There is often a predictable arc to relationship anxiety that includes three stages.*
The first stage is characterized by typical symptoms of anxiety and panic:
Bolting awake in the middle of the night
Difficulty functioning at work
On a purely physiological level, we can’t maintain this state of high anxiety for very long. Eventually the alarm will simmer down to something that feels like calm. This isn’t the true calm that arrives after working long and hard facing our fears. Rather, it’s the calm that follows the dramatic and intense storm of the first stage. It’s where psyche and soma settle into a manageable state that might be characterized more by numbness or indifference than true calm. You can sleep now. You can eat. You can function. But you’re just not that excited about your relationship. At least when you … Click here to continue reading...
When you’re neck-deep and soul-soaked in anxiety, when you’re having trouble eating, sleeping, and basically functioning, when the love you formally felt for your partner has been eclipsed by indifference, doubt, or numbness, when intrusive thoughts invade your brain day and night, you will inevitably ask, “When will I feel better?” This question hits at the onset of anxiety when the symptoms are full-tilt misery, it hits when the excruciating first set of symptoms starts to abate, and it hits when people find my work and sign up for my courses. “When will I feel better?” they ask, with desperation in their voices.
My response: It takes time. As we live in a culture that conditions us to expect immediate results and relief this is soften a difficult concept to accept. Hungry? Order fast-food. Lonely? Send a text. Need a sexual release? Watch porn. Have a headache? Pop a pill. … Click here to continue reading...
The following question is one I often receive from my clients who are struggling with the specific spoke of relationship anxiety that contains the longing to feel more love, connection, and attraction for their partner (and let’s remember that I use attraction or lack of attraction in the broadest sense of the word to talk about all of the ways in which you believe your partner is “not enough” that then cause you to retract, judge and withdraw. This “lack of attraction” can focus on any perceived lack: physical, intellectual, humor, social, or simply “we’re not connected enough.”). The question is:
“What if my truth is that I’m not attracted to my partner? I understand projection. I get that there are unworked parts of my inner movie that I project onto the screen of my partner. But what if this one is really my truth and I’m just not attracted … Click here to continue reading...