When Connection Causes Chaos: Understanding Anxiety About Relationships

Relationships are a cornerstone of human life. Anxiety about relationships is very common. Perhaps it is affecting you right now. I hope this article may be of help. If you are experiencing anxiety about your relationship, I provide coaching and hypnotherapy in London and online. Get in touch, I may be able to help.


Anxiety about relationships


What is Anxiety about relationships?


Relationship anxiety is a feeling of unease, worry, or fear surrounding interactions with others in close relationships. It can be triggered by specific situations, like arguments or social gatherings, or be a more general feeling of insecurity within the relationship. It’s quite easy to spot. It can be that hesitation to call or message someone, a fear of saying or doing the wrong thing, a worry that someone might leave you. It can also be about worrying about what others thing about your relationship or if the person is right for you at all


Why do we get anxiety about relationships ?


Relationships are so important. Afterall, they provide love, support, and a sense of belonging. Yet, for many, the desire for connection can be overshadowed by a constant undercurrent of anxiety. This anxiety can manifest in various ways, impacting friendships, romantic relationships, and even family bonds. Let’s delve more into anxiety about relationships.

Important is to distinguish between healthy concern and anxiety. While a healthy dose of concern is normal in relationships, it’s important to understand the difference between that and crippling anxiety.

Not all anxiety about relationships are the same. There can be specific anxieties in different relationships. There’s the anxiety in romantic relationships, friendships, family dynamics, or even work relationships.  Different anxiety situations will require a different approach. I see this with my London coaching clients. It can be completely different when it’s about siblings arguing compared to a couple working out big decisions.


Anxiety about relationships ending


Relationship anxiety and breakups is a big area of concerns for many. Are you concerned that current difficulties will lead to a breakup? Sometimes anxiety itself contributes to breakups. How can someone manage anxiety after a breakup?  This is all very important to consider and something many of my clients will talk about.

Especially when a relationship is fresh the opinions of friends or even what we see on social media can heighten anxiety and colour your judgment. Unfortunately looking to Instagram or TikTok for advice can actually fuel feelings of inadequacy and comparison. This can all worsen anxiety about relationships.


Here are some common signs of relationship anxiety


  •  Fear of rejection or abandonment:  This can lead to constantly seeking reassurance from your partner or friend, clinging to them excessively, or being overly sensitive to perceived slights.
  •  Constant need for control: You may feel the need to control every aspect of the relationship to avoid negative outcomes.
  •  Jealousy and possessiveness: You might experience intense jealousy of perceived threats, real or imagined.
  •  Fear of intimacy:  Despite the desire for connection, intimacy can trigger fear of vulnerability and a need to maintain distance.
  •  Social anxiety in relationships: Social situations within relationships, like meeting your partner’s friends or attending family events, can be particularly anxiety-provoking.


Causes of relationship anxiety


Anxiety about relationships can stem from various factors, including:


Attachment style: Our early experiences with caregivers shape our attachment style, which influences how we connect with others. Anxious attachment styles, often formed in childhoods where emotional needs weren’t consistently met, can lead to a fear of abandonment and difficulty trusting others.

Low self-esteem: Feeling insecure about oneself can lead to a constant fear of not being good enough for your partner or friends.

Not knowing what we need from a relationship: When we haven’t thought about what we need to be happy, we can choose the wrong partners. Have you ever dated someone even though a little voice inside says they are not good for you?

Past relationship trauma:  Negative experiences in past relationships, like betrayal or abuse, can create lasting anxieties that carry over into new relationships.

Perfectionism:  Holding unrealistic expectations for yourself and your partner can create a constant sense of inadequacy and fear of failure within the relationship.


How anxiety affects relationships


Anxiety can have a significant negative impact on relationships.

  •  Increased conflict: The anxious partner’s constant need for reassurance or controlling behaviour can lead to arguments and resentment.
  •  Distrust and communication problems:  Anxiety about relationships and a fear of being hurt can make it difficult to be open and honest in communication, hindering trust development.
  •  Emotional distance:  The anxious partner’s behaviour might push their partner away, creating emotional distance and a sense of isolation within the relationship.


Managing anxiety about relationships


If you find yourself struggling with anxiety about relationships, several steps can help you manage it:


Identify your triggers:  Understanding what situations or behaviours trigger your anxiety can help you develop coping mechanisms.

Challenge negative thoughts:  Anxiety often fuels negative thought patterns.  Challenge these thoughts by looking for evidence to the contrary and focusing on more realistic perspectives.

Develop healthy communication skills:  Open and honest communication is essential in any relationship. Learn to express your needs assertively and actively listen to your partner’s perspective.

Practice relaxation techniques: Techniques like deep breathing, mindfulness meditation, and progressive muscle relaxation can help manage anxiety in the moment.

Consider therapy:  If your anxiety is severe or impacting your daily life, seeking professional help from a therapist can be incredibly beneficial. A therapist myself, I can tell you that even having a just a few sessions can help you develop coping mechanisms, greater confidence and  address underlying causes of anxiety. You will also improve your communication and relationship skills.


Building healthy relationships despite anxiety


It’s completely normal to feel some anxiety at times. Here are some tips for building and maintaining healthy relationships despite experiencing anxiety.

It’s good to focus on self-compassion. In other words, be kind to yourself. Don’t see anxiety as weird or strange. Remember that everyone experiences anxiety, and it doesn’t make you a bad person.

Valuing yourself involves engaging in self-care. Look after you. Sometimes we can prioritise others above ourselves. So look after your well-being. Ensure you do things such as exercise, healthy eating, and getting enough sleep.


Anxiety about relationships? Consider some support


If you do experience anxiety about relationships, it can be great to have someone to talk it through. You might be stressed and worried and an outside perspective could be reassuring and calming for you. I provide coaching and hypnotherapy in London and online. Consider a couple of sessions. If could be just want you need.






author avatar
Jason Demant Clinical Hypnotherapist
London hypnotherapist. Seeing clients in King's Cross and online. Diploma in clinical hypnotherapy, counselling and Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) from Life Matters Training College, based on Harley Street, London. Fully insured and a validated practitioner of the General Hypnotherapy Standards Council and member of the General Hypnotherapy Register.