BreakFreelogo_templateIt’s the question that wakes you up on the middle of the night. It’s the question that gnaws at your gut and makes your stomach drop with roller-coaster fear. It’s the question that Googled you to many sites and articles that confirmed your biggest fear, and ultimately led you here, to my virtual doorstep. It’s the question: Is my anxiety/doubt a evidence that my truth is that I’m with the wrong partner or does it mean something else?

The culture says: Doubt means don’t. It’s as simple as that. The culture, by which I mean mainstream films, articles, blogs, and the ephemeral message that travels through the ether of the collective unconscious, says that if you’re feeling anxious about your relationship – anxious that you don’t love your partner enough or don’t have that magic spark or aren’t attracted or… – it’s clearly and obviously because you’re with the wrong person. When you search for reassurance you usually find that your anxiety is amplified tenfold. When you dare to talk to people you trust, risk to share the innermost fears that are lurking in your mind, they, too, are mouthpieces for the mainstream and do little to reassure you. Nobody wants to come right out and say, “If you’re having so much doubt maybe you should leave,” but sometimes they do. And then you go home and cry.

You cry because you don’t want to leave your loving, healthy partner. You cry because you don’t want to leave the one person with whom you feel safe and secure. You don’t want to leave that sparkly smile, the undercurrent of ease that keeps you afloat (even if it’s not always easy). Something keeps you in. Something prevents you from running. Can you trust that something? The anxious voices fed by the culture pipe up in loud chorus, as they have a lot to say about that: “You’re only staying because you feel safe! You’re only staying because you’re scared to be alone! You’re only staying because you’re scared to hurt him/her!”

The culture says doubt means don’t, but those who are steeped in the world of intimate relationship say something entirely different. Those of us – clergy, therapists, seasoned couples who view marriage as a crucible – who walk these slippery and tricky terrains every day, who dive into the deep waters where the unconscious stories and fears live, know that when anxiety shows up in a loving, solid relationship it’s an invitation to grow.  And we know how tricky and convincing anxiety can be. We know that it can throw every roadblock in the book at you to try to convince you to leave. We know that fear is one of the sneakiest opponents of the mind we will ever encounter, and that love and fear live in the same chamber of the heart (grief lives there, too). We know that nearly everything you’ve ever learning about love, romance, attraction, and sex is based on false fantasy and faulty information that, when followed, lead to unstable relationships.

We know that if you want to have a loving, stable relationship, you have to fight for it. You have to learn how to work with your thoughts and feelings effectively. You have to learn how to show up for yourself in a solid, loving way, perhaps for the first time in your life. You have to be committed to deconstructing the fantasies you’ve absorbed over a lifetime of living in a culture that upholds the romantic ideal as the pinnacle of love. You have to steep yourself in accurate information, swim in a sea of loving voices who will support you as you struggle to stay afloat, and learn effective practices that will not only help you break free from relationship anxiety and intrusive thoughts, but will help you navigate through the rest of your life with grace and confidence.

This is what those of us who walk in the world of two psyches colliding know well. And this is what I’m thrilled to share with you through my new course, Break Free From Relationship Anxiety. The course is now available. Your freedom and clarity await.

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P.S: If you’re wondering about the difference between Break Free From Relationship Anxiety and Open Your Heart (the next round starts on October 24th), please click here.

102 Comments

  1. Awesome!! Summarises it all so beautifully. I’ll be sharing this with our blog followers!

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      • I started bawling cause no matter how much I tried to put these feelings into words I couldn’t but you did it so well. To see this written and know I’m not alone makes me feel happy. A relief.

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          • How do I know if I am in a healthy and loving relationship? That is my problem. I am doubting that I am in a healthy relationship. My anxiety keeps screaming I need to leave because this is y healthy for either of us but I don’t want to leave. I don’t know what to do. I am just so overwhelmed and scared.

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            • I can totally relate to this. Neither of us want to leave but often it feel hard and heavy and unhealthy but we want to make it better – we just don’t know how.

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    • I’m sitting winding down before bed and crying out of happiness after reading this. You just described my exact anxiety lately but I KNOW I’m with the right person. Anxiety is tricky. I feel much less alone, and much more at ease just after this one post. 7 months ago I had my first “nervous breakdown” for lack of a better term. I was convinced my partner was with me for the wrong reasons, then I was convinced that I was with him for the wrong reasons, then I just felt like I was dying and ended up in the ER with an IV of ativan and an EKG. This experience definitely shook me and I’m taking my healing day by day l. This was exactly what I needed right now. Thank you so much.

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      • Malia, I just want to say I have had exactly this same experience, you are not alone and the rumination or worry will improve!

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  2. Thank you for this post Sheryl, your words always comfort me! I also just wanted to say to anyone who is going through relationship anxiety to keep fighting! I suffered with terrible anxiety for 5 months, last summer. I fought through it and a year later I am still with my same partner and feel closer to him than ever. You CAN get through this too. I still get bouts of anxiety every now and then, but not nearly as bad. I just hope to encourage everyone who’s going through this to keep fighting and follow Sheryl’s advice. Notice the anxiety, but don’t be afraid of it, don’t google, don’t argue with it. Just listen, say a prayer, keep busy, cry if you feel like it, and reassure yourself that it will pass. And I encourage you to spend time with your partner. Do things together, keep them close! I just wanted to say that you can get through this, don’t give up, it will get better. And thank you again Sheryl, your articles have helped me in so many ways, I am truly grateful.

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    • Thank you, Brooke. This is wonderful to hear. x

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      • Hi Sheryl!

        I have written several posts and one was most recent on red flags. I purchased your book the wisdom of anxiety and I have been reading all the blogs and watching the webinars. All last week i felt getting to the root of things all really came to light but now the anxiety and fear are resurfacing and I am starting to pull away from my partner. We looked at rings yesterday something I have been longing for and I am so scared. I am terrified that I am going to sabotage it and I know my insecurities stem from early divorce and other relationship issues in the past but I finally feel I found my partner for life and this wont go away. HELP!

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        • I so relate to you. I know my partner is amazing and our relationship is the healthiest we’ve both ever had. I knew from the beginning I could have it all with him- he felt so safe. But I have a lot of anxiety from a past engagement that ended suddenly. I have days when all I can do is daydream sweet nothings of our future and other days I’m convinced it’s all going to come crashing down. We started to look at rings lately, which should give me exciting butterflies but it just brings anxiety. I want to feel okay in the excitement and let myself enjoy the process.

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    • Brooke, thanks for your words. “Just listen, say a prayer, keep busy, cry if you feel like it, and reassure yourself that it will pass.” I definitely struggle with relationship anxiety and sometimes I even get nervous when I see my husband. It’s all so odd and weird and we are newly married. I think I’m going to go on a run in the Georgia rain this afternoon and let myself cry a bit to get it all out!

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      • A good cry in the rain sounds like excellent medicine!

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    • Brooke thank you for sharing that. Not only have I been telling myself to wait out the storm but I also fight to see the light/love on the other side.
      I had one bout with relationship anxiety so bad that I almost broke off my relationship just because it was SO convincing. Thank god I let it filter out of my system.
      It’s so comforting to know that all my preconceived ideas of love were nothing more than fictional stories I’ve always bought into from movies and tv shows.
      From the bottom of my heart I thank you for your input??

