I’m excited to welcome Bre of Lifestyled by Bre who will be sharing her thoughts on the difficulties of dating with anxiety. Anxiety is a topic that as many of you know hits close to home for me, and I think that talking about the concept of dating with anxiety is something we don’t often thing about but something that’s a very real struggle for so many. Thanks so much for sharing, Bre. This is a conversation we should continue to have! Enjoy. XO Sam.
Everyone knows that relationships can be very hard work and no one’s relationship is perfect. If you throw anxiety into the mix, considering either one person or both struggling with it, and it makes for a whole new hardship.
Anxiety can come in a variety of ways, but mine specifically is Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) and there are certain things that can cause it to come on sometimes more than others.
There are some things that I have anxiety about that don’t really affect my relationship too much, like succeeding in school, having a job once I graduate, getting accepted into graduate school, and sometimes work. However, my relationship is actually what causes the most anxiety for me, and this is why.
I developed anxiety when I was in an emotionally abusive relationship when I was 17 years old. I was threatened, cheated on multiple times, and left with no explanation. That was a tough time in my life and it, unfortunately, has affected me since then.
I’m in a wonderful, loving almost two-year long relationship now, but I still get really bad anxiety about him leaving me for no reason or struggle with feelings and concerns of him not loving me anymore. I think you can imagine how this would put some added stress on to my relationship.
Although, in saying that, my boyfriend has been the best partner in crime to help me cope with and lessen my anxiety. I know that a lot of people don’t agree with someone leaning on another for help with mental health, but I feel like if you’re with that person for the long haul, then there’s no preventing that.
I think if you’re dealing with something similar to me, it’s important to be with someone who meets your standards for relationships in general, but is also sensitive to what you’re going through, listens to you, supports you, and comforts you in whichever ways you need when you’re having bad anxiety. I am so happy to be able to say that I have found that person and he’s not going anywhere (I know this because he tells me so haha).
Now obviously, it hasn’t always been easy to overcome anxiety in my relationship. Because my boyfriend is such a great person, we’ve had to learn together how to love each other with it in the mix. It takes a lot of good communication. Many with anxiety know this is difficult, because anxiety can cause you to shut down a lot of the time. My boyfriends understands that and will sit with me for as long as it takes for me to finally verbalize what’s going on with me. He can also read me really well, so if he senses something is up, he is usually right and it’s something I’ve been keeping to myself because I’m so anxious about it. It’s important, though, that your partner does not become your only source of comfort to combat your anxieties. I have various coping strategies that work for me and I see a counselor to help me through. Often times I’ll share my sessions with my boyfriend so he knows what I’m working on. All of this togethe makes being in a relationship while having anxiety so much easier than it used to be for me.
I’m happy to say that in the almost two years we’ve been together, my anxiety has lessened way more than I could have asked for. I sometimes go weeks without having major anxiety now and I really don’t think I could have done it without the help of my amazing boyfriend.
If you have anxiety or your partner does, just know that with time and learning with each other, it does get easier to manage and throughout it all, it makes you a stronger couple. I’ve never felt more secure in a relationship than I do in this one and I’ve never grown more as a person than I have in the past couple of years. Just keep communication open, love on each other as much as possible, and be patient with yourself and your partner. You are strong and you can make it work.
Follow Bre on Instagram @lifestyledbybre.