Relief from Relationship Anxiety: Guest Post from the Conscious Weddings E-Course Forum

Another inspiring post from a member of the Conscious Weddings E-Course Forum. I’m reprinting it here with grateful permission from the author.

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On the one year anniversary of getting engaged to M, I just wanted to drop back in and share some perspective that I’ve gained in the past year in the hopes that it may help some of the new folks on this board.

I know that it can feel like you’re the only person going through the terrible doubt and anxiety, but please know that you’re not alone. Our society may try to tell you that you are alone, and that ‘doubt means don’t,’ but all you have to do is look at the plethora of movies and celebrity marriages focusing on the ‘butterflies’ feeling of being ‘head over heels in love’ (which then subsequently end a few months later when one partner ‘falls out of love’) to realize that our perceptions about love are completely skewed and out of whack!

I found Sheryl’s work and this forum last June, about 2 months before M and I got engaged. As a little bit of a backstory, M and I have been best friends for many years. He was the first person I would call when anything good or bad would happen, and he was the person I knew would always be there when I needed him. He was always my rock, and the best friend that I had ever had, bar none. He knew everything about me, including things that I had never told anyone before (I joke with him now that he must be a special person if he knows everything about me, and still loves me anyway ;-) haha).

The attraction was definitely one-sided at first: M was crazy about me, and knew that he wanted us to be together as soon as he met me. Me, not so much :-) . I put him in the ‘friend zone,’ and continued to date other people. Well, fast forward a couple of years (I’ll give him credit – he was definitely persistent and knew what he wanted!), and through a series of events centered around my health, I began to see M as more than just a friend. We started dating, and moved in together about 6 months later. I was completely on cloud 9  and couldn’t believe how ‘in love’ I felt with M; I just wanted to marry him and spend the rest of my life with him.

Fast forward again to last summer when we started talking about getting engaged, and I felt like my life was turned upside down; the anxiety hit me out of nowhere, and I suddenly didn’t know what I wanted anymore. Was this love? Is this what love felt like? What if it didn’t work and we got divorced? What if I wasn’t attracted enough to M? If I wasn’t attracted to him at first, how could I be sure that I was now? What if I was just convincing myself to like M because we ‘looked good on paper’? What if we’re more friends than lovers? Shouldn’t I feel completely and utterly in love with my partner 24/7? I shouldn’t feel like this when I’m getting engaged to someone I’m going to marry! How can I be sure this is the right thing to do? What if I wake up one day and realize that this was all just a horrible mistake? I could barely sit next to M without feeling suffocated, and wanting to scream ‘I can’t do this!’ Sound familiar? I told you you’re not alone! :-)

Well, my reassurance seeking led me to Googling (naturally haha)…which led me to read the countless articles telling me that ‘doubt means don’t,’ and that I shouldn’t be feeling this way about getting engaged. I honestly felt like I could barely breathe – I was terrified that I had to leave M, and that I couldn’t marry him. I was terrified that our relationship wasn’t ‘right’. I was terrified that I was making a mistake, and I was ready to run away from it all. Then through some miracle I found my way to Sheryl’s website. I started reading through the ecourse, and then eventually found this forum. For the first time, I felt like I wasn’t alone in dealing with this. And for the first time in my life, I started seeing a therapist to help me make sense of my anxious mind and tendencies that had always been present in my life (OCD thinking, reassurance-seeking, worst-case scenario thinking, generalized anxiety disorder, being a perfectionist and a control freak! etc.). What started out as one of the darkest times of my life has led to a period of growth, awareness, and peace unlike I’ve ever known before in my life. And I’m thankful everyday that my relationship anxiety started me on this journey. I know that you may feel like you’ll never get to that place, but trust me it is possible; I’m living proof of it, so please don’t give up! Keep fighting – it’s worth it, and so are you!

I just wanted to add a few other pieces of advice that I’ve gathered over the past year that have really helped me through this process. Hopefully they’ll help someone else out there too:

• Reading recommendations: Recipes for a Perfect Marriage; First Comes Marriage.

• DO THE WORK, and dig deep to find the core beliefs that are at the bottom of the anxiety well. This was really challenging for me. It sounds obvious, but you can’t just gloss over this stuff. It takes a lot of time and patience to really delve into the core feelings and beliefs at the heart of your anxiety, and doing so is necessary to moving through the anxiety cloud.

• Don’t put yourself on a timeline, or measure your progress against anyone else’s. It will only lead to disappointment! This one was really difficult for me as I’m very results-driven. But continuing to tell myself that by ‘such and such a date’ I should be over this anxiety only led to setbacks when that date would come and go without me being ‘cured.’ Which leads to my next point:

• Don’t expect to ever be totally ‘cured’ from the anxiety. For a highly sensitive person like myself, I’ve learned that I’m prone to anxiety about pretty much everything in life, and I’ve accepted that I pretty much always will be. I’ve had anxiety and panic attacks my whole life. Realizing this and accepting it was huge for me; in realizing that this is the way that I’ve always approached everything in life, I was able to call it out for what it was – anxiety – and not a sign that I was making a horrible mistake. But realizing that I’m prone to anxiety does NOT mean that I’ve accepted that I always have to be anxious. By realizing my tendencies, I’m working to take the power away from the anxiety, and putting the power back on me to change my anxious responses to things. And that will likely be something that I continue to put into practice throughout the rest of my life.

• Grieve when you need to grieve and feel all of the feelings, no matter how uncomfortable they may be. Don’t suppress the thoughts; when you try to suppress them, you’re giving them power! Simply notice them, and don’t attach meaning to them. I’ve really realized that almost everyone has uncomfortable thoughts at some point. The difference is that with those of us here, we immediately tend to attach significant meaning to those thoughts and accept them as fact. Whereas a non-HSP wouldn’t even think twice about them. As a HSP, I ALWAYS assume that I’m not ‘normal,’ and that ‘normal’ people don’t have those kinds of thoughts. It really helped me to remember that it’s not the thoughts that are the problem; it’s MY reaction to them. This is about me, and not about M.

• Realize that love is a verb – it’s an action, and a choice, it’s not a feeling. Feelings are fleeting. Real love is acting in a loving way towards someone, even when you may not feel like it sometimes!

• Realize that it’s okay to enjoy having some time to myself sometimes. It doesn’t mean that I don’t also love spending time with M – those two things are not mutually exclusive! That’s what mature love is: it’s not ‘I need you in my life, therefore I love you.’ It’s ‘I love you, therefore I want you in my life.’

• Realize that feeling disconnected from your partner is NORMAL sometimes. Anytime I get irritated at M or bitter or jealous or angry, I immediately start to feel disconnected. And when I start to feel disconnected, I don’t feel attracted to him (that has been a big issue that my anxiety has tried to focus on throughout this whole process), and when I don’t feel attracted to him, I get anxious and start having thoughts of ‘this is wrong, I shouldn’t be with M, I shouldn’t marry him, I shouldn’t feel this way, is this what the rest of my life will be like, etc.’ My anxiety really hones in on that disconnected feeling when I feel we’re out of synch, and tries very hard to convince me that our relationship feels wrong and forced because of it. I really realized how, instead of just assuming that the natural ebb and flow of a relationship will mean that sometimes you’ll jive with your partner and be completely on the same page and sometimes you’ll just feel out of synch or out of step, my reaction to feeling out of synch is to disconnect, which (in my anxious mind) *automatically* means that our relationship is wrong.

• Accept the uncertainty. Feel the fear and do it anyway. What has helped me the most as I’ve gone through this process is realizing that, if this really was about M and not about me, and I decided that the relationship wasn’t right for me, then that was my truth. It’s terrifying to accept that, but honestly, accepting it is the ONLY way I found peace – continuing to fight it will only make things worse. And is it really much scarier than how you’re feeling now? Asking myself that was how I finally convinced myself to stop fighting that thought, and to stop giving it power. I was sick of feeling the way that I did and I had to make a change. Once you’re able to allow that thought in and stop fighting it, you’ll have your answer. It sounds simple, but I know how hard it is to do! For me, my truth is that it’s not about M; it most certainly is about me. Accept the fear and uncertainty that come with allowing that thought in…it sucks, but it’s necessary to move through the process. I had countless people say that to me when I first started here, and I always *thought* that I was doing it, but in reality I was still fighting it because I didn’t *want* my truth to be that I shouldn’t be with M.

Deconstruct and reconstruct your ideas about love and realize that everyone will fall out of love with the fantasy of love at some point in their lives. I 100% believe that everyone will have to deal with this shattering of false beliefs related to love sometime in their lives, and will have to do the work that we’re doing now. For some of us (those of us here on this board), it’s during our engagements and the beginnings of our marriages. For others (largely the ‘doubt means don’t,’ ‘you have to be 100% sure’ believers), it’s when they ‘fall out of love’ with their partners somewhere down the road during their marriage. The difference is, we’re learning about the truth BEFORE we get to that point, and we’re grieving the loss of that fantasy before-hand, and for that, I feel fortunate.

93 comments to Relief from Relationship Anxiety: Guest Post from the Conscious Weddings E-Course Forum

  • DCS

    I am so grateful to whoever wrote this post, it has given me a glimmer of hope when I really really needed it. There are a lot of parallels between your story and mine. I started off just being friends with my now husband for 2 years, he says like your fiancee that he knew as soon as he met me that he wanted to be with me, but although I thought he was cute I didn’t really think of him like that. He eventually plucked up the courage to ask me out and I decided to give him a chance and although it took a few weeks for me to be sure I gradually fell in love with him and was happily living with him 18 months later.

    I couldn’t believe my luck, we are best friends, are attracted to each other, get on so so well, I trust him and can rely on him 100% and he makes me laugh like you wouldn’t believe! Everything was great (including surprisingly the last 2 years where we have been engaged and looking forward to the wedding). Exactly the same thing happened to me as it did to you, but unfortunately it was a week before the wedding, the timing couldn’t have been worse. I had a panic attack over the same thoughts as you describe popping into my head out of nowhere and since then I’ve been in hell. I went through with the wedding which was difficult to say the least (as I knew I couldn’t call it off based on a week’s doubts out of nowhere) and the last 4 months since the wedding have been without a doubt the worst of my life when I expected them to be the best. I am on antidepressants and am seeing a therapist twice a week who says I have projected a build of anxiety about other things onto my husband and that this is a symptom not a cause, but its so hard to not believe that all this means that our relationship isn’t right. I can’t feel my love for him and I’m terrified of the future with him, I get so anxious when he talks about buying a house,although we’d been happily planning this for months before. I can identify with all the personality traits you mention (perfectionist, control freak, worst case scenario thinking, anxious) and can see logically how this affects me but I can’t stop thinking this might be my real feelings. Your advice is great and makes lots of sense but my problem is accepting it how I feel and not letting it worry me. I think I’ve managed it for a few days then I get anxious again because my loving feelings don’t come back and it starts me off all over again. I too am terrified my truth is that the relationship isn’t right for me, I guess I’ve just got to work on accepting that and try let the anxiety subside and see what happens then.

