How Anxiety Destroys Relationships (and How to Stop It)

Vintage silhouette of two people holding handsThere is an abundance of information about how anxiety impacts our health—mentally, emotionally, and physically. Have you considered the impact anxiety may have on the health of your relationship?

Anxiety can cause periods of panic, feelings of fear or overwhelm, and a general sense of unease and tension. It can take over your thoughts and bleed into many areas of your life.

If you are feeling a strain on your relationship, anxiety may be playing a role. Could your anxiety (or your partner’s) be putting your relationship at risk?

Here’s how and why anxiety destroys relationships, and what you can do to stop it.

1. Anxiety breaks down trust and connection …

Anxiety causes fear or worry that can make you less aware of your true needs in a given moment. It can also make you less attuned to the needs of your partner. If you’re worried about what could be happening, it’s difficult to pay attention to what is happening. When you feel overwhelmed, your partner may feel as though you aren’t present.

so train your brain to live in the moment. If you notice a fear or concern that causes your thoughts to stray from the facts or the present moment, pause and think about what you know (as opposed to what you don’t know). Calm down before you act. You can make purposeful steps to build trust in your partner. Share openly when you’re feeling worried, and consciously reach out to your partner (physically or verbally) when you might normally withdraw or attack in fear.

2. Anxiety crushes your true voice, creating panic or procrastination …

Someone who tends to be anxious may have trouble expressing his or her true feelings. It also may be difficult to keep reasonable boundaries by asking for the attention or space that is needed.

Since experiencing anxiety is uncomfortable, subconsciously you may try to postpone the experience of it. On the other hand, anxiety can cause you to believe that something must be talked about immediately, when in fact a short break may be beneficial.

If you don’t express what you truly feel or need, anxiety becomes stronger. Plus, your emotions may eventually spiral out of control if you keep them in. You may become overwhelmed and defensive.

so acknowledge your feelings sooner rather than later. A feeling or concern doesn’t have to be a disaster in order for it to be addressed. Approach your partner with kindness, so that you’re neither procrastinating nor panicking. Also, find time on your own to unpack some of the thoughts or fears circulating in your mind; they are draining your time and energy.

3. Anxiety causes you to behave selfishly …

Because anxiety is an overactive fear response, someone experiencing it may at times focus too much on his or her own concerns or problems.

Your worries and fears may be putting unnecessary pressure on your relationship. You may feel like you need to worry in order to protect yourself in your relationship, but it might be keeping you from being compassionate and vulnerable with your partner.

If your partner experiences anxiety, you may build up resentment and react in selfish ways as well. The attitudes and perspectives that we have are contagious. Keeping your stress levels under control is especially hard when your partner is feeling anxious, upset, or defensive.

so attend to your needs, not your fears. When you notice yourself becoming fearful or defensive, take a moment to consider the compassion that you have for yourself and your partner. Clearly ask for the support you need to feel loved and understood. Apologize for letting anxiety make you self-absorbed.

Unhealthy levels of anxiety make you feel as though an emotional “rock” is in your stomach almost all the time.

4. Anxiety is the opposite of acceptance …

A healthy form of worry will tell you “something isn’t right”; it comes via that quick pull at your heart or that tight feeling in your stomach. This signal helps you act, such as when you speak up for someone who is being treated poorly.

Unhealthy levels of anxiety make you feel as though an emotional “rock” is in your stomach almost all the time. Anxiety causes you to reject things that are not dangerous and avoid things that might benefit you. It also can stop you from taking healthy action to change things in your life that are hurting you because it makes you feel hopeless or stuck.

… so practice being uncomfortable. You don’t need to either ignore or obsess over an uncomfortable thought. Take constructive action if you can. Sometimes your partner just needs you to be present with his or her feelings, and sometimes you need to offer that same gift to yourself. You can show your presence to your partner with soft eyes or a soft touch, and be present for yourself with a calming breath.

5. Anxiety robs you of joy …

Experiencing joy requires a sense of safety or freedom. Anxiety makes us feel either fearful or limited. Also, a brain and body trained to stress may have a much harder time enjoying sex and intimacy. Negative thoughts and fears impact a person’s ability to be present within a relationship, potentially sucking the joy out of a moment.

… so don’t take yourself too seriously. You can use your sense of humor to overcome anxiety. Remember to laugh and play with your partner. Joy physically heals and comforts your brain in ways that are vital for a healthy relationship.

As Anxiety Weakens, Your Relationship Strengthens

Building trust within your relationship may reduce the power of anxiety. By understanding how anxiety impacts your relationships, you can create positive change within a relationship dynamic.

A therapist who specializes in anxiety treatment can help you further understand anxiety and help you stop harming yourself and your relationship.

© Copyright 2015 All rights reserved. Permission to publish granted by Kristine Tye, MA, LMFT, therapist in Sherman Oaks, California

The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

  • Leave a Comment
  • shalom

    June 22nd, 2015 at 8:52 AM

    The positive thing is that if you are with someone who truly loves you they will love you and stay by your side for better or worse, anxiety or not.

  • Tosha

    August 27th, 2016 at 7:59 PM

    I agree….

  • Not_true

    October 31st, 2016 at 6:18 AM

    Staying with a person who has anxiety is tough, the person with anxiety has the obligation to be worthy of that effort. This includes the person with anxiety actively working to improve and mitigate their condition.

    Love is not always enough.

  • Brendan

    November 20th, 2016 at 8:09 PM

    The anxiety I experience got in the way of my relationship, panic and crying episodes caused stress between us. We were together 7 years and we broke up in July. I moved to where she lived this year and the changes and having to find a job after that, I made into too big of a deal. I blame myself for not having my anxiety under control. I have been seeing a therapist. Due to a health condition I’ve experienced since 2011, the anxiety does not come and go, rather my body is in a heightened state all the time because cortisol, norepinephrine, dopamine have all been altered, and I have a hormonal imbalance which there are not many answers for (after going to many doctors). I stay as healthy as I can lifestyle-wise but this constant sense of anxiety/dread/worry/depression has been with me since this health issue. Everyday I cry and deeply regret how my actions, or inaction due to fear, ruined my relationship and losing the person I care about most. We shared everything together and were very close. it’s like you form your own world and then it vanishes. And everyday inside I’m left trying to reconcile the pieces of that world that I know are gone. The pain of this is causing me to cry every night at points. I know this may sound pathetic to some, but just not sure how to get over this. I have been seeing friends every weekend, getting out, doing different things by myself than I used to, exercising all the time. But every time I experience joy or am by myself, I feel this weight in my stomach of sorrow/regret and like nothing will ever replace that feeling of being with her. It’s as if I can’t enjoy my life anymore, and have lost my identity in the process. I have read many articles, advice, and keep getting the sense I need a new start. Being back in my childhood home after the breakup is not the solution, as much as I am grateful/appreciate my parents love and support. I feel like I need to keep growing, not going backwards. I am debating moving somewhere but am unsure. Feel like I need a “new start” in life but am stuck. Thank you to anyone who reads.

    She has said she wants to meet up with me recently. After I said I do not want to talk/text if we’ll never see each other again. I feel like she’s done this out of convenience, like I’m still just “there” as a friend, but I can’t tell. Then last week she invited me to an event where she lives (we are 3 hours away) but then said she couldn’t after, she was busy. Generally, I have not tried contacting her in the past month or so, she has reached out to me and eventually I give in and respond. I can’t tell if meeting her would cause me more pain or if it’s necessary. I feel like I have to stifle my feelings whenever we talk on the phone and make commonplace conversation like you would with a neighbor. I don’t sense she is experiencing this same conflict or attachment that I am still very much going through.

  • Stuart

    December 2nd, 2016 at 5:39 AM

    I would agree with that.

  • Hank

    April 4th, 2017 at 2:44 PM

    Agreed but if the other person is causing the anxiety it’s up to both to rehabilitate. I know with my situation, my anxiety is caused by my wife drinking and becoming very flirtatious to the point where either I or her friends have to pull her away. She drops her boundaries and will walk right up to a guy and start a conversation. She thinks it’s absolutely fine. We’ve talked and she just fails to see the harm it causes. So I stopped going out and now I watch my kids and worry when she goes out 2-3 times a month. Sometimes til the very early hours of the morning. She will shut off her cell so I can’t contact. And I’m at a point where I’m ready to grab my children and just bail. It’s tough. I’ve never felt the pain that tjis has caused anywhere else in my life.

  • Sinne

    April 20th, 2017 at 9:03 AM

    I wish everybody a great day

  • Claudio

    May 2nd, 2017 at 4:46 PM

    Unfortunately I was keen to support my gf through anxiety, but she had to understand there was a problem. She never admitted it. She charged the cause of her anxiety on me and dumped me. Now she didn’t contact me since a month and I am lleaving her alone to let her anxiety levels go down…wondering if it would be possible to recover the situation as I love her. I would really like to help.

  • ming v

    December 22nd, 2016 at 6:37 AM

    that is correct that sometimes love is not enough. the partner without anxiety also needs to take care of their own health and wellbeing. One can give until they are blue in the face but living with constant stress is detrimental as well.

