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How To Love Someone With An Anxiety Disorder — Tips On What To Do (And What Not To Do)

how to love someone with anxiety
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Love, Health And Wellness

How to love them through the stress.

Anxiety is a common mental disorder that affects 40 million adults in the United States. Chances are if you’ve ever been in a relationship, you have had a partner that has an anxiety disorder.

Sometimes it is difficult and even stressful maintaining a relationship with someone who suffers from anxiety. However, it isn’t impossible and is just as rewarding as any other relationship. The quality of a healthy relationship doesn’t change due to a mental disorder.



RELATED: How To Love A Woman With Anxiety


Fortunately, there are many ways to maintain a healthy relationship with someone who has anxiety — and they may be able to provide helpful insight if you have anxiety, as well. There are also certain things that you should avoid if you wish to have a good relationship with a S.O. with an anxiety disorder.

Here are some tips for dating someone with anxiety.


1. Know and understand the signs of someone with anxiety.

This is an important factor in the relationship because if you understand the symptoms of anxiety, you may be better able to identify possible triggers for anxiety or panic attacks. Symptoms include irritability, nervousness, restlessness, fatigue, unwanted thoughts, excessive fear, difficulty concentrating or focusing, insomnia, nausea, and trembling.


2. Be patient.

In every relationship, each partner has some form of insecurities. However, those with anxiety are known for lashing out as a result of their anxious thoughts. Their behavior is a result of a fight or flight response to the stress they feel as a result of the anxiety. If you recognize their behaviors, you can be a little easy on them in certain situations and guide them until the anxious thoughts are no longer affecting the situation.


3. Set limits.

Although anxiety can be a source of lashing out by partners, you do NOT have to cut slack to a partner’s more toxic behaviors. If they are insulting you, manipulating you, or being emotionally abusive, you have the right to stand up for yourself and separate yourself from the situation. Don’t risk your mental health and state of mind for others. Yes, anxiety can be difficult to handle at times but it is not an excuse toxic behavior.


4. Encourage going to therapy.

Therapy can be a good outlet for those with anxiety. Being able to talk to a professional that can help a person with anxiety learn to redirect their anxious thoughts to productivity and, in turn, can help to strengthen your relationship. It is also beneficial if your partner relays to you the tips their therapists gives them. This will aid you in helping to solve the problem in the event of an anxiety attack, panic attack, or meltdown.


5. Practice open communication.

Many people with anxiety are aware that they have anxiety and that some of their fears may be irrational. They are also willing to share those fears, and ways to help ease them as long as there is an open line of communication. If you provide a safe space for you and your partner to communicate about these sensetive issues, your partner will feel comfortable enough disclosing them to you which will help alleviate some potential problems within your relationship.


6. Practice self care.

Dating someone with anxiety can be stressful and emotionally taxing. Remember that if the stress becomes too great, you need to communicate this with your partner so they understand and can help come to a solution. Take some time to focus on things you enjoy or visit a therapist yourself if you need to. Its okay to practice a healthy separation from the issue for awhile in order to center yourself. Remember that you can not take care of anyone until you take care of yourself.


RELATED: What Actually Happens To Your Body When You're 'Triggered'


Contrarily, there are things you should avoid doing when your partner has anxiety. These behaviors can reinforce the anxiety or cause your partner to feel that they are crazy for expressing their own emotions over something they can not control. Extreme practices of this can lead to gaslighting or emotional manipulation.


1. Don't criticize your partner’s anxiety.

Remember that anxiety isn’t something your partner can control. Using their anxiety to criticize them, whether you are in an argument or normal conversation, is problematic. This toxic behavior can lead your partner to feel isolated in dealing with their anxiety and make it worse.


2. Don't attempt to be their therapist.

Therapists are trained to deal with psychological problems and behaviors. Even if you are a trained therapist, you should avoid trying to diagnose your partner. Therapists need to be unbiased in their approach and will tell your partner what they need to hear without being personally connected to them like you are. This is important because often when we engage our partners, we do so in a way to avoid hurting their feelings, which can be good in some scenarios, but in this case will cause more harm than good.


3. Don't try yto fix their anxiety.

In relationships we often attempt to "fix" our partners because we want them to feel better. You should avoid this in your relationship because anxiety isn't something that needs fixing. In fact, attempting to change your partner due to a mental disorder may lead to more emotional damage, which can cause the opposite effect of what you wish to achieve. Instead of trying methods to "fix" them, try listening to your S.O. and helping them to alleviate any stress they may be feeling.


Dealing with anxiety can be daunting, but it can also be rewarding for you and your partner. The two of you can learn to connect on a deeper level and you’ll learn about something that affects millions of people. If you have anxiety yourself, it may even be beneficial to learn how your partner copes with your anxiety.


RELATED: 5 Ways For Introverts To Overcome Social Anxiety


Briana Johnson is a writer who covers astrology, pop culture and relationship topics.

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