Learn How Relationship Counseling Address The Way Anxiety Impacts Your Relationship
Couples are bound to experience problems in their relationship. Issues like trust, not seeing eye to eye, respect, and lack of communication are among many reasons why couples seek relationship counseling. The subject of dating someone with a mental health diagnosis of Anxiety is often not a common conversation or topic that reaches the table.
The anxiety may be kept behind closed doors or brushed off as tired, not feeling okay, or having a bad day. Anxiety, often, like other mental health issues can be private to the individual and public the relationship. Public as the anxiety finds a way of hurting the relationship and the person you care most about.
As a professional counselor that specializes in relationship counseling, I have seen anxiety create distance and pain in relationships. Often, the chaos is due to a misunderstanding. Simply not evaluating the how and why anxiety affects the relationship.
Common symptoms experienced when dating someone with anxiety
- Stress related to the relationship
- Questioning your partner’s behaviors
- Arguments and conflict due to anxiety
- Lack of understanding
Relationship Counseling can help couples learn to understand how to have a healthy nurturing relationship while acknowledging the very real anxiety that is impacting the relationship.
The first thing to do is to talk about the elephant in the room. Sit down with your partner and discuss the following questions:
Is the subject of mental health or anxiety sensitive?
If so, would it be better to be discussed in a setting such as counseling? Relationship counseling can provide the icebreaker needed to allow the subject of anxiety to flow just a little bit more easily. Couples often feel at ease and relaxed when discussing their anxiety to their partner in the presences of a counselor.
If the subject of mental health or anxiety is not sensitive, sit down with your partner and dive into the world of dating someone with anxiety. Consider asking your partner with anxiety the following questions:
Common questions to ask your partner with anxiety
- Can you describe what it is like living with anxiety?
- What type of anxiety do you have?
- What are common triggers that provoke your anxiety?
- What are ways that you manage your anxiety?
- When was the last time anxiety affected the relationship?
- How can I support you with anxiety?
When exploring how to support your partner with anxiety, I really encourage couples to dig deep. Think about specific ways that support can be provided to the relationship.
The goal is to explore how and why anxiety impacts the relationship. This helps in creating short term and long term goals lined around managing anxiety as it impacts the relationship and the individuals. In addition, couples can understand the reason behind behaviors or words. Often understanding why someone says something can alleviate the actual words being said. Together you can make the marriage a priority.
Common ways relationship counseling helps couples with anxiety:
- Reduce conflict and tension. Counseling can provide partners with a clear understanding of how anxiety directly impacts conflict in tension. As a simple example, take a couple where one of the partners dislikes social gatherings due to anxiety. The couple tends to fight and engage in conflict due to miscommunication. Working with a counselor can provide a clear understanding to identifying how anxiety plays in the relationship.
- Gain understanding of anxiety triggers. There are many triggers to anxiety. Some are notable, such as loud noises or confrontation. Counseling provides couples with the opportunity to identify their triggers and discuss how the triggers impact the relationship and the person. The goal of identifying the triggers to anxiety is to build a further understanding on how the triggers create distress and can be managed.
- Learn to support your partner the way they want to be supported. One of my favorite sections to discuss is helping partners understand how they can help. Anxiety can be very complex, however, with the help of the person who is struggling with anxiety and the counselor, growth can be made. Counseling can support partners create systems or behaviors that promote emotional support focused on the anxiety.
- Feel confident in understanding the ins and outs of anxiety. Counseling provides an emotional balance. Often clients share with me that when they leave sessions, they leave feeling better. The couple can utilize relationship counseling to support with understanding how to live a life with anxiety. A life that highlights support, understanding, respect, and empathy.
I hope that you have gained insight into the world of dating someone with anxiety. Relationship Counseling can be a great place to start.
My name is Juan Santos, I am the owner and the relationship counseling expert here at Santos Counseling PLLC. If you would like to explore counseling please feel welcome to reach out using the form below:
Below is a video that discusses anxiety, anxiety triggers, and coping skills to manage distressful anxiety symptoms.