Are You Seeking a Magic Potion to Free You From Relationship Anxiety?

by | Apr 3, 2022 | Anxiety, Break Free From Relationship Anxiety, Relationships | 27 comments

Are you looking for the magic pill to free you from relationship anxiety?

Are you hoping that you’ll read an Instagram post or see a Tik-Tok video and the pieces of confusion about your relationship will instantly fall into place and in one fantastic movie moment your eyes will be cleansed of fear and your heart will be filled with warm, clear love for your loving partner?

That one magic post that will shatter all doubt and leave you with a drug-like YES of certainty?

Well, I’m sorry to break it to you, but that doesn’t exist!

In our quick-fix, endlessly-scrolling, Instagram-and-Tik-Tok culture that doles out prescriptive remedies like eye candy in the form of 30-second clips, it’s easy to fall into a fantasy that a quick answer exists that will take away your pain.

There is a part of me that fears for the soul of our world, that shakes my head and holds my heart in sadness at the toll that screens are taking on our attention span and our expectations.

And yet…

…there’s another part, a much bigger part, that rejoices because I’m privileged to work with people every day who show up for themselves and commit to doing the deep, hard, slow work of reclaiming their self-trust, self-compassion, joy and love.

Like the young man in one of my small groups who mediates every day shortly after waking up and sits on the train without his phone so that he can be fully present for what’s happening around him. His relationship anxiety is now a quiet whisper that only occasionally vies for attention whereas just a few months ago it was clamoring for center stage 24/7.

Like the course members who write to me years after taking the course to tell me that they’re happily married and that the tools and skills they learned through this work have helped them navigate all of life’s challenges.

Like my long-term clients who, years after resolving their relationship anxiety, bring me their dreams, their parenting challenges, their tears of grief and joy, their very souls.

This is what heartens me.

You see, deep down we don’t really want the quick fix because we know it doesn’t work. The soul longs to delve into the real stuff, even when it’s hard, because this is how we grow. And we’re wired for growth. There’s some part of us that can easily fall down the scrolling rabbit hole and wile away hours on meaningless content, but there’s a much bigger part that is hungry to heal and knows that true healing only happens with real work.

Three Magic Keys

While real work can only happen slowly, there are two keys that are somewhat magical that do help people break free from relationship anxiety:

  1. Shame Reduction: When you learn that you’re not alone and that there’s an entire community – literally tens of thousands of people (if not more) – who suffer in exactly the same way you do, you can dip beneath the shame barrier that says, “I’m the only one,” and begin to do the real work required to heal relationship anxiety at the root.
  2. Taking Responsibility: This is essential. Projections and intrusive thoughts are, at the core, an abdication of responsibility in that you’re convincing yourself that the problem is your partner and that if only they were more or less this or that – or you had an entirely different partner – you wouldn’t be feeling so anxious. Here’s one of the cut-through questions to help you break through the conviction that the problem is your partner: Is this the first time in your life you’ve had anxiety? I would bet a lot of money that the answer is NO!

And there’s a third magic key that helps enormously with the first two: being in community and hearing from other people in a live format as they share their struggles. Community is a shame reducer. Listening to others talk about their projections can help you name your own, which helps to de-fuse from the conviction that they’re true and encourage you to take the first steps toward living a life rooted in personal responsibility.

This is what I offer in my Break Free From Relationship Anxiety LIVE Course: not only fourteen in-depth lessons to guide you through the roadmap from fear to freedom (no quick fixes; the course takes weeks or months to work through) but also, through the LIVE option which I only offer once a year, an opportunity to connect with me and others on the group coaching calls.

There’s an additional layer of magic that happens when you know that others are receiving the course material right alongside you: from every corner of this earth, participants are receiving the emails, watching the videos, listening to the visualizations, and reading the articles. You are not alone, and we’re not meant to heal alone.

I’d love to connect with you on this next round, which will start on April 10th, 2022.

Here are the times for the live coaching calls. Keep in mind that only about 1/3 of course members are able to attend live calls, and there is still potency and healing power in listening back to the recordings afterward:

Call 1: April 11 at 6:15pm ET

Call 2: April 26 at 3pm ET

Call 3: May 16 at 6:15pm ET

Call 4: May 31 at 11am ET

Categories

Is my doubt about my relationship an offshoot of my own anxiety or is it a warning that I’m with the wrong person?