  • Sarah

    Really great post! I am also someone who went through a lot of anxiety post-engagement, and while it was without a doubt the darkest, most draining, and emotional time of my life I don’t regret it at all. We both learned so much from that time, and it’s made our marriage a lot stronger to have gone through that before getting married. My husband and I were recently talking about the “love feelings” waning, and realized while we both go through some periods of feeling disconnected, or lonely neither of us have this expectation that we “should” feel in love all the time. I really think that’s a blessing and a protection, and while I don’t know for sure I feel safe in saying I don’t think we’ll hit that crisis of “where did the feelings go?” because we’ve dealt with tons of that already.

    DCS, my heart really does go out to you! I totally relate to the worry you’re expressing. I remember too, feeling like “maybe I’ve got it,” and then having a panic attack again, and feeling hopeless…which would trigger the “what-if’s” and “shoulds” all over again. It really is a process. I think the biggest turning point for me came when I finally said to myself “that’s it…if I’m anxious every day until my wedding, that’s ok. If I’m anxious for months after, that’s ok too.” Turning my internal attitude away from time demands and “when will this be over” to accepting my feelings and making room for them was a small step in relieving the anxiety. Keep fighting (or maybe…keep doing the internal work and accepting:). It really does get better if you work at it!

  • DCS: One of the most difficult steps in this process of healing from relationship anxiety is recognizing that your anxiety actually has nothing to do with your relationship. As long as you believe the thought that you’re anxious because of him and that if you left you would be fine, you’ll remain stuck in the projection and won’t be able to move forward in your healing. Start to say, “I know this seems like it’s because of him, but I know it’s not,” and then ask yourself, “What am I really scared of?” It’s hard work, but worth it a thousand times over if it means not walking away from a loving relationship.

    • Hayley

      Like everyone else on here, reading these posts have been almost a god send. I’ve had issues with anxiety and OCD in the form of intrusive thoughts as long as I can remember however only now, 15 or so years on, have I decided to seek help. The tipping point being, obsessing over food, the fear of gaining weight and calorie counting. This I’ve struggled with for a year. A week ago however this was pushed aside by the thought that I don’t love my boyfriend of over 2 years any more. I literally went from being 100% sure he was “the one” and talking about wanting to marry him, and have his kids to feeling guilty that I didn’t love him. This has grown over the course of the week and has made me not want to see him as the feeling of anxiety and guilt will be too much. I’ve tried to envision leaving him, which seems to be the only way to feel relief from the thoughts but I’m unsure if this will only be a fleeting feeling. When I try to envision losing my boyfriend, a thought that use to make me sick to my stomach, I don’t feel anything which is frustrating me because I want a clear indicator that all these thoughts are completely unfounded. My mind won’t let me have a clear answer. I’ve vocalised this to him and he again was perfect saying he would do what ever I needed him to do to get through this which again just made me want to scream at myself to stop being stupid, you’ve loved this man beyond what words can say up until last week, this doesn’t just go away based on one thought. This was the man that I couldn’t stand being apart from, who I use to worry was going to leave me because he hadn’t text straight away, sounded flat after a long day at work or called me later than usual (again another issue with intrusive, consuming thoughts of doubt)

      I saw a councillor for the first time today and she believes the thoughts have no basis, and I’ve got some escitalopram 10mg to start on. Being a pharmacist I’m not overly pleased about this but the desire to get better has meant I’ve had to push this aside.

      Just thought I’d share my story in the hope that someone can help me see that every is going to be alright. I’m scared that the fact that I can’t get that sickening feeling of dread when I try to think of breaking up with him means that i should break up with him. I keep trying to remind myself that I’ve had intrusive thoughts for years and I can now look back on them and see how ridiculous they were and this is just the same thing, the thought that I may not love him scares me

      • Brianna

        Hayley I understand what you mean! I knew my boyfriend is the one that I wanted to spend my life with very early. I had no doubts or fears. No words could describe the amount of love I have (even though I can’t really feel it as much now)but I would get anxious when he wouldn’t text me back within a minute also. I was like that up until the day of the anxiety. I said the same thing, that it can’t go away based on one thought. I was terrified of losing him. Thats why I keep fighting. I was so happy the day before and then I was so miserable after one thought, so it couldn’t have gone in a day, but now its bee four horrible months and I just feel so empty. Do you feel empty? At first it was a sad empty but now I’m just empty. Not sad,angry,happy. I guess calm? What does that mean?!!?!

        • Hayley

          Yeh I can now, after a month of being very emotional and anxious, identify with the emptiness. I think this is the anti depressant now at work though. Still worrying, upsetting thoughts but almost a feeling of indifference. I’m going to continue to push on because, leaving my boyfriend is just not an option in my mind. I still can’t elicit a response at thinking of a life without him, however the image that does appear is me siting alone, at my family home. This is clearly, despite no emotional response,not a positive image. I feel that if breaking up were the correct choice, I’d see a life of freedom I guess, out enjoying my life.

          • Toni

            Hey Hayley

            I’m really keen to know how you are doing? Our stories seem to be very similar.
            Xx

          • Hayley

            Hey Toni, so sorry for the late reply. I’ve been doing very well, how about you? After a really rough time, I seem to be almost back to normal. As is expected, I have my set backs but I’m in a more positive mindset which makes dealing with the set backs a great deal easier.

            My boyfriend and I are talking about moving in together, and to begin with this did set me on edge but the more we’ve talked about it and started planning, I couldn’t be happier. I know everyone says this, and it use to frustrate me, but it is important to learn to let the thoughts be. I found the more a thought about all my worries, the more entrenched I became. I essentially was so consumed that I didn’t know what I was doing anymore, or what I was feeling. I use to analyse every little interaction between my boyfriend and I which is no wonder I felt nothing! Now everything seems more natural again.

      • Emma

        Hey Hayley,

        Glad everything is feeling better. Just sort of wanted to respond in case anyone reads this and felt the same way that you did. What you said about how you used to be consumed with doubt over whether he would leave you really struck a chord with me. With an ex-boyfriend I was CONSTANTLY seeking reassurance about whether he was tired of me, still loved me, etc. With the current boyfriend who is very loving and affectionate I never have doubts about that. Our theory is that the anxiety has transferred itself to the opposite situation since my original fear that he doesn’t love me isn’t available. Instead I worry that I don’t love him. When it gets really bad (right now :( ) I can’t stop thinking of all the things that I need to fix about him, that I don’t like, etc. However, then i realize that for the most part they are only problems because I think they should be (he should be more comfortable spending time alone, that’s what normal people do) when in reality they don’t actually bother me.

        It’s miserable, but I am glad that you are feeling better. Just wanted to put this out there so perhaps people who previously worried that a partner didn’t love them and are now worrying the opposite will not use this phenomenon to convince themselves that this time it’s “real.”

  • Cori

    Love this, thank you for sharing! I have been married for almost a year and a half now and can say that it is definitely WORTH IT to work through the anxiety. I thank God everyday that I found Sheryl and I didn’t give up when my anxiety was at it’s peak – my husband and I have a wonderful marriage and I am incredibly grateful for him. There are definitely moments when I feel disconnected and/or anxious but I know they will pass and when they do, my head clears and I see my husband for who he is and the awesome relationship we have.

  • Marybeth

    Well-put!
    Thanks for sharing.

  • Livia

    I was exactly the same way. Wrought with anxiety and fear and thinking that I should not be marrying my fiance because I wasn’t feeling “in love.” When I searched the internet I got the same answers, “doubt means don’t” and that was not the answer I was looking for. After finding this website I have been able to finally find some relief and peace. Not a “cure” by any means, but an understanding of myself and my emotions.

    For example: In a matter of days I will be moving out of my parents house and “leaving and cleaving” as they say as I join my life with my fiance. This house has been my home for all of my life and I have a great deal of attachment to it. I have been avoiding the homesick feeling that has been trying to creep up on me as my wedding approached but last night I couldn’t avoid it anymore. I did as Sheryl said, I allowed myself to feel the grief as I sat in my bedroom I have had since I was a little girl and cried and cried and cried. I was surprised at how much better I felt the next day. It was as if I was finally able to grieve, and then move on. And move into my new life. What a relief.

    After finding this website a few months ago, during the darkest time in my life, I have finally found healing and understanding. And I am happy to say that I am getting married in 4 days :)

  • Wow, Livia, it’s so good to hear from you and read your update! I’m very impressed with the work that you’ve done and sending you warm blessings on this final stretch leading to your wedding day.

  • DCS

    I am trying so hard just to accept the anxiety for what it is and to stop myself reacting to it, but my mind constantly says “but what if its not anxiety?” Also my current biggest worry is that I keep trying to picture our future together and it just makes me feel anxious and numb and all wrong, if I can’t picture us in our own house with our own family surely this means its not right? I definitely could before all this started though which is what I can’t get my head round. Is this all part of the anxiety?

    • S

      Hi, I’m having the exact thoughts! Before I had this, I was excited about moving out with him, having a family etc..Now I can’t see it and it terrifies me! I was also diagnosed with severe depression and anxiety today! How are you doing? :)

  • helen May

    one of those big sighs that is filled with all kinds of pent up emotion when I have just had one of those anger infused disconnected tirades and thought that there is no love in my life and my partner is living in his rear view mirror. i come then to question my love do I love can I love and lie there with that awful dawning and that was this morning and now is still that morning or should I say mourning and then I read your post and I am grateful to you for teaching me more about the yuck in my life and that in time more archeology (digging up the dreaded thoughts and beliefs past) that I might become more flexible loving and accepting of me, in my relationship with P
    cheers Helen

  • “and that in time more archeology (digging up the dreaded thoughts and beliefs past) that I might become more flexible loving and accepting of me, in my relationship with P”

    And you will… if you do the work to excavate the false beliefs and core feelings, the love naturally emerges.

  • Lauren

    Fantastic guest post – thank you for sharing! So many of us feel the same way and beat ourselves up about it. In reality, everyone gets scared, and we just have to accept that it’s okay to be afraid. I fought so long against the fear, not accepting that it’s okay to be afraid, telling myself that it wasn’t ‘normal’ or okay. I am just now getting that point, one month away from the wedding, and I’m still working at it everyday. Best of luck to everyone!

  • MehaK

    i loved the line in which u say love is a verb..
    i got engaged just 2 wks before and we had fights like everyday.and these doubts were pouring in like “i made a mistake”, “i didnt notice things correctly” , “what have i done”..
    but slowly have realized we suddenly create a big expectation bag which if not filled the way we want we start doubting our decision.yes its about our wrong thoughts,and not that our partners are not capable to make us happy.
    still there are many more things to understand i know i have just got a glimpse of getting committed.
    its all about accepting him the way he is and not that there is no love.

