Anxiety weaves a suffocating web around the lives of people who struggle with it. Whether you choose to see it or not, anxiety affects every aspect of a person’s life including their relationships. Since you can’t magically wish your mental condition away, it’s helpful to have a partner who doesn’t make things worse. According to experts, certain qualities are essential to sustain a healthy relationship with anxious people.
Someone who is understanding
Anxiety isn’t one size fits all. It’s different from person to person. It’s very important for someone who’s dating an anxious person to read up as much as they can about the illness. They need to pay attention to the particular ways that their partner’s anxiety manifests itself. Ask questions to help you get an idea of what to expect. As a person who has battled with anxiety all her life, I know it’s not the easiest subject to open up about, but gentle coaxing will encourage the conversation.
Someone who won’t dismiss their condition
It’s one thing to not understand how anxiety works; it’s another to dismiss it. People with anxiety need a partner who can empathize with their illness. They already know that their fear often isn’t rational, so making them feel stupid or ridiculous is not going to help matters. It’s important to not make fun of their fears, but try to walk through a worst-case scenario. This can help them realize that things aren’t so bad.
Someone who will be present through the difficult times
Anxiety tends to disrupt the sense of reality, so being around a partner who makes themselves available when support is needed can make a world of difference to anxious people. Be open, be attentive, be ready to show up, stand by their side, hold their hand, and hug them. Simple gestures like this can make the experience a lot less overwhelming.
Someone with loads of patience
Humans can be annoying and hard to be around sometimes, and anxious people can give a whole new meaning. This is why it’s important for them to have a partner who doesn’t pressure them to work through their fears quickly or get frustrated by the process. A patient partner will be willing to let them go at their own pace while supporting you and gently nudging them to overcome their fears.
Someone who rarely takes things personally
One of the downsides of anxiety is it can often cause anxious people to take out their frustrations on others. A partner who understands that it’s the anxiety acting out is essential. Try not to take it personally because the feeling will soon be over and they’ll be back to their wonderful self. Of course, if things begin to seem abusive, it’s time to have a frank conversation about it.
Someone who can listen when they talk about their experiences
Whenever I’m ranting to my boyfriend about how my anxiety is making me feel, I don’t want him to give me rational replies for why I shouldn’t worry so much. I just want him to listen. I want to feel heard. I want to feel like my emotions are valid. Listening will go a long way in helping an anxious person make sense of what was bothering them.
Someone who’s calm and comforting
This is the most obvious quality and it’s absolutely essential. No one is asking you to be calm all the time, but you’re going to have to keep it together whenever your partner’s anxiety starts acting up. Some people prefer to be given space while others want to be comforted with emotional and physical support during this time.
Someone who is deliberately honest
Everybody hates being lied to, but anxious people hate it more than most. All dishonesty does is reinforce their paranoia and leaves them unable to trust you. Make your intentions known. Tell them about how you’re feeling. Be open. Let yourself be vulnerable too.
Someone who can set clear boundaries
Partners tend to make unnecessary accommodations to help cushion their partner’s anxiety. While this is good in small doses, you might run the risk of making them completely dependent on you and unwilling to put in the effort to face their anxiety.
Someone who takes communication seriously
A partner who’s not afraid to communicate directly and honestly is important for a person with anxiety. They don’t need someone who plays games, dances around their intentions, and makes them second guess the relationship and themselves. The key is to talk to them frequently about your desires for the relationship, how you feel, what you think needs improving, and what you both need.
Someone who can make things fun
Having to deal with anxiety and its endless complications can often take the fun out of living. This is why being with a partner who knows how to relax, keep things light, and make them feel good is crucial. The better an anxious person feels, the less overwhelming their worries can seem.
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