Is My Partner The One?

MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAI feel like I’m settling. 

This doesn’t feel right.

I often feel irritated with my partner. Doesn’t that mean I’m with the wrong person?

When I think about leaving, I don’t feel anything at all. 

How do I know that I’m with the person that God has chosen for me?

There are all normal questions that barrel through the brain of someone who lands on the anxious-sensitive spectrum. For you, doubt is an inevitable aspect of any decision, big or small. The problem isn’t the questions or the doubt. The problem is how you respond to your mind.

If we lived in a culture that honored your sensitivity and taught you how to navigate through life with sensitivity at the helm of your ship, you would expect yourself to react this way in an intimate relationship and it wouldn’t rattle you. If we lived in a culture that taught you that it’s okay to doubt, that love includes fear, and that certainty is an illusion, you would learn to hear these questions and be able to respond to them from a clear and centered place inside of you.

But we don’t live in that culture. We live in a culture that catapults films like The Notebook to the top of the blockbuster list, and, thus, to the top of the mainstream mindset. We expect to know when we meet our partner. We expect certainty. We expect butterflies, if not throughout a long-term relationship, at least in the beginning. When these elements are lacking, there’s no place for the sensitive heart and mind to go but to anxiety.

When people find my work, one of the first questions they ask is, “Why doesn’t everyone talk about the reality of love?” The truth is that anyone steeped in the realm of the inner world – therapists, religious clergy, spiritual leaders, and some novelists who are tapped into the archetypal elements of life instead of only the surface-image-Hollywood layer – will tell the truth about love. My clients often say things to me like, “You know, we just had our pre-marital counseling session with our priest and he talked about love and relationships in the same way that you do!” Anyone not brainwashed by the Romantic Ideal that our culture espouses, anyone on the front lines of real relationships in real life, will tell the truth.

So when I find a passage that dares to admit that it’s okay not to know, I rejoice. And then I share it here. This is from a beautiful book called Seven Blessings by Ruchama King, where the author describes an engaged woman’s anxiety a few days before her wedding as she talks to the older and wiser town matchmaker:

“A contentment settled upon Beth as she sat with Tsippi around the lamp, poking among the grains. Here it was rich, like butternut squash. She almost forgot the panic attack she’d had that morning as she lay in bed, going over all the little things that irritated her about Akiva. His beard needed better grooming. When he ate, he held his fork crudely, like a drumstick in his fist. He sang off-key. He began many sentences with “By the same token.” Of course she could live with these pesky annoyances, but at the heart of these observations was a question: Was he the one God had planned for her for eternity?

“Beth adjusted the light so it shone more directly on the rice platter. She said, “Tsippi, could you tell me something? How did you know your husband was the right one for you? Your besherte and all that?”

“I had a certain feeling,” she began. She told Beth about her rescue efforts when she was a young woman in the camps, about going into the barracks late at night, searching for a pulse among all the bodies, reviving them if she could, and in the end reviving the body of the man, who, after the war, became her husband. When she saw him again she recognized the little mushroom birthmark on his neck.

“And after all that, can I still say I knew?” Again, Tsippi poured some rice onto the platter and shook it gently from side to side until the grains evened out. “I didn’t.” Beth sucked in her breath, and Tsippi looked at her. “Well, if he’s not for you? Believe me, you know right away. And if he is for you? You can marry him, you can have children with him, you can spend your life with him, and still, you never know.”

They continued checking among the grains. Beth smiled. She liked the thought – this not knowing.” (pp. 236-37)

A significant spoke on the wheel of relationship anxiety and intrusive thoughts is the need for certainty. When we’re tumbling through life, and especially through a difficult time when the ground feels particularly shaky beneath our feet, the ego naturally latches onto a tangible question as a way to try to gain a measure of control. If I can just answer this one question, it believes, I will find serenity and peace. It doesn’t work that way. The questions the ego sinks its teeth into are unanswerable, and ultimately the work is about learning to breathe into the moments of feeling out of the control, the feelings of vulnerability, the grief, the fear, and the uncertainty that define relationship anxiety, and, in essence, define being human. The healing path, over and over and over again, is to unhook from the tentacles and thought-vines that dangle seductively down to the vulnerable heart and amorphous soul and instead ask, “What are these thoughts protecting me from feeling?” When we can, like Beth, settle into the “not knowing”, or, like Rilke, understand that the answers are in the questions themselves, we find a moment of breath, an exhale, a return to an anchor point inside that knows that, even in the not knowing, it’s all okay.

“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given to you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then, gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.” – Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet

85 comments to Is My Partner the One for Me?

  • Chelsea

    Recently I’ve been doing loads better with my anxiety over my relationship. Reading through this site has made me open my eyes to many things in a short amount of time. I had stumbled upon this site for the first time about 2 years ago as I was entering a relationship that ultimately served to be a lesson in ignoring red flags.

    I still thought I struggled with anxiety, regardless. I had not dug as deep the first few times I read through a few blog posts. What I have found is that I am normal, not a freak. I constantly question and have to be certain. I thought I was crazy, I drive my family crazy. I’ve always questioned my purpose and life, even in high school. I dwell on little mistakes after my work day has ended. I am absolutely an HSP. Something I never knew to be true. I knew I felt things deeply. I was always a deep reflector with plenty of tears and I had terrible separation anxiety, was bullied by my sister, and learned to seek my father’s approval by catering to his shallow standards (including now in those I date).

    I obsess over flaws in my boyfriend and echo all of the negative doubt means don’t thoughts in my head I receive through my questioning in the open, that is met with you’re supposed to just know. Sometimes I succumb, lately I’ve been so much better. I always worry my dad judges him, that we are too different, that we’re doomed, that I shouldn’t be irritated with him ever. That everything should be perfect and easy though I knew he drew me like a magnet when we first started dating. He also is so kind and emotionally supportive. I feel underneath the anxiety and dangling thought vines, that there is love growing for my boyfriend, and fear. Fear that he is a deceitful liar. That I’m living an illusion. I’m settling, he isnt right, etc. I have made a commitment to stop asking others for opinions and STOP GOOGLING. I have gone down the rabbit hole by choice when I google. I asked others on the internet but only I, as an HSP, know my truth and strangers only know what my anxious mind tells them. I understand I can control what spikes me. Once I get more funds I will join the ecourse but I’m determined to not ruin my relationship with fear! Thank you truly for this site that has opened my eyes to my normalcy. I’ve eternally thought I was a freak.

  • Elizabeth

    I realize I’m far from the first to say this, but your timing is, yet again, impeccable. I’ve been feeling so much better over the last month or so, but I n some senses waiting for the bubble to burst. My boyfriend and I just returned to Colorado today after a week with my family in NY. I was rocked by grief, deep sadness I could not articulate, and many feelings of rejection, inadequacy and shame. Simultaneously, I returned to questioning “is he the one?” “Why isn’t he stronger, more financially secure, etc?” Thanks to you and this work, I know my inner child is begging for time alone, and self-care I’ve neglected for nearly 10 days, as well as permission to feel the grief of the family I wish I had to return home to. Thanks Sheryl, for the timely reminder.