  • Cheyenne

    January 22nd, 2017 at 6:00 PM

    exactly. I am dealing with a spouse who has possibly more than a normal level of anxiety and it is affecting my health now where I almost got a vertigo episode (I have Meniere’s) and I am concerned about my health as a cancer survivor of 2 years also. (we were not together at the time of my cancer diagnosis and treatment). I am tired, depressed, do not feel like I can move. His anxiety gives me barely any space, he interrupts constantly – even when it is just about having some space for myself for a few hours. He keeps on and on until I give in or it ends in a screaming match. I am exhausted and about to call it quits. Yes we all want to believe that love conquers all but let’s be honest – when our health is affected to the degree that we are too depressed to do much, feel like a prisoner in our own home it is time to call it quits. Maybe the other person will then get the help they need.

  • Taylor

    April 27th, 2017 at 8:30 PM

    In regards to what Brendan said on November 20th, 2016 I am sort of in the same situation but I’m still in my relationship, at least right now. Btw we’re engaged and we have been talking lately about what we’ve both been going through. I am very close to a mental breakdown but the thought of admitting myself into a hospital terrifies me due to being forced to be hospitalized when I was younger. I have relied on my fiancé for 2 years now and since I have quit my job due to my anxiety/depression being so bad he feels there’s more weight on his shoulders and apparently he had already been suffering with extreme amounts of anxiety/depression that I had no clue about because ive been so focused on myself and he doesn’t tend to inform me of whats going on with him because he feels its just adding too much to my already overflowing plate. I want to be there for him and support him the way hes been trying to support me but I don’t know if I can. And tonight I opened up to him and told him there’s a possibility we should separate because I don’t know if I can handle his problems on top of my own. Before this conversation he stated he doesn’t feel I love him because I never notice when he’s struggling with his issues. And that hurts immensely because I do want to spend the rest of my life with him and I see a future with him but things are so complicated with the both of us mentally that even he’s questioning the relationship. I know we both want to be together and eventually get married, and have even talked about moving away together to get a fresh start but other than that I don’t know what to do because like I said I don’t even know how to help myself. If there’s any kind of advice that could help me it would be much appreciated because this is a huge decision and apparently the choice is mine to make alone and I don’t want to lose him. I appreciate any responses.

  • Rob

    January 23rd, 2017 at 12:27 PM

    Well thats a lie you should only say that stuff unless your in a relationship or have anxiety
    Coming from a person with these disorders

  • Cheyenne

    January 23rd, 2017 at 7:50 PM

    What do you mean it is a lie? My husband admits now to his anxiety being stronger than normal and us now gettig help. I myself had severe anxiety many years ago dealt wih it in counseling.

  • Brad

    March 24th, 2017 at 10:08 AM

    Bullshit! This is pretty much a dreamers advice. Honestly you need a lot more than Love! Communication and Trust are the two key components to a relationship, love with come naturally after.

  • Cezza

    April 26th, 2017 at 8:44 AM

    its so confusing being in a relationship with someone with anxiety and depression. I have been married for nearly 6 years and with partner for 13 years. We have 2 girls, 4 and 6. i dont think love is all you need. When you do everything yourself and your partner is miserable and moody all the time taking himself away leaving you to do everything by yourself. Im ok with that because i have my sport which i do 2-3 times a week. But now we are ‘having a break’ i dont know how i feel about him, weather i want it to work or not. I try and be there for him as i feel bad that he is sad and only now realizing what he is loosing. I wish i knew what to do. All i know is its effecting our girls, and iv lost so much love for him.
    Just want someone to tell me what to do….

  • Eddie R

    May 19th, 2017 at 8:40 AM

    For better or worse through sickness and in health… These are the words that play in my head when my wife’s High Functioning Anxiety erupts into our lives and threatens the very foundation of our marriage. My wife battles with these anxiety demons everyday and it shows in her moods and her crumby attitude towards those she loves most. My strong upbeat, happy and energetic personality has kept me from falling off the edge completely and it gives me strength to continue living in a tough environment, It ain’t easy but it isn’t impossible if you educate yourself and arm yourself with patients and understanding. Men love your wife’s and help them find help with their anxiety/depression do your best to understand their condition and help them find peace within themselves.

  • Kentbird

    May 19th, 2017 at 7:13 PM

    It’s not about staying by someone’s side, the anxious person often breaks the relationship and ends it, so even tho as a partner you can see that they need help, if they don’t see that for themselves you can’t stay with someone who is ending something every week or so

  • John

    June 6th, 2017 at 2:54 PM

    Only if the person with anxiety is willing to work on themselves…if not, noone will be able to handle someone who just identifies anxiety as just being a part of who they are.

  • Love is NOT enough

    June 20th, 2017 at 10:40 AM

    I met and married the man of my dreams, and we were together for 12 years before it finally all fell to pieces because of his anxiety disorder which has been under-treated and unresolved for most of his life. Everything in this article is a very close description of my marriage, except that we deeply loved each other and did everything to build a lifetime together ahead of us. But his anxiety was rampant, and he refused to do anything more than see a psychiatrist a few times a year for 15 minutes to get his prescriptions refilled, and incessantly act out on his anxiety. Every week, as soon as we would reach a basic level of possible contentment, he would have to leap out of the situation, run out the door, and stay out all night drinking or doing drugs at bars or nightclubs where 99% of the people there were single and looking to have sex. After YEARS of patient work, including years of therapy myself and a little bit of couples therapy, this acting out lessened but never went away. It was all fundamentally driven by his anxiety – he could never experience quiet contentment, it made him incredibly anxious. He also had only experienced joy as a sort of high or from seeking thrills (rollercoasters, sky diving) rather than something deep and soulful, which he avoided. I often would become completely exhausted from coping with him, even though I also found deep reservoirs of compassion and patience I didn’t know I’d had earlier. In the end, I was crushed by the experience of always being reminded that life with him would be filled with unending dissatisfaction and acting out — and dozens of situations where he would only talk about his anxiety when it wasn’t raging, and then when it was he would turn on me and say I was “the crazy one” or “the selfish one” after a terrible bout of his acting out. My needs went completely unaddressed, usually unacknowledged, and I could not do it anymore. We are in the middle of our divorce, and while I feel a tremendous sense of relief, my heart still breaks because I love him so much and I don’t think he even fully grasps how destructive his undertreated anxiety has been for him. He has never had close friends, usually avoids any social situation where alcohol or drugs aren’t present, and continues to see a psychiatrist only for drug refills. Yet he cries whenever we see each other and says how much he loves and misses me, and I miss the good times, the dreams we shared, the life we wanted to build together. His refusal to get the treatment he really needs and to work at his problem robbed us both of that life we should have had.

  • Kristine Tye MFT

    Kristine Tye MFT

    June 22nd, 2015 at 11:36 AM

    Beautiful thought, shalom! In a loving, healthy relationship there is acceptance for who one is now, as well as a safe space to heal and reduce unhealthy levels of anxiety – through support and love.

  • asya

    April 6th, 2017 at 9:38 AM

    its not that easy trust me, anxiety is a b****… every time I try to have fun or be happy there it goes, interrupting my thoughts and feeling them with worry, and doubts about my future and past. Ive had my heart broken las year and it haunts me forever, that cripples me from working bc I keep thinkin I wasn’t good enough or pretty enough or I just loved too much

  • Lulu

    May 1st, 2017 at 3:58 AM

    Oh I so totally know how you feel-I too am plagued with feelings of worthlessness ,heigtened emotions ,am I all my partner needs?,do I love to much and expect the same back when infact he loves me to the moon and back, my past is something I’ve always kept locked away and only told him snippets as I find it too emotional and a good indication is that when I talk and open up I still cry so obviously I am not over things that happened from 35+years ago as I’m now 45 years old.
    My partner often suggests maybe I need professional help but the thought of going to a Dr and then talking about how,why I feel makes me feel quite panicky as how can ten minutes sat in a Drs room convey everything I feel throughout the decades! And I don’t want to prescribed pills. The only consolation I have is that I recognise the feelings I get when the twinges start for me to self doubt me and my whole being., so I then talk to myself and try to rationalise things.. weirdly I’ve always liked my own company but that’s a double edged sword because being on my own a lot only makes me over think everything. I’ve whittered on far to much when really the only response most of us need to hear is .. I’re not alone so please don’t ever think you are.

    I hope all of you on this thread have somehow or someway been mananging to walk thru your daily lives in positives steps albeit baby ones.

  • Lloyd

    June 23rd, 2015 at 11:26 AM

    One of the most difficult things that you will face is that there will be a breakdown of trust. One who is anxious can become suspicious and hard to live with simply because they have lost the feeling that they can trust you. It is probably through nothing that you have done but the anxiety has taken over.

  • Beth

    June 23rd, 2015 at 4:19 PM

    This article has been very helpful.. I am going through this exact thing and need help before it’s too late for my relationship. Funny thing and true, my boyfriends name is Lloyd. Lol. I was very surprised to see that anxiety causes these things. I just thought is was the scars from my past. And to Shalom, I hope and pray for that. Very helpful. Thank you Good Therapy for the read..and comments.