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    • I needed this. Im 38 married for 8 years and back in Feb I woke up out of nowhere with fear, panic and anxiety that I didnt love my husband anymore. We have zero issues compred to most, we have a beautiful life together with an amazing son. Ive been trying through prayer and just hoping it will fix itself that I’ll fall back “in’love” with him. Truth is hes amazing! He takes care of our family and is such a hard worker. I think whats wrong with me! Why is it so painful. He looks like a stranger. I just ordered the relationship anxiety course and its comforting to know I’m not alone.

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      • I am in the SAME boat. Everything you said is also me.

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    • what if it’s a long distance relationship ?

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  3. So excited to start this course!! Sex has been a major hurtle in our new marriage (I guess almost new, we’re married 2 years next month). We’ve both had to adjust our expectations of what sex used to be (for me: a way of taking control, trying to “trick” men into love and acceptance of me, and anger at my over religious mom). I’m hoping that the issue of sex is addressed and can lend me some insight. Again, so looking forward to the course!!

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  4. Hi Sheryl,
    Thank you for this blog, it hits home with me every thought and every symptom. I have done 2 courses which helped me immensley. As you know I have learnt alot. Knowledge is power. No better tool. Practising the thoughts making sure Im in the drivers seat has gotten easier for me over these 2 years. When fear rears its ugly head I am better prepared, it dosent scare me most of the time. I do still feel stuck like I cant breathe freely.. And it dosent worry me like before. I ignore it now. I love my life I wouldnt wanna be anywhere else but with my amazing husband. Which course would you recommend for me Sheryl?

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    • Hello dear Angela: I encourage you to take the Break Free course. Even though you’re not in the thick of relationship anxiety, the course covers how to work with general anxiety as well, which is what you’re describing. It sounds like you’re ready for this deeper layer of work. Dive on in!

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  5. Hi Sheryl,

    It seems as though you read my mind! This post really hits home for me. We have been married 8 months and I love my husband dearly. I found your site about a year ago and it was a god send. Everything you wrote was exactly what I was going through/thinking. Over the past month or so my anxiety had started kicking up again. I have tried journaling, positive self talk, and talking with my husband (who is an angel and listens very intently). I know that fear is in the drivers seat and I have a lot of learning ahead of me. I think I am going to sign up for your ecourse. I just wanted to say thank you for all that you do!

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    • As I said to Angela, it sounds like you’re ready for the next layer of healing and deep inner work, which is what this course will offer. Let the learning continue!

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  6. Hi sheryl,I just moved in with my boyfriend and I was, understandably a bit nervous and scared. My whole family helped me unpack with my boyfriend and it was going okay. But for some reason I had to sit down and have some time to breath because it was all too much! I think I was really overwhelmed and that is an emotion I don’t think I have ever had before. I started crying for no reason when my family left! And I couldn’t think of a reason why. I think I was sad because I was leaving my family home and now I’ve got to be an adult so I won’t have my family to lean on, I have to lean on myself now. Do you think this was a form of grief?

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      • Hi again Sheryl,

        Sorry to be a pain and comment again! But I have been doing really Good living with my boyfriend. I finally started to feel like I could tackle everything. And see all of this projection for what it is, which is fear. But I realised this morning I still have some work to do on grieving the single life. Now that I live with my boyfriend I really need to work on that. But I don’t really know how? I knew when I was single I used to go for the unavailable idiots. And for ages there was one guy stuck on my mind. I had a thought this morning, why did I do that? Why did I go for the unavailable ones? I wanted to understand it. I wanted to know why I did, I was just curious because that is something I still can’t seem to understand. But then all those thoughts and uncomfortable feelings when I used to have an interest for him and the Longing for that particular guy came back again. And I’m really annoyed! I don’t want those feelings to surface again, I want them to go away. I’m really peed off to be honest. Is this grief again? Trying to figure out why I did chase after him and wanted him for so long, because I don’t really understand why I did. And now I feel uncomfortable because I have all of these horrible feelings of anxiety again. I’m thinking that perhaps this is what I need to grieve as part of grieving the single life. I don’t like grieving. It’s not a nice feeling, it brings back all the old memories and it feels horrible. I really hate it. I’m not sure how to deal with this. Any advice?

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        • I’m now realising that those feelings I had thinking of that other guy whilst still with my boyfriend were probably grief. The letting go of him and the wondering of what he was doing and if we would ever be together etc, but at the time I didn’t realise it was grief, I had never felt grief before. It scared the hell out of me and I pushed it away thinking I shouldn’t be feeling like this whilst in a relationship with someone else. I got that horrible feeling of dread this morning because I had those feelings bought back to me that I first felt when my anxiety started. The reason why I felt dread was because I didn’t realise that it was grief all along . I feel angry at him for doing this to me, why strong me along for so long and then drop me down when he couldn’t be bothered anymore? And then I found out he had a girlfriend when he tried getting me to dump my boyfriend and I was fuming! How dare he! I’m so angry now Sheryl

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          • Hi H,

            I just want to say that your situation mirrors mine!

            I’m a 23 year old girl and moved in with my boyfriend in July. It’s been really nice living together but on the sex front I’ve lost interest for some reason. Prefer to cuddle than to be intimate in a sexual way. This was never a problem in our 4 years together until now. I suspect low libido hormonally because I’ve always been a high sex drive female but lately my libido has completely flat-lined. Looking into Ayurvedic herbs like Ashwagandha to see if that may help. I think I read an old post where you mentioned that you were going through this too – correct me if I’m wrong!

            Anyway, just like you, I also get very very anxious when old feelings come back from another guy I was really into. I actually broke up with my boyfriend for a while to see what it would be like to pursue this other guy as an option. He was really unavailable too, he was off and on with another girl but I knew he cared about me a lot. To this day, whenever we speak (not very often) I get a surge of those old feelings for him. I sometimes have dreams about him and sometimes find myself longing and wondering how it would be if he and I were properly together. My anxiety goes through the roof when this happens though, I have extreme feelings of guilt, because I DO NOT want to be able to feel these feelings for someone who isn’t my boyfriend! I wish I could just turn them off and throw them away! I only want to love and be with my boyfriend, but this other person occupies a place in my heart and when we speak it re-ignites those feelings.

            This is why I have been very good at keeping our contact to a minimal, but everyone now and again I shoot him a message to see how he’s doing. I then regret speaking to him and feel super anxious thinking “why did you feel excited speaking to him” “were you too flirtatious?” “why are you having thoughts like ‘I miss him’ and visualizing scenarios of you two together?!” — all this gets me in an anxious hold and all I can feel is guilt. It’s particularly fresh at the moment because we caught up over text this weekend and I had those longing feelings and now feel terrible about it.

            My boyfriend knows on some level that he and I keep in touch – I’ve told him he has nothing to worry about and he says trusts me. Yet, every time we talk I get this guilty feeling and this “need to confess” to my boyfriend about the feelings that I felt. I used to get this guilt and need to confess when I was little, if I did something I perceived to be wrong I would be riddled with guilt and confess to my mom who was very strict and very severe (my boyfriend is not – he’s very understanding, trusting and compassionate).

            Still, I get the anxiety and guilt after the other guy and I speak or if the longing feelings surface. I too think part of this has to do with grieving, but not sure why the guilt is there… I do feel so badly about being able to feel things for someone else, things I wish could only be reserved for my boyfriend.