    Elizabeth

  • Jessicabythebay

    Thank you so much, Sheryl. I’m 2 weeks away from my wedding, so this came at the perfect time for me. It’s an odd thing, to be trying to make all the “right” decisions about my wedding and to be simultaneously letting go of making the “right” decision in marrying my fiance. I don’t know if it’s the right decision. It’s so nebulous. I believe he is a loving choice, but I have no idea what the future holds. Much easier to choose and feel solidly about the napkin colors. But, your work has helped me see that I can hold that paradox, making space for all of it, and being compassionate with myself through it all. I wouldn’t be where I am without you and your work, Sheryl. From the bottom of my heart and being, thank you.

    • Many blessings to you, Jessica, as you approach your wedding day. The choice is, indeed, a nebulous one, and the more you can hold the paradox, as it sounds like you’re doing, the more graceful the transition will be.

  • Dear Sheryl,

    After 40 years in therapy, on and off but mostly on, I came across the term “Relationship OCD”. In my research of that topic I found your website. Reading your insights, so beautifully written, has been wonderful for me. Always believing early childhood trauma and an enmeshed relationship with my mom were the reasons I couldn’t stay in a relationship brought me untold suffering and kept me seeking a therapist who could heal my inability to stay in a relationship. Not one ever saw that my problem was relationship anxiety. Because you describe the symptoms so accurately and give them a name, you have been very helpful. I’m in the best relationship of my life. Thank you for sharing your wonderful insights and beautiful soul.

  • Valerie

    Ah! Thank you so much for this post! Last March (2014) I had a break-down in which I became convinced that my boyfriend of 4 years was not the one. Throughout my internet searches (starting with “how to know when to break-up” and morphing into “relationship anxiety”) I found your wonderful blog. My boyfriend and I stayed together, and just became engaged two weeks ago! This blog post is especially timely. I feel myself coming down from the initial high of getting engaged and here come those thoughts! “What if…” I already bought your book, The Conscious Bride, and can’t wait to use it as a tool throughout this process. Thank you for your guidance.

  • Angela

    Hi Sheryl,
    Those words are exactly what Ive said to myself in the past and i do question my life with my husband is he the one. Even though I know in depth of my core. I have been wondering Sheryl, has my anxiety triggered from having a controlling mother and father? they always seemed to make it clear to me by telling me. If they dont like the guy i choose to marry and they dont approve they dont want to be in my life. I think my parents have contributed to my relationships failing.. They enjoyed interfering.. Not now they dont.

  • Megan

    I needed this right now. Thank you so much.

  • Holly

    Hi Sheryl, thank you for your work. I wondered if you would be willing to write a post about career uncertainty, and the attempt to find a “purpose”. I, for one, have done tons of self-exploration and exploration in the world and have yet to arrive upon a “passion” that would translate into a career of sorts. I wonder if any of your other followers have experienced this. There’s a lot of talk these days about following passions/bliss, but as someone who’s followed passion all my life, and still not found something career-wise, I wonder if there is something to be said for having a career that just pays the bills? Would this be a similar issue to the one you most often speak of – that is expecting to find a perfect mate while feeling uncertainty/anxiety about your current one? Is the “career god meant me to have” equally ambiguous?
    Thank you Sheryl

    • It sounds like you answered your own question ;). But yes, this topic has been on my mind and heart for a while now, and I will write a post about it. Stay tuned.

      • Anne

        My husband has been struggling with this same career topic. He’s gotten to a place where he feels okay with his job paying our bills and his family being his passion because he knows he’s fortunate to work with kind people in a positive environment. Nonetheless, it’s definitely a challenge to have a “good enough” job mentality in a culture that says things like “if you find a career you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.”

  • Denise

    I really needed this today. I must say, the way you approach anxiety is just lovely. I thank God for letting me find your blog. It has helped so much. I am planning on taking one of your courses when I have the money saved up.

    Right now it feels like so much of my life is just falling apart and moving towards different directions and its so stressful and confusing. I am learning that I am projecting this on my lovely boyfriend, when really it doesn’t have to do with him.He is wonderful, and his own realistic take on life has helped a lot. He is also in the military which is part of why I have had to learn to not be so codependant. I love that you teach about relationships between two independent people.

    I have started journaling and am working on turning inward as you teach. I feel like my relationship anxiety has gotten better in some ways. In other ways it still needs work. I feel like today I realized that I have a hard time completely letting my guard down with my boyfriend in the way I do with family. I don’t let myself just be comfortable, instead I seem to be on alert most of the time with him. This is probably what I fear will be the hardest thing for me to overcome. Sometimes I’m scared I’ll never be able to be fully relaxed with him. But your website has given me hope that it is possible to overcome things of this nature. And this hope is something I am so very thankful for!

    🙂 Thank you for sharing your work with the internet so people out there like me can benefit from such a wonderful way of handling anxiety!

  • Christina

    Yes I love it!!! This helps my anxiety so much. You may be the 0.01% love at first site person but don’t count on it. You’ll never be 100% sure. Thank you so much!!

  • faith

    Yes Sheryl! This is perfect timing. Being anxious-sensitive I do feel I attract all the bad luck. Everyone around me seems to be having an easier time, have more things to be happy about.
    I am going through a transition myself; my employer is relocating me on less hours. My husband earns little, we have a real fixer upper house on our hands and he is recovering hoarder, fighting against acquiring more stuff and not keeping what he already has. We argue, mostly because I nag him, being in a perpetual state of anxiety. He is a lovely guy, but the stress he is faced with has changed him a bit. Wish things would turn around and make our lives worth living

  • H

    I certainly agree that these posts come at the right time. My friend has asked me the other week if my partner was the one. And I said to him….how will you ever know? You can feel it sometimes hut then sometimes you won’t. So unfortunately there is no way of telling because nobody knows what the future holds. But what I can say is, I now strongly believe you can choose for your partner to be the one (within reason). I am choosing my partner to be the one because he makes me laugh, we both wants kids, marriage and a house, we have the same views on friendships, relationships and work ethics. We both agree that relationships take hard work (purely because both our parents are still married) He gets on amazingly with my family and my friends, so this for me is purely the reason, or reasons I am choosing him to be the one

  • Talespinner77

    Hi Sheryl,

    This hit home once again. I have been slowly integrating my inner child through therapy & I am in the hardest transition I have ever had. The discomfort is intense of really not knowing anything. I feel as though my base has been ripped from me & this feeling of wholeness feels all to full now if that makes sense. I turn to your words & remember it is a transition, loving kindness is so important. Since this isnt a commonly written about thing with the after integration process information is hard to find so I want to say thank you. And yes we dont know & its ok. And on a side I still choose my partner every day because I want to, because I can look past the things I used to find unsavory but have now grown to accept & love about him. Thank you Sheryl, your kind words keep me going.

  • Katherine

    Sheryl,

    What beautiful sentiment you bring to all your posts. I was feeling uneasy this week as the tinges of fall are beginning to surface here in Canada and along with it the prospect of the inevitable cold and brutal winters. As a member of your Conscious Bride and Open Your Heart courses, I am really coming to acknowledge that I have always been sensitive to seasonal changes but made to feel like there was something wrong when I cried at the end of summer, and when the dark days of winter began to occur more frequently. Luckily, with the aid of some of your tools I was very quickly able to pull back from projecting my unease onto my partner. I realize that I need to invite these feelings (even though they are ones of unease) into my being and take in the entirety of feelings that I encounter as the seasons change.