  • Louise

    3 months onto my relationship with my now FI I drunkenly announced to my parents that this was the man I was going to marry. He is funny, kind, intellegent, a wonderful kisser, we have fun together and enjoy being together even when we’re not actively “doing” something together – and as he is in the forces and are long distance this time together is precious. A month later he announced his intention to marry me which started a cycle of fear and happiness. Sometimes when we talked about marriage I smiled a smug quiet smile of satisfactioin that the wonderful man loves me and I’m going to be with him for the rest if our lives. Sometimes I was terrified. He proposed a few weeks ago . . . I was completely in shock, I was not expecting it to come when it did, but when the shock wore off I was so happy – but in a deep, quiet way. I didn’t trust it . . . . I waited for the fear to come, and it had, knotting my stomach and taking over my mind. I think its better – and then it comes back. What if I drive him away! I have a lovely, wonderful man. OK, no, he’s not perfect – but neither am I and he loves me and when I am being rational/relaxed I know I love him. I am SO angry at these feelings! I wish they would just go away!!! I read one of the articles saying that if I decided that the relatoinship wasn’t right for me then that was my truth – but I can;t come up with a good reason why it wouldn’t be. I don’t even know what I’m scared of! This is driving me insane!!

    • Welcome to my site. This is a bit too simplistic: “I read one of the articles saying that if I decided that the relatoinship wasn’t right for me then that was my truth – but I can’t come up with a good reason why it wouldn’t be. I don’t even know what I’m scared of!” It’s likely fear deciding that the relationship isn’t right for you, which is why it’s essential to start to dialogue with your fear voices so you know who’s running the show. Watch this video for the journaling technique I recommend: http://conscious-transitions.com/conscious-transitions-tv-managing-fear/

  • SW

    Thank you so much for this article and all of the posts on this site- I’ve been in this state recently and now feel in a much happier place than I was will be in a more serene state of mind when I get married at the end of the year. :)

  • Kal

    Such a great post. I’m dealing with the same exact things right now, I’m finding it very hard to believe that this is anxiety and not my real feelings! Any help?

  • loren

    HI,

    i am soooo glad i stumbled upon this site. Some of what i read are identical statements that go through my mind….word for word sentences.

    I met my wonderful man 9 months ago…..we are both mid thirties…..both work in the sciences….both been single for a long time before we met. He is the first man i had been on a date with since my last relationship. My relationship with my ex-boyfriend ended so tragically for me, that i quit dating for 3 years. When i met my current bf, i had zero expectations. It was a blind date and i figured it would probably would not go past one date,,,,but instead it developed into a simple, healthy, uncomplicated relationship. He is a reliable man…incredibly smart, compassionate, respectful, and he treats me like a queen. He is the COMPLETE opposite of any of the men i have ever dated, both mentally and physically. ….and thats what drew me to him to begin with…..i was tired of being in a string of relationships that lasted only months, with men who mistreated me, or played games. He was like a God send.

    I realized i was in love with him after a few months…..but it wasnt the “love” i was used to. It was a quiet love, a secure love, a love i knew i could count on, and not be afraid of. It was the healthiest love i had ever encountered. I was sooo relieved, and soo happy. A few months ago he brought up marriage, and we went ring shopping. I felt good about it.

    About a month ago however, we had a really big argument……i am a HIGHLY sensitive person, and he is not. He is a classic geek who is not always the best in social situations, and our argument stemmed from there…..(wont go in detail, this post is long enough) BUt it was serious enough for me to think about possibly ending the relationship……for the first time, i realized the relationship could end, and i freaked out….i completely disconnected. I went numb, and i felt nothing…..no love towards him, no attraction, nothing, and the anxiety started…….I feel like a psycho cause some days i am fine, others i am numb and anxious, others i have panic attacks…..and i keep asking myself a ton of questions…..

    Is he the right guy? did i settle for the first nice guy i met? am i already bored of him? are normal relationships supposed to be boring? how come i am not feeling that crazy passion i have felt in the past? (i am super passionate, so this one concerns me) recently, in the middle of my panic attacks, i even go as far as, Is he not good looking enough? (totally ashamed of this one, cause i know its ridiculous….and he is a very handsome man, just not my usual type) what if i wake up one day with two kids and realize, what have i done? ( i am afraid of hurting soo many people) the last thing i want is to hurt him, he is amazing, and deserves the best…….i HATE these thoughts, and like the original post, sometimes i sit next to him and panic, and feel ashamed, like he deserves soo much better than me.

    anyhow, i really hope that all of this is just relationship anxiety and that i will get through this and figure it out without hurting anyone. i will try some of the advice i read here…..

  • Claire

    So glad i came across this. Im struggling here…. I honestly dont know where my ocd (if thats what i do have??) has come from. What i do know is that i need help soon or just to speak to somebody who gets it. Im 20 years old. Been in the best 3-4 year relationship ever, still am. He is anything a girl could want! Handsome, kind, caring… Bloody perfect :) i was the happiest girl alive 2 months ago with not one single doubt or care about myself or my relationship until i started over thinking about something. I recently went upto full time work from part time. I was working 7-11 days solid all 12 hour shifts tryin to get a shop set up with a big team of people. I was also travelling to another job linked with my current job once a week however the distance was about 55 miles there and back on top of my 9 hour day. I met new people at this new job and i get on great with everybody, always do!! I got to know everyone which was fab. 4-5 weeks into the 1 day a week course job, me and another trainee found out that a girl in her 30′s that we were working with was a lesbian. Now, this has never bothered me before. I have nothing against homosexual people, i have no sexual attraction to the same sex and it didnt bother me at all when i found out. We were both just shocked because the girl was just like us 2! She was a pretty girl, into her beauty products and clothes etc. i genuinely thought she was married with a family. She told us that she came out a year or 2 ago. Had a boyfriend when she was at college for a year. She was having sex with him and thought one day “euch get off this isnt for me”….. She also said she had fantasys of women in primary also. Well… Again, i didnt think anything of what she had said. Until one morning, randomly, was lying in bed on my day off over thinking. I thought to myself … Wow. Ive only ever had 1 boyfriend (the same one) and we started going out at 16. When i was younger i was a bit of a boys girl, loved playing with the guys at the park when i was wee! Growing up i fancied guys at school and met an amazing guy. I had other boyfriends but always compared them to the one guy i fancied (again who i am with now) !!! The doubts shot through my mind for the first month and a bit. I was trying to check myself and reassure myself that i wasnt. I was sick, lost weight, could barely speak, felt weird with my boyfriend becos of these weird thoughts. Now the thoughts have gone a little about hocd but im now onto Rocd where i panic incase ive fallen out of love!!!! Is it ocd or me? Help guys. I love this boy? He is my best pal. But right now i feel akward. I feel guilty. I feel the need to txt him way more than i used to when i dont see him. I keep wanting to see him to check if its still there! If i feel weird i panic like mad. Its interfered with my work which i love and my life in general. I dont think he undertands but no wonder! I keep comparing us to other relationships and ask my friends stuf etc. i feel so bad :-( i booked a weekend away.. I leave tomoro and im just so upset. Its like my mind is making me and my bestfriend/boyfriend crumble. In june my nan died. I had never experieced death before and it cut me in half. Hadto say goodbye to her body and then jet off to a holiday which had been booked. I came home, theres not a day goes by where i dont think of her. I also in august started to get breathing difficulty (panic attacks i think). Id be scared incase i was going to die. I made my dad and bf take me to hospital one night to see if i was ok and my breathing was fine. Do i have an anxiety problem? I cant go to sleepovers, trips away etc without worrying. All my school life i missed out on trips, sleepovers etc because i didnt want to leave home…. I would miss my fam too much including mum the most. I now So glad i came across this. Im struggling here…. I honestly dont know where my ocd (if thats what i do have??) has come from. What i do know is that i need help soon or just to speak to somebody who gets it. Im 20 years old. Been in the best 3-4 year relationship ever, still am. He is anything a girl could want! Handsome, kind, caring… Bloody perfect :) i was the happiest girl alive 2 months ago with not one single doubt or care about myself or my relationship until i started over thinking about something. I recently went upto full time work from part time. I was working 7-11 days solid all 12 hour shifts tryin to get a shop set up with a big team of people. I was also travelling to another job linked with my current job once a week however the distance was about 55 miles there and back on top of my 9 hour day. I met new people at this new job and i get on great with everybody, always do!! I got to know everyone which was fab. 4-5 weeks into the 1 day a week course job, me and another trainee found out that a girl in her 30′s that we were working with was a lesbian. Now, this has never bothered me before. I have nothing against homosexual people, i have no sexual attraction to the same sex and it didnt bother me at all when i found out. We were both just shocked because the girl was just like us 2! She was a pretty girl, into her beauty products and clothes etc. i genuinely thought she was married with a family. She told us that she came out a year or 2 ago. Had a boyfriend when she was at college for a year. She was having sex with him and thought one day “euch get off this isnt for me”….. She also said she had fantasys of women in primary also. Well… Again, i didnt think anything of what she had said. Until one morning, randomly, was lying in bed on my day off over thinking. I thought to myself … Wow. Ive only ever had 1 boyfriend (the same one) and we started going out at 16. When i was younger i was a bit of a boys girl, loved playing with the guys at the park when i was wee! Growing up i fancied guys at school and met an amazing guy. I had other boyfriends but always compared them to the one guy i fancied (again who i am with now) !!! The doubts shot through my mind for the first month and a bit. I was trying to check myself and reassure myself that i wasnt. I was sick, lost weight, could barely speak, felt weird with my boyfriend becos of these weird thoughts. Now the thoughts have gone a little about hocd but im now onto Rocd where i panic incase ive fallen out of love!!!! Is it ocd or me? Help guys. I love this boy? He is my best pal. But right now i feel akward. I feel guilty. I feel the need to txt him way more than i used to when i dont see him. I keep wanting to see him to check if its still there! If i feel weird i panic like mad. Its interfered with my work which i love and my life in general. I dont think he undertands but no wonder! I keep comparing us to other relationships and ask my friends stuf etc. i feel so bad :-( i booked a weekend away.. I leave tomoro and im just so upset. Its like my mind is making me and my bestfriend/boyfriend crumble. In june my nan died. I had never experieced death before and it cut me in half. Hadto say goodbye to her body and then jet off to a holiday which had been booked. I came home, theres not a day goes by where i dont think of her. I also in august started to get breathing difficulty (panic attacks i think). Id be scared incase i was going to die. I made my dad and bf take me to hospital one night to see if i was ok and my breathing was fine. Do i have an anxiety problem? I cant go to sleepovers, trips away etc without worrying. All my school life i missed out on trips, sleepovers etc because i didnt want to leave home…. I would miss my fam too much including mum the most. I now want to be there for mum more than ever cos of nan….. Is everythin building up on me? Im on 5htp from hollan and barret but its not good. I continually check to see if im still in love! :( the hocd is drifting away bu rocd at its worst. Suggestions and help would be appreciated. P.s ive never had sexual doubts or thoughts like this before! Been happy, had a great childhood etc. x

    • Claire: If you’d like more information about my Skype/phone sessions, email me directly using the contact form. In the meantime, read through as much of my site as you can. It’s clear that your intrusive thoughts are a distraction from the grief and fear that have been with you your entire life, and likely triggered by the loss of our grandmother. When you address the core grief and lifelong fear, the intrusive thoughts will dissipate and, over time, disappear completely. The key point to hang on to is that the thoughts have NOTHING to do with your partner.