            Would really love Sheryl’s POV on this topic. If she could write a blog post about feelings for other people and/or guilt that would really be amazing. I know she’s written about Ex’s in the past, but this seems a bit different. I hope this message gets to you, H. xx

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          • Read sheryl’s post ‘Engagement anxiety and the Ex’- I think you will really connect with it. Hope it helps!

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  7. I read people saying, “He/She was everything I wanted in a partner.” Well, what do you do when your partner isn’t everything you want and perhaps very little of what you want? When my husband and I married we weren’t young but looking back I see how incredibly dysfunctional we were. I was wracked with anxiety and went through with the wedding which is now one of my saddest memories. I felt trapped and in trying to cope with such over-whelming problems I felt suicidal much of the time and even lashed out and became physically abusive at times. I have gotten myself into anger management classes and I’m working on me as best I can in therapy. I feel like I lost myself and became a monster. I’m only sharing all of this because I feel so alone and ashamed of all of it. Maybe someone else has gone through a similar thing. Maybe I AM the red-flag issue that means I should leave. If anyone has insights I’d love to hear…
    Thank you

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    • I don’t think you’re the red flag; I think that you’re becoming more and more aware of your “flaws”, which really means places that need attention for the purpose of growth and healing. And you’re aware that he’s far from perfect as well. In addition to individual therapy, I recommend considering couples’ therapy as well, and specifically the EFT model, which you can learn more about here:

      http://www.iceeft.com

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      • I could have also written this post. I suffered from doubts and anxiety during my wedding day. And that is why I am still doubting whether I should participate in this course or not. What do you think Sheryl?

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        • Doubts and anxiety can continue years into a relationship if you don’t do the deeper work. Even then, doubts will resurface from time to time as an indicator that something inside of you or in the relationship needs attention; not in a red-flag way but in the way that we’re all works-in-progress and we all need to learn how to attend to the places in and outside of ourselves that are asking for attention. This is what the new course addresses in depth.

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          • Thank you again Sheryl. I am just scared that I am a “hopeless” case. Because I have suffered doubts and anxiety so many years and intrusive thoughts about my ex don’t stop even though I am not anxious anymore. But I decided to invest on our relationship and participate in this course.

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  8. I found this site back in June 2014 and it changed my life! Everything was fine in my relationship until we began talking about marriage and suddenly what I wanted from the beginning…I began to fear!!! “What If?” Was my mind’s favorite statement. What if he’s not the one? Do I feel ENOUGH love? I felt triggered by the smallest things and I got to a point where I felt NOTHING but anxiety…like I fell out of love overnight!!! I could barely look at him without wanting to cry…it was like something took over and I had zero control. That’s the point where I got help (and continued to read articles on this site to keep me afloat in the meantime)! Come to find out I had OCD thinking patterns not just in my romantic relationship, but other relationships and areas in my life. “ROCD” is the term. After a few months of very hard work, my love came back and I am MORE in love than ever….actually I wouldn’t even say that. I would say that my view of love is a lot more accurate and I enjoy the quieter moments where my heart isn’t overcome with that “in love” feeling. Redefining love goes a long way…so believe Sheryl when she says to put in the work. One thing I would challenge you to do is start surprising your partner with little gifts here and there and keep in mind the qualities that draw you to them. The work, combined with redefining your view on love goes a long way…I promise!!! HANG IN THERE!!! I almost didn’t believe the success stories to be honest…but they hold true because I made it even when I didn’t think it was possible. I thank the Lord for giving me the strength and surrounding me with the support system that I needed. I’ve never actually had any sessions with Sheryl but as a follower and someone who has put in the work with my own counselor, I can verify that her words are true. 🙂

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    • Thank you for your beautifully supportive comment, Noelle. ROCD is addressed in depth in this course (although I do prefer the term “relationship anxiety”). Many blessings to you.

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    • Where are you now? Any advice would be greatly appreciated – my situation sounds just like yours!!!!

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  9. Thank you Sheryl. xx

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  10. Dear Sheryl,

    This article is so poignant for me now. I found your site 4 months ago when my anxiety, which had building since the start of my relationship, reached it’s peak and I was on the verge of leaving an otherwise entirely positive and happy partnership. I am so incredibly thankful that I found your site when I did, for I do not believe we would have survived without it. Your words were such a soothing balm to my fear and doubts. Something always prevented me from leaving, I truly wanted to stay and could sense a rightness in the relationship, but the anxiety made me so doubtful that it could be the right choice, and so blinded to love that it was becoming unbearable. I worked through your Conscious Weddings course and spent hours journalling away using your techniques. At that time I was scared that I’d never improve and that I’d never be able to enjoy a relationship and yet now, only months later, I read this article nodding along in agreement, feeling secure in the reality of a meaningful relationship. Your notions of the true nature of love always resonate whenever doubts or fears occasionally still pop up, minimising and reassuring me so much that the days of spiralling doubt are now a thing of the past. What a gift you have given to me.

    Thank you so much for all you have done for me and my partner, I really can’t recommend your courses enough.

    Sarah

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    • Thank you, Sarah. A soul-wide smile upon reading your words ;).

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  11. I had been experiencing some anger and then after I worked on it a little bit, and let myself be angry I went through this feeling that I love my husband so much that a fear of death came along, the fear of loosing him and never seeing him again. I had never felt this feeling with anyone except for when I was little when I used to cry about fearing my father one day dying, of course he is already passed on, but now I been going through this feeling with my husband.
    I notice that I go through faces of anger, numbness and no feelings at all, then this face where I wish we would had been together before so I could have love him longer before our love departs when we die. And other faces that I go through, but so far this is what I been going through.
    I do not know if this is me opening my heart to love, more and more, or if its what? is it me being emotionally dependent?

    Thank you and I would appreciate your comments Sheryl.

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  12. I am so excited to take both the Open Your Heart course and Break Free! I’m a huge fan of your work. After taking the Conscious Weddings course, my life improved more than I could ever explain. I’m so grateful for your work and your many words of wisdom.

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  13. I do have to add to my previous comment, that I do fear loosing him, and I was reading this article of your mom which is :
    Are You In Love, Or Are You Emotionally Dependent?(http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-14987/are-you-in-love-or-are-you-emotionally-dependent.html)

    I also went through this face that because of my fear of loosing him I wish I could had been with him before which makes me really jealous of his ex girlfriend, we dated before when we were younger and we were very immature, and he went back with her after me and that wounded me making me feel he never loved me, but now I know it was the 2 of us that didnt make it work and we were not ready for a good relationship. He didnt have a good relationship with her either but I have felt a lot of jealousy of not being with him before and jealous of him being with her. I do not feel possessive of him in fact I dont mind if he has girl friends or if he talks to other people if he does not call me all the time, I want him to be himself and we are both adults and we respect each other so I trust him and I know he does too.
    So I wonder if I am coming from love or neediness. I do have a lot of fear of loosing him and I wish and still wanted to had been with him before but I underdtand we were not ready, however this provokes in me this jealousy, fear of loosing him because I wish I would had been able to be with him to love him longer. I also admit that I do want to be the person he loves the most.
    I told my husband and he says that its normal, we all want to know and like to know and hear that our partner loves us the most.
    What do you think about this sheryl, does that mean I do not love him? and I am just emotionally dependent? When I feel like this it scares me that maybe it means I have to leave or we dont work out together.