    Thank you once again for providing solace and guidance!

  • liz

    Thank you for all your insights Sheryl,
    Since becoming familiar with your work I learned to identify the voice of my WS, which has been present since day 1 of my relationship of 7 yrs ago back when i was 17, it said:

    *he’s just a friend, you’re confused
    *you’re a kid, you can’t know
    *heartbreak is mandatory for everyone
    *love is not enough, life will interfere
    *plus he’s too ____ he should be more like ______
    *he doesn’t make you feel ________
    *if you stay you’re settling and scared to be alone
    *he’s in your way, you’d be more fulfilled without him

    It’s helped me so much to remember how we got together back in highschool, he said he found it a little strange that despite being spiritually inclined, I seemed to be very fearful and distrustful of life. He said that even though he didn’t believe in God, he had faith in himself and faith in me because he loved me. He asked me to trust that no matter what the outcome, we’d be ok and that any pain or sorrow would eventually pass. We’re good people, we’ll be good, please trust, he’d say.

    It’s funny to be revisiting this “lesson” far into a future that I had told myself so many years ago wasn’t possible. I’m learning not to judge myself for those thoughts and my relationship anxiety. I’m trying my best to trust, regardless whether he is “the one” or not, things are unfolding and will unfold exactly the way need to. Which brings me to ask about the topic of enmeshment particularly between parents and children. I have a highly enmeshed relationship with my parents, where fear, guilt and shame have played principle roles.
    Once again thank you for all the work that you do,
    It’s a breath of fresh air in a sea of fear for so many!
    <3

  • Laura

    Beautiful <3 Thank you for what you do Sheryl!

  • Nicola

    Sheryl,

    I have been following your work for some time now. Your articles on relationship anxiety resonate with me in a way that no other therapy has. It is incredibly discouraging and indeed fuels the anxiety when there is a resounding “you NEED to leave him” advice that is given from most on relationship boards across the world. I have read just about every article there is to read on this topic! And over and over again at that. Looking for the same answer. Some days (as it has been today) the anxiety is so debilitating, it is hard to get out of bed. It is hard to remember why I choose to stay in a relationship that is making me miserable. It feels as though relief is just on the other side of a break-up and some days I all but have to force myself to not run away. These feelings are what make me think that I’m staying in the wrong relationship for the wrong reasons – yet I can’t bring myself to leave.

    There are no red flags – I have had numerous moments of feeling that my boyfriend is “the one” and that we are compatible enough to spend the rest of our lives together. Sometimes I think it is the lack of drama and toxic excitement between us that makes me feel this anxiety. At his core he is so giving and so kind. He is gentle and silly and truly a loving person – I could go on and on. And most of all, he loves me wholly and unconditionally. Yet I focus on his flaws, I focus on what he isn’t and dismiss what he is. I know at my core that there is no perfect person out there and though I’m convinced that my anxiety would at least be significantly reduced should I be with someone who is that much more compatible, I know that is a lie as well. I feel like this anxiety will inevitably kill any sort of meaningful relationship I try to have as this isn’t the first time these doubts and negative feelings have plagued a relationship. I want more than anything to share my life with another person yet I feel more comfortable and “happy” when I am single as I don’t experience any of these crippling feelings.

    • Neth

      Sounds just like me! I felt the same way for her it’s too hard to determine whether what I’m doing is love or some kind of care. It’s really complicated

    • Mary

      I sometimes am astonished but mostly touched that stories on this blog are so similar to mine. Nicola, I could have literally typed your words. On the bad days it is so hard to remember why I am staying and to see anything good in the relationship I have with my boyfriend (even though there is nothing bad in our relationship, other than my weird, unpleasant feelings about it) and on these days I belittle my feelings and experiences on the good days. Like you said: ‘I have had numerous moments of feeling that my bf is ‘the one’ and that we were compatible enough to spend the rest of our lives together’, I have had those too, uncountable moments… and I still have them during my anxiety period. But when the bad days follow, I have bad thoughts about those good days: I just create it in my head/ I just want it to be that way but it isn’t/ etc. But I try to hold on. Something is keeping me with him.. Accept the rational reasons I can think of (he is kind, loving, understanding etc, our relationship works and we have the same values), it is also ‘something’ I can’t let go of.

      Lately I also had the thoughts about being single, because that would make me more happy and comfortable. But then I think about the last period I was single, and I was just as often unhappy and uncomfortable as I am now.. I was sad when dating did not work with someone, or when all my friends went on a holiday with their partner, or when I was only attracting unavailable people who only wanted shallow contact. I had no real anxiety about it, but I could still be miserable at some times.. When I write this, my thoughts immediately start: ‘it sounds like I just want to be alone, that is why you are staying’. But luckily this thought won’t get me, because I know I can be alone and I know I have kept my promise to stay alone untill I met someone who would treat me the way I deserved: someone who is kind, lovely, respectful, trustworthy and with whom I feel safe enough to be myself for a 100%.

      I don’t know if it helps you to read that there are people having the same doubts and thoughts, but in case you do I hope my message helped. Good luck with everything!

      • H

        Nobody would ever grow as a person if they just gave up on a relationship when times got hard. Even if hard times meant issues in your head or not! This is only making you stronger, and will help you grow as a person.

      • Nicola

        Mary,

        Thank you so very much for your extensive and thoughtful response. I can’t even tell you how much these responses have helped me since I posted yesterday. It truly is medicine for the soul to know you are not alone in feeling these dark and all-consuming emotions. As you stated in regards to your relationship, my relationship with my boyfriend is also very much above average aside from my anxieties about it. And YES to your statement – “it is also ‘something’ I can’t let go of”. Aside from the rational reasons, even when I feel like screaming “I just can’t do this anymore, this is too hard”, I always seem to pull through even if it means hours on hours of crying and feeling desperate. But then I start to question – “Is it because I have such a deep-seated fear of being alone and ‘out there’ (I live thousands of miles from my family and friends and where I grew up) that I can’t let him go? Am I just using him as a temporary security blanket because I have no one else?” Which doesn’t even make sense when I think about it because I already KNOW I can be on my own and I usually feel stronger on my own at that because I’m not bombarded with relationship doubts! Anxiety is so tricky.

        And as you’ve said about being single – I feel like when I get into a relationship, the anxiety attaches to it because it’s the easiest culprit for it to blame the negative emotions on. I seem to fantasize that my life would be so much better if I were single because I wouldn’t have these worries – yet my mind seems to negate the fact that yes, I wouldn’t have THIS worry (relationship anxiety) but I would have other worries that would feel just as debilitating. I have had obsessive thinking tendencies that have cycled through various themes since I was a child – ranging from being gay to being afraid I would hurt someone to thinking I had a severe physical illness. I know that while leaving the relationship would likely offer me temporary relief, it would not be a long-term solution. Another anxiety would creep up – this is what helps me to believe that the relationship itself is not causing the anxiety but a deeper issue.