Many people wonder what “relationship anxiety” is and if they are, indeed, suffering from it. They also desperately want an answer to that million-dollar question.

The answer to this question is contained in the assessment. Fill in your information to receive an immediate answer (and a lot of reassurance just from going through the material).

27 Comments

  1. Hi Sheryl,

    This is a really informative post. I have a question, though. My relationship anxiety started at the beginning of my relationship and I was an anxious mess questioning if I liked him, if I found him attractive, if I love him, if I’m in love etc. I don’t really feel anxious much anymore but I still have the same thoughts and ruminate nearly all day.

    Can I still assume it is still relationship anxiety and go about healing it in the way you outline above and in your other articles? I am currently reading your book, “The Wisdom of Anxiety” but wondered how I can apply the practices if I’m not actually anxious anymore, I just have a nagging feeling in my chest and forehead.

    Thank you!

    Reply
  2. Hi Sheryl,
    Thanks for this email. I am finding that I am having relationship anxiety towards not only my partner but my friends also. Is this possible? So long I’ve been working on healing the stuff that part linked to my partner but I’m noticing that I’m also starting to project onto my close friends too and it’s pushing them away.

    Reply
    • Friendship anxiety is very common and another one of those under-discussed topics. You’re not alone!

      Reply
  3. Hi Sheryl!
    Love your blogs as they help me feel calmness at times when I am down the rabbit hole. It has been a wild 3 months for me since I started feeling relationship anxiety. I hope you are able to answer my questions as my anxiety is so bad lately. Ever since this started I have had moments of clarity where I am truly happy and feel like everything will be okay with my partner & I, but then the next moment I completely feel numb and feel nothing for my partner which causes my anxiety to eventually spike. Sometimes it makes me panic, sometimes it doesnt (which scares me more because if I dont panic does this mean it is my intuition). Then it’s just a cycle again. RA is so confusing. I do see a psychiatrist which has dealt with my previous anxiety/ocd themes and agrees this is just another theme but for me it feels so real that is just so hard to grasp..all my other anxiety obsessions were so much easier compared to this one (and this is my 2nd ROCD phase with the same partner, first time was in 2018 and it went away so quickly that I forgot I even had it until it came back this year). Any words of advice would be so appreciated! Is feeling nothing/numb/no excitement part of the healing process? I am scared of it being the truth because he is my best friend and he takes such good care of me. I just want to feel those feelings again. I already have your Wisdom of Anxiety book which my partner & I read together every night! I love it.

    Reply
    • Hi Petra: You’re describing textbook relationship anxiety, and yes, the numbness is part of it. I know it’s hard and the thoughts feel real and convincing, but the more you can name them as intrusive thoughts, which are trying to protect you, the more you’ll be able to heal at the root. And if you can take the course, especially the live version, it will help enormously.

      Reply
      • Thank you for your quick response! it means the world honestly. I cannot take the live course right now due to financial restraints but I am considering saving up for your general RA course. I’ve dealt with ROCD/RA already once and it lasted about a month and I thought it was torture then but it kind of went away on its own and with my meds. I have been on meds for past 2 months but nothing seems to help! I just hope I can heal soon so I can enjoy my life again. Thank you again! looking forward to your next blog 🙂

        Reply
  4. Hi, Thank you for all your posts. I’m wondering if this work applies to me as I’ve had doubts from the day I met my partner (the first thought I had when I saw him was a negative one about his physical looks). We’ve been together nearly 2 years and I’ve had doubts and anxiety the whole time about whether there is enough spark, if I love him enough or in the right way for a romantic relationship. I generally feel really safe with him and feel we are good friends. He has all the core values of what I want in a partner. My brain tells me that this work doesn’t apply to me as I don’t identify strongly as a HSP – do you think the course would be useful even if we dont identify as a HSP? I have had anxiety at other times in my life. I want to give my relationship the best chance I can but not sure if this course would help. Thank you 🙂

    Reply
    • Anxiety will always look for a way to convince you that it’s not really anxiety but just the “truth,” so in your case it’s telling you that because you don’t identify as HSP (and I would challenge that :)), the course won’t apply to you. It’s highly likely that it will. And yes, many people experience doubt from day 1, and there are a few interviews at the end of the course with people who share that exact story and how they came through it.