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  14. I had been experiencing alot of thoughts since 1 month after dating my partner. I am bit blinded why I keep having hot and cold towards her. I keep asking myself whether I’m not feeling anything when my partner is hurt, when I think about her leaving and the relationship going to end. I keep blaming myself for having being hard as a rock always angry towards her. I think that I am leading her on and that I don’t really love her. I think I have fear on commitment, being vulnerable and letting go of my single life. I’ve been reading alot and I still feel smothered or the feeling that I don’t want to talk to my partner. Sometimes it just feels unauthentic and I really dont know whether it’s true or not.

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  15. Hi sheryl,

    I am currently thinking hard a out doing your relationship anxiety course.. I just have to wait until I save enough money for it!

    In the mean time I go up and down with my anxiety like I have for the past few years with my kind and amazing partner.
    In the past few days a big spike for me was the idea of soul mates. Not in the stereotypical way of ‘there is a soulmate for everyone’ or ‘she’s the one for me’ type of way but instead in regards to the idea of soul mates and life partners.

    I once read an article that spiked my anxiety badly and also read a quote from Elizabeth Gilbert from eat pray love. Both of these talked about the idea that there are soul mates for people and life partners for people. The difference being that a soul mate is someone who comes to your life to awaken your soul and bring up things in you that you didn’t know existed and so on and once you learn the lesson you need to learn usually separation between soul mates occurs..And a life partner is someone who you can live life comfortably with and have a stable and caring relationship with..
    This spiked me so much because as you say in a lot of your blogs that anxiety comes up to get our attention so that we can deal with something we need to deal with that’s within us.. I believe that my currently partner has come into my life to bring up lots of things I haven’t dealt with.. In a way she saw me before I even saw myself for who I really was and has taught me so much.. So in this case it’s as though she is my ‘soul mate’ in the way the article I read explains.. Which might mean that once I learn what I need to learn that separation between us might occur..
    I want us so badly to be life partners but am afraid like the article says that sometimes the realtionship between soul mates can’t go on because of all the trauma and drama that comes with learning the lessons you need to learn while your with that person so it becomes to hard and being with a life partner instead is more flowing (for lack of a better word) and works comfortably and lovingly for a long time. Almost like the idea that it’s just easier.. Which I know is naive to think..

    I wondered if you could shed any light on this spike? Or maybe you’ve written about it before and I haven’t seen it?

    Thank you for this website and hopefully I can start your course soon! 🙂 x

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    • I know EXACTLY how you ladies feel. I’ve seen a few intuitive readers, astrologers and tarot card readers, mainly because I myself have a desire to practice these arts. I’m a “natural” I’ve been told. All the people I consulted seemed to imply that my current partner was not “the one” that my “soulmate” has not entered my life yet. This invoked in me a paranoia that in staying in my relationship I am interfering with the divine plan for my life and going against the flow, against the universe pretty much…

      There are two things to keep in mind that I am trying really hard to focus on, one is a quote I came across from a gentlemen on this site I believe his name is Ryan,

      “Choosing kind and true people to be in your life is NEVER WRONG”

      So whether soulmate, life partner, or none of the above, if this person is a kind loving soul, just make it a point to state to yourself that you are grateful for every second you spend with this person regardless if you are feeling love, fear, anxiety, infatuation, if it’s forever, not forever….

      I try to state this to myself before going to bed. I think it’s easy to give up our own agency to fate, the stars or God… I think the real need is more grounding …

      Hope this helps 🙂

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  16. Oh Stef yes!!!! I been going through that Spike of soul mates and it caused me too sooo much anxiety!!! Because my husband and I have a great relationship and I know he has come to help me grow and lwafn about love!!!! We dont have drama mainly just my fears, we are very very very similar although he is positive and I am more negative!!
    I just eant ys to be together and the thought of the soul mates does spike me a lot!!! Soul mates and The karma thought…. Someone just told me a few days ago that according to our astrology charts we were a pure passion relationship in a scale from 1 to 10 which meant we were purr passion because 8 was passion and 10 was pure love!!!
    That reslly scared me and made me then get a lot of anxiety and the thoughts that then we maybe didnt love each other, we were just a passion relationship.
    Anything you can help us please sheryl???

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    • That’s definitely something that would spike me also.. My therapist says that the brain can only focus on a few things at a time so while I’ve always been a spiritual person.. Things like this wouldn’t have come up for me earlier in my relationship because I wasn’t focused on it and now I am. I guess we need to change our focus which is easy to say but hard to do!
      It’s sort of the same as going to see a physics and she’s telling you that your partner and you aren’t meant to be together and she can see other things in your future.. This happened to me and caused great anxiety but again I try not to focus on it but it’s hard at times.

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    • People have very different definitions of soul mates. Some think you “should” be with your “soul mate”, some think you’re not supposed to be with them, some think a soul mate is anyone who forces you to grow and so on and so on.

      And think of all the seemingly perfect celebrity couples who are now divorced. Tom Cruise and Kate Holmes, Orlanado Bloom and Miranda Kerr, Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck… I could go on and on, this has been the summer of celebrity break ups after all.

      I think I remember reading in “The Wisdom of Menopause” by Dr. Christiane Northrup that a “psychic” had told her she and her husband (who she was gaga about) were meant to be together…and they are now divorced! If I remember correctly the good doctor wrote that had she known what she knows today she would have chosen a man with whom she had quite a different dynamic. Checking out the portion of that book that concerns her marriage could potentially be quite soothing for you. Another good book could be “The Eden Project” by James Hollis, and “Passionate Marriage” by David Schnarch.

      And, spiritually speaking, we’re all ultimately One (but paradoxically, we’re also separate). You, your husband, the trees, the mountains… So you’re already married to your soul mate. 🙂

      Reply
  17. Hi Sheryl, thank you so much for everything you do!

    Yesterday I read this article, and if I had read it before I found your e-course, it would have sent me into a full blown panic attack. In this article, the therapist literally says that if you doubt, don’t -___-

    Furthermore, she misrepresents information! She conducted a survey of divorced women and found that 30% of them had serious doubts before marriage. This really annoys me from a statistical perspective, because what about happily married women? How many of them had serious doubts before marriage? If she presented that information, I think there would a much better view of the truth.

    Anyways, it’s these kind of things that bombard us every day in our lives, making the doubt grow mutate into something even worse than what it was before. So thank you for being the light in an otherwise social media dark age 🙂

    Reply
    • Thank you for your comment, LABride. There is, indeed, so much misinformation out there about love that leads people down a dismal and dead-end road. I did edit out the article link as I try to make this site as spike-free as possible and sometimes it’s just too hard to resist the urge to click despite the warning!

