Anxiety is pretty much a part of my daily life at this point — some days are worse than others, but it’s always hanging around, just waiting to pounce. I’ve learned how to manage it now, but there was a point when it threatened to ruin some of the best things in my life, including my relationship with my boyfriend. Thankfully, I’ve found a way to use my anxiety to improve things between us instead — here’s how:
It motivated me to do and be better.
It used to be that just talking about my anxiety made it worse, but that’s silly. I need to be able to talk to my husband about what I’m going through so that he can better understand what I’m going through and know how to deal wiht it. He’s always been very supportive of me, even when my anxiety was at its worst, and that made me want to do everything I could to learn how to control my anxiety rather than the other way around so that I could be there for him as much as he is for me.
It taught me the importance of trust.
There are a million possible outcomes for every choice we make, and there’s no way we could foresee every single one. For someone with anxiety, the only ones that stand out are the worst case scenarios, most of which never come to pass. As I came to terms with my anxiety, I learned that I needed to have trust in the universe to work things out for me and trust in my partner to stand by my side no matter what the outcome of any given situation was. Doing so brought us even closer in ways I never knew were possible.
It encouraged me to try new things.
I was in the habit of staying in my comfort zone and not taking chances on anything new or exciting, no matter how much I subconsciously yearned for it. I was afraid of failure in any sense, but with my husband’s support, I was able to push past my own boundaries because I knew my husband was by my side doing the same. Instead of letting anxiety paralyze me, I used it as an impetus to get out there and live life to the fullest, which made me a braver person and a way more fun partner.
It made me a better communicator.
The more you communicate in a relationship, the more it will thrive. No one knows what you’re thinking — even when you’ve alluded to what you want, people aren’t mind readers, which only made me more anxious. The remedy? I started speaking up about what I thought/felt/wanted/needed the first time around and the weight was lifted immediately. Not only was I way less stressed out, my partner was too because he didn’t have to try and guess what was going on with me.
It helped me accept others and myself.
My anxiety often tried to convince me that I was lacking in pretty much every possible way — I wasn’t thin enough, pretty enough, successful enough, etc. The feelings of inadequacy were crippling, but once I realized that anxiety’s function is to lie to you and contort the truth, I stopped putting myself down and started raising myself up. Instead of focusing on what I’m not, I started thinking about what I hope to be in the future and worked towards it. Accepting my own imperfections made me more empathetic towards my guy’s flaws and brought us a lot closer together.
It allowed me to be more intimate.
I don’t typically share that I struggle with anxiety, but I’m so glad I told my now-husband about it early on in our dating phase. As I opened up about something that was very personal to me, it allowed him to do the same without fear of judgment. Many of the things we shared weren’t things we would typically share with just anyone. Because of that, we shared a deeper and more intense intimacy that remains with us to this day.
It taught me the true meaning of support.
Sometimes I feel like the weight of the world is on my shoulders and it means so much to be able to turn to my husband for support. A big part of being in a relationship is being there for each other. There are times when my anxiety spirals out of control and I know I’m difficult to be around, let alone love, but he never wavers or makes me worry that I’m too much. Instead, he stays by my side until I’m myself again, and that’s something that’s rare and special.
It helped me be more flexible.
I was convinced that obsessively planning my days would keep my anxious nature at bay since I could presumably avoid the unexpected. What I didn’t realize at the time was that the world doesn’t operate according to my ideas of what should happen. As I learned to accept that I couldn’t control everything, I learned to go with the flow a bit more, which meant my relationship with my guy could be a lot more laid-back and enjoyable since we were just going with the flow instead of trying to make things fit into a little box of my own imagining.
It forced me to live in the present.
During more anxious moments, it doesn’t help to dwell on what happened in the past. Whatever happened before doesn’t matter in the moment — what matters is what’s happening RIGHT NOW. Early on in my relationship, I always panicked whenever my guy and I had to rescheduled our plans due to a change in schedule, he would end up leaving me because previous boyfriends had avoided me when they were over the relationship and wanted to break up. Obviously I’m married now so that wasn’t the case, and it’s only proven to me that living in the present and focusing on what’s happening NOW is the way to go.
It pushed me to be proactive.
Anxiety can be debilitating and it was for me for a long time. However, I realized if I wanted to live a happy life and have a happy relationship, I was going to have to get off my ass and do something to make things better. Knowing that I can overcome my anxiety helps me believe I can overcome pretty much anything, and that kind of self-belief and determination applies to my relationship as well.
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