The 8 Common Relationship Anxieties Of Married Men That Can Truly Harm Even A Great Marriage

Here's how to stop worries from ruining your relationship.

Last updated on Aug 10, 2023

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Relationship anxiety is a pretty normal feeling. Worries that your partner might not be telling you how they really feel or that you’re losing your relationship with your kid or that you might not be having enough intimacy, top the list of concerns that Dr. Dana Dorfman, a New York-based psychotherapist and relationship therapist, sees all the time when she works with couples.

But, the good news is that these anxieties are totally natural. That doesn’t mean that you should let them run amok: they need to be dealt with, talked through, and handled before they hurt your relationship with your wife or spouse. But, you shouldn’t feel awful for having those fears, either.


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A relationship discusses the eight most common relationship anxieties she sees in her work with married men— and how to work through them before they harm your marriage. 

1. Not being able to financially provide

The worry about whether or not they can provide for their family is something many men wrestle with after they start a family. Dorfman says she hears this often from new fathers, which is not a surprise. Work takes on new meaning when you have more mouths to feed and a nagging anxiety about what might happen if you lose this job and these benefits come with the territory. 


Many men are also conditioned to see themselves as providers and feel responsible when they aren’t bringing home the bacon. This worry leads to men overworking, stressing about work when they’re not there, and being mentally unable to take their brains off the clock — which can strain a relationship that’s already burdened by children.

The only way to work through that anxiety — and not have it take over your life — is, per Dorfman, by talking through it.

“As cliche as it sounds, men are socially conditioned to avoid exposing emotional vulnerability,” she says. “There is great value in a relationship of unconditional acceptance, particularly when vulnerabilities are exposed. Just talk about the anxiety.”

2. That their only value is as a breadwinner

One struggle that men face, often after having kids, is that their value might only be in their ability to financially provide for their family, above any and all other qualities they might bring to their relationship. 


There’s a strong evolutionary component to that, even with contemporary values and paradigms, says Dorfman. Couples, she adds, need to address this soon and wives and partners can help soothe their husbands by validating other parts of the relationship — their role as a dad, their importance as a romantic partner — that are equally, if not more, important.

3. Losing the emotional support of his wife

Kids change everything, particularly the nature of a marriage. Responsibilities build up and roles change. This gives rise to a lot of anxieties men have about becoming less important to their partners.

“If a partner is a new parent, they worry that their own needs are not going to be taken care of,” says Dorfman. 

Men often go to their romantic partners for the bulk of their emotional support and after the baby, new moms are often occupied by their new kids. This, sometimes, can’t be helped, notes Dorfman. It’s important for new dads to, when they find that they can’t get the emotional energy they need from their partner, look elsewhere at times. 


“It’s important to spread the wealth. Men should get support from other men and other fathers to replenish their emotional inventory and to have a place to express it,” says Dorfman.

In other words, getting out of the house every once in a while to play pick-up basketball with your buddies might actually help you gain perspective on those early years of parenting.

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4. Losing the romantic relationship with his wife

With or without kids, long-term romantic relationships constantly need to be attended to, worked at, and intentionally maintained. When the relationship starts to feel stale, or disconnected, men might get anxious that their relationships are going down the tubes or that there is no longer a spark.


Dorfman recommends what she calls relationship refuelers: “Whether it’s a walk, vacations alone, or dinners out of the house — that can provide a great replenishment for a relationship and a reassurance of the romantic connection,” she says. 

5. That his desires won’t be met

Men and women often experience intimacy differently in relationships — and whether or not they’re parents, they can struggle to maintain intimacy over the long course of a marriage.

Men, Dorfman says, have a lot of anxiety about this. “They wonder: will they continue to have their needs met? Will their own desires be met by a partner?”

When these anxieties start to come to the forefront, Dorfman recommends that couples sit down and reaffirm what makes them tick. “A lot of times, men need intimacy in order to feel close; and women need to feel close in order to want intimacy.”


Knowing that can help couples move forward with intimacy in mind that makes sense for both — not just one — of them. (Intimacy schedules and no-phone zones help make time for intimacy, physical or not, as well.) 

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6. That he will cheat

In Dorfmans’ work, she’s found that a lot of men actually worry that, one day, they might cheat on their partner. “Men need to know that thoughts are different from actions. Being attracted to another person is not problematic,” she says.

It’s okay to mention that you have these thoughts about your partner, especially if you know you’d never ever want to act on them. The point is that vocalizing these thoughts will help you feel less guilty and make you realize how nuts they are in the first place. 


7. That his partner might cheat

The anxiety that one’s husband or wife might cheat can actually be more intense and damaging than having worries that you might cheat instead. What starts as a natural, small-time anxiety can start to become a big, all-consuming problem in a relationship if not dealt with quickly.

“Owning the anxiety can be really helpful. Ensure the anxieties are reality-based — not something historical or psychological if the person has infidelity in their own past,” Dorfman says.

And ensuring that you engage and own these anxieties will, ideally, stop you from repeatedly accusing your partner of infidelity or worrying about it — two things that can seriously harm a relationship. 


8. He won’t have time for himself anymore

“Men become anxious about their time and energy,” says Dorfman. Sometimes, relationships, marriages, and raising children can lead to a lot of personal schedule creep and men can find they’re unable to have time alone or do the things they love, like hobbies.

“Schedule time out,” says Dorfman. “State very explicitly that the boundary is not a rejection — it’s more of an emotional, solitary refuel,” she says.

Whether it’s an hour-long run on a Saturday or time spent in the woodworking shop, making sure that you have time to engage in the things that you love outside of your relationship is healthy for any relationship and can help tamper down feelings that you might be losing yourself to your partner, your responsibilities, or your kid.

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Lizzy Francis is a writer and editor who has had fiction and poetry published in magazines associated with New York University like the West 4th Street Review and the Gallatin Review.