      Reply
  18. Hi Sheryl,
    Your articles have impeccable timing. I find that each time I’m having difficulty working through my anxiety, your articles always soothe and ease my mind. I couldn’t help myself and clicked on the link provided by NewlyMarried. She said it was written by your mother. She explained the difference between real love and dependecy. While reading this it spiked me of course. That never fails…I am almost always spiked by something these days haha. While she listed some aspects of what dependency is I did notice some similarities in my own relationship and some things I didn’t find similar. Basically only some aspects applied to me. My partner and I have been together for over 5 years. We met at 18. I can recall at the beginning I had major trust issues and felt uncomfortable when he would go out and didn’t call me when I expected him to. I was jealous and suspicious. It was like I was waiting for him to do something that would betray my trust. The majority of our relationship was long distance and during the times we were apart it would make me really sad at times. Whenever we were reunited, it was pure bliss between us. Sometimes I remember getting really emotional when I’d have random thoughts of losing him. I’d share that with him and he’d just reassure me that all was ok and not to worry. Over time I learned to trust him and I didn’t really worry about him betraying me ever again. If he went out I didn’t get jealous and if he didn’t call me all the time that was ok. Things seemed calm. There was room to breathe and I can say I whole heartedly trust him. I was still bummed when we were unable to see each other, but it didn’t always feel like the world was coming to an end. Of course our relationship was not always easy. I feel that since we met each other at young ages we made a lot of mistakes along the way. We have gotten into a few big fights, yelled at one another, called each other names, pushed each others buttons, argued constantly, miscommunicated. A couple years ago I betrayed his trust and I hurt him deeply. That almost cost me our relationship. That was a wake up call for me and I decided to seek therapy in an effort to work through my own issues so I could become the best person I can be. He decided to forgive me. But it took an extremely long time to forgive myself. I carried around so much guilt and judgement towards myself. I think I still carry a little bit of that today. But my partner reassures me all is ok with him. A part of me was definitely traumatized by the loss I almost suffered and I went through a long stage of keeping my actions and feelings in check. I was afriad of making the same mistakes again. So much so I put myself through so much mental torment. Whenever I was experiencing anxious thoughts and feelings I was constantly seeking reassurance from trusted friends and my partner as well. While sharing my anxieties with my partner, it was feeling like I had to “come clean” even though I didn’t actually do anything wrong. In doing so, that perpetuated a lot of anxiety within our relationship. I was taking a lot of things at face value, and my partner did as well. There were huge misunderstandings and confusion between us. He freaked out multiple times over my “confessions.” So at times I was afraid of what he might think about something. Now I’m not so afriad of his opinions as I have come to understand my anxiety better and how to work through it. While seeing a therapist I have realized how my strained relationships with my parents affect me, how I’ve been a sensitive individual since childhood, and that I do have abandonment fears. Do I feel like I’ve been dependent on my partner? Yes. But I also realize that our relationship is deeply rooted in connection. Regardless of our flaws, we have managed to work through our issues together. We have also supported each other during very tough times. We have shared our souls with one another. Our innermost fears and desires. Our relationship has endured for a long time. Which amazes me considering how young we are. I have experienced 95% of the relationship anxiety you so wonderfully describe in your articles. I’ve had many fears and intrusive thoughts about my relationship. If I’m only with him because of dependency or the fear of being alone. If we’re right for each other. If I even really loved him from the beginning. If young love can survive. If we’re compatible enough or attracted enough. I could go on all day. But I tell myself that there’s a reason I stay that is bigger than dependecy or fear. I tell myself to listen to that. And not to the intrusive thoughts. Even when I’m in the depths of anxiety, I hold onto the happy moments I do share with my partner. I hold onto our mutual bond and familiarity. I hold onto the comfort I feel when he holds me and tells me not to be scared and that my thoughts are just that–thoughts. I realize we love each other through it all…underneath all the layers that make us up as individuals. That includes the ugly that lurks beneath as well. To love someone is to love the whole person. Not just their good or easy qualities. To love in its entirety. Loving someone during the happy times is wasy, it’s when the magic stops and real life hits you is when the real work begins. I have to hold on and believe. Sorry for writing a book on here haha, I was so compelled to share and I would appreciate your feedback. Thanks for all you do. Your work has been fundamental in me redefining what love means to me.

    Reply
  19. Thank you Maria and Stef for your comments, it helped me a little.
    It seems like right now I am spinning into a wheel of anxiety over all.
    I am like a sponge, but soon I will get better, it happens.
    God Bless you all.

    Reply
  20. Hi Sheryl,
    I was wondering if you are familiar with the work of Gay and Katie Hendricks on healing codependency in relationships? If so I was wondering if you can share some brief insights on that. I am currently saving to take your new course, very excited about it! Thanks for all you do 🙂

    Reply
  21. I have been struggling with relationship anxiety throughout my year long relationship. Initially it was around external issues that we have worked through. However even now I sometimes wonder if I really love my partner and if we have the sort of life that I want. I tell him I love him and most of the time I feel calmer around him but the doubt still persists. Also my partner has a drinking problem, he is working on it but sometimes I wonder if its worth my time and energy when I have so many doubts, some of which are in my head and some which are very real and legitimate. We also have a big age difference which doesn’t impact our relationship except sometimes I wonder if he would be willing to move if I decide to go to grad school, etc…

    Reply
  22. Hi,
    Does anyone take medication for their anxiety?

    Reply
  23. I have been fighting this anxiety and depression for 7 years. I literally woke up one morning after moving into our first place we bought together and felt completely not myself, crazy anxiety, pacing, freaking out, crying, couldn’t eat, just wanted to sleep so I wouldn’t think, missed two weeks of work…. And all I could think of was, do I love him? I don’t know? Do I? Don’t I? And on and on and on. I felt so scared, and didn’t want it to be true. Everything around me felt weird and not right. I didn’t want to talk to anyone or see anyone or do anything. This lasted for about 2 weeks and then I went to a phyciatrst and was diagnosed with anxiety and depression. To this day I have had boubts of this on and off, sometimes free of it for several months at a time, but it always comes back. The past year straight I have been feeling like this , with maybe a few hours everyday feeling myself with the doubts not really there. Night time is usually better for me.
    I have a therapist as well and have attended several group therapies… I am also on medication…

    Doesn’t this day something if I have been fighting this for 7 years?
    We are married now, sold and bought another house. I have attended college, gone on vacations, weddings, birthdays and so on throughout all of this.
    Having to live with this has not been fun, but knowing that I have had many moments of feeling happy is what gets me through this and keep on fighting.

    I just hope one day I will feel better again…. I feel like my life is on hold, I’m scared to have children cause I’m scared that I shouldn’t with him, or is it the anxiety?
    Sorry for the long rant, but I just needed to vent. And my husband knows about all of this and he hasn’t left me yet! He is very understanding. I feel bad for him though. I want him to have a happy life and I feel he isn’t getting that with me.

    Reply
    • “Doesn’t this say something if I have been fighting this for 7 years?” What it says is that you haven’t received the proper help. If you’re ready to break free from this struggle, take the course. It will address everything you’ve been battling.

      Reply
  24. Hi Sheryl,
    I really need help on this situation that I have, I have just started to have anxiety over seeing my boyfriend we have been together nearly a year with a couple of short breaks in between, I have been very poorly with an illness that has lead to anxiety and it is crippling me. Now what I’m feeling is that I’m scared to see my boyfriend or even talk to him on the phone, I get anxiety attacks and hot flushes when I think of him coming to see me or calling me. I really don’t know what I’m scared off he’s never hit me or hurt me he has had a couple of episodes where he needed time and space to get his life right but he is trying to do that now and he still wants me in his life. And I still want him in my life, but I’m scared and I don’t know what all. I have tried to talk to him and explain to him that I am anxious over certain things, i’m scared he’s not going to be able to cope with my anxiety I’m scared that he will leave me because of my anxiety so I just pushed him away because this anxiety is unbearable, I’ve tried not talking to him but I think about him every day and that hurts I’ve tried talking to him but then I get anxious I feel like this is a Catch-22 situation and its driving me crazy I love him so much.
    If you could give me any advice at all please please help I don’t want to lose him and he doesn’t want to lose me but I feel this is going to happen.