        I hope you are able to find solace in my post as I found in yours. Thank you again and I hope to help you in the future as you have helped me. All the best.

        • H

          I can relate to your last paragraph. I have had anxiety all my life since I was very little. I have worried about everything and anything you can think of. My friends and family would always be like ‘WHAT?!’ when they heard what o was thinking because they thought it was ridiculous! But that just shows it is not your relationship it is something in yourself you need to work on. I agree when you say that it would be a temporary relief but then you would find something else to worry about, so it is not about your partner at all, it is about you. I hope you get this sorted because it is a horrible feeling, good luck!!

          • Nicola

            Thank you for the insight, H and I completely agree with you. The anxiety is a call to turn inward as much as it tries to convince me that it’s external circumstances.

        • Mary

          Thank you Nicola, ofcourse your post helps me!
          Just like you I also had other fears. I had pannick attacks several years ago (still don’t know why), I am always very scared I have a physical illness, or I can think for hours what people think of me. Even during my relationship I have had different fears. Firstly I was scared he would leave me, then I was scared that one of us would get sick or would die and we would not have this happy life together I had imagined and after that fear left, now this fear is at the surface. Constantly assessing our relationship: is the way I feel the right way to feel? Is the way we are together, the right way to be together? How do you know what is right, how do you know what is wrong? Why do others seem to have figure that out and why can’t I?

          What I do know is it would be easier to break up, for sure.. but the idea of never being with him again makes me incredibly sad and seems an unrealistic option. And I never did life the easy way, so I will push through, like I always did. Breaking up would give a temporary relief as you said, but I think I would go crazy without him and this would also give me troubles and maybe also resulting in constantly thinking ‘What if we would have stayed together’.. I still want to fight, because we have moments that are worth it. I just have to learn to live with the uncertainty and live in the moment, but I am just so scared to discover in the moment that I don’t want to be with him anymore. When I write it down it always seems so weird how me thoughts go in all different directions. But I am happy I discovered here that I am not the only one.
          We will get there, make the best out of today!

  • Porter

    Hi Sheryl

    What a great post and always at the right time. I just signed up for the ecourse and what a blessing it has been so far.
    Lately I have had the sensation that when I tell my partner I love him, I feel like I am lying. It’s like I can never say it and feel “full” and honest when I say these words. I also feel this way when we are just relaxing and having fun. I always have this little shadow following me making me feel like I’m fake and I am not truly having fun. It is literally seconds before this sensation comes on and I feel like I’m not being real. I was wondering what your thoughts were on this? Again, your site is amazing and I am so grateful to have found it.

  • Angela

    Hi Nicola, I precisely thought the same way as you. I can exactly relate to your frustrating and exhausting experiences.
    By you acknowledging it here on this blog is a great start. Your putting out there.. Which means your honest about it.. And your not hiding your personal feelings. Like me, you feel alone. Your not doing it alone anymore. When your understood thats when you have the courage to keep fighting for love. xo

  • Liz

    I’m currently in a relationship with my ex-boyfriend. We were apart for 3 mos. before getting back together two months ago. I understand our first relationship had to end because it was causing me pain and he didn’t know how to handle it (he had issues getting over his ex and being fully present). Even in these short 3 months apart it seems like he changed a lot. He is more connected to me, he listens when I have some sort of anxiety attack (what I let him see since I want to protect him from all of the storm), he’s nice, funny, family oriented, we share a lot of common interests and see us as a good couple. He thinks I’m awesome and coolest girl. We have a lot of ease together. I feel safe in the relationship this time around. He’s giving me almost everything I said I wanted with someone.

    For the last month I’ve been battling with severe relationship anxiety until I found this site. Only from reading the articles I’ve been able to identify that since I’m unsatisfied with my current job and have not found my passion, it triggered my fear of loss (he has a new passion and by pursuing it, he will find me less interesting and leave). What sometimes I can’t shake off is this believe of the butterflies… Should I feel so… normal when I’m with him? What if he still thinks of love as just this inexplicable thing? Am I just scared of being vulnerable again and that’s why I keep thinking we should “just be friends”?

    This website has been God sent!

    • H

      I feel like this too sometimes. I know what you mean about feeling ‘normal’ as if in not loving. I used to all the time but I don’t that much anymore. But with the help of this site o am having faith in sheryls posts and advice and following what she has said for all of us to do. Sometimes I worry that my boyfriend thinks you have to feeling loving all the time so if I tell him I don’t all the time etc and you have to base a long term relationship/marriage on much more than a feeling then o worry he will dump me because he thinks that I don’t love him enough! So I totally understand what you mean x

      • Liz

        Yes! But when I feel like that I’m trying to see that it’s just part of the transition. Deconstructing an idea of love and building a new belief is hard and sometimes slightly exhausting and by what I’ve read here is all part of the process.

        I also sometimes feel like he doesn’t open up to me and I try to look for his good qualities and just can’t seem to find them (but they’re there for sure) and I get an anxiety spike like “I don’t know this person, I can’t name anything good about him… how can I love him?”, but then I look inside and see this is mostly a projection. I’m the one who has more trouble opening up (he’s more reserved anyways) and my fear takes over and clouds everything else.

  • Nicola

    Hi Angela,

    Thank you for your response and kind words of encouragement. How did you begin to overcome those feelings? Right now it feels like there’s only one way out (ending the relationship) because it feels impossible that I could view him and our relationship in a positive and loving light due to the intensity of the anxiety and depression. Any advice is greatly appreciated.

  • Nicola

    Hi Neth,

    I can absolutely empathize with you. It can be very difficult to open your heart and become vulnerable to another person. I think having an outlet such as Sheryl’s blogs and her e-courses for us to find others who are struggling and connect with and learn from them is a wonderful first step. When you say “if I will be growing my love for her with more time”, are you meaning that you think you don’t feel as strongly and the feelings will eventually come?

    • Neth

      As of now I don’t feel strongly for her. But there is something inside me that clings to her. I keep searching myself whether I’m disconnected to my own life that I keep projecting badly about her. She’s so understanding, loving, supportive to me. I don’t want to let this go due to lack of feelings and overthinking. I am not getting attracted to other girls but only to her. It really feels so weird and depressing since it affects my present situation with her and future. Sometimes I don’t feel having conversation with her online and through text messaging, but it feels different when I’m with her that I’d rather be with her than virtually. I can’t afford the e-course since I’m a student. Thanks for all your help! I really appreciate it.

      • Nicola

        Neth, you are not alone. I have had numerous thoughts of “well I don’t feel that strongly for him now (or how I think I SHOULD feel about a significant other) but maybe in a few months time I will”. And a few months will come and go and I still don’t feel that I have the feelings I should for him. We have been together for almost a year and I still feel this way to this day. Even though we have a loving, independent, supportive and all around great relationship on paper, I don’t feel the way I think I should feel. And you are right, it is depressing. It makes me question – “Am I just with him because he loves me and there’s no real reason to let him go even though I don’t feel the intensity with him that I have in the past?”

        I’m not sure if you feel this way but sometimes I feel like an awful person for what I think is “stringing him along”. It feels like I won’t let him go because he loves me and on some deeper level I need that love even though I feel like I can’t give him that same love in return.