  • Kristine Tye MFT

    Kristine Tye MFT

    June 23rd, 2015 at 1:21 PM

    I appreciate your thoughts, Lloyd. Anxiety does try to take over! Training our brains to live in the moment helps up learn to trust our true thoughts and instincts, not those of fear or anxiety – and it also helps us see our partner with clear eyes and prevent anxiety from clouding our vision during a moment of fear.

  • Beth

    June 23rd, 2015 at 4:59 PM

    I left a reply but I’m not seeing it. Basically saying that this article is very helpful. And to my bf Lloyd. If that was your reply, my heart melts and I am trying…I didn’t realize my anxiety caused these behaviors.

  • Lloyd

    June 24th, 2015 at 7:36 AM

    @Beth- no, I don’t know you but I am going through this with someone in my life and it sounds like you are too. I hope that seeing someone form the other side talk about what it can do to a relationship helps you and your Lloyd find help and peace together. I am hoping to do the same

  • Kristine Tye MFT

    Kristine Tye MFT

    June 24th, 2015 at 11:36 AM

    Beth, I am glad that you connected with the information in my article. I hope that you have compassion for yourself and that you you aren’t doing this alone but that you access the support you deserve! Thank you for sharing your experience, as I am sure it’s helpful to others.

    Lloyd, thank you for your encouraging comments as I am sure that others will connect and appreciate that, as well!

  • Lisa

    June 25th, 2015 at 11:29 AM

    Until I started meeting with a therapist it was hard to see just how selfish my anxiety was actually making me. I wanted to have everything revolve around me because I felt that there was a lot more control to be had over my life if I handled things that way. I did not at the time see how alienating this was to the other people in my life who meant a great deal to me. They were suffering because I was, and it was my fault that I allowing this to happen.

  • Shannon

    December 14th, 2016 at 2:11 AM

    Lisa, I understand exactly what you went through. My question is what , how did you change? I think anxiety prevents me from truly being able to change.

  • Kristine Tye MFT

    Kristine Tye MFT

    June 25th, 2015 at 2:42 PM

    Lisa, anxiety is an overactive fear response trying to protect you. It’s anxiety’s fault, and you have the power to chose to rise above the suffering! I hope your therapy is encouraging, inspiring, and otherwise helping you to love yourself and move forward with behaviors that work better for you.

  • Timothy

    December 13th, 2016 at 9:17 PM

    Apperantly my anxiety was in hibernation. That is until I heard, read, saw, and was lied to in my relationship! Now the anxiety doesn’t stop. Know that the “red flags” is causing me to be anxious, and the fact is I didn’t cause the Untrust . she did the things to make me feel like I do ! She asked me to get on meds to help with it ! How can the creator of the anxiety complain or worry about the untrust and anxiety they caused!

  • Lisa

    June 26th, 2015 at 7:16 AM

    It is very much working, thanks for the encouragement.
    I won’t say that it has been easy, because I think that I had been broken down for so long by my own personal issues that it became difficult to let anyone else in.

  • Lakeisha

    June 26th, 2015 at 4:26 PM

    This is a great article. I’m working on my anxiety now- I can’t wait until I’m able to overcome this obstacle and help someone else through it! We will all beat this!

  • Kristine Tye MFT

    Kristine Tye MFT

    June 27th, 2015 at 9:35 AM

    Lakeisha, thank you for sharing! I’m glad that you enjoyed the article. We all have an opportunity to support each other along the way, rather than feel alone when anxiety is overwhelming. Soon it will be a small voice that will be easier to say “No, thank you!” to!

  • David

    June 27th, 2015 at 5:48 PM

    Kristine, thank you for your article. My wife and I are seperating after 33 years of marriage. We have been in counsel throughout the past 10 years as a result of earlier issues prior to counsel. I care very much for her however her resentment has run its course. Neither one of us should endure the pain associated on either side. I appreciate your reference to the destructive nature of chronic anxiety. I am at peace in moving forward and revisiting in 3 to 6 months as advised by our therapist. Our history has been plagued with loss on both sides. I have forwarded your article to her and trust she will take time to read it. Her biggest concerns are what people will think and being lonely. I trust she takes time to invest in her own journey and perhaps given added motivation. We just returned from the movie Inside / Out. Its a good one tied to emotions and we’ll done in animation. Time is to short to be living with anxiety. Keep up the good work!

  • Kristine Tye MFT

    Kristine Tye MFT

    June 29th, 2015 at 11:45 AM

    David, thank you for sharing your story. I wish the best for both you and your wife and I commend you both for the work you’re doing to heal, for the sake of your relationship and especially for yourselves.
    I just wrote up a review of Inside Out on my blog. I enjoyed it as well!

  • Lu

    June 30th, 2015 at 3:06 AM

    I have PTSD. The constant anxiety is threatening to destroy my relationship. When I can move past it, my relationship is wonderful, but so far I am thrown into weeks at a time of fear response, when I can’t feel anything much, and I start to panic that the relationship is not right for me. When it passes I see that it is in fact wonderful – but I then may be thrown into literally at times weeks more anxiety. I definitely have trust issues too which obviously does not help! At the moment I just wait it out, but it is very hard and painful to sit with. I know each time that it will end, but then it starts again and I am left waiting again. I suppose I need to find a way to flip myself out of it – but it seems like it is random as to when it lifts. Anyway, thank you for your article, which has added some insight to the situation, especially re trust.

  • Kristine Tye MFT

    Kristine Tye MFT

    June 30th, 2015 at 4:30 PM

    Lu, thank you for reading. I’m glad you appreciated the article and that it got you thinking. I hope you’re getting yourself the help and support that you deserve with this struggle. Thanks for sharing and keep moving forward!

  • Brett

    June 19th, 2016 at 7:10 PM

    I just recently found out that ive been suffering from extreeme anxiety and depression, i truly did not understand my illness until the absolute love of my life was heavily effected and hurt by me, i love her with all i have but still id lash out, hide things and lie because i was too affraid to tell the truth, my actions were horrible and things id normally never do, in fights id go to her friends and family which has caused them all to hate me, and to cause her to pull back, stupid little things that she wouldnt be nad at me for id hide or lie about, yet i had no intent of doing so but at that moment id fall apart and fear would kick in, causing her no to have no trust in anything i say, ive been so isolated, alone, scsred to death, my thoughts are irrational, and all over the place, i feel worthless and empty, i hate myself for hurting the one person who is literally my entire life and im struggling to hold on, shes wanted to leave and i dont blame her, but i keep fighting to keep her from leaving because i know i csn change this but the damage is done and she isnt feeling it and thinks i wont change, ive made so many mistakes because this overwelming fear and anxiety and i cant breathe or cope with it. I push people away when i want them close, i do fine for a bit then i end up doing something dtupid and terrified to speak of it for fear of rejection, she thinks now that ive discovered what my issues are that im using this as a crutch, it took all i had to get her to hold on and just the other day i ruined it, somwthing not even needing to be hidden or lied about and standing in line at a store i did it and instantly realized omg you just did it agsin and you let fear take over when there was no need, i tried to correct it but it was too late, now shes pulled back entirly but still has not walked, shes said shes numb, lonely, the damage is done and irrepairable, but still here, i dont know what to do, no answers or tools to cope, i want so bad to gain control of this but how do i win her back and get hwr to see clearly this isnt me? That it truly has been this illness inside me making me think feel say and do irrational things rhat end up hurting? I feel so worthless and pathetic for tbis, my dr just started me on meds and i hope this will help but what else other then therapy can i do? Ive read up alot on anxiety and depression, sorry for the rambling, another thing i tend to do, go on and on, repeat things, when im stuck and my truth isnt heard i break boundries and do anytbjng to get the truth heard. When i have gone to her friemds and family its almost like i was tying to seek aproval or something,
    Thank you for reading this

  • Brett

    June 20th, 2016 at 2:50 PM

    Hi Brett, I am so glad that you are reaching out. I hope that you are willing to seek out adequate therapy for support during this time. It is remarkable what the right support can help you withstand, understand and overcome. Please feel free to send me an email directly if you would like to discuss your options. I encourage you to keep seeking and working toward your improvement for your situation and your internal experience.