    All my love Victoria

    Reply
  25. Sheryl,

    From my last post, what do you think about what i have posted?
    Is it my marriage that I am
    Not happy with or is it the anxiety and depression?
    I know it’s been 7 years, and I jab had many months of not having these thoughts and feelings. I married him in between these doubts.

    Any feedback would be much appreciated. I don’t have crazy anxiety at the moment. I am working and taking a medical terminology course, but I wake up everyday with these same feelings and thoughts that still make me feel worried and uncomfortable with a little bit of anxiety.

    Reply
    • Barring red-flag issues and assuming the marriage is basically loving and healthy, it’s the anxiety and depression.

      Reply
  26. And do you mean”break free from this struggle” where my doubting will stop, or make me realize I’m not turkey happy and I should leave my marriage?

    Reply
    • I mean break free from the struggle and learn how to find true wellness inside yourself first as well as in your marriage.

      Reply
  27. Turkey was a typo. Lol.

    Reply
  28. Sheryl,
    What is the course all about? And how would it help me?
    I am just curious as I have attended many group therapies for anxiety and depression, and none have really seemed to help whatsoever, other than taking the deep breathing technique from them.

    I am just really tired of all of this. I want to wake up happy or even just calm and relaxed and not have to worry about this from the minute I wake up till the evening when I do start to feel a little bit calmer.

    Reply
  29. Hi sheryl,

    I think my ex boyfriend is going through this right now and I don’t know what to do. He’s always had anxiety and completely out of the blue broke up with me 2 weeks ago and said he isn’t in love with me anymore. He’s got a lot of stress at the moment and we were about to move in together. We haven’t spoken since and I just want to help him because I think this is the cause. How do I do that without pushing him further away?

    Reply
  30. I’m 20 years old and i have been dealing with relationship anxiety for the past 8 months. Its been a real struggle for me in trying to stay afloat and not drown myself in the intrusive thoughts and believe them all. My boyfriend and i have been together for 2 years and he has been really great and supportive and understanding about my problems but i am extremely moody which only pushes him away. I cry over the tiniest disagreements or problems and its hard for me to stop. I also am like super sensitive and defensive of stupid things. I have thoughts like “you and him arent as close anymore” and “maybe youre falling out of love” and i know they arent true deep down but my mind cant seem to get out of the rut. I sometimes have thoughts that hes not as attractive as ive seen him before and hes annoying and just dumb stuff. Im seeing a therapist for it and its been helping me but i want to just get over this hurdle and im really scared we wont be able to overcome it. This relationship anxiety also basically appeared over night. One day i was fine and the next everything was WRONG. What advice do you have for me sheryl?

    Reply
    • Read through the Relationship Anxiety collections and if feasible join the course.

      Reply
  31. Hi Sheryl,
    I have come across this website several times in the last few months due to extreme difficulties I have been having within myself about my relationship. In a nutshell, my relationship is perfect, the man I am with is everything I could wish for in a man, hardworking, attentive, considerate, loving – the list goes on. We have been together for just over 4 years, have lived together for 3 years and have just bought a house. I have always, from the beginning, had anxiety and fears about our relationship and wondering if I feel how I ‘should’ feel. I was prescribed anti-depressants around 6 months into our relationship because I could not stop crying randomly and I started to assume I was unhappy being with him, but I could not and would not accept this, he is and always has been absolutely wonderful to me and I know we have such a fantastic future planned together. More recently, for the last 5 months-ish, my anxiety and doubts have gone through the roof, I barely get a day at a time without my convincing myself I need to leave him, for absolutely no reason, then I get home to him on an evening and everything is calmer, clearer and I realise I am being ridiculous – then the next day the whole cycle starts again, I wake up feeling nervous, sick, guilty, not wanting to face the day – I turn and look at him and think how can I be thinking this about you, you are the best person in my life, and I have no control over my brain. I am failing to acknowledge all the wonderful traits he has, I am starting to forget why we are together and worst of all starting to see him in a completely different way – as if I am believing my thoughts. I don’t want to feel this way, I don’t want anyone else and I don’t want to be single, want to be with him and I want to be happy and relaxed with him, but there is something inside stopping me and it’s breaking my heart. Does this sound like a type of anxiety, or am I making myself anxious by ‘forcing’ myself to stay? I really really don’t want to leave, he is my best friend and love of my life. :-(… any insight would be brilliant and much appreciated.

    Reply
    • You’re suffering from classic, textbook relationship anxiety and the course would be enormously helpful for you. The minute you sign up you’ll find more relief than you could ever imagine. You don’t need to be suffering like this- take the course!

      Reply
    • This comment spoke to me so deeply. I hope you’re doing better.

      Reply
  32. It took me a long while googling and, even though it was painful for the known reasons (and the wrong search term…never use anything “jitters”), I am so glad that I kept at it when I found this blog. Thank you so much for these clear and true words. I am getting married in three weeks and have had horrifying doubts about my relationship for months. I lie awake at night terrified that I might have to cancel my wedding, split up with my wonderful, loving boyfriend, who I want to be with and share a life with (and have done so for more than 7 years) and most of all, that my insecurity and this gnawing ‘gut’ feeling of anxiety will break up our happy, young family. We have two small sons and bought a house together, all of which felt fine when we did it, but this wedding business has somehow freaked me out. I didn’t sleep at all last night and all day I was a shadow of myself, with this heavy painful feeling of doubt and horror at its consequences. Reading your blog has lifted this weight and I now feel so relieved! I can/am allowed to look forward to my wedding day again. Wouldn’t have thought it possible a couple of hours ago. I am sure, my doubts and feelings of anxiety and negative thoughts will make a come back a some point, but just coming out of them today simply by means of kind and true words, is leaves me positive, I can pull myself out again and that I, my relationship and my family are not doomed. I really do (want to) love them so much!

    Reply
  33. Dear Sheryl,

    I found your blog on an obsessive research for relief from my anxiety. It made me breath for the first time in months. I have been with my partner for more than 10 years, but we’ve been long distance for many years before moving in together in January. The week we moved in, we were sitting on our new couch and I thought ‘this is wrong. i don’t love him anymore’ and i spiralled into the worst panic attack of my life. Since then I have obsessive intrusive thoughts and a daily impulse to break up with him, but at the same time I just can’t. He’s my best friend, my person. Our relationship was never perfect and we made a lot of mistakes along the way (being together since we were 16), but I always felt he was my teammate – i still do. But I don’t have ‘moments of clarity’ when I feel everything is okay between us. For five months now every moment has been full of doubt. I am in therapy and she is trying to link the intrusive thoughts to my lack of self-esteem and fear of not being enough – but it’s slow and I feel hopeless most of the time. I don’t want to leave him but the thoughts are telling me I am just being a coward, because I never had anyone but him. I have doubts about therapy, fear it’s not working, fear it will last forever, fear I’ll end up alone. I don’t really have a support system aside him as I moved to be with him, so my whole life changed completely in January (new country, new city, new job, new house and moving in for the first time). I feel trapped.

    Your blog posts are a source of great relief and I’m thinking of committing to one of your courses to accompany and help my therapy sessions, but I wanted to ask you if the absence of ‘moments of clarity’ is normal. Sometimes I feel at ease with him, and he makes me laugh, and he understands me, but every time I have a spark of calmness and peace my brain tells me it’s not real, I’m making it up. It’s pure torture.

