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Overcoming Relationship Anxiety


As someone who married at 19 and found myself facing divorce, with four small children to raise, at the age of 37, I had my share of relationship anxiety.  There were all the usual questions.

What if I fail again?  How will I ever find someone else to share my life with?  How did I not see that coming? And so on. . .those questions come from fear. . .

It took time and I overcame it, to find love again with my husband Shane. . .an incredible man who lights up my life and is my best friend.

relationship anxiety

Are You Keeping Secrets?

When we first find ourselves contemplating going “out there” and finding a new relationship, people will often put their best foot forward, presenting the best side of themselves.  They find themselves in a small café, meeting for coffee or a drink, smiling and making small talk, flirting a little and hoping that they are being seen in a good light.  

You wear your best clothes, make sure that your grooming is immaculate and then…you start the process of keeping secrets. You hide who you really are, in an attempt to gain approval and be “chosen” by the other person.

This causes relationship anxiety because there is a basic disconnect in your integrity. . .you pretend to be one way when in reality, you are another.  When you have that connection with your true self, then you feel comfortable in your own skin.

That does NOT mean laying all of your dirty laundry on the table or telling all, it means, be yourself. . .not a reflection of who you think you should be.

Having the “Talk”

When you come from the perspective that you are the one doing the “choosing”, you are more likely to approach the possibility of a new relationship (or deepening the current one), quite differently.

One of the strategies that I recommend (and one that I followed), is to ask questions or have the “Talk”.  Men, don’t run, this works for you too!

When you sit down at that table in the café and you ask questions during the “Talk”, you don’t need to interrogate. . .ask questions in the natural flow of conversation. . .where do you see yourself in 5 years?  Are you looking for friendship or a relationship?…and so on…

In order to have the “Talk”, you need to do this, first:

  • Know yourself
  • Clarify your values
  • Know what your relationship goals are 

What do you want?  Do you want marriage, children, a short term relationship? Make sure that you are honest with yourself.  If you can’t be honest with you, you certainly can’t be honest with anyone else and it is so key to have that in a relationship, isn’t it?

Are you done with your previous relationship?  Have you closed the door and finished grieving?  Are you ready to move on?  Relationship anxiety can stem from having not finished with the last one, a carrying forward of the negative repercussions of a previous partnership.

There is a very powerful process, called “The Last Straw” that is very helpful in closing the door on a relationship that you might have clung to for too long. . .

What is the Message that Relationship Anxiety Has for You?

When we create feelings like anxiety in our life, they often come with a message. Take the time to hear what message your subconscious mind is trying to tell you. Listen for clues, they will come.  

Have you been focusing on the negative, not the positive that happens in your life?

Are you imagining a future that won’t turn out, based on a past that didn’t?

Are you independent enough?  Do you know that you will be okay, whether you are in relationship or not?

Have you accepted responsibility for the part that you played in past relationships?  Do you have well established boundaries?

Do you know that you are enough, that you deserve love?

Relationship anxiety will cease to exist when you clear up the past and any residual feelings about previous partners…when you accept responsibility for creating your own life. . .when you know that you are enough and that you deserve love.  Create a wonderful vision, filled with light and brilliance and the relationship that you want will be there. . .just like that.

“Drive your own life. . .you deserve to, don’t you?”  Sherie Venner

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I am a Relationship Coach who helps others create happy, healthy, loving relationships…including the relationship they have with themselves…by breaking through those blocks and barriers to success. I use various techniques gathered through training as a Master Practitioner of NLP, timeline, hypnosis and common sense gathered through life experience.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • JamesS December 17, 2012, 5:20 am

    Great advice! really helps. The anxiety both me and my partner are experiencing stems (i think) from the fact it is our first relationship (both aged 24years) and certain secrets I found out about my partner. How do we overcome the doubt associated with not knowing whether it is “meant to be”.
    We still really love eachother, but panic at the thought we may be falling out of love, due to the hurtful occurences in the past. How can we stop ourselves questioning it and move forward? We have suggested spending more time apart and sorting out the reasons for the anxiety(ie i guess similar to the “message of the anxiety” you speak about), and belive that we need to be more independant and be happy with ourselves as individuals…

    I am finding it very hard when apart, re the trust issues form past occurences. We really want to make it work, and believe we will, but when the anxiety is there (as we experience peaks and troughs) its hard not to panic and feel the welling up with tears, and hopelessness. How do we support eachother without aggitating the feelings?