  • Don

    June 28th, 2016 at 3:32 AM

    I believe that anxiety starts somewhere in your life, could be from your childhood or just stresses over your life. I always knew I had this problem but never really looked deep into anxiety disorder until unfortunately my relationship ended. I do however think that the relationship itself was causing some of the anxiety? I also believe in what shalom said in their post that if the true love is there then the support will also be there. Sometimes though you have to realize that your anxiety may be related to the incomparable relationship itself? Just my thoughts …

  • Don

    June 28th, 2016 at 3:37 AM

    That was supposed to be ” Incompatable”

  • Iain

    June 29th, 2016 at 5:59 PM

    Hi, I hope this helps someone, as well as me!
    Today I left my partner of 11 years, because i wanted rid of the anxiety so much. So much that I wanted anxiety gone more than I wanted his love. I felt like I was going insane, I know by leaving I have done the worst thing I could have done. But the anxiety just attacks him so much, it’s so so hard to see the wood from the trees. The question I fight over all the time is do I fancy him? Do I find him attractive? and do I love him? I can answer yes to two of them, them been the latter. But because Im unsure if I fancy him then my anxiety just runs wild, so much that I am having anxiety at intensity level 10 on spectrum 0-10. This is lasting for 6/8 hours per day. I can’t cope no longer, I love him so much it’s paralysing me having to walk away. From me I say seek strength in ur relationship, build on areas u can build on, bring back joy in anyway u feel possible and know that you always have the power to get through this……you just have to believe in your self.
    A Hugh cuddle from me and saying, you CAN do it!

  • Anabell

    July 1st, 2016 at 3:24 AM

    is your anxiety gone now that you did it…?

  • Paige

    July 12th, 2016 at 8:27 PM

    I’ve been dealing with anxiety for years but have learned to control it. However, the past two months have been so severe that I’ve lost myself and I’m losing my husband. I feel trapped. I’m having regrets that I would’ve never thought of as a regret a few months ago. It’s killing me, physically, mentally and emotionally. My husband has never had to deal with anything like this before so he doesn’t know how to handle it. He shuts me out when I need him the most. It breaks my heart and causes my anxiety/depression to get worse. I feel that a divorce is coming and I’ll be the one to initiate it. The last thing I want to do is lose the love of my life. We have a son together (2yrs old) which makes this all so much more difficult. My anxiety has made me so resentful towards both of them and it’s not even their fault. It’s mine. All mine. I know that. I have an appointment with a therapist in a week and I’m hoping it helps me so that I can fix my marriage. I just don’t want to be told I need medication because I will not take them. I don’t believe in them. I’ve gotten through it before, I can do it again…. I hope.
    I never thought I would be where I am today. It’s mind numbing and heart breaking. I don’t want to lose my husband, but I fear I already have……

  • Kristine Tye MFT

    July 13th, 2016 at 1:45 PM

    Paige, I am as you’re sharing this part of your story, and I am especially glad that you are seeking help. I am so glad to hear that you have had successes managing your anxiety in the past. Seeking help doesn’t discount that accomplishment. We are not meant to do this alone. Seeking help and letting yourself use help takes the most strength and gives the most rewards. I wish you the best and I hope you continue to seek to find the best help for your family, and especially for yourself!

  • Faith R

    July 18th, 2016 at 11:44 AM

    I have had anxiety for as long as I can remember, including during my first marriage and was the reason I left. I am now on my second marriage and like my first, I worried about everything. However, what makes this more difficult is that he has hoarding disorder, whuch of course is etting my anxiety off. He was understanding and is now tired of how negative I get despite the progress he’s making (he is slowly getting rid of stuff and if you know anything about hoarding, it has to be done gradually), also how I’m making everything about me (which is what anxiety does). I love him very much and he is an amazing person, but I honestly don’t know where we go from here. I’m anxious day and night, he’s doing his best and has other demands, is exhausted. Don’t want another failed marriage that could be saved.

  • Kristine

    July 18th, 2016 at 3:42 PM

    Hi Faith, Thank you for sharing your story. I hope that you know you don’t need to do this alone. I hope that you find a supportive therapist to help you in your marriage.

  • Samantha

    August 11th, 2016 at 12:46 AM

    I have suffered anxiety all my life. The fear of loosing . Im so worried and dreading the loss of my parents . Its affecting my relationship with my girlfriend. I have thought like . Is she right for me . Is she strong enough to support me. Do i love her enough . Life would ve better if i was with a man it would be more stable. Im so concerned with change and stability i cant see through all the fog . Im 28 still living at home scared to seek therapy incase it tells me what i dont want to hear . :(

  • Kristine

    August 11th, 2016 at 11:39 AM

    Samantha, thank you so much for sharing your experience. I strongly encourage you to seek out a skilled therapist, because the confusion and fear that the anxiety brings you is the thing that you don’t need to hear (anymore). A caring and experienced therapist will help you get out of a cycle of fear and doubt that may prevent you from experiencing happiness now and/or designing a life that brings more happiness to you. I wish you the best. I wrote this article partially so that someone like you doesn’t have to feel frustrated, hopeless and alone – and I hope that you seek more support. Let me know if I can be of any further help.

  • wayne s.

    August 14th, 2016 at 3:04 AM

    Hi I am suffering with anxiety and have been looking back years and years. Constantly thinking my partner doesn’t want me and I’m not good enough for her making me believe she is cheating on me and financially not committing to the future which has strained the relationship. Last week I finally faced up to what I have by going to the local gp I now will see him every week and also have booked four sessions of therapy. Since facing up I have being able to beat the inner voice but all I seem to do is beat it off all the time

  • Kim

    August 22nd, 2016 at 11:59 PM

    This article came at the right time. My anxiety is affecting my partner and our happiness. I fear he will say enough is enough soon.

  • Kristine Tye MFT

    August 24th, 2016 at 12:58 PM

    Kim, thank you for sharing your situation. I hope that you are getting the best support in taking care of yourself and, if you want it, your relationship. I am glad this article felt helpful, but also please let me know if I can help direct you to any other help or support.

  • Steff

    September 9th, 2016 at 12:49 AM

    Hi looking for some help… I have anxiety now for 6 years, I’m 24, it starter when I lost my baby due to him being born premature, the father of him didn’t treat me well, cheating etc etc, we went onto have another baby and when she was a year old we split cause I.couldnt cope with his lies. My anxiety was terrible after that.. I am now married with another baby who’s 8 months, I seem to cope with most things okay… But I have severe relationship anxiety. My husband works 3 weeks on and a week off, he has a big fishing boat. I can’t cope when he’s tied up anywhere or if I don’t hear from him, I think all sorts, that he’s dead, fallen in the sea, doesn’t want me anymore etc etc it all sounds extreme but I get so bad I can’t eat sleep I’m being sick I get a bad stomach, I’m also like this with my children I have severe separation anxiety, sorry to go on, any help would be appreciated!

  • Kristine Tye MFT

    September 9th, 2016 at 3:00 PM

    Hi Steff, I am glad you’re seeking support. Please search the Good Therapy directory for a therapist in your area. You are also welcome to send me an email so that I can help refer you to someone.

  • julliette

    September 18th, 2016 at 3:34 PM

    this article has really been helpful to me dealing with my anxiety… although i feel it is very bad so it might take more than reading a few articles to help… i am only just now starting to read articles when my anxiety has already basically ruined my relationship… i don’t know what to do. i think I’m starting to give him anxiety as well and i feel as though i cant comfort him because my anxiety is not letting me.. :(

  • Kristine Tye MFT

    September 19th, 2016 at 8:43 PM

    Hi Juliette, thanks for sharing some of your story. This is such a tough point to be at- seeing that it is the anxiety causing pain and distance and wanting to be able to connect but often feeling powerless against it. I know that it can be overwhelming. I hope that you have a supportive therapist to help with this. You can search for one through Good Therapy. Please feel free to reach out to me in a message if you think I may be of further help with finding the right help for you.

  • Zoë

    September 22nd, 2016 at 2:30 PM

    Oh wow. Just ran across this article accidentally and how awesome. I am currently struggling with anxiety and depression and am little by little turning what used to be a great relationship into a nightmare. It’s so horrible and saddening. While I’m in the midst of the paranoia and anger and fear, there’s no real way of stopping me. It’s not until I have said the worst things that I then catch myself. My poor boyfriend has been so patient. I’m not sure how much longer he can be though. Thanks for the article and for your stories. My finding some encouragement reading them. Thanks.

  • Kristine Tye MFT

    September 23rd, 2016 at 11:55 AM

    Zoë, thanks for reading. I’m glad that you found some encouragement and I hope that you feel that you are not alone. Please continue to seek out support. Wishing you the best.

  • Luke

    October 27th, 2016 at 5:35 AM

    A very educational and informative article! From all of the research I have done over the past three weeks, this page alone has been a great help. I do not have anxiety but I wondered if I could draw on the knowledge of those that do go through this day-in, day-out. My girlfriend recently and abruptly ended our relationship as her anxiety was escalating to a point that she was looking and feeling very unwell. This obviously filled me with worry and I wanted to help as much as I could, which just resulted in being pushed away even further (but now I do understand why). As per her request to be alone, I have left and given her space. It has been two weeks now with no contact. I wanted to ask if I should be reassuring her through this as I don’t was to add to her anxiety further? If so, how? And if there are any suggestions to see if I should let time heal the issue or try another method? I really don’t want give up and run away from this as she means so much to me.