        • Neth

          I feel it too. It’s like we are on the same page! I feel bad that I’m just forcing myself to her 🙁 it really stresses me out but there is no problem in our relationship just normal ups and downs.

  • Morgan

    I love this sheryl; and as usual- just what I need to read at this exact moment. My husband and I are moving away from the place we’ve both lived for several years and the transition of moving is brining up so much that is unhealed inside me. One of these things is that there was a man in my past before I met my husband and I still wonder “what if”. I had the immediate “chemistry” with him but I didn’t have that with my husband. In your book quote, I had a spike of anxiety from “well if he’s not for you; believe me, you’ll know right away”. When I met my husband, the first thing I did when I saw him was turn to my friend (who is very different from me) and say “he seems like your type, you should talk to him”. I didn’t feel like he was my “type”, I didn’t have an instant chemistry feeling and it even took several dates before I even considered him in that way.

    I have been married for 3 years now and together for 7…it scares me that I still think of this ,an from my past and our instant “chemistry”. I want to move on from this and just completely “be” with my husband… But during times of transition I find myself always coming back to this other man.

  • FrenchCDN

    This resonated with me, I read it in the middle of the night during one of my moments of insomnia.

    I am in a new relationship with a wonderfuman who, as everyone else says, is kind, loving, intelligent,etc. And yet I am plagued with doubt.

    I just purchased the e-course yesterday and started looking through it and I have to admit that it has spiked my anxiety more as I am having difficulty to relate since it speaksa lot about engagement anxiety (in lesson one at least). But I am hoping that by pushing through and doing the exercises I will be able to come through with some clarity.

    When I met my boyfriend I was 9 months single after an 8 year relationship. I had just started dating to “see what’s out there” and never thought this would develop into anything past 2-3 dates. Therefore I did not take the whole thing very seriously. But as I got to know him I saw that he “checked off all my boxes” in the things I wanted to have in a partner and I thought “Oh crap, this could actually be something more”. And that’s when the anxiety kicked in I think.

    This article resonates with me as I think one of my big fears in uncertainty. I have discovered that I am actually a very anxious sensitive person and I need assurances in life to move forward. Everything needs to be calculated and all possible outcomes need to be known before I act. In my last relationship of 8 years I felt so sure we would be together forever. Problem is, this led to a unhealthy relationship for me where I gave up all my needs and wants to satisfy him and make sure he wanted to stay in the relationship (something I have come to understand is a classic pursuer/distancer pattern according to Sheryl!). But it seems the break-up shattered my confidence in myself and my capability of making good choices. And I doubt everything.

    I seem to have come to a point where I tell myself that I am trying to force soemthing that just won’t work with my current partner and will never be truly happy with him. But then when I am with him (and anxiety is not taking over) I am happy and having fun.

    I tell myself that I do not want anxiety to make a decisionm for me. If I am to break up, I want to do it because I am fully aware this will not work out. Not because I am scared.

    I guess that’s it for now and that I will see some of you on the forum!

  • Angela

    Hi Nicola, sounds like your in a loving relationship, just as I am. The advice I can give you from Sheryls advice.. Is to sit with the thoughts dont question them let it ride through you. Dont panic and if anyone asks are you ok? Just fake it and say im little under the weather. Why i say this with my experience if you tell a work colleague that ur suffering from anxiety they will give you the wrong advice and tell u to leave ur loving and healthy relationship, and you dont want that to happen. Journaling, breathing, walking, listening to soft music helps me so much. It does get easier with time. Have you done the wedding ecourse? if you havent i strongly advise you do.

  • Chrissy

    If we have nothing to talk about is that a bad thing? We have tons in common and so far work really great together, but what do we talk about?

  • Ryan

    Thanks for this Sheryl! I have found through counseling and your blog that most mature adults know what real love in a long term relationship entails. One annoying thing our culture tends to do that doesn’t help the anxious ones, is how they react to their friends and family meeting the “one”. We tend to celebrate the early parts of a relationship. Get excited for them when eyes just met across the room, or butterflies after the first date, or the engagement stories. We don’t acknowledge their fear though. We tell them their should be none. We don’t celebrate post marriage relationships much. We all party on the big day, but then walk away and just assume the couple lives happily ever after with no problems, or gets divorced. We don’t offer advice or lend an ear when our friends are troubled that the loving feeling has gone away. We tell them it’s a bad sign and they should reconsider their relationship. We aren’t honest with them that many of us feel the same way, that feelings ebb and flow in a relationship, and we shouldn’t expect fireworks every waking moment. It’s like confessing your anxious about your relationship is somehow a sign to others to give advice that you should leave. It’s very hard. It’s very troubling. When you need support, you get the opposite disguised as the pursuit of happiness.

    • H

      Omg amazing Ryan! You are sooo right. Nobody tells you at all. So if you are young and in your first serious relationship and also being in the culture we live in we expect it to be like the first stages for ever and nobody tells us it doesn’t, so then young people’s perception of love is completely distorted. You have completely hit the nail on the head!

    • Well-said, Ryan. Thank you, and I may just quote you on that in a future blog post ;).

  • Scared

    For the last few days, I’ve felt so strange. Like I don’t care/want to be with my boyfriend anymore, but it makes me sad. It doesn’t cause me much anxiety, though, after 7 months of nearly constant anxiety, I’m afraid I’ve just came to a realization. I just keep cringing at things he does. But it makes me so sad to think about ending this. Does this mean that it isn’t relationship anxiety? Have you had cases like this before, Sheryl, that have been successful?

    • Nicola

      Scared, I can relate to this feeling. And from my personal experience, I don’t think it means that you don’t want to be with him anymore. There is a term called “back door spiking” which is used mostly in the OCD world but seems to apply to your situation here. Sometimes after feeling such intense anxiety for so long your brain kind of shuts down. You become apathetic and just don’t care anymore – when you start to notice the anxiety has subsided, a different kind of anxiety sets in as it has seemingly done for you. You get anxious that you aren’t anxious anymore! And more over, you think that that feeling MUST mean you truly don’t care when that isn’t necessarily the case. Anxiety is relentless, tricky and can take many different forms. It sounds like you don’t truly want to end your relationship but are afraid of what your recent feelings mean. Just know that you aren’t alone in that feeling.

      • Scared

        Thank you so much, Nicola. That makes sense. I just can like imagine myself moving on now and I don’t know if I truly want to or if it’s just my way of giving up because this has been so difficult.

        • Scared

          I just feel like I don’t have any other options anymore, like I have to do it. I’ll wake up and immediately think of it. I’ve became so disconnected from him and it’s mostly just been the past few days. I don’t understand. I don’t feel anxious about breaking up with him that much, except like regular breakup things and the awkwardkness in college because we have classes together. But why do I feel tortured by the idea of it too? Like I’m letting something good go? I’m having to keep myself from breaking up with him, but if he knew or anyone else knew I felt this way, they would automatically say to do it. But why have I struggled with this for over half a year just to come to the realization that I truly don’t want to be with him? Am I wrong and that it’s just that I’ve convinced myself overtime? I’m afraid it’s because I was ignoring it before. But I just feel like a big fake all the time. I don’t feel anything but trapped anymore.

