If you’ve ever dated an anxious person or suffer from anxiety yourself, you’ll know it’s not always easy balancing romance and anxiety.
In her book Hi, Anxiety: Life With A Bad Case Of Nerves, author Kat Kinsman explores some techniques on how to best support an anxious partner.
Here are four simple ways to support an anxious partner
1 Don’t try to ‘fix’ them
Remember, this person is your partner, not your patient. As Kinsman puts it, they can’t simply be well for you. ‘It’s unfair to pressure someone to live up to your idea of how they should be, and they may end up feeling like they failed you.’
Rather than trying to tweak them, Kinsman suggests expressing your love for them. ‘Just let them know that you’d like them to feel better because you love them – not because they have to be well in order to be loved.’
2 Stop trying to talk them out of their concerns
‘Your skittish schmoopity-schmoo likely knows that their fear isn’t rational and/or the bad thing probably won’t come to pass,’ Kinsman hilariously puts it. Rather than making them feel stupid, ask them kindly why this particular thing upsets them so much. ‘Often, the act of throwing a deep, dark fear into the spotlight and spinning it out to its worst possible outcome can have the effect of neutralising it, Kinsman explains. ‘And for the love of all that is holy, don’t make fun of them for it.’
3 Don’t try shelter them from things
‘Gonna be late? Call or send a quick text so they’re not picturing you mangled in a ditch. Got a big bill to pay or a medical test coming up? Don’t try to hide it; talk through it.’
Kinsman warns that treating your partner like a fragile child, even if it’s coming from a place of love, could create an odd dynamic in the relationship. ‘And besides, anxious people are pretty perceptive and will sense that something is amiss,’ she goes on to point out. ‘Let your sweetum boo-boo-pie in on what is actually happening, or their mind will likely rev into high gear and assume that something infinitely worse is afoot.’
4 Don’t expect them to experience happiness the way you do
For some, Kinsman says, happiness is balloons, dancing and Jaeger bombs at the club. ‘For an anxious person, it might be a day that passes without a panic attack.’
‘Calm is a terribly underrated emotion, but it’s just as valid as joy.’
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