Relationship Anxiety: How to Spot And Stop Self-Sabotaging Behaviors


When you’re with someone you love and trust, you expect to feel comfortable enough to not have to stress out all the time. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. Relationship anxiety is a real problem for many of us, leading to self-sabotaging behaviors that can push our partners further away and destroy a really good thing. Here are some signs you suffer from this condition. The sooner you recognize what’s happening, the sooner you can go about fixing it.

  1. You doubt your partner’s feelings. They tell you they love you all the time and their actions show it, but for some reason, you still can’t believe it. You often wonder if they’re just being nice or question why they’re with you because they can’t possibly be serious about you. You feel so strongly for them and you don’t believe they could ever feel the same way back. That’s just your relationship anxiety talking.
  2. You create issues where none exist. When you’re naturally an anxious person, it’s common to create drama even though there isn’t any there. If you find yourself picking fights with your partner for seemingly no reason or over tiny things that really don’t matter in the grand scheme of things, you could be doing this as a method of self-protection. After all, if you push them away, they can’t hurt you, right?
  3. You’re sure they want to break up with you but just don’t know how to do it. In addition to doubting your partner’s feelings, your relationship anxiety convinces you that it’s only a matter of time before your partner dumps you and moves on to something better. There’s nothing wrong with your relationship and there’s no indication that they want to leave you, but that doesn’t stop you from thinking about it regularly.
  4. You read into their words and actions unnecessarily. Most times, the things people say should be taken at face value. There’s often no hidden meaning, no tone implied, but if you suffer from relationship anxiety, you can’t help but read into everything your partner says and does. This leads to more disagreements as you act defensively over something you’ve convinced yourself they meant by what they said or did and it’s all one big mess.
  5. You miss out on the good times because you’re often too stressed to enjoy them. This is one of the saddest parts of all. Your relationship is so wonderful and full of so much love but you can’t even enjoy it because you’re too busy anticipating when it will all (inevitably, in your mind) go wrong. What’s the point of being with someone if you can’t be happy together?
  6. You worry that you’re not compatible long-term. Even though things are great right now, your relationship anxiety might convince you that you could never be together forever. You wonder if your visions of the future line up or think that your partner might change and suddenly decide one day that they don’t want to be with you anymore because they’ve changed their minds. You’re getting ahead of yourself again and need to take a few deep breaths.
  7. You wonder if your partner would care if you were no longer together. This also really sucks. Your partner shows you how much they care about you and verbally reassures you of this as well, but your head still tries to convince you that this is untrue and that if something happened and you were no longer together, they’d be just fine.

Relationship anxiety can be incredibly difficult to deal with, not just for you but for your partner as well. It can even destroy an otherwise fantastic relationship. If you find yourself really struggling with this, it may be worthwhile to seek professional help to work through what’s causing this.

Jennifer Still is a writer and editor with more than 10 years of experience. The managing editor of Bolde, she has bylines in Vanity Fair, Business Insider, The New York Times, Glamour, Bon Appetit, and many more. You can follow her on Twitter @jenniferlstill