Anxiety and insecurities have had a big influence on different aspects of my life, and especially on my relationships. I’ve been dating my current boyfriend for two years now, and anxiety has always been a part of our relationship. In the start, it was easy to hide it and imagine it wasn’t there, but the more time we spent together, the more my anxiety became a part of our relationship.
I’d almost dare to say that my boyfriend is in a relationship with two people: with me and with my anxiety. And even though I’m doing much better now, my anxiety still causes some issues or difficulties in our relationship from time to time.
Not being able to believe in a happy ending
I love my boyfriend, and the way I see it now, he’s someone I want to spend the rest of my days with. However, and I’ve written about this before, anxiety forces a lot of irrational fears upon me. Even though we have a good relationship, and there’s no reason for me to believe that anything would go wrong between us anytime soon, my anxiety refuses to believe in a happy ending.
- Related post: How I experience anxiety
Anxiety is a monster, and it’s constantly following me around, telling me my boyfriend will hurt me, emotionally or physically. I trust my boyfriend, and I’m convinced he would never hurt me, at least not on purpose, but I just don’t trust my own luck.
“Why would things go right for me? Do I deserve happiness? I can’t imagine what a happy ending must be like. Knowing my luck, I’ll end up being hurt, just like I’ve been hurt in the past. People hurt me. That’s how it works. I’m Sarah and I get hurt. I’m Sarah and I’m not made to be happy. That’s just what my life is like.”
Constantly needing reassurance that I’m good enough
This is very related to the previous issue, my anxiety constantly tries to convince me I’m not good enough, leaving me desperate for reassurance. Rationally, I know I am good enough, my feelings just experience it differently. On good days, like the past few weeks have been, I believe I’m good enough and I’m happy and confident. But when the anxiety kicks in, I’m convinced there’s nothing good about me. “Do you still like me?”, “Am I good enough for you?” and “Why do you love me? What’s there to like about me?” are questions my boyfriend has to hear on a regular basis.
Panicking over simple or unimportant things
This issue has gotten a lot better over the past year, and these days I rarely panic anymore. But there was a time where I would get stressed out and panic over the smallest and most unimportant things. The more things that could potentially go wrong, the harder I panic.
- Related post: 6 things that scare me when traveling
Cooking used to be one of those things that stressed me out a lot. As soon as the water started boiling, a steak went on the pan, or the oven had to be opened, I’d start getting scared. “What if I accidentally burn my hands? What if I drop a pot of boiling water on my feet? Or what if the fire alarm goes off? What if I forget to turn off the oven and it catches fire? Or what if the food tastes disgusting or makes someone sick?”
And since living together also means cooking together, my boyfriend had to deal with my panic attacks on an almost daily basis. I actually felt really guilty about that, even though it’s not my fault, and it motivated me to start therapy. And I’m so glad that I’m doing better lately.
Apologizing for everything that happens
Whenever something remotely negative happens, I’ll apologize, even if it’s something that’s out of my control. Bad food at a restaurant? “I’m sorry”. The store ran out of tomatoes? “I’m sorry”. You didn’t understand what I said? “I’m sorry”. You ask me why I’m apologizing so much? “I’m sorry.”
You might say that by apologizing so much for things that don’t need an apology, saying sorry loses its meaning. And while I could agree with that, I think it’s also important to mention that I mean those apologies every single time, even when they’re not needed. It’s not a standard answer I give when things go wrong without putting much thought into it. Whenever I say sorry, I really mean it. I just often feel responsible when things go wrong, and often feel sorry for it.
Long monologs about my feelings and insecurities
This has gotten better as well since I started therapy, mainly because I can have those monologs with my therapist right now. It’s also why I started a blog because I didn’t want to constantly go to my boyfriend with these things, even though he’s really supportive about it. Talking about my feelings, putting them in words and describing every little thought, memory or feeling in deep detail makes me feel better. It’s like the only way to make the anxiety monster shut up is by talking over it. As long as I’m talking, the monster doesn’t get a chance to be heard.
- Related post: Diary #1: I can be happy
(I do think it’s good to talk to your partner about your feelings and fears. And as I said, my boyfriend is really supportive and helpful. I just don’t believe that dropping all this negativity on him alone is healthy for our relationship or my mental wellbeing, which is one of the reasons I’m in therapy. In case my fears ever do come true, and my boyfriend and I separate, I still have someone to talk to.)