  • Megan Mabe-Stanberry

    Hi Sheryl,

    I need your advice. My husband and I have been married for almost 10 years. He is my soulmate, foundation, support and love. Last year (2012) we experienced loss of our 2 beloved dogs (at separate times). We had them since puppies. The second one happened in October, we had to make the decision to put him down because he was so sick. For weeks after we decided not to grieve in front of our other dog. So we bottled it up. Those weeks also cause me to start having anxiety, it was so bad I could not leave the house. I would have constant panic attacks the whole time. My husband was right there holding my hand the whole way. I was finally diagnosed with anxiety. The anxiety got worse, I could not drive, I could not concentrate at work. That eventually ran its course, then I was anxious I would never sleep again, that also ran its course. Then the relationship fears started. I was having an anxiety attack and in the midst I said “I love you” to my husband, and this voice said “do I”? I immediately went into a whirlwind of hurt and chronic anxiety attacks. I spent all of Christmas mulling this over and knowing that I do but my mind was fighting my mind. I have cried so much about this. But the Love questions have settled. Because my heart has overcome this. Now, the new anxiety producer is seeing him and fearing I am going to judge his looks and go back to the questioning again. It sounds so weird but anxiety and negative thoughts produce weird responses. Please give me your relationship anxiety advice. Thank you!

  • Marty

    First of all, seems like I’m the first man to post here but wow! Thank you for sharing this. It seems that myself and a girl I’ve recently been seeing both suffer from relationship anxiety and needless to say it’s been a frustrating journey for me and I can only imagine for her as well.
    I will say, reading this and hearing a woman’s perspective help greatly. Our circumstances are slightly different but very much the same. I knew I had to be with her from the get go and even with some of the hardships and as much as I wanted to walk away so many times before my life didn’t and doesn’t feel right without her.
    my anxiety causes me to question her intentions and where things are going but seeing a story I can relate to gives me hope it will someday turn into something even more special then it already is.
    of course, I have no expectations of this but I have a renewed hope this girl I care so deeply for will someday be ready to commit. Thanks again!

    • Welcome, Marty! There are many men on the site and on the ecourse but they tend to remain quiet when it comes to sharing their comments and stories. I’m so glad you did!

  • Lady Love

    Thanks for sharing, really helpful!! I pray it gets better. I did relate a whole lot. So many fears, doubts, ambiguity but know that it will all work out. Please send me info on getting over it completely. Pretty quiet, laid back to myself, love this man so much, still feel trapped with thoughts. I live in my mind, must step out..

  • Grace

    I have been reading the articles on your webpage Sheryl as I cycle in and out of almost paralysing relationship anxiety. I’ve been with my sweet lovely supportive man for four years. My anxiety came on, like turning on a light, one day with just one small thought that popped into my head.

    Now on and off I panic that something is wrong with us, that I don’t actually love him as I should, that our sexual chemistry is off and far from perfect, that I could never make our relationship last the distance to marriage and babies. Sometimes I am so full of doubt and anxiety I feel I have to clamp my hand over my mouth to stop myself from saying “I want to get out!”

    Then it subsides for a while, and lets me enjoy the relationship as it is – uncomplicated, happy, and supportive.

    Right now we’re about to move house and I’m going through it all again. I can’t stop thinking – how about if this house has been the safety net? How about we move and I realise I have to leave?

    Part of me also feels that if I acknowledge these feelings more than I have in the past, it will confirm their truth and I’ll realise I’ve been lying to myself all along.

    Thank you for giving me hope that I am not my thoughts, and I can make it through.

  • Elizabeth

    I got engaged a couple months ago to a man I’ve been with for four years. We’d talked about marriage and I was ready and just waiting for him to propose. For about a week after we got engaged, I was over the moon excited, but all of the sudden, I crashed. I started feeling guilty about small things that had happened years ago, I was so sad that I was uncontrollably crying in the shower, and worst of all, I felt like there was no way I could get married. After this all went on for a month, I talked to my family and fiancé a bout it, and they suggested I see a psychiatrist. After hearing about all my symptoms and my family history, he diagnosed me with depression and anxiety, which came as a surprise to me as I am generally a very happy and confident person. However, I knew something was wrong because I couldn’t turn the negative thoughts off. After being on anti-depressants for a couple months, I finally feel closer to normal than I have since I got engaged. However, sometimes thinking about the wedding still makes me very anxious. It just seems like so many marriages don’t work now and even though I’ve been with my fiancé for four years, how do I know it will work down the line? I keep telling myself that before all of this started, I was totally confident that I wanted to get married and that I can’t think of anything that is actually wrong with my relationship. I’m basically imagining problems that might be and that doesn’t help anyone. And it’s hard to talk to people about because I don’t want my parents to worry that I shouldn’t be getting married and I don’t want my fiancé to think I don’t love him. But then I think, do I really love him? How do I know this is what true love feels like? And them I tell myself that if I can spend the day with him not doing anything and be happy with that, that’s a good thing. And I tell myself that it’s just the anxiety talking. Sometimes that helps and other times it doesn’t. But reading all of your stories definitely helps me feel less alone. I’ve read a lot of the website and I think part of my fears stem from “leaving” my family (I haven’t lived with them for years, but I still am very very close with my parents) and part of it stems from losing my identity as a single person. I am very independent and like living on my own in my little apartment. I try to tell myself that my life won’t change that much and it’s just like I am gaining a roommate I happen to be in love with but everything in the media and wedding business makes such a big deal out of the wedding and everything that it scares me a little. When I think about our future, I can picture it perfectly, but I still worry that things won’t work and we’ll end up getting a divorce and my parents will have wasted all this money on a wedding and my fiancé will hate me. But I am happy when I’m with him and I am trying to think positively in hopes that will help. I just wanted to share my story because I know hearing other people’s helped me feel normal and less weird about everything I’m going through. Sending prayers and positive thoughts to all of you :)

  • MM

    Sheryl- how does one know when anxiety is about their partner and not just because they themselves are anxious?. I find I’m most anxious when I wake up and when I’m leaving work. It’s awful to feel disconnected and scared.

    Any help is much appreciated.

    • If you’re in a loving relationship (no red flag issues) and you have windows of clarity where you know that the problem is not your relationship, then the anxiety is because of you.

  • Amaryllis

    Thank you OP and Sheryl. I’m glad I stumbled upon this article again as I really needed this right now.

  • T-po

    Now for a male viewpoint! I just fell into this site and it seems like I, for the first time, found an article about the issues I more than anything want solved. I’m on a hurry right now, so I didn’t have the time to really dig into the discussion of the subject, but I’m so excited that I have to write something about our situation right now! My long-time partner left me last summer after seven years together and I think she’s suffering from relationship anxiety. In fact, I think I suffered from it before, and it has somehow transferred to her! We were young (18&21) when we met, and It started out very strangely, neither of us looking for a long-time partner, no love at first sight, in fact there was a weird mix of anxiety, calmness, blood rushing through our brains like never before when we touched and the feeling of being at home but also occasional total disconnection between us. After a very good period in our relationship I got seriously ill and for a while we were closer to each other than ever before (or after). But then it struck into me when I cured myself. Emptiness, meaninglessness, I drifted away from her into the vast wildernesses of my mind. Now I think It was because of me not being able to receive the love from her absolutely enormous loving-capacity, there simply was a limit for what I could take back then. We both come from more or less broken families but of different kind. I wasn’t used to love being expressed,it was more like continuous struggle between anxiety and peace, and in her family it was common although slightly superficial(not saying hadn’t been real) and the unpleasant things were pushed into the hiding just to be exploded into everybody’s faces at times(don’t really know how this all relates, just came into my mind). Well, things got slightly balanced but not good, there were better times but we never made it to the very peak again (our uphills were a piece of paradise though). I think It was my fear of commitment and closeness that led us there. She was trying soooo hard to pull me out of my cave and she was very brave, but got panic-attacks every few months. Anyway, we were living a good and extraordinary life together. We had formed our own special life-plan but were struggling to get forward. During our last year together we were finally getting a bit closer to our goals, and, for the first time, she dared to bring up the idea of marriage. At the moment I was horrified by that, and she fell into emptiness. Last spring we also had more physical distance than for a long time ’cause of work and school, and we both went for our own inner trips. I finally realised that she was the woman I really wanted to spend the rest of my life with. I didn’t really know how the hell we would fix everything that was not right in our relationship, but I was determined to do my very best, little by little. But then my world collapsed. When I came back from a month-long working trip, she said it was all over. I knew there were good reasons to separate, but I just couldn’t believe it happening. Not now. Well, we still lived together for a couple of months, and I found out that she had had a serious crush. Her first time of any interest towards an other man during the time we were together. Well, it didn’t lead anywhere with them though I know their short “friendship” was very intense. She said that the crush was not the reason for the break-up but a catalyte. My total collapse soon turned to reconstruction despite all the pain. I could see all things so clearly, and our discussions opened many doors locked before ,and she often said that she now seemed to be getting everything she had ever dreamed about. But the only feeling she had was anxiety. She had to turn me down. After we moved apart from each other we have been living quite far from each other, but have usually been in contact a couple of times a week. Five weeks ago we met after a long time, and It was almost perfect. Minimal anxiety compared to earlier. She invited me to visit her again, and now I’ve been at her place for four days. Anxiety is back, strong kind. She says she loves me but feels suffocated. Last time we met I was sure we would be back together soon, but now she’s trying to find someone else to her life to get rid of the anxiety. Well, it’s not difficult for her to find “someone” ’cause she is the most beautiful and extraordinarily hearty person. During past year I’ve grown as a person more than ever, but now I’m afraid. I fear that she’s going to destroy it all for no still-existing reason but her unexplainable anxiety around me. Help me please! So if you have any ideas on how to help her with that anxiety, please do share them! I have to go now, later I’ll dig more into the subject and post more, less exhausted! Thank you for this!

  • Hollygoeslightly

    I just wondered if anyone could offer advice. I met a wonderful man in January and we had a 2 month long pretty blissful relationship where, despite trying to stop myself, I fell hopelessly in love.

    There was an issue that he would be leaving the country later in the year, but we agreed to keep it fun and see how it went. Shortly after this he started to suffer bad chest pains during and post sex, anxiety attacks and major stress attacks. He actually kept a lot hidden from me to spare me. It got to the point where every day he was in agony – sets sing about hurting me when he left the country, of future uncertainty etc.

    It got to the point where I said let’s just be friends as it’s causing you so much pain. He agreed but was then in more pain as he was so upset. At that moment I realised I was I love and couldn’t handle just friends as I didn’t want to get hurt. Eventually I told him how I felt, that I wanted to help him through all his stress (uni work, finding a job, lack of money, stressing about the relationship, moving country etc.)

    In the end he said he needed time as he had so much on that was causing him daily physical pain from all the stress and anxiety attacks, as well as severe chest pains (which I understood – his health was of major concern to me as I hated seeing someone I love suffer so). I said if it helped ease his mind, I had no ties and wanted to travel so I would be willing to go with him.

    In the end his decision was no and that was just over a week ago. He gave a lot of what if reasons – what if it didn’t work, what if I got hurt, what if his heart may get broken, what if it didn’t work as it didn’t with his parents, what if it didn’t work as it hadn’t with his exes?