    We communicate very well and talk it through, what techniques can help the anxiety become less frequent and diminish?
    thank you so much for your time

    • Sherie December 17, 2012, 7:30 pm

      James, I really appreciate that you and your partner are having difficulty. Keeping secrets of any kind in a relationship is definitely a red flag. Have the two of you discussed what your personal values are? What are you looking for in life? That is a big step toward lessening relationship anxiety. If you have questions, respect them…and then answer them…take out a piece of paper and write those questions down and then…write the answers down. What is the message here?

      In my latest post, http://sherievenner.com/2012/how-weak-boundaries-huge-factor-anxiety-relationships/, I have some other thoughts that you might be interested in…take a look there…and ask yourself this “Who am I without a relationship?”. If the anxiety is there for a reason…to tell you something…then you need to pay attention to it. If it is just fear, then you need to quiet your mind and stop imagining a future with negative events…

      Again, this is just a small piece of the puzzle but it is a place to start. Best of luck, let me know if this works…go read the other post about relationship anxiety.. The best way to support each other is to support yourself first…because that is where it all starts.
      Sherie recently posted..Which Came First? Weak Boundaries or Relationship Anxiety?My Profile

  • ChrisF January 16, 2012, 2:52 am

    ”When we create feelings like anxiety in our life, they often come with a message.”

    This. To my mind, the feelings of anxiety we experience have a great intention – their foundation is in helping us, protecting us, from something that, on some level, we perceive as a threat/bad/etc..

    Realising first that the intentions of the feelings are good, but the behaviour is just.. rubbish, really helps get things moving. Next step, to my mind, is finding out the root-cause, the bases of the belief that the anxiety is built on.

    Great blog – good read. Thank you for sharing.


    • Sherie January 16, 2012, 10:17 am

      I absolutely agree with you Chris. . .there is a good intention behind the anxiety, even if it doesn’t look like that. When you root out the deep cause that is behind it and give new positive behaviors that actually work in our favor, then we see change. Thank you so much for reading the post and your compliment about the blog, I really appreciate it!

  • Vicky Savellis-Grant January 12, 2012, 3:36 am

    Great advice for all relationships. Thanks for sharing!

    • Sherie January 12, 2012, 12:52 pm

      Thank you, Vicky! I appreciate you giving me feedback and leaving a comment! : D

  • Mandy Edwards January 11, 2012, 6:42 pm

    Great post! These are great things to consider when getting back out there. I’ve been with my husband since I was 18 and wouldn’t have a clue what to do if I were forced to re-enter the dating world.

    • Sherie January 11, 2012, 6:46 pm

      Thank you, Mandy! Congrats on having a great long term marriage, it always rocks when that happens! : D I have been married to Shane for the past 15 and a half years.

  • Julie Weishaar January 11, 2012, 3:38 pm

    Hi Sherie – been there done that too 🙂 I KNEW exactly what NOT to look for when back out in the dating world. Funny how our needs change as we get older. True comprehension, full disclosure, and total transparency are the secrets to a successful relationship – especially starting all over again. If you don’t have the “talk” – that is where resentments build up, misunderstanding happen, and a whole slew of chain reactions take effect – not good ones. Fear is usually always the culprit that holds us back from moving forward in almost all areas of our life. Great advice on how to conquer this fear!

    • Sherie January 11, 2012, 3:46 pm

      Hi Julie! You have hit the nail on the head…especially when starting all over again…we learn from the past and do it better the next time, don’t we? We kick the fear to the curb and move on…: D Thank you so much for you comment!!

  • Liz Maness January 11, 2012, 3:07 pm

    This is a great post for people in relationship Sherie! It is so hard to do but so important to just be yourself. Even more important is to know what that self is.

