Loving someone who has anxiety changes you in ways you’ve never imagined because it opens your eyes to things you didn’t see before. While it posed an incredible challenge, it also made me a better person, a better lover, and a better partner. It wasn’t easy but it was totally worth it. Here’s what I learned that might help you on your own journey.
- It’s important to meet him where he’s at. A guy who has anxiety can be two steps ahead of you or two steps behind, but he’s not doing it intentionally. In fact, he’s trying his best to match your pace. His heart and mind might be exactly where yours are, but his anxiety makes it hard for him to “just be.” When you meet him where he’s at, his anxiety becomes less dominant in his decisions and how he feels in the relationship.
- Listen To Him Instead Of Assuming. When a guy with anxiety opens-up to you about his anxiety, listen. Don’t interrupt him, don’t finish his sentences for him, don’t dominate the conversation. Let him fully express himself. Ask your questions when you feel like he’s done talking. Create that safe space for him to openly express his thoughts and feelings that often go misunderstood by so many people.
- Give Him Space To Calm Down. People who have anxiety aren’t the best at pulling themselves together in certain situations, so when it comes to the guy you’re dating, if he’s freaking out about something, don’t talk it out with him. Don’t under any circumstance argue or fight with him when he’s feeling anxious because it’ll only worsen the situation. Let him know that you’re there for him and remove yourself from the setting. He’ll love you for it and his respect for you will grow.
- Choose Being Kind Over Being Right. You’ll find yourself being right about a whole lot of things. You get to choose having what you want or having what you both need. Maybe he overreacts about certain things. Maybe he worries too much. Maybe he overthinks. You can call him out on it, don’t get me wrong, but it’s about how you do it, when you do it, and why you do it. Sometimes you’ll need to say something and other times you’ll have to just let it go.
- Express Real Vulnerability With Him. Show him what he means to you more often than you think. He probably thinks he’s not good enough for you because he worries that his anxiety burdens you. He wants to protect you and make you feel that he’s always got your back. Vocalize your struggles to him. Let him know what’s going on in your life without making it seem like it’s a problem he needs to fix because it’ll make him feel like he’s obligated to do something. Let him choose to want to do something about it, and he’ll do it on his terms. He’ll show up for you when you need him and he’ll always support you in everything you do.
- Be Positive In Every Given Moment. Always be your best self around him because it’ll inspire him to do the same for you. When he falls into his bubble of anxiety, remind him that things always work out. When he’s worried about money, tell him that his hard work will pay off. When he’s worried about his parents’ health, tell him to go visit them. When he’s freaking out about your future together, show him how far you’ve come. Encourage him to do something about the things he’s worried about or show him that piece by piece, he can let it go.
- Allow Things To Happen Organically. Take it slow. Let go of your need to have it figured out. Shift your energy from planning every single detail to let things happen on their own. Do what feels right in the moment. Don’t lower your expectations, but remove them from being a happiness factor in your life. Let yourself be who you are instead of who you think you both should be by now. You’ll be surprised by where things will potentially go.
- Be His Friend When He’s At His Worst. He’s gonna have bad days, and if your connection is strong and deep, he’s gonna have some of those bad days with you and in front of you. Don’t hold it against him. You don’t need to accept him for it and you don’t need to be okay with it. However, you do need to be his friend because that’s what he needs. Embrace him with your love, care, and understanding. Remind him of the things you admire about him. Remind him that he’s a good person. Remind him that he’ll get through it. Remind him that his anxiety does not define his story unless he gives it power. Most of all, remind him that at the end of the day, his anxiety is not who he is.
- Support Him When He Doesn’t Want It. You don’t have to physically be there for him when he doesn’t want anyone around. Use your creativity to let him feel that you’re there for him and that he can count on you. Even though he tries to act tough and all independent, he needs someone who gets him, he needs someone who believes him, and he needs someone who wants the best for him.