6 Things You Shouldn't Do If You're Dating Someone With Anxiety

by Laura Wigodner

Anxiety is a well-known mental illness, yet it's also commonly misunderstood.

If you don't personally have anxiety, it can be difficult to help someone else cope with it.

It's especially difficult if your significant other has anxiety. You want to be there because you love him or her, but you're also afraid of doing something wrong.

It's important to be careful in order to help ease the pain of your SO's anxiety.

Here are some things you should avoid doing if you have an anxious significant other.

1. Say, “Just relax."

Telling someone with anxiety to relax or calm down is like telling a shark to stop attacking someone: It's counterproductive.

Instead, try using encouraging words to remind your SO he or she will be OK. Tell him or her you will be here to help and things will get better.

Give a reminder of how much you love and care for your SO. People dealing with anxiety could use the kindness and support. Hugs and breathing exercises also work wonders, so get your arms and lungs ready.

2. Believe your SO's anxiety isn't a big deal

Just because anxiety isn't always a physical thing you can see, it doesn't mean it's insignificant. If you were to look inside your SO's brain, it would be easier for you to understand anxiety is a debilitating mental illness.

Try to always remember even though you may not understand the full impact of anxiety, it does have a negative impact on your SO.

3. Try to get him/her to ignore the problems

Distracting your SO can work in certain situations; however, it's important to let your SO talk about his or her problems.

You have to be there to listen to everything going through that person's mind.

It's crucial for someone with anxiety to let out his or her thoughts because it provides some relief. Try to sit down with your SO in a calm environment and let him or her talk -- when ready.

4. Give your SO too much space

Sure, your SO might want a little space when he or she is feeling especially anxious. But if you stray too much, you'll only add to the anxiety.

Be sure to clarify how much space he or she needs, so that way you can be there when necessary. Don't be afraid to nudge a little bit after you have given some proper space.

It will show you truly care and want to help.

5. Advise him/her with “quick fixes”

Alcohol and other quick fixes can help your SO relax and have a little fun.

But, in reality, quick fixes are unhealthy ways to manage anxiety because they are only temporary solutions and they can cause bigger problems.

It's understandable you want your SO to loosen up a bit and smile; however, it's better to help him or her do so in healthier ways. You can make your SO laugh or smile by working your own little magic.

6. View him/her as broken

Anxiety is a mental illness, but it doesn't define a person as a whole.

Your SO is not broken or weak. In fact, you should see your SO as a strong, amazing person because he or she has to deal with anxiety on a daily basis.

It takes a lot for someone to do that, so you should be proud. Don't make your SO feel like less of a person when he or she is struggling. Assure your SO strength results from overcoming and pushing through tough times.