Having anxiety doesn’t make a woman unlovable but it can definitely feel that way sometimes. The truth is that while it’s up to us to manage our feelings of panic and uncertainty, having a partner to help us through the tough spots is an amazing thing. Here’s how to love the anxious woman in your life.
- Don’t try to “fix” it because you can’t. While it may be your natural instinct to want to “fix” any perceived problems we come to you with, anxiety doesn’t work like that. Often times, the feelings of panic and dread we experience aren’t tied to anything that’s actually happening—it’s an illogical problem that you can’t change, so please don’t try. You’ll only become frustrated and resentful and that’s the last thing we want. In fact, it’ll likely make our anxiety worse.
- Hear us out. Sometimes all we want is for someone to listen to us when we voice our feelings. We know that we probably sound a little crazy, that we’re not thinking logically, that we’re probably freaking out over nothing. Let us, at least for a while. Listen while we express our thoughts, feelings, fears, and anxieties. It will mean the world to us.
- Validate our concerns even if you don’t understand them. In addition to listening to us, let us know that you totally understand where we’re coming from (or that you accept it even if you don’t really get it). Let us know that our anxieties are real and OK, that we’re not a total freak and we’re not losing our mind. Making it seem like you think we’ve gone off the rails will make things so much worse.
- Remind us of the logical truth but don’t get angry if we can’t accept it. After you’ve heard us out and validated us, by all means, yes, recount your take on the situation from a more logical perspective. Don’t just tell us why you think we’re wrong but remind us of facts and figures that are undeniably true and that we can’t really argue with. We want to hear your personal opinions too, but the more cold/hard truth you can (gently) remind us of, the easier it’ll be to talk us down from the ledge, so to speak.
- Distract us when we start to fixate. If you’ve been with us for a while, you’ll start to realize the warning signs for when a panic attack is about to hit. When this happens, or when you notice we’ve been experiencing a low-level of generalized anxiety for a while, one of the best things you can do is to simply distract us. Plan a fun activity that you know we love, take us out for an impromptu date night, invite us to cook dinner with you—anything to get our mind off of whatever it is we’re fixating on.
- Try not to get angry if we don’t just perk up despite your best efforts. Sometimes even when you’ve listened to us, given us some logic, and tried to distract us, we’re still stuck in an anxious hole we can’t seem to get out of. We know it’s frustrating but please try not to get angry (or take that anger out on us) if we can’t immediately just switch our anxiety off. We wish it was that easy but it just isn’t.
- Hold us when we’re feeling particularly vulnerable. When all else fails, offer to hold us. Wrap your arms around us and hold us close. We don’t have to speak, we just want to lie in your arms and feel safe and secure. It may not quash the anxiety but it will provide the comfort we so desperately need at times.
- Be consistent and trustworthy. While this should go for any relationship you’re in, being with a woman with anxiety means being consistent and trustworthy with your behavior is even more important. Text or call when you say you will. Don’t be shady with your phone or put yourself in questionable situations that would make us doubt you. Be as dedicated to the relationship as we are and you won’t be sorry.
- See beyond our anxiety. While anxiety might be a big part of our life, it’s not the entirety of who we are, not by a long shot. Appreciate all the wonderful qualities we have outside of that—our strength, our sense of humor, our big hearts—and remind us of those things when we forget. We’ll do our best to show you our best as much as possible.