    If the love was one sided I could see it completely, but we honestly had something so special that I never felt wi my ex of a decade long. Do people with anxiety ever think they have made a mistake? Was I putting too much pressure on him? I just feel he is letting the past experiences and future concerns cloud his judgement on this one. I have to accept it though if he physically gets better without my being around as I care so much for him. I don’t quite know how to deal with this :-( is is a normal anxiety reaction to something good ?

    Just to clarify he did most of the chasing, making me speak to his mum on phone, meeting his friends, wanting to meet my family, wanting me to meet his, telling his friend he wanted kids with me.

  • Tracie

    What a great story,but what about the rest of us who are with the ones we really love and they have serious anxiety.
    What help is there for us

  • RB

    I am so grateful to have stumbled on this article. Anxiety stricken for the past few months; I have been searching countless websites on what anxiety encompasses. For the first time in 40 years I have experienced panic attacks, and anxiety symptoms and it has been terrifying.
    I do not know if my relationship with my boyfriend of 9 mths is the cause… All I know is this started when I was away on a trip with him the week of Valentine’s (we live in different cities), and my best friend wished us a Happy Valentine’s and she was happy that I was in love. My response was immediate panic. I had trouble breathing, blurred vision (foggy feeling)and I had to remove my from the room. The anxiety lasted for most our trip. I don’t understand because we had talked about the future early on in our relationship and I had no fears then…
    I think I am in love with him; he is right for me, not perfect but everything that I thought I would never find, he makes me smile and we are extremely compatible. If this makes any sense I cannot imagine my life with or without him. I certainly can’t imagine it with anyone else.
    I am truly scared of this anxiety as I have never felt this in past relationships and I was once married to someone I realized I never really loved. I have since been in love with a soulmate but I was not his soulmate and our relationship ended. (I did move on and accepted this years ago.)
    I am scared I don’t love this my current boyfriend like I loved my soulmate, but I do feel so compatible with him, more than I ever did with my ex-husband.
    I am rambling now, sorry. Just so full of tears and anxiety I just don’t know what to do. I have even pushed my best friend away for fear she may see through my “mask” and I would have to admit I am not sure if I love my boyfriend or not…
    All I know is I will see him soon, and I am terrified to hurt him. Gotta get a hold of my anxiety…

  • Kailey

    I can not tell you how grateful I am to find the comments and wonderful women on this website. I am 21 years old and have been in a relationship with my first ever boyfriend and committed relationship for a little over a year and a half (I dated other people before.. but nothings serious, they’d break my heart or I’d break theirs). My boyfriend is my best friend… we are so silly together, and I feel at peace and completely able to be myself with him. We have great communication and talked out all our disagreements. He is literally the ideal man for me… kind, living, wants kids, supportive, patient, and understanding. But for the last few months I have been going crazy with panic and anxiety about our relationship. When I am able to clear my head I’m fine, but then I worry that the worry will come back and it does. I have always have anxiety and I had OCD as a little kid and my boyfriend knows that and has tried to help me and understand. I think most of my anxiety comes from living with three roommates in the same room (I live in a sorority house) and the stress of spring semester and school… but I have been channeling it all into my relationship. I have been doubting whether I “love love” him, and that it’s wrong that he doesn’t give me butterflies 24/7. I know we are so young and haven’t been dating that long in the grand scheme of things, but for people my age we have been dating for a decent amount of time and I have always seen a future with him (something I could never say before about anyone). But lately I’ve just been panicky, worried about change, worrying about committing too soon (even though we’re not engaged I know we easily could be in a few short years).. I know I should just relax and enjoy the moment and my youth but I can’t! I WANT to make it work with this man.. I want a future with him, but I can’t get my brain to shut up!

    my key problem is: is it just anxiety/worry? Or is it a gut instinct telling me somethings wrong? (But I don’t know what….. he loves me, and I love him.. at least I think I do!!)

  • Brianna

    I agree with being scared that the truth will mean I shouldn’t be with my boyfriend because I want the truth to be that I should be with him.

    Kailey,
    I am in the same boat as you! My boyfriend is everything that I could have ever wanted. We are 20 and it is our first serious relationship. I have dated two others, not very long and they called it quits. So when my boyfriend came into the picture, its like he was sent from heaven. To be honest, I truly believe he was brought to me by my grandma up there. Anyway, I was on cloud nine and saw my whole future with him. I would watch him around little kids and just think to myself, “I can’t wait to have kids with him. He is going to be such an amazing father.” When my anxiety hit I was scared of losing him, but also of the committing. We always talked about getting married in the future and now it just makes me anxious. I wake up feeling nothing and it scares me. He is the man of my dreams and I hate feeling this way and questioning everything. I know I’d be lost without him, but this pain will not go away.

  • chelsea

    Great article, I just was a little unsure on one of her points was wondering if it could be clarified? The second to last bullet she does “accept the uncertainty, an feel the fear an do it anyways.” If it really wasn’t about her an was about M. What is she meaning by this? Maybe it’s not the anxiety an the relationship wasn’t meant to be? Again just confused an not meaning to offend or hurt anyone’s feelings sorry if I did.

  • K

    Chelsea,
    She is saying that her truth is WITH M…. She states that regardless if her anxiety was bc of M or not, it is her truth, therefore something she won’t be scared of.

    As far as your statement on just knowing the relationship is not meant to be… Most people that join the E Course or who are engulfed in this sight is bc anxiety/ fear has taken hold of our life and relationship. Fear has pricked the hearts of the anxious and fed us fear based thoughts that are untrue. This leads to confusing and doubt. Most people on the W course know their truth is with their partner but have to break down that fear- wall in order to see their light again.

    So, it is more of a question than just “the relationship is not meant to be” but rather having the tools to dig deep into oneself and find confidence in your truth.

  • Janine

    So what if ur anxiety started because ur partner lied to u about still talking to his exes? I personally don’t think it’s respectful or right to still chat to exes on a regular basis when ur in a new relationship. Me and my partner have a child together and I feel like he’s only with me because of this. Apart from this issue with him talking to exes, we have a good relationship. I seen he was texting an ex lover and I started looking through his phone. I didn’t say anything because I trusted it would not go any further until I read that he went round her house when I was away. I deep down don’t think they did anything and he now doesn’t speak to her but recently he’s been flirting with another ex. I asked him to tell her they can’t speak anymore as I felt I couldn’t ignore it and pretend I was ok with it. He refused to ‘cut her off’ and didn’t like being backed into a corner and being made to choose, however I felt like that would have made me feel more secure and because he refused I now feel that he doesn’t really love me because he chose to continue speaking to her and risk our relationship. Is this my own insecurities, he says I should trust him and I know he wouldn’t want to lose all that we have but I can’t trust him and its starting to make me ill from anxiety. Is it about my trust issues or is this case different because I have been given reason to doubt?

    • It’s rare that I say this, Janine, but it sounds like you’ve been given reason to doubt. Your partner isn’t being respectful and this isn’t behavior that you should accept. You may have insecurities as well, but his lack of respect is real and painful.

  • Toni

    Hi There

    I came across this website whilst googling relationship ocd, something i seem to do most days, which i know can’t be healthy! I hadn’t heard of relationship oct until a couple of months ago when i tried describing the way i had been feeling to a friend of mine. She has suffered with mental health problems most of her life (mainly depression, anxiety and ocd based) and is currently in a good place. She mentioned to me that the feelings i was describing could be ‘relationship ocd’ and suggested i visited the OCDuk.org website for more information. When i realised there was such a thing as relationship ocd i actually cried, reading some of the symptoms was like an awakening and i just couldn’t believe there could be a reason for the way i had been feeling.

    I’ll start from the beginning… when i was around 18 i had my first long term relationship, i was happy with the guy and regularly told him i loved him, although he never told me back which hurt me, but still we stayed together. We were due to go on holiday and the night before as i lay in bed feeling pretty content a thought entered my head ‘did i really love him?!’ this thought troubled me and just didn’t want to go away, i couldn’t understand why i was thinking this. We went on holiday and i spent the entire time crying, feeling guilty and unable to explain to him what was wrong. The poor guy spent a week with me like this, when we got home he suggested we have a break, i was devastated but party relived, i thought perhaps this would help bring some clarity to the feelings i was having. That week i flitted between feeling sad and comfortable, but i was convinced we should be together, so we gave it another go….my doubts and worries never went away, they plagued me every day. I would go between wanting desperately to see him to confirm my feelings, so dreading seeing him in case i didn;t feel the way i wanted to. Eventually it all go too much and he broke up with me. It was such a long time ago now i can’t remember how i felt after that, but i know i pined for him for a good while. Anyway this is all irrelevant now as 10 years have passed since then in which i had a terrible 6 year relationship with a guy who cheated on me, lied and treated me terribly…it took me a long time to get out because i didn’t want to give up and was scared of not being with him, in short i spent most of that relationship feeling lonely miserable and unloved.

    Three years ago shorty after i walked out on the cheating ex, i met my current partner J. I’ve honestly never met a nicer more genuine person in my entire life. He turned my life around, made me smile, taught me to love myself and just brought so much joy into my life. I fell in love so quickly and when i least expected it. some friends tried to say it was too quick to move straight in to a relationship having been in a bad 6 year relationship, but i knew i wanted to be with J, i had no doubts what so ever. To cut a long story short we’ve been together now for 3 years and they’ve been wonderful. We live together with our two cats and up until a few months ago i’ve been happy. I’m under no illusion though that the honeymoon period is now over and that all relationships naturally progress from the honeymoon period into a more comfortable content state, and i’m sure our relationship has reached this, i don;t expect it to be all hearts and flowers etc all the time. However a good few months ago my libido completely disappeared, i didn’t crave sex or make much effort to have sex with my partner, he was the one making all the effort and this troubled me…i knew this was right, but i put it down to it just being a phase that would improve with time and tried not to focus on it. I then started to worry that i didn’t fancy J, even though i know how attractive he is! About two months ago J had a series of panic attacks and anxiety over a bad experience he had being stuck on a train. It was really hard to deal with as he completely broke down and would;t go to work or leave the house for over a week. I lost a lot of sleep worrying about him, worrying that he would have another panic attack…i was so scared for him but i just didn’t know how to help…everything i suggested fell on deaf ears and all i could think was ‘what’s happening to him, i’m loosing my boyfriend, i don;t even know who he is and what about our life and all the pals we’ve made’. In short i dealt with his terrible ordeal really badly and that lead to me questioning a lot of things, mainly my feelings. I suddenly started to question wether or not i loved him, wether i wanted to be with him, wether i fancied him and that perhaps all these things had just built up over time. Perhaps that’s why i had no libido, perhaps i just didn’t fancy him anymore etc. There have been moments over the past few months where i seriously considered that the only option was that i had to end things, any that’s when the anxiety started to kick in. Luckily for me, J is the most amazing patient person, he has listened to me try to explain my thoughts and feelings and stayed with me regardless, and i know how lucky i am to have him in my life. There came a point when he text and asked me tirelessly one morning if i was still in love with him. I sat on my bed and felt numb, i wanted to tell him of course i do, but my head just kept questioning…’you’re lying if you say you do, he deserves better than that etc etc’ over and over again. Eventually i told him of course i love him and i believe that i really do, i’d do anything for him and hate the idea of him being unhappy or sad.