  • Zoe

    October 27th, 2016 at 8:42 AM

    Hi Luke,
    I’m sorry you’re going through this. It really SUCKS! my advice to you would be to just let her be. The last thing anyone with anxiety wants is to feel pressured or reminded constantly of what they are going through or putting a loved one through. Just let her be and let life flow in whatever direction it’s supposed to. If she truly cares about you she will reach out to you at some point after she had sorted things out and even if she hasn’t sorted anything out, she will reach out to you for help. As we already know, when we really want something we go for it. In her case she will come after you if she cares when she’s ready. You, on the other hand, haven’t done anything wrong so don’t fall into a codependent role type position. I hope this makes sense. In the meantime, don’t lose yourself and go do what Luke likes to do. If there’s no contact, it’ll get easier. Good luck!

  • Kenny Ģ

    October 28th, 2016 at 2:00 PM

    Thanks very much .it’s been very difficult .trying to reach out to my wife . I am so nervous with my marriage of been together for 20 years..

  • Claudio

    May 20th, 2017 at 4:44 PM

    Hey, i have the same problem of Luke. She ended the relationship abruptly since almost 2 months. She has got anxiety and she is always unsecure of her decision to be with me in spite of the fact that I didn’t do anything wrong. I remember she couldn’t fall asleep when I was there. It was so frustrating. I had do go downstairs and finally she fell asleep. The night be broke up she couldn’t fall asleep even if I was downstairs because she said she knew that at some point I would have come back. SO we started a discussion where I said she needed to go to see someone, and she started shouting saying that she was not mental! I told her that I didn’t think she was mental, but she needed help. At that point she said that she was not sure about me and after three years this was not normal. So I left and didn’t hear from her since apart from a message one week after the split when she wanted to see me probably to get closure. But I said I didn’t want to see her and she replied that she understood. I didn’t do any contact since then and she didn’t reach out. So I think enough time has passed and I really want to hear what she is doing and what she is up to. I want to send her a message tomorrow even if I am a bit scared about the reaction (or no reply at all). I would just like to help and support her, but this issue is something she has to understand and face by herself. One week before the split we celebrated three years together. She wrote me a lovely card, I cannot believe she doesn’t have feelings anymore. But how can I approach her to let her be with me again?
    I just would like to know what to do…

  • Kelley

    November 29th, 2016 at 6:26 PM

    For the past year I have been dealing with severe on/off anxiety & depression. Unfortunately it mainly focuses on my relationship with the most wonderful, loving partner ever .. and I never understand why because we have such a great connection when my mental state is good. When I am good, we are great– when I am in the middle of my anxiety and depression, I feel hopeless about us. “Do I love him enough? Why can’t I feel anything towards him currently? Should I continue to put him through this?” are common thoughts when I am in this state. Right now I am currently dealing with a hard time in my life to where I want to just run and go “find myself” and leave my partner– but I feel like that is mainly my anxiety talking. The intrusive thoughts have put me in such a depressed state, I currently am so emotionally exhausted, I feel like I can’t feel the love for my partner that I know is there, and it’s causing me to pull back.
    I have an appointment set to see a counselor next month, and I want to push through this because I know deep down I love him with my whole heart. This article gives me hope that we can make it through this. He absolutely refuses to give up on me or the relationship– he truly loves me wholeheartedly and I am happy to have him. Thank you so much for posting this. I can’t wait to get better.

  • Kristine Tye MFT

    November 30th, 2016 at 9:58 AM

    Kelley, thanks for sharing. I hope this post helps you feel that you aren’t alone. I’m so glad you’re seeking a helpful counselor. Don’t give up on yourself! Wishing you all the best.

  • Kelsi

    March 7th, 2017 at 9:29 AM

    Hi Kelley, my anxiety and depression has come back and its destroying my thoughts in my relationship. I cant stop overthinking everything and I keep asking my self questions like “do I still love him” ” Do I want to be with him for the rest of my life” and so many more that’s making me lose my mind because i didn’t have these feelings before my anxiety kicked in. I used to be happy with him and planning my life with him but now that i’m back in the state I used to be in and its like I’m stopping myself for feeling any feelings at all and I don’t want to lose him but I’m so far into my thoughts I don’t know if these feelings are what i’m truly feeling or if its just my anxiety and depression making me feel these feelings. Please help.

  • Stuart

    December 2nd, 2016 at 6:57 AM

    Dear Kristine,
    My wife of 21 years has always displayed small signs of anxiety, from very early on in our relationship. There have been some very good highs, as well as some very challenging lows throughout our 26 years as a couple, but I have always been a faithful and loving Husband, as well as being dedicaticated to raising our 3 children to the best of my ability.
    However, 5 years ago, I was made redundant from a well paid career. This was truly devastating for everyone involved, but I remained positive and faced up to the reality of the situation. I was able to stabilise the situation and keep our finances in the black, etc. until an opportunity arose for me to get back into my career. However, it means that I have to lodge away from home, sometimes for a week or two at a time.
    Mainly due to the ages of our children, we decided not to relocate the family, and I simply travel home at every single opportunity I have.
    The problem is, my Wife’s anxiety has manifested itself and I have been gradually been made to feel ostracised in my own home. The kids don’t understand my wife suffers from anxiety, therefore when my Wife argues with me, I probably look like the instigator. Mainly because I tend to escape with the dog when I see it coming, as it destroys me when the kids witness an argument. Then I get accused of running away, etc.
    The ultimate thing which is destroying our relationship is, that she is convinced I’m having illicit affairs whilst working away. To the point where she has searched through the photos and text messages on my mobile phone, studied my friends list on Facebook, read private email’s, etc. Now, being a man I don’t claim to be perfect, but if someone looks hard enough, it won’t be too difficult for them to find something which reinforces their anxious thoughts and feelings. Things that may make me feel slightly embarrassed, as opposed to guilty of being up to no good. Rather than change my PIN and risk raising more suspicion, I tried my best to reassure her and asked for my privacy to be respected. It hasn’t worked.
    The fact I work away from home doesn’t help, as disagreements often fester when I have to leave again. I am tired of explaining to her that until such times as I can transfer to a post nearer home, I have no choice but to work away. The only other choice would be for me to resign and lose everything we’ve worked for. I don’t think that would do our marriage any good either.
    Her condition is destroying what we have/had together, and I cannot continue to be bombarded with her derogatory/hurtful comments. I have even lost the respect from my own children, and know neither of us can continue like this. I want to be happy, and I want my Wife and kids to be happy. My biggest regret would be to feel like this when I take my last breath. I’d rather go out knowing I’d lived my life to the full, and that I was loved and respected by the people who mean the most to me.
    Is it time for me to walk away?

  • Kristine Tye MFT

    March 16th, 2017 at 9:18 AM

    Hi, I thank you for sharing your story. I hope that you find some guidance from a therapist who can get to know you personally. Even if it is difficult, it will become much more clear whether you want to remain together or find a way to start the process of separating. I wish you all the best.

  • Judy

    January 4th, 2017 at 9:11 AM

    Hi i suffer from anxiety and im bipolar. My husband of 5years asked for divorce. I dont want it. I want to save my marriage. We been living separated under same roof per his request. For financial reasons n kids.(14,13,9,2,1) but im just confused. Hes looking for an apt. We sleep eat go out hangout watch shows together anyway. He asks me for hugs and kisses. And we even started making love again after2weeks. He says hes done tho hes tired of begging me to change! Everything was cool. Then i asked him about something. He answered me and i still doubted answer . i got mad said ok. And he said you see if i had any doubt about divorce you just confirmed it. I got more mad and yelled at him well good do it faster. But i was just mad. Im so stupid sometimes i cant shut that up it just blurts out n then once said its to late.Im confused should i fight for him or let him go. I got therapy in a week. Been off meds for 2 years was being stubborn but i know i need them. Going back on them to better myself. Help. Advise appreciated thank u

  • Kristine Tye MFT

    March 16th, 2017 at 9:22 AM

    Hi Judy, I hope that you find a supportive therapist and that you look to friends for support during this difficult situation. There can be a lot of fear, anger, and guilt involved and it is not something you need to do alone. I wish you all the best.