          • Neth

            I’ve felt this over a couple of times during our the span of 5 months. It’s really tormenting but I keep staying with her without no reason. It’s so hard since whenever she asks me if I want her I can’t give a concrete answer. I can’t make her my girlfriend due to this thoughts, lack of feelings, lack of effort and enthusiasm maybe I’m not that into her. When someone tries to get her from me I’m not feeling anything but sometimes I’m feeling jealous, sometimes I also felt that she deserves someone better. It sucks since I’m providing her a roller coaster of emotions. I also know that breaking up is the easiest since it will give me peace, but at the same time selfish and unselfish decision for her to be happy instead of sticking with someone like me.

          • Neth

            It’s so hard and very stressful. I don’t even know if I’m being true to myself since I can’t pass this uneasy feeling but I care enough too much that I don’t want other guys to treat her badly or play with her or just use her for sex(sorry for the term). It really eats mevalive day by day. I know that she’s needy or possessive but I do feel the need to tend to her that’s what bothers me too it comes to a point that she keeps telling me that I don’t love her and I’m insensitive. It really makes me sad good thing that this website existed it’s like GOD sent. I also felt that she needs too much time but I also weigh since she’s there since the beginning when I have problems or during my dark days. I just don’t know what to do

  • H

    Does anyone struggle to stay in the present moment on their relationship? Since I started going out with my partner I knew he was someone that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. Even my mum was shocked to find that I felt this way about him so early on because it has always been unlike me! But as soon as we got settled etc I now struggle to sit in the present moment! I can’t seem to just enjoy the time we have together. I am either worrying about the future and what may happen and have all these what ifs etc or I am constantly excited about the future like marriage,kids etc. I have always been like this my whole life o have never been able to sit it in the present moment and enjoy it and have always found it kinda boring. I feel that by constantly thinking about the future (good or bad) I am trying to control and rush the future with my boyfriend so then I don’t have to ‘worry’ about what will happen because I will got everything I want without it ending right before we get to that part. Does anyone do this? It’s driving me mad!

    • Nicola

      Yes! H, I can totally relate to this. I think it’s a really common personality trait for highly sensitive people and those who struggle with anxiety. For me, it stems from the need to be in control and when I have everything planned out it gives me “security”.

  • Heather

    Thank you, Sheryl! I am on vacation with my husband and eight month old baby this week and relationship anxiety reared its head as we have struggled to get along in this totally new setting and family configuration (usually the longest we are together is the weekend because we both work full time, and we sometimes struggle then, too, since having our baby). Thanks for reminding me that this is normal, especially in the context of another major transition (i.e., our baby). I can breathe into it now, and it actually increases my confidence that we’ll find our way.

  • Lili

    Hi Sheryl,

    First of all, thank you so much for posting this and all the other posts that have helped me alot during this past month, particulary its comforting to know that Im not alone in my dark mind.

    I relate to the stories, only that I have been married for a long time. I have had anxiety issues from day 1 of my engagement. I was able to deal with it for some time (for a few years I was fine) but again the anxiety is back and its terrifyng!! My question is can I still benefit from “conscious wedding E course” since I have been married for a long time? Also is it possible for me to email you and discuss my situation briefly before I register for the course? Part of me thinks I fit in but it will help me clear my mind (and my constant doubt about everything!) before I register.

    • Absolutely. About half of the course members are not engaged (they’re either either dating or married), so you’ll be in good company. You may want to skip lesson 6 which focuses exclusively on the weeding day, but even the wedding work can be done retroactively. I encourage you to dive in!

  • Penelope

    I get stages where I am really attracted to my partner and then I get all these worries in my head that he might cheat, find a younger model etc. then a few weeks later I will feel unattracted to him and almost depressed wondering if he is the right one!! He is the best boyfriend I have ever had – kind, patient, trustworthy, respectful and with the same values and views on life. I have always worried myself sick about everything- my mum said even as a young child. So maybe this is just another form of fear?

    • Yep! Welcome to the club ;).

    • H

      You sound just like me! From a young age all I did was worry, worry, worry about everything. Then I got into my first serious relationship and when o thought everything was good and my life was complete then all the worries start gushing in and they disguise themselves into something else which can get really confusing! Sheryl has been a god send and I have a she will help you too!

  • Colleen

    I want to share my story to help others as you have all helped me so much! I stumbled upon this blog in the beginning of May after a full blown panic after a stressful vacation with my boyfriend. I was googling “doubt in relationships”, as many of you have, when I stumbled upon this fabulous blog. I felt as each post was written for me and normalized all of the horrible thoughts I was plagued with for the majority of my relationship. My ego fought tooth and nail on so many occasions to push my gentle, loving, silly partner away. At the time I thought it was my gut and leaving would be the only way to make it stop. But something in my mind knew this wasn’t a healthy response even though it was soooo powerful! I found this blog and devoured it. Reading every post and comment that responded it it. I learned so much about relationships, love, and how past wounds rear their ugly heads in adulthood. However, I think my take away message and most healing thing I learned was that love and marriage is a choice. I don’t think my partner is “The One” and no longer do I believe in “The One” because that idea alone makes me anxious. However I can wholeheartedly say he is the one I choose to build a life with and will be one of the best choices I make in my life. So this Friday my sweet, sweet partner proposed! I was completely shocked and surprised. I actually didn’t comprehend what was happening the first time and he had to re-propose!(I’m telling you this man is so patient!) And I said yes! I said yes to the proposal but also yes to so many other things. I said yes to love and to happiness. I said yes to the hard work and ups and downs that are a guarantee. I have to say though once I said yes and the initial shock wore off I was met with a feeling of calm and peace. I can honestly say that without the work and reading I have done on this blog I don’t think I would have been at such peace during such a big moment in my life. These last 2 days have been so much fun! Friends and family have poured out their love to us and it feels like my love gates have opened and poured out to my partner. I was resisting and fighting something so hard because I was fearful but now I get to say yes to something so lovely. I was recently listening to a podcast that talked about the importance of “finding your tribe” to help whatever you’re struggling with. This blog and community is definitely my tribe and I would just like to thank everyone for being so open and honest. Its been so incredibly healing. My partner and I thank you all so much! Hang in there, love is worth the hard work! I am going today to buy The Conscious Bride and a journal. I vowed that I will read the book and take some time to enjoy this new chapter of engagement with my Fiance before I dive into the distraction of planning. I hope to be a continuous learner on love and relationships! Thank you Sheryl!

    • Thank you, Colleen, for taking the time to share your story. I’m sure it will be a lifeline for many.

    • H

      Congratulations Coleen! I would like to hear more about what it was like for you with the anxiety? I find it really interesting hearing other people’s stories, especially the ones where you have come out at the other end 🙂 think my anxiety is finally falling away (hopefully) but I had a weird thought last night and that it was because I couldn’t be bothered to be excited about my partner last night o just felt a bit drained and really couldn’t be bothered to be chirpy. But I tried anyway! This has been going around in my head all day! Would you say this is normal? Part of me thinks this is normal but my useful doubtful self is not!