      Reply
  5. Dearest Sheryl,

    Hello from here in Boulder. I am curious if this course would still be helpful for my current situation: I am not yet in committed partnership but dating someone wonderful. I don’t have doubts about him and our time together is wonderful, secure, and healthy— and due to him being in the midst of healing Lyme’s disease while we’re in our first months brings up a lot of fear and anxiety at times in our time apart— when he needs much more space to rest after we see each other, as he often doesn’t feel well and needs to cocoon. While I’m trusting in many moments when those spikes happen and when I can drop in, I notice how scared part of me is. I’m grateful when I can access the tears and clear another layer; and it’s tiring. My abandonment wound. We can’t be wrapped up in a honeymoon/hormone high phase per se because his health won’t allow that. Thoughts on the suitability of this course? Much love.

    Reply
    • Hi Whitney! While I’m sure there would be parts of the course that would benefit you, it doesn’t sound like you’re struggling with relationship anxiety as much as the anxiety that arises in a relationship, especially around attachment and abandonment. I hope that’s helpful. x

      Reply
  6. Hello Sheryl

    I’m wondering if you can offer me some advice. I’m in my first proper relationship (only a year long so far) with a woman who is very genuine, kind and supportive. We both care deeply about each other and love each other. However the problem I have is that my relationship anxiety becomes worse (not always) because I realise that whilst my love language is physical touch, hers is not and affection does not come naturally to her in that way. I have accepted that she just isn’t that way but I still love her and would do anything for her.

    Is this anxiousness purely relationship anxiety and very common? I also worry that we don’t always talk a lot and are often times in silence, if I enjoy her company enough etc. I like being with her and making plans together but never feel euphorically excited, is this an issue or an unrealistic expectation?

    Many thanks for reading this.

    Reply
    • Thank you for your comment, Josh :). This sounds like textbook relationship anxiety!

      Reply
      • Many thanks for your reply Sheryl. On calmer days I know that I love her, and love loving her through words and actions even if they’re not reciprocated.

        In a lot of ways she reminds me of my mother, somewhat physically (same build), but also in her mannerisms. Is this strange? Or should a life partner be like a mother?

        Reply
        • There are no “shoulds” when it comes to relationships, or to life. There’s only what works for you.

          Reply
          • Thank you again Sheryl.

            If a relationship triggers anxious attachment, does that automatically mean it’s an unhealthy relationship? It’s easily triggered as she’s not physically affectionate but also might come across as ‘cold’ when it comes to texting. I’m wondering if the anxious attachment is just relationship anxiety?

            Many thanks

            Reply
            • Josh: I encourage you to consider the course if you’d ‘like to receive ongoing support. It’s an incredible community, and the live course just started today, which includes four group coaching calls with me. I’d love to see you there.

              Reply
  7. This post is so timely for me. I found your work over a decade ago, Sheryl, just before I married my husband. All throughout our relationship I’ve struggled with relationship anxiety and now am in a phase of ambivalence (not the first time). We now have a young child and combine that with work and school and caring for a home, I feel like it would just be easier to be on my own—giving any of myself to my husband has become more of a chore and I literally recoil away from him. Instead of anxiety I’ve felt more depressed and thinking I’d be happier without him, but when I ask myself if I’m doing the sic kit, daily work or filling my own well, the answer is clearly NO. This reminds me I need to revisit my open your heart coursework and try to get myself (and hopefully my relationship) back on track. Thank you for all that you do 🙏🏼

    Reply
    • Oops typo—**difficult daily work

      Reply
    • Alison, I’m in the exact same situation as you! Sometimes it’s easy to drift & disconnect when there is so much going on around you with working & having children. We both have to push through and do all the work. It’s not doomed! We just need to push through to connect again.

