Supporting Your Partner with Anxiety
If you have fallen in love with someone with anxiety, you may know how difficult life can be for them. Luckily, there are things that you can do to help to support them, making life more joyous for you both.
Consider these ideas to support your partner:
1. Make them feel safe.
This is one of the most important tips. Someone who suffers from anxiety may feel unlovable due to their anxiety. Reassure them that you are both in this journey together.
2. Ask their opinion.
Your partner may already know some things that you can do to help them relieve anxious feelings. Listen to them! No one knows them better than they do, and what they have to say is important.
3. Avoid trying to fix them.
Acknowledge that you are their wife, husband, boyfriend, girlfriend, partner, or lover, and not their therapist.
While you can be there to help support them through any tough times, it’s important to avoid pressuring them into behaving how you believe they should behave.
When you put such additional pressure on them – even if you think that following your advice would help them – you may cause them to feel as though they have failed you, which will only exacerbate any anxiety they are feeling.
4. Be honest with your partner.
Avoid treating your partner as a child who cannot cope with any sort of bad news. This can cause a challenging dynamic in your relationship.
Instead, be honest. For example, if you are going to be coming home late, let them know so they won’t imagine you dead in a ditch. If you have a large bill to pay, let them know instead of trying to hide it.
Hiding the truth can lead your partner to picturing the worst possible scenario.
5. Avoid telling them why they shouldn’t be afraid of something.
Even if what your partner fears seems irrational to you, telling them what you think most likely will not help them.
Instead, you can ask why this particular thing is upsetting them so much. Sometimes talking about an issue can help reduce any fear being suffered.
6. Understand that their idea of happiness may be different than your own concept of happiness.
Some people may find happiness in partying or dancing, while others will enjoy travelling and showing off those Instagram pictures.
Someone with anxiety may find happiness in a day passing without suffering from a panic attack. These small victories can mean a lot.
7. Remember that you are allowed to live your life.
Just because your partner has anxiety does not mean that you can’t have a life of your own. You are still allowed out to meet your friends, go to a party, have hobbies, or do something else just for you.
When you leave the house without your partner, reassure them that you are going to be okay, you are going to be thinking of them, and you will soon be back home safe and sound.
Whether your partner has anxiety or not, practicing self-care is important! Self-care helps to keep you physically and mentally fit and can prevent feelings of resentment against your partner.
Remind yourself that you and your partner are more than just anxiety. Anxiety does not define either one of you.
Putting these ideas into practice can help relieve anxious feelings and strengthen your relationship with your partner.
A counselor, therapist, or support group can also help immensely with additional strategies and techniques to alleviate anxiety and strengthen your bond as you go through this journey together.