    Sometimes i’ll have good days when i look at him and i know that i adore him and i want nothing more than to spend my life with him then there are the other days (the majority) when i just feel nothing, i worry and worry and worry that i don’t feel right, that there’s something missing, that this is unfair on him and no matter how much i want to be with him and spend my life with him, if it’s not 100% perfect then i’m lying to myself and him. A few months ago, all i wanted was to get married to him and have kids with him, spend our lives together, i was even hinting at an engagement all the time, now i get scared of the thought incase i’m just in denial and this relationship isn’t right. I’m just so sick of questioning every little thing i do, everything i think, i wish i could just switch my brain off and have a happy relationship. I’m constantly looking for confirmation of my feelings towards him, and the latest thing i’ve become obsessed with is that i don’t seem to get jealous when other girls look at him, and i worry that i don;t miss him when i’m not with him. So much so that i will myself to miss him when we’re apart, which i know is crazy, because all the time i’m thinking this way i’m not going to feel the things i want to feel. I’ve tried imagining life without him and i honestly can’t, i try to imagine him telling me doesn’t want to be with me anymore and i feel like i can’t feel anything. I just feel so confused i don’t know how i can feel this way, it’s not like i’m unhappy with him, he makes me laugh all the time, he’s my best friend and i just want so badly not to feel like this, to just feel the love like i used to. I’m just petrified that if things aren’t right then we should’t be together and this means i need to end things.

    I have no idea what it is i’m experiencing, i have terrible bouts of anxiety attacks, restlessness, i can’t sleep and i am constantly over analysing my actions and behaviour towards the relationship, as well as constantly comparing my feelings to his and other peoples relationships.

    I am seeing a therapist and currently undergoing CBT, but in the very early stages.

    If anyone has any advice or words of wisdom i’d be so grateful, i just want so badly not to feel like this.

    ps sorry for the ridiculously long post!
    Toni

    • Brianna

      Toni I feel the exact same way you do! I long for the days that I am happy and so in love with my boyfriend again. I think back to those days and get so upset because I miss it so much! MY boyfriend and I have gotten into arguments because my libido has disappeared as well. I want nothing to do with sex. It scares me because it makes me question my feelings. Sometimes I’ll see something that can spark a rise in my libido, but then I get anxious because I’m like why can’t my boyfriend do that to me?! I can’t stand these numbness and emotionless feelings of mine. It has been like this for three months and I just want it gone!

    • Hayley

      Your story has given me so much hope Toni, it was like you had written down all my current thoughts and fears.

      • Toni

        Hayley i’ve been thinking about you and wondering how you’ve been doing? i feel like our situations are very similar.

        Do you find yourself easily irritated at your boyfriend or picking him apart?

        I hope you’re doing better.
        xxx

        • Hayley

          Again so so sorry I didn’t reply Toni, I’ve only just seen this post!

          In regards to getting irritated with my boyfriend and picking him apart, this doesn’t seem to be the case, which in the midst of everything upset me. I had no reason to be thinking and feeling the way I did! When you sent this message I was actually on holiday with my boyfriend in the states. I think this was a contributor to my recovery as I was forced to just push through and this acted as a distraction for me. I had times when I crashed and would find myself talking to my boyfriend about why I wasn’t feeling attached to him, seeking his reassurance. This really hurt him at times, even so far as pushing him to the verge of tears, which was horrible.

          Aside from all of this, we didn’t once fight over this nearly 3 week holiday, I dunno, we just click. Looking back, a month or so ago I couldn’t have said something as definitive as that without freaking out. I’m very wary of what I say here, as when I was struggling, certain things I read would trigger anxiety in me. I think it’s important to remember that not everyone’s ROCD presentations are the same.

          Very interested to know where you’re at now with everything,hope you’re feeling some relief

  • Kim

    Omg Toni that was like reading my own story , your thoughts n feelings r exactly what I’m doing my mind just dosnt switch of about weather I love him or not . I crave for the days when I have no anxiety days there the days my mind is quiet and I’m in love with him . I just wish those anxiety days would go away so I could feel the love for him as on those days I’m numb empty n cold .

  • Toni

    It really helps to know I’m not the only one feeling this way. I’m going on holiday today with some girlfriends for a week, I should be excited, but I can barely focus on it.

    I keep worrying that my anxiety and intrusive thoughts are going to be terrible whilst I’m away from j for so long. Last night I found myself getting really irritable with him, he wasn’t doing anything wrong, in fact he was being really sweet, and it kills me that I can be so irritable towards him because he really is amazing and deserves better than what I’m giving him right now. I woke up this morning with awful anxiety and terrible thoughts that maybe i just don’t want to be with him and I’m in denial. It makes me feel physically sick and like I might do something stupid And break up with him then completely regret it. I just feel so lost at the moment, I find no comfort in anything, although last week we had friends staying and it was probably the best I’ve felt in ages, I was able to control my bad thoughts better and feel altogether more in love and more positive about everything including my relationship.

    I don’t know if perhaps I’m suffering from depression? I seem to have stopped caring so much about the things that used to bring me so much joy, I don’t seem to take as much care over my appearance as I used to, I lost my appetite (although that and my sleeping have improved more recently). Or if I’m really just falling out of love and just in denisl and trying to cling onto our relationship in the hope these thoughts will go away?! All I know is I’m sick of this ruling my life, it’s gone in for too long and I’m desperate to start feeling better and happier. I want so badly to just feel love and happiness like I felt before, or at least to just feel content and safe in the knowledge that I’m in love and this is not me, it’s OCD And anxiety. I know i wouldn’t be happier without j, I know it would be the biggest mistake of my life if I ended things, but the constant questioning and negativity is ruining everything, sometimes I feel like I don’t even know my own mind anymore.

    My therapist also seems to disregard OCD and relationship OCD, it’s as if she doesn’t believe in it, which upsets me slightly as it makes me feel perhaps my thoughts are in fact all just real :(

    Would anyone say what I’m describing sounds like relationship anxiety/OCD or is my relationship just doomed?!

    Thank you in advance got any help and advice anyone’s willing to offer.
    Toni x

    • Brianna

      Toni I believe it is just relationship anxiety. I’ve said this a lot (and others have too) but if we really didn’t love our partners this would not bother us, you know? My anxiety got caused because I got so annoyed and I thought of something so stupid! us breaking up. I really don’t understand how that thought can make me feel numb, emotionless and question my love and whether I want to be with him. That is what kills me! I know I would be devastated without my boyfriend, when he mentions the word breakup I just get hysterical.

    • chelsea

      Toni I read your post it sounds similar to my story as well. To question if it’s ocd/relationship anxiety an the fact that your therapist doesn’t believe in that. I’m not a dr but to me it sounds like it is the anxiety an like Sheryl said in a prior post if your seeing a therapist you should see one who does believe in “our” type of issues, like the relationship anxiety an ocd, so they can better help you. Sorry Sheryl unknowable weren’t precise words.

  • Toni

    Thanks for your words and advice Brianna it’s kind of reassuring to think it could actually be relationship anxiety. I get that too, whenever I hear the word break up, or hear about people that have broken up I get really anxious. Also If I hear people talking about being honest or being in denial I start worrying that that’s all I’m doing And then I feel terrible.

    How long have you battled with this?

    • Brianna

      You’re welcome! Those also trigger my anxiety too. It’s been four months now. Four horrible months of my life! Filled with birthdays and anniversaries and I’ve had to go trough them anxiously. Our one year will be next month and I just want to be able to enjoy it anxiety free!

    • Patricia

      This is exactly what triggers my anxiety “what if i’m on denial” ?
      And i over think it and try to reassure it. :( i hate it
      And thats the tricking part when we try to reassure we fallinto anxiety
      Agree Tony & Brianna?

      • Brianna

        Yes without a doubt! Then I start to wonder why do I reassure it? Shouldn’t I just know instead of reassuring myself?

        • Patricia

          Brianna,
          Sometimes is just like i get this thought that would tell me that is not love just attachment :( i hate it
          Don’t you get this thought as well?

          • Brianna

            yes! I do. The thing that really kills me though is this emptiness. I might be empty but I am in so much pain! I feel its worse now than ever. I was doing good for 2 weeks and then it started up again. I can’t tale it. I can’t take seeing him and us so differently.

  • Toni

    I started to think last night that perhaps I should just give I and realise all these feelings could really just mean I’m falling out of love and there’s nothing I can do to salvage anything now. The feeling has made me so numb and sad, I just don’t know how to differentiate betweeen real thoughts/feelings and relationship anxiety any more. I feel like a terrible person and I hate myself for thinking perhaps I should just give up, I’ve never been that type of person, I just don’t know what to think anymore.

    • Brianna

      I went through that last night as well. We we’re arguing and I was so aggravated and numb my mind started running. I’m feeling numb now, but also sad. I’m so upset that I let it get this far and that this is even happening. I’m also thinking does this mean I’m not in love anymore? And it just gave me such anxiety. Which makes me think yes you are still in love. I don’t understand how I can be so numb and emotionless with the one person I was terrified of losing and I’m still terrified of losing him. I don’t know what to do anymore. I’m so confused. He even said yesterday that i was more loving when the anxiety first started (and its true because I’ve noticed it too) and now i just act cold and angry. I just wanna be happy and loving again. I want my relationship back! I don’t want to think f not being with my boyfriend and being single or with other guys. I want these bad thoughts to go away! I try thinking of good things with my boyfriend and I and it just gives me anxiety and that makes me so upset.

  • Toni

    Brianna if you want to talk you can always email me?

  • Toni

    I’m not sure the best way to go about giving you my email address without it being all over the Internet?!

  • Toni

    I’ve emailed you x

  • Veronica

    Wow, I cannot believe so many people feel the same way I do!!:(((
    my boyfriend is an amazing guy, he is respectful, honest, sweet and gentle…He loves me very much and wants to get married to me. When we first meet,he was moving out of the state and did not want to pursue a long distance relationship, but I convinced him that we should give it a shot and we did! We stayed together for 2 years and finally he accepted a job offer where I am couple of months ago..The job is not the best for him but he decided that he would move if I am standing where he is…and this is when I panicked…he wants to get married and have kids. moving here is a big deal as he is giving up his current job and moving to be with me.I told him all about my anxieties and he was very patient about it, but we had to decide whether or not he should take the job..I went through a miserable week to clear my mind and decide whether I am ready to have him change his life for me…and I had no answers, I thought if I have this much doubts then I probably am not, so I decided to end it but then the thought of losing him was unbearable..I just could not imagine my life without him. I finally told him he should move because I thought I tried so hard for this relationship and now I should at least give it a shot…but the anxiety is beyond words…he has not moved here yet, he will in a month…All I can think about is what am I going to do?
    Do I love him?? he is all I ever wanted, amazing partner, and he will be an amazing dad. But my attraction to him has disappeared. I get irritated by him easily and all these kill me..I feel like a horrible person.I don’t treat him the way he deserves..when I am with him I feel suffocated. I want to scream…
    I though alot about why I am feeling this way..Is it me or him? I don’t know! I wish someone could tell me. I picture my life with him and it makes me anxious rather than happy ..the picture is a perfect picture, a healthy and balanced relationship, great jobs, kids in few years..The picture is just perfect…but it makes me sick to my stomach.It feels like my life is over, everything is just so predictable and there is not more excitement, no more surprises. from now on everything is just very predictable..marriage, kids, work, getting old..:(
    These thoughts make me think that the problem is me and not him…but then why am I not attracted to him anymore? why isn’t the picture of being with him and having a family with him looks boring to me rather than pleasant? why am I soooo scared of having a family? why do i feel like having kids is the end of my life? may be I am just not ready for commitment? maybe he is just not the right guy for me? then who is? I cannot imagine anyone-else. I truly care for him/…what is wrong with me?:((
    I feel like all my being is screaming: “I don’t want to get married, I don’t want to have kids, I want to travel, I want to do something exciting”….and then my brain jumps in and says ” you are not a kid anymore, you are almost 29, clock is ticking…”.
    help me …am I crazy?