    • Laura

      Thanks for sharing, that is so encouraging! I too have been falling down the Google wormhole lately – which usually lands me in the ‘doubt means don’t’ land. I hope you keep us updated on your engagement journey. xo

  • Chelsea

    Sheryl I am going through the ecourse right now and I have a question. My boyfriend and I are both 23. We met after not seeing each other for 10 years. We were each others first boyfriend/girlfriend. After being separated by a changing school district, we found one another. He has a past that scared me a little. In high school he did drugs and even sold them. Then with the help of his parents he went to an academy, graduated on time, and stopped being involved in them. He has no criminal record and 1 speeding ticket.

    When I had met my boyfriend I had just ended a 2 year relationship with an emotionally abusive man who I always had anxiety about at the beginning. I was not attracted to him but stayed because I was attracted to his intelligence. Lol not a good trade off. He had just gotten out of a 4 year relationship with someone who admittedly doesn’t look or seem like a healthy partner. I can’t know for sure but I’ve asked some things. He met her when he was 19 and moved away on his own with her and her 3 children (she was 24 at the time, they are not his) and presumed the role of father and provider. Didnt learn how to make his own decisions as she called the shots. She has a drug problem and repeatedly has tried to find ways to contact him, he has blocked all forms of contact. My boyfriend has not given any indication he is doing drugs or anything but it scares me that he chose to be with someone like her (that also sounds judgmental which I realize). I know it’s the past. I just hope his past never twists and contorts into his future and then I have to leave.

    He also was just laid off from work and left his vehicle with her and her kids. He has never gone to college though he regrets not going. He made the decision to leave and says that I’m good for him and that I am responsible, loving, and very different from his ex. I just fear he won’t make the right decisions. Though he is looking for jobs and has an interview coming up and took a placement test for college. He’s trying and he does have savings. We are also young, I know he still has time to figure it out.

    But my fears are saying what if he doesn’t? Then you have to walk. I asked a few people their advice and some say positive things. Others say negative (you don’t sound thrilled to be with him, shouldn’t be having anxiety in the honeymoon phase, etc). Now don’t get me wrong my boyfriend is sweet, kind, loving, emotionally supportive in so many ways, hilarious, and he can hold his own with my family. He genuinely cares about me, I’m attracted to him, and early on he just seemed to be everything I wanted. He loved cats just like me, he has respect for women, he calls me to talk on the phone and wants to see me often. He brings me little presents just because. I just want him to be able to be in an adult relationship with me. We’ve talked about it. Which is also nice, we can talk about anything.

    I have been dating him for 2 and a half months. He said he loved me after a week and I said it back and everything was very intense and I was like OH MY GOD. One day I got irritated with him and thought this surely means I’m not “into him” and we’re doomed. On top of that my dad thought he “doesn’t make enough money.” Which right now he definitely doesn’t. I started questioning if I truly loved him, if things would balance out. If I should be infatuated just like him. My friend said he loved me more than I loved him and I said what?! I contemplated whether he’d be a good long term partner. What if we are too different? He is republican and likes guns and trucks, I was raised liberal with a mom who didn’t believe in guns. I don’t really have an issue with them as long as they are used safely. I worried about where we’d live and raise children. He was raised with tough love, alcoholic/chain smoking parents, etc. I was raised with a hostile schizophrenic father and submissive mother who never drank and trusted us to make good decisions (which we did or else live the wrath of our paranoid emotionally abusive father.)

    Basically my boyfriend has a past he is not proud of. He is not in the best spot currently and is learning what it means to be his own person outside of 3 kids and a girlfriend on drugs he’s paying bills for. I don’t love his past either. I also really want him to have a good future so we can be together. He seems to be figuring it out and is easily the most attentive boyfriend I have ever had. Is this a red flag? A lot of times my thoughts say what if you can’t get over the past, what if he doesn’t figure it out? Sometimes he makes jokes and he has street knowledge I’m not familiar with. Sometimes I wonder if I’m his rebound girl and why he said I love you so soon. Was it because he thought his infatuation was love? Or perhaps I was just so radically different (which no doubt I am) from her that he was happy to have found me? Basically my boyfriend didn’t have the best home life and relationships, he’s also somehow a man who is commitment oriented, loving, and open. However, we’ve got to get on the same page. I want him to have his own independence to be himself! That also includes helping make decisions and having his own friends and hobbies. Are these red flags? Are we just growing up? Am I “lowering my standards” as some say? I feel like some people think I’m an idiot for seeing something good in my boyfriend.

    • H

      Hey Chelsea,my boyfriend has a past too. One that he is not proud of. Drugs, violence etc but this was 10 years ago. He did have a reputation back then but he doesn’t really now, just people know who he is because of it . Sometimes I do think about it because he won’t even tell me the things he has done because he is ashamed. Sometimes I can’t stop thinking and I just want to know! But I think it’s mainly drugs. I think you just need to trust him and try to stop thinking about it (even though it’s hard). It will just eat you up. If he hasn’t given you a reason to be suspicious then I wouldn’t worry. But if he does give you a reason then I would think about the relationship twice. But it seems like you are just over thinking it of in brutally honest!

  • Maranda

    Is it possible to have anxiety for a year and then it just all of a sudden go away, yet still be ROCD? All I can think about are the things wrong with my boyfriend and I can’t connect to him anymore whatsoever. But it doesn’t make me anxious really, but it makes me feel stressed out. Like someone else said, I’m afraid I’ve just came to a realization.

  • Maranda

    Is it possible to have anxiety for a year and then it just all of a sudden go away, yet still be ROCD? All I can think about are the things wrong with my boyfriend and I can’t connect to him anymore whatsoever. But it doesn’t make me anxious really, but it makes me feel stressed out. Like someone else said, I’m afraid I’ve just came to a realization, but I don’t want it to be that, but I feel that I don’t have a choice.

    • Yes, that’s a very common trajectory for relationship anxiety: what begins as anxiety and even panic turns to emptiness and numbness. These are all manifestations of fear.

      • Maranda

        Thank you, Sheryl. I feel like I have so much proof that it’s just the relationship that I can’t let myself feel better. I read an article that said that relationship anxiety is only actually relationship anxiety if it contradicts how you feel. And although it did contradict my feelings the first few days, I have not felt anything for my partner in a very long time. I focus on every flaw of his and even feel embarrassed of some of the things that he says/does. I feel awkward around him sometimes now, like I’m a huge fake and don’t feel like being touchy with him, like he’s a stranger or just a close friend.

        • Maranda

          I try to see him the way I used to see him, with love in my heart, but I can’t anymore and that sounds like the end of the honey moon phase where you decide if you’re truly compatible or not. I’m wrestling with myself, trying to decide if breaking it off is the right thing to do, even if that means losing my best friend and making things awkward between us when we have to see each other several times a week in the college classes that we take together.