    Sorry for the long post, and thank you.

    Emanuela

    Reply
  34. I am reading all of these beautiful comments, and it’s making me want to cry.

    My boyfriend, is so kind and thoughtful. He loves me deeply, is always there when I need him and supports me in everything I do. I know he’s in it for the long haul and would never leave me.

    But I want to leave. I feel like I have had doubts since our second date. I worry that he is not intellectual enough for me, or as interested in meditation, self-growth, and personal exploration. I’m only 25 and all I want to do is be free, travel, take more yoga trainings, and focus on myself. I feel trapped and like he’s holding me back from the life I could have without him…or with someone else.

    I was single for 3 years before I met him. I’ve never been loved so much or treated so well in my entire life. I feel like I can’t decipher whether it’s actually not a good match, or my brain is just being an a**hole.

    Reply
    • “I feel like I can’t decipher whether it’s actually not a good match, or my brain is just being an a**hole.”

      It’s neither. It’s your fear trying to keep you safe from the risk of love. Keep reading through my site and consider the Break Free From Relationship Anxiety Course.

      Reply
      • So happy I came across these but so sad, I didn’t come across these sooner. Relationship anxiety got the best of me and my ex, and we loved each other so much but were having second thoughts about the future and didn’t know if there is better, or if we should have that “click” that we are the “one” and we didn’t want to go and continue on and possibly waste our time a year later if nothing changed. But after reading all these blogs, I am seeing that what we felt was totally normal but we panicked and threw in the towel too soon. We are giving each other space but after reading these and the beauty of our relationship – I want to believe there is still hope for us after the dust settles. Has anyone dealt with this before?

        Reply
  35. Dear Cheryl,

    I just ended things with a guy who had a lot of problems but he loved me very much. But he started acting super obsessive, pressuring me to do things I didn’t want to to, telling me no one else will treat me like he does, trying to pit my family and church and friends against me, plus he and his family struggled with debt and obesity. He wanted me to leave everything to be with him and was giving me everything my heart desired (jewelry, dresses, love letters, stuffed animals, trips). I had so many feelings for him and finally ended things feeling more and more drained. He wanted to look at engagement rings our second date. When I met his family we hadn’t even been boyfriend girlfriend yet and they already wanted me to come move down there (15 hours away from home). They and he kept asking if I could see a future together and I couldn’t. I can’t see the future. Even though he treated me like a princess I was having mental breakdowns all the time and crying and he would say things like “you need me because you have all these problems, I will take care of you and love you”. I would cry and he would say “Its just fear, you need to move through the fear then you will see how much I love you”. I finally ended things and miss him. Everyone was telling me this guy isn’t good for me. He would also play the victim saying that people are out to get me and him. I really hope I did the right thing in ending things. I didn’t feel good about leaving everything for him at all. He grabbed my wrists once when I told him know and once he wanted to touch me, again i said no and he pulled me to him and popped my back and it really hurt. I forgave him, but when I would say no he didn’t like it. He needed me to talk to him hours every day and it just drained me, plus he had a pile of health problems, i just felt so drained in the end.

    Fast forward I have just started dating another guy who isn’t as chivalrous/romantic but he doesn’t pressure me or try to get me to cry. But I feel very stable around him and healthy. He is a longtime friend, but sometimes he is too rough with me physically and emotionally. He teases me a lot and I don’t feel good about it. I know I struggle with being overly sensitive. Just wondering if I did the right thing. I still have lots of feelings for the first guy but everyone told me that wasn’t healthy for you. Guy number two I am a little afraid of. Help 🙁

    Reply
  36. Hi Sheryl,

    How is one able to tell if a red flag issue is one worth leaving or staying and working through? My husband is good on many levels, but i get so frustrated with how lazy, undisciplined, and immature/irresponsible he is with his choices. It’s maddening.

    I also think he can get obsessive/addicted to a hobby at a time, like a video game or trading cards online or obsessed with getting the best of something, obsessed with always being on his phone, etc. It feels out of control sometimes.

    My lifestyle is active, healthy, disciplined, and clean and he is none of those things.

    Otherwise, he has many other great qualities.

    When do you decide which if these issues are worth leaving over? They feel like important issues.

    Reply
  37. Hi Sheryl I just came across your article and describes everything I am going through. I have been with my boyfriend for over 2 years and never felt any connection/chemistry/ being in love with him but was drawn to him after spending time with him and realised this is the man I was believing God for we share the same beliefs and our personalities are similar in every way .He is such a beautiful soul and loves me 100%. my Family adores him and would want us to be married. I want to marry him too but only bothered by the no chemistry /connection/inlove with him even over 2years now that i dont feel it and get frustrated that it’s not there when I am longing so much for it. He knows about my feelings and has not given up but believes we will be fine one day but I don’t see how.We have broken off a couple of times not because of any red flags infact i have seen no red flags at all but a man that adores me 100%i have been the cause of the breakups when my thoughts of youre not inlove with him kicks in but always missed each other and eventually got back. But when we are back it’s same thing again.We are not on speaking terms as of now because of the same issue. I would love nothing more than to be married to him we often dream of our marriage and say it would be so beautiful but deep in my heart I would feel empty and thinking what if that doesn’t happen and I end up in an unhappy marriage where it’s only him that loves me. I don’t really like to share this with people because I am scared they will tell me to break it off and the thought of that breaks me.I just want things to work out. I also realise that when I pray for us I find myself I can’t and this too breaks me. It makes me think that maybe the reason I can’t pray for us is because we are not supposed to be together this too frustrates me. Any advice please.

    Reply
  38. I honestly can’t escape the thought that I’m with the wrong person. I compare our love to every couple that seems so genuinely inlove and in awe of each other. It’s been two years of this whirlwind of emotions. I can’t seem to get over it. We are married now and even leading up to our wedding I’ve felt this way. Somehow I kept feeling pushed to marry him. Something kept encouraging me to keep going and to trust. By something I mean God. I really feel that God brought us together and that this is Gods will for me but then again can’t understand why I feel so “uninlove”
    I’ve desired a beautiful love story all of my life and after having so many failed relationships I’d been so beaten up by failed romances and “love”
    I wonder if this is why I suffer with this relationship anxiety and the constant feeling of “I should be more inlove”
    Looking for some help
    Thanks Sheryl I appreciate your work so so much. It’s held me ?

    Reply
  39. I believe i have realised ive been in ‘infatuation’ and not ‘in love’ for the past 6 months. I feel like overnight i felt “off” about my partner and now seem to criticize small, silly physical things. We have a beautiful relationship otherwise and he truly adores me. Is this a basis i can work towards true live with?

    Reply
  40. hey sheryl, how do you differentiate between relationship anxiety and ROCD?

    Reply
  41. hey sheryl, how do you differentiate between relationship anxiety and ROCD? many thanks

    Reply
  42. Ever since I became engaged 6 years ago, married now for 5, every day has been plagued with anxiety. I’ve read every article here about relationship anxiety, self-trust, transitions…I purchased and read The Wisdom of Anxiety…I always find my way back here for relief, but it never lasts long. I know it’s time I actually start doing the work and possibly take the course. I’ve been to therapy, but talking to someone who hasn’t experienced the same thing didn’t help much. Reading about people who have gone through, or are going through the same things, always lifts the fog temporarily. My main struggle has been struggling with letting of “just knowing”. I’m scared I’ll always have questions in the back of my mind since I feel as though I never really got to live life as a single individual. I never got to “explore my options”. Since I have nothing to compare married life to, I always wonder if this is what I really want. I’m scared of what answers I might find, but I also don’t want to continue feeling this way every day. Does the course help with these feelings?
    Thank you for all your work.