    • Brianna

      Veronica, Trust me there are plenty of days (yesterday for example) I thought I was going insane! It’s so hard to deal with because my boyfriend is the best thing to ever happen to me and te guy that I always wanted. He’s the third guy I’ve been with, but he’s only one who gave me the “you just know” feelings. I saw my whole future with him! Now i get anxiety thinking about good things! I still hope I get the future I want with him but when I saw that I feel empty sometimes. Do you feel empty? That’s my biggest concern. I don’t like that I’m feeling empty.

  • Veronica

    I don’t feel empty..I feel more like scared and anxious..There is nothing about my boyfriend that I could point out to and say I don’t like this, but overall sometimes (don’t know exactly what triggers it) all of a sudden I feel I am not happy and satisfied with my relationship but I don’t know why! I become distant and stressed out. I feel like a horrible person and soooo guilty. He realizes it and he is very nice and it makes it even worse! because then I feel like a total jerk :( ((
    I don’t know why I am not happy and feel stressed out, it is like I have this picture of the right person and as he deviates even abit from it, I get stressed out. I don’t know if all this is because I don’t love him or if this is OCD or what. I just know that I have a constant struggle, and the times that I feel I am making a mistake by staying in the relationship, I can’t stand be around him. I feel trapped…don’t know what to do..there is no way out and no way in..no happiness with him, no happiness without him. I know it does not make sense.. hard to describe.

  • Toni

    Hayley

    I wondered how you are doing, since your experience is so similar to mine, I wondered if you’d been coping with the anxiety/intrusive thoughts any better?

  • chelsea

    Is it a normal thing to have a doubt then to get that one under control then new ones arise? Any input would be helpful thanks :)

  • Toni

    Veronica

    I get that trapped feeling. I don’t really know why.. For me it’s more I feel like my feelings have changed and I want so desperately to get back to how I used to feel, but then I start thinking I can’t feel anything and perhaps I need to accept my feelings have just changed And I should end things, but the idea of throwing away something that has always been so great makes me so so sad, I can’t imagine life without him, and he was always the one I wanted to spend my life with, but now that dream seems to be drifting further away from me. So I feel like there’s no cure from this hell. I feel myself drifting from him and it makes my heart break. I just don’t know how to get my feelings back to how they were. He said to me if the spark has gone from my side, it can come back, I just need to work to find it. And I love his optimism and positivity, I’d be nothing without him.

    But my head has analysed all his bad points or flaws, things I never considered flaws before And it’s like my head has made this negative version of him, a completely inaccurate version of him, but to me it’s all I see. It’s like I’ve distorted him in my mind And I just don’t understand how my own head could do that, it’s like my head is my own worst enemy.

    I do all the work, a thought is just a thought etc, I see a therapist and all my head keeps telling me is that I need to just accept my feelings have changed And I need to walk away from this relationship. I don’t know what to do anymore.

    Sometimes I don’t even feel like I’m with him anymore, it’s like I’m grieving the relationship already if that makes sense?

  • Casey

    This post is amazing to hear even though I am not engaged. I have been in a relationship with my wonderful boyfriend for 4 years now and we are both in college. We are currently in a long distance relationship and it is really hard to not be able to see each other as much as we would like. One morning after I spent a long weekend with him I woke and all I could think was “I have to break up with him” there was no reason behind any of this and it scared me so much I couldn’t eat, or sleep, or pay attention in class. We have been through a lot in our relationship but all of it has been on the outside and not problems with our relationship. I had a rough start to college and ended up dropping out and coming home. Upon returning home my step grandmother passed away from cancer. During this time my uncle fell very sick and remained in ICU for 1 month until he passed away as well. Also, during all of this time my other grandmother who I was very very close to and did everything for slowly began to die of old age and dementia. Through all of this my boyfriend was so supportive and caring and there for not just me but my whole family. After returning to school close to semester break my boyfriend’s grandmother passed away and this was very hard for him because she was like a mother to him. I had grown close to her as well and this was such a hard time for his whole family. She was a woman I would only aspire to be. After typing all of this I am beginning to see clear and not fear again and that is relieving. I know I never grieved as I should through all of this and I pent up a lot of emotions I should have let out. I realize I am so fearful of losing the one person in my life who has been there through it all. I can right now feel how lucky and blessed I am to have found a man who is so supportive and caring and shares all the same values. He is everything I have ever wanted and more and having this anxiety for the past month and a half has killed me inside. I have pulled away from everyone who loves me and I know now that is not fair. Upon returning home for summer break I also found out my dog who we had had since I was very little passed away and I had not even got to see him. I know now I have to grieve in the right times and not let it affect everything else I have going good in my life. My boyfriend has been through hell and back witnessing and supporting me through this whole situation. I just want to thank you and whoever wrote this blog because it gave me hope I will be able to be happy and not have fear guiding me in life and in my relationship.

  • Sallyanne

    I’m so pleased I discovered this website. I can relate to what you are all saying! I’ve been in a relationship with my wonderful partner now for nearly five years. He is loving, caring, wants to look after and provide for the family, works really hard and all I do is push him away cos of my anxiety!
    I’ve always had it during our relatonship and I’ve ended it (in the first couple of years) a few times but we have always come back together like magnets. A year ago we had a baby together and he has bonded us ever more. I love the times when I’m not anxious and our relationship is just brilliant. But it takes something like me being stressed out or something not going right as bang, my anxiety comes back and ruins everything. When this happens I can’t stand to be around my partner, everything he says and does winds me up. He tries his best to comfort me, say nice things and lots of reassurance but it makes no difference to how I feel. I just push him away. He feels like he is my emotional punch bag which upsets me even more. I feel numb, can’t get excited about anything and our physical relationship is non existent. I feel like running away and so I don’t need to worry about how I feel anymore. The way I feel consumes me and I become very selfish. It’s like I don’t care if I’m upsetting him. This man wants to love me and take care of me, why don’t I feel that I want to reciprocate those feelings?
    When I’m in a good place, my life is just brilliant. We have a beautiful baby boy, I’m setting up a business for our family’s future and thinking about our future and discussing it with my partner is so exciting! I want to feel like that all the time. But once again my anxiety il has come round in one big circle and has got me again!!

  • Stephanie

    I’ve never replied to a post although I’ve read many of them. I need some serious advice pronto! So a little history.. I’ve been afraid of relationships my whole life. Even as a little girl when I found out a boy at school had a crush on me I stopped going to school and switched classes. The first time someone wanted me to be their girlfriend I never talked to them again. Over my life my anxiety has matured and I’m no longer afraid of those little things but now it’s the big things I can’t get over. I’ve been to te point of getting married twice now and I have randomly come up with reasons to leave both relationships. Usually I get really anxious in the morning. I have all sorts of thoughts about “what if this isn’t right” “I shouldn’t be feeling this way” etc. My anxiety is so bad though that it takes over my whole body. My immune system shuts down. I start feeling hot and I always end up throwing up. I always relate those feelings to it being the boys fault and that if I wasn’t with him I wouldn’t have anxiety and that always the simple solution. Well that’s what I’ve done the lady two times is leave. My ex who was my best friend is now getting married to someone else and I had never been so heart broken knowing that I was the one who let him go, but at the same time knew I couldn’t be with him because of my anxiety. I told myself I would never let my anxiety ruin my life again like that. Recently I went out of state for a month to clear my head. I met a boy and we kind of became fond of each other. Well knowing that I was eventually going back home there was no anxiety knowing it wasn’t going anywhere. Well now I’m home and we’ve been talking on the phone every day since I left and he wants to buy a plane ticket to come out and see me. Wel you guessed it my anxiety has come back! I woke up this morning and I almos texted him to tell him not to buy the ticket but then I knew he would be really confused by my actions if I did that. So I’m hopefull that before he comes in 6 weeks ill be able to overcome this and be able to have a good time with him. Here are the things I’m worried about: him meeting my family, staying at my house with me, having to entertain him, having to make it worth his while, dealing with the thoughts that this is serious if he flew out here, wondering what will happen after he’s here. Anything that’s serious freaks me out and I just started a new medication but I don’t know when it will kick in. Please help. I’m 23 and I don’t want to be alone forever!

  • Ross

    I have been with my gf for 8 years. A couple of days ago I looked at her and a tiny question ran through my head: Do I love her? I’ve been crushing on a girl at work, not much and nothing has happened, but that bought the question up.

    It felt like I fell of a cliff. The question had started a full blown panic attack. For the last two days I have been in a constant state of anxiety worrying about this issue. The strongest feeling is guilt. Followed by a desire to run away and hide. When those feelings go away a suddenly feel ok again. I stop questioning and get on with things.

    The anxiety was so sudden and unexpected. My life has just gone through a tremendous amount of change. Finished grad school, started new job, moved into a new place, bought a load of furniture together, feeling homesick (I’m from another country) dont have many friends in the area, suddenly thrust into a world where there are other attractive girls.

    All of this is so interconnected with my relationship that just a tiny moment of doubt blew up into a whirlwind of panic attacks and anxiety.

    Now that I am calm again I can write this story confident that, doubt is all it is and actually this is the time to double down on my relationship.

    The scariest part for me as that it was so sudden. I was blissfully happy 1 second before the question and utterly terrified for 2 days after. That’s how I know my fears are irrational and caused by all the changes in my life.

    Love is work. Needed to hear that.

  • Maggie

    It was Heaven sent that I came across this article.. Thank you SO much. I am still going through this but trying to work it out with my STILL ex-boyfriend. Ever since I irrationally broke up with him 4 months ago during what I now know was an anxiety attack; we have been working on dealing with my crazyness. I didn’t develop anxiety until I started taking birth control.. so ladies, just a forewarning because I am never taking that again!!!!! I have suffered severe depression along with these terrible thoughts and feelings toward zach and it is just so relieving that I am not alone:D Because I love Zach and I could never actually be with out him… I tried that, and it was terrible. I’ve thought “ughhhh, I can’t live with him, but I reallllly can’t live with out him” Which is what I’m struggling with the most now. But now I have the utmost faith that I will conquer this irrational fear and be able to happily move on with not only Zach but the rest of my life!!

  • Maggie

    Also, did or does anyone ever have the thought “what if there is someone else better out there for me?” Like what if he isn’t “the one” i am destined to be with?