          • Nicola

            Hi Maranda,

            I can feel your angst through your posts – and I can completely empathize with your range of feelings. It can be difficult to recognize the various manifestations of anxiety and fear when you no longer feel that tense or panicky feeling. As Sheryl said, after some time it tends to morph into emptiness and numbness. I can’t even tell you the number of times I have been with my boyfriend and just felt absolutely nothing. Completely empty, completely numb, completely disconnected. More often than not, I feel this way around him. However, there are times (they usually only last a few days) when the emptiness lifts and I feel connected to him again. I feel in love and overwhelmed with gratitude that I haven’t given up and that we are still together. It is these moments which I cherish and which get me through the hard times. Even if you don’t have moments like these, you did mention that you used to see him in a different light – one that was probably very loving and caring. I think you could benefit from her e-course as it will help you to see that you are not alone in what you are feeling, that relationship anxiety runs extremely deep and often times is a result of emotional childhood wounds. It takes time to uncover it all and even more time to heal. Be patient with your feelings and with your healing process. Finding solace in others who can relate to your feelings is the first step. Know that you are not alone, and there are many other women (including myself) who have been (and still are!) in your shoes before and have been able to allow themselves to take part in a happy, healthy and loving relationship.

  • Maureen

    Hi Sheryl,

    I really enjoy reading your blog and it has helped me enormously. Many thanks to you.

    Question: Do you have any articles I could read regarding the topics you discuss when you are on the receiving end? What if you are in a relationship with someone who has the anxiety towards you? How do you cope with a partner who questions the little annoyances, and often seems irritated with you and is majorly afraid of commitment? My partner is amazing and wonderful and a great match for me but I think he battles with feeling like I don’t measure up in many minor ways. He picks at the little things I do and sees them as reasons for why we aren’t compatible. How do I learn to forgive and not feel irritation with him in return?

    very best and thank you again for the work you put into the world- Maureen

  • Sarah

    Hi, I have found comfort in reading this blog and the post and comments. Sometimes, however, I still struggle with the feelings I have. The man I am with is the most loving, supportive, and amazing man I have ever met. We met online and had a “friends”-only relationship for the longest time. I pushed and pushed to be in a relationship with him. There was just something about him that drew me to him and made me want to stay. We went through our own hard times and worked through them to eventually start dating. The day we started dating I was so excited and happy, glad to finally be in a relationship with someone so truly wonderful. That night, however, I woke up in the middle of the night and had feelings that my relationship wasn’t right and I should get out. We have only been dating for three months but these feeling usually comes and goes. Sometimes I see myself as being so in love with him and wanting to be with him more than anything, and then other times I feel so doubtful and unsure. I constantly question whether or not the relationship is right, or if I truly do love him. There is something about him that I just can’t let go of, and makes me stay, even in times when I think I should leave. This is not my first relationship, but I have never experienced these types of feelings before. The other relationships I was in were ones I never worried about. I have both broken up with someone else and been the one that was broken up with. I just truly don’t understand why I am not happy with this beautiful, amazing man that I can see myself marrying and having kids with. It makes me so very upset and frustrated to see that I have horrible anxious feelings that take over and manifest in my daily life. It has been hard to focus on anything else, and has greatly affected my eating and sleeping patterns. I hope that I can find comfort and happiness in being with someone who truly makes me so happy and is close to everything I could ever want. Is there any tips or revelations that have helped anyone else who feels this way? I am open to anything in order to push through these unwarranted feelings and make this work with my current partner.

  • Stef

    Hi there sheryl and anyone reading this,

    Firstly I’d like to say how much this website has helped me over the past few weeks. Reading the blog and comments from others has been great as I can see I’m not alone!

    My story is quite long but I’ve basically been suffering with relationship anxiety for at least 2 years now, maybe a little more. In short, I have been with another women for almost 4 years now and we had a great honeymoon period until about a year into our relationship where I started to be anxious about her leaving me or our spark going away and so on.. I was always anxious when she would hang out with friends and not me and always thought she might find someone else more fun than me. We struggled with this for a long while and eventually I tired to help myself by speaking to family and going to meditation class. These classes made my anxiety sky rocket! I was worse than I had ever been and in this time my anxiety started to transform a bit from anxiety about her leaving me to then anxiety about me leaving her or not being interested in our relationship anymore. I was completely crippled by thoughts and worries regarding this. In this time my partner was not handling my anxiety well, I suppose because we both didn’t really understand it and just thought we weren’t meant to be.. We fought all the time and had mini break ups I guess you could call them. One of these times I thought I had lost her for good and was a complete mess however I also felt some relief almost and this killed me the most and sent my thoughts and worries crazy. I was so sad and anxious about this. We got back together but I couldn’t shake that feeling or the thoughts anymore.. It was like I lost myself to these anxieties.
    Since then I have tried every method of holistic healing and I also see a pschologist. For a long time I thought and sometimes still have thoughts that my relationship just isn’t meant to be and we are just not right for each other and this was the reason why I had anxiety. My thoughts are always based around different things such as if I’m feeling that I love her enough, if I’m only with her because I don’t want to be alone, if I’m actually not a real lesbian and not being my true self and the list goes on…
    In the midst of these thoughts I sometimes have triggers where my anxiety will go the other way and I’ll be anxious about her leaving me again, which gets very confusing!
    My mind also takes me back to the past and I will analyse any detail of our relationship from the last few years that might have seemed like I only got into this relationship because I liked the attention or if I had any small doubts back then that I should have listened too.. I remember having a sickening feeling the first time my partner made a move.. She kissed me on the neck. She was very intoxicated and I didn’t tell her to stop but something inside me told me I didn’t like it. After that I never thought of that feeling again because the next day I found myself still wanting her and I put it down to just being scared and also guilt because she had previous dating a friend of mine and I didn’t want to be that friend that dated her friends ex. The difference is that then I didn’t really think of that sickening feeling and haven’t until recently when this type of anxiety came up. Now it feels as though it was this ‘truth’ that I should have listened to back then but didn’t..
    I try to sit with my anxieties and thoughts until they pass but it can get very difficult and I know I don’t want my whole life to feel like a constant battle with myself. It’s like I know what I want to think and feel but my mind doesn’t want to let me!
    I guess my transisition was going from being so anxious about my partner leaving me and when it felt like she was defiantly gone the anxieties didn’t know where else to go and had to find another outlet.. When we finally resolved things and worked hard at understanding each other and communicating better it’s as though the relationship finally became a serious one and we were then in it for the long haul and it scares me sometimes that now that it does feel more serious maybe it’s not what I actually want forever… Although I’d really like it to be..
    It’s hard to tell the difference between fears that come out as anxieties and what is actually real..

    Anyway, I have done a lot of rambling. It honestly just feels good to know I can maybe speak to others who are going through the same thing!
    I’d one day like to take this e-course I think it would defiantly help!

    Stef x

  • Albert

    Hi Sheryl, hi guys! Thank you for the website and for your comments, there are very helpful!

    I’m also dealing with the relationship anxiety and I have a question that bothers me the most – can I/do I have the right to be with my partner although I’m not sure if I love her or not?

    I’m willing to fight and do my best for this girl although I’m scared (it’s my third serious relationship, I decided to fight after ending the previous two), I used to go to a psychotherapist (now I don’t have enough money to attend regularly).

    I mean – I’m a patient person and I can learn about and deal with my anxiety for a long time. But is it okay to deal with it for months, years and still be in a relationship? Isn’t that lying to the other person? Is that fair?

    Best wishes to all of you guys!