Do you experience intense anxiety or obsessive thoughts about your relationship? Do you constantly worry that you are not good enough for them or vice versa? Do you excessively doubt whether you are in the right relationship? If the answer is yes, then you are at the right place, at the right time. Well done for acknowledging your struggles. Acknowledgement is the first step to success in your relationship. I am so proud of you for being here. Now relax, grab a cup of water, and continue reading. Trust me you will not regret it.
1 in 5 people is affected by relationship anxiety. Relationship anxiety is the most consuming and unpredictable mental struggle you can face in a relationship. And although, It may feel as though these constant feelings and thoughts will never go away, know that it is definitely not undefeatable. You are not alone. And you can go through this. It is such a massive struggle that many people in a relationship experience, yet it is not recognised or spoken about enough. So, let's change this, shall we?
What is relationship anxiety?
Relationship Anxiety, in order words, Relationship OCD (ROCD) is an anxiety-driven disorder in which you fear of being in the wrong relationship, fear of not truly loving your partner or not being truly loved by your partner. Your brain seems unable to shake off these thoughts and they just keep on spiralling and spiralling out of control until all you want to do is be away from your partner, sleep, and cry.
It often looks something like this:
Brain- ''What if you did not mean the I love you, you said and you are a liar?''
You- '' Oh no. I thought I do but what if I do not? What if I am just stringing them along? Loveliness is my worst fear. This is it; I will never be happy''.
Brain- ''You should leave the relationship. If you truly loved them, you would not question your love''.
And so on. And so on. It does not end. Until you go to sleep for 10 hours. Wake up and feel the same. We tent to believe that whatever our minds think or whatever our bodies feel is true and it is valid. However, a very important lesson to learn is that thoughts are not facts. Feelings are not facts.
Why does relationship anxiety occur?
Up to this stage, you may be thinking, but why does it happen? Why do I feel like this? I was so happy in my relationship, things were going so well and all of a sudden. Bam. I feel terrible. Well, let me tell you why.
There are so many triggers that could unlock ROCD. For example:
Previous relationship choices- Have you been in a relationship with individuals who did not care about you and your emotions, did not understand your struggles, and just simply treated you poorly? If you believe so, then you may need to consider this to be one of the reasons for ROCD occurring. When you have been into unhealthy relationships and you transition to a relationship that blossoms, that is healthy and with a person you have always dreamed of, it is bound for your brain to switch and be like '' Nope. Ain't buying this. They are going to hurt you. This is no real''.
Childhood trauma- Grew up with divorced parents? Parents who always fight? Poor friendships? Bullying in school? It all can cause uncertainty in relationships.
Social Media influence- Seeing couples on Instagram always travelling, going on dates, having fun together and just seem smitten. or so called ''PERFECT''. We start to compare our relationship to theirs and think ''My partner and I argue sometimes, we do not go out on dates every weekend so there must be something wrong''. You never know what happens behind the scenes. Perfect does not exist and arguing is completely normal.
These are some of the main contributors to Relationship OCD. Have you noticed that these are all experiences that took place in the past? It is good to know that we do not have control over the past, but we have control over the present and the future.
How do you overcome ROCD?
Acknowledge your thoughts - What I mean by acknowledge your thoughts is DO NOT fight them. Let them pass through. Otherwise, what essentially happens is that your brain notices that the signals it sends are affecting you and it just continues to do it. You brain is way more powerful that you can imagine. From scientific point of view, this happens because your brain believes that you are in danger and is sending you signals to protect you. It is coming from a good place, therefore, instead of constantly arguing back in your head, thank your brain for looking out for you. You will immediately notice how once you feel gratitude towards the thoughts your brain sends your way, they will gradually stop affecting you.
Meditate - Meditation is a brilliant way to let your thoughts and feelings run through you. Letting go of these thoughts and being in the present.
Journaling- Before you go to sleep, write down the most triggering and upsetting thoughts you had throughout the day and give a positive response. For instance, if your thought was ' I just feel like this relationship is not working' your response could be '' I know right, brain? What a bummer. It is what it is. Thank you for looking after me.''. At first it may feel silly, but trust me, the lighter you take thoughts like these, the less they will affect you.
Gratitude- Before you go to sleep, write down 3 things that you are thankful for. Gratitude brings out positive emotions and feelings.
These tips are the starting point to a long but so worth it journey to feel happier and more satisfied within your relationship. You are incredibly strong, and you can overcome this. One step at the time. Know that if you are here, trying to look for ways to heal, then you do in fact love your partner and you want this relationship to work. You are enough and you deserve to be happy. You deserve to be in a healthy relationship. Don't forget that. Ever.