  • Lia

    January 7th, 2017 at 2:39 AM

    Thank you for this article. I don’t have anxiety but my lack of knowledge about it and compassion toward my partner destroyed my relationship. My ex-boyfriend of 2 years had anxiety and was over-reacting to things that I thought weren’t big enough to split us apart. I have triggered his anxiety in many ways and acted from the mind, not the heart. Our relationship was the most beautiful union I have ever had and we built the most intimate bond in the first year. But.. I broke his trust by being unfaithful emotionally in the beginning of our relationship. I was overcome by the shadow of my previous romance and let it creep into my life – mentally, not physically. However, my boyfriend stuck with me through it and his love healed me of my delusion. But it led to massive anxiety attacks, loss of trust and deterioration of health in the second year of our relationship. Resentment built up on both sides. We would flare up and let egos do the fighting way too frequently over things big and small. Our communication broke down completely – we became two strangers under one roof. Still loving each other but also hurting beyond belief. Many hurtful things were said and done – unconsciously. Then I left to Ecuador for two months – to take care of myself, my career, and hoping that the break would do us good. It did the opposite – it triggered more anxiety and eventually wiped out whatever shreds of union we had left. I understand this now, but I didn’t then. I acted selfishly by leaving, and he cut off any contact with me a week after I left, despite saying I had his love before I left. I have then cut my contract short and returned a month early to try and save us, but it was too late. By then my partner said our love got eroded and there was nothing left but resentment and pain. I pleaded and cried, but nothing was working. It’s been 3 months of almost no contact, but then we slowly started communicating – with confusion, but care for each other. On Christmas Eve, I found out that he started seeing someone else. It felt like he broke up with me all over again, although this time it was even more painful. I am not angry at him. I love him, anxiety or not. I understand that we all want love, acceptance, and support. The trouble is that I never wanted that from anyone else; I can’t even think of flirting with anyone else, let alone be touched by another man. And he may have moved on… or found solace and empathy in someone who’s fresh and has no history with him. I wish to rebuild our relationship because I have a spiritual bond with him, we wanted to have a family and we have a dog and it just feels like the breakup was wrong – neither my heart, nor my mind can agree with it. Yes, there’s a deeper understanding of anxiety on my part now. Yes, I recognize I wasn’t strong enough to give him the support he needed. And I wish we had another chance. Does anyone have any experience of a similar situation? How to approach him and ask for another chance? Over the holidays I put it on the table and he said he would think about it. Then he got sick and I was looking after him. The ice was slowly melting, but then on Xmas eve I found out that he started seeing someone (don’t know if it’s serious or not). He apologized for not letting me know (I found out by accident) and was sending me messages to enquire how I am. It felt like I was being cheated it on, but instead of anger, I wish for peace and reunion. The crisis gives a chance to heal and mend. I’m talking to a therapist, meditating and doing a lot of yoga, but it’s not enough and the pain is dreadful. I would greatly appreciate if anyone had any advice based on their experience. Loving kindness to all!

  • Teddy

    January 12th, 2017 at 11:09 PM

    Me and my partner we are going through similar situation I just broke up with her. Wr have been dating for like two years we love each other so much and we were so much fond of each other. but her anxiety, insecurity was always killing our joy. she shows no concern about anything about me, she pushes me away and do all sort of unreasonable. Today is she happy the next she is something else. the anxiety made her selfish, self center and always thinking of herself alone. She loves me bur the anxiety just keep hurting me she does believe I love her. She now lie unnecessarily. it really affected me made me drained emotionally. She loves me but the anxiety took over her. we have broken like four times but she keeps begging me promising me she will change but the situation remained this same. we just broke up I feel bad for us but I feel she cant change..because I truly love her but love is not enough.

  • ashly

    April 29th, 2017 at 1:23 AM

    Hi Teddy,
    Thanks for sharing your perspective of what you go through. Because I am the anxious part in my relationship. It helped me to understand how my husband feels. He ended things with me too, he is not a person to talk about so much his emotions. On my side my insecurity triggered because of his relationship with his mother and me feeling outside. Than I started to lose my balance and question our relationship whether if I am a priority in his life or not. We are in different countries for almost a year now. Me also cried and pleaded sending thousand mails and messages as we are in different countries so far away.

  • Alexander C.

    January 28th, 2017 at 11:50 AM

    I’ve been dealing with my girlfriends anxiety for a bout 7 years off and on, we have a 6 year old together I have learned throughout the years how to comply with her and her situation but man oh man it has been hard on me , I am like her punching bag not physically but just verbally

  • Topper

    January 30th, 2017 at 12:21 PM

    My wife of 16 years has Generalized Anxiety which as the article points out can seem like she is self absorbed most of the time. She drinks wine to destress and that is because of SSRI brutal side effects. It is very hard to get support from her and even feel loved sometimes. Our Sexual relationship is dependant on her. I initiate and am turned down and she will only initiate most often when she’s been drinking. I listen and support her through her anxiety and struggles but this does not reciprocate. It is very on sided. I have been ill and she cannot support me, I lost my father 2 years ago to COPD, lost my grandmother Jan 17th and my mother has been diagnosed with Breast Cancer recently. I try to get a sense that my wife is supportive but she always refers back to herself and how she can’t cope. This is when we will argue because will say “I sometimes need you to just step outside of yourself and be there for me” but she can’t. I try really hard to take care of her and our kids and manage her emotions while having a career but sometimes I need to be comforted or just heard and it doesn’t happen. This is really hard for me as I feel like I am alone. Usually I make dinner, get my kids to bed, rub her feet/shoulders until she’s relaxed, clean up and then play guitar alone in the basement or watch tv until I pass out on the couch. I haven’t had a decent sleep in months and just feel like I am craving something better all the time. Like I am missing out on a more fulfilling existence with music or not sure what. The wheels are spinning but I don’t feel like I am getting anywhere.

  • Kristine Tye MFT

    March 16th, 2017 at 9:12 AM

    Hi Topper, thank you for sharing some of your story. It is incredibly painful to try to connect and support one another when anxiety tries to keep you apart, especially with so many other things happening in life. I hope you find a skilled therapist to help you and your wife. Part of what can be so difficult is that it feels like the same patterns over and over again, right? Therapy can help create change.

  • Deb

    March 8th, 2017 at 8:33 AM

    Is there someplace to go away for a week or two for treatment for anxiety, complex PSTD and inappropriate anger? Like a spa or something – not for substance abuse. I have no eating disorder or substance abuse problems but the other stuff is ruining my relationships. I work with a therapist weekly but I feel like I need hypnosis or something intensive.

  • Kristine Tye MFT

    March 16th, 2017 at 9:07 AM

    Hi Deb, great question. I would start by asking your therapist about options in your area.

  • phil

    March 15th, 2017 at 8:37 PM

    My partner of 10 years suffers from severe anxiety. In an effort to be more supportive , I am researching various sites as these relate to ” when some one you love suffers with anxiety ” I have found an abundance of helpful information about the sufferer of anxiety , however, there seems to be little information available for me the partner in terms of taking care that I do not lose my sanity on account of my feeling I am not able help my partner to the degree that I would like to…..
    A little help please…Are there any websites or forums that could be suggested for me to review so that I could put some gas back in the tank so’s I can maintain the strength I need to help my partner ?

  • Kristine Tye MFT

    March 16th, 2017 at 9:06 AM

    Hi Phil,
    I can understand your frustration. I would highly recommend finding a skilled therapist for yourself as well as a few couple’s therapy sessions with a specializing therapist to help practice specific strategies that will work in your unique relationship. Also, I know that there are many excellent articles out there. There’s one on Hey Sigmond for partners of someone with anxiety. Check out this search:

  • Jackie

    March 17th, 2017 at 9:00 AM

    I have read through everyone’s stories and I feel everyone is very supportive of each other because anxiety, relationships, and life can be overwhelming. I suffer from anxiety as well. It is not constant but it does creep up. It had triggered in December as I was working full time and taking grad courses. My boyfriend of two years has been with me and it may be the first time he has experienced it with me. We live together and we are very kind to each other. We care about each other a lot.
    I decided to return to grad school because I wanted more opportunities and to make a better living. I have a lot of education background, but I lack experience. Since dating my bf, I just want to build a future with him.
    In December, I was under constant stress from work and school. I tried my best to hold it together for as long as I could. Then I noticed I wasn’t performing my best at work and I had consulted with bf and my manager to take a sick leave. After my return, I adjusted my work to part time and decided to take school on full time. It did not work out and my anxiety started to kick in again. I spoke with my bf and he wanted me to take a leave of absence from work so I could concentrate on school. I told him my worries, that I won’t be making any income during this time and he was ok with it. I just felt i lost my independence to spend and was not contributing.
    The anxiety subsided but would creep up during exams and studying. My thoughts were very random and all over the place.
    Previously in December, my bf asked for my ring size and I was as happy as can be. During this time, I had been trying to get through my last semester of grad courses, but have been struggling because the course material is very heavy. I plan to resume work when I am finished with school. But am not 100% sure what I want to do. I enjoy my job but I see other opportunities paying more and I just want to make enough so that I can afford my upcoming mortgage or save for the future.
    I have anxiety with my relationship because I sometimes think that I act in a way that my bf does not like and would make him not want to marry me. During this time of my last semester, I feel a lot of pressure because I want to do my best but I also expect myself to be there for my partner. Which sometimes I can’t. When I notice he does not look as happy or he looks unhappy, I worry and feel like he’s lost interest in me.
    I am afraid my happiness is dependent on his happiness and the success of my life which I am so uncertain about.
    I know these problems are not really first world problems and I shouldn’t be complaining. I have a job and I could get by.
    I think I struggle with trusting that my bf will want to marry me.