      Reply
      • I’m going through exactly this in my relationship also. We have an 11 month old boy and this past year I feel like has really took its toll on our relationship. I’m constantly worrying whether I should leave him but I’m too scared to incase it’s a huge mistake. What course would you recommend?

        Reply
  8. Hi Sheryl

    I’ve been suffering with relationship anxiety for about a year now. My biggest fear is that even after working on it for a year, being on meds, having CBT, I still have periods of time where it’s always there in my mind. Have you got any words of wisdom? Should I still feel this way?

    Reply
  9. Hello Sheryl,
    I am 4 months from my wedding. I go through days of being very excited and days of feeling very anxious.
    I know I love my partner. But I still get that thought it my head of “you’re not in love with her” or “maybe you just love her as a friend, but not as a lifelong partner”. We have been together 8 years and I think part of my anxiety stems from not having a lot of other serious relationships.
    I have talked to her about this and she has been so amazing and supporting. It has honestly defied my expectations how much she is supporting me and loving me. And it’s almost hard to accept that love from her. I feel like I don’t deserve it.
    I guess my question is how long is too long to have these intrusive thoughts? Or is there ever a point in which they are truly just trying to tell you what you really feel, your “gut”?
    I cycle between, I don’t want to loose my best friend and love, to I don’t want to make a mistake and marry the wrong person, to I don’t want to make a mistake and end something that is rare and beautiful just because I’m scared all in the same day sometimes.
    It also resonated with me what someone said above about feeling numb sometimes. I’ve described it as feeling empty. Anxiety isn’t new to me. I just don’t know when to listen and when not to. Thank you!

    Reply
  10. Hi Sheryl!

    I’m in my first serious relationship at 22, dating a man who just turned 31. We’ve been together for a year & it’s felt like a year of extreme highs and lows. We broke up for one day in September but got back together and tried to work things out. Recently, I tried to talk to my friends about being open with him since they were always a little closed off, to which one told me he makes her uncomfortable and felt he was checking them out uncomfortably. Personally, I don’t see it and believe they have a set impression of him based on our early relationship (let’s say he struggled with certain…habits that I did not agree with in a relationship, but I shared with my friends because I was seeking advice) but it has caused a rift not only in my friendship but my relationship. He has tried calling them to work it out but they didn’t answer. I constantly question if they are right and I’m dating someone who is not the best for me. Sometimes I feel so in love and sure and other times I just can’t stop thinking that I want to end it and would be better off. I also feel intense cringe sometimes when we’re around my family, since he has a different sense of humor. I’m not sure this is a relationship I want for the rest of my life. How do I deal with these feelings? Every time I get close to breaking up with him again I can’t do it and reach out to him to talk or be together for comfort.

    Reply
  11. Hi Sheryl!

    My current boyfriend and I have had overall an amazing relationship – we look out for each other and we’re a team. I’ve had general anxiety my entire life and got diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome very early in my life so I’ve always been unsure of myself and what I want. He and I have always had this strange special bond that I’ve never quite been able to put into words, simply that he feels unique and different from even my and his previous romantic relationships.

    My boyfriend has actually had dysphoria/gender issues and it’s caused a breakup twice, the second one being a lot worse than the first. It left me a wreck, emotionally numb and with zero desire to date anyone else. After six months he realised he’d made a mistake and we agreed to get back together. For the first month or so it was wonderful, everything felt back to normal – then I saw him on camera one day (we’re primarily long distance) with straggly hair tied back. He basically didn’t look his best, and it was so jarring to me I didn’t feel anything.

    Unfortunately since then I’ve been having horrible anxiety on and off about his looks. I keep staring at images of him trying to figure out what the hell’s going on – the funny thing is I’ve had this happen once before and it kind of resolved itself once we met up in person and everything just felt brilliant. The point is, though, it’s been leaving me in tears, feeling so ashamed and guilty, and of course he’s been nothing but supportive the entire time trying to help me.

    I keep getting moments where I adore his looks though, so it’s not a permanent thing. I reckon it’s relationship anxiety. I bought the course yesterday and I honestly suspect the cause is a VERY strong fear of change and a fear of loss… which I knew I had this entire time. So that’s fun.

    Reply

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