What Causes Relationship Anxiety & How To Manage Stress That Comes With New Love

Don't sweat your new relationship.

What Causes Relationship Anxiety & How To Manage The Stress That Comes With New Love unsplash / Felipe Bustillo

When you’re in a new relationship, the common wisdom is that you are supposed to bask in the blissful glow of new love and lose yourself in the addictive, euphoric feelings.

So, it can be really confusing if you are feeling relationship anxiety about your new love at the exact same time and don't know how to manage the stress.

Is it normal to feel anxious and worried when you're with a new love?

RELATED: 8 Natural Ways To Deal With Relationship Anxiety


Yes! Feeling anxiety at the beginning of a relationship is completely normal.

Why is that?

You want to protect the relationship

Anxiety helps us protect what matters most to us.

You worry because you care, and as deeply social beings (yes, even introverts), few things matter to you more than your relationships. You're drawn powerfully to love and yearn to feel the deep connection love brings.

It makes sense, then, that a wonderful new relationship would fulfill your need for love and connection. And it makes sense that you would care deeply about your relationship, too.

When you are newly in love, you naturally want to protect the love you have found and keep it safe. And, because you care about the relationship, it’s natural to feel anxious when something feels different or poses a perceived threat to the relationship.


This is especially so if you are prone to worry, or your partner does not consistently communicate clearly.

You're navigating a new situation

Feeling worried about your new relationship could simply be a reflection of you — the thoughts and concerns you bring to every relationship.

One way anxiety at the beginning of a relationship can appear is through your perception of connectedness. Either you don’t feel as connected as you did, or you feel less connected than you want to feel.

This feeling of being disconnected can trigger worry because your connection is so important to you and your wellbeing.

Naturally, you want to maintain your relationship in its idyllic state. In fact, you are highly motivated to maintain it by the powerful rewards that love brings.


Anxiety can signal familiar dynamics that deserve our attention.

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You're comparing this new relationship to a past one

Another way in which you may find yourself feeling anxious about your new relationship is by comparing it to a previous one.

What you need to know about this type of worry is that, although it is completely normal, it’s not the easiest to get a handle on. Without a doubt, you should compare this relationship to previous ones.

But you should do so only to understand what went wrong in them so that you will learn how not to repeat mistakes.

When you're crystal clear about what happened and what part you played in it, you will be able to identify what you do not want to repeat. You will also be able to make better choices for moving forward with your new relationship.


When you find yourself comparing your new relationship to an old one, know that this is just another case of your anxiety working for you. It is trying to alert you to painful situations of the past that are re-emerging. Listen to this message.

If there are similarities, ask yourself honestly if moving forward is safe, or if similar dangerous dynamics are at play.

But if you see that this new relationship is actually different, it will be easier for you to relax and truly enjoy being in love.

Making comparisons is what we do. It’s a large part of how you learn. So don’t be afraid to make comparisons in your new relationship. You may save yourself from hurt and heartbreak. You may discover even more reasons to be completely in love.


How to protect your connection and manage stress

The good news is worry can help you to resolve the disconnect by motivating you to strive to re-establish the connection — even if you can’t sustain it at that new-love intensity over the long-term.

We all know the euphoria of new love can’t last forever. You may even anticipate a time when you might not feel as connected with your partner as you currently do, wondering if it can last. And this is a valid reason for feeling anxiety at the beginning of a relationship.

Your connection can feel so good that you begin to care about losing it. And this worry can motivate you to work with your partner to create a meaningful, lasting connection.

Connection requires vulnerability, and vulnerability requires courage.


Brene Brown deftly writes, “Vulnerability is the most accurate measure of our courage.” Anyone who has been in love knows how incredibly uncomfortable it can be to allow yourself to be fully in your relationship — despite the joy it brings — when you know you might wind up being hurt or rejected.

Yet, being in love takes courage. Only by allowing yourself to be courageously vulnerable do the deepest and longest-lasting connections have a chance of being forged.

Your new relationship is exactly what you need in your life right now. It’s the opportunity to fulfill the draw for love and connection that we all have. It’s also offering you the amazing opportunity to learn more about yourself.

Keep in mind that feeling anxiety at the beginning of a relationship is without a doubt completely normal. Relationships are one of the most important things in life. It’s natural to care deeply about them and want them to work.


And when you care deeply about something and someone, it’s hard to imagine not feeling anxious from time to time. Even more so when it comes to new love.

RELATED: If You're Anxious About Your Relationship, Repeat These 9 Affirmations Everyday

Dr. Alicia Clark is a licensed clinical psychologist. For more help with managing stress and anxiety, check out her anxiety blog, download her free ebook, or sign up for her newsletter.