  • Feeling Better

    Hi All,

    I just wanted to share a quick story with you all. Last Thursday I had quite the crisis.

    I asked myself the question “do I love this girl” and I didn’t get back the emotional response that I was expecting. My world dropped away and I had a huge panic attack. I was shaking and felt dead inside and couldn’t stop asking the question over and over again. I lay awake all night feeling sick and hot then cold then hot again.

    I spent the next few days unable to look at my girlfriend because of the anxiety it brought on and unable to form sentences. I don’t remember much of those few days other than feeling sick, not wanting to eat, and above all scared. For those of you in this position right now, believe me I know that it feels like all you want to do is run away and get into a hole in the ground.

    I spent all my time reading about panic attacks and trying to understand what was happening. Fortunately (for me!) my parents are both sufferers of panic attacks and were able to help me a lot. They pointed me in the direction of good resources and were just their for me when I needed them.

    I also did a lot of self reflection. I realized that I was stressed for a number of reasons. I have gone the=rough a tremendous amount of change in my life over the past few months, new job, new house, and bunch of other stuff as well as being far away from home and all my friends. This was causing me a lot of anxiety that bubbled to the surface when I asked that one question, in fact even now when I think about it it makes me shiver and worry.

    Eventually the panic cycle broke, yesterday and today I have managed to have long periods where I am feeling almost normal. Tired and still a bit shaky for sure, but well enough. In those moments I started laughing at myself. How could I be so stupid. My relationship is everything to me and of course it’s not going to end because of a panic attack.

    While I was going through all this I read this board a lot and it really helped. The articles are spot on and said just the right things to get me through the worst moments.

    While I’m not completely back to OK, I can say that my relationship is safe, and I understand that it is the life changes causing the panic not my GF.

    Phew!

  • SJD

    Hi Sheryl, Thank you so much for all of your articles. I look to them whenever i’m feeling really bad and they give me hope. I’m not engaged but I relate to a lot of the anxieties anyway.

    I’ve been with my boyfriend for 2 years now and it’s been the greatest 2 years of my entire life up until about 2 months ago. We’ve also been best friends for around 4 years. He is the greatest person I have ever met and has been supportive and there for me through all of my anxiety troubles in the past. He knows how i’ve been feeling lately and he understands and is there for me whenever I have one of my anxiety attacks. With this being said, the fact that my anxiety has turned on him hurts me so much I can’t even handle it.

    I’ve had many anxiety problems since I was in middle school. It all began with me questioning whether or not my friends liked me or not and I would drive them away with a constant need for reassurance. It went like this until I met him and then although i still had anxiety about other things I felt safe and secure.

    My world came crashing down when one night I had a crazy anxiety attack sleeping over his house and started asking myself “what if i dont love him” “what if i never did”. I know this is completely ridiculous because before this he was the only person I wanted to be around all the time. I had a crazy anxiety attack at work the next day too because I had completely convinced myself that i had fallen out of love overnight and i needed to break up with him. The thought of being without him leaves me empty but the thought of the future with him makes me nervous.

    I know this is probably because i’m terrified of the future to begin with and i’m enduring a lot of changes recently as i’m graduating from college soon and i have no clue where life is going to take me. In addition, my mother has alcohol problems and has caused many disturbances in my household in the last year and I believe it’s taken a major toll on my mentally even though my anxiety isn’t focused on that.

    Also, when our relationship started it came out of nowhere. We were best friends who one night hooked up and then started from there. As the beginnings of the relationship formed I knew I was feeling anxious and I wasn’t really sure if I liked him but I wanted to be in a relationship with him. I was scared I’d lose my best friend because of the relationship. On top of that, we were kind of a trio before we started dating. Me, my boyfriend and my other best friend. We were afraid our relationship would screw up our friendship with him, once we told him things progressed more naturally and thats when I stopped doubting and rarely ever questioned my love for him. Sometimes i’d think I don’t love him, but i’d be like but im happy with him and dont want to leave him (i’m not sure if this was in times of stress, but im always stressed)

    Long story short, the thing that pops into my mind is that I never loved him, and i’ve been faking it this whole time for some reason or another and maybe even using him. All I want is to be with him though and I’m so very confused.

  • Hello everyone. I’m 24 and I have to say I’m in disbelief. I had no idea that so many people go through what I’m going through right now.

    The difference with me is, I’ve been through relationship anxiety before TWICE but I had no idea that’s what it was. So of course it was horrendous and I died a few deaths and ended up letting go of each relationship. I did try to fight but I didn’t know how. Whenever the anxiety hit me and I felt like everything was wrong it just added to the belief that the relationship was all wrong. Well I can’t go back and I’m actually in a new relationship now. But I’m going through it all over again, only this time I don’t want to walk away because I know what I’m dealing with now. I met my boyfriend online, a few months after I had let go of my previous relationship. I never wanted to get into another one because I just couldn’t handle the thought of feeling all the anxiety and doubts and losing the loving feelings all over again. But of course we’re not in control of who we fall for so naturally it just happened. I moved out to Malta to meet him for the first time and here I am.

    I did feel anxiety towards the beginning but I was able to push it away. I told myself ‘come on Hana, it’s clearly not him. You’ve only been with him for 2 weeks!! Anxiety is just a feeling! Let it go!’ And this worked!! Whenever I felt anxious I would tell myself that it’s just a feeling and it is powerless unless you believe it. After a few weeks I was back to normal and able to enjoy my new relationship. I found myself a small job and the anxiety started again…but I was able to reason with it and I told myself ‘you’ve just started a new job Hana…its normal to feel anxious. Don’t put this on R. It’s nothing to do with him!’ And again the anxiety subsided and I carried on as normal.

    But now it’s back and with a vengeance. My mother came to visit us for a week which was more than stressful as she is very critical and demanding. While she was here I began to feel anxious about my relationship. Often I’ve felt like my boyfriend isn’t affectionate enough or I’m not what he expected. But now the anxiety has hit again and it’s horrible…I feel like I can’t even recognise my surroundings because my state of mind has been altered with all the over thinking and worry. I used to love when he smiled at me and came to hug me, now I just feel scared and I get knots in my tummy and I ask myself ‘is it me or him??’ It’s exhausting. I have been telling myself that it’s just the anxiety and that I’ve gone through this before but I feel like I need more help. I feel like I’m looking for a silver lining, just one solid thought that I know is real to get me through this. I don’t want to leave my boyfriend. We’ve made so many plans and yes he isn’t perfect but neither am I. I have many flaws and I’ve suffered from anxiety and worry and low self esteem my whole life. I really want to emerge from this as a new person. I couldn’t believe the strength and power I felt when I kicked anxieties butt the first time round. How can I do it again? It’s like it’s come back and now it’s specifically focussing itself on my boyfriend…

  • ES

    Would love some advice. I am a mid thirties man who has an amazing woman. She is smart, caring, beautiful and kind. Gets along with my family and friends, and going on 4 years now. We live together and have for over 1 year.

    She has put up two ultimatum on getting engaged, which she pushed back because I was “not ready”. That guilt and anxiety has plagued me. I know I love her, I do the small things and have become a better person because of it, but I have doubts, and keep searching for answers to “cure” them. I now wake up nauseous every day because I know I am not in the same place as her. She is ready to start her life with me and take the next steps.

    I have never felt the need to get married to any woman I have dated, and never thought about that prospect. I just have lived life in the present, not thought long term. I feel more and more like I am doing a disservice to her by staying with her, keeping her hopeful. I think she would be a great mother, great wife, I just feel like I am still a kid, not taking life seriously.

    At the same time, I am also not ready to leave her. I went and ring shopped and konw the ring to get, when I am ready. She is confused, rightfully so, on my un-willingness to move forward.

    here is where the questions come in:

    1. By moving forward and getting the ring, do you think possibly my anxiety will subdue once I do move forward and purpose? I have a feeling that maybe since all of this is in my head, that the act of moving forward will help subdue and make me live a happier life.

    2. Or should I come to terms that maybe while she is amazing, I am not ready and that I should tell her we need space and time. I feel like I am in my mid-thirties and with over 4 years into it, what a shame it would be to end it.

    I am stuck in the middle. I am completely overwhelmed with fear on making the “wrong” decision. I realize that my fear has actually invaded my life, made me more anxious than before and given me pain that I cannot cure without one or another decision.

    Please help

  • struggling

    I can relate so much to this post. I began a relationship with an sensitive and kind man a little over three years ago. I had known him for several years before but never very well. We became good friends while working together and after a few months it became clear that he had feelings for me. I was unsure at first, afraid of ruining the friendship and questioning whether I cared for him beyond just friendship. I said yes to a date and then became unsure about it and decided not to go. A few weeks later I was sad that I could potentially loose someone who was such an important part of my life, so I agreed again to go on a date with him. While I was still unsure where the relationship would go we started dating. Over time I grew to love him more and more, he became an integral part of my life. A few months into our relationship we both moved for jobs. We were then long distant for a little over two years. Throughout that time we were able to pursue our own jobs and schooling while stilling seeing each other often and talking regularly. We were both very happy in the relationship and ready to be in the same place. Over the summer we began to talk about marriage and what the time line for that would look like for us. I was not pressuring him, as I have always been somewhat leery of marriage after seeing my parents relationship and divorce, but I wanted to know where things were going and I didn’t want to be surprised and unprepared if he did propose. He gave me a timespan of when he would propose and I was excited. All we wanted was to be living in the same place and to finally be together. I basically figured out when he was probably going to propose because we were going on a trip. I talked to a few friends and family about it and I was always very happy at the prospect of getting engaged and spending my life with him. Then we left on the trip with me anticipating when he would propose and I started feeling this weird distant feeling a day or two into the trip. He proposed and I said yes, I was excited but still had this nagging distant feeling. Within a few days I was in full blown anxiety about feeling distant and that this feeling will never go away and I will never feel the same again. It has now been going on for about a month and it is causing me to question whether or not I still really love him, its like Ive “fallen out of love”. I just don’t understand how this feeling could come up in the course of a few days and ruin everything. I feel so angry but also somewhat numb. I just don’t know what to do because I know that I can’t stay if I continue to feel like this… but I also don’t want to lose him. I have been very honest with him about all of this and he has been very supportive in wanting to work through things, I just don’t know how to make things better. Any advice would be great.

  • Susan

    Hi! This piece of read was a god send. I read this piece like I was reading about myself. My wonderful, supportive boyfriend and I met as friends and we remained friends for years. I friend-zoned him too and didn’t see much potential. Years go by and I ended single again and he insisted we try a romantic relationship. The attraction wasn’t there initially but the support, love, respect that I never got from other relationships were and that was enough for me at that point. It’s been 3.5 years in and we recently hiked the relationship up a notched and have talked about getting engaged and got a dog. Something changed in me at this point after all the serious talk and I have been bawling my eyes out. Everyday I am filled with panic, grief and fear. I have good moments when I am certain he is right and awful moments that I too, want to scream and run from this. I should be elated that he wants to spend the rest of his life with me and I should be on cloud nine. I’m not and I’m relieved to know someone else has been here. What do you suggest I do next? Should I consider counseling? I think I’ve fallen in a deep depression as a result.