  • phil

    March 18th, 2017 at 7:46 AM

    My thanks to all that responded to my request for ” a little help here ”
    I do have a therapist. The bulk of our discussions had to do with my feelings of a perceived rejection from my partner with me , for reasons that I won’t go into right now.
    Until recently , my understanding of anxiety and how it affects the sufferer was very poor. To me anxiety was just another word describing a temporary elevated level of stress. my partner of 10 + years and I have always loved each other dearly; love has never been an issue for us . On account of my not understanding the depth of my partners anxiety, out of my ignorance , my bewilderment and fears (most of which were unfounded ) grew . This resulted in two breakups initiated by me. To demonstrate how messed up my thinking was at these and other times, it was my thought that the shock value associated with a breakup would cause my beloved partner to realize she should somehow, magically snap out of her stinkin- thinkin . This of course did not happen , so I made good my threat. I instantly regretted this, as I cannot fathom my world without her in it.
    One evening,( only a couple of days after the most recent breakup) in the not too distant past, I was sitting in my easy chair feeling quite badly, thinking, ” what have I done ? ” I recognized a pattern that was all too familiar. It goes something like this; ” I might be wrong about this, but you are wronger ” This attitude could result only to repeated failure….This was only part of my stinkin-thinkin.
    I had a moment of clarity. Perhaps it was me that needed to snap out of this poor, poor me wallow that I was immersed in. For reasons I do not completely understand, I opened my seldom used computer and typed in ” When someone you love suffers from anxiety” This was @ around 8:30 PM. From the initial input, I went from website to website until about 5;00AM. What I have read has changed my life. Most of the web synopsis’ as well as the many hundreds of comments by people like you and me, primarily focussed around the anxiety sufferer, however there were several comments by writers such as myself, who were equally bewildered and mixed up about their respective relationships with their partners or spouses…I put my first comment into this forum at that same time…This request for help has precipitated several responses , for which I am truly grateful. Its nice to know that I am not alone.
    I find this whole experience one of intense learning about the anxiety sufferer .Through the stories of other people, as well as certain pearls of wisdom contained in a variety of web locations, I am growing in my understanding of anxiety and what it does to the sufferer.
    One last though which is not likely confined to me….I have been reviewing certain articles which suggest what NOT to do or say to the anxiety sufferer. Sadly I have consistently been hitting these all during my 10 + year relationship with my partner. All along I was a contributor to my partners (hell) anxiety. I have some pretty significant guilt over this . I have discussed this with my partner, who simply says , How could you have known . She is very happy about my effort to educate myself. Through this learning process I hope to better understand and empathize….

  • Jonny

    May 8th, 2017 at 12:23 PM

    In reply to Phil March 18th
    I have just read this and shook my head in regrettable disbelief. I have followed a very similar path to you in response to my partners anxiety. I packed my clothes and left in hope it would shake my partner, sadly it’s had the opposite effect. Like yourself I had an epiphany during a trying time in our relationship and from that moment I immersed myself with knowledge on this subject. To add insult to my regrettable approach, I have just acknowledged my own anxiety that I’m sure contributed to hers. Without too much of a life story, we were both responding to the same life situation. Anxiety and depression loves company, and it’s quite scary how it creeps in and undermines all that’s good in a relationship. I hope you have both moved forward in a positive way together.

  • Conor s

    March 24th, 2017 at 12:58 PM

    My wife asked me to leave our house 1 week ago. I suffer from depression and after reading this article i now see that my wife is going through the same. I want her back but i dont want to smother her, i need advice on how to mend our relationship because she means the world to me.

  • Jackie

    March 26th, 2017 at 10:21 AM

    I think you should follow your heart. Is there something you did that caused her to ask you to leave the house? If there isn’t anything you did, then you can reach out and offer your love. If she doesn’t accept then you have your closure. I think you just need some closure.

  • Me

    March 28th, 2017 at 6:19 PM

    I suffer from severe anxiety in my relationship. I get so scared and my boyfriend is trying his best to help me. He tries to get me to remember the memories that were good between us, and how he tells me over and over he loves me. I was wondering what someone with anxiety feels because he never tells me let alone he would because he is the sweetest guy in the world.

  • David

    April 3rd, 2017 at 3:49 PM

    I have been suffering from anxiety for about 2 years now but since I been with my wife its been for almost 14 years, but my anxiety worsen ever since my wife was pregnant with our 3rd child. Long story short, ever since Ive been with my wife I have been anxious anytime we are around other women ( at first anyone who was big breasted), my wife used to be the jealous type, so any time we would be around someone who was like this, I would get anxious and would make this face of being scared wanting to laugh. In the beginning she would get upset, saying I was checking out other women, so I would get upset with her for thinking that, we would argue and then she would just forget about it, keep in mind my wife is a person that wants attention and anytime she feels Im not she gets upset. Anyways we been together for 14 years now, we had seperated once after the birth of our first child, but we ended up reconciling and making things to work. Two years ago when she was pregnant with our 3rd child things started going downhill, my anxiety was just too much where I wouldn’t want to go grocery shopping , walks, everyday things, without fearing that theres going to be some woman there and Im going to give her that look and she’s going to get upset thinking that Im probably checking out woman and it would freak me out. So at that time I had joined a gym to excercise and keep my mind off stuff, and thats when my wife started accusing me of cheating on her, there was 2 incidents where she said she was 100% sure that I was cheating. One occasion was that we were coming home I saw this lady walking her dogs and out of nowhere I got anxious, my wife noticed and asked me why I was opening the gate all fast, I made an excuse that I needed to use the restroom, the other occasion ironically was with the same neighbor again she was walking her dog, we were leaving our home I saw the neighbor and started getting nervous, she noticed again and asked me whats going on? I replied nothing and tried to change the conversation, I could tell she was real upset and don’t blame her since she was pregnant, hormones and all. So since that day my anxiety has been on a all time high, just the fact that she thinks I was cheating on her really hit me. She didn’t understand or comprehend that it was nothing like that, i would tell her to understand that it’s anxiety and that there was nothing going on, at first she hesitated and didn’t care, all she cared about was that I was cheating on her that that’s why I would get nervous or make a face. I came to a point where I asked her you can asked the lady if I have ever talked to her, made eye contact, or seen her at the gym. As months passed and I went to therapy she begin to understand, she went to a couple of sessions with me but she stopped because she felt guilty I guessed. Anyways I had started meditation too, which kind of help I started getting confidence, and my wife notice. at that time I thought we were seperating since this had become a big ordeal and was affecting our kids, since she didn’t want to accept or understand mental illness I thought that it would probably been best if we just seperated and not give her anymore heartache or problems with my sickness. At first she was okay with it, she begans her transition on how we were going to handle the seperation bills accounts, but out of nowhere she begged not to leave her or the kids, I guess she felt bad. So I decided to stay thinking things would be different that she would understand now, which she did, she’s been supportive, we do have a lot of issues but she was being supportive, but now that my anxiety is back at a all time high I can sense shes getting annoyed and I dont blame her, nothing is going on and I dont get why at times I get nervous to talk to her or to look at her without having this damn fear, I need help and I just hope I get better because life is not fun right now, I love my wife and kids but this anxiety is getting in the way.

  • Miranda

    April 11th, 2017 at 8:05 PM

    Anxiety effects many lives and it can even effect your loved ones. Yes it can ruin relationships because when you have this condition it can sometimes make you push people away. It can make you think that your loved ones do not care about you. Anxiety makes you think things that are not true. I only know this because I myself am a victim of Anxiety, I battle it every single day. My husband and I have been in some pretty terrible arguments. In my husband’s eyes he sees my condition differently because he isn’t going through it. He doesn’t understand it, like Why is she is so sad? Whats wrong? Don’t be afraid. I’m trying to help you. Please don’t push me away. I’m sure all those things run through his mind. I don’t like making him feel this way, that’s why I need help to pull myself together so I can make my home-life healthy for us. I seen some comments on here that say love isnt the only thing someone with this condition needs or love doesn’t matter, but honestly love is one of the most important things because if your loved one didn’t love you then they wouldn’t put in the effort to try and help you. NO love isn’t the only thing you need, but if that person loves you they will give you communication and trust and everything you need to help pull you through this, but remember if that person has never had anxiety then they are not going to understand it which means you may have to talk to them about it and tell them how much its hurting you and that your not meaning to hurt them. Sometimes we have a hard time talking with our loved one or maybe they have a hard time talking to us whatever the case may be, you still need to talk. Communication is absolutely the most important. My husband didn’t understand why I am worried, overemotional, and scared, so I explained it to him. Don’t be afraid to talk to your partner.

  • Victoria

    April 20th, 2017 at 7:44 PM

    I have been Married for over 24 years to a wonderful man who suffers from anxiety. some of his family members had the same condition. Although he tries to compensate for his anxiety, he never has been able to meet my needs . If I bring up my feelings of neglect and loneliness he just gets angry and says nothing will make me happy. Not true!I have learned to deal with the anxiety but tired of his rigid personality that relates to what he is comfortable with. We have minimal intimacy and I am usually the initiater. He is too worried about getting everything done that he can’t have fun anymore. I feel like I am living with an old lady. I am now suffering from depression and he denies that his anxiety is the issue. He has given up on counseling and refuses to go on meds. Anytime I bring up my feelings, he shuts down. Not sure what to do. I feel like it has been too one sided for years . Help…Not sure what to do.
    Glad to hear others stories.

