5 Symptoms Of Relationship Anxiety You Should Never Ignore

Love shouldn't make you feel anxious.

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Do you have relationship anxiety? Are certain things about your relationship bothering you and causing stress? Your relationship may have begun effortlessly enough. But no relationship can survive without attention and hard work. Perhaps surprisingly, anxiety can help protect the relationships you care about most. Paying attention to your relationship anxiety symptoms can help safeguard your bond with your partner. Relationship anxiety can be helpful.


When you care about someone, your anxiety won’t let you ignore them. It keeps you attuned to their needs, as well as your own. Anxiety about your relationship alerts you to sensitivities that could be pointing out potential landmines. Those sensitivities could also be bringing up issues that need your attention. Your relationship anxiety symptoms are helpful guides. They are alerting you to things that deserve focus in your relationship. Yet, not all relationship anxiety symptoms are easily identified as being anxiety-related.

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Here are 5 symptoms of relationship anxiety you should never ignore:

1. Anger

Some marriages are rife with conflict and unmet expectations. In these rocky relationships, anxiety can play a key role in resolving the core problems. What are you really afraid of? What scares you the most about your situation? Answering these questions can help you translate your anger into solutions. Unchecked, anxiety can fuel and escalate anger into hostility. When this happens in long-term marriages, it can be a predictor of imminent divorce. But long-time married couples aren’t the only ones who need to be aware of this relationship anxiety symptom. Levels of stress hormones in arguing newlyweds have been shown to predict future relationship trouble, too. The key is to use this anxiety to fuel constructive solutions to your bond.

2. Insecurity

This whispering form of anxiety leaves you wondering if you — or your relationship — are good enough. Insecurity is proven to be a powerful predictor of chronic marital dissatisfaction and infidelity. Insecurity is a subtle form of worrying about whether your relationship will last.

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3. Boredom

Another relationship anxiety symptom that needs prompt attention is ennui. Boredom is not just stagnation in a marriage, but the whisper that something is wrong. That “something wrong” is usually needling, chronic dissatisfaction that deserves attention — if the relationship is to survive or ever be satisfying again.

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4. Avoidance

A marriage is fertile ground for avoidance, too. It can show up in too many hours spent at work, substance abuse, chronically separate interests, excessive travel, or infidelity. When you or your spouse avoid it in this manner, you’re driving up your resistance to your partner along with the relationship dynamics you are fostering. What an avoidant relationship really needs is nurturing and compassion, if your bond is to thrive again.

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5. Resentment

Trusting others is hard, especially if you have learned that leaning on others can lead to disappointment and rejection. If you’ve internalized this lesson, you might lean toward "lone wolf" behavior. You might believe that in order to get something done, you must do it yourself. In moderation, there’s nothing wrong with self-sufficiency and independence. It fuels responsibility, control-taking, and resilience. However, this belief can also lead to stubbornness, isolation, and resentment. 


If you struggle with lone-wolf behavior and the resentment that can accompany it, you know how extremely difficult it is to ask for help. But you also know that expressing your needs and sharing the load of running a household is vital to a healthy relationship, and home life. Resentment can accompany the conflict between what you wish you could ask for and receive, and what you ultimately do. But this doesn’t just affect you. Research shows the division of labor in marriage is a key aspect of marital happiness. A recent Pew study confirmed more than 50 percent of married adults in the U.S. believe shared housework is key to a successful marriage.

When you sacrifice too much of yourself for others by doing “everything,” resentment naturally follows. It becomes the kind of conflict anxiety that comes from feeling trapped. A mutually satisfying and healthy relationship requires that neither partner feel trapped or alone. A successful and satisfying relationship doesn’t just happen. It takes work that never really ends. This is part of the effort that allows for the mutually satisfying relationship we all crave. If you pay attention to relationship anxiety symptoms when they emerge, you’ll be able to quickly identify when there’s an issue needing attention. And this makes your anxiety a great asset in creating and maintaining a vibrant, mutually satisfying connection.

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Dr. Alicia Clark has been a practicing psychologist for over 25 years and has been named one of Washington’s Top Doctors by Washingtonian Magazine. She is the author of Hack Your Anxiety: How to Make Anxiety Work for You In Life, Love, and All That You Do.