Dating someone with anxiety.
Dating someone with anxiety issues or an anxiety disorder can be horribly stressful. Sometimes it can feel like the anxiety is a third person in the relationship, someone who wriggles in between you and your partner. This person constantly sows doubt and confusion.
No one prepared you for this, and you can’t choose who you fall for. There’s no high school class on dating, much less dating someone with a mental health condition.
Nonetheless, anxiety doesn’t have to break your relationship or put a strain on it to the point where it’s hard to enjoy. By understanding anxiety in general and how it affects both your partner and your relationship, you can love each other more deeply and connect in a new way. Educating yourself can also relieve a lot of the stress.
This article breaks down everything you need to know and do when dating someone with anxiety: how to support your partner, understanding how the anxiety can impact your relationship, looking out for your own mental health and more. Keep reading if you want to make sure anxiety doesn’t become a third person in your relationship.
The Anxiety Coming Out Conversation
Whether you ask or deduce it after months of dating, there will be a point when you partner discloses they deal with anxiety. It’s a crucial moment in the relationship, so be sensitive and do not judge. Thank them for trusting you with this information that they have most likely not shared with many people. See it as the beginning of a discussion you can resurface occasionally.
What Is General Anxiety Disorder?
According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA). Anxiety and 6.8 million adults, or 3.1% of the United States population, have general anxiety disorder (GAD). It is twice as likely in women. Eighteen percent of the population, or 40 million adults, have GAD or another anxiety disorder, such as panic disorder or post-traumatic stress syndrome.
That means if five people are carpooling to work every day together, chances are one of them has an anxiety disorder. Three people in a room of 100 most likely have GAD.
General Anxiety Disorder Symptoms
GAD is a complex combination of unique symptoms that affect a person physically and psychologically. According to the National Institutes of Health, excessive worry and anxiety, and difficulty controlling them, are present alongside three or more of the following symptoms (at least six months):
- Tiring easily
- Irritability stemming from an inability to focus
- Muscle tension
- Disturbed sleep
- Anxious for no known reason (such as worry about a family member)
- Anxiety affecting social, school, or work functioning
There are also many contributing factors to GAD such as personality traits, possible genetic connection, life experiences with trauma aftermath, or loved one or self coping with chronic disease.
And finally …
Know how important you are to them. Anyone who stays around through the hard stuff is a keeper. People with anxiety know this. Being there for someone during their struggles will only bring the relationship closer. Nothing sparks a connection more than really getting someone, being there, and bringing the fun into the relationship – because you’ve gotta have fun. Be the one who refuses to let anxiety suck the life of out everything. And know you’re a keeper. Yep. You are. Know that they are grateful – so grateful – for everything you do. And that they love you back.