  • ashly

    April 28th, 2017 at 6:22 AM

    i just found out this article. I am the anxious person in this article. My insecurities and unreal worries end up destroying my relationship. Up until very recently, i blamed my partner not understanding me and not showing empathy. But actually he got burnt out. When things went worse and he shut down more, i pressured more sending emails, texts and trying to reach any way possible.
    I went to therapist, can’t sleep at nights beating myself up. I wrote him a letter saying my anxiety and insecurity cause me to act in hurtful ways to him, and blind to his own problems. While expecting empathy i was unable to meet his needs to be understood. At some point in our relationship because of the outside challenges in our relationship i lost my emotional security and always doubt if he loved and valued me . I started to question it in every move he did. Become hostile and agressive. This eventually made him end the relationship because he said he could not be the man for me. But after that i kept on writing emails, texts etc. My anxiey increased 100 times. Blaming him etc. At last i told him to block me to be on my own and heal. He was not already answering to anything i wrote. I can not blame him.
    It is so so hard to calm down. Meantime I lost my job the last 6 months and that did not make the things easy for me. I want to heal and that my mind stops turning in the same thought loop.
    Anxiety makes one to act impulsive and usually to regret the decisions you take. Like saying you want to get divorce although that is not what you wanted to say and regret then. With panic I took so many wrong decisions that ruined my job, relationship.

  • jeff

    April 30th, 2017 at 4:46 PM

    I just drove home about 3.5 hrs from my 21st wedding anniversary leaving my wife there. This is not the 1st time i have done this (seperating myself from the situation I created). I have moved out of my house numerous times during our 3 pregnancies. I thought it was my wifes hormones that just made her mean. Getting home just a few hrs ago and now her on the way back. I was triggered in a way that made me realize I might be the problem. I have thoughts in my head that dont make sense once i calm down. Like for instance if my wife talks or smiles or just looks at another man I feel she is disrespecting me and our marriage. I thought until now I might just have a jealousy problem or insecurities. This article and other research i have just now done has put it in perspective and I have been causing suffering for a long time now. I told her at our dinner that she was being too friendly with a guy and that i was uncomfortable (wanting immediate comfort). She started crying because she felt she hurt me. In my mind as if I were to cry she was shameful for what she has done and what I thought in my head (her flirting with another man in front of me) came to light. I seperated myself from our dinner and went outside to be alone until a security guard came up to tell me the patio at the hotel was now closed and that i needed to leave. I went back up to the hotel room where my wife has now returned I didnt say a word but got ready for bed and layed down at the very edge. I couldnt restrain myself from telling her (as i knew i was not able to sleep) how bad of a person she was for disrespecting me and our marriage (in much harsher words than that). She of course got defensive which again proved my thoughts to be true. I told her I wanted a divorce and left for the long drive home which seemed like minutes. When I walked in the door is when it struck home what i accually had done. I emediatly called her several times along with some nasty texts with no response. Finally she picked up and for hours we went back and forth hanging up and long seperations between communication. I just now texted her telling her I think I have anxiety and have had it for a long time. I have mixed emotions about self diognosing myself. 1 It eases my mind knowing Im not a nutcase, 2 knowing and admitting I possibly have a disorder. 3 Having a bit of closure on what is really wrong with our relationship and how we can get support and knowledge to control it. Any advise will be greatly appreciated.

  • Hank

    May 1st, 2017 at 2:24 AM

    In reading your letter I’m not sure whether or not she was actually flirting with another guy. If this has been her past practice, perhaps she has created the anxiety in you and now you subconsciously are looking for her to flirt with others. Does/did she flirt?

  • Jonny

    May 8th, 2017 at 11:40 AM

    Firstly this is so reassuring reading everybody’s stories.
    I have recently understood I have been suffering from depression and anxiety for the last 3 yrs. This was a response to my partner being unwell during that time. The horrible part is now I am aware of it, I can see how it had a major impact on our relationship. I feel we were both suffering from the same feelings which undermined all that was good in our relationship. Lots of hidden anger, resentment, frustration and fear creeping in.
    The horrible part is that it is very hard to see who that person is when they are suffering with this illness, everything seems so personal. Following on from others stories my quick realisation was to understand that, you are not you when you suffer from depression and anxiety. Repeat!!! Anybody who feels afraid they have fallen out of love with their partner try to realise you have probably fallen out of love with the depression and anxiety. The real person is in there somewhere. Remember that love is a bi product of healthy relationship and anxiety undermines all those necessary attributes, trust, connection, and understanding that are necessary for love flourish. Understanding that it is anxiety playing this role is key if a relationship can work. Try to make the anxiety tangible not all the problems in the relationship that occurred as a result. This way you can start to take responsibility to change it and not lay blame elsewhere (a common problem when facing the harsh reality of anxiety) It’s subconciously the easier option, and it’s also consciously painful to take responsibily. I strongly recommend individual and couple therapy with CBT as a way forward. The major first hurdle to overcome is getting over the anxiety of facing anxiety. What a bitch aye!! Admit that there is a problem.
    Remember it is a learned behaviour so it can be unlearned, and with a little introspection I now know there is a better way to deal with this however painful. If anything I feel better knowing it is anxiety and depression as it’s something to work with however scary. Seeing a counselor for the first time was so helpful as i suddenly didnt feel so alone. I’m still work in process so I’ll keep you posted ;)

  • Cristina

    May 20th, 2017 at 7:28 AM

    So, both me and my partner have anxiety. We spent two years together, having moments where we absolutely loved each other and others full of doubts, bad moods and drifting away. My partner is usually moody and feeling like everything is trying to get her and found that telling me everything helps her calm down, but while it helps her, it just makes my own anxiety reach a peak to the point where I’ve had panic attacks just because of texts she sent me. I do the same anyway, because I need to tell my thoughts to someone, because it helps… And she, like me, gets really stressed over the texts I send her and the things I tell her. Basically we harm each other while seeking for a way to just calm down, which we learned to cope with and which I wouldn’t change.

    Lately we had been both so busy and she was so deep in her mind that she would only talk to me in order to complain and soon my mind started making a thousand things and I broke up because in a week I went from “Do I really love her?” to “We will never work, she doesn’t care about me and ignores me. I need to end it, I can’t handle it anymore.”
    She understood everything I told her, saying she felt the same, and forbade me from leaving her life. After we broke up we started hanging out and interacting much more than when we were a couple and both of us are so much happier and none can explain why, because she wants to be with me again and while I don’t tell her in fear it will give her fake hopes, I can’t think about anyone but her and just want to hug her and never let go of her… I am just so scared of what the bad moments may bring and of my own insecurities that I don’t know if I can get back to her, which she is waiting me to do and which a moment I want to do, the other I don’t. Sometimes she breaks down because I will never be with her, others she is really happy because of how much I still listen and care even though I broke up.

    Stupid is how I blame myself, because I can’t realize if I love her or not after that time we drifed apart, even now that we are together. She makes me happy like no one else but then I start thinking I want to find the love of my life and I realize I am thinking of a stranger and not of her… And then when I am feeling like shit I can only think about how I want her to be with me…

    I honestly don’t know what to do with everything that goes on in my head envolving her and then there is also university and the final project and not knowing what the future will bring.

  • The Team

    The Team

    May 20th, 2017 at 10:55 AM

    Dear Christina,

    If you would like to consult with a mental health professional, please feel free to return to our homepage,, and enter your zip code into the search field to find therapists in your area.

    Once you enter your information, you’ll be directed to a list of therapists and counselors who meet your criteria. From this list you can click to view our members’ full profiles and contact the therapists themselves for more information. You are also welcome to call us for assistance finding a therapist. We are in the office Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Pacific Time; our phone number is 888-563-2112 ext. 1.

    Kind regards,
    The Team

  • Katerina

    June 13th, 2017 at 6:23 AM

    I am 18 years old struggling with intense anxiety and depression….the anxiety has always been there since I was about 11/12 years old. The depression was set off by my birth control, which is a pretty common thing to occur. I had many horrific relationships in the past but had never been in love until I went to college, I met the love of my life the very first day and we’ve been inseperable since. We both said we didn’t want relationships so he would talk to other girls and slept with someone else…it was the worst thing that I had ever experienced in my life. Anxiety turns something reasonable (we hadn’t defined our relationship) into something unbearable. 6 months later , after becoming official and travelling across europe, if I’m sleeping alone I imagine them together, i imagine him cheating on me all the time and don’t trust him to go out alone. I know I should trust him, but there is a nagging voice in the back of my head saying that there’s no reason someone like him would ever be with me, or that he doesn’t really love me, that it’s just some big joke and that all i am is sex to him. it really is the hardest thing to explain to your partner. he tells me he wants to marry me and all i can say back is please break up with me, as i dont seem to be getting any better and i dont know how to change. i just started therapy so im hoping that will help me because otherwise i know im going to ruin this amazing relationship.

  • Kristine Tye MFT

    June 13th, 2017 at 11:58 AM

    Hi Katerina, I am so glad that you have started therapy, and I hope that you connect well with your therapist. You are not alone, and this is such a painful thing to experience. Please send me a message if you have any trouble getting the best support.

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