    Reply
    • Yes, the course will help you start doing the work instead of just reading about, as while insight and normalization are helpful temporarily, action is the key to breaking free. I hope you’ll give yourself the gift of the course and the commitment of doing your inner work.

      Reply
  43. Hi Sheryl, I’ve been in a committed relationship for a few years and a lot of my anxiety came up very recently. We’ve been talking about getting married and even bought engagement rings, would you recommend the break free from relationship anxiety course or the conscious weddings course? Hope all is well!

    Reply
    • If you have any history of anxiety/worry, I recommend the Break Free From Relationship Anxiety course. It’s a more comprehensive course and it contains a bonus lesson for those who are in the wedding transition.

      Reply
  44. Hi Sheryl – Thank you for this blog. In the past couple of months, I have been worrying about my 15 year relationship with a man that I have a child with. The relationship has been very healthy throughout our 15 years, and he is extremely supportive and loving and always has been. Occasionally, in the past I have had feelings of doubt about my choice of a relationship but I always dismissed those thoughts easily and knew that the positives outweighed the negatives and we were building something beautiful.

    In the past year, I have been experiencing anxiety and depression unrelated to my fiancé for the most part. However, after a recent bad bout of anxiety I was triggered by a podcast that mentioned your emotional and logical sides meeting up. Ever since then I have been in a panic about needing to change my relationship as that is the reason that I am anxious and depressed, even though there is not much reason to support that. My therapist says that anxiety just looks for something in your real life to latch onto, to make sense. I definitely feel an urgency to act, as I have never felt before. I am very scared to tear my family apart. But I feel so bad about myself, like I was deceitful in the past or should not have been in the relationship. Today, I love him more than ever and need him so much. But these past regrets are plaguing me right now to the point that they are making me sick. I have recently started and SSRI (these issues did not arise until I started the drug) and that is making me feel particularly disconnected. I am wondering if this sense of disconnection is possibly triggering RA or ROCD? Any advice would be appreciated. I am considering the Break Free course, as I think it would be very helpful.

    Reply
    • This resonates with what i’ve been going through with my partner too…I feel like the pandemic has amplified things even further.

      Reply
  45. Dear Sheryl,

    I want to thank you for your courage, commitment and compassion in this field of care. Life would be considerably harder for some of us without people like you.

    I hope to take your relationship anxiety course one day and be free of it, if possible, once and for all.

    With Best Wishes.

    Reply
    • Thank you, Rob. I’m glad you’re here.

      Reply
    • Thank you Sheryl.
      I have one burning question that I’d love your feedback on.. I’m really struggling with the idea of that if I stay in my relationship then I have to give up on one of my needs which is romance in a relationship (not always but sometimes) I no longer feel my partner can give me the romantic feelings I so long for which were present in the first few years of the relationship, so much so it’s depressing me everyday, although our relationship is great in many ways and he’s great person, I just feel if I stay in the relationship I may never be happy because this need is not being met anymore?

      Reply
      • Hi Daisy,

        This is a need you can absolutely cultivate in your relationship by asking for how you’d like to be treated e.g. it’s a cliche but does being bought flowers make you feel romanced? If so, you need to ask for it. Your partner can’t read your mind and just know how to speak your love language. They also can’t ‘give you’ romantic feelings. You will find that in any relationship, what the culture calls ‘romantic feelings’ will fade, unless your partner is forever holding you at arm’s length, which is an unpleasant way to spend your life ultimately. Those feelings come from unavailability, though you can cultivate healthy space in your relationship which may help to fan the flames of desire (check out Esther Perel for this in tandem with Sheryl’s work). I can 100% guarantee that if you left (which you’re absolutely allowed to do) you would eventually get to the same point with another available partner. In real, available love, there is no longing because you can’t long for something you fully have. I recommend Sheryl’s articles on learning about what real love is as well as on how to fill your own well of Self.

        Reply
  46. Dear Sheryl,

    I just recently broke off a 7 month long-distance-relationship with the most caring, honest, loving woman. She absolutely loved me and would do anything for me. She was my biggest supporter and she made me feel warm and loved. There are so many factors that contributed to this breakup. 1) I keep thinking I need to be on my own right now. Before this woman, I was in a terrible 2yr relationship that ended in March. I met this new woman in April and we starting dating in May. I did not have much time to myself and was not expecting to date again for a long time. However, this woman intrigued me and we are quite similar and share the same values. We met online and when we met in person that spark was not there for me. But I wanted to get to know her more. She challenged my mind and made me stop and appreciate little aspects of life. 2) Recently, I have become so extremely stressed with my life choices. I am still in school. I am going back and forth with whether to quick the program or stay. This choice has very much impacted the relationship. I have this desire to completely uproot my life and move somewhere else, a total change if you will. 3) With that desire comes the want to be with someone who more physically matches who I thought I would end up with. The woman I was dating is beautiful, but together in pictures we do not look good. However, there are moments were I think that she is not who I am “supposed to be with”. And that intrinsic thought keeps popping into my head. 4) The long distance relationship was really taking a toll on me. Whenever we were together it was nice and we had fun. But when we would part, I felt extremely disconnected. Like I didn’t even know who my partner was. This made me start to feel as though I wasn’t really in love with her or that maybe the attraction just wasn’t there. I started to see her more as a friend than a partner – which in a lesbian relationship can become a reality. I look at pictures of us (I have yet to take them off the walls of my apartment), and I smile because we have good memories but I don’t feel anything in my heart. I feel rather numb in a sense.

    All of this makes me feel so extremely guilty. There is guilt because I know she loves me and wants to spend the rest of her life with me. But I just don’t think I can make that commitment and I don’t fully understand why. I am really struggling and am now thinking I made a very big mistake in breaking up with her. Also, she has been married before and there is an age gap – she is 33 and I am 26. Which also makes me think that quite possibly I am not in the position that she needs me to be in for a relationship. I do miss her very much. But I feel slightly more relaxed after breaking up. Yet…here I am on this forum. So in conclusion, I am very confused about what to do. I do love her but it does not feel like a passionate love. My heart does not feel overwhelmed, rather I just feel guilt.

    Does this sound like relationship anxiety? Would the courses help with this? What if I really do need to be on my own right now instead of being in a relationship? Any advice would be welcomed.

    Thanks,
    -K

    Reply
  47. Sheryl, can relationship anxiety show up as dissatisfaction, boredom and disconnection? I just feel like I don’t want to be there. Yet I can’t leave. I’m so afraid of the thoughts and feelings I’m experiencing. We didn’t have a honeymoon period – I already knew he loved me when we reconnected. I’m going through all this whilst also trying to recover from long-term illness (which has an emotional root). I’m doing so much inner work – in therapy, IFS parts-work, breathing, tending to my needs as best as I can with the constraints of my illness and anxiety, as well as on-the-spot labeling of thoughts and trying to keep my awareness in my body. I’m trying so hard but it’s just wholly unpleasant – there are no moments of clarity to give me hope. I don’t know what to do. I don’t want to stay and feel this way, not getting my relationship needs met, and I don’t want to leave.

    Reply

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