That desire is so strong. In fact, it can be so strong that you ignore any misgivings or troubled thoughts and fears that you might have about being in a relationship.
And the next thing you know, you’ve taken that leap of faith and you’ve done it. You’re in a relationship.
For a while, the first headiness of love covers up all of those feelings you had. That first rush of love is powerful.
But it wears off after a while, doesn’t it…and reality starts to creep in.
Your partner might even be a perfect match for you.
Or you might have picked the “almost good enough for you” partner.
Or you might have picked someone who is totally wrong for you.
It doesn’t matter at this point because…
Relationship Anxiety Rears its Ugly Head
It all starts to fall apart.
Because you start to feel a little nagging deep down inside. Something doesn’t feel right.
Your confidence starts to falter.
You start doubting yourself and these questions come up. “Is ________ going to leave me?” “Where is he/she?”
You have thoughts repeating and going around and around that might start out like this “What if _______?”
Relationship anxiety is in full swing…before you even realize it…
Did This Happen To YOU?
Imagine this. A young wife starts to have a nagging feeling that her husband is keeping a secret from her. Oh oh.
She confronts him. She suspects that he is cheating on her. He denies it and in fact, is SO offended that she would even think he was capable of it. How dare she??
She backs down, desperately wanting to believe him. She stuffs down all the feelings and thoughts that he mind is pushing up for her attention.
Fast forward. They do get divorced…for a lot of other reasons.
The now ex-wife, let’s call her Chelsea (that’s not her real name), wants to rebuild her life.
Every time she even thinks about going into a relationship, she gets an anxious feeling, a buzzing in her brain that screams no.
But people are meant to be together in relationship with others and biology is a powerful force. So she gets into relationships…and you know what happens, right? The shine wears off quickly and there is a mountain of anxiety that she never had before….
Then the call came that would change everything.
The Lights Go On
The ex-husband calls her to talk about the children. He is feeling like he wants to get something off of his chest because he has been drinking and feels sad. He opens up to Chelsea and tells her that she was right all those years ago.
He had an affair. With her sister-in-law. Seriously. So there it is. Betrayal. The worst kind.
Because it was two people that she was close to.
Underneath ALL Relationship Anxiety is This
- Trauma. Whether it was in a relationship with a significant other or whether it was trauma from childhood, that’s where it all starts. There has to be a significant emotional event that triggers it. Period.
- A limiting belief was formed. “All men/women hurt me” or “I’m not good enough” or “If had been a better wife/partner, they wouldn’t have need to __________” or something else…
- Unconscious protective behaviors. The unconscious mind is a wonderful thing. However, sometimes, in order to protect us from being hurt or what it perceives as hurt, again, it sets up behaviors…that look like relationship anxiety. Think of it as warning signals. Danger, Will Robinson!!
So, What Do You Do, Now?
You have to discover what that trauma was. The other thing about the unconscious mind is that it sometimes throws a black bag over trauma and keeps it hidden…in order to protect us.
If it’s a really significant trauma, like a rape or a molestation, that memory might be buried very deeply…and for those kinds of traumas, you need some help. Don’t go there without a guide.
Even though betrayal is a deep hurt, you can look at that one, yourself. Remember that you had no control over what the other person did…and because you didn’t have control, it wasn’t your fault.
They had the responsibility. Totally.
First of all…allow yourself time to grieve…for what was lost. I love this quote by Washington Irving…because yes, there is sacredness in tears…
“There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are messengers of overwhelming grief… and unspeakable love.” Washington Irving
- Go back to that event in your memory and give yourself a mental hug. Tell yourself that it’s going to be all right…that you survived…that you, in fact, are better off…because now you can create a wonderful life, yourself.
- Let the emotions go around that trauma. When you can do that…than those unconscious protective behaviors, like relationship anxiety, can just go…
And you know, that relationship anxiety has been trying to protect you…but you don’t need it anymore…you can say goodbye…thank it for trying to help you be safe…but you have other ways to be safe, don’t you?
The next time you decide to be in a relationship, choose well. Don’t rush into it. Make sure you have values in common…that you want the same things in life…that you will both work on your relationship…and create a relationship where relationship anxiety has no place to be…
“Drive your own life…you deserve to, don’t you?” Sherie Venner
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