    • Sherie January 11, 2012, 3:45 pm

      Yes, definitely knowing that self is even more important, Liz! I agree with you! Thank you for commenting. : D

  • Solvita January 11, 2012, 2:57 pm

    Thank you Sherie I agree with Rob, talking is so important and you demonstrate it so well! 🙂 thank you! You are truly a masterful coach!

    • Sherie January 11, 2012, 3:43 pm

      Talking is very important! Thank you so much for your kind words, Solvita! : D

  • Alexandra McAllister January 11, 2012, 12:58 pm

    Sherie, you’ve given sound advice! I also believe if more people had the “TALK” early in their relationship, it would improve their relationship, which could last for many years! Communication is so important in any kind of relationship…partner, children, friends and business associates! Thank you!

    • Sherie January 11, 2012, 1:51 pm

      Thank you, Alexandra! Communication is key for all of our relationships, isn’t it?? Love that you took the time to read the post and comment!!

  • Nancy January 11, 2012, 9:02 am

    Great post Sherrie!

    It is very important to know yourself.

    • Sherie January 11, 2012, 12:23 pm

      Yes, Nancy, it is important to know yourself! Thanks so much for reading the post and for taking the time to comment! I appreciate you doing so!

  • Gabriela Hirina January 11, 2012, 8:35 am

    I find the talk, in early stages, extremelly important. Is also easier to talk about what we want while we are not to much emotionally involved. However, I find that many of us do not take the time to question what our values are untill problems arise. Unfortunatelly!
    Thanks for sharing Sherie!

    • Sherie January 11, 2012, 9:01 am

      You are so right, Gabriela! It is really important to talk . . .many of us don’t take the time in the beginning and then things begin to unravel. If we lay a firm foundation when we aren’t emotionally attached, it is so much easier! Thank you so much for your comment, Gabriela!! I appreciate you being here and reading the post, too!

  • Norma Doiron @Living|Healthy|Wealthy|Wise January 11, 2012, 7:43 am

    Sage advice, Sherie. I too got married at 19 and it’ll be 40 years this coming September – and they thought it wouldn’t last! lol! So, I get that side of your life. The Talk is certainly the better way to go. Thanks for sharing, great insight! x0x
    The LEARNED Preneur @ NormaDoiron.NET

    • Sherie January 11, 2012, 7:51 am

      Norma, that is so awesome that you are having your 40th wedding anniversary in September! You must have chosen well (and obviously, he did choose well, because you are so fantastic!!). Thank you for your kind words and for taking the time to comment. : D

  • Rhonda Uretzky January 11, 2012, 6:26 am

    The best relationship advice I ever got was to BE the person you are looking for – when you become that person of your dreams, others just like you are naturally attracted to you.

    • Sherie January 11, 2012, 6:42 am

      Yes, that is great relationship advice, Rhonda. Becoming first starts with accepting yourself and then uncovering the magnificence of who you really are by eliminating negative beliefs. Thank you for your comment, I appreciate you taking the time to do so!

  • Mary Page January 9, 2012, 11:06 am

    Thanks for this. So much of the advice is centered on presentation of best self and not on what is really important. It is good to read that it is best to just be yourself foibles and all.

    • Sherie January 9, 2012, 11:28 am

      Mary, it is best to be yourself because you are awesome, foibles and all! Thank you for your comment! : D

  • Rob Hodgins January 9, 2012, 4:22 am

    Excellent post here, Sherie. The “Talk” is a perfect strategy/idea in the early stages of any relationship. Rather than moving forward hoping that things will “just work” having the “Talk” puts people in control of the relationship and how they want to see it develop.

    Communication is the key in any relationship. The “Talk” is a great first step.

    • Sherie January 9, 2012, 10:11 am

      Thank you, Rob! I think that if people had the “Talk” in the early stages, it would really help set a firm foundation. Communication is critical and when things are clear, relationship anxiety eases and disappears. Thanks so much for your comment, I really appreciate you taking the time to do so!