibly intense.
Awkward situations will arise, and you’re going to have to deal with them, as well as deal with the feeling of loving someone and hating yourself for feeling embarrassed by him or her.
Alcohol is often a form of release.
Drinking is anxiety’s arch-enemy -- or so we believe it to be -- along with any other self-medicating we manage to do.
Of course, everything in moderation can help. When you overdo it on the other hand, which just about everyone eventually does, things get worse.
This can get especially bad when your partner is taking meds by the handful. When that happens, you’re basically stuck taking care of your partner while you watch him or her pass out, and then not remember any of it the next day. But hey… we all have that friend. You just happen to be dating one.
Sadly, anxiety is contagious.
Anxiety leads to a stressful life, which leads to your partner also being exposed to stress and anxiety. Just like misery, anxiety loves company just the same.
You’re going to have to learn to manage both your anxiety levels as well as your partner’s.
If you are good about it, it’s doable; he or she may not be able to control his or her anxiety, but you can; however, anxiety has a way of beating us down over time. There is a chance you’re going to need to find help yourself.
You will have the urge to hold back your own anxiety, but often it’s just better to let it go.
Having a partner suffering from anxiety is not easy to deal with, by any means. You will often find yourself reaching your limit, but you’re not going to want to show him or her you’re feeling anxious and/or stressed because you don’t want to add fuel to the fire.
The problem with this theory is regardless of whether you’re going to add fuel or not, the fire is going to burn -- but now it’s going to burn for the both of you.
If you allow yourself to feel what you’re feeling and try to let go, you may burn down the house, but at least the accumulative fire will eventually die out.
Plus, knowing he or she isn’t alone in the way he or she feels can be exactly what your partner needs.
Others will judge you -- both of you
This should come as no surprise, as everyone is always going to judge you -- from the moment you’re born, to the moment you die.
When you are dating someone with anxiety problems, people are going to judge the both of you much more openly. You’re going to have to learn to do the only thing you can do: Say "f*ck 'em."
You’re going to have to be supportive and non-judgmental.
Everyone else may be judging your partner, but you can’t, which isn’t a problem when you truly love a person. When we fall in love, we really do find ourselves blind to the other’s flaws -- or at least aren’t bothered by them.
What’s hard is being supportive and non-judgmental all the time. There will be times when being supportive will be incredibly difficult for you.
At such times, you’re going to have to remind yourself why you love and want to spend the rest of your life with this person.
Sometimes, it can be too difficult.
Sometimes the relationship is too difficult for you to manage; sometimes it ends up feeling like it isn’t worth the trouble at all.
This is something you are going to have to decide for yourself, as we all have our own limits.
All I can suggest is to do your best to stick it out for as long as you can, but at the same time to be honest with yourself. When their anxiety is ruining your life, it may be better